Tuesday, July 31, 2018

ARIZONA CARDINALS - 2018 NFL Season Preview

ARIZONA CARDINALS                                                                         

2017 Record - 8-8-0

Head Coach - Steve Wilks

2017 Offensive Ranking - 22nd (314 ypg, 18.4 points per game)

2017 Defensive Ranking - 6th (311 ypg, 22.6 points allowed per game)

OFFENSE - After a shakeup at quarterback with Carson Palmer retiring, the Cardinals brought in Sam Bradford to be the starter for the 2018 season. Also in the fold will be Mike Glennon and rookie Josh Rosen (UCLA). Bradford passed for 382 yards with three touchdowns in very limited action with Minnesota last season while Glennon suffered through a miserable 2017 outing with the Chicago Bears (833 pass yards with four TD and five interceptions). Rosen is the quarterback for the future, possibly sooner than expected if things get rough this year.
The running game should get a huge boost provided David Johnson is back healthy after missing nearly all of last season with a wrist injury. Johnson had a huge 2016 season and will be counted on to carry the load.
The wide receivers have 15-year veteran Larry Fitzgerald leading the way after making 109 receptions for 1,156 yards with six touchdowns a year ago. J.J. Nelson (29, 508, two TD) is the deep threat while Brice Butler (15, 317, three TD with Dallas) and rookie draft pick Christian Kirk (Texas A & M) will be in the fold. Tight Ends Jermaine Gresham (33, 322, two TD) and Ricky Seals-Jones (12, 201, three TD) will look to contribute in the passing attack.

DEFENSE - Defensive End Chandler Jones (17 QB sacks) had a huge season and is flanked by Olsen Pierre (5 1/2 sacks), Corey Peters and Markus Golden. Linebackers include Josh Byne, Scooby Wright, Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick.
Cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Marcus Williams man the secondary along with safety Antoine Bethea, who had five interceptions last year.

OUTLOOK - The Cardinals have a new Head Coach in Steve Wilks and he will look to get the team back to the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Arizona had a good defense but the offense has a lot of questions to be answered as Bradford takes over at quarterback. David Johnson is coming off injuries and the team needs him to get back to his old form.
Another area to be looked at is wide receiver, where Fitzgerald continues to play well in spite of his advanced age. The other receivers have to step up in 2018, evidenced by the steep drop off from 109 catches by Fitzgerald to only 33 for the next leading receiver in tight end Gresham.
If Bradford can make the plays and the running game gets back on track (only 87 yards per game in 2017) to boost the scoring, the Cardinals can be competitive. The NFC West has the Los Angeles Rams looking strong while San Francisco looks to be climbing. Arizona should battle Seattle for third place in the division this year while possibly finishing 8-8 once again.

Week 1 - vs. Washington
Week 2 - at LA Rams
Week 3 - vs. Chicago
Week 4 - vs. Seattle
Week 5 - at San Francisco
Week 6 - at Minnesota
Week 7 - vs. Denver
Week 8 - vs. San Francisco
Week 9 - Bye
Week 10 - at Kansas City
Week 11 - vs. Oakland
Week 12 - at LA Chargers
Week 13 - at Green Bay
Week 14 - vs. Detroit
Week 15 - at Atlanta
Week 16 - vs. LA Rams
Week 17 - at Seattle

Monday, July 30, 2018

DENVER BRONCOS - 2018 NFL Season Preview

DENVER BRONCOS                                                                                          

2017 Record - 5-11-0

Head Coach - Vance Joseph

2017 Offensive Ranking - 17th (324 ypg, 18.1 points per game)

2017 Defensive Ranking - 3rd (290 ypg, 23.9 points allowed per game)

OFFENSE - The Broncos will have a new quarterback in town this season as Case Keenum comes over from the Minnesota Vikings after a dream season in which he threw for 3,547 yards along with 22 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions. Paxton Lynch will be the backup.
The running game is also getting an overhaul as Devontae Booker (299 yards, one TD), De'Angelo Henderson and third round pick Royce Freeman (Oregon) will carry the ball this season following the release of C.J. Anderson, who led the team in rushing last year.
Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are the top wide receivers again this season. Thomas had 83 receptions for 949 yards and five touchdowns last season while Sanders grabbed 47 passes for 555 yards and two scores. The tight ends are Jeff Heuerman (9, 142, two TD) and Jake Butt. Rookie draft picks Courtland Sutton (SMU), DaeSean Hamilton (Penn State) and tight end Troy Fumagalli (Wisconsin) will look to make an impact as well.

DEFENSE - Linebackers Von Miller (ten QB sacks) and Brandon Marshall (three sacks) lead the way for this top flight unit, which was third in the NFL a year ago, giving up just 290 yards, including a meager 89 rushing yards per game. Derek Wolfe, Domata Peko and Shelby Harris (5 1/2 sacks) man the front line.
Look for first round pick Bradley Chubb (North Carolina State) to make an impact on the end spot/outside linebacker. He should be a big help as an edge rusher to aid Miller.
Darian Stewart had three interceptions and Chris Harris had two picks and head up the secondary.

OUTLOOK - After finishing in the basement of the AFC West last season, Broncos Head Coach Vance Joseph will look to the new faces on offense to make an immediate impact as they seek to get back to the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Quarterback Case Keenum will be the key after a huge season with Minnesota, in which he helped lead them to the NFC Championship Game. The new running backs will have to prove themselves to help take the pressure off the passing game.
The defense is solid and should be even better with rookie Chubb coming on board to help All-Pro linebacker Von Miller put the heat on opposing quarterbacks.
The division is a tough one as Kansas City, the Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland all have the means to win the crown. Denver has to score more this year as only four other teams scored less in the 2017 season. The reality for this season is likely no playoffs again and a struggle to get out of the division cellar. Look for a 6-10 finish this season.

Week 1 - vs. Seattle
Week 2 - vs. Oakland
Week 3 - at Baltimore
Week 4 - vs. Kansas City
Week 5 - at NY Jets
Week 6 - vs. LA Rams
Week 7 - at Arizona
Week 8 - at Kansas City
Week 9 - vs. Houston
Week 10 - Bye
Week 11 - at LA Chargers
Week 12 - vs. Pittsburgh
Week 13 - at Cincinnati
Week 14 - at San Francisco
Week 15 - vs. Cleveland
Week 16 - at Oakland
Week 17 - vs. LA Chargers

Sunday, July 29, 2018

DALLAS COWBOYS - 2018 NFL Season Preview

DALLAS COWBOYS                                                                               

2017 Record - 9-7-0

Head Coach - Jason Garrett

2017 Offensive Ranking - 14th (332 ypg, 22.1 points per game)

2017 Defensive Ranking - 8th (318 ypg, 20.8 points allowed per game)

OFFENSE - The Cowboys will have Dak Prescott back at quarterback for the third season in a row. Prescott had 3,324 yards passing in 2017 along with 22 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. He also had six rushing touchdowns.
The running game is headed up by Ezekiel Elliott, who rushed for 983 yards (in 10 games) and scored seven touchdowns. He also caught 26 passes with two scores. Behind Elliott is Rod Smith (232 yards, four TD).
The wide receiving corps is completely different from a year ago as Dez Bryant was released after leading the Cowboys in receiving last year. The mainstays look to be Allen Hurns (39 receptions for 484 yards with two TD with Jacksonville) and Cole Beasley (36, 314, four TD). Tavon Austin comes over from the Rams, where he caught 13 passes a year ago while also rushing for 270 yards in a dual role. Rookie Michael Gallup (Colorado State) was a third round pick and will look to contribute. The tight ends are Geoff Swaim and Rico Gathers, who will replace retired Jason Witten.

DEFENSE - DeMarcus Lawrence (14 1/2 QB sacks) and David Irving (seven sacks) lead the defense up front while Kony Ealy (DE) and Sean Lee (outside linebacker) will also have key roles for the NFL's eighth ranked defensive unit last season.
Top draft pick Leighton Vander Esch (linebacker from Boise State) may crack the starting unit in the middle while being flanked by Lee and Jaylon Smith.
In the secondary are Jeff Heath and Anthony Brown leading the way. Heath picked off three passes a year ago while Brown intercepted two passes. Overall, the 'Pokes had only ten interceptions while giving up 214 yards passing per game.

OUTLOOK - The Cowboys slipped to 9-7 a year ago and missed the playoffs while Elliott served a six-game suspension and Prescott was up-and-down in his second season as the starting quarterback.
Head Coach Jason Garrett once again is in the hot seat as the team looks to get back to the post-season. The key will be Prescott and Elliott returning to the form they displayed as rookies two years ago. If that happens and the revamped receiving corps comes along, the Cowboys could find themselves back in the playoffs.
The defense is pretty solid as they were a top ten unit in 2017 and look to continue that success again this season. Linebacker Sean Lee needs to stay healthy as he is the leader of the unit and wreaks havoc against opponents.
The first five weeks of the schedule could bode well for Dallas as only Carolina was a playoff team last year. A good start would definitely be huge for them in the NFC East division where the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles loom large.
There are a lot of questions facing the team, especially at wide receiver, but a playoff appearance is not out of the question for the Cowboys this season. But they have to do better than 9-7, which is more likely to happen again in 2018 than enough improvement to get them back to the playoffs.

Week 1 - at Carolina
Week 2 - vs. NY Giants
Week 3 - at Seattle
Week 4 - vs. Detroit
Week 5 - at Houston
Week 6 - vs. Jacksonville
Week 7 - at Washington
Week 8 - Bye
Week 9 - vs. Tennessee
Week 10 - at Philadelphia
Week 11 - at Atlanta
Week 12 - vs. Washington
Week 13 - vs. New Orleans
Week 14 - vs. Philadelphia
Week 15 - at Indianapolis
Week 16 - vs. Tampa Bay
Week 17 - at NY Giants

Saturday, July 28, 2018

HOUSTON TEXANS - 2018 NFL Season Preview

HOUSTON TEXANS                                                                                            

2017 Record - 4-12-0

Head Coach - Bill O' Brien

2017 Offensive Ranking - 20th (320 ypg, 21.1 points per game)

2017 Defensive Ranking - 20th (347 ypg, 27.2 points allowed per game)

OFFENSE - The key to the Texans offense is quarterback Deshaun Watson, who missed a good portion of his rookie season due to a knee injury. Watson threw for 1,699 yards with 19 touchdown passes and eight interceptions while also averaging 7.5 yards per rush, which included two touchdowns.
The running game features veteran Lamar Miller (888 rushing yards) and D'Onta Foreman, who gained 327 yards last season. The wide receivers are DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, Hopkins had 96 receptions last year, good for 1,378 yards and 13 touchdowns. Fuller had 28 receptions, including seven touchdown grabs in an injury shortened season. The tight end is Ryan Griffin.

DEFENSE - J.J. Watt has missed more than 20 games the last two seasons with leg and back injuries and the Texans absolutely need him to be healthy and get back to form on the defensive front. Watt has been the NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times and if he can get back to what he does best, it will be a huge boost to the defense. Along with Watt, Houston has linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (9 1/2 QB sacks) and defensive backs Jonathan Joseph (two interceptions), Andre Hal (three picks) and the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu, who had two interceptions last season and comes over from Arizona as a free agent. Rookie first round pick Justin Reid (Stanford) will look to make an impact at safety.

OUTLOOK - If Houston wants to get back into the mix for the AFC South division title, it's imperative that Watson stays healthy. He is a dual threat with his passing and running abilities that had confounded opposing defenses until his season ending injury.
The running game has to be consistent and other than Hopkins, the Texans need more from their wideouts.
The defense is pretty solid when Watt is in there, but without him it's a completely different story. The Texans allowed a league worst 436 points last season while allowing 237 yards passing and had just 32 sacks.
Head Coach Bill O' Brien could be on the hot seat if the team doesn't get back into contention for the division crown after last year's 4-12 debacle. A tough schedule with two road games against New England and Tennessee will put pressure on the team right out of the gate.
If the team can get good performances from their star players (Watson and Watt) on offense and defense, the Texans can compete for the division title and possibly get back to the playoffs. The likely finish this season is 7-9 unless a lot of things break the Texans' way.

Week 1 - at New England
Week 2 - at Tennessee
Week 3- vs. NY Giants
Week 4 - at Indianapolis
Week 5 - vs. Dallas
Week 6 - vs. Buffalo
Week 7 - at Jacksonville
Week 8 - vs. Miami
Week 9 - at Denver
Week 10 - Bye
Week 11 - at Washington
Week 12 - vs. Tennessee
Week 13 - vs. Cleveland
Week 14 - vs. Indianapolis
Week 15 - at NY Jets
Week 16 - at Philadelphia
Week 17 - vs. Jacksonville

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Mind Your Own Business

As the calendar rolls into late July it signals the beginning of NFL training camps getting started for the upcoming season, which begins on September 6.
And just in time for the start of it, who shows up to stoke the fires of the national anthem "kneeling controversy" but Donald Trump.
Once again, this blithering idiot is attempting to distract people from his own foibles by calling out (in a Twitter "tweet" no less) the NFL owners and players for the actions several players have taken the last two years.
Trump needs to put a sock in it because he went down on TWO KNEES for Vladimir Putin, Russia's leader last week during a summit in Helsinki.
What a hypocrite!
In fact, I will call him out and continue to do so as he attempts to mislead the American people in his quest to become a dictator.
Good luck with that one because there were many who claimed former presidents Barack Obama (accused by the right wing) and George W. Bush (accused by the left wing) were trying the same stunt with their actions while occupying the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.
Everyone needs to just relax regarding the matter.
Problem is the former two presidents mentioned knew how to reign in their thoughts and not mindlessly "tweet" everything at various hours of the day.
Trump has no discipline and thus makes a fool of himself on a regular basis.
His display in Helsinki last week as he meekly met with Putin was a disgrace.
He actually sided with Putin over the intelligence agencies here in the United States when it comes to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections.
That borders on treason some have said and rightfully so. NEVER in the history of the USA has a sitting president (or former POTUS for that matter) gone on record with such words.
This guy needs to just shut up and stop with the tweeting and let the NFL decide what they want to do about the players taking a knee during the national anthem.
It's none of his business.
Where does he get off trying to tell an established football league how to conduct its business?
Oh wait, that's right . . . Trump was rejected by NFL owners decades ago when he was attempting to become an owner of an NFL team after he played a big role in ruining the USFL in the mid 1980's.
Vengeance is a huge part of Trump's motives it seems.
Also remember that Trump's wrestling promoter pal Vince McMahon is bringing back the defunct XFL (football league that lasted one year back in 2001) in a couple of years. Perhaps there is personal monetary reasons for him to continually slam the NFL in an attempt to draw people to that league and perhaps line his own pockets along with McMahon and other business partners.
As the players report to training camps around the NFL this week, there is a renewed sense of attitude as 31 other teams attempt to dethrone the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. By the way, Trump claims he "dis-invited" the Eagles for a visit to the White House a couple of months ago, but the fact is most of the team refused to visit Trump in D.C. because they don't agree with his policies.
That isn't the first time players have sat out visits to the White House following a championship season. One of the first times it happened was back in 1991 when one Michael Jordan skipped the Chicago Bulls trip to visit with George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States.
Since then, it has happened on both sides of the political aisle. In fact, in 2011-12, former Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas refused to join his Stanley Cup champion teammates when they went to the White House with Barack Obama as the sitting president.
Point is it's nobody's business what the NFL owners and players decide to do this upcoming season on this matter.
Perhaps the league should go back to the days when the anthem was conducted and the players weren't even on the field yet. That changed about a decade ago when promoters and marketing gurus thought it would be a good idea to use military members (both current and former members) as props during the playing of the national anthem.
There is no controversy here and Trump needs to know that and get off the "fake news" crap he spews at his rallies to people who adore him. Fact is in the USA people have the RIGHT to choose their destination.
No one (including the president) can dictate what people of this country can or cannot do or what to think.
I personally stand at attention for the anthem at sports events and other venues when it is played, but I would never attempt to force anyone else to do the same.
That is the American way and always has been and will continue to be unless people allow themselves to eventually be dictated to.
God forbid that should ever happen here in the United States of America.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Putin's Puppet

This traitor should be thrown out on his ass from the White House immediately.

Wake Up my fellow Americans !

Sunday, July 15, 2018

It's All-Star Break Around Major League Baseball

The All-Star Break is here as Major League Baseball takes off for the next few days as the best in the game gather in Washington, D.C. for the annual mid-summer classic.
Here at Heftyinfo the game of baseball isn't necessarily covered on a regular basis, but the game is well respected as evidenced each year with the MLB predictions prior to the start of the season and once again when the post-season rolls around in October.
The picks this year have been hit and miss as far as accuracy, but that happens pretty regularly when it comes to making prognostications about sports.
For a brief breakdown around the major leagues, the following offers some insight to how things have gone so far in this baseball season and what to possibly expect at the end of the season.


In the East Division, it's been all about the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees in 2018, as they are dominating. The Tampa Bay Rays have been a real pleasant surprise to this point and are a dark horse for the second wild card spot. Toronto is playing as expected to this point and the Baltimore Orioles have been a complete disaster in 2018 after contending for the last five or six years.
The Central Division has been pretty bad this year. The Cleveland Indians are running away with the division with a so-so record at the break.
The West has three solid teams with the defending World Series champion Houston Astros leading the way. The Seattle Mariners have been playing out of their minds so far and the Oakland A's have been one of the hottest teams in the game for the past month to get them into contention for the post-season.


The Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves are leading the way in the East Division so far with the Washington Nationals (huge favorites to win the NL East again) lagging behind to this point. The New York Mets and Miami Marlins are just playing it out for the rest of the regular season.
In the Central Division, the Chicago Cubs are getting it rolling with the best record in the senior circuit at the All Star break. The Milwaukee Brewers might be getting a sense of deja vu as they have slumped badly going into the break and have fallen into second place after enjoying a strong start. The St. Louis Cardinals hope to shake things up after firing their manager this weekend and still have an outside shot for a wild card spot. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds will be playing the spoiler roles.
Out in the National League West, it's a free for all as four teams are battling it out for the crown the Los Angeles Dodgers have won for the past five years. The Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks are neck and neck so far while the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies are within shouting distance with plenty of baseball left to be played. San Diego is just playing out the string for the remainder of this season.

The original pick for the World Series was the Houston Astros beating the Los Angeles Dodgers once again and that might still happen. However, the Chicago Cubs have served noticed they are the team to beat in the National League with the best record to this point.
Over in the American League, the Astros will face stiff challenges from the Yankees and Red Sox and possibly the Indians when the playoffs begin. 
Anything can happen and that will likely prove to be the case once again in the next two and a half months of the remaining 2018 season.

For now, let's enjoy the All-Star Game on Tuesday night in Washington, D.C. and then move on to see what unfolds in the next three months.

See you in October . . .

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Rest In Peace Big Guy

RIP Ed Schultz  - former host on MSNBC and WCPT-AM (Chicago) Progressive Talk Radio.

Thank you for all you did for the progressive cause and standing up for the good working men and women and Unions all across the United States of America.

You will be missed my friend.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Spirit of '76, Part II: If you're lost, check the map

(Note - This column is by Neil Steinberg, from today's Chicago Sun-Times. An appropriate piece of writing for this Fourth of July holiday.)
It is essentially a memo drafted by a committee, albeit one that had the good sense to delegate the work to the best writer in the group, Thomas Jefferson.
The 33-year-old Virginian required - anyone sweating a deadline please take note - 18 days to turn around his assignment, writing the first draft of the Declaration of Independence in quill and ink in his rented two-room suite at the home of Philadelphia bricklayer Jacob Gaff.
I would imagine the the average supposedly patriotic American ready to expound on how the intentions of the founders should guide our daily lives today has little idea of what the Declaration of Independence actually says.
Such as our president, currently picking a new Supreme Court justice to serve for 20 or 30 years, eagerly embracing the supposed original intentions of the founders, when useful. But what were the intentions of our founders, originally? As outlined at the start, in our founding document, the first road map, a declaration so important we honor its final adoption on July 4, 1776, to this very day.
Yes, it formally announces our formal break with Great Britain. But why? Does it give a hint of a reason, beyond the famous but vague phrases about self-evident truths and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
Yes, it does. The bulk of 1,337 words are a protracted list of grievances against one man, King George III, the "Author of our Miseries," to use the words of Richard Henry Lee.
Thirteen consecutive paragraphs, each beginning "He has . . ." give a list of detailed gripes. The king "refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good." He called together "legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant." He dissolved legislatures and blocked elections.
Then this, the seventh complaint:
"He has endeavoured to prevent population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands."
What was that? "Obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners"?! A key reason our founding fathers offered to justify wrenching away from their mother country and fighting a bloody revolutionary war was because Great Britain was interfering with our ability to process immigrants? Because we knew we needed them in order to build and maintain a healthy country?
Gosh. Kinda makes you wish that the people supporting our current president could process new information and amend their opinions based on that information.
Thank God the rest of us can do that, and run these people out of office beginning in November the way the American patriots ran off the British and their loyalist supporters. Always good to remember: A quarter of the country stayed loyal to Britain.
Our nation, from its first baby step, had to deal with those desperate to dwell in the past. It didn't start in 2016.
So put out the flag and say the pledge. In honor, not just of the words of the Declaration of Independence, which guide us to this day, but the men who affixed their names to it and the women who supported them.
Who were not going to spend their lives taking orders from some regal despot enfolded in luxury who had no idea what this country actually needed. Who would reject "a Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."
Hmm, familiar. Half the country gets this, the other half never will. In the next two years, the two sides will battle to decide if our current state is a historical detour -- one of many -- or the ditch where our quest for freedom will end, upside down, wheels spinning. Whether American history is a funnel with Thomas Jefferson going in one end and Donald Trump popping out the other.
On this July 4, remember the Declaration of Independence. Also remember the founders, brave patriots who took a bold stand at great personal cost. The British were hurrying boatloads of troops in New York even as the declaration was being written.
Many founders lost their lives, land, riches, all because they saw the magnificent nation the United States could become and has indeed been, with noteworthy lapses. The honest, free, law-abiding nation it remains, despire all, and might yet continue to be.
Happy Fourth of July.