Archives for: 2008, week 45

11/16/08

Biggest NFL Surprises of 2008 (Part II)

Permalink 08:38:48 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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by Digger

From underdogs to favorites, each NFL season is full of surprises. 2008 is no different. Here's a look at a few players and coaches surpassing expectations... a few big time busts.

Thumbs up!

Matt Ryan (QB/Atlanta): Ryan has helped resurrect an Atlanta franchise in post Vick era. Ryan has been sharp and playing near mistake free football. Atlanta is challenging for a playoff birth. Ryan is a top Rookie of the Year candidate.

Kurt Warner (QB/Arizona): There was a great deal of controversy when Warner was tabbed Cardinals starting QB for '08 over Matt Leinart. Warner responded by playing great football. Five 300 yard games heading into today's action vs lowly Seattle. Arizona is running away with NFC West division. All systems go for Arizona. Warner has been leading the way as an NFL MVP candidate.

Michael Turner (RB/Atlanta): This is Turner's first season as a starting NFL tailback. He's helped lead Atlanta to first place. In his first game as a Falcon, Turner exploded for 220 yards. He's now challenging for the NFL rushing title.

Greg Camarillo (WR/Miami): Camarillo was undrafted by NFL teams before landing in Miami. This 2nd year player has been a favorite target of QB Pennington. Camarillo's numbers aren't screaming for attention (only 1 TD & 100 yd game). Yet, his steady play has been moving chains all season while taking aim at 1000 receiving yards.

Steve Breaston (WR/Arizona): Breaston has given QB Warner another big time threat in Arizona's passing game. Cards WR corps (Bolden, Fitzgerald, Breaston) create headaches for defensive coordinators. He's been a big part of Cards success in '08.

Jeff Fisher (HC/Tennessee): Fisher has always been known as a top notch coach. This season, his Titans haven't lost a game. His opening day starting QB (Vince Young) had a mental implosion. Fisher and staff responded by changing up Titans plan... it's worked to perfection.

Mike Smith (HC/Atlanta): First year Falcons coach deserves tremendous credit for bringing cohesiveness to the Falcons. He's kept Atlanta's young players focused and determined. They've responded by challenging for the playoffs. If he can keep it together for the stretch run, Smith will be a serious Head Coach of the Year candidate.

Tony Sparano (HC/Miami): Sparano has been a miracle worker for a Miami team which was lucky to win one game in 2007 (1-15). He installed the "WildCat" offense which has completely confused opposing defenses. Suddenly, this has become Miami's first exciting Dolphins team since the Shula years. Don't look now, but the Dolphins are challenging to win the AFC East.

Thumbs Down!

Tavaris Jackson (QB/Minnesota): Tavaris was to the Vikings QB of the future. His future ended after 2 poor early season performances. He never seemed to grasp Minnesota's game plan and never became a leader on the field. The Vikings started winning immediately after his benching. NFL career now in limbo.

Chad Johnson (WR/Cincinnati): Chad Johnson or Chad Javon Ocho Cinco (his legally changed name)... take your pick. Both loudmouths have stunk it up for Cincy in '08. Johnson's mouth landed him in the Bengals dog house last year. During the offseason his mouth kept sputtering. Singled out his head coach.. singled out his QB... singled out team ownership... this guy was a walking-talking train wreck before the season kicked off. Well, this not so super star has been abysmal. Dropping passes, giving up on routes, lack of leadership and Cincinnati's fall into neverland rank CJ high among NFL busts.

Wade Phillips (HC/Dallas): What more could an NFL Head Coach want? Super star filled offense, young energetic defense, good special teams and an owner dedicated to winning. Problem is, some of Dallas' superstars are head cases which can't get past mini-dramas and injuries. Phillips problems began at the end of 2007 regular season. They've continued into '08 and now threaten Dallas shot at playoffs. Phillips has not handled team distractions well. Poor game planning hasn't helped either. He'll be gone if Dallas gets eliminated.

Norv Turner (HC/SD): Turner inherited a 14-2 team and quickly transformed them into losers. This is one of the NFL's most talented teams on offense and defense. Turner would rather try winning with passing instead of relying on team strength.. RB LaDainian Tomlinson behind a talented offensive line. Turner has a history of wrecking strong teams.

Marvin Lewis (HC/Cincinnati): Lewis had initial success after talking the helm in Cincy. However, the past two seasons have been disasterous to the point of losing control over players. Lewis had a few public run-ins with key players QB Palmer, WR Chad Johnson, RB Rudi Johnson and they haven't been the same since. His lack of authority over personnel decisions doesn't help either. Cincy's front office is one of NFL's worst. Bad timing as this team was once on the rise. Lewis needs to go.

11/12/08

NFL Predictions: Week 11, Game By Game

Permalink 04:00:16 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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by Digger

Week 10 treated fans to great matchups and last second plays deciding games. Indianapolis kept their playoff hopes alive snuffing out Pittsburgh. Super Bowl Champion Giants tightened their grip on NFC East. Tennessee remains NFL's only unbeaten team. Buffalo have dropped three straight going from first to fourth in AFC East. Ravens fourth straight win earns first place tie. Each and every remaining game has huge implications for many teams fighting for playoff status. (standings).

Last week, I nailed 12 of 14 games correctly. Week 11 begins Thursday with a huge AFC East divisional matchup between the Jets and Patriots.

Time to pick'em... NFL Week 11:

Jets (6-3) @ Patriots (6-3): Jets dominated StL last weekend running up a 40-0 halftime lead. Jets lost to Pats in week 2. Jets haven't played well vs winning teams. Favre must not throw int's or Jets will have troubles. Thursday kicks off back to back games vs AFC winners... New England and Tennessee. Patriots Coach Belichick is one of NFL's best. Pats have regrouped behind Brady fill-in QB Cassells. Methodical offense gettng the job done. Defense has been hitting everyone. Pats ground Jets, 27-23.

Denver (5-4) @ Atlanta (6-3): This game has shootout written all over it. Cutler's 447 passing yards last week was 5th 300 or better game. Denver's running game is banged up so they'll be in passing mode vs Atlanta. Falcons have been playing great football. Defense bend but don't break attitude keeps opponents out of end zones. Offense led by big three, QB Ryan, HB Turner, WR White. They should put up big numbers vs invisible Denver D. Falcons win, 44-36.

Philadelphia (5-4) @ Cincinnati (1-8): Eagles playcalling was terrible and cost them a shot at winning vs Giants. McNabb's endurance featured another prime time fourth quarter collapse. Bengals coming back from bye week after upsetting Jacksonville for their 1st win. Eagles D will preserve victory, 20-17.

Chicago (5-4) @ Green Bay (4-5): Bears couldn't solve unbeaten Titans last week, looking to rebound vs rival Packers. Bears D playing flawless football. Offense needs to score points no matter who lines up under center. Packers began strong, now struggling to keep pace in NFC North. Bears win classic matchup, 24-23.

Houston (3-6) @ Indianapolis (5-4): It's been a streaky season for Texans. Lost opening four, then won three straight, currently on a two game skid. Now traveling to face a hot Indy team. Colts were left for dead two weeks ago before back to back wins. Manning only has two 300+ games and no halfback has come close to 100 yards rushing. It's been their D creating late game turnovers which has saved the day. This weekend vs Houston is a perfect time to wake up the offense. Manning goes wild, Colts light it up, 36-14.

New Orleans (4-5) @ Kansas City (1-8): Saints had blamed injuries for their sub par year. Truth is... injuries happen and good teams find a way to win. QB Brees singled out a few players on the sidelines last week and one didn't return. Jeremy Shockey dropped a critical pass and never returned from the lockerroom. Kansas City is horrendous and coach Edwards is probably the NFL's worst. Saints win on the road, 27-17.

Oakland (2-7) @ Miami (5-4): Teams in opposite directions. Raiders free falling with no help in sight. It's probably time Al Davis thinks of selling this once proud organization. Miami has stunned many teams and now they have a winning record. Dolphins will be in 2nd place after this weekend. Miami rolls, 33-17.

Baltimore (6-3) @ Giants (8-1): Ravens defense gives Giants biggest test. Ravens climbed into 1st place tie after four straight victories. Giants inventing new ways to win. At their best in late game situations. Special teams and turnovers could decide this battle. Giants win at home, 23-20.

Minnesota (5-4) @ Tampa Bay (6-3): Vikings are good but Tampa's better. Both teams rolling along right now. Vikings can only win this one if Peterson rushes well over 100. Otherwise, Tampa's all around game will prevail. Close contest, picking TB 24-17.

Detroit (0-9) @ Carolina (7-2): All is lost for Detroit. Another rebuilding decade on the way. Panthers are very strong and NFC's 2nd best. Most attention has been directed towards Titans & Giants. Barring significant injuries, the Panthers will play in NFC Championship Game. Panthers bloody Lions, 36-7.

St Louis (2-7) @ San Francisco (2-7): Here's the 'who cares' game of the week. Both teams trying to find something positive to build on. Good luck. SF wins 20-18.

Arizona (6-3) @ Seattle (2-7): Cards playing best football in years. Warner will pick apart a terrible Seahawks defense. Field conditions could have an impact. Arizona wins easily, 31-14.

San Diego (4-5) @ Pittsburgh (6-3): Tough luck SD heads to hard hitting tough luck Pittsburgh. Rivers passing has been one of the few bright spots for SD. Pittsburgh's questionable playcalling and lack of execution cost them a needed W last weekend. Which teams show up is anyone's guess. Steelers barely survive, 27-25.

Tennessee (9-0) @ Jacksonville (4-5): Tennessee keeps rolling. Last week it was QB Collins leading the charge. Jacksonville rebounded after two straight losses to weak teams. Titans defense will have to control Jags running attack and visa versa. Better D wins this game. Titans keep marching, 23-21.

Dallas (6-3) @ Washington (5-4): Dallas was picked by many to be NFC's Super Bowl rep this year. If Dallas loses this game they can kiss 2008 goodbye. Too many soap opera's ruled the day once Romo was lost to injury. Too much talent here for coaches to let this happen. Romo expected to return. Washington beat Cowboys in Dallas earlier behind Clinton Portis rushing attack. Portis might not gear up this weekend. Coach Jim Zorn will improvise. Redskins vs Cowboys is always a great game to watch. Skins buckle down... win heavy hitting war, 28-20.

Cleveland (3-6) @ Buffalo (5-4): Cleveland's offense continues to struggle. No 100 yard rushers. Only 3 200-yard passing games. Play calling has failed... easy to do when players don't execute. Buffalo began the year winning four straight and five of six... until... ? Continuity on offense has been missing during three straight losses. Rushing attack can't find holes. Defense suddenly giving up big plays and field position. Bills need this win or risk getting buried on the outside looking in. Bills win, 17-15.

NFL Standings
NFL Stats

11/10/08

Biggest NFL Surprises of 2008

Permalink 07:33:24 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

Visit All World All Sports to locate every sport you can think of from around the world.

by Digger

From underdogs to favorites, each NFL season is full of surprises. 2008 is no different. A few heavily favored teams are struggling. A couple of teams expected to blow away competitors are losing. NFL star players underperforming while a few rookies and old pro's are turning heads.

Time to shine All World All Sports spotlight on a few of the headline makers and breakers....

Biggest Surprises (Teams, thumbs up):
Miami Dolphins (5-4): Miami was 1-15 in 2007. Nobody expected much heading into '08. These guys have knocked off San Diego, New England, Denver and Buffalo. A new feeling of confidence has taken hold over a team considered lucky to win one last year. Trick plays, new formations, Ronnie Brown and Chad Pennington have been on top of their game. Most defenses haven't solved Dolphins energetic attack. Defense has been fired up. A total team effort from front office decisions to coaches to players on the gridiron.

Atlanta Falcons (6-3): 2007 featured an Atlanta team rebounding from their field general being sent to jail. Nothing went right as they finished 4-12. 2008 has a new gang of birds in red and black as the Falcons have been playing inspired football led by rookie of the year candidate QB Matt Ryan. Undefeated at home and currently challenging for post-season play. Solid performances on offense and defense suggest this squad should not be taken lightly.

Tennessee Titans (9-0): Unbeaten and finding new ways to win. Head Coach Jeff Fisher is a tremendous coach who rarely gets his due by sports reporters. This guy understands his players and knows how to get the most out of this team. After a respectable 10-6 finish in '07, most expected QB of the future Vince Young to be ready and vastly improved. Young is out... veteran Kerry Collins is in. Titans running game and defense has been outstanding. When needed, Collins turns it up a notch and leads his team to victory. Not many give these guys a shot at 16-0 immortality... not even themselves. That's ok. All they want is a Super Bowl victory. They're a tough team to beat and any opponent taking them lightly is doomed.

Indianapolis Colts (5-4): For the past few seasons, Indy usually began their year on fire (13-3 in '07). Not this year. Colts are still trying to find their grove. Indy's five wins haven't been easy. Peyton Manning hasn't been his old self. Marvin Harrison is clearly missing a step and dropping passes he normally corrals. Lack of a running game and inconsistent defense has left the '08 Colts vulnerable. Back to back tough wins vs New England and Pittsburgh could be a welcome sign of good things ahead. It's still iffy but Dungy has a shot at salvaging a disappointing year.

Minnesota Vikings (5-4): Vikings were clueless opening the year 0-2. A couple of key personnel changes quickly energized players and turned things around in a hurry. QB Gus Ferrotte has been the man leading Minnesota to wins in 5 of 7. HB Peterson has been a game changer. Vikings defense has made big plays when they had to. This squad doesn't strike fear into opponents... yet. They do seem to play better cohesive football from week to week. Big tests still remain. Vikes should not be counted out.

(thumbs down)
Seattle Seahawks (2-7): 10-6 division winners in '07. Seattle has been horrible so far with no signs of improvement on the horizon. These guys find new ways to define inept. Only wins have been against San Francisco and St. Louis... whoopie. They've barely challenged after opening kickoffs in other contests. Offense, defense and coaching decisions have not panned out. A total team collapse. What happened to this squad? Injuries, age and lack of innovation have derailed any hope of salvaging a respectable season.

San Diego Chargers (4-5): 11-5 division winners had been predicted to win it all in '08. They haven't looked good in most games. Began 0-2 losing by a combined 3 points. It's been a tough luck season. Early on it was bad officiating, dropped passes... anything and everything which could go wrong usually did. They've battled back to 4-5 but it's uncertain which path Norv Turner's team will take down the stretch. Big injuries on defense and to LT have created inconsistencies. Turner hasn't solved the puzzle and must for San Diego to have a shot. Many experts keep waiting for the Chargers to turn it around. It would help if these guys were able to figure out a way to win on the road.

Detroit Lions (0-9): 7-9 in '07. Nobody expected to Lions to suddenly rise to top status. However, after years and years of rebuilding... and 7 wins in 2007... most in Motown expected improvement. Wrong. This is the worst organization in the NFL. Horrible front office, subpar coaching, substandard players all add up to ZERO wins. That's right, this team hasn't won a game. They've barely even challenged in most. Things are so bad QB Dante Culpepper was signed mid-week and started yesterday. There's no way he knows this offense... that's how pathetic this team has become. I'd comment on their defense if there was a defense to comment on. It doesn't get much worse then the 2008 Detroit Lions. If they win a game it will be a result of a fluke incident.

Stay tuned for Biggest Suprises and Busts ranking players and coaches........

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