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Raiders News

Defensive inconsistency hurting the Raiders when it comes to interceptions. posted by Raiders News

An interception is more than just a take away or a change of possession. It’s a huge momentum changer and one pic can bring a team from being out of the game to a roaring comeback.

However, the 0-8 Raiders don’t know much about momentum changes as they rank dead last in the league in defensive interceptions with only 3 so far on the season and 23 over the past 3 years.

Sure, the game has changed considerably. With greater concerns for player safety, hard nosed defense isn’t what it used to be. The NFL is becoming more and more a flag football league where completions and record high passing games the norm, but that shouldn’t stop a team from having an aggressive defensive mindset.

The greatest reason why the Raiders rank last in INTs is the lack of consistency in the secondary. The Raiders have had a different set of starting cornerbacks in each of the past three seasons.

That lack of continuity causes a defense to play more cautious, not knowing the ebb and flow of their teammates so they can read off each other and know when one is going for the receiver and one is free to try and snatch the ball out of the air from the receiver without worry that he’ll miss and give up 6 points.

So how does a team build that mindset without getting burned on each and every play? Practice. Practicing a more aggressive, interception friendly defense during practice is the only way the Raiders will ever climb out of the bottom of the Interceptions ranking. Because game time is too late for on the field experiments, especially with All-Pro Peyton Manning and the Broncos coming to town on Sunday.

Continue reading "Defensive inconsistency hurting the ..."


Broncos Fan

Wes Welker Injury Update and what does it mean for the future of the Broncos star wide out? posted by Broncos Fan

It hasn’t been easy for Bronco’s star wide out Wes Welker. He started off the 2014 campaign with a concussion during a preseason contest which would have sidelined him for at least one regular season game, but to compound the issue, he was suspended an additional 4 games as he tested positive for amphetamines.

Depsite the general public ridicule that came with his drug testing results, the league reinstated Welker only two weeks later instead of serving his original 4 game suspension.

Things may have seemed to be looking up for Welker until last Sunday when he left the game with a back injury. Another snag for the All-Pro receiver to an otherwise dismal year.

Is this the end for Welker? Probably not, but it’s not too far off. He is nowhere near his Pro-Bowl numbers and his output was the lowest he had since back in 2006. His role on the team is diminishing as the Broncos are looking to the next man in who is healthy and can stay healthy.

With a quarterback like Peyton, you don’t need to be reliant on a specific receiver to generate your offense. Peyton will make an offense click with just about anybody, and the Broncos are far from just having ‘anybody’.

Demaryius Thomas is one of the best wide receivers in the league. At 26 years old, he's at the peak of his powers and has a long, bright future ahead of him. Add in the teams best Red Zone target, Julius Thomas, and it’s clear that the Broncos can produce yardage and points just fine.

In addition, the signing of Emmanuel Sanders served to drain some of the targets that might've gone Welker's way after the departure of Eric Decker. Sanders is having a great season, on pace to set personal bests in receptions and receiving yards.

Continue reading "Wes Welker Injury Update and what ..."


Broncos Fan

Can Manning Take The Broncos Back To The Superbowl? posted by Broncos Fan

The Denver Broncos looked  invincible going into Super Bowl but was sent crashing back to earth by the tight defense of the Seattle Seahawks to lose, 43-8. The debacle stole the thunder from what was a solid season for the Broncos where they went 13-3.

Any story about the Broncos starts with league MVP Peyton Manning. The five-time MVP was spectacular last year with 55 touchdown passes, a single-season record. He also registered an 8.3 ypa and 5,477 yards. But it remains to be seen how Manning will sustain his brilliance as he enters the late 30s. Now 38, Manning could be a step slower this year.

Making things difficult this year is that the team would have to face the NFC West this year after feasting on the poor NFC East defenses the previous season. He struggled mightily against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, and now he’ll have to deal with them again as well as defensive teams like the 49ers, Cardinals, and Rams.

Aside from the schedule, the Broncos will have to deal with a declining supporting cast. They lost Wes Walker, a favorite target of Manning. Left guard Zane Beadles also left town, and it is expected that Orlando Franklin will take his spot. Chris Clark will then take over Beadles’ old position.

Fortunately, the defensive unit of the Broncos did not lose key pieces. In fact, it may have improved its secondary with the addition of Aqib Talib, one of the best corners in the league. They also signed safety T.J. Ward, and he’ll provide a lot of help in the defensive backfield.

The Broncos will still be a contender for the NFL championship. While the offense is expected to drop, Manning should still be able to find his way and carry the offense. The good news is that the defense may have even been improved.

Continue reading "Can Manning Take The Broncos Back ..."


Amari Harris

The Fix 10-12: QB Overdose posted by Amari Harris

The turning point.

Tough loss for the Dallas Cowboys last week.  And it wasn’t one of those 24 hour losses either.  It was one of those that you think about for the next few days, and depending on how things go as you get into the middle part of the schedule, one of those games you think about all year.  A “What if?”  game, if you will.  I predicted that the Cowboys would beat the Broncos because I knew they could match up and I knew they could step their game up to stiff competition.  Did I expect a 48-51 shootout?  Hecks naw, but in hindsight it should have been obvious.  I bet that the defense would step up rather than Tony Romo actually playing at a Peyton Manning-like level.   Instead Tony Romo played perfect for exactly 58 minutes of the football game.  Peyton Manning did the same, except his mistake came earlier in the game rather than in crunch time. 

It’s ironic because Peyton is also known for making those critical mistakes in the clutch, but Romo beat him to the punch last sunday.  I can imagine a scenario where the Cowboys punted the ball to the Broncos in the last couple minutes of the game and Manning actually threw the “ game losing interception” (hyperlink).  But Romo beat him to it.  The QB duel was worth the angst.  Porous defense for sure, but the QBs made the game.  And in case anyone didn’t know, Romo is an elite quarterback.  He is not a clutch quarterback, but then again neither is Peyton Manning. 

Continue reading "The Fix 10-12: QB Overdose"


Amari Harris

The Fix- 10/4 posted by Amari Harris

Friday Football Fix: A Rare Guarantee!

I apologize for not posting before the games this weekend.  I visited my mom’s house for the weekend which meant no computer and no internet and I forgot to post before leaving for the weekend.  I’ll post what I had written to prove to you all that I knew that Antonio Gates and Danny Woodhead would destroy the Dallas Cowboys, as I knew they, along with Eddie Royal, were the only real offensive threats they may not be able to handle.

Despite the sheer inability to cover those two individuals the Cowboys looked like they were well on their way to victory, after a Sean Lee interception return for a touchdown toward the end of the first half that put them up 21-10.  I think every Cowboys fan let out a collective sigh of relief, and felt that we pretty much had this one in the bag (I’ll include myself, as I ominously used the words “Victory Cigar” after that play *slap*).  They proceeded to allow 20 unanswered points, 400+ yards and 3 touchdowns from Phillip Rivers, and breakout performances by Woodhead and Gates.  Yes, it was a disappointing day.  Even with the Giants and Eagles losing once again, and the Cowboys remaining as the sole leader of the NFC division, they really could have gotten off to an encouraging start. 

Nonetheless, the past is the past, and this is a new week; a very big week indeed.  The juggernaut Denver Broncos come to town with the most unstoppable offensive machine since the Greatest Show On Turf.  The Broncos have not just beaten, but dominated every team they’ve faced this year.  They have one 14 regular season games in a row and all of them by more than a touchdown.  Suffice to say, the Cowboys will be heavy underdogs this week.  And I love it…

Continue reading "The Fix- 10/4"


Joe Anello

Free Agency 2013: Days Two and Three posted by Joe Anello

Welcome back everyone! I would have posted this last night but the lack of sleep Monday night really caught up with me. Now I’m back and ready to pick apart the transactions of days two and three of NFL free agency. Let’s get that money man!

OG Gosder Cherilus signs a 5-year, $34 million deal with Indianapolis Colts.
Additional signings: OG Donald Thomas (4 years, $14 million), LB Erik Walden (4 years, $16 million), S LaRon Landry (4 years, $24 million)

This is a group of Colt signings that I didn’t discuss in the day one recap because I was exhausted and there were too many to address. Cherilus was overpaid, but I get it. Thomas’ deal is tolerable and revamps the interior of their line. I don’t feel confident that Walden’s contract will prove to be money well spent. Still, signing Landry as well gives Chuck Pagano a play-making safety in his secondary. The Colts are spending, but not as crazily as the Dolphins.

WR Wes Welker signs a 2-year, $12 million deal with the Denver Broncos

Okay, I have a LOT to say about this deal. I took to Twitter to express my thoughts shortly after the news broke, but I felt utterly hindered by the 140-character limit. I was really upset by the news that New England only offered Welker $10 million (including incentives). He’s only been one of the hardest workers on your team for the past six seasons and this is how he gets rewarded? EFF YOU PATS.

Welker’s caught 100 balls in his entire run with the Pats and hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. So imagine my surprise when I heard the Broncos only had to pay him $12 million… for two years!  If he, in this odd-as-hell receiver market, shouldn’t get more than $6M a year, I obviously don’t know football.

Continue reading "Free Agency 2013: Days Two and Three"


Joe Anello

Free Agency 2013: Day One Recap posted by Joe Anello

NFL Free Agency started with a flurry this afternoon, with deals being announced by the minute shortly after the clock struck 4PM ET. I’m here to take a look at some of the bigger deals of the day and offer a quick take. First though, I want to cover a few of the moves made on Monday, before free agency.

(Note: I’m only going to discuss ACTUAL roster movements. While a running back visiting a crappy team *cough*ReggieBush*cough* might be newsworthy, I ain’t got time to talk about every little flight here.)

(Second note: for those of you looking for my take on the Chicago Bears’ moves, check out my earlier post here.)

 

Minnesota Vikings trade WR Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks

The Vikings received first and seventh round picks in the 2013 draft and a third round pick in the 2014 draft.

The Seahawks received Harvin and signed him to a six-year, $67 million dollar deal. ($25.5 guaranteed.)

Minnesota obviously wanted to get Harvin out of their hair. Despite Harvin’s interviews to the contrary, he and head coach Leslie Frasier did NOT get along. But what player won’t love Pete Carroll? An A-HOLE, that’s who. Props to Minnesota for getting a decent bounty for Harvin, but that 25th overall pick might not be a game-breaker. Still, they’re better off. For Seattle, this deal signifies how close they think they are to a title. They’re putting all of their chips in the Harvin basket now, as they released return man Leon Washington as a result of this trade.

Continue reading "Free Agency 2013: Day One Recap"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2013 Divisional Round posted by Joe Anello

The 2013 Divisional Round is completed! The best weekend in football lived up to the hype, with crazy finishes (double overtimes) and historic performances. Let’s not put off this any longer. It’s time for The Final Drive!

(12-6) Baltimore Ravens 38

(13-4) Denver Broncos 35

After the Ravens were forced to punt on their opening possession, this game got crazy… fast. Trindon Holliday took that punt return back 90 yards for the first score. A 59-yard pass to a streaking Torrey Smith (who was torching Champ Bailey deep most of the day) from Joe Flacco tied the game up. On Denver’s ensuing drive, a pass from Peyton Manning tipped off the hands of Eric Decker into the arms of Corey Graham, who boomeranged it to make the score 14-7 Ravens. Manning took the ball right back and marched his team 74 yards in 11 plays, ending with a pinpoint pass to old friend Brandon Stokley on the side of the endzone. 14-14. Were you still breathing at this point? A score from both teams in the second quarter kept the game tied at 21 going into halftime. And the drama did not subside in the start of a crazy NFL weekend.

Denver Head Coach John Fox will (and should) catch a lot of flak for not even attempting to try to get in field goal range with two timeouts and 20-plus seconds left on the clock. (As we would see later in the weekend, that’s not an impossible feat to accomplish.) Fox got extremely conservative in the offensive play-calling, leaning on the run too often when he had one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time on the field. (Though doesn’t Peyton have full authority to change those calls at the line? Hm.) Not going for a third down conversion late in the fourth allowed the Ravens to get the ball back with just enough time to make something happen. And they certainly did.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2013 Divisional Round"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: 2013 Divisional Round posted by Joe Anello

Alright everyone, it’s my favorite football weekend of the entire season! At this point we have the eight best teams left in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy, including the two greatest QB’s of our era in the AFC and a crazy Saturday night rematch in the NFC. I have stumbled out of the gates with my picks, currently standing at 1-3 after the wild card round. I owe that to every favorite covering last week and my apparently desperate need to pick against almost all of them. This week shall be different! I hope. Let’s get to The Opening Drive of the Divisional Round! (As always, point spreads are obtained from VegasInsider.com.)

 

(11-6) Baltimore Ravens at

(13-3) Denver Broncos

4:30 PM ET, CBS

This is the first of two AFC rematches that were completely one-sided in the first go-rounds. The Broncos slapped around the Ravens 34-17 in week 15, part of their 11-game winning streak to end the regular season and claim the one seed. In that game, Peyton Manning had very pedestrian numbers, but was bolstered by ground game that featured 45 carries, the most of any Manning team in his career. Their 163 yards pounded a then-short-staffed Raven defense. This game will be different, in that Baltimore is much healthier now. Ray Lewis is back, as is linebacker Danel Ellerbee. Still, the Raven corners are average at best, so they’re not going to be able to contain Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: 2013 Divisional Round"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 17, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

Oh man. The drama from week 17 in the NFL was palpable! I don’t have time to lather you up with a witty intro, so let’s get right into The Final Drive!

(10-6) Cincinnati Bengals 23

(10-6) Baltimore Ravens 17

Well the Ravens probably didn’t want to win this game. Consequently, they looked a tad disinterested. Not a lot to talk about here though. Moving on!

(6-10) Tennessee Titans 38

(2-14) Jacksonville Jaguars 20

This game had no playoff implications whatsoever, but I wanted to touch on the fact that the Titans scored FOUR touchdowns in a span of five minutes without touching the ball on offense. Darius Reynaud ran back two punts for scores while Zach Brown pick-sixed Chad Henne twice. That’s impressive as hell. But it might not be enough to save Mike Munchak’s job.

(11-5) Indianapolis Colts 28

(12-4) Houston Texans 16

Anyone else really interested in seeing how Houston performs in the playoffs? They went from almost the de facto number one seed with a bye all the way down to the three spot with what should be a tough game against the Bengals coming in round one. For the Colts, they might be emotionally peaking at the right time. It’s time for Luck to show his stuff in the postseason.

(9-7) New York Giants 42

(4-12) Philadelphia Eagles 7

It was a mighty effort against a crappy opponent, but the Giants’ losing their prior two games was too much to overcome. They’re 9-7 once again, but this season they have nothing to show for it. Maybe next year Eli. And I’ll likely be acknowledging Andy Reid’s final season/career in Philly tomorrow, when I’m writing about his dismissal. EEP!

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 17, 2012"

Denver Broncos News

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2015 NFL schedule: Sunday, Monday nighters all about Chip Kelly, Colts, OBJ (Shutdown Corn

The Sunday night and Monday night NFL schedule is where your eyes typically start, right? When the NFL releases the season schedule in full, as it did Tuesday night, you're naturally drawn to the night games — especially those on non-Thursdays. We expect great evening theater in our pro football. But some of those games tend to fall flat. Some now, when the schedule is brand new, and some later, after we've found out that everyone's Super Bowl favorite is actually a crappy team. That can happen as soon as September. But the league does its best to please its media partners — in this case, NBC for Sundays and ESPN for Mondays. (We'll discuss the Thursday schedule in a different blog entry.) Does it always work? No, which is why we feel we can point out to you where it falls flat. Here's a look at the week-by-week prime-time games for Sunday and Monday ... and which ones you actually should watch: WEEK 1 Sunday: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Monday: Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons; Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers Our take: Not a bad way to start the first week of football, but ... maybe we expected more? Yes, we have a division rivalry with Cowboys-Giants, and maybe Odell Beckham Jr. (recurring theme alert) or Dez Bryant do something ridiculous; we're in good hands with Al Michaels on the call there. And the next night, we have the wack-a-doodle Eagles, and I like my Chip Kelly after dark, so that's good. But playing the Falcons? Kinda meh. And that's the undercard? The nightcap is a battle of a Jim Harbaugh-less 49ers against a maybe Adrian Peterson-less Vikings? Consider us underwhelmed. Verdict: We rank them thusly: in chronological order — Giants-Boys, then the battle of the birds, followed by that game out West. If you skip the last one, no one will question why. WEEK 2 Sunday: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers Monday: New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts Our take:  Oh, yeah. This is what we came for. A rematch of the NFC title game, but this time it's in Green Bay. We're already asking our bosses if we can go. This is choice stuff here, and yet it's not revenge — don't be that fan. If the Packers win, it's not going to make up for blowing a two-TD lead for a trip to the Super Bowl. Now that we have that out of the way ... you wonder if the Seahawks' banged-up secondary will be in top form this early in the season. Frankly, the Packers probably catch a mini-break getting the Seahawks this early in the season. As for the Monday game, this does't look super sexy, especially with the Jets having a new coach and being rudderless (as of now) at QB. But think of it this way: A good Jets defense got better, adding Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, and a good Colts offense got better, adding Andre Johnson and Frank Gore. Verdict:  When we put it like that, the MNF game doesn't sound so bad, eh? We know Sunday will be great. Watch both games. Trust us.  WEEK 3 Sunday: Denver Broncos at Detroit Lions Monday: Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers Our take:  Oh. Yeah, that's our initial reaction. Look, these are four good teams on paper, and we could be treated to two very good matchups here. But Broncos-Lions in prime time? Hmm. We frankly thought this might be a Thanksgiving game or a Sunday game. We're not complaining with a Peyton Manning night game in his possible swan song season. It's just ... hmm. Same with the Monday game. Two straight night games at home for the Packers? Consider this: Many Packers fans make thedrive up from Milwaukee, so that's two weeks in a row with games on school nights. Verdict:  Yeah, we're still watching both. They're just ... weird matchups, that's all. WEEK 4 Sunday: Cowboys at New Orleans Saints Monday: Lions at Seahawks Our take:  We still love the Lions? They lose three-quarters of their defensive line and Reggie Bush, and they get two prime-time games early in the season. Just a feeling here that this one might flop. The Seahawks fans get geeked for night games, though, so there's that. In the opening act, it's no slouch. You have America's Team heading down to the Big Easy — another town that loves getting well-lubricated before evening contests. These teams have had some nice battles in the past decade or so, so we can get behind that one. Verdict: We're actually slightly more tuned up about the Cowboys-Saints game. WEEK 5 Sunday: 49ers at Giants Monday: Pittsburgh Steelers at San Diego Chargers Our take: Someone needs to explain this Niners thing to me. Are they going to be good? The Giants, we get — Beckham and Eli, and heck, this is a better team than people realize. But the 49ers aren't sneaking up on anyone, and we don't mean that in a good way. This is not, we'll safely predict, going to be up there with the 1990 season's NFC championship game or the 2003 wild-card madness game in this rivalry. Putting the Chargers on at night is dangerous. This could be the final season in San Diego, and that talk — moving to L.A. — could dominate the pregame chatter, especially if Philip Rivers is not on the team. Maybe if Marcus Mariota becomes a Charger ... Verdict: Check back with us after the draft. We'll probably watch both, but we might need a decent reason why. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

2015 NFL schedule: Sunday, Monday nighters all about Chip Kelly, Colts, OBJ (Shutdown Corn

The Sunday night and Monday night NFL schedule is where your eyes typically start, right? When the NFL releases the season schedule in full, as it did Tuesday night, you're naturally drawn to the night games — especially those on non-Thursdays. We expect great evening theater in our pro football. But some of those games tend to fall flat. Some now, when the schedule is brand new, and some later, after we've found out that everyone's Super Bowl favorite is actually a crappy team. That can happen as soon as September. But the league does its best to please its media partners — in this case, NBC for Sundays and ESPN for Mondays. (We'll discuss the Thursday schedule in a different blog entry.) Does it always work? No, which is why we feel we can point out to you where it falls flat. Here's a look at the week-by-week prime-time games for Sunday and Monday ... and which ones you actually should watch: WEEK 1 Sunday: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Monday: Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons; Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers Our take: Not a bad way to start the first week of football, but ... maybe we expected more? Yes, we have a division rivalry with Cowboys-Giants, and maybe Odell Beckham Jr. (recurring theme alert) or Dez Bryant do something ridiculous; we're in good hands with Al Michaels on the call there. And the next night, we have the wack-a-doodle Eagles, and I like my Chip Kelly after dark, so that's good. But playing the Falcons? Kinda meh. And that's the undercard? The nightcap is a battle of a Jim Harbaugh-less 49ers against a maybe Adrian Peterson-less Vikings? Consider us underwhelmed. Verdict: We rank them thusly: in chronological order — Giants-Boys, then the battle of the birds, followed by that game out West. If you skip the last one, no one will question why. WEEK 2 Sunday: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers Monday: New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts Our take:  Oh, yeah. This is what we came for. A rematch of the NFC title game, but this time it's in Green Bay. We're already asking our bosses if we can go. This is choice stuff here, and yet it's not revenge — don't be that fan. If the Packers win, it's not going to make up for blowing a two-TD lead for a trip to the Super Bowl. Now that we have that out of the way ... you wonder if the Seahawks' banged-up secondary will be in top form this early in the season. Frankly, the Packers probably catch a mini-break getting the Seahawks this early in the season. As for the Monday game, this does't look super sexy, especially with the Jets having a new coach and being rudderless (as of now) at QB. But think of it this way: A good Jets defense got better, adding Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, and a good Colts offense got better, adding Andre Johnson and Frank Gore. Verdict:  When we put it like that, the MNF game doesn't sound so bad, eh? We know Sunday will be great. Watch both games. Trust us.  WEEK 3 Sunday: Denver Broncos at Detroit Lions Monday: Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers Our take:  Oh. Yeah, that's our initial reaction. Look, these are four good teams on paper, and we could be treated to two very good matchups here. But Broncos-Lions in prime time? Hmm. We frankly thought this might be a Thanksgiving game or a Sunday game. We're not complaining with a Peyton Manning night game in his possible swan song season. It's just ... hmm. Same with the Monday game. Two straight night games at home for the Packers? Consider this: Many Packers fans make the drive up from Milwaukee, so that's two weeks in a row with games on school nights. Verdict:  Yeah, we're still watching both. They're just ... weird matchups, that's all. WEEK 4 Sunday: Cowboys at New Orleans Saints Monday: Lions at Seahawks Our take:  We still love the Lions? They lose three-quarters of their defensive line and Reggie Bush, and they get two prime-time games early in the season. Just a feeling here that this one might flop. The Seahawks fans get geeked for night games, though, so there's that. In the opening act, it's no slouch. You have America's Team heading down to the Big Easy — another town that loves getting well-lubricated before evening contests. These teams have had some nice battles in the past decade or so, so we can get behind that one. Verdict: We're actually slightly more tuned up about the Cowboys-Saints game. WEEK 5 Sunday: 49ers at Giants Monday: Pittsburgh Steelers at San Diego Chargers Our take: Someone needs to explain this Niners thing to me. Are they going to be good? The Giants, we get — Beckham and Eli, and heck, this is a better team than people realize. But the 49ers aren't sneaking up on anyone, and we don't mean that in a good way. This is not, we'll safely predict, going to be up there with the 1990 season's NFC championship game or the 2003 wild-card madness game in this rivalry. Putting the Chargers on at night is dangerous. This could be the final season in San Diego, and that talk — moving to L.A. — could dominate the pregame chatter, especially if Philip Rivers is not on the team. Maybe if Marcus Mariota becomes a Charger ... Verdict: Check back with us after the draft. We'll probably watch both, but we might need a decent reason why. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

2015 NFL schedule: Sunday, Monday nighters all about Chip Kelly, Colts, OBJ (Shutdown Corn

The Sunday night and Monday night NFL schedule is where your eyes typically start, right? When the NFL releases the season schedule in full, as it did Tuesday night, you're naturally drawn to the night games — especially those on non-Thursdays. We expect great evening theater in our pro football. But some of those games tend to fall flat. Some now, when the schedule is brand new, and some later, after we've found out that everyone's Super Bowl favorite is actually a crappy team. That can happen as soon as September. But the league does its best to please its media partners — in this case, NBC for Sundays and ESPN for Mondays. (We'll discuss the Thursday schedule in a different blog entry.) Does it always work? No, which is why we feel we can point out to you where it falls flat. Here's a look at the week-by-week prime-time games for Sunday and Monday ... and which ones you actually should watch: WEEK 1 Sunday: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Monday: Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons; Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers Our take: Not a bad way to start the first week of football, but ... maybe we expected more? Yes, we have a division rivalry with Cowboys-Giants, and maybe Odell Beckham Jr. (recurring theme alert) or Dez Bryant do something ridiculous; we're in good hands with Al Michaels on the call there. And the next night, we have the wack-a-doodle Eagles, and I like my Chip Kelly after dark, so that's good. But playing the Falcons? Kinda meh. And that's the undercard? The nightcap is a battle of a Jim Harbaugh-less 49ers against a maybe Adrian Peterson-less Vikings? Consider us underwhelmed. Verdict: We rank them thusly: in chronological order — Giants-Boys, then the battle of the birds, followed by that game out West. If you skip the last one, no one will question why. WEEK 2 Sunday: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers Monday: New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts Our take:  Oh, yeah. This is what we came for. A rematch of the NFC title game, but this time it's in Green Bay. We're already asking our bosses if we can go. This is choice stuff here, and yet it's not revenge — don't be that fan. If the Packers win, it's not going to make up for blowing a two-TD lead for a trip to the Super Bowl. Now that we have that out of the way ... you wonder if the Seahawks' banged-up secondary will be in top form this early in the season. Frankly, the Packers probably catch a mini-break getting the Seahawks this early in the season. As for the Monday game, this does't look super sexy, especially with the Jets having a new coach and being rudderless (as of now) at QB. But think of it this way: A good Jets defense got better, adding Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, and a good Colts offense got better, adding Andre Johnson and Frank Gore. Verdict:  When we put it like that, the MNF game doesn't sound so bad, eh? We know Sunday will be great. Watch both games. Trust us.  WEEK 3 Sunday: Denver Broncos at Detroit Lions Monday: Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers Our take:  Oh. Yeah, that's our initial reaction. Look, these are four good teams on paper, and we could be treated to two very good matchups here. But Broncos-Lions in prime time? Hmm. We frankly thought this might be a Thanksgiving game or a Sunday game. We're not complaining with a Peyton Manning night game in his possible swan song season. It's just ... hmm. Same with the Monday game. Two straight night games at home for the Packers? Consider this: Many Packers fans make thedrive up from Milwaukee, so that's two weeks in a row with games on school nights. Verdict:  Yeah, we're still watching both. They're just ... weird matchups, that's all. WEEK 4 Sunday: Cowboys at New Orleans Saints Monday: Lions at Seahawks Our take:  We still love the Lions? They lose three-quarters of their defensive line and Reggie Bush, and they get two prime-time games early in the season. Just a feeling here that this one might flop. The Seahawks fans get geeked for night games, though, so there's that. In the opening act, it's no slouch. You have America's Team heading down to the Big Easy — another town that loves getting well-lubricated before evening contests. These teams have had some nice battles in the past decade or so, so we can get behind that one. Verdict: We're actually slightly more tuned up about the Cowboys-Saints game. WEEK 5 Sunday: 49ers at Giants Monday: Pittsburgh Steelers at San Diego Chargers Our take: Someone needs to explain this Niners thing to me. Are they going to be good? The Giants, we get — Beckham and Eli, and heck, this is a better team than people realize. But the 49ers aren't sneaking up on anyone, and we don't mean that in a good way. This is not, we'll safely predict, going to be up there with the 1990 season's NFC championship game or the 2003 wild-card madness game in this rivalry. Putting the Chargers on at night is dangerous. This could be the final season in San Diego, and that talk — moving to L.A. — could dominate the pregame chatter, especially if Philip Rivers is not on the team. Maybe if Marcus Mariota becomes a Charger ... Verdict: Check back with us after the draft. We'll probably watch both, but we might need a decent reason why. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Injuries will impact format of Tennessee's spring game (Yahoo Sports)

The injuries limiting Tennessee throughout spring practice will affect the format of Saturday's Orange & White Game. Tennessee is short on players at certain positions, most notably running back and the defensive line. Because of the lack of depth, Volunteers coach Butch Jones has said Saturday's exhibition at Neyland Stadium will be more of a ''spring event'' than a spring game. Tennessee will work out in front of well over 100 former Vols, a group that is expected to include Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


2015 NFL schedule: Sunday, Monday nighters all about Chip Kelly, Colts, OBJ (Shutdown Corn

The Sunday night and Monday night NFL schedule is where your eyes typically start, right? When the NFL releases the season schedule in full, as it did Tuesday night, you're naturally drawn to the night games — especially those on non-Thursdays. We expect great evening theater in our pro football. But some of those games tend to fall flat. Some now, when the schedule is brand new, and some later, after we've found out that everyone's Super Bowl favorite is actually a crappy team. That can happen as soon as September. But the league does its best to please its media partners — in this case, NBC for Sundays and ESPN for Mondays. (We'll discuss the Thursday schedule in a different blog entry.) Does it always work? No, which is why we feel we can point out to you where it falls flat. Here's a look at the week-by-week prime-time games for Sunday and Monday ... and which ones you actually should watch: WEEK 1 Sunday: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Monday: Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons; Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers Our take: Not a bad way to start the first week of football, but ... maybe we expected more? Yes, we have a division rivalry with Cowboys-Giants, and maybe Odell Beckham Jr. (recurring theme alert) or Dez Bryant do something ridiculous; we're in good hands with Al Michaels on the call there. And the next night, we have the wack-a-doodle Eagles, and I like my Chip Kelly after dark, so that's good. But playing the Falcons? Kinda meh. And that's the undercard? The nightcap is a battle of a Jim Harbaugh-less 49ers against a maybe Adrian Peterson-less Vikings? Consider us underwhelmed. Verdict: We rank them thusly: in chronological order — Giants-Boys, then the battle of the birds, followed by that game out West. If you skip the last one, no one will question why. WEEK 2 Sunday: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers Monday: New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts Our take:  Oh, yeah. This is what we came for. A rematch of the NFC title game, but this time it's in Green Bay. We're already asking our bosses if we can go. This is choice stuff here, and yet it's not revenge — don't be that fan. If the Packers win, it's not going to make up for blowing a two-TD lead for a trip to the Super Bowl. Now that we have that out of the way ... you wonder if the Seahawks' banged-up secondary will be in top form this early in the season. Frankly, the Packers probably catch a mini-break getting the Seahawks this early in the season. As for the Monday game, this does't look super sexy, especially with the Jets having a new coach and being rudderless (as of now) at QB. But think of it this way: A good Jets defense got better, adding Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, and a good Colts offense got better, adding Andre Johnson and Frank Gore. Verdict:  When we put it like that, the MNF game doesn't sound so bad, eh? We know Sunday will be great. Watch both games. Trust us.  WEEK 3 Sunday: Denver Broncos at Detroit Lions Monday: Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers Our take:  Oh. Yeah, that's our initial reaction. Look, these are four good teams on paper, and we could be treated to two very good matchups here. But Broncos-Lions in prime time? Hmm. We frankly thought this might be a Thanksgiving game or a Sunday game. We're not complaining with a Peyton Manning night game in his possible swan song season. It's just ... hmm. Same with the Monday game. Two straight night games at home for the Packers? Consider this: Many Packers fans make the drive up from Milwaukee, so that's two weeks in a row with games on school nights. Verdict:  Yeah, we're still watching both. They're just ... weird matchups, that's all. WEEK 4 Sunday: Cowboys at New Orleans Saints Monday: Lions at Seahawks Our take:  We still love the Lions? They lose three-quarters of their defensive line and Reggie Bush, and they get two prime-time games early in the season. Just a feeling here that this one might flop. The Seahawks fans get geeked for night games, though, so there's that. In the opening act, it's no slouch. You have America's Team heading down to the Big Easy — another town that loves getting well-lubricated before evening contests. These teams have had some nice battles in the past decade or so, so we can get behind that one. Verdict: We're actually slightly more tuned up about the Cowboys-Saints game. WEEK 5 Sunday: 49ers at Giants Monday: Pittsburgh Steelers at San Diego Chargers Our take: Someone needs to explain this Niners thing to me. Are they going to be good? The Giants, we get — Beckham and Eli, and heck, this is a better team than people realize. But the 49ers aren't sneaking up on anyone, and we don't mean that in a good way. This is not, we'll safely predict, going to be up there with the 1990 season's NFC championship game or the 2003 wild-card madness game in this rivalry. Putting the Chargers on at night is dangerous. This could be the final season in San Diego, and that talk — moving to L.A. — could dominate the pregame chatter, especially if Philip Rivers is not on the team. Maybe if Marcus Mariota becomes a Charger ... Verdict: Check back with us after the draft. We'll probably watch both, but we might need a decent reason why. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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