If you’re a football fan then this AFC Championship matchup will bring much happiness to your life. Arguably the 2 greatest quarterbacks to ever throw the pigskin are facing off in what will definitely be a game for the ages. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have built a pretty storied rivalry during their tenures in the NFL. Brady has dominated the head-to-head matchups winning 10 of the 14 battles the two have endured. This game has even more excitement behind it because of how Manning just broke Brady’s single season touchdowns record that he had set back in his near perfect season in 2007 (I imagine that every Giants fan will be chuckling after reading that line). In their one matchup this season, Brady led the Patriots to an impressive 24-point deficit comeback to win 34-31 in OT in what was my favorite game of the season…although I would have preferred to see a different result. Based on the history of their rivalry and Brady’s playoff dominance year in and year out, there is no logical explanation why I should be picking the Broncos to win but here are my 5 reasons why they will.
1. Denver’s receiving core is one of the greatest ever: Denver has assembled a receiving core with talent that hasn’t been seen since the greatest show on turf. With Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas, it is near impossible to double team anyone. Add that in with the fact that the best quarterback ever is throwing to them and I don’t even see how this team lost 3 games this year. With a secondary ranked in the bottom half of the league, the Patriots can expect to see Manning throw for at least 350 yards in this one.
2. Peyton needs this win more than Brady: As a die-hard Jets fan, I find it very hard to write anything positive about Tom Brady, but I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t the best playoff QB I’ve ever seen. When Mo Lewis ended Drew Bledsoe’s career and started the career of a no name kid from Michigan there was no looking back. Tom Brady has proven time and again that he is clutch in every sense of the word. Peyton on the other hand has had record-breaking season after record-breaking season but outside of his one Super Bowl win, he has been a pretty disappointing playoff QB. That won’t be the case this year because Peyton knows this will be one if his final chances to match his little brothers ring total.
3. Home field advantage means a lot: While Brady and the Pats got the best of the Broncos in a big overtime comeback this season, that game was played in Foxborough. This AFC Championship game will be played in the Mile High Stadium. Denver fans are rowdy and will be doing their darndest to get in to Brady and his minions heads. Peyton will have the calming and quieting respect from the fans so he can audible all fucking day if he wants to and when he has that power he is an unstoppable force keeping defenses on their toes. While the temperatures aren’t favorable for Peyton’s reputation, he has recently shown that he can put up Manning-esque numbers even in the worst of weather.
4. Rush defense trumps rush offense: Who would have thought that the Patriots could put up the type of performance they did last week without Brady throwing even one TD? Bill “spy gate” Belicheck has found himself in control of a very solid 3-headed running attack with Lagarrett Blount, Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen giving opposing defenses a lot of different looks. Unfortunately for the Pats, the Broncos have a better than average Rush D that ranked 8th in total yards allowed this year. With the Broncos front 7 and the fact that Peyton will be running up the scoreboard, Brady will be forced to throw a lot more than he probably would like too and unfortunately for him, he does not have nearly the type of offensive weapons that Peyton has at his disposal.
5. Knowshon Moreno is going to go off: This is simple; the Patriots have the 30th ranked rush defense in the NFL and Knowshon Moreno has been showing off his talents that none of us have seen since his years in Georgia. With the amount of spread formations and 4 wide receiver sets that the Broncos offense presents, Moreno will find himself in a very favorable situation quite often. I am expecting Knowshon to go off for over 120 yards in this game and in my mind he will be the ultimate deciding factor for the Broncos to get that W.
Gamblers rejoice, here are our Week 12 Sports Debater expert picks against the spread. (We are NOT responsible for any money lost) odds courtesy of 5Dimes.eu
|Game Time||Teams||NYBobby||MatthewToddErich||Scher Thing|
|Sunday, November 25, 2012:||Minnesota Vikings (+6.5) @ Chicago Bears (-6.5)||Bears||Bears||Bears|
|Sunday, November 25, 2012:||Oakland Raiders (+8) @
Cincinnati Bengals (-8)
|Sunday, November 25, 2012:||Pittsburgh Steelers (-2) @ Cleveland Browns (+2)||Steelers||Steelers||Browns|
|Sunday, November 25, 2012:||Buffalo Bills (+2.5) @ Indianapolis Colts (-2.5)||Colts||Colts||Colts|
|Sunday, November 25, 2012:||Denver Broncos (-10) @ Kansas City Chiefs (+10)||Broncos||Broncos||Chiefs|
|Sunday, November 25, 2012:||Seattle Seahawks (-3) @ Miami Dolphins (+3)||Seahawks||Seahawks||Seahawks|
|Sunday, November 25, 2012:||Atlanta Falcons (-1.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1.5)||Buccaneers||Falcons||Falcons|
|Sunday, November 25, 2012:||Tennessee Titans (-3.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5)||Titans||Titans||Titans|
|Sunday, November 25, 2012:||Baltimore Ravens (0) @ San Diego Chargers (0)||Ravens||Ravens||Ravens|
|Sunday, November 25, 2012:||San Francisco 49ers (-2) @ New Orleans Saints (+2)||Saints||Saints||49ers|
|Sunday, November 25, 2012:||St. Louis Rams (+1.5) @ Arizona Cardinals (-1.5)||Cardinals||Cardinals||Rams|
|Sunday, November 25, 2012:||Green Bay Packers (+2.5) @ New York Giants (-2.5)||Giants||Packers||Giants|
|Monday, November 26, 2012:||Carolina Panthers (-2.5) @
Philadelphia Eagles (+2.5)
If you survived last week’s “Hell Bye Week,” then you can breathe a sigh of relief as week 8 is a much more manageable one. Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston are the only teams on bye week and unless you have Ray Rice, A.J. Green or Arian Foster, your team should be in just fine shape. There are some injuries this week that are shaking up a few fantasy rosters and with the midseason bump out of the way, teams that hope to be playoff bound have to make their pushes now. Here are 5 players for you Fantasy teams that I feel will help your roster improve before Sunday’s games.
There are a lot of Jets haters out there and I can completely understand why. That being said, Dustin Keller is back and healthy and he is without question Mark Sanchez’s #1 option in the passing attack. Last week, Keller was targeted 7 times and caught all 7 passes, accumulating 93 yards and a trip to the endzone. The Jets are facing a Miami Dolphins team that is talking a whole lot of shit, which is surprising because the Jets beat the Dolphins in one of the uglier games of the season in week 3. With back up tight end, Cumberland, out with an injury, Keller will see even more targets than normal. There will be a strong emphasis on the ground game which will open up some good play action looks for Keller down the field. I think that Dustin will have an even bigger game this week than last and there is no reason why he should be a Free Agent in anyone’s league from here on out. He is without question a top 10 TE in the NFL.
Predictions for week 8: 9 receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown
The Chicago Bears are quietly having a stellar season. The main reason that the Bears are 5-1 is because they have the highest scoring defense in the league and they seem to be able to shut down any team that they face. Another contributing factor to the Bears success is the amazing chemistry between the NFL’s 8th leading receiver, Brandon Marshall, and one of the worst QB’s in the NFL, Jay Cutler. This week the Bears have the luxury of facing off with the dismal Carolina Panthers. While the Bears offense does not put up too many points, this is surely a game where that can change. I think Marshall will draw a lot of double teams which should open up the field for a lot of his receiving buddies. I feel that Devin Hester will be the biggest beneficiary of the receivers on the Bears as he will have the ability to catch short screens or even quick slants and dominate the game with his YAC. Let’s not forget about his ability to take one to the house on any given punt return.
Predictions for week 8: 6 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown, one kick return for a touchdown
Where has the Dancing With the Stars Champion been hiding this season? On the bench watching Aaron Rodgers tare up the league once again. But with Greg Jennings out for at least another week and Jordy Nelson questionable, Rodgers is going to have to look for other options in the passing game. The obvious first choice for him is going to be James Jones followed by Randall Cobb. The third option is the one that I feel will have his biggest and only good game of his season, Donald Driver. The truth of the matter is that the Packers are going to have a field day destroying the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars and I think Donald wants to prove he still has a little something left in the tank. I can see Driver and Rodgers connecting like the olden days for some impressive long yardage passes. A lot of people thought that Driver was retired as he has only had 4 catches for the entire season on the most pass friendly team in the league. All Driver has to do is pretend he is back in the ballroom and he will be able to move around all of the Jaguars secondary.
Predictions for week 8: 5 receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown
The surprise rookie out Abilene Christian has been catching the eyes of fantasy owners across the country. While at the beginning of the season you would have been thought to be crazy to say that someone would take touches away from Steven Jackson, Daryl has emerged as a true offensive threat. While he does not get that many touches on the ground, roughly 7-10 a game, he does get a lot of snaps in the backfield. Over the past two weeks, Richardson has shown glimpses of what he can do in the open field and now that the Rams have the advantage of facing off with one of the leagues worst passing defenses, the New England Patriots, they will try and find successes in their pass game. In his rookie year, Richardson is yet to find the endzone but I think that streak will end on Sunday. The game is being played in Wembley Stadium in London, England and while I feel the Pats will inevitably win the game, I think Richardson will make a name for himself on international turf.
Predictions for week 8: 8 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown, 5 receptions for 70 yards
This is the first time I have ever picked a player in back to back weeks, but after how accurate I was with last weeks predictions for Palmer, (Predictions: 24-46 for 320 yards and two TD’s, Actual: 26-46 for 298 yards and 2 TD’s), I had to go with him again. I am going with Palmer again mainly because he has the easy matchup against the team that I rank as the worst in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs. The Oakland Raiders are a terrible team in their own right and there really is no looking up for them any time soon, but Palmer has been throwing for nearly 300 yards every single game yet he is still a Free Agent in majority of fantasy leagues. One of the first sleepers I talked about in the 2012 season was Denarius Moore, who has emerged as one of the more reliable receivers in the league the past few weeks. With Heyward-Bay on one side and Moore on the other, Palmer has good options to look for and will have a pretty successful season regardless of Oakland’s overall record.
Predictions for week 8: 27-48 for 315 yards and two touchdowns
1. Everybody is looking for the next best QB in the NFL. In the past few years, the media has gone crazy for youngsters like Cam Newton, Robert Griffin, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton and others. However, there are two veterans who have been slaying NFL Defenses for over a decade, who proved this week that they are still two of the best in the NFL. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady each lead their respective teams to blowout victories against division rivals. Manning went 30 for 38, amassing 338 yards and 3 scores. The “Golden Boy” Tom Brady matched him with 340 yards and 3 TDs as well. Both the Broncos and Patriots were coming off two game losing streaks and their QBs weren’t going to let that get to three. This week, the two legends square off in another classic Brady-Manning matchup that NFL fans have enjoyed for years. In the famous words of Bart Scott…”Can’t Wait!”
2. The Green Bay Packers are just not that good. I know they got royally screwed last week by the replacement referees, but what was lost in that game was that they were even position at the end of that game for Seattle to beat them. If the Pack were as good as we expected, they would have blown the doors off the Seahawks under the Monday Night lights. This weekend, the New Orleans Saints came to town, a team pronounced dead after they dropped to 0-3 by losing to the Kansas City Chiefs at home. We assumed that Aaron Rodgers and the angry Packers would take all their anger out on New Orleans, avenging for the Monday Night Debacle. Though Green Bay did manage to outlast the Saints, it was a struggle and it came down to a missed FG by New Orleans. Not exactly the massacre we would have expected from a “Super Bowl Contender.” After watching true contenders over the past few weeks (49ers, Giants, Falcons), I don’t think the Packers have the goods this year.
3. The Detroit Lions have been the laughing-stock of the NFL since I started watching football. However, over the past couple years, something weird has happened…the Lions actually got pretty good! This year, many analysts expected them to make a jump to the next level. With franchise QB Matthew Stafford leading the charge, Calvin Johnson making highlight reel catches look easy, and a Defense lead by Ndamukong Suh that looked pretty intimidating, we thought this team was an NFC North contender ready to challenge the Packers and Bears. Well, their one good season had us all fooled! This Sunday the Vikings went into Detroit and manhandled them, only a week after the Lions allowed the “vaunted” Tennessee Titans to score 44. They are sitting at 1-3 in the division and considering they barely won their first game of the year against the Rams, they are lucky not to be 0-4. One quarter into the season the Lions find themselves in a position they are very familiar with…the NFC North basement!
4. Jets management has no idea what they are doing. The Jets are really, really awful and all the blame is being directed to Mark Sanchez. Recapping their 34-0 game would be a waste of time, but there is one thing that all Jets fans need to know…Tim Tebow would not do any better! What do the Jets expect Sanchez to do? Thanks to GM Mike Tannenbaum, Mark has exactly ZERO Offensive Weapons to work with. Their running game is non-existent,, their WRs don’t get open and they literally have the worst run defense I have ever seen. Their star receiver caught a pass, hurt his foot and his reaction was to just give the ball to the other team…makes a lot of sense! Don’t get me wrong, Sanchez had a bad game. He threw an awful pick, fumbled the ball a couple of times and didn’t generate any offense at all. However, if the Jets wanted to make Sanchez the franchise QB they have been selling us for 4 years now, it would have been nice if they surrounded him with a little help. The Jets play perhaps the best team in the NFL this week, and I guarantee the Jets will struggle. For Sanchez’s sake, I hope Tebow gets more snaps so Jets fans can maybe get a dose of reality that the blame for the Jets failure needs to be laid at the feet of Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum, not Mark Sanchez.5. Real NFL Referees make a big difference. I felt like I was watching the NFL that I have known for my entire life this weekend. When there was a tough call, the officials got together, discussed the play and made the call. They weren’t rushing in and changing games arbitrarily without any real knowledge of the rules. The games moved by at a normal speed, which was my biggest complaint of the first three weeks. Although my team didn’t really get screwed by any bad officiating from the replacements, I was falling asleep watching NFL games last 4-5 hours. Even though NFL refs will always make calls the players, coaches and fans don’t agree on, all parties involved are relieved as hell to have them back in the fold. When the referees came out of the tunnel in the Baltimore-Cleveland, the fans stood up and gave them a warm greeting. It was probably the first time referees have ever received a standing ovation in professional sports history. It will most likely also be the last!