Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Bears’

Inside the Mind of a Football-Loving Female

Online Fantasy Football advice is as plentiful as Photoshopped pictures of Kim Kardashian’s wedding these days.  So if you’re looking for yet more expert guidance on the subject, you have clicked on the wrong link!  While I may not provide the same information that a seasoned sports writer or big time TV analyst can offer, my draft picks can give you a glimpse into the mind of an average football-loving female!  At the very least, my logic (and often unorthodox reasons) for drafting players will convince even the greenest FF player believe he or she is a draft day genius!

Pick #1 LeSean McCoy – Running Back – Philadelphia Eagles

For my first pick, I took a bit of a gamble.  I had the 8th pick in the first round, which gave me the 3rd pick in the 2nd round.  Despite conventional wisdom, I had decided weeks earlier to take Michael Vick as my #1 pick if he had not already been snagged.   As draft day adrenaline rushed through my body, I abruptly selected McCoy, counting on Vick still being available early in round 2.  My reasoning?   My fantasy team is comprised of players from Atlanta – aka Falcons fanatics/Vick haters.   I figured I would get two extremely elite picks – McCoy and Eagles – and be well on my way to winning the league.  My sly tactics failed me, though, when Vick was chosen as the 10th pick in the first round!

Despite my disappointment in not obtaining the most dynamic, athletic player in the NFL (Vick), I am thrilled with McCoy.  Like Vick, he is a dual threat.  Last year, he ran for over 1000 yards, had nearly 80 receptions and scored 9 TDs.  LeSean is the Real McCoy and I think he will give me a lot of value in my PPR league.

Pick#2 Darren McFadden – Running Back – Oakland Raiders

With my dreams of dominating my league via Vick smashed to smithereens, I decided to use my next pick on another hot RB.  McFadden seems to be a player on the rise.  In 2010, he rushed for nearly 1200 yards and scored 10 TDs, making him the #2 RB in PPR points per game.  The only downside to this pick is McFadden’s tendency to get injured.  The numbers he posted last season were incredible and he missed 3 games!  If he can stay somewhat healthy, he and I could be in for a winning season!

Pick#3 Ben Roethlisberger – Quarterback – Pittsburgh Steelers

By the time my round 3 pick came around, not only was Vick taken, but Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees were no longer on the board.  I felt the pressure to pick a QB, so I held my breath and chose Big Ben.  Sure, he has incredible numbers and is a wildly successful QB.  But I have a knee-jerk reaction to Roethlisberger that nearly caused me to pass on him.  Maybe it is because he very likely has treated young woman disrespectfully (putting it mildly) and has pretty much remained unscathed for his behavior.  So despite my instinct to choose a less effective QB on some high moral grounds, I chose Big Ben on the grounds of trying to win my fantasy league.

Pick#4 DeSean Jackson – Wide Receiver – Philadelphia Eagles 

Feeling pretty good about snatching up 2 elite RBs and a high caliber QB, I knew it was time to get a good receiver.  Luckily for me, Eagles wideout Jackson was still on the board.  I’ve heard all the naysayers spouting stats from last year that demonstrate his inconsistency.  But I believe Jackson and Vick are headed for some big time plays this season.  Jackson may hand me a few wins this year based on some single game performances.  Besides that, he has the speed and natural ability to shed defenders that makes him one of the most dynamic receivers in the game today – and he is just plain COOL!

Pick # 5 Beanie Wells – Running Back – Arizona Cardinals

Rookie RB Ryan Williams (a Hokie!) was headed for some big time carries this season with the Cardinals.  Sadly, Williams suffered a season ending injury a few weeks ago so teammate Beanie Wells will likely play a far greater role.  Beanie has a history of injuries and his numbers last year were unimpressive and forgettable.  I think at some point early in the season the Cardinals may make a trade or sign a free agent to replace Williams, thereby cutting Beanie’s playing time.  So while I think he may have been a decent choice and can give me some points early on, I expect that I too may replace Beanie as the season progresses.

Pick #6 Marques Colston – Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints

Off season knee surgery dropped the value of Colston.  They say New Orleans is a place where you don’t follow the rules, so I threw out conventional wisdom and gambled that Colston will re-visit his stellar stats of last year.   It is fantasy football – not life or death – so what the heck?!!

Pick #7 Kevin Kolb – Quarterback – Arizona Cardinals

As an Eagles fan, I had the opportunity to watch Kevin Kolb last year before he was injured and ultimately lost his job to Michael Vick.  I think he’s a smart player who will surprise many gridiron gurus this season. He may not be a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning caliber player, but he is a solid choice for the #2 QB slot.

Pick#8 Mark Ingram – Running Back – New Orleans Saints

While a Heisman Trophy winner like Ingram defies the word “sleeper” in most senses, as an untested rookie in the NFL, he became my “sleeper” in this draft.  Is it a risk to pick a rookie?  Yes.  But at #8, I like my chances.  There’s no doubt Ingram is loaded with talent.  With Pierre Thomas on the team, he won’t be the “go to” back for the Saints, but he should get enough carries to justify my pick.  I think for someone with his potential, this pick was a steal!

Pick #9 Santana Moss – Wide Receiver – Washington Redskins

As 9 round approached, I decided it was time to stock up on another receiver.  I was surprised to see a consistent veteran like Moss available this late, so this was an easy-peasy pick!

Pick#10  Defense /Special Teams – Chicago Bears

Da Bears!  As the rounds quickly progressed, my fellow teammates were little by little choosing their defenses.  I planned on waiting to my 16th or 17th pick, but fell to peer pressure.

Pick#11 Dustin Keller – Tight End – New York Jets

I will admit that I have often neglected the TE position in my draft.  Frankly, this year was no different.  As I looked over my roster through 10 rounds, I realized I had not yet drafted a TE.  I am aware that sometimes a TE can give a fantasy owner some big points, but I have never truly paid the position the attention it most likely deserves.  For this pick, I basically used a FF cheat sheet to pick my first TE.  So much for planning…

Pick #12 Ben Tate – Running Back –  Houston Texans

Arian Foster was the #1 pick in countless fantasy drafts this year.  But with his hamstring injury plaguing him, little known Tate could see some extra carries.  As a late round pick, this seemed like a pretty good bet.  Should Foster improve quickly and Derrick Ward gets the bulk of the remaining carries, I could envision dropping Tate for another unforeseen need.  But a 12th round gamble like this seems like a no-brainer!

Pick#13 Aaron Hernandez – Tight End – New England Patriots

I am not a big fan of Tom Brady’s personality, but the guy has talent.  With a QB like Brady, Hernandez is a solid choice as my #2 TE.  As much as it pains me to admit it, any Brady receiver is a steal in the 13th round.

Pick#14 Jerome Simpson – Wide Receiver – Cincinnati Bengals

By all accounts, Simpson is a “sleeper” in this year’s draft.  He finished last season on an upswing and could be in for some big numbers this year.  He has a rookie QB to contend with, but this is definitely going to be an interesting choice.  As a 14th pick, I thought he would be a fun addition without a lot of risk.

Pick #15 Darren Sproles  – Running Back – New Orleans Saints

Competing for time with Mark Ingram will be tough for Sproles.  But the potential for some strong games is there, making him a fantastic find to join my RB corps.

Pick #16 Josh Brown – Kicker – St. Louis Rams

I don’t waste time and energy on picking my kicker.  In the last round or two, I pull up a list of available kickers and pick the highest ranked one.  Badda Bing, Badda Boom!!

Pick #17 Anthony Dixon – Running Back – San Francisco 49ers

For my last pick, I went for yet another RB.  Anthony Dixon’s rating was one of the best ones still available in the RB position by the end of the draft, so I made an easy decision and took him!

My team is set to go and I eagerly await the start of the season.  My roster will surely change many times throughout the season, but I am pleased with my picks, despite my Vick-less roster.  Many people spend months preparing for their draft.  That’s way too serious for me.  I like to select my players based on a dash of research, a pinch of “expert” advice, but a huge helping of instinct.  Will I be the ultimate fantasy football champion with this strategy?  Probably not, but I do think I will be a contender, and at the very least, have a lot of fun!

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NFL 2010..One Roller Coaster of a Season!

The 2010 NFL Season had more ups and downs than all the roller coasters in Cedar Point combined!  We love roller coasters and since the NFL season had just as many thrills and chills, we thoroughly enjoyed these past months on the gridiron.  Here are just a few of our favorite highs and lows….

High Points:

Michael Vick’s comeback! 

This is no doubt the “feel good” story of the year.  Vick’s phenomenal performance after being incarcerated on dog fighting charges and being relegated to back up behind both Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb could truly be a movie script.  The perfect ending may have to wait, though.  Only a Super Bowl Championship seems like the larger than life finale fitting Vick, Andy Reid and the Eagles.

Ndamukong Suh PAT attempt 

In early November in a game vs. the NY Jets, 307 pound Ndamukong Suh, a rookie tackle for the Detroit Lions, lined up for the extra point attempt after the starting kicker got injured.  While he missed the extra point, the sight of Suh making the attempt was definitely a highlight of the 2010 season!

Celebration dance by B.J. Raji 

In the NFC title game vs. the Bears, Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji intercepted a Bears pass and “ran” 18 yards for a TD.  His hula hoop-like dance was one of the most amusing, fun moments of the playoffs!  Click below to see Raji in motion.

The Chicago Bears

The Bears made it to the NFC title game, despite the preseason prediction by most pundits who beleived they were a below average team with little hope.  In 2009, they went 7-9 and had failed to make the playoffs for the third consecutive year.  The Bears ended the 2010 season at 11-5.  Some people believe that luck was a big factor in their winning season, as they faced a number of back up QBs and a 7-9 Seattle Seahawks team in the playoffs.  In Week 1 against the Lions, a Detroit TD was overturned by a little known, controversial call with just a minute to play, giving the Bears the win.  Lucky or not, it was good to see the Bears return to the playoffs once again!

Aaron Rodgers 

The Packers’ QB finally emerged from Brett Favre’s shadow.   His stellar play this season earned the Packers a Super Bowl Championship, but nearly as important, gave Rodgers the recognition he deserved.  During the regular season, he earned a passer rating of 101.2 – the third best in the NFL.  He also ranked third in rushing yards by a QB.   In the post season, Rodgers had a passer rating of 109.8 and showed his composure and exceptional ability to read defenses.  What we love most about the Aaron Rodgers 2010 story is that in addition to being a great QB, he seems to be a genuinely good guy as well!

Low Points:

Mike Shanahan   

Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan started a streak of behavior in October that slowly spiraled into a complete lack of respect for veteran QB Donovan McNabb by the end of the season.  Trailing by 6 and with less than 2 minutes left in a game against Detroit, Shanahan benched McNabb and put in back up Rex Grossman.  On the next play, Grossman fumbled the ball, Detroit returned it for a TD.  After that fiasco, most coaches would have tried to apologize for their poor decision.  But Shanahan went in front of the media and awkwardly tried to explain his decision by first claiming he benched McNabb because he didn’t feel he could run the 2 minute offense.  His statement was perceived as a criticism of McNabb’s intellectual ability by many in the public, so Shanahan changed his reason, stating that he actually thought McNabb didn’t have the physical endurance to effectively run the two minute offense.  Later, he modified his statement once again and claimed McNabb was suffering from sore hamstrings.  The tension between Shanahan and McNabb was quite evident.  Later, with only 3 games left in the regular season,   Shanahan benched McNabb in favor of Rexman and actually publicly demoted him to 3rd string.  The Redskins had a myriad of problems this season.  But it appears that Shanahan chose to focus on McNabb rather than recognize other issues hurting the team, including the coaching staff and their poor decision making over the course of the season.

Peyton Manning’s streak of INTs

11 INTs over a three game span brought forth criticism about Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning.  Some questioned his age, while others questioned his ability.  Manning had to deal with a porous offensive line, a slew of injuries to his receiving corps and no running game all season.  Despite his 4700 yards of passing this year, Peyton could not carry the team alone.  But to question Manning’s ability is absurd and short sighted.  It was one of the low points in the season for us, but Manning himself seemed unscathed by his critics.  That focus and drive makes him one of the game’s all time greatest QBs!

Vince Young meltdown 

In a game vs. the Redskins, Young injured his hand.  When Titans coach Jeff Fisher put back up Kerry Collins in, Young became agitated and a childish tantrum ensued.  He paced the sidelines, swearing and mumbling to himself, and then tossed his shoulder pads and jersey into the stands as he stormed into the locker room at the end of the game.  That day was his last as the Titans’ starting QB.  Owner Bud Adams recently announced that Young will not be on the roster next season.  He will either be traded or released. 

Inconsistent fines by the NFL 

The NFL established a reactionary, subjective policy early in the season in response to a number of head injuries.  While we applaud their efforts to protect players, this policy fell short and needs to be revamped before next season.

Super Bowl XLV seat fiasco  

In the most technologically advanced and extravagant stadium in the history of football, Jerry Jones’ Cowboys Stadium came up short on the most important day for the NFL.  400 fans attending the Super Bowl were unable to be seated because their seating area was not completed in time.  The seats were valued at $800 and the NFL issued a refund of $2400 to each of those affected.  Fans had the option to watch the game in the $350 “Standing Room Only” section or on monitors in the North Field Club.  Despite these allowances by the NFL, fans were understandably upset.  There is no excuse for incomplete seating areas in a venue like the Super Bowl!

New York Jets Tripping 

The Jets Strength and Conditioning coach, Sal Alosi, admitted he intentionally tripped Miami’s Nolan Carroll as he raced down the sideline on punt coverage.  Alosi’s role in the NFL was to help players become physically stronger and healthier, yet he showed a complete lack of judgment when he tried to trip an opponent running at full speed.  Alosi was subsequently fined and suspended by the Jets.  Later, the NFL levied a $100,000 fine against the Jets.  Alosi announced his resignation from the team January 31st.

The NFL’s decision to postpone the Eagles vs. Vikings game 

In late December, the NFL postponed the Eagles/Vikings game because of a predicted winter storm expected to dump 18 inches of snow on the city.  Since when does FOOTBALL get postponed due to weather?  This isn’t soccer and the NFL set a bad precedent by postponing the game when both teams were in the city and capable of playing.  Vince Lombardi must have turned over in his grave!

We hope you have enjoyed our review of our favorite ups and downs of this past season.  It truly was an exhilarating ride, but like any good roller coaster, seemed much too short!

Who Will Make it to the Super Bowl? Here are Our Predictions!

Today will determine who will be going to the Super Bowl on February 5th.  Will the Chicago Bears win today in the longest rivalry in the history of the NFL?  Or will the Green Bay Packers represent the NFC and make a run for the ultimate title?  In the AFC, will the Steel Curtain be lowered on the Jets or will New York find a way to soar above Pittsburgh’s tough, stingy defense?  Whatever the outcome, this is shaping up to be an electrifying day for gridiron fans!  Here’s our take on who emerges victorious today.

Chicago has home field advantage, but we think the Packers’ overcome the crowd, weather conditions and the Bears’ defense and win in a close game.  Aaron Rodgers is playing phenomenal football and we think he will do whatever it takes to win the game. The keys to a Green Bay victory are…

  1.  Keeping the game from being one dimensional.  Most of the season, the Packers relied almost exclusively on Aaron Rodgers and the passing game.  When they found a running game, they became a much more balanced offense that is simply harder to defend.  The Bears have the #2 rushing defense in the NFL, which will make it a real challenge for Packers RB James Starks.
  2. The Packer’s defense needs to pressure Bears QB Jay Cutler.  Last week against the Seahawks, Cutler had 274 yards passing and 2 TDs, but that was against a Seahawks defense that did little to pressure him.  The Bears have the #5 pass defense in the league, which means Cutler will be facing a much different situation than he did last week.
  3. The Packers need to stop Matt Forte.  Forte poses a threat as a running back and a wide receiver and is peaking at just the right time.  If the Packers don’t have an answer for Forte, he may just win the game for the Bears – especially given the frigid, wintry conditions expected at Soldier Field today.  Since the Packers are better at pass defense than run defense, Forte could be a real game changer.

 

The Jets/Steelers game is a tough one to call.  Big Ben has the experience to take the Steelers into the Super Bowl and is hard to pick against.  But the Jets are coming off a huge upset win against the Patriots and sometimes sheer momentum is enough to beat even the toughest opponents. We pick the Jets in what should be another close one!  For our prediction to come true here is what has to happen.

  1.  Real pressure on Big Ben.  Last week the Jets defense pressured Tom Brady, causing him to lose his rhythm.  Big Ben has the physical size, strength and mobility to escape that pressure.  For the Jets to win, they MUST find a way to disrupt the two-time Super Bowl winning QB.
  2. Contain strong safety Troy Polamalu and head hunter linebacker James Harrison.  If the Jets cannot control these two defensive dynamos, Sanchez is in for a very long day – much of it on the ground looking up at the sky!
  3. Make Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson key components in the offensive game plan today.  For the Jets to win, they must run a balanced offense, using their two RBs and using a game plan that allows Sanchez to make quick, short throws downfield.  This will be an enormous challenge, given the relentless rush defense of the Steelers.

Given all these seemingly impossible tasks, why have we picked the Jets over the Steelers?  Jets coach Rex Ryan has lost two AFC Championships in a row and simply won’t tolerate a third.  Combined with the momentum the Jets are on after last week’s defeat of the Patriots, we think he and his team will back up their season long tough talk with a victory over the favored Steelers.

Risk Taker or Play Maker? Which Jay Cutler Will Show Up?

As the Chicago Bears head into Sunday’s NFC Conference Championship game against the Green Bay Packers, the question on many fan’s minds is which Jay Cutler will show up.  Cutler is a complex character both on and off the field.  On the field, he has moments of sheer genius, coupled with moments of utter idiocy.  Off the field, he is seen by some as aloof, while others view him as something of a wise-guy jerk.  One thing is for certain, Jay Cutler will be key to the Chicago Bears’ destiny this weekend.  Love him or hate him, he is the Bears’ quarterback who will try to propel his team into the Super Bowl.   Here’s our view of the complicated Cutler.

Last week against the Seahawks, Cutler played in his first post-season game and had an outstanding day.  In that 35-24 victory he threw two TDs, ran for two TDs, had no interceptions and earned a respectable 111.3 QB rating.  But the Seahawks defense failed to effectively pressure Cutler for most of that game.  Their coverage seemed to break down, leaving wide receivers wide open.  Cutler made the throws he needed to and the Seahawks paid for their miscues.  But can Cutler expect the Packers’ defense to play that poorly?  He shouldn’t count on it.  The Packers’ defense has a blitzing, aggressive style that could expose Cutler’s tendency for making poor decisions that lead to turnovers.

Packers’ defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, has had to devise schemes in the past to deal with Cutler.  Capers had to defend against the Chicago QB 4 times and was quite successful, with the Packers winning 3 of the matchups.  The Packers’ defense held Cutler to a 56% completion rate and only 4 TDs.  In those 4 games, Cutler threw 9 interceptions and his QB rating was a pitiful 57.49.

 Green Bay likes to employ nickel and dime defensive sets – meaning using either 5 or 6 defensive backs.  Cutler has struggled against this scheme in the past and Capers will likely use this strategy to rattle Cutler into making some of his infamous bad throws into tight coverage. 

So which Cutler will show up for Sunday’s pivotal game?  Will it be the risk taking Jay Cutler who has never led his team to a winning season since his high school days?   Or will it be the effective playmaker we saw last week against Seattle?   No one denies his arm strength and his ability to make big plays as a gunslinger-style QB.  But given his record INTs last season (26) and his tendency to take risks when pressed, he is an unpredictable factor in this week’s game.  An impulsive, risk-taking QB with a brooding personality in an NFC Championship game?  Sounds pretty irresistible to me!

Next Up: NFL Conference Championship Games!

With less than 4 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter on Saturday, the Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves tied with the Baltimore Ravens.  With Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger in charge, was the outcome ever in doubt?  The calm, veteran QB gathered the team in the huddle and simply stated, “I’m going down to score.  Who is coming down with me?”  With that, he and the Steelers put together an 11 play drive that resulted in the game winning TD by Rashard Mendenhall. 

The Steelers 31-24 victory earned them a spot in the AFC Conference Championship game next week.  This is Pittsburgh’s 4th AFC title game in seven years.  They will face the New York Jets at home.  The Jets defeated the top seeded New England Patriots yesterday 28-21.  After a week of trash talking from Jets head coach Rex Ryan and some of his players, Gang Green backed up their words with their on field play.  The key to the game was stopping Tom Brady and the Jet’s defensive strategy did just that – sacking the likely MVP 5 times and intercepting him once.   Prior to yesterday, Brady had not thrown an INT in 335 pass attempts.  

The Steelers versus the Jets!  Game time is 6:30 pm ET Sunday.  Make sure to check back this week for the latest news and analysis of what promises to be an exciting AFC Conference Championship!

Meanwhile in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers manhandled the NFC’s top seeded Atlanta Falcons Saturday, defeating them 48-21.  We stated before that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers seems to be a man on a mission and he certainly played like one.  Rodgers completed 31 of 36 passes for 366 yards and three passing TDs, plus a rushing TD.

Green Bay will travel to Chicago to take on the Bears in the NFC Conference Championship game.  The Bears defeated the Seahawks yesterday 35-24.  The Bear’s offense overwhelmed the Seahawks and Bears QB Jay Cutler, in his first post-season appearance, threw 2 TD and rushed for 2 as well. Despite a valiant effort by Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck, the Seattle offense simply could not get things going.  The question remains – were the Bears that good, or were the Seahawks really that bad?

The Packers and Bears have a long-standing rivalry, dating back to 1921.  They have met 181 times, but this is the first time they have are playing for an NFC title.  Sunday’s game will air at3 pm ET.  We look forward to breaking down this traditional, storied rivalry in the days to come!

Seahawks vs. Bears – Two Teams Seeking Respect

Today’s NFC Divisional Playoff game between the Chicago Bears and the Seattle Seahawks reminds us of a Quick Pick lottery ticket.  It is a thrilling game and is difficult to predict!  The improbability of the Seahawks mere presence at this point in the season, combined with the inconsistency of Chicago QB Jay Cutler and the Bears sets up an intriguing scenario.  Today’s winner will face the Green Bay Packers next week for the NFC title.

The Seahawks and Bears met back in October, with Seattle winning 23-20.  Much has changed since that first meeting.  After struggling early in the season, the Bears changed their offensive philosophy.  Their rushing game improved and they are now a much more balanced offense.  Given Jay Cutler’s tendency to throw into tight, dangerous coverage and cause turnovers, a dual threat offense is vital.  Chicago RB Matt Forte could be the key to the Bear’s success today.

The Seahawks are the first team with a losing record (7-9 regular season) to win a playoff game.  But they have been tweaking their roster all season long and seem to have found their ideal starters at the perfect time.  Their unlikely journey to this point has given the team a loose, confident aura that may just allow them to silence all their critics.  Rather than focusing on their losing season, the Seahawks like to look at the fact that they are 2-0 in 2011. 

Marshawn Lynch’s amazing 67 yard TD run last week against the defending Super Bowl champion Saints was one of the most phenomenal efforts we have seen all year and worthy of all the highlights and replays on TV.  But given the Bear’s defense, it is not likely to happen today.  Hasselbeck will have to find WR Mike William if the Seahawks have a chance.

Matt Hasselbeck has 11 playoff starts in his career.  In the last 8 years, Hasselbeck has made the playoffs an impressive 6 times.  Meanwhile Jay Cutler is making his first playoff start.  Like the Seahawks, he too is looking for respect.

A Seattle win would be a more captivating story, given their dubious path to the playoffs.  With Hasselbeck’s experience and the “nothing to lose” attitude the Seahawks bring to the game, like a “quick pick” lottery ticket we are choosing them in an upset!   Look for a close game, with Cutler turning over the ball to give the Seahawks the slight edge needed to win.

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