2012 NFL predictions, Week 1 picks

Well, we made it.  It’s been a long seven months since the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, it’s been even longer since my 49ers won a game, but WE MADE IT! Football started on Wednesday, but for most of us this long agonizing time where we have to resort to baseball (yawn) to get us through the dog days of Summer are over and on Sunday and Monday we get back to what really matters, FOOTBALL!

If you are like me, then for the next twenty-two Sundays you are absolutely booked and for legitimate reason and I wish you all good luck that your team is alive those twenty-two weeks, and I actually mean it if you are a 49er fan.

I have a couple predictions for the 2012 season and I make my Week 1 picks which will surely be wrong.

Tim Tebow will NOT become the starting Quarterback for the New York Jets unless there is an injury to Mark Sanchez.  A lot of the media pundits, experts, my friends, and random weirdos (seriously homeless guy on San Marcos Blvd. stop yelling “Tebow” at me!) on the street have been yelling for Tebow to start possibly week 3….of the Preseason, but that hasn’t happened yet and although the offense looks abismal I believe that Rex Ryan and the Jets will stick with Sanchez the whole year barring injury. So hide all your Te-bowners until the Jets offensive line pulls a “Remember the Titans” and allows their QB to get hurt for Sunshine aka Tim Tebow.

The Indianapolis Colts will make the playoffs.  I know, I know, it’s preseason, but damn did Andrew Luck look good.  How can I a guy with this much hype come into the season possibly being underrated?  He has the least amount of pressure for a #1 pick that is supposed to be the best Quarterback prospect since John Elway or ever.  Yet, RG3 has more pressure playing for the Redskins, after they gave up a shit-ton of picks and play in the NFC East, Ryan Tannehill has a huge spotlight on him after being featured in Hard Knocks*, there is the Saints Bountygate, Tim Tebow/Mark Sanchez, the media’s love for Russel Wilson because he’s so tiny and everyone is electrified by him — get over it.  Everyone seems to forget about Mr. Luck, he handles him self correctly, he’s pro-ready, and he’s got the weirdest voice for a white guy.  The Colts upgraded at the coaching staff and on defense, and even though he’ll be throwing to Austin Collie if he still has a brain and an old Reggie Wayne, this team is in a weak AFC South where he can play the Titans and Jaguars four times this year, the AFC is wide open for them to sneak in. Read more…

Is your team’s quarterback at risk for injury in 2012?

Most experts regard the quarterback position as the most important in all of sports. If your team has a great quarterback, a trip to the playoffs is likely. However, a great quarterback does nothing for the team while wearing a sling. Which quarterbacks need to prove that they can stay healthy in 2012?

Peyton Manning – Denver Broncos

Manning has never been chronically injured. However, he did miss all 16 games last season in his final year with the Indianapolis Colts. At the age of 36, he is entering a phase of his career when even a nagging injury will take longer to heal. Considering that he needed three neck fusion surgeries (there was a fourth procedure that went unreported) to get back into playing shape, he may be one hit away from missing all of this season as well. If that happens, the Broncos may be toast. No one thinks Caleb Hanie or Brock Osweiler can lead a team to the playoffs.

Matt Schaub – Houston Texans

Matt Schaub has played in 11 or fewer games in three out of his five seasons with the Texans. Last season, Houston was forced to finish the season with rookie T.J Yates at the quarterback position. He fared OK for a rookie, but Schaub is clearly the type of player at quarterback that the Texans need to lead a balanced attack. In his absence, the Texans have been forced to put more of the burden on running backs Adrian Foster and Ben Tate. If healthy, Schaub has the ability to throw for over 4,000 yards in a season without much effort. Read more…

Start of the NFL season: AFC power rankings

As the end of the NFL preseason is quickly approaching, so is the beginning of the 2012 NFL regular season. As there is one week left of preseason football, we are less than 10 days away from the start of the 2012 NFL season. I like to name this period “Week Zero”, as these power rankings are a basic opinion of how I believe the 2012 NFL season will pan out.

In the AFC, many familiar faces and teams will be in the postseason talks once again. The AFC, which is noticeably weaker than the rival NFC, have many teams loaded with potential, but just are not quite there yet. Here are the Week Zero AFC Power Rankings.


A new head coach (Mike Mularkey), a quarterback still going through growing pains (Blaine Gabbert), a defense on the decline, and one of the best playmakers in the NFL (Maurice Jones-Drew) is holding out for a new contract…yea, 2012 will not be very kind to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Projection: 4-12


The Browns can only hope they struck gold by drafting Weeden (3) and Richardson (33)

The Browns have some bright spots in wide receiver Greg Little, All-Pro offensive tackle Joe Thomas, a defensive line loaded with under-the-radar talent, and two of the most efficient defensive players in the game in linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and cornerback Joe Haden, the problem though? Too young, not ready to compete for a playoff spot yet.

Projection: 4-12


New Colts franchise quarterback Andrew Luck doesn’t play like an ordinary NFL rookie, but fellow rookies Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, and T.Y. Hilton certainly look the part, as the Colts are starting over with new head coach Chuck Pagano and look to be heading in the right direction.

Projection: 5-11


The Dolphins made significant moves in the offseason, trading away star wide receiver Brandon Marshall, cutting former starting quarterback Chad Henne, signing Chad Johnson, cutting Chad Johnson, and trading away cornerback Vontae Davis…the Dolphins will have difficulty finding any kind of identity in 2012.

Projection: 6-10


Carson Palmer may have a training camp with the Raiders under his belt, but the wide receiver core is average, Darren McFadden is injury-prone, the linebacker core is inexperienced and troubled, and the secondary has trouble in coverage.

Projection: 6-10


Starting Jake Locker at quarterback will be a rough transition for the Titans, as Locker may not even have top-target Kenny Britt available at his expense, but the Titans need to see if Locker fits the bill of an NFL franchise quarterback.

Projection: 6-10

Read more…

Fantasy Football: Running Backs to grab in the middle to late rounds

We’ve given you the WR’s to grab in the later rounds of your draft, and now it’s the running back’s turn. We have chosen our list from three-tier RB’s and higher and hopefully if you haven’t finished drafting (or for some of you if you haven’t started yet), here are some backs worth grabbing in the mid to late rounds.

BenJarvis Green-Ellis-Bengals– We liked this signing as soon as it was announced as the Bengals historically, are a running team first and foremost. With only Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard as back ups, BJGE should run and run often and have his share of goal line carries. For some reason, Steven Jackson is coming off the boards before Green-Ellis and frankly, we think it should be the other way around. In the last 3 seasons, S-Jax has seen his yards fall 1416, 1241, and last season 1145. He averaged 5 TD’s over the same period, while Green-Ellis has averaged 12 TD’s over the past 2 seasons with the Pats-and that was in a time-share! In fact we like BJGE better than Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore as well.

David Wilson-Giants– The N.Y. Giants who seem to make all the right moves lately, picked the Virginia Tech star in the first round for a reason; he’s a super-fast sly running back who will provide the lightning in the G-Men’s running game. If you’ve seen any of the pre-season games, you would have noticed how he can elude tackles and pick up some nice yardage after contact. He will make a formidable RB2 and at the same time will provide insurance for Ahmad Bradshaw owners. He’ll make a nice mid round pickup.

Donald Brown-Colts– Talk about late round value, the former fist round pick out of UCONN has virtually no competition so the starting back job is Browns to lose. Rookie QB Andrew Luck will rely heavily on Brown who also has great pass-catching ability which will help all those in PPR leagues. In a back-up role last season, he had as many touchdowns (5), as Steven Jackson. It must sound like we’re picking on S-Jax, but really, we’re just bringing out a point. Snatch this former Husky late-you won’t be disappointed. Read more…

Top first-year starting quarterbacks in 2012

Where do Andrew Luck and RGIII Rank on My Top 1st Year Quarterbacks?

Aaron Rodgers? Tom Brady? Drew Brees? Who cares about them? We know what we have in them, but if you’re like me, you care about the future.  With potentially 10 starting quarterbacks coming out of the past two draft classes, and now with six as new starters this year, who will do the best this year.  I know that’s a burning question to all of my dozen loyal readers, but you came to the right place.

1. Jake Locker – Tennessee Titans.  Locker was named the starting quarterback of the Titans earlier in the week, taking over for incumbent 37 year-old Matt Hasselbeck.  Locker has shown flashes of big play ability with his strong-arm and his legs, but accuracy has been his main problem.  After mostly sitting for a year, it is Locker’s time to show if he was worth of the #8 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.  What he does have going for him, other than said arm and legs, is a strong receiver corp highlighted by the troubled Kenny Britt — who will serve a short suspension and is coming back from knee injury — 1st round pick and RGIII’s #1 target at Baylor, Kendall Wright, and an up-and-down tight end in Jared Cook.  If Chris Johnson can rebound off a terrible 2011, Locker will have weapons all around him in a weak division that plays the Jaguars and Colts twice each.

2. Robert Griffin III – Washington Redskins.  Known to many by RGIII, the #2 pick in this years draft, he has a lot of talent around him and a playoff caliber defense to help him through his rookie struggles.  Last year’s Heisman winner, now has Mike Shanahan, former coach of Hall-of-Famer John Elway, to guide him through his career, and upgrades at wide receiver with the signing of the speedy Pierre Garcon, the reliable Joshua Morgan (former 49er) and an improving Fred Davis at tight end.  You can’t forget that in Shanahan’s offense he could put me at running back and I could gain 1,000 yards — a solid run game is huge for any young starting quarterback. The only reason I don’t have RGIII as my top 1st year starter?  The schedule.  The NFC East goes three deep, maybe four depending on how good RGIII really is, and having to play the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Philadelphia Eagles six times a year makes this division one of the deepest, if not the deepest, in the NFL. Read more…

Jim Irsay: Trade talks stalled, but for who?

Indianapolis Colts Traning Camp

As reporters and fans scramble to guess at the player to whom Colts owner Jim Irsay was referring when he said (via Twitter, obviously):  (1) trade winds are blowing; (2) the team would be giving up a high draft pick for a “serious” veteran starter; and (3) the owner would be getting out the check book if/when the trade happens, Irsay has added an update (via Twitter, obviously) several hours after he went back behind the curtain.

Said Irsay:  “It’s standing still…at 1am…shut it down…as Paul Simon says.. ‘There’s only so much you can do..go on and get some rest…’”

This could mean that the talks have stalled.  Or, as ESPN’s Chris Mortensen suggested during halftime of the Cardinals-Titans game, Irsay could simply be messing with everyone.

Assuming that Irsay wasn’t throwing a curve ball, perhaps in the hopes of stirring up a trade market for Maurice Jones-Drew in order to get him out of the division, there’s no further smoke to suggest that any one specific player has been targeted.

A source with knowledge of the situation in Indianapolis believes that Steelers receiver Mike Wallace would be the most likely player to justify the team sending a high pick and Irsay writing a big check, given that Wallace has been holding out in Pittsburgh.  With former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians bringing the offense with which Wallace is familiar to Indy and with starting receiver Austin Collie out once again due to his latest concussion, that move still makes the most sense. Read more…

Colts pursuing Maurice Jones-Drew or Mike Wallace?

Jim IrsayIndianapolis Colts fans are paying attention to Jim Irsay’s Twitter page. Maybe Mike Wallance and Maurice Jones-Drew should as well.

After Peyton Manning was fired and Andrew Luck was hired, we didn’t think there would be much for Colts owner Jim Irsay to tweet about.
Wrong again.
Irsay says, with enough all caps to hurt the eyeballs and exclamation points to make Jake Jarmel hurl, that the trade winds are blowing.
He says that they’re “talking about giving up high pick for a SERIOUS Vet/Starter,” and that his “check book stands ready!”
The obvious targets are Steelers receiver Mike Wallace and Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
As to Wallace, Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians served as the Steelers offensive coordinator for all three years of Wallace’s career.  As to Jones-Drew, former coach Tony Dungy has said multiple times that he wanted to draft Jones-Drew in 2006.
Wallace is the more likely target, even though the Steelers have said he won’t be traded.  Coach Chuck Pagano has said Donald Brown will be the “bell cow” tailback.  Besides, the Jags likely wouldn’t want to trade Jones-Drew within the division. Read more…

The most impressive quarterbacks of the NFL preseason

Andrew Lucks is looking good during the 2012 NFL PreseasonThe 2012 NFL Preseason is now halfway complete. While you can’t trust everything you see in the preseason (look at Colt McCoy last year), there are things you can pick up on. Here are a few quarterbacks that have impressed us so far and who’s fantasy football arrow is pointing up.

Matt Ryan

Ryan has been my favorite quarterback outside the “Big 6 “(Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Newton, Stafford, Vick) for quite some time now and his preseason performance has only confirmed that. The Falcons seemed committed to running a high tempo offense that is predicated on throwing the ball deep. The emergence of Julio Jones could propel Ryan even higher. A lot of people are on the Matt Ryan bandwagon now, so it’s going to be as easy to get him but don’t let that stop you. The same thing happened to Matthew Stafford last season and he was well worth it.

Andrew Luck

The #1 overall pick got lost a bit during the offseason due to RGIII mania, but he reminded everyone why he was the biggest slam-dunk #1 pick in the past decade with two very good performances in the preseason. He looked like a seasoned veteran in his debut against the St. Louis Rams and even though he threw 2 interceptions against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he still threw the ball very well. Luck is a solid QB2 with sneaky QB1 upside. Read more here…

AFC teams that will struggle the most in 2012

Finding success in the NFL as an AFC team has proven to be difficult in recent years, with the NFC having won three of the last four Super Bowls. In addition to trying to simply beat an NFC team to win the Super Bowl, AFC teams seeking greatness also have to prove themselves against an AFC conference that is still as tough as ever. 2012 will see a mix of new faces join the fray and attempt to compete in the conference.

For these three teams, though, that will be no easy task. The year-to-year turnover on an NFL roster can be daunting, as can the progression or regression of individual players. These teams have their work cut out for them in 2012.

Indianapolis Colts

From 2000 to 2009, the Indianapolis Colts set the mark for the most wins in a decade by an NFL team. With 115 victories in the regular season during this period and the leadership future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, the Colts were one of the pillars of the NFL. Things change, though, and no team looks as likely to struggle throughout 2012 as the Colts.

The Colts now find themselves embarking on a season that is scattered with question marks. Andrew Luck is the successor to Peyton Manning, and he’ll be surrounded by a cast of new Colts that looks very dissimilar to the Colts that used to dominate the AFC South. Mainstays such as Dallas Clark and Gary Brackett are gone. With so much turnover on the roster and such a young squad, the 2012 Colts are going to struggle to find any real consistency. Read more here…

NFL Preseason Week 1 review

It may only be the preseason, but there were still storylines galore from the first week of football.

How can we begin any review without talking about the number one pick in this past summer’s draft? Andrew Luck was spectacular in his Indianapolis debut, throwing for 188 yards and two touchdowns in a blowout victory over the St. Louis Rams.

It probably did his confidence a little good after his first completion wound up being a 63 yard touchdown. You couldn’t ask for a better start to your NFL career. Luck looked mature beyond his years and showed tremendous composure in the pocket.

Another rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, looked extremely sharp in his debut as well. Read more here…

Colts GM: Luck as advertised but he isn’t Peyton

Andrew Luck

Getty Images

Andrew Luck won’t make his preseason debut until Sunday, but Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson has already seen enough to feel confident that the No. 1 overall pick was well spent.

Asked what he has learned about Luck in training camp, Grigson channeled Dennis Green in his answer, saying, “That he really is what we thought he was.”
Grigson said he’s excited about seeing Luck in live game action, because he’s already seen just in practice what a competitor Luck is.  Read more…

Top offensive AFC rookie prospects for 2012

Andrew LuckWhen it comes to offensive rookies in the AFC, there’s one name that immediately comes to mind: Andrew Luck. Looking beyond Luck, though, this is a draft that featured some interesting picks throughout. There weren’t multiple teams who managed to rebuild their entire offenses through the draft, as there are in some years. Instead, most AFC teams this year used their draft picks to add pieces to existing offenses. These are the top three offensive rookies coming into the AFC in 2012.

1. Andrew Luck, Colts QB
There were no surprises at the beginning of this year’s draft when the Indianapolis Colts selected Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first pick. There’s little that can be said about Luck that hasn’t already been said. He’s a player with all of the physical tools that are needed to play the position in the pros, as well as more than enough intelligence to use those tools and make the right decisions. He’s played in a pro-style offense and could have easily gone first overall in 2011 had he not decided to play another year in college.

With so much hype behind Luck, it’s easy to forget that he’ll likely struggle out of the gate. He’s been frequently compared to the man he’s replacing in Indy, Peyton Manning. Manning struggled in his first two seasons before morphing into the elite quarterback that he is today. Colts fans can only hope that Luck’s career follows a similar arc. Read more here…

Colts are close to finalizing deal with Andrew Luck

Andrew LuckThe Indianapolis Colts will open training camp in three weeks and owner Jim Irsay says the team is getting close to signing No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck.

While contracts have been completed quickly for the majority of draft picks this year, the group at the very top of the draft remains unsigned. There isn’t much for the Colts and Luck to haggle over with the streamlined signing process courtesy of the most recent CBA.

The big parameters for the deal are in place. Luck will get a four-year deal worth roughly $24 million and about $14.5 million will be guaranteed.

“We r close on#12’s deal, it’ll get done,” Irsay sent out on his Twitter account, that he occasionally uses to break news, this morning.

2012 AFC South Season preview

Andrew Luck

The AFC South, essentially since its inception, has been one of the least interesting divisions in the NFL to talk about. Discussion about it began and ended with the Indianapolis Colts, who ruled the division for the better part of a decade. Sure, other teams would make it look competitive: The 2007 Jaguars gave the Colts fits, and the 2008 Titans even managed to steal the crown for a season. Indianapolis always ended up returning to the top, though.

All of that changed in 2011, when Peyton Manning missed the season. It changed for good on March 8th, when Indy released Mannning and tore up most of its roster. Gone are mainstays such as Gary Brackett, Dallas Clark and Jeff Saturday. Even head coach Jim Caldwell and general manager Bill Polian are gone, replaced by the combination of new head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson. The Colts are now taking a long position by drafting Andrew Luck and adding dozens of new faces to the team. By opting to rebuild around rookie quarterback Andrew Luck instead of trade the pick and make one last run with the same core, the AFC South has been left up for grabs.  Read More…

NFL Draft 1st round recap: 6.0

Justin BlackmonRounding out our NFL Draft analyses, here is our 6th and final recap of the 1st round draft picks of the 2012 NFL Draft, as we analyze the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, and Indianapolis Colts top draft choices.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars-WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State

With the addition of Blackmon (81), if Gabbert can’t make an improvement from a disastrous rookie season, the Jags may be looking at a quarterback in 2013

Acquired the rights from TB

With the 5th overall draft choice in the NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars traded up from the 7th overall pick to grab quarterback Blaine Gabbert’s future, top receiving target, 2-time Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon.

At Oklahoma State last season, Blackmon caught 121 passes for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns for the 2011 Fiesta Bowl Champion Cowboys. Only the 2nd Biletnikoff Award winner ever in college football, Blackmon has solid wide receiver size (6’1, 215) and should certainly help bolster an extremely weak Jacksonville passing offense.

After releasing veteran quarterback David Garrard in favor of Gabbert, the Jaguars finished with the NFL’s worst total offense (259.3 yards per game), worst passing offense (136.2 yards per game), compiled the 2nd-worst completion percentage (51.2%), the worst average yards per pass attempt (5.4), the 2nd-lowest total passing touchdowns (12), and compiled the NFL’s worst passer rating (62.2).  Read more here…