Posts Tagged ‘Shonn Greene’

The sun never shines for opponents on Revis Island

Some say the conference championship games are better than the Super Bowl itself, and I tend to agree.

This season we have a couple of classics to look forward to, minus Tom Brady, Brett Favre or Peyton Manning.

With the exception of Ben Roethlisberger we are looking at the possibility of two quarterbacks facing each other in their inaugural Vince Lombardi trophy contest.

I have even booked the Monday off work so I can stay up until the early hours to watch every play of both games.

I have always loved NFC and AFC championship day, and I have many many fond memories of some outstanding contests at the semi-final stage. Games like the 49ers v Giants when Joe Montana was knocked into another world, the Bills murdering the Oakland Raiders 51-3 (if I recall) and the Redskins reaching Super Bowl XXII on the back of a Darrell Green end zone deflection.

NFC Championship – Packers @ Bears

Back in September 2010 I predicted that the Green Bay Packers would make the NFC Championship – as the home team. Aaron Rodgers looked good in 2009 and it was inevitable that he was on the career path travelling in an ascending pattern.

In no way did I see the Chicago Bears as the team that would be the highest seed remaining in the NFC. The knock on the Bears was the rather hotchpotch wide receiver corps, the immaturity of Jay Cutler and the fact Brian Urlacher was coming of a major injury.

As it turned out the bitter divisional rivals have both had extremely productive seasons, with the Packers playing the better playoff football, and here we are with two 12 win teams playing for the right to represent the NFC in Dallas.

Gotta love the fact that the Bears only previous Super Bowl winning MVP is gonna be at Soldier Field tonight as an honorary captain. This sure is one game where the Bears could use the punch packed by their 85 compatriots.

Keys to the game

  • Can the Bears establish the run? For the Bears to keep this one close they are going to have to keep the pigskin away from the red-hot Aaron Rodgers, and this means a large dose of Matt Forte and a decent cameo from former Viking Chester Taylor.
  • Can the Bears use the speed of Johnny Knox and Devin Hester? Speed kills, and the Bears combo of Knox and Hester are hard to outrun in an open field. The pair lack consistency and that is their big downfall. You would not want to start either in your fantasy team, but one slip or one missed tackle and they could be blazing up the field for an 80 yard score.
  • Can the Packers get pressure on Jay Cutler? We all know about the Giants nailing Cutler more times than a carpenter on double-time, but the Bears learnt from that game and the offensive line is now much improved, if not by personnel but definitely by technique. The Packers love blitzing safeties or even Charles Woodson, but this will no longer be a surprise. It comes down to the likes of B.J. Raji getting pressure or not.
  • Can the Packers play balanced offensive football? The Packers went out and whipped the Falcons last week. The game turned on the late second quarter pick six, or we would likely be talking about Matty Ice right now. The Pack love to pass pass pass, but they need to run the ball 25 times to win this game.

Prediction – A lot lower scoring than many will anticipate, both defenses will outplay their offensive counterparts, and this will result in a tense contest that will come down to a Robbie Gould field goal for the late win – Packers 19-20 Bears – Game MVP Matt Forte – 125 combined yards and a TD.

To buy an Aaron Rodgers Reebok shirt direct from England click here

AFC Championship Jets @ Steelers

The only team to return to the conference championship game this season is the New York Jets, a team that has made more enemies this year than Darth Vader on a Sunday morning with a hangover. The Jets have the spirit of Namath with them, having turned old-fashioned confidence into 21st century swagger.

The Steelers have been there, done that, got the t-shirt and can sit there admiring each of their six Vince Lombardi trophies, two of which they earned under the leadership of big Ben Roethlisberger and the Peter Pan of the NFL Hines ‘the smiler’ Ward. The Steelers have stepped into the AFC Championship game thanks to some fantastic adjustments executed to perfection in the second half of their game against the team I thought would win it all, the Baltimore Ravens.

Heinz Meanz Beanz Field will be full of raucous Steelers fans waving their yellow terrible towels, and for all NFL fans in England we will have to suffer the biased presenting of Steelers fan and presenter Nick Halling, who will no doubt be wearing the same stinky old black suit, black shirt and yellow tie.

Keys to the game

  • Can the Jets offensive line limit the damage caused by the Steelers pass rush? Its not a case of the Big Apple offensive line completely preventing the likes of Woodley and Harrison from getting to Mark Sanchez, it’s a case of damage limitation. Jets will not stop the attack, but they can slow the pressure down. That and the fact Tony Richardson will take on and block anyone – even Andre the Giant with Troy Polamalu on his shoulders.
  • Can the Jets shut down the explosive Mike Wallace? Simple answer is yes. Revis Island is a destination that no one wants to visit but wide outs end up arriving at the same destination week after week. Revis will blanket his side of the field and this will leave a huge battle between Antonio Cromartie and his own demons.
  • Can the Steelers get the ball to Heath Miller? The tight end will be one of the keys to this game, as he always seems to show up for Big Ben when it matters the most. Hines Ward is slowing down and Randle El as a slot back scares nobody. Miller is one of the top red-zone threats and whilst he may disappear in games, he knows the fundamentals of blocking and catching and most importantly how to win football games.
  • Can the rookie Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey show his team mates how to block? Pouncey has played like an All Pro all season long, but that cannot be said of Pittsburgh’s entire offensive line who have either been inconsistent or injured. Pouncey is looking to become the new Jeff Saturday, an indestructible force that makes his somewhat average ranked team mates play better. The weaknesses at guard and tackle for the Steelers could be fatal today.

Prediction – The Jets simply want this game more, and like wolves needing to feed to survive, they will hunt down Big Ben and the Steelers until they have had their full feed. There to stop the Jets will be the one man Tasmanian devil Troy Polamalu, with all his hair and his hitting. The Jets simply have the bodies that can match up to the Steelers, and providing Mark Sanchez stays cool then we will witness the birth of swagger. Jets 23-19 Steelers – MVP Shonn Greene with over 100 yards rushing (including breaking one for over 30 yards).

To buy a Mark Sanchez Reebok shirt direct from England click here

So I have a New York Jets v Chicago Bears Super Bowl – the two underdogs today.

What do you think of my prediction and who are you rooting for?

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Will Shonn Shine or will I be left Greene behind the gills?
Will Shonn Shine or will I be left Greene behind the gills?

Anyone who plays fantasy football games where you have a 55 man roster always licks their chops at the start of a rookie draft, and I for one am no exception.

I run two 20 team leagues through the use of Action PC 2009 software, and each team has a full 55 man live roster.

The BBFL (Britball Football League) is entering its 4th season in September 2009. Prior to the start of season 4 we have just completed our rookie draft, using only players that were drafted in the 2009 NFL draft.

The rookies drafted will not play in the 2009 BBFL as they need to wait until they have finished the 2009 NFL season and given ratings.

The draft is 100 total picks, and due to some savvy trading I ended up with 9 picks (everyone starts with 5).

I did trade my 1st round pick away just before the start of the rookie draft – but I did end up with Big Ol Albert Haynesworth the $100m defensive tackle.

So here are the 9 picks I made, the position I drafted in the BBFL draft is first and the number in brackets (?) is the place that the player actually got drafted in by their NFL team, and then my reason for drafting….

Pick 34) Shonn Greene RB Iowa (65) Jets

With Thomas Jones looking to either slow down, or even get traded, and Leon Washington making a living as a dynamic 3rd down back/change of pace back/returner Greene could end up the feature back of the Jets for many years to come. Ideally I was looking for Donald Brown but he went at pick #30. Greene has just fallen off the pace in the last week or so and may find it hard to get playing time in September and October. I do think that Greene will get around 70-90 carries in 2009 and catch about 20 passes. One for the future for sure, but in a league full of smart owners I had to grab Greene early.

Pick 36) Alex Mack C California (21) Browns

This was a tougher decision, and one I may come to regret. With 35 picks already made I was nearing to selecting Evander Ziggy Hood, but as I always track all the picks taken I looked to see who had been overlooked. That is where I found Alex Mack. I love drafting offensive linemen as I find it easier to pick up people like WRs as free agent or waiver wire picks. Mack was the first C drafted in the NFL and has a legitimate shot at starting very early on with the Cleveland Browns. No way near a sexy pick but you build teams through offensive and defensive lines.

 

Pick 39) Sean Smith CB Utah (61) Dolphins

I wanted to upgrade my secondary and get someone who can be my 2010 nickel back. Sean Smith had had very high ratings throughout camp and he could end up week 1 as a starter. The Dolphins are a team that are to be respected, and with Jason Taylor looking to give it one last push his defensive colleagues will want to play extra hard. Plenty was on offer at pick #39 but this is one of those gut instinct picks that I will be keeping a keen eye on. Lets hope Smith is over his bout of flu too!

Pick 54) Eben Britton OT Arizona (39) Jaguars

We all know that Dennis Hopper got found out when he noticed Sandra Bullock had an Arizona Wildcat t-shirt on in the only good Speed film, lets hope I dont get found out after drafting Britton. Again I went offensive line, but this time grabbing an offensive tackle that should start from day one with fellow rookie Eugene Monroe. The Jags need Britton and Monroe to perform if they are to help Maurice Jones-Drew live up to the unbelievable amount of hype given to him as the 2nd best fantasy running back available in the whole of the NFL. I dont think MJD will be as good as everyone thinks and this thought will be explored later in this draft.

Pick 59) Michael Johnson DE Georgia Tech (70) Bengals

Anytime you draft a player selected by the Bengals you do have to take a long hard look at the guy’s criminal record. The Bengals love to select people who have a bit of and edge (even if that means being outside the law). At 6ft 7 Johnson is a beast, who played TE and was a basketball stud too. Either Marvin Lewis is a genius or maybe there is a genuine reason Johnson did not get selected by an NFL team until round 3. Johnson could make a big impression early but it takes an exceptionally talented DE to make an impact as a rookie.

Pick 76) Al Afalava S Oregon State (190) Bears

I had two owners Instant Message me about 5 minutes after this pick, cursing my name under their breath, so I knew I had done something right. Afalava is competing against Daniel Manning for a significant role in the Bears secondary. Shows I do my homework. Too many people in my league try to pick players that are in the same pick area as their NFL counterpart, so to see me dip down 114 picks must have been somewhat of a shock. Reading Bears fans forums they like Afalava and think he can lay the wood. Not sure he is the best coverage guy but then again he is a safety and not a cornerback. Check out Afalava cleaning an opponents clock in his college days.

Pick 83) Rashad Jennings RB Liberty (250) Jaguars

Have to admit I had my eye on Jennings throughout the entire draft as I just love this guy. Having already drafted a Jags offensive lineman this makes me look like a Jacksonville fan I know. Jennings is the original ‘dark horse’ and providing he stays fit he could get 300-400 yards on the ground. Someone has to pick up the carries that Fred Taylor has taken to New England and who the hell is Chauncey Washington anyway? Yes Greg Jones will get some work but Jennings is the ace up Jack Del Rio’s sleeve.

Pick 84) Brian Hartline WR Ohio State (108) Dolphins

Around this time it does start becoming a bit of a crapshoot, and you tend to either hit gold or a big lump of worthless rock. Hartline is projected to end up anywhere from #2 WR to #5WR and this spectrum of possibilities in a team that does not have a mega star wr makes Hartline a worthwhile bet. Pennington wants reliable hands and accurate rout running wideouts, and this is what Hartline provides. As a guy who has played in a BCS title game he has the pedigree to be a success.

Pick 94) Sebastian Vollmer OT Houston (58) Patriots

Call it a bit of European favouritism if you like but the German born Vollmer landed in a great situation when he was drafted in the 2nd round by the Pats. This is why I was very surprised to find him on the board at pick 94 in my league draft. Vollmer is a converted tight end who played in Germany in this decade. Here in England we generally root against any sort of German athlete, but in this instance I will have to make an exception. Vollmer is one injury away from blocking for God – oops I mean Tom Brady.

Here is the full 2009 BBFL rookie draft (with 3 picks still to be made);

ROUND 1

1) 2.00pm Cleveland Aaron Curry OLB (4)

2) 2.15pm Oakland BJ Raji DT (9)

3) 2.30pm Buffalo Jason Smith OT (2)

4) 2.45pm Carolina Brian Orakpo LB (13)

5) 3.00pm Tampa Bay Matt Stafford QB (1)

6) 3.15pm Carolina Percy Harvin WR (22)

7) 3.30pm Buffalo Mark Sanchez QB (5)

8) 3.45pm Denver Michael Crabtree WR (10)

9) 4.00pm KC Michael Oher OT (23)

10) 4.15pm Detroit LB Ray Maualuga (38)

11) 4.30pm Miami James Laurinitis (35)

12) 4.45pm Tenn DE Aaron Maybin (11)

13) 5.00pm Green Bay Patrick Chung S (34)

14) 5.15pm Buffalo Malcolm Jenkins CB (14)

15) 5.30pm St Louis Lesean Shady McCoy RB (53)

16) 5.45pm Dallas Peria Jerry DT (from list) (24)

17) 6.00pm Carolina Tyson Jackson DE (3)

18) 6.15pm NYG Eugene Monroe OT (8)

19) 6.30pm Buffalo Brian Cushing OLB (15)

20) 6.45pm Tenn Andre Smith OT (6)

ROUND 2

1) 2.00pm Cleveland Chris “Beanie” Wells RB (31)

2) 2.15pm Oakland Darius Heyward-Bey (7)

3) 2.30pm Buffalo Vontae Davis CB (25)

4) 2.45pm Baltimore Jeremy Maclin WR (19)

5) 3.00pm Tampa Bay Hakeem Nicks WR (30)

6) 3.15pm Jacksonville Phil Loadholt OT (54)

7) 3.30pm Minnesota Eric Wood (28)

8) 3.45pm Denver Aphonso Smith CB (38)

9) 4.00pm Kansas City Robert Ayres DE (29)

10) 4.15pm New England Donald Brown RB (27)

11) 4.30pm Miami Larry English LB (16)

12) 4.45pm Tennessee Clay Matthews (26)

13) 5.00pm Green Bay Knowshon Moreno RB (12)

14) 5.15pm Washington Shonn Greene RB (65)

15) 5.30pm Indianapolis Clint Sintim OLB

16) 5.45pm Washington Alex Mack C (21)

17) 6.00pm Carolina Glen Coffee RB

18) 6.15pm NY Giants Josh Freeman QB

19) 6.30pm Tennessee Evander Ziggy Hood DL

20) 6.45pm Kansas City Louis Delmas S

Round 3

1) 200pm Cleveland Kenny Britt WR

2) 215pm Oakland Ron Brace DT

3) 230pm Buffalo Darius Butler CB

4) 245pm Baltimore Mohammed Massaquoi WR

5) 300pm St Louis Everette Brown DE

6) 315pm Tennessee William Moore S

7) 330pm Minnesota Pat White QB

8) 345pm Denver Connor Barwin DE

9) 400pm Washington Sean Smith CB

10) 415pm New England Paul Kruger DE

11) 430pm Miami Max Unger C

12) 445pm Tenn Jared Cook TE

13) 500pm Green Bay Brian Robiskie WR

14) 515pm Washington Eben Britten OT

15) 530pm Indianapolis Fili Moala DT

16) 545pm Indianapolis Austin Collie WR

17) 600pm Carolina Brandon Pettigrew TE

18) 615pm NYG Jarius Byrd S

19) 630pm Washington Michael Johnson DE

20) 645pm St Louis Jarron Gibert DT

Round 4

1) 200pm Cleveland Roy Miller DT

2) 215pm St Louis Chase Coffman TE

3) 230pm Minnesota Kraig Urbik OT

4) 245pm Baltimore Ramses Barden WR

5) 300pm St Louis Deon Butler WR

6) 315pm Jax Sherrod Marton S

7) 330pm Minnesota Darcel McBath CB

8) 345pm St Louis James Davis RB

9) 400pm Miami Juaqin Inglesias WR

10) 415pm New England

11) 430pm Miami Patrick Turner WR

12) 445pm Tenn Andy Levitre OG

13) 500pm Green Bay Lawrence Sidbury DE

14) 515pm St Louis Javon Ringer RB

15) 530pm Indianapolis Kaluka Maiava LB

16) 545pm Washington Al Afalava S

17) 600pm Carolina Mike Wallace WR

18) 615pm NY Giants Louis Vasquez OG

19) 630pm Philadelphia Mike Mitchell S

20) 645pm Tampa Bay Jarrett Dillard WR

Round 5

1) 200pm Tennessee Rashad Johnson S

2) 215pm St Louis Mike Thomas WR

3) 230pm Washington Rashad Jennings RB

4) 245pm Washington Brian Hartline WR

5) 300pm St Louis List Ladarius Webb CB

6) 315pm New York Giants Sen’Derrick Marks DT

7) 330pm Minnesota Mike Goodson RB

8) 345pm Denver Nick Reed DE

9) 400pm Kansas City Nate Davis QB

10) 415pm New England

11) 430pm Miami Johnny Knox WR

12) 445pm Tampa Bay Derek Cox CB

13) 500pm Green Bay Seth Olsen OL

14) 515pm Washington Sebastian Vollmer OT

15) 530pm Indianapolis William Beatty OT

16) 545pm Dallas Stephen Hodge S

17) 600pm Carolina Terrence Knighton DT

18) 615pm New York Giants Jasper Brinkley MLB

19) 630pm Philadelphia David Veikune LB

20) 645pm Indianapolis

Any thoughts on my picks???