Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday Night Football Rutgers vs Louisville...Saints vs Falcons

What I Will be watching  this Thursday Night

Rutgers hosts Louisville 7:30

The Big East Showdown, it’s as if whoever scheduled the season saw the future in advance. Rutgers wins they have sole possession of the division championship, if Louisville wins? Well then things get interesting. After an upsetting loss to a Pitt Panther squad that has underachieved all year but is always tough to beat at Heinz field, RU gets a chance to redeem them selves at home against an all to familiar foe. Going all the way back to 1976 in their first meeting, Rutgers leads the all-times series 7-4 and are 4-1 against the Cardinals in Piscataway, so a cake walk should be the furthest of expectations tonight as both teams know what it at stake because the pressure is on! As a New Jersey native it’s no secret who I am rooting for tonight but if Rutgers were to lose and Cincinnati takes down UConn, there will be a four-way tie (Rutgers, Syracuse, Louisville and Cincinnati) for the Big East title giving Louisville the edge for the BCS game due to the tie breakers…with that being said it’s just not going down like that tonight…..RU!......RU!……..RU!…

Keys to the game:  Turnovers- Rutgers must win the turnover battle, I expect it to be a close game so therefore one or two turnovers either way could decide the game. Which means it’s crucial that Nova takes care of the ball.

                               Ball/Clock Possession- Pound the ball Jawan Jamison a back who I believe is one of the best in the country ,eat up of chunks of yards and free up that play action passing game with those big RU receivers.

                               Special Teams- This category should never be forgotten, a punt return, punt block or constantly pinning Louisville deep in their own territory will allow Rutgers to dial up some blitz packages and cause some potential turnovers and keep their offense stagnant.

And finally WHO WANTS IT MORE!?? lets enjoy what we have left of the Big East as a BCS birth is on the line!

Saints at Falcons 8:30 

The 5-6 Saints have been playing playoff football for weeks now after their poor start to the season and a loss tonight against a division rival could just about put the nail in the coffin. The Falcons are a -3 ½ favorite tonight given the fact that they are undefeated at home this season. We must not forget though that single blemish on their record came against this same Saints squad who has seemed to have their number. For some facts, Saints are 4-0 in ATL in the last four meetings so tonight the Falcons will be tested once again. It feels like ATL has been in a game that has come down to the wire in the passed few weeks now, maybe that brings the question of their legitimacy but you can’t deny the fact that they are winning games. With a win tonight ATL would all but sure up a NFC South title. Will the Saints keep their hopes alive tonight? I wouldn’t bet against them, but I’m not a gambling man.

Keys to the Game :     Ground Game- Which team will be able to establish some form of a run game. The Falcons piled up less then 50 yards rushing in the first meeting against the Saints, on the flip side you never know what your going to get out of the Saints backfield, that’s not to say they don’t have the talent at the position. For personal (Fantasy Football) reasons I hope Jacquizz Rodgers has a big game tonight…I’m just saying though..

                                  Red Zone Efficiency: What team will put up touchdowns instead of field goals in the red zone? As Explosive as the Falcons offense has been, this is an area where they tend to struggle at times giving opposing squads a chance to stay in the game, and against an offense like the Saints it’s not a healthy diet to give them too many of those chances off of missed opportunities.

                                   Turnovers/ Special Teams: As I stated before when speaking about the Rutgers Louisville game this is where most games are won and lost, key take a-ways, field possession, someone on one of these units tonight is going to step up and make a game changing play.

One things for sure, the Georgia Dome will be rockin!

Two Great games on Thursday Night Football….Enjoy!...I definitely will..

Thursday, November 8, 2012

AFC South Power Rankings

After years of dominance and 12 win seasons this is no longer a division dominated by the Indianapolis Colts….well as a Indy fan I’ll just say for now…The Houston Texans who were always overlooked like the ugly girl in grade school that everyone either made fun of or ignored, but overtime she started to mature and started getting better looking and better looking until finally few years later we finally noticed her and wait a minute!? She is now strait bangin! and irresistible! That’s why my mom always told me never to be mean to the ugly girls..I listened for the most part... This exact transformation is what has taken place down in Houston. A team that was once at the bottom of this division for years and years is now sitting at the thrown at the top. The Texans are one of the most well rounded squads in the entire NFL top to bottom. Rarely if ever have we seen all four of these AFC South squads competitive for a playoff birth at the same season and this year is certainly no exception, but they have all had their share of ups and downs and to be cut and dry two of them and mainly one in particular are definitely on the downside. As Thursday night football kicks off this week between the Colts and Jaguars who would have thought one of these teams would be in playoff contention before the season started? I must admit, I knew we drafted our QB of the future but I made no bold predictions or any such, well except for betting a friend that we would beat the Jets and I’ve learned to shut my mouth since then. Yet, on the other hand I’m not complaining on how this season is panning out! You could say I’ve taken a gulp of the Luck Cool-Aid, but I’d like to say it I’m sitting back and riding the wave and enjoying the ride as my Colts keep playing inspired ball and getting W’s in the process. Tonight is one of those trap games though as they say, and hopefully the Colts aren’t reading or feeding into all this playoff talk because this would be the perfect time for a 1 win Jaguars team to pull of an upset, especially against a hated rival. I’m excited to watch my guys play tonight on the national spotlight, but as I reiterate, like my mother always said don’t overlook that girl everyone thinks is so ugly because you just might be surprised one day…And to just throw in a quick stat, home teams are 5-1 on Thursday Night Football this season…I’m 
 just sayin…

Here are my Power Rankings for the AFC South :

  1. Houtson Texans (7-1)

Key Additions: ILB Bradie James, DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus

Key Losses: DE Mario Williams, ILB DeMeco Ryans, CB Jason Allen

Theres no real dispute that the Texans are the best team in this division, ranking just outside of the top 10 in total offense and top 5 in total defense this is one of the most well rounded teams in all of football. Defensive MVP candidate and flat out beast J.J Watt on one side of the ball and Arian Foster, Matt Schaub, and Adre Johnson on the other side. I believe the thing to watch for this team is how they perform in big games against a squad who can match up on both sides of the ball, we saw them exposed earlier in the year by the Packers and they have another big one coming up Sunday night against the Bears. After their first playoff birth and victory a season a go I believe a lot of people are waiting to see if the Texans will take the next step and prove they are for real by making a deep run in the playoffs.

  1. Indianapolis Colts (5-3)

Key Additions: CB Vontae Davis, QB Andrew Luck, TE Coby Fleener, TE Dwayne Allen

Key Losses: QB Peyton Manning, TE Jacob Tamme, WR Pierre Garçon, C Jeff Saturday

2 wins a year ago, they release the face of the franchise, new head coach new defensive schemes and after all these changes the Colts have not only doubled their win total from a year ago, they are in playoff contention. Rebuilding? Someone should tell Luck he’s just a rookie, after breaking the single game passing record last week against the Dolphins, Luck has the 4th highest rated QBR in the entire NFL. Let’s add it helps to have the old reliable vet Reggie Wayne as his security blanket as he continues to put up great numbers week in and out. It’s hard for me to keep my bias out of this but as inspired as this team has played for their head coach Chuck Pagano how could you root against them? Avoiding all the outside talk will be key for this year’s team to make a serious playoff run. As long as we can continue to put up points and have Freeny and Mathis closing these games out, it safe to say we definitely have a little more the Luck on our side….corny pun but had to be done.
 A Fellow Colt fan put this on my wall earlier this week..and we might just be talking about them this year

  1. Tennessee Titans (3-6)

Key Additions: LG Steve Hutchinson, DE Kamerion Wimbley, WR Kendall Wright

Key Losses: Cortland Finnegan

The powder blue throwbacks gives the potential of potentially looking like the best in the division but the on the field product is a head scratcher. Second year head coach Mike Munchak doesn’t seem to have the pulse of his team, and lack of talent doesn’t seem to be the central issue. One week they have an impressive win against a Steeler team that is now red hot, and last week they let up 50 plus points to the Chicago Bears in an outright chow down for Jay Cutler and crew. I had to look twice when I saw that final score pop up at the bottom of the screen. CJ 2k has been hot and cold, Kenny Britt has had self inflicted off the field issues and has been plagued with injuries, Jake Locker has dealt with injuries as well. On paper is seems as if this should have been the at worst the second best team in the division coming into the season but that obviously not been the case. Unless they get hot with a late playoff push this is looking like another year the Titans miss the playoffs.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7)

Key Additions: DE Andre Branch, WR Justin Blackmon, WR Laurent Robinson, WR Lee Evans

Key Losses: Not pulling of the trade for Tim Tebow?

A defense that raked 6th a year ago has dipped all the way to 27th, offensively they  rank second lowest in the NFL, the Jaguars look like the team headed for the number 1 pick in next years upcoming draft. This is a team that has lost by a combined score 126 points to just 34 at home. Their best player MJD is out with a sprained foot, Blaine Gabbert’s passer rating improving from 65.4 his rookie season to 78.4 this season but even this has not has not been enough to get this offense clicking in the right direction. They re- loaded with some weapons on the outside but none of these receivers has made a clear impact outside Cecil Shorts who’s had a good game or two. Pass rushers Austen Lane, George Selvie and John Chick have returned to the lineup from injuries in recent weeks improving the defense, but it remains the offense that continues to look like a chicken with its head cut off as they continue to struggle putting up points. With all that being said their sole win this season came against the Colts earlier this season, and like they always say, you don’t win games by just showing up. The Jags are professionals just like everyone else and I think they have the potential to upset a couple more teams this season….possibly