Fantasy Football News

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week Three Picks

I never got to post my week two picks, so I had to make sure I didn't forget this week. Luckily for us, there is plenty of exciting division matchups in line for us this week.

Sunday September 26, 2010

Giants over Titans

Both teams are looking to bounce back after embarrassing losses, but I think, despite being blown out by the Colts (38-14) Eli and his Giants are in a better position to win this matchup. Vince Young may not be himself after being benched the fourth quarter of last week's game against the Steelers. Hopefully they wont turn the ball over seven times again this week.

Bengals over Panthers

If Carolina's run game continues to struggle then this game could get ugly considering rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen will be making his first career start. Cincinnati's underrated defense should pressure Clausen plenty and I expect Carson Palmer and his plethora of talent in the receiving game to have great days.
Steelers over Bucs

With Charlie Batch at quarterback, expect running back Rashard Mendenhall to get plenty of carries. Pittsburgh proved last week that they don't need to pass the ball all that much to win a game with a defense like theirs.

Patriost over Bills

Buffalo is 2-18 against the Pats since 2000. I doubt this time around will be much different with Buffalo going through another quarterback crisis. Trent Edwards was benched for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Should be interesting to see how he fares.

Ravens over Browns

If Flacco can bounce back from his career-worst four interceptions against the Bengals last week we should see a Baltimore victory over Cleveland. With Jake Delhomme listed as doubtful with an ankle injury, it's likely that Seneca Wallace will be starting.
49ers over Chiefs

Alex Smith had a stellar final drive last week against the Saints' defense, despite the loss. If Patrick Willis and Co. can contain the run game, they shouldn't have much trouble handing the Chiefs their first loss of the season.

Texans over Cowboys

The battle of Texas belongs to the Texans this year, they are clearly the best team right now. Romo's 'Boys will go 0-3 as the Texans get off to the best start in their franchise's history. Expect a big game from Andre Johnson and Arian Foster as well.

Lions over Vikings

I'm calling the upset right now. Favre is obviously struggling without healthy receivers and Shaun Hill and rookie Jahvid Best managed to put up 32 points against the Eagles last week. It's kind of a longshot but it's certainly possible if Detroit can contain Adrian Peterson.
Falcons over Saints

Another upset here. Atlanta looked impressive in its 41-7 blowout victory over the Cards last week, and Matt Ryan is obviously poised to get back to the playoffs. After watching the Niners come just short of upsetting New Orleans last week, the Falcons are probably even more motivated to defeat the defending champs.

Redskins over Rams

Washington is feeling pretty disappointing after the overtime loss to the 2-0 Texans, a nice bounce back game against rookie quarterback Sam Bradford and the 0-2 Rams is exactly what these Skins need. McNabb should have a nice game against this defense, as well.

Eagles over Jaguars

With Vick making another start, Philadelphia seems to be ready for a playoff run. With Maurice Jones-Drew banged up and the Jags' secondary struggling, Philly is likely to take advantage of this opportunity and get another big win.
Colts over Broncos

This is a huge game for Denver, but they wont be coming out on top with Peyton in town. Denver's defense took some huge hits during training camp with injuries and Knowshon Moreno isn't likely to play either. Peyton's Colts come out on top with a big win.

Cardinals over Raiders

Oakland is another team going through a quarterback crisis after benching for Redskin Jason Campbell last week. With Bruce Gradkowski starting for Campbell, I expect the offense to take a step back and for Derek Anderson to take advantage of the situation.

Chargers over Seahawks

Pete Carroll's 1-1 'Hawks were blown out by Denver last week (31-14) as San Diego blew out Jacksonville. Seattle's defense will struggle against Philip Rivers despite the injury to the Bolts' rookie running back Ryan Mathews. San Diego wins, but Seattle's offense does make it a close game.
Jets over Dolphins

Mark Sanchez bounced back great against division rival New England last week, meaning good news in New York. Miami's 2-0 start may be the result in team's digging their own grave rather than Miami straight up outplaying them (15-10 win over Buffalo, 14-10 win over Minnesota). Sanchez's impressive game last week is enough for me to pick the Jets over the Dolphins.

Monday September 27, 2010

Packers over Bears

The NFL's oldest rivalry is renewed in prime time. Great matchup each and every year. But, Green Bay owns Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers, being the elite quarterback he is, will own Chicago's secondary. Packers win without even running the ball all that much (approximately 20 carries for Ryan Grant's replacement, Brandon Jackson).

Photo Credits

Johnson and Polamalu: AP Photo/Frederick Breedon
Gore: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Best: AP Photo/Rick Osentoski
Broncos: AP Photo/Matt McClain
Tomlinson: AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You've Just been 'Vick'-ed: Why Michael Vick Should be Philly's Starter

All the off-season hype of Donovan McNabb's bitter departure from Philly, his arrival in D.C., and the beginning of the Kevin Kolb era is now over. In fact, it abruptly ended when Kolb struggled to get anything going during the Eagles' week one matchup with the Green Bay Packers. Of course, he ended up being knocked out of the game early on after suffering a concussion.

Kolb went 5 for 10 for 24 yards as the Eagles trailed 13-3 at the half.

Vick stepped in after the break and led the first team offense to a 17-point second half, including 10 unanswered in the final quarter of play. If it wasn't for Aaron Rodgers lighting up Philadelphia's defense for two third quarter scoring drives, Vick's comeback bid would have been successful.

Vick stole the show with 175 passing yards and a late touchdown toss to Jeremy Maclin, and his 103 rushing yards on just 11 attempts.
Despite falling short of a victory, Vick's performance prompted Andy Reid to start him against Detroit the following week with Kolb recovering from his concussion. Again, Philadelphia's defense allowed quite a few points--32 to be exact. But, Vick kept up with Detroit's backup quarterback, Shaun Hill, leading the team to a 21-17 halftime lead.

The Eagles scored two second half touchdowns thanks to LeSean McCoy's pair of rushing touchdowns (4-yarder in third, 46-yarder in fourth). Vick finished the game with yet another stellar statline in his first start at QB since 2006: 21/34, 284 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT; 7 carries, 37 yards.

Known for his speed and ability to escape the rush, Vick made an impact in both faucets of the offense, both through the air and on the ground.

When the Eagles signed Vick to a contract last season, he knew he was going to be on the bench quite a bit and only relieve McNabb every couple of series when Reid implemented the wild cat offense. And he gladly took that role, knowing it was what he had to do to make a breakthrough back in to the league after serving his time in jail.

But personally, I think he has done enough to make up for his mistake. He seems to be much more mature now, after serving his time and I really think it's time he gets what he has earned, and that's a shot to be a starting NFL quarterback again.

He has proved that he still has the ability to make an impact at the pro level, and it doesn't seem fair that he's just getting demoted back down just because Kolb, who hasn't really shown that he's ready for this responsibility, has been sitting behind McNabb for a couple of years.

Andy Reid should be doing what is best for his team, and at this point it looks like Vick is what's best for this offense. Reid has been on a short leash for a while now, and if Kolb struggles in his return, Reid's hot seat will be on the verge of melting away. Reid's job in Philly is certainly on the line this season.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Saints Squeeze out a Win in San Fran: Reaction to Monday Night's Game

San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary couldn't catch a break in his team's home opener in San Francisco Monday night, falling to the favored Saints after New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley drilled a 37-yard field goal as time expired.

Quarterback Alex Smith was responsible for two of the team's four turnovers, but there's no way the Niners would've even been in the game if it wasn't for some stellar play from the former first overall draft pick. Smith led the offense 82 yards down the field in eight plays, the drive totaled just :53. Smith went 4/5 for 51 yards, not to mention he ran 12 yards or a first down on two separate occasions.

Frank Gore, topping off a magnificent game as well (20 carries, 112 yards, 1 TD; 7 receptions, 56 yards, 1 TD), capped off the scoring drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.
With the game 22-20 with under a minute and a half to play, the Niners were forced to attempt the two-point conversion. Alex hit tight end Vernon Davis at the goal line and it was called no good after the officials claimed the ball never broke the plane, but an official review reversed the call.

Smith stole the spotlight late in the game only to have his thunder snatched right back from his grasp.

Defending champion Drew Brees and the high-flying Saints offense drove 54 yards on seven plays to put Hartley in field goal range which, as we have already figured out, abruptly ended any chance of Smith winning the game in overtime.

Despite dominating nearly every faucet of the game on the offensive side of the ball, San Francisco's four turnovers took away precious scoring opportunities and ultimately costed the team the game. Let's see if Singletary can get his team together and bounce back next week at Arrowhead Stadium against the undefeated Chiefs after an 0-2 start.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week 1 Picks

It's back, the NFL is back in action today. Here are my week one picks.

Thursday September 9, 2010

Saints over Vikings

Yes, I picked this game before it was played three days ago. Tough to pick against the defending champs.

Sunday September 12, 2010

Browns over Bucs

Jake the Snake makes his Cleveland debut in winning fashion.

Dolphins over Bills

Chad Henne hooks up with Miami's newest member for a couple of touchdowns in the win.

Bengals over Pats

Brady is stellar on home openers, but Palmer and Cincy's D will have a great game.
Colts over Texans

Andre Johnson will have a big game, but Manning's day will be even bigger.

Jaguars over Broncos

Injuries have destroyed Denver's defense this offseason, and with MJD playing today Jacksonville's offense will put up 30.

Steelers over Falcons

Dixon showed last year against the Ravens that he can handle a little pressure.

Titans over Raiders

Campbell's Oakland debut, but no way the defense will manage to tame Chris Johnson.

Giants over Panthers

Eli and his brother both have huge games to open the season.
Lions over Bears

Chicago has several offseason acquisitions to show off, but Stafford and rookie DT Ndamukong Suh will lead Detroit to a slim victory.

Cardinals over Rams

Derek Anderson will be debuting for Arizona, and the one-time Pro Bowler should have an easier time under pressure than St. Louis' rookie signal caller Sam Bradford.

Packers over Eagles

Arguably one of the best games of the week. Rodgers v.s. Kolb, Kolb v.s. Woodson. I expect the Packers to pick off Kolb a couple of times in this Green Bay victory.

49ers over Seahawks

Pete Carroll's return to the NFL may prove disastrous early on. Singletary's Niners will roll over the Hawks.

Cowboys over Skins

Another debut for a QB, this one of a veteran switching teams. Dallas will blitz McNabb all day and Romo will hit Miles Austin and rookie Dez Bryant for a couple of touchdowns.

Monday September 13, 2010
Ravens over Jets

Baltimore's defense will give Mark Sanchez a tough time and Joe Flacco's new weapons shouldn't have much trouble getting open with only one Revis on the field.

Chargers over Chiefs

What I'm most excited about in this one is probably watching Shawne Merriman in action after his new contract this offseason.

Enjoy the games!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

NFL Kick-off 2010: Last-Second Season Preview

The Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints will battle it out tonight in the NFC Championship game rematch at the Superdome. What does this mean? Football is back, baby!

I kinda almost ran out of time to do my full preview so here it is. My last-second preview (literally!).

Who will come out on top of each division:

AFC North

Baltimore*
Pittsburgh
Cincinnati
Cleveland

Outlook: With the additions of Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh on the offensive side of the ball there's no way Joe Flacco doesn't have a stellar season under center. The only thing holding Baltimore back from making a Super Bowl trip is the devastating injuries to Ed Reed and Domonique Foxworth in the secondary.

AFC East

New York*
New England#
Miami
Buffalo

Outlook: Many people think the Jets are going to let everyone down, although it's not likely. I mean, the talent is most certainly there and the defense is back to top-tier with the return of shutdown corner Darrelle Revis. Sanchez is only maturing with time and L.T. is anchoring the backfield. Arguably the best defense in the league+a more than capable offense=victories.

AFC South

Indianapolis*
Houston#
Tennessee
Jacksonville

Outlook: There's an unwritten rule in the NFL that you can't bet against Peyton Manning, and I don't think it's right to break that rule. Past the Indianapolis Mannings, I believe Houston will make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history with a wild card berth and Chris Johnson will break 1,800 yards with 15 touchdowns for Tennessee's 9-7 team.

AFC West

San Diego*
Oakland
Denver
Kansas City

Yes, you read that correctly. Oakland will be a second-place team thanks to the several injuries the Broncos have suffered during training camp/preseason and the sputtering in rebuilding that Kansas City has suffered. Philip Rivers' Chargers, despite not having Vincent Jackson to throw to, will once again take the division crown.

NFC North

Green Bay*
Minnesota#
Chicago
Detroit

Outlook: It's time for Aaron Rodgers to finally claim his spot among the elite. Rodgers right arm will be the main reason why Green Bay takes the division, but the Packers also have a stellar defense and a great duo of receivers to throw to. Minnesota will take a wild card spot but there's no way Favre and the Vikes are able to repeat last year's performance, especially without Sidney Rice for the first six weeks of play.

NFC East

Dallas*
New York
Philadelphia
Washington

Outlook: Could this finally be Romo's year? I think it may be. With the addition of rookie Dez Bryant and last year's resurgent Miles Austin looking as strong as ever, Romo's offense could produce even better results on it's way to a division title. McNabb and Shanahan aren't going to magically turn the Skins around on their own, Eli will fall just short of taking the G-Men back to the playoffs and Kevin Kolb will struggle in his first full season at the helm.

NFC South

New Orleans*
Atlanta#
Carolina
Tampa Bay

Outlook: Another one of those unwritten rules: it's not a very good idea going against the defending champions...or Drew Brees for that matter. It wont be quite as easy for the Saints this season because everyone will be bringing their A game to New Orleans, but that shouldn't stop them from taking the division away from Atlanta.

NFC West

Seattle*
San Francisco
Arizona
St. Louis

Outlook: So many people want to try and say San Francisco will be the breakout team and take the NFC West this season, but they really don't have a definite starting quarterback as of right now. It could be Alex Smith, it could be David Carr, it could be newly signed former Heisman winner Troy Smith. Heck, it could even be former Ball State quarterback Nate Davis, who was cut two days ago but later returned to the team's practice squad. I'll take the veteran Seattle Seahawks, who made some huge improvements via the draft and free agency, to capture the West instead.

Playoff Picture:

AFC

1. Colts
2. Ravens
3. Jets
4. Chargers
5. Patriots
6. Texans

NFC

1. Packers
2. Saints
3. Cowboys
4. Seahawks
5. Vikings
6. Falcons

Wild Card Round:

Jets defeat Texans
Patriots defeat Chargers

Cowboys defeat Falcons
Vikings defeat Seahawks

Divisional Round:

Colts defeat Patriots
Jets defeat Ravens

Packers defeat Vikings
Cowboys defeat Saints

Conference Championship:

Colts defeat Jets
Cowboys defeat Packers

Super Bowl:

Cowboys defeat Colts
*Tony Romo finally proves he can win, leading Dallas to its first Super Bowl appearance/victory since the 'Boys beat the Steelers in the 1995 Super Bowl.

SB MVP: Miles Austin

Regular season awards:
MVP: Chris Johnson
Offensive POY: Chris Johnson
Defensive POY: Demarcus Ware
Comeback POY: Jay Cutler
Offensive ROY: Dez Bryant
Defensive ROY: Ndamukong Suh
Coach of the Year: Gary Kubiak
Breakout POY(s): Tashard Choice and Felix Jones

Ten BOLD Predictions for the season (in no particular order):

1. This year is finally Favre final season (Lets pray it is).
2. Sam Bradford throws more picks than TDs.
3. Adrian Peterson limits his fumbles and breaks even more tackles than last season.
4. Tim Tebow makes 6-7 starts at quarterback.
5. Mark Sanchez throws 20 touchdown passes...and 15 or less interceptions.
6. Michael Crabtree has a career year in San Fran
7. Big Ben gets sacked 40-plus times despite missing the first four games due to suspension.
8. Michael Turner's numbers continue to decrease in Atlanta.
9. Jake Delhomme revives career in Cleveland.
10. Despite losing starting job to Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs finishes season with double digit TD totals.

Now that you know who is going to win the Super Bowl I guess there's really no point in you watching this season, but enjoy it anyways, 'cause there may not be a 2011.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Twelve Injuries With the Most Impact on How the Season Unfolds

The one thing coaches fear the most during training camp and preseason is having their star player go down with a major injury. The burden is almost inevitable, though, and the injury bug is bound to hit a couple teams each year.

Here is a list of 12 of the biggest injuries of the offseason and how it will impact their respected teams.

Wes Welker, New England Patriots

Obviously this was an injury suffered last season rather than during the preseason, but it just so happens to be one of the most-watched injuries of the preseason. As of three days ago Welker was saying he "doesn't feel the same" though he still plans on playing week one.

I mean, if Welker himself is saying he isn't 100 percent, then there's no way he's gonna be able to go out there and catch 10 passes for 150 yards and a score. This will certainly be an interesting situation in New England.

Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins

Head coach Mike Shanahan is now saying that he expects McNabb to be able to start the season opener, but that doesn't mean we're just going to forget the fact that McNabb isn't feeling his normal self.

Yes, it's true, we're used to seeing a hurting McNabb. But there's no question it will leave a mark on this Skins offense this season and, personally, I don't think the Redskins have much on offense without McNabb under center. Keep an eye out in D.C.

Montario Hardesty, Cleveland Browns

Hardesty, the Browns first round pick this season, has had his season end before it even began. Despite Hardesty's blown out knee, Cleveland's GM Tom Heckert has decided to stand by his pick and believes he will make a full recovery.

I wonder how much of an affect this will have on Cleveland's rebuilding process.

Elvis Dumervil, Denver Broncos

Denver's top defensive player, and last year's sack leader with 17, is out for the season with a chest injury. It's not only the Dumervil injury that will hurt Denver, but it's the injury to his replacement, Jarvis Moss, who could miss some time as well. Not to mention Lendale White, on the offensive side of the ball, who is expected to miss the entire season with an ankle injury.

Let's face it, Denver is in trouble this season and it all starts with the devastating Dumervil injury.

Byron Leftwich, Pittsburgh Steelers

Ok, I admit it, this injury will have more of an impact on the first four weeks of the season rather than the entire season, but that's still a pretty solid impact. Getting off to a great start as opposed to a terrible start could play a role in the playoff hunt at the end of the season.

When Leftwich went down with a knee injury and it was announced that he could miss two to four weeks, the Steelers search for their starting quarterback for the first four weeks of the season (while Big Ben serves his suspension) abruptly ended, and Dixon was practically handed the starting role. Or so it seemed.

Although Dixon has earned the right to start, and appears to be the guy for head coach Mike Tomlin, veteran quarterback Charlie Batch has yet to be ruled out of the chase. The Leftwich injury surely shook up this QB battle.

Malcolm Kelly, Washington Redskins

The large, 6'4'' third year receiver landed on the injured reserve after re-aggravating his left hamstring last week. Kelly, one of the few weapons in the Skins' arsenal, was poised to break out this season with McNabb coming in to take over for Jason Campbell.

I was expecting Kelly to get quite a few looks in the red zone considering his size, but McNabb may have to rely on the unproven Devin Thomas a bit more now.

Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo Bills

There's no question that the Bills' backfield has taken some hits this preseason. Lynch finally returned to action in the team's preseason finale after suffering a sprained ankle in the opener, but Jackson is supposed to be taking it easy for the first few weeks of the regular season after injuring his hand.

Whether they both play week one or not, they are not going to be themselves from the start, which isn't exactly good news considering they will be traveling to Lambeau the second week of the season. Looks like rookie C.J. Spiller will have to step up.

Michael Bush, Oakland Raiders

After showing some signs of brightness throughout his first two NFL seasons in Oakland, Bush will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks after suffering a broken thumb. Surgery is expected and it may be a lingering issue in the future.

Looks like if Al Davis doesn't want Darren McFadden to assume a heavier workload, then he will have to go out and sign a veteran via the free-agent wire.

Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens

Still battling numerous injuries, Ballhawk Reed was placed on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and will miss six weeks, possibly more. Much like Pittsburgh and Polamalu, the Baltimore Ravens' defense is no where near the same without Reed in the lineup.

With Domonique Foxworth out for the season with a torn ACL and Fabian Washington struggling to hold the corner spot, Baltimore's secondary will be taking some beatings without Reed.

Sidney Rice, Minnesota Vikings

After news came out that Sidney Rice was undergoing hip surgery and will miss at least the first six weeks of the regular season, Minnesota's front office went out and signed two other receiversGreg Camarillo and deep threat Javon Walker. Walker was cut less than two weeks later.

Rice, Favre's favorite target in 2009, will be greatly missed in the Vikes' offense and may even end up missing more than just the six games.

Donte' Stallworth, Baltimore Ravens

Stallworth suffered a broken foot in Baltimore's preseason matchup with the Giants and will miss about two months of play. Stallworth wasn't one of the top targets in Baltimore's arsenal of receivers, but the injury was enough to persuade Baltimore to go out and sign veteran T.J. Houshmandzadeh after he was released by the Seahawks.

One door closes, another one opens.

Ben Tate, Houston Texans

Just like Montario Hardesty in Cleveland, rookie running back Ben Tate's opening season ends before it even begins. In a preseason matchup with the Cardinals Tate broke his ankle after just two carries. Tate was carted off the field and it was later announced he will go on the IR and will undergo ankle surgery.

Between this major injury and the ailing Steve Slaton, who had a disappointing campaign last season, Houston went out and signed Derrick Ward for insurance to Arian Foster.

Other Injuries to Watch out For:

Troy Polamalu: The chances of his knee injury carrying over to 2010 is highly unlikely after watching him in August, but anything can happen so watch out for it just in case.

Percy Harvin: Harvin's migraines aren't supposed to force him to miss much playing time, but considering he collapsed while watching practice because of them, it sounds much more serious than originally said.

Brian Urlacher: Urlacher's calf injury isn't supposed to be serious, either. Meaning he probably wont be sidelined by it, unless of course he re-aggravates it while in action. Urlacher, 32, missed all but one game last season from an unrelated injury but at the linebacker position this injury probably wont go away anytime soon.

Brett Favre: Favre's surgically repaired ankle is what forced him to wait so long to make a decision. Who knows if it will make it through all 16 regular season games.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Quarterbacks Making Headlines: 15 Questions Surrounding QBs

By far the most important position on the field, quarterbacks receive a lot of heat for messing up, but also get a lot of credit when their respected teams starts winning games.

This year it seems as though most storylines surround the franchise's signal caller.

Here's my take on the headlines involving franchise quarterbacks:

Can Brett Favre Take Minnesota to the Big Dance in his Final Season?

Obviously we all know that Brett Favre has, in fact, returned to the Vikes for his 20th season in the league, and that this will more than likely be his final season. But, what we don't know is how his ankle will hold up.

The one thing that was keeping Favre from making his decision earlier looks to be his bum ankle that he has had surgery on. With loss of Sidney Rice, Minnesota's go-to guy in '09, for at least the first six weeks of the season, Favre's numbers could see a dip from last year's career-highs.

There's no way Favre plays better than he did last season, meaning no, I don't think he will be able to even win the division much less represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Will Tim Tebow Start any Games in Denver this Season?

After watching his impressive preseason, Tebow very well may have jumped ahead of Brady Quinn on the Broncos' depth chart. Tebow has shown me that, with a little more hard work off the field, Tebow can be a starter in the NFL. I mean, he can't do any worse than what JaMarcus Russell and Matt Leinart have done in their careers, can he?

Tebow has nothing to lose and a whole lot of potential. Personally, I'm rather tired of all these people hating on the guy.
How Much Maturity will Mark Sanchez Show in New York?

New York will be looking to pass a little more often with the loss of the team's leading rusher last season, Thomas Jones. Second year running back Shonn Greene will still be adjusting to carrying the load, and who knows how much Ladainian Tomlinson will be able to handle at his delicate age.

All things point to a pass-more-often New York offense with Sanchez (20 INTs last season) at the helm. He's looked solid at points during the preseason, but I don't see him throwing 25 TDs and anything less than 15 INTs this season. At this point, I believe the Jets' stellar defense is the only thing keeping them in championship contention.

Can Dixon hold Down Job until Big Ben Returns?

The good news in Pittsburgh on this wonderful afternoon is that Big Ben's suspension was reduced by Roger Goodell from six games to four games. But, the bad news came yesterday when Byron Leftwich hurt his knee in the preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers.

Today Leftwich was diagnosed with a sprained MCL and he will be out for two to four weeks. Leftwich's injury basically confirms that Dennis Dixon will be the starter for the first four games, which includes a matchup with Pittsburgh's arch rival, the Baltimore Ravens.

Dixon's lone start as an NFL quarterback was against the Ravens, at prime time on Monday night. Considering the amount of pressure he had on him to step up, Dixon played a solid game in the team's 20-17 overtime loss. Dixon stood tall in the pocket, taking hits after many of his passing attempts. Dixon completed less than half of his passes and threw an interception, but his upside showed too as he ran for 27 yards and a touchdown, and threw another one.

There's still a chance that veteran Charlie Batch becomes the starter instead, but all things would lead me to believe that Dixon will be given the role.
How Much will the Addition of Boldin Help Joe Flacco?

Former first round pick Joe Flacco, entering his third NFL season, has improved after each offseason and this season shouldn't be any different. Especially with his team's latest additions. Bringing in YAC-master Anquan Boldin should be the most beneficial acquisition. With Ray Rice and Derek Mason already to Flacco's disposal, Boldin's 586 receptions and 44 career touchdown catches could be enough for Flacco to set career highs in basically every major statistical category.

With the defense being Baltimore's biggest weakness now, expect head coach Jim Harbaugh to go to the air a bit more this season, giving Boldin and rejuvenated tight end Todd Heap plenty of targets. Since Big Ben will miss the first four games of the season, Flacco may take over the spotlight among AFC North quarterbacks this year.

Can McNabb Return Washington to the Playoffs?

I know what you're thinking: why is this even a question? Well, the truth is I came up with this question before the rumors about McNabb possibly missing the season opener began to spread around the 'net. Without McNabb, the Redskins offense has nothing. Even after releasing Willie Parker the backfield is just overcrowded with over-the-hill vets, and the only legit receiving threat on the roster very well may be tight end Chris Cooley.

Even with McNabb, after looking at the rest of Washington's offensive depth chart I really don't see him doing much. You can't forget that Washington is in the NFC East, meaning they would have to beat out the Cowboys, Giants and Eagles. Sorry, that's just not gonna happen.
Despite Lack of Weapons, How will Rookie Bradford Fare in St. Louis?

If you're a fantasy owner who has Steven Jackson on your team then I'm sure you're loving the fact that Bradford will be the starter because, yes, that means Jackson will get the ball quite a bit in an attempt to keep the pressure off Bradford.

Obviously Bradford isn't going to step up here from day one and dominate the league, but I see him having a Stafford-like performance in his rookie campaign: not too great a team record, but solid performance. It was good that Bradford got hit quite a bit in the preseason, this will make it a little easier to adjust to the speed of the game, and his preseason numbers weren't too bad either.

Improvement for Jay Cutler in 2010?

Cutler clearly isn't the favorite in the windy city after leading the league with 26 interceptions last season, but since he was at the very bottom of the league in '09, it really shouldn't be too hard to make an improvement this season. A little help from his relatively unknown receiving corps would be a huge help, but all Cutler really needed improvement on this offseason was limiting the mental mistakes which caused him to throw so many interceptions.

Adjusting to the new offense may be his biggest concern right now, though. If he can settle down quickly in this offense I think he will be ok. Cutler is my pick for comeback player of the year.
Is Aaron Rodgers Earning a spot atop the List of Elite Quarterbacks?

With two straight solid seasons of 4,000-plus yards and 28-plus TDs it's tough to not include him with the guys such as Manning and Brees, but right now he may be stuck down there with the likes of Romo and Matt Schaub.

He has a really good chance at taking this Packers team--which has a stellar D and solid run game to complement Rodgers' game--all the way to the Super Bowl this season, but until he does so I think we will need to keep him off any list that includes Manning, Brady and Brees.

Will Matthew Stafford's Lions Improve this Season?

The addition to this Lions team that will help Stafford the most would probably have to be rookie back Jahvid Best. Best has playmaking ability and is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Nate Burleson at the receiving position was another solid addition that will aid Stafford's second season.

Stafford had a rough ending to the 2009 season (8 INTs in last three games played), but performances such as his five touchdown thrilling victory against the Cleveland Browns showed us that he has guts and is a great leader. After injuring his throwing shoulder on a pass with just seconds left in the game, Stafford went back out and threw the game-winning touchdown to give the Lions a one-point victory.

Just like every other struggling rookie quarterback, Stafford will just need to get past the mental errors and limit his mistakes.
Is Arizona Better off Without Leinart?

It was confirmed today that the Arizona Cardinals ended the Matt Leinart era by releasing the longtime bench-warmer after he spoke out about his frustration earlier this week. He claimed to have 'beaten out' veteran Derek Anderson for the starting job.

While his numbers didn't look too bad, Leinart's intangibles haven't impressed many people. He has failed to prove himself as a leader and has struggled while under pressure. Lets face it, this guy is a bust and will never be nothing more than a clipboard holder in the NFL. Arizona's best bet was to do exactly what they did: release Leinart and start Anderson. Kudos to you, Arizona!

Jake Delhomme's Redemption season?

If I hadn't already said that Jay Cutler is my pick to win the comeback player of the year award this season, Delhomme would've gotten the nod. So I guess you'll have to be my runner up, Jake.

Personally I am glad he got a fresh start, it was desperately needed. Cleveland may not exactly be the best place for a fresh start, but it will have to do. The season-ending injury to rookie RB Montario Hardesty wont have a positive effect on Cleveland's offense, but Jerome Harrison may be enough to take a little pressure off Jake, allowing him to eliminate some of his mistakes. I'm not expecting a Pro Bowl performance or anything like that, but certainly a great improvement on his 2009 campaign which included just eight TD passes and 18 INTs.

Matt Moore v.s. Jimmy Clausen: Who wins out?

I'm giving the edge to the 26-year old Moore, who backed up Delhomme for the last several years. In just eight starts since 2007, Moore put up a record of 6-2 with 11 TD tosses. After Delhomme struggled to get anything going last season, Moore stepped in and threw for eight TDs and just two INTs in five starts. The team went 4-1 over that span as he threw for over a 1,000 yards and completed 61.6 percent of his passes.

His late-season performance alone should be enough to give him the starting role this season. He has proven himself and the rookie Clausen has struggled during the preseason. Moore will be the opening day starter, mark my words.
No Questions to be asked in New England, or is there?

Interestingly enough, Brady struggled against the Ravens in the playoffs last season, losing a rare playoff game by blowout (33-14). Brady threw three INTs and just 154 yards in the game. This was the last game we've seen Brady play and it seemed to have worried some people.

His regular season was stellar as always (4,398 yards, 28 TDs, 13 INTs, 96.2 rating), but he shines the brightest in the playoffs and he just didn't show up that day. This is very minor in my eyes, but we have to realize that everyone is human and things are just going to be going downhill from here as he approaches his mid-30s. Questions surround New England's receiving corps and the backfield has never been all that consistent either. I'm not worrying if I'm a Pats fan, but the end seems to be in sight in my opinion.

Romo's Year to take the 'Boys all the Way?

The weapons are all there. Stellar defense. Solid run game. Weapons in the passing game.

If Romo is to win a Super Bowl, I think this would be the year. Romo ended Dallas' playoff win drought, proving he has the potential to win when it matters most. That's not a concern. Not in my eyes, anyways. With Miles Austin and rookie Dez Bryant leading the air attack and running back Tashard Choice poised to breakout, I really don't see this team not winning in the playoffs.

I'll go ahead and say it here first, Dallas and Green Bay will be playing for the NFC Championship this January. I won't say who will win until I come out with my last-second season preview in the next several days, but they will be the two fighting for a chance at the Super Bowl.

Any other questions you would like answered? Just let me know in the comments. Don't forget to come back to read my last-second NFL preview in the coming days.