Posts Tagged ‘Kelton Brooks’

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Is Matt Schaub holding back the Texans?

Hard to believe we are already moving into week 5 of the NFL season. Five undefeated teams remain, four winless teams are looking to get off the snide and Peyton Manning is on pace to shatter Tom Brady’s record of 50 touchdown passes in a single season.

The first quarter of the NFL season is in the history books, but the next four games are where teams start to separate themselves from mediocrity to the league’s best. As the season unfolds, let’s see who’s masquerading as a top contender and find out the teams that are head and shoulders above the rest.

CONTENDER

Denver Broncos (4-0)

Right now, Peyton Manning is on pace for 5,880 yards passing, 75 percent completion rate, 64 touchdown passes and zero interceptions. The runaway favorite for MVP this early in the season has virtually been perfect through the first four games of the season. What’s scary is the Broncos are still without their best pass rusher who is scheduled to miss the first six games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy and trying to corrupt a urine sample.

While Miller is facing off the field issues, Manning and company are soaring in Mile High.

PRETENDER

Houston Texans (2-2)

The Texans had to battle back in the first game of the season down 28-7 to the San Diego Chargers to come away with a 31-28 victory. They took a late game lead against the Titans in week 2 to squeak out a win in overtime, didn’t bother showing up to the game in week 3 against the Ravens losing 30-9, and after a 20-3 lead over the most physical team in football in the Seattle Seahawks, the Seahawks scored 20 unanswered points including a gift-wrapped interception thrown by Matt Schaub.

Schaub is surrounded one of the most talented teams in the NFL, but constantly shows up small in big time games and disappears in the playoffs. Schaub has reached his limit, he’ll never be more than he is right now. He’s not a top-5 or a top-10 quarterback. Houston won’t get over the hump with Schaub under center.

CONTENDER

Indianapolis Colts (3-1) 

The Colts have quietly become one of the most complete teams in the NFL. Nothing was quiet about the acquisition of Trent Richardson, but pairing him with Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton and having the 10th ranked overall defense in the NFL, the Colts are becoming the team no one wants to play against.

PRETENDER

Cincinnati Bengals (2-2)

Cincinnati was a trendy pick to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, but that’s all out the window with the Broncos galloping to the top.

Andy Dalton took the Bengals to the playoffs in his first two seasons in Cincinnati, but has yet to take that next step as an upper echelon quarterback in the league. When you have a top-5 wide receiver in A.J. Green, two athletic tight ends in Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert, you can’t lose to teams who you are suppose to beat. A 17-6 loss to the Browns was a major setback as the Bengals are gearing up to take on Brady and the New England Patriots. It’s time for Dalton step up to the plate and shed the label as a middle-of-the-pack quarterback.

CONTENDER

New Orleans Saints (4-0)

Sean Payton is the runaway favorite for Coach of the Year at this point. His one-year ‘Bounty Gate’ suspension proved how much he means to the success of Drew Brees and the entire organization. The last time the Saints started 4-0, they went on to win the Super Bowl. Brees has 10 TDs to 4 INTs through four games, last year his numbers were virtually the same through the first four game with 10TDs and 5INTs. The difference, coaching.

New Orleans had statically the worse defense in NFL history last season, but the impact of Rob Ryan has been tremendous. Ryan has the unit 5th best in passing defense and 8th overall. The Saints are marching.

PRETENDER 

Atlanta Falcons (1-3) 

Every time I watch this team, I always ask myself, “What’s missing?” They have the best receiving corps in the NFL, a Hall of Fame tight end and a quarterback he was twice removed from being a play away in the Super Bowl.

But that’s the thing, Matt Ryan is always a play away. Ryan doesn’t have that “it” factor. He makes plays, but not THE play. Losing Steven Jackson to injury was a big loss for a team that was looking to add more physicality in the run game, but this team still falls on the shoulder of Ryan. If this team still has Super Bowl aspirations, they better right the ship, and quick.

CONTENDER

Seattle Seahawks (4-0)

This team has still shown it’s struggles on the road by inching pass Carolina in week 1 with a 12-7 win and coming from behind against Houston this past week to pull off a victory in overtime. But like true contenders, top teams find a way to win. Seattle and San Francisco were neck-and-neck as the top two most physical teams in the league, but with the 49ers recent injuries and the Seahawks continued dominance, it’s not even up for question anymore.

PRETENDER

Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

A win is a win in the NFL, but in hindsight, a 36-31 victory over the Giants in week one was a clear indication of who exactly are these Cowboys. The Giants are now 0-4, that tells the level of competition Dallas faced on opening day. The NFC East is 4-12, the worst division record in the NFL. After thumping a lowly Rams team, a statement win against a talented Chargers team would have solidified the Cowboys, but they literally fumbled away their chance at winning.

A lot has been made about Tony Romo as a top-5 quarterback in recent weeks, but I’m selling the hype. He routinely puts up high numbers in the regular season, but timely self-destructs every time. Jerry Jones decision to pay $100 million to a quarterback that has one playoff victory will come back to haunt him.

CONTENDER 

New England Patriots (4-0)

The Patriots slogan: The next man up. It doesn’t matter who is lining up at wide receiver, tight end or at running back, New England always get the job done. With already unblemished record, the Patriots might get Rob Gronkowski back next week. However, the loss of Vince Wilfork is not a good sign for a team that was finally making progress in run defense.

PRETENDER 

Baltimore Ravens (2-2)

The defending Super Bowl champions are a shell of themselves. The leadership is gone, the running game is un-Raven-like averaging 64 yards a game and they lost to a rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel and the Bills this past Sunday. Joe Flacco threw a career-high 5 interceptions, but what makes matters worse, Buffalo was without its top four defensive backs. Flacco isn’t the same without Anquan Boldin and an injured Dennis Pitta.

CONTENDER

Chicago Bears (3-1)

The emergences of 6-foot-3 Alshon Jeffrey alongside 6-foot-4 Brandon Marshall is a matchup nightmare for opposing corners. Even with the loss of future Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, the defense is still forcing turnovers. The Bears suffered its first lost of the season against a surprising Lions team. Jay Cutler had four turnovers including three interceptions, he’s known for having a poor outing and bouncing back the next game.

And he better with the Saints coming in town.

PRETENDER

Green Bay Packers (1-2)

This is a bit premature, but the  Packers only win have come against a Redskins team who just won their first game against Oakland. Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but his division is much tougher this this year. The return of Eddie Lacy is a plus as they get ready to face the Lions 20th-ranked rushing defense, but Green Bay’s defense is needs to show up big time if they hope to stop Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush.

CONTENDER

Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)

The Chiefs always had the talent, they sent six players to the Pro Bowl last season even with a 2-14 record. Adding Alex Smith at quarterback and Andy Reid at head coach, the Chiefs have found a successful duo to facilitate the talent. The defense has also been a bright spot yielding opponents to 10.3 points per game, no. 1 in the NFL.

UNDECIDED

Tennessee Titans (3-1)

Tennessee has been a big surprise this season, but the teams they have beaten have a combined record of 4-8. The injury to Jake Locker is a huge setback as he’s scheduled to miss 4-6 six weeks because of an hip injury. He will surely be missed as the Titans prepare for a rough three game stretch against the Chiefs, Seahawks and 49ers.

Detroit Lions (3-1)

This team is talented from top to bottom. They have arguably the best defensive line in the NFL, they have THE best wide receiver in the NFL and a top-10 quarterback. The standout player is Reggie Bush who has been showing flashes of his USC days. What worries me about the Lions is their tough division and their past history of shedding its “loser” label.

San Diego Chargers (2-2)

Phillip Rivers is quietly having a great start to the season with 11 touchdowns to only two interceptions. All of this has come without his no. 1 wideot, Danario Alexander, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. If this team can become more consistent, then San Diego can become a factor. However, with two undefeated teams in their division, the Chargers can’t afford too many mistakes.

Miami Dolphins (3-1)

Beating Brees on Monday Night Football would have been a statement game for Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins, but the stage was too big for the second year quarterback who tossed three interceptions, lost a fumble and was sacked 5 times. The young Dolphins have a favorable schedule ahead, but this team still isn’t ready to dethrone the Patriots.

San Francisco 49ers (2-2)

After a virtuoso performance against Green Bay, the 49ers had back-to-back embarrassing losses against the Seahawks and the Colts. Colin Kaepernick has been average at best in his last three games, but San Fran’s recent victory over the Rams allowed them to remember what they are know best for: a physical run game. John Harbaugh will continue to add mental toughness to his team to climb out of its hole of mediocrity. If San Francisco can string together a few victories in a row, the 49ers will be back.

Cleveland Browns (2-2)

After trading away there best player and starting quarterback out with a thumb injury, the Browns have won two games in a row. After averaging 8 points per game in the first two games, the Browns have tripled that averaging 24 points the over past two games. Let’s face it, the Browns are the Browns which puts them in the undecided list. But if Cleveland can beat Buffalo Thursday, the Browns can make serious noise in a mediocre AFC North.

Buffalo Bills (2-2) 

Led behind the 2nd-ranked rushing attack in the NFL, Buffalo has reeled off some impressive wins against Carolina and Baltimore. E.J. Manuel has endured the expected rookie, rough patches, but he constantly shows composure under pressure. I had Buffalo as the no. 2 team in the AFC East, but no one saw the Dolphins jumping out the way they did. At this point,  a 2-2 start is a breath of fresh air for a team with a rookie quarterback.

Arizona Cardinals (2-2)

The Cardinals were thought to be the surprise team in the NFL acquiring Carson Palmer in a trade and hiring the reigning coach of the year in Bruce Arians. They could easily be 3-1 if they didn’t give up an 11-point lead against St. Louis in week one. They have the 2nd-ranked run defense in the league and one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL with Patrick Peterson in the secondary. After averaging 26 in the first two games of the season, Arizona has averaged 7 points the past two games including an ugly 13-10 win over the Bucs. it’s still early, but the Cardinals have yet to claim an identity.

Season-Already-Over-Group?

NY Jets (2-2)

Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)

Washington Redskins (1-3)

Minnesota Vikings (1-3)

Carolina Panthers (1-2)

Oakland Raiders (1-3)

St. Louis Rams (1-3)

Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4)

NY Giants (0-4)

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4)

Curry

Can the sharp shooting Stephen Curry lead his team pass the uptempo Denver Nuggets?

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Miami Heat vs. (8) Milwaukee Bucks: Heat 2 -Bucks 0

The Bucks’ sub .500 regular season record (38-44) alone shows how undeserving they are to even be in the playoffs, let alone on the same court with the defending champs. Outmanned, outmatched and outclassed, this is a warm up series for Miami. Have the “Heatles” even broken a sweat?

(2) New York Knicks vs. (7) Boston Celtics: Knicks 2 – Celtics 0

How cliche would it sound if I said, Melo on a Mission? Determined to advance to the second round, Carmelo Anthony will do all he can, even if he has to give his Knicks a piggyback ride to face Indiana in round two more than likely. The Celtics simply do not matchup well against this high-powered offense. In the words of Kobe Bryant, Boston looks “old and slow.” Paul Piece is a mere shell of himself, this may be Kevin Garnett’s last year and Avery Bradley just isn’t ready. The Celtics are much more dominant when Jeff Green plays more assertive. Doc Rivers has to get him going early.

Even though they lost the first game 85-78, Green scored 26 points in a relatively tight game with his penetration in the lane and adding constant pressure on the Knicks’ sometiming defense. The second outing was a different story. Green hopes to erase a pitiful 10 point showing going 3 of 11 from the field. His second game letdown led to a 16 point loss by the hands of Melo and the Knicks. Coincidence? I think not.

(3) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Atlanta Hawks: Pacers 2  – Hawks 0 

The Hawks are always in the middle/lower of the pack. They are just, well, there. The Hawks are just not good enough. While I like to improve play of point guard Jeff Teague and an underrated Al Horford, the Hawks never do enough. Nothing about them leaps off the page. Nothing is special about this team. Josh Smith is an all-star, not a superstar.

Indiana’s emerging Paul George is well deserving of the NBA Most Improved Player Award. His opening round triple-double cemented the honors. The Pacers true test will come against the Knicks in round two. Unless Larry Bird comes running through the tunnels of TD Bank Garden arena, Boston won’t see round two.

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(4) Brooklyn Nets (5) Chicago Bulls: Nets 1 – Bulls 1

This matchup reels in my interest simply because of Deron Williams. When healthy, Williams is arguably the best point guard in the NBA. Before the playoffs began, he was looking like the Williams of the Salt Lake City days. His 22 pts and 7 ast performance in game one led me to believe the Bulls were in a world of trouble.

But silly me forgetting about Tom Thibodeau and Chicago’s suffocating defense. Williams did dish out 10 assist, but they hacked and corralled Williams to a 1 for 9 night. This series has the making to go the distance.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (8) Houston Rockets: Thunder 2 – Rockets 0

Poor James Harden. Having to play his former team in the opening rounds of the playoffs. He wants nothing more than get back at the team that shipped him coldheartedly out of Oklahoma City. What a great achievement it was to reach the playoffs in his first year in Houston, but they stand no chance against Kevin Durant and the Thunder. The only thing standing in the way of Oklahoma City is one of their own, Russell Westbrook.

(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers: Spurs 1 – Lakers 0 (Now 2-0) 

Call me delusional, but I actually picked the Lakers to win in 7 games largely because of the injuries and deficiencies of the Spurs. I figured the aging Tim Duncan couldn’t continue drinking from the fountain of youth, Tony Parker’s gimpy ankles wouldn’t hold up and Manu Ginobili was essentially done because of his nagging hamstring injuries.

Can I get a mulligan?

Ginobili came out hot and hit 18 points in 19 minutes in game one. Parker looked like his old self totaling 18 pts and 8 ast in game one. And Duncan? The best power forward in NBA history? He took another swig from the mythical fountain compiling 17 pts 10 rebs and 3 stls.

(3) Denver Nuggets vs. (6) Golden State Warriors: Nuggets 1 – Warriors 1

Smooth? Silky? Butter? Feel free to use whatever superlative or adjective at your discretion to describe Stephen Curry’s shooting stroke. I’m a firm believer that superstars prevail and triumph. While Denver has a premier supporting cast and  talented roll players, no one on that team is a superstar. The Warriors have a legit superstar in Curry. The baby faced assassin has lived up to the billing in his first taste of playoff action. Curry easily can lead the league in scoring while arguably becoming the best point guard in the NBA.

This series is far from over, but with Curry and the rest of his poachers taking aim beyond the arch, this 6th seed has what it takes to upset the Nuggets.

(4) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (5) Memphis Grizzlies: Clippers 2 – Grizzlies 0

Dating back to my superstar logic, the Grizzlies do not have any. Yes, they have the league stingiest defense and the Defensive Player of the Year in Marc Gasol, but the Grizzlies can’t overcome Lob City. Last year’s playoff meeting between the two was brutal, but I had gut feeling the Clippers were not having that this year. They’re too talented and athletic for the Memphis. And did I forget to mention Chris Paul?

-Kelton

#BrooksWeekly

Just wanted to do something fun for my viewers and put a face and voice behind these words. This was an assignment during Winter Intercession at Ole Miss, Media Performance 330. I let the end of the video play on a while to give you a more personal side of me. This was my first time reading off the teleprompter. I hope you enjoy!

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With all the Pro Bowl nominees opting out due to injury, or some other substantial reason, let me inform you on the latest group of player invites and replacements.

x-injured;  s-starter; z-replacement; y-Super Bowl participants 

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OFFENSE

Quarterbacks —  x-Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay; x-Matt Ryan, Atlanta; x-Robert Griffin III, Washington; z-Drew Brees, New Orleans; z-Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants; z-Russell Wilson, Seattle

Running Backs — s-Adrian Peterson, Minnesota; y-Frank Gore, San Francisco; Marshawn Lynch, Seattle;  z-Doug Martin, Tampa Bay

Fullback — s-Jerome Felton, Minnesota

Wide Receivers — s-Brandon Marshall, Chicago;  x-Calvin Johnson, Detroit; Julio Jones, Atlanta;Victor Cruz, N.Y. Giants;   z-Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay

Tight Ends — s-Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta; Jason Witten, Dallas

Tackles —  y-Joe Staley, San Francisco; x-Trent Williams, Washington; Russell Okung, Seattle; z-Jermon Bushrod, New Orleans

Guards — s-Jahri Evans, New Orleans; y-Mike Iupati, San Francisco; Chris Snee, N.Y. Giants; z-Josh Sitton, Green Bay

Centers —  s-Max Unger, Seattle; Jeff Saturday, Green Bay (says he will retire)

DEFENSE

Defensive Ends —  s-Julius Peppers, Chicago; s-Jason Pierre-Paul, N.Y. Giants; Jared Allen, Minnesota;

Interior Linemen — s-Henry Melton, Chicago;  y-Justin Smith, San Francisco; Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay; z-Ndamukong Suh, Detroit

Outside Linebackers — y-Aldon Smith, San Francisco; x-Clay Matthews, Green Bay;  x-DeMarcus Ware, Dallas; z-Chad Greenway, Minnesota; z-Ryan Kerrigan, Washington; z-Anthony Spencer, Dallas

Middle Linebackers — y-NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco; y-Patrick Willis, San Francisco; z-Daryl Washington, Arizona; z-London Fletcher, Washington

Cornerbacks — s-Tim Jennings, Chicago; s-Charles Tillman, Chicago; Patrick Peterson, Arizona

Strong Safeties — y-Donte Whitner, San Francisco; z-Thomas DeCoud, Atlanta

Free Safeties — y-Dashon Goldson, San Francisco; Earl Thomas, Seattle; z-William Moore, Atlanta

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker — Blair Walsh, Minnesota

Punter — Thomas Morstead, New Orleans

Kick Returner — Leon Washington, Seattle

Special Team — Lorenzo Alexander, Washington

Long Snapper — Don Muhlbach, Detroit

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OFFENSE

Quarterbacks —  s-Peyton Manning, Denver; x-Tom Brady, New England; Matt Schaub, Houston; z-Andrew Luck, Indianapolis

Running Backs —  s-Arian Foster, Houston; Jamaal Charles, Kansas City; y-Ray Rice, Baltimore; z-C.J. Spiller, Buffalo

Fullback — y-Vonta Leach, Baltimore; z-Marcel Reece, Oakland

Wide Receivers — s-A.J. Green, Cincinnati; s-Andre Johnson, Houston; Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis; x-Wes Welker, New England; z-Demaryius Thomas, Denver

Tight Ends — x-Rob Gronkowski, New England; x-Heath Miller, Pittsburgh; z-Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati; z-Owen Daniels, Houston

Tackles — s-Duane Brown, Houston; s-Joe Thomas, Cleveland; x-Ryan Clady, Denver; z-Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati

Guards — y- Marshall Yanda, Baltimore; x-Logan Mankins, New England;  Wade Smith, Houston; z-Zane Beadles, Denver; z-Richie Incognito, Miami

Centers — s-Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh; Chris Myers, Houston

DEFENSE

Defensive Ends —  s-J.J. Watt, Houston; s-Cameron Wake, Miami; Elvis Dumervil, Denver

Interior Linemen — s-Geno Atkins, Cincinnati; y-Haloti Ngata, Baltimore; x-Vince Wilfork, New England; z-Kyle Williams, Buffalo; z-Randy Starks, Miami

Outside Linebackers — s-Tamba Hali, Kansas City; s-Von Viller, Denver; Robert Mathis, Indianapolis;

Middle Linebackers — s-Jerod Mayo, New England; Derrick Johnson, Kansas City

Cornerbacks — s-Champ Bailey, Denver; s-Johnathan Joseph, Houston; Antonio Cromartie, N.Y. Jets

Strong Safeties — s-Eric Berry, Kansas City; LaRon Landry, N.Y. Jets

Free Safety — y-Ed Reed, Baltimore; z-Jairus Byrd, Buffalo

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker — Phil Dawson, Cleveland

Punter — Dustin Colquitt, Kansas City

Kick Returner — y-Jacoby Jones, Baltimore; z-Joshua Cribbs, Cleveland

Special Team — Matthew Slater, New England

Long Snapper — John Denney, Miami

Thanks for reading.

#every7days

-Kelton Brooks

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Kyle Terada-US Presswire

The Pro Bowl 2013 TV schedule begins Sunday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. ET with NBC broadcasting the game from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

In the past two seasons, the fate of the Pro Bowl has been in complete limbo. We all have seen the lackluster play on defense and a lack of competitiveness on the field of play. At one point, commissioner Roger Goodell was planning to cancel the Pro Bowl altogether. The NFL even changed the date of the star-studded exhibition to be played before the Super Bowl instead of afterwards.

I personally think the NFL should bring back the Skills Competition and air it on the Saturday before the Pro Bowl. Just look at the NBA All-star game festivities: Slam dunk contest, 3-point shoot out, the obstacle course etc., These events bring out the excitement and competitiveness in the players. It also provides superb fan interaction. However, I’m not saying the All-star game itself is competitive, it’s not like anyone is playing lockdown defense, but that is an entirely different matter.

To secure the future of the Pro Bowl, players have said they will make a more assertive effort on the field. It’s still to be seen how much the players will increase their level of play. The last big hit I saw in the Pro Bowl was by the late-great Sean Taylor in the 2007  exhibition.

Ouch. R.I.P Sean Taylor.

Let’s look at what today’s players are saying about the Pro Bowl:

A quote from Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos:

The past two years, the play in this game has been unacceptable…If it was awalkthrough, your coach would say it was a bad walkthrough. And that’s why (the league) could try to cancel this game.

A quote from Arian Foster of the Houston Texans:

The fans want a competitive game, but here you have players that have had 16-plus games, an entire season. Our bodies have worn down. This isn’t basketball. You can’t go play pickup football…. It’s a tough situation for both sides. I think it’s a good revenue attraction for the state of Hawaii. It brings a lot of revenue, brings a lot of tourism here, so you don’t want to see it go. And it’s a tradition for the NFL. So hopefully we get it figured out. 

But in all honesty, with all due respect, Mr. Goodell? He’s not out here taking these hits.

Foster hit the nail on the head with his last quote. It’s one thing to amp up the play on field, but the rigors of the NFL takes its toll on the body. It is Commissioner Goodell’s job to make the Pro Bowl more enticing for the players and more fan friendly.

Moving along…

Most veterans in the Pro Bowl tend to take it easy and enjoy the relaxation in Hawaii. It’s the first and second year players that look to shine in the spotlight. Let’s take a look at my players to watch:

AFC offense: WR A.J. Green 

Two Pro-Bowls in his first to seasons, Green is already a top-10 wideout. After a stellar rookie campaign, Green enjoyed a breakout sophomore season with 97 catches 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns. With Andre Johnson climbing the age latter and Larry Fitzgerald suffering from anemic quarterback play, Green can easily supplant himself as the number two WR in the NFL behind Calvin Johnson. Hard to beat a guy whose nickname is Megatron. Look for Green to put up the same type of monster performance Brandon Marshall showcased in last year’s Pro Bowl

AFC defense: S Eric  Berry

Also enjoying a second Pro Bowl, the ball-hawking and hard hitting safety responded well after a nasty ACL tear heberry suffered in the first game of the season last year against Buffalo. Berry finished the regular season with 86 tackles and one interception. Troy Polamalu can never stay healthy and Ed Reed is considering retirement, besides Earl Thomas, and Berry is the best S in football. It’s only a matter of time before this game turns into a shootout. Look for Berry to come down with a couple of interceptions.

NFC offense: Russell Wilson

120910-wilson-480Wilson gets the nod by default, not saying he isn’t a capable quarterback, but almost every NFC quarterback opted out the Pro Bowl. This rookie class of QBs may turn out to be one of the best in NFL history if Robert Griffin III returns at his all-pro level. We know the NFL is a passing league, with Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones and Bradon Marshall on the outside, Wilson may come down with the MVP trophy.  Wilson finished the season with 3, 1118 yards pasing with 26 TDs. He was also a factor in the run game rushing for 489 and 4 TDs.

NFC defense: CB Patrick Peterson

Probably the best athlete in the NFL. What can’t Peterson do? He leaped onto the scene as a rookie with four punt return for touchdowns and two interceptions. He took more risk this season that allowed WRs to burn him more than usual. Peterson was still dominant as he was fourth in the league in interceptions. Peterson finished the season with 55 tackles and 7 INTs.

Thanks for reading.

#every7days

-Kelton Brooks

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Is Ray Lewis’ last stop in Foxboro?

Championship Sunday is here.

We are down to the last four remaining teams of the 2012 NFL season. It is the NFL’s version of the Final Four. Super Bowl XLVII is in reach for all of these teams. As my colleague handles the NFC championship game, I will tackle the heavyweights in the AFC, and what heavyweights they are.

If the Baltimore Ravens was in the form of a boxer, they would be Bernard Hopkins. The Ravens have a fighting spirit in Ray Lewis and he will go blow-for-blow with anybody in the ring. Despite being an older team, they continue to defy the odds and prove spectators wrong. They will go the distance in every battle, point proven by a double-overtime victory against the prolific Peyton Manning. No matter how beaten they are, how tired, how much wear and tear their bodies have endured, the Ravens will still deliver a knockout blow. Ray Lewis is the heart and soul of this team, but Joe Flacco is the power behind the devastating KO as he deliveres haymakers down the field to Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones.

If the New England Patriots was in the form of a boxer, they would be Mike Tyson, the younger version. With Tom Brady at the helm, this game could be over with fast. I’m talking first round knockout. He has an uncanny ability to dissect a defense and constantly pick you apart. The plan against Mike Tyson was to try and take it the distance. The same plan is against Tom Brady. A steady dose of Ray Rice and downfield completions is the only way to keep Brady from picking you apart. Brady is the master of the two-minute drill. Just like Tyson, two minutes is all Brady needs. His quick strike offense could blow this game wide open in a hurry.

With that said, let’s venture out of the ring and onto the gridiron.

This is a rematch of last years’ AFC Championship game. Baltimore imploded at the end with a dropped pass and a missed field goal try to send the game into overtime. These two teams also faced off again in week 3 as Torrey Smith repeatedly scorched the Patriots’ secondary. Smith had six receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns that game, not to mention 150 total yards from Ray Rice. The Patriots running game was at a stand still that game, but a more experienced Stevan Ridley and all-purpose back Shane Vereen are set to make an impact.

If that duo can take some of the pressure off Tom Brady, then the Pats’ will win. New England finished 7th in the NFL this year in rushing with 136.5 yards a game. As I noted earlier, a lot Brady_Tom6_Patriotsof rushing yards were accumulated after Brady’s high octane offense made quick work of their opponents by jumping out to an early lead. The presence of the run game against a blitz-heavy Ravens’ defense will keep Ray Lewis and Co. off balance. An injury to one of your best players is never good news, but with Rob Gronkowski sidelined with a broken arm, New England can continue to spread the ball around. No one expected Vereen to score three touchdowns against the Texans. Even if the Ravens decide to key in on Wes Welker, they still have viable options in Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez and Danny Woodhead slipping out the backfield. Given the history between these teams, it may come down to the final drive.

The blueprint for a Ravens’ victory is simple, Joe Flacco. It is such a huge discrepancy between good Flacco and bad Flacco.  One minute he shows you he is capable of becoming an elite quarterback, and the next he just looks like an average QB with a cannon for an arm. The way he outgunned Manning illustrates how deadly Flacco can be inside the pocket. If Baltimore can exploit New England’s mediocre seconday, this game could possibly turn into a shootout. Flacco has already proven he can compete with the best. The Ravens are 9.5 point underdogs, Lewis will be preaching how the world is giving his team no shot to win.

My Prediction: Ravens 27, Patriots 24

Thanks for reading.

#every7days

-Kelton Brooks

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Former Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly heads to the NFL to coach the Philadelphia Eagles.

UPDATE: Jacksonville Jaguars hired Seattle Seahawks OC Gus Bradley; Arizona Cardinals hired Indianapolis Colts OC Bruce Arians

Through the rigors of the NFL, teams go through painful and forgettable seasons. And with turmoil filled seasons, change is inevitable. The domino effect starts at the top and trickles all the way to the bottom. Long tenured head coaches have been fired such as Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers and hot coordinators flamed out in a year’s work. Just ask ex-Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey, but it’s hard to become a successful coach with the horrific Blaine Gabbert as your quarterback.

With that nice little introduction presented to you, I was inspired to write this column on the news of the Eagles hiring Oregon head coach Chip Kelly.

Terrible choice. Not a personal shot, but a shot towards his style of offense. However, his hiring does adds a lot more interesting implications.

The zone-read option is all the rage in the NFL today, but it allows your franchise quarterback to be accessible to a tremendous amount of exposure.

see Robert Griffin III of the Redskins.

At Oregon, QB Marcus Mariota carried the ball 106 times in 13 games for Kelly. In his four seasons at Oregon, his quarterbacks have ran the ball a total of 464 times. His dynamic play-calling and gadget plays will sell tickets and provide a spark for an already loaded Eagles’ offense, but is it championship football? To simply put it, No.

His hiring may entice Michael Vick to stay, but he has already endured a beating behind a leaky offensive line. Vick just can’t seem to remain healthy and play a full 16 game season. Kelly’s offense will only make Vick open to more hits. What about Nick Foles? He reportedly loved Foles when he was playing at the University of Arizona. His 6-foot-6 243 pound frame and escape-ability reminds me a lot of Ben Roethlisberger. Philadelphia also holds the number 4 overall pick in this year’s draft. When new head coaches are hired, they tend to go with their guy. Perhaps Kelly is interested in drafting dual-threat quarterback Geno Smith from West Virginia.

Whatever the case may be, the NFL is built on physicality and mental toughness. Finesse play will only get you so far in this league. It is good see that the Eagles landed their number one guy after he initially turned them down, as well as the Cleveland Browns. Philadelphia also flirted with Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, former Bears coach Lovie Smith and former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt. But see, money talks. I won’t be surprised if his contract is in the range of four to six million.

This once proud franchise has taken a hit as of late, but the Kelly era will surely shake up the city.

Oh, let me leave you with this: Tim Tebow and Brian Kelly would be a match made in heaven.

Just saying.

Moving along…

Eight NFL head coaches have been fired since the regular season has ended. We have a few surprising hires and the normal digging in the bag of recycled head coaches. Let me fill you in on the latest coaching gigs:

  • Kansas City Chiefs hired Andy Reid (formerly with the Philadelphia Eagles) 
  • Buffalo Bills selected Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone to the same position
  • Cleveland Browns went with the Carolina Panthers’ offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski
  • San Diego Chargers chose to stay in the division and chose Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy
  • Chicago Bears made the surprising pick of hiring Marc Trestman (long NFL assistant and CFL head coach)
  • Philadelphia Eagles got their number one choice, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly.

The two teams still searching for head coaches are:

Jacksonville Jaguars:

Jacksonville-JaguarsReportedly talking to St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, Jaguars defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.

Likely Candidate: Greg Roman, offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. 

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals

Interviews with the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

Likely Candidate: Horton, Bevell or Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians

                                                   

Thanks for reading.

#every7days

-Kelton Brooks