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Posts Tagged ‘Arian Foster’

It’s always fun to make preseason predictions and it’s usually a nightmare to go back and look at them. 

Fortune teller with crystal ball

I don't think I've quite figured out how to interpret my crystal ball yet.

With a quick glance I can tell that I wasn’t very creative with my 2010 NFL predictions.  Here they are with the actual records next to them in parentheses:

NFC East

Cowboys   11-5 (6-10)
Giants   10-6 (10-6)
Redskins   9-7 (6-10)
Eagles   8-8 (10-6)

My shining jewel in the NFC East – my New York Giants prediction.  I also picked Tono Romo to be division MVP, Donovan McNabb to be the Top Newcomer in the division, Linval Joseph to be the Top Rookie (he did make six tackles!) and Malcolm Kelly to be the Most Improved.  Ugh!

NFC North

Packers   12-4 (10-6)
Vikings   10-6 (6-10)
Bears   5-11 (11-5)
Lions   2-14 (6-10)

Not too bad with the Packers but I was off by at least four games with the three other teams in the NFC North.  I did better in the individual categories.  I picked Aaron Rodgers to be the NFC North MVP, Clay Matthews as the division Defensive Player of the Year and Julius Peppers to be the Top Newcomer.

NFC South

Saints   12-4 (11-5)
Falcons   11-5 (13-3)
Panthers   5-11 (1-15)
Buccaneers   4-12 (10-6)

Let me first apologize to Tampa Bay for being so far off.  I’d like to apologize to myself next for giving the Panthers too much credit even though I wanted to pick them to have far fewer wins.  My individual award picks for the NFC South were a Saints and Falcons lovefest.

NFC West

49ers   10-6 (6-10)
Cardinals   6-10 (5-11)
Rams   4-12 (7-9)
Seahawks   4-12 (7-9)

The Rams definitely surpassed my expectations, which was exciting – well at least up to last night.  I expected big things from Frank Gore, Alex Smith and Beanie Wells.  Oops.

AFC East

Patriots   13-3 (14-2)
Jets   12-4 (11-5)
Dolphins   8-8 (7-9)
Bills   3-13 (4-12)
 
I was pretty good in the AFC East just missing each team by one game and calling the order of finish.  While I did pick Tom Brady to be the AFC East MVP, I also picked Shonn Greene to be Offensive Player of the Year, C.J. Spiller to be the Top Rookie and Aaron Maybin to be Most Improved.

AFC North

Ravens   11-5 (12-4)
Steelers   10-6 (12-4)
Bengals   10-6 (4-12)
Browns   2-14 (5-11)

I thought the suspension of Ben Roethlisberger would hurt the Steelers a lot more than it did.  I also blew it on the Bengals.  I expected Joe Flacco to really turn it up and be the AFC North MVP.  That did not happen either.

AFC South

Colts   12-4 (10-6)
Titans   11-5 (6-10)
Texans   9-7 (6-10)
Jaguars   5-11 (8-8)

Other than the Colts I got this division all wrong.  I did call Arian Foster as the Most Improved Player in the AFC South.

AFC West

Chargers   12-4 (9-7)
Chiefs   8-8 (10-6)
Raiders   5-11 (8-8)
Broncos   3-13 (4-12)

I clearly trusted the Chargers too much.  I wanted to buy more into the Raiders but I couldn’t find the wins.  I did say that Vincent Jackson was the Most Important Player in the AFC West because of his holdout.  That may have proven to be true.

So another NFL regular season is in the books and my predictions mostly stunk.  I only predicted one team’s record correctly.  I’m pretty sure you could randomly generate records and get one right.  But don’t worry fearless readers it won’t stop me from making more predictions!

Photo source: Steve Snodgrass

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Week nine brought a number of surprising individual performances in the NFL.  An old, grizzled veteran showed flashes of his former self in leading his team to victory (Brett Favre).  A pounding back earned his team a shocking win over a team that had turned into a good run defender (Peyton Hillis).  Two rookie receivers came out of nowhere to help their teams score critical W’s (Seyi Ajirotutu and Jacoby Ford).  These types of stories are one of the many reasons why we love football.

Here are the Average Guy’s NFL Week Nine Awards:

Cleveland Browns Stadium

The site of a huge upset in week nine

Most Impressive Win

Cleveland Browns – 34-14 over the New England Patriots

Most Important Win

Oakland Raiders – 23-20 over the Kansas City Chiefs

Worst Loss

Houston Texans – 23-29 at home to the San Diego Chargers

Biggest Surprise

Cleveland Browns

Biggest Disappointment

Dallas Cowboys

They Are Who We Thought They Were

Baltimore Ravens

Offensive MVP

Peyton Hillis, Cleveland Browns – 29 carries 184 yards 2 TDs 3 receptions 36 yards

Defensive MVP

Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings – 2.5 sacks 4 tackles 6 QB Hits

Special Teams MVP

Jacoby Ford, Oakland Raiders – 94-yard kickoff return for touchdown

Most Surprising Performance

Seyi Ajirotutu, San Diego Chargers – 4 receptions 111 yards 2 TDs

Most Disappointing Performance

Thomas Jones, Kansas City Chiefs – 19 carries 32 yards

Offensive Rookie

Colt McCoy, Cleveland Browns – 14 completions 19 attempts 174 yards 0 interceptions 101.6 QB rating

Defensive Rookie

Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs – 2 sacks 4 tackles 3 QB Hits

Most Impressive Performance in a Loss

Arian Foster, Houston Texans – 27 carries 127 yards 2 TDs 4 receptions 70 yards

Welcome Back Mike Williams

Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 4 receptions 89 yards 1 TD

Quick Takes

  • The Dolphins-Ravens matchup was my game to watch.   Earlier in the season I saw the Ravens beat the Steelers and the Steelers beat the Dolphins so I was looking forward to closing the loop by watching Miami visit Baltimore.
  • The Dolphins offensive line is stellar.  They forced the Ravens to load up on the blitz to get to Chad Henne.  Henne officially threw three interceptions but the first (after Brian Hartline slipped and fell) and the second (a bad Brandon Marshall drop) are kind of unfair to count against him. 
  • Miami’s tackling was pretty bad. 
  • I’ve said this before – Cameron Wake is a beast.
  • Ray Rice looked like he was completely back from early season injuries.  Joe Flacco was really bailed out when Sean Smith dropped a sure interception and touchdown.
  • The Ravens defense did a good job of taking away Brandon Marshall.
  • I was able to catch the end of the Chargers-Texans game and I’ve got to say I was really shocked at the very bad drop that Andre Johnson had.  A superstar wide receiver has to make that catch.
  • I’m really impressed with Oakland’s efforts to stop Kansas City’s running game.  They held the Chiefs to 104 yards on 34 carries.  Jamaal Charles did get 53 yards on 10 carries, but most importantly they held him to a long run of 13.  I didn’t buy into the Raiders run defense before this game, but I do now.

One BIG Question

Will all of the Colts injuries result in them missing the playoffs?

What performances did you think were Sunday’s best?  Let me know by posting a comment below.

Photo source: zoonabar

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The most important NFL game of week eight is:

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
Monday, 8:30 pm

The Texans started the season off with a bang, beating division rival Indianapolis 34-24 and sending a message to the Colts, who had beat them in 15 of their 16 matchups all time.  Since then Houston has alternated wins and losses.  They’ve struggled in pass defense, allowing more than 306 yards per game, good for last in the NFL.  They’ve also been dealing with suspensions and injuries.  Running back Arian Foster, who got off to such a good start against the Colts, has been slowed recently.  He’s only run for 96 yards total in the last two games. 

Indianapolis Colts flag

There will be a lot of hooting and hollering in Indianapolis Monday night

The Colts have won four of five since that week one game in Houston.  Their loss was a puzzling one in Jacksonville.  Indianapolis has also been battling injuries, the worst of which is a season-ender to Dallas Clark.  All of their top three backs are hobbling as are most of their receivers.  Still, Peyton Manning is there to guide them through the challenges, although he has not looked like his always accurate self at times this season. 

Both of these teams are coming off a bye so preparation will not be a problem.

The Texans win if:  Arian Foster gets back on track.  The Colts are 26th in the NFL against the run.  If Foster can run for four-five-six yards a carry early then the Colts will have no choice but to bring their pass rushers over to the sideline, which will help the Texans open up their air attack as well.

The Colts win if:  They can keep their offense humming after they cross over midfield.  Against the Texans in week one the Colts did not have a problem moving the ball until they got to between the 30 and 40 yard lines on Houston’s side of the field.  They need to keep the momentum going and to score touchdowns.  That task is more complicated without Clark on the field.

Who do I like:  Indianapolis Colts 31-27

Why:  With two weeks off and facing the worst pass defense in the NFL, I think Manning is going to make sure the Colts score touchdowns.  Another key is the Texans pass rush.  It was excellent against Indy in week one but has not been nearly as strong since then.  Also, the loss of DeMeco Ryans is big.  Expecting Brian Cushing to come right in to play middle linebacker well against the Colts passing game is too much to ask.  You can bet this will be an exciting offensive battle.  The only reason I don’t have a higher score is because I think there will be long possessions.

Who do you like in this AFC South matchup?  Let me know how you see the game playing out by posting a comment below.

Photo source: Paul J Everett

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NFL Flag

Time to Fly the NFL Flag

The opening weekend of the NFL is always a fun one.  I had to explain to my daughters that Sunday was like Christmas for Daddy.  Unfortunately the Rams could not deliver a gift-wrapped win for me.  But on the plus side, I am perfect on my NFL week one predictions going into the Monday night games.

I watched all of the Vikings-Saints game and the Colts-Texans game.  I watched parts of many others.  Here are the Average Guy’s NFL Week One Awards (before the Monday night games):  

Most Impressive Win

New England Patriots – 38-24 over Cincinnati Bengals  

Most Important Win

Houston Texans – 34-24 over Indianapolis Colts  

Worst Loss

San Francisco 49ers – 6-31 to Seattle Seahawks  

Biggest Surprise Team

Seattle Seahawks  

Biggest Disappointment

Atlanta Falcons  

Offensive MVP

Arian Foster, Houston Texans – 33 carries 231 yards 3 TDs 1 reception 7 yards  

Defensive MVP

Adrian Wilson, Arizona Cardinals – 2 interceptions 1 sack 2 tackles  

Most Surprising Performance

Matt Forte, Chicago Bears – 7 receptions 151 yards 2 TDs and 17 carries 50 yards  

Most Disappointing Performance

Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons – 19 carries 42 yards 1 reception 7 yards  

Best Debut Performance

Aaron Kampman, Jacksonville Jaguars – 1.5 sacks 3 tackles 6 QB hurries  

Offensive Rookie

Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams – 32 completions 55 attempts 253 yards 1 TD 3 interceptions  

Defensive Rookie

Sean Weatherspoon, Atlanta Falcons – 8 tackles  

Best Coaching Debut

Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks  

Observations

  • I thought the Vikings defense played well enough to win.  They slowed down the high-powered Saints offense.  The Vikings just could not generate scoring drives.  Their passing game looked rusty, or more like they just hadn’t worked together – that’s probably because they haven’t.  I thought they should have used Adrian Peterson more in the second half.
  • Two solid performances by Saints linemen, one offense and one defense, really caught my eye – left tackle Jermon Bushrod and defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis.
  • Wes Welker looked completely healthy and ready to go for the Patriots.
  • The pass rush of the Texans was relentless all day against the Colts.  Mario Williams was constantly in Peyton Manning’s face.  What looked like a season ending injury for Connor Barwin will hurt them though.
  • The way the Texans ran the ball in the second half was also very impressive.  Arian Foster will get the pub, and he deserves it, but the offensive line did a great job opening up holes.
  • I absolutely cannot believe the Seahawks beat the 49ers the way they did.
  • If the Steelers wanted to win two games during Ben Roethlisberger’s early season absence they needed to beat the Falcons – they did, impressively.
  • The Eagles got a lot of pressure on Aaron Rodgers.  I couldn’t quite figure out if it was because their pass rush is really good or if the Packers offensive line was regressing.
  • I really liked the Eagles throwback uniforms.

One BIG Question

Is there any way that the Eagles can start Kevin Kolb over Michael Vick next week?  

What are your thoughts on the first weekend of the 2010 NFL season?  Let me know in the comments section below.  

Photo source: sixoone

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Heading into the 2010 NFL season there are a lot of interesting storylines in the AFC South.  Can the Colts hold on to the top spot in the division or will age at key positions finally catch up with them?  Can the Titans maintain the momentum they had at the end of last season?  Will the Texans finally take the next step and make the playoffs?  Can Jack Del Rio keep his job by coercing a good season out of his Jaguars?

Division Winner

Indianapolis Colts

Admittedly, this is a boring and predictable pick.  But, the Colts are as solid as they come, having won between 12 and 14 games in each of the last five seasons.  Some of their personnel losses will hurt them, but with Peyton Manning running the show and a healthy Dwight Freeney, I expect the Super Bowl runner up to have another excellent season.

Peyton Manning at Super Bowl

Will Peyton Get Another Shot at the Super Bowl?

Most Valuable Player

Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Despite a lot of youth in the receiving corps and a very minimal running game, Manning was still tremendous, winning his fourth MVP.  The way he broke in new receivers Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie was brilliant.  Expect continued excellence in 2010.

Most Important Player

Bob Sanders, S, Indianapolis Colts

The story of Bob Sanders is well-documented.  A highly-talented safety, he has a hard time staying on the field.  In fact, he has missed 49 games while appearing in 47.  Sanders is a critical piece of the Colts defense.  If the 2007 NFL Defensive Player of the Year stays healthy, the Colts will have a much better shot at working their way back to the Super Bowl.

Offensive Player of the Year

Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans

Considering the number of touches he gets (408 carries and receptions in 2009), at some point I think you have to start worrying about Johnson’s ability to stay effective and healthy.  I think he’ll be fine this season though and will continue to be a huge part of the Titans offense.

Defensive Player of the Year

Mario Williams, DE, Houston Texans

Williams will rebound from last season, in which he played mostly hurt and had only nine sacks.  In fact, I expect him to have a monster year.

Top Newcomer

Aaron Kampman, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars

Interestingly, this division does not have a lot of newcomers.  These four teams will be depending on the development of the players already on their roster and rookies for improvement.  Regardless, Kampman is a solid addition to the Jaguars.  After tallying 37 sacks in the previous three seasons, Kampman was never comfortable with Green Bay’s 3-4 defensive alignment and only had three and a half sacks last season before going out with a season-ending knee injury.  The Jaguars desperately need help with the pass rush and Kampman will provide some.

Top Rookie

Derrick Morgan, DE, Tennessee Titans

All four AFC South teams focused on defense in the draft.  I like Morgan (not just because of his last name) to have the best rookie season of the bunch.  He is very athletic and has a lot of promise as an NFL pass rusher.  Another advantage he will have is playing time, as he should get plenty of it in Tennessee.

Most Improved

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

The Texans are searching for a back that will step up and fortify their running game.  With the season ending injury to rookie Ben Tate, Foster will be the man.  In the last two weeks of the 2009 season Foster ran for more than 200 total yards and three touchdowns against the Dolphins and Patriots.  If former star Steve Slaton is fully recovered from injuries and the fumbling issues that plagued him in 2009, he will certainly compete for playing time.  But ultimately I think Foster will be the answer to Houston’s running game questions.

Most Pressure

Vince Young, QB, Tennessee Titans

After playing his way into the dog house and out of a starting role, Young resurrected his career by taking advantage of the opportunity to play given to him after the Titans crashed and burned at the beginning of the 2009 season.  When he entered the starting lineup last year he had nothing to lose.  Now the expectations will be much higher.  Young’s offseason strip club altercation only added to the pressure.

Biggest Loss

Keith Bulluck, LB, Tennessee Titans

Bulluck was the second leading tackler for the Titans last year and also had three interceptions.  It will be difficult for Tennessee to replace his production, but even more importantly, it will be almost impossible to replace his leadership skills.

Can the Titans or the Texans challenge the Colts for AFC South supremacy?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Photo source: IAN RANSLEY DESIGN + ILLUSTRATION

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