Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

By Chris Bates

     The Dallas Cowboys had their best performance of the season on Sunday when they defeated the Buffalo Bills 44-7 in a rematch of Super Bowl XXVII.  Everything the Cowboys did in the game worked, Tony Romo was very efficient as his 148 passer rating was 2nd in the NFL this season.  Romo completed his first 11 passes in what was his first game without wearing the protective vests for his ribs.  To put into perspective how good Romo’s day was, he set the Cowboys all-time completion percentage record of 88.5 percent passes completed to attempts.  Laurent Robinson made Cowboys fans temporarily forget about Miles Austin as he was wide open on 2 touchdown catches in the first half.  Robinson has always had the talent, he has just dealt with a lot of injuries in his career.  Click Here to view Romo and head coach Jason Garrett’s comments from the press room after the victory. 

Current situation in the NBA

    Over the weekend, the owners proposed a 72 game season to the players because they want the lockout to end.  The fate of the NBA season is now in the hands of the player representatives.  The offer the owners have given the players is a 50 percent revenue sharing in which the players will receive $280 million the first season and $3 billion for the next 10 years after that.  Last year the players received 57 percent of the revenue and the owners are not going to go anywhere near that number for this CBA agreement.  If the playes do accept the owners offer, the NBA could be back by Dec. 15 providing a 72-game season for the NBA and its fans.  Details of the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement are talked about Here.

What the players are doing

     Most of the NBA players today are either playing charity basketball games in New York like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Others players like Kevin Durant are prepared to sign an overseas contract if a deal is not reached by the end of the week. 

“I’m right on the fence with playing overseas and I’m about to jump over,” Durant told Yahoo Sports.  Only two marquee players have signed contracts overseas, Nets guard Deron Williams and Spurs guard Tony Parker.  ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that both sides are showing progress after continuing to talk.  Both sides met for 12 hours on Wednesday and a deal could be reached as early as Tuesday.  Dallas Mavericks representative Jason Terry said on Friday that the players are prepared to walk if the deal is not “up to their liking”.  There have been talks that some players want to “decertify” from the union and create their own league so they can get a deal they want.   Keep updated on this situation as the week goes on.    Click Here  to view the current update on the most recent proposal.

   

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Cowboys vs. Eagles Preview

Posted: October 26, 2011 in Dallas Cowboys, NFL

By Chris Bates

    This week’s Cowboys vs. Eagles game will go a long way in deciding who will win the division title.  Dallas comes in at 3-3 just 1 game behind the Giants for 1st place in the NFC East and Philadelphia comes in at 2-4 in last place in the NFC East.  The Eagles had a bye last week and have had 2 weeks to prepare for the Cowboys.  Philadelphia has won 12 consecutive games after their bye week.  The Eagles have the 2nd longest losing streak in the NFL at home, losing 5 home games in a row dating back to last season.  The longest streak is 7 straight home losses by the Dolphins.

Keys to the Game

       The bye week could not have come at a better time for the Eagles.  It gave them a chance to rest up and get healthy.  This is especially true for quarterback Michael Vick who has been dealing with injuries all season.  For the Eagles, their keys include being able to establish the ground game early.  Dallas is #1 versus the run this season but they have not faced a running back to the caliber of LeSean McCoy yet. Philadelphia is the #1 rushing team in the NFL and Dallas is the #1 rushing defense in the NFL so something has to give. If the Eagles can establish the run game, that makes things easier for Mike Vick and his receiving corps.  Vick has not been the quarterback he was last year when he threw for 21 touchdowns and just 9 interceptions.  So far this season, he has 9 touchdowns and 8 interceptions but has yet to be fully healthy in a game.  DeSean Jackson is a player the Cowboys must watch out for, he hasn’t had a very good season(456 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns) but the Cowboys know what he is capable of.  On defense, the Eagles must contain DeMarco Murray who had a career game last week against the Rams.  Philadelphia ranks 23rd versus the run.  Putting Dallas in 3rd and long situations benefits the Eagles to do what they do best which is to blitz.   Quarterback Tony Romo has been know in the past to get rid of the football before he wants to resulting in interceptions after feeling the pressure.  The Eagles must find a way to pressure Romo.

        For the Cowboys, putting pressure on Vick is essential to stopping the Eagles.  If Vick is able to escape from would-be tackles and keep the play alive then it could be a long day for the Dallas secondary.  Cornerbacks and safeties can only hold their coverage for so long before it breaks down, this is what Vick gives you in terms of an additional weapon on offense.  Dallas must make open field tackles.  Philadelphia is one of the best teams in the NFL in making people miss.  The Cowboys must stay balanced on offense such as they did in the Rams game.  Establishing the run with DeMarco Murray will make the game a lot easier for Tony Romo.  The Cowboys have the weapons on offense to give the Eagles fits on defense.  Being able to pass and run block effectively is a big key to the game.  The Eagles linebackers are too slow to cover Jason Witten, he should be open all day in the middle of the field.  Jason Garrett called 10 more running plays than passing plays against the Rams (34 to 24).  In order to win this game, he must have a little more balance on offense.

Prediction

      Dallas has won their last 2 games in Philadelphia and has an opportunity to move into a tie for 1st place with the Giants if New York loses to the winless Dolphins.  This is a very crucial game for both teams, an Eagles loss makes it hard for them to make a playoff push, and a Cowboys win puts them in contention for the NFC East crown.  Andy Reid is brilliant coming off of bye weeks and the Eagles should be fully rested giving a matchup of 2 rivals that are both healthy for the most part.  I see this game as being an instant classic, scoring will go back and forth with big plays on both sides taking place.  In the end, I believe the Cowboys end the Eagles 12 consecutive wins off of byes streak and extend their home losing streak to 6 games.  If the Cowboys play their game and all 4 quarters they should come out on top.

Final Score: DAL 30 PHI 27.

By Chris Bates

          This week in fantasy football there are numerous pick-ups you can add to your team due to multiple injuries.  Listed below are the players that I think will have the greatest impact.

Delone Carter, RB, IND.   Carter was the only bright spot in the Colts embarrassing loss to the Saints.  Joseph Addai re-aggravated a hamstring injury that has been bothering him leaving the door open for Carter.  10 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown are the numbers for Carter in last week’s game and with the Colts pass offense struggling, Carter should see an increased workload.  He is a solid add and based on different matchups is a nice flex-play for your team.

Jabar Gaffney, WR, WSH.  Santana Moss is now out 5-7 weeks with a broken hand suffered in last week’s game against the Panthers.  Gaffney becomes the #1 receiver for Mike Shanahan and quarterback John Beck.  Fred Davis will benefit the most from this, he should see the most targets.  Gaffney is a solid play.

Alfonso Smith, RB, ARZ.  Beanie Wells is doubtful this week with a sprained knee and Arizona is expected to give Smith carries.  LaRod Stephens-Howling is only a good pickup (had 76 yards and 1 touchdown receiving last week).  Smith has upside here, especially if Wells is going to be out for a little while.

Ben Tate, RB, HOU.  Despite Arian Foster’s huge day, the Texans were still committed to giving Tate some carries.  He had 15 carries for 104 yards in the Texans blow-out win over the Titans.  Maybe because the game was a blowout that Tate saw more carries, but he is worth an add to see what happens in the upcoming weeks.

Roy Helu, RB, WSH.    Tim Hightower is not out for the season after suffering a Torn ACL last week vs. Carolina.  Helu and Ryan Torain are both expected to see carries and in Mike Shanahan’s offense you never know which running back will see more playing time.  Helu is a solid back and a solid play.

Antonio Brown, WR, PIT.   Brown received a team-high nine targets and had a career day catching 7 passes for 102 yards.  Hines Ward had to leave the game with an undisclosed injury and if Ward misses any time, Brown takes a significant rise in fantasy value along with Mike Wallace.

Christian Ponder, QB, MIN.  Ponder played well in his first career start against the Packers.  He threw for 212 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions but was very mobile in the pocket and avoided several sacks.  With Adrian Peterson at running back, the passing game will open up for Ponder. 

Michael Jenkins, WR. MIN.   Jenkins led the Vikings in targets last week with 8 and connected with Ponder on a 72 yard touchdown reception finishing the game with 3 receptions for 112 yards.  Yes Percy Harvin is still there, but it’s clear that Ponder has a nice repoir with Jenkins.  Look for Jenkins as a solid bye-week fill in/flex-play.

Below is a list of players to start for this week:

Start

DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL.  No, I am not saying to start him just because of last week’s breakout performance.  I am saying start him based on this week’s matchup against the Eagles.  Philadephia is 23rd against the run, Murray was brilliant against the league’s worse rushing defense in St. Louis but he ran hard and over people for a lot of those yards.  Look for Murray to have another big game vs. the Eagles. 

Jackie Battle, RB, KC.  Battle is clearly the #1 running back for the Chiefs.  Yes Dexter McCluster had a season high 10 carries but Battle received 16 and had 76 yards.  He has upside, this week faces division rival San Diego who is 21st vs. the run.

Bengals D/ST.  A very favorable matchup this week against the Seahawks.  Pete Carroll doesn’t know who his quarterback is and Seattle is ranked 31st in total offense.  The Bengals have the 2nd best defense overall in the NFL so far this season.  Look for a lot of turnovers and alot of points from Cincy’s defense.

Mike Wallace, WR. PIT.  With Hines Ward expected out with an undisclosed injury, Wallace becomes the clear-cut #1 target for Ben Roethlisberger.  Wallace has been the favorite target of Big Ben all season but with the news of Ward, Wallace should have an even greater impact.

Brandon Lloyd, WR. STL.  Lloyd definitely made an impact in his first game with the Rams.  He was targeted a team-high 12 times and caught 6 passes for 74 yards.  That was with A.J. Feeley throwing to him.  Sam Bradford is a much better quarterback and Lloyd’s value should rise when Bradford is back under center for St. Louis.

Sit

LeSean McCoy, RB, PHI.  The Cowboys have the NFL’s best rushing defense, having not allowed a 100-yard rusher all season.  Dallas held Steven Jackson to 60 yards last week, a pretty accomplished running back.  McCoy has been excellent this season but if Michael Vick continues to struggle in the passing game, the Cowboys will make Vick’s arm beat them and not Philly’s run game.

Sidney Rice, WR, SEA.  Pete Carroll has not decided on who his quarterback this week will be and it won’t matter.  The Seahawks have a tough matchup this week against the Bengals who are 5th in the NFL versus the pass.  Rice will receive a lot of double teams and different looks causing for a sub-par day.  Keep him out of your lineup.

Aaron Hernandez, TE, NE.  Hernandez has been strong since his return to the lineup and the Patriots are coming off a bye.  This week they have a matchup with the Steelers and safety Troy Polamalu, who will be covering Hernandez closely.  Look for Hernandez to have a quiet day but Rob Gronkowski to be productive.

Tim Tebow, QB, DEN.  Take away the final 5:37 in the game against the Dolphins and Tebow would have done nothing.  2 touchdowns and a 2 point conversion in those final minutes allowed Tebow to have a productive fantasy day.  Things will be different this week against Ndamukong Suh and the Detroit Lions.  The Broncos offensive line is not very good and Tebow will be facing pressure all day.  I don’t think he can escape the pressure that much this week.

Montario Hardesty.   Peyton Hillis may play this week and despite Hardesty’s 95 rushing yards last week, it took him 33 carries to do it.  He didn’t get in the endzone in an ugly game vs. the Seahawks and this week he faces the 49ers who are 2nd against the run.  Not a good matchup at all.

By Chris Bates

    The Dallas Cowboys had a chance to do something that no other team has done since 2006, defeat Tom Brady and the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  Dallas had a 16-13 lead late in the 4th quarter with 2:37 remaining but once again coughed up the lead as Brady and the Pats drove down the field and scored the game winning touchdown with 29 seconds left.  The victory gave the combo of quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick their 116th win together, tieing Don Shula and Dan Marino for most in NFL history.

Where does Dallas go from here?

      Despite the loss, the Cowboys are still in good shape to win the NFC East as no team is running away with the division.  The Giants lead the division at 4-2, their 8th consecutive year they have had a winning record through the first 6 games of the season.  The Cowboys have played 5 games that have been decided by a combined 16 points.  Their 3 losses by a combined 11 points with 3 fourth quarter leads to the Jets, Lions and Patriots having disappeared.  The first 5 opponents for the Cowboys have a combined record of 21-8, the remaining 11 are a combined 4-13 so it gets easier for Dallas.  This week the Cowboys face the winless St. Louis Rams who will most likely be without starting quarterback Sam Bradford who suffered a high ankle sprain two weeks ago versus the Packers.  Bradford has been in a walking boot, look for backup quarterback A.J. Feeley to get the bulk of the snaps with the first team offense in practice this week.  The Cowboys have some injury news of their own with running back Felix Jones also suffering a high ankle sprain against the Patriots.  He is expected to miss 2-4 weeks.  For Cowboy fans, this is not the news they were hoping to hear.  Jones has been bitten by the injury bug numerous times since being drafted in the 1st round in 2008 out of Arkansas.  This now gives this year’s 3rd round pick out of Oklahoma, DeMarco Murray, a chance to prove that he is NFL starting running back caliber.  After this week, the Cowboys face Michael Vick and the Eagles who are coming off a bye and a division road win at Washington.

Season Prediction

      Despite the Cowboys slow start, I believe (with execution down the stretch) that they can win 11 games this season.  Making the playoffs is not out of the picture for this team.  They have the talent and are clearly better than last season.  Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan has done a great job turning around this defense, taking it from the worst defense in Cowboys history to #4 in total defense going into the New England game.  Better play calling on the coaches part at the end of games and better decision making by Tony Romo will go a long way into what the Cowboys do this season.  My prediction for this season is a 10-6 record with a playoff berth.  I think the Cowboys will advance to the divisional round (2nd round) of the playoffs where they will come up just short.