cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
05/11/2013 11:51 AM

Rams and Saints will surprise, but don't believe Dolphins hype

For the most part, the NFL can be a pretty tricky league to try to figure out. Widespread parity and a competitive fiscal system instituted to subsidize the needy and underperforming tends to make for a product that can be unpredictable.

But, then again, a year ago the AFC playoff picture was almost identical to what we saw in 2011, save for the upstart Colts crashing the party. And this season, particularly in that conference again, I have a feeling it's more of the same. I just don't see too many new, true challengers arising despite some of the hype surrounding the Chiefs and Dolphins, for instance (they'll be featured here). In the NFC, however, I suspect things will be a little more wide open.

Many of the rising star quarterbacks -- particularly the hyper-mobile ones -- are in the NFC and there isn't the same old guard of teams like New England, Baltimore and Houston with a stern grip on their respective divisions. So, with that in mind, here are three teams I believe will defy expectations, for better or worse:
Surprise Teams

St. Louis Rams: They don't get much love or attention and I get the sense most people think this is the same sad-sack franchise that was limping around the bottom of the standings for years before Jeff Fisher and Les Snead arrived. Well, it isn't, and, coming off a strong offseason and a draft I continue to rave about, this team is primed to make moves. Of course, they're overshadowed by the Seahawks and 49ers -- sexy Super Bowl picks -- and I get all of that. But we've seen three teams from one division reach the postseason before, and I would not be surprised at all to see three teams come from the West this year.

The defense is already legit, and will only get more brawny with another year of Fisher's mentoring. They have playmakers over there, they are well-equipped to deal with the read-option schemes they see, and they will turn teams over and get after the quarterback. The issues are on offense -- pass protection, developing quarterback Sam Bradford, all that stuff. But it says here that with some continuity in the staff and a revamped offensive line and with rookie receiver Tavon Austin in the fold, Bradford will take a major lead this season and begin to fulfill his first-overall promise. And if he does, look out for the Rams.

New Orleans Saints: The Bountygate debacle is over, finally, and no longer hanging over them (and excuse me if I am still completely hazy about what exactly allegedly went on there and why this franchise deserved the unprecedented penalties). That alone is a huge lift. Sean Payton is back, and thus standards will be raised and all of the uncertainty and distractions from 2012 are behind them (who will be suspended? Can Vilma play this week? What latest appeal was filed? Remember all of that crap?)

Payton's presence alone will get Drew Brees back to his MVP form and away from the interception-happy ways that helped doom New Orleans. Payton is the best playcaller in the game, and this team will be a monster on offense. And losing their left tackle won't be a big deal; Brees is so good and so quick getting rid of the ball that he can bolster the line.

The issues in this case are on defense, where the team was historically bad a year ago. Mere continuity will help here -- no more position coaches shuffling to head coach -- and while I am not a huge Rob Ryan guy, there is nowhere to go but up for this group. They'll manufacture a pass rush and scheme a few things up and this team is poised to be a factor again. Remember, they have Brees and Payton extended, long-term, which is massive.

Dallas Cowboys: In general, I'm skeptical of any Cowboys hype. I don't buy the chemistry there, wonder about leadership and a winning culture and don't think they've found the blueprint for long-term success. But teams pop up from time to time and while I can't see Dallas having any deep playoff run -- postseason hoopla will continue to elude them -- they have the talent and the schedule to make a little noise. They're due to be something besides .500, and I say they just might end up topping the NFC East.

If they can take care of business against the AFC West and NFC North -- and by and large I believe they will -- then Dallas will be poised to have their final two games, against Washington and Philadelphia, matter. Tony Romo got paid like a big boy quarterback, and while I am sure there will still be a crippling turnover or two along the way, I'm looking for the re-emergence of Miles Austin to give the attack a jolt and the return of linebacker Sean Lee will be huge, too. So while I'm not projecting huge things for this outfit, I do believe they will be better than many expect.

Miami Dolphins: No team has been flashier since the start of free agency in March, loading up on free agents, throwing cash around and then making a bold trade up to the third overall pick in draft to nab Dion Jordan. I'm just not sure how much better they're going to be. Questions remain at left tackle and in the secondary and in the running game, to name a few. Suddenly there is a buzz about this being a team on the rise and ready to enter the playoff equation.

I just don't see it right now.

Usually, when you bring in this much outside talent, it either doesn't take at all, or it takes more than a year to click. We'll see how Ryan Tannehill progresses in his second season as their quarterback and if there is a leadership void with guys like Karlos Dansby no longer around. I still don't see them being any real threat to the Patriots in the AFC East, and with teams like the Colts and Bengals still likely in the wild card scene, I don't see Miami unseating anyone being much more than an 8-8 team at best. Not sure there is enough bite on defense surrounding Cameron Wake, and not sure this team will be able to grind out wins down the stretch.

Minnesota Vikings: No one saw their run to the playoffs coming last season, but the larger the sample size the more difficult it is to sustain winning ways. Even with another MVP season from Adrian Peterson, who will only get better, it won't be enough to see this group back into the postseason in the very competitive NFC. Christian Ponder regressed, badly, through last season after a strong start, and losing Percy Harvin will hurt an already limited offense. GM Rick Spielman was heralded by some for his draft, but I thought he gave up way too much to trade back into the first round to take receiver Cordarelle Patterson, who might never pick up the pro game and likely could have been had in the second round. Losing Antoine Winfield is a big blow to that locker room, and that situation should have been handled much more adroitly. If you don't have a quarterback and you can't spread the field, you are in trouble in this era of football. And Matt Cassel as the back-up quarterback is a problem in and of itself.

Kansas City Chiefs: Every year it seems Kansas City is the hot pick to be that team that makes a huge leap up and shocks the league and finally makes good on all its talent. And every year I remain very skeptical and I am still decidedly in that camp. The arrival of Andy Reid is huge and should reap rewards over time, but I don't see that transition being entirely seamless and I don't see a major jump up in Year 1.

Alex Smith, to me, is not a dynamic quarterback or someone you can build your team around. And after giving up too much to land him from the 49ers, the pressure is on him and Reid to be very good right away. Yes, he has some weapons, and the offensive line should be better, but the Chiefs didn't really want Branden Albert at left tackle and that's where he is.

Reid, you would think, would feature running back Jamaal Charles more, even with his pass-happy tendencies, and there are playmakers on defense. So, sure, this team won't be the debacle it was a year ago, but I'm still not sure they won't continue to lose some games they should win and I anticipate the gains are more of a move to .500 than a surge to the postseason.

An easy early schedule will raise expectations even more, but I believe they will struggle after a late bye, facing Denver twice late, with three road division games in the final seven weeks as well as a trip to Washington. I don't think defenses will be fearing Smith, even with Reid behind him. I smell 8-8, which would actually be the worse case for the Chiefs, as they would then owe San Francisco another second-round pick for Smith, rather than a third.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
05/11/2013 11:51 AM

Your welcome it on a rainy day............

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
05/13/2013 05:34 PM

Pro handicappers take aim at 2013 NFL season win totals

NFL season win totals hit the betting market when the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nevada released their over/under odds on each teams’ victories for the 2013 schedule Thursday.

Since opening, plenty of NFL bettors have voiced their opinions on Atlantis’ totals, giving their favorite over and under bets. Now it’s time for the pros to take a stab.

We tossed the 2013 NFL season win totals to our Covers Experts handicappers and asked them to identify the best value on the board.

Detroit Lions – Under 7 wins (-115)

“Detroit plays in a very tough division obviously, and I don't think things get any easier in 2013,” says Covers Expert Art Aronson. “A win against the Vikes in Week 1 is a possibility, but certainly nothing is guaranteed. More questions than answers for this team in all three phases of the game this year, so I'm going to lean to the under in this one.”

Indianapolis Colts – Under 8 wins (+120)

"Indy ran into all sorts of good 'Luck' last season winning nine of their 11 games by a touchdown or less, including seven victories by four or less points," says pro handicapper Marc Lawrence. "A nine-game improvement from a two-win team in 2011 far exceeded expectations. Expect a combination of sophomore blues by Andrew Luck and a serious bounce to leave the Colts losers in 2013."

Chicago Bears - Over 8.5 wins (-145)

"It's always a provisional vote with the Bears, since keeping Jay Cutler in one piece has proven a chore in the past. And all bets are off if "Midway Jay" goes down for an extended period," says professional handicapper Bruce Marshall. "But the Bears have their first offense-minded head coach in memory after hiring Marc Trestman from the CFL and expect a more streamlined offense. A dropoff from last year's 10 wins is hardly a certainty, especially if Cutler stays healthy and Trestman upgrades the offense as expected."

Green Bay Packers - Under 12 wins (-115)

"They have a tough out-of-division schedule, an overrated defense and a suspect offensive line,” says an NFL handicapper for Doc’s Sports. “I do not feel that they will go 6-0 in the NFC North and that would be a must in order for them to accomplish this feat. I think 10 or 11 wins is the ceiling for this team, so I will be betting on the under here.”

Buffalo Bills – Over 5 wins (-135)

“It seems as though every year Buffalo is a sleeper pick to make a move in the AFC and every year it disappoints,” says Covers Expert Matt Fargo. “This year could finally be that year, though, as a new coaching staff coupled with new schemes and personnel will make Buffalo a better team. Yet we are catching a win total of less than what the Bills won a season ago. An opening home win against the Patriots could set the tone.”

Atlanta Falcons - Under 10 wins (+105)

"On the surface, it might seem like a low total for an Atlanta squad that has won 10-plus games each of the past three seasons," says Covers Expert Steve Merril. "This is a team that continues to get out-stated on a regular basis and if the turnover margin starts to go against them, or if a key injury hits, the Falcons could struggle more than expected. Atlanta is also in a very competitive division as the Saints, Panthers, and Buccaneers are all capable of winning games."

Pittsburgh Steelers – Under 10 wins (EVEN)

“We've seen plenty of personnel changes in Pittsburgh over the last couple of years, and I'm not sure the shakeup has or will serve them well. At least not in the short-term,” says Covers Expert Sean Murphy. “Ben Roethlisberger is injury prone and, even when healthy, he’s no longer a truly elite quarterback capable of leading this team to double-digit victories, even with the AFC North likely to take a step back.”

Seattle Seahawks – Under 11 wins (+110)

“I think the Seahawks may be a little overpriced. They could easily suffer a couple of divisional losses, potentially a few,” says Covers Expert Ben Burns. “Games against the 49ers will be tough. The Rams aren't slouches. The Cards figure to be angry after last year's 58-0 drubbing. Wilson was fantastic last year. It’s possible that he takes a step back, though, and he also plays a style which could easily cause him to miss a few games. Getting plus money on the under 11 is worth a look.”

Kansas City Chiefs - Over 6.5 wins (-130)

The Chiefs over is a near auto-play for me," says pro handicapper Teddy Covers. "A team with the worst turnover differential in the NFL last year (-24), a lame duck head coach and a QB situation that was nothing short of disastrous. Andy Reid and Alex Smith are massive upgrades. The AFC West has Oakland and San Diego in clear rebuilding mode. And the Chiefs Over 6.5 (-130) will be seven or higher by August."

Cleveland Browns – Over 5 wins (+120)

“In 2011, the Browns finished 4-12 for last place in the AFC North. In 2012, they finished 5-11,” notes Aronson. “Cleveland has a relatively easy schedule in 2013 and, with the improvements it's made in the offseason, I believe the table is set for six victories or more this year.”

Washington Redskins – Under 9 wins (-120)

“Like the Seahawks, the Redskins improved a full five games behind a rookie quarterback last season," says Lawrence. "The main difference, though, is Robert Griffin III’s knee is a major question mark and the Hogs haven't had back-to-back winning seasons since 1991-92. And down goes another sophomore QB from last year's heralded class."

Arizona Cardinals - Under 6 wins (-120)

"It's a tough season to be in rebuild mode in the NFC West, with the 49ers and Seahawks established contenders and the Rams on the ascent," says Marshall. "Arizona has turned its operation inside out with a clean sweep of the coaching staff and front office. Though the Ken Whisenhunt regime went stale, is Bruce Arians really an upgrade? And have the Cardinals made enough improvements to the offensive line through the draft and free agency to better protect new - and very immobile - QB Carson Palmer? Whisenhunt might have done well to get the Cards to five wins last season."

New Orleans Saints – Over 9.5 wins (-115)

“Last year was a huge disappointment for the Saints but many saw it coming after head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire season,” says Fargo. “It showed how important good head coaches are and we will see a rebound this season. New Orleans surpassed this win total in each of the last three seasons prior to 2012 and we will see that again against a pretty soft schedule.”

Carolina Panthers – Over 6.5 wins (-130)

“The 2012 season was a disastrous campaign for the Panthers, as they won only seven games and were the third-worst scoring team in the NFC,” says Murphy. “The expectations aren't nearly as high leading into 2013. That should help relieve some of the pressure and allow this team to overachieve. Another seven-win season is all we need to cash this ticket and that's a bargain in my opinion.”

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
05/14/2013 12:04 PM

Titus Young's father: Son has brain disorder, needs help

Titus Young was in good spirits Friday morning.

His father, Richard, said he took Titus out for coffee, and Titus was laughing and looked happy.

But later that day, when Young told his parents he was going to his car to grab his phone, the former Lions wide receiver drove off instead.

"We knew that something had happened to him or he was locked up again," Richard Young told The Detroit News on Monday. "His mind is not capable enough to go out and deal with society because of this situation."

Young's father was right. Titus Young was arrested late Friday night for the third time in less than a week. Orange County authorities allege Young broke into a home in San Clemente, Calif., tried to flee, but he was caught and charged with burglary, assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.

San Clemente is more than 60 miles away from the Young's home in Los Angeles, where Titus had been living.

Richard Young said his son suffers from a disorder caused by his brain being compressed into the front of his skull, but he couldn't remember the disorder's name Monday. The father said his son's disposition changed after he suffered a concussion during his rookie season, although the Lions never listed that as an injury.

Although Titus Young has medication for the issue, his father said he hasn't been taking it as prescribed.

And, while Richard Young said his son has sought help for the issue, Titus Young hasn't been dedicated to his treatment, which doctors told the father could take six months or less.

"He's not dealing with it the way he should be," Richard Young said. "If the judge gives him a court order, then maybe he'll get the help he needs."

Based on Titus Young's behavior leading up to the arrest, that will be a possibility unless he ends up in prison.

Before the arrest, Young allegedly was "passed out" in his car in someone's driveway and seen peering into parked cars in San Clemente, Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino said.

"The first call came in at 6 p.m.," Amormino said. "A resident called and said there was a black Mustang convertible in the driveway of their home. A person was inside the car, but the informant didn't know if they were sleeping, drunk or had a medical issue."

When a fire truck pulled up to the home, the man raced off and nearly hit the truck, Amormino said. Authorities determined the man was Young after running the license plates, but never found him.

Multiple witnesses called police again around 8 p.m. to report a man looking into parked cars, Amormino said. Even with assistance of a helicopter, police couldn't find Young, but found and towed his car.

Then, at 11:57 p.m., a resident called police and reported a man was in his home. When police arrived, the man — determined to be Young — allegedly was hiding in shrubs outside the home and tried to flee on foot.

"He was fast, but the deputy was faster," Amormino said.

Young tried to fight the officers, but they subdued him without suffering any injuries.

Young was arrested twice in less than 15 hours May 5 in Moreno Valley, Calif., first on suspicion of driving under the influence then for burglary after he allegedly tried to jump the fence at an impound lot to find his car.

"The felony charges are certainly mounting up," Amormino said. "Those are serious charges that could do some serious state prison time."

Amormino, however, said Young's behavior "certainly warrants a psychological evaluation."

"He's always been temperamental," Richard Young said. "But he's changed. It's different now."

Since the Lions cut Titus Young in February, his father said he has been working out and "trying to get himself together."

And although Titus Young has immense talent, his football future isn't on his father's radar.

"I'm thinking about my son," Richard Young said. "He needs to get help and get better."

In his second season with the Lions, Young was sent home three times, including once for punching teammate Louis Delmas. He also requested the Lions release him via Twitter in January.

"When he's around us, his mind comes and goes," Richard Young said. "He can't really defend himself, and I don't want ya'll thinking he's a bad person."

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
05/15/2013 09:31 AM

Cantor releases lines, win totals

May 14, 2013

Week 1-16 Lines · 2013 Season Win Totals

LVH provided gamblers with Week 1 NFL lines in mid-April and now Cantor Gaming in Las Vegas has released numbers for every game of the 2013 season and season win totals.

Let’s start with the New England Patriots, who are favored in every game with the exception of three pick ‘em situations at Atlanta, at Baltimore and at Houston. The Patriots have a win total of 11 ‘over’ (-115).

Bill Belichick’s club remains the hands-down favorite in an AFC East that looks weak on paper. The Pats lost WR Wes Welker, but they acquired Danny Amendola via free agency and drafted a pair of wideouts in Marshall’s Aaron Dobson and TCU’s Josh Boyce.

In addition to the three pick ‘em road games previously mentioned, New England (-1.5) also has a tough assignment at Cincinnati in Week 5. This is an even more challenging spot since Belichick’s bunch will be coming off a big game at Atlanta the previous week. Also, the Pats host the Steelers and Saints as four-point home favorites and are 1.5-point ‘chalk’ vs. Denver in Foxboro.

Speaking of the Broncos, they are favored in every game with the exception of the trip to New England and a pick ‘em spot at Houston. Welker landed with Peyton Manning and Co. and the Broncos also bolstered the offense by selecting Wisconsin RB Montee Ball in the second round.

Denver, which has a win tally of 11 ‘over’ (-120) at Cantor, opens the season at home on a Thursday night vs. Baltimore in a rematch of last year’s epic double-overtime road win by the Ravens en route to winning the Super Bowl. This number is seven (-120) with the Broncos as home favorites.

That number seems a little rich, especially considering the work GM Ozzie Newsome has done for the defending champs during the offseason. I believe the Ravens found an ideal replacement for Ed Reed in first-round pick Matt Elam, a head-hunting safety out of Florida.

Baltimore’s defensive ends are two of the NFL’s best in Terrell Suggs and newly acquired Elvis Dumervil, who was signed away from the Broncos in free agency. Other key moves by Newsome include the drafting of LB Arthur Brown (2nd round, Kansas St.), the re-signings of OT Bryant McKinnie and TE Dennis Pitta, in addition to the under-the-radar acquisitions of center A.Q. Shipley and DE Marcus Spears.

Of course, Joe Flacco is back following his incredible performances in last year’s postseason. Remember, he clearly outplayed Manning in the Mile High City five months ago. The Ravens have a win total of nine flat (-110 either way).

Along with Denver and New England, San Francisco shares the highest season win total at 11 ‘over’ (-125). Cantor has the 49ers as underdogs just once, as they are catching 2.5 points at Seattle in Week 2. They are 3.5-point home favorites vs. Atlanta in a Week 16 rematch of last year’s NFC title game.

The Falcons have a win total of 10 ‘over’ (-115). GM Thomas Dimitroff made a pair of key signings in free agency by inking RB Steven Jackson (Rams) and DE Osi Umenyiora (Giants). Perhaps most important, Atlanta talked TE Tony Gonzalez into returning for one more season.

With the loss of CBs Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson, Dimitroff addressed the position by trading up into the first round to get Desmond Trufant from out of Washington. With the team’s second draft pick, Atlanta took CB Robert Alford and then traded up again in the middle rounds to take DE Stansly Maponga out of TCU.

Seattle has a win total of 10 ‘over’ (-120) after coming seconds away from getting to the NFC title game last season. The Seahawks will get another shot at Atlanta in a pick ‘em game in Week 10. They are underdogs only once as 2.5-point ‘dogs at San Francisco in Week 14.

In Week 15, Seattle could be in its toughest situation when it travels to the Meadowlands to face the Giants after playing arch-rival San Francisco on the road. The Seahawks might have made the best offseason move of any franchise with their trade for Percy Harvin, who is an all-purpose yardage machine who should work well with rising star QB Russell Wilson.

New Orleans will get one of the NFL’s premier head coaches in Sean Payton back after a one-year suspension. The Saints have a win total of nine ‘over’ (-115). They are short underdogs four times -- +1 at Chicago (Week 5), +4 at New England (Week 6), +2.5 at Atlanta (Week 12) and at Seattle (+3.5).

The spots at New England and at Seattle will be especially difficult due to the travel circumstances, not to mention the competition, in the games the previous weeks.

We know the Saints will put up points with Payton calling the plays and Brees under center, but that won’t matter if they can’t improve a defense that was the worst in NFL history last year. Former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will take over this beleaguered unit.

New Orleans added new defensive pieces in the draft with No. 15 selection Kenny Vaccaro, a safety from Mack Brown’s Texas program. Also, nose tackle John Jenkins (Georgia) is a major space-eater with his 346 pounds. The Saints also added veteran safety Jim Leonhard.

The NFC East is wide open again, as evidenced by the similar season win totals: Giants 9 ‘over’ (-120), Dallas 8.5 flat (-110 either way), Washington 8 flat and Philadelphia 7 ‘over’ (-120).

Jerry Jones demonstrated his faith in Tony Romo, the owner of one career postseason win in seven years as the starting QB, by signing him to a long-term extension through 2019. As for Washington’s QB situation, it is hoping Robert Griffin III will be ready by Week 1.

According to multiple reports, RG3 is making remarkable strides in his recovery from knee surgery. Whatever the case, Kirk Cousins proved he can play as a rookie last year and he’ll be able to hold down the fort until RG3 is 100 percent.

With new head coach Chip Kelly, the Philadelphia QB position is up for grabs with three contenders in Michael Vick, Nick Foles and rookie fourth-round pick Matt Barkley.

The lowest win totals belong to Jacksonville (5 ‘over’ -120), Arizona (5.5 ‘under’ -120), Oakland (5.5 flat) and Cleveland (5.5 flat). The Jaguars are underdogs in every game with a pair of exceptions in pick ‘em spots at home vs. Arizona and Tennessee.

I find it audacious and incomprehensible that Jacksonville is going into another season with Blaine Gabbert as its starting QB, assuming he beats out Chad Henne. I’m bullish on ‘under’ five wins for this team that has no shot at success with such a horrible situation at QB.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
05/15/2013 06:17 PM

Josh Cribbs signs with Oakland Raiders:

Remembering his record-setting kick returns with the Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Josh Cribbs has made quite an impact on not only the Cleveland Browns, but also on the NFL as one of the league's all-time best kick returners.

If anyone anticipated what kind of pro player Cribbs would be, it apparently wasn't any of the NFL talent scouts in 2005 when Cribbs, Kent State's four-year starting quarterback, went undrafted.

Now, he is signing with the Oakland Raiders as a free agent, as he Tweeted this afternoon:

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
05/16/2013 03:58 PM

Armadillo: Thursday's six-pack

Odds to win the 2013 Heisman Trophy:

3-1 Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M-- Defending champ is a soph.

6-1 Braxton Miller, Ohio State-- Meyer coaches other people's recruits better than anyone.

10-1 Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina-- Dominant defender.

10-1 AJ McCarron, Alabama-- Going for third straight national title.

10-1 Aaron Murray, Georgia-- Four of top five guys from the SEC.

12-1 Marqise Lee, USC-- Who is going to throw him the ball?


Armadillo: Thursday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a spring day.....

13) Tulane was improved on the basketball court this past winter, but when their move to the Big East fell apart, they had mass defections this spring. Green Wave’s best player, 6-8 Josh Davis (16 ppg, 11 rpg), has transferred to San Diego State and will be eligible to play this fall.

Good for Steve Fisher; not sure its good for college basketball.

12) In Stephen Strasburg’s eight starts, Nationals scored more than three runs once. Strasburg played college ball at San Diego State, is pitching at Petco tonight.

11) Tennessee poached the punter from Wyoming; Australian kid has to sit out a year, but he was #4 in MWC, #27 in country in punting LY and will help the Vols, who are rebuilding under yet another new coach, Butch Jones.

10) Harrison Barnes is first player in NBA history to score 25+ points in consecutive playoff games, when he had never scored 25+ in a regular season game. He's been better in the NBA than he ever was in college.

9) In six games since he got suspended during the Celtic series, JR Smith is shooting 27.2% (25-92) from the floor.

8) Eldrick Woods earned $7.8M on the golf course LY, $33M off it. Phil Mickelson actually earned more ($36M) than Woods off the course LY.

7) Long day in Baltimore Saturday; the first race at Pimlico is 10:45am; Preakness Stakes goes off around 6:20pm.

6) Bad news for the Rays: David Price left his start last night with a triceps issue; team started Wednesday wth a six-game win streak, ended it with a crisis on its hands. .

5) 38-year old Jamey Wright replaced Price; he has gone to spring training as a non-roster invitee the last six years, and made the major league roster all six times, which is really hard to do.

4) Jets brought David Garrard in to be one of their QBs this season, so of course he retired, because the Jets are dysfunctional. This pretty much guarantees that Mark Sanchez stays with the Jets and creates a controversy as to when rookie Geno Smith gets his shot at running their offense.

3) Home teams are 3-0 in second round of NHL playoffs after Chicago beat the Red Wings 4-1. Last second round series gets underway tonight with the Rangers visiting Boston.

2) Grizzlies dumped Oklahoma City out of the NBA playoffs with an 88-84 win, ending the series in five games, and turning the James Harden trade into a disaster for the Thunder. Once Russell Westbrook went down, OC was lost for a consistent second scoring option.

1) What does the NBA have against Seattle? League moved the Sonics out of there, because they wouldn't build a new arena (they had a perfectly fine 15-year old arena, didn't need a new one) and now the NBA won't let the Sacramento Kings move to Seattle. Doesn't make a lot of sense.
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Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
05/17/2013 01:27 PM

Charles Woodson to visit with Raiders on Tuesday

May 17, 2013

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Charles Woodson has another team interested in signing him.

Woodson's agent, Carl Poston, tells The Associated Press that the 36-year-old defensive back will visit with The Oakland Raiders on Tuesday.

The 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year would've traveled to Oakland from Denver after meeting with the Broncos on Wednesday, but he had charity obligations this weekend to support Mott Children's Hospital.

Poston says the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers along with a couple other teams, who he says don't want to be mentioned, have also contacted him about the eight-time Pro Bowl player.

Woodson spent his first eight seasons in Oakland after leading Michigan to the 1997 national championship. Green Bay cut him in a salary-cap move three months ago.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
05/17/2013 07:12 PM

Seahawks DE Bruce Irvin suspended 4 games

May 17, 2013

RENTON, Wash. (AP) - Seattle Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin was suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season on Friday after the league announced he violated the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Irvin will be eligible to participate in all offseason activities and preseason practices and games, but will be suspended without pay for the opening four games at Carolina, home for San Francisco and Jacksonville and at Houston. Irvin will be eligible to return to Seattle's active roster on Sept. 30 following the Seahawks' Week 4 game against the Texans, but only after losing a quarter of his salary for the season.

Irvin, the Seahawks' first-round pick in the 2012 draft, was scheduled to make $814,645 in base salary for the 2013 season.

``I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and Seahawks fans for making a mistake when I took a substance that is prohibited in the NFL without a medical exemption,'' Irvin said in a statement released by the team. ``I am extremely disappointed in the poor judgment I showed and take full responsibility for my actions. I will not appeal the discipline and instead will focus my energy on preparing for the season so I can begin earning your trust and respect again. I look forward to contributing to the team the moment I return.''

The loss of Irvin could be a significant blow for a team that has become a popular pick to contend for a spot in the Super Bowl. Irvin was expected to start at defensive end with Chris Clemons likely to miss the start of the season while recovering from knee surgery after being injured in Seattle's playoff win at Washington last January.

Suddenly, Seattle's focus on addressing the depth on the defensive line in free agency won't be viewed as a luxury. Seattle signed Cliff Avril, Tony McDaniel and Michael Bennett in free agency to bolster a pass rush that was inconsistent for most of the 2012 season. Avril was the only true outside pass rusher the Seahawks signed, but all three, along with Irvin, were expected to upgrade one of the few weak spots on a rising young team.

Irvin finished his rookie season with eight sacks but had just one in the final six weeks of the regular season. With Clemons out, Irvin got the start against Atlanta in the NFC playoffs and appeared overwhelmed by the Falcons' offensive line while trying to be the main pass rusher on the Seahawks line. But his speed off the edge flashed at different points during his rookie season and was the big reason Seattle used the 15th overall pick on a rush end whom many pundits didn't expect to be drafted that high.

Irvin's suspension also continues a troubling trend of Seattle players running afoul of the league's policies on banned substances. Since 2011, five Seahawks players - John Moffitt, Allen Barbre, Winston Guy, Brandon Browner and Irvin - have received four-game suspensions. Barbre was later released by the team.

All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman was also suspended last season for using a banned substance but won his much-publicized appeal last December. Sherman won by claiming there were errors in the chain of custody for his urine sample and that the tester made mistakes.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
05/18/2013 09:51 AM

AFC South Outlook

May 18, 2013

AFC East · AFC North · AFC South · AFC West
NFC East · NFC North · NFC North · NFC West

The NFL draft is still the focus this time of the year but the recently released 2013 schedule can be a more telling factor in how a team will fare next season. Take a look at the four teams in the AFC South this season. This division will likely be considered the weakest in the NFL by many but with fairly favorable schedules all around the records may not reflect that. These teams will all face a lot of travel miles which could take a toll on the results as Houston looks for a third straight division title.

Houston Texans:Based on win percentage from last season the Texans have the sixth weakest schedule in the NFL and the second weakest of any division champion from 2012. Houston faces long travel with every road game being at least 795 miles away but that is a problem for Houston every year given how far spread out this division is. Houston will play all three division road games in the final four weeks of the season and the final two home games are hosting New England and Denver for a very tough finish to the season. Houston will also have a tough start to the season with a brutal early set of games with Baltimore, Seattle, and San Francisco consecutively starting in week 3. Houston will play seven games against teams that won at least 10 games last season as the overall strength of schedule is brought down with two games against Jacksonville, a team that went 2-14 last season. Houston also draws all four AFC West teams along with the rest of the division. Houston will play two games in the Pacific Time zone and four games in the Eastern Time zone so there are some challenges with this slate and the travel. While there are several games where the Texans will play as heavy favorites it will likely be a more difficult slate than the team faced last season even with the division as a whole looking like one of the lighter groups in the league. Houston still should be considered the favorite in this division and they have a schedule that is very similar to what Indianapolis faces but the difference between those two teams last season was much greater than the one-game difference in the standings indicated. Houston was 115 points superior in point-differential compared with the Colts last season and the Texans were 6-2 in road games, a record they could certainly repeat with this year's road slate, even with some tough games early in the year.

Houston Texans 2013 Schedule Numbers: 2013 Opponents Win Percentage in 2012: .473 Games vs. 2012 Playoff Teams: 7 (four home, three away) Miles Traveled for 8 road/neutral games: 9,654 Back-to-Back road game sets: 1 Primetime Games: 4 (one Thursday, Two Sunday night, One Monday)

Indianapolis Colts: After the Colts went 11-5 last season for a great turnaround behind rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, there will be many projecting a division championship this season. By 2012 winning percentage the Colts have the third weakest schedule in the NFL and there are only six games against 2012 playoff teams. There is some significant travel on this slate however with three road trips to the western part of the country in addition to long trips to Jacksonville and Houston. The AFC South plays the AFC West teams which is certainly an advantage and the Colts draw Denver at home in what will obviously be a game that captures the nation's attention with Peyton Manning returning. The second place schedule brings tougher than they might sound games with Miami and Cincinnati however, compared with the fourth place slate the Colts dealt with last season in the turnaround. The coaching staff also loses Bruce Arians who led Indianapolis for most of last season while Chuck Pagano battled leukemia. That storyline certainly helped to bring the team together last season and not having that focus could be a possibility this year. Indianapolis was 11-5 despite being -30 in point differential last season as this was a team that won nine games by seven points or less and this was not a particularly impressive statistical team. Luck was asked to do a lot last season and while he delivered in some big 4th quarter moments his overall numbers were not efficient and he could face a sophomore slump with the league having a whole off-season to break down his film. This division draws the very tough set of NFC West teams and the Colts will have a tough time going 7-1 at home again having to host teams like Seattle and Denver just in the first half of the season. The Colts are a good candidate to start strong however with home games the first two weeks and losing teams from 2012 in three of the first four games. The schedule in the middle of the season looks daunting and a slight step backward is likely in 2013 as this team was fortunate to win 11 games last year.

Indianapolis Colts 2013 Schedule Numbers: 2013 Opponents Win Percentage in 2012: .461 Games vs. 2012 Playoff Teams: 6 (three home, three away) Miles Traveled for 8 road/neutral games: 8,977 Back-to-Back road game sets: 2 Primetime Games: 4 (one Thursday, two Sunday night, one Monday)

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars will certainly be spending some time in the air this season with several incredibly long trips adding to the challenges for a team with a new coaching staff, an unsettled quarterback situation, and coming off an ugly 2-14 season. Jacksonville opens the season with four of the first six games on the road with three of those six games in the western part of the country and all four games as a part of two back-to-back road trips. Jacksonville has winnable games in the first two weeks with Kansas City and then a trip to Oakland but it will be a great challenge in the next six games leading up to a week 9 bye. Jacksonville gives up a home game to play in London where they will face the 49ers and the only break in that scheduling is that San Francisco must make significantly further travel. There are some opportunities in the second half of the schedule, playing Tennessee twice, as well as games with Arizona, Cleveland, and Buffalo. Even with the loss of the home game and the long travel this is a schedule that a contending team would envy with nine games against teams that had a losing record last season. Three of the final four games of the season are also at home and while the Jaguars are not expected to be in the playoff mix this is a team that could finish with some positive momentum. If the Jaguars fail to win in the first two weeks however things could get very ugly for this squad and by midseason placing a call to the Tim Tebow camp to sell some tickets might be a reasonable idea. It would not be a surprise if the Jaguars improve by several games this season however as there are a lot of games where Jacksonville should feel like they can win even for a team in transition.

Jacksonville Jaguars 2013 Schedule Numbers: 2013 Opponents Win Percentage in 2012: .508 Games vs. 2012 Playoff Teams: 7 (two home, four away, one neutral) Miles Traveled for 9 road/neutral games: 15,748 (includes 3,996 miles to London) Back-to-Back road game sets: 3 Primetime Games: 1 (one Thursday)

Tennessee Titans: The Titans started out last season 1-4 to finish up 6-10 overall with no wins over teams that made the playoffs. This will be a critical third year for head coach Mike Munchak as well as quarterback Jake Locker as this team needs a rebound season. This is a division where a quick turnaround is possible as the Colts proved last year and Tennessee may be a candidate to take a positive step this season. The Titans do have a tough start to the season with back-to-back road games in Pittsburgh and Houston to open the year but then there are three straight home games against losing teams from 2012. Long trips to Seattle, Oakland, and Denver will be on this slate and the Titans have to play three straight road games late in the year with two of those games out west. The Titans have five home games against losing teams from 2012 and getting to play four games against teams that made a coaching change could also provide opportunities. Having to play the Steelers and the Jets as part of the third place draw is less favorable than most years but overall this is a slate where the Titans can have some success. Improving in the division will likely make of break the team however after Tennessee went 1-5 in division games last season. The Titans will likely need to find a way to at least split with the Texans and Colts to have a shot at making a move upward this season. The early stretch of home games will be critical for the Titans as they host the Chargers, Jets, and Chiefs in succession starting in week 3. They need to win those games to offset very tough games in the rest of the first half schedule to make sure that the season does not turn into a disastrous one.

Tennessee Titans 2013 Schedule Numbers: 2013 Opponents Win Percentage in 2012: .488 Games vs. 2012 Playoff Teams: 7 (three home, four away) Miles Traveled for 8 road/neutral games: 8,477 Back-to-Back road game sets: 3 (including a back-to-back-to-back set) Primetime Games: 1 (one Thursday)

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: