Archive for the ‘Arizona Cardinals’ Category

It may have taken over 6o minutes for Adams to make a good play but boy did he make it count

As I watched in awe last Sunday night as the Arizona Cardinals and the Green Bay Packers racked up the points (in their NFL Wild Card game) like a serial offending drunk driver I couldn’t fail to notice one man looked to be having a nightmare of Elm Street proportions.

Cardinals defensive back Michael Adams simultaneously looked lost at sea, was paddling upstream without a paddle and was in charge of his own proverbial rudderless boat (not sure where all the oceanic references are from).

Play after play he was either committing a defensive penalty, getting burned by the likes of Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley or getting substituted.

After some plays I just wanted him to get hurt so he wouldn’t have to come back on the field to be victimized by Aaron Rodgers.

The result of Adam’s lack of coverage skills – the Packers mount a mind-blowing comeback and we go into overtime in the highest scoring NFL playoff game in league history.

Green Bay won the toss, and with scores standing at 45-45, it looked like it was going to be a case of first team to get the ball would go 80 yards for the winning score.

Aaron Rodgers took the reins at the start of the drive and began to move the ball, but a huge holding call on Calais Campbell forced the Pack into 3rd and long.

Back goes Rodgers into the pocket, and out of nowhere comes the one man curse, the Frank Spencer of the NFL, Michael Adams the blitzing demon defensive back.

Adams managed to administer the perfect hit on Rodgers, which dislodged the ball, that was subsequently plucked from the air by Karlos Dansby and returned for the winning score.

This to me was the personification of never giving up. Adams must have felt so bad after 60 minutes of ‘hide behind your hands’ football ineptitude, that he channelled all his energy into that blitz that shattered the dreams of thousands of Wisconsin residents.

Could this be the start of a second dream run for the Cardinals? You know what I wouldn’t put it past them, and I would’t put it past Adams doing something game changing against the Saints this weekend.

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My hat is off to the running prowess of the Ravens Ray Rice

Few occasions give me more pleasure than watching NFL teams leaving it all on the field during the playoffs.

This season (2009-2010) has seen some amazing individual and team performances, from Chris Johnson’s all time yards from scrimmage record to the Colts and the Saints starting their seasons 13-0.

It’s now time to pack away the regular season, head for the loft and find the big old box marked ‘Playoffs’.

Wild Card weekend often lives up to its name with some crazy games and the odd huge blowout.

NFL FAN IN ENGLAND is proud to make his Wild Card predictions………

AFC – Ravens @ Patriots

The Ravens sneaked into the playoffs rather last minute, whilst the Patriots are keeping under the radar despite winning their division.  Tom Brady will miss the NFL’s top receiver (by catches) Mr Wes Welker, and will instead look for tight ends Chris Baker and Ben Watson to step up. Baltimore will continue to rely on a ground game that has a superb combo of the lightning in a bottle Ray Rice and the touchdown terror Willis McGahee, not forgetting Pro Bowl fullback Leron McClain. I see this game as the Ray Rice playoff party as he torches the Patriots for 130 yards rushing and a score. The rookie CBs for the Pats will be tested by the wily veteran Derek Mason, and TE Todd Heap will be hoping to outmuscle the Pats LBs for some big chain moving first downs. The biggest factor will be the young Ravens offensive line facing the grizzled Pats D line. I say one for the kids in what will be reported on as an upset.

Score Prediction – Ravens 23-19 Patriots

Game MVP Prediction – Ray Rice Ravens RB, 130 yards rushing, 61 yards receiving 1 total td

AFC – Jets @ Bengals

The first of three Week 17 rematches makes for a fantastic game for the neutral fan. I’m not quite neutral as I have always had a soft spot for the Bengals (must be the uniform). After the Jets just flat out embarrassed the Bengals in New York I’m sure Marvin Lewis will have instructed his team to just erase any memories of the game. With Cedric Benson back and Carson Palmer actually playing at 100% then this game will look nothing like last Sunday night. Benson is the key to this game as he needs to churn the butter and keep both Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene off the field for the Jets. New York’s rookie QB Mark Sanchez will not be asked to pass the way to victory and if he passes over 220 yards I will be shocked. The Jets offensive line is going to help the Jets win this game as Coach Rex Ryan will turn Sanchez into a handoff monkey.

Score Prediction – Jets 21 – 17 Bengals

Game MVP Prediction – Thomas Jones – 127 yards rushing 2 tds

NFC – Eagles @ Cowboys

So much for the December/Jan Cowboys curse, after ripping apart the Redskins and the Eagles over two weeks this is a Cowboys team that is now able to win in winter. Miles Austin has come form nowhere to become the ‘Boys #1 weapon, even above Pro Bowl colleague TE Jason Witten. Austin can score from anywhere and this leaves Witten covered by the linebackers, and guys like Patrick Crayton and Kevin Ogletree man marked by the #2 or #3 Eagles CBs. Philadelphia are a true Jeckyl and Hyde team, one week world beaters one week losing to the inept Oakland Raiders. Brian Westbrook is a shell of the player he was two or three years ago and Lesean McCoy is in my opinion a season or two from becoming a top 10 back. The Eagles will be mad as a bee in a matchbox and this is where I think Andy Reid’s playoff experience will shine through. A real barnburner of a game, will see Jeremy Maclin score the winning touchdown in the last 5 minutes of the game.

Score Prediction – Eagles 28-24 Cowboys

Game MVP Prediction – Donovan McNabb – 277 yards passing three tds passing

NFC – Packers @ Cardinals

Again a rematch and again one team will be spitting feathers after being humiliated last week. If I have learnt one thing in life it is to NEVER underestimate Kurt Warner when its playoff time. Warner has taken his troops to the Superbowl three times in his career, and the 2009 Cardinals can only be described as better than the team that almost lifted the Lombardi Trophy in 2009. The Pack are looking good with Aaron Rodgers at the helm and his supporting cast have stepped up in recent weeks, with RB Ryan Grant and TE Jermichael Finley both looking like show stoppers. Unlike the other Wild Card games where the running games will be the key, this is a battle of pure passing and Warner will show why he deserves his place in Canton by 2020 with an impressive win.

Score Prediction – Cardinals 35 -24 Packers

Game MVP Prediction – Kurt Warner Cardinals QB 311 yards passing 3 tds

What DO YOU GUYS AND GIRLS think?

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The Iggles WRs Jackson and Macklin will be geared up for a huge Week 9 output

It has been a while I admit but it’s time to get back to the crystal ball gazing lark and give some NFL predictions.

Plenty of juicy matchups for week 9 in the 2009 NFL season, but my personal favourite is the Philadelphia Eagles against the Dallas Cowboys.
 
Everyone loves a bruising NFL East battle, and this one looks set to be a humdinger.
 
My prediction for the top performers in Week 9 goes to the Iggles WR pairing of Jeremy Macklin and DeSean Jackson.
 
I am going for Macklin and Jackson combining for 200 yards and two touchdowns in a monster win.
 
Not so long ago the Eagles had strength pretty much everywhere apart from WR. They went and got TO and got all the way to the Superbowl.
 
Now they have invested big in two remarkably similar types of players on the outside, but ones that could dominate for many years and become the new Fitzgerald and Boldin or Stallworth or Swann (providing they pick up some Vince Lombardi trophies in the next five years).
 
After three weeks of predicting I was 28-20. Now for the business of the day…. 
 
Redskins @ Falcons – The Redskins officially suck. Yes this is a technical sporting term for teams who cannot reach 3 touchdowns against the Chiefs or Lions. Matt Ryan looks to have a big day, along with Michael Turner the Falcons low gravity work mule. I will be shocked if the Skins get 2 touchdowns, even though I expect Fred Davis the TE to have over 70 yards receiving – Falcons to win 37-13
 
Cardinals @ Bears – “They are who we thought they were.” The immortal words from former Cardinals head coach Dennis Green after a meltdown against Da Bearz a few years ago. This time I see the Cardinals stepping up and Kurt Warner atoning for his debacle last week. Look for both teams failing to establish the run, and the game becoming a shootout. Arizona to hang on with some Fitzgerald heroics – Cardinals to win 27-24
 
Ravens @ Bengals – Gotta love this game. The Ravens want revenge from the upset earlier in the season. Ray Lewis will be all over Bengals RB Cedric Benson so look for Carson Palmer to find seams in the passing game, as long has he throws to the polar opposite end of the field as Ravens All-Pro safety Ed Reed. I’ll take a bit of magic from Cincy WR Chris Henry – Bengals with the upset 24-20
 
Texans @ Colts – This is the opportunity for Houston to show that they are finally ‘for real’. If they can win this game they become contenders for the AFC. Peyton Manning will be aware that the Texans will be playing like men possessed and will try to exploit the aggression of the Houston D. Monster game from Reggie Wayne AGAIN I suspect – Colts win a close one 33-27
 
Chiefs @ Jaguars – This is not exactly the game you would show if you wanted to introduce someone to the joys of the NFL. KC are pretty awful, but they may get a spark from recently promoted running back Jamal Charles. The Jags rb Maurice Jones-Drew simply HAS to get more carries. The man had under 10 carries last week but he got two rushing tds of over 75 yards a pop. Wat has he got to do to get the rock? – Jaguars to win 29-17
 
Dolphins @ Patriots – Wow – this is gonna be a barn burner. Wildcat v The Emperor. Sounds like a trendy DJ battle. I love me some AFC East action and whilst I would love to see the Dolphins get the second win against the Pats I just can’t see past Chad Henne, and his lack of explosiveness. Ricky Williams can have another big game if he comes in to keep Ronnie Brown fresh. It wont matter as the Pats will have too much class – Pats to win 31-24
 
Packers @ Buccaneers – Ouch, ouch, ouch, the words that will come out of the mouth of Josh Freeman after he picks himself up off the floor for the tenth time. This is gonna be a car wreck. Pack to win 34-9
 
Panthers @ Saints – Saints will be tested more than a lot of people think. Don’t be fooled by Jake Delhomme’s errant arm, he has a supporting cast that can run all over teams. Ok I’ll do it here and now, sound the alarm this is my UPSET SPECIAL. Panthers can run and keep Drew Brees off the field – Panthers to eek by 23-21  
 
Lions @ Seahawks – Two words – Matt Hasslebeck – ‘Hawks win 27-10
 
Chargers @ Giants – The Giants grasp on the 2009 playoffs is currently slippier than the plastic sheets covering the carpet in a pornographic cinema in Soho. The Chargers, like a 4 x 400m relay team, seem to put their worst performances first, and then just get better. If the Giants fail to get the W here their season could fall apart. I would love to predict a Giants loss, but I just can’t – Giants to win 19-17
 
Titans @ 49ers – One team has one win, and one team has faded after a false dawn. This again is not gonna be a beauty contest in terms of class, but I do like to see Frank Gore and Chris Johnson battling to see who is the better back on the day. Alex Smith – yuk! – Titans to keep rolling 23-20
 
Cowboys @ Eagles – My game of the week by a country mile. Romo v McNabb is worthy of being an NFC Championship matchup. I think the Vikings will have something to say about that, but it is possible. As you can see above I think the Eagles WRs are a classy young bunch that can do damage against the unfamiliar Cowboys secondary. Ill expect some turnovers and some hard hits, but the edge goes to the home team and the Eagles fans – Eagles to win 33-24
 
Steelers @ Broncos – Big fat balls – we don’t get to see MNF here in England so why should I waste my time predicting this game. I wont even see tv highlights until the Friday. This will be a great game. Josh McDaniels started the season looking like the men in white coats needed to cart him away. Now he is wearing a white coat, but it is as a scientist, who has found a formula for success. Steelers will bring the Broncos back to earth though – Steelers to win 31-21
 
Any thoughts ??
 

Following the rather hurried trip past the Superbowl rings last Sunday inside the Hall of Fame tent at Wembley Stadium my wife and I then were handed some 3D glasses and proceeded to be seated in amongst approximately 500 seats layed out cinema style.

The NFL were showing off some of their 3D footage, including a regular season game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers, plus some clips of the New England Patriots Superbowl win over the Carolina Panthers.

To see Jamarcus Russell throw an interception from 10 different angles in 3D was strangely hypnotizing, and jaw droppingly amazing at the same time.

Following this performance we went back to the NFL tents for one last look at the NFL merchandise prizes available.

Below are some of the other signed items available to win, donated by NFL teams this season…

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Carolina Panther QB Jake Delhomme may be having a torrid season but at least he donated a signed shirt

 

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Philadelphia Eagles shutdown CB Asante Samuel signed his shirt too

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#1 overall pick in 2009 NFL Draft - Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford signed one of his balls

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#1 pick in the 2008 NFL draft Miami Dolphins OT Jake Long has a very small signature for such a big person

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Baltimore Ravens stud safety Ed Reed signed this ball

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After seeing all those ace items it was time to get inside Wembley Stadium for some live NFL football

Having not seen NFL football live since last October (New Orleans Saints v San Diego Chargers at Wembley Stadium) it was with an overwhelming feeling of enthusiasm and anticipation that I (and my lovely wife) settled into our seats in section 107 of the lower tier of Land Shark Stadium to see the Miami Dolphins play the Buffalo Bills.

With the Bills at 1-2 and the Dolphins at 0-3 AND with 2nd year QB Chad Henne making his first start ever in the NFL I did think this could be a rather ugly festival of field goals – ending something to the tune of 9-6.

Well after my wife shelled out for the tickets for my birthday I thought regardless of the score it would be an amazing experience, and after all the sun was shining and I was in Florida in October, not in the wet and cold West Midlands.

Out came the giant inflatable and the smoke - no this was not as seedy as it sounds

Out came the giant inflatable and the smoke - no this was not as seedy as it sounds

The game began with a short  pass from Bills QB Trent Edwards to Terrell ‘TO’ Owens,  one game too late, as he had his huge consecutive catch in a game streak snapped in Week 3.

That pretty much was the highlight of the first quarter, as a side from a Rian Lindell missed field goal it was a battle of field  position, as the two division rivals poked and  prodded each other but no-one managed to throw a proverbial connecting punch.

Rookie CB Vontae Davis scored the first td on an INT return

Rookie CB Vontae Davis scored the first td on an INT return

Thankfully the  second quarter saw some early fireworks, and following  an opening  field goal for the Dolphins Trent Edwards did what he does best and threw an interception.

Rookie Miami CB Vontae Davis took the pick to da house and in the blink of an eye the Dolphins were 10-0 up and the home crowd were rocking.

The Dolphins exuded confidence in the second quarter

The Dolphins exuded confidence in the second quarter

It sure was fun seeing the 2008 overall #1 pick in the draft Jake Long #77 (far left of my picture above).

I always take time to follow individual players in games as well as following the ball. Seeing some of the key matchups in the flesh is terrific fun, and watching Jake block anyone who gets near him proves that not every team’s superstar is a QB or a gobby WR.

Ronnie Brown scores his first TD of the day ........just !

Ronnie Brown scores his first TD of the day ........just !

The Bills did pull back with a fg in the second but the Dolphins running game was beginning to dominate and Ronnie Brown went in from a yard out to establish a 14 point lead.Miami again had the lions share of possession with over ten minutes of ball control in the second quarter.

Halftime – Dolphins 17-03 Bills. 

During week 4 players and coaches wore pink items to promote breast cancer awareness  the NFL supported  a campaign to  get women to have breast cancer screenings.

If you look closely at my pictures you will see the players gloves, shoes and sweat bands feature the colour pink.In this world of commercial greed this was one advertising campaign that had universal approval.

The cheerleaders also wore pink to raise awareness of the  screening programme, and the giant HD screens promoted the initiative too.The screens also had some fun videos from the likes of Fegie from the Black Eyed Peas telling the fans to ‘Fin up’ and give it some boom boom pow.

With Fred Jackson continuing to get most of the snaps at running back in the second half the Bills tried to claw back some of the deficit but Trent Edwards continued to stink as he threw three interceptions in the game and was sacked more than cheetos on a Walmart.

Not that I was lookingat them but the cheerleaders wore pink too

Not that I was looking at them but the cheerleaders wore pink too.

The stadium was not quite full but considering the two teams had combined for one win between them in three weeks it was still a very good crowd of over 65,000.

 

Ronnie Brown scored late to seal the win

Ronnie Brown scored late to seal the win

This game was fun to watch and is the highest amount of points I have seen scored in an NFL game in USA that I have had the honour of attending.

The Dolphins looked far far better than their 1-3 record.
Final score Miami Dolphins 38-10  Buffalo Bills.
Perhaps the best example of the Madden Curse
Perhaps the best example of the Madden Curse

I’m here instead to raise my concerns about the health, happiness, well-being and possibly mortality of Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Steelers S Troy Polamalu.

They are the new faces of the Madden computer game.

Lets look at the fate of previous Madden stars

09 – Brett Favre QB – was pictured in Packers and Jets uniform but either way he crashed and burned late in the season and left his record setting career on a pretty awful note, hence his flirting with the Vikings.

08 – Vince Young QB – He is now backing up Kerry Collins – yep Kerry Collins. Young is about one cameo apperance from becoming the next Akili Smith

07- Shaun Alexander RB – In 2006 Alexander had his highest number of career fumbles and missed 6 games. His career has gone down quicker than Gillian Tailforth in a Little Chef car park.

06 – Donovan McNabb QB – In 05 McNabb only managed 9 games.

05 – Ray Lewis LB – Anyone for murder charges?

04 – Michael Vick QB – Enough said – 2 years in prison and global hatred from every dog lover

03 – Marshall Faulk RB – Only 10 starts and the first time in 6 years he rushed for under 1,000 yards

02 – Daunte Culpepper QB – 16 starts in 2000, 16 starts in 2002 – but in 2001 when he was on the Madden cover only 11 games.

01 – Eddie George RB – Only Madden cover star to have a MONSTER season – 1,962 combined yards and 16 touchdowns.

I have Fitz in one of my NFL.com fantasy teams so I hope he stays fit.

It is pretty much a guarantee though that Fitz or Polamalw will suffer somewhat and I would put £10 on that both of them will combine to play under 30 games this season between them.

What u guys think – nonsense or curse of the cover?

My new Twitter homie Superbowl stud WR Larry Fitzgerald

My new Twitter homie Superbowl stud WR Larry Fitzgerald

This Twitter lark is getting crazier by the day.

On Friday I fired off a series of questions to Adam Schefter, the soon to be ESPN NFL top dawg reporter.

On Sunday just gone I went one better, and after various attempts with a range of NFL players to get them to respond to my direct Twitter messages I finally got a superstar response.

And when I say superstar I mean MEGA superstar. Yep I managed to fire off 10 questions that were ALL answered by none other than the best wide receiver in the NFL – Arizona Cardinals #11 Larry Fitzgerald.

To say I was excited when Mr F agreed to answer my questions would be an understatement, and it was only my wife going ‘who is he?’ that kept me from having a full on keg party in our living room.

From his answers I determined that Mr Fitzgerald is quietly confident for the Cardinals again in 2009 and if his worst sin is Vitamin Water then anyone who has (or plans to) draft Mr Fitzgerald in an NFL fantasy team draft has absolutely nothing to worry about.

By sheer coincidence after doing my Twitter interview with Larry Fitzgerald I had an NFL.com fantasy draft.

Yep you guessed it I picked Mr Fitzgerald in the first round (pick #7), I then went on to get Tom Brady in round 2 – so all good.

Here is the twitterview (my new idea where you ask a superstar on Twitter 10 questions and have 10 Twitter responses). I know this is not perfect as you are very limited to short answers but it was a real buzz seeing my Twitter account fill up with responses from a man who scored in the Superbowl under six months ago. 

How else could I be in contact with such an NFL mega star !

Lawrence Vos (LV): NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 How is training camp going? Are the Cards gonna win it all this time? I hope you have 30 secs to reply it would be superbLarry Fitzgerald

(LF): Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLAND we will be good again

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11Thanks Mr F – Can I interview you for my blog when you are available please http://nflfaninengland.word… NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11Would you be willing to do a twitterview with me (I created this idea – 10 questions asked and replied to on twitter) !!!!!

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLAND ask away

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 1) Do you think Santonio Holmes was actually in bounds for that late Superbowl touchdown?

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLAND I don’t talk about the superbowl anymore.sorry man.I look past that game

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@ Lfitzgerald11 2) Can you break any single season season receiving records in 2009? If so which ones are you targetting?

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLAND I’m just targeting making my team better & staying healthy 

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 3) How different is your life after you had that incredible playoff run in 2008-2009? Do you now get more endorsement deals?

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLAND yes I have more opportunities that were thrown my way after the run

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 4) What food or drink are your kryptonite? I know u train hard but what do you treat yourself to?Larry Fitzgerald’s kryptonite !

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLAND I’m a huge fan of vitamin water.love it

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 5) Regarding Anquan is he 100% staying with you in the desert? How much better does he make you as an NFL receiver?
 
LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLANDplaying with anquan really helps my game a ton.hes such a threat 2 opposing teams.I dont wanna play without him
 
LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 6) What is the hardest part of training camp and do you have any special trainers helping you?
 
LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLANDhardest part of camp is the 3 week gruel of running,cutting,& body aching.u have 2b able 2 give ur all in tough conditions

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 7) Are you for or against 18 regular season games? and why?

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLANDhaven’t really thought of it yet.im fine with the 16 games for now

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 8) Would you be excited or not if the Cardinals were selected to play an NFL game in London in 2010?

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLANDI wouldn’t mind it.but im also not gonna jump for joy if we were selected to play there

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 9) How much better has Kurt Warner made you? His experience and faith is huge in my estimation

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLANDkurt Is one of the smartest qb in the game.he makes me a better player everyday

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 10) Final question in mt twitterview – Which Cardinals rookies are showing that they are ready to get gametime in 2009?

LF: WhiteLfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLANDbeanie is goin 2b a beast.he is so talented plus hes dropping weight.expect big things from him this year.

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11Mr F you are a superstar and a class act. Thankyou for taking the time out. I hope to get you now in my nfl.com fantasy draft

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLANDno doubt brotha.take care

Anything YOU would have asked Mr Fitzgerald?