Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Week 16 Top 10

Another exciting week is in the books and we're one Sunday away from the Playoffs. Not much debate about this weeks top 10 as we head into the final week of the season.

1) Patriots - Take a load off, Brady. (CL)
2) Falcons - The Falcons will likely have home field advantage throughout the playoffs but just proved they are beatable in Atlanta. (CL)
3) Ravens - Still praying for a Steelers loss Sunday, but nobody wants to play this team in the playoffs, just ask the Patriots. (AB)
4) Saints - Big momentum builder at the right time. Hello Post Season. (AB)
5) Steelers - A win in Cleveland is the difference between No. 2 and No. 6. (CL)
6) Bears - Today, the NFC North and a No. 2 seed. Tomorrow, the World? (AB)
7) Packers - Win and they’re in. Who else thinks this team could Shock-And-Awe the NFL? (AB)
8) Chiefs - All year people were just waiting for the other shoe to drop on the Chiefs season. Still waiting. (CL)
9) Eagles - The two extra days of rest didn’t do anything for the Eagles playoff chances. (CL)
10) Jets - Sneaking into the playoffs again. Hardly noteworthy. (AB)

Honorable Mentions - Colts, Rams (yeah, thats right).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Week 16 Picks, and Happy Holidays

Doing some iPad blogging this post-Xmas morning. Hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas, now let's see if my picks this week will grant your favorite teams some holiday cheer...

I had the Steelers and the Cowboys in the early games (and we all know how those turned out) as for the rest of the games:

Patriots, Rams, Ravens, Dolphins, Bears, Redskins, Chiefs, Buccaneers, Eagles, Texans, Colts, Packers, Chargers, Falcons.

Ok typing on this thing is weird, but playing Madden is a heck of a lot of fun. Enjoy the games everybody, and on behalf of myself, Chris, and our families, we wish you all the happiest of holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Week 15 Top 10

Boy-howdy, things are getting exciting as we make the final push towards the playoffs. There were some epic games this weekend and some changes in our top 10 lineup as well:

1) Patriots - NFL Reaction is considering just ranking 2-10 through the rest of the season. (CL)
2) Falcons - Does this rematch against the Saints even matter anymore? (AB)
3) Ravens - When Ray Rice is that active, this team is unstoppable. (AB)
4) Eagles - Turned a shellacking into a motivating win; that’s what good teams do. (CL)
5) Jets - Much needed win and confidence boost in the Steel City. (CL)
6) Bears - On their way to the NFC North Title...who knew. (AB)
7) Steelers - No Troy = No Spark + No Win. (CL)
8) Saints - A hard fought road loss in Baltimore is nothing to be ashamed of, but it looks like there will more tough road games in the near future. (AB)
9) Colts - Taking out Jacksonville and grabbing control of the AFC South should never have been a question, right? (AB)
10) Chiefs - Cassell will have his mettle tested in the playoffs, if Kansas City makes it. (CL)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week 15 Picks

Let's talk about some of the big games first...

I'm going with the Eagles over the Giants. It's a battle for the division and while both teams have been holding their own this year, the Eagles and Mike Vick have an X-factor in their playing style that I just can't ignore.

The Jets are spiraling downward at the wrong time and now they're heading to Pittsburgh. The Steelers should have no trouble putting away the Jets this weekend.

The Jaguars are looking to take the division with a statement win over the Colts. I can never count Maning down in any situation, but Indy has been struggling this season and Jacksonville is playing tough at the right time. I'm taking the Jaguars.

No brainer here, the Patriots are unstoppable, and should have no problem dealing with Green Bay, especially without a healthy Aaron Rodgers.

Finally the game I'm having the biggest struggle with: the Saints head to Baltimore to face my Ravens and, while I'm a devoted fan, aren't convinced that the Ravens can play four solid quarters against the reigning Champions. I'll still take my Ravens, but won't be surprised if I'm wrong.

As for the rest:
Dolphins, Cowboys, Bengals, Texans, Rams, Cardinals, Buccaneers, Falcons, Raiders, Bears

Enjoy the games everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

NFL Holiday Card

Rich Eisen wishes everyone Happy Holidays on behalf of the National Football League

click here to view

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Night Pick 12/16

NEWS:
Both the Chargers and the 49ers try to stay in the playoff hunt as they face off on Thursday Night Football.

REACTION:
I'm taking the Chargers. They're a better team than the 49ers, period.

Delayed Week 14 Top 10

It's the busy holiday season again, so I'll be handling the commentary solo this week. Ok, I'm one day late, but it's no surprise who's at the top again this week...

1) Patriots - Another Super Bowl for Brady and Belichick? I'd take that bet.
2) Falcons - The NFC Road to the Super Bowl will likely go through Atlanta.
3) Steelers - Setting themselves up for a comfortable (and needed) first round bye.
4) Saints - A week 16 rematch with the division leading Falcons awaits, but first a trip to Baltimore.
5) Ravens - This team needs to put together a solid 4 quarters. If they can do it against the Saints, people will be impressed.
6) Eagles - They face the Giants on Sunday...in New York...dun dun duuun.
7) Giants - Their chance to take the division when the Eagles come to town on Sunday
8) Bears - The Patriots made them look pretty awful...at home. Methinks it will be a short playoff run for da Bears, if they make it.
9) Jaguars - Who knew a possible headline in Jacksonville could read: Jags Beat Colts Again, Win Division.
10) Jets - Mayday, mayday.

Honorable Mentions - Chargers, Dolphins (for beating the Jets and staying in the hunt).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Week 13 Top 10

After some big games this past weekend we find a bit of a reshuffle in our top 10.

1) Patriots – They’re baaaaack. (AB)
2) Falcons – The Falcons are lethal at home and it doesn’t look like they will have to play any road games in the playoffs. (CL)
3) Steelers – The big win over the Ravens will mean nothing if the Steelers drop their remaining division games to the Bengals or Browns. (CL)
4) Saints – Can they defend their title in Dallas? The rival Falcons might have the biggest say. (AB)
5) Bears – The surprises keep coming. (AB)
6) Ravens – Blew probably the biggest opportunity of the year on Sunday. (AB)
7) Jets – They are who I thought they were. (AB)
8) Packers – How did a popular NFC Super Bowl prediction at the beginning of the season become a sleeper? (CL)
9) Eagles – Back to back road games against division rivals loom. (AB)
10) Chiefs – Biggest division lead in the NFL, can they put it away with a win over the Chargers? (AB)

Honorable Mentions – Giants, Jaguars

Chris and I are both on the road in Tacoma this weekend for some Showtime Championship Boxing, but we'll do our best to post some things here and there...as always, check NFL Reaction on twitter for quick reactions and updates to the latest NFL news.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Save the date - 1/16/11

NEWS: The Patriots and Steelers put themselves in place for the top two seeds in the AFC after victories this past weekend.

REACTION:
Enjoy this weekend's nighttime divisional tussles? Obviously, the Ravens-Steelers game commanded more eyeballs than the Patriots-Jets as the game stayed close past...oh, the first quarter. But regardless, the bad blood between these pairings is palpable and they usually produce the most competitive and anticipated games in the AFC aside from the clashes between perennial AFC favorites, the Colts and the Patriots.

As the season sits today, there is a very good chance we'll see all four of these teams once again on Jan. 16, 2011 in the playoffs' divisional round - but the match ups will be different. Many things could change in the final quarter of the season but right now the Ravens and Jets seem poised to win on the road as wild card teams against the Chiefs and the Jaguars. This would take the Jets to Pittsburgh and the Ravens to Foxboro for an excellent weekend of football.

Okay, that's a lot of "ifs" and speculation but one thing is already set in stone: The divisional playoff games are followed by the only Monday off for us working stiffs throughout the football season courtesy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And with that, everyone wins.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Night Madness

Tonight we have another matchup worthy of Mount Olympus. The New York Jets travel to Foxboro for a rematch with their co-division leaders, the New England Patriots. This game could not only determine home who takes the AFC East, but also who gets home field advantage and 1st seed throughout the playoffs. The Patriots have been here before; the Jets are on pretty unfamiliar ground.

Now I've said this before, but I fear the Jets have a big let-down coming. They've stood toe-to-toe with some of the lesser teams in the league, and have come away with wins. One could say the Jets have found ways to win and are consistently doing it, but if your young stallion is barely beating slow horses, do you really expect him to succeed against a thoroughbred race champion? (Not my best analogy but I'll stick with it...leave me alone).

That's what the Patriots, namely Brady and Belichick are, thoroughbred champions. The Jets? Sure they're flashy, exciting, and (I'll admit) pretty darn good too, but can they handle the stretch and win when it matters the most?

Call me a skeptic, but that remains to be seen. This is the true test for Gang-Green. They snagged the win early in the season against their division foes, but can they pull off the sweep? Yes, you say? Ok Jets fans, I'll play along. They can absolutely do it, especially this season where anything has and will continue to happen. But consider this, the Patriots have won the last bazilion consecutive games at home, AND have never been swept under the BeliBrady regime. Still feel confident? Yes. anything can happen...but if I'm going to gamble I prefer a much safer bet.

Patriots 34 - Jets 17

Are you ready for some football?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ravens vs Steelers

Between the holiday shuffle and running errands, I lost track of time and realized we're just over an hour away from kickoff of one of the biggest games of the year. The Steelers head to Baltimore and whenever these two teams meet it's a battle of epic proportions. Now it's even bigger with the AFC North title on the line, and potentially 2nd seed in the AFC heading into the playoffs.

Without further ado I'm just going to spill it: I'm taking the Ravens (duh) to win this one at home and continue their streak toward the post-season...

Ravens 24 - Steelers 20

Friday, December 3, 2010

Weekend Forecast (Week 13 Picks)

Let's start out with a winter weather pick six:

I see a strong front moving towards Tennessee, as the Jacksonville Jaguars look to stay atop the AFC South. My Pick: Jaguars

Heavy noise pollution in Kansas City this Sunday, and the struggling Denver Broncos will have a hard time finding any comfort in the hostile conditions. My Pick: Chiefs

Gathering December storm clouds occupy New York and the minds of Giants Fans, but familiar territory is on the horizon in the form of the division rival Washington Redskins. My Pick: Giants

Tampa Bay can brace itself for another impact, because the Falcons are coming to town. Things get nasty quick when the Bucs play a better team. My Pick: Falcons

Green Bay is too cold for 49ers. My Pick: Packers

Despite being indoors, the Colts have quite the southern gust heading their way. Indy's banged up and might be too frail to handle the resurgent Cowboys. Ether way, it's going to be a blustery battle. My Pick: Colts

Other Picks: Bears, Saints, Vikings, Dolphins, Chargers, Rams, Seahawks

Am I missing something? Don't worry, my Sunday and Monday night predictions are still to come...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday Night Pick

I'm taking the Eagles to trump the Texans tonight in Philadelphia. They lost a tough one in Chicago last week, but watch as Vick and his flock rebound against a Houston team that's having serious trouble on defense this year, despite shutting out the Titans last week. The Texans have a far greater challenge in Vick and the Eagles' potent offense tonight.

Eagles 30 - Texans 20

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Week 12 Top 10

Even though many power rankings put the Falcons up top, we're going a different way at NFLReaction.com. Behold this week's top 10:

1) Patriots - The Pats are back in top form, and can still be better... scary. (AB)
2) Falcons - Best team in the NFC... undisputed. (CL)
3) Ravens - Perfect opportunity to solidify themselves as a playoff-ready team on Sunday Night. (AB)
4) Jets - I fear this team is headed for a big crash...could start Monday night in Foxboro. (AB)
5) Steelers - Penalties, fines and ugly wins might be enough for a division title. (CL)
6) Saints - Returning to old from at just the right time. (CL)
7) Bears - Took down a red hot Mike Vick. (CL)
8) Packers - Hung tough against the Falcons and still a safe bet to win the division. (AB)
9) Eagles - Still leading the division, but no gimmes left on the schedule. (AB)
10) Chiefs - You're in the Top 10 but check the December rearview mirror for the Chargers. (CL)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday's Surprises

SURPRISE:
Buffalo continued its year of all-for-naught-competitiveness and kept it close against a celebrated Pittsburgh team. Talk about dropping crucial passes, the Bills were one catch away from winning in overtime. The Steelers head to Baltimore next Sunday to face the Ravens, who look stronger as the season progresses. I can't say the same for the Steelers. Nevertheless, Sunday Night's matchup will likely determine the fate of the AFC North and 2nd Seed heading into the playoffs.

SURPRISE:
The Atlanta Falcons are good...really good. They stood toe-to-toe with the Green Bay Packers, and with the victory, earned their place atop of the NFC and seem to be a clear favorite to win it all heading toward the post-season. The Falcons face their rival Buccaneers next week but, seeing how Tampa Bay has yet to beat a team with a winning record, it shouldn't be cause for too much concern. They meet the Saints again in week 15, and could secure the road to the Super Bowl running through Atlanta...if the Falcons walk away with a win.

SURPRISE:
The Chargers head to Indianapolis and, with their top-ranked defense, take out the Indianapolis Colts and continue yet another late-season rally towards the playoffs. I'm surprised the Colts didn't fare better against the Chargers, but I see the injury toll is becoming too much for Indianapolis (and Peyton Maning) to overcome. On the other hand, the Chargers might actually be that good. The race remains tight for control of the AFC South, and with only a few games left, the Colts are in danger of missing out on their usual post-season action.

NFL.com Post-Season Preview

Take a look at Pat Kirwan's post-season analysis and speculation as we head into the final month of the regular season.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Week 12 Best Bets

Line: Raiders at home against the Dolphins giving 2.5 points
Pick: Raiders
Reason: Raiders are home, coming off a bad loss and Brandon Marshall is out.

Line: Bears at home giving 3.5 points to the Eagles
Pick: Eagles
Reason: Vick vs. the Bears defense. Take the Bears

Line: Steelers on the road giving 6.5 points to the Bills
Pick: Steelers
Reason: With the Ravens coming up next week for the Steelers, this is a must-win.

***Betting lines taken from today's NY Daily News

Friday, November 26, 2010

Week 11 Top 10

Apologies for the late posting but an early departure for turkey left me unable to post this on time. Please note that last night scores have no effect on the list below.
1. Patriots - A tough December awaits for the league's top team. (CL)
2. Jets - It can be a coincidence or luck to win so many games like this. (CL)
3. Falcons - The NFC's only 2-loss team has a tough test in Green Bay on Sunday. (CL)
4. Eagles - Michael Vick. (CL)
5. Ravens - If the playoffs started today, the Ravens would have one of the coveted first round byes. (CL)
6. Steelers - Steelers bounced back big time against the Raiders after the Patriots debacle. (CL)
7. Packers - A win over the Falcons would catapult the Packers to where people thought they'd be at the beginning of the season. (CL)
8. Saints - The Saints are showing their mettle after losing 3 games in a young season. (CL)
9. Bears - An inconsistent beginning of the season has turned into a success - but Vick is coming to town... (CL)
10. Colts - The mounting injuries might just be too much for Peyton. (CL)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm in Finland for work so I won't be blogging this holiday weekend. I wish you all a happy thanksgiving and hope you enjoy the games!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week 11 Picks

According to Beattheinsiders.com, I'm tied with Cris Collinsworth at 83-62 on the season. We're trailing Phil Simms (92-53) and Warren Sapp (93-52). Let's see if I can improve my standing this week. I'm already at 1-0 with the Bears shutting out the Dolphins, as for the rest of week 11...

Packers, Titans, Chiefs, Ravens, Bengals, Cowboys, Jets, Steelers, Jaguars, Saints, Falcons, Buccaneers, Patriots, Eagles, Chargers.

Enjoy the games everyone!

Money Down: Week 11 Best Bets

Here's the best football wagering advice I'll give all year: Do NOT bet on the Patriots-Colts, Giants-Eagles or the Packers-Vikings. Just don't. Take a look at these:

Line: Titans at home against the Redskins giving 7 points
Pick: Redskins
Reason: After last week's embarrassment, look for McNabb to have a big game.

Line: Rams at home giving 3 points to the Falcons
Pick: Falcons
Reason: The Rams have improved but the Falcons are one of the NFL's hottest teams.

Line: Bengals at home giving 5 point to the Bills
Pick: Bengals
Reason: Palmer and his band of receivers will break the team's losing streak to save Marvin Lewis' job.

***Betting lines taken from Bodog.com at 10 a.m. ET.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bears vs Dolphins Tonight

NEWS:
NFL Network hosts its second Thursday Night matchup this season as the Chicago Bears head for warmer weather to take on the Miami Dolphins.

REACTION:
Some say these are both playoff contending teams, but I beg to differ. I'll offer the Bears as contending for their division, and at 6-3, it's certainly turning into a two horse race in the NFC North (with the Packers also at 6-3). Playoff hopefuls? Sure, but there's still a lot of season to go and I'm not sold on the former Monsters of Midway doing any serious damage in the post-season...if they make it there.

The Dolphins on the other hand, are "contending" in the AFC East, the only division to house two 7-2 teams. At 5-4, Miami finds itself being left in the dust behind the New York Jets and New England Patriots, teams projected to make a strong run for, not only the playoffs, but the Super Bowl. Bottom line: the Fins need a win tonight. A loss conceivably puts them three games behind the division leaders and, with over half of the AFC sitting above .500, doesn't offer much solace for a team with playoff hopes.

Both teams are coming off of big wins, but something doesn't sit right with me when it comes to Miami. Maybe it's Tyler Thigpen, maybe it's their 1-3 record at home. Regardless, I think this will be a hard fought game between two good teams...and I mean good, not great, let's leave it at that. Perhaps the winner of this contest will make the best case for "playoff contender"...we shall see.

PICK:
Bears 24 - Dolphins 16.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Week 10 Top 10

Another Top 10 shuffle this week as the Patriots find themselves right back on top. The Falcons take second with a big win at home over the Ravens, who fall to fourth. The Jets move up to number three despite back-to-back overtime wins to lower tier teams, they could very well be 5-4. A solid thrashing of the Texans this weekend will give me a little more confidence in, what I consider to be, the weakest of the 7-2 teams.

1. Patriots - Brady is fired up. NFL, watch out. (CL)
2. Falcons - A win over the Ravens means big respect and the top of the NFC board. (AB)
3. Jets - Finding ways to win, yes. Worthy of a top three spot, not so sure. (AB)
4. Ravens - Short week and a hard fought loss in Atlanta proves that Baltimore can compete with anyone, anywhere, anytime. (AB)
5. Eagles - Is it safe to use 'Andy Reid' and ‘Genius’ in the same sentence now? (AB)
6. Steelers - The Steelers were 6-3 last year too… right as their 5-game skid began. (CL)
7. Packers - The Packers can put the nail in the Vikings’ (and Favre’s) coffin on Sunday. (CL)
8. Saints - Don’t be surprised if the Saints go on a 6-game winning streak before the Dec. 19 game in Baltimore. (CL)
9. Colts - We’ll find out where the 2010 Colts stand this weekend in New England. (CL)
10. Giants - This team needs to stay focused or it will be a short year. (AB)

Flashback!

I was looking through my archives and stumbled upon a college video project that I thought was interesting. Take a look at my first experiment with NFL media (note: this video has no association with the NFL or NFL Network and was merely used for educational purposes):





Now that's what I call fun with a football, a video camera, slow motion, and some great NFL Films music...corny maybe, but a great memory and a reminder of my humble beginnings in the world of sports media.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Week 10 Picks

Well, after Baltimore decided to give an excellent fourth quarter performance and still lose Thursday's game in the final minute, I'm off to a 0-1 start this week. Here are the rest of my weekend picks:

Jacksonville, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Buffalo (that's right), New York Jets, Tennessee, Indianapolis, Kansas City, New York Giants, Arizona, St. Louis, Pittsburgh (although I hope I'm wrong), Philadelphia.

Enjoy the rest of the week 10 games everyone!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Letter to the NFL from a Fan


I received a letter today that I thought I would share with everyone. It's thought provoking and an excellent response to the looming threat of a lockout in the NFL. Have a read...
Dear NFL,
As I'm sure you're all aware, the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires this year and there is the looming possibility of there being no NFL 2011 Season. Please allow me to express how detrimental this would be to the league and more importantly to the fans of football. While I am an outsider and do not have every detail of the CBA, nor am I a player in the NFL and I do not fully understand the pressures and tolls the sport takes on its athletes, I have been a fan of the NFL (and football in general) for as long as I can remember. The lack of a 2011 NFL season would greatly devalue the name of the NFL and its reputation. It will lose fans in markets that are already on the brink of losing their interest and new markets (such as overseas) which the NFL has worked so hard to build up.
Every sport has a players’ association and every major sport has, at some time or another, had their players go on strike for at least part of a season (if not more). It is almost an inevitability that workers’ needs will change at some point and will feel that they need a new agreement with their employers. And while I can appreciate this and understand it, I do not have to like it in this case. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar per year business and is arguably America’s favorite sport. The attention span of the average American is fairly short and many fans would turn to other sports and other leagues in the absence of the NFL. Leagues such as the newly emerging United Football League and re-established Arena Football League would draw a significant number of fans away from the NFL and some of the might not come back once the NFL begins another season after a strike. Those other leagues already cater to some markets where the NFL has no teams or where there is an NFL team but the market isn’t popular. Also take into consideration how the NFL is attempting to expand its fan base overseas by holding a game in London each year (and also in Mexico a few years ago). By not having a 2011 season, the newly acquired fans in the area would turn away the fans which it took so long to acquire. People will forget about the NFL for a bit. They might be angry that players and owners that claim to love the fans so much could stand them up by not having a season. They might walk away from the sport altogether.
There is no disputing that players in the NFL put themselves at significant risk in a contact sport that poses serious injury and bodily harm to players, coaches, officials, and even any staff on the field at the time. However, players are compensated more than adequately, in my opinion. In 2010, the league minimum salary for a rookie (someone with zero NFL experience) is $325,000. That is more than enough to buy a house in nearly ANY market the NFL has a team in. If I played ONE season in the NFL, even if it were as the third string Offensive Tackle who never sees a single play in a game, I would still have enough money to fully pay off my college loans, buy a new car, AND buy a house. I have a slight inkling of what it is like to train for the NFL as I attended preseason camp for my college football team and had to drop out due to injuries sustained. And that was just Division I-AA college football. I would imagine the NFL’s training regimen is many times more difficult on the mind and body than what I went through. So I couldn’t begin to understand exactly what the players go through to get what they do, but I can tell you they earn their pay.
However, they are being paid to play a game; a game which I loved to play in elementary school, in high school, and in college until I couldn’t play anymore. I’m quite sure my talent doesn’t match up to somewhere around 98% of the players in the NFL, but if I still had the ability to play the game at the level the NFL players do, I would do so happily for HALF of what they get. Hell, I would do it for the salary I’d make as a firefighter or civil engineer. Kids dream of playing this game while they’re growing up. They wish they can grow up to be a football player one day, not because they can make large amounts of money playing in the NFL, but because the game is fun! When the game is played at the level where its players are making hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, per season, it’s understandable that the game ceases to be fun on some levels. But when it comes down to it, it is still a game. 
For the owners of teams, sometimes the business can be a proverbial roll of the dice. In some markets such as Dallas and Washington DC, the fans flock to the stadium in droves, buy team merchandise, and generally have little to no trouble making a profit. But for teams like the Carolina Panthers and the Kansas City Chiefs who have a shrinking attendance rate already or teams like the Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions who have poor records, owners depend on TV broadcasting deals. Without the exposure that televised games bring them, their teams suffer financial losses. Owners that don’t own or control the stadium their team plays in aren’t able to determine their own sponsorships and therefore make less money than teams that have the aforementioned benefits. However, even teams with low markets, old stadiums, and poor to moderately successful teams still make profits in the MILLIONS. If making a million dollar profit is a bad year, I’ll take ownership of the worst, most “unprofitable” NFL team any day over any job I’ve ever had or been offered. Take the Giants, for instance; the cheapest seats you can get tickets for cost $104 each. For me to go to a game with ONE friend, I can buy a Playstation 3, get a major tune-up for my car, or buy groceries for a month. Don't even think about season tickets unless you can afford the personal seat license (PSL) that ranges between $1000-$20,000 PER SEAT. So not only will it cost you the price of a new car to reserve each seat you want, it'll cost you nearly another $1000 for the tickets themselves (and those are just the REALLY CHEAP ones). The Giants just had a new stadium built (which they share with the Jets, including their expenses); according to the NY Daily News, the stadium had a cost of $1.2 billion. The Giants estimated that PSLs alone will generate around $371 million. So almost 1/3 of their stadium costs are covered right then and there from the Giants Personal Seat Licenses alone. No profit in the business of football, eh?
A strike and no 2011 season due to failure to arrange a new CBA would hurt lots of people. It’d hurt the players (who play a game for a living) that make hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars. They won’t be able to feed their families by doing their jobs and make a living doing what they’re good at. A strike would also hurt the owners, who make millions of dollars (even on a bad year). They’d lose their sponsors, their TV time, and possibly even their stadiums. They might even lose their fans to competing leagues with a team in the same market. But most of all, a strike would hurt the fans. Some people look forward each week to Sunday afternoons as their only time to relax and watch the NFL games (if their market isn’t blacked out, of course). Kids won’t be able to watch their heroes play their favorite game each week. 
Honestly, players can live with a little less money. Owners can live with a little less money. But neither can live without the football that pays their bills. No season, no salary, no profit…and maybe no fans.
Sincerely,
A Concerned Fan
I'm with you Concerned Fan, and I'm certain you're not the only one out there who feels this way. Like you, I love the NFL and hope that the players, owners, and administration can come to their senses and realize what they have in front of them, and how much they ultimately have to lose.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday Night Preview: Ravens at Falcons

NEWS:
The Baltimore Ravens head to Georgia to take on the Atlanta Falcons in NFL Network's first Thursday Night matchup. It's a battle of the birds!

REACTION:
First off, no longer having DirecTV (thank you NYC) reminds me of how crappy the situation with NFL Network is for people with strictly cable options. I think it's a shame that a marquee game like the one taking place tonight is only available in a percentage of homes in the U.S. (plus Time Warner sucks, I'm sure most of you would agree). Luckily, living in Manhattan, there always seems to be a bar down the street with every channel you could possibly need...and alcohol. *Ahem* I'll stop my rant there and focus on the game...

I think this is an excellent matchup that will provide illustration for how well these teams will fare down the stretch. These teams are almost the same statistically, and physically, both have strong running games, solid defense, and great quarterback play from two of the NFL's hottest young players.

HOW I SEE IT:
Obviously, I'm a little biased being a Ravens fan, but they look better and better as the season progresses. Nevertheless, this is going to be another tough test for the boys in purple. The keys to their success tonight will be pressuring Matt Ryan and forcing him to make mistakes. If that doesn't work, then it will be up to Joe Flacco and that elite receiving unit to shoot it out with one of the best home teams in the league right now...who also seem to be having trouble in their secondary.

For the Falcons, their strength should reside in the running game. The Ravens of late haven't been as strong in their run stopping abilities and a power running back like Michael Turner is just what Atlanta needs to control the game. If they can run successfully, Matt Ryan's job will be a whole lot easier, especially to exploit the Ravens secondary.

It's going to be a battle, that much is certain, but the Ravens toughness and attitude gives them the edge to pull out the win tonight and deliver Matt Ryan his second home loss of his career...I hope. Whoever wins though, will be 7-2 and make a strong argument for best team in the NFL.

CHRIS' TWO CENTS:
The safe bet here is to go with the bird. For the sake of taking a risk, I am going to take the Falcons. Although Michael Turner probably has a better chance of hitting a 100 as a body temperature than a yard total, look for Roddy White to have another big game with Tony Gonzales contributing on 3rd downs and in short field situations. Atlanta is undefeated at home and the Ravens only losses are on the road. It’s a home field thing. If the game was in Baltimore (or in Dallas), I’d take the Ravens. On this first Thursday game of 2010, go with the black and red.

PREDICTIONS:
Alex: Ravens 26 - Falcons 23
Chris: Falcons 23 - Ravens 17

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Week 9 Top 10

It seems the NFC has finally evened things out on our lists. The AFC North leads the pack this week, but the NFC is quickly earning their place among the top teams. Our #1 faces a short week and a tough challenge Thursday night...they could be quickly dethroned.

1. Ravens - With the fall of the Patriots, there is no question who’s #1 this week. (AB)
2. Steelers - 5 out of the next 7 at home…Could spell trouble for the AFC. (CL)
3. Giants - The best team in the NFC keeps flexing its muscles. (AB)
4. Falcons - Very short week. Very big matchup. (AB)
5. Jets - Not looking dominant like earlier this season but Sanchez proved he can win a game for his team. (CL)
6. Packers - Aaron and Clay keep things interesting on both sides of the ball. (CL)
7. Patriots - Being crushed by the Browns got the Saints kicked out of our top 10. (AB)
8. Saints - Did what they had to against the Panthers. (CL)
9. Eagles - Still in the Division fight and winning big games to boot. (AB)
10. Colts - The AFC South is too close to be dropping winnable games. (CL)

Honorable Mentions - Titans, Buccaneers, Raiders, Browns (hey, beating the Saints and Pats back-to-back deserves some recognition).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

*EXCLUSIVE* Interview with Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders

That's right, it's NFL Reaction's first official player interview. Pittsburgh Steelers' rookie WR Emmanuel Sanders talks to us about his new life in the NFL - from playing with a top team, to just being a rookie. Have a listen!

Emmanuel Sanders | #88 | WR








Be sure to check out Emmanuel Sanders' fan page on Facebook.

No. 1 Defense

Do the talking heads of the NFL realize how silly they sound when they crown a team the No. 1 defense? Unless you're saying, "I think the No. 1 defense in the NFL is..." But that's not how it's said. The No. 1 defense is stated as fact and the problem is the rolling criteria. Here are a list of the NFL's "No. 1" defenses:
Points - Steelers (15.4)
Yards - Giants (250.6)
Rushing Yards - Steelers (58.2)
Passing Yards - Saints (166.3)
Sacks - Packers (28.0)
Interceptions - Packers/Bucs (14)
Takeaways - Steelers (21)

All the teams above have been touted as the No. 1 Defense by some blowhard while trying to support his/her own point. What about the Ravens? What about the Jets? Aren't the Titans the dirtiest defense in the NFL? I guess that's not a rankable attribute. If we go by who leads the most categories, it would be the Steelers. But what about the Black & Gold's problems with giving up late game leads - or being 24th against the pass attack? How do we take that into account?

When people from New Jersey meet each other, the common - and almost reflex-like - question asked is, "What exit?" This refers to the exit one lives off of the New Jersey Turnpike or Garden State Parkway. I assert that from now on, when someone cites a team as the No. 1 defense, we must quickly respond with "Which category?"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Week 9 Picks

Coming to you from fabulous Las Vegas this weekend...

Falcons, Saints, Bears, Jets, Ravens, Patriots, Chargers, Vikings, Giants, Raiders, Colts, Packers, Steelers

For those of you who don't know, I'm working the Showtime fight at the MGM Grand right now (check it out - 10pm ET on Showtime, should be a great event), so my blogging is minimal.

BUT: be sure to check NFLReaction on twitter for updates and commentary about tomorrow's games! (I'll post what I can, when I can).

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Week 8 Top 10

There are some changes this week in our Top 10 with the fall of the Jets and the Steelers. The Pats and the Ravens sit atop the board this week, and the AFC still leads the charge...

1) Patriots - Best record in the NFL...anyone surprised? (AB)
2) Ravens - Atop the AFC north and an easier second-half schedule have the Ravens flying high. (CL)
3) Colts - Banged up? Peyton Manning can make any young receiver good. (AB)
4) Steelers - The Steelers looked human on Sunday night. (CL) 
5) Jets - The loss against the Packers reminds me of the loss to the Ravens. Great defense can stop this team in its tracks. (AB)
6) Falcons - The Falcons want to replace Roddy White's post season trip to Hawaii with a trip to Dallas. (CL)
7) Packers - Big win on a big stage. Are they back? (CL)
8) Giants - Sorry, Phil. Still not No. 1. (CL)
9) Saints - Was the loss to Cleveland the wake-up call New Orleans needed? (AB)
10) Titans - Fighting for division control, and have yet to play Houston or Indy. (AB)

Honorable Mentions - Chiefs, Buccaneers...the only other teams with 5+ wins, gasp.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Entertaining Randy Moss...

NEWS:
After a very short return to his former team, Randy Moss is cut by the Vikings.

REACTION:
Despite his playmaking abilities, Moss' attitude put the kibosh on his return to the halls of Valhalla (for those of you who know real Viking lore). Behavior problems aside, I feel that Randy Moss can be an asset to some other teams out there. Where do I think he'll be the best fit (and which teams will actually have him)?

AFC:
Chiefs - The Chiefs are a resurgent team right now, and adding a vertical-threat receiver like Moss would be the right step to getting the Chiefs where they want to be - the playoffs and beyond.
Browns - Bottom line: this team lacks talent, and Moss has plenty of it. Adding him wouldn't hurt at all.

NFC:
Saints - Think about it. The offense has been struggling, some key players are hurt. Brees is in control of that team and could put Moss in his place, and in his prime down in New Orleans. Add Moss, and I'm envisioning the big numbers Moss put up with Brady when he came to New England...could happen all over again in Louisiana.
Seahawks - Moss would be an instant #1 and give Seattle some options with Mike Williams already in play. But would Pete Carroll welcome Moss after Belichick showed him the door?

Where do you think Moss will head next?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Money Down: Week 8 Best Bets

Hot Dogs... Let's have some fun with the unfavored:

Line: Cardinals at home against the Bucs giving 3 points
Pick: Bucs
Reason: The Cardinals are 29th in points and 28th in points against. The Bucs are undefeated on the road.

Line: Lions at home giving 2.5 points to the Redskins
Pick: Redskins
Reason: Stafford is playing... but so is McNabb. Today will be a day for the old and not the young

Line: Patriots at home giving 5.5 point to the Vikings
Pick: Vikings
Reason: The Pats leaky pass defense will be just what Favre needs to keep this one close.

***Betting lines taken from today's New York Daily News.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Week 8 Picks

I'm 59-45 on the season, but before I present my picks this week let's take a minute to see how some of the experts are doing...

Cris Collinsworth: 59-45
Merril Hoge: 55-49
Adam Schefter: 56-58
Mike Ditka: 54-50

Now I don't feel so bad. Ok, on to week 8:

JETSBRONCOSCOWBOYS, DOLPHINS, RAMS, REDSKINS, CHIEFS, TITANS, PATRIOTS, SEAHAWKS, BUCCANEERS, STEELERS, COLTS


To see who everyone else is picking check out ESPN's Expert Picks and NFL Countdown. And, of course, join me, Chris and the rest of the Showtime gang as we compete against our own experts at Beattheinsiders.com

Wishing everyone a safe and happy HALLOWEEN! Enjoy the games!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Homer Simms-son


NEWS:
Phil Simms on last night's Inside the NFL on SHOWTIME cited the New York Giants as the No. 1 team in the NFL.

REACTION:
Most people who have followed sports for at least a month know the definition of a "homer." It's a sports commentator that, without admitting it, always roots for one team through his/her sports coverage and analysis. Many ex-players and coaches are guilty of this. Ditka likes the Bears. Cowher likes the Steelers. Collinsworth likes the Bengals. We get it. It's all done with a wink and a nudge.

Last night, however, seemed a little different. CBS/SHOWTIME broadcaster - not to mention former Giants quarterback and Northern New Jersey resident - Phil Simms declared on Inside the NFL that the G Men were the best team in the NFL. Ahead of the Jets. Ahead of the Steelers. Ahead of the Pats, Ravens, the whole AFC...and NFC for that matter.

But there was no wink. There was no nudge. Just a serious platinum blond man sticking to the conviction that his former team is No. 1 in the league.

The Giants are a quality football team and this correspondent agrees that the Giants are often shafted in terms of credit. Recognizing that, NFL Reaction refused to be influenced. This site has had the Giants in the top ten since Week 5. However, there is no way you can tell me that they are No. 1. Here are 3 easy-to-grasp reasons:

1) The Giants were trounced by the Titans and the Colts. Great teams don't lose like that.
2) The Giants could only muster up a 28-20 sloppy win over the Lions at home.
3) The Jets, Steelers, Patriots, Ravens, Colts all exist... and have to play tougher teams because they are in the AFC.

The Giants are good... probably the best in the NFC... but not best in the NFL. Sorry, Phil.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Week 7 Top 10

Well, Legentil and I both agreed on the top 5, all AFC, no surprise there. Interesting side-note: the top four teams have really only lost to each other (aside from the Ravens blunder against Cincinnati). Thanks for pointing that out, Chris. The rest of the list this week was fairly similar on both our ends, with just a few teams up or down a spot. So who made our Top 10 this week?

1) Jets - I’m worried the bye week made them better. (AB)
2) Steelers - A bizarre win in South Beach should motivate the Steelers in New Orleans. (CL)
3) Patriots - Anxiously awaiting a rematch against the Jets. (CL)
4) Ravens - Apparently they thought the bye started early. Luckily they showed up in the third quarter, and were playing the Bills. (AB)
5) Titans - Second in points. Third in points allowed. The Titans squad is proving itself as a top team. (CL)
6) Giants - Best team in the NFC, by an increasing margin. (AB)
7) Colts - Upcoming rematch against the Texans...huge. (AB)
8) Falcons - One of the elite teams in the NFC. Would be one of the decent teams in the AFC. (CL)
9) Chiefs - Hanging tough through six games and should hand Buffalo another loss. (CL)
10) Redskins - Four INTs, two words: DeAngelo Hall. Hello Detroit. (AB)

Honorable Mentions: Eagles, Texans. I would include the Seahawks since they are leading their division, but Chris doesn't buy them, and I'll admit I'm not completely sold either.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Officiating?

NEWS:
It seems NFL officials are being called out for bad interpretation of the rules, wrong calls, and game-changing decisions more than ever this season. Several instances occurred just this weekend, for example: Miami "recovered" a touchdown-turned-fumble by Pittsburgh but wasn't given possession which ultimately gave Pittsburgh a chance to score and win the game. The Bills "intercepted" Joe Flacco on a play that could have lead the Bills to their first victory, but NFL rules deemed it not a catch. Who, or what, is to blame?

REACTION:
I completely understand the ruling of the Pittsburgh fumble, but I don't agree with it. Same goes for the Ravens/Bills call. By rule, the INT was not an INT because the defender had one foot down, and the other on the receiver (Boldin I believe), and then went out of bounds...no catch, no INT. Now being a Ravens fan, I didn't mind the call, but I would argue that the defender caught it (one-handed, mind you) and maintained possession inbounds...sounds and looks like an catch/INT to me.

I don't think it's the officials interpreting the rules that's the problem, perhaps it's just the opposite. It's that they're literally following a set of guidelines and checking them off to determine Yes or NO, no interpretation needed. The rule book is so strict that the refs are following the directions rather than looking at the plays and determining what is or isn't a catch/fumble/etc. Let's review:

In Baltimore - What's a catch? Possession - check. Maintains control - check. Two feet in bounds (and on the ground)...hmm, one foot landed on the other player - no check. Not and interception. For the official, is that interpreting the rules or simply following them?

In Miami - This one's a little trickier. Roethlisberger fumbles the ball at the goal line and it's ruled a Touchdown; replay overturns it. Common sense says that the Dolphins should have had possession with three players on top of the ball at the end of the play (one guy looked as though he came up with it and has the ball in his hands). The officials couldn't really look at that because the whistle had blown and the team who fumbled gets possession at the 1-yardline...or something to that effect. The head official also made it sound like they couldn't determine who had the ball, and I'll admit it's tough seeing who has possession at the bottom of a dog-pile, but that one didn't look too questionable. Again, is this the refs interpreting the rules or are they just following the orders of the NFL to determine calls?

It really comes down to the "Common Sense" argument we've been having all season. NFL rules (and yes, replay) all but eliminate any benefit of the doubt, whether we think they should or shouldn't. Should officials have the right to interpret the rules for themselves? There's obvious arguments for and against, but in my humble opinion, that's why you hire officials - to make the calls. It's the same in virtually every sport...Baseball doesn't use replay to review every pitch, people trust the Umpire. Mistakes are made but that's a part of the game experience. Or should we just go to some automated system that analyzes every aspect of a play and determines YES or NO?

Again, you can argue both sides, but how do we determine what the right call is? Common sense? Rules and guidelines? Or is there some other approach to solving the problem with NFL officiating, if there even is one?

For more discussion check out Footballproslive.comTurk and Cris provide some thoughts...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Week 7 Picks

Coming off a good week (11-3), I gotta keep the momentum going. Here we go, short and sweet (and color-coded):

Tennessee, Atlanta, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco, Washington, Kansas City, Baltimore, Seattle, Denver, New England, Minnesota, New York Giants.

Enjoy the games everyone!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Who's Overrated?

NEWS:
Sports Illustrated recently polled NFL players to see which one of their peers they think is the most overrated player in the league. Here's what they came up with:

Terrell Owens, Bengals WR 14%
Tony Romo, Cowboys QB 7%
Mark Sanchez, Jets QB 5%
Albert Haynesworth, Redskins DT 5%
Eli Manning, Giants QB 4%

REACTION:

T.O. gets the top vote, no surprise there. I'm not sure I agree with this one though. If anything Owens has been the only decent performer on the suffering Bengals offense this season, and maybe even underrated this year. Is he overrated? Maybe as a reality star, but right now I think he can still hang with the best of them in this league. I mean, he does have more receptions, yards, and TDs than his counterpart, Ochocinco...you tell me who's overrated.

Not to make this a Bengal-bashing fest, but I would rank Carson Palmer high on my list of overrated players. And how about adding Alex Smith, and maybe Matt Ryan to the list of QBs. Who do you think is overrated?



Read more:http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1176088/index.htm#ixzz131kBU3p0

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Week 6 Top 10

Before we get right into the list, NFL Reaction's own Chris Legentil has a few thoughts:
"When you look at the AFC right now, it’s hard to imagine that only six of those teams will be in the playoffs this postseason. I’ve heard league officials are talking about possibly changing the AFC Championship Game to the Super Bowl. The game following against the NFC will be an exhibition game where the NFC starts with 24 points on the board and the AFC team plays blindfolded."
Cruel? Maybe. Funny? Absolutely. If the AFL could have only seen what 50 years would do for their legacy...but in all fairness, we have a lot of season left! As for week 6:

1) Jets - They’re 1-0 this season when Kyle Orton plays for them in the 4th quarter. (AB)
2) Steelers - Probably #1, but I want to see Ben play against a good defense. (AB)
3) Patriots - You give Tom Brady the ball enough times, he’ll beat you. Ask the Ravens. (CL)
4) Ravens - The Ravens have played all three teams above them on this list...and they're 4-2. Enough said? (CL)
5) Colts - Peyton has two weeks to prepare for the Texans rematch. I like his chances. (CL)
6) Saints - Now that looked like a championship team. (AB)
7) Eagles - Why did Andy Reid call himself “chubby” after the game last week? He’s WAY bigger than “chubby.” (CL)
8) Giants - Playing solid, but the Eagles and Redskins are too. (AB)
9) Titans - Crushing the Jags was nice, not thrilling, but nice. (AB)
10) Falcons - Either assert yourself as the team in the NFC or don’t. Stop teasing everyone. (CL)

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes...

NEWS:
After numerous concussions and ferocious helmet-to-helmet hits this past Sunday, the NFL is now looking to severely punish players for their actions. Fines and suspensions may accompany any "devastating hits", whether intentional or not. The NFL is showing its concern for players safety and making changes because of it. But wait, the process on expanding the season to 18 games is still underway...what!?

REACTION:
I completely understand the NFL's position. It puts the safety of its players at the top of the list...right after "making a s***load of money". Or can someone else explain this rationale to me?

Some argue that these are two separate issues, but it's obvious they go hand-in-hand. First off, suspending players for devastating hits won't stop them all together, because when you have 800-pound men repeatedly crashing in to one another, someone is bound to get hurt (I mean blocking the Ravens defensive line has to be similar to stopping a 747 mid take-off...how can anyone think that's safe?). The bottom line is - football is a dangerous sport! Everyone knows this, no one wants to say it. It's part of the reason everyone watches it! How much more exciting would baseball be if players collided head-on during every play? For one thing there wouldn't be 160+ games. Which leads me to the next part of this debacle - extending the season.

In the words of my favorite Monday Night Football analysts: C'mon Man! If the NFL administration is so purposeful in keeping its players healthy and safe, then they have to listen to those players who are complaining about the extra two games. I said before that players are going to get hurt regardless of how many more rules you apply, adding two more games just increases your chances...common sense.

So then what is it? How can the NFL be so adamant about player safety and still want a longer season? Answer (and our daily-double): The NFL is first, and foremost, a business, and if more games means selling more tickets, and ultimately making more money, then so be it right? But it's time to pick one - safety or money. I'm quite sure you guys at the NFL are doing fine, financially, especially when you can pay an unproven rookie millions (but that's another issue, don't even get me started). More people are watching pro football now than every before, so take stock in what you have...arguably the best spectator sport in America, and that's saying a lot. Or go ahead, expand the season, add more rules, change the game as we know it. Hey, let's turn the NFL into a big flag football game with no tackling, and we can have football year-round!

But who on Earth would want to watch that...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Week 6 Picks

As any expert or fan will probably tell you, it's been an excruciating season for picking games. Even the Inside the NFL guys were complaining this week. But that's what makes the NFL exciting, especially this year...it truly is anyone's game right now. That being said, there are three teams emerging as this year's elite, and I'm going with all of them to win big this week.

Steelers over the Browns - This is a no brainer, Cleveland is down to their third string QB and Pittsburgh, already outstanding, get their prize #1 QB back. It's not even fair.

Ravens over the Patriots - This is going to be another tough test for Baltimore, as going in to Foxboro always is, but they've beaten some VERY good teams this year (including the rest of the top three). The Ravens might not pull ahead as quickly as they did in January, but this team is built to win and are finding the ways to do it.

Jets over the Broncos - Denver was outgunned last week in every way possible, and this week will be no different. Yes they're at home now, but the Jets are cut from the same hard granite as the Ravens...exactly the kind Denver can't beat.

As for the rest:
Saints, Dolphins, Chargers, Texans, Giants, Eagles, Bears, 49ers, Colts, Titans.

Enjoy the games everyone!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Video: Favre Hurt

In other Brett Favre news, there's this:



REACTION:
Ouch.

Actually that looked like it was a little low and the ball hit him in the thigh as opposed to the "man region". Maybe he was kidding...or maybe he's really desperate to get put on IR.

Favre Will "Sling" It

News: The tendinitis in Brett Favre's right elbow has his 289-game consecutive start streak in jeopardy.

Reaction: Brett Favre will start on Sunday vs. the Cowboys. How many times can the media and fans play into Favre's attention-grabbing tricks?

Is he an old man with the aches and pains of an NFL uber-veteran? Yes. Is he also a gridiron warrior who starts and plays every game regardless of what he or his coach have indicated leading up to the game/season? Yes.

His appearance with a sling on his arm after sitting out of practice yesterday is just another line item on the litany of (successful) attempts to stir the pot. More annoying than Farve's antics is everyone buying into them. Look for No. 4 under center Sunday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Week 5 Top 10

It's that time of the week again...top 10 time! The Jets remain on the top of our list as they handed the Vikings another loss. It was a tough debate, however, as the Ravens look like the other team to beat in the AFC, but right behind them are the Steelers and the Patriots. NFL Reaction is going to go way out on a limb this week and predict that this year’s Super Bowl will be won by an AFC team...

1) Jets - No. 1 last week. Beat the Vikings with Moss. Still No. 1. (CL)
2) Ravens - If they beat the Patriots in Foxboro, they’re No. 1 next week. No question. (CL)
3) Steelers - With Ben back, this could be, hands-down, the best team in the NFL. (AB)
4) Patriots - Can they bring the soaring Ravens down to earth? (AB)
5) Falcons - According to NFL.com, the Falcons lead the league standings. Oh, is that cause of the "A" in Atlanta? (AB)
6) Colts - An ugly win over the Chiefs has me wondering; how good is this team? (AB)
7) Giants - Has there been a better team over the last two weeks? (CL)
8) Bears - Forte stepped it up with Cutler out. “Good” teams will do that. (CL)
9) Saints - The teams they’ve beat have a combined record of 1-13. Problem? (AB)
10) Chiefs - A hard fought loss to the Colts in Indy does not kick you out of the Top 10. (CL)

Honorable Mentions - Packers, Titans

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Over the hill, but not out of the woods yet...

Let's take a second to evaluate good (maybe) ol' Brett Favre. He stages another dramatic, media-crazed  extension of his storied career, leads the Vikings to a less than thrilling 1-3 start to the season, and is now eyeing Tiger Woods for the world's biggest "hero turned scum-bag" spot.

Don't get me wrong, I still appreciate Favre, his dedication to the game and what he's contributed to it, but I can't help but wonder - what's he thinking right now?

In a Letterman-esque countdown, let me give you my list:

10. Ok, ok...bad idea.

9. Sexting? I don't even know how to use a cell phone, I'm a grandfather doggone it!

8. The season didn't look this long in August.

7. Can they just give me a ring for being me?

6. I think my ankle's broken.

5. Tiger said it was a great idea.

4. Seriously, I don't think I can walk.

3. Do you think Just For Men is looking for a new spokesperson?

2. I miss John Madden.

1. I should've just stayed in bed.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Week 5 Exposes Weak 3 of Tier 3


News: The Bengals were upset by the Bucs, 24-21. The Chargers were upset by the Raiders, 35-27. The Cowboys were upset by the Titans, 34-27.

Reaction: NFL talk shows often rap about the "elite" quarterbacks of the NFL. The list of candidates seem to change by the week/month/season but two names remain at all times: Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. What's the reason? Because they - and they alone - are the only "elite" quarterbacks in the NFL. During yesterday's wild day of crazy endings and upsets (Man - the NFL is awesome), Tony Romo, Carson Palmer and Phillip Rivers proved why they are clearly not worthy of the "elite" discussion and, really, best described as tier 3 quarterbacks. All three quarterbacks failed to win games in which they were favored and find themselves with a losing record heading into week 6 despite high hopes at the beginning of the season. All had chances to win the game in the fourth quarter. Between them, they threw for over 1,000 yards and still could not secure a victory - probably because of the combined six interceptions.

My assessment of "tier 3" may seem harsh but if Manning and Brady are the only tier 1 quarterbacks, where would you put Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger? Certainly not with the Letdown Trio. Brees' and Roethlisberger's fingers own three of the past hand's worth of Super Bowl rings. The Letdown Trio, talented as they may be, have little to no playoff success. Even a former member of the "Elite" club, Brett Favre, made it to two of the past three conference championship games in the twilight of his storied career. The Letdown Trio range in age from 28-30, the supposed prime of their careers.

True, you can't be spectacular every week. Brees certainly was not yesterday. But it's about a body of work. And the bodies of Romo, Palmer and Rivers are all looking like they could use a few sit-ups.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Money Down: Week 5 Best Bets

Let's have some fun with the undefeated and the winless:

Line: Lions at home against the Rams giving 3 points
Pick: Lions
Reason: The Lions have played 4 decent games this year. They may be winless but they no longer appear to be woeful.

Line: Colts at home giving 7 points to the Chiefs
Pick: Colts
Reason: The Colts already have two losses and they are playing the Chiefs at home. Sorry, Todd. Prepare to join the Steelers and Bears with a first loss in your fourth game.

Line: Bills at home giving 1 point to the Jaguars
Pick: Jaguars
Reason: The Bills are terrible.

***Betting lines taken from today's New York Daily News.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Week 5 Picks

Alex is on location in San Jose so I thought I'd help him out by posting the picks this week. He is almost as bad at picking winners as I am at picking best bets.

This week, you'll see the last of the undefeated teams go down and one of the winless teams chalk up a victory. Here goes:

Browns, Falcons, Giants, Colts, Redskins, Jaguars, Ravens, Bears, Lions, Saints, Chargers, Cowboys, 49ers, Vikings

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Moss Back in Minn.

NEWS: ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Patriots will trade Randy Moss to Vikings for a third round draft pick.

REACTION: The Pats must have a lot of faith in their young receiving corp to make this trade. Then again, with the help of Brady, new stars are emerging left and right in New England. As for the Vikings, Moss should fill in nicely for injured Sidney Rice, and provide an even more solid passing attack when Rice returns. Guess it'll be up to Favre at that point...

(posted via mobile device)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Week 4 Top 10

Posting this week's top 10 a little early, since I'm headed out of town on business. Lot of things shaken up this weekend, so let's see where the teams stand:

1) Jets - I thought Rex's mouth, Revis' holdout and Braylon's DWI had them in trouble. (CL)
2) Saints - They can still win games, but need to cure the hangover. (AB)
3) Ravens - With wins over the Jets and Steelers, the Ravens can hang with anyone. (CL)
4) Steelers - Roethlisberger will bring balance to the force that is the Steelers. (AB)
5) Patriots - The defense certainly woke up after laying an egg against Buffalo. (CL)
6) Packers - They’re winning but, like the Saints, they need to straighten up their act. (AB)
7) Texans - If that defense can balance the offense, they’re golden. Brian Cushing should help. (AB)
8) Colts - Good start or bad, the Colts win 11 games and make the playoffs. (CL)
9) Falcons - With the Saints and Packers looking mortal, the Falcons should set aim for more than just a division title. (CL)
10) Chiefs - Two weeks to prepare, but can they remain undefeated against the Colts? (AB)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Money Down: Week 4 Best Bets

Wow, I really need to get these predictions posted sooner. I picked my best bets during the week and all three of them slid out of my favor as the week progressed - some by .5 points and some by 1.5 points. Yikes. But I'm holding on to all three... at least I know that the betting world agrees with me. Here's hoping that I best my 1-2 record from last week.

Line: Steelers at home giving 2.5 points to the Ravens
Pick: Steelers
Reason: Much has been scribed on NFL Reaction about this game. You can check out my final score predication from Friday to see that picking the Steelers was in the cards for this week.

Line: Giants at home giving 3.5 points to the Bears
Pick: Bears
Reason: Although I have to believe that the Giants know that they need to perform well this evening, I must take the Bears. Urlacher and Peppers alone are enough to make me think that they'll keep this thing within a field goal.

Line: Titans at home giving 6.5 points to the Broncos
Pick: Broncos
Reason: The Titans are a good team but 6.5 is a big line. Look for Kyle Orton to make this a closer game than it appears to be on paper.

Week 4 Picks

I've never been off to a worse start; 25-23, I feel so amateur. Hoping for some luck this week...

NYJ, SEA, NO, GB, CIN, BAL, TEN, ATL, IND, HOU, PHI, SD, CHI, MIA

Enjoy the games everyone!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Quoth the Raven: Baltimore

In a sense, I'm playing the Devil's advocate right now. If the Ravens are a championship caliber team, then the start of the season and their win over the Browns last week was poor evidence... to me anyway. Flacco's dominant performance with the help of Boldin is something I have basically expected this season, but have only seen glimpses of. I know it's early and they may be finding their rhythm, but slugging out a win against the Jets, losing the same way to the Bengals, and then staging an outstanding (but only one score lead, mind you) game against the Browns doesn't elevate my confidence. Wake up boys, you're headed to Steeler country.

Sunday's matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers marks the 31st time these two teams have met since the Ravens "joined" the League in 1996. The Steelers hold the winning shadow over the Ravens like the so-called "curtain" that Pittsburgh is unquestionably known for. The 19-11 head-to-head record goes to the Steelers. Right now Pittsburgh looks like an unbelievable story, dominating the competition in the absence of their fearless leader. But as any black and gold wearing fan knows, the Ravens are never to be taken lightly.

And perhaps that is where my sentiment lies as I prepare for Sunday. Unbiased, I'd take Pittsburgh in this game, but as most of you know - I bleed purple and black. I support my team through thick and thin and right now, while I fear the Steelers are the better team, I can't take the Ravens lightly either. They need to prove something on Sunday. They need to establish that they are the team to be reckoned with in the AFC North. Right now it's the Steelers...the tension builds. I'm reminded of the fact that these two teams are the only AFC North teams to have won the Super Bowl...the rivalry grows.

If Baltimore is to come out on top it will be by a narrow margin, no one expects anything else. Needless to say, the keys to their success will be the lack of mistakes. Turning the ball over can't happen. Even without Roethlisberger, the Steelers have been putting up points and hindering opponents. Mendenhall needs to be contained, Batch needs to be pressured. But that won't happen all game, someone will score and that will force the other team to step up on offense. The Ravens Defense is still top notch, but there are flaws - call it age, call it injury, whatever. Flacco needs to shine. He has three pro bowl receivers now, and an all-pro tail back. Rice will play, use him too. Do it right and you'll win the day. You want a prediction? How about this:

Ravens 20, Steelers 19.

I'm worried about this game Baltimore, I won't lie. It's time to prove something. Historically the Ravens never get the hype. This off-season they were the talk of the League, Super Bowl picks virtually across the board. And I bought into it. You guys look great on paper, show it on the field. Now the Steelers are a 1 point favorite, Ravens are the underdog again. Some say determination and sheer will are enough to forge a victory. Well this will be a statement: taking out the undefeated Arch-Enemy...in their home base, their lair. That incentive enough for you? I'll be watching.

The View from Pittsburgh

Am I dreaming? Is my team sans Big Ben going for their first 4-0 start since the ‘70s? At the beginning of the season, I had the Ravens winning this game. Last week, I had the Ravens winning this game. Three days ago, I had the Ravens winning this game. Today, I’m taking the Steelers.

Granted, the Ravens need this game more. Handing over a 3-1 Steelers team and first place tie in the AFC North to the prodigal son of Pittsburgh would be more than serviceable. But at 2-1, a loss would drop the Ravens to two games behind the Steelers (and essentially three if you consider the tie-break rules) and rack up their second divisional loss in a young 2010 season. And let’s not forget that the Ravens “should” win this game because the Steelers are playing without their $100 million quarterback.

Last year after Ben Roethlisberger suffered a concussion, the Ravens defeated a Dennis Dixon-led Steelers team in overtime in Baltimore. In their second meeting, Ray Rice asserted himself as the only running back to run for 100 yards on the Steelers in the last 37 games in a 23-20 Ravens loss.

As for this week:
Charlie Batch showed he still has a little something left in the tank last week against the Bucs. Unfortunately for Batch, he is taking an enormous step up in competition this week.

The Steelers O line is improving. Flozell Adams is learning the right tackle role. Doug Legursky seems to be an upgrade as he is playing for the injured right guard Trai Essex, and rookie Maurkice Pouncey has been phenomenal through three games. Improvements such as these have paved the way (or perhaps blocked the way) for Rashard Mendenhall to amass 332 yards with a 5.2 yards per carry average.

After leading the NFL with reception yards per catch in his rookie season, Mike Wallace is continuing to beat secondaries deep even though they know what’s coming. Randle El has lost a step at the No. 3 spot but Hines Ward refuses to age, still catching balls over the middle and getting clobbered before picking himself back up with a huge smile on his mug. Oh yea, and he blocks pretty well too.

Troy is back. The Steelers defense is one of the toughest to play and most exciting to watch when he is in the game. The Steelers also have the best four-man linebacker unit in the game. Who leads the team in tackles? 2008 Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison? No. 2009 breakout star Lamar Woodley? No. Maybe all-pro veteran James Farrior? No. The Steelers top tackler award goes to 4th year inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, Mike Tomlin’s first draft choice as the Steelers head coach. Yes, they’ve found another one.

Look for the Steelers O to use a combination of Mike Wallace deep and Mendenhall on the run to keep the Ravens D off balance.
Look for the Steelers D to use a myriad of looks to confuse a still-maturing Joe Flacco. Expect a pick from a Steelers linebacker or safety.
Steelers 24-13

Revelry for Rivalry: Steelers-Ravens

I completely buy into Steelers-Ravens being the best rivalry in the NFL - not the longest running or most storied, but currently the best. This week on Showtime’s Inside the NFL, Cris Collinsworth appeared almost jealous that Phil Simms would be calling this Steelers-Ravens match up at 1 p.m. ET on CBS (Collinsworth is calling the Giants-Bears game for NBC on Sunday night). "Don’t you love calling this game? I love calling this game," said Collinsworth to his on-air nemesis Simms. “This is one of the most physical, hard-hitting games of the season.”

True that.

The counter argument for this being the best rivalry in the NFL always starts with the duration because the Ravens only came into existence in 1996. For the life of me, I can't figure out why more isn't made of the fact that the Ravens were once the Cleveland Browns, the Steelers longtime rival. Luckily for the Inner Harbor, Ray Lewis joined the transplanted franchise early on and avoided an expansion franchise-like, decade-long acclimation period. Here are the 3 reasons as to why Steelers-Ravens is the best rivalry in professional football:

- Consistency. More or less, both of these teams have been solid for the last decade or so - three Super Bowl victories between them.

- Consistency. The cast of characters enjoys many a player with only one team to his resume: Lewis, Ben Roethlisberger, Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, Terrell Suggs, Hines Ward, Todd Heap and many others.

- Consistency. Both teams play the same brand of football: tough. Though the Steelers and the Ravens have solid receiving units and more than capable quarterbacks, the offense starts with the running game. And do I really have to get into their defenses?

Look out for some analysis for this site’s resident Baltimore and Pittsburgh fans.

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