Category Archives: Football

NFL Playoff Preview: Sunday

Houston Texans (11-6) at Baltimore (12-4): 1:00 ET on CBS

If this game had a soundtrack it would definitely be supplied by Rush because we will be seeing a heavy dose of the ground game from both teams this weekend.

It’s not that Houston and Baltimore are lacking in talented wideouts it’s just that Ray Rice and Arian Foster are that good and Joe Flacco and T.J. Yates are that “just ok”. Rice ran for a leagues second best 1364 yards during the regular season and Foster finished with 1224 yards despite starting the season injured and 153 yards in his first playoff game.

These two teams are actually very similar to each other. They run the ball well, have good defenses, they both have “game manager” quarterbacks who aren’t going to steal the game but also aren’t generally going to kill you either. Houston finished the season in an unimpressive fashion losing to Carolina, Indianapolis and Tennessee respectively but looked much better against Cincinnati in the Wild Card Playoff game. Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels have had health issues all season long and their performance will be key in this weeks game in order to balance the Texans running game. Overall Houston seems to be more banged up on both sides of the ball which may wind up being the deciding factor in Sundays big game.

The Ravens have put together another impressive regular season with the only head-scratching loss being to Jacksonville in week 7. The Ravens and Texans met once in the regular season this year, a battle that Baltimore won after 3 close quarters of competition.

The Ravens are no longer the Defensive beast they once were as many of their key defensive players have packed on the years but they were still top four in rush defense, pass defense, yards against and points against so they are certainly still formidable. The greatest difference probably comes in their turnover ratio (+2) which has sunk to its lowest point in Joe Flacco’s career with the team. If the Ravens can limit the Texans running game this team should be good enough to carry them on to a probable Conference Championship versus the Patriots.

Prediction: Baltimore 27, Houston 17

Continue reading NFL Playoff Preview: Sunday

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NFL Playoff Preview: Saturday

New Orleans (14-3) at San Francisco (13-3): 4:30 ET on Fox

These are two teams that match up against each other very well and should provide for a pretty entertaining start to the NFL Playoff weekend. The golden rule of NFL playoffs has been that Defense wins championships, and this match up should put a good test to that theory. The Saints have the number one rated pass attack in a season where they averaged 334.2 passing yards per game and Drew Brees shattered Dan Marino’s long-standing passing yard record. The Saints rushing game was solid as well averaging 132.9 yards per game, good enough to be sixth in the league.

The 49ers finished 13-3 with Alex Smith as their Quarterback, throwing for an average of only 183.1 (29th) yards per game. That and the fact that they held opponents to the league’s stinginess 77.2 rushing yards per game tells you enough about the Niners. They are about defense, running the ball and making the most of turnovers. The 49ers defense led the league with a +28 turnover ratio forcing 23 interceptions and 15 fumbles versus 5 of each from their side. Compare that with New Orleans -3 ratio and you can see what one of the major keys of the game is for San Francisco.

At face value and admittedly not having watched the majority of either the Saints or 49ers games I was pretty ready to make the bold prediction that the Niners would shut down the high-flying Saints and win a “we dominated more than the final score illustrates” kind of game. Looking at the regular season games however I may have to give the Saints more credit than I initially thought they deserved.

Continue reading NFL Playoff Preview: Saturday

Grizzly Ranking: College Football’s Top 10 Defenses

An analysis of strength of schedule, player injuries, home/away matchups, and performance revealed the nation’s top defensive units in college football.

Teams with impressive statistics, but lighter competition were commonly knocked down the list, while teams that fought through brutal schedules and significant injuries were not wholly penalized for their slightly lower numbers.

Separate from the pack, Big Ten and Southeastern Conference squads dominate the rankings, filling eight of the top 10 spots.

In the end, only two teams remain in the conversation for “best defense in college football”.

10) Virginia Tech Hokies

Antone Exum slows Georgia Tech QB Washington

Ranking eighth in the nation in points allowed (17.2 points/game), Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster led his rag tag bunch through an injury-plagued campaign. The Hokies lost multiple players in each level of the defense this season, but somehow managed to net a 11-2 record. Starring on defense, 2010 All-American CB Jayron Hosley registered three interceptions and 59 tackles despite suffering a hamstring injury early this season. He will consider leaping to the NFL in the upcoming draft.

Senior S Eddie Whitley helped hold the secondary together, providing leadership, stability, and 78 tackles. Redshirt sophomore safety Antone Exum filled in more than admirably in his first year as a full-time starter, leading all Hokies with 10 pass break-ups and 85 tackles.

The Hokies landed four players on the All-ACC second team- Hosley, Whitley, CB Kyle Fuller, and DE James Gayle.

9) South Carolina Gamecocks

Melvin Ingram tries to deflect a ball against Georgia

Freshman sensation Jadeveon Clowney brought a welcomed level of nastiness to the Gamecocks. The 18-year-old defensive end has already met lofty expectations with six sacks and 10 tackles for loss. Equally impressive, his senior adviser on the defensive line Melvin Ingram led the team in tackles for loss (13.5), sacks (8.5), and defensive touchdowns (2).He also helped secure a win against Georgia by running a fake punt 68 yards for a score.

These two monsters in the middle allowed the Gamecock defense to clamp down opposing wide receivers. South Carolina ranked second nationally in pass defense (133 yards/game), behind only Alabama. They also forced 18 interceptions, fifth in the nation.

Impressively, the Gamecocks held in-state rival and ACC champ Clemson 20 points under their season average in a 34-13 victory November 26.

Continue reading Grizzly Ranking: College Football’s Top 10 Defenses

NFL Grizzly Picks of the Week: Week 4

You get 1 point for picking the favorite correctly, and 2 points for an upset win or a pick’em game. Our picks will be in BOLD and upset picks are denoted by a *

So, here are the scores headed into Week 3…

Kaiser      Kronner
14                    9 

And our picks for Week 4:

Rev. Kaiser

Carolina @ Chicago (Vegas Line – Bears by 6.5)
Minnesota @ Kansas City (Vegas Line – Viks by 1.5)   
*Tennessee @ Cleveland  (Vegas Line – Browns by 1) 
San Francisco @ Philly (Vegas Line – Eagles by 7.5)
N’Orleans @ Jacksonville (Vegas Line – Saints by 7)  
NY Giants @ Arizona (Vegas Line – Giants by 1.5) 
Denver @ Green Bay  (Vegas Line – Packers by 13)
NY Jets @ Baltimore (Vegas Line – Ravens by 3.5)

Kaiser can get up to 9 points this week.

Dr. Kronner

*Detroit @ Dallas  (Vegas Line – Cowboys by 1)
Buffalo @ Cincinnati  (Vegas Line – Bills by 3)
*Washington @ St. Louis (Vegas Line – Pick’em/Line is 0)
Pittsburgh @ Houston (Vegas Line – Texans by 4)
Atlanta @ Seattle  (Vegas Line – Falcons by 4.5)
New England @ Oakland (Vegas Line – Pats by 4.5)
Miami @ San Diego (Vegas Line – Chargers by 7)
Indianapolis @ Tampa Bay (Vegas Line – Bucs by 10)

Kronner can get up to 10 points this week.

So there we have it, check back next week to see how the grudge match it working itself out…

Feel free to post your own picks in the comment section below…

NFL Grizzly Picks of the Week: Week 3

For the rest of the year Kaiser and I will split up each week’s games and we’ll see who is smarter. We’ll split the games down the middle. And while we are simply picking winners, we’ll use the Vegas line determine the favorites. You get 1 point for picking the favorite correctly, and 2 points for an upset win. Our picks will be in BOLD and upset picks are denoted by a *

So, here are the scores headed into Week 3…

Kaiser      Kronner
6                    4 

Well, that was embarrassing. Perhaps I’ll lay off the upsets this week…

And our picks for Week 3:

Rev. Kaiser

*San Fran @ Cincinnati (Vegas Line – Bengals by 2.5)
Detroit @ Minnesota (Vegas Line – Lions by 3.5)   
*Miami @ Cleveland 
 (Vegas Line – Browns by 2.5) 
*Houston @ New Orleans 
(Vegas Line – Saints by 4)
Baltimore @ St. Louis (Vegas Line – Ravens by 3.5)  
KC @ San Diego (Vegas Line – Chargers by 14.5) 
*Arizona @ Seattle 
 (Vegas Line – Cardinals by 3.5)
Pittsburgh @ Indy (Vegas Line – Steelers by 10.5)

The Road Warrior Kaiser can get up to 12 points this week.

Dr. Kronner

Jags @ Carolina  (Vegas Line – Panthers by 3.5)
Denver @ Tennessee  (Vegas Line – Titans by 7)
NY Giants @ Philly (Vegas Line – Eagles by 7)
NewEngland @ Buffalo (Vegas Line – Pats by 8.5)
*NY Jets @ Oakland  (Vegas Line – Jets by 3.5)
*Green Bay @ Chicago (Vegas Line – Pack by 3.5)
*Atlanta @ Tampa Bay (Vegas Line – Bucs by 1.5)
Washington @ Dallas (Vegas Line – ‘boys by 5)

Kronner can get up to 11 points this week.

So there we have it, check back next week to see how the grudge match it working itself out…

Feel free to post your own picks in the comment section below…