Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday's Surprises

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.

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.

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. 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, 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 at 10 a.m. ET.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bears vs Dolphins Tonight

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

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.

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)


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.
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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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...

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

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)?

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.

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?

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