Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NFL 2013 Preview - Atlanta Falcons


Head Coach: Mike Smith                                          

2012 Record: 13-3-0 (1st in NFC South)

New Players: RB Steven Jackson; DE Osi Umenyiora.

Gone Elsewhere: DE John Abraham; RB Michael Turner; QB Luke McCown; CB Brent Grimes; CB Dunta Robinson; OL Will Svitek.

Offense: The Falcons offense revolves around quarterback Matt Ryan and the wide receivers, evidenced by last season as Ryan threw for 4,719 yards with 32 touchdowns and just 14 interceptions.
QB Matt Ryan aka 'Matty Ice'
The wideouts are Julio Jones (79 receptions, 1,198 yards, 10 TD), Roddy White (92, 1,351 and seven TD), Harry Douglas (38, 395, one TD) and tight end Tony Gonzalez (who reconsidered retirement), who made 93 grabs for 930 yards and eight touchdowns.
The running game has a new face as Steven Jackson comes over from St. Louis to replace Michael Turner, who seemed to hit the wall last year in his fifth season with the Falcons.
Jackson ran for 1,042 yards while averaging 4.1 ypc and scored four touchdowns last season and will get the bulk of the carries for the Falcons this year. Backing up will be Jacquizz Rodgers (362 yards rushing in 2012) and Jason Snelling, who gained 203 yards on the ground.
The line has center Peter Konz, guards Justin Blalock and Garrett Reynolds and tackles Sam Baker and Lamar Holmes.

Defense: After finishing 24th in the NFL on defense last year, the Falcons made a lot of changes, unloading veterans John Abraham, Brent Grimes, Dunta Robinson, Vance Walker, Chris Owens and Lawrence Sidbury.
Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud
The 4-3 look for the Falcons will see Osi Umenyiora at one end spot along with Kroy Biermann. The tackles are Jonathan Babineaux  and Corey Peters. Umenyiora comes over this season after many big years with the New York Giants, including two Super Bowl championships.
Akeem Dent, Stephen Nicholas and Sean Weatherspoon are the linebackers with Pat Schiler and rookie Nick Clancy (Boston College) providing depth.
The secondary will likely have a rookie starting at one corner spot with Desmond Trufant (Washington) teaming with Asante Samuel (five interceptions last year) while the safties will be Thomas DeCoud (six picks) and William Moore.
The Falcons intercepted 20 passes a year ago and the defense accounted for 31 takeaways which helped the team to a plus-13 in the turnover charts.

OUTLOOK: After finishing 13-3 last season and finally winning a playoff game in the era of Head Coach Mike Smith, the Falcons feel they can reach their goal of making the Super Bowl.
To do that, they have to get back to the post-season and beat the San Francisco 49ers, who defeated them in the NFC title game last year.
If Ryan can repeat the numbers he put up in 2012, the Falcons offense (especially with the fresh legs of Jackson running the football) should soar once again.
The Falcons averaged 26 points per game while finishing eighth overall on offense (369 yards per game) and sixth in passing with 282 yards per game. The running game must do better after going for only 87 yards per game a year ago.
With some new faces on defense, the opportunistic defense will develop a new chemistry and the Falcons will hope for better results come playoff time. A better pass rush is a must as Atlanta managed only 29 QB sacks last season.
Another NFC South division title is likely for the Falcons this year with a 11-5 finish being good enough to get the job done.
Whether the Falcons can take the next step and reach the Super Bowl will depend on both Ryan's and the defense post-season performances.


Sept. 8- at New Orleans
Sept. 15- vs. St. Louis
Sept. 22- at Miami
Sept. 29- vs. New England
Oct. 7- vs. NY Jets
Oct. 13- BYE WEEK
Oct. 20- vs. Tampa Bay
Oct. 27- at Arizona
Nov. 3- at Carolina
Nov. 10- vs. Seattle
Nov. 17- at Tampa Bay
Nov. 21- vs. New Orleans
Dec. 1- at Buffalo
Dec. 8- at Green Bay
Dec. 15- vs. Washington
Dec. 23- at San Francisco
Dec. 29- vs. Carolina

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

NFL 2013 Preview - Minnesota Vikings


Head Coach: Leslie Frazier                                          

2012 Record: 10-6-0 (2nd in NFC North)

New Players: WR Greg Jennings; QB Matt Cassel.

Gone Elsewhere: WR/RB Percy Harvin; WR Michael Jenkins; LB Jasper Brinkley; P Chris Kluwe; CB Antoine Winfield.

Offense: Adrian Peterson!
What a year that guy had in 2012, rushing for 2,097 (just nine yards from breaking the single season rushing record) while averaging six yards a carry and scoring twelve touchdowns. WOW!
Peterson did this coming off major knee surgery following the serious setback in Week 16 of the 2011 season.
Adrian Peterson
If he comes anywhere close to that sort of production again in 2013, then the Vikings can be assured they will continue to be among the top of the NFC North division.
Other than AP, Minnesota has quarterback Christian Ponder (2,935 passing yards with 18 TD and 12 interceptions) back for another go round with former Chiefs' QB Matt Cassel coming over as a free agent to provide backup.
The wide receivers will have a new look this year as Percy Harvin was traded to Seattle and Michael Jenkins departed for free agency.
Greg Jennings comes over from Green Bay and along with rookie Jarius Wright (Arkansas) will form the starting tandem. Stephen Burton and Cordarrelle Patterson and Jerome Simpson will also be on hand in training camp. Of those mentioned, only Jennings has starting experience in the NFL.
The offensive line has center John Sullivan, tackles Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt and guards Charlie Johnson and Brandon Fusco.

Defense: Jared Allen (12 QB sacks) leads this unit at Defensive End along with ends Brian Robison (8 1/2 sacks) and Everson Griffen (eight sacks) and tackles Kevin Williams and Letroy Guion. Rookie Sharrif Floyd (Florida) will add depth to this talented squad.
The linebackers include Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson and rookie Gerald Hodges (Penn State) along
Jared Allen
with Larry Dean and Marvin Mitchell.
The secondary, which was lit up frequently last year, will feature Chris Cook and rookie Xavier Rhodes (Florida State) at the corner spots while Jamarca Sanford and Harrison Smith (three interceptions, two returned for scores) play safety. Josh Robinson had two picks in 2012 and adds depth to the secondary.


OUTLOOK: The Vikings made big strides last year going 10-6 and making the playoffs after a disastrous 2011 season.
For the team to take the next step and advance further in the post-season, QB Christian Ponder has to step up to the next level and help lead the team along with Peterson.
Minnesota was ranked 31st in the NFL in passing (just 172 yards per game) last season while Peterson led the ground game to 165 yards per game, which was second in the NFL. 
The defense was good against the run, ranking number eleven in the league but struggled against the pass (24th ranked in NFL allowing 244 yards passing per game) and thus the move to bring in new faces in the secondary and up front with first round picks Sharrif Floyd (DE) and cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
Head Coach Leslie Frazier saw his job spared with the success last season but in today's NFL, you are only as good as last week and the Vikings will not be sneaking up on anybody this year.
The NFC North is a rugged division and a tough schedule looms large in the 2013 season for the Vikings as well.
An 8-8 season is likely as the team attempts to show that last season was not a fluke.


Sept. 8- at Detroit
Sept. 15- at Chicago
Sept. 22- vs. Cleveland
Sept. 29- vs. Pittsburgh
Oct. 6- BYE WEEK
Oct. 13- vs. Carolina
Oct. 21- at NY Giants
Oct. 27- vs. Green Bay
Nov. 3- at Dallas
Nov. 7- vs. Washington
Nov. 17- at Seattle
Nov. 24- at Green Bay
Dec. 1- vs. Chicago
Dec. 8- at Baltimore
Dec. 15- vs. Philadelphia
Dec. 22- at Cincinnati
Dec. 29- vs. Detroit


Monday, July 29, 2013

NFL 2013 Preview - Green Bay Packers


Head Coach: Mike McCarthy                                                 

2012 Record: 11-5-0 (1st in NFC North)

New Players:
TE Matthew Mulligan; RB Eddie Lacy; RB Jonathan Franklin; DE Datone Jones.

Gone Elsewhere: WR Greg Jennings; WR Donald Driver (retired); C Jeff Saturday (retired); DB Charles Woodson; LB Frank Zombo; RB Cedric Benson; TE Tom Crabtree; LB Eric Walden.

Offense: The Packers finished fifth in the league in scoring a year ago and are led by perhaps the best quarterback in the game today in Aaron Rodgers.
QB Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers passed for 4,295 yards and threw 39 touchdown passes with only eight interceptions. He was also had the highest QB rating in the NFL in 2012. In addition, Rodgers was the Packers' second leading rusher with 259 yards and had two rushing scores.
That being said, the Packers are looking to bring in two new running backs with rookie draft picks Eddie Lacy (from National Champion Alabama) and UCLA's Jonathan Franklin.
 DuJuan Harris is also back along with Alex Green, who led the team a year ago with 464 yards on the ground. Veteran James Starks is also in camp this season.
The receiving corps is in transition as well with Greg Jennings having departed via free agency for the Minnesota Vikings and Donald Driver retiring. The Packers have James Jones (64 catches for 784 yards and 14 TD), third year man Randall Cobb (80, 954, eight TD) and Jordy Nelson, who caught 49 passes for 745 yards and seven touchdowns while missing five games last season.
The tight ends include Jermichael Finley (61, 667, two TD), Andrew Quarless and Matthew Mulligan.
The line consists of center Evan Dietrich-Smith, guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang and tackles Bryan Bulaga and Marshall Newhouse.

LB Clay Matthews
Defense: Using the 3-4 scheme, the Packers will again rely on Outside Linebacker Clay Matthews (13 QB sacks) to provide leadership. Along with Matthews are linebackers A.J. Hawk, Nick Perry and Desmond Bishop. Up front is B.J. Raji at DE along with rookie Datone Jones (UCLA) and nose tackle Ryan Pickett.
The secondary features corners Sam Shields (three interceptions), Tramon Williams (two picks a year ago) and Casey Hayward, who led the team with six interceptions last season. The safties will be M.D. Jennings and Morgan Burnett.
Gone from the secondary is longtime veteran leader Charles Woodson, who was not re-signed and became a free agent.
The Packers defense did intercept 18 passes a year ago and also had 47 QB sacks, which was fourth best in the league.

OUTLOOK: The Packers can put up some numbers on offense, evidenced by the 433 total points scored while averaging 359 yards per game, including 253 through the air.
The running game must show more to relieve pressure from Rodgers and the passing game. In addition, the O-Line has to better protect their QB, who was sacked 51 times last season.
Defensively, the team finished eleventh overall a year ago, allowing 337 yards per game, which was huge improvement from 2011. However, in the playoff loss against San Francisco, the Packers were lit up for 579 yards, including 323 coming on the ground against them.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy has seen this team through thick and thin since taking over several years ago, and he knows to get back to and win the Super Bowl, consistency on both sides of the ball will be key. How well the running game develops with two rookies getting big chunks of playing time will also go a long way in determining team success in 2013.
The Packers won the division for the second straight year and should do so again this season.
Look for a 12-4 finish and then a possible run for another Super Bowl appearance. How things go in the post-season will depend on the play of the defense come January, which has not been kind to the Packers the past two years.


Sept. 8- at San Francisco
Sept. 15- vs. Washington
Sept. 22- at Cincinnati
Sept. 29- BYE WEEK
Oct. 6- vs. Detroit
Oct. 13- at Baltimore
Oct. 20- vs. Cleveland
Oct. 27- at Minnesota
Nov. 4- vs. Chicago
Nov. 10- vs. Philadelphia
Nov. 17- at NY Giants
Nov. 24- vs. Minnesota
Nov. 28- at Detroit
Dec. 8- vs. Atlanta
Dec. 15- at Dallas
Dec. 22- vs. Pittsburgh
Dec. 29- at Chicago 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Anthony Weiner, YOU Are An Idiot!

NFL 2013 Preview - Detroit Lions


Head Coach: Jim Schwartz                                                

2012 Record: 4-12-0 (4th in NFC North)

New Players: RB Reggie Bush; K David Akers; DE Jason Jones; S Glover Quin.

Gone Elsewhere: DE Cliff Avril; DE Kyle Vanden Bosch; K Jason Hanson (retired); WR Titus Young; OT Jeff Backus.

Offense: Quarterback Matthew Stafford will once again lead the Lions' attack after passing for 4,967 yards last season along with 20 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions.
Teaming up with Stafford is WR Calvin Johnson, who broke the NFL record for receiving yards in a single season last year with 1,964 yards on 122 catches, including five TD receptions.
That duo will be the cornerstone of the offense once again while the running game will see Mikel Leshoure
QB Matthew Stafford
WR Calvin Johnson
(798 yards for a 3.7 ypc average and nine TD) as the likely primary ball carrier. Along with Leshoure is Reggie Bush, a versatile veteran back who ran for 986 yards and scored six TD and also made 35 catches and two scores for Miami a year ago.
The rest of the receiving corps for the Lions will include Nate Burleson (27 catches in only six games after a season ending injury), Mike Thomas and tight 
ends Tony Scheffler (42 grabs for 505 yards) and
Brandon Pettigrew, who made 59 catches for 567 yards and three touchdowns.
The O-Line will be anchored by center Dominic Raiola. The guards are Rob Sims and rookie Larry Warford (Kentucky) and the tackles are Reilly Reiff and Corey Hilliard.

Defense: This unit played pretty well last year, ranking 13th in the NFL in yards allowed per game behind tackles Ndamukong Suh (eight QB sacks) and Nick Fairley, who registered 5 1/2 sacks last season. The ends include Jason Jones, rookies Ezekiel Ansah (BYU) and Devin Taylor (South Carolina) and Willie Young. The linebackers are Stephen Tulloch, Ashlee Palmer and DeAndre Levy.
In the secondary will be safties Glover Quin and Louis Delmas. The corners are Chris Houston and perhaps rookie Darrius Slay (Mississippi State). Jonte Green and Bill Bentley will be on hand at the corner spots as well.

OUTLOOK: After plummeting from the playoffs in 2011 to last place in the NFC North last year, Head Coach Jim Schwartz may find himself on the "hot seat" this year. The Lions lost their final eight games a year ago and they know that in today's NFL, a quick turnaround is always possible.
The team must improve on the turnover charts, where they ranked near the bottom of the league last year with a minus-16 that included just eleven interceptions and six fumble recoveries.
The offense ranked second in the league in passing in 2012 but the running game lagged at 23rd overall. Better balance would go a long way in helping the Lions get back in the fold in the NFC North. That is why the team signed Reggie Bush to aid Leshoure in the backfield and take some pressure off Stafford and Johnson in the passing game.
The Lions averaged 23 points a game while giving up 27 points a year ago, so it shows they were in games, but just were not winning the close ones as they did the year before.
For the Lions to get back to the post-season, expect more of Stafford to Johnson this season, but they must mix it up with the running game and the defense has to continue improving with some of the personnel changes made.
A 7-9 season looks to be in the fold this year, which would be a three-game improvement from last season. The Lions have the potential to compete in the rugged division. How well they play against their NFC North opponents will decide their fate this year.


Sept. 8- vs. Minnesota
Sept. 15- at Arizona
Sept. 22- at Washington
Sept. 29- vs. Chicago
Oct. 6- at Green Bay
Oct. 13- at Cleveland
Oct. 20- vs. Cincinnati
Oct. 27- vs. Dallas
Nov. 3- BYE WEEK
Nov. 10- at Chicago
Nov. 17- at Pittsburgh
Nov. 24- vs. Tampa Bay
Nov. 28- vs. Green Bay
Dec. 8- at Philadelphia
Dec. 16- vs. Baltimore
Dec. 22- vs. NY Giants
Dec. 29- at Minnesota

Saturday, July 27, 2013

NFL 2013 Preview - Chicago Bears

CHICAGO BEARS                                                                   

Head Coach: Marc Trestman

2012 Record: 10-6-0 (3rd in NFC North)

New Players: TE Martellus Bennett; LB D.J. Williams; LB James Anderson; DT Sedrick Ellis; OT Jermon Bushrod.

Gone Elsewhere: QB Jason Campbell; LB Brian Urlacher (retired); OL Lance Louis; CB D.J. Moore; LB Nick Roach.

Offense: The Bears will again rely on the tandem of QB Jay Cutler and WR Brandon Marshall, who had a big year in his first season in Chicago, catching 118 passes for 1,508 yards and eleven touchdowns. Cutler threw for 3,033 yards with 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Running back Matt Forte' also will be relied upon big time in new Head Coach Marc Trestman's offensive
QB Jay Cutler
scheme. Forte' ran for 1,094 yards for a 4.4 ypc average and scored five times on the ground. Michael Bush is also on hand in the backfield.
Second year man Alshon Jeffery (24 catches, 367 yards, three TD) and Earl Bennett (29, 375, two TD) will be targets Cutler looks to other than Marshall. Tight End Martellus Bennett comes to the Bears this year after catching 55 passes for 626 yards and five touchdowns with the Giants last year.
Justin Pugh was the top draft pick for Chicago and will be given the chance to win the starting right tackle spot. Left tackle will be Will Beatty. The center is David Baas and the guards are Kevin Boothe and Chris Snee.

Defense: The big change here will be at linebacker, where Brian Urlacher, one of the all-time greats in Bears' history, is gone after refusing a contract offer from the team and then decided to retire when no better offers came along. Also gone from the linebacking corps is Nick Roach, who left for free agency. 
However, Lance Briggs is still around at linebacker and will be the center piece of the defense along with corners Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, who both had strong seasons a year ago.
Jennings led the NFL with nine interceptions (one for a touchdown) while Tillman had three picks, which he
Julius Peppers
took back for a score every time. Safety Major Wright made four interceptions and will team with Chris Conte in the secondary.
Up front Julius Peppers returns at defensive end after registering 11 1/2 sacks a year ago. Along with Peppers, the Bears have Corey Wootton at end and the tackles are Henry Melton and Stephen Paea.
Along with Briggs, the Bears have former Denver Bronco D.J. Williams and James Anderson in the  linebacking unit, Also in the fold will be rookies Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene at linebacker.

OUTLOOK:  After finishing 10-6 last season, the Bears finished out of the playoffs and Lovie Smith was fired as Head Coach.
This season, it's time for a change with Marc Trestman taking over and promising to open up the offense more with the rifle armed QB Jay Cutler and big play WR Brandon Marshall. Plus the fact that Tretsman's system utilizes the running backs bodes well for Matt Forte' in the upcoming season.
The O-Line MUST protect Cutler and give him the time to throw the ball to his targets on a consistent level.
The defense will see new faces and as long as the pressure up front is steady, it should provide for a good year for the Bears.
The secondary was stellar last year, picking off a league high 24 passes which led to a plus-20 in the turnover charts, which was second in the NFL.
The NFC North is a strong division with Green Bay and Minnesota in the fold. The Detroit Lions took a step back last year but always seem to be a tough game for the Bears.
There is no reason to believe the Bears won't contend for the NFC Playoffs this season, given the talent they have on both sides of the ball. How well and how fast they adapt to the new coaching staff will be the key factor in 2013 on how good this team can be.
Look for a 10-6 finish again, which may get the Bears into the post-season as a wild card team.


Sept. 8- vs. Cincinnati
Sept. 15- vs. Minnesota
Sept. 22- at Pittsburgh
Sept. 29- at Detroit
Oct. 6- vs. New Orleans
Oct. 10- vs. NY Giants
Oct. 20- at Washington
Oct. 27- BYE WEEK
Nov. 4- at Green Bay
Nov. 10- vs. Detroit
Nov. 17- vs. Baltimore
Nov. 24- at St. Louis
Dec. 1- at Minnesota
Dec. 9- vs. Dallas
Dec. 15- at Cleveland
Dec. 22- at Philadelphia
Dec. 29- vs. Green Bay

Saturday, July 20, 2013

There Is Truth To This

Fred Sanford, the fictional junk dealer portrayed so brilliantly by the late, great Redd Foxx (in Sanford and Son)  speaks to the cop in the court room about RACIAL PROFILING in America . . .

A Real Washington, DC Reporter

Helen Thomas, a White House reporter for decades, died today at the age of 92 years old. She was the last of the old school reporters who actually challenged politicians, especially former President George W. Bush, with tough questions.
Rest in Peace Helen Thomas.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Empty GOP Promises

Hey John Boehner, it has been three years now since YOU and fellow Republican leaders promised to
John Boehner
create JOBS if the GOP won the U.S. House of representatives in the 2010 mid-term elections.
Well Speaker Boehner ... WHERE ARE THE JOBS!?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

How About That?

How about that George Zimmerman murder trial verdict?                      

How about that PED scandal involving Major League Baseball players Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun  and many others?

How about the Republican controlled House of Representatives passing a farm bill that rewards mega rich agricultural corporate factory farms with subsidies, yet cuts food assistance programs for the needy?

How about that Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell whining on about Senate majority leader Harry Reid choosing to use the "nuclear" option to finally blow up the filibuster the GOP has totally abused for the last five years since President Obama took the oath of office?

How about the racist tea party people, including Rand Paul (Republican U.S. Senator from Kentucky) claiming victory because of the insane U.S. Supreme Court decision that gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act?

How about the states of Wisconsin and Texas, which are controlled by Republicans, invoking draconian abortion laws on women?

How about that Tim Lincecum, the San Francisco Giants pitcher, who threw a no-hitter last night?

How about the state of Florida and their legal system that has allowed TWO murderers (George Zimmerman and Casey Anthony, remember her?) to walk free?

How about that douchebag right wing commentator Erick Erickson posting a photo of a coat hanger as a means for women to have an abortion now that Texas and Wisconsin have rammed through completely ridiculous abortion laws?

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday folks, because not all is right in this country of ours.

Not Guilty Verdict For Zimmerman

Here are some interesting photos popping up on the internet following the verdict of George Zimmerman, who beat the rap in the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida last year.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

NFL's All Time Best Quarterbacks

Here is a list of the greatest NFL quarterbacks ever ... in no particular order.

Joe Monatna
Johnny Unitas

Terry Bradshaw
Peyton Manning
Tom Brady
Brett Favre
Dan Marino
Fran Tarkenton
Jim Kelly
Dan Fouts
John Elway
Roger Staubach