Archive for the AFC East Category


What We Learned: NFL Week Three

By Ryan of The Sportmeisters

Week Three had some major upsets, and a few tricks thrown in as well. Let’s take a look back at some of the big stories.

 

That Old Favre Magic

Two weeks into the NFL season, and Brett Favre has done little more than manage a game, a task either of his backups could do, and still make them 2-0. They do have one of the top NFL running backs in Adrian Peterson. However, Favre was finally called on in the fourth quarter against San Francisco, and boy, did he deliver. With 89 seconds to go, the Vikings were down 24-20, starting on their own 20 yard line. Favre drove them, completing all five of his passes, leading them to the 32 yard line of San Francisco’s with 12 seconds left. On the next play, Favre found little-used WR Greg Lewis in the back of the end zone to complete his 40th career game-winning drive. This one play just summed up why Minnesota took such a chance to get Favre back one last time.

 

An Unimpressive Beginning

It’s been two years and three games since Michael Vick played in an NFL game. Finally, on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009, Vick came back and did…absolutely nothing. Well, that’s not all true. Vick, who has only practiced with the Philadelphia Eagles for a short amount of time, played his responsibility as a decoy well. Overall, Vick was on the field for 11 snaps, and had a total of seven yards on one rush. Ironically, it was the other Eagle backups, QB Kevin Kolb and RB LeSean McCoy who had a big day for the Iggles, who won 34-14 over Kansas City. As the season progresses, look for Vick to get some more action while he adjusts to his new team.

 

The First One Is Always The Sweetest

Dec. 23, 2007 was the last positive day for Lions fans. That day has since been replaced with Sept. 27, 2009 as the Detroit Lions won their first game in their last 20, beating the Washington Redskins 19-14. Coach Jim Schwartz and rookie QB Matt Stafford also celebrated their first career victories. While their 19-game losing streak will go down in history as the second longest in NFL history, for the Lions and their fans, all they’re concerned with is a new streak. This one has a more winning attitude to it.

Kudos must also go to Schwartz, who sent his team back out to celebrate the victory with the 40,000 plus fans who have been supporting the Lions through thick and thin.

 

All-Star Injury Squad

The NFL talks of adding an extra game or two, but at the rate of the injuries occurring, they’re won’t be anyone left to play that extra game. In fact, an all-pro team could be designed with the injured players. Key injuries include RBs LaDanian Tomlinson, Frank Gore, Jamal Lewis, Marion Barber, LB Brian Urlacher, DE Dwight Freeney, QBs Donovan McNabb and Chad Pennington, WR Wes Welker, CB Aaron Ross, S Troy Polamalu, and others. It’s a long season, and for some teams, a key injury to a franchise guy can really affect the team’s psyche and performance.

 

Way Too Early MVP Predictions

1. Peyton Manning: 983 yards and seven touchdowns in just three games, he is the reason the Colts have once again taken first place in the AFC South, and the team shows no signs of turnover issues with a new coaching staff in place.

2. Adrian Peterson: Even after his non-breakout game against San Francisco, the Minnesota Vikings RB is still a huge reason for their 3-0 start, with 357 yards and four touchdowns on the ground in 2009.

3. Drew Brees: The Greatest Show In The Air is led by Brees, with his 841 yards and 9 touchdowns already. He had a non-descript game against Buffalo, but still has the talent and the tools to put points up and lead New Orleans to victory in the coming weeks.

 

Contenders and Pretenders

It’s early in the season, but who’s getting off on the right foot?

Are the Jets for real? Raise your hand if you saw them 3-0 after games against New England and Tennessee. Well, it’s true, behind rookie QB Mark Sanchez and the suffocating defense, the Jets are 3-0 heading into a showdown against New Orleans this weekend.

The New York Giants recommitted themselves to the rushing game this past week, and it showed as that and a combined defense effort led them in shutting out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-0. It was the first road shutout for the G-Men since 1983. The Giants are 3-0 for the second straight season.

The Baltimore Ravens are using their offense to put points on the board, and it has given them a 3-0 start in coach John Harbaugh’s sophomore season.

As always, there are teams struggling to live up to the hype early on this season as well.

Three losses last year, three losses this year. It’s the same old for the Tennessee Titans, except they’ve lost all three games in a row this season. Who would have thought Albert Haynesworth made that much of a difference.

An inept win over St. Louis and a pathetic loss to Detroit makes the Washington Redskins a huge pretender. Combine that with the NFC East division, and coach Jim Zorn might not make it out of Week Two.

The Miami Dolphins are stuck with one of the hardest schedules this season, and it is clearly affecting last year’s AFC East champs, as they are 0-3 already this season.

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Sleeper Watch: Week Two Surprises

Sleeper Watch, fantasy football, NFL, sleepers

I want to take a look at those players that have a good matchup and could perform well for your fantasy football teams in Week Two.

These are the players you would not normally start, but might be worth a start this weekend. This is especially for those owners dealing with injuries to fantasy starters like Donovan McNabb, Anthony Gonzalez—both on my team—or LaDainian Tomlinson.

 

Jason Campbell, QB, Redskins

Jason Campbell didn’t perform all that bad against the vaunted New York Giants’ defense in Week One. He did, however, throw an interception and lose a fumble. This week he faces the St. Louis “Pee-Wee Football” Rams.

The Rams’ offense looks so bad the Redskins’ offense might stay on the field the entire game due to a prolonged multitude of three-and-outs. Take advantage of this matchup and any team that plays the Rams, until they prove they can play NFL-caliber football again.

 

Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots

I liked what I saw out of Laurence Maroney during the Monday Night Football game against the Buffalo Bills. Maroney was hitting the hole hard and with purpose (that’s what she said!).

Fred Taylor did get the only rushing touchdown, but I believe Maroney is going to be the main guy in New England. They are playing a New York Jets’ defense that shut down the Houston Texans, so this could be a tough matchup.

On the other hand, Mark Sanchez will be facing his first real defensive test, masterminded by Bill Belichick. The Patriots could be put into some good offensive spots due to rookie quarterback mistakes. This is a rivalry game and the Patriots will need to run the ball with some success to perform at a high level offensively.

 

Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings

Did you see the love Brett Favre showed to Percy Harvin when he caught his first career touchdown in the NFL? Favre is already making Harvin his new favorite target. Oh, and the Minnesota Vikings are facing a Detroit Lions team that gave up six touchdown passes to Drew Brees last weekend.

Don’t be surprised to see the Vikings open up their offense this week, allowing Harvin to see more passes thrown his way.

 

Robert Royal, TE, Browns

Robert Royal seems to be the most sure-handed receiver on the Cleveland Browns team. Maturing starting quarterback Brady Quinn will probably rely heavily on his tight end until he becomes more comfortable in his own shoes.

Take advantage of Royal while Quinn is still leaning on the veteran tight end and he could reward you with some solid production.

 

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Diner morning news: picking the right 14

National Football Post

QUOTE: “When power leads men toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.”

—John F. Kennedy

This is a regular-season week for teams in the NFL in terms of how they practice, how they prepare and how they game plan. Most teams have broken camp, and the regular routine of the season is in place. However, with each team carrying 80 players after this weekend, cuts will be made, rosters must be trimmed and these weekend games will determine who stays and who ultimately goes.

So building a roster is the critical element to this weekend, most notably how to make your team effective in the three essential areas of the game—offense, defense and special teams. This notion of who makes the decisions on the final roster is overblown. The head coach, with some input from his assistants, should make the final decisions, but the personnel man should have control of the 50th through the 58th players. Teams can dress only 45 players, and the head coach needs to have the authority to make those decisions—but in turn, the personnel man needs to protect the future of the franchise. There has to be balance between helping the team today and helping the team tomorrow. The fight over control of the roster is a needless one. The discussion should center on the back end of the roster, allowing the personnel department to work hard at improving the team. The head coach controls who dresses, the personnel man improves the future talent base. So let the coach have final say on the roster—just define the number.

AP Tarvaris Jackson

For example, the Vikings, my favorite team, have added a soon-to-be 40-year-old quarterback, and everyone assumes they will trade or release Tarvaris Jackson, who is now the backup. But where would this put them next year? With a 41 year old who might or might not retire again (alert Scott Hansen of NFL Network and Rachel Nichols of ESPN to position themselves at the end of Brett Favre’s driveway), or with Sage Rosensfels or maybe John David Booty and possibly Jackson. So based on signing Favre, they should carry four quarterbacks this year. All teams carry four quarterbacks on their 58-man roster, so the Vikings, instead of risking losing a potential player for their 2010 team, should carry the four on the main roster, supplementing the other areas with a player on the practice squad. From 46-58, those players don’t dress anyway, so it doesn’t matter where they are on the team as long as they’re on the team.

Going into this weekend’s games, the makeup of most teams should be right around 44 players: 20 on offense, 20 on defense and four who would impact the kicking game. A few years ago, Bill Parcells wrote this about his methods for choosing a roster: “The remaining 10 guys were comprised of players who I felt could make a significant contribution in the special-teams area or were young developing players that weren’t quite ready as training camp ended, but I felt could make a contribution by the time the season was in full swing. If we had a position on the team that was shaky because of inexperience or by virtue of the health of the players playing it, maybe I would keep someone at that position as insurance.”

AP Bill Parcells

The back end of the roster must be players who can develop or need additional development. And there has to be great honesty in making sure you’re keeping a player on the roster for his developmental potential, not for his draft status (e.g., Vernon Gholston of the Jets).

This weekend, the starters will play into the third quarter, mixing in players whom the coaches and personnel men need to evaluate in a competitive setting. Which players take the final 14 spots on the roster will be the essence of the evaluation from these games. Teams need to make sure they stock their practice squad (players 53-58) with those who have a chance to develop, not with players that are familiar with the system or people they’re comfortable having around. Comfort is not the concern; finding talent is the main concern.

Special teams will be a key area for fans to evaluate this weekend—the players who line up on first-team coverage are the players still in competition for a roster spot. Finding the right 14 players for the team is what this weekend’s games are all about.

RIP Sen. Edward Kennedy (1932-2009)

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Breaking News: Brett Favre Signs With Minnesota Vikings

Soon that picture will not just be some crafty Photoshop business.

One night after a report came from Fox Sports Jay Glazer that the attitude amongst the Vikings brass was not a matter of if, but when, Brett Favre would become a Viking, the never ending saga has taken, hopefully, a final twist.

Three weeks after Favre said he would remain retired, citing psychical reasons, it has been stated that Brett Favre has signed a contract, and will suit up in the purple and gold this coming season.

The likely reason this is now occurring is because we are deeper into training camp, and Favre did not want to go through the demands of training camp in hopes of lasting through a full season.

Make it official, and lets get this Favre rumor mill shut down, a formal announcement should be made by the days end. 

He is the unquestioned starter for the Vikings’, and pairs with All-Pro RB Adrian Peterson to give the Vikings a passing force on offense they have sorely lacked since the glory days of Daunte Culpepper. No longer will this team have to rely solely on the legs of Peterson.

I will have updates as more news comes out, with Favre, you never know how much there is going to be

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32 Teams, 32 Sleepers: NFC North (Fantasy Football)

(Reprinted from www.scfantasyfootball.com, written by Chris)

Well, Chris and I have something nice lined up for everybody out there. I introduce to you, “32 Teams, 32 Sleepers.” We are going to go division-by-division and give you a high-upside or value pick for each team.

By sleepers, by the way, we’re talking people likely to go around the twelfth round or later. Expect me to write-up the AFC East and West and the NFC North and South, with Chris doing the NFC East and West, and the AFC North and South.

Next up, the NFC North.

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NFL Dream Team

If you can have a fantasy draft of your own NFL team, who would you pick?

There are no other people drafting against you, so you are free to choose the best of the best.

Can you make your team go undefeated?

I can only imagine what would happen if American style football was a worldwide event.

If that were so, I’m sure that this team would go undefeated against any other team ever.

These may not be the best NFL players in the NFL at their positions, but they are the players that would fit great and work together best. It’s sort of like how Herb Brooks ran his Olympic team back in 1979-1980. It’s not the best players, it’s the right ones.

Forget the 3-4 or 4-3 defense, wildcat , double-wing, or shotgun formations. No matter what the suit, these guys would get it done!

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