Posts Tagged ‘Michael Crabtree’

My sneaky first touchdown bet - rookie Lamichael James

My sneaky first touchdown bet – rookie Lamichael James

I’m not normally a betting man. In fact I only venture into the bookies twice a year, once for the Grand National and once for the Super Bowl.

I have had a few big Super Bowl winning payouts, but really any gambling undertake is simply for fun and I expect to win nothing.

I’ve put on five bets this year with only four that’s can possibly reap rewards.

Most Valuable Player

Michael Crabtree (20-1) 49ers wide receiver. Crabtree is very clearly Colin Kaepernick’s number omen target and Ravens cornerbacks are good but not All Pro standard. Wide receivers have won MVP awards in recent memory, and whilst it’s all about the quarterback, Crabtree has been a true crutch for three months. I have to laugh as I got 20-1 on Friday, just checked online Saturday night and Crabtree is now 16-1 with the same firm.

Ed Reed (66-1) Ravens safety. This is my outside bet for sure. Ray Lewis already has an MVP award, so if the Ravens D pull it out the bag it could be Reed who does the biggest damage. Reed is a turnover monster, and say he gets two interceptions, one being a pick=six then this could be a reality. Unlikely, but hey if you don’t speculate you certainly won’t accumulate.

First Touchdown Scorer

Frank Gore (7-1) 49ers running back or Lamichael James (25-1) 49ers running back. Now sods law says that because I have bet on either the number one or number two San Francisco running back to score first that either the Ravens take the opening kickoff and return it for a touchdown or Colin Kaepernick scores on the ground first himself. The first td scorer really has no true science to it, as there are far too many things that could happen. I have gone 49ers ground game because I rate the 49ers offensive line as one of the top units in the NFL. If the Niners try to establish the run early they will give the rock to Gore, who is capable of 8 carries in a single drive. Rookie James, the former Oregon Duck, has chosen the right time to be injury free and has some major grease in his wheels. Fantasy football fans hate touchdown vultures, those players who come in for the score after the rest of the team has left body parts on the field in an energy sapping drive, arise sir Lamichael James flying through the air like a vulture*/duck* (*=delete as applicable).

Winning margin

Now this may offend any Ravens fans, so apologies in advance, but I have gone for the 49ers to win by 13-18 (7-1). My actual score prediction is 31-17 to the 49ers. My rationale for this score is as follows. I see the first half being cagey with both teams trying to establish the run and get the tight-ends involved to get outside linebackers a bit spooked into contemplating the virtues of prolific blitzing. I have it 17-10 to the 49ers at half-time on the back of a Gore run and something like a Delanie Walker or Bruce Miller catch.

I then have the 49ers defense coming out of the locker room having learnt how to contain the Ravens deep passing, getting an early third quarter Flacco interception. From there 24-10 behind a second Gore run. Flacco to then make it interesting with a big drive of his own ending in an Anquan Boldin score. I then see Kaepernick and the ball control offense putting the nail in the coffin mid-way through the final period with an Anthony Dixon plunge. Flacco to mount a late comeback but turn the ball over again.

OK this is all in my head and about as likely to happen as Alex Smith throwing the winning score in double overtime, but betting is no science, its a bit of fun, and win or lose it always makes my Super Bowl viewing that bit tastier, alongside my big ol’ bowl of toffee popcorn and peanut M and M’s.

Anyone else got any predictions?


Born and bred a winner - Dennis Pitta

Born and bred a winner – Dennis Pitta

by Lawrence Vos

Super Bowl XLVII will likely be one of the more brutal games played in recent championship memory.

The Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers are playing against each other in the Har-Bowl because they execute to the highest standard the two most fundamental aspects of professional football, the ability to block and the ability to tackle.

I have to say the hype surrounding the running ability of Colin Kaepernick has gone a bit galactic, but sustaining long clock dwindling drives, through a dominant running game will be a big key to this game.

So without further ado here are my top five individual matc=hups for this game…

1) Ravens tight-end Dennis Pitta against the 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith.

Pitta, in his third season, was second on the team in receptions (61) and receiving touchdowns (7). He had five catches in the AFC Championship and score. In five playoff games he has scored three touchdowns. What frustrates fantasy football fans with Pitta is that his production is as boing-boing as Zebedee with a spring freshly sprayed with WD-40. Twice this season he failed to register a catch and once he got just one grab. In other games he went up to eight catches (at Philadelphia) and 125 yards (home against the Broncos).

The 49ers outside linebackers will need to show discipline in their pass coverage skills, as Brooks will likely be man marking Pitta for the majority of the game. Both Brooks and Smith are excellent at rushing the passer, combining for 26 sacks and 5 forced fumbles this season, but they can play so hard that Pitta could find himself open throughout the game for those 8-12 yard gains that help sustain drives.

Prediction – Pitta to get 6 catches for 77 yards and one TD

2) 49ers wide-receiver Michael Crabtree against the Ravens cornerbacks Corey Graham and Carey Williams

It took a change of quarterback (in Week 10) for Crabtree to move from an average NFL stater to a top 10 in his position. The former Texas Tech wide-out went from 39 catches for 440 yards in games 1-8 to an outstanding 46 catches for 665 yards in games 9-16. Crabtree’s touchdown total doubles in the second half of the season and his yards per catch went up from 11.3 to 14.5 during that span.

Despite a quiet performance in the NFC Championship Crabtree still managed 7 catches. Now he faces a pair of cornerbacks who are not exactly household names. Graham stepped up to a starting role when the Ravens lost up-and coming star Lardarius Webb after six games. Williams in his fourth year with the Ravens had four interceptions this year, the first season he recorded picks in his five year career.

Crabtree knows how to find separation in the end-zone and also has the advantage of being Kaepernick’s out and out number one target. With Randy Moss on the opposite side of the field and rampant post-hibernation tight-end Vernon Davis ready to perform, Crabtree may find himself in a number of single coverage battles that he has the speed and guile to win. Now he has the confidence to match the talent, and could put up MVP type stats if the Ravens focus too hard on trying to stop the running game.

Prediction – Crabtree to lead the game in receptions with 11 for 131 yards and two tds. MVP like numbers but he isn’t a quarterback so he wont win the award.

Pick 1 – Lions – Matthew Stafford QB – The new face of the Lions – truth is he has a 50% chance of being a bust

Pick 2 – Rams – Jason Smith OT – I predicted this one right – likely I get the next 30 wrong ! lease I was 100% right at one stage today

Pick 3 – Chiefs – Tyson Jackson DE – This guy suddenly sneaked up boards and he looks like the real deal – this will really help Tamba Hali to become a better player.

Pick 4 – Seahawks – Aaron Curry OLB – If I’m a Seahawks fan I’m popping the chamnpagne corks – even though I thought they might go Sanchez this is a safer and more immediately productive pick.

Pick 5 – Jets (via trade with Jets) Mark Sanchez QB – To hear the raucous Jets crowd cheer over ESPN radio (as the bloody streaming is toooooooo busy) made me chuckle. I seem to recall each year they boo their own pick. Sanchez will be the Jets starter sometime in 2009 – the poster boy goes to the media microscope – anyone for the next decade of Sanchez Jets endorsements !!

Pick 6 – Bungles – Andre Smith OT – This is a sensible pick, and despite looking like a scared elephant during the combine Andre Smith will protect Carson Palmer’s back and that is a good thing. I had the Bungles picking OT – just got the wrong one !

Pick 7 – Raiders – Darius Heyward-Bey WR – Again I had the right position here – speedy wideout. Lets hope Jamarcus Russell can finally be the man we all expected. This is a little risky as a pick.

Pick 8 – Jaguars – Eugene Monroe OT – Jaguars needed someone to open holes for the MJD show. Sensible pick – not sexy but this will make the Jags offense better.

Pick 9 – Packers – BJ RAji DT – I GOT THIS ONE RIGHT !!!!!!!!! The Packers will be licking their chops here. This is gonna be a man who will be after the blood of Jay Cutler. Can’t wait !!

Pick 10 – 49ers – Michael Crabtree WR – This is great value as this guy could have been a top 3 pick before his foot injury. Niners will want Crabtree to shoulder the load and he could make an immediate impact that many rookie wrs normally fail to do.

Pick 11 – Seahawks – Aaron Maybin DE – Seahawks looking to get tougher and Maybin will make that happen. Seahawks are saying Hasslebeck is the QB loud and clear in 2009.

Pick 12 – Broncos – Knowshown Moreno RB – I HAD THE BRONCOS drafting Moreno at 18. Wise pick – get running with a stud. Broncos fans will be happy even though there are defensive needs still.

Pick 13 Redskins – Brian Orakpo DE – As a Redskins fan I am very very happy we drafted a stud DE and didnt do something stupid like trade the pick for a 40 year old lineman. Jason Campbell will be able to breathe out now too.

Pick 14 Saints- Malcolm Jenkins CB – He will be a great fit for the Saints. The Saints cbs are pretty awful so there will be big pressure on him to perform early. Jenkins will have a baptism of fire.

Pick 15 Texans – Brian Cushing OLB – This is another solid pick for the Texans who are building a qualit defense. They are no longer seen as soft, they just need to grab some offensive talent to go with the D.

Pick 16 Chargers – Larry English LB – This is the biggest move up for a predicted pick. Its not a reach though. You look up picks of him he is a big beast of a man and will be flying round for the Chargers in no time.

Pick 17 Buccs (via trade) Josh Freeman QB – OK they traded up BUT I GOT THIS RIGHT !!! Buccs need a young pup to get ready to drive the car in Fla. Freeman is the perfect fit.

Pick 18 Broncos – Robert Ayres DE – Broncos have taken a risk here. Im not sure this is the safest pick. They could have taken Oher or Macklin. Im not 100% convinced by the value of this pick.

Pick 19 Eagles (traded) Jeremy Macklin WR – Great plan by the Iggles to get Macklin as he wasnt going to fall much further. Macklin and Desean Jackson – could the Eagles have a decent 1 and 2 ? Macklin will return kicks and likely take one to the house as a rook.

Pick 20 Lions Brandom Pettigrew TE – Hmmmmmmm not sure here but Pettigrew is the best TE available. He could be a mega star. Its an intreguing pick to say the least, but its a great compliment pick for Stafford.

One of the most intreguing 2009 picks Ole Miss OT Michael Oher
One of the most intreguing 2009 picks Ole Miss OT Michael Oher

I don’t claim to be any sort of NCAA Football expert as I did not see any live college football on tv here in England.

We do have the opportunity to subscribe to NASN (North American Sports Network) on satellite tv, but the cost is too high for me, and you can get ‘Pardon the Interruption’ and ‘Around the Horn’ free as podcasts on I-tunes – so why fay for it?
Bottom line the annual college draft is a bit of a mystery to me as aside from the big big names like Matthew Stafford and Michael Crabtree the draft contains a lot of college atheletes I will never have heard of before they get picked by the 32 NFL teams.
In this years draft  however there is one exception to my proverbial crap shoot of names and numbers – Ole Miss Rebels
offensive tackle Michael Oher.
Oher is predicted to be a 1st round pick anywhere from about pick 10 to pick 25, and at points in time over the past 12 months has been top 5.
So why do I claim to have inside knowledge on a 6 fee 6 inch tall 325 lb offensive tackle from Mississippi ? Well I read the Michael Lewis Book ‘The Blind Side’ and I now have an emotional attachment to Oher that I have fo no other draft pick.
The image of Oher walking the streets wearing the same pair of shorts and the same t-shirt day in day out before he is discovered by a rich white family and turned into an NFL prospect is pure Hollywood I thought when I read the book, and now I read today that Sandra Bullock is going to star in the movie ‘The Blind Side’ about Oher (obviously not as him though!).
The book details Oher’s background, including his childhood which sounded scarier than watching a Saw movie on magic mushrooms. Oher overcame more trauma than the rest of his high Briarcrest high-school football team mates put together, and is now due for a payday that seemed a million miles away at the start of this decade.
Whoever picks Oher will get a guy that is a physical specimen that was born to play football, even if he didn’t know it himself. Oher fancied himself as a basketball player in his early sporting career, but grew to a size at a young age that had college scouts dribbling into their foolscap contract folders.
For two days last year Oher declared himseld eligible for the 2008 NFL draft, but took wise counsel (not sure from who) to play his senior year in college. His reward? A Cotton Bowl win over Texas Tech.
Now I must remind you that on the losing team that day was the ‘potential’ #1 2009 NFL draft pick Michael Crabtree. Funny how it’s such a small world.
I hope Oher gets drafted in the top 10 – he will be a huge asset to whoever drafts him. People who know a lot more than me compare him to Rams OT Orlando Pace. That’s the same Orlando Pace who has a Superbowl winners ring on his finger and two conference championship rings too.
Quite a legacy to live up to, but I believe Oher will become a Pro Bowl OT and make his NFL team smile as wide as the Mississippi river.