Monthly Archives: June 2012

2012 Preview: Detroit Lions

Can you really talk about the 2012 Detroit Lions without mentioning Nick Fairly?  It may not be *fair to this team or the fans, but I’m left with no choice.  After being arrested 2 times in less than 60 days, Fairly has gotten himself in a world of trouble.  There is a little over a month before the Lions report to training camp on July 26th.  Hopefully he is busy enough with his pending court dates and off season work outs to stay out of any additional trouble.  Dude needs to hire a driver.  The Lions has a great season in 2011-especially in the beginning, winning their first 5 games.  Then came the post game handshake replayed round the world–still makes me chuckle a bit.   What was NOT funny was the Suh incident on Thanksgiving Day on National TV… Still they clenched a playoff spot for the first time in over a decade.  This team will make noise in the 2012 season also.  Here is more from the 2012 Detroit Lions:

Fantasy Football Studs:  Let’s start with the obvious: Calvin Johnson.  He is the best receiver in the game today.  The thing about this guy is he just keeps getting better.  Over the years, he had always shown that he was an elite receiver.  He just didn’t have anyone that could consistently get him the ball.  You throw it anywhere in his vicinity, and he will come down with it.  Which brings me to the next Fantasy stud:  Matthew Stafford.  Since he shook off the injury bug, Stafford has shown that he is worth the number one pick the Lions used to draft him.  His performance on the field catapulted him to an Elite QB.  TE Brandon Pettigrew should also be given consideration on Draft Day.  Last season he had over 83 catches.  He’s no Gronk or Graham, but he is definitely serviceable.  The Lions Defense is formidable, but they have not quite reached stud status.  

Area of Strength:   The obvious strength for Detroit is the passing of Matthew Stafford and the receiving of Calvin Johnson.  Stafford clocked 5038 yards and 41  passing TDs last season.  It was the first year that he played in all 16 games since coming into the league 3 years ago.  Going into his fourth season, he has the right stuff to continue to lead the Lions.  Calvin Johnson:  6’5″, 236 lbs, with a 2011 campaign of 96 catches, 1681 yards, and 16 TDs.  I predict that he will also be injury free this upcoming year:  the Madden curse will be broken!

Area of Weakness:  This team has improved in so many areas and should compete for the division title with the Packers and the Bears.  However, it will not compete if the Lions don’t do something about their running game.  Right now, Jahvid Best is number 1 on the depth chart.  Dont get me wrong, Best is a decent back, but he is one good hit away from having a metallic taste in his mouth for the rest of his life.  He says that he is ready to play, but that remains to be seen.  Number 2 on the depth chart is 2nd year man Mikel Leshoure, who spent his entire rookie season in injured reserve with a torn ACL.  On top of that, Leshoure will miss the first two games of the season for getting arrested TWICE for Mary Jane possession.  Oh, it gets better folks:  the police witnessed Leshoure EATING the weed on the second arrest.  Clearly this guy is not too bright.  The Lions running game is in trouble.

2012 Marquee Matchups:  This season they face the 49ers early Week 2 and I’m sure we will see that infamous post game handshake replayed many times over.  It would be cool if the coaches made a joke of it this year.  Weeks 6 and 7 the Lions face the Eagles then da Bears.  While you’re eating turkey and enjoying a day with the fam, the Lions will host the Texans.  I’m sure this year everyone will be well-behaved.

All Things Detroit Lions:  There a several great ways to keep up with the 2012 Detroit Lions.  Here are a few:

Blogs:  Pride of Detroit http://www.prideofdetroit.com/ ;  The Side Lion Report http://sidelionreport.com/ ; The Wayne Fontes Experience  http://waynefontes.com/

Apps:    There are no really great apps to keep up with the Lions…sorry everyone.

Fan Clubs:   The official Detroit Lions Fan Club can be found on www.detroitlions.com under fanzone.


2012 Preview: Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers are the cream of the crop when you are talking about the NFC North.  They were the favorite to win the division last year coming off of their Super Bowl victory, and they are the odds on favorite to win it again.  Last season, they ripped through their opponents and compiled a 15-1 record and leading the league in most of the offensive statistical categories with virtual ease. Aaron Rodgers has made the Cheeseheads forget all about that Favre character, and he will have another successful year in the upcoming season.  But as great as Rodgers was last year, the Packers couldn’t repeat te previous season’s team success.  So was last year a total bust?  Of course it was. Anytime you have such an explosive offense and you are one game away from a perfect regular season, wouldn’t you expect, at least a Super Bowl appearance? But that was last year.  What will the Green Bay Packers do this season?

Fantasy Football Studs:  By far the biggest fantasy football asset is QB Aaron Rodgers.  Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson…the Pack is stacked!  On the offensive side of the ball.  Aaron has many weapons and they move the ball easily.  This team is a no brainer for fantasy footballers on draft day!

Area of Strength:   The Packers will be a great team this year.  And the reason for that greatness will come from the strength of Aaron Rodgers and that Packer passing game.  Rodgers played in 15 games and still passed for over 4600 yards, 45 TDs, and only 6 pickles.  The one game he didn’t play in was the last game of the season, when they sat him out.  He is a big time QB and barring injury, he will be hot again this year.  The receiving corp is also dynamite.  Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings combined for over 2200 yards and 24 TDs, with Nelson leading the way with 1200 and 15 respectively.  These are two big time targets for Rodgers.  TE Jermichael Finley had a down year last season, coming off an injury, but he still managed over 700 yards receiving and 8 trips to the end zone.  These components R the strength and the catalysts of the Packers team.

Area of Weakness:  It was not a great year for the defense.  Especially with the passing game-yikes!  So its no surprise the Pack spent 4 of their 7 draft picks to improve on that side of the ball.  When you have Aaron Rodgers and an offense that can really rack up points, its easy to overlook this deficiency on the team.  A 15-1 record is great in the regular season, but clearly won’t cut it in the post season and its clear the Packers recognize this. 

2012 Marquee Matchups: Week 1 at home against the Niners, Week 4 at home against the Saints, Week 12 at the Giants are all key matchups, but dont forget the battle with the Lions in Weeks 11 and 14.

All Things Green Bay Packers:  There are many ways to keep up with the Green Bay Packers. Seriously!  Here are just a few we like…

Blogs:  The Acme Packing Company http://www.acmepackingcompany.com/ ; Cheesehead TV http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/ ; Lombardi Ave http://lombardiave.com/ ; Total Packers http://www.totalpackers.com/

Apps: Packers Everywhere (by Green Bay Packers) ; Official Green Bay Packers Mobile ( by DMiINTERACTIVE); Packers News (Luno Software, Inc.)

Fan Clubs:   The official Green Bay Packer Fan Club can be found on www.packers.com in the fan zone. 


Sunday in the Skybox: NFC North

The NFC North consists of the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings.  Last season, the Packers were the odds on favorite to repeat as the Super Bowl champs, the Vikings put their hopes in Donavan McNabb as their QB, the Bears were the reigning division champs, and the Lions were just looking for a seat at the table desperate not to be last in the division.  Green Bay went 15-1, but failed to return to the Super Bowl after fielding one of the leagues worst defenses, the Bears  failed to make the playoffs after a mediocre 8-8, Minnesota struggled to go 3-13, benching McNabb and promoting rookie QB Christian Ponder as the starter, and Detroit made it’s first playoff appearance since Barry Sanders was running the pill.  In the upcoming season, i really don’t anticipate it being any different in the outcome.  The Pack made some necessary improvements on defense, and even though the Lions have had a tumultuous off-season with many arrests and unrest in the locker room, they still will make the playoffs, barring any major injury.  Chicago should improve, especially with the acquisition of Brandon Marshall,which finally gives Jay Cutler a target that he can rely on, but they still have a ways to go to get back to the playoffs.  The Vikes, however, will continue to struggle.  It’s hard to say if Adrian Peterson will return to elite status after a crushing ACL injury last season.  There are a lot of unanswered questions about the NFC North.

Division Superstars: This division is stacked with Superstars!  Superbowl winning QB Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and Probowl RB Adrian Peterson of the Vikings have been wonders for fans and fantasy footballers.  Monster LBs: Clay Matthews of the Packers, Jared Allen of the Vikings, Ndomk Suh of the Lions all wreak havoc in this divison.  Let’s not forget about rockstar return man Devin Hester of the Chicago Bears.  Speaking of WR, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson holds down this division in Detroit.

Bad Blood in this Divison:   Ok, does everyone remember the game on Thanksgiving last season when the Packers played the Lions?  Do you remember the Stomp Heard Around the League?  It was brutal, just in case you forgot.  The game, itself was very competitive.  It was nice to see that the Lions play like actual lions instead of years of gobbling like a turkey on Thanksgiving.  There is definite bad blood between the two teams, but I really don’t think it stems solely from the Stomp.  The Lions are a really good team with great weapons on offense and a very good defense.  They are a challenge to the Pack for the division title.  There’s your bad blood right there.

Ranking Last Season: Green Bay Packers (15-1); Detroit Lions (10-6); Chicago Bears (8-8); and Minnesota Vikings (3-13)

2012 Divison Showdowns:  Week Two, Bears at Packers, Week Four, Vikings at Lions, Week Seven, Monday Night, Lions at Bears, Week Ten, Lions at Vikings, Week Eleven, Packers at Lions, Week Twelve, Viking at Bears, Week Thirteen, Viking at Packers, Week Fourteen, Lions at Packers and Bears at Vikings, Week Fifteen, Packers at Bears, Week Seventeen, Packers at Vikings and Bears at Lions


2012 Preview: Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns organization always seem to be on the outside looking in at the rest of the league.  Everytime you think they are about to turn a corner, another door slams right in their face.  A couple of short years ago, Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis had strongholds on their respective positions.  McCoy was drafted by the Browns and shortly became the QB of the future, and Hillis was traded away from the Broncos and he ran his way to a Madden cover.  In the present day, Hillis is no longer in Brown uniform after a terrible season of injuries and arguments with the Cleveland front office, AND McCoy has been slapped with the concussion prone tag and has to fight for the starting spot against “old” rookie, Brandon Weeden.  That’s a lot to deal with, espcially with being the weakest team in their division.  While the Steelers, Bengals, and Ravens seemingly get better every season, the Browns keep inching backwards.  But will a new rookie RB and a quarterback “controversy” put some bite back in the Dawg Pound’s bark, or will they continue to run with their tail between their legs.

Fantasy Football Studs:  Joshua Cribbs can be very dangerous as a return man for the Browns special teams, and CB Joe Haden is strong at his position, which makes them defensive sleeper.  But they are far from being a fantasy stud.  The only fantasy stud from Cleveland, took his talents to South Beach and is playing in the NBA finals.  But back to football.  Rookie running back Trent Richardson could be a stud, but according to NFL legend, Jim Brown, he is ordinary at best.  So we will have to wait and see how he runs the rock.  However, he is worth a draft pick.  There are no other players worth mentioning. Continue reading


2012 Preview: Cincinnati Bengals

Safe to say the 2011 Cincinnati Bengals had a great season.  I cannot think of anyone who had these Bengals playoff bound at the beginning of the season.  With a rookie QB and WR, most thought it was just a typical rebuilding year for the Bengals.  Last year we were introduced to the tandem of Andy Dalton and AJ Green who both had phenomenal rookie seasons after what was considered a major shake up in the team’s franchise.  Kudos to Marvin Lewis for hanging in there and starting to make the turn with this franchise (once again).  Often (actually always) this team plays the background to the Steelers and Ravens franchises.  I think the 2012 Bengals may give fans something to be proud of in 2012.  Here is more about the 2012 Cincinnati Bengals:

Fantasy Football Studs:  Wide Receiver AJ was drafted in the first round by the Bengals and he did not disappoint as a rookie.  1057 yards and 7 TDs is respectable.  Hopefully the sophomore slump is nonexistent for both him and Andy Dalton.  Dalton had his highs and lows just like any rookie QB but he also had a respectable rookie year.  Won’t jump out and say “stud” but he had a decent rookie year also. 

Area of Strength:  The Defense was stubborn in 2011, allowing on average 20 points per game.  There is was some questions in the secondary and one change was adding former Cowboy Terrance Newman…I won’t comment on that. Another upgrade was first round draft pick Dre Kirkpatrick, CB out of Alabama.  Where this defense will get really nasty is rushing the passer!  I hope Big Ben, Flacco and Weeden (yep) are ready.

Area of Weakness: I hate to question the run game, but I have to admit I’m worried.  Its understandable the Bengals are not the biggest fan of off the field drama possessing Cedric Benson.  I’m just not really sure Benjarvis Green-Ellis is the answer.  I think BGE has bursts of greatness.  However sometimes he has been just “so-so”.  Last year for the Patriots BGE did not have his best year.  Granted, when you play on a team with Tom Brady and remarkable TEs and Wes Welker, its hard to find a need to run.  Still last year BGE only had 667 yards and a respectable 11 TDs.  I ‘m sure he would be utilized more here in Cincy but I’m still a bit concerned….

2012 Marquee Matchups:  They have a pretty rough schedule but it’s in patches.  December looks to be what could make or break the Bengals.  Weeks 13-17 the Bengals play in order: San Diego, Dallas, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore.  It will be interesting to see how many of those games result in a Bengals W.

All Things Cincinnati Bengals:  There are a few ways to keep up with the Bengals, here are a few: 

Apps:  Cincinnati Bengals Mobile for iPhone (by Bengals/YinzCam) ; Cincinnati.com Football ( by Cincinnati.com)

Blogs:  Cincy Jungle http://www.cincyjungle.com/ ; Stripe Hype http://stripehype.com/ ; Bengals Gab http://www.bengalsgab.com/

Fan Clubs: In addition to the Cincinnati Bengals official fan club found on bengals.com under fanzone, the Bengals have 2 other cool fan clubs we like:  Bengals United Fan Club http://www.bengalsunited.com/  and Who Dey Fanshttp://whodeyfans.com/

 


2012 Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers

The 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers should give us a new look this season.  This year they’ve hired former Kansas City head coach Todd Haley as their offensive coordinator.  The move has sparked few, but interesting comments from their QB Ben Rothlesburger.  The controversy?  If you can call it that, is that Haley will focus on running the ball and recently the Big Ben led Steelers are more of a passing team.  Apparently the QB and WRs were just fine with that.  The history of the franchise is to be a bruising, pounding run the ball type team.  Now with a completely different offense, it will be interesting to see how the 2012 Steelers adapt.   Speaking of changes, I am a huge fan of Hines Ward and it will be sad to see the Steelers move on without him.  I, along with the Steelers offense must acknowledge change is inevitable.  Here is more from the 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Fantasy Football Studs:  The Steelers have 2 great talents at wide receiver:  That dude Mike Wallace is the truth! He’s got the 1193 in receiving yards to prove it!  Antonio Brown with 1108 last season is good in his own right.  While they may be looking to focus on the run in Pittsburgh, these guys will still cause problems for most secondaries.   

Area of Strength:  Consistently this defense is ranked top in the league.  Last year they were ranked 1st.  On average teams can’t score more than 14 points on the D.  What an incredible statement.  Many predicted this D would lose a step since they are getting older.  But not the case, the Steelers have always done well with drafting and developing their team and this amazing defense is the proof.

Area of Weakness:  The run last year wasn’t the worst in the league, but it wasn’t a threat.  Mendenhall often frustrated fans and fantasy football owners. Ending the year with an ACL tear, leaves more doubt about his ability to return and be the man.  I think this year we will see the emergence of Isaac Redman.  Having a new O coordinator is an open door for Redman to work hard and position himself as the clear starter.  Yes, its a cold world out there.   Still, this is a competition and if the main guy is down then its time for Redman to step up and make a name for himself. 

2012 Marquee Matchups:  The Steelers get first crack at the new Payton Manning led Denver Broncos Week 1 for the Sunday night game.  Week 5, they host the other side of the state when they play Mike Vick and the Eagles.  Week 9 they face the Superbowl Champs up in New York.  Then Weeks 11 and 13 they play Baltimore.  It will be a rough December as they face the Ravens, Chargers, Cowboys, Bengals, and then Cleveland…brutal ride if they wanna see the playoffs again this year. 

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

Blogs:  Behind the Steel Curtain http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/ ; Nice Pick Cowher http://nicepickcowher.com/ ; and Steelers Gab http://www.steelersgab.com/

Apps:  Steelers Gameday for iPhone (by YinzCam, Inc) ; Steeler Nation (by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) ; and Go Steelers ( by Giebler Enterprises)

Fan Clubs:  The Steeler Connection.  Additionally the official Steeler Fan Club can be found on www.steelers.com under the fan zone tab.


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