Category Archives: AFC North

Guest Post: Sizing Up the Competition

I love being able to having different voices on this blog. It enhances what we are trying to do, to give interesting takes on sports and entertainment. Rebecca Wilcox is the latest person to guest blog on our site.

The Cincinnati Bengals have a soon-to-be-elite aerial attack combo of quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green. She thinks the current “pass happy” NFL is the perfect utopia for the duo to make history very soon.

Will Dalton & Green be this generation’s Aikman & Irvin? Rebecca Wilcox breaks it down and shares her opinion. Continue reading

2012 NFL Team Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers started to show their age in 2011. They were inconsistent early in the season, but bounced back to make the playoffs. They didn’t get very deep. They lost to Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos in the first-round.

Pittsburgh addressed their offensive line issues in the draft by picking guard David DeCastro and tackle Mike Adams. They will have to mature in a hurry, since Ben Roethlisberger needs to stay off his back.

Mike Wallace has a contract issue that has been a distraction all offseason. Rashard Mendenhall will start the season on the sideline, which will be the biggest hurdle early in the year. The season has already been a chore and they haven’t played a regular season game yet.

Can Pittsburgh make another playoff run or will their age finally creep up on them? Here is our 2012 NFL team preview of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

2011 Win/Loss Record: 12-4

Key Additions: TE Leonard Pope, OG David DeCastro, OT Mike Adams, RB Chris Rainey, LB Sean Spence, TE Justine Peelle, DT Alameda Ta’amu, WR Toney Clemons, TE David Paulson and LS Matt Katula

Key Losses: CB William Gay, RB Mewelde Moore, WR Hines Ward, QB Dennis Dixon, LB James Farrior, OT Jamon Meredith, P Daniel Sepulveda and DE Aaron Smith

Non-Division Schedule: AFC West and NFC East

Fantasy Sleepers: RB Chris Rainey and WR Jerricho Cotchery – Mike Wallace is marred in a contract dispute which may not be resolved before training camp. Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown will step up and fill the need, but Cotchery lends veteran leadership to the position. He could take over Hines Ward’s role. He will not be a superstar, but a possession receiver that could steal a few touchdowns inside the red zone. Another sleeper possibility sleeper is rookie running back Chris Rainey. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer will be the primary backs while Rashard Mendenhall starts out the season on the sideline, but keep an eye on Rainey.

Team Analysis: New offensive coordinator Todd Haley loves to air it out, so the pressure will be on the offensive line. Roethlisberger could have his best statistical season if they they do their job. Speaking of the passing game, Antonio Brown stepped up in the second-half of last year and it due for a breakout season. Mike Wallace has held out for most of the preseason, which is never a good thing when going into a new offense. Rashard Mendenhall is hurt and will most likely be out until the the fifth week. Pittsburgh will have to rely on a group of inexperienced backs early. The defense looked old at times last season and they didn’t do a lot in the offseason to address getting younger. They will need to stay healthy (i.e. Troy Polamalu) and use their experience if they hope to keep up with youth. In 2011, they lead the NFL in pass defense, but the loss of William Gay could hurt them. I don’t see Pittsburgh starting off well in 2012. They face tough defenses in their first four games when they will be without Mendenhall. I see Pittsburgh losing a few games they usually win, especially if they become one-dimensional. Baltimore looks like the team to beat in the AFC North, so the Steelers will be fighting for a Wild-Card spot.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 10.5 (Prediction: UNDER)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 9-7

CLICK HERE to read the rest of our 2012 NFL Team Previews

By: TwitterButtons.com

A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.

2012 NFL Team Preview: Cleveland Browns

I apologize at the beginning for not finding a cuter picture to use in my Cleveland Browns team preview. I searched around the internet and I couldn’t find many ‘cute Cleveland Browns fan’ picture results. I’m friends with a lot cute, female Browns fans on Facebook…but a search there didn’t retrieve much either.

Dear lady Browns fans, I know you are a cute bunch, but step your game up and take more pictures in your gameday gear!

Oh yeah, back to the actual football team…they were bad in 2011. They drafted two offensive weapons in this year’s draft who will pay off instantly. Their draft prizes, RB Trent Richarson and QB Brandon Weeden, are upgrades from last year’s starters.

The AFC North is loaded and Cleveland stares at another rebuilding year. What should fans expect from them in 2012? Here’s our 2012 team preview for the Cleveland Browns.

2011 Win/Loss Record: 4-12

Key Additions: RB Trent Richardson, QB Brandon Weeden, DE Juqua Parker, OT Mitchell Schwartz, DT John Hughes and WR Travis Benjamin.

Key Losses: RB Peyton Hillis, OG Eric Steinbach, OG Artis Hicks, DE Jayme Mitchell and C Steve Vallos.

Non-Division Schedule: AFC West and NFC East

Fantasy SleeperWR Travis Benjamin – Brandon Weeden has a bigger arm than Colt McCoy, so expect the wide receivers to have increased stats. Greg Little, Josh Cribbs, and Mohammed Massaquoi will all have the opportunity for breakout years. Benjamin could sneak into the game when the Browns go four-wide. Rookie quarterbacks get to know rookie wide receivers really well. They work with them in rookie mini-camp and they could develop chemistry. I’m not the only one who feels this way, Nate Ulrich at the Akron Beacon Journal agrees with me.

Team Analysis: Cleveland’s offensive linemen will need to come through this season if the Browns hope to stay competitive. If they can’t open up holes for Richardson or keep Weeden off his back, this season will be a disaster. The Browns cut ties with an ‘America’s White Boy’ favorite (Peyton Hillis) to make room for Richardson. It was the right call to not re-sign him. Weeden has an improved group of receivers who will make him look good if he can get the ball to them. Cleveland’s lone bright spot last season was their pass protection. They were second in opposing passing yards with Joe Haden leading the secondary. He is an elite corner, even if the box score doesn’t show what he adds to the team. If they can just stop the run (ranked 30th in 2011), they would have a decent defense. Let’s face facts, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati are all playoff contenders and Cleveland plays six games against those three teams. They also play four games against the dominant NFC East, yikes! Cleveland’s best-case scenario would be winning six games…but I don’t see that happening.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 4.5 (Prediction: UNDER)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 4-12

CLICK HERE to read the rest of our 2012 NFL Team Previews

By: TwitterButtons.com

A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.

2012 NFL Team Preview: Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals hit a home run in last year’s draft when WR A.J. Green and QB Andy Dalton were available at the right time. Dalton threw for over 3,300 yards with 20 touchdowns and Green had over 1,000 receiving yards. I cannot remember another pair of rookies who made that big of an impact immediately.

Thanks to Green and Dalton, Cincinnati made the playoffs with a 9-7 record. The casual fan would assume that their offense carried them, but it was their defense that made them a winner. They ranked in the top-10 in passing and rushing defense.

The dreaded sophomore slump is always a possibility when a player looks good as a rookie. Teams will focus their defense on shutting that player down. Dalton and Green will both have to adjust and evolve with the defenses.

Are the Bengals looking at another playoff berth in 2012? Here’s our 2012 NFL team preview for the Cincinnati Bengals. (Ben-Gals cheerleader photo courtesy of my Ben-Gal friend, Britney.)

2011 Win/Loss Record: 9-7

Key Additions: RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CB Terrence Newman, DE Jamaal Anderson, CB Jason Allen, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, OG Kevin Zeitler, DT Devon Still, WR Mohamed Sanu, DT Brandon Thompson, TE Orson Charles and RB Daniel ‘Boom’ Herron.

Key Losses: RB Cedric Benson, LB Keith Rivers, OG Bobbie Williams, WR Jerome Simpson, WR Andre Caldwell, DE Jonathan Fanene, LB Brandon Johnson, OG Nate Livings, DE Frostee Rucker, TE Bo Scaife and C Mike McGlynn.

Non-Division Schedule: AFC West and NFC East

Fantasy SleeperWR Muhamed Sanu – Cincinnati drafted receivers A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, and Marvin Jones in the last two drafts. All three are tall and fit on the outside. Sanu is more athletic than most realize. Green will be getting double teams and Sanu will be getting man-to-man coverage. Sanu could be worth a late-round pick.

Team Analysis: Dalton and Green are both expected to keep improving. I don’t see either of them taking a step back. I am looking forward to watching BenJarvus Green-Ellis get his shot at being the feature back. I like how Cincinnati improved their secondary by adding Kirkpatrick and Newman to Reggie Nelson, Leon Hall and Nate Clements. Watch out for Carlos Dunlap this season, he’s due for a breakout year. I’m afraid the AFC North is too top-heavy for the Bengals to win it this year. Cincinnati was one of the biggest surprises in 2011, but when you look at their schedule last season, it makes sense. They beat up on weak AFC South teams and were only 2-4 inside their own division. Their non-divisional schedule in 2012 is filled with probable playoff teams. They will have a difficult time improving on their 9-7 record last year. I don’t see them making the playoffs, but look out for them going forward.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 8 (Prediction: PUSH)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 8-8

CLICK HERE to read the rest of our 2012 NFL Team Previews

By: TwitterButtons.com

A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.

2012 NFL Team Preview: Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens were one scoreboard operator error away from making the Super Bowl last season. If you think they have a chip on their shoulder this season, that is an understatement.

Baltimore is a favorite to win the AFC, but out of all the contenders, they are getting the least amount of media attention. Their biggest news this off-season was Ray Rice signing a new contract.

They do have a few injury issues that will hurt them this season. Terrell Suggs is due to miss most of the season because of an Achilles injury. Can they pressure the quarterback enough for their defense to be effective?

It’s a ‘put up or shut up’ year for Joe Flacco. Is this the year he surpasses 4,000 passing yards and 30 touchdowns?

Here’s our 2012 NFL team preview for the Baltimore Ravens.

2011 Win/Loss Record: 12-4

Key Additions: WR Jacoby Jones, OG Bobbie Williams, QB Curtis Painter, DE Courtney Upshaw, WR Tommy Streeter, S Sean Considine, CB Corey Graham, DT Ryan McBean, OG Tony Wragge, OG Kelechi Osemele and RB Bernard Pierce.

Key Losses: WR Derrick Mason, CB Dominique Foxworth, S Tom Zbikowski, DT Cory Redding, DT Brandon McKinney, S Haruki Nakamura, LB Jarret Johnson, OG Ben Grubbs and LB Jameel McClain.

Non-Division Schedule: AFC West and NFC East

Fantasy SleeperWR Tommy Streeter – After after the NFL Draft, I had Jacoby Jones listed as the Ravens’ fantasy sleeper as Jacoby Jones. Well, the Ravens have been vocal about their fear of Jones’ hands and his past fumbling issues. Streeter’s mentor is Ray Lewis and writers have taken notice of his abilities. He’s 6’5 and ran a 4.40 40-time, so he has the skills to be a deep threat. They currently have Torrey Smith in that role, but Streeter is a nice hand-cuff in a deep league.

Team Analysis: You look at who the Ravens added and who they’ve lost, they seem to have improved their team by making it younger. Smith, Streeter, and Jones will fill-in for the retired Mason, even though Flacco still needs a dependable possession receiver. Boldin will play that role, but will often be the target of double coverage. Ray Rice is due to have another amazing fantasy and real-life season. They will have to rely on Pernell McPhee and rookie Upshaw to replace Suggs for most of the season. That could be a problem, but their defense is good enough that Haloti Ngata and Lewis will help with the pass rush. I am really, really looking for Week 3, when they play the New England Patriots at home…that will be an amazing game!

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 10 (Prediction: OVER)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 12-4

CLICK HERE to read the rest of our 2012 NFL Team Previews

By: TwitterButtons.com

A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.