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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Thoughts On The Personal Conduct Issues Facing The NFL

NFL Discipline Issues
Most football fans know that the NFL has three current cases regarding personal player conduct on its hands. All three cases have gotten a lot of national attention. I’m talking about Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Greg Hardy. I have had a lot of people tell me that my stance keeps changing and that my issue with Peterson is due to my being a Packers fan. Well neither is true, so I decided to take time out in my weekly blog to let the public know exactly where I stand.
As anyone with a brain knows, Major League Baseball had a growing problem with cheating, specifically performance-enhancing drugs, for years that started in the 1980's with the likes of Mark McGuire, Jose Canseco, and others. At first glance, they ignored it, and moved along with their business and as the years went by, the problem got bigger and bigger. They tried little things along the way such as the original 10 game suspension which was a complete joke. At the end of the day, nothing really seemed to work, and the problem got bigger and bigger.
In April of 2013 the Biogenesis story broke, and Major League Baseball found itself facing its moment of truth regarding “PED's”. A list of notable players were on that caught up in the scandal, including two of the biggest names in baseball, Ryan Braun, and Alex Rodriguez. In fact, prior to the beginning of last season, the argument could be made that Ryan Braun was baseball's best player. Their moment of truth came, and Major League Baseball decided that they were going to make their stand right there, right then. They took two of their biggest names, Braun and Rodriguez, and made an example out of both of them.

Now a few questions should be asked here. 1) Did Major League Baseball act unethically in their gathering of the information they needed? One could certainly make that argument.
2) Compared to prior punishments for similar crimes, did Braun and Rodriguez get a fair deal? No they did not.
3) Did their punishments align with the current bargained agreement in the CBA? Absolutely not!  

But, at the end of the day, when facing one of its darkest moments ever, Major League Baseball rose above the law, above the CBA, and in the process, basically rose to the occasion, sending a message to the players that “enough is enough,” and “we will not tolerate your actions regarding PED usage anymore.” Then, after the suspensions were handed out over the Biogenesis “scandal,” the league turned around and toughened up on the currently bargained for agreement. The current agreement stated that first offense was 50 games, second was 150, and third was lifetime ban. Now punishment system for PED's is first offense is an entire season, and second offense is a lifetime ban.
These actions by Major League Baseball scared the hell out of the players and since then, they drug problem has gone quiet. Numbers are down in all facets of the game. Giancarlo Stanton led the National League in home runs this season with 37, a very small number for a league leader, and missed the final two weeks of the season due to an injury. Fastball velocities are down, breaking ball snap is down, and other various offensive numbers are down as well.

So how does this apply to the NFL?
Well for years now, the NFL has had a growing character problem. The players seem to think they can do whatever they want on their own time and still play football in this league. The problem has gotten worse over the years, and back in September, the NFL faced its moment of truth. Playing the roles of Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez were Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Greg Hardy. The NFL should have risen above the CBA, above the law, and handed out suspensions for the rest of the season to Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice. Greg Hardy should have gotten the remainder of 2014, plus all of 2015 as well. Then the NFL should have toughened up on their personal conduct policy regarding the players and the punishments for violating it. So as you can see, this has nothing to do with me being a Packers fan. This is all about the fact that I believe the NFL should have followed in the footsteps of Major League Baseball and rose to the occasion in their moment of truth, and it so happens to be that Peterson, Rice, and Hardy are on the wrong side of history.

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Whip Around The NFL at Mid Season

NFL Mid Season 2014
For the first time in a long time, I have nothing to say about the Packers. So let’s take a whip around the rest of the NFL, and see what some of the “lesser known” teams are up to.

NFC East- The Cowboys got things started this season with a bang when they jumped out 6-1 start, with a signature win in the dreaded 12th man up in Seattle. However, back to back losses and problems with Tony Zero, ahem, I mean Romo’s back have dropped the Cowboys back to 6-3. The Eagles currently sit at 6-2 on the season and lead that division by a half a game. How in the world is this team 6-2? The offense has been inconsistent, the defense has stunk at times, and their have been special teams issues as well. Add into that now the fact that Nick Foles has a broken collarbone, and this division is far from over. The Giants, who have been inconsistent or bad all season, could sneak back in and win this sucker at the buzzer as they have so many times in the past.

NFC South- Does anyone want to win this division? New Orleans, who was written off after the first month of the season, now finds themselves in first place at 4-4 after back to back wins. Carolina is fading as well. Atlanta is being showed why you do not go all in on one player in the draft, as they are really missing that depth that the draft provides right now.

NFC West- This was supposed to be the King Kong versus Godzilla in a grudge match of titans to the bitter, bitter end. Well Winnie the Pooh as taken over and has been the biggest, baddest dude on the block in the NFL this season, just think about that one for a minute. The Cardinals are the only team with just one loss left. I think hell just froze over, although the Vikings haven’t won a Super Bowl yet, so maybe hell is still frozen, I don’t know. All I know is I may have to ignore every natural instinct in my body and take the Cardinals seriously.

AFC West- The San Diego Chargers got off to a 5-1 and one start because Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates discovered the fountain of youth. However, they forgot where it was already as they have lost three straight games and have looked really bad in the process, especially last Sunday against the Dolphins in which Rivers played the worst game of his NFL career. The Chiefs, who I wrote off and told everyone not take seriously, have climbed back into contention at 5-3. The Denver “Peyton Mannings” still lead this division at 7-1 though. I have got to give Oakland credit for trying, although that is as far as the credit goes with them. Maybe it wasn’t all Al Davis.

AFC North- The players have changed in the NFL’s best rivalry, but the trash talking hasn’t. The Steelers and Ravens are still chirpy as ever. Although neither one of them lead this division. That title goes to the mighty Bengals of Cincinnati, as they have built quite a solid team over the last few years under the cover of the Steelers and Ravens being obsessed with trying to kill each other. Cleveland is 5-4, and is very much alive. How long until Manziel madness begins. When it does, just what I’ve always wanted- 24/7 Browns coverage. Lucky us.

AFC South- The 2015 Super Bowl Champions, no that is not a misprint, are off to a 6-3 start and have been rather impressive along the way. Andrew Luck has become the Derek Jeter of this next generation of athletes- the bigger the game, the brighter the lights, the better he plays, and the tougher he becomes. This man would and will sacrifice his body to win a game, much like Jeter did his whole career. The Texans have been a surprise at 4-6, although it will cost them Marcus Mariota in next year’s draft.

AFC East- New season, different players, same old story. The Patriots sit at 7-2,. Whenever everybody wrote them off after four weeks. They keep getting it done despite one injury after another, and one must ask whether or not they have the greatest quarterback in NFL history playing for them. Kyle Orton is a smart man. He may become the first quarterback ever to play in the postseason without taking part in any training camp or offseason activities for any team. Miami is also 5-3 despite the arguing going on down on South Beach and the Jets are just bad. Rex Ryan won’t last the rest of the season.