April 28, 2017

All Out Blitz: NFL News & Notes

Arizona Cardinals:  Not that the Cardinals were tearing it up on the ground anyway but losing RB Ryan Williams for the season right after losing Beanie Wells until at least late November is a crippling blow.  Those fantasy owners who are looking to claim either Lerod Stephens-Howling or William Powell shouldn’t expect big things, that offensive line is putrid, not like either one of these guys is the next big thing at running back…..QB John Skelton is said to be 90% healed, Kevin Kolb is still the starter, but if he were to falter, Skelton could get his job back.

Atlanta Falcons:  Are the Falcons the best team in the NFL?  Possibly, but they do seem to be the best team in the NFC, although they haven’t impressed the past two weeks as they squeaked by Carolina and Washington, but ugly wins are better than pretty losses…..Those football pundits who thought that RB Michael Turner had nothing left seem to be mistaken as Turner has looked good the past few weeks…..It’s to early to think about this, but if Atlanta doesn’t win a playoff game this year, QB Matt Ryan is going to be accused of not being able to win the big one.

Baltimore Ravens:  Well if QB Joe Flacco wants to be considered elite, he’s going to have to play just as good on the road as he does at home, that was a pretty bad performance at Kansas City last week…..How will Baltimore attack the Dallas defense this week?  Dallas is strong against the pass, average against the run, with the amount of mistakes the Cowboys have been making on offense, might be wise to play it close to the vest and just wait for them to turn the ball over.

Buffalo Bills:  Someone might want to tell the Bills that the 49ers team they played last week didn’t have QB Steve Young or RB Jerry Rice on it, that was 600 yards of offense they gave up…..C.J. Spiller still seems to be trying to recover from his shoulder injury of a few weeks back as he doesn’t seem to be the same explosive player he was early on this season…..The defense however should have a better time of it this week against a Cardinal offense that has issues of their own on offense.

Carolina Panthers:  Amazing what a difference a year can make for QB Cam Newton.  Not only is he being criticized for poor play, but also for his attitude on the sidelines during games.  Once again that should get better in time, but his poor play is due to teams taking WR Steve Smith out of the games, forcing him to look elsewhere.  Defenses did the same thing in the second half of last season, and the Panthers have yet to adjust.  Might be nice if the running game would pick it up also to take some of the pressure off.

Chicago Bears:  When was the last time a defense scored two touchdowns in back to back games, by the same two defensive players.  Linebacker Lance Briggs and CB Charles Tillman have pulled it off.  Shame they have a bye coming up this week…..Chicago has to love the shape their in this season.  Green Bay is having all sort of problems and could be 2-4 after this week.  Detroit can’t get their high flying offense off the ground, and I don’t think they are all to worried about the hot start that Minnesota has gotten off to.  Plus the bye week will allow them to get RBs Matt Forte and Michael Bush back to full strength.

Cincinnati Bengals:  I know Miami is an improved team, but if the Bengals want to be taken somewhat seriously, you can’t lose to them…..What has happened to RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis?  That was 13 whole yards he rushed for last week.  They will need him to pick it up now that there really isn’t anyone available to help out with the loss of Bernard Scott for the season…..Fantasy wise, QB Andy Dalton is someone to watch.  He can at least be a good bye week filler.

Cleveland Browns:  Wait, I think the Giants just scored another touchdown against the Browns defense.  CB Joe Haden will return this week after serving his four game suspension, doubt he will solve all of their problems on that side of the ball, but he will help…..Have to wonder why the Browns got cute in their game calling in the second half last week, having QB Brandon Weeden throw on a couple of 3rd/4th and short plays rather than run the ball with Trent Richardson.  Isn’t this why you took Richardson in the 1st round?

Dallas Cowboys:  The Cowboys are hoping the bye will help them solve their problems, but playing in Baltimore is more than likely not where you want to visit to figure out what’s wrong.  Baltimore hasn’t lost at home in what seems like forever, and Dallas has never defeated Baltimore anywhere…..The key to the Cowboys is the offensive line, protect Romo, open up holes for DeMarco Murray and all of the other problems go away…..Dallas has two punters on their roster (only team in the NFL that does) and both are hurt.

Denver Broncos:  Defensive end Elvis Dumervil had a slow start to the season, but has picked up his play of late with three sacks in his last three games.  If Elvis can be the same player he was before injury cost him the 2011 season, than the Broncos will have a pretty good 1-2 punch with him and LB Von Miller…..Peyton Manning’s deep ball still doesn’t look all that crisp, but who cares, for the second consecutive game he looked great in throwing for over 300 yards.

Detroit Lions:  Detroit is another team that needed the bye week to fix some problems.  Mainly problems on their offense.  What has happened to the aerial assault.  Seems teams are doing their best to take WR Calvin Johnson out of the game and force QB Matthew Stafford to find another way to beat them.  The Lions need either WR Titus Young or Nate Burleson to step up their game.  Would be a bonus if RB Mikel Leshoure can give them a true threat in the running game as well.

Green Bay Packers:  It’s understandable that the passing game would suffer a bit.  WR Greg Jennings has missed a good part of the season due to a groin injury he can’t seem to get over.  He’s likely to miss this week as well, but what has happened to WR Jordy Nelson?  James Jones seems to be the go to guy for QB Aaron Rodgers right now…..Running back Cedric Benson was put in the IR this week, but could return later this season, for now look at Alex Green and James Starks to share the rushing load.  This might not be a bad thing for Green Bay as both are better receivers out of the backfield than Benson.

Houston Texans:  Huge loss for the Texans on Monday when LB Brian Cushing was lost of the year when he tore his ACL on a questionable hit from the Jets Matt Slauson.  Slauson took out the knees of Cushing from the side on a block.  He is likely to hear from the NFL if they deem it an illegal hit.  The hit itself seems to be in gray area as far as chop blocks are concerned.  Question for me is this, why are chop blocks legal in any situation?  If we’re looking to protect the players, this should be removed from an offensive lineman’s arsenal.

Indianapolis Colts:  The Colts lost RB Donald Brown for 2-3 weeks Wednesday when it was announced that he will undergo knee surgery, look for Vick Ballard and Mewelde Moore to handle the load in his absence, LB Robert Mathis will also miss the same amount of time with a knee injury of his own…..In deeper fantasy leagues, if you’re looking for a WR don’t forget about Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton.

Jacksonville Jaguars:  Wide receiver Laurent Robinson still hasn’t passed his concussion test and won’t play this week…..Have to wonder if the Jags are starting to wonder if Blaine Gabbert is their quarterback of the future or if they will have to be in the market for one in the off-season.

Kansas  City Chiefs:  The Chiefs’ fans have taken a beating this week, and rightfully so, after cheering when QB Matt Cassel went down with an injury last week.  That being said, Cassel is more than likely going to miss a game or two and possibly more as he was playing pretty badly anyway.  Brady Quinn will get a chance to start in his place and could keep the job with a good performance or two.  This may be Cassel’s last year in a KC uniform…..Might be nice if RB Peyton Hillis would play sometime soon, but he still isn’t practicing with that ankle injury.

Miami Dolphins:  Whereas a team like the Jaguars may not know if they have their QB of the future or not, Miami can be pretty sure that they do as Ryan Tannehill certainly looks like the real deal, imagine what he might do once he has a true number one receiver…..RB Daniel Thomas suffered another concussion last week, his second of the season, not a good thing for a player who has to lead with his head so often.

Minnesota Vikings:   Some people believe that WR Percy Harvin deserves some MVP consideration.  He’s having a very good year, but not sure I can go that far.  Adrian Peterson owners though have to be livid that he keeps getting running plays inside the 10 yard line…..It doesn’t look like the injury to WR Jerome Simpson will keep him out long.  He suffered a back injury that sapped the strength out of his legs.  There was some thought that he could miss a considerable amount of time, but now it looks like he could return this weekend.

New England Patriots:  Fantasy owners have to love the big numbers that RB Stevan Ridley is putting up, but they also have to be extremely worried what might happen to his playing time should he put the ball on the ground another time or two, especially with that offense and the fact that Brandon Bolden is running well also…..WR Brandon Lloyd has been okay so far this season, but not the big play guy we had envisioned when he signed with New England…..Tight end Aaron Hernandez could return to the lineup this week, just what this offense needs, another weapon.

New Orleans Saints:  Congratulations to QB Drew Breese for setting the record with 49 straight games with a touchdown pass, have a feeling though that in today’s NFL, this record won’t last forever…..WR Lance Moore missed the game with a groin injury, than TE Jimmy Graham injured his ankle early on, both contributed to Devery Henderson having a big game.  If I’m a fantasy owner I tap the breaks however, Moore and Graham should be healthy after the break which could lead to Henderson once again being nothing more than a deep threat.

New York Giants:  Hello RB Ahmad Bradshaw and welcome to the 2012 NFL season.  If he can become consistent and make defenses respect the running game as well as the passing game, look out, this offense will be extremely difficult to stop, but one thing to consider, the Giants three wins have come against Cleveland, Tampa Bay, and Carolina, not exactly the greatest defenses on the planet…..WR Hakeem Nicks missed another game due to the knee injury and while there are some rumors that it may be serious and possibly require surgery, he is listed as questionable to play Sunday against the 49ers.

New York Jets:  The Jets seem to have no idea how to use QB Tim Tebow.  He is only playing a handful of plays each game.  Now I’m not a big fan of Tebow, but the Jets have no running game, and next to nothing at WR.  They seem to know that Mark Sanchez isn’t the answer at QB and the season is circling the drain.  Wouldn’t now be the time to start Tebow?  He may not be the greatest passer, but he is a football player and might be able to move the offense in his own way, whether that’s running with the ball, passing it, or just being a decoy.  Seems they don’t really have anything to lose at this point in time.

Oakland Raiders:  Have to feel bad for the Raiders.  They don’t have a ton of talent on the field and are still down a few draft picks from past trades.  It could be quite a few years before they turn it around…..WR Darius Heyward-Bey who missed the last game (9/23) with a concussion, has been cleared to play this weekend.

Philadelphia Eagles:  All of the attention for the Eagles has been on QB Michael Vick and all the turnovers he has committed so far this season which is masking that the Eagles haven’t put as much pressure on opposing quarterbacks as what was expected coming into the season.  Where have you gone DEs Trent Cole and Jason Babin?…..Speaking of Vick, if you’re a fantasy owner of his, this has to be the weekend he goes off doesn’t it?  They are playing Detroit for crying out loud.

Pittsburgh Steelers:  The good news for the Steelers is that RB Rashard Mendenhall returned to the lineup last week and looked really good, this should allow the Steelers to be more balanced and even more dangerous on offense from this point forward…..The bad news is that S Troy Polamalu and LB Lamarr Woodley are out for the game Thursday due to injury, not that the Steelers will have much of a problem defeating Tennessee with or without these two players.

San Diego Chargers:  I can understand the need to punish RB Ryan Matthews and start Jackie Battle in Week 4.  You need to make a point and let Matthews know he has to be more careful with the ball, but to start Battle again this week just seemed petty.  Matthews did end up having a great game anyway and should be the starter from this point forward…..Can’t say I was shocked that WR Robert Meacham had a big game against his former team Sunday night, he had two touchdowns, and would’ve had a third, but he dropped it.

San Francisco 49ers:  Already talked about the 600 yards of offense the 49ers put up last week, 300 both in rushing and passing, just incredible…..Now not everything was rosy, QB Alex Smith did suffer a sprained finger on his throwing hand, but it looks to be a minor injury that won’t affect his availability for the game this weekend…..QB Colin Kaepernick has done a great job in limited playing time and once again looks like the QB of the future in SF, but that future is not now.

Seattle Seahawks:  The Seahawks defense gets another test this week as Tom Brady and the Patriots come to town.  Have a feeling the defense will play well, but not well enough to win as the offense just isn’t prepared to beat a team like the Pats yet.  Also wonder if Russell Wilson’s days as the starting QB are coming to an end.  Matt Flynn is getting healthy now and would seem to have a better chance at moving the offense than Wilson does.

St. Louis Rams:  Good news for the Rams this week is that RB Steven Jackson is not on the injury report this week bad news is that WR Danny Amendola will miss the next six weeks or so after suffering a shoulder injury last week.  Rams can’t afford this kind of hit to their offense, they don’t have much depth there to begin with, might be about time for TE Lance Kendricks to live up to his potential.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  What to make of the Bucs?  WRs Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams are off to good starts.  Williams is certainly benefitting from no longer being the main guy.  The running game is solid with Doug Martin in the backfield, just be nice if the defense picked things up…..

Tennessee Titans:  So much for RB Chris Johnson turning things around.  He had another pathetic performance last week versus Minnesota, this offense will go nowhere until he can figure out how to turn things around…..WR Kenny Britt is another problem, he always seems to be hurt, and even when he does play, he doesn’t contribute much…..Of course we can’t leave out the QB position.  Jake Locker will miss the game Thursday, leaving Matt Hasselbeck behind center once again.  Good luck with  Pittsburgh Tennessee.

Washington Redskins:  I know running QBs are all the rage nowadays, and Robert Griffin III is no different, but just like last week, if he keeps running and taking hits, he’s going to miss some action, especially as the season goes on, he may be big for a human, 6’2″ and 215 lbs, but for a football player, that’s average size.  Learn to slide and/or go out of bounds and you will live to play another day.

 

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