Archive for the ‘Cincinnati Bengals’ Category

Big game for Foles - and I think he will shine

Big game for Foles – and I think he will shine

Having become a dad for the second time the week before Christmas, writing posts for my blog has not exactly been top of my list of priorities. Still I hate watching the NFL playoffs without making a few predictions.

I have enjoyed watching NFL RedZone on my wife’s Ipad, but when it came to the crunch I was not going to miss the opportunity to watch the NFL playoffs live so I got a one-month subscription to Sky Sports to view the games, starting tonight with the Kansas City Chiefs at the Indianapolis Colts.

AFC Predictions

Wild Cards
Chiefs 31-21 Colts – MVP Jamaal Charles with 180 all purpose yards and two tds
Chargers 17-27 Bengals – MVP Andy Dalton with 3 td passes

The Chiefs may be the visiting team but they have too much class overall, and they will expose the Colts offensive line. The Chargers backed into the playoffs thanks to a missed field goal by Ryan Succop. My prediction for the AFC at the start of the season was the Bengals and I am not going to change my mind. Look for Luck to get picked off at least twice.

NFC Predictions 

Wild Cards
Saints 27-38 Eagles – MVP Nick Foles 4 td passes
49ers 26-24 Packers – MVP Colin Kaepernick with 250 yards passing and 50 rushing

The biggest upset in my eyes is the home team Eagles beating the Saints. Yes Philly will be at home but the Saints are high octane all the time. This simply has to be a game where over 60 tital points will be scored. Nick Foles will play with no fear and will take risks that more experienced playoff quarterbacks will not. The Niners know how to navigate the choppy waters of the playoffs and they have the defensive quality to hang with the Packers. Aaron Rodgers will again play hard but this time I just think the 49ers will get a big enough lead that the Packers will not be able to claw it back late.

 

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Time for my annual guess at a Super Bowl winner - this time the luck winner is the Atlanta Falcons

Time for my annual guess at a Super Bowl winner – this time the luck winner is the Atlanta Falcons

Forget the calls for a three-peat or for ‘one for the thumb’, there is always something special about an NFL franchise winning its first ever Super Bowl.

In my lifetime I have seen (live on tv in England in the early hours of the morning that is) seven teams with their inaugural Vince Lombardi Trophy;

  • New York Giants (1987) – first of four
  • Denver Broncos (1998) – first of two
  • St Louis Rams (2000) – only title
  • Baltimore Ravens (2001) – first of two
  • New England Patriots (2002) – first of three
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2003) – only title
  • New Orleans Saints (2010) – only title

Now I am not including the 2007 Indianapolis Colts in this list as they were the Baltimore Colts who were winners back in 1971.

So why the lengthy reminiscence? Well I am convinced we are going to add another new team to the first-time trophy club this upcoming season.

NFL FAN IN ENGLAND’s 2013 NFL 2013-14 SEASON PREDICTIONS

NFC East – Washington Redskins

NFC West – San Francisco 49ers

NFC South – Atlanta Falcons

NFC North – Detroit Lions

NFC Wild Cards – Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks

NFC Championship – Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons

NFC Representative – Atlanta Falcons

AFC East – New England Patriots

AFC West – Denver Broncos

AFC South – Houston Texans

AFC North – Cincinnati Bengals

AFC Wild Cards – Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs

AFC Championship – Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans

AFC Representative – Cincinnati Bengals

Super Bowl XLVIII winner – Atlanta Falcons

Super Bowl MVP – Matty Ice Ryan – QB Atlanta Falcons

Offensive Player of the Year – Colin Kaepernick QB San Francisco 49ers

Defensive Player of the Year – Luke Kuechely LB Carolina Panthers

Offensive Rookie of the Year – Eddie Lacy RB Green Bay Packers

Defensive Rookie of the Year – Jon Bostic ILB Chicago Bears

NFL MVP – Aaron Rodgers QB Green Bay Packers

Comeback Player of the Year – Darelle Revis CB Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coach of the Year – Marvin Lewis – Cincinnati Bengals

Most Improved Team – Kansas City Chiefs

Biggest Disappointment Team – Toss up between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers

The Atlanta Falcons were so close last season to reaching their second Super Bowl last season that they could almost taste the promised land. This was with a starting running back that was slower than a snail without an agenda.

Now the Falcons have Steven Jackson in the backfield, admittedly no rocket launcher, but certainly a huge upgrade with soft hands and a ‘win it all now’ attitude following a decade in St Louis that many consider wasted.

Future Hall of Fame tight-end Tony Gonzales is back for a Balboa-esque ‘one last shot’ at a title, having finally shaken the playoff win monkey off his back last season.

I know that defense wins championships and the Falcons defense is certainly no ’85 Bears vintage, but they have the playoff experience, the hunger and a nice blend of veteran experience (DE Osi Umenyiora and CB Asante Samuel) youth (rookie starting CB Desmond Trufant) and those with experience who are not household names but play hard (LB Akeem Dent and DE Kroy Biermann).

It’s hard to equal the talent of Atlanta’s number one and two wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White.

The biggest problem for the Falcons is quality of depth. If one ore more of the big names goes down with injury then this will have a huge effect on the team being able to get a 13-3 regular season record. If they remain fully fit and can get a bit of luck, then the likes of the 49ers and Seahawks will be beatable.

The trend for multi-dimensional quarterbacks will not go away this year, and studs like Russell Wilson, RG3 and Colin Kaepernick will make lots of headlines, but you don’t win conference championships with wideouts like Golden Tate, Josh Morgan or Jon Baldwin.

Joe Flacco went from lukewarm to boiling hot in the playoffs last year, I think that Matt Ryan can do the same, and having the feeling of being a touchdown away from a Super Bowl will have been on his mind for the last nine months.

I raise my glass of  (Matty) Iced (Georgia) Peach to my Super Bowl XLVIII paper champions the Atlanta Falcons.

Cue the ridicule…………………..

luckk Wild Card weekend is akin to being let loose in a Belgian chocolate factory. You get to taste the quality (8 of the NFL’s top 12 teams)and get to gorge (on four NFL games over two-days) but the bonus ball is that you don’t count the calories.

That’s not strictly true as I can pretty much guarantee that any NFL fan watching all 240 minutes of live playoff football will likely dine out on pizza and crisps and a few litres of suds.

All four games this weekend have great story lines  from what maybe Ray Lewis’s final NFL contest against a coach who has fought Leukemia to two of the most efficient rookie quarterbacks in NFL history facing each other in a venue that has not hosted a playoff game for 13 seasons.

Let me get straight into it and offer my predictions – with a soupson of insight.

Bengals @ Texans

The Texans sure know how to walk backwards dragging their bruised and battered limbs into the playoffs, having suffered a late regular season collapse, and instead of having a week off, have to face a very respectable Bengals team that have quietly returned to the post-season for a second consecutive year. Arian Foster will want to impress in what is Matt Schaub’s first ever playoff game. Talk is that the Bengals defense has done a very good job, but this game will come down to Houston’s defense shining on a national stage. J.J. Watt is an absolute beast and will get a couple of sacks and a forced fumble.

Texans to win 19-13

Vikings @ Packers

Weird one as the teams only met last week in Minny, with Adrian Petersen running so hard the Packers wished they had gone to a three-day New Year party starting on 29 December. I absolutely loved it when Packers WR Greg Jennings was asked this week if he enjoyed playing at Freezing Lambeau Field and he said that he would rather play in a dome – at last someone who is honest. This game will be heavily influenced by the fact it will be played in Green Bay, that and Aaron Rodgers will be hellbent on making a playoff run after last season’s debacle. Keys here will be Packs ability to establish a running game and Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder’s ability to stay upright. I say this gets ugly as AP fails to establish himself and is held under 100 yards rushing.

Packers to win 37-14

Colts @ Ravens

Forget all the emotional crap about Ray Lewis coming back from an injury to inspire the Ravens to a playoff run. This is not the time for a Ravens revival. People have forgotten how devastating the loss of cornerback Lardarius Webb was earlier in the season. The Colts have defied all the odds, going from 2-14 to 11-5. Andrew Luck (see pic) has slotted into the Indy QB position like a seasoned veteran, and done what other great quarterback have done – performed alchemy to turn the rest of the team from base metal into gold. An old Reggie Wayne and a young T.Y Hilton should not be enough to get a team 11 wins, but that is why the guy went #1 in the draft in 2012. Look for the Ravens to hold a lead for the majority of the game only for Luck to get the winning td or final drive that leads to the sealing field goal.

Colts to win 24-20

Seahawks @ Redskins – see my preview here

Stat Attack – my predictions for Wild Card stats leaders

Passing yards – Andrew Luck – Colts

Rushing yards – Alfred Morris – Redskins

Receiving yards – Andre Johnson – Texans

 

 

 

Had the pleasure of picking up my weekly free copy of a ‘lads’ magazine called Shortlist just outside Birmingham New Street (UK) train station this afternoon.

I enjoy a good skim through it as I make my 20 minute train journey home, and to my delight today’s issue had an American Football article in it penned by none other than the singer Huey Lewis (found on page 58).

He was reminiscing  about the day the San Francisco 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII (23). As a Niners fan he went as far as to say “Still I’ll never forget this game.”

All seems quite straight forward so far, until you read in full the article he wrote. Lewis describes how 49ers quarterback Joe Monana ‘orchestrated a 92-yard drive, ending in a 10-yard pass to Roger Craig to win the game’.

Whooooah – ROGER CRAIG ? Every NFL fan in the world knows that it was wide receiver John Taylor who caught the winning score as the Bengals focussed their defensive efforts on man marking Jerry Rice.

Huey, I hate to say it but I think you have the early onset of dementia. Next you will start saying the Bengals won Super Bowl XXIII.

You stick to the music and leave the NFL punditry to the likes of Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.

Goodnight knuckle-heads – and especially for you Huey, below is what actually happened at the end of Super Bowl XXXII.

TO and Ocho Cinco = Fun Fun Fun

We are at last getting near to some highly paid athletes putting on their kit and bashing the crap out of each other for real.

This off-season has been more painful than a boil on the bottom, but we are now in a month where there will be some proper NFL football played, albeit pre-season football.

Of the many moves that have taken place, outside the insane signing bonuses given to 2010 rookies, the Bengals signing TO has to be one of the most intriguing.

Ocho Cinco and TO on the field, along with Jermaine Gresham, Antonio Bryant, Andre Caldwell and Cedric Benson should be enough to put a cheshire cat like grin on the face of Carson Palmer.

I have to confess that whilst I have been a Redskins fan since 1985, I have always had a second team. That team is the Bengals.

Maybe it’s the kit, maybe it’s their two Super Bowl appearances, maybe it’s the legends such as Chris Collinsworth, David Fulcher, Dan Ross, Ickey Woods and James Brooks.

TO suiting up in the tiger stripes combined with the funniest man in the NFL Is gonna be pure box office.

I cannot wait to see what they do when one of them scores a touchdown.

Here are a few thoughts:

  • The first one to score has his shoes shined by the other
  • They combine to do some sort of break-dance/electric boogaloo
  • They re-enact a scene in a restaurant where ons serves a football up to the other

Why don’t you reply to this post with your suggestions………….