Thursday, January 15, 2015

My NFL Best of the Best 2014

NFL best of class 2014
The week after the NFL conference championship games are played, the league hands out awards to its players. I am going to hand out mine now.

Coach of the year: Bruce Arians/Arizona Cardinals. Second: Jason Garrett/Dallas Cowboys. Third: Bill O’Brien/Houston Texans. Fourth: Ron Rivera/Carolina Panthers. Fifth: Mike McCarthy/Green Bay Packers.

It has to be Bruce Arians, and it will be unanimously. Arians kept the Cardinals afloat with no offense and a third string quarterback signed off the street in November. If Carson Palmer had been healthy all season, the Cardinals would have been the number one overall seed and would be on their way to the Super Bowl.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aaron Donald/DE/St. Louis Rams. Second: Chris Borland/LB/San Francisco 49ers. Third: Ha-Ha Clinton Dix/S/Green Bay Packers. Fourth: Kyle Fuller/CB/Chicago Bears. Fifth: Khalil Mack/LB/Oakland Raiders.

Aaron Donald instantly established himself along a great defensive front in St. Louis, and was an integral part of the pass rush that beat the crap out of every quarterback they played this season. Chris Borland stepped up for the injured Patrick Willis and did better than anyone could have imagined. Ha-Ha got better as the season went along.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Odell Beckham Jr./WR/New York Giants. Second: Corey Linsley/C/Green Bay Packers. Third: Jeremy Hill/RB/Cincinnati Bengals Fourth: Teddy Bridgewater/QB/Minnesota Vikings Fifth: Jace Amaro/TE/New York Jets

If offensive lineman got a fair shake in this award, Corey Linsley would win it easily. But they don’t, so he is number two. Anyone who grades out as the 4th best center in the league as a 5th round rookie who didn’t even know he was going to be the starting center until a week before the regular season is the best rookie in the league. But, due to people’s obsession with style, it goes to the flashy Odell Beckham, who quickly established himself as Eli Manning’s new favorite target without Victor Cruz. Teddy Bridgewater also did extremely well under the circumstances he was put in.

Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt/DE/Houston Texans

I could list other players, but it would be pointless. Watt had one of the best seasons for a defensive player in NFL history, and is going win this award with every single first place vote. He is also going to get some serious MVP consideration.

Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers/QB/Green Bay Packers Second: DeMarco Murray/RB/Dallas Cowboys Third: Ben Roethlisberger/QB/Pittsburgh Steelers Fourth: J.J. Watt/DE/Houston Texans Fifth; Tony Romo/QB/Dallas Cowboys

Friday, January 2, 2015

Aaron Rodgers' Performance In Week 16 Was One For The Ages

Aaron Rodgers
I have been a Packers fan since the day I could way 27 years ago. In my entire life, I have never been taken for the emotional roller coaster ride I was taken from on Sunday. Let me explain.

As I sat down to watch the game, I knew Rodgers wasn’t completely healthy. I understood his calf was still a little sore, and probably tender. Still, he came out and played decent in the first half. That crowd was loud as is always expected for a Packers home game. However, late in the first half he threw a touchdown pass, and when most would be celebrating, all went quiet. Aaron was down for the count, holding his leg, and according to the trainers, screaming in pain. Apparently he re-aggravated that pulled calf muscle. After a few minutes, he finally got up, and walked off the field to the sideline, but he needed help to do so. A few moments later he was carted off, and the loudest crowd in American professional sports went quiet.

The next 10 minutes were perhaps the longest 10 minutes in the history of the State of Wisconsin. Everything was hanging in the balance, and I mean everything. The NFC North division home game, the number two seed, a first round bye, and everything else you could think of was hanging on the findings of the Packers medical staff in the locker room during halftime. Then, when the Packers came out without Aaron Rodgers to start the second half, my heart sunk and reality sunk in. The season was over, and the Packers would lose the following week in Dallas. Now I can’t speak for every Packers fan out there, but as Matt Flynn went under center to star the second half I started to cry. This was the Packers best shot at winning the Super Bowl in a long time, and it went down the drain because of a sore calf muscle. I had a hard time watching that opening second half series, in which the Packers offense looked as if the team had the life sucked out of them.

Hope Comes Walking Out Of The Tunnel At Lambeau Field

Then, as Matt Flynn was sacked on a third down, the crowd rose to life, as a glimmer of hope appeared from the sky. Aaron Rodgers was standing in the tunnel stretching out that calf and it was almost as if it was a storybook tale that was too good to be true. After the Packers punted the ball, Aaron Rodgers came walking out of the tunnel while the crowd went nuts. The excitement was back in the building, as Aaron began to play catch with Jordy Nelson on the sideline. Still, Matt Flynn had his helmet on, so we could not get excited too much yet. Yes the Lions did score, and as they did, Aaron put his helmet on, and the crowd got even louder. Still, not yet. Then it happened. After Sam Martin kicked the ball out of bounds, Aaron came running onto the field, bat calf and all. With that the foundation probably split in two, and the cameras started to shake. Then Aaron led the Packers down the field to two big touchdown drives, won the division, got the bye, and now the Packers are in as good of a position as anyone to win the Super Bowl.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Packers At Bills Preview

Packers at Bills
The Green Bay Packers are coming off a Monday Night win against the Atlanta Falcons in which they build a 31-7 halftime lead and hung onto win 43-37. The near meltdown should serve as a wakeup call for these Packers that just because they are number one in the rankings doesn’t mean they can relax. They still have much work to do. Here is my preview for this week’s game.

How effective will the running backs be? Eddie Lacy injured his hip on Monday night against the Falcons. He was limited in practice this week.  Good news is he looks good to go, but will probably split time with James Starks, which will mean an increased role for Starks. If the two of them can combine for 150 yards total of offense, that will be a win for the Packers.

Can Devonte Adams continue his rise? Over the last six weeks or so, rookie wide receiver Devonte Adams has really stepped up to the plate, becoming that effective third receiver that is so important to Green Bay. Rodgers has learned to trust Adams more and more each week.

Can Richard Rodgers continue his rise as well? In recent weeks, rookie tight end Richard Rodgers has become increasingly effective in the passing game for the Packers. The “Rodgers to Rodgers” calls by the announcers have become more frequent and that is a good thing. Richard Rodgers needs a big game one of these weeks, and this is a prime spot to do it. Bills linebackers have problems covering opposing tight ends.

How well will Casey Heyward fare filling in for Devon House? Both Devon House and Jamari Lattimore have been listed as out, and the Packers even put Lattimore in injured reserve overnight. Heyward hasn’t play much this season, and is basically the 7th defensive back behind Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Devon House, Micah Hyde, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, and Morgan Burnett. Heyward will have to play well though this week for this defense to get back on track.

Speaking of the defense as a whole, can they actually hold it together this week? Last Monday against the Falcons, the Packers defense almost had one of the biggest meltdowns in NFL history. This may actually be a good thing for these Packers. As I have told many people, these Packers get very arrogant whenever they get real good, and become the talk of the league, as they had. Well, that arrogance showed itself Monday night. This will perhaps serve as a kick in the pants for this team that they still have a lot of work to do.

Final Verdict: Despite this game being on the road, I still expect the Packers to win decently. Final Score: 34-17 Packers. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

NFL Power Rankings After Week 13 | Green Bay Tops My List

NFL Power Rankings
Well hello to my faithful readers. I decided that since I haven’t done one of these in a while, I should do one. Here is an updated version of my NFL power rankings following high noon on Sunday, the Packers and the Patriots.

1. Packers- I still don’t trust these Packers as they are either really good or really bad, but somehow, they are now the number one team in the NFL.
2. Patriots- They should come away from that Packers game thinking “Hey, you know what, we can beat these guys.”
3. Broncos- Look out. If they can run the ball with C.J. Anderson like this for the rest of the season, they will be dangerous as any other team.
4. Eagles- Mark Sanchez has done a terrific job keeping the ship together in the absence of Nick Foles.
5. Cardinals- These Cardinals are about to fall off the face of the earth.
6. Colts- I still think this is the best four-loss team.
7. Seahawks- This is the team that makes me the most nervous.
8. Chargers- The Lightening Bolts will be the easiest matchup for the Packers in the Super Bowl.
9. Cowboys- The one team in the NFC that would have a shot in hell of going into Lambeau Field in January and beating the Packers.
10. Bengals- They looked realty bad against Tampa Bay, but they won because they are that much better than Tampa Bay.
11. Lions- I’m not sure who the real Lions are at this point.
12. Steelers- This is a very dangerous team if they can find their way into the playoffs.
13. Ravens- See the Steelers comment above.
14. 49ers- On the outside of the postseason picture looking in at the moment.
15. Chiefs- I knew they weren’t for real.
16. Dolphins- Hanging on by a thread after barely beating the Jets.
17. Bills- Nice story, but it is about to come to a crashing end.
18. Browns- “Johnny Football” is going in. Oh wonderful, just what I what I always wanted, 24/7 Browns coverage.
19. Texans- J.J. “Mr. Universe” Watt will win the defensive player of the year award and is making a case to get into the MVP voting category. 
20. Rams- Fighting hard, but probably won’t be enough to make the a postseason birth.
21. Falcons- My favorites to win the NFC South from the beginning and still can.
22. Saints- The Green Bay Packers in reverse. Unbeatable on the road, beatable at home.
23. Bears- They’re trying. They’re going down in flames but they are trying.
24. Vikings- Staying the course at number 24.
25. Giants- Could it get any worse?
26. Redskins- Colt McCoy for MVP! Not.
27. Panthers- This bunch has quit on Ron Rivera.
28. Titans- Trying, but not very good.
29. Buccaneers- Still somehow in it in the NFC South.
30. Jaguars- Nice comeback win. Too bad the city of Jacksonville won’t be seeing the end of this rebuild.
31. Jets- “LOL”
32. Raiders- These Raiders are a special kind of bad.