April 20, 2014

All Out Blitz: NFL News & Notes

Arizona Cardinals:  Well RB Beanie Wells will more than likely play his last game with the Cardinals this Sunday.  His comments regarding playing for 31 other teams this Sunday may see to that…..The Cards are so desperate at quarterback that they are going to start Brian Hoyer this week.  Good luck to the offense going up against San Francisco this Sunday…..One piece of good news I suppose is that RB Ryan Williams stated this is the best he has ever felt,  not sure that means anything though.

Atlanta Falcons:  Big question for fantasy owners this week is how much playing time the likes of QB Matt Ryan, WRs Roddy White and Julio Jones, and TE Tony Gonzalez will get.  Head coach Mike Smith has stated that he is playing to win.  That’s all fine and good, but once an injury or two happens or the game dictates, you have to figure that Smith will pull his starters.  Falcons have nothing to play for and regardless of what commissioner Roger Goddell wants, no reason to risk your most important players in a game that just doesn’t mean anything.

Baltimore Ravens:  The Cowboys should send a big thank you note to the Ravens.  Once Dallas lost to New Orleans on Sunday they lost control of their playoff destiny.  They needed Baltimore to wake up and beat the Giants.  Baltimore had come off three straight losses.  Losses that led to the dismissal of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.  Well the Ravens woke up just in time not only to help the Cowboys, but to clinch the AFC North as well…..Linebacker Ray Lewis will be activated before Sunday, but won’t play, but will be available in the playoffs.

Buffalo Bills:  Been quite a bit of speculation about what the Bills will do with RB Fred Jackson next season.  Clearly they need to go with C.J. Spiller as the lead back.  Some think the Bills should just release Jackson.  Have no problem going with Spiller, but I’m not just releasing Jackson.  You should be able to get some value for him…..Ryan Fitzpatrick may not be the starting quarterback next season either.  At the very least he is going to face some competition for the job.

Carolina Panthers:  Like the Bills one has to think that either DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart won’t be back with the team next season.  Williams’ contract is the easier one to trade so he may be the more likely candidate to be dealt…..Linebacker Luke Kuechly has had an incredible rookie season, 151 tackles, wow.

Chicago Bears:  Does anyone remember that the Bears started this season 8-1?  Now they are on the verge of missing the playoffs unless they defeat Detroit Sunday and Minnesota losses to Green Bay, unbelievable.  Fair to wonder if head coach Lovie Smith could be dismissed if they miss the playoffs…..Matt Forte is dealing with an ankle injury and practicing on a limited basis this week, best guess is that he gives it a go Sunday.

Cincinnati Bengals:  Big win by the Bengals last week over Pittsburgh.  The Steelers and Ravens for that matter were the two teams in the AFC North they haven’t been able to beat.  You can cross Pittsburgh off that list, certainly a step in the right direction…..For those of you wondering who will be kicking for the Bengals this week, it’s still going to be Josh Brown as it looks like Mike Nugent may have suffered a setback in practice Wednesday.

Cleveland Browns:  Quarterback Brandon Weeden has had an okay rookie season.  The jury is still out on whether or not Weeden will be the franchise QB the Browns have been looking for, but that is more than likely a problem for a new coaching staff as Pat Shurmur is not expected to return…..Running back Trent Richardson has seen his yards per carry take a nosedive, now he’s still a franchise back, but he has taken a beating this season, should be even better next year.

Dallas Cowboys:  Pretty simple for the Cowboys, for the third time under QB Tony Romo, if they win their last game, on the road, against a division foe, they make the playoffs.  They failed miserably against the Eagles, lost last year to the Giants (although Romo was playing with a swollen thumb) and now get to take their chances against the Redskins.  Now everyone will blame Romo if they lose, but this defense is being held together by scotch tape and puts an enormous amount of pressure on the offense to outscore the opponent…..Running back DeMarco Murray may be more important to the Cowboys winning than Romo.  Dallas needs to keep their defense off the field as much as possible, and the way to do that is in the running game.

Denver Broncos: Is Denver the best team in the AFC?  Maybe, but the truth is there really is no great team in that conference.  Denver and New England do seem to be on a collision course however and I really want to see that….. A Broncos win Sunday assures them no worse than the second seed in the playoffs.  Look for Denver to play all their regulars at least until the game against KC is out of hand.

Detroit Lions:  Congratulations to WR Calvin Johnson for setting the record for most receiving yardage in a season.  You can look at this record in one of two ways.  Positive, teams knew there was only one true threat in the Lions aerial attack and would double if not triple cover Megatron, yet he would still get the ball.  Negative, the Lions were behind in most games by more than one score that it forced the team to throw over and over again in an attempt to get back in the game, thus the yardage added up.

Green Bay Packers:  The Packers really need to win this week and get that extra week of rest a bye would give them.  Wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are banged up.  They are both practicing somewhat this week and should play Sunday, but could certainly use the time off to get back to 100%…..That extra week of rest would even mean more to CB Charles Woodson who still has yet to be medically cleared to play after breaking his collarbone earlier this season.

Houston Texans:  The Texans blew a chance last week against the Vikings to wrap up home field advantage in the AFC and are now forced to play their regulars against the Colts this week.  The Texans seem to be playing their worst football at an inopportune time and will need the advantage that comes with playing at home to advance deep into the playoffs…..Running back Arian Foster was taken out of the game last week with arrhythmia but has practiced all week and should be good to go Sunday versus the Colts.

Indianapolis Colts:  The Colts have an interesting dilemma this Sunday versus Houston.  They are locked into their playoff seeding but could still play spoiler to a division rival.  This game also marks the return of head coach Chuck Pagano to the sidelines, he has been out since late September with leukemia, so emotions will certainly be high for both the players, coaches, and fans.  Will they play their starters the entire game?  Have to think they will unless the game gets out of hand one way or the other.

Jacksonville Jaguars:  Running back Maurice Jones-Drew has been declared out for this week’s game.  This shouldn’t come as a shock, still don’t know why MJD wasn’t put on the IR weeks ago…..Wide receiver Cecil Shorts and RB Rashard Jennings were both put on IR this week, just a lost season for Jacksonville, and they still don’t have a franchise QB.

Kansas  City Chiefs:  Someone has to explain to me how a 2-13 team that is the odds on favorite to get the first overall pick in the 2013 draft can have five players selected to the Pro Bowl.  I’m one of those that believe this game should be done away with, certainly the voting system, really just a joke…..Assuming the Chiefs do get the number one pick in the draft, they will have some decisions to make, there is not a clear cut number one, and there certainly isn’t a QB that should be drafted first overall.

Miami Dolphins:  The Dolphins seem to have done an about face on RB Reggie Bush.  Earlier this season it seemed a foregone conclusion that Bush would go elsewhere in free agency but now we are hearing rumblings that the team will make an attempt to sign him.  Perhaps they are not all that thrilled with the idea of Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller taking over the running duties.  Thomas can’t stay healthy and just hasn’t done anything, and Miller is nothing more than a promising talent.

Minnesota Vikings:   Hard to believe the Vikings are in position to make the playoffs with a win Sunday over Green Bay.  With an offense that pretty much consists of RB Adrian Peterson left, AP right, and AP up the middle, they won’t go far even if they do get in…..Would really like to see AP get the all time rushing record, but unless he is able to rip off a couple of big runs, I don’t see how he will get enough carries to rush for over 200 yards, Green Bay is going to score points, and Minnesota may have to throw to keep up with them.

New England Patriots:  The Patriots may have beaten the Jaguars last week but QB Tom Brady still came down hard on the team for the performance, seems Brady doesn’t want the team to let the foot off the gas.  Probably not good news for the Dolphins this week as the game is still important for the Patriots, a loss by either Denver or Houston and New England could get a bye in the first round…..Tight end Rob Gronkowski is questionable at best to play this week, the Pats may just hold him out until the playoffs begin.

New Orleans Saints:  The Saints season is over for all intensive purposes but they are going out on a high note.  They shutout the Buccaneers, beat the Cowboys in overtime, and now will look to light up the scoreboard against the Panthers.  In fantasy leagues I’m starting all of my Saints this week…..RB Mark Ingram now has a touchdown in three of his past four games and seems to be getting more and more of the carries, although the team hasn’t forgotten about Pierre Thomas.

New York Giants:  Didn’t the Giants have a three game lead in the NFC East just a little while ago.  Now they need to beat the Eagles and have a slew of other games go their way just to make it as a wildcard…..Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks will more than likely miss the game because of his knee, a knee that really hasn’t been right all season long…..Ahmad Bradshaw should be healthy enough to at least split the rushing duties with David Wilson.

New York Jets:  Head coach Rex Ryan has been taking a ton of heat for starting Greg McElroy over Tim Tebow once he decided to bench Mark Sanchez.  Can’t really blame him though.  If he knows that Tebow won’t be with the team next season, then there really is no reason to play him this year, might as well see what McElroy can do.  McElroy won’t play this week however, seems he suffered a concussion last week on one of his 11 sacks, Sanchez get to go again.  Merry Christmas to the Buffalo Bills.

Oakland Raiders:  Quarterback Carson Palmer’s season came to a crashing end as he suffered broken ribs during the game against Carolina.  Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor will share the QB duties this week, yippee…..Defensive tackle Richard Seymour was put on IR with a hamstring injury.  He will be a free agent next season.

Philadelphia Eagles:  Just when you thought QB Michael Vick had played his last game in Philly, along comes a broken hand for Nick Foles and a chance for Vick to audition for a new team.  The Eagles better hope that Vick doesn’t get hurt, if he does, the Eagles will have to give him $3 million as a going away present…..Vick won’t have WR Jeremy Maclin to throw to as he looks unlikely to play due to a knee injury.

Pittsburgh Steelers:  Never thought the Steelers were all that great a team, but still surprised they won’t be in the playoffs this season.  Steelers are also one of those teams that will have to cut a few players or restructure a few contracts as they will be way over the salary cap for next season…..Couple of other things the Steelers need to figure out before next season.  Repair the relationship between OC Todd Haley and QB Ben Roethlisberger, fix the OL, find a running game, and decide if you want to hand out a big contract to WR Mike Wallace.

San Diego Chargers:  Here is hoping whomever takes over the reins in San Diego can surround QB Phillips Rivers with a solid offensive line, this would also help RB Ryan Matthews as well…..For those of you wondering who is going to start at running back this week, with Ronnie Brown most likely to miss the game due to a hamstring injury, Curtis Brinkley looks like he could start for the bolts.

San Francisco 49ers:  Not sure why the 49ers came out so flat against the Seahawks last Sunday.  It was an important game as they could’ve secured a bye in the first round with a win against the Hawks and Cardinals this week.  Now they will need the Vikings to beat Green Bay…..Wide receiver Mario Manningham has been lost for the season due to a torn ACL/PCL, tough way to end your first season with a new team, could Randy Moss take on a bigger role in the playoffs than first thought?

Seattle Seahawks:  The Hawks received a last Christmas present on Thursdays when it was announced that CB Richard Sherman had won his appeal and won’t be suspended.  Sherman won on a technicality, seems the tester mishandled his specimen.  In other words, Sherman was lucky, very very lucky…..Now the Hawks more than likely won’t have a home game in the playoffs, but they may be the hottest team going in.  Not only do we know they have a really good defense, but there offense has become a threat as well, this will not be a fun team to play once the playoffs begin.

St. Louis Rams:  Rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins is making the most of his interceptions.  He has four on the season, and has returned each one for a touchdown.  He is making the Rams look pretty smooth for taking him in the second round of the 2012 draft.  He was a first round talent who only slipped to the second round due to some concerns about his personality.  Still think the Rams should’ve drafted Robert Griffin III though.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  The Bucs had better hope that the late season regression of QB Josh Freeman is just a blip on the radar and not a sign of things to come…..The Bucs seem to be set offensively with Freeman, RB Doug Martin, and WRs Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, they need to spend a good deal of time however fixing the defense, specifically the secondary.

Tennessee Titans:  Have to wonder if head coach Mike Munchak will make it another season, owner Bud Adams is none to happy about how this season went…..Seems WR Kenny Britt is still having problems with his surgically repaired knee and will seek medical opinions after the season as to what is going on.  As of right now, more surgery is not expected.

Washington Redskins:  The Skins have won six straight games, a seventh would mean their first division title since 1999.  Amazing what QB Robert Griffin III has done for this team.  Also amazing what a good QB can do for an offensive coordinator.  Kyle Shanahan has gone from nepotism to genius in one short year…..RGIII did not look anywhere near 100% last week versus Philly.  His knee is obviously still bothering him.  Big a big boon for the Dallas defense if he can’t escape the pocket as easily as he normally would.

 

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