Monthly Archives: September 2011

Pick ’em Week 4

ESPN.com picked Calvin Johnson as one of the 5...

WR Calvin Johnson and the Lions visit the Cowboys. Image via Wikipedia

We stabilized our picks last week and now look to build on the momentum with another winning week. On to this week’s picks.

NCAA picks
Arkansas +3 vs. Texas A&M (Dallas)
South Carolina -9.5 vs. Auburn
Clemson +7 at Virginia Tech
Alabama -4 at Florida
Nebraska +9 at Wisconsin

NFL picks
Carolina +7 at Chicago
Dallas -1 vs. Detroit
Pittsburgh +4 at Houston
Oakland +4.5 vs. New England
Baltimore -4 vs. N.Y. Jets

Last week: 3-2 college, 3-2 pro, 6-4 overall
Season: 14-9-1 college, 6-11-1 pro, 20-20-2 overall

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Suicide Pool Suggestions Week 4

We’re on a good run with our suicide pool picks, both with giving good options and warning you away from potential traps. Click here to see who to pick – and who to avoid – among the Patriots (at Oakland), Buccaneers (against the Colts), Packers (against the Broncos), Chargers (against the Dolphins), and Eagles (vs. the 49ers) this week.

Will ex-Patriot, now Raiders DE Richard Seymour get revenge on his former team? Photo via raidersonly.blogspot.com

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Rivera, Olsen relish Panthers’ trip to Chicago

Our midweek Carolina Panthers report for National Football Authority discusses the return to Chicago of head coach Ron Rivera and TE Greg Olsen, along with an injury update on CB Chris Gamble and S Charles Godfrey and more. Click here to read all about it.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen, via beargoggleson.com

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Is there hope for the Chiefs offense?

For National Football Authority, we analyze whether the Kansas City Chiefs offense is hopeless. After injuries to RB Jamaal Charles and TE Tony Moeaki, can QB Matt Cassel, WR Dwayne Bowe and company bounce back? Click here to read the not-so-good news for KC.

Chiefs QB Matt Cassel, via missourisportsblog.com

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Football Relativity: Week 3

Each week, we compare all 32 NFL teams using our Football Relativity comparison. On the comparison, the 10 level is reserved for the best teams, and the 1 level for the worst. We’ll note throughout where teams have moved up or down from last week.

RB Mark Ingram and the Saints beat the Texans in a shootout. Photo via nola.com

10 – Green Bay Packers -The Packers won at Chicago, which is never easy given the state of the rivalry. So far, the defending champs have taken on all comers and lived to tell about it – even with two road games.

9 – Baltimore Ravens (UP A LEVEL), New England Patriots – The Ravens bounced back from a bad loss in Tennessee to whip the Rams in St. Louis. That’s a statement that they’re for real. Getting rookie WR Torrey Smith loose down the field adds a dimension to the offense that the Ravens haven’t had in years. The Patriots lost in Buffalo, showing that their defense is a question mark. But the offense is plenty good for the Patriots to make the playoffs comfortably.

8 – Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints (UP A LEVEL), Philadelphia Eagles (DOWN A LEVEL), Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (UP A LEVEL) – We covered the Steelers’ narrow win in Rise/Sink/Float, and we covered the Buccaneers’ win in more detail in this post. The Saints beat the Texans 40-33 in a shootout. Both teams have elite offenses, but their defenses raise questions. The Texans need to rebound from the come-from-ahead loss to avoid falling into their patterns of past years. The Eagles fell a level after losing to the Giants. QB Michael Vick’s injury is a concern, but the offensive line struggles may be a bigger issue. The Chargers didn’t play great, but they won at home against the Chiefs. That’s the kind of game the Chargers have lost in previous Septembers.

7 – Atlanta Falcons (DOWN A LEVEL), Detroit Lions (UP A LEVEL), New York Jets – The Falcons fell a level as they fell to 1-2. Atlanta faces a crisis now in a tough division, and now they must travel across the country to face the Seahawks. That’s now a must-win. The Lions move up as they move to 3-0. Falling behind 20-0 keeps us from moving Detroit up another level, but kudos to the Lions for coming back on the road. The Jets lost in Oakland, but that’s not a shocking result given the Raiders’ talent. The Jets are good but not great, which means we expect another loss in Baltimore Sunday night.

6 – Buffalo Bills (UP A LEVEL), Chicago Bears (DOWN A LEVEL), Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants (UP A LEVEL), Oakland Raiders (UP A LEVEL), Washington Redskins – We covered the Bills’ ascent in Rise/Sink/Float. The Bears lost to the Packers to fall to 1-2. Chicago needs to take care of business against Carolina at home this week to avoid falling into a bigger hole. The Cowboys, Giants, and Redskins are all 2-1 (as are the Eagles), which means the NFC East will be a struggle once again. None of those teams are great, but all are good enough to compete against each other. The Raiders beat the Jets at home, and it’s becoming clear that Oakland’s offensive and defensive lines are elite.

5 – Cleveland Browns (UP TWO LEVELS) – The Browns, who moved to 2-1, end up on their own level. We believe that they’re not a great team, but they have a good enough system and coaching to be competitive against a favorable schedule. It’ll be interesting to see if they maintain it.

4 – Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars (DOWN A LEVEL), San Francisco 49ers (UP TWO LEVELS),Tennessee Titans (UP TWO LEVELS) – We covered the Jaguars’ loss in Blaine Gabbert’s first start in this post. The 49ers won in Cincinnati, showing that while their offense isn’t great, the defense has some ability. The Titans also moved to 2-1 with a home win against Denver. They would have moved further up if not for the season-ending injury to WR Kenny Britt. The Cardinals lost to the Seahawks, but we won’t dock them for a road loss in a tough venue.

3 – Carolina Panthers (UP A LEVEL), Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins (DOWN A LEVEL), St. Louis Rams (DOWN TWO LEVELS) – We covered the Rams’ collapse in Rise/Sink/Float. Like the Colts and Chiefs, we still believe St. Louis has talent, but all three teams are 0-3, so they can’t move higher than this. We covered the Panthers’ monsoon win in this post. The Bengals lost at home to San Francisco, showing once again that their defense is decent but the offense needs work. The Broncos lost at Tennessee, showing that they are not going to be real contenders. The Dolphins fell to 0-3 with another tough loss. This is a team with talent but no identity right now.

2 – Seattle Seahawks (UP A LEVEL) – The Seahawks beat the Cardinals, but we’re not buying. Maybe the return of WR Sidney Rice will add oomph to the offense going forward, but we’ll have to see it to believe it.

1 – Minnesota Vikings (DOWN A LEVEL) – The Vikings lost a double-digit lead for the third straight week. While they’re competitive, they fall to the bottom of the league.

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Buccaneers break losing streak against Falcons

For National Football Authority, we break down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ big win over the Atlanta Falcons. We focus on what it meant to Josh Freeman, how well the front seven played on defense, and more. Click here to read all about it.

DT Brian Price and the Buccaneers finally knocked down Matt Ryan and the Falcons, via tbo.com

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Rise/Sink/Float Week 3

Each week, we look through the Sunday NFL results to find one team that’s rising, one team that’s sinking, and one team that stays at the same level. You’ll see these changes reflected in our weekly Football Relativity comparison of all 32 teams.

Bills RB Fred Jackson breaks free vs. the Patriots, via buffalonews.com

Rise – Buffalo Bills  – The Bills recovered from a 21-0 deficit and broke a 15-game losing streak against the New England Patriots. It was an impressive 34-31 win, and it speaks to the fact that the Bills offense is going to be a force to be reckoned with. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is an above-average starting quarterback, and he has a solid group of unheralded but talented receivers. Plus, the Bills offensive line may be coming together. The defense is still a bit of a concern, but the offense is going to be good enough to keep the Bills competitive just about every week. That’s a big step forward.

Sink – St. Louis Rams – We were believers in the Rams this year, at least to win the moribund NFC West. But St. Louis has struggled throughout the season, and they bottomed out against the Ravens at home this week in a 37-7 loss. Now the Rams need to throw away thoughts of winning the division and just focus on getting out of their tailspin by winning a game. So far, not good for St. Louis.

Float – Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers had an unexpected fight on their hands against the Colts in Indianapolis, but they rallied to record a 23-20 win. It wasn’t pretty, and offensive line injuries continue to be a concern, but we won’t penalize the Steelers for finding a way to get a road win.

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Newton beats Gabbert in sloppy rookie QB duel

For National Football Authority, we break down the sloppy, rainy battle between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers. We’ll break down the performances of rookie QBs Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton, and a lot more. Click here to read more about it.

Panthers QB Cam Newton, via huffingtonpost.com

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Week 2 Transactions

Life got in the way of our normal Week 2 transactions wrapup, so we wanted to make good with a quick summary of the moves from last week.

Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles, via denverpost.com

Panthers (put LB Thomas Davis on IR, claim LB Jason Williams on waivers, add DT Frank Kearse, cut OG Reggie Wells) – We discussed the Davis injury here. Williams fits into the LB rotation, while Kearse adds depth at a needed position. Wells lasted just a week in Carolina.

Chiefs (put RB Jamaal Charles on IR) – The Chiefs lost their best playmaker when Charles blew out his ACL against the Lions.

Packers (put S Nick Collins on IR) – Collins suffered a season-ending neck injury.

Bengals (put WR Jordan Shipley on IR, promote WR Andrew Hawkins) – Shipley, a solid young slot receiver, tore his ACL.

Giants (put WR Domenik Hixon on IR, add Michael Clayton) – Hixon had a great TD catch against the Rams in Week Two, but then he suffered a torn ACL. Clayton, a former Bucs first-rounder, returns to the Giants to add depth.

Bills (put WR Roscoe Parrish on IR, promote WR Naaman Roosevelt) – Parrish suffered a season-ending ankle injury.

Dolphins (add DE Igor Olshansky, cut RB Larry Johnson) – Johnson became expendable as rookie Daniel Thomas emerged. Olshansky, a former Chargers and Cowboys starter, moved right into the starting lineup.

Cowboys (add WR Laurent Robinson) – Robinson has been up and down with the Cowboys since training camp.

Broncos (add WR Quan Cosby) – Cosby adds return skills to the Broncos, which is key as Eric Decker becomes more important to the offense.

Patriots (put DT Myron Pryor and C Dan Koppen on IR, add DT Landon Cohen) – Pryor was benched by a groin injury. He’s replaced by Cohen, who spent time with the Patriots in 2010. Koppen also is out for the year.

Chargers (put LB Jonas Mouton on IR, add CB Paul Oliver) – Mouton, the Chargers’ second-round pick, never played in the regular season after a training-camp injury. Oliver returns to San Diego.

Texans (put OT Rashad Butler on IR) – Butler was a backup tackle before the injury.

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Preja Vu: Gabbert and Jaguars take on Newton and Panthers

For National Football Authority, we preview the battle of rookie quarterbacks between quick starter Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers and first-time starter Blaine Gabbert and the Jacksonville Jaguars. We break down the QB battle as well as the matchup to watch between Panthers DE Charles Johnson and Jaguars OT Eugene Monroe and what it will take for each team to win. Click here to read more.

Jaguars rookie QB Blaine Gabbert gets his first start. Photo via si.com

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