Sunday, September 11, 2016

2009 NFL Football Coverage Undergoing Some Big Changes

There are a lot of changes going on in this year’s coverage of the NFL. What kind of “inside the game perspective” can we expect?

With John Madden leaving the sports coverage industry, a lot of things have been moved around on NBC’s broadcast of Sunday Night Football, a.k.a. “Football Night in America.” For starters, Chris Collinsworth will be taking Madden’s place and will be calling games with Al Michaels. Collinsworth has always brought a straightforward perspective to his analysis of football games. Often pointing out the little things that players are doing wrong both on and off the field, Collinsworth does a great job of defining the line between success and failure in the NFL. While he won’t be as colorful as John Madden (and who would be), he will be a lot better shining a light on the lesser-known aspects of the game that make a big difference in football contests.

Of course, if Collinsworth is in the booth, that means someone has to take his spot in the studio-actually, make that two somebodies. Tony Dungy, the recently retired Indianapolis Colts head coach, will be one of those somebodies, becoming the only coach in the studio, and the first one in quite some time. Even though Dungy was a part of NBC’s coverage of the Super Bowl this past year, many people doubt whether or not Dungy can offer up the type of criticism and objective analysis that drives sports coverage. Dungy is the nicest person you will ever meet, and he hasn’t said very many bad things about anyone. Thus, it will be interesting to see how willingly he brings that coach’s eye and mouth to the broadcast.

Rodney Harrison will also be joining Dungy in the NBC Studio. The just-retired safety, who was also known as the dirtiest player in the NFL, will bring his fierce opinions and commentary to the broadcast. Harrison is the exact opposite of Dungy, as he probably gave more than his fair share of criticism before he even started covering NFL games professional. No one has any idea how he will be when he is forced to give his opinions, but many doubt that he won’t be extremely entertaining.

Moving on to another network, ESPN will be welcoming John Gruden to the booth for its coverage of Monday Night Football. In a somewhat surprising move that saw Tony Kornheiser “step down” from the position, ESPN wasted no time signing the very vocal Gruden, who recently found himself without a coaching gig for the upcoming season. Over the past couple of years, Gruden has given the media some of their best material. From his feuding with Keyshawn Johnson, to his touting of the mantra “pound that rock” that led his 2002 Bucs to a Super Bowl, Gruden has never shied away from the attention. Now he will get 3 hours of media time every week. Gruden has never actually had a regular broadcasting gig before, so this will be the first time the nation gets to hear him on television. However, he definitely has a tremendous understanding of NFL offenses, thus the prospect of hearing his analysis alongside that of Ron Jaworski’s should make the football purists very excited.

Tags:2009 NFL Football Coverage Undergoing Some Big Changes

2009 NFL Mock Draft- First Round

This is the first round of my 2009 NFL mock draft, for more information about what that is and links to great mock draft websites click here. Revised now for the 4thtime my 2009 NFL mock draft is almost as complete as it will ever be. I plan to update my mock one more time before the 2009 NFL draft. So welcome to the first round of my 2009 NFL mock draft, please leave comments and you can check my profile for my older versions.

1 Detroit Lions- Matthew Stafford QB Georgia

I had Andre Smith going here but his antics at the 2009 NFL draft combine have dropped him. Stafford will sit the pine and learn the game while Culpepper gets hammered behind this weak offensive line.

2 St. Louis Rams- Eugene Monroe OT Virginia

At 6ft 5 and a half, weighing 310 pounds Monroe has a little room to pick up even more bulk. He has had some injury problems but will be able to replace Orlando Pace at that important left tackle spot.

3 Kansas City Chiefs- Jason Smith OT Baylor

With the trade for Matt Cassel the need for a quarterback is gone. But Jason Smith is needed to help rebuild a Chiefs offensive line that is a shell of its former self.

4 Seattle Seahawks- Michael Oher OT Ole Miss

I had the Seahawks taking a wide receiver here but with the addition of T.J. Houshmandzadeh that need isn’t as pressing. Michael Oher will help with an ageing Seattle Seahawks offensive line.

5 Cleveland Browns- Aaron Curry LB- Wake Forrest

I had Curry ranked lower than this which was probably a mistake. I had Knowshon Moreno here but his stock fell with a slow 40 time at the combine. Curry will add some pop to a lackluster Browns defense.

6- Cincinnati Bengals- Brian Orakpo DE/LB Texas

The Bengals need help in lots of places but Brian Orakpo makes the most sense at this point in my 2009 NFL mock draft.

7 Oakland Raiders- Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech

The Raiders need a wide receiver and will snatch up Crabtree despite the injury. Terrell Owens had a similar injury and did ok afterwards. Crabtree is well worth a pick at this point due to his vast potential.

8 Jacksonville Jaguars- Malcolm Jenkins CB Ohio State

Michael Jenkins can help a Jaguars secondary by playing either safety or corner.

9 Green Bay Packers- Aaron Maybin LB Penn State

Maybin could play defensive end or linebacker and Green Bay is running a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Aaron Maybin would be a good fit and you never have enough pass rushers.

10 San Francisco 49ers– Mark Sanchez QBUSC

Mark Sanchez will give San Francisco a quarterback of the future and maybe some fans in the seats.

11 Buffalo Bills- Everette Brown DE Florida State

Terrell Owens addressed a need on the offensive side of the ball now the Bills go after the best pass rusher on the board.

12 Denver Broncos– B.J. Raji DT Boston College

The Broncos are ecstatic when Raji, the best defensive tackle in the 2009 NFL draft falls this far.

13 Washington Redskins- Andre Smith OT Alabama

Bad attitude and combo aside the Redskins are always willing to roll the dice. Andre Smith is a talent, and if he pans out the Washington Redskins have the steal of the draft.

14 New Orleans Saints– Vontae Davis CB Illinois

Davis will fill a need for the Saints whose pass defense was pretty bad at times in 2008. However if Knowshon Marino falls this far the Saints may bite. Reggie Bush is injured often, Aaron Stecker is a free agent and the thought is that Deuce McAllister won’t be with the team next season. There is a chance that the Saints will trade for Ladainian Tomlinson or sign him as a free agent before draft day.

15 Houston Texans- Brian Cushing LB USC

Brian Cushing brings some young legs and talent to the linebacking unit of an improving Houston Texan defense.

16 San Diego Chargers- Rey MaualugaLB USC

You can never have enough linebackers in the 3-4 defense and Maualuga will be a good fit with Merriman or as a replacement for him if he does not come back from injury.

17 New York Jets- Tyson Jackson DL LSU

Jackson will bring some youth to the defensive line and can play end in the Jets 3-4 defense under new coach Rex Ryan.

18 Chicago Bears- Jerry Maclin WR Missouri

The Bears are shocked that Maclin falls this far and will snatch him up to help a bad passing game.

19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers– Josh Freeman QB Kansas State

Taking Freeman here does two things. He gives Tampa Bay a 6 ft 6 249 pound quarterback to groom and keeps him from falling to the Vikes who will be looking for a QB.

20 Detroit Lions (From Dallas) – Duke Robinson G Oklahoma

The Lions add the best guard on most draft lists as they start to work on that offensive line.

21 Philadelphia Eagles- Eben Britton OT Arizona

The Eagles made it known they are looking for offensive linemen in free agency and the draft. Britton really has the size at 6-6 and over 300 pounds to be a good offensive lineman. His play improved when he was switched to left tackle at Arizona.

22 Minnesota Vikings- Percy Harvin WR Florida

The Vikings could go O line or DB here but I think Percy Harvin will help the running game by spreading the field.

23 New England Patriots- James Laurinaitis LB Ohio State

The Patriots need linebackers in the worst way and James Laurinaitis is their type of player and will excel in the 3-4 defense.

Atlanta Falcons- Brandon Pettigrew TE Oklahoma State

24 The Falcons will remember how much Michael Vick loved Algie Crumpler in his prime. Matt Ryan will love throwing to the best tight end in the 2009 NFL draft. Ignore Pettigrew’s slow 40 time at the combine he can play the game.

25 Miami Dolphins- Clint Sintim LB Virginia

Sintim could play linebacker or end for the Dolphins and can really get to the passer. I wouldn’t be shocked however to see the Dolphins go offensive line or receiver here.

26 Baltimore Ravens- Clay Matthews LB USC

Clay Matthews will help replace Bart Scott and to get Baltimore ready for Ray Lewis’s retirement a year or two from now.

27 Indianapolis Colts- Peria Jerry DT Ole Miss

Peria Jerry is 6ft 1 and weighs just under 300 pounds and runs a sub 5.0 40 yard dash. He could help shore up bad Colts defensive line

28 Philadelphia Eagles- Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia

This may be the major screw up of my 2009 NFL mock draft’s first round. But Moreno may fall this far and the Eagles will snatch him up as he is the better blocker than Wells.

29 New York Giants– Kenny Britt WR Rutgers

Right there in the Giants backyard at Rutgers will be their possible replacement for Plaxico Burress. Kenny Britt is big at 6-4 and 215 pounds, he should be able to block as well as act as a possession wide receiver.

30 Tennessee Titans– Ron Brace DT Boston College

With Albert Haynesworth probably leaving as a free agent, DT becomes a need for the Tennessee Titans. Brace is big enough to plug holes and athletic enough to get the occasional sack.

31 Arizona Cardinals- Chris “Beanie” Wells RB Ohio State

“Beanie” Wells may well not fall this far but if he does the Cardinals will snatch him up. I just think in this average crop of running backs that teams will load up on backs in later rounds.

32 Pittsburgh Steelers- – Phil Loadholt ( I bet Chris Berman can’t wait to announce this name) OT Oklahoma

6ft 8 inches tall and weighing 343 pounds he is made for the Steelers offensive line. Off the field problems may prevent them taking him. But I think they will go O line for sure and he makes sense.

Tags:2009 NFL Mock Draft- First Round

2009 NFL Draft Predictions: Chris "Beanie" Wells

Chris “Beanie” Wells is foregoing his senior year at Ohio State University to enter the 2009 NFL draft. Ranked as the number two linebacker and 18th overall by Scout.com, Wells has many things going for him and a few issues working against him.

During Beanie’s career at Ohio State, he was plagued by injuries. Most recently, Wells missed three and a half games in the 2008 season including the debacle at USC due to a foot injury.

Another weakness for Chris Wells is his catching ability. He only caught the ball 15 times for 84 yards during his OSU career. Poor hands? Or did the Buckeyes capitalize on Beanie’s running capabilities?

Wells’ strengths are obvious. He has acceleration, field vision and power. Through the last three years as a Buckeye, Chris carried the ball 585 times for 3,382 yards and 30 touchdowns in 33 games. During OSU’s recent Pro Day, Wells bettered his 40 time by 0.2 of a second over his February combine times.There is no doubt Chris Wells will be an asset to any team he joins as long as he stays healthy. There is a difference between college football and the pros and Beanie is facing a challenge at whatever training camp he reports to.

Ranked by Scout.com as the number 2 running back in the draft and 18th overall, Chris Wells will be drafted without doubt. Over at Fantasyplayers.com, six mock drafts each have Wells being drafted in the first round anywhere from sixth to 28th.

Concern over Wells’ prior injuries will leave NFL coaches and owners debating the odds of keeping him healthy. I predict Chris “Beanie” Wells will be drafted in the first round. If not taken higher, Philadelphia is in need of a running back after losing Correll Buckhalter and his short-yardage abilities – something Wells is very adept at.

Sources: http://ift.tt/2c8u7mm; http://ift.tt/2cnw5N0; http://ift.tt/2c8tIQy

Tags:2009 NFL Draft Predictions: Chris “Beanie” Wells

2009 NFL Draft Preview: Mark Sanchez

Is top-ranked Mark Sanchez really the best quarterback in the 2009 NFL Draft?

The USC redshirt junior only has one full season of starting experience under his belt, but it was a terrific year for Sanchez. With a pass proficiency of better than 65 percent, Sanchez threw for 3,207 yards and 34 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions. In his final college game, he led the Trojans to an easy defeat of mid-season contenders Penn State in the Rose Bowl, completing 28 of 35 pass attempts for 413 yards and four touchdowns.

During the press conference in which Mark Sanchez announced his intentions to declare for the 2009 NFL Draft, USC head coach Pete Carroll expressed his adamant opposition to the decision. Lest there be any question, Sanchez will graduate in the spring of 2009 with a degree from USC. The only thing Mark Sanchez will be giving up is his final year of NCAA eligibility – and experience.

Sanchez’s lack of experience seems to be the biggest challenge facing any team thinking about drafting him. He will not be able to jump in and take the helm for anyone but will rather be an incredibly talented back-up quarterback for a team having time to train him properly.

Mark Sanchez is described as “cerebral”. He has the ability to make the right read and his accuracy is unquestionable. He is very strong, but his throws are consistently catchable. The combine report states that Sanchez is capable of throwing any NFL pass necessary – including the deep throw. There is concern that the strength of the USC team as a whole may have made him look better than he is.

If Sanchez isn’t selected earlier, the New York Jets have room on their roster for his talents and will also give the Jets some great media attention.

Sources: http://ift.tt/2cnvI4V; http://ift.tt/2c8t064; http://ift.tt/2cnwL4N;

Tags:2009 NFL Draft Preview: Mark Sanchez

2009 Oscar Picks: Upset if Heath Ledger Doesn't Win

While it’s not the Super Bowl, the annual Academy Awards seem to encourage just as many friendly wagers. If you’ve missed out on some of the nominated films this year but still want to bet wisely, here are a few picks for three of the main categories.

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button seemed like an early and heavy favorite, but for all of its many nominations, it seems to have fallen out of the race. According to IMDB.com, Button was nominated for four Golden Globes with no wins and eleven BAFTAs, winning only three in the technical categories. It seems the only Oscars that Button is likely to take home out of its potential thirteen will be for makeup and visual effects.

Out of the other nominated films The Reader, Milk, Frost/Nixon, and Slumdog Millionaire, Slumdog should take the win. It tells a classic story of love lost and found with verve and heart and is precisely the sort of film that moviegoers in today’s uncertain atmosphere will respond to. Not to mention it already has some momentum behind it with wins from the Critics Choice Awards, BAFTAS, and Golden Globes. Don’t be surprised if Danny Boyle takes the Oscar for Best Director, too.

Best Actress: Kate Winslet

She may be up against the venerable Meryl Streep, but Kate is nothing if not a contender. This is her sixth Oscar nomination with no wins, but according to IMDB, this year she has already taken home a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and a Critics Choice Award for her performance in The Reader. She was the best thing in a film difficult to watch, and earns her kudos for her unselfconsciousness and ability to garner sympathy for a character who deliberately dissuades it. Unfortunately for Streep, this year looks to have only extended her streak of eleven nominations since her 1983 win for Best Actress.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger

The greatest upset of the evening would result if Heath Ledger did not win the Academy Award for his incredible performance in The Dark Knight. In its list of Oscar picks, Moviefone cites Ledger’s’ odds of winning as 50:1. As much as I would love for someone like Robert Downey Jr. to take home a statuette for a comedic role (traditionally snubbed by Oscar voters), there’s simply no betting against this one.

Watch the 81st annual Academy Awards live on Sunday, February 22nd, beginning at 5PT/8ET on ABC.

Sources:

“Oscars 2009 – Winner Predictions for the 81st Academy Awards”, Moviefone
“81st Annual Academy Awards Nominees”, Oscar.com
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) – Awards”, Internet Movie DataBase
“Slumdog Millionaire (2008) – Awards”, Internet Movie DataBase
“Kate Winslet – Awards”, Internet Movie DataBase
“Meryl Streep – Awards”, Internet Movie DataBase

Tags:2009 Oscar Picks: Upset if Heath Ledger Doesn’t Win

2009 NFL Week 4 Predictions: NFC North - Packers at Vikings, Lions at Bears

Week 4 in the 2009 NFL Season could be a very interesting one, particularly in the NFC North where all the action will be contained in two division games. It’s in the 4th week where the division standings begin to take shape, and there have been some significant surprises in the first three weeks. The NFC North could either come out with clear leaders and losers or an early-season deadlock.

Detroit (1-2) at Chicago (2-1)

The Detroit Lions are a major x-factor here. They’re coming off a big win against the Redskins, and nobody actually remembers what the Lions are like coming off a win. They could be totally awesome. Then again if they were awesome, they probably wouldn’t have had that 19-game losing streak in the first place. (That’s over a thousand minutes of losing football.)

Let’s be honest here. The Bears are not a good football team without Brian Urlacher. The luck that carried them to an undeserved win against the Seahawks won’t last forever. Lacking Brian Urlacher, the Bears also lack intensity and on-field leadership.

For those who would argue the on-field leadership issue, please note that Jay Cutler is not a valid argument. Jay Cutler is not a leader. He’s a second-rate Tom Brady: all the whining of the NFL poster boy, but with way less production than Brady. Then again, the Bears aren’t cheaters like the Patriots, so calling Jay Cutler a second-rate Tom Brady isn’t really fair. So we’ll just call them both irritating jagoffs.

Another Detroit victory here would really shake things up in the NFC North by putting them even with the Bears, and since I hate the Bears my scientific prediction is Lions 24, Bears 16.

Green Bay (2-1) at Minnesota (3-0)

It’s a matter of two plays that would transpose these two teams’ records-Green Bay pulling off a game-winning touchdown pass against the Bengals in Week 2 and Brett Favre missing the mark on his Hail Mary to end of Week 3 would have changed the dynamic going into Week 4. Instead, the Packers will come into the game as underdogs. Regardless, the teams’ records at this point seem almost arbitrary-they’re both top-level teams in terms of the NFC North, but have been performing like mid-level contenders compared to the NFL as a whole.

Having said that, what else can be said about this game? People have been making predictions about this game since before the 2008 season when the idea that Favre would end up on the Vikings roster was pure speculation. Now that it will actually come to pass, what’s left to predict?

The fine sportswriters at InYourMomsFace.com have provided some of the most creative (and disturbing) predictions, going as far as predicting a massive riot in Wisconsin and the desecration of the Brett Favre Steakhouse.

It seems logical that after Brett Favre’s miraculous “buzzer beater” play to pull off the victory in Week 3, the Vikings are going to allow him a little more freedom to break out the “gunslinger” shtick rather than simply allowing Adrian Peterson to carry the team from week to week. This will work to the Packers’ benefit in the form of interceptions. Favre’s consistent inconsistency along with Green Bay’s new turnover-factory defensive scheme is a recipe for either disaster or success, depending on which side of the Minnesota-Wisconsin border you happen to fall on.

As long as the Packers can step up their run containment and continue the improvements on the offensive line they showed in Week 3, they’ll win. Packers 37, Vikings 12.

Tags:2009 NFL Week 4 Predictions: NFC North - Packers at Vikings, Lions at Bears

2009 NFL Week 2 Predictions and Picks

Ah, it’s week number 2 of the NFL 2009 season. What did we learn last week? The Bears are still not so great. Now they’ll be without Brian Urlacher. Not good considering the defending Super Bowl Champ Pittsburgh Steelers visit Soldier Field. But I’m gonna go upset all the way with this big game of the week. Chicago will not only win week number 2 but they’ll win big at home. Bears and Cutler go off for a 34-21 win! Roethlisberger struggles against a Bears defense that doesn’t allow much time to think. And if you know Roethlisberger he hangs on to the ball a little too long sometimes. He’ll get pounded and the Bears grab a much needed victory.

Giants and Cowboys on Sunday night? The Cowboys looked good in a road win. The Giants D is still good. It could be another terrific rivarly game. My week 2 prediction for this one? Cowboys win it 26-17. Romo two touchdown passes and Barber adds another. Eli Manning with 3 big picks.

Saints and the Eagles? I’m going with Philadelphia just on the fact I don’t believe the Saints offense got a real look at a good defense last week. That’ll change this week and it will be culture shock. My pick is the Eagles win a shootout 32-28.

Baltimore at San Diego? My prediction is the Chargers roar over the Ravens. Joe Flacco returns to his rookie form, which wasn’t really that bad, but it’s not good enough to win in San Diego. Chargers 33 Ravens 14.

Colts at Miami? Indianapolis struggles but figures out a way to win late. Peyton Manning and his fourth quarter rally gets the Colts by 21-17.

Other picks and predictions for 2009 NFL Week 2? Oakland wins on the road at Kansas City 24-23. Tennessee runs Houston out of Nashville 31-10. New England plays for real for the first time this season with a 37-20 win over New York. Green Bay embarasses Cincinnati in the blowout of the week 44-13. Vikings and Favre win at Detroit, but who doesn’t.. The final 27-10. Atlanta just nips Carolina 31-28. Washington loses at St. Louis in a bit of a shocker 21-20. Jacksonville is too much for Arizona and the Jags win 24-16. San Francisco wins at home over Seattle 13-10. Buffalo edges Tampa Bay 20-14. Cleveland wins at Denver 23-17.

Tags:2009 NFL Week 2 Predictions and Picks

2009 NFL Picks: Week 5

We’re already in week 5 of the NFL season, and some off-season questions have already been answered. How will the Colts respond to a new coach? Pretty well, I think. Will the Lions win a game this year? Yes indeed. But a few new questions have emerged as well. Are the 4-0 Broncos for real? Have the Rams officially taken over as the worst team in the league? I’ll answer those questions and more as I give you my week 5 picks.

(Home teams in caps)

Vikings (-10) over RAMS

They literally can’t make this spread high enough, as the Rams are definitely the newly crowned worst team in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Vikings are riding high after their win against the Packers, and everything seems to be clicking for them. As seen in their week one victory over the lowly Browns, Adrian Peterson can do some mean things against a bad team.

Cowboys (-8) over CHIEFS

This spread is fairly incredible considering what the Cowboys have shown us this year, and how the Chiefs kept it close last week against the Giants. Everyone is all over Tony Romo, and I just have a feeling that he’s going to respond this week. They’ll run the ball better this week against KC, and I think that will help Romo have a little bit more time and make the throws he needs to make. I also think the the Dallas defensive line will be able to show their pass rushing ability this week and tee off against Matt Cassel.

PANTHERS (-3.5) over Redskins

Not much going on in this game. I think the Panthers will have an effective running attack this week after a week off last week. Big fantasy day for DeAngelo Williams at home this week.

Bucs (+15) over EAGLES

The Eagles are coming off of a bye week and have a (supposedly) healthy Donovan McNabb. On the other hand, Josh Johnson looked capable last week for Tampa Bay, and 15 points seems a bit too much for this game. We don’t know what we’re getting quite yet with McNabb, and I feel like the Eagles won’t take this game too seriously if they’re up. When in doubt, take the points.

Bengals (+8.5) over RAVENS

The Ravens are a great team this year and should definitely win this game. That being said, the Bengals have a lot of things going on this year on offense with a healthy Carson Palmer and Ochocinco looking good this year. Ravens win, but it’s close. Also, apparently Chad Ochocinco is planning a “Ricky Bobby” style touchdown celebration this week. Stay tuned.

GIANTS (-15) over Raiders

With or without Eli Manning, this is a blowout. The Raiders might have their coach arrested for assault at any time, combined with getting nothing out of Darren McFadden and JaMarcus Russell overthrowing every receiver by 10 yards isn’t a good combination against one of the best teams in football on the road.

Steelers (-10.5) over LIONS

Inspired performance by Mendenhall again this week and with Stafford possibly out, it doesn’t look good for the Lions this week.

BILLS (-6) over Browns

Last weeks game against Miami was very discouraging for the Bills. Trent Edwards looked particularly terrible, and the game got away from them fairly quickly . Conversely, the Browns played well with Derek Anderson at the helm and lost a heart breaker to a good Bengals team. I think the Browns will have a hangover from last weeks game, and won’t have the defense to shut down the Bills running game and force Edwards to have to win the game.

Falcons (+2.5) over NINERS

One of the hardest games of the week to call. The Falcons didn’t look too good against the Pats two weeks ago, but had a bye week to prepare for a Frank Gore-less Forty Niners team that had beat up on a worthless Rams team. I think Matt Ryan connects with Tony Gonzalez late to eek out a victory.

Jags (pk) over SEAHAWKS

The Seahawks disappointed last week in a winnable game against the Bears. Another tough game to call, but I think David Garrard and MJD have enough momentum going for them to win this game.

Texans (+5.5) over CARDS

This is a battle against two fickle teams, that look great one minute and terrible the next. I’ve talked myself into both picks, but couldn’t give up the 5.5 points. Again, when in doubt, take the points.

BRONCOS (+3.5) over Patriots

This is the game of the week, and has a lot of storylines. I think McDaniels has a slight advantage knowing a lot of the personnel of the Pats and possibly knowing some of Belichick’s tendencies. I also think the the Broncos defense is for real, even if their offense is a little sloppy. I the match up of Champ Bailey against Randy Moss is intriguing, and I’m interested to see how this new look Patriots defense will handle a spread. I think it’s a field goal win either way you look at it, making that .5 point oh so important.

Colts (-3.5) over TITANS

This is an easy lock of the week pick. The Colts offense has looked unstoppable, while the Titans have looked anything but good. I think Manning is a machine this year, and is finding out that some of his young players can really play. The Titans are in disarray, and 3.5 points is a shock in this game.

Jets (-1.5) over DOLPHINS

The Jets are coming off of a terrible game for their offense. Meanwhile, the Dolphins looked great last week against the Bills. I think the Jets defense isn’t getting the praise it deserves this week. Drew Brees and the Saints offense didn’t get too much on the Jets defense, as all of their scores last week were either by or set up by the Saints defense. I think the Jets will handle the wildcat and Ronnie Brown, forcing Chad Henne to win the game for them. I don’t think that he is quite capable of that yet, even if he might get there one day. Adding Braylon Edwards can only help Mark Sanchez, and I think the offense will have a better game this week.

Tags:2009 NFL Picks: Week 5

2009 NFL Season Preview: New England Patriots

Brady’s back. Will those two little words sum up the 2009 NFL season?

If Tom Brady’s past performance is any indicator, indeed it will. Last September during the 2008 season opener, Brady suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season. Without him, the Patriots went 11-5 for a second-place finish in the AFC East division, missing out on the post-season for the first time since 2002. Contrast this to 2007 when Tom Brady led the Patriots to a perfect 16-0 in the regular season, a season marred only by the 3-point loss to the NY Giants in Superbowl XLII.

If the Patriots had what it took for a near-perfect season in 2007, does the team have what it needs to repeat the feat in 2009?

Patriot’s receiver, Randy Moss seems to think so. In May, Moss told ESPN.com’s Tim Graham: “The sky’s the limit for this offense. I think that we could be a little bit better than two years ago. I’m very excited for us as an offense. I’m excited for us as a team.”

Mike Reiss, football writer for the Boston Globe, agrees. In an interview with NFL Total Access, Reiss points out that for both Moss and fellow star receiver Wes Welker, the 2007 season was their “first year in a pretty complicated offensive system. And now they’re in year three and you get Tom Brady back at quarterback…and this tells me, yes, this could be a more explosive offensive attack.”

What, if anything, can stop the Patriots this year?

Stop Brady and you stop the Pats. The Patriots appear to have the ingredients they need for a great team this year. The key will be keeping everyone healthy. This goes especially for Brady.

Reiss suggests we go back to Brady’s last full game, Superbowl LXII against the Giants, to see a key weakness in the Pats’ game. Says Reiss, “When they lost to the Giants, they [the Pats] got overwhelmed a bit at the line of scrimmage. Can the offensive line hold up when they go to the spread attack? Can they protect so this offense can be the prolific attack it projects to be?”

As broadcaster and former Patriot Steve DeOssie explains it in Tim Graham’s AFC East Blog, “Defenses like to smell blood. If they think that there’s a little weakness there, they’re going to be coming after Brady.”

In his blog, Graham cites ESPN stats showing Brady tied for first place among NFL quarterbacks taking hits during the 2006 and 2007 seasons, with a combined 86 hits by pass-rushers. And last year’s team didn’t do any better at protecting replacement quarterback, Matt Cassel, who got sacked 47 times, more than any other quarterback last season.

All the dreams of a renewed Patriots dynasty are teetering on one reconstructed knee. Pats fans are hoping the surgeon threw in some bionic parts when they rebuilt the knee of their “Six Million Dollar Man” (or, make that 14.6 Million Dollar Man when adjusted for inflation).

Key Games: The Pats have two games against last year’s division winner Miami. New England lost to Miami last year to end their 21-game regular season winning streak. They went on to beat Miami later in the season. This year the Pats should have weather on their side as they are in Miami for their November match-up and at New England for the December game. The Pats will need to win at least one of these games if they want to see the post-season.

Season Prediction: 14-2 and back on top of the AFC East

Sources:

Tim Graham, Moss: Pats offense can be scarier than ’07, ESPN.com

Tim Graham, Pressure on Pats’ O-line to protect rebuilt Brady, ESPN.com

NFL Total Access, NFL Videos: Patriots’ 2009 expectations, NFL.com

NFL.com

Tags:2009 NFL Season Preview: New England Patriots

2009 NFL Week 17 Picks and Predictions - Final Week of Regular Season!

It is hard to believe that week 17 of NFL football action is already upon us but it is. The NFC is pretty much squared away for the playoffs, short of who will be seeded where, but the AFC is all upside down and inside out. Here is how I see the games shaking down. Remember, if you want in depth coverage as to how and why I think a team or game will come out, then visit our website, NFL picks and predictions. (Click blue link) Thanks so much for a great year, and be on the lookout for game previews and predictions for every playoff game this season!

SUN, JAN 3

Indianapolis at Buffalo –

Winner – Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville at Cleveland-

Winner – Jacksonville Jaguars

Chicago at Detroit-

Winner – Chicago Bears

San Francisco at St. Louis-

Winner – San Francisco 49ers

Pittsburgh at Miami-

Winner – Pittsburgh Steelers

NY Giants at Minnesota-

Winner – Minnesota Vikings

Atlanta at Tampa Bay-

Winner – Atlanta Falcons

New Orleans at Carolina-

Winner – Carolina Panthers

New England at Houston-

Winner – New England Patriots

Green Bay at Arizona-

Winner – Arizona Cardinals

Washington at San Diego-

Winner – San Diego Chargers

Tennessee at Seattle-

Winner – Tennessee Titans

Baltimore at Oakland-

Winner – Baltimore Ravens

Philadelphia at Dallas-

Winner – Dallas Cowboys

Kansas City at Denver-

Winner – Denver Broncos

Cincinnati at NY Jets-

Winner – NY Jets

Week Sixteen Straight Up – 12 – 4

Season Record Straight Up – 153 – 87

Tags:2009 NFL Week 17 Picks and Predictions - Final Week of Regular Season!

2009 NFL Mock Draft- Revised

This is my revised 2009 NFL Mock Draft for the first round. I had another mock up and caught pure hell over some of my picks. I still hope and pray the Bengals pick Sanchez but I have changed that pick and did some additional research. Please comment on my revised 2009 NFL mock draft. Also check out the other mock draft on this site as well as our other football content.

1 Detroit Lions- Andre Smith OT Alabama

I think the Lions will take a shot at drafting a quarterback to develop in the later rounds if the 2009 NFL draft. Andre Smith is probably the best offensive tackle in the draft and will help the Lions faster than a rookie quarterback. Lion’s fans will be expecting results after the team went 0-16 in 2008.

2 St. Louis Rams- Matthew Stafford QB Georgia

Mark Bulger struggled along with the rest of the Rams this season and is getting old quick. I think Matthew Stafford makes the most sense here. Bulger probably has a season left in him and can groom the rookie.

3 Kansas City Chiefs- Jason Smith OT Baylor

As of this writing the Chiefs do not have a head coach with the firing of Herm Edwards. But new general manger Scott Pioli comes from the Patriots, where two guys named Brady and Cassel did ok as non first round draft picks. Jason Smith does possibly have some injury concerns but I think the Chiefs will take him here.

4 Seattle Seahawks- Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech

Seattle went through hell in 2008 trying to field two healthy wide receivers. Michael Crabtree will provide an immediate upgrade to the Seahawks offense. Look for them to select another wide receiver by the 4th round in the 2009 NFL draft.

5 Cleveland Browns- Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia

The Browns need a young strong back to help in those cold weather games. I think Knowshon Moreno would be a perfect fit in Cleveland. Look for Moreno’s stock to rise after the NFL scouting combine.

6 Cincinnati Bengals- Michael Oher OT Ole Miss

In my previous 2009 Mock Draft, I had Mark Sanchez here, my adoring fans have corrected that notion. Michael Oher will help a weak offensive line to protect Carson Palmer.

7 Oakland Raiders- Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri

The Raiders have the running backs but the jury is still out on quarterback JaMarcus Russell, but having a weapon like Jeremy Maclin wouldn’t hurt. Maclin caught 102 passes for 1,260 yards and 13 touchdowns for Missouri in 2008.

8 Jacksonville Jaguars- Malcolm Jenkins CB Ohio State

Michael Jenkins can help a Jaguars secondary by playing either safety or corner.

9 Green Bay Packers- Aaron Maybin LB Penn State

Maybin could play defensive end or linebacker and Green Bay is running a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Aaron Maybin would be a good fit and you never have enough pass rushers.

10 San Francisco 49ers- Mark Sanchez QB USC

Mark Sanchez will give San Francisco a quarterback of the future and maybe some fans in the seats.

11 Buffalo Bills- Eugene Monroe OT Virginia

At 6ft 5 and a half, weighing 310 pounds Monroe has a little room to pick up even more bulk. He has had some injury problems but Buffalo needs more linemen and Monroe has experience at both guard and tackle at Virginia.

12 Denver Broncos- Brian Orakpo DE Texas

The Broncos need defense and ends are popular picks these days to start building a defense around. Orakpo would be an upgrade on the line and a nice pick at this spot by the Broncos.

13 Washington Redskins- Everette Brown DE Florida State

Defensive Ends will start falling off the board here at this point and the Skins need help on the D line. Coach Jim Zorn needs immediate results and I think Brown will be a good fit as a rookie.

14 New Orleans Saints- Vontae Davis CB Illinois

Davis will fill a need for the Saints whose pass defense was pretty bad at times in 2008. However if Knowshon Marino falls this far the Saints may bite. Reggie Bush is injured often, Aaron Stecker is a free agent and the thought is that Deuce McAllister won’t be with the team next season.

15 Houston Texans- B.J. Raji DT Boston College

Raji would make a great addition to Mario Williams and Amobi Okoye in what could be a great young D line rotation. Raji is a wide body at 6’1′ and 325 pounds and will be a good run stopper in the NFL.

16 San Diego Chargers- Chris “Beanie” Wells RB Ohio State

Ladainian Tomlinson will probably be traded on or before draft day. So my 2009 NFL Mock Draft calls for the best running back on the board to go to the Chargers. Wells is a big back with speed and could compliment Darren Sproles if he is resigned.

17 New York Jets- Tyson Jackson DL LSU

Jackson will bring some youth to the defensive line and can play end in the Jets 3-4 defense under new coach Rex Ryan.

18 Chicago Bears- Aaron Curry LB Wake Forest

The Bears won’t pass on Curry if he falls this far. Chicago knows defense wins championships.

19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Josh Freeman QB Kansas State

Taking Freeman here does two things. He gives Tampa Bay a 6 ft 6 249 pound quarterback to groom and keeps him from falling to the Vikes who will be looking for a QB.

20 Detroit Lions (From Dallas) – Duke Robinson G Oklahoma

The Lions add the best guard in the 2009 NFL draft to their number one pick of Andre Smith. If these two picks pan out then the Lions could be set for the next 10 years at two needed positions.

21 Philadelphia Eagles- Eben Britton OT Arizona

The Eagles made it known they are looking for offensive linemen in free agency and the draft. Britton really has the size at 6-6 and over 300 pounds to be a good offensive lineman. His play improved when he was switched to left tackle at Arizona.

22 Minnesota Vikings- Michael Johnson DE Georgia Tech

Since a top tier quarterback is no longer available in my 2009 NFL Mock draft the Vikings pick defense. Adding a 6-7 guy who can gain weight to an already stellar defensive line makes sense here.

23 New England Patriots- Rey Maualuga LB USC

The Patriots got old at linebacker in 2008 and adding perhaps the draft’s best inside “backer” will be a great move here. Rey Maualuga was a key part of that great USC defense during his college football career.

24 Atlanta Falcons- Brandon Pettigrew TE Oklahoma State

The Falcons will remember how much Michael Vick loved Algie Crumpler in his prime. Matt Ryan will love throwing to the best tight end in the 2009 NFL draft.

25 Miami Dolphins- Clint Sintim LB Virginia

Sintim could play linebacker or end for the Dolphins and can really get to the passer. I wouldn’t be shocked however to see the Dolphins go offensive line or receiver here.

26 Baltimore Ravens- Brian Cushing LB USC

The Ravens will need to fill spots on that awesome defense. It is unlikely that Terrell Suggs and or Ray Lewis will be back next season. Cushing has played several positions in his college career and should flourish in Baltimore.

27 Indianapolis Colts- Peria Jerry DT Ole Miss

Peria Jerry is 6ft 1 and weighs just under 300 pounds and runs a sub 5.0 40 yard dash. He could help shore up bad Colts defensive line.

28 Philadelphia Eagles (From Carolina) – William Moore S Missouri

Brian Dawkins may be gone and they will need a replacement. Moore is a good tackler and can also pick off passes from the safety position.

29 New York Giants- Kenny Britt WR Rutgers

Right there in the Giants backyard at Rutgers will be their possible replacement for Plaxico Burress. Kenny Britt is big at 6-4 and 215 pounds, he should be able to block as well as act as a possession wide receiver.

30 Tennessee Titans- Ron Brace DT Boston College

With Albert Haynesworth probably leaving as a free agent, DT becomes a need for the Tennessee Titans. Brace is big enough to plug holes and athletic enough to get the occasional sack.

31 Arizona Cardinals – LaSean McCoy RB Pittsburgh.

With Edgerrin James probably gone and Hightower possibly not the answer, look for Arizona to add another running back to the mix. McCoy is a solid back who can also catch the ball which is needed in this offense.

32 Pittsburgh Steelers- Phil Loadholt ( I bet Chris Berman can’t wait to announce this name) OT Oklahoma

6ft 8 inches tall and weighing 343 pounds he is made for the Steelers offensive line. Off the field problems may prevent them taking him. But I think they will go O line for sure and he makes sense.

Tags:2009 NFL Mock Draft- Revised

2009 NFL Season News

The NFL 2009 season begins tonight, when the Steelers face off against the Titans. The Titan defense will still be strong even missing one of their anchors since Albert Haynesworth signed with the Redskins. Pittsburg will be looking for revenge for the beat down that the Titans handed them last season, after that game Tennessee added insult to injury when they stomped and danced on the famed Pittsburg “Terrible Towel.” The defending champs look to repeat, but with the pre-season news and notes it seems that their main competition will be the re-vamped Patriots, with Tom Brady being back to his healthy self. The AFC will be its usual hard hitting, high scoring as it always has been. The 40th year of Monday Night Football will feature a double hitter, the first game will be the Patriots verus the Bills. The nightcap will be the Raiders and the Chargers.

The NFC has many new and exciting stories taking place early this pre-season, first and foremost, Michael Vick is back in the NFL and he signed a 2 year deal with the Eagles. He will be mostly used in a “Wildcat” style offense, and he is supposed to be on the field for about 20-25 snaps per game. Vick will be eligible to play for the first time this season on week 3, when he is fully re-instated. The next interesting NFC story is, Brett Favre is back again. If you haven’t been keeping up with NFL news then you probably thought that last season with the Jets was Brett’s final, but again this year, right before the regular season starts Brett decides to come back. This time he signs a one year deal with the Vikings, where he gets to play his former team, the Packers, twice. It remains to be seen how Brett will do. Next for the NFC is the Cowboys, its not surprising that Dallas is making headlines. Their new one billion dollar stadium is making news, not all of it good. There is already a controversy over their 60-yard monitor that is hung 90 feet over the field. The problem is that punters are able to kick the ball and strike the bottom of the monitor, it happened in the very first pre-season game played there. For this season, any punts or kicks that hit the monitor will result in a “Do-Over” which means that the play won’t count and they get to do it again. No one knows what will ultimately be decided on the monitor since it meets NFL regulations stating that anything hung above the field must come to no less than 85 feet above the field.

There are many more NFL news and notes, like the arrival of T.O to Buffalo. I can hear it now, “Here we go again!” So far there isn’t much to report about Terrell he has an injury to his toe, which has limited his play this pre-season. Shawn Merriman is making news this pre-season, first in his Twitter duel with Chad Ochochinco, (which to me is so stupid… what happens if he gets traded and he can’t wear number 85 anymore?) Next Shawn was reportedly arrested for domestic abuse against reality TV star Tila Tequila, not much info on that yet as it just happened over the last weekend. However, Tila will be meeting the DA to discuss this incident. In breaking news, the San Diego DA has dismissed the charges against Shawn for lack of evidence, late friday afternoon. The Patriots trade Richard Seymore to the Raiders in return for a first round draft pick next season, Richard is unhappy and is wanting his contract re-structured. The Broncos are about to re-signed their sometimes troublesome superstar Brandon Marshall, just days after re-instating him. He was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, after video was released of Brandon slacking off at practice. The Cleveland Browns have named a starting QB and it will be Brady Quinn, he has been somewhat impressive this pre-season, so it to me is a “no-brainer” to start Quinn.

Now for my yearly early season predictions. Look for the Steelers, Patriots, Titans, and Colts to be strong in the AFC this season. The Cowboys, Bears, Saints, and Eagles will be the teams to watch for in the NFC. Next I will make a pre-season Super Bowl prediction. I think the Patriots will go back to the big game, but as of right now I don’t know who they will play, and it remains to be seen who the major players will be.

**UPDATE**
The Steelers take the first game of the season in an overtime thriller, final score 13-10

Sources:
nfl.com Here there is much info on the upcoming games, as well as info on Brandon Marshall’s possible new contract.
espn.go.com/nfl This site has info on the Shawn Merriman stories, as well as more info on the other stories in this article.

Tags:2009 NFL Season News

2009 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Projections and Predictions

It’s time for my 2009 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Projections and Predictions. Let’s start with the first game of the week on Thursday as Chicago visits San Francisco. Who do I like? Jay Cutler will be average for the Bears. We are talking low 200’s in yard and low TD’s on the road. 235 yards, 2 TD’s and 1 Interception. My projections have Matt Forte around 67 yards and 1 score for the Bears. Frank Gore could put up big numbers despite playing against a tough Bears defense. But the Bears struggled against Cedric Benson. Gore with 93 yards and 2 scores.

Other fantasy projections for the 2009 NFL Week 10 schedule? Drew Brees could have a field day in St. Louis. 4 TD’s in the first half and 278 yards passing. Only problem is the Saints build a big lead and Brees may watch from the bench during the 4th quarter. No Rams do anything of fantasy football value in the lopsided affair.

Brett Favre could put up big numbers against Detroit. But I think his numbers might be kind of tame. 210 yards, 2 TD’s and 1 interception. My 2009 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football projections though have Adrian Peterson running wild for 169 yards and 3 touchdowns in his biggest game of the season by far.

Other 2009 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Projections and Predictions? Maurice Jones-Drew will struggle in New York against the Jets. 67 yards and no trips to the end zone.

Vince Young supporters could see a decent day from the Titans quarterback. My projections have Young with a TD pass and run in the Titans win over Buffalo. The Bills have nothing much to cheer about. Chris Johnson should easily top 100 yards in my fantasy football projections and 2 scores. Let’s give Johnson 134 yards.

Cincinnati will have a tough day in Pittsburgh. Cedric Benson with just 57 yards and no scores. Carson Palmer with 2 interceptions or more. Big Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t have a slow fantasy football day at the office. Ben throws 3 TD passes and 278 yards as the Steelers win big.

More 2009 Week 10 Fantasy Football Projections? Denver struggles at Washington. That’s right, I said it. Kyle Orton with 189 yards passing and 3 interceptions against the Skins.

Matt Ryan should have a huge day in Carolina. In an offensive showdown, Ryan throws 4 touchdown passes and 286 yards. DeAngelo Williams should be equally as impressive with 145 yards and 2 scores on the fantasy gridiron projections.

Kurt Warner should have a huge 2009 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Week. 289 yards and 4 touchdowns against visiting Seattle.

Tony Romo is going to pass for a lot of yards in Green Bay. But his numbers won’t be good as far as TD to interception ratio. 356 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers meanwhile puts up good numbers with 245 yards and 3 touchdown passes. Marion Barber is good for one TD run and 87 yards. Ryan Grant busts over 100 yards with 113 and 1 score.

More fantasy football projections for week 10 of the 2009 NFL season? Philip Rivers could have a big day for San Diego. Donovan McNabb could put up big passing yardage and several TD’s, too. My projections for the 2009 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football week have Rivers with 237 yards passing and 3 TD’s. McNabb with 324 yards passing and 3 TD’s and 2 interceptions.

Colts and Patriots could be an offensive explosion waiting to happen. But it could also be a very defensive oriented contest. It’s hard to project what Peyton and Brady will do during this week. Peyton will have 265 yards passing and 2 TD’s or more. Brady will find the end zone 2 times as well with 223 yards through the air.

That’s it for my 2009 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football projections and predictions. We’ll be back with another week of fantasy projections in week 11.

Tags:2009 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Projections and Predictions

2009 NFL Preview: AFC West

It’s that time of year. Teams are starting to go to their respective sites to begin the tenuous task that is NFL training camp. As a part of a virtual tour around the NFL, let’s take a look at what teams have done over the off-season to improve their odds in 2009. Today’s division of choice? The AFC West.

Oakland Raiders

This franchise just continues to amaze people. In a sport where athleticism reigns supreme, many analysts of the game knock teams that pay too much attention the “measured” abilities of rookies at the combine. But Oakland doesn’t care. If you can run the fastest 40-yard dash at your position, they’ll not only draft you, they’ll draft you way higher than anyone else in the world would have drafted you. Starting with the selection of Darrius Heyward-Bey in the first round, the Raiders reached for the 3rd best receiver in the draft by taking him ahead of the multitude of players ranked higher than him. Okay, maybe he does turn out to be the best of the bunch, but that doesn’t mean he had to be drafted so high.

Which brings me to the Raiders other reach in the draft, the selection of safety Michael Mitchell in the 2nd round, a players that ESPN’s Todd McShay didn’t even have ranked amongst the safeties. Taking this guy in the second round is like making your grandmother the first overall pick in the Lingerie Super Bowl draft. You have to be kidding me!

The Raiders faired better in free agency, by getting Khaliff Barnes, Greg Ellis and Samson Satele, but it’s safe to say, they aren’t exactly on the rise quite yet.

San Diego Chargers

The Chargers just hope they can stay healthy this season. Thus, their biggest acquisition of the offseason was a healthy Shawne Merriman. His health will go a long way in bringing this defense back to what it was just 2 years ago, when he was leading the league in sacks despite missing 4 games due to a steroids suspension. Also, LaDainian Tomlinson’s health is very essential to how this team does in 2009.

As for their real acquisitions, they went heavy on the offensive and defensive lines, and I mean heavy! The Chargers used their top pick on Larry English, a 274-pound end. They also got Vaughn Martin, who is favorably listed at 330 pounds and plays defensive tackle. And they also Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green, two 300-pound guards who will provide depth for the Charges o-line.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos decided to get “Raider-ish” this offseason. In a move that can only be described as idiotic and foolish, the Broncos fired Mike Shannahan to hire Josh McDainiels. What was McDaniels’ first signature move as the head guy in Denver? Trying to trade his “franchise” quarterback for “franchised” quarterback. Well, as you know, it didn’t quite work out, and now Jay Cutler is on the Bears, while McDaniels is left coaching Kyle Orton, the new quarterback of the team. I won’t even get into the fact that WR Brandon Marshall now wants to leave, too.

On offense, the Broncos got a little foolish. They brought in four new running backs, the only notable one being Knowshon Moreno, who was their 1st round pick in April. The Broncos also brought in Brandon Lloyd and Chris Simms to bring some veteran presence to this offense.

The defensive secondary got much older with the additions of Brian Dawkins, Andre Goodman and Renaldo Hill. They will be playing with Champ Bailey, who isn’t exactly a baby faced cornerback anymore, so it will be interesting to see if these elderly, but experienced, additions can improve their defense, which was ranked the 2nd worst in football last year.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs also have a new coach and a new general manager. New GM Scott Pioli hired Todd Haley, the old Cardinals offensive guru, to coach this team up. Pioli then made a move to bring in his guy from New England (and the guy McDaniels couldn’t get), Matt Cassel to be the quarterback of the Chiefs. However, Cassel won’t have the luxury that every Chiefs quarterback of the last 10 years has had, which is throwing to Tony Gonzalez. He was traded to Atlanta, and now his main target will be Dwayne Bowe and Mark Bradley.

On defense, the Chiefs added OLB Mike Vrabel as a part of the Cassel deal, and they also picked up MLB Zach Thomas. In the draft they got a couple of 3-4 ends, as they switch up their defense, by selecting Tyson Jackson and Alex Magee on the first day of the NFL Draft.

Tags:2009 NFL Preview: AFC West

2009 Printable NFL Playoff Brackets: Where to Find Them

The 17th week of the NFL season has been played, and the schedule for the Playoffs has been firmly established. It is time to prepare for the post season, and the parties that accompany the games that lead up to the Super Bowl. It is also the time of the year to get your NFL Playoff brackets ready for that time honored American tradition, the office football pool. For those wanting the low down on who plays who, and at what times games will be played (and where ), here is a list of where you can find NFL Playoff brackets that you can print out.

1) www.NFL.com

This website not only has a nicely laid out bracket that includes the starting time and TV coverage for each game, it also has plenty of information on players and statistics that should help you decide who to gamble that office nickel on.

Link to the brackets provided below:

http://ift.tt/24E9IGQ

2) www.docsports.com

This website which offers a nice colorful bracket to print out, also offers (what else) betting strategies for the Playoffs, as well as, listed odds for the Playoff games.

Link to the brackets provided below:

http://ift.tt/24E9AXH

3) www.sportsline.com

This is CBS Sports version of the bracket. This bracket print out is nicely done with helmet (w/logos) for each team. Added points to CBS for including NBC and Fox on their game coverage listing. There is plenty of Playoff information and stats on the site as well.

Link to the brackets provided below:

)www.sportsline.com

4) www.chiff.com

This is a very simplistic playoff bracket that offers the bare minimum. The folks at this site, did spare a lot of expense, and went with a watered down basic look. It is best to skip this site.

Link to the brackets provided below:

http://ift.tt/24Eacww

Tags:2009 Printable NFL Playoff Brackets: Where to Find Them

2009 President's Day Activities and Events in Pittsburgh, PA

President’s Day weekend 2009 is fast approaching, and with it, all sorts of activities and events are planned across the country. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is no exception, with its rich history, and culture, a President’s Day Weekend would not be complete without a number of events across the city.

Presidents Day Weekend at Heinz History Center: February 14-15 2009

One of the more popular events in recent years, as well as for 2009 is at the Heinz History Center In Downtown Pittsburgh. Held between 10 am and 3pm, Saturday, the 14th and Sunday the 15th. There will be many special activities, particularly for children. There will be games, art projects, a scavenger hunt, and trivia games. For adults there will re-enactments, and for all, you can look forward to all your favorite Presidents available to meet and talk to. Admission for the event is 9$ for adults; 7$ for seniors; 5$ for children, 6-18; and children under 6 are free. Heinz History Center is located at en. John Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman St., Strip District Pittsburgh, Pa. You can learn more about this event at their website http://ift.tt/JxIxup or call them at (412)454-6000 for more information.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Fiddlesticks Concert: February 14th, 2009

If you enjoy music, consider taking your family to this concert which is specifically geared toward families that have children from ages 3-8.There will be local artists there such as Fred Rogers, and Henry Mancini. The event starts at 11:15 AM, and tickets are $16 and 19$. This event is located at the Heinz Hall, Sixth street, Pittsburgh, Pa. You can reach the Pittsburgh Symphony at (412)-392-4900 for more information regarding this event, or visit their website at http://ift.tt/1lmZ1nQ

Monster Jam: February 13-15 2009

If you are not into history, and favor a more action packed event, Monster Jam is in Pittsburgh, Pa. for the President’s day weekend. You can go check out the “Monstrous” trucks, and there will be truck pulling, and mud bogging events. You can watch demolition style events, or watch the giant trucks do their tricks. There are 4 shows available, Friday-7:30pm; Saturday-2:00pm and 7:30pm; and Sunday-2:00pm. Tickets are available thru http://ift.tt/2cnyiro .

Tags:2009 President’s Day Activities and Events in Pittsburgh, PA

2009 PMA Non-Acceptance Speech: Just Another Contributor

I was both delighted and warmed to awaken to discover that I had not won any PMA award from Associated Content and wish to express my gratitude to everyone who did not nominate me for one. I realize that this might sound facetious, but is not meant that way.

I think my writing has improved, with effort and practice, over the 2 ½ years I have been writing for AC and the designation as a Featured Health & Wellness Contributor does, indeed, have meaning to me. On the other hand, the poetry I write and post nearly daily matters just as much. To have been selected in one category diminishes, I’m afraid, a tad of the importance of other categories of writing that a Contributor submits. Least-wise, I think it would have felt that way to me.

Since there is no current category for “Most Notable Eclectic Contributor,” there really was no ‘correct’ category for me as I write poetry, songs, product reviews, health-related pieces and commentary from time to time. I value the AC opportunity tremendously, not in small part because it allows for the publishing of any and all of these things.

So, in closing, let me again express my genuine appreciation for not being recognized in one particular category. I realize that my reflexive insistence on not writing using any known internet hit-drawing tools at all (‘key wording’ and SEOs are the best examples) diminishes not only my PVs, but my value as a writer to those who feel otherwise. Perhaps a category of “Most Insistent Recalcitrant Internet Writing Luddite” would be appropriate. I don’t expect that to ever exist or be seriously (or even frivolously) suggested. “Most Satisfied Non-Winner” might be considered as well.

Like Popeye, “I yam what I yam and that’s all what I yam.” I’m OK with it, appreciate my fans, their support and comments and enjoy reading so much fine and creative work from people everywhere. Thanks again for the lack of a PMA award and the magnificent badge that accompanies it. Winning doesn’t do much to foster humility and probably would have contributed to my (sometimes) latent obnoxia anyway.

Thank you again. I hope to continue to live up to the standard I have set for myself and that my readers seem to appreciate and respond to.

Tags:2009 PMA Non-Acceptance Speech: Just Another Contributor

2009 NHL Trade Deadline Approaches

The 2009 NHL trade deadline doesn’t get the kind of press that the trading deadlines of other sports get. This befits the struggling status of the NHL. But with the NHL facing the economic pinch, at least the NHL trade deadline doesn’t involve having to sign any big contracts for new players yet. Today, the 2009 NHL trade deadline is the last chance for teams to change their rosters before the Stanley Cup is in their sights.

The NHL trade deadline is known for providing a big rush of last minute deals, even if they aren’t for major players. As many as 25 to 40 players could change teams during the final hours of the trading deadline.

As usual, teams that are long out of the running for the Stanley Cup will likely be the most active in the NHL trade deadline. This includes teams like the last place Islanders, and other teams like the Maple Leafs and the Ducks.

The once Stanley Cup champion Ducks could move a few people with name value in the trade deadline, like Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester of Florida is a highly talked-about trading prospect.

Other names battered around in the trade deadline are Jordan Staal of Pittsburgh, Keith Tkachuk of St. Louis, and Ryan Smyth of Colorado.

Just a few weeks ago, the NBA trade deadline had a lot of fanfare leading up to the big day. However, nothing really happened on that day, and no big names moved to new cities. It could be the same with the NHL trade deadline.

Financial implications also have to be taken into consideration in these times. The NHL is not one of the richer leagues, and it was already in trouble before the economic crisis. Now, the NHL has already had to bail out the Phoenix Coyotes, and teams in struggling markets like Atlanta and Tampa Bay are not doing well.

Therefore, it may not be too wise for an NHL team to make a move that could cost a lot of money in the future, even if it is to make a Stanley Cup run.

Stanley Cup favorites like the Red Wings, Sharks, Devils and Bruins are likely set for their run and won’t need to move much in the trade deadline. Upstarts like the Flyers may need to do something, however.

Sources

Houston Chronicle- “Big names could move before NHL trade deadline” http://ift.tt/2cnw37I

Bleacher Report- “NHL Trade Deadline ’09: Flop or Flurry?” http://ift.tt/2c8tmcW

Tags:2009 NHL Trade Deadline Approaches

2009 Oscar Nominees: Heath Ledger, Dark Knight Receive Nods

The 2009 Oscar Nominees were announced this morning, and most of them are not too surprising. Heath Ledger is up for the category of “Best Performance by an actor in a supporting role” due to his stunning portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight (2008), a nomination that a large number of people correctly predicted.

The two leading movies on the list seem to be “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “The Dark Knight”. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is nominated for a total of 13 categories, including Brad Pitt’s nomination for “Performance by an actor in a leading role” and Taraji P. Henson’s nomination for “Performance by an actress in a supporting role” for their performances in the movie. “The Dark Night” is nominated for a total of 7 different categories.

Other major movies that managed to make their way on the list are “The Duchess”, which is up for “Achievement in Art Direction” and “Achievement in Costume Design”; “Iron Man” for “Achievement in Sound Editing”; “Hell Boy II: The Golden Army” for “Achievement in Makeup”; and “Changeling” for “Achievement in Art Direction” and “Achievement in Cinemotography”.

The most popular animation picture seems to be WALL-E, which was nominated for “Best Original Screenplay” and “Best Animated Picture of the Year”.

Below is a complete list of this year’s nominees, thanks to this site.

Best motion picture of the year

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” A Kennedy/Marshall Production, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers

“Frost/Nixon,” A Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment and Working Title Production, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers

“Milk,” A Groundswell and Jinks/Cohen Company Production, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers

“The Reader,” A Mirage Enterprises and Neunte Babelsberg Film GmbH Production, Nominees to be determined

“Slumdog Millionaire,” A Celador Films Production, Christian Colson, Producer

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor”

Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon”

Sean Penn in “Milk”

Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler”

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married”

Angelina Jolie in “Changeling”

Melissa Leo in “Frozen River”

Meryl Streep in “Doubt”

Kate Winslet in “The Reader”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Josh Brolin in “Milk”

Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder”

Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt”

Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”

Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Amy Adams in “Doubt”

Penélope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

Viola Davis in “Doubt”

Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler”

Achievement in directing

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” David Fincher

“Frost/Nixon,” Ron Howard

“Milk,” Gus Van Sant

“The Reader,” Stephen Daldry

“Slumdog Millionaire,” Danny Boyle

Adapted screenplay

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord

“Doubt,” Written by John Patrick Shanley

“Frost/Nixon,” Screenplay by Peter Morgan

“The Reader,” Screenplay by David Hare

“Slumdog Millionaire,” Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Original screenplay

“Frozen River,” Written by Courtney Hunt

“Happy-Go-Lucky,” Written by Mike Leigh

“In Bruges,” Written by Martin McDonagh

“Milk,” Written by Dustin Lance Black

“WALL-E”Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter

Best animated feature film of the year

“Bolt,” Chris Williams and Byron Howard

“Kung Fu Panda,” John Stevenson and Mark Osborne

“WALL-E,” Andrew Stanton

Best documentary feature

“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon),” A Pandinlao Films Production, Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath

“Encounters at the End of the World,” A Creative Differences Production, Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser

“The Garden,” A Black Valley Films Production, Scott Hamilton Kennedy

“Man on Wire,” A Wall to Wall Production, James Marsh and Simon Chinn

“Trouble the Water,” An Elsewhere Films Production, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal

Best foreign language film of the year

“The Baader Meinhof Complex,” A Constantin Film Production, Germany

“The Class,” A Haut et Court Production, France

“Departures,” A Departures Film Partners Production, Japan

“Revanche,” A Prisma Film/Fernseh Production, Austria

“Waltz with Bashir,” A Bridgit Folman Film Gang Production, Israel

Achievement in art direction

“Changeling,” Art Direction: James J. Murakami, Set Decoration: Gary Fettis

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo

“The Dark Knight,” Art Direction: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Peter Lando

“The Duchess,” Art Direction: Michael Carlin, Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway

“Revolutionary Road,” Art Direction: Kristi Zea, Set Decoration: Debra Schutt

Achievement in cinematography

“Changeling,” Tom Stern

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Claudio Miranda

“The Dark Knight,” Wally Pfister

“The Reader,” Chris Menges and Roger Deakins

“Slumdog Millionaire,” Anthony Dod Mantle

Achievement in costume design

“Australia,” Catherine Martin

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Jacqueline West

“The Duchess,” Michael O’Connor

“Milk,” Danny Glicker

“Revolutionary Road,” Albert Wolsky

Achievement in film editing

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

“The Dark Knight,” Lee Smith

“Frost/Nixon,” Mike Hill and Dan Hanley

“Milk,” Elliot Graham

“Slumdog Millionaire,” Chris Dickens

Achievement in makeup

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Greg Cannom

“The Dark Knight,” John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan

“Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Alexandre Desplat

“Defiance,” James Newton Howard

“Milk,” Danny Elfman

“Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman

“WALL-E”Thomas Newman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“Down to Earth” from “WALL-E”Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel

“Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire,” Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar

“O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire,” Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman andMaya Arulpragasam

Achievement in sound editing

“The Dark Knight,” Richard King

“Iron Man,” Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes

“Slumdog Millionaire,” Tom Sayers

“WALL-E”Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood

“Wanted,”Wylie Stateman

Achievement in sound mixing

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten

“The Dark Knight,” Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick

“Slumdog Millionaire,” Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty

“WALL-E,” Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt

“Wanted,” Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

Achievement in visual effects

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron

“The Dark Knight,” Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin

“Iron Man,” John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan

Best animated short film

“La Maison en Petits Cubes” A Robot Communications Production, Kunio Kato

“Lavatory – Lovestory” A Melnitsa Animation Studio and CTB Film Company Production, Konstantin Bronzit

“Oktapodi” (Talantis Films) A Gobelins, L’école de l’image Production, Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand

“Presto” (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Doug Sweetland

“This Way Up,” A Nexus Production, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

Best documentary short subject

“The Conscience of Nhem En” A Farallon Films Production, Steven Okazaki

“The Final Inch” A Vermilion Films Production, Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant

“Smile Pinki” A Principe Production, Megan Mylan

“The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306” A Rock Paper Scissors Production, Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde

Best live action short film

“Auf der Strecke (On the Line)” (Hamburg Shortfilmagency), An Academy of Media Arts Cologne Production, Reto Caffi

“Manon on the Asphalt” (La Luna Productions), A La Luna Production, Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont

“New Boy” (Network Ireland Television), A Zanzibar Films Production, Steph Green and Tamara Anghie

“The Pig” An M & M Production, Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh

“Spielzeugland (Toyland)” A Mephisto Film Production, Jochen Alexander Freydank

Tags:2009 Oscar Nominees: Heath Ledger, Dark Knight Receive Nods

2009 Plus-Size Prom Dress Trends

If you are plus sized you want to make sure you find a prom dress that is not only trendy but that makes your body look great. Trends are important when looking for prom dresses, but even more important then the trends is finding the trend that is right for you. This is a guide to the top trends for plus size prom dresses.

One Shoulder Dresses- This is the hottest trend of 2009. You will be seeing a lot of prom dresses that are one shoulder dresses. This look was initially inspired by Michelle Obama. The one shoulder look is also a big trend for plus size dresses. If you have great arms, a one shoulder dress is the perfect way to show them off.

Empire Waist- This is a very hot trend that curvy girls should be very happy about. Empire waists look great on curves. They show off your best features, and skim over your hips making you look more slender. These are great options for plus size dresses because with the empire waist, you won’t look like you are floating in too much fabric.

Gem Tone Colored Dresses- Think sapphire, emerald, and ruby. These are all big trends, that will look great on larger girls. Many plus size girls think the best way to look good is to wear black. But deep rich gem tones will hide any flaws that you are trying to cover up, while letting your personality come out. If you are curvier you want to stay away from gem tone fabrics that are shiny. Fabrics that have a matte finish will cover any flaws.

Ball Gowns- Big, long, and puffy ball gowns are back. The elegant ball gown will be seen all over prom 2009. The great thing is the ball gown is a great choice for curvy girls. The full bottom will hide larger hips, if you are pear shaped you should definitely be considering a ball gown. For prom 2009 ball gowns with “pick-ups” are going to be especially popular.

Beaded and adorned gowns- Glam is in, and prom 2009 every one will be showing it off. You are going to want dresses with lots or extra beading and adornments. Beading on the neckline, the waist, or down the back are all really popular options. Beading is a great option for plus sized prom dresses because you make the attention go to your best feature. If you have great arms, a strapless dress with beading at the top is a beautiful choice. If you want to emphasize your waist line beading or a bow around your middle will show off a hour glass shape.

Short Dresses- This is a big trend for prom 2009. Short dresses are always very sexy, and they also have the advantage of usually being less expensive. If you are a plus sized girl who loves her legs a short dress is perfect for you. When you where a short dress your legs look longer and leaner. If you find a short dress that hits your leg at the right place, it is very slimming.

If you are plus sized there are a few trends that you want to stay away from. Skin tight dresses usually emphasize any bumps. Patterns can also be risky, if you are larger. Just remember that just because you are plus sized doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find the perfect prom dress. Try on all your favorite prom trends and see what looks the best on you.

Tags:2009 Plus-Size Prom Dress Trends

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