Are you Ready for Football Season?
I know it is has been a while my fellow sports junkies but can you believe Dave was actually making me do work for the last 4 months? Does he not know how important it is to keep you guys up to date on the most recent happenings in the sports world? He kept telling me about inventory needing to be done, an internal construction project that I had to manage, hiring and training a new staff to make sure our orders go out correctly, Bla Bla Bla. I tried to explain to him that you guys don’t want me to do that, you just need your weekly fix of sports and for me to give you my knowledgeable opinion on the hot topic that week.
Fear not, football season is here and AJ’s Smoking Sports Blog is back. You know I am going back to wasting time at work looking over the match ups every week and giving you some solid picks again this year. Need I remind you that yours truly was 157 correct picks and 87 incorrect picks for the season (that was picking EVERY game)? I did not even count the last week of the season where I went 13-3 because I was unable to post my blog in time.
Just to put that in perspective, my record was better than every ESPN analyst that is on their panel. On top of that I went 51 and 21 on my locks of the week. I also gave you some great upset specials of the week that went 9 and 8 for strait up winners on the season (I was 15 and 2 against the spread, so can you say CHA CHING$$$$). Not to gloat to much more but in my preseason predictions I correctly had every division winner, except for the NFC East. I had the Giants, and Washington ended up being the division champs. My wild card picks were not so good, and I clearly jumped on the KC band wagon a season to soon, but tell me they are not going to be solid team this year! Anyway I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself as you will have to see below on who I like this season.
Ashton VSG is a full bodied cigar that will remind you that you are a MAN! This is your time to ignore the “honey do” list, cook a dead meat product on an open fire, chug down some cold adult beverages and head to your man cave with your boys to take part in the greatest time of the year.
Football is back my friends, and it could not come soon enough.
I want to let you know what to expect this season in our weekly blog. The feedback has been positive, so we are going to keep the weekly picks the same, and continue to write about a different subject matter that is the hot topic of the week, or anybody that is making news.
What I would like to add this season is a fantasy football section that will be short, but give you some suggestions on who I think makes sense to start that week. I will also be glad to give you my thoughts if you have a tough call that week in making out your lineup.
Just post your question in the comments field to get my reply. I am also looking for a way to incorporate come college football talk as well, but we will see how that goes. We are hoping to have a few more surprises this season, maybe some cheerleader pictures and of course some great contests and giveaways as well.
Before we get into what will happen this year, let’s take a look at some of the big offseason moves that were made in the NFL. If you have read my blog before, you know that I am a HUGE Tampa Bay fan being that I was born and raised here. I used to wear the creamsicle orange with pride, ok maybe not with pride all the time (man am I glad they switched to Red and Pewter), but you mean to tell me they got Darrell Revis! Ohh man that must hurt in your gut Jets fan.
The only thing that my Bucs were horrible in last year was pass defense. So to fix that problem they went out and got the best cornerback to play the game since Deion Sanders. Again how does that taste Jets fan! The icing on the cake is the first game of season, in Met Life stadium is Bucs vs. Jets. Can you say revenge game? Before I let you Jet fans off the hook, how happy are you with Rex Ryan? From my understanding you guys are having a huge QB competition this training camp. Let me ask you this, why would your head coach not be watching the offense during preseason games? I fully understand he is a defensive guy, but come on! If your job is on the line and you have a critical decision at the QB position, how on God’s green earth do you not watch the offense while they are on the field?
In a shocking move to all (insert sarcasms here) Andy Reid was fired by the Eagles, and is now the new KC head coach. Percy Harvin was traded to the Seahawks for a first round pick and then in classic Percy Harvin fashion goes on the DL before the season even starts. He is an explosive player when he is not hurt, but I personally do not think he was worth the risk. That is the major highlights this offseason. Wait you mean I missed something, oh yea there is that whole murder investigation involving the Patriots Aaron Hernandez.
Now I am no one to call someone guilty before they have been tried by a jury of there peers, so I am going to hold my thoughts about what he is alleged of doing until that process is played out. At the very least and looking at it from a human perspective, someone died and family members had to deal with losing someone they love. So if Hernandez did have anything to do with this murder I hope he gets the full extent of the law’s punishment. From a Football perspective Tom Brady is still going to be great, and I think New England will be just fine and continue to be a force this year.
I will start this season’s blog with some short assessments of each team, and at the bottom I will tell you who I think will win that division.
Eli is still there and he has some dangerous weapons in Cruz and Nicks. If they are going to get back to Super Bowl form they need Jason Pierre–Paul to a have a Defensive Player of the Year type season.
I know Chip Kelly was a genius in college and he has a very unique offense that might take some adjusting by defensive coordinators, but I still do not see an old Michel Vick leading that team anywhere.
RG3 is an exciting player, when he is healthy enough to play. The NFL is not college and you have to protect your franchise QB. Do you think Mike Shannon has learned that lesson? He had better, if the Redskins are to repeat as NFC East Champs.
So let me get this right, you gave a Quarterback one of the richest contracts in the history of the NFL and he has won all of ONE playoff game! Then Jerry Jones says he wants Romo to be more of a leader, like Payton Manning. If he is not the leader you are looking for, why did you pay him? I guess that is what you get when the General Manager is the owner.
I know they let me down last year but in this division I still think they are the cream of the crop. They are the only team to have a Super Bowl winning QB and Coach Combination. That has to count for something, right?
Detroit has the talent to win. They have the best Wide Receiver in the game, and a QB that can get him ball. There D-line should be the best in the league with Fairley and Sue as the anchors. I guess you have ask yourself, would you bet on them? Talking about a Francine that is snake bit. You just can’t say they are going to beat anyone in this division even though they have as much talent as anyone in the league. Side note, will Reggie Bush ever be the “Reggie Bush” at USC? He was almost untouchable in college and it just has not translated to the NFL.
Is Lovie Smith the next Tony Dungy? If you think about it, he is one if the best Defensive head coaches to ever be in the game, and he was fired because his offense never matched his defense. I lived this same story here in Tampa Bay. This is a hard team to read right now, but you almost have to say that Jay Cutler’s health will determine their future. If starts 16 games they should make the playoffs, if he gets hurt they are done.
So is Adrian Peterson from this planet? How does someone that had reconstructive knee surgery in January, come back later that same year run for over 2,000 yards? I have a running joke that he had his surgery at Area 51 by Aliens. That guy is an absolute BEAST! Not a huge fan of Christian Ponder, so I really don’t see them making another run at the playoffs this season. With that being said, when you have “All Day” in the backfield you can beat anyone on any given Sunday….or Monday…or Thursday, you get the picture.
What more is there to say then you have Aaron Rogers, I think that makes you a playoff contender right from the start. Yea and on top of that, they gave him the best running back in college football in Eddie Lacey. So now they are going to add a running game to that high powered passing attack? If there defense can keep opponents to under 20 points a game, they have the chance to go undefeated.
Wait, Carson Palmer is not colleting social security yet? He is like a prize fighter that cannot decide to either say retired or come out of retirement to get paid. I know he put up decent numbers with the Raiders, but did he win? Outside of Fitzgerald and Patrick Peterson there is not much go get excited about in the land of the desert. I am curious if the honey badger will be able to grow pot out there.
Another team that is tough to gauge this year. I like Sam Bradford as a QB, and I know Tevon Austin will be a playmaker but man is he small. Didn’t they have the same guy last year in Danny Amendola? I am really impressed with their Defense, especially under Jeff Fisher, but I am not ready to say they are a playoff team yet. They play in too tough a division to say they have a shot, but there future looks good.
How good was Russell Wilson last year? As long as he continues to grow as a Quarterback the sky is the limit for the Seahawks. I see them as a solid playoff team, and would be a division winner pick, if not for the 49ers.
As good as Russell Wilson was last year, Colin Kaepernick was that much better. Alex Smith was a good, to above average QB and you could have won with him playing, and the solid defense they have. When the 49ers inserted Kaepernick last season, they took their offense to the next level. Injuries could play a factor but as of right now, I do not see a more balanced team in the league.
Will the real Cam Newton please stand up? There are games when he looks to be the greatest pure athlete to ever grace a NFL field. He can make every throw, and look almost unstoppable when he is running the football. Then you see him again and he looks completely lost, and makes horrible decisions that cost his team games. Steve Smith is getting up there in age, and they really should have given Cam some wide receiver help this offseason. That being said I still think his development plays the most critical part in Carolina’s season. Although you could say that about any team, I think it plays more of a factor in Carolina chances. If he goes in the tank so will there season, if he plays like Superman they could be in the Super Bowl.
So I guess they did miss Sean Payton. Drew Breese and that offense is going to be just fine, the only question that you ever have to have about the Saints is whether or not they can stop anybody. Bob Ryan has been brought in and they are switching to a 3-4 scheme. That usually takes at least one season to get the right players that fit it and for them to understand the change fully. I think they will be good as always because they are going to score but I don’t think they will be a playoff team.
I think they are the second best team in the NFC. The NFC Championship game could be down to Atlanta and San Francisco just like last year. Julio Jones is an absolute monster on the outside and I have a ton of respect for Matt Ryan. They just need to generate some pass rush to take that next step. Osi Umenyiora was brought in just to do that, but is any better or for that matter any younger the John Abraham? Time will tell.
Now for my beloved Bucs. I know I am looking though red and pewter glasses, but this is a playoff team. They were the best against the run last year and dead last against the pass. Ok we will fix this by signing Darrell Revis and Dashon Goldson. The best cover corner and safety in the league. You pair that with a young Mark Barron and Jonathan Banks to learn under these all pros, and you have the making of the best secondary in the league. To say this is a huge season for Josh Freeman may be an understatement. His contract is up and nothing motivates anyone more than money (see Joe Flacco from last year). He has weapons all over the place. You start with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, at wide out. A great running game with Doug Martin, and a very solid offense line, anchored with all pros Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks. At one point last season Josh had thrown 21 touchdowns and only 7 picks. If that Josh Freeman plays all year, the Bucs will make the playoffs.
I want to pretense this by saying I am not being biased at all, but I feel this is the toughest division in football right now. Any one of these 4 teams could have a great season and win the division. Right now I am going with the Falcons but this could be a potential tossup.
Well if you have read this far you should have an idea of who I like to make the playoffs in the NFC, but here is the breakdown by how I think they will be seeded.