NFL Division Predictions: AFC East

Originally, we here at Critics From The Couch wanted to do a 32 in 32 but things came up, and we were unable to complete the task, so to get out are NFL predictions we decided just to go straight to the divisions. The first division that we’ll be discussed is the AFC East.

Last Season:

New England Patriots: 13-3

New York Jets: 8-8

Miami Dolphins: 6-10

Buffalo Bills: 6-10

The AFC east will not go up for grabs, the Patriots will once again reign supreme in the East but the times are a changing there.

The Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins will be starting a rookie QB who I have little faith in, as well Chad Johnson was recently released after Zidaning his wife. This leaves the team without a big name Wideout, there only real offensive threat is Reggie Bush but he’s been borderline bust since being drafted. They have a new Coach in Joe Philbin, he’s  been trying to make a more humble Dolphins team, but humble doesn’t win games and the Dolphins won’t be winning a lot of games. The Dolphins will go 4-12 this season and finish last.

The Buffalo Bills: The Bills will be looking to improve off of last season, they started the season 4-1 but ultimately fell to 6-10. This however was a 2 win improvement from the past season and they were able to beat the New England Patriots who they had lost to 15 consecutive times. The Bills suffered some serious blows with injuries, the most serious being star running back Fred Jackson who was placed on IR. The Bills signed free agent Mario Williams who will make a major impact on their defense. The Bills already have a solid defense and now with Williams they’ll only be looking to improve. As well, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will be looking to replicate his early season work. The Bills will be looking to  make a run for 2nd in the AFC East. I see the Bills going 8-8.

The New York Jets: The Jets at the moment are looking horrid, granted it’s only preseason but if you can’t score a TD in preseason theres something wrong with your offense. As well the Jets are in the midst of a QB controversy with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow both these QB’s have proven that their favourite targets are the ground, coming in close second are their opponents CBs and Safeties. Shon Greene will be the starting running back, he can be a solid starter but really is a crab shoot. They don’t have any standout wideouts, if their lucky Santonio Holmes will become the Holmes of old but that doesn’t seem likely. All those offensive woes aren’t a recipe for success. Now Sanchez will start but will be benched by week 8 when the Jets have only won 3 games. The Jets fans will be riled up by that time and demand for either Rex Ryan’s head or Sanchez’s, so of course Ryan will chose Sanchez and thus begins TEBOOOOOOOW Time. Now for the defense, we can still expect the Rex Ryan style but last year they proved they weren’t the Defense of old. Revis will still be a pro bowler and a shut down CB, so that is a plus. Even though I see the defense getting worse they still will be a menace to any offensive co-ordinator. I see the Jets going 6-10

The New England Patriots: The Patriots will still be dominant, sadly. Tom Brady will be the Brady we’ve come to know and expect. Gronk and Hernandez will be stellar TE’s even though personally I think Gronk is overrated. Belichick will still be the evil mastermind that he is, dissecting opponents defenses and offenses. Now there is one weak point that can be exposed, their defense. The Patriots defense was the 2nd worst defense in NFL history. That tends to say something. The Patriots did pick up DE Chandler Jones and LB Dont’a Hightower to improve their defensive woes but it will be hard for these players to make a sudden impact. Even with such defensive woes with an offense led by Tom Brady you know they can go into a firefight and win. The Patriots will still be stellar but I have them losing an extra game, they will finish 12-4

Season Outlook:

The New England Patriots: 12-4

The Buffalo Bills: 8-8

The New York Jets: 6-10

The Miami Dolphins: 4-12

 

 

 

The End of An Era

Although it is not official…yet. It is rumoured that the Indianapolis Colts will release  star quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning was drafted in 1998 by the Colts with the first overall pick, his first season he went 3-13, but in his second season he went 13-3. He brought the Colts to 9 consecutive playoff appearances, before missing last season. With the Colts, Manning won 4 MVP awards (an NFL record), he won one Super Bowl and a Super Bowl MVP award. He is 3rd in every major passing category and he’s face of the franchise… or was. With Manning gone, the Andrew Luck era shall begin, pending the Colts draft Luck. The best situation to happen for the Colts is that Luck goes 3-13 (like his predecessor) and gets the Colts another first overall pick so they can build a team around Luck.

Now for Manning, he now has the option to sign wherever he pleases. The top four teams I can see Manning go to are as follows.

1) The New York Jets, the Jets have a great defence and a great run game. The one thing they’ve been missing is a consistent QB, Mark Sanchez has been less then stellar in his time with New York. Manning’s father Archie during an interview a few months ago almost hinted that Peyton could end up there. If Peyton were to land in New York it would really heat up the Manning-Brady rivalry, as well there would be two Mannings’ in New York.

2) The Arizona Cardinals, the Cardinals have been one of the teams that are consistently mentioned. Arizona is a very stable environment (which Manning likes), they also are the city that took in an old Kurt Warner.  Arizona also has one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, Larry Fitzgerald. A Manning-Fitzgerald combo would be killer, as well the Cardinals are in the NFC West, a division that has been the weakest division in the NFL in recent years. With that being said the 49ers were stellar last season but Manning could easily dissect the 49ers defense. Also the Cardinals hired Manning’s ex QB coach Frank Reich.

3) The Washington Redskins, the Redskins are a team that have been known to sign older players and have always been willing to pay top dollar. The Redskins have been known to look for the quick fix and if your looking for a quick fix, Peyton Manning is your man. The Redskins also hold the 6th pick, with that pick they could possibly draft Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon. With Manning and Blackmon the ‘Skins could tear up almost any defense. Now their main competition would be the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, who are led by non other than Peyton’s younger brother Eli. The Giants made the playoffs with a 9-7 record, Peyton hasn’t won less then 10 games since 2001. Now, even if the Giants were once again to finish first in the division, it’s safe to say that Manning would lead the Redskins to a  wild card spot

4) Last but not least, the Miami Dolphins, The ‘Fins have been a team always in the mix of the “where will Peyton end up talks”. Although the ‘Fins had a pretty bad season at 6-10, they were not actually as bad as their record suggests, they finished the season 6-3. The ‘Fins also hold the 8th pick, with that they can improve an already pretty solid o-line, fix up some of their defensive problems or if around, draft WR Michael Floyd from Notre Dame or Kendall Wright from Baylor, with one of these  two start wide receivers plus Brandon Marshall, the Dolphins could torch any opposing defense.

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-McFultz

A Tale Of Two Nashs

This year in both the NHL and NBA, Phoenix Suns’ point guard Steve Nash and Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash are involved in major trade talks.

Steve Nash has been with the Phoenix Suns since 2004 and has given them all he has to offer, winning two MVP awards and leading them to several playoff appearances. Nash is now 38 and closing in at the end of his career. There is one thing Nash is missing though and that is an NBA championship. The Suns are not in the hunt for even a playoff spot let alone a contender for the championship. So what many people including me think they should do is trade him. The Suns need young players to rebuild their franchise. Steve Nash has done everything he possibly could for them, so why not give him the chance to end his career on a high note. Now there is a problem for getting a deal done, there aren’t a lot of teams who are willing to give up young players or picks for a 38 year old point guard. With that being said there are three teams that I can think of that could use Nash and possibly make a trade for him.

1) The Los Angeles Lakers, The Lakers need a point guard, badly! Without a point guard the Lakers have a slim chance of winning the NBA championship. However, with Steve Nash they have a solid chance of if not winning the championship at least making it there. The Lakers are a team who wants to win and would likely be willing to give up a draft pick  for a future Hall of Famer. Also after seeing them willing to give up Gasol for CP3 they may be willing to give him up for Nash. Nash would also be more willing to play for two or three more years.

2) The Indiana Pacers, the Pacers made the playoffs last year and should make it again this year. The Pacers have some decent point guards, including Darren Collison. However, they don’t have a true leader or man to run the court. Steve Nash is that. The Pacers could give up a second round pick, a future pick and one of those point guards.

3) THE BOSTON CELTICS! I have not heard this team named yet and I’m very surprised to say the least. The Celtics have had continuous problems with Rondo. Nash would give the Celtics the consistency that they so desperately need. The Celtics also are the type of team that I could see giving up draft picks for an old player. With Nash, the aging Celtics could make a legitimate run for the NBA championship.

 

Now for Mr Rick Nash, Rick Nash is latest man to be put on the trading block. He is also the biggest name out of all of them, and the most enticing. A lot of teams are interested in Nash. One team that could trade for Nash is my hometown Leafs, the leafs could make a deal for Nash getting rid of Nazem Kadri and other loose ends or draft picks. The Leafs have the GM to do so as well. Brian Burke has been able to muster up plenty of trades this would be one I’d like to see. Other teams Included could be the struggling Habs, The Penguins, pending a trade for Staal amongst other players and picks. We brought in one of our hockey experts, Vernon Smells, for his take.

Rick Nash was asked to make a list of just 5 teams, so it has to be a team he’s willing to go to. So as McFultz said, Toronto is a possibility, with Nash being a Brampton boy and all, I’m sure he’d love playing in front of all his friends and family, but will this deal get done? I doubt it, mostly because the asking price for Nash is huge, they would probably have to trade away multiple prospects and probably a 1st rounder to get him, and they aren’t willing to bring on that much of a cap hit when they already have 2 first line wingers. They’re still in desperate need of a center. As for Pittsburgh, I don’t think they have the cap space or the assets to pull this deal off. Montreal is an interesting choice, I can’t see him going there, as that Hal Gill trade sort of proclaimed that they were sellers, but they swear they’re not. They could probably muster up the assets(P.K Subban, Pacioretty, some prospects and maybe some draft picks) but they don’t have the cap. I also don’t see why a team out of the playoff picture would trade away their future for 1 player, or why Nash would want to play in Montreal, but it’s possible. Here’s my list of the 3 most likely teams Nash will be dealt to before the deadline.:

1) Los Angeles Kings. The L.A Kings have been looking for a star winger for a while now, they tried and failed with Kovalchuck, and now that Nash is available, they’re going to be trying harder than ever to acquire him. The most interesting part of this story is that they have the assets, the most likely trade is Nash for Bernier+Johnson+picks and/or prospects. As long as they move Bernier and Johnson, they’ll also have the cap space to get this deal done. The other side of this story is that the Jackets also want to move Carter, and the Kings may be one of the few teams interested, so maybe move Carter to the Kings and Nash elsewhere, but for the Kings, an organization in dire need of a cup, they will try their best to get Nash.

2) New York Rangers. The Rangers have shown great interest in Nash, and to be honest I’m really not sure why, they already have a high-scoring winger(Gaborik), and they’re second overall in the the NHL and a Stanley Cup contender, why mess with that chemistry? They do have the assets to get this deal done, but they’d have to give up Dubinsky, Del Zotto, Hagelin maybe, along with multiple other prospects and picks. I understand that he has nobody good playing with him, and he’s had much better years, but  essentially your giving up that much for a 27 year old on pace for 55 points and a -33 on the season. However, they do have high interest and are a front-runner to land him.

3) Philadelphia Flyers. The Blue Jackets and Flyers have been in major talks over the last week, Blue Jackets GM, Scott Howson, is reportedly trying to orchestrate a deal with Sean Couturier and/or Brayden Schenn, however, Paul Holmgren, the Flyers GM, is reluctant to give them up. There may also be a deal in the works including Bobrovsky, Van Riemsdyk and a draft pick. However, The Flyers are still more interested in acquiring another Defenceman, with the absence of Chris Pronger.

To me, the most likely scenario is that he doesn’t get dealt until the off-season. There will be more teams interested, such as The Red Wings, The Bruins and The Sharks, and more teams means higher return.

-McFultz & Vernon Smells

Randy Moss, Linsanity, Manning Vs Manning, Hines Ward and The Grammys

Due to some internet problems over the last few weeks I’ve been unable to write any articles, but now I’m back and I’ve got a few stories and topics to cover.

1) Randy Moss is out of retirement! Last year, wide receiver, Randy Moss retired after no teams seemed to have any interest in him. I thought this was crazy as he is a “freak”. As long as you have someone to throw the ball high in the air, Moss will catch it. I’m hopping that someone will sign Moss this year. Personally the Team that has Peyton Manning at the beginning of the season should sign Moss. Imagine Peyton Manning throwing 60 yard bombs to Randy Moss and who better to keep him in check.

2) Jeremy Shu-How Lin (not to be confused with Timothy Richard Tebow) is the greatest player in NBA history. Alright well, maybe not… YET, but he is one of the greatest things to happen to basketball. Jeremy Lin is a Harvard graduate, for those not familiar with the likes of Harvard graduates, I brought names: John Adams, John F Kennedy, Mitt Romney, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. It is easy to assume that Mr Lin is a very intelligent man and that he is good role model. Lin is also the underdog story of the year. He went from living on his brothers couch to averaging 27.3 points and 8.3 assists in his first 4 starts. Jeremy Shu-How Lin is a mix of a genius, Rudy and Tim Tebow. This is why he is the greatest thing to happen to if not basketball, all of sports.

3) Since winning his 2nd Superbowl and slaying the evil Patriots AGAIN, Eli Manning is now said to be better than his older brother Peyton. Now as an avid Colts fan, I understand that maybe I only have this view, for the fact that Peyton Manning has been my idol for as long as I’ve liked football. However, with that being said, Peyton Manning has won 4 regular season MVP awards (an NFL record), he is the 3rd all time in both passing yards and touchdowns and has one a Super Bowl of his own. Eli has won two Super Bowls and two Super Bowl MVP awards. I understand that the NFL weighs Super Bowls heavily, but you shouldn’t judge a player solely on that, you should judge him for his whole body of work. Peyton Manning led his teams to 9 consecutive playoff appearances (tied an NFL record). He did this with a low-ranked defense, and in the last few years a low-ranked run game. Eli has been leading an off and on Giants team that has had a great defense, and like the team in general an off and on run game. Eli is younger and has time to improve his stats and career, but until then, I think it’s safe to say Peyton Manning is the better Manning.

4) Fourth on the docket, the curious case of Hines Ward. Steelers’ wide receiver Hines Ward wants to end his career as a Pittsburgh Steeler, but the Steelers plan on releasing him. Hines Ward has even stated that he would restructure his contract so he could remain a Steeler. This case reminds me of where the Edmonton Oilers traded Ryan Smyth, who said he’d love to play for the Oilers(as they were his favourite team as a child), but they still traded him. Although I am not a Steelers fan, I feel for Hines Ward and I hope that the Steelers do decide to keep him for the rest of his career.

5) Last and least, The Grammys. The Grammys were as expected, very tame and horrid. However, there was a small silver lining, Bon Iver won Best New Artist, Adele won 6 Grammys and Kanye West won four. After this years list of winners, The Grammys got back some of their integrity by locking out Artists such as Drake and Wiz Khalifa. However, this years performances were less then stellar with the exceptions of Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of “I will always love you” by the late Whitney Houston and Adele’s performance of “Rolling in the Deep”. Next year, pending albums of course, I’m hoping for performances by Kanye West, Jay Z, Blink 182, Eminem, a performance by Dr Dre (after finally releasing Detox), a rejuvenated Green Day and or multiple Rock band acts. I would like less performances by Chris Brown, David Guetta, Taylor Swift and everybody and anybody in the Young Money family.

 

-McFultz