Wednesday, September 30, 2009

LRN Power Rankings: Week 4

Brett Favre turned back the clock. Matthew Stafford finally put a notch in the Lion win column. The Bengals are a hair away from a 3-0 start after upending the defending champion Steelers. As for LynchyRightNow, we're tired of reading other Power Rankings. Albeit three weeks into the season, we're putting out our own. All (32) teams, including the St. Louis Rams.

Week 4 LynchyRightNow Power Rankings:

(1) Baltimore Ravens - Three dominating wins thus far; @ New England, Cincinnati, and @ Minnesota in the coming weeks, will really show how dominating.

(2) New York Jets - A fine 3-0 start for young Mark Sanchez. The bite of the Jet defense will take on the leagues most explosive offense in the Bayou this Sunday.

(3) New Orleans Saints - Two tough road wins in Philly & Buffalo proved they can play away from the dome. Beating the defense of the Jets & Giants over the next three will prove even more for that potent offense.

(4) Minnesota Vikings - We just learned one thing Tavaris Jackson couldn't do that Brett Favre did do. This may make the Vikes more dangerous than we originally thought.

(5) New York Giants - Layups against both Kansas City & Oakland coming up after layups versus Washington and Tampa in previous weeks. If not for Tony Romo's collapse in week 2, I'd have more doubts about that Giant defense.

(6) Indianapolis Colts - Close wins versus Jacksonville and Miami had me questionable about Jim Caldwell Colts. Peyton's four touchdown, 379 yard performance in the desert gets rid of those questions.

(7) Cincinnati Bengals - Not a misprint. After three weeks the Bengals have bought in and so should we. Wins against Pittsburgh don't come easy.

(8) San Francisco 49ers - Tough loss for young team against Minnesota in week 3. Have to show respect for this team with or without Frank Gore.

(9) New England Patriots - A must win against a hot Falcons team, no problem. New England showed their teeth this week, get on the edge of your seat.

(10) Atlanta Falcons- The Falcons had something to prove last week and didn't. The road only gets tougher. Going forward, San Francisco, Chicago, then Dallas.

(11) Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles had a great bounce back week under Kevin Kolb, we've yet to see Mike Vick unleashed. (Bad pun, sorry.)

(12) Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys won't put 30 on the board against good defenses anymore. However, they will run the ball down your throat. Two straight weeks of 200+ rushing yards against good defenses, Cowboys ground attack has been dominant.

(13) Chicago Bears - It's time to get Matt Forte going. Jay Cutler aside, the Bears should be pounding the football.

(14) San Diego Chargers- In Pittsburgh before a bye, then the Chargers have three straight division games. That's when you make a statement.

(15) Green Bay Packers - Aaron Rodgers has much to prove this week. A win against a 3-0 Vikings team will go a long way, showing the Packer faithful their team is in the right hands will go even longer.

(16) Denver Broncos - Can you rank a 3-0 team any lower than 16th? Their week 4 opponent has rushed for nearly 600 yards on only 85 carries, the Bronco defense better be ready.

(17) Pittsburgh Steelers - Getting San Diego at home should calm Steeler Nation. Against Detroit and Cleveland in the following weeks should get them to 4-2 and return sanity in Pittsburgh.

(18) Tennessee Titans - I like the Titans, really I do. The only 0-3 team this high should tell you that. Time to get off the mat.

(19) Houston Texans Two losses at home, way to treat your fans to a new season. In come the Raiders, take care of business.

(20) Buffalo Bills - Someone remind T.O. why he is being goaded into comments. Pushups on your driveway in Philly? Get your popcorn ready in Dallas? You don't think Buffalo reporters want their turn?

(21) Arizona Cardinals - It's embarrassing to not show up on your home turf. Your fans paid good money to see the defending NFC champs and you laid two eggs at home. Unacceptable.

(22) Carolina Panthers - A 21-7 loss was closer than it seemed on Monday Night. However, Jake Delhomme needs to put together more than one good drive an outing if they want to have a shot.

(23) Seattle Seahawks - I don't agree with Jim Mora attacking Olino Mare for missing field goals. If Jim's offense could get it in the endzone rather than asking their kicker to kick 6 field goals, this wouldn't be in the discussion.

(24) Jacksonville Jaguars - I'm still going with Jack Del Rio as first head coach fired, although with the birds circling around Jim Zorn it doesn't look good.

(25) Miami Dolphins - As far as rankings go, expect this to only get worse. Chad Henne did not look good on Sunday.

(26) Detroit Lions - Mapping it out now, I see at least two more wins on their schedule. 300% more than they had last season.

(27) Washington Redskins - Daniel Snyder is first place in his fantasy league and last place in his real life league. Congrats you just dropped one to the Lions.

(28) Oakland Raiders - Bad news for your team when your head coach is the only one who punches people in the mouth. Oakland: Where anything can and will happen.

(29) Kansas City Chiefs - Welcome to Kansas City Scott Pioli. Good news though, you get Washington in three weeks.

(30) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Surprise, the Tampa Bay Bucs have changed head coaches and still have the same problem. No quarterback.

(31) Cleveland Browns - Not a good sign when 10% of your team is about to file grievances with the NFL against their head coach. Trivia question: Which is best for Cleveland, Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson? Answer: Neither.

(32) St. Louis Rams - That's what you get for passing on offense weapons every year in the draft. I wouldn't have Kyle Boller bag groceries for me.

That's the Week 4 Power Rankings from LynchyRightNow, check back in next week for the updated rankings. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Your Wearing What?!?!

I have no problems wearing the replica jersey of my favorite athlete. At 26 it doesn't bother me one bit that I could be wearing the jersey of someone younger than me. So no, I do not care that I potentially look like my 11-year old brother when I throw on my Jay Novacek throwback. The problems arose when I took a look at what everyone else is tearing off the shelves.

Editor's Note: I find it overly amusing that Buffalo Bills fans find no shame in putting on that Orenthal throwback, if we can get a visa card deal out of this: priceless.

Every year the NFL releases a list of its most popular selling jerseys. In a recent podcast that goes unnamed (sponsorship on here isn't free), a question was bought up that caught my ear. As of today, September 23rd, whose NFL jersey is the hardest to wear to your tailgate? Before we get to that, I'm going to give you the top ten highest sold jerseys between April 1st-August 7th. (I don't believe Brett Favre had officially returned at this point.)

10. Minnesota Vikings RB, Adrian Peterson
9. New York Giants QB, Eli Manning
8. San Francisco 49ers WR, Michael Crabtree
7. Buffalo Bills WR, Terrell Owens
6. New England Patriots QB, Tom Brady
5. New York Jets QB, Mark Sanchez
4. Dallas Cowboys QB, Tony Romo
3. Pittsburgh Steelers QB, Ben Roethlisberger
2. Pittsburgh Steelers DB, Troy Polamalu
1. Chicago Bears QB, Jay Cutler

I'm sure your reactions were pretty on par with my own. We're really still on board with the Terrell Owens show? Why haven't more people wanted the jersey that says 'Ochocinco' on the back? Jay Cutler sucks & Brian Urlacher is going to be pissed. Finally, I didn't realize how many 49er fans were still around, did you?

Moving forward. Using this list and the first two weeks of the 2009 regular season, I've got some changes to make, naturally.

1. Defense has to get more love than this. Of the top ten jerseys sold only one player, Troy Polamalu, plays defense. In a league that is driven by the defense, this is unacceptable. For those who purchased the Troy Polamalu jersey, much respect. To help out those of you who didn't I'm going to give some suggestions: Ravens DB, Ed Reed. Patriot LB, Jerod Mayo. Texans DE, Mario Williams. For the 49ers fans who decided to buy a rookie Michael Crabtree jersey prior to finding out he is probably not going to play this season, this one is for you. REPLACEMENT: 49ers LB, Patrick Willis replaces Holdout Michael Crabtree. Willis is the best linebacker in the league, is bound to win more than one defensive MVP award, his 49ers defense is playing great, and the jerseys are actually pretty cool.

2. Don't be fooled Bills fans, you know who you are. The same guy who has his Bruce Smith & Jim Kelly throwbacks in his closet cannot and should not be purchasing a Terrell Owens jersey, seriously your just encouraging him. Furthermore, how often is he going to touch the ball in that offense? How long is Terrell really going to be there? Jerry Jones got rid of the guy and he sells jerseys, you don't see the writing on the wall? If your looking for a guy who just changed teams, will have an impact, and you probably could attend his Hall of Fame induction post retirement wearing his jersey. REPLACEMENT: Falcons TE, Tony Gonzalez replaces Bills WR, Terrell Owens. This guy is going to get alot of touches and the worst thing he'll ever do is get a speeding ticket.

3. I get it, the Bears are desperate for a quarterback. However, I don't know if Jay Cutler is your guy. I always loved it when the Bears fans would wear Brian Urlacher's jersey, it defined Chicago. Now that they've kicked that theory to the side and started buying up Jay Cutler jerseys faster than tickle-me-elmo, I'm a little upset. Cutler isn't going to win the Bears a Super Bowl and if not for the foot of the Steelers kicker, they'd have started off 0-2, deflate those Super Bowl picks. If Chicago wants to change up from the Urlacher jersey (considering he's out for the whole year) why don't we go with something familiar. REPLACEMENT: Bears WR/KR Devin Hester replaces Bears QB, Jay Cutler. Think about it for a second, he wears number 23, something Chicago fans swear by, it's a no brainer right?

4. Tony Romo is out of the top 10, period. Fans of America's Team deserve better. Being the 4th most popular jersey among NFL fans, there are alot of people folding it up and putting it in the back of their closet this morning. If Romo isn't going to win the big game, what point is buying the jersey? I understand he is the Cowboy quarterback and that will sell jerseys on it's own. [Insert joke about your Quincy Carter jersey] While the Cowboys do have two other players amongst the top 20 in jersey sales, TE Jason Witten & RB Marion Barber, I'm going to do them one better. REPLACEMENT: Cowboys DE, DeMarcus Ware replaces Cowboys QB, Tony Romo. Ware is going to be the cornerstone of America's Team on defense for the next 5 years. This adds to my theory of adding more defensive guys and he'll win a few defensive awards and attend some pro bowls, what more can you ask? (I'm guessing he won't ever be dating Jessica Simpson either) Just a hunch.

5. Super Bowl winning QB's are in, minus one. So we're clear on one thing, if you quarterback a Super Bowl winning team and your last name isn't Dilfer, you should make it on any top 10 list. With that said, Ben Roethlisberger is out. I can't buy your jersey if you have pending legal issues that involve rape. While Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez hasn't won a ring, he plays in the biggest city in the country, we're going to buy his jersey I get it. Giving that he's currently 2-0 with a victory over the Patriots, this purchase seems like a smart one. With Big Ben being out and me refusing to recognize stockboy Kurt Warner as a legit star. REPLACEMENT: Colts QB, Peyton Manning replaces Steelers QB, Ben Roethlisberger. Don't be mad Steelers fans, after this we're all going to a Lake Tahoe casino, blackjack anyone?

The LynchyRightNow Top 10 in NFL Jersey sales:

10. Chicago Bears WR/KR Devin Hester
9. Atlanta Falcons TE, Tony Gonzalez
8. New York Giants QB, Eli Manning
7. San Francisco 49ers LB, Patrick Willis
6. New England Patriots QB, Tom Brady
5. Dallas Cowboys LB, DeMarcus Ware
4. Pittsburgh Steelers DB, Troy Polamalu
3. Indianapolis Colts QB, Peyton Manning
2. Minnesota Vikings RB, Adrian Peterson
1. New York Jets QB, Mark Sanchez

Now that's better. Sanchez plays in the Big Apple and dropped the Patriots in his second start, show respect. Peterson is the best player in the NFL, if not for his jersey being purple, he'd be #1. Now go do some late back-to-school shopping!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Tale Of Two Quarterbacks

Charles Dickens doesn't have anything on me.

On Sunday afternoon the Atlanta Falcons led by their 2nd year quarterback roll into Foxborough. Monday evening the Dallas Cowboys get take two at breaking in their new digs with a victory. Falcon signal caller Matt Ryan and Cowboy field general Tony Romo are on completely different roads. While their paths cross in a little over a month, both quarterbacks have tall tasks ahead of them. This season will define the Tale of Two Quarterbacks.

For Ryan, who has yet to experience the lows of the NFL, his career couldn't have started better. Immediately turning around the left for dead Atlanta Falcons and reaching the playoffs in his first season. Matt Ryan is back in 2009 looking to bring the Falcons their first back to back winning seasons in franchise history. Coming into the NFL as a rookie in 2008, Matt Ryan had already showed glimpses of the ice which runs through his veins while under pressure: see Stunning Blacksburg. With victories in Green Bay, San Diego, and Minnesota in his rookie year, Ryan has left few doubters in his wake. An 11-5 record in 2008 has given him the tallest of orders this season, beginning this week. Over the next eight weeks the Falcons will go on the road six times. A reeling Patriot team this week, where Ryan will revisit the Northeast for the first time since his days on Chestnut Hill. Across the country after a bye week to meet Mike Singletary and a 49er defense led by the NFL's most dangerous player, Patrick Willis. At Dallas, New Orleans, Carolina, and in the Meadowlands to meet Justin Tuck and the Giant Defense. This season the phenom they call Matty Ice will be thrown to the wolves, if he comes out swinging they'll be no doubt left. Matt Ryan has a story that is about to get a whole lot more interesting.

As for Tony Romo, things are heating up and not in a good way. Since his botched snap in the 2006 wildcard playoff game, Tony Romo has been on a wild ride of ups and downs. From his 13-3 regular season in 2007 to the disappointing playoff loss that same season, Tony Romo has been consistent with one thing, inconsistency. Two steps forward, three steps back, that has been the story of the short career of Tony Romo as the Cowboy quarterback. After a roller coaster 2008, Tony Romo has seen the franchise part ways with Terrell Owens and turn the keys over to him, your team and yours only. An exciting week 1 of 2009 with 353 yards passing and three touchdowns, Tony Romo followed it up with his worst performance as an NFL quarterback. After throwing three interceptions to open Jerry Jones' Cowboys Stadium, Romo doesn't have to improve, he must. On center stage this coming Monday night, Romo has an opportunity for redemption. However, it isn't what Tony does over the next two months it what he does come playoff time. If the Cowboy quarterback cannot lead Dallas to the playoffs, and more importantly to a playoff win, you can bet changes in Big D will be on the horizon, now that is pressure. In a three week stretch between November 22nd and December 6th, Romo will be on display not only for the legions of Cowboy faithful but also for his owner. Welcoming the Washington Redskins and owner Daniel Snyder and then playing host to Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders, Jerry Jones wants wins in these games at any cost. Then comes Romo's big night, a rematch against the vaunted New York Giants. Tony Romo will take the field with a shot at redemption, this would be his opportunity to repay the Giants in the Meadowlands for what they've done to his home opener on Sunday night. The tale of this quarterback is better than that of a mid-day soap opera.

There are two quarterbacks I watch for every Sunday, you know who they are. For every Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco, and Drew Brees, I watch for Matt Ryan and Tony Romo. The tales of these quarterbacks get better by the day,

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Return of Keep It Real Friday!

Keep It Real Friday is back! The weekly column that tells all of you to Keep It Real can't hold back much longer. Let's get after it . . .

First up, the New York Jets. Specifically head coach Rex Ryan, free safety Kerry Rhodes, and defensive tackle Kris Jenkins. Fellas, slow your roll! Someone needs to tell the Jets to pump the breaks on all this yip-yap prior to their week 2 match up in the Meadowlands with Tom & the Patriots. Since the Patriots won't be caught in a battle of words, I'll speak up. Rex Ryan, doesn't matter how many fans are screaming down on Tom Brady, they've screamed in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Indy, and San Diego, when TB holds up those three Super Bowl rings things get very quiet, ask Dick Jauron. Kris Jenkins, you better treat this like the big dance because only one of these teams know what that is really like, and pal it ain't yours. Ohhh Kerry Rhodes, my favorite. You want to hit Tom Brady six+ times? You want to embarrass the Patriots? You want them to know you expect to win? Kerry, my mom once told me not to stick my hand in the dogs face, he bites. You put that one together. First real game back from major re-constructive knee surgery, Brady tossed up 378 yards and 39 completions, and he didn't even look good! Don't worry about what you want to do, worry about what you CAN do. Laurence Maroney said it best, "It's funny just listening to it." K-E-E-P, Keep It Real J-E-T-S!

Self-serving, to YOU who said I didn't know CFB. Why don't you roll back the screen and check out the Grab Your Pencils, Grab Your Books column. After posting my college football preview, all the doubters crawled out. "Your crazy talking up Boise State." "Notre Dame is the real deal, believe that!" My favorite? "Miami's Jacory Harris is not that good, Florida State is running the ACC!" Yea, I've been wrong before but when it comes to college football, show respect. After roughing up the Ducks, Boise State slapped around their usual WAC foes, when they run the table are you still not going to talk about quarterback Kellen Moore and his undefeated Bronco squad? I'll say it again, BCS spoiler, no doubt. Notre Dame? Meet Michigan signal caller, Tate Forcier. From 18th in the country to unranked with 1-loss. Are they still the real deal? Jimmy Clausen, gut check time. I just watched Matt Barkley in Columbus, you needed to do that in The Big House to get me on your side. Lastly, you could call me out on college football and I'd defend myself, but your going to call me out on the ACC? That's like calling out Judd Apatow in comedy, suicide. After throwing for 386 yards on the road at Doak Campbell and leading his Hurricanes to a victory over host Florida State in week 1, Jacory Harris showed the Miami faithful what he's really about to do. A near flawless effort in week 2 against ACC foe, Georgia Tech. Jacory Harris gave a 20 of 25, 3 touchdown encore on Thursday night. Keep it up though, the real challenge is next week in Blacksburg. Stay in your hole if he tears up the Hokies, KEEP IT REAL!

Roger and Serena, get over it! I'm not on board with putting a microphone on athletes, your going to hear things like you just heard in Flushing. However, from Serena Williams and Roger Federer, it's a bit much. Two of the most decorated tennis players of the past 15 years just demonstrated as much sportsmanship as Mike Tyson during a Holyfield fight. In a word? It's pathetic. I've always wondered why athletes cry to the refs, the refs who have their minds on one thing, the rules! During any sport an athlete has 1,000 things running through their mind, somehow they think it's possible the ref wasn't doing his one job. Serena wanting to shove a tennis ball down the throat of a linesman, a tad over the top. Roger continuing to rip the ref after the play has ended, give me a break. It's not like either of these two superstars is attempting to win their very first major, the money doesn't matter, both have more than you and I will ever have. Furthermore, what do you think is going to be the result? You complain to a ref, they say "hey, no problem your right, sorry!?!?" Forget hitting them in the pocket with fines, make them sit out a major. Next time you tell the linejudge where you want to shove your PENN tennis ball, you miss Wimbledon, going to do it again? Roger, your banned from Flushing Meadows for a calender year, keep it up and it'll be two. If this was another nobody, we wouldn't care, unfortunately both of these tennis players are invested and they should know better, KEEP IT REAL!

Thank you for following K.I.R.F. hope you enjoyed!

Editor's Note: Don't forget to click on our sister site RightNowPodcast to follow our weekly podcast.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

On Thursday night The Right Now Crew decided to put it all out there on TheRightNowPodcast. We like to have action on football games, and it's a problem. After a Saturday afternoon of college football upsets and a opening weekend of NFL, I need a cigarette. Two and two heading into the an AFC clash on Monday Night, I've got some 'splaining to do.

College Football

Miami (Ohio) +37 1/2 @ Boise State My thought was simple. How were the Broncos going to get up for a game against Miami of Ohio a week removed from their huge opening week victory over Oregon? If Boise comes out playing ugly as they did a week ago, maybe Miami of Ohio can put a couple touchdowns on the board before Boise pulls away and puts their foot on the gas. Final Score: Boise 48 Miami (Ohio) 0. Oops. Bronco quarterback, Kellen Moore went 16/26, with 307 yards passing, and 4 touchdown passes. As for Miami of Ohio? Twenty-six carries for 38 yards on the night. For the second straight week the Boise State fans bare witness to a defense that is terrifying. Pitching a shutout to Miami (Ohio) this week and holding an Oregon Ducks team which scored 38 points in a victory on Saturday, to eight points last week, they've proved they are very, very good. Note to self: Stay away.

Kent State +21 @ Boston College I should be slapped for this one. A season ticket holder of the Boston College Eagles for three seasons and here I am picking against them in only week 2 against Kent State of all teams. The reality is, Boston College doesn't have a an actual #1 quarterback, they are still working the kinks under center. While they did manage to score 54 points a week earlier in their season opener, this team never puts up points like that, not even when current Atlanta Falcon quarterback, Matt Ryan was under center two years ago. Final Score: Boston College 34 Kent State 7. Again. All I have to say is, win/win. Boston College won by 27 and I have two losses on the book, however Boston College won and as a fan, I'm happy. More importantly, hats off to first year head coach, Frank Spaziani. Injury to senior linebacker Mike McLaughlin, '08 ACC Defensive Player of the year sidelined with cancer, it would be easy for Spaziani and the Eagles to take a mulligan in 2009 but they aren't. Both quarterbacks Justin Tuggle and Dave Shinskie seem to be on the same page as their headcoach, winning is what matters most. Note to self: Don't pick against your team.

NFL Football

Atlanta -4 v. Miami (In ATL)The Georgia Dome is a tough place for any team to come and play. The Georgia Dome packed with opening day fans and a quarterback/tight end combination chomping at the bit, well that's just down right unstoppable. The Dolphins were heading into a game that meant something more to Matt Ryan and Co. down in Atlanta. Hoping to have the Falcons first back-to-back winning seasons in errrr well ever and in the process proving that his 2008 rookie campaign was not a fluke. Final Score: Atlanta 19 Miami 7 There we go baby. First win of the season for the Falcons, first win of the week for me. The Dolphins head coach, Tony Sparano was accurate in his postgame press conference, "your not going to win when you don't take care of the ball." The Fish turned over teh ball four times including three fumbles. Respect should be paid to newest Falcon and offseason acquisition, Mike Peterson. The former Jaguar forced a fumble and intercepted a Chad Pennington pass to go along with his seven tackles in his Falcon debut. As for Matt Ryan, two touchdown passes with 230 yards passing with zero interceptions. Ho Hum. Note to self: I really don't like the Dolphins this season.

Philadelphia -2 1/2 @ Carolina 8-0 at home in 2008, the Carolina Panthers are good at home, right? That was then, this is now. The Eagles were jacked up to get this season under way. Michael Vick in the owner's box, DeSean Jackson back for his second year, and playing with heavy hearts after the of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. I loved the Eagles in this one, they wanted to get off to a great start and Carolina would be forced to play up to them. Don't think for one second Jake Delhomme's 5 interception performance during last years playoffs didn't factor into this. Final Score: Philadelphia 38 Carolina 10 Knotting it up. The Eagles score from all over the field, they can get you with special teams, defense, and of course with Brian Westbrook. With all three of those things happening and Jake Delhomme returning to form throwing 4 interceptions in just 17 attempts, you can put that in the book. It's safe to say that Philadelphia will be what we thought they would this season, good and dangerous. Most impressive note, the tandum of Brian Westbrook and rookie LeSean McCoy combined for 22 carries and 110 yards. Not only does Brian Westbrook get to take less carries, he won't be as banged up come November and December. Note to self: McNabb's broken rib aside, the Eagles are a good pick.

A 2-2 start for the weekly pick 'em isn't bad. With the Patriots geared up to play in Foxborough against division rival Buffalo, things are looking good. They'll be no excuses for that one, I haven't been this confident since finishing second in a three person foot race. Get after it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The 2009 NFL Preview

Stop the presses. Okay, so they're already on cool off mode. This is the LynchyRightNow NFL Preview. Move all your SI Previews, and loads of ESPN content to the side. Put your bookie on speed dial and take what I've given you . . . also check out: (RightNowPodcast)

Let's Get After It

Editors's Note: This post is going up after the first game of the season last night. Rather than changing something I'll just fill it in here. If the Steelers don't run the ball and ask Ben to win 13 games, they're in trouble. The Titans don't miss Albert Haynesworth, no matter what you read next.

AFC Preview

AFC East While the rest of the division seems to be in turmoil, Foxboro is a buzzin'. The defending AFC East Champion Dolphins are going to have to find a new trick this season. With new Jets coach and former Raven defensive mastermind, Rex Ryan, taking over in New York, it won't be long till the Dolphins are solved, if they aren't already. As for those Jets, running the ball and playing defense is a simple plan, but playing defense against a high powered offense in New England? Very unsimple. Speaking of offenses with loads of talent, the Buffalo Bills. The acquisition of everyones favorite distraction, Terrell Owens, paired with 1,000 yard receiver Lee Evans, seems to be a good combination on paper. However, an entire offensive line revamped with rookies and journeymen during the offseason, not a good thing for a quarterback who was sacked 23 times a season ago. The New England Patriots and their bevy of talent (even without the departed Richard Seymour) look to be in control. Rookies Ron Brace and Darius Butler have proved to be NFL ready during the preseason. 2nd year player and reigning defensive rookie of the year, Jerod Mayo, has taken the reigns of the New England defense. With veterans all over the Patriot defense they are scary. On offense the Pats return you know who and are a force to be reckoned with. The AFC East has alot of unanswered questions, who will win it is not one of them.

AFC North The defending champs are returning, wait for it, wait for it, EVERYONE. Have you ever heard a defending champion talked about as little as the Pittsburgh Steelers have been talked about? The Steelers actually return second year player Rashard Mendenhall, so yes they got stronger. This is what you have to know about the AFC North: In 2008, those same defending champion Steelers were 6-0 against the division. The 2nd place Ravens had two division losses, and you know who those were against. More of the same. Bengals seem healthy, they are the Bengals and have won 1 playoff game in 19 years. The Browns may have a new coach, but they are the same old Browns. Quarterback controversy, receiver with the drops, and an aging backfield. As for those pesky Ravens, this defense is fierce as always. Joe Flacco will have to make more plays this year and put the offense on his back, which I expect he'll do. Circle their trip to Foxboro in early October. All things being equal, which they aren't, the Steelers will be the Steelers and the Ravens will play defense. Let's keep this in mind: If the Pittsburgh Steelers reach the Super Bowl in Miami, you'll be hard pressed to not call them The Team of The Decade.

AFC South Here's a division which can go one of two ways. 1) Be the most boring division in football. The Colts without Marvin Harrison & Tony Dungy? The Jaguars return after a big drop off in 2008. Can the Titans remain their 2008 form or was Collins a fluke? Are the Texans getting too much hype, can Matt Schaub stay healthy? Or 2) Peyton Manning returns with another weapon in the backfield in rookie Donald Brown. The Jaguars have moved out the trash and will put the ball in Maurice Jones-Drew's hands, the most exciting back in the AFC. The Titans don't need Albert Haynesworth to be, the TITANS. Jeff Fisher will run the ball and have his team playing stout defense. Finally, the Houston Texans, my darlings of the AFC. The year Mario Williams announces how good he really is, the year Matt Schaub delivers to the Texans what they signed on for. Finally, people begin to respect Andre Johnson as the top receiever in this game. The AFC South could be the most interesting division in football, two playoff teams a lock? If your putting my feet to the fire. The Texans and Colts battle this one out, hard to ignore the Jags and Titans right?

AFC West Can we skip this one? Fine. I'm going to rip three out of four of these teams for their offseason. Kansas City Chiefs, any reason why your trading for Matt Cassel but trading the only offensive weapon you had that matters? You better hope that Glen Dorsey and Tyson Jackson produce on defense or this will be a very long season. Denver Broncos Mike Shannahan's world doesn't look so bad now does it? Brandon Marshall completely off the wall, Jay Cutler in Chicago and Kyle Orton under center? Knowshon better know something we don't. Oakland Raiders, cricket, cricket, cricket. The AFC West won't be a shocker this season, Phil Rivers and a tougher Charger team are going to run rampant, put it in the bank. Their slew of wideouts over 6'5", their tough as nails quarterback, Sproles & Tomlinson in the backfield. On defense? Rookie Larry English should pair nicely with Shawn Merriman in 2009. Be afraid. Even if Kansas City or Denver decides to put it together, neither of these teams have their act together going into the season. We don't know what is going on with Matt Cassel and who has Josh McDaniels annoyed this week? The day you told me Norv Turner had everything under control, is the same day pigs would fly, and they are flying

NFC Preview

NFC East The toughest division in football, year in and year out. Rabid fans in New York, Dallas, Philly, and D.C. are preparing for another face knocking in NFL season. Razor thin differences seperate these NFL powerhouses. The Mike Vick experience in Philly is in full swing. Spending as usual, the 'Skins add All-Pro defensive tackle, Albert Haynesworth. Osi Umenyiora is back on the NFL's most underated defense. T.O. in the Northeast, Tony Romo has all eyes on him in Dallas. Which of these teams will come through and win this tough division? Call me what you will, but I like the Cowboys (and Giants). The Giants & Dallas have two things in common, a smashing rushing attack and defenses who stun. From Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs giving the proper dose of power and speed in the Meadowlands to Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice in Dallas, be prepared to play stout rush defense. DeMarcus Ware and Justin Tuck anchor defenses ready to take off in 2009. Tuck paired with the new arrival of Chris Canty and comeback of Osi Umenyiora should have enough to provide tough defense from wire to wire. In Dallas the NFL sack leader welcomes the arrival of veteran linebacker Keith Brooking and under the radar defensive tackle Jay Ratliff whose been leading the Cowboy defensive line in recent years. Donovan and Mike in Philly?!?! Too many questions for this Cowboy fan. To Dan Snyder and Washington, call me when Jason Campbell has been replaced. Cowboys & Giants, don't sleep.

NFC North (Norris) One word describes this legend of a division: cold. Could it be as easy as Adrian Peterson takes over the NFL in 2009? Aaron Rodgers and the darling Packers regain their 2007 form and rip through the NFC en route to the league championship, right? Congrats Matt Stafford, you won 200% more games than the Lions won last season. Hmm who am I forgetting? Oh, right. The Chicago Bears and their flake of a quarterback who is supposed to save the Bears franchise. Riiiiiiiiiiight. Has a quarterback ever been labled as important without winning anything than Jay Cutler? Cutler threw 18 interceptions last season, he gambles, makes poor decisions, and scares the hell out of me if I'm a Bear fan. In short, I'm an Aaron Rodgers guy. Rodgers had a better quarterback rating, threw more touchdown passes, and less interceptions, not to mention the Packers play tough defense. Aaron Kampman and A.J. Hawk should see more opportunities this season with rookie tackle B.J. Raji clogging up the middle. Stop with the Bears folks, Jay Cutler is human and like Tony Romo & Phil Rivers, he hasn't won anything. Yes I'm dismissing the Lions, nuff said. As for the Vikes? Brett Favre garbage aside, Adrian Peterson is a beast and if he stays healthy you'll be hard pressed to find a play who garners as much importance on a team than Peterson does on the Vikes. Vikes & Packers, in.

NFC South No, you know what? I don't care that the Atlanta Falcons play the toughest schedule in the NFL, or at least one of the toughest. At New England, at Dallas, at the Giants, doesn't matter. Michael Turner coming back to earth, doesn't matter. Too big of a turn around, doesn't mean much. Here's the bottom line on the Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan has it. Whatever it is that makes Tom Brady and Peyton Manning tick the way they do, Ryan has it. You want me to role up in Foxboro? Fine, see you September 27th. Adding Tony Gonzalez really does make Atlanta scary good on offense. Had to get that off my chest. The rest of the division doesn't do much for me. Till the Saints are ready to play defense, I'll pass. Hats off to Drew Brees who continues to amaze me and I fully expect him to blow up again with Colston back from injury. The Panthers? You know what they say about fool me twice, I watched that debacle against Arizona in the 2008 playoffs. The Bucs? Byron Leftwich right? Replacing your coordinator weeks before the season opens? Right. I'll pass. The NFC South is about one thing, will the Saints every put together a defense and will Matt Ryan take the next step as quickly as he did the first?

NFC West Four teams, three new head coaches? There is a possibility that two of the four teams in this division will be drafting in the top ten next season. The 49ers who have yet to sign their top pick Michael Crabtree are weak in the one spot you don't want to be weak, quarterback. The Seahawks are a giant question mark, can Julius Jones carry the backfield? Can Matt Hassleback play an entire season? Is Jim Mora Jr. the right man for this job? I'll pass on the Rams, new head coach Steve Spagnolo has a few years to turn around this ship that was once mighty. The real questions lie in the defending NFC Champion Cardinals. I know that Beanie Wells gives the Cardinals a great young weapon in the backfield, I just don't know if his health will withstand the weekly pounding he'll receive in "The League." Kurt Warner isn't getting any younger and does he have another season like last years in him? The big question surrounding the Cardinals can be answered in a sentence. Do they have what it takes to maintain? His name is Larry Fitzgerald. No wideout in the NFL can say that he threw his team on his back all the way to the Super Bowl, none. Terrell Owens can't. Chad Ochocinco can't. Plaxico had a defense that was second to none. However, Larry Fitzgerald is the toughest player to cover in the entire league, he has the ability to redefine how the position is played. Physical, great hands, gets sepeartion, break-a-way speed. The Cardinals go as far as Larry Fitzgerald takes them, whatever comes next, is gravy.


AFC Division Champions:
New England
San Diego

AFC Wild Cards:

NFC Division Champions:
New York (Giants)
Green Bay

NFC Wild Cards:

Super Bowl Pick:

Giants v. Pats

Individual Awards . . .

NFL Offensive Rookie Of The Year Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants. The 20-year old Giant wideout was expecting to become Peyton's newest target, fortunately for little brother Eli, the Colts passed on him. Hakeem Nicks will transform into the star of one of the NFL's youngest groups of receivers that includes fellow rookie Ramses Barden. In the final two preseason games the newest Giant receiver caught a combined three touchdown passes against the Patriots and Jets, including a 64-yard reception in New England. Nicks speed and hands will make him Eli's favorite target by mid-season. If the Giants expect to go far, this rookie will play an important role in doing so.

NFL Defensive Rookie Of The Year Larry English, OLB, San Diego Chargers. English will add to a Ron Rivera led defense that includes Shaun Phillips (74 tackles in '08), and of course linebacker Shawne Merriman, who returns from injury this season. In the final two preseason games the 6'2" outside linebacker has gotten to the quarterback early and often. English not only provides an insurance policy on the health of Shawne Merriman but also rounds out a linebacking corps with the most potential in the AFC West. Expect big things from the kid from a small school. (Northern Illinois)

NFL Offensive Player Of The Year Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots. If there is one thing we can take away from this preseason, it is that Tom Brady's knee is fine. The Patriot quarterback is back to reclaim his rightful spot under center. Less we forget how that Brady has yet to have his revenge year for the Super Bowl that left the Patriots 1-win shy of perfection. 2009 will remind the NFL of the offensive force that Tom Brady & Co. are. The Patriots have more than three serviceable backs, Moss, Welker, and Galloway catching passes, and of course returning a veteran line that must prove their worth by protecting #12. I won't say Brady will match his career year in 2007 (50 TD's and 4,800 yards)
but he'll do more than impress.

NFL Defensive Player Of The Year Mario Williams, DE, Houston Texans. Let's face it, if the Texans are going to take that next step in 2009 it'll be on the back of Mario Williams and that defense. Williams recorded 12 sacks last season, his second straight season of 12 or more. The Texans will be on full display early with games against the Jets and their rookie quarterback, the Jags and their revamped offensive line, and of course the Oakland Raiders in week four. Finishing the season with Seattle, St. Louis, and Miami should give Williams and the Texans plenty of room to show how dominant he can be. One of the fastest defensive ends in the league, Mario Williams is due and so are the Houston Texans.

NFL Coach Of The Year Want a curveball? Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers. Stop laughing. This is the year the Chargers pull it all together. After an injury plagued 2008, the Chargers are finally healthy. Coming off career highs in touchdown passes, completions, and yards, quarterback Phillip Rivers is benefiting from the tutelage of Norv just as other qb's have. With Rivers & Turner being able to develop a scheme using all three 6'5" wideouts and a 6'4" All-Pro tight end in Antonio Gates, be scared. A tough schedule is in line for the San Diego Chargers but avoiding playing Philadelphia and Washington on the East Coast gives the Chargers a leg up. When the Chargers win 12-14 games, it'll be hard to ignore what Norv has done for Phillip Rivers. That's why Norv Turner will be the 2009 NFL Coach of the Year.

NFL Most Valuable Player Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots What else do we need to say? Tom Brady is heading into his personal revenge season. Still stewing from the 1-loss season two years ago, Tom Brady has yet to give payback. After being dropped in week 1 last season, Brady was forced to watch another quarterback lead his team, you don't think that puts anger in the mind? To take it one step further, the Patriot faithful actually were okay with Matt Cassel leading his team, as if to imply Bill Belichick and "The Patriot Way" could make just about anybody a winning quarterback, that's got to sting. Brady is still throwing to Randy Moss and Wes Welker, the same duo that helped him on his way to 50 touchdown passes in 2007. His backfield is stronger with the addition of Fred Taylor via Jacksonville. But of course, his head coach and he are on the same page with the message they want to send in 2009. "We're back, get the hell out of the way." That's why Tom Brady should not be questioned in 2009.

That wraps up the 2009 NFL Preview. If the NFL is trying to crush any sport gaining traction this year, they're doing a good job at it. The return of Michael Vick, the comeback of Brett Favre, Pittsburgh looking to repeat, the Patriots looking to remind everyone of who the team of the decade is, can Jay Cutler get it done in Chicago, and finally, what surprises are in store for us this season? That's why the NFL is, and always will be. . . KING.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Grab Your Pencils, Grab Your Books

Kiddies call it your back to school special. Call it your juiced up college football preview. As for the gamblers, call it your guide to a late year comeback. This is the 2009 College Football Preview from your friends at LynchyRightNow. I'm answering the NINE, thought provoking questions of the 2009 College Football season. Without further adieu . . . . .

Welcome to Boise, can you get out intact? Open strong. Proverbial kings of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). An astounding 44-8 since the start of the 2005 season. Not a loss on home turf since December 28th that same year. [Insert your joke about the strength of schedule here.] On September 3rd to open the season, the Boise State Broncos welcome the Oregon Ducks to Idaho. The Broncos are playing host in their yearly PAC-10 hiccup. A contest Boise State has gone 2-2 in the past four seasons. This year it's different. Both the Broncos and Ducks are ranked in the preseason Top 25. You pick the poll and the Ducks and Broncos are interchangeable. What better way to kick off the season than with a little action. The Broncos and their dominating home record are giving four (-4) to the Ducks. Well readers, I'ma break it down real quick. Broncos sophomore quarterback, Kellen Moore is out to impress. The Broncos rout the Ducks and plan to play BCS spoiler. Put it in the bank!

Chinks in the armour. Are the Trojans that vulnerable? Yes, there are definite chinks in the armour of the '09 Trojans. (1) Newly anointed starting quarterback, Matt Barkley, will have his hands full as both he and new offensive coordinator, John Morton, adjust to their new roles. Can the Trojan offense function as well as they have in the past? Is it any wonder why head coach Pete Carroll was upset after losing Mark Sanchez to the lure of the NFL? (2) They didn't just lose Sanchez, the Trojans are replacing 8 starters on a top defense in college football last season. Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews have all departed to the NFL. Those aren't run of the mill starters, those are smash mouth sideline to sideline defensive forces who still need to be replaced. Lastly, (3) Six of their first nine games are on the road, and not in nice places. Columbus, Ohio on September 12th. Berkeley, California on October 3rd. South Bend, Indiana on October 17th. All three opponents expected to have better years while their field generals take charge with another year under their belt. If the Trojans navigate this mess you can bet they'll be playing for something alot bigger than the PAC-10 Championship. If not, those chinks in the armour will look like gaping holes.

This is a Gator Nation, your just living in it! You are, we all are. The Florida Gators are attempting to seperate themselves from the recent Trojans ('03 &'04 National Champs) and Tigers ('03 & '07 National Champs), they're embarking on their 3rd National Championship run since 2006, and believe me they can do it. On the shoulders of the iconic Tim Tebow, the Gators have become the most dominant program in the country from top to bottom. By kickoff on Saturday night the legions of Gator faithful await the defending national champions in their return to the gridiron, Gainesville will be rocking. From the September to January don't be surprised if the only team you hear about his Florida. Urban Meyer has become the greatest college football coach of his time. Tim Tebow, well you know the drill. Of course the season will present some surprises but the demise of the Florida Gators will not be one of them. To all the Gator Haters; 35-6 over the past three seasons, and these Gators don't play in the WAC!

Will our returning Heisman Memorial winners join Archie? Oklahoma quarterback, Sam Bradford and Florida quarterback, Tim Tebow are both entering the season with Heismans under their arms. Tebow and Bradford have the opportunity to join Archie Griffin as the only college football players to win the games most coveted prize, twice. Both quarterbacks have top three teams in the country. Both quarterbacks lead offenses designed to put them on display. Both teams are poised to play on the games biggest stages. Tebow will play both in The Bayou and at South Carolina, which is sure to be a smash hit and give the Heisman voters those dramatic road shows. Bradford has an early test in south Florida against Miami and visits Lincoln in early November, the big stage plays right for the defending Heisman trophy winner. So, will Archie be making room???? NO! Your 2009 Heisman Memorial Trophy winner is none other than Longhorn, Colt McCoy. My prediction is Colt wrapping this up in October. Red River Shootout on the 17th, at Missouri on the 24th, and at Oklahoma State on the 31st. If Colt McCoy navigates this gauntlet of a month there is no doubt in my mind he has just as good of a shot as anyone. Happy now Archie?

Is the Notre Dame hype for real? I want to be down on the Irish this year. I want to tell you how over-hyped they've become in recent weeks. I want to tell you Weis will be canned by January 1st. Unfortunately, I'm smarter than that. I'm a schedule guy, sue me. When it comes to the Irish and their 2009 schedule only one overused word comes to mind: SOFT. Sure, they get USC coming to their place, with two weeks to prepare. They've lost two straight to Boston College, did I mention Mark Herzlich has cancer? The Irish play 4, PAC-10 teams. Where's Cal? How about the three straight weeks of Big 10 challenge? Call me when the Nittany Lions or Buckeyes show up in South Bend. Don't even get me going on Nevada, Navy, and UConn . . .PLEASE!?!?! For all the Irish fans, your welcomes are in line for the schedule makers. For Charlie, here's your shot. Notre Dame is prepared for a top 10 finish and if that's the case, book your ticket to a BCS Bowl Game. Maybe the Irish are fraudulent but we'll never know, at least not till January roles around.

Who will challenge the Hokies for ACC supremacy? ACC Football, only three things in life are guaranteed, death, taxes, and the Virginia Tech Hokies headed to the Orange Bowl in 2009. The Hokies open with none other than Alabama, a test early for an ACC team looking to take control out of the gate. Returning both Junior quarterback Tyrod Taylor and 1,000 yard rusher Darren Evans, the Hokie offense will do more than survive. As far as the ACC goes, I'm focusing on only one team to challenge Frank Beamer's squad, that'd be the Miami Hurricanes. Possibly be a year away as mentioned in this week's episode of TheRightNowPodcast, but the Hurricanes are back. The toughest schedule in college football belongs to those same Hurricanes, and that is my number one reason for giving them the nod. A September matchup in Blacksburg will let you know who wins the ACC, and we're not even a month in. Miami will be led by sophomore playmaker, Jacory Harris. The Hurricane quarterback responsible for a 5 touchdown performance, including 1 rushing, last season returns to lead a Miami team riddled with young athletic talent. Those are the players prepared to give Virginia Tech a rough afternoon. Jacory Harris, we're on to you.

Sooners, Longhorns, & Gators . . . Who don't we expect? I debate to even include this section. Why? Read that line one more time . . .Sooners, Longhorns, Gators. All three return Heisman candidate field generals, have you not learned anything? I contemplate telling you dangerous the Big 12 has become. Maybe I throw out everything I've said and remind you of that school in So. Cal. or how about I just copy and paste exactly what I wrote about Florida. What fun would that be right? For a special treat to our SEC fans and of course co-host of TheRightNowPodcast I'm giving you the Rebels of Ole' Miss. Minus Peria Jerry and Michael Oher, Ole' Miss' top two interior lineman from a year ago, the Rebels return a slew of talent. Lead by junior quarterback Jevan Snead, Ole' Miss prepares to shock the nation as they did being the only team to drop Florida last season. The real hitch is the Mississippi defensive line. From Greg Hardy and Ted Laurent to Lawon Scott the Rebels have the toughest defensive front in college football, and that's after losing Peria Jerry, a first round pick. When I can give you an SEC team, I'll do it nine times of ten. Your safe with Ole' Miss.

The Nittany Lions are a force, believe that! Did you think the Big 10 would go quiet? Think again. Sports Illustrated had it right, the Nittany Lions are not to be fooled with. Returning senior quarterback, Daryll Clark, Penn State is tougher than ever. 19 Touchdowns a year ago, this quarterback shows no slowing down. As far as their schedule goes, see Ohio State on November 7th, before that? Don't get your hopes up. Penn State is returning to stack on the victories for for Joe Paterno. As for the Happy Valley defense, that is led by 6'10" defensive tackle, Jared Odrick. A tackle who recorded five sacks last season and returns this year to draw havock on the Big 10's elite. After their Rose Bowl defeat just a year ago the Nittany Lions return with work to do. Scoring 40+ in close to half of their games in 2008, the Big 10 opponents aren't taking them lightly. If the Rebels of Ole' Miss can't get it done for us. We bank on Penn State. Own it!

. . . And the National Champions are? What!?!? That's the question you wrap this up with? Florida v. Texas. I'm all chalk and I'm all honest. The 2009 National Champions reside in The Sunshine State. Tim Tebow adds to his legacy and becomes the only ( I didn't check it ) quarterback to record not 1, not 2, but THREE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS. Move over Archie Griffin, I'm forgetting your name. That's how we wrap up the 2009 NCAA COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW.