Playoff Predictor: Broncos vs Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVII

The 2012 NFL PLayoffs are set and with the Wild Card round starting this Saturday, here’s a breakdown of the match-ups and my Bold predictions:

 

AFC Wild Card: Houston Texans vs Cincinnati Bengals Saturday at 4:30pm

Houston (12-4) will probably feel a sense of Deja Vu as they play the Bengals (10-6) on Saturday as the two tangoed in last years playoffs. The game marked the first time the Texans had made the playoffs resulting in a 31-10 drubbing of Cincy.

Houston Playmakers RB Arian Foster, DE J.J. Watt and WR Andre Johnson were keys to victory against the Bengals last year and will be relied on again come Saturday. Also the Texans will have starter Matt Schaub this year (Schaub was injured last season late).

For Cincinnati, second year studs QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green will be the X factors for Cincy on Saturday. Also, to the Bengals credit, their defense has been solid all season finishing the year with the 7th best passing defense (212.5 yards per game) and the 12th best rushing defense (102.5 yards per game).

Prediction: I foresee a more competitive contest between these two teams in this go-around. The game will ultimately come down to turnovers. Andy Dalton threw 3 interceptions in last years wild card game. The Texans committed no turnovers. I have the Texans winning 21 to 17 over the Bengals.

Baltimore Ravens vs Indianapolis Colts Sunday at 1:00pm

The Ravens (10-6) will take on the surprising Colts (11-5) in a game that will be high with emotions on both sidelines. The Ravens were a few different play calls away from making it to the Super Bowl last year, and went on a campaign to prove themselves this year in the AFC (though they slowed down at seasons end). The Colts came into this season with little to no expectations at all. A rookie quarterback leading a team that went 2-14 the season before didn’t exactly add up to a winning season. However, Andrew Luck and Co. fought their way into the post-season game by game. Not to mention doing so while watching their head coach, Chuck Pagano, battle Leukemia .

The Ravens will be led by QB Joe Flacco and RB Ray Rice as they’ll attempt to mix their power running game and passing attacks together to try and overwhelm Indy’s defensive schemes.

The Colts will no doubt rely heavily on the shoulders of potential Rookie Of the Year winner Andrew Luck. Luck broke Cam Newtons rookie record for passing yards in a single season finishing with 4,374 yards.

Prediction: I see the Baltimore Ravens winning this contest, but not without a fight from Indy. While the Ravens defense hasn’t been up to snuff with the loss of Ray Lewis and Co. I still believe the Ravens have the upper hand in this one. Luck and the Colts have had a phenomenal season, no doubt about it, but I believe the magic ends this Sunday as Luck cracks under the pressures of post-season play. Ravens win 28-13.

NFC Wild Card: Green Bay Packers vs Minnesota Vikings Saturday at 8:00pm

The Packers (11-5) were stunned by the New York Giants in last years NFC Divisional Round and have an opportunity in this years post-season to prove their still as good as they were when they won it all in 2011. The Minnesota Vikings were similar to the Indianapolis Colts this year in the sense that they weren’t expected to make the playoffs. With second year QB Christian Ponder at the helm, and Adrian Peterson coming back from a knee injury, Minnesota had a few questions marks to say the least. Well, Adrian “All Day” Peterson had a response…run…a lot. Led by Adrian Peterson’ stunning season, becoming only the 7th NFL rusher to reach 2,000 yards (he finished with 2,097 yards), the Vikes find themselves in the post-season.

Green Bay will no doubt be led by the likes of QB Aaron Rodgers, LB Clay Matthews, and WR Greg Jennings, etc. The Packers started shaky at 2-2 but finished strong going 10-2 to close out the season.

The Vikings will no surprise call an number 28 to once again carry the load and the team on his shoulders in this one. The Vikes could stand a chance in this one seeing as they did beat Green Bay to close out the season 37-34. This one, however, I have going to Green Bay with the Packers winning 21-7.

Seattle Seahawks vs Washington Redskins Sunday at 4:30pm

The Seahawks (11-5) and the Redskins (10-6) are nearly mirror images of one another. Both teams sport sensational rookie QB’s in Seattle’ Russell Wilson and Washington’ Robert Griffin III. Both teams are in the top 5 in the NFL for rushing yards per game, Washington leading the league with 169.3yds and Seattle in 3rd with 161.2yds. The only edge Washington has over Seattle is that the Skins made the playoffs by winning the NFC East division in a season finale this past Sunday over the Dallas Cowboys.

Despite both teams having play-makers on both sides of the ball, this games outcome will be determined by the play of two men. The performances by Seattle’ Russell Wilson and Washington’ Robert Griffin III will decide who moves on and who goes home.

I predict a shootout in this one with both rookie QB’s trading punches all game long. I have Seattle edging out Washington 31-28.

Divisional Rounds and Super Bowl Pick:

The Denver Broncos and New England Patriots earned a first round bye, same for the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers. Both the Broncos and Falcons earned home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. With the picks I made above the Broncos would play the Ravens with the Patriots playing the Texans in the AFC. In the NFC, based on my picks, the Falcons would play the Seahawks and the 49ers would play the Packers.

My Picks:

I have the divisional rounds and championship rounds going down something like this:

Patriots vs Texans: The Pats send Matt Schaub and the Texans home as they win 24-14 in style led by Tom Brady and Co.

Ravens vs Broncos: Peyton Manning and the Broncos make it look easy in Mile High Denver as they beat Baltimore 28-14.

AFC Championship Broncos vs Patriots: Peyton Manning gets the better of Tom Brady and leaves New England fans heart broken as Denver wins it at Mile High by a score of 24-21.

Falcons vs Seahawks: In an absolute shocker, I have the Seahawks upsetting the Dirty Birds as Russell Wilson and Seattle find a way to keep Matt Ryan and Atlanta at bay winning 17-14.

Packers vs 49ers: The Colin Kaepernick show continues, with help from the defense and a solid rushing performance by Frank Gore, as San Fran sends Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers packing with a final score of 28-24.

NFC Championship 49ers vs Seahawks: In an NFC West battle for the ages I have the Seattle Seahawks pulling off another upset and catapulting themselves into their first super bowl appearance since 2006. The Seahawks recently walloped the 49ers back in week 16 42-13 and split the season series 1-1 with a 13-6 loss to San Fran in week 7. It could happen.

Super Bowl XLVII Broncos vs Seahawks: Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos win the franchises first Super Bowl since 1998 (The Denver Broncos had home-field advantage in 1998 also) as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks heroics aren’t enough with Denver winning 31-21. Manning wins Super Bowl MVP.

Final Thoughts: I want to here from NFL fans and Pats fans on this one. Can the Patriots win their first Super Bowl since 2005? How do you see the playoffs panning out? Leave a comment below.

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2012 NFL Awards: Handing Out the Hardware

The votes for this years NFL awards including MVP, Comeback Player Of the Year, Offensive and Defensive Player Of the Year, and Rookie Of The Year have to be in by this week. Like most years the voting is intense, but this year we may see the closest race yet in nearly all the above categories. Let’s take a look at the awards and their nominees:

NFL MVP: The Nominees: Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and J.J. Watt.

Of the nominees, two men stand above the rest. Peyton Manning has led the Denver Broncos to home-field advantage in this years playoffs by going on an 11 game winning streak to finish the season tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the leagues best record at 13-3 overall. Manning has also done all of this coming back from a neck injury that kept him out all of last season.

Adrian “All Day” Peterson. Peterson much like Manning, had a simply phenomenal comeback season this year. Last year Peterson was out due to a knee injury. Some wondered how Peterson would respond this season. Needless to say, Peterson answered all the questions and then some. Peterson put on a rushing clinic this season eclipsing the 2,000 yard mark, a feat only 6 other NFL running backs have done in the history of the league. Peterson finished the season with 2,097 yards, just 9 yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson’ record of 2,105 set back in 1984. All Day’s performance this year has helped put the Vikings in the post season.

My Pick: I have to go with Adrian Peterson. The fact that this man came back from reconstructive knee surgery, and nearly broke a 28-year-old NFL rushing record is enough for me. The selling point on Peterson to win this award though, rests in the fact that he helped lead the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs.

A feat few thought to be possible when the season began so many weeks ago. Peyton has no doubt had a great year, and is vital to the Broncos success, but Denver could have made the post-season with someone else at quarterback, especially with the awful play by the rest of the AFC West this year. The Vikings don’t do much of anything without Adrian Peterson this year (or any year for that matter).

MVP is the Most Valuable Player award, and in my opinion there’s no one whose been more valuable to a team than Adrian Peterson this year.

Peyton Manning - Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncos

Comeback Player: This year the award for Comeback Player Of the Year is probably the most clear cut award as only two players fit the bill. The two men mentioned in the paragraph above, Manning and Peterson, have both done more than what anybody expected from them. Both have had great seasons. Both have their teams in the playoffs. Both came back from career jarring injuries. However, only one of them can win the award.

My Pick: I’m choosing Peyton Manning for this one. Peterson could very well win this award, but I’m giving it to Manning because he not only had to comeback from an injury, but he had to comeback with a brand new team, brand new offensive sets, brand new targets to throw to, brand new everything. Manning not only came-back as the Manning we all know, but he made us nearly forget he ever left. With that, Manning is my choice for Comeback Player Of the Year, hands down.

Offensive Player Of The Year: The Nominees: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson.

Like the first two awards this is another one that either Manning or Peterson could win, but given they both may win one of the two aforementioned awards Brady, Rodgers, and Johnson have a higher chance at this award.

Brady and Rodgers have both had solid seasons. Brady threw for 4,827 yards with 34 TDS while Rodgers threw for 4,295 yards and 39 TDS. Both are essential to their offenses overall success. However, I’d like to argue my pick for Offensive Player Of the Year, Calvin Johnson.

My Pick: Johnson has been nothing short of amazing this season. Johnson not only had the most receiving yards of any wide receiver this year, he broke Jerry Rice’ single season record for receiving yards with a 225 yard 11 catch performance against the falcons in week 16 against Atlanta. “Megatron” finished the season with 1,964 yards. Johnson averaged 115 yards and 7 catches per game this season. Those numbers are certainly award worthy. Of course, it will be hard for Johnson to beat out the likes of Brady and Rodgers, but he should absolutely be considered and is my pick for this year’s Offensive Player Of the Year.

Defensive Player Of the Year: The Nominees: J.J. Watt, Von Miller, Aldon Smith.

All of the nominees are no doubt a quarterback, heck lets be honest, these guys have any one on offense scared to death on any given Sunday. But, like any award, only one of them can bring home the hardware. Let’s go to the stats:

J.J. Watt- NFL season sack leader with 20.5 sacks, 81 combined tackles, and 4 forced fumbles.

Aldon Smith- Finished second in total sacks with 19.5, 66 combined tackles, 3 forced fumbles and 1 interception.

Von Miller- Finished 3rd in sacks with 18.5, 68 tackles, 6 forced fumbles, and 1 interception.

My Pick: Again, all of these men wreak havoc on opposing offenses week in and week out, but I have to choose one. My choice has to be J.J. Watt. Watt burst on to scene last year in his rookie season with his tenacious play in the regular season, and really broke out in the Texans playoff win against the Bengals with an interception return for a TD. Watt has , asserted himself as a force to be reckoned with this year in the NFL and has earned the right to this award.

Rookie Of The Year: The Nominees: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson.

The three rookie QB’s listed above have all had incredible seasons in their own right. Each of them have led their respective teams to the playoffs. Here’s the numbers on these newbies:

Luck: rookie record for passing yards with 4, 374 and 23 TD with a 76.5 QB rating.

RGIII: 3,200 yards passing with 20 TD and  102.4 QB rating, Griffin also rushed for 815 yds and 7 TDS ranking him in the top 20 in rushing yds in the NFL.

Wilson: tied Peyton Manning’ rookie record for passing TDS with 26 and threw for 3,118 yards. Wilson also had 489 rushing yds with 4 TDS.

My Pick: My choice for Rookie Of the Year would have to be RGIII. No disrespect to Andrew Luck, but at the end of the day it’s hard for me to not pick a rookie stud who finishes in the top 5 for QB rating with the likes of Rodgers and Manning. Plus with his versatility in the pocket as a rushing threat he is hard to ignore.

Final Thoughts: Almost forgot an award. Coach Of the Year. Mike Shanahan (Redskins), Leslie Frazier (Vikings), Pete Carroll (Seahawks), and Bruce Arians (fill in for Chuck Pagano and the Colts) all up for the honor. I believe for what Arians accomplished, in Pagano’ honor while he battled Leukemia, is more than deserving of the award and has undoubtedly earned it. Who do you think will take home the NFL Hardware? Leave a comment below.

Throwback Thursday – Pats vs. Colts Rivalry

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I’m not exactly sure how I feel about the Patriots/Colts rivalry with the absence of Peyton Manning. Regardless, here’s a few throwbacks that will help you relive the intensity that ensued when the two AFC power houses would clash. Enjoy! … Continue reading

Pats Sit Atop AFC East

Finally, all is right in the football world again. The Dolphins don’t worry me at all and the Bills continue their trend of starting out decent and then realizing that they’re just the Bills so they let up 97 points in two games while scoring only 31. Rex Ryan, Sanchez, and the Jets continue to show what a disgrace to football they are and the Patriots stand alone atop the AFC East.

And things are only looking up for the Pats. Our offense is steamrolling defenses and not because of what we’re used to. Gronk was basically invisible on the field Sunday and Hernandez was out. The duo we relied on last year was absent and we still dominated offensively. The Welker we all know and love is back, in addition to a newfound running game that we’ve longed for since the days of Curtis Martin. It’s just unfair how many options the Pats have offensively. Simply no way to cover it all. On the other side of the ball, despite having the third worst passing defense in the league, we have the Seahawks next week who are second to last in overall passing yards on offense. McCourty may get picked on more than he ought to but it might not be a terrible day for the secondary. Not to mention Hernandez could be back in action. Sprinkle in replacing Monday with a Tuesday and a fantasy win to top it off…I’d say it’s a good start to the week. Happy Monday Tuesday Boston!

Von Miller Tebow Tribute

 

I’m not sure if I enjoyed this more as a shot at Tebow or because I loved watching the Steelers lose so I have some sort of defense while Non’s is drooling over the Orioles success. Either way I think everyone knows what that game meant last night. Peyton and the Bronco’s could be trouble down the line. Might not be as easy as last year’s playoff whomping.

A New Savior in Denver

In the past six months the sports world has been overwhelmed with two triumphant stories of individual athletes who defied the odds. The most notable coming from the NFL in Tim Tebow and most recently in the NBA with Jeremy Lin. Each has caused a media frenzy that I don’t think any of us have seen before. Tebow Mania, Bronco’s Savior, Linsanity, Super Lintendo. The list of puns and corny titles go on. But the two “Cinderella” stories have since died down. We all know what happened to Tebow when he stepped foot on the turf at Gillette Stadium in the playoffs and the hype around Jeremy Lin has since settled down, as the Knicks have been on a skid. But once again, Tebow finds himself in the headlines in a much different way.

At the end of the Bronco’s season, John Elway announced that Tebow would be the team’s starting QB heading into next year. Sorry Timmy, but I don’t exactly see that happening any more. With Peyton Manning now heading to Denver, I think even Tebow knew to start packing his bags. In a way, you gotta feel bad for the guy. Then again, it’s pretty funny. Tebow spent all season winning games in the most unlikely ways, gaining an immense fan base in no time, and redefining the phrase “becoming a household name”. But it has to be rough with all the progress he’s made and what he did for the Denver organization to be put in a position to expectedly get ousted in a heartbeat by Manning. Although painful, I’m sure Tebow won’t even argue with his replacement, I mean who could? Don’t get me wrong, I can’t hate on Tebow. He’s clearly a good guy and he showed he could win (some games) but the Pat’s certainly put him in his place in the playoffs, so no hard feelings. Nothing definite has happened with his place in Denver or potential trade, but I’m sure once things begin panning out as to where he will end up, Tebow will once again be the sole topic of ESPN.

Peyton Manning Press Conference Reaction

LeBron James take notes, Peyton Manning just showed you how to make yourself a legend in a place after your gone. He left with his head held high, while reminiscing on all of the good times he had with the Colts and Irsay. Instead of throwing the Colts organization under the bus, Manning went out of his way to praise the Colts, Irsay.

The Colts keep saying they want the best for Peyton. They are saying that they are doing a favor for Peyton by releasing him because they didn’t have the pieces that they had in 1998. I mean if they had the same pieces in 1998, would they have cut Peyton then to save him the trouble. There not doing it for the cap, there not doing it because Andrew Luck is the first pick of the draft, but because they want what is best for Peyton. Yeah right.

To me Irsay is the quintessential girl who says one thing to your face, and then would go behind your back to say things to other people or in this case the media. After all that Irsay has said, I found it ridiculous that he started crying and said it was over. To me it seemed like a total PR move, people were offended at the way the Colts had been treating Peyton so far and everything about the conference from the Colts point of view went perfect. During the question and answer section, Irsay stood next to Manning awkwardly while Manning was asked questions. It was awkward and only served the purpose to show how sad that Irsay looked.

Back to Peyton, I couldn’t have been more impressed than he left me. There’s many ways that Peyton could have handled it, but he carried it with class and a level of sophistication rarely seen any more in sports. Peyton said in the press conference “the contract and the money were never a factor”, which was not true at all. The Colts by doing this today avoid paying 28 million bonus. Within the next few moments, Irsay was talking about how it would save the Colts cap room.


The biggest thing was the way that Peyton connected with his fans. He mentioned how he is separated from the Colts but not from the great city of Indianapolis. He told them how he loved being their quarterback. There was no mention of taking his talents anywhere. He’s not going to South Beach; he is going to keep working out in Indianapolis. He even went to say that he had not been able to think about playing for another team yet. He showed the blueprint on how to leave a team, it was the opposite of the decision, maybe because it was made for him, but the openness and vulnerability shown was good to see in the business-driven world of sports.


How Not to Treat a Legend

How Not to Treat a Legend

Peyton Manning has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in over a decade. As a Patriots fan, he would absolutely terrify me whenever the Colts had the ball. Tom Brady would sustain his drives and grind down the clock so that Peyton would have to sit on the sidelines. Has Brady ever had to do that for another quarterback? Think quarterbacks tore up the Patriots defense this year? If Manning was healthy the Colts would have picked the holes in the Patriots defense all game. The way that the Colts are treating this situation is inexcusable. It is the anti-Brett Favre situation. The owner is creating all the controversy where the player just wants to get back to playing. The Patriots are the only other team who have a quarterback right now who means as much to the franchise as the Colts. While the Patriots have not always been the most loyal to players (Lawyer Milloy anyone?), they would NEVER let Tom Brady play a down for another team.

Peyton Manning’s an 11 time Pro-Bowler, has been named the NFL MVP 4 times, and the AFC Player of the Year 6 times. He is the fastest player ever to reach 50,000 yards passing and 4000 completions. He is the Colts all-time leader in Career wins, Passing Touchdowns, Pass Attempts, Pass completions and Passing Yards. He holds or shares 40 NFL regular season records and 11 playoff records. In 2010, which was just two seasons ago, he had his most passing yards of his career and led the league in completions. He is the Indianapolis Colts.

The funny part of the whole situation is that Peyton has stated that he wants to play for the Colts. It’s where he wants to finish his career. But Jim Irsay just does not seem to want him. When Peyton was cleared by his doctors and announced himself healthy, Irsay tweeted “Peyton has not passed our physical nor has he been cleared to play for the Indianapolis Colts.” There is just a lot of bad karma with this move. This player has been the face of your team for the past thirteen seasons. He goes through three neck surgeries and the owner basically throws him to the curb. It reminds me of when the 49ers were dealing with the Joe Montana/Steve Young debate. While everyone knew that Steve Young had a great future ahead of him. Montana was not done yet. In his final two years he led the Kansas City Chiefs to the playoffs twice, one AFC championship game, and beat the 49ers in their only game.  Manning is arguably healthier than Montana at the same stage in his career and has the potential to have about five good years left.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe the Colt’s doctors decided that Peyton will never play another down in the NFL. But it doesn’t give the team an excuse to alienate the player that has been the team for the past 12 seasons. Even though he is owed 28 million if he stays on after March 8th, remember he was the guy just last year. He took much less money than he deserved just so the Colts could sign free agents around him.

What do you guys think? Leave some comments. Also look for an article for potential destinations for Peyton Manning later on this week.