Thursday, August 30, 2012

NFL Report Update: Kenny Britt

Breaking News: Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt has been suspended for one game due to his multiple arrests this past off season. The information was released this evening at 9:00, and will remove him from the season opener against New England.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions (NFC North)

1. Green Bay Packers (14-2): The Green Bay Packers were one game away from a perfect regular season in 2011, losing to Kansas City in Week 15. A bye in the first week of the playoffs matched them up with New York, and the Giants ended up marching through Green Bay and all the way into the Super Bowl. The Packers remain number one on many preseason power rankings, and rightfully so. Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the game, and his receiving corp, consisting of Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley, and James Jones, is also an elite group of players. The organization signed free agent Cedric Benson, and hopefully he has enough energy to liven-up their running game. The defense ranked dead last in total defense the previous season, after a top-5 squad the year they won Super Bowl XLV. Stars are everywhere in Wisconsin, and an early exit from last year's playoffs will be used as motivation for the Green Bay Packers.
Clay Matthews (Jeff Hanisch/US Presswire)

Week 1: 49ers @ Packers W
Week 2: Bears @ Packers W
Week 3: Packers @ Seahawks W
Week 4: Saints @ Packers W
Week 5: Packers @ Colts W
Week 6: Packers @ Texans W
Week 7: Packers @ Rams W
Week 8: Jaguars @ Packers W
Week 9: Cardinals @ Packers W
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: Packers @ Lions L
Week 12: Packers @ Giants W
Week 13: Vikings @ Packers W
Week 14: Lions @ Packers W
Week 15: Packers @ Bears L
Week 16: Titans @ Packers W
Week 17: Packers @ Vikings W



2. Chicago Bears (12-4): Chicago disappointed everyone in 2011 after missing the playoffs entirely, for they were the number two seed in 2010's quest for the Super Bowl. An upbeat, energetic offseason might be enough though to march this team back into the postseason. The biggest signing made by Chicago was that of Brandon Marshall, a wide receiver who has already established great chemistry with quarterback Jay Cutler. The two played together in Denver, where Marshall had one of the best receiving seasons in recent memory. Cutler has been lacking a lethal weapon in Chicago, and surely Marshall will be his go-to guy. Running back Matt Forte rounds out this offense, even though I can't shake the feeling he is setting up for a bust of a season in 2012. Defensively, the Bears suffered a big injury to their linebacker Brian Urlacher, who may miss the season opener against Indianapolis. Chicago is very well rounded, with possibly the greatest return man in the history of the game. Therefore, Chicago might even be able to conquer Green Bay for the NFC North title once again.
Matt Forte

Week 1: Colts @ Bears W
Week 2: Bears @ Packers L
Week 3: Rams @ Bears W
Week 4: Bears @ Cowboys L
Week 5: Bears @ Jaguars W
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: Lions @ Bears W
Week 8: Panthers @ Bears L
Week 9: Bears @ Titans W
Week 10: Texans @ Bears W
Week 11: Bears @ 49ers L
Week 12: Vikings @ Bears W
Week 13: Seahawks @ Bears W
Week 14: Bears @ Vikings W
Week 15: Packers @ Bears W
Week 16: Bears @ Cardinals W
Week 17: Bears @ Lions W



3. Detroit Lions (11-5): Four years ago, the Detroit Lions became the first team in NFL history to have a winless season. Things picked up, however, once they drafted quarterback Matthew Stafford. For the first few years, Stafford was unable to play a complete season. Then, in 2011, Stafford finished out the year injury-free, passing for 5,038 yards, as well as leading his team into the playoffs. Much of the credit also has to be rewarded to Calvin Johnson, quite possibly the most talented player in the NFL. Just because Stafford stayed healthy throughout 2011 does not mean his luck will continue into 2012. In fact, the Lions quarterback injured his left hand in last weeks preseason game, not a good sign for Detroit fans. The team spent their first two draft picks on offensive players, proving just how much they  depend on a high scoring game. The plan is destined to fail if Stafford were to be injured once again, and if that were to happen, Detroit might miss out on yet another postseason.
Matthew Stafford

Week 1: Rams @ Lions W
Week 2: Lions @ 49ers L
Week 3: Lions @ Titans W
Week 4: Vikings @ Lions W
Week 5: BYE
Week 6: Lions @ Eagles L
Week 7: Lions @ Bears L
Week 8: Seahawks @ Lions W
Week 9: Lions @ Jaguars W
Week 10: Lions @ Vikings W
Week 11: Packers @ Lions W
Week 12: Texans @ Lions W
Week 13: Colts @ Lions W
Week 14: Lions @ Packers L
Week 15: Lions @ Cardinals W
Week 16: Falcons @ Lions W
Week 17: Bears @ Lions L



4. Minnesota Vikings (1-15): Jared Allen's beast-like season did not catch as many headlines as it deserved in 2011, for too many television shows were focusing on the historic passing performances from guys like Brady, Brees, Stafford, and Rodgers. Allen was half of a sack away from breaking the single season sack record, which still stands at 22.5. Minnesota has fallen off of the radar since Brett Favre called it quits for the last time (or so we think), where the only offensive star remaining is Adrian Peterson. Peterson blew out his left knee in a Christmas Eve game against Washington, and is not likely to play 100% in the first few 2012 regular season games. Percy Harvin had extraordinary potential as a rookie several years ago, but his migraine troubles are too inconsistent for him to be a star. Matt Kalil should help this offensive line, but not enough for Christian Ponder and the Vikings to earn a winning record in 2012.
Jared Allen (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Week 1: Jaguars @ Vikings L
Week 2: Vikings @ Colts L
Week 3: 49ers @ Vikings L
Week 4: Vikings @ Lions L
Week 5: Titans @ Lions L
Week 6: Vikings @ Redskins L
Week 7: Cardinals @ Vikings L
Week 8: Buccaneers @ Lions L
Week 9: Vikings @ Seahawks L
Week 10: Lions @ Vikings L
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: Vikings @ Bears L
Week 13: Vikings @ Packers L
Week 14: Bears @ Vikings L
Week 15: Vikings @ Rams W
Week 16: Vikings @ Texans L
Week 17: Packers @ Vikings L

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Madden Release Date

Today is the release date of Madden 13. Congratulations to EA Sports for those 25 excellent years of football! You can buy the game here at GameStop.com! Below are this year's top 10 ratings for each notable position.


Quarterback:
1. Aaron Rodgers: 99
2. Tom Brady: 98
3. Drew Brees: 98
4. Eli Manning: 97
5. Ben Roethlisberger: 95
6. Peyton Manning: 93
7. Philip Rivers: 92
8. Matthew Stafford: 91
9. Tony Romo: 90
10. Michael Vick: 89



Running Back:
1. Maurice Jones-Drew: 97
2. Adrian Peterson: 97
3. Arian Foster: 96
4. LeSean McCoy: 95
5. Ray Rice: 95
6. Matt Forte: 93
7. Frank Gore: 92
8. Steven Jackson: 92
9. Jamaal Charles: 91
10. Michael Turner: 91



Wide Receiver/Tight End:
1. Calvin Johnson: 99
2. Rob Gronkowski: 97
3. Larry Fitzgerald: 97
4. Andre Johnson: 97
5. Vernon Davis: 95
6. Jimmy Graham: 95
7. Steve Smith: 95
8. Wes Welker: 95
9. Roddy White: 94
10. Hakeem Nicks: 94





Defense:
1. Darrelle Revis: 99
2. DeMarcus Ware: 99
3. Patrick Willis: 98
4. Jared Allen: 98
5. Justin Smith: 98
6. Julius Peppers: 97
7. Haloti Ngata: 97
8. Troy Polamalu: 97
9. Ed Reed: 97
10. Mario Williams: 97







2012 NFL Predictions (NFC East)

1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-4): On paper, the Eagles have one of the most well rounded teams in the NFL. However, they were unable to live up to the hype in 2011, and missed the playoffs entirely. Michael Vick injured his ribs just three games into the preseason this year, and could be a sign of things to come. If he were to stay healthy, the quarterback would thrive, especially when passing to DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Brent Celek. The running game exploded last year thanks to LeSean McCoy's outstanding performance, and is likely to continue into 2012. Defensively, there are bug names on this roster such as Jason Babin and Trent Cole (combined 29 sacks), along with star corner Nnamdi Asomugha. The defense has done extremely well this preseason, ranking 1st overall in total defense. The talent is there, all they need is a little push.
DeSean Jackson (Lynne Sladky/AP Photo)

Week 1: Eagles @ Browns W
Week 2: Ravens @ Eagles W
Week 3: Eagles @ Cardinals W
Week 4: Giants @ Eagles W
Week 5: Eagles @ Steelers L
Week 6: Lions @ Eagles W
Week 7: BYE
Week 8: Falcons @ Eagles W
Week 9: Eagles @ Saints L
Week 10: Cowboys @ Eagles W
Week 11: Eagles @ Redskins W
Week 12: Panthers @ Eagles W
Week 13: Eagles @ Cowboys L
Week 14: Eagles @ Buccaneers W
Week 15: Bengals @ Eagles W
Week 16: Redskins @ Eagles W
Week 17: Eagles @ Giants L




2. New York Giants (10-6): The reigning champions came close to missing the playoffs altogether in 2012, but managed to beat Dallas at home in Week 17. There have been few changes made throughout the off season, but New York remains dangerous as Super Bowl contenders. It all starts with quarterback Eli Manning, quite possibly the most clutch player in the NFL. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are two spectacular wide receivers, making up one of the league's best wide receiver corps. Though Brandon Jacobs has left for the west coast, Ahmad Bradshaw and rookie David Wilson will do just fine when running the ball this September. Similar to Philadelphia, the Giants have an elite pass rushing duo, consisting of defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul (16.5 sacks) and Justin Tuck (an off-year for Tuck, racking up just 5 sacks. Unfortunately for the Giants, all the other 31 teams will be gunning for them, so it will be more difficult for them to repeat their 2012 performance.
Justin Tuck (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Week 1: Cowboys @ Giants W
Week 2: Buccaneers @ Giants W
Week 3: Giants @ Panthers L
Week 4: Giants @ Eagles L
Week 5: Browns @ Giants W
Week 6: Giants @ 49ers W
Week 7: Redskins @ Giants W
Week 8: Giants @ Cowboys L
Week 9: Steelers @ Giants W
Week 10: Giants @ Bengals W
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: Packers @ Giants L
Week 13: Giants @ Redskins W
Week 14: Saints @ Giants W
Week 15: Giants @ Falcons L
Week 16: Giants @ Ravens L
Week 17: Eagles @ Giants W




3.  Dallas Cowboys (8-8): The Dez Bryant situation ruined this team's chances from the start, putting Dallas in a state of despair. General manager Jerry Jones showed his frustration after wide receiver Dez Bryant was arrested on assault charges. Dallas missed out on the playoffs by one game in 2011, and will look to rebound in 2012. The defense has stars scattered around the field, most notably Demarcus Ware, a former Defensive Player of the Year. The offense has its moments, especially when passing the football. Tony Romo has the option of throwing to Bryant or pro-bowler Miles Austin, as well as pounding their run game with young rusher DeMarco Murray. There is too much chaos in Dallas, and things must be done in order for this years team to make the post season.
Dez Bryant (Elsa/Getty Images)

Week 1: Cowboys @ Giants L
Week 2: Cowboys @ Seahawks W
Week 3: Buccaneers @ Cowboys W
Week 4: Bears @ Cowboys W
Week 5: BYE
Week 6: Cowboys @ Ravens L
Week 7: Cowboys @ Panthers L
Week 8: Giants @ Cowboys W
Week 9: Cowboys @ Falcons L
Week 10: Cowboys @ Eagles L
Week 11: Browns @ Cowboys W
Week 12: Redskins @ Cowboys W
Week 13: Eagles @ Cowboys W
Week 14: Cowboys @ Bengals L
Week 15: Steelers @ Cowboys L
Week 16: Saints @ Cowboys W
Week 17: Cowboys @ Redskins L




4. Washington Redskins (5-11): Washington sacrificed a lot in order to draft Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, and are hoping he can be their savior. Arm strength, accuracy, and speed is what won him college football's greatest honor. The wide receiver corp is decent, but over time, the Washington Redskins will likely try and add more weapons for their rookie quarterback. Running back Roy Helu was meant to be starter, but an Achilles injury sidelined him for the previous two preseason games. Assuming he can bounce back, the running game will do just fine. The defense fared well in 2011, led by linebacker London Fletcher. The NFC East is more competitive than ever, and the Washington Redskins will need an exceptional rookie season from RGIII if making the playoffs in 2012 is their goal.
London Fletcher (Tony Sandys/Washington Post)

Week 1: Redskins @ Saints L
Week 2: Redskins @ Rams W
Week 3: Bengals @ Redskins L
Week 4: Redskins @ Buccaneers W
Week 5: Falcons @ Redskins L
Week 6: Vikings @ Redskins W
Week 7: Redskins @ Giants L
Week 8: Redskins @ Steelers L
Week 9: Panthers @ Redskins W
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: Eagles @ Redskins L
Week 12: Redskins @ Cowboys L
Week 13: Giants @ Redskins L
Week 14: Ravens @ Redskins L
Week 15: Redskins @ Browns L
Week 16: Redskins @ Eagles L
Week 17: Cowboys @ Redskins W

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Injury Report: Week 3 (Preseason)


-Steelers guard David DeCastro suffered both ACL and MCL injuries in a win over Buffalo. DeCastro was the 24th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

-Giants corner back Prince Amukamara was carted off the field in a loss to Chicago. The injury was labeled as a high ankle sprain.

-Quarterback Matthew Stafford suffered from a left hand injury in his most recent preseason game against Oakland. Stafford has been known to be ridden by injuries.

-Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski  suffered an all-to-common groin injury in a win over Detroit. Janikowski has one of the most powerful legs in the NFL.

-Davin Joseph, a two time Pro-Bowler for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will undergo surgery on his left patellar tendon after being carted off in a win over New England. He will likely miss the rest of the season.

-Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff has a possible ankle sprain in which he suffered in last weeks preseason game against St. Louis. There is a chance Ratliff will miss the season opener against the Giants.

-Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel left the Week 3 preseason game after what Mike Tomlin says was a "mild high ankle sprain."

-Defensive end Julius Peppers told reporters that he has been playing through plantar fasciitis ever since the start of training camp. Peppers has been named probable to play in the season opener.

-Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram left Friday's game in a win over Minnesota. Ingram was drafted 18th overall by the San Diego Chargers.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

AFC Final Predictions

1. New England Patriots (14-2): Talented players added to an already talented roster makes New England a serious threat to win back-to-back AFC titles.

2. Baltimore Ravens (11-5): The injury to Terrell Suggs is a catastrophic loss, but they are still an AFC powerhouse.

3. Houston Texans (11-5): Even though they are without their star linebacker Mario Williams, players like Arian Foster, Matt Schaub, and Andre Johnson will lead the Texans back into the playoffs.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6): Injuries kept Kansas City out of the postseason, but now that they have their stars back, the Chiefs will dethrone Denver for the number one spot in the AFC West.

5. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): A roster loaded with youth sets up a hit-or-miss situation, depending heavily on the offensive duo between quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver AJ Green.

6. San Diego Chargers (10-6): In a conference dominated by offense, it will be even more important for quarterback Philip Rivers and his young running back in Ryan Mathews to stay healthy in 2012.



2012 NFL Predictions (AFC West)

1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6): If not for several injuries to key players in 2011, the Chiefs would have had a chance at making the playoffs for the second year in a row. Stars Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles return from season ending injuries, and will only help the Chiefs record in 2012. On paper, Kansas City has one of the best teams in the NFL, and will dominate the not-so-talented AFC West.
Jamaal Charles

Week 1: Falcons @ Chiefs L
Week 2: Bills @ Chiefs L
Week 3: Chiefs @ Saints L
Week 4: Chargers @ Chiefs W
Week 5: Ravens @ Chiefs W
Week 6: Chiefs @ Buccaneers W
Week 7: BYE
Week 8: Raiders @ Chiefs W
Week 9: Chiefs @ Chargers L
Week 10: Chiefs @ Steelers L
Week 11: Bengals @ Chiefs W
Week 12: Chiefs @ Broncos W
Week 13: Panthers @ Chiefs W
Week 14: Chiefs @ Browns W
Week 15: Chiefs @ Raiders W
Week 16: Colts @ Chiefs W
Week 17: Chiefs @ Broncos L



2. San Diego Chargers (10-6): After winning the divisional championship four years in a row ('06-'09), the Chargers missed a spot in the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Philip Rivers had a disappointing 2011 run (by his standards), passing for a career-high 20 interceptions as well as unable to lead his team into the playoffs. Now that his favorite target in Vincent Jackson has left for sunny Tampa, Rivers is left with Malcolm Floyd, Robert Meachem, and Eddie Royal (still a great receiving corp). The Chargers drafted linebacker Melvin Ingram in order to enhance their all round defense. Head coach Norv Turner is on the hot seat, and yet another unsuccessful season would not be good for his job.
Ryan Mathews

Week 1: Chargers @ Raiders L
Week 2: Titans @ Chargers W
Week 3: Falcons @ Chargers L
Week 4: Chargers @ Chiefs L
Week 5: Chargers @ Saints L
Week 6: Broncos @ Chargers W
Week 7: BYE
Week 8: Chargers @ Browns W
Week 9: Chiefs @ Chargers W
Week 10: Chargers @ Buccaneers W
Week 11: Chargers @ Broncos L
Week 12: Ravens @ Chargers W
Week 13: Bengals @ Chargers L
Week 14: Chargers @ Steelers W
Week 15: Panthers @ Chargers W
Week 16: Chargers @ Jets W
Week 17: Raiders @ Chargers W



3. Denver Broncos (8-8): Possibly the biggest question entering Week 1 is how Peyton Manning will play with one year removed from the NFL. According to Manning, the neck is not feeling 100%, something the Broncos are not happy to here from their million-dollar-man. In 2010, he may have put up obscene statistics, but the Colts went just 10-6. It would be hard to convince me that a neck injury at age 36 will help improve his play dramatically enough to make the playoffs once again. The defense has its stars, but overall would not be considered a top 10 squad. Denver: Manning will not be able to solve all of your problems.   
Von Miller

Week 1: Steelers @ Broncos W
Week 2: Broncos @ Falcons L
Week 3: Texans @ Broncos W
Week 4: Raiders @ Broncos W
Week 5: Broncos @ Patriots L
Week 6: Broncos @ Chargers L
Week 7: BYE
Week 8: Saints @ Broncos W
Week 9: Broncos @ Bengals L
Week 10: Broncos @ Panthers L
Week 11: Chargers @ Broncos W
Week 12: Broncos @ Chiefs L
Week 13: Buccaneers @ Broncos W
Week 14: Broncos @ Raiders L
Week 15: Broncos @ Ravens L
Week 16: Browns @ Broncos W
Week 17: Chiefs @ Broncos W



4. Oakland Raiders (6-10): If only Darren McFadden could just stay HEALTHY! In the seven games in which he played last season, McFadden averaged 5.4 yards per carry before suffering a Lisfranc fracture in Week 7. Oakland also lost their longtime GM AL Davis, who died at age 82 from heart complications. The Raiders organization is not quite stable enough to make a deep playoff run, especially if their defense and passing game do not improve.
Shane Lechler

Week 1: Chargers @ Raiders W
Week 2: Raiders @ Dolphins L
Week 3: Steelers @ Raiders L
Week 4: Raiders @ Broncos L
Week 5: BYE
Week 6: Raiders @ Falcons L
Week 7: Jaguars @ Raiders W
Week 8: Raiders @ Chiefs L
Week 9: Buccaneers @ Raiders W
Week 10: Raiders @ Ravens L
Week 11: Saints @ Raiders W
Week 12: Raiders @ Bengals L
Week 13: Browns @ Raiders W
Week 14: Broncos @ Raiders W
Week 15: Chiefs @ Raiders L
Week 16: Raiders @ Panthers L
Week 17: Raiders @ Chargers L

Thursday, August 23, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions (AFC South)

1. Houston Texans (11-5): Even though the Texans lost linebacker Mario Williams to free agency, they proved in 2011 that they can succeed without their pro-bowl defender. Brian Cushing and JJ Watts are the two stars up front, where as corner back Jonathon Joseph will shut down any team's number one wide receiver. Matt Schaub will return to this offense, restoring his great chemistry with wide receiver Andre Johnson. Once again, Houston will dominate the AFC South.

Brian Cushing (Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Week 1: Dolphins @ Texans W
Week 2: Texans @ Jaguars W
Week 3: Texans @ Broncos L
Week 4: Titans @ Texans W
Week 5: Texans @ Jets W
Week 6: Packers @ Texans L
Week 7: Ravens @ Texans L
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Bills @ Texans W
Week 10: Texans @ Bears L
Week 11: Jaguars @ Texans W
Week 12: Texans @ Lions L
Week 13: Texans @ Titans W
Week 14: Texans @ Patriots W
Week 15: Colts @ Texans W
Week 16: Vikings @ Texans W
Week 17: Texans @ Colts W




2. Indianapolis Colts (6-10): The new face of Indianapolis has high expectations when entering the 2012 season. Andrew Luck was selected first overall by a team who lost their star quarterback in Peyton Manning. In order to make Luck feel slightly more comfortable, Indianapolis drafted Coby Fleener, a tight end who also attended Stanford. Veteran Reggie Wayne could still be lethal, and will be the number one deep threat for this rookie quarterback. The main problem is defense for Indianapolis, something the Colts struggled to put together in 2011. the organization did not do much to fix their struggling defense, so the offense will be expected to pick up the slack.

Andrew Luck (Michael Conroy/AP)
Week 1: Colts @ Bears L
Week 2: Vikings @ Colts W
Week 3: Jaguars @ Colts W
Week 4: BYE
Week 5: Packers @ Colts L
Week 6: Colts @ Jets L
Week 7: Browns @ Colts W
Week 8: Colts @ Titans L
Week 9: Dolphins @ Colts W
Week 10: Colts @ Jaguars W
Week 11: Colts @ Patriots L
Week 12: Bills @ Colts W
Week 13: Colts @ Lions L
Week 14: Titans @ Colts L
Week 15: Colts @ Texans L
Week 16: Colts @ Chiefs L
Week 17: Texans @ Colts L




3. Tennessee Titans (5-11): Jake Locker has been named starter of the Tennessee Titans over Matt Hasselbeck, a decision I don't necessarily agree with. The season starts off with four extremely difficult games, where a veteran quarterback needs to step in and lead his team to victory. By the time the dust settles in Tennessee, the Titans will find themselves in a hole, and unable to find their way out. Chis Johnson says he gained 10 pounds over the off season, and I believe he has another chance at 2,000 rushing yards. Otherwise, the Titans are out of luck, and will struggle to keep their heads above water.

Kendall Wright
Week 1: Patriots @ Titans L
Week 2: Titans @ Chargers L
Week 3: Lions @ Titans L
Week 4: Titans @ Texans L
Week 5: Titans @ Vikings W
Week 6: Steelers @ Titans L
Week 7: Titans @ Bills L
Week 8: Colts @ Titans W
Week 9: Bears @ Titans L
Week 10: Titans @ Dolphins L
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: Titans @ Jaguars W
Week 13: Texans @ Titans L
Week 14: Titans @ Colts W
Week 15: Jets @ Titans L
Week 16: Titans @ Packers L
Week 17: Jaguars @ Titans W




4. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15): The Blaine Gabbert experiment in Jacksonville is not likely to succeed, even with targets such as Marcedes Lewis and rookie Justin Blackmon. The worst news of all is Maurice Jones-Drew's holdout, which is currently unfolding. In fact, MJD has made it clear to the media that he is looking for trade options. If Jacksonville were to lose their one and only star of the team, the Jaguars would be many years away from earning a spot in the playoffs.

Maurice Jones Drew (Getty Images)
Week 1: Jaguars @ Vikings W
Week 2: Texans @ Jaguars L
Week 3: Jaguars @ Colts L
Week 4: Bengals @ Jaguars L
Week 5: Bears @ Jaguars L
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: Jaguars @ Raiders L
Week 8: Jaguars @ Packers L
Week 9: Lions @ Jaguars L
Week 10: Colts @ Jaguars L
Week 11: Jaguars @ Texans L
Week 12: Titans @ Jaguars L
Week 13: Jaguars @ Bills L
Week 14: Jets @ Jaguars L
Week 15: Jaguars @ Dolphins L
Week 16: Patriots @ Jaguars L
Week 17: Jaguars @ Titans L

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions (AFC North)

1. Baltimore Ravens (11-5): The loss of reigning Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs hurts this glorified defense exponentially. Thirty seven is old for a middle linebacker, but not including the four missed four games, Ray Lewis had yet another extraordinary season. Alongside fellow veteran Ed Reed, this duo must stay consistent and injury free to keep Baltimore in the hunt. Ray Rice is the best all-around running back, and is the clear MVP of this mediocre offense. Joe Flacco's goal should be to reach 4,000 passing yards, as well as a career low in interceptions. Watch out for the Ravens if all goes as planned.
Ed Reed (Boston Globe)

Week 1: Bengals @ Ravens W
Week 2: Ravens @ Eagles L
Week 3: Patriots @ Ravens L
Week 4: Browns @Ravens W
Week 5: Ravens @ Chiefs L
Week 6: Cowboys @ Ravens W
Week 7: Ravens @ Texans L
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Ravens @ Browns W
Week 10: Raiders @ Ravens W
Week 11: Ravens @ Steelers W
Week 12: Ravens @ Chargers L
Week 13: Steelers @ Ravens W
Week 14: Ravens @ Redskins W
Week 15: Broncos @ Ravens W
Week 16: Giants @ Ravens W
Week 17: Ravens @ Bengals W



2. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): The Cincinnati Bengals will be a threat to take down any team in 2012, quite possibly the most lethal opponent for any playoff contender. There is a lot of young players on this roster, which makes me worried about their consistency throughout the regular season. Andy Dalton proved he can carry the weight of the franchise, especially when throwing to star wide out AJ Green. The defense surprising did very well, and will most likely carry over into this upcoming season. Experience is hard to find in Cincinnati, but the youngsters may be the dark horses of 2012.

Andy Dalton
Week 1: Bengals @ Ravens L
Week 2: Browns @ Bengals W
Week 3: Bengals @ Redskins W
Week 4: Bengals @ Jaguars W
Week 5: Dolphins @ Bengals W
Week 6: Bengals @ Browns W
Week 7: Steelers @ Bengals W
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Broncos @ Bengals W
Week 10: Giants @ Bengals L
Week 11: Bengals @ Chiefs L
Week 12: Raiders @ Bengals W
Week 13: Bengals @ Chargers W
Week 14: Cowboys @ Bengals W
Week 15: Bengals @ Eagles L
Week 16: Bengals @ Steelers L
Week 17: Ravens @ Bengals L



3. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6): The Pittsburgh Steelers made a quick exit from the playoffs in 2012 after losing to quarterback sensation Tim Tebow. The draft was nothing special either, except for two big offensive lineman in the first few rounds. This defense is not getting any younger, and Pittsburgh is not known for possessing an extraordinary offense. In the competitive AFC North, a spot in the playoffs would be considered a successful 2012 season. Do not be expecting a Super Bowl appearance.
Antonio Brown

Week 1: Steelers @ Broncos L
Week 2: Jets @ Steelers W
Week 3: Steelers @ Raiders W
Week 4: BYE
Week 5: Eagles @ Steelers W
Week 6: Steelers @ Titans W
Week 7: Steelers @ Bengals L
Week 8: Redskins @ Steelers W
Week 9: Steelers @ Giants L
Week 10: Chiefs @ Steelers W
Week 11: Ravens @ Steelers L
Week 12: Steelers @ Browns W
Week 13: Steelers @ Ravens L
Week 14: Chargers @ Steelers L
Week 15: Steelers @ Cowboys W
Week 16: Bengals @ Steelers W
Week 17: Steelers @ Browns W



4. Cleveland Browns (1-15): The Cleveland Browns added two big names in last year's draft; quarterback Brandon Weeden and running back Trent Richardson. An above average defense along with a youthful roster made Cleveland's 2012 campaign look somewhat respectable when entering August. However, the preseason did not start off well after many injuries took place, one to their prized rookie running back. The Browns have by far the most difficult schedule of any team in the NFL. In most years, Cleveland would have a shot at the .500 mark, but if the injuries continue, they'll have to worry about an 0-16 record.
Josh Cribbs

Week 1: Eagles @ Browns L
Week 2: Browns @ Bengals L
Week 3: Bills @ Browns L
Week 4: Browns @ Ravens L
Week 5: Browns @ Giants L
Week 6: Bengals @ Browns L
Week 7: Browns @ Colts L
Week 8: Chargers @ Browns L
Week 9: Ravens @ Browns L
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: Browns @ Cowboys L
Week 12: Steelers @ Browns L
Week 13: Browns @ Raiders L
Week 14: Chiefs @ Browns L
Week 15: Redskins @ Browns W
Week 16: Browns @ Broncos L
Week 17: Browns @ Steelers L


Monday, August 20, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions (AFC East)

1. New England Patriots (14-2): The New England Patriots have not disappointed since their loss to New York in the Super Bowl, catching lots of headlines with their big signings. Wide receivers Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney are two excellent additions to an already lethal wide receiver corp. The Patriots also drafted two weapons in defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Finally, they added track star Jeff Demps as a running back, concluding their already busy off season. Bottom line: the Patriots have a great chance at that perfect season.
Wes Welker (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Week 1: Patriots @ Titans W
Week 2: Cardinals @ Patriots W
Week 3: Patriots @ Ravens W
Week 4: Patriots @ Bills W
Week 5: Broncos @ Patriots W
Week 6: Patriots @ Seahawks W
Week 7: Jets @ Patriots W
Week 8: Patriots @ Rams W
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: Bills @ Patriots W
Week 11: Colts @ Patriots W
Week 12: Patriots @ Jets W
Week 13: Patriots @ Dolphins W
Week 14: Texans @ Patriots L
Week 15: 49ers @ Patriots L
Week 16: Patriots @ Jaguars W
Week 17: Dolphins @ Patriots W



2. Buffalo Bills (9-7): Right off the bat, the Buffalo Bills signed star linebacker Mario Williams to a mega contract in order to enhance their defense. Rookie corner back Stephon Gilmore is also meant to improve their pass defense, a rookie selected 10th overall. Offensively, Buffalo will get back rusher Fred Jackson from a season ending injury in 2011. Now, the Bills will have both CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson making up one of the best rushing duos in the NFL.
Mario Williams (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Week 1: Bills @ Jets W
Week 2: Chiefs @ Bills W
Week 3: Bills @ Browns W
Week 4: Patriots @ Bills L
Week 5: Bills @ 49ers L
Week 6: Bills @ Cardinals L
Week 7: Titans @ Bills W
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Bills @ Texans L
Week 10: Bills @ Patriots L
Week 11: Dolphins @ Bills W
Week 12: Bills @ Colts L
Week 13: Jaguars @ Bills W
Week 14: Rams @ Bills W
Week 15: Seahawks @ Bills L
Week 16: Bills @ Dolphins W
Week 17: Jets @ Bills W



3. New York Jets (8-8): Most likely the biggest storyline to come out of New York was the signing of Tim Tebow. Tebow was able to lead Denver into the playoffs, as well as defeat the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers. It will be interesting to see how the Jets incorporate Tebow into this offense when Sanchez will be the Week 1 starter. There will obviously be problems, like if Sanchez were to throw an interception or two, fans would start cheering to put Tebow in the game. There are too many issues for this team to succeed in 2012.
Antonio Cromartie (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Week 1: Bills @ Jets L
Week 2: Jets @ Steelers L
Week 3: Jets @ Dolphins W
Week 4: 49ers @ Jets L
Week 5: Texans @ Jets L
Week 6: Colts @ Jets W
Week 7: Jets @ Patriots L
Week 8: Dolphins @ Jets W
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: Jet @ Seahawks L
Week 11: Jets @ Rams W
Week 12: Patriots @ Jets L
Week 13: Cardinals @ Jets W
Week 14: Jets @ Jaguars W
Week 15: Jets @ Titans W
Week 16: Chargers @ Jets L
Week 17: Jets @ Bills L



4. Miami Dolphins (4-12): Hard Knocks was not short of drama in Miami; in one of the first few episodes, the Dolphins decided to cut wide receiver Chad Johnson from the team after an arrest in August. Then, earlier this morning, head coach Joe Philbin told reporters that rookie Ryan Tannehill will be the starting quarterback during Week 1's season opener. Unfortunately, the Dolphins must overcome a difficult schedule, and frankly, this inexperienced quarterback is not capable of doing so.
Cameron Wake

Week 1: Dolphins @ Texans L
Week 2: Raiders @ Dolphins W
Week 3: Jets @ Dolphins L
Week 4: Dolphins @ Cardinals L
Week 5: Dolphins @ Bengals L
Week 6: Rams @ Dolphins W
Week 7: BYE
Week 8: Dolphins @ Jets L
Week 9: Dolphins @ Colts L
Week 10: Titans @ Dolphins W
Week 11: Dolphins @ Bills L
Week 12: Seahawks @ Dolphins L
Week 13: Patriots @ Dolphins L
Week 14: Dolphins @ 49ers L
Week 15: Jaguars @ Dolphins W
Week 16: Bills @ Dolphins L
Week 17: Dolphins @ Patriots L


NFL Report Update: Ryan Tannehill

Breaking News: Head coach Joe Philbin announced that quarterback Ryan Tannehill will start for the Miami Dolphins in the Week 1 season opener. Tannehill was the third quarterback to be selected in last April's draft, and was not the favorite to win Miami's starting job. However, fellow Dolphin David Garrard underwent an undisclosed knee injury, improving Tannehill's odds dramatically. He will be playing Houston on the road in his first regular season game.


NFL Report Update: Jake Locker

Breaking News: An unidentified source told NFL Network that Jake Locker would be the starter in Tennessee's season opener. After a 9-7 season under Matt Haselbeck in 2011, the Titans decided to play youth over experience. However, a few bad games in the regular season for Locker, and Hasselbeck will regain his starting role.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions


     Football has arrived! Seven long, grueling months have gone by since last February's Super Bowl, and now it is just a matter of weeks until opening kickoff takes place. Big names will be in new cities, and surprising events will take place. It is these twists and turns that make the National Football League great, and we can always expect one or two dark horses each and every season. Last year, our predictions selected the Patriots to win the Super Bowl (who ended up losing to the Giants in the championship game), so hopefully this year our predictions will successfully pick the 2012-2013 winner. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

NFL Report Update: Brian Urlacher

Breaking News: It was announced Tuesday that MLB Brian Urlacher would undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, but what we didn't know was that this was not his first. Last January, Urlacher underwent the same type of surgery, causing many to worry about his condition. He insists he will be ready for the season opener on September 9th.


Preseason: Players to Watch (NFC West)


San Francisco 49ers: WR Randy Moss: If I had to list my top 5 players to watch this preseason, my number one would be wide receiver Randy Moss. Moss is one of the best receivers in NFL history, and called it quits after an atrocious 2010. This past offseason, coach John Harbough signed Moss to a one-year deal, adding more depth to a struggling passing game. Randy was not the only offensive weapon signed (Mario Manningham, Brandon Jacobs, A.J Jenkins, LaMichael James), but is clearly the most risky. Thirty-five is old for any football player, let alone one who relies so much on speed and agility. How will this one year hiatus affect Moss' 2012 campaign? Keep a close eye on this aging star.

Randy Moss (Paul Sakuma/AP Photo)
Arizona Cardinals: QB John Skelton: The main reason why John Skelton is not the Arizona Cardinals starting quarterback is due to his not so great statistics in 2011. What helps Skelton though is the fact that he was able to go 6-2 when named starter against the St. Louis Rams. If John Skelton were to start racking up fabulous statistics week in and week out, no doubt this organization would play the 24 year-old. The quarterback competition is still up in the air, so it will be an absolute necessity for him to play well in all 4 preseason games.

Seattle Seahawks: QB Matt Flynn: Matt Flynn has been a popular topic so far for The NFL Report, and we will finally see him start in his first NFL exhibition game as number one on the depth chart. Hopefully, the Seahawks will not have wasted $26 million over a three year span on this quarterback who has started just two NFL games. Seattle went 7-9 last season, and if Flynn were to play as he did against the Lions, the Seahawks are looking at a spot in the playoffs.

St. Louis Rams: CB Cortland Finnegan: Finnegan was the second biggest defender to be on the market this past off season, and the St. Louis Rams were the highest bidders. The St. Louis defense ranked 26th overall in points allowed per game, and they figured Finnegan will be able to repair their problems on the defensive side of the ball. He has gained respect throughout the league from opposing quarterbacks, and if he continues to play the way he's been playing, the Rams record might see one or two more wins in 2012. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Preseason: Players to Watch (NFC South)


New Orleans Saints: LB Curtis Lofton: What...a...MESS! The recent bounty charges have suspended two current Saints defenders; linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith. No doubt this defense will struggle in 2012, but the organization went out and acquired linebacker Curtis Lofton. While playing for Atlanta, Lofton managed 492 total tackles, 142 of those came in 2011 (5th in the league). It will be difficult for Lofton to replace the three-time pro-bowler in Jonathan Vilma, so it will be important for him to play his best football yet. Hopefully, he will start 2012 on a high note by doing well in his four preseason games.

Curtis Lofton (Derick E. Hingle/US Presswire)
Atlanta Falcons: CB Asante Samuel: The Atlanta Falcons ranked 20th overall in passing yards allowed last season, so they went out and signed Asante Samuel. Problem solved, right? Sure, Samuel has made a name for himself in the National Football League, but the star is showing sings of aging. Since his extraordinary 2006 season with the Patriots (10 interceptions, 65 tackles, 24 putdowns), Samuel's stats have dipped, where last season was quite possibly the worst of his career. The 31-year old has been lucky injury wise, even though he has played just three complete seasons. Will his age catch up with him, or is Samuel going to lead the Falcon's defense back into the top ten?

Carolina Panthers: LB Luke Kuechly: In my opinion the single most talented defender to come out of last April's draft, Luke Kuechly has high expectations on this Carolina Panthers defense. His accomplished college career (ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, First-team All-American) got him drafted 12 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft by Carolina. The Panthers defense struggled immensely last year, so drafting a linebacker helps there defense in almost every category. Kuechly is one of the favorites to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, and it all starts with his first few games in the NFL.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Josh Freeman: The worst defense of 2011 was awarded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and newly drafted safety Mark Barron won't be able to fix all of their problems. This means head coach Greg Schiano will have to rely heavily on their offense. However, if the 2011 Josh Freeman were to show up instead of the one we saw in 2010, the Bucs will be eyeing yet another season below the .500 mark. It was rumored the quarterback might be traded in 2012, so where he plays next season relies on how he plays in 2012. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Preseason: Players to Watch (NFC North)


Green Bay Packers: RB Cedric Benson: Yesterday, running back Cedric Benson became a Green Bay Packer. Because Benson is past his prime, and also due to several legal issues in the past, Cincinnati did not want to re-sign this free agent. Obviously Green Bay was willing to take the chance with Cedric, otherwise their lack of a running game would hurt their Super Bowl chances once again. At age 29, Benson's best years are behind him, or so we think. The rusher says he feels great, so if Benson dominates in his upcoming preseason game, then the Green Bay Packers can be even more lethal in 2012.

Brandon Marshall (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Minnesota Vikings: QB Christian Ponder: The Minnesota Vikings did a complete 180 since Brett Favre's playoff run. Last year, the Vikings went 3-13, the third worst record of 2011. This organization has decided to start quarterback Christian Ponder, who will have 4th overall draft pick Matt Kalil protecting him. Ponder is forced to compete in one of the league's most competitive divisions, where three teams are all serious contenders for a playoff spot. Last year, Ponder thew just as many picks as he did touchdowns (13), so he will need to work on his consistency when throwing the ball. This preseason will show the progress made by Christian Ponder, and if he is capable of resurrecting a franchise.

Chicago Bears: WR Brandon Marshall: Brandon Marshall, once a Denver Bronco, struggled while playing for the Miami Dolphins, where he did not reach 100 receptions in either season. In 2009, Marshall had one of the league's best chemistry's with quarterback Jay Cutler. After Cutler moved to Chicago, Marshall soon joined him in the Windy City just two years later. The Bears went from the number two seed in the playoffs in 2010, to missing the playoffs entirely in 2011. If the magic is still there, than this quarterback-wide receiver duo will be unstoppable in 2012.

Detroit Lions: OT Riley Reiff: The Detroit Lions relied heavily on their passing game last season, led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson. In order to keep Stafford healthy, as well as give him more time in the pocket, the Lions drafted offensive lineman Riley Reiff. Reiff stands at 6'6", 313 pounds and showed he can overpower college stars while playing for Iowa. But can he overpower NFL defenders with more experience and in some cases, more skill? We will see this preseason, for if he is not capable of blocking a defensive lineman, Matthew Stafford may not be able to play all 16 games like he did in 2011. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Preseason: Players to Watch (NFC East)


New York Giants: RB David Wilson: With the loss of Brandon Jacobs still fresh in the minds of New York fans everywhere, rookie David Wilson must fill the void left by the two time Super Bowl champion. Wilson was selected with the 32nd overall draft pick out of Virginia Tech because of a spectacular combine and accomplished college career. His numbers led all running backs in broad jump and vertical, while posting a 40-yard dash time of 4.40. Wilson won ACC Player of the Year, not only because he ran the ball well (1,709 rushing yards, 5.9 yards per carry), but also because of his flashes of brilliance when it came to catching the football. Ahmad Bradshaw remains the definite starter, but Wilson is the face of New York's future running game.

Robert Griffin III (Bill Wippert/AP)
Philadelphia Eagles: LB DeMeco Ryans: Five years ago, DeMeco Ryans won AP Defensive Rookie of the Year thanks to his 156 combined tackles, 3.5 sacks, and lone interception. However, his statistics gradually worsened each year until 2010, when Ryans suffered a season ending Achilles tear. By the time he returned for all 16 games in 2011, Ryans was clearly not the same defensive player, only racking up 64 combined tackles. The Texans did not want to deal with their once rising star, and traded him away to Philadelphia. Ryans will clearly start by the time Week 1 rolls around, but it is a matter of whether or not he can get back to the player he once was.

Washington Redskins: QB Robert Griffin III: Like Andrew Luck, RGII is one of several rookies that everyone will be eyeing when it comes time to their regular season debut. Many have compared this Heisman winner to the likes of Michael Vick; arm strength, mobility, and accuracy are all apparent attributes among the two. Washington Redskins fans are calling RGIII "the guy," meaning he is supposed to be their savior, hopefully giving them a shot at the playoffs. Can he succeed in the NFL even though Baylor didn't make it to a major bowl game? If he begins to struggle in the preseason, maybe it wasn't such a bad move in drafting quarterback Kirk Cousins last April.

Dallas Cowboys: WR Dez Bryant: Jerry Jones and wide receiver Dez Bryant have clearly shown their differences over the course of the off season, starting with Bryant's arrest last July. Jones was quoted as saying Bryant needed to grow up, otherwise the Cowboys will move on. The big question is how Bryant will be affected by these problems in the past. Supposedly the two have come to terms, but it is never a good sign when a team owner and a player get into a scuffle. 

NFL Report Update: Cedric Benson

Breaking News: Running back Cedric Benson has reportedly signed with the Green Bay Packers. Benson was an unsigned free agent as of Monday, and will add depth to a struggling running game. At age 29, Benson is passed his prime, but says he is still able to be key in Green Bay's success.


Preseason: Players to Watch (AFC West)



Denver Broncos: QB Peyton Manning: Quite possibly the most dominant quarterback of the 21st century is no longer a member of the Indianapolis Colts, but instead a Denver Bronco. It will be odd to see Manning wearing orange and blue on Sundays, after 14 years of playing under the Lucas Oil lights. Peyton missed all of 2011 due to a neck injury, and though he feels 100%, we will not be sure until Manning plays in a few preseason games. Nearly 41,000 fans showed up to watch Manning scrimmage, so clearly he is on every one's mind in Denver. It will be interesting to see how Manning plays in the final three competitions.

Peyton Manning (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) 
San Diego Chargers: LB Melvin Ingram: The 18th overall pick is in my top 5 for the most talented defensive players coming out of the 2012 draft, and the San Diego Chargers are lucky to have him on their roster. San Diego was smart in moving him to the linebacker position over defensive end, for he has size identical to Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis. At DE, Ingram's height and weight would put him at a disadvantage when squaring off against a 6'5", 300 pound offensive lineman. Ingram set the school record for the most sacks in a single season while a Gamecock, and should improve San Diego's struggling pass rush. I have high hopes for Ingram in 2012, and I recommend keeping an eye out for this future star.

Kansas City Chiefs: NT Dontari Poe: Many, including myself, were skeptical about nose tackle Dontari Poe. Out of Memphis, Poe was not expected to be taken ahead of the third round, let alone the first 32 picks. However, after a monster draft combine, he got scouts everywhere in a tizzy. Kansas City were the buyers of Poe's draft day stock, and were later disappointed by his mediocre play. Head coach Romoeo Crennel said about Poe, "He needs to work on technique, he needs to work on understanding the system, he needs to get the calls correct all the time. He's got a ways to go." Dontari Poe isn't even a starter entering the regular season, unless he is able to change that in the preseason games.

Oakland Raiders: RB Darren McFadden: The raiders running back has had extreme difficulty staying healthy throughout the duration of a season. McFadden averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2011, on track to get 1,403 rushing yards and 9 rushing TDs, both career highs. At age 24, McFadden has the potential to be one of the league’s best backs. All four of his season’s spent in the NFL were incomplete due to injury, and the preseason will show if he has enough in the tank to play all 16 games.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

NFL Report Update: Chad Johnson

Breaking News: It is reported that wide receiver Chad Johnson was arrested for a domestic violence charge earlier this evening. The police report states Johnson head-butted his newly-wed, reality star Evelyn Lozada. Obviously Miami will take actions of some sort in terms of disciplining Johnson, who they recently signed this past offseason.

Chad Johnson (Steve Mitchell/US Presswire)

Preseason: Players to Watch (AFC South)


Houston Texans: QB Matt Schaub: For the first time since November of 2011, Matt Schaub will put on a helmet in tonight's game against the Carolina Panthers. Schaub suffered an injury to his right foot in a Week 10 game, and missed the remainder of the season. He was on track to throw for 3,966 yards with 24 touchdowns. Sadly, the Texans starting quarterback has two sides when it comes to his play quality. For example, in 2009, Schaub led the league in passing yards with 4,770, but, like I said before, did not have the start he would have liked in 2011. Worst of all, Schaub has difficulty staying healthy for all 16 games, with just two complete seasons under his belt. Hopefully, this upcoming preseason game will give us an idea on what type of Matt Schaub will show up to play in 2012.

Jake Locker (Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Indianapolis Colts: QB Andrew Luck: Who else would occupy this slot? Andrew Luck most likely will have the highest expectations of any rookie since Peyton Manning, and rightfully so. The Colts struggled enormously last season, and drafted the best prospect in the nation. Now, we will see if the first overall pick can live up to the hype, and lead the Colts back to the Super Bowl within his 10-15 year career. His first game Sunday night will be in front of a jam-packed stadium, which is strange considering it is a Colts-Rams game. Alongside fellow rookie Coby Fleener (a tight end out of Stanford), Luck will take the stage in an attempt to "woo" the audience.

Tennessee Titans: QB Jake Locker: It appears that at the moment, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has the lead over youngster Jake Locker due to an increased number of snaps. Jake Locker will have to prove he is worthy of the starting job within the next four preseason games. A passer rating of 99.4% last season in only five games gives him the opportunity to win the starting job. What he needs is to amaze his coaches and managers, whereas veteran Matt Hasselbeck will have to play some of the worst football of his career.

Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Rashean Mathis: Similar to Leon Hall, Rashean Mathis is an ex-Pro Bowler who had recently suffered an injury (torn ACL). Mathis will be 32 by the time opening kickoff takes place on September 9th, old for any player in the National Football League. Jacksonville's most valuable corner back in franchise history was recently signed to a one year, $5 million contract, for he owns four of the organization's defensive records. All may change, however, now that he has suffered an injury, and the preseason shall do a good job of showing his condition. 

Preseason: Players to Watch (AFC North)


Pittsburgh Steelers: OT David DeCastro: For a team who ranked 24th in sacks allowed, newly drafted offensive lineman David DeCastro will be extremely important in this team's offensive success. DeCastro weighs in at 6'5", 316 pounds, and is able to contain some of the nation's best defensive prospects. However, it will be interesting to see how DeCastro reacts to the big, skillful defensive linemen in the NFL. If we were to see DeCastro struggling in the four upcoming preseason games, the Pittsburgh Steelers should be worried about their draft pick.

Leon Hall
Baltimore Ravens: DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw: Imagine if opposing offensive linemen had to focus on someone else besides Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata. What if newly drafted linebacker Courtney Upshaw turned into one of the NFL's biggest stars. Upshaw was one of the best blitzing linebackers entering the 2012 NFL Draft, and might be dangerous when factored in to this already dangerous Ravens defense. However, Upshaw has a lot of weight on his shoulders if the Ravens wish to balance out their defense without reigning Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs. Hopefully, the rookie will show signs of stardom in the next few preseason games.

Cincinnati Bengals: CB Leon Hall: After an injury to his Achilles tendon, Leon Hall was placed on the IR in 2011, missing the remainder of the season. Hall returned last Friday in the game against New York, with two solo tackles by the end the time the clock hit 00:00. However, rookie corner back Dre Kirkpatrick is expected to miss up to 6 weeks due to a fractured knee. If Kirkpatrick is later than scheduled, Hall will have to bear the burden if leading an already injury-ridden pass defense. Once the rookie returns, and lives up to expectations, the Bengals defense could be ferocious.

Cleveland Browns: QB Brandon Weeden: It only gets worse for the Cleveland Browns; not only are they without Mohamed Massaquoi and Chris Gocong (along with Joe Haden and Scott Fujita who both face suspension), but now, running back Trent Richardson, the 3rd overall pick, has also gone down with an injury. This puts a lot of pressure on rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden. Weeden may not have been put in the same class as rookies like RGIII and Andrew Luck, but at 28, Weeden enters the prime of his quarterback career. The Browns are not known to have a lethal passing game, and they are hoping that by the regular season, Weeden will be able to fix that. However, he should be careful, because Colt McCoy will always be lingering on the sidelines.