Monthly Archives: June 2012

2012 Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars

The 2012 Jacksonville Jaguars will not be the worst team in the NFL.  It’s also a very good chance that they wont be the worse team in their division.  However, it is safe to say that coming out the gate, they won’t be a very a good team.  That doesn’t mean that they wont surprise some folks.  They may even pull a couple of upsets this year.  The Jags have always been that type of team: not quite good enough, but good enough to make some people stand up and take notice.  They do possess one of the best and most consistent running backs in the league.  They have a good young defense who should rank in the top 10 this season.  They also have a chance to have a 1000 yard receiver since Jimmy Smith did it in 2005.  But much of their success this year hinges on the play of second year quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, who got knocked down more than Humpty Dumpty.  The new owner, business tycoon Shad Khan, has promised every person in ear shot of his voice, that the Jaguars will be a winner.  It will be an uphill battle, but the road may not be as long as we may think.  I think this division is wide open, and this is the perfect time for the Jags to strike.

Fantasy Football Studs:  Maurice Jones-Drew, MJD, Mo Jones-Drew, Pocket Hercules, whatever you call him, is a fantasy stud.  On a bad Jacksonville team, he rushed for over 1600 yards:  the most in the league last year, and the most  in his career since coming into the NFL in 2006.  He’s a threat to score on the run and in the passing game.  But, MJD is not happy and his absence from this year’s OTAs have caused a stir.  Jones-Drew was the only stud on the team last year.  Not so this season!  The Jags drafted stud reveiver Justin Blackmon, who loves grabbing that pigskin out of the air.  Unfortunately, he has been loving that bottle a little more, resulting in a couple of DUIs this off season.  But if he puts down the bottle, which he has vowed to do, Blackmon will be a NFL stud for sure.  The Jags also added Laurent Robinson, who was a bright spot for the Cowboys last year.  Robinson and Blackmon could be the best receiving tandem the Jags have seen since Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell.  Throw in another free agent receiver, Lee Evans, and TE Marcedes Lewis, and the Jaguars have a good receiving unit.  That is something they have been sorely missing in recent years. Continue reading

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2012 Preview: Tennessee Titans

The 2012 Tennessee Titans are hoping to rebound from a lackluster 2011 campaign, where they went 9-7 and spent the post season at a Nashville area sports bar with sports blogger Mike Patton.  It’s difficult to understand what the expectations  are for the Titans this year.  I guess they can say that it could be a better year since their best player, Chris Johnson, is signed and sealed and there is no possibility for a holdout, and they have their quarterback of the future, Jake Locker, who gets to sit under the tutelage of wicked vet Matthew Hasselbeck.  So it seems they are all set at QB and RB, but then there’s the Titans receiving corp, who’s best receiver Kenny Britt, has constantly battled injuries throughout his career.  Will the Tennessee defense, who lost standout corner, Courtland Finnegan, deliver?  If there was a year for the Titans to make their move, it’s now.  The Colts are rebuilding, the Jags are without an identity, and the Texans are ripe for the picking with a shaky defense.  Will the Titans take advantage?  Here is more from the 2012 Tennessee Titans.

Fantasy Football Studs:    Remember when it was easy to just say Chris Johnson?  CJ2K?  Let’s face it:  CJ has been a long way from 2000 yards (well, just two years), but he’s still a stud.  He’s still a 1000 yard rusher, he still has world-class speed, and he is still the only stud on the Titans roster.  You would like to able to count on Britt, but can you? Not really.  In Kenny Britt’s absence, Nate Washington, emerged as the number one receiver, and in fact, had his first 1000 yard season in his 7 year career.  But can you really count on him?  We’ll see.

Area of Strength:  The area of strength for the Titans? I’m at a loss for words.  Is it the running game?  Could be.  Is it the passing game?  Probably not.  The receivers?  Definitely not.  In saying this, the Titans are not a strong team, but they aren’t weak either.  There is nothing discernible or special about them.  Maybe, they will be one of those teams that get better as the season goes on.  Teams like that end up winning Super Bowls.

Area of Weakness:  The Titans defense has no personality without Courtland Finnegan.  It doesn’t make them weak.  They did hold their opponents to under 20 points a game.  In fact, the defense were probably the strongest part of the team, and could have been the component that game them 9 wins last season.  But, again, they have no personality or identity.  Maybe once a new defensive leader emerges, the defense will become the identity of the whole team.

2012 Marquee Matchups:   Right out the gate, its gonna be tough for the Titans:  Here are their opponents Weeks 1-4: New England, San Diego, Detroit, and Houston.  That’s a tough September!  Week 6 is Pittsburgh and Week 9 is Chicago.  Weeks 15&16 is the Jets and Green Bay.  I don’t have high hopes for the record of the 2012 Tennessee Titans. 

All Things Tennessee Titans: There are many ways to keep up with the 2012 Tennessee Titans.  Here are a few…

Blogs:  Music City Miracles http://www.musiccitymiracles.com/ ; Total Titans  http://www.totaltitans.com/ ; Titan Sized http://titansized.com/

Apps: There are no great apps I can recommend for the Titans.  Sorry fans…

Fan Clubs:  The official Tennessee Titans fan club can be found on www.titansonline.com under the fan zone section. 


2012 Preview: Houston Texans

If there is one team set up for success, it’s the 2012 Houston Texans.  For the first time in a long time (ever actually), people expect them to walk away with the AFC South.  With the healthy return of both QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson, this should be an exciting season for fans of the Texans.  Now that much improved defense did suffer a huge loss with DE Mario Williams who the Texans drafted with the #1 overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft.  This year, the Texans utilized their #1 pick (26th this year) on Williams’ replacement: DE Whitney Mercilus out of Illinois.  When defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips put his name in the game to interview for the Tampa Bay head coach position, I know fans were worried.   Looks like he will hang around for the Texans to make a splash in the AFC.  Here is more from the 2012 Houston Texans.

Fantasy Football Studs:  Houston’s roster is a great place to start enhancing your fantasy football roster.  Arian Foster has solidified himself as a bona fide stud in reality and fantasy.  He has been the number 1 fantasy back the last two seasons.  He put together a 1200 plus yard season and double-digit TDs in just 13 games.   His backup, Ben Tate, would be a starting RB if it wasn’t for Foster.  He still managed just under 1000 yards in his second string roll.  Also, a big part of the Texans high-powered offense is QB Matt Schaub.  You could do worse, actually far worse.  Schaub is a great quarterback and deserves to be on the top of the not quite so elite list of QBs.  Lastly, Andre Johnson, when on the field, is as good as it gets at WR:  big, tall, fast, but unfortunately, brittle.  He only managed to play in 7 games last year, and 13 the year before that.  In fact, in 9 seasons, there were only 5 where all 16 were played?  Stud, but proceed with caution.

Area of Strength:  Arian Foster and Ben Tate kept the run game pretty action packed in 2011.  Together they combined for a total of  2166 yards and 14 TD.  As a fantasy owner, Foster had me cheering practically every Sunday.  Foster just signed a new contract in March.  I don’t see any signs of him slowing down. 

Area of Weakness:  The Texans have a couple of weaknesses.  Outside of Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels, there are no good options at WR.  Kevin Walter is too hit or miss.  But the biggest weakness became even weaker with the departure of Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans.  Granted, the Texans D was decent enough last year, especially after the 2010 debacle of the NFL’s worse defenses.  But without those two defensive standouts, its hard to say what the defense will be like this year. It will probably be good enough to win the division, but as I see it, the Texans will have to score a lot on offense to win most of their games.

2012 Marquee Matchups:   Aside from the divisional games, the Texans have a few other match ups. Week 3 comes perhaps their first real test of the season as they head to Denver to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos (still sounds weird).  The Texans also host Baltimore Week 7 just before their bye week.  Thanksgiving Day, they will be in Motor City to play the Lions.  Dec 10th live on MNF, the Texans go up to New England and deal with Tom Brady and the Pats. 

All Things Houston Texans: There are many ways to keep up with the 2012 Houston Texans.  Here are a few…

Blogs: Battle Red Blog http://www.battleredblog.com/; Toro Times http://torotimes.com/ Texans Talk http://www.texanstalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88554

Apps: Houston Texans Mobile for iPhone and iPad (by YinzCam/Texans)

Fan Clubs:  The official fan club for the Hosuton Texans can be found on www.houstontexans.com under Fan Zone.  The Texans also have a fan club just for female fans: The Battle Red Ladies http://www.houstontexans.com/fan-zone/battle-red-ladies.html


Sunday in the Skybox: AFC South

The AFC South is composed of the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tennessee Titans.  This is a division had been ruled year after year by the Colts.  Since the loss of the great Peyton Manning, Indy struggled to last place and the first pick in this year’s draft.  This made way for the Texans to become division champs and recipients of their first playoff appearance in team history.  The Jags surprisingly cut fan favorite, David Garrard, and their best player Maurice Jones-Drew played frustrated as his team once again played terribly.  The Titans also followed the same path, as All Pro RB Chris Johnson held out and had his worst season.  This season brings the arrival for Andrew Luck to the division and the departure of Mario Williams to the Buffalo Bills, and the AFC South may be the worst division in the NFL.  

Division Superstars: Maurice Jones-Drew=fantasy football success!  Monster WR Andre Johnson is in this division along with teammates Arian Foster.  After all of the drama, it will be interesting to see if Andrew Luck keeps Indy on the map.  Finally, we all hope Chris Johnson returns to his CJ2K days this season. 

Bad Blood in this Division:   For years everyone was chasing Peyton Manning and the Colts.  Nowadays it seems like the division is up for grabs with Houston leading the way.  I will miss the showdowns between Tennessee’s Cortland Finnegan and Houston’s Andre Johnson.  That fight between them may be the best fight on the field since Deion Sanders and Andre Rison wailed off against each other.  But now, this division is boring, with every team (except maybe the Texans)trying to find some sense of identity.  Maybe some bad blood will develop as these teams try to carve out a spot in NFL relevancy. 

Ranking Last Season: Houston Texans (10-6); Tennessee Titans (9-7); Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11); and Indianapolis Colts (2-14)

2012 Division Showdowns Week 2 Houston at Jacksonville, Week 3 Jacksonville and Indianapolis, Week 4 Tennessee at Houston, Week 8 Indianapolis at Tennessee, Week 10 Indianapolis at Jacksonville, Week 11 Jacksonville at Houston, Week 12 Tennessee at Jacksonville, Week 13 Houston at Tennessee, Week 14 Tennessee at Indianapolis, Week 15 Indianapolis at Houston, Week 17 Jacksonville at Tennessee AND Houston at Indianapolis


2012 Preview: Minnesota Vikings

The 2012 Minnesota Vikings are already in trouble.  Last season, they went 3-13, and by looking at this upcoming season’s schedule, I see maybe one game that they can possibly win.  With their All Pro running back coming off a gruesome injury, a second year quarterback who has only one viable receiver, who, by the way, demanded a trade, this very week.  They still have a couple of weapons on defense, and they drafted a stud offensive lineman in the offseason.  But none of that will make them a viable team in 2012.

Fantasy Football Studs:  Adrian Peterson has been holding it down for Fantasy Footballers for years now.  He has been a top 5 fantasy player ever since he came into the league.  That could all end this year, due to the horrific injury he suffered last year.  Many have questioned whether he will ever play again.  Apparently, he’s gonna try.  So because of that, you can’t count him out.  Toby Gerhart did a decent job filling in for AP, but he’s no Peterson and no stud.  Percy Harvin, who asked to be traded, is another stud….when he’s on the field.  He has suffered from migraines which impedes his ability to even get suited up.  But when he plays, he’s electric.  

Area of Strength:  It will be interesting to see if there will be any areas of strength for the Vikings this season.  The running game will be featured a lot, even if Peterson isn’t a factor.  Gerhart is a bruiser, but he lacks swiftness and quickness.  He can be an asset as a good pass catcher out of the backfield.  Another possible strength is the Minnesota defense.  Jared Allen is still a monster, and will wreak havoc in the opponent’s backfield.  He will also continue to hog tie QBs even while being double and triple teamed.

Area of Weakness:  The Vikings still have their work cut out for them on offense.  And with an unstable passing game, it’s going to be an uphill battle.  Christian Ponder is capable, and he will definitely get some much-needed help from new draftee Matt Kalil on the offensive line.  But outside of Harvin, there are no other decent receiving options.  The other receivers are not worth mentioning, so I won’t.  So, needless to say, the passing and   receiving  game will struggle through the entire 2012 season.

2012 Marquee Matchups:   Aside from the divisional games, the Vikings have a few other match ups.  Week 3, they face the 49ers.  Week 6 AP goes back to Washington where he acquired his injury last season. Close to Christmas, they head to Texas to face the Texans Week 16.

All Things Minnesota Vikings:  There are many ways to keep up with the 2012 Minnesota Vikings.  Here are a few… 

Blogs: Daily Norseman http://www.dailynorseman.com/ ; The Viking Age www.thevikingage.com ; Purple Jesus Diaries http://purplejesusdiaries.com/

Apps: Minnesota Vikings App for Iphone (by YinzCam/Vikings)

Fan Clubs:  The official fan club for the Vikings can be found on www.vikings.com under fan zone.


2012 Preview: Chicago Bears

In the 2010 season, the Chicago Bears were the NFC North division champs playing in the NFC Conference title game against their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers.  The Bears were favored to win that game, especially going up against the Pack, who barely made the playoffs as a Wild Card.  But quarterback Jay Cutler, got injured, but it wasnt quite apparent that he was injured or at least injured seriously.  Long story short, the Bears lost by a lone TD, and Cutler was vilified for the entire off season.  Fast forward to last season.  The Bears were clicking on some cylinders:  Matt Forte ran extremely well and was a pass catching threat for the Bears, but he got hurt and missed a good part of the season.  Backup Marion Barber couldn’t fill Forte’s cleats and made mistakes that a rookie would make causing the Bears to go 8-8 and miss the playoffs.  On top of that, they lost their top passing target, TE Greg Olson, and Cutler had no receiver that he can fully count on.  This off season, the Bears acquired Cutler’s old friend from Denver, automatically making him the best receiver that Chicago has had since Willie Gault.  But will his presence be the boost that the Bears need? Maybe, but keep in mind, Forte is not only coming off of an injury, he is also disgruntled with his contract negotiations.  They did bring in Michael Bush, who’s coming off of his best year as a Raider, but his career has been up and down, mostly down. Also, the Bears defense, led by Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers, is getting a bit long in the tooth.  These will all be factors when the upcoming season commences.  Here is more on the 2012 Chicago Bears.

Fantasy Football Studs:  Jay Cutler has burned me in the past.  Really, really burned me.  But it hasn’t all been his fault.  Since coming to Chi town, he has been consistently planted in the Soldier Field turf, do to the ineptness of the his offensive line.  He also hasn’t had a true go-to receiver.  But, that may all come to an end with the arrival of Brandon Marshall.  Both Cutler and Marshall had their best statistical years playing with each other in Denver.   They both givee each other a boost.  Marshall has been just as consistent as any receiver in the league with 90 plus catches year after year.  And Cutler has one of the strongest arms in NFL history.  They are both Fantasy Studs. Continue reading


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