Tag Archives: andy dalton

One Team, One Jersey: Cincinnati Bengals

With the beginning of a new year comes the beginning of a new series. I’ve spent hundreds of hours (not an exaggeration) enthralled in game film sessions, reading player profiles, scrounging through stat sheets and scanning the histories of all the NFL franchises. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Welcome to One Team, One Jersey.

As a jersey collector and connoisseur, I am constantly expanding my repertoire and so I thought I should probably expand my search to all the teams of pro football. Buying every jersey I want would be too expensive though. Picking one for each team is reasonable and so became the idea that is One Team, One Jersey.

If you could only have one jersey from each NFL team, who would it be? There are a few ground rules:

The player you choose must have played for that team more than any other AND must have been on that team’s roster during the 2017 season.

Aside from that, it’s up to you what you prioritize: character, statistical production, championships, a combination of the three. Your call.

Who will you choose?

The Cincinnati Bengals have been on the struggle train for a while now, with seemingly no end in sight. A roster that at times has shown promise has been unable to pop out a playoff win. The team hasn’t won one of those since 1990, stifled by a host of draft busts such as Ki-Jana Carter and Akili Smith. With Marvin Lewis at the head for another few years fresh off a contract extension, that doesn’t look to change. A culture has been created in Cincinnati for dirty play, from notable players such as Vontaze Burfict, quite possibly the league’s dirtiest player, and Adam Jones. That culture cost them a playoff win in 2015, one of the weirdest endings to a football game you’ll ever see. With the game all but over, running back Jeremy Hill got stripped by young talent Ryan Shazier, giving Pittsburgh another chance. Vontaze Burfict went headhunting in the most crucial moment of the contest and Adam Jones just couldn’t help himself when it came to doing something stupid.

The Bengals have only seemed to embrace those with character issues by drafting Josh Shaw, who did this, and Joe Mixon, who did this. This is not to say the Bengals are the only team to do this. Plenty of teams have decided to give players with flawed histories a second chance, but they have done little to prevent this aggressive mindset from festering.

You can make an argument that Andy Dalton, the Red Rifle, is a jersey worth having, but the TCU product has yet to win a playoff game. He has made a career of chucking 50-50 balls to one A.J. Green and there are rumors Cincinnati may let him test free agency. If I buy a jersey, I want it to be one that will stay relevant and I don’t see Dalton staying relevant in Cincy or anywhere for that matter. He’s barely stayed relevant during his time there. He’s had a QBR over 60 once in his seven-year career and is coming off his worst campaign since his rookie season, completing a slice under 60 percent of his passes. In fact, you can make the argument the less you use him, the better he plays. In his best statistical season, he threw for only 3200 yards in 13 games. He had 386 attempts in those games, an average of about 30 per. The more he throws, the worse he performs. He’s not a play caller that can take over a game, which is what you look for your quarterback to do. I’ll pass on this misfire.

I’m sure someone out there wants to see Tyler Eifert’s name on this list, but the Notre Dame star has dimmed quite a bit in recent years. Coming off his third back surgery, his career highlights are likely behind him and the time when he was in the conversation as one of the best tight ends in football has passed. He had 13 touchdowns in 2015, quite an accomplishment for a tight end, but has played in only ten games since. In total, he has missed about two and half seasons worth of time because of injuries.

One of the best defensive lineman in the league, Geno Atkins has big moment potential. He has the impact of a game-changer. He has a high motor, a bull rush than can overpower a lineman of any caliber and a swim that can finesse nearly any double team. He’s also one of the best values you can find on the defensive line at a $9.5 million cap hit. Cincinnati grabbed him in the 2010 draft in the fourth round out of Georgia. He was the 13th defensive tackle taken. To get a player with the ceiling he has at that round is a steal for a franchise. He’s already set a franchise record in sacks with 12.5 (2012) and has had at least nine sacks in each of the past three seasons. He’s the player to fear on that defense.

But Atkins isn’t the only Georgia stud on the Bengals. One Adriel Jeremiah Green, drafted with the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft, began his career with five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and has yet to miss a Pro Bowl since coming into the league and this despite a lingering injury history.

And look, maybe they should have taken Julio Jones, who wasn’t taken until the sixth pick that year, but A.J. Green might be the third best receiver in the game. He’s got the hands and leap made for the deep ball and no matter the coverage, A.J. Green always seems to be a safe bet. He has excellent sideline awareness and the type of vertical presence one associates with Calvin Johnson. Goal line fades were made for athletes like Green, someone who can simply outmuscle you and go over top of you, mano-a-mano. Green also has speed that defenses have to respect (recorded a 4.47 at the combine). Only making it more impressive is that Cincinnati has never given Green a solid number two. Marvin Jones hadn’t yet come into his peak when Cincy let him walk and just when they found a talent in Mohammed Sanu, who showed the potential of a one when Green missed time, Cincy let him go, too. The lack of weapons on offense has hurt this team and if it weren’t for Mr. Green, they’d have been bottom feeders long before now. Where A.J. goes, the team goes.

It’s possible Green might be on his way out, too. 2018 is the final year of his four-year, $60 million extension and he’ll be 29, but it’s also true that he’s been one of the most dominant players at his position for five plus years now. To be honest, Cincinnati doesn’t have much else going for them.

My pick: A.J. Green. My jersey: Home Black.

Image result for aj green home jersey free use

 

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2017-2018 NFL Preview: AFC North

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

GET: CB Joe Haden, WR Justin Hunter, CB Coty Sensabaugh, DE Tyson Alualu, TE Vance McDonald

LOSE: TE Ladarius Green, WR Markus Wheaton, RB DeAngelo Williams WR Sammie Coates, CB Justin Gilbert, QB Zach Mettenberger, TE David Johnson, CB Senquez Golson

RE-SIGNS: WR Antonio Brown, RB Le’Veon Bell, OT Alejandro Villanueva, LB James Harrison, LB Vince Williams, QB Landry Jones

DRAFT: 1st round: OLB T.J. Watt, Wisconsin     2nd round: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC     3rd round: CB Cam Sutton, Tennessee     RB James Conner, Pittsburgh     4th round: QB Josh Dobbs, Tennessee     5th round: CB Brian Allen, Utah     6th round: LS Colin Holba, Louisville     7th round: DE Keion Adams, Western Michigan

SUMMARY: An offense as dominant as the Pittsburgh Steelers is hard to stop and with nearly all of those pieces coming back in 2017, it’s hard to see that dominance waning. Pittsburgh was seventh in total yardage (5th pass, 14th rush) but could still use improvement in a vital category: points per game. Last year, they were tied for tenth with Buffalo (yes, that Buffalo) with 24.9 ppg.

Why is that? A very good question. In eight home games last year, the Steelers scored 226 points, an average of 28.3 per home game. Across a whole season, that would rank them third in the league in points per game, ahead of New England, Green Bay and Dallas. On the road, that total dropped to 173, a 21.6 average. If they played like that over the course of 2016, that would have ranked them 20th in ppg, tied with Detroit and narrowly ahead of Baltimore, a team with much less firepower. As any football expert can tell you, Roethlisberger has struggled on the road these last few years, which bodes poorly for the Steelers when they face weaker competition on the road this year, such as Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis. However, it also bodes well for them at home, when they face playoff-caliber teams like Minnesota, Tennessee and Green Bay. If the Steelers defense plays as well as they did last year (20.4 ppg, 10th-best; 38 sacks, ninth) and continue their bend-don’t-break philosophy, the Steelers look like a strong Super Bowl candidate in the AFC and one of two teams that have a roster capable of topping powerhouse New England.

Bell, Brown and Bryant all look like fantasy picks with high upside this year.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 10-6

Week 1: @CLE   Week 2: vs. MIN   Week 3: @CHI   Week 4: @BAL   Week 5: vs. JAC   Week 6: @KC   Week 7: vs. CIN   Week 8: @DET   Week 9: BYE   Week 10: @IND   Week 11: vs. TEN   Week 12: vs. GB   Week 13: @CIN   Week 14: vs. BAL   Week 15: vs. NE   Week 16: @HOU   Week 17: vs. CLE

BALTIMORE RAVENS

GET: FS Tony Jefferson, WR Jeremy Maclin, CB Brandon Carr, OT Austin Howard, OL Tony Bergstrom, CB Brandon Boykin, RB Danny Woodhead, TE Ben Watson

LOSE: RT Ricky Wagner, LB Zachary Orr, LB Elvis Dumervil, DT Timmy Jernigan, OL John Urschel, TE Dennis Pitta, CB Kyle Arrington, C Jeremy Zuttah, RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, TE Crockett Gillmore

RE-SIGNS: NT Brandon Williams

DRAFT: 1st round: CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama     2nd round: OLB Tyus Bowser, Houston     3rd round: DT Chris Wormley, Michigan     OLB Tim Williams, Alabama     4th round: G Nico Siragusa, San Diego State     5th round: T Jermaine Eluemunor, Texas A&M     6th round: S Chuck Clark, Virginia Tech

SUMMARY: The injury bug has hit Baltimore hard. Promising corner Tavon Young tore his ACL during OTAs and will miss the season. RB Kenneth Dixon and LB Albert McClellan are other notable contributors who will start 2017 on injured reserve. You’ll see unproven names along the offensive and defensive line, including 2013 sixth-rounder Ryan Jensen at center, tackle James Hurst, 2015 third-rounder Carl Davis, 2016 second-round linebacker Kamalei Correa and 2016 fifth-round linebacker Matthew Judon. The Ravens draft class is likely to see action on the field sooner rather than later, especially corner Marlon Humphrey, a likely nickel corner and Tyus Bowser, who will force pressure on the edge.

Last year, Joe Flacco threw the pigskin 672 times, one fewer than NFL-leader Drew Brees. Despite that, Joe threw only 20 touchdowns, a number that must increase if Baltimore wants a chance at a playoff spot. His 6.42 yards per attempt was 27th in the league last year, though this is likely due to the scheme offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has implemented, an attack predicated on the short passing game (Flacco threw within five yards of the line of scrimmage on 56.8 percent of his passes, second-most behind chronic drag route addict Sam Bradford). Regardless, Flacco’s numbers weren’t pretty. An 83.5 passer rating was good for 24th last year. Even Trevor Siemian managed an 84.6.

We can make all the jokes about whether Flacco is elite but what is becoming a concern based on fact is Flacco’s bloated contract is punishing the Ravens right now on and off the field. Flacco had a cap hit of $22.55 last year and that number will continue to go up until 2021. One historical Super Bowl run is not worth sinking your team for the next seven years. Injuries are a concern, but can only be blamed so much.

On the positive side, it seems heavily unlikely that Flacco manages less than 25 this year with the addition of Jeremy Maclin and the return of a hopefully fully recuperated Breshad Perriman, who needs to show once and for all why the Ravens spent a first round pick on him back in 2015. It would also be great if Baltimore could get a running game (averaged 91.4 per game last year, 28th) which would surely help them put more points on the scoreboard (21.4 ppg last year, 21st).

Baltimore’s defense has to copy their numbers from last year, but improve on their pass defense  (8th total yards, 23rd pass, 4th rush, 18.9 ppg). Those numbers will be hard to duplicate with youngsters on the starting roster, but is doable. All these things have to come together for them to win a postseason bid and even more would have to happen for them to dethrone Pittsburgh, though a win at home against the Steelers is a virtual certainty.

Mike Wallace is the best fantasy pickup this year from Baltimore. With Maclin now drawing attention from the slot, Wallace’s 14.1 yards per reception, which was already 24th in the league last year, could go higher.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 8-8

Week 1: @CIN   Week 2: vs. CLE   Week 3: @JAC   Week 4: vs. PIT   Week 5: @OAK   Week 6: vs. CHI   Week 7: @MIN   Week 8: vs. MIA   Week 9: @TEN   Week 10: BYE   Week 11: @GB   Week 12: vs. HOU   Week 13: vs. DET   Week 14: @PIT   Week 15: @CLE   Week 16: vs. IND   Week 17: vs. CIN

CINCINNATI BENGALS

GET: G Andre Smith, LB Kevin Minter, CB Bene Benwikere

LOSE: OT Andrew Whitworth, G Kevin Zeitler, LB Rey Maualuga, OT Eric Winston

RE-SIGNS: CB Dre Kirkpatrick, WR Brandon LaFell, RB Cedric Peerman

DRAFT: 1st round: WR John Ross, Washington     2nd round: RB Joe Mixon, Oklahoma     3rd round: DE Jordan Willis, Kansas State     4th round: DE Carl Lawson, Auburn     WR Josh Malone, Tennessee     DT Ryan Glasgow, Michigan     5th round: K Jake Elliott, Memphis     C J.J. Dielman, Utah     6th round: LB Jordan Evans, Oklahoma     CB Brandon Wilson, Houston     7th round: TE Mason Schreck, Buffalo

SUMMARY: I have the same problem with Cincinnati that I’ve had with them for going on three years now: they don’t have a number two receiver. A.J. Green might be one of the most undervalued players in this league. They had a real chance to not only win a playoff game but contend for a championship a few years ago, but the lack of help in the passing game cost them both of those accolades. Cincinnati should have held onto Mohammed Sanu, who demonstrated his ability during Green’s absence, but as Cincy has come to do, they let another opportunity slip through their fingers. Let’s not forget Marvin Jones played for that team as well.

This year, they went heavy on the offensive side of the ball in the draft, selecting speedster John Ross and Tennessee pass catcher Josh Malone. We’ll see if that adds up to anything. An interesting stat: Dalton was a below-average deep passer, ranking 21st in the league with a 38.3 accuracy percentage. Ross’ big-play potential is fully reliant on Dalton bettering that ranking this year.

The Red Rifle wasn’t guns blazing last year either. After his best year in 2015, in which he had a career best 66.1 completion percentage, an 8.42 ypa, 25/7 touchdown-interception ratio and a 106.3 passer rating, second to only Russell Wilson, he imploded, throwing a measly 18 touchdowns last year. Trevor Siemian threw 18 last year.

Dalton’s performance also occurred behind a strong offensive line that lost two key cogs in Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler this offseason, putting only more pressure on Dalton to perform.

The front office, clearly not excited about Jeremy Hill sitting in the bottom 10 in yards per attempt (2015: 3.6 ypc, third-worst. 2016: 3.8 ypc, t-10th) drafted another shady character to add to the toxic duo of Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones (honorable mention: Josh Shaw): Joe Mixon. Giovanni Bernard is likely to stay involved on passing downs while Hill is a short-yardage resort.

The defense is the biggest concern with this team. It hasn’t been the same since Zimmer’s departure to Minnesota after the 2013 season, minus the 2015 season, when the team outpaced expectations. In 2014 and 2016, Cincy was 20th and 21st against the rush. They weren’t much better against the pass in those years either (20th and 17th). They also haven’t gotten consistent pressure on opposing offenses (last in sacks in ’14 (20), 19th in ’16 (33)). They were eighth in points against last year, but the dam is cracking and if you thought last year was a flood, wait until you see what happens when that dam breaks.

On a positive note, Dalton’s likely to improve on 18 touchdown passes. A.J. Green remains the player to have in Cincinnati for fantasy. Bernard is likely to be nice in PPR leagues and if you’re willing to take a risk on Eifert’s injury history, he could provide a nice payday. Behind a revamped offensive line, I’m unlikely to add Mixon and I think the stats above demonstrate why you should avoid the Cincinnati defense.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 6-10

Week 1: vs. BAL   Week 2: vs. HOU   Week 3: @GB   Week 4: @CLE   Week 5: vs. BUF   Week 6: BYE   Week 7: @PIT   Week 8: vs. IND   Week 9: @JAC   Week 10: @TEN   Week 11: @DEN   Week 12: vs. CLE   Week 13: vs. PIT   Week 14: vs. CHI   Week 15: @MIN   Week 16: vs. DET   Week 17: @BAL

CLEVELAND BROWNS

GET: CB Jason McCourty, S Calvin Pryor, G Kevin Zeitler, WR Kenny Britt, C J.C. Tretter, WR Sammie Coates

LOSE: WR Terrelle Pryor, G John Greco, CB Joe Haden, C Cameron Erving, QB Brock Osweiler, TE Gary Barnidge, LB Demario Davis, K Cody Parkey, QB Robert Griffin III, WR Josh Cribbs

RE-SIGNS: RB Isaiah Crowell, G Joel Bitonio, LB Jamie Collins, LB Christian Kirksey, P Britton Colquitt

DRAFT: 1st round: DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M     S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan     TE David Njoku, Miami     2nd round: QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame     3rd round: DT Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte     4th round: CB Howard Wilson, Houston     5th round: OT Roderick Johnson, Florida State     6th round: Caleb Brantley, Florida     7th round: K Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State     RB Matthew Dayes, North Carolina State

SUMMARY: The Cleveland Browns, for the first time in a while, will be an interesting team to watch. New management at the top (GM Sashi Brown, Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta) have given Cleveland the type of intrigue and publicity they desperately need. They showed some of their wits when they accepted the tragedy of a contract that Brock Osweiler carried with him and a second and sixth round draft choice from Houston as a “Thank you for getting rid of this embarrassment,” all in exchange for one of Cleveland’s fourth rounders. The Browns, who have endless cap space, then simply cut Osweiler before the beginning of the year but had picks to show for it.

Their draft went well, selecting Myles Garrett, hybrid safety Jabrill Peppers, Miami product David Njoku and Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer. Kizer has earned the starting job going into Week 1 and now, after all Cleveland has done, they have to hope he doesn’t flounder like the 27 other quarterbacks before him.

Among high points for this season sits running back Isaiah Crowell. If Cleveland has had anything the last few years, it’s been a stout offensive line and it’s only gotten stronger with the addition of G Kevin Zeitler. Crowell was great last year, maintaining a clip of 4.8 ypc, a top-ten average. Expect Crowell to surpass his 198 carries last year as Cleveland puts together a dangerous running game.

Kizer will likely face early struggles with Kenny Britt as a number one target opposite Corey Coleman, only leading to more opportunities for Crowell. Teams that have a poor run defense, such as Cincinnati (21st), Indianapolis (25), and Chicago (27th), will struggle with Cleveland this year. I expect more surprises from Cleveland than blowouts.

If I haven’t mentioned it enough, Crowell’s a great fantasy pickup. As in RB1 status.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 5-11

Week 1: vs. PIT   Week 2: @BAL   Week 3: @IND   Week 4: vs. CIN   Week 5: NYJ   Week 6: @HOU   Week 7: vs. TEN   Week 8: vs. MIN   Week 9: BYE   Week 10: @DET   Week 11: vs. JAC   Week 12: @CIN   Week 13: @LAC   Week 14: vs. GB   Week 15: vs. BAL   Week 16: @CHI   Week 17: @PIT

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Tim Sports Report for 2015 NFL Week 6

Top 5

  1. QB Andy Dalton 22/33 for 243 yards, 3 TDs, 118.6 passer rating vs. BUF

2. QB Philip Rivers 43/65 for 503 yards, 2 TDs, 99.7 passer rating vs. GB

3. WR John Brown 10 receptions for 196 yards, fumble vs. PIT

4. WR Keenan Allen 14 receptions for 157 yards vs. GB

5. RB Chris Ivory 20 carries for 146 yards, TD vs. WAS

Worst of the Worst

5. Cardinals get upset by Steelers with backup quarterback, turnover ball three times against Steelers defense

4. QB Sam Bradford 24/38 for 280 yards, TD, 3 INTs, 61.3 passer rating vs. NYG

3. Seahawks blow fourth quarter lead for second straight week

2. QB Marcus Mariota 21/33 for 219 yards, TD, 2 INTs, 2 Fmbs, 67.6 passer rating vs. MIA

  1. QB Peyton Manning 26/48 for 290 yards, TD, 3 INTs, 53.3 passer rating vs. CLE

Steelers Recap

The Steelers lost a game they should have won when they played the Chiefs weeks ago, but the game didn’t cause any worries in me. Prior to their loss to the Chiefs, the Steelers defense had beaten arguably two top-ten quarterbacks in Philip Rivers and Carson Palmer and the Steelers won those two games with Michael Vick and Landry Jones in at quarterback. So when the Steelers lose a game they shouldn’t lose after winning two games I didn’t think they’d win, especially against Arizona, I’m a happy man.

Game of the Week: Jets @ Patriots

The Jets gave the Patriots their first tough test of the season. The Patriots still own the AFC East, but the rest of the division is coming back to life.

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Tim Sports Report for 2015 NFL Week 5

Top 5

  1. Cincinnati vs. Seattle game

2. QB Andy Dalton 30/44 for 331 yards, 2 TDs, INT, 95.9 passer rating, 7 rushes for 18 yards, TD vs. SEA

3. RB Thomas Rawls 23 for 169 yards, TD vs. CIN

4. RB Doug Martin 24 carries for 123 yards, 2 TDs, 3 receptions for 35 yards, TD vs. JAC

5. RB Devonta Freeman 27 carries for 153 yards, TD vs. WAS

Worst of the Worst

5. QB Matt Ryan 24/42 for 254 yards, 2 INTs, Fmb, 55.1 passer rating vs. WAS

4. QB Matt Stafford 20/32 for 188 yards, TD, 3 INTs, 50.0 passer rating vs. ARI

3. Seahawks blow 17-point 4th quarter lead vs. CIN. According to Trey Wingo, teams had lost 427 straight games when down at least 17 in the fourth quarter.

2. QB Peyton Manning 22/35 for 266 yards, 2 INTs, 62.3 passer rating vs. OAK

  1. QB Nick Foles 11/30 for 141 yards, TD, 4 INTs, 23.7 passer rating vs. GB

Steelers Recap

The Steelers vs. Chargers game showed us one thing: Le’Veon Bell is the man. Yes, it showed us that Michael Vick needs to retire, that the Steelers offense is nowhere close to the same without Ben and that the defense has been great when all’s said and done, but when you need someone to turn to, Bell should be the go-to guy. A huge win over one of the better quarterbacks in the league, although a depleted Chargers o-line helped a lot.

Game of the Week: Panthers @ Seahawks

This is the game proved which team was for real.

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2015-2016 NFL Preview: AFC North

I’m finally back to school and that means it’s time to begin the long-awaited NFL preview! I’m also adding fantasy advice in these previews so they’ll be longer than usual. Let’s get to it!

AFC NORTH

BALTIMORE RAVENS

GET: S Kendrick Lewis, CB Kyle Arrington, QB Matt Schaub

LOSE: CB Aaron Ross, CB Antoine Cason, WR Torrey Smith, WR Jacoby Jones, DE Pernell McPhee, DT Haloti Ngata, S Darian Stewart, TE Owen Daniels, DT Terrence Cody, QB Tyrod Taylor, RB Bernard Pierce, C Gino Gradkowski

RE-SIGNS: CB Lardarius Webb, DE Chris Canty, RB Justin Forsett

DRAFT: 1st round: WR Breshad Perriman, UCF     2nd round: TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota     3rd round: DT Carl Davis, Iowa     4th round: DE Za’Darius Smith, Kentucky     RB Buck Allen, USC     CB Tray Walker, Texas Southern     5th round: TE Nick Boyle, Delaware     G Robert Myers, Tennessee State     6th round: WR Darren Waller, Georgia Tech

SUMMARY:

Baltimore had a solid 10-6 season and no results from last season jump out to me as unusual. Despite it being such a quiet season for their star quarterback, Flacco actually had his best statistical year since 2010, surpassing his last three seasons in all categories, including completion percentage (62.1), passing yards (3,986), touchdown-interception ratio (27:12), QBR (67.0) and passer rating (91.0). Was it a great season for Joe in actuality? I would say probably not. Most of his stats are bloated due to the team’s early struggles at the running back position and the big plays we’re used to seeing from Flacco weren’t as apparent. With that said, I wouldn’t be concerned with Flacco. I got stuck with him in one of my fantasy leagues and I’m not too worried about the guy. No, he’s never thrown more than 27 touchdowns in a season and no, he’s not known for consistency, but I would argue last year was consistent and you should expect a similar season this year despite the reductions at receiver. The loss of Torrey Smith won’t hurt as much as people think, nor am I worried about Flacco’s outlets. Steve Smith Sr. would be a good receiver to take a flyer on in fantasy although I would avoid rookie Breshad Perriman. Especially in the AFC North, I would avoid rookie receivers altogether. You can find better options elsewhere.

The component that will determine the offense’s success, however, is Justin Forsett. The relative unknown managed an insane 5.4 yards a carry. Only Lamar Miller (yes, LAMAR MILLER), Jeremy Hill and Jamaal Charles averaged five or more yards a carry. That’s an exclusive club and one Forsett relished in. His 1,266 yards was fifth-most in the league and second-best in the AFC behind the Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell and led the league in rushes of over 20 yards with 17. Behind one of the best offensive lines in football, Forsett’s breakout season last year shouldn’t have been blown up as much as it was and while many are concerned he’s a one-hit wonder, I do not share that concern. I saw potential from Forsett when he was in Houston and he relished in the spotlight. Forsett should be a solid back this year in fantasy, even with the departure of offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.

The Ravens’ defense, with both subtractions and additions, should be fine and remain hazardous for opponents as usual and with John Harbaugh at the helm, I have to think Baltimore is the favorite to win the division.

There are some things that could derail the train, however. Baltimore got swept by Cincinnati last season, a Bengals team that was actually weaker than it has been in the past so that cannot happen this year, especially considering the AFC North’s dangerous schedule. The Ravens were 23rd against the pass last year, something that must improve, especially when their front seven was an elite fourth against the rush. The onus, like with the Steelers, is on the secondary, but I have more faith in the Ravens defense right now then I do the Steelers. Finally, it’s crucial injuries don’t plague this team on offense. The Ravens’ depth at running back and receiver is desert thin and I don’t know if they’ll be able to hold the reins to the division if the bug plagues them. The Ravens front seven on defense, it’s disgusting how good they are, but can they carry a hobbled offense on their back if they have to?

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 10-6

Week 1: @DEN   Week 2: @OAK   Week 3: vs. CIN   Week 4: @PIT   Week 5: vs. CLE   Week 6: @SF   Week 7: @ARI   Week 8: vs. SD   Week 9: BYE   Week 10: vs. JAC   Week 11: vs. STL   Week 12: @CLE   Week 13: @MIA   Week 14: vs. SEA   Week 15: vs. KC   Week 16: vs. PIT   Week 17: @CIN

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

GET: RB DeAngelo Williams, CB Brandon Boykin

LOSE: OLB Jason Worilds, S Troy Polamalu, CB Ike Taylor, DE Brett Keisel, CB Brice McCain, WR Lance Moore, WR Justin Brown, TE Michael Palmer, RB Ben Tate

RE-SIGNS: QB Ben Roethlisberger, LB James Harrison, LB Arthur Moats, S Will Allen, TE Matt Spaeth, DE Clifton Geathers, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, LS Greg Warren

DRAFT: 1st round: OLB Bud Dupree, Kentucky     2nd round: CB Senquez Golson, Ole Miss     3rd round: WR Sammie Coates, Auburn     4th round: CB Doran Grant, Ohio State     5th round: TE Jesse James, Penn State     6th round: DT L.T. Walton, Central Michigan     DE Anthony Chickillo, Miami     7th round: S Gerod Holliman, Louisville

SUMMARY: Last year’s big three (Ben, Bell, Brown) destroyed defenses like Fox destroyed the Fantastic Four in this year’s superhero dud. Roethlisberger had the best statistical year of his career, throwing for a league-leading 4,952 yards. His average of 8.15 yards per attempt, 67.1 completion percentage and 103.3 passer rating were good for third in the league. Aside from setting plenty of personal and franchise records, Roethlisberger has solidified his position as a top-five quarterback and was paid as such this offseason with an enormous five-year, $99 million extension. Is Ben worth the money? Definitely. Do I like the contract? No. Ben is a top-five quarterback right now, that’s non-debatable. However, the Steelers have a troubled history with salary cap issues and Ben’s $17.2 million cap hit this season and obnoxious $23.95 million cap hit next season is a cause for concern, especially when it comes time to re-sign Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.

Speaking of Antonio Brown, he had a legendary year in 2015, racking up 129 catches, the second-most receptions in a season ever behind Marvin Harrison’s 143 in 2002. He led the league with those 129 catches and 1,698 yards, shattering his own franchise record of 1,499 yards set in 2013. Brown was also second in targets with 182 and caught 13 touchdowns so if you want a great fantasy receiver in the first round, take Brown. The wheels on the Brown go round and round.

Finally, but certainly not least, Le’Veon Bell was a monster last year. Bell ended the year with 1,361 yards rushing, an impressive 4.7 clip and also became an elite receiver, catching 83 passes for 854 yards. Le’Veon Bell is the best all-around back in the league with those stats and if you don’t pick up Brown or Ben, pick up Bell for fantasy. You can’t go wrong with any of these players.

Those stats led to an incredible 11-5 season for the Steelers that few expected, including three consecutive huge wins against Houston, Indianapolis and Baltimore. However, as there always are, there were some head scratchers. Before that win streak, the Steelers lost to Tampa Bay, beat Jacksonville by eight and got destroyed by Cleveland 31-10. Let’s not mention the Steelers’ humiliating loss to the Jets 20-13.

The defense, however, was not LeBeau’s finest escapade and it’s sad that it was his last in Pittsburgh. The Steelers’ pass defense was 27th last year and allowed 30 touchdowns, one of the worst secondary units in football. Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu missed much of the season and could not be counted on when they got on the field. Mike Mitchell had a terrible inaugural season. William Gay and Antwon Blake were the lone highlights. Luckily, the front seven was top-ten, finishing sixth against the rush, led by Lawrence Timmons and Cam Heyward.

Looking to this season, the Steelers have a lot to prove. The epidemic known as Cortez Allen’s hand-eye coordination will be starting at cornerback and with Senquez Golson out for the year, the trade for Brandon Boykin was paramount. Young Shamarko Thomas and the awful Mike Mitchell will be starting at safety. The front seven has to carry this team. While I still disagree with the Steelers taking Bud Dupree instead of Alabama safety Landon Collins, the linebacking core for the Steelers is now incredibly deep.

With all that said, the Steelers’ schedule this season is far too difficult for a team as weak in the secondary as the Steelers are to succeed in the long haul. Last year was quite a sight to see, but I doubt it’ll happen again.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 8-8

Week 1: @NE   Week 2: vs. SF   Week 3: @STL   Week 4: vs. BAL   Week 5: @SD   Week 6: vs. ARI   Week 7: @KC   Week 8: vs. CIN   Week 9: vs. OAK   Week 10: vs. CLE   Week 11: BYE   Week 12: @SEA   Week 13: vs. IND   Week 14: @CIN   Week 15: vs. DEN   Week 16: @BAL   Week 17: @CLE

CLEVELAND BROWNS

GET: WR Brian Hartline, DT Randy Starks, WR Dwayne Bowe, CB Tramon Williams, QB Josh McCown, QB Thad Lewis

LOSE: CB Buster Skrine, TE Jordan Cameron, DT Ahtyba Rubin, QB Brian Hoyer, OLB Jabaal Sheard, WR Miles Austin, G Paul McQuistan, K Garrett Hartley

RE-SIGNS: DE John Hughes, WR Marlon Moore

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Danny Shelton, Washington     C Cameron Erving, Florida State     2nd round: OLB Nate Orchard, Utah     3rd round: RB Duke Johnson, Miami     DT Xavier Cooper, Washington State     4th round: S Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern     WR Vince Mayle, Washington State     6th round: CB Charles Gaines, Louisville     TE Malcolm Johnson, Mississippi State     TE Randall Telfer, USC     7th round: ILB Hayes Pullard, USC     CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon

SUMMARY: Guys, I have huge news! The Cleveland, (yes, you read that right) Cleveland Browns are starting to look like a football team. It’s only taken two decades, but I think they could compete in the SEC now. Hell, the Browns could have made the playoffs last year. They started 7-4. I’d be surprised if half the city of Cleveland didn’t fall over dead from a heart attack or something. They’d probably never seen the AFC North standings read Cleveland at the top. However, it’s okay, Cleveland. You still suck, because your football team managed to choke every single one of the last five games, miss the playoffs and finish in the bottom of the division, AGAIN. It’s honestly humorous and at the same time, pathetically pitiful. Just wow.

With all that said, Cleveland really did look leagues better than they did in the past. They creamed Pittsburgh 31-10 in the middle of the season and you know what? I wasn’t even mad. They deserved to win that game. Dare I say it, they looked like a professional football team. I can’t believe those words came out of my mouth while discussing the Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland accumulated 12 draft picks this offseason, so a genuine round of applause for that front office. Now, let’s give an equally genuine round of applause for what they did with them. The Browns’ secondary was great last year, eighth-best in the league but their defense against the rush was dead last. Give the Browns credit for addressing that, drafting Shelton and Cooper in the first and third round, respectively and another young linebacker in Nate Orchard. They also signed DT Randy Starks from Miami to provide some guidance to the rookies. They grabbed a running back to add a section to the spin-the-wheel-and-see-who-you-get backfield and hopefully one of them emerges as a real starter behind yet another one of the best offensive lines in football. The AFC North is full of them. Any Cleveland fan that was upset with the Browns draft is a moron, so heed them no quarter.

The receiving corps as well as the quarterback situation needs a lot of help. A large part of that is that Josh Gordon is probably one of the dumbest players and people in football. You had one job, Gordon. Stay away from weed. Why the Browns didn’t trade him after his first suspension is beyond me. They could have gotten another first rounder out of him. Without him, two new additions are expected to start at receiver, Brian Hartline of Miami and Dwayne Bowe of Kansas City. Neither blows minds and neither is worth a fantasy pickup. In fact, let me just end my fantasy advice real quick right here: if it’s not the Cleveland defense, stay away from anyone on Cleveland. Even if the running back situation is sorted out, I think it’s unlikely they have a breakout season and it’s doubtful McCown or Manziel do either. Once again, it will be up to the secondary to hold the fort and if the front seven can be average up front, the Browns could very well pass the Bengals, who are trending down harder than Nicolas Cage’s acting career. I’m taking the gamble they do.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 6-10

Week 1: @NYJ   Week 2: vs. TEN   Week 3: vs. OAK   Week 4: @SD   Week 5: @BAL   Week 6: vs. DEN   Week 7: @STL   Week 8: vs. ARI   Week 9: @CIN   Week 10: @PIT   Week 11: BYE   Week 12: vs. BAL   Week 13: vs. CIN   Week 14: vs. SF   Week 15: @SEA   Week 16: @KC   Week 17: vs. PIT

CINCINNATI BENGALS

GET: DE Michael Johnson, ILB A.J. Hawk, WR Denarius Moore, QB Josh Johnson, TE Rob Housler, DT Pat Sims

LOSE: OT Marshall Newhouse, CB Terence Newman, TE Jermaine Gresham, G Mike Pollak, DE Robert Geathers, WR Greg Little, WR Dane Sanzenbacher, S Taylor Mays

RE-SIGNS: LB Rey Maualuga, RB Cedric Peerman, OL Eric Winston, WR Brandon Tate

DRAFT: 1st round: OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M     2nd round: OT Jake Fisher, Oregon     3rd round: TE Tyler Kroft, Rutgers     OLB Paul Dawson, TCU     4th round: S Josh Shaw, USC     DT Marcus Hardison, Arizona State     5th round: TE C.J. Uzomah, Auburn     6th round: S Derron Smith, Fresno State     7th round: WR Mario Alford, West Virginia

SUMMARY: Last year, I picked the Bengals to win the division and in my playoff preview, I said the following: “What really pisses me off is that the Bengals are one step away from being the best. If only they would draft a receiver in the first round.”

That still holds true now because this team still needs that receiver and last year’s season is a testament to that. Not only did Dalton lose his cool without Green in the lineup, recessing in every statistical category except completion percentage, but without the Bengals’ star receiver, the team at times looked like a discombobulated mess leaning on a rookie running back named Jeremy Hill. The LSU star thrilled, but could not carry the team nor should he have been expected to. This team has plenty of talent and year after year it goes poorly coached and Marvin Lewis, who has been with the team since 2003, has still been unable to get Cincinnati a playoff win. The longest playoff drought in the NFL belongs to the Bengals, not the Browns. If that’s not unsettling, I don’t know what is. Who knows why the Bengals continue to ignore their most vital need, a wideout, draft after draft. Let’s ignore that the Bengals, in the last two seasons, have taken two receivers in the draft, one in the sixth and one in the seventh. Let’s ignore that the Bengals learned diddly-squat about their receiver depth this past season because, again, they decided they only needed one receiver and decided to take that receiver in the seventh round. Let’s ignore the fact that the Bengals spent their first and second-rounder on tackles when their offensive line remains one of the strongest in the league so the need isn’t really there, nor was the need dire that they draft a tight end with one of their third round picks. Let’s ignore Marvin Lewis’ inability to coach in the playoffs time after time after time after time after time after time (he’s 0-6 now). Whatever.

At this point, the Cincinnati Bengals should just start ignoring everything. Ignore your needs, continue to build insane depth at positions that fall third or fourth on the check list and leave your main priorities unaccounted for year after year. If I was A.J. Green, I’d be livid. He’s made some insane plays and has carried this team without complaining for years now. Help a brotha, out. This is coming from someone who isn’t a Bengals fan, either. I’m a Steelers fan through and through, yet any real fan can look at an organization as misguided and negligent as the Bengals and become engulfed in a need for moral justice because no fans, not even Cleveland fans, deserve such incompetence from their franchises and the fact that such a thing is still a problem is as sad as it’s ever been. It’s 2015, we have technology, statistical analysis, endless Benjamins and then some and the Bengals still can’t figure out how to win a playoff game.

The loss of Mike Zimmer as defensive coordinator proved to be a bigger blow to the team than I thought it would be. Cincinnati fell to 20th against the pass and the rush last year after a concrete fifth in both categories in Zimmer’s last year. When you look at the depth the Bengals have on defense, perhaps the lone project they’ve managed to not fall behind on, it’s criminal this team fell below 15th in any defensive category let alone 20th. Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, Vontaze Burfict, Vincent Rey, Rey Maualuga, Leon Hall, Darqueze Dennard and Dre Kirkpatrick does not equate to a 20th-ranked defense on any planet and it’s a sad sign the team went so poorly coached last year.

But cheer up, Bengals fans, because Marvin Lewis is still here to practice mediocrity and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is returning to take a top-ten defensive lineup and let them run loose and wild like sheep on a prairie.

With no additions that truly matter on offense, franchise quarterback Andy Dalton trending down and the coaching staff being allowed to stay despite their obvious ineptitude, Cincinnati should look forward to keeping that egregious playoff streak going because this team ain’t going anywhere fast. Unless you’re drafting Hill or Green, run from Cincy like the plague.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 6-10

Week 1: @OAK   Week 2: vs. SD   Week 3: @BAL   Week 4: vs. KC   Week 5: vs. SEA   Week 6: @BUF   Week 7: BYE   Week 8: @PIT   Week 9: vs. CLE   Week 10: vs. HOU   Week 11: @ARI   Week 12: vs. STL   Week 13: @CLE   Week 14: vs. PIT   Week 15: @SF   Week 16: @DEN   Week 17: vs. BAL

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Tim Sports Report for 2014 NFL Week 10

Top 5

1. RB Marshawn Lynch 21 carries for 140 yards, 4 TDs vs. NYG

2. QB Aaron Rodgers 18/27 for 315 yards, 6 TDs, 145.8 QBR vs. CHI

3. FS Jaiquawn Jarrett 10 tackles, 7 solo, sack, 2 INTs vs. PIT

4. WR Jordan Matthews 7 receptions for 138 yards, 2 TDs vs. CAR

5. RB Justin Forsett 20 carries for 112 yards, 2 TDs vs. TEN

Worst of the Worst

1. QB Andy Dalton 10/33 for 86 yards, 3 INTs, 2.0 QBR (lowest I’ve ever seen) vs. CLE

2. QB Cam Newton 25/40 for 306 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 9 sacks, Fmb, 71.5 QBR vs. PHI

3. Bears crushed vs. Packers 55-14.

Became first team in NFL history to allow 50 or more points in two consecutive games. Have lost five of last six.

4. Jets get 3rd and 46 after two personal conduct penalties and Vick sack

5. Steelers commit four turnovers in upset loss vs. NYJ

Steelers Recap

Had the Steelers beat the Buccaneers and the Jets, they would be 8-2, tops in the AFC. Instead, they’re 6-4.

Antonio Brown had a bad game, fumbling the ball twice. Ben had two interceptions and the running game wasn’t there, only gaining 36 yards. It was just a bad game overall against the Jets last week, but it’s important they get back on track against the Titans this week before their bye next week. Let’s get it together Steelers.

Game of the Week: Lions @ Cardinals

Drew Stanton’s going to feel the added pressure of being Arizona’s starting quarterback for the remainder of the season after Carson Palmer suffered a season-ending knee injury. It’s a tough test for Stanton, facing the Lions d-line. I took the Lions because I figured it was about time for the Cards to lose, but the Cards won last night and sit at 9-1, the best record in the NFL. Seems safe to assume Bruce Arians is looking at coach of the year.

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Tim Sports Report for 2013 NFL Week 9

Top 5

1. QB Nick Foles 20/28 for 406 yards, 7 TDs, 158.3 QBR vs. OAK

7th QB in NFL history throw 7 TDs in one game, first with perfect rating

2. WR Andre Johnson  8 receptions for 229 yards, 3 TDs vs. IND

3. RB Mike James 28 for 158 yards, touchdown pass vs. SEA

4. WR T.Y. Hilton 7 receptions for 121 yards, 3 TDs vs. HOU

5. RB Zac Stacy 27 for 127 yards, 2 TDs, 6 receptions for 51 yards vs. TEN

Worst of the Worst

1. Bills lose to KC despite out-gaining them.

BUF: 470 KC: 210 BUF had 241 rushing, but 3 turnovers led to 2 defensive touchdowns for KC

2. Steelers allow franchise record 55 points and 610 yards vs. NE

3. Bengals lose in OT on safety vs. MIA

4. QB Andy Dalton 32/53 for 338 yards, 3 INTs, Fmble, 55.4 QBR vs. MIA

5. QB Matt Ryan 20/27 for 219 yards, 3 INTs , 70.4 QBR vs. CAR

Steelers Recap

I was disinterested in this past week’s Steelers game and the biggest reason for that is because the Steelers were being outplayed the whole game. Despite the score being tied at 24 at one point, there had been so many defensive miscues for the Steelers that I truly didn’t understand how they were still in the game. The Patriots were the more dominant team the whole game even though they needed the fourth quarter to pull away. The Patriots were 5/8 in the red zone. The fact that they were in the red zone eight times in one game is embarrassing. Roethlisberger threw for four touchdowns and 400 yards, but had two interceptions and a fumble. The offense overall was prevalent but Dick LeBeau’s defense was atrocious.  I wasn’t surprised the Steelers lost but I was a little surprised the Steelers allowed franchise records in points and yardage, despite facing a Patriots team that is not as good as it was in past years. Tom Brady has struggled without his go-to receivers this year but has still been able to lead his team to victories. You would have thought that with Brady throwing to the likes of Aaron Dobson and an injury-prone Amendola and Gronk they would have struggled at least a little bit, but it looked like Brady had been throwing to these guys for the last ten years. Despite how bad the Steelers played, I’m going to pick them against the Bills this Sunday. The game is at home and I think that E.J. Manuel will struggle in his first game back since October 3. They will be battling one of the best running back duos in the league in Spiller and Jackson, but I believe if the offense can be half as prevalent as it was last week, they will be able to pull out the victory.

Game of the Week: Cowboys @ Saints

Very rarely do I believe the Sunday night game is actually the game of the week, but the Cowboys and Saints match-up will be one to watch.

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Tim Sports Report for 2013 NFL Week 8

Top 5

1. WR Calvin Johnson 14 receptions for 329 yards, TD, Fmble vs. DAL

7 yards short of all-time record for single-game receiving

ties record for 5th game of 200+ yards receiving

2. WR Marvin Jones 8 receptions for 122 yards, 4 TDs vs. NYJ

3. QB Andy Dalton 19/30 for 325 yards, 5 TDs, INT, 125.7 QBR vs. NYJ

4. CB DeAngelo Hall 4 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 pick-6 vs. DEN

5. RB Zac Stacy 26 carries for 134 yards vs. SEA

Worst of the Worst

1. QB Kirk Cousins 5/9 for 48 yards, 2 INTs, 1 pick-6, 31.0 QBR vs. DEN in just 2:18 of playing time

2. Seahawks offense: 7 first downs, 2/11 on third down, 7 sacks, 135 total yards, 80 on a TD pass to Golden Tate vs. STL

3. QB Robert Griffin III 15/30 for 132 yards, TD, 2 INTs, Fmble, 45.4 QBR vs. DEN

4. QB Matt Ryan 34/61 for 301 yards, TD, 4 INTs, 47.2 QBR vs. ARI

5. QB Tom Brady 13/22 for 116 yards, TD, INT, 69.5 QBR vs. MIA

Steelers Recap

The Steelers fell to the Raiders this past Sunday. In the loss they had only 35 yards rushing, while allowing 197 yards rushing for Oakland, Terrelle Pryor’s 93 yard touchdown is the longest touchdown run by a quarterback in NFL history, only adding to the horrible performance. Pittsburgh was 4/15 on third down, and 2/4 in the red zone. Suisham missed two 30 yard field goals, either of which would have tied the game for the Steelers. The Steelers defense played well overall. They had three takeaways, including intercepting Pryor twice. The Raiders had nearly no offense in the 2nd half, gaining only one first down and 35 yards of offense. Ben was forced to throw 45 times, and the lack of a running game definitely hurt. The Steelers did a great job of running the ball against the Ravens but they didn’t give Bell the ball enough to make the offense balanced. This team has got to RUN THE BALL! It doesn’t even have to be that successful, but they have to run the ball and make opposing defenses respect that or they will continue to heavily blitz Ben or drop 8 in coverage. It was one of the worst Steelers game I’ve seen in a while, maybe even worse than last year’s Raiders game. I expect the Steelers to get destroyed in New England.

Game of the Week: Bengals @ Dolphins

The Bengals have looked really good the last two games and the Dolphins are on a losing streak. I took the Bengals, but Dalton struggled and the Phins got the win. I don’t expect to see any better games the rest of the week.

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Tim Sports Report for 2013 NFL Week 7

Top 5

1. QB Andrew Luck 21/38 for 228 yards, 3 TDs, 99.5 QBR vs. DEN

2. RB Matt Forte 16 carries for 91 yards, 3 TDs vs. WSH

3. WR Calvin Johnson 9 receptions for 155 yards, 2 TDs vs. CIN

4. QB Andy Dalton 24/34 for 372 yards, 3 TDs, career-high 135.9 QBR vs. DET

5. WR Vincent Jackson 10 receptions for 138 yards, 2 TDs vs. ATL

Worst of the Worst

1. QB Matt Barkley 11/20 for 129 yards, 3 INTs, 35.2 QBR vs. DAL in just the 4th quarter

2. QB Josh Freeman 20/53 for 190 yards, INT, 40.6 QBR vs. NYG

overthrew 16 attempts Monday, most by any QB since 2006

overthrown % is highest in the league, 23.8%

2nd QB in league history to throw for less than 200 yards on more than 50 attempts

3. Refs call penalty in OT of Pats-Jets game

Folk’s 56 yd missed field goal attempt nullified by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on DT Chris Jones for pushing a teammate in the back in an attempt to block the kick. The refs  ruled that Jones was a second-level defender that pushed teammate Will Svitek from behind. The rule states “Team B players cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation.” Though Jones did appear to push Svitek, he was originally lined up on the line of scrimmage. The violation is said to occur only when the pushing player starts at the second level of the defense. It’s the first time the penalty has been called and it’s a rule change for 2013. 61% of Sports Nation said it was a bad call. I personally don’t know why they have a rule like that and I think it’s dumb, but that’s just me.

4. QB Brandon Weeden 17/42 for 149 yards, TD, INT, 48.6 QBR vs. GB

5. QB Tom Brady 22/46 for 228 yards, INT, 53.5 QBR vs. NYJ

Steelers Recap

Steelers beat the defending Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens, 19-16 this past Sunday. I took a huge leap of faith on the Steelers, picking them to win, and they didn’t let me down. Ben was 17/23 for 160 yards and a TD, no turnovers, and had only three sacks. While it may have only been 160 yards passing, the Steelers had 141 yards rushing, including rookie Le’veon Bell’s 19 carries for 93 yards. Lawrence Timmons had 17 tackles and Suisham was 4/4. While the redzone field goals were an issue, the Steelers were able to hold on for the win. It’s a huge improvement and definitely a step in the right direction. The Steelers face the Oakland Raiders on the road this week after losing to the Raiders at home last year. This is a must-win for Pittsburgh, even more so then the Ravens game, because if they lose to the Raiders, they lose all the momentum they just gained after beating the Ravens on their home turf. If they like they did this past Sunday, they should be able to win by 7+. They just can’t overlook the Raiders. They’re 2-0 since their bye, which I predicted, and I predicted them to beat Oakland before losing against New England. I’m going to stick with my guts. Let’s go ‘Burgh!

Game of the Week: Cowboys vs. Lions

The Lions once again get in my game of the week as they face a Cowboys team that leads the struggling NFC East. The Lions only lost by three points against Cincy and they played a great game. Meanwhile, the Cowboys struggled against the Eagles despite numerous takeaways, scratching by with a 17-3 win. While the Cowboys may bounce back, I’m taking the Lions. It’s Calvin Johnson vs. Dez Bryant in this air attack fiasco. It’s sure to be a good one.

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Tim Sports Report for 2013 NFL Week 4

Top 5

1. QB Drew Brees 30/39 for 413 yards, 4 TDs 144.5 QBR vs. MIA

Threw for 400 yards for 10th time, 2nd-most all-time behind Dan Marino (13)

2. QB Philip Rivers 35/42 for 401 yards, 3 TDs, INT, 120.3 QBR vs. DAL

3. QB Peyton Manning 28/34 for 327 yards, 4 TDs, 146.0 QBR vs. PHI

16 TDs in first 4 games most in NFL history

4. TE Tony Gonzalez 12 receptions for 149 yards, 2 TDs vs. NE

5. RB Reggie Bush 18 carries for 139 yards, TD vs. CHI

Worst of the Worst

1. QB Blaine Gabbert 17/32 for 179 yards, 3 INTs, 30.6 QBR vs. IND

2. QB Joe Flacco 25/50 for 347 yards, 2 TDs, 5 INTs, 46.4 QBR vs. BUF

3. QB Ryan Tannehill 22/35 for 249 yards, TD. 3 INTs, Fmble, 57.9 QBR vs. NO

4. QB Jay Cutler 27/47 for 317 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, Fmble, 65.6 QBR vs. DET

5. QB Andy Dalton 23/42 for 206 yards, INT, Fmble, 58.2 QBR vs. CLE

Steelers Recap

The Steelers lost to the Minnesota Vikings this past Sunday in London 34-27. The Steelers were 3/6 in the red zone and failed to force a turnover for the fourth consecutive game. I’ll be honest when I say I was disinterested with this game in the middle of the third quarter. I still watched, but I was only half watching and it was because I knew the Steelers were going to lose…again. The Steelers didn’t play bad offensively. There were a lot of positives to take away from Sunday’s game. For example, rookie Le’Veon Bell had 16 carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns in his debut. The problem was the same as it had been for the previous three games before it: the Steelers didn’t make big plays and they let the other team make them.

In the Titans game, RB Isaac Redman fumbled on the TEN 5 yard line which was then recovered by the Titans. Later in the game, Ben threw an interception, which the Titans then took down the field for a touchdown. Big plays: TEN-2 PIT-0

Against Cincinnati, the Steelers had a 3-0 lead and Ben completed a 34 yard pass to TE David Paulson to get the Steelers into the redzone, only to watch Paulson get stripped by CB Adam Jones. The Bengals went on to score a touchdown and a field goal on their next two possessions and the Steelers never recovered. Big plays: CIN-1 PIT-0

After the Bears scored a field goal on their first drive, Ben fumbled the ball on the third offensive play for the Steelers. The Bears go on to get two touchdowns on their next two possessions. Ben throws a pick-six to give the Bears 7 more points and RB Felix Jones fumbles the ball on the opening second half drive and the Bears score again. Oh, and let’s not forget about Julius Peppers’ fumble return for a touchdown. Big plays: CHI-4 PIT-0

Then the Vikings game they allow a 70 yard touchdown catch to WR Greg Jennings and later on a 60 yard touchdown run from RB Adrian Peterson. Take away those two big plays: Steelers win the game 27-20. The defense was nowhere to be found on Sunday and so the Steelers lost again. The Steelers’ problem is not one that requires a brainiac to figure out. The Steelers need to take advantage of chances, make the big plays, and stop turning the ball over while getting some takeaways of their own. It’s not that difficult.

Game of the Week: Texans @ 49ers

Both teams have met unexpected adversity in the first four weeks of the NFL season. This is the chance for both teams to show they’re for real.

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