Posts Tagged ‘espn’

Lets rewind to 2012 when Atlanta finished the regular season 13-3.  They claimed the NFC’s Number 1 playoff seed, knocked out Seattle in the divisional round of the playoffs, and just fell short of going to the Super Bowl.  So when the 2013 season started a lot of analysts had Atlanta to make another deep run in the playoffs and possibly make a Super Bowl run.  The Falcons entered the season with a fearsome passing attack and an upgrade to the run game by adding Steven Jackson from the Rams.

By the time the season started we already started to see some concerns with the Falcons.  Roddy White was hobbled by a high ankle sprain which made it harder for Julio to get receptions.  By the time Roddy was getting his groove back; Julio had broken a screw in his surgically repaired left foot and missed 11 games.  Steven Jackson fell early to injury as well and missed 6 games and Jaquizz Rodgers filled in.  Matt Ryan made the best out of a bad situation by utilizing Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglas, but it was very interesting to see how different that offense was without two of its big play makers.  Lets not forget that the defense was missing Sean Weatherspoon and Kroy Bierman.  The defense ended up averaging 27.7 points a game allowed against them.

Now the Falcons are looking to rebound, and I think a lot of people are expecting them to return to glory as well.  It is a big loss not having Tony Gonzalez come back, but they will have Julio Jones and Roddy White coming back strong.  Matt Ryan knows how to utilize his targets and with both of them healthy it should really spread out the offense which will help create running lanes for Steven Jackson and the running game.  The Falcons spent the offseason drafting lineman to protect Matt Ryan; and they spent a lot of money signing crucial players to the roster.  The Falcons did also bring in Devin Hester which will add depth with the receivers and help amp up special teams.  Where the Falcons really need to step up is the defense.  Weatherspoon is coming back from an injury, but he should make an immediate impact along side Paul Worrilow who totaled up 127 tackles last year. 

As long as this team can stay healthy it would not surprise me if they went 12-4 and made a playoff push.  Coach Mike Smith has only had one losing season since taking over as head coach of the Falcons so it should be an interesting year of football in Atlanta.

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Pretty much everyone can throw their “pre-season” predictions out the window because it has been a crazy NFL season so far.  The worst team in the NFL in 2012 is now undefeated, we have two teams that have only won one game, and we have teams that were supposed to be Super Bowl contenders just fall off the face of the earth.  But, thats whats fun about football; you never know whats going to happen.  We are now 10 weeks into the 2013 season and a playoff picture is now starting to form.  There are some teams that we can tell are playoff bound, and at the same time I really think we will have a crazy Wild Card race going into the playoffs.  So, with that being said here is the current NFL Power Ranking; along with some other interesting facts.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) – Ten weeks ago when it was Week 1 the Chiefs were ranked at #22.  People will make the argument that the Chiefs have not played a tough team yet, but the fact remains they are undefeated.  The Chiefs defense has really been a surprise and they have been holding opponents to under 18 points a game.  The Chiefs offense is not the best in the NFL, but Smith and Company have been doing something that most teams do too much of and thats NOT turning the ball over.  It is very rare that the Chiefs turn the ball over and when you add that to a stout defense it equals victories.  In the next 3 weeks the Chiefs will play the Broncos twice so we will really see what they are made of.

2. Denver Broncos (8-1) – Peyton Manning has been a thrill to watch this year and he is leading the NFL in pretty much every passing category.  Another surprise on the Broncos offense has been Knowshon Moreno, he has found the endzone 8 times this season.  The Broncos defense has suffered some setbacks, but when you get an offense that will score almost 40 points a game it really helps.  The 3-headed monster on the team is the combo of Welker, Thomas, and Decker and with those 3 running routes at the same time makes it almost impossible to defend.  The lowest the Broncos ranking has been this year was 4th; I dont see a way that the Broncos wont be deep into the playoffs.

3. Seattle Seahawks (9-1) – When the season started the Seahawks were ranked #1 and the lowest they have gone is 5th.  The Seahawks have had one of the best defenses in the NFL, not to mention a very high powered offense.  Lynch has already scored 7 rushing TDs and is second in the NFL in rushing yards.  Between Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas they have combined for 8 interceptions which makes it very difficult to pass on the Seahawks.  I really cant see anything slowing Seattle down between Russell Wilson, Lynch, Golden Tate, and a powerful defense it would not surprise me to see Seattle playing in the Super Bowl.

4. New Orleans Saints (7-2) – When the season started the Saints were ranked at 14 and had a terrible defense in 2012.  It has been a major turn around this season with Brees throwing 25 TDs already and over 3,000 passing yards.  Lets not forget Jimmy Graham who has been a dominating force with 10 receiving TDs and 54 receptions; which is more than most receivers on other teams.  Someone that gets overlooked on this offense is Pierre Thomas; with Sproles not being as productive as usual Thomas has been the primary running back to shoulder the load in the running game and he has made a bigger impact this year than he has in previous years.

5. New England Patriots (7-2) – The Patriots have had their struggles this year, but they have made the adjustments they need to still win games.  Brady has been doing his best to utilize the young receivers he has and the running game has almost been non-existent up until a few weeks ago with Blount and Ridley.  Now with Gronkowski coming back into the mix it has given Brady a reliable target in the pass game and the young receivers have been improving every week. 

6. Carolina Panthers (6-3) – Yes you are reading this right; the Panthers are in the top 10 in the Power Rankings.  Just 10 weeks ago they were ranked down in the 23rd spot and now with a 5 game win streak they have cracked the top 10.  Its mostly the defense that is making this possible by holding opponents to under 19 points a game for the last 5 weeks.  Obviously Cam Newton has been keeping the offense rolling, but the defense is their best weapon as of late.  Players like Charles Johnson with 8.5 sacks, Mike Mitchell with 3 interceptions, and Luke Kuechly with 75 tackles is keeping the Panthers in games.  Believe it or not, but the Panthers could make a playoff run this season which would be the first in almost a decade.

7. Indianapolis Colts (6-3) – Despite getting handled by the Rams this week the Colts are still looking pretty sharp.  They have the weapons in Luck, Richardson, Hilton, and Fleener but they need to utilize them more.  Everyone thought that Richardson would be the answer to the run game, but so far it has been a disappointment and with Reggie Wayne going to IR the load has fallen on Hilton and Heyward-Bey.  The Colts defense has stepped up when needed as well in tough games.  What fans are hoping for is that Luck and Company can continue to get the ball to the endzone and make another playoff run.

8. San Francisco 49ers (6-3) – Once again the 49ers defense is one of the best in the NFL; but the offense is not doing their part.  The 49ers have an incredible running game with Gore, Hunter, and James; but Kap is literally dead last in passing yards.  The Niners have weapons too in Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin, and Mario Manningham.  Eventually Crabtree will come back, but its not going to matter if Kap cant get the ball to them.  It would not surprise me if the Niners still make a playoff run, but it will be short lived unless the offense steps it up soon.  The good news is that the defense is stepping up big time.  When you have players like Patrick Willis, Navarrow Bowman, and Justin Smith you are bound to have a solid defense, but the Niners cannot rely on them to get them to another Super Bowl.

9. Detroit Lions (6-3) – When I think of the Lions there are 3 names that come to mind; Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, and now Reggie Bush.  Between those 3 guys the Lions have become a very powerful offense.  Calvin has already found the endzone 9 times and is almost to 1,000 receiving yards already.  Reggie Bush has been a double threat by being the main rusher on the team and a safety valve for Stafford.  Picking up Bush was the best thing for the Lions and Bush has taken advantage of it by having 4 total TDs and almost 1,000 total yards.  Lets not forget about the defense, DeAndre Levy leads the NFL with 5 interceptions and Stephen Tulloch with 72 tackles.  The Lions actually do have a good chance at a playoff run with the Packers and the Bears both multiple games in the last few weeks.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) – The Bengals have now dropped 2 straight games; both in overtime, but dont count them out yet.  AJ Green leads the NFL in receiving yards and second in receptions; and between Bernard and Green-Ellis the running game has gotten a lot better.  To me, the issue is Dalton.  He is a good QB, but he is still making bad decisions in crucial times of the game.  When Dalton is hot he is almost impossible to stop, but when he is cold he is ice cold.  The Bengals have had an incredible defense this year and it is because of the defense that the Bengals are leading in their division.  If the Bengals can pull the offense together they should be able to take the NFC North with no problem.

11. Chicago Bears (5-4) – I had high hopes for the Bears after they came out of the gates with 3 straight wins, but recently they have been a bit disappointing.  Part of it was the fact that Cutler was injured, but you cant blame all of it on that.  The Bears main weapon is still Brandon Marshall, but Alshon Jeffery has been a nice compliment in the pass game.  Also, the emergence of Martellus Bennett has been a nice addition in the pass game.  My problem with the Bears is that they have re-vamped offensive line and a killer RB in Forte, but they are not giving him the ball enough.  Forte is almost to the 700 yard mark and a solid 7 TDs, but I feel he should be used more like an Adrian Peterson type back.  With Cutler back under center I think the Bears can give the Lions a run for their money, but only time will tell.

12. New York Jets (5-4) – The Jets were ranked dead last when the season began, but they have clawed their way up to #12.  The best thing that the Jets did was bench Sanchez; I am not saying Geno Smith is that much better, but it is definitely an improvement.  You cant blame everything on Smith though; the offensive line has given up a lot of sacks and the running game has not been too impressive.  So, how are the Jets 5-4?  Simple answer; defense.  The offense has stepped up in big situations, but the defense plays a full 4 quarters of football. 

13. Green Bay Packers (5-4) – Very rough season for the cheese heads.  The Packers have just been plagued with the injury big with key players going down, such as; Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, and Jermichael Finley.  The bright spot though has been the outstanding play of rookie Eddie Lacy.  The Packers have been searching for a franchise RB and they found it big time.  Lacy as a rookie is ranked 8th in rushing yards and 7th in rushing attempts in the league.  This may not be the year that the Packers do well, but this team is going to be extremely tough for years to come.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) – Its been an up and down season for the Eagles, but I think they are on the right track now.  I think its official that Vick is not going to have a job next year, but Foles has played very well in a short amount of time.  And when you add in LeSean McCoy to the mix it just makes the offense that much better.  The Eagles have also found a star in Riley Cooper who is playing for the injured Jeremy Maclin; who also may not have a job next year.  The offense is finally coming together and even with the NFC East being a sloppy division, the Eagles could take the division easily.

15. Dallas Cowboys (5-5) – Speaking of NFC East its time to talk about the Cowboys.  What bothers me with the Cowboys is that they have all the weapons they need on offense and defense.  You have a better Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and DeMarco Murray.  And on defense you have Sean Lee and Ware who are having Pro Bowl years.  So whats the problem?  With the schedule that the Cowboys have I really thought they would be 7-3 right now.  Everyone wants to blame Romo (because its a habit), but I cant say its all his fault.  The Cowboys are going to need to step up their game if they hope to win this horrible division.

16. Arizona Cardinals (5-4) – Another team that has an awesome defense, but a mediocre offense.  I dont see the Cardinals making a playoff push, but if they can get some better offensive players I think they could be a contender in the NFC West.  In my opinion it starts with the offensive line.  The Cards have a decent run game and they have weapons in Fitzgerald and Roberts, but if Palmer cant throw the ball they will be useless.

17. San Diego Chargers (4-5) – They have had some bright spots in Woodhead, Rivers, and Gates, but they are having a tough time stopping teams from scoring.  Rivers is having a Pro Bowl type year, but that wont be enough in their division to make a playoff push.  They are competing in the AFC West that has the Broncos and the Chiefs; so I dont really see them going to the post-season. 

18. Baltimore Ravens (4-5) – Even with the Ravens being this low they could still make the playoffs.  The AFC North has the Bengals (who the Ravens just beat), the Steelers, and the Browns.  Over the alst few weeks the Ravens have been playing like the defensing Super Bowl Champs; especially the defense.  The biggest difference in the Ravens offense has been the poor play of Ray Rice who is barely averaging 3 yards per carry.  But, its not all his fault either the pass game has been almost non-existent this season.  But even with that said the Ravens could slip into the playoffs as long as they keep pulling in the wins.

19. Cleveland Browns (4-5) – Obviously in a re-building year trading away Richardson and going through QBs like I go through underwear.  The two bright spots have been the emergence of Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon.  The Browns and the Ravens have the same record, but dont expect the Browns to be a playoff team.  There are a lot of holes in the offense, defense, and staff that will not benefit them for the remainder of the season. 

20. St. Louis Rams (4-6) – Sam Bradford is out for the rest of the year, the running game is finally working, and Tavon Austin finally had a breakout game.  There were some high hopes for the Rams coming into the season but they were quickly put to rest.  Up until last week the Rams didnt even have a rushing TD and we were just waiting for Austin to show why he was a first round pick.  The Rams could improve for future seasons, but I dont see them advancing for this season.

21. Tennessee Titans (4-5) – Even being ranked this low the Titans could push to be a Wild Card team.  In their division its the Colts, Texans, Jags, and the Titans.  Obviously the Jags and Texans have sealed their fate for this season, but the Titans still have a sliver of a chance.  You wont find any of the offensive players leading in any stats, but when you combine Chris Johnson, Jake Locker, Kendall Wright, and Nate Washington I think they could slide into a Wild Card spot if they get more wins under their belt.

22. Miami Dolphins (4-5) – Everyone was shocked when the Dolphins came out guns blazing winning 3 straight games.  But it has not taken long for the whole team to just crumble.  Since their 3 win start they have only won one more game which was in OT against the Bengals.  People thought having Mike Wallace in Miami would be an improvement and that has proven to be a disappointment, and most people listed Lamar Miller as a sleeper for fantasy players which has also been a disappointment.  Now with the Dolphins getting a lot of negative attention its only going to add to a growing problem for the franchise.

23. Washington Redskins (3-6) – I just dont understand this team at all.  Alfred Morris is probably one of the more reliable backs in the game, yet he is getting a lot less carries than his rookie year and more importantly, Morris is getting a lot less redzone carries which confuses me greatly.  I really cant tell what is going on with RGIII either.  One week he is unstoppable then the next week he cant do anything right.  It has been a treat to see Garcon play to his potential this season and I think he is one of the main reasons that the Redskins have won 3 games.  The Redskins have a long road ahead of them, but I still think that RGIII is the answer to most of the problems.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6) – Another team that just baffles me.  They are just letting games slip through their fingers.  Antonio Brown leads the NFL in receptions and has proven to be a reliable target for Big Ben, but he cant get in the endzone.  When it comes to the running game its literally hit or miss.  Le’Veon Bell is a good runner when he is healthy, but they do not have that reliable RB to back him up if something happens.  The “Steel Curtain” has not been up to par either this year and I cant tell what the problem is.  The Steelers are a good team and they have been for decades, but this has not been a good year and I dont see a playoff birth for 2013.

25. New York Giants (3-6) – Talk about a team that just fell right on their face.  It was mostly in the running game when they released Bradshaw, then Wilson played poorly, then Wilson and Brown got hurt, then Jacobs got hurt, then Hillis stepped in, and now Brown is back.  The defense has been really soft this year too by allowing well over 20 points a game which equals a lot of losses.  I know the Giants are a good team, but they got off on the wrong foot this year and they are paying for it now.

26. Buffalo Bills (3-7) – Between having a rookie QB and Spiller being a bust its just been one thing after another for the Bills this year.  People were really putting a lot of faith into Spiller and Manuel going into the season, but injuries put a stop to that quickly.  The Bills also have weapons that can add up tp wins, but they need to be able to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.  Eventually I could see the Bills being a playoff contender; just not this year.

27. Oakland Raiders (3-6) – It has been a treat to see how much Pryor has improved since the beginning of the season and I think Oakland finally has a QB they can groom to be a franchise QB.  One piece of this puzzle though is DMC needing to stay healthy for a full season.  McFadden has put up good numbers this year, but he is still plagued with the injury bug.  I gotta give the Raiders defense some credit because the few wins they have had this year have been won by the defense.

28. Houston Texans (2-7) – I really thought the Texans were going to be a solid playoff team this year; was I off or what?  It was very hard to watch Matt Schaub literally throw this team into the ground for the first 4 weeks, but its even tougher now with Foster being injured and the defense has fallen apart now that they are talking about cutting Ed Reid.  I am hoping this is just an “off” year for the Texans and they come back next year and get back on track.

29. Atlanta Falcons (2-7) – Roddy White, Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, Steven Jackson, and Tony Gonzalez.  When you look at those names all you see is Pro Bowls, TDs, and great players.  The fact that they are all on the same team you would think that it would be an unstoppable offense; well its been a different story this year.  I was predicting the Falcons to make another deep playoff run, but between injuries and just poor play they find themselves searching for answers.  2013 was not kind to the Falcons, but they will be better next season that much I know.

30. Minnesota Vikings (2-7) – I can sum up this teams season in two words; QB issues.  I can seriously say that the Vikings can blame the majority of this crappy season on the poor play of all 3 of their QBs.  Adrian Peterson is playing well and carrying the team as best as he can right now, but the QB (no matter who it is) is not helping matters.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) – With the loss of Josh Freeman and Doug Martin the Bucs have been using inexperienced players to try and carry the team.   Its been a sad year for the Bucs, but its mostly sitting on the offense to pick up the slack for next season.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) – They finally got a win.  To be honest I dont really think too many people had high hopes for the Jags this season.

As we approach the mid-way mark of the 2013 season it is time to see how our fantasy “projections” have turned out.  At the start of the season everyone had their opinions on who was going to be the best fantasy options.  Also, there were plenty of sleeper and bust articles written and now we get to see if any of those projections were correct.  In this article I will go over every position that encumbers a fantasy football team and I will go over who is leading in fantasy points and see if the projections earlier this season were correct or way off.  The point system I am using is a Standard ESPN Fantasy Football Scoring Format.  At the end of this article I will show the top rankings for all positions.

+QUARTERBACKS+

The QB section is pretty close to what we had expected.  The big surprise was how good of start Peyton Manning started off with.  Through 7 weeks Peyton has already put up a monstrous 168 fantasy points.  The next QB down is Drew Brees with 130 fantasy points which is still very good obviously.  A name that has shocked me is Jay Cutler; she is 7th in fantasy points for QB with 102 points which is above Aaron Rodgers (100), Matt Ryan (96), and Cam Newton (92).  Cutler was not even drafted in some leagues and in other leagues he has been just sitting on the bench.  People may want to think about starting him for future games now that he is proving to be a better QB than before.  Another big surprise was Tony Romo; he is 4th in fantasy points for QBs with 115 points and he has made some mistakes but not nearly as many as previous years.

The players that I have been disappointed with are Colin Kaepernick (76), Tom Brady (79), and Matt Schaub (72).  Kap in his first game looked like he was going to be just amazing, but since that game he has not been playing to the standard we had thought he would.  Tom Brady is going to the Hall of Fame, but with an inexperienced receiving squad he has really had to struggle to get the ball downfield this season.  There are some Patriot receivers who are stepping up, but it is a far cry from where he was just a few years ago.  Matt Schaub has just been a mess this season and if he is on your fantasy team then you are just wasting a slot.  He has been a turnover machine and he is not making it easy for the Texans to win.

+RUSHING+

There have been some big shockers here.  People who picked up Jamaal Charles are sitting pretty right now since he leads all RBs in points with 112.  LeSean McCoy is sitting at 98 points while Marshawn Lynch is at 93.  Outside of those 3 people it has been an absolute mess with RBs.  As it stands right now Knowshon Moreno is 4th in points for RBs with 92 which is ahead of Adrian Peterson (84); who I am sure was drafted #1 in every league.  In most leagues Moreno was not even drafted since it was said that Montee Ball would most likely be the starter.  Reggie Bush is also fitting in very well with the Lions by scoring 77 points already and that is with him missing one full game.  Adrian Peterson has had a lot of things happen this season but he is still producing numbers and he is 5th in points with 84 points so far this season.

Now for the disappointments in the RB column.  Here are some of the running backs that people picked in the first round of their drafts; CJ Spiller, Ray Rice, Doug Martin, Trent Richardson, Arian Foster, and Alfred Morris.  Now I am not saying they are all doing bad but I am going to put this into perspective.  Ray Rice has 37 fantasy points; that is one point more than back up running back Jaquizz Rodgers (36) for the Falcons.  I know Rice has had some injury issues but he is only averaging 2.8 yards per carry.  People had high hopes for CJ Spiller but he has only put up 39 points while his counter part Fred Jackson has racked up 71 points.  I dont think anyone saw that coming.  I think my two biggest surprises are Doug Martin (47) and Trent Richardson (45).  Martin had an incredible rookie year but he is proving to have a huge sophomore slump right now and the same goes for Richardson who even got traded to a better team!  I know most people who have Richardson or Martin have not been impressed yet.  Arian Foster is still having a good year so far with 80 points but he would be putting up a lot more if Schaub was not turning the ball over so much.  Some other quick disappointments are Maurice Jones-Drew with 40 points (27th ranked); and Chris Johnson with 46 points (19th ranked).

Some surprises at the running spot; besides Moreno; is DeMarco Murray, Frank Gore, and Danny Woodhead.  Even with Murray battling an injury he is still 10th in points for RBs, Gore is 11th in points with 67, and Woodhead who is playing behind Ryan Mathews is 16th in points with 49 while Mathews is 26th with 41 points.  There is still a long way to go in the season and there is always going to be players that just explode in November and December.

+RECEIVING+

This is where most of the fun is taking place right now.  I will go over the receivers first then the tight ends, but I am shocked that DeSean Jackson is the leader in points for receivers right now with 87 points.  Wes Welker is in second with 80 points, Dez Bryant is 3rd with 78 points, Brandon Marshall is 4th with 76 points, and Demaryius Thomas is 5th with 74 points.  There are a lot of familiar names toward the top of this list like Victor Cruz (73), Julio Jones (65), and Jordy Nelson (71).  One name that stands out right now is Alshon Jeffery with 63 points which ranks him 10th overall.  Another surprise name is Denarius Moore ranking in at 11th with 62 points which is above big named players like Reggie Wayne (56) and Calvin Johnson (55).  One player who is still consistent as ever is AJ Green with 69 points and coming in 8th in overall points.

The disappointments are all over the place here.  Most leagues had Calvin as the first picked receiver and so far he is ranked 16th in points which is pretty bad compared to his previous seasons.  At number 21 we have Anquan Boldin who had a monster first game, but since then has literally done nothing to keep his fantasy value up.  Another big name that is yet to impress is Vincent Jackson; I know he has had two games that were good, but other than that he only has 50 fantasy points and is ranked 23 right now.  One surprise here is Josh Gordon who missed the first 2 games of the season; yet he is ranked number 18 with 55 points.  All of the Bronco receivers are in the top 20 with Welker at number 2, Thomas at number 5, and Decker at number 17 so if you have any of those guys keep them in your lineup forever. 

When it comes to TEs we all know that Jimmy Graham is ranked first with 93 points, but sis you know the second TE with the most points is Julius Thomas with 78?  Bottom line if you have any Broncos receiver, you better hold on to them.  Vernon Davis comes in 3rd right now with 74 while the 4th ranked is Jordan Cameron with 73 points.  Antonio Gates is 5th on this list with 53 points and he is showing glimpses of previous seasons.  But that is a huge gap between 4th and 5th place right now; thats a whole 20 points.  There really are not any surprises when it comes to TEs except for the absence of Gronkowski.  There have been reports of Gronk coming back very shortly and I can see Brady putting him to good use very quickly.

+DEFENSE+

Most people dont really see how many “fantasy” points defenses put up.  I bet right now that most people dont know that the Chiefs have scored the most points with 113; the next defense down at number 2 is the Seahawks with 75 points.  So go to your fantasy team and add the Chiefs right now.  Also, the Titans are 3rd in defensive points with 66 and the Browns are 4th with 58 points.  After the first few defenses on this list they all are about equal; just a few points off so if you need a defense; you best pick up one of these.

+KICKERS+

Kickers and defenses are pretty similar.  Most kickers will do about the same amount of points give or take 10 points.  Right now Matt Prater leads all kickers with 72 points while Stephen Gostkowski comes in 2nd with 67 points.  Garrett Hartley and Steven Hauschka both have 62 points while Mason Crosby has 60 points.  After that they all pan out to be pretty much equal; but if you are in need of a kicker one of these guys will do the trick.

+TOTAL POINTS ALL+

1. Peyton Manning – 168
2. Drew Brees – 130
3. Philip Rivers – 119
4. Tony Romo – 115
5. Chiefs – 113
6. Jamaal Charles – 112
7. Matthew Stafford – 110
8. Jay Cutler – 102
9. Sam Bradford – 102
10. Aaron Rodgers – 100
11. Michael Vick – 98
12. LeSean McCoy – 98
13. Andrew Luck – 97
13. Matt Ryan – 96
14. Marshawn Lynch – 93
15. Jimmy Graham – 93
16. Knowshon Moreno – 92
17. Cam Newton – 92
18. Russell Wilson – 92
19. Alex Smith – 87
20. DeSean Jackson – 87
21. Adrian Peterson – 84
22. Matt Forte – 82
23. Andy Dalton – 81
24. Wes Welker – 80
25. Arian Foster – 80
26. Tom Brady – 79
27. Robert Griffin III – 79
28. Dez Bryant – 78
29. Julius Thomas – 78
30. Reggie Bush – 77
31. Terrelle Pryor – 77
32. Brandon Marshall – 76
33. Colin Kaepernick – 76
34. Joe Flacco – 75
35. Seahawks – 75
36. Vernon Davis – 74
37. Demaryius Thomas – 74
38. Victor Cruz – 73
39. Jordan Cameron – 73
40. Geno Smith – 73
41. Matt Schaub – 72
42. Matt Prater – 72
43. Fred Jackson – 71
44. Jordy Nelson – 71
45. DeMarco Murray – 71
46. Eli Manning – 70
47. AJ Green – 69
48. Frank Gore – 67
49. Stephen Gostkowski – 67
50. Titans – 66
51. Ben Roethlisberger – 65
52. Julio Jones – 65
53. Jake Locker – 65
54. Ryan Tannehill – 64
55. Alshon Jeffery – 64
56. Garrett Hartley – 62
57. Steven Hauschka – 62
58. Denarius Moore – 62
59. Torrey Smith – 62
60. Carson Palmer – 60
61. Larry Fitzgerald – 60
62. Mason Crosby – 60
63. Antonio Brown – 60
64. Nick Novak – 59
65. Gio Bernard – 59
66. EJ Manuel – 59
67. Browns – 58
68. Adam Vinatieri – 57
69. Alex Henery – 57
70. Reggie Wayne – 56
71. Bengals – 56
72. Colts – 56
73. 49ers – 56
74. Calvin Johnson – 55
75. Eric Decker – 55

Running backs are almost becoming a dying breed these days in the NFL since its turning more into a passing league.  For running backs like Marshawn Lynch that is not a problem since he is a powerful runner and a great pass catcher.  Lynch has made a reputation for being a bruising running back that can punish you with his strength, or burn you with his speed.  Lynch is one of the best running backs in the league and he is always picked in the first round of every fantasy football draft since he has proven to be a tough player.  He has the potential to be a Hall of Fame player and if he stays in “Beast Mode” he should have no problem getting there.

Marshawn Terrell Lynch was born on April 22nd, 1986 in Oakland California.  Lynch attended Oakland Technical High School.  In his 2003 high school season he racked up 1,722 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns in only 8 games.  In the postseason he had 375 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in two games.  He was voted a PrepStar and SuperPrep All-American and was also voted as the San Francisco East Bay Player of the Year.  He also played defensive back, a little bit at QB, and dabbled in the wide receiver position.  Rivals.com ranked him as the #2 player in the nation right behind Adrian Peterson.  While in high school he kept in shape by being a track star and played basketball in the offseason. 

Lynch decided to play his college ball at the University of California, Berkeley.  He played football for the California Golden Bears and was a major in social welfare.  As a freshman he was the back up running back but still totaled up 628 yards and 8 touchdowns.  In 2005, Lynch was named the starter for the Golden Bears and he took advantage of it by rushing for 1,246 yards and 10 touchdowns.  He led the team to the Las Vegas Bowl where he ran for 194 yards and 3 touchdowns and was named MVP.  The 2006 season was an interesting one for Lynch.  He was on track to win the Maxwell Award and the University launched a program for Lynch to win the Heisman.  He rushed for 1,356 yards and 11 touchdowns including a game winning touchdown against Washington.  Lynch was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and holds the school record for most 100-yard games with 17.

Lynch decided to enter the 2007 NFL Draft and was selected 12th overall by the Buffalo Bills and agreed to a six-year, $18.935 million contract.  The Bills were in need of a running back badly so they had him start as a rookie.  He made an immediate impact by being able to rush, catch, and even throw the ball.  He missed some time due to injuries but he still went over 1,000 yards and totaled 7 touchdowns.  He even threw a TD pass, which was the first touchdown pass completed by a Bills non-QB since 1981.  The next season the Bills got a new offensive coordinator and did not utilize Lynch like people expected.  Lynch still had 1,036 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns, but there were numerous times he was on the sideline during crucial parts of the game. 

In 2009, Lynch plead guilty to a weapons charge and was suspended for 3 games.  In his absence Fred Jackson shouldered the load while Lynch only had 450 yards and two touchdowns.  He did not have a single game over 100 yards while Jackson had over 1,000 yards.  In the 2010 season Lynch suffered an ankle sprain in the preseason and was expected to be out for a few weeks.  He played in three games that season before the Bills traded him to the Seattle Seahawks for two draft picks, a fourth-rounder in 2011 and a conditional pick in 2012.

Lynch went to Seattle where he was welcomed with open arms and utilized as much as they could.  His first TD came against the Bears on October 17th and then on Dec 5th he had 3 scores against the Panthers.  The Seahawks made the playoffs  that season and against the Saints Lynch had one of the best runs to ever be seen.  Lynch had a 67-yard touchdown run where he broke nine tackles for the touchdown.  The reaction from the crowd was so strong that it was recorded as seismic activity at a monitoring station 100 yards away from the stadium.  In the short time he played that season he still managed 747 yards and 6 touchdowns. 

The 2011 season would prove to be one of his best years by rushing for 1,204 yards and 12 TDs.  He set a franchise record that year for consecutive games with a rushing TD with 10.  After the season ended the Seahawks signed Lynch to a 4 year $31 million contract.  In 2012 Lynch was in the best “Beast Mode” we have ever seen by rushing for 1,590 yards and 11 TDs.  During the two seasons he has been on the Seahawks he has been playing the best football of his career and has made the Pro Bowl both years.  Now in 2013, Lynch is already off to a great start by making big plays and helping his team win.  He is already on pace to have a record year.

Lynch was ranked #24 in the Top 100 Players of 2013; been named to 3 Pro Bowls, First Team All-Pro in 2012, and ranked #94 in the Top 100 Players of 2012.  So far in his career he has 6,132 rushing yards, 46 TDs, and averaging 4.1 yards per carry.  I do not see anything slowing Lynch down at this point in his career.  He will be around for a long time and I can see him ending his career with a lot more awards under his belt.

There are only a few linebackers who are extremely feared in the NFL; Clay Matthews is one of them.  He has only been in the league a handful of years, but he is already considered to be one of the bests in the league.  Not only is he an incredible pass rusher; he is also very popular among fans around the league.  Even if you are not a Packers fan, you still find yourself liking to watch Matthews.  He is know for being very athletic, strong, and quick.  Not to mention his “flex” when he sacks an opposing quarterback. 

William Clay Matthews III was born on May 14th, 1986 in Northridge California.  Believe it or not; Matthews was not the biggest guy in high school.  He attended Agoura High School and he played on the football team where his father was the defensive coordinator.  His father refused to play his son because of how small he was at the time.  In his senior year of high school he really began to gain strength and size, but because he did not play much high school football there were no school really interested in Matthews.  He decided that he would walk onto the USC Trojans football team and take his chances there.

He made the Trojan football team and his first year at college he never actually got to play; he was on the scout team.  The coaches tried to put Matthews in during “garbage time” in some games.  Garbage time is where USC was winning by so much that they would pretty much put anyone into the game to give them playing time.  Matthews turned down the offer to play during the garbage time.  In 2005 he got to play on special teams for the Trojans.  For the next two seasons he only got to play on special teams and even the small amount of time he played he made a big impact by blocking field goals and making tackles. 

It was in 2008 that Matthews really dedicated himself to the gym to be able to start for the Trojans.  The coaches for USC decided to try Matthews in a defensive position called “Elephant”; where he would line up as a defensive end, but would be in a two point stance so he could utilize his speed.  He did very well in that position and recorded 4.5 sacks his senior year.  He still played on special teams and was able to showcase his speed and tackling abilities.

Even with only limited college experience, Matthews still was invited to attend the 2009 NFL Combine where he dazzled NFL teams with his size, strength, and speed.  He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the first round (26th overall pick) in the 2009 draft.  That same year the Packers hired former NFL great Kevin Greene to help coach the linebackers for the Packers.  Matthews made an immediate impression as a rookie by being a sack machine and made a name for himself by forcing fumbles and actually scored a touchdown on a Monday Night game where he stripped the ball away from Adrian Peterson and ran for a touchdown.  As a rookie he recorded 51 tackles, 10 sacks, and 3 fumble recoveries.  He also led the Packers in QB Pressures with 45.5 and finished 3rd in the Rookie of the Year award.

Since his rookie year opposing defenses have tried to figure out how to contain Matthews and there has been little success.  The 2010 season the Packers went to the Super Bowl and in that season Matthews racked up 60 tackles, 13.5 sacks, and recorded his first interception.  In the post season Matthews was one of the big reasons why the Packers went to the Super Bowl.  Even in the Super Bowl Matthews forced a game changing turnover that sealed a Championship for the Packers.

In 2011 Matthews recorded 3 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, 50 tackles, and 6 sacks.  Even though his numbers were lower for the 2011 season; it was crazy to see the amount of times that he was double teamed and even triple teamed.  Matthews did show an improvement in his pass coverage abilities which helped the Packers be one of the most dominant defenses of that season.   Even with all the extra attention from opposing teams he still managed to be one of the best linebackers of the 2011 season.

In the 2012 season it was much of the same where teams would double team Matthews to try and contain him.  He still was able to record 43 tackles, 13 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.  He helped the Packers get to the NFC Divisional Championship game where they lost to the 49ers; but Matthews showed that he can lead a team on and off the field.  He may not have posted the biggest numbers of his career, but he did help ignite a defense that was struggling in numerous areas.

So far in Matthews short career he has totaled up 204 tackles, 42.5 sacks, 154 QB Pressures, 4 interceptions, 2 touchdowns, 22 pass deflections, and 7 forced fumbles.  He has made the NFL Pro Bowl every year he has been in the NFL and been named to the All-Pro team 2 times.  He already has a Super Bowl ring, was the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year, 2010 NFC Defensive Player of the Year, and won the 2010 Butkus Award.  Matthews still has a long career ahead of him and he will continue to be a dominant presence on the field.

We get to hear it almost everyday about how wealthy some NFL contracts are, and how much NFL teams will spend on their team.  Sometimes the numbers seem outlandish and un-realistic; but they are very real and crazy to think about.  This article is going the other way; how much each NFL franchise is worth.  Surprisingly enough almost every team makes very good money (except for a few); but it is interesting to see how much a team makes compared to how “good” the team actually is. 

When you think about a revenue stream for an NFL team it is really is a science.  Even though owners will shell out a lot of money to player, coaches, and stadiums; the real revenue comes from us; the fans.  The NFL does obviously contribute to each team but think about how NFL teams make their money.  There are ticket sales, season ticket holders, VIP suites, parking, merchandise sales, television, cable, etc.  So like I was saying; even though owners will shell out a lot of money; there is a ton of money coming in.  Below is the complete list of the richest and poorest NFL teams as of 2013. 

1. Dallas Cowboys – Worth $2.3 billion
2. New England Patriots – Worth 1.8 billion
3. Washington Redskins – Worth $1.7 billion
4. New York Giants – Worth $1.55 billion
5. Houston Texans – Worth $1.45 billion
6. New York Jets – Worth $1.38 billion
7. Philadelphia Eagles – Worth 1.31 billion
8. Chicago Bears – Worth $1.25 billion
9. Baltimore Ravens – Worth $1.22 billion
10. San Francisco 49ers – Worth $1.22 billion
11. Indianapolis Colts – Worth $1.2 billion
12. Green Bay Packers – Worth $1.18 billion
13. Denver Broncos – Worth $1.16 billion
14. Pittsburgh Steelers – Worth $1.11 billion
15. Seattle Seahawks – Worth $1.08 billion
16. Miami Dolphins – Worth $1.07 billion
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Worth $1.06 billion
18. Carolina Panthers – Worth $1.05 billion
19. Tennessee Titans – Worth $1.05 billion
20. Kansas City Chiefs – Worth $1 billion
21. Minnesota Vikings – Worth $1 billion
22. Cleveland Browns – Worth $1 billion
23. New Orleans Saints – Worth $1 billion
24. Arizona Cardinals – Worth $961 million
25. San Diego Chargers – Worth $949 million
26. Atlanta Falcons – Worth $933 million
27. Cincinnati Bengals – Worth $924 million
28. Detroit Lions – Worth $900 million
29. St. Louis Rams – Worth $875 million
30. Buffalo Bills – Worth $870 million
31. Jacksonville Jaguars – Worth $840 million
32. Oakland Raiders – Worth $825 million

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More often then not I will see professional athletes get in trouble with the law.  It used to be that they were small things like fender benders, drug tests, missing practices, etc.  Now the offenses are getting much worse; I am now seeing murders, DUI’s, manslaughter’s, and abuse.  It makes me wonder what goes on in these athletes heads; why jeopardize your millions of dollars to drive drunk or to shoot someone.  If I was making 5 million dollars a year I would not do anything to jeopardize that.  Now I am not saying that all NFL players are thugs; there are plenty of players who are classy individuals who are excellent examples to the youth.  What is concerning me is that more and more young NFL players are being terrible role models and ruining their own lives by making bad decisions.  Since the Super Bowl in February there have already been 27 NFL players that have been arrested and plenty more who already have suspensions; and the season is still almost 2 months away. 

Michael Boley, Giants – Arrested for Child Abuse on Feb. 8th

Da’Quan Bowers, Buccaneers – Had a gun in his luggage at the airport on Feb. 18th

Al Netter, 49ers – Arrested for a DUI in California on Feb 22nd

Desmond Bryant, Browns – Arrested for criminal mischief in Miami on Feb. 24th

J’Marcus Webb, Bears – Marijuana possession in Illinois on Feb. 24th

Javarris Lee, Cardinals – Did not appear in court was arrested in Florida on Mar. 7th

Quinton Carter, Broncos – Arrested for cheating at craps in Vegas on Mar. 9th

Cody Grimm, Buccaneers – Arrested twice for public intoxication in Virginia, Mar 10th and Mar 28th

Evan Rodriguez, Bears – Arrested for resisting an officer on Mar 21st; then arrested again for a DUI and speeding on May 31st

Trumaine Johnson, Rams – Arrested for misdemeanor DUI in Montana on Mar 22nd.

Brandon Barden, Titans – Ran car off the road; arrested for DUI on Mar 23rd

Amari Spivey, Lions – Arrested for third-degree assault in a domestic incident with girlfriend on Mar. 27th

William Moore, Falcons – Arrested for battery on April 18th

Rolando McClain, Ravens – Disorderly conduct on April 22nd

Ronnell Lewis, Lions – Bar fight on April 23rd

Quentin Groves, Browns – Arrested for solicitation in a prostitution sting on April 24th

Cliff Harris, Jets – Marijuana possession on May 2nd

Claude Davis, Jets – Marijuana Possession on May 2nd

Daryl Washington, Cardinals – Aggravated assault on his ex-girlfriend on May 3rd

Armonty Bryant, Browns – DUI on May 6th

Titus Young, Former Lion – arrested twice in the same day for DUI and trying to steal his own car out of the impound on May 5th; then arrested a week later for burglary on May 10th

Mike Goodson, Jets – Arrested on gun and drug charges on May 17th

Joe Morgan, Saints – Arrested for DWI on May 29th

Pacman Jones, Bengals – assault on a woman outside a night club on June 11th

Jason Peters, Eagles – Arrested for street racing and a high speed chase on June 12th

Aaron Hernandez, Former Patriot – Arrested for murder and 5 gun-related charges on June 26th

Ausar Walcott, Browns – Arrested for attempted murder after punching a man outside a club on June 26th