Tagged with "New Orleans Saints"
Random Thoughts
Category: FEATURED
Tags: Gary Shandling Delmon Young Brooklyn Nets MLB scheduling Jered Weaver Junior Seau New Orleans Saints

Thanks B.O.B and Average fan Det?? Delmon Young meltdown?? Brooklyn Nets?? The Nets again?? MLB messing around with its scheduling?? All this, and more, in this weeks edition of….

The young girl is Mackenzie Brown she threw a perfect game against a team of boys in 2009. Do you think the Yankees can use her now??



Today we will start off with a proper opening credits brought to you by Gary Shandling.

This has got to be the most ingenious opening credits in the history of television. Simple and to the point.

Now off with the show.



Thanks go out to B.O.B and Average fan Det for calling me out on the Jaguars selection of punter Bryan Anger in the 3rd round. You guys are right. What was our GM thinking??

I do enjoy your blogs!!



 

Congrats go out to Jered Weaver who pitched a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins.



Now to a sad note.

Junior Seau, former star of the San Diego Chargers died at the age of 43 from self inflicted gun shot to the chest.

He played 20 years for three teams, San Diego Chargers (1990-2002), Miami Dolphins (2003-2005) and New England Patriots (2006-2009). Junior was a 12-time Pro Bowl section and a 6-time First team All-Pro, with 18 interceptions and 56 sacks during his playing career.

Seau, is the eighth member of San Diego's lone Super Bowl team who has died, all before the age of 45. Lew Bush, Shawn Lee, David Griggs, Rodney Culver, Doug Miller, Curtis Whitley and Chris Mims are the others. Causes of death ranged from heart attacks to a plane crash to a lightning strike.

My deepest sympathy goes out to his family.



The NFL handed down their player suspension for bounty-gate and Saints Johnathan Vilma was hit the hardest suspended for one year without pay. Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove was for the first half of the 16-game season, Saints defensive end Will Smith was barred for the first 4 games and Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita will miss the first three games. All were suspended without pay.

Why couldn’t the suspensions be handed out before the draft so the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns could draft accordingly if they wanted to. Then again why punish those teams when it was the Saints who had the bounty-gate. Suspend 10 Saints players for the season.



Major League baseball suspended Detroit Tigers outfielder Delmon Young seven games without pay following his arrest on a hate crime harassment charge last week in New York City. Young was arrested after a late-night tussle at his hotel during which police say he yelled anti-Semitic epithets. Young is eligible to resume play on May 4th. He suspension will cost him $257,240. Around 2:30 am last Friday, Young was standing outside the team hotel in New York. Close by, a group of Chicago tourists staying at the hotel were approached by a panhandler wearing a yarmulke and a Star of David around neck, according to the police. Afterward, as the group walked up to the hotel doors, Young started yelling anti-Semitic epithets, police said. It was not clear whom Young was yelling at, but he got into a scuffle with the Chicago group, and a 32-year-old man was tackled and sustained scratches to his elbows, according to police and the criminal complaint. Young was arrested, police said. Young was first taken to a hospital because he was believed to be intoxicated, police said.

Athletes have got to realize that they are in the spotlight and anything they do or say will be scrutinized.



The moment all of Brooklyn has been waiting for since 1957 when the Brooklyn Dodgers bolted to Los Angeles…..

The Brooklyn Nets are now officially a team. It became official April 30th. They will be moving into a state-of-the-art Barclay Center when the season begins. They new colors of the team are black and white a far cry from their original red, white and blue colors of their ABA days. The logo on the left will be used at center court and the logo on the right will be used on the teams shorts. There is talk that the word Brooklyn will be on the shirts. Jay-Z helped design the logos.

Going into the 2012-2013, the Nets only have four players signed, MarShon Brooks, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro and Jordan Williams.

Gerald Wallace has indicated he want’s to stay but is opting out so he can get a multi-year contract for more money.

Deron Williams had indicated he wants to be part of the first team in Brooklyn, but he also wants to play on a winner. He too is opting out and it looks like the Dallas Mavericks are going to go hard after him.

Brad Lopez has indicated he wants to stay, he is a restricted free agent.

Kris Humphries is an unrestricted free agent. The Nets might want to resign him as he has two years in a row that he has average a double-double.

The Net players had over 200 games missed due to injuries. They started over 22 different lineups and had to call up several players from the D-League. Some are saying if the team was healthy they would have been a playoff team and I tend to agree with that.

The Nets are reporting that they gave New Jersey season-ticket holder first dib to renew their tickets for Brooklyn, and out of over 7,000 ticket packages at Prudential Center nearly 1,700 renewed for the Barclay Center.



So now after altering the playoff system, the powers of the baseball world are going to be tinkering with the regular season schedule.

The League is working on eliminating “natural rivals” playing home-and-home, six-game series annually.

This has to do with the Houston Astros moving to the American League next year to balance the leagues to 15 teams.

Nothing has been finalized yet. But there will be changes to the scheduling system.



http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i24/scottjax77/NFL%20Football/00EricLeGrandandGreg.jpg

This is a class act that Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s coach Greg Schiano did Wednesday.

2012 would have been Rutgers University defensive tackle Eric LeGrand graduating year. Eric can not play due to a spinal cord injury that has ended his career. But it did not stop Schiano from signing his former player on May 2nd to symbolize LeGrand’s college number 52.

The Tampa Bay Coach said "Leading up to the draft, I couldn't help but think that this should've been Eric's draft class. This small gesture is the least we could do to recognize his character, spirit and perseverance. The way Eric lives his life epitomizes what we are looking for in Buccaneer Men."



 

 

Til Next Time

Scott

 

 

Peyton, Payton, and Peyton Place...
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL Roger Goodell Peyton Manning Tim Tebow Rex Ryan Denver Broncos Sean Peyton New Orleans Saints New York Jets

 

In the last episode...

 

Of our continuing saga...

 

A particular quarterback...

 

Was separated from the love of his life...

 

And headed toward a new relationship...

 

 

And...

 

 

A particular head coach...

 

Was making plans...

 

To lead his team to the promised land...

 

In their home city...

 

On a Super Day...

 

Next February...

 

 

And...

 

 

Another particular head coach...

 

Was promising the world...

 

To everyone who would listen...

 

But laid an egg instead...

 

 

 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen...

 

Welcome to...

 

 

 

Peyton...

 

Payton...

 

and Peyton Place...

 

An NFL Production...

 

 

 

You see...

 

All the other sports have shut down this week...

 

No March Madness...

 

No NBA regular season...

 

No hockey...

 

No baseball spring training...

 

Because...

 

All have been pre-empted by America’s only sport...

 

Professional footboll...

 

 

A tear falls...

 

As Peyton Manning and the Colts part ways...

 

Many suitors come to the table...

 

Including a team...

 

That already has a Hall of Fame quarterback...

 

Tim Tebow...

 

What???

 

Shun The Chosen One for a mere mortal???

 

How can it be???

 

But, yes...

 

It did happen, didn’t it???

 

 

 

And just as the ink dries...

 

The Grand Poobah of the NFL....

 

Roger the Codger...

 

Wields his hammer...

 

And captures his own bounty...

 

Striking many blows...

 

Including a one year knockout...

 

To New Orleans coach...

 

Sean Payton...

 

With others left strewn...

 

All over the place...

 

Including a dream of playing in the Super Bowl...

 

This coming year...

 

On home turf...

 

NOT!!! 

 

Leaving one to question...

 

Who’s gonna be the Interim Head Coach???

 

 

Dog???

 

 

And also...

 

Nearly simultaneously...

 

The Broncos send The Chosen One to the Big Apple...

 

To The Zoo York Jets...

 

A soap opera in its own right...

 

To film the latest version of...

 

 

The Odd Couple...

 

Rex Ryan and Tim Tebow...

 

Lord knows...

 

Who-da thunk that???

 

 

 

And so...

 

The soap opera continues...

 

Next week...

 

When...

 

To the chagrin of many...

 

An old friend returns...

 

Passing footballs in his Wrangler jeans...

 

Upstaging this week’s principals...

 

 

While hogging air time...

 

On the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network...

 

And proclaiming...

 

That he may indeed return...

 

For the umpteenth time...

 

 

And just when you think it won’t happen...

 

 

It probably will...

 

Because this is the NFL...

 

America’s Reality TV Landlord...

 

In reality...

 

We are just its tenants...

 

 

dvt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://static.tvguide.com/MediaBin/Content/090209/News/DVD_News/090213dvd-PeytonPlace1.jpg

http://www.dogthebountyhunter.com/Images/Media/AboutDog2.jpg

http://images.zap2it.com/images/tv-EP00003177/the-odd-couple.jpg

Random Thoughts
Category: FEATURED
Tags: Bounty Program New Orleans Saints Syracuse Orange Lenny Dykstra Peyton Manning Harvard

Kickers and Punters, Franchise players?? Smoking with Cuse?? All this, and a bounty, in this weeks edition of….

 



 

I condone the "Bounty System." Let’s not be mistaken, injuries are part of the game, but when you set up a system of rewards for knockouts, cart-offs and game-ending injuries it’s a crime. If it is true that coach Payton knew about it then the Saints should be fined with at least a number one draft pick, if not more.

Hard vicious hits have been common place in the NFL since its inception. When a wide receiver cuts to the middle of the field you don't think the DB's are salivating? I think the Saints should be severely penalized. for their actions.

You don’t need a bounty to do any damage, just let the players play and the rest is history.

 

    

 

 

Here are some of the responses from the players:

@shawnemerriman: Why is this a big deal now? Bounties been going on forever. A "Bounty" left me with a torn PCL and LCL in my knee ...
-- Bills LB Shawne Merriman

@ChrisWarcraft: I mean seriously, think about it. You're talking about paying someone to INTENTIONALLY injure someone else. They put people in JAIL for that
@ChrisWarcraft: And let me make it perfectly clear - it doesn't matter WHAT team you play for. That kind of thing should NEVER happen.
-- Vikings P Chris Kluwe

@jayfeely: No place in NFL for bounties. Physical play is an attribute but malicious intent should be removed
-- Cardinals K Jay Feely

@damienwoody: This 'bounty' program happens all around the league...not surprising
@damienwoody: The bigger question w/ this 'bounty' issue is.....WHO SNITCHED?!?!
@damienwoody: @joey0314 I'm just speaking from a guy that was in the lockerroom....these things happened, not saying it was right, but it happened
-- Ex-Pats OL Damien Woody

@ChrisHarrisNFL: Football is a violent game n just because someone is hit very hard doesn't mean it's malicious
-- Lions S Chris Harris

@ShaunPhillips95: I think people forget that football is a contact sport. If you don't wanna get hurt don't play. I was always told keep your head on a swivel
-- Chargers LB Shaun Phillips

 

"It is our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of our game, and this type of conduct will not be tolerated," Goodell said in a statement. "We have made significant progress in changing the culture with respect to player safety and we are not going to relent. We have more work to do and we will do it."



 

Jacksonville Jaguars place franchise tag on kicker Josh Scobee. Go figure??

Prater, Weatherford. What’s with kickers/punters being franchised???



Just when I was enjoying Syracuse’s greatest season in history, with a 30-1 record and undefeated in the Big East, this bombshell hit’s the airwaves:

In accordance with NCAA regulations, it is the University's practice to self-report possible violations to the NCAA. We self-reported issues with drug testing to the NCAA, and there is currently an ongoing inquiry," the school said in a statement Monday. "The inquiry does not involve any current SU student-athletes. To ensure the integrity of the ongoing process, we are unable to comment further at this time."

Crap what a way to run a day.

Reportedly 10 players since 2001 test positive for banned recreational substance. They were allowed to practice and play in games they should have been suspended for..



From a person who bought Wayne Gretzy’s house for $31 million dollars, it has been all down hill ever since. Former New York Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra was sentenced to three years in a California State prison after pleading no contest to grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement.

Dykstra still faces federal bankruptcy charges and is scheduled to stand trial this summer. He filed for bankruptcy a few years ago, claiming he owed more than $31 million and had only $50,000 in assets. Federal prosecutors said that after filing, Dykstra hid, sold or destroyed more than $400,000 worth of items from the $18.5 million mansion without permission of a bankruptcy trustee.

"I do have remorse for some of the things I've done," he said. "But because I wasn't a perfect person am I a criminal? Everyone wants to make me out to be a monster."



 

With a 12-2 conference record, Harvard won the Ivy League title. It’s the first appearance for the Crimson since 1946.



Peyton Manning, the quarterback who put Indianapolis on the map was released from the Colts. The writing was on the wall when Irsay cleaned house with the management team and new coaches. I personally think the Colt’s should have given him the $28 million owed to him if he was on the roster by Thursday. If it wasn’t for Manning the Colt’s don’t get a new stadium. Hopefully Peyton lands on his feet elsewhere and has another 5-6 great years left in him.



Ever since I listened to Kasey Kasem and America's Top 40, I always wanted to say:

"Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars."

Scott

 

 

Monday Moaning 3-5-12
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NHL NFL MLB New York Rangers Grady Sizemore New Orleans Saints Chardon High School Hilltoppers Henrik Lundqvist John Tortorella Rosie Jones

  Well here we are again...The beginning of the week comes quick...The past week has been filled with a lot of tragedy...Tornadoes ripped across the country causing chaos, death and destruction...In North East Ohio people dealt with the aftermath of the Chardon High School shooting...Thursday good in people was on full display...I wrote about it HERE...And the Saturday, the people of Chardon formed a human wall to block the threat of assholes from the Westboro Baptist Church who planned on protesting...Those Westboro fuckers are complete ass-hats!

Then there was THIS news about the Browns Friday...What a joke!

In Sports there have been a couple stories out there...The New Orleans Saints possibly having a bounty system...I'm not sure why people would be shocked by this...It's Football...It's a violent game, and there are opponents that get under people's skin...And Football being a violent game, where you try to hurt opponents, makes it easy to hide the fact that you may be trying to actually hurt some one...

Spring Training is fired up, but I can't get excited for Baseball just yet...And the Indians have annoyed me already...This off season they didn't pick-up their option on the always injured, grossly overrated, strikes out too much, Grady Sizemore...Good I thought...He ain't worth $9 million...Then they signed him to a $5 million deal...Still not sure why since he was rehabbing a couple injuries...So what happens...He fucks up his back again...Has the same surgery Peyton Manning had on his neck, done on his lower back...Looks like he's done for the year...$5 million down the drain...

But there is one think that I really need to get out there...I fucking hate Basketball...I'm in my car, listening to Sports Talk Radio, and when local dolts aren't talking about what the Browns should do in the draft, they along with ESPN and FOX dolts are talking about Basketball...And Fuck Jeremy Lin! Seriously!

You fuckers in New York, and on the major networks need to wake up...There is only one sports team in New York worth talking...


That's right fuck-stains...The New York Rangers...42-15-7 is a hell of record, and they sit on top of the NHL standings with 91 points...With the best goalie around, Henrik Ludqvist, and a core of talented, young defensemen...Offensive threats like Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, and their captain Ryan Callahan, who does everything on the ice...The Rangers roster is full of grinders, and brings a few thumpers with them...

They are all lead by their coach John Totorella...A no bullshit kind of guy, who expects the best out of all his players...He expects his players to have each others backs...And everyone on his team blocks shots...It doesn't matter who you are...You block shots, or you don't play...

The Rangers have been the most consitent, hardest working team in hockey...And they've done it all quietly it seems...Even many of the NHL talking heads haven't given the Rangers the time, and respect they deserve...Well it's time to wake up...The Rangers are on the road to the Cup, and they're a real son of a bitch to play against...Right Bruins? How about you Flyers? Yeah Philly, the boys in Blue own your ass!

That's it for now...

Have a week...And watch Hockey...

Later, The Beeze.

Tim Tebow's 2011 NFL Playoff Appearance Symbolizes A Chaotic Season
Category: FEATURED
Tags: Pittsburgh Steelers NFL New York Giants Houston Texans Denver Broncos New Orleans Saints Cincinnati Bengals Atlanta Falcons Tim Tebow

 

 


When historians look back at the 2011 NFL season, there will be little attention given to the fact it was one of the sloppiest seasons ever played in the league's history. Perhaps a slight nod of acknowledgement to the players lockout that pretty much wiped out training camp and retarded the development of the game.

Another footnote was how the game got softer, thanks to another laundry list of rules that effeminate football to the point it now practically resembles basketball with pads on. This mission, led by commissioner Roger Goodell, contradicts a history the league uses in their advertisements with pride. Commercials that celebrate gridiron warriors bloodied in a battle amongst the trenches that haven't been seen throughout the NFL in decades.

As the playoffs commence this weekend, no team may better personify the league right now than the Denver Broncos. After beginning the season 1-4, Denver rattled off seven victories in eight weeks before finishing the year with three straight losses.

Tim Tebow got a lions share of the credit for the Broncos victories, which included three in overtime. The defense gave up 17 of fewer points seven times this year, but the quarterback dominated the headlines. His image of being a wholesome religious boy captured so much attention, it drowned out critics who pointed to Tebow's miniscule 46.5 completion percentage this season.

Some considered him no more than a glorified fullback when he entered the 2011, while others of a modern day version Bobby Douglass. A second round draft pick by the Chicago Bears in 1969, the fellow lefty quarterback ended his 11 NFL seasons with a 43 percent completion percentage.

Douglass could run better than Tebow, once holding the record for most rushing yards gained by a quarterback when he churned out 968 yards in 14 games during the 1972 season. He averaged 69.1 yards rushing per game, which is better than the 64.9 yards Michael Vick had in 2006 when he surpassed Douglass' record in a 16 game season.

Tebow piled up 660 yards and six touchdowns on the ground this year. He played mistake-free football much of the year until the last two games of the year, where he tossed four of his six total interceptions. Tebow completed just 19 of 51 attempts for 245 yards over that time.

Denver still reached the playoffs despite an abysmal ending to a forgettable NFL season, thanks to playing in a division where three teams finished 8-8 and the fourth team went 7-9. The AFC West was perhaps the most mediocre in the NFL in 2011, which is a statement in itself because the NFC West, NFC East and AFC East were far from impressive as well.

Coaches and general managers on many inept teams suffered from the shortened season to the extent they lost their jobs. Yet the NFL, as it has for the past 40 years, continued to rake in piles of cash even though the product they present today recedes and mollifies each snap of the ball under the Goodell regime.

Image over substance is now in play as receivers and quarterbacks prance around untouched. College football shows the future is bleaker with recent bowl games where teams frequently combining to put up 80 or more points.

Defense is now as extinct as the commercialized images the NFL sells of warriors battling because now accolades are attained minus a struggle. Where honing skills through practice has now joined the defense as a spectator.







My cousin 7thStoneFromTheSun is nowhere to be found, though I did receive a blank postcard from Guam recently. While I will assume his prediction duties this week, it should be noted he finished 2011 with an overall record of 154-95.




Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans

The Bengals got into the playoffs because of a stingy defense that carried an erratic offense led by two rookies. The defense ended the season ranked seventh in yards allowed and ninth in points given up. While wide receiver A.J. Green, running back Cedric Benson and quarterback Andy Dalton are the key offensive weapons, Jermaine Gresham and Jerome Simpson also contribute heavily.

The Texans are playing in their first playoff game in franchise history. It is also the first time Houston has hosted a playoff game since 1993, when the Oilers accomplished the feat before becoming the Tennessee Titans not long afterwards. The Texans are also the first team from Houston to win a division title since that 1993 season.

Much has been made of the key injuries Houston's offense incurred this season. Quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart were lost for the season by the 12th game, and star wide receiver Andre Johnson suited up for just seven contests himself.

But the team finished with a 10-6 record thanks to a smothering defense that was second in the league in yards allowed and fourth in points given up. This was even accomplished despite losing star defender Mario Williams in the fifth game for the season.

Rookies J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed were special this year, but linebackers Conner Barwin and Brian Cushing have been stars in their own right. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph made the Pro Bowl, but his bookend, Jason Allen, was just as effective. Brice McCain and Kareem Jackson have also been solid, so opponents have found it difficult to pass the ball successfully often this year.

Cincinnati will need their defense and running game to be special this week. Houston will have Johnson back to help their rookie quarterback, but his limit appears to be no more than 45 snaps. The Texans have a powerful running game that was first in attempts, second in yards gained and third in touchdowns scored. While the Bengals were tenth in rushing yards allowed, they finished 20th in touchdowns given up.

Halfbacks Benson and Arian Foster will get a lot of attention, but the effectiveness of reserves Ben Tate and Bernard Scott may determine the outcome. Tate churned out 942 yards this season as he proved to be the best backup running back in the game today.

Dalton may make less mistakes than T.J. Yates, thanks to more snaps, but both teams will have the benefit of playing in the climate controlled Texans stadium. Return men Jacoby Jones, Danieal Manning and Brandon Tate could make a big play that breaks open the game.

These two teams battled just under a month ago, where the Texans prevailed with a 20-19 victory on a late touchdown pass from Yates to Kevin Walter. Houston had gained 127 more yards but coughed up two more turnovers than Cincinnati.

Johnson and Green will draw special defensive attention from two units that have excelled all season. Both franchises rosters are young and inexperienced, so several members will be participating in the first playoff games of their careers.

Once all the nervousness subsides, the defenses should take over. Houston's home field advantage will help carry their team a long way, but the combination of Foster and Ben Tate should drive the Texans into the next round.

Texans 24 Bengals 16








Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints

Many pundits are expecting an offensive battle in this game, mainly because both teams have offenses that can put up points in bunches. The two teams squared off in the beginning of December and gained 904 yards, with the Lions outgunning New Orleans by 28 yards in their 31-17 loss to the Saints.

Detroit's defense has been a major disappointment in 2011. Their vaunted defensive line never excelled as expected and the secondary was frequently ripped apart by the opponents passing attack. The Lions gave up 20 or more points 12 times this season, while giving up less than 312 total yards just once.

The Lions final game of 2011 saw them cough up a season high 550 yards, which included six touchdown passes and 480 yards to a fourth-year backup quarterback who entered the contest with 515 career yards and nine touchdowns off of 88 attempts. Detroit gained 25 more yards but lost 45-41.

The offense ranked fourth in scoring and fifth in yards gained this year, but Detroit's defense ranked 23 in both points and yards allowed. The running game was amongst the very worst in football, ranking 29th in total yards gained.

New Orleans was led by a balanced offensive attack that relied mainly on Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees. Brees set an NFL record this year with 5,476 yards passing, surpassing Hall of Famer Dan Marino. Detroit's Matthew Stafford wasn't too shabby himself, tossing the ball for a franchise record 5,038 yards and 41 scores. Brees had 46 touchdown passes.

The Super Bowl XLIV MVP now has set or tied several Saints franchise records. He set six NFL records in 2011, which includes most completions in a season, most 300 yard passing games in a season, most consecutive 300 yard passing games, most consecutive games with 350 yards passing and highest completion percentage in a season. He also has set or tied 16 other NFL records in his career thus far.

The Saints gained the most yards in the NFL this season while scoring the second most points. Besides having the top passing attack, the running game gained the sixth most yards in the league this season.

New Orleans relies heavily on Brees, but the quarterback has a plethora of weapons at his disposal. Four different running backs gained 374 yards or more while nine players ended up in double digits in receptions.

Detroit will be facing a defense that finished 24 in yards allowed, but 13th in total points scored upon. The Saints only picked off nine passes this season, but safety Roman Harper finished the season by leading the team with 96 tackles and a career best 7.5 sacks.

If New Orleans cannot rush the football, the arms of both Brees and Stafford will be put to use seemingly every play. The Saints run defense was the 12th best in the NFL this year, so the Lions anemic ground game faces quite a challenge ahead of them.

Greg Williams is a defensive coordinator who is known to love blitz packages to throw opposing quarterbacks off their game. If Detroit fails to run the ball, he will load up his Saints defense with complex packages. The New Orleans defense garnered 33 sacks this season, but Detroit gave up 36 sacks this season.

New Orleans has scored over 40 points six times this year and have never scored less than 20 in a game. Their defense has given up 20 or less than points in nine contests while Detroit has accomplished that feat just five times.

A bunch of yards should be gained in this game, but it may end up where the Lions end up fruitlessly try to catch up to the Saints all game. The Lions have had a habit of giving up a ton of points early before coming back, but not many teams have stopped the Saints from scoring in 2011.

Saints 48 Lions 34







Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants

Two of the most erratic and inconsistent teams of the 2011 NFL season meet here. Both barely made the playoffs following underwhelming seasons that will soon be forgotten.

While injuries basically buried the Giants before the season started, they fought through a mediocre NFC East to capture the division crown in the last game of the season. Atlanta did finish the year with a respectable 10-6 record, but it seemed a far cry from expectations that had been placed on them after winning the NFC South in 2010 with a 13-3 record.

Atlanta might have seemed to regress slightly on offense this year, after moving up in the draft to snag wide receiver Julio Jones in the first round of the 2011 draft. They finished fifth in scoring in 2010, averaging 25.9 points per game, while finishing seventh in scoring this year by averaging 25.1 points per contest.

But the Falcons did gain 532 more yards while quarterback Matt Ryan and Michael Turner had very similar seasons to 2010. Star wide receiver Roddy White had 15 less receptions and eight less scores this season, but Jones picked up the slack while future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzales remained consistent and excellent as always.

The defense was also an area that regressed in a few areas as opposed to 2010. While finishing fifth last year in points allowed, Atlanta finished this season 18th. They also finished at plus eight in the giveaway/ takeaway ratio differential this year, as opposed to the plus 14 they had in 2010.

Atlanta did improve in yards allowed, interceptions, sacks and run defense this season, but they also had eight contests where they gave up 23 or more points. The Falcons offense had 11 games where they scores 23 or more points.

Atlanta is a well balanced team that has the talent, but gives the impression they are on the verge of exploding and have yet to do so. Most see the roster and fear any week will be the day they put it all together on a consistent basis, but it has yet to happen. Yet it is evident there is enough firepower there to win a Super Bowl.

The Giants winning their division, no matter how mediocre it was in 2011, shows a great deal of experience and character. They went through much of the season with a defensive secondary filled with players that would not have made the team if it were not for the numerous injuries to hit that unit.

The New York defense finished 29th in passing yards allowed, 27th in total yards allowed and 25th in points given up. Yet the offense finished eighth in yards gained and ninth in points scored. The running game was the worst in the NFL, but the passing game was ranked fifth in yards and sixth in passing attempts and touchdowns scored.

Pro Bowl quarterback Eli Manning had nine receivers end up with double digits in catches. Wide receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks combined for 158 catches for 2,728 and 16 touchdowns this year.

If the Falcons cornerback duo of Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes shuts down Cruz and Nicks, New York will be in major trouble. Atlanta may have too many weapons for the Giants to stop, bit no one can really be sure what versions of these teams will take the field Sunday.

Falcons 37 Giants 20










Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos

Tim Tebow will run onto the field Sunday with the cameras fixated on him. Mainly to appease a nation where religion is important, but also because he happens to play a position the NFL puts on a pedestal and carries like a golden child. Tebow truly embodies this NFL dream.

Yet he will face a nightmare on the sabbath in the form of the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. A unit that ranked ranked first in both points a yards allowed, this veteran group will come into the salivating at the chance the expose a limited player with a questionable arm.

Pittsburgh will be dealing with injuries to starting halfback Rashard Mendenhall and strong safety Ryan Clark, but the team has more than enough depth at these positions to succeed. Plus their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has two Super Bowl rings and obviously knows how to win the big game.

The Steelers win the old school way of controlling the clock while the defense destroys their opponents. Tebow, playing in the first playoff game of his very young career, will have to summon all of his abilities to keep his team within reach of victory.

Ten Steelers have 11 or more receptions, so the Broncos defense will have their hands full trying to contain the Pittsburgh offensive onslaught. Denver's defense finished the 2011 season 20th in yards allowed and 24th in points scored upon.

The Broncos offense wasn't any better, finishing 25th in scoring and 23rd in yards gained. Their best player, halfback Willis McGahee, finished the season with 1,199 rushing yards. Denver had just two players with more than 19 receptions this season.

This game should get ugly quick. Unless the Broncos special teams and defense is exceptional, it should be over before halftime. This learning process may help Tebow one day, but teams have recently figured him out and there needs to be a dramatic improvement in his game if he wants to remain the starting quarterback for Denver in the future. This improvement, however, will probably not happen this Sunday.


Steelers 27 Broncos 9
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