Greetings from the Hoodwood where the locals are ready for some football.
Im flipping the script, no Im not going back to videos. Im going to take the next four weeks and preview the NFL. Im going to pick a direction and go. The teams are listed in order of predicted finish
2014 AFC North Preview
2013: 11-5 Division Champs lost to San Diego in Wild Card Round
Coach: Marvin Lewis, 12th season 90-90-1 all in Cincinnati (90-95-1 overall)
Man on the Hot Seat: Andy Dalton, a $115 million contract looks a bit suspect with an 0-3 playoff record
Fast Facts: The Bengals current run of 3 playoff years is the longest in team history
Marvin Lewis hold the team record for wins and losses
Queen City Info: The Bengals are a team that is hard to figure, increased win totals over the last three years, but playoff futility in all three. They come into the season as a surprising favorites in the division and have to take the next step. With a bit of a transition after losing both coordinators to head coaching jobs, the onus will be on Dalton to shine, if he doesn’t the most senior coach in the division might be in hot water if he gets to 100 losses before he gets to 100 wins
2013: 8-8 missed playoffs
Coach Mike Tomlin 8th Season 71-41 all in Pittsburgh (76-44 overall)
Man on the Hot Seat: Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley he’s got to come up with a scheme to take the onus of Big Ben who aint exactly a spring chicken any more
Fast Facts: Mike Tomlin has yet to have a sub .500 season in the Steel City but has yet to win a playoff game since the 2010 AFC title game
Steel City Stuff: The Steelers started the season horridly but under Tomlin’s steady had fought back and went 6-2 in the back half of the season and were in contention for a playoff spot on the final day, the team is still weak in the running game and the defense seems to continue to age with no real solid replacements in sight, the Steelers are still the Steelers and will hang around in contention. They will also continue to bully the Bengals and keep them from running away with the division
2013: 8-8 missed playoffs
Coach: John Harbaugh 7th season 62-34 all in Baltimore (71-38 overall)
Man on the Hot Seat: Gary Kubiak, he has got to jump start a shaky offense in Baltimore and get Joe Flacco to put up the numbers to justify that huge contract
Inner Harbor Gridiron: The Ravens never seemed to get on any kind of roll last year, they got blown out in the season opener and all their champions veneer was gone, baby gone. They pulled out some close wins and looked like they were going to make a run with a four game win streak in late November-Early December but took a pair of frightening beatings at the hands of New England and Cincy to stumble out of contention. The Ravens didn’t need to be under the gun but with Ray Rice sitting out the first two games on suspension they put even more onus on Flacco, another slow start would not be good. The proud but aging defense is going to be leaned on even more, I just cant see them pulling miracles out here.
2013: 4-12 missed playoffs
Coach: Mike Pettine 1st season
Man on the Hot Seat: Brian Hoyer, he will be hearing the chants of “We want Johnny” with every incompletion
Lakefron Football: The Browns have a ton of optimism with the acquisition of the publicity of Johnny Manziel, but Pettine insists that he will be brought along slowly. Hoyer who’s a Cleveland kid faces the mounting pressure to win now to keep the media circus down to a low roar, but with a brutal schedule to start Hoyer had better hit the ground at full speed or the natives will want run on of their own out the door quick in favor of the flashy Manziel. The Browns will stay in plenty of games with a quietly tough defense but the offense is further weakened by the loss of Josh Gordon and a weak offense in this division is a tough burden to bear.
2014 NFC North Preview
Green Bay Packers
2013 Record: 8-7-1, lost to San Francisco in Wild Card Round
Head Coach Mike McCarthy 9th season 82-45-1 all in Green Bay, 88-50-1 overall
Man On The Hot Seat: Dom Capers packers defensive Coorndinator, the Packers allowed 428 points last year that number has to come way down
Fast Fact: The Packers allowed 30 or more points 6 times in 2013, going 2-4 in those games
The Pack were a tough team to figure last year, periods of solid play led by the brilliant Aaron Rodgers (6-3) countered by futile play when he was injured (2-4-1) the Packers nearly gave away the division and needed a late score in the season finale against the Bears to win the division. The Pack goes as Rodgers goes, if hes hale they are the team to beat, still. If hes hurting, they will struggle and the margin for error is getting too close now.
2013 Record 8-8, Missed Playoffs
Head Coach Marc Trestman 2nd Season 8-8 in Chicago overall
Man on the Hot Seat: Jay Cutler, the laconic quarterback comes under increasing fire for his leadership and the Bears have too many weapons on offense to waste with indifferent play.
The Bears were in the drivers seat after a pair of shootout wins against Dallas and Cleveland in December they then got blown out in Philly and gunned down by Aaron Rodgers and the Pack in the season finale. This team is too talented to be at .500, they shine in some games (rallying to beat the Bengals and Vikes, thrashing the Steelers and Cowboys, outdueling the Pack) and look oafish in others (losing to the Browns, Rams and Vikings and taking a horrific beating by the Lions) The Bears are the true defintion of an enigma. They could very well win 12 games this year can lose 10. Their passing game can be topnotch wiht Jay Cutler when he shows a pulse. The defense gains an aging yet still effective Jared Allen, so its a tossup. I still dont think they have enough to get by the Pack though
2013: 5-10-1, missed playoffs
Head Coach; Mike Zimmer 1st Year
Man on the Hot Seat: Matt Cassel, he has to keep the starting seat warm for QB of the future Teddy Bridgewater but another slow start could get him the gate faster than expected.
Mike Zimmer was the hot coordinator everyone wanted and he lands in MInnesota. The defense needs some work and the offense beyond All-Everything Adrian Peterson is spotty at its very best. Peterson's prime years are being wasted behind a roughshod offense that every defense knows who the ball is going to.The Vikes are not going to be scaring anyone anytime soon.
2013: 7-9 Missed Playoffs
Head Coach Jim Caldwell 1st Year in Detroit, 28-24 in 3 years overall
Man on The Hot Seat: Ndomakung Suh, the high potential high strung lineman has got to cool his temper, his attitude is poisoning the team
The Lions were rolling along at 7-5 and looking like a playoff team when after they hammered the Pack on Thanksgiving when they blew a tire and lost four straight. The sprial cost JIm Schwartz his job and Jim Caldwell now steps in the breech to try to make the Lions respectable. He has a big time QB-WR combo to work with like he did in Indy but the undisciplined defense has got to improve and in a winnable division it could happen. But I dont see it happening this year.
To the NBA for staying the course. The NBA finalized the sale of the LA Clippers to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and ends the tragic reign of Donald Sterling. The sale was upheld in a California Court of Appeal and we can now have peace in city of Angels...
Though Hoodwood is saddened by the senseless death of Kevin Wade Jr, the 20 year race car driver killed after being hit by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart on Saturday Night. I have a hard time making sense of why Wade ran out on to the track. If one has beef go after the driver post race, what was he trying to prove? The hotheaded move cost that boy his life.
Has it been 20 years since the MLB strike? Whoa
Who are you getting more sick of hearing about Manziel, Romo or Tebow?
Are the Royals really in 1st place or are the Tigers swooning that badly
I think Durant stepping down from the National team was a smart move
Thanks for your patience. Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!