Tag Archives: Cam Newton

Preview of the NFL Conference Championships

By: Evan

After this weekend, we will know who will play for the Super Bowl and the Vince Lombardi Trophy
After this weekend, we will know who will play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy            Courtesy of Footballpros.com

The NFL must be ecstatic about the two match-ups in the Conference Championships, the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos in the AFC game and the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC. Brady vs. Manning, Wilson vs. Kaepernick, legend vs. legend and rising star vs rising star. Here are my predictions for both games.

AFC Championship: New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos 3:00 PM EST

Sunday might be the last time these two HOF's meet up.  Courtesy of Bleacherreport.com
Sunday might be the last time these two HOF’s meet up.
Courtesy of Bleacherreport.com

Reasons Why the Patriots will win:

Can Brady and Belichick get to another Super Bowl? Courtesy of ESPN
Can Brady and Belichick get to another Super Bowl?
Courtesy of ESPN

1.) Belichick and Brady have Peyton’s number: In the 14 times Brady and Manning have squared off (Denver and Indy), the Pats are 10-4. In those 14 games Manning has thrown for 29 TDs and 20 INTs, a rate less than impressive for a quarterback of his stature. Earlier this year the Patriots came back from a 24-0 deficit to win in overtime in Foxborough. After leading three drives that resulted in 17 points in the first half (Von Miller had a fumble return TD), Manning could only muster seven more points in the second half, giving further evidence on why other pundits question Manning’s “clutch gene”. When you are one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game, you are graded on the highest curve and your accolades are praised but your mistakes are also highlighted. And truthfully, Manning has work to do if he wants to overcome his reputation as a “regular season quarterback.” A playoff victory over the Pats would help but seems improbable.

2.) Playing with House Money: Another truth about this game is the Pats have less pressure on them then the Broncos do. The Broncos have put up impressive stats, breaking the total points record with 603 and obviously one of, if not the greatest statistical years ever had by a quarterback. Meanwhile, Brady and the Pats have been chugging along losing bodies on both sides of the ball. On offense they lost Gronk for the first six weeks and then lost him for the season with a torn ACL, wide receivers Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and oft injured Danny Amendola have combined to miss 13 games this year.  And, of course, they lost Aaron Hernandez because of his arrest for murder.  These losses on the offense would make any team less of a threat, but not the Patriots as they turned Julian Edelman, a college quarterback drafted in the 7th round into a 100 catch player. On defense, they lost stud defensive tackle Vince Wilfork to a ruptured achilles, and linebackers Brandon Spikes and Jerrod Mayo to other season ending injuries. Did this stop the Pats? No. Players like Jamie Collins and emerging stars like Chandler Jones stepped up and preformed valiantly for their injured teammates. I know the Pats won’t make the excuse but they most definitely have one to fall back on, hence the pressure is off them and on Manning to beat such a depleted Patriots team.


3.) The Run Game: Coming into the season, LaGarrette Blount was considered to be a head case that would never be solved, but now with the Patriots he has emerged as their lead running back. In his lone playoff appearance, Blount rushed for 166 yards and four TDs, incredible numbers for a player as stout as Blount. This hot streak could continue as the Broncos gave up 15 rushing TDs this season. The Patriots also have the advantage in terms of running back depth as Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen provide a balance of both speed and power that should wear down the Broncos defense. With the high altitude in Denver, runners can tire easily and with this litany of quality backs, the Patriots should have no trouble interchanging all three. Although the focus will be on Brady vs. Manning, the running game will have to run down the clock and keep Manning and his potent offense off the field.

Reasons Why the Broncos will win:

Will Peyton still be smiling after tonight? Courtesy of Denver Post
Will Peyton still be smiling after tonight?
Courtesy of The Denver Post

1.) Better Weapons: I just mentioned that the Pats have three solid running backs who can carry the load on offense, but the Broncos have a stable (horse joke haha) of receiving and running options that only make Peyton Manning’s job much easier. Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker all had 10 or more TDs this season and Knowshon Moreno had a career year with a combined 1,538 yards and 13 TDs on the ground and through the air. For a secondary that gave up 239 yards per game, the Patriots do not seem equipped to handle all of the Broncos’ targets. If Manning gets going early, it could be a long day for the Patriots.

2.) Peyton is on fire: Peyton Manning will be the MVP and I do not want to hear people make the case for Brady to win it because of the Patriots injuries. He amassed 5,477 yards and 55 TDs with only 10 INTs and a total QBR of 82.1 (0-100). In the playoff game against the Chargers, Manning had a solid game throwing for 230 yards with two TDs and an interception with 91.1 QBR, but the most important moment came in the 4th quarter with San Diego mounting a comeback and Manning complete a first down to Julius Thomas, virtually putting the game away. He made the critical throw and avoided criticism for at least another week. As I mentioned before the Pats defense against the pass is vulnerable and Manning could have a great day if he avoids turnovers.

3.) Revenge is in order: The Broncos should come into this game with a little chip on their shoulders because of the aforementioned regular season defeat at New England earlier this year. This would a perfect opportunity for Peyton to erase the hard memories of Brady defeating him in various playoff games and go on to play in the Super Bowl. Peyton doesn’t have that many more NFL years in him, so if the Broncos want to make a run at a championship, they better win this game.


This game is going to be a high scoring affair with the game probably coming down to who has the ball last. An if they scenario happens, I have more confidence in Brady than I do in Manning. Pats 38- Broncos 35.

NFC Championships: San Francisco 49ners vs Seattle Seahawks 6:30 PM

This rivalry dates back to the USC Stanford days. Courtesy of NFL.com
This rivalry dates back to the USC vs Stanford days.
Courtesy of NFL.com

Reasons why the Niners will win:

Anquan Boldin will have to lead the 49ers receiving corps. Courtesy of NFL SI
Anquan Boldin will have to lead the 49ers receiving corps.
Courtesy of NFL SI

1.) They’re on fire: The Niners have a similar feel to the 2011 Green Bay Packers, star quarterback playing at an extremely high level and a defense making key plays. The great thing for the Niners is their defense is better than the Packers’ defense was– to limit star quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton to a combined 30 points is fantastic. Colin Kaepernick has been highly effective, running for clutch 3rd down conversions and throwing strikes to his receivers and most importantly he has been playing safe, game managing style of football, allowing his stout defense to assert their dominance. Hot teams tend to be dominant during the playoffs and the Niners have run through their opponents and now face a struggling Seattle team.

2.) Better receiving core: Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis are all hard match-ups for secondary players, even for a talented Seattle team. Anquan plays a physical style and won’t be intimidated by press coverage or the hard hitting Kam Chancellor. Look for CK7 to look for ‘Quan if he gets in trouble inside the pocket. Michael Crabtree has provided a deep-threat presence that allows for other receivers to get open across the middle of the field. He too has a tremendous set of hands as his coach Harbaugh said he would trust Crabtree to catch a ball to save his life. And then finally, Vernon Davis one of the most versatile players in the game, combining speed with power creating a headaches for defensive coordinators everywhere. Davis, like most of the Niners, has struggled against the ‘Hawks hard hitting Legion of Boom as he was held to 41 yards receiving in both games this year. He might play the role of decoy, allowing Anquan and Crabtree to roam down the sidelines.

3.) Better Linebackers: This is a close battle but the edge goes to the Niners as they have the best two inside linebackers in the game in Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman. Both have sideline to sideline speed and will not be afraid to confront Beast Mode head-on. The X-factor will be Ahmad Brooks a combo-linebacker who can rush the passer and play the run game. The linebacking corps also provides the emotional edge for the Niners as their leadership goes unquestioned. Look for the two-headed monster of Willis and Bowman to play well if the Niners want to win this game.

Reasons why the Seahawks will win:

Seattle is led by the notorious Legion of Boom. Courtesy of Full Scale Sports
Seattle is led by the notorious Legion of Boom.
Courtesy of Full Scale Sports

1.) They have a psychological edge at home: The 12th man is more like an outdoor asylum, full of crazy fans who bleed Blue and Green. The Seahawks are 15-1 in the last two years at home and they seem to play with an inherent swagger in the Emerald City. The Seahawks have also demolished the Niners at home the last two years by the scores of 42-13 (2012) and 29-3 (2013). Kaepernick has struggled mightily in Seattle with only 1 TD and 4 INTs and with a quarterback rating of 41.7. The playoffs will be even louder and the crowd will definitely cause problems for the Niners.

2.) Best secondary in all of football: The Legion of Boom is by far the strength of the Seattle Seahawks. Richard Sherman is the best corner (DPOY candidate), Earl Thomas is the best free safety (DPOY front-runner) and Kam Chancellor is the best strong safety (should be DPOY candidate). They hit hard, they talk trash and most importantly they play the ball, turning unadvised throws into costly interceptions. After the suspensions of Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond, players like Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane stepped up and played superbly with 17 passes defensed and 4 INTs. The Legion of Boom needs to come to play and they should create at least a turnover.

3.) Beast Mode: Marshawn Lynch is a handful, combining 215 lbs of straight muscle with 4.46 speed means trouble for opposing defenses. Marshawn has had success against a stout 49ers defense rushing for 170 yards and 3Tds in their two meetings this year. He can wear down a defense, collecting extra yards after initial contact and turning first downs into touchdowns. If Seattle wants to take the pressure off of Russell Wilson they need to have Marshawn touch the ball at least 30 times.


The Seahawks are close to invincible at home and until the Niners beat them in Seattle, I am picking the Seahawks. The Niners can’t stop Beast Mode and the Seahawks, supported by their crazed 12th man, wins 28-21.

Stats from ESPN


Fantasy Football outlook for week 2 in the NFL

By: Jon



Mike Vick
Mike Vick

This week their are a number of interesting options regarding the quarterback position for fantasy football. After one of the greatest performances in NFL history, Peyton Manning will attempt to repeat his success against the New York Giants. Top quarterbacks that will be facing poor pass defenses this week are RG3, Rodgers, Wilson, Vick, Stafford, and Manning. Besides for Rodgers, who is by far the best quarterback in the bunch, Michael Vick will probably have the best week among the other five fantasy quarterbacks. Vick had a solid week against the Redskins and should hope to improve on his stats. Vick has the ability to rush and pass for touchdowns, which can make him fantasy gold. The Chargers are not a good defense and the Eagles new offensive scheme should exploit their deficiencies. Although Vick only accumulated about 200 yards passing, he totaled 25 fantasy points because he scored three touchdowns overall. This week the Eagles will probably not give the ball to McCoy 30+ times, so I expect Vick to throw more and display better fantasy numbers. The top quarterback who I would avoid this week is Colin Kaepernick. The young signal caller is leading the 49ers into the great northwest to play the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks should their tremendous defense last week against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Cam was only able to collect 12 fantasy points while throwing for 125 yards and a touchdown. Cam is similar to Colin because he can run and throw effectively. Last week, the Seahawks were able to confuse Cam while playing on the road. Seattle is the best team in football, when they play on their home turf. CenturyLink Field is one of the toughest places to play in the league because the crowd is loud and the Seahawks play twice as well at home than on the road. A quarterback who I would take a chance on for this week is be Sam Bradford. Bradford is facing the Atlanta Falcons, who is one of the worst defense teams in the league. The Rams will be forced to throw the ball and score a lot of points to match the Falcons’ potent offense. Bradford tallied 19 points last week and should be able to at least repeat his performance this week.

Analysis on other QBs:

Start: P. Manning, Rodgers, Brees, Ryan, Manning, Stafford, Bradford, Pryor, Vick, and Wilson

Sit: Luck, Schaub, Rivers, Palmer, and Flacco


Running Backs:

Matt Forte
Matt Forte

The running backs did not have many big performances last week, 4 20+ point scorers. The lack of running opportunities has caused a decrease in points. Multiple teams are using 2 or 3 man running groups, which takes away a lot of points from players. Many of the top runners from last week are playing top defenses, which should scare fantasy owners. Matt Forte is my average player who should have a big week. Last week, Forte scored 15 points while running for 50 yards and a touchdown. Forte is playing the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings did a horrible job last week at containing the running backs of the Detroit Lions. Forte should be able to score a few touchdowns and tally a lot of yards from scrimmage. Forte has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, which is useful for a fantasy player because they get a lot more points. Forte is the main running back for the Bears and should not get under 25 touches during the game. A running back that I would be wary of starting is Arian Foster. Fantasy owners should try trading him because he is consistently injured and is losing carries to Ben Tate. Foster did not play at all during the preseason so he is rusty and needs a more reps to return to his form. The Texans are playing the Tennessee Titans, who have one of the best rush defenses in the league. Gary Kubiak has stated that he wants to give Ben Tate more touches because of the success he has experienced. Foster should obviously be started because he was the number one pick of many owners, but he will not perform as expected. The surprise of the week will be Darren McFadden. McFadden is one of the few running backs that will always get 20 touches per game because he is the lone RB on the Raiders’ roster and the Raiders do not throw much with Terrelle Pryor. McFadden will be playing the Jags, who were burned last week by Jamaal Charles for 175 yards. McFadden should record at least one touchdown and 100 yards from scrimmage. Darren will score at least double digit points so put him in your starting roster.

Other running backs:

Start: Peterson, Bush, McCoy, Forte, Charles, Rice, McFadden, Lacy, Martin, D. Richardson, Morris, Williams, Johnson, and Lynch

Sit: Bell, Jackson, Murray, T. Richardson, MJD, and Spiller


Wide Receivers:

Julio Jones
Julio Jones

Last week, fourteen wide receivers recorded more than 15 fantasy points last week. Offenses have decided to pass more often, which has allowed wide receivers to score more fantasy points. Last week, many high profiled wide receivers had huge games, which benefited fantasy owners. Julio Jones should have a huge week two, after an average week one performance. Although Jones has a knee injury, he should be able to perform at a high level. Roddy White has been experiencing a nagging ankle, which has limited his playing time. Jones is one of the best wide receivers in the league because he is big, physical, and fast. Jones is going against the St. Louis Rams, who allowed 20 fantasy points to Larry Fitzgerald. Jones will have the ability to score more points because he has Matt Ryan throwing to him and he is playing at home. Jones should have a 20+ point game while recording 100+ yards and two touchdowns. Fantasy owners should be wary of wide receiver Dez Bryant. Bryant had a horrible week last season against the Giants, when he recorded only two points and 22 yards receiving. Although Dez has big play potential, he has a ankle injury that may limit his big play ability. The Cowboys have a lot of wide receiver depth, which takes passes away from Bryant. Jason Written and Miles Austin were targeted a lot more often than Bryant, especially in the red zone. If Bryant cannot physically dominate his opponent because of his ankle, Bryant’s stats will be down and his points will be disappointing. Hakeem Nicks should be a big sleeper this week for fantasy owners. Although he is owned in almost every leagues, Nicks is on most people’s bench, instead of in their starting roster. Nicks is a talented wide receiver and should excel in the Giants’ game against the Broncos. The Giants will be throwing the ball early and often to keep up with Peyton and the Broncos’ offense. The Giants have a lot of options, but Nicks should be open because of the attention given to Victor Cruz. I expect Nicks to record a touchdown and at least 50 or 60 yards receiving.

Other wide receivers:

Start: C. Johnson, A. Green, B. Marshall, J. Jones, D. Thomas, V. Jackson, A. Johnson, R. Cobb, L. Fitzgerald, W. Welker, V. Cruz, and R. Wayne

Sit: D. Bryant, R. White, M. Wallace, M. Colston, J. Jones, and P. Garcon


Tight Ends:

Julius Thomas
Julius Thomas

Although the tight end has been one of the worst fantasy positions over the years, the league has started to change the fantasy tight end position has been improving as well. Many tight ends have become big wide receivers, which has enable them to physically dominate their defenders. The tight end that should have the biggest game this week is Julius Thomas. Thomas had a breakout game last week, which came to the surprise of almost every fan. However, it should not have came as a surprise because Peyton Manning has been able to do great things with tight ends. From Jacob Tamme to Dallas Clark, Peyton has always looked to the tight end as a safety blanket. The Giants have been horrible at defending the tight end. The Giants do not have great linebackers, so they are unable to guard quality tight ends. Jason Written has been known to have huge games against the Giants linebackers. The middle of the field should be open for Thomas since the safeties will have to give help to Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker. Fantasy owners should expect a lot of yards and a touchdown or two from the big tight end. A tight end that may not produce as expected is Jason Written. After another great effort against the Giants, Written heads to Arrowhead to play the Chiefs. The Chiefs have been good at defending the tight end position over the last few years, less than 6 points per game. The Chiefs are a good team with a really good defense. Romo will be under a lot of pressure because the Chiefs have a talented front seven. Also, Written may be guarded by stud safety Eric Berry, who is strong and fast. Although Written may put up okay numbers, do not expect the Tennessee grad to hit double digits against the stingy Chiefs’ defense. A tight end that I would take a chance on this week is Brent Celek. The Eagles’ tight end has always been a consistent performer for Vick and the Eagles offense. The Eagles like to throw quick short passes to tire the defense. Celek had a good first game of the season, 11 points. The Eagles will be throwing more this game, since they will probably not be up by 20+ points. The Chargers have not been good at defending the tight end position so Celek should accumulate at least 10 points this week.

Other tight ends:

Start: Cook, Thomas, Davis, Cameron, Finley, Graham, Gonzalez, Celek, and Clark

Sit: Written, Rudolph, Daniels, Olsen, and Pettigrew


pics and stat from espn.com

2013-2014 Carolina Panthers Preview

By: Evan

Projected Record: 8-8

NFC South Rank: 3rd

Cam needs a big year to lead the Panthers to a .500 season                                                                                              Courtesy of Bleacherreport.com

The Carolina Panthers have not made the playoffs in the Cam Newton era, and they probably won’t this year, but the future is very bright for a young Carolina Panthers team.  For the Panthers to have success, Cam Newton needs to have a big year and prove why he was taken #1 in the 2010 NFL Draft.  Cam’s attitude and leadership capabilities have been questionable, but Cam was named a captain for the first time, and should become a better teammate and leader.  Another reason why Cam should have  a big year is Mike Shula, his former quarterback coach, is now Offensive Coordinator, and Shula knows the ins and outs of Cam’s strengths.  Cam also has some weapons in the ultra-competitive wide receiver Steve Smith, tight end Greg Olsen, and the newly acquired Domenik Hixon who wasn’t getting much playing time in New York because of Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle.  Hixon now has a chance to emerge as a threat for the Panthers’ squad.   The days of Smash and Dash– meaning Jonathan Steward and DeAngelo Williams, are over.  Look for rookie Kenjon Barner from Oregon to emerge and take over the top running back spot because he is adept at playing the read option and is wicked quick.   The Panthers can sub in either Steward or Williams when needed.  The Panthers are poised to move forward and make strides to becoming a winning team.

Strengths: QB and Front seven

Luke Kuechly is a star and at age 22, he is only going to get better. Courtesy of ESPN.com

Cam Newton is not just a fantasy football star, but also a pretty good quarterback as well. Although his touchdown numbers decreased from 21 to 19, so did his interceptions coming down from 17 to 12, proving Cam is becoming smarter with the ball and is learning defensive tactics. He also ran for 35 more yards in 2012, improving to 741 yards, which was good enough to lead the team. If Cam figure out a way to balance running and passing and throw a couple more touchdowns, the Panthers should be headed to the playoffs in the next two years. Just look at the caption above and you’ll know why I think the Panthers’ front seven is one of the best in the NFL. It all comes down the middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, who led the NFL in tackles last year with 164 in his rookie season. He is already one of the best linebackers in the game with room to grow.  But the Panthers also have two ridiculously talented defensive ends in Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy, who combined for 23.5 sacks out of the Panthers 39 total. The front office was smart to draft two DT in Star Lotulelei and Kawaan Short. If not for a potential heart issue, Lotulelei might have been a top 5 pick and Short was a second team All-American in 2012. Now with these two forces on the inside, Johnson and Short will be able to blow by offensive lines without running into double teams. Remember these names as all of the defensive stars for this Panthers teams will be key for the future.

Weaknesses: Wide Receiving Corps, Secondary and Offensive Line

As Steve Smith gets older, the Panthers need to look for WR help                                                                     Courtesy of ESPN.com

Steve Smith is now 34, Brandon LaFell has potential but needs to show it, and Domenik Hixon is unproven, so it is easy to see why the Panthers need to improve their group of wide receivers. This probably won’t change much during the year but this years draft has some pretty good receivers in Marqise Lee, Sammy Watkins and Jordan Matthews. Chances are that the Panthers won’t get Lee or Watkins, but they might have a shot at Jordan Matthews or TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins who could help Cam Newton feel more confident about the 2014 season.

For as good as the front seven is, the last 4 four is just as bad with no significant playmakers in the secondary. Cornerback Chris Gamble retired so Captain Munnerlyn and Josh Morgan will have to step up and defend the elite WRs in the NFC South, including Roddy White, Julio Jones, Marques Colston and Vincent Jackson. This is a recipe for countless games of over 300 yards passing and a poor defensive ranking.

Besides All-Pro center, Ryan Kalil and Jordan Gross, the Panthers offensive line is weak.  They gave up 36 sacks last year and if not for the mobility of Cam Newton, that number would have increased significantly. This will have to be another topic of conversation for the Panthers’ front office going into next offseason.

Schedule Analysis:

Carolina will have to deal with both Richard Sherman and Tom Brady this year Courtesy of ESPN.com

vs Seattle-W: I like this game for Carolina, as the Seattle cornerbacks are very jumpy and can sometimes misread the read option and get exploited downfield. If Cam can get protection I think the Panthers can pull of the upset.

@ Buffalo-W: Cam is better than EJ and the Panthers’ front seven is better than Buffalo’s, so I have the Panthers starting the season 2-0

vs New York-L: Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks will be too much for the Panthers to overcome as Eli Manning picks apart the awful secondary

Bye Week

@ Arizona-W: Arizona had the worst offensive line against the pass rush last year, allowing 58 sacks last year and with Jonathan Cooper out for the season with a broken leg, Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson will have a field day.

@ Minnesota-L: Adrian Peterson loves running at home and this game will be no different as he torches the Panthers D for over 175 yards and 3TDs.

vs St.Louis-L: Tavon Austin is a big play waiting to happen against a terrible secondary and he explodes for both rushing and receiving touchdowns. The Rams also tied for first with 52 sacks last year and with the offensive line in shambles, the Rams get to CN1.

@ Tampa Bay-L: Another game where the Panthers have to deal with a tough runner in Doug Martin as well as an elite receiver in Vincent Jackson. The Bucs also improved their secondary with Dashon Goldson and Darrelle Revis so Steve Smith will be contained.

vs Atlanta-L: Again the secondary lets down the Panthers as Roddy White and Julio Jones make Carolina look silly, going for over 120 yards and 2TDs each.

@ San Francisco-L: In a game of read option galore, the Niners win out, making enough stops against Cam to seal the deal.

vs New England- W: The five game losing streak ends here as the Panthers make huge strides in beating the New England Patriots on their home turf, proving why they are on the rise. Cam Newton should have a big game as the Patriots ranked 29th in passing defense last year.

@ Miami- W: Mike Wallace will be open, but Ryan Tannehill is not good enough to get it to him as the Jake Long less Dolphins struggle to defend the pass rush.

vs Tampa Bay-W: The Panthers also get to Josh Freeman and the defense will clamp down on Doug Martin, giving the Panthers a nice inner divisional win.

@ New Orleans-L: Drew Brees slices up the Panthers secondary and the offense won’t be able to respond.

vs New York Jets-W: Cam Newton is exponentially better than Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez and the Panthers win easily.

vs New Orleans-W: Kenjon Barner has a big game, exploiting the 32nd ranked run defense in the league and Cam Newton shows out as well.

@ Atlanta-L: In Cam’s homecoming game, he plays well but the Panthers can’t contain any of the Falcons’ offensive weapons and the season ends on a sour note.


The Panthers have talent on both sides of the ball but they need to significantly improve their weaknesses in order to become a playoff team.

Stats from ESPN