Forget Flacco, it’s ‘Is Andrew Luck ELITE?’ debate time

Luck Captain

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is emerging as one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. After avoiding a sophomore slump with a stellar second season, Luck entered the NFL’s Most Valuable Player discussion in 2014. Although his yardage total dipped from 4,374 yards to 3,822 from year one to year two, something more important was also cut in half:

Luck threw just nine interceptions in 2013, as opposed to 18 in 2012. in 2014, his yardage increased to 4,761, and he’s thrown 40 TD passes to just 16 interceptions. Again Luck’s INT decreased.

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San Diego Chargers: collapse is their middle name

Rivers

Heading into their Thursday Night showdown against the Broncos just a week and a half ago, the Chargers were considered a team that could outlast Peyton Manning for the AFC West title. After blowing a fourth quarter lead to the Cardinals, who own the leagues best record, the Chargers beat the Seahawks and won five straight games.

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Jets are Geno Smith’s team; for better or worse

genosmith

The New York Jets lackluster play is more frustrating than normal because this team has shown that they have talent. Behind all of the penalties, turnovers, and play calls that will make your head spin is a team that has managed to keep every game close. This is a team that was actually beating up on the Green Bay Packers 21-3 at one point.

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NY Jets should effectively rush Aaron Rodgers

Mo Wilk

This NY Jets defense contains arguably Rex Ryan’s best pass rush since he came to New York in 2009.

Through the years, he’s been able to call defensive gems against the likes of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. He did so against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers back in 2010, but the offense faltered and the Jets were shutout 9-0. Rodgers went just 15 of 34 for 74 yards and 0 touchdowns in that one.

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NY Jets just cannot lose to Raiders rookie QB Derek Carr

New York Jets v Tennessee Titans

If there’s one category Rex Ryan is dominant in, it’s his ability to make rookie quarterbacks look like they don’t belong on the field. With a 7-3 record against rookie quarterbacks, Jets fans should look forward to seeing Derek Carr step out onto the MetLife Stadium turf with the Oakland Raiders. Some NFL pundits wonder whether Derek Carr should even be on the field this weekend.

Say what you will about Matt Schaub and his 2013 pick-six plague over the course of 10 games, but he has been slinging the ball on NFL defenses since 2004. The Jets secondary that will run out onto the field this Sunday would’ve been one of the worst secondaries that Schaub has seen throughout his 128 career starts. With Dee Milliner all but ruled out for Sunday, Ryan goes from Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to Kyle Wilson and Antonio Allen.

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“Things Happened” under Tony Dungy, 17 Colts got arrested

tony dungy

UPDATE: Tony Dungy releases statement in response to backlash against his remarks

“I wouldn’t have taken him,’’ said former Bucs and Colts coach Tony Dungy, now an analyst for NBC. “Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.

“It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.’’

Michael Sam as member of the St. Louis Rams had actually ceased to be top of mind for me a while ago, and as news representation goes, it would appear the same for most of the sports media consumers. That’s a good thing. Normalizing the first openly gay NFL player via apathy of the general public is a step toward making an athlete’s sexuality a non-issue.

Tony Dungy feels otherwise. Besides being a noted homophobe, the former coach, current analyst, and guy tapped for tapioca public speaking and life-coaching books decided to make it known that coaching a player who is different or who he feels has potential to create a problem just isn’t worth it.

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10 Super Bowl prop bets to gamble on, avoid

peyton-manning

We are hours away from the biggest game during the NFL season. Many will watch the Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks for one of many narratives. A good chunk will watch for the Super Bowl prop bets.

Include me as one of them.

The Super Bowl is one of the most betted-on sporting events in all of sports, and now is the time to act. The weekend of the big game (Friday-Sunday) is when the majority of gambling happens for the Super Bowl. There are some prop bets to put your bankroll on, and others to scroll past.

Bovada has over 300 Super Bowl prop bets to potentially wager money on. Here are 10 to work with and/or pass on. [Read more…]

Josh Harding is the man, athlete of 2013

Josh Harding

LeBron James won another NBA title. Peyton Manning set the passing touchdown record. Josh Harding has gone from obscurity to vying for a spot on Team Canada’s hockey team in the Winter Olympics. Harding is also battling multiple sclerosis.

M.S. is the damage of insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Side effects of the disease range from blurred vision to psychiatric instability. The disease is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and is more common in women. Harding became aware of his situation at the end of 2012.

The goaltender for the Minnesota Wild has played in 27 games this season, sporting an 18-5-3 win-loss record with a 1.51 goals against average and .939 save percentage. He leads the league in the latter two categories and is tied for fourth in wins. Harding has also missed time in December while adjusting to a change in his medication for M.S. [Read more…]

NFL passing emphasis, rushing decline: by the numbers

peyton-manning-passing

It’s happening. The day has finally come where the play calling in the NFL resembles my own play calling from back when I first started playing Madden.

First and 10? Streak to the endzone. Second and four? Streak to the endzone. Third and short? Streak to the endzone.

Okay, it might not be that drastic. But if it hasn’t been apparent in the past decade or so leading up to this season, it should be clear to everyone now that the NFL is a passing league.

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Meet the Candidates for the Chicago Bears Head Coach Position

Phil Emery

Breaking up is hard to do. After a 10-6 season that will leave the Chicago Bears watching the NFL Playoffs from their couches, the team cut their ties with head coach Lovie Smith after 9 seasons.

Many players have already voiced their displeasure with GM Phil Emery’s decision to fire Smith. Devin Hester is even threatening retirement now that Lovie will no longer be calling the shots.

But as Emery stated in his press conference this past Tuesday, a lack of offensive consistency and playoff appearances are what did Lovie in. The Bears only managed 3 postseason berths, a 3-3 postseason record, and ranked in the top half of the NFL in yards per game just once (15th in 2006) in the past 9 seasons.

That track record would’ve done anyone in, not just Lovie. Despite being a defensive genius and a true “leader of men”, Emery knows that it’s in the best interest of the team to find a coach who will bring the offensive production to the same level that the defense has been producing at for decades.

Finally, someone understands.

The Bears will now be testing the free agent coaching waters for the first time since 2004. There are 7 names that have already emerged as candidates for the job, most of them being offensive coordinators.

While it’s nice to imagine all of the big name coaches on the market in blue and orange, I’m going to stick to the 7 men who have been granted permission to interview for the job.

My apologies to anyone hoping to hear Nick Saban or Andy Reid.

Emery has a lot of deciphering to do in the coming weeks, but he hopes to have picked his replacement before the East-West Shrine Game (college football’s “all star game”) on January 19th.

Without further ado, let’s meet the contestants.

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Indianapolis Colts could make push for division title with win at Houston

The Indianapolis Colts have exceeded even the wildest of expectations this season.

The departure of Peyton Manning? A rookie quarterback and a young roster overall, working against a salary cap strapped with dead money? The Colts’ task was daunting entering the season.

And then, three weeks in, the team’s new head coach, Chuck Pagano, was diagnosed with leukemia and would miss most of the season while undergoing treatment (Pagano is in remission and could return to the sideline Dec. 30).

Anyone would have understood if this young squad had won just four games, and five or six wins would have been considered good given the circumstances.

But no. These “ChuckStrong” Colts (9-4) remarkably have showed grit and determination late in games, led by their sensational signal-caller, Andrew Luck; they amazingly stand one win away from clinching a playoff spot and control their own destiny for the AFC South title, the first of two crucial matchups with the Houston Texans (11-2) occurring at 1 p.m. today at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

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Andrew Luck gets first taste of Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots rivalry

The Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots have shared what arguably has been the best rivalry in American professional sports for much of the previous decade.

Who can forget New England’s triumphs against Peyton Manning in the snow in Foxborough, Mass. during both the 2003 and 2004 playoffs? Or the epic Colts comeback in the 2006 AFC Championship game en route to Super Bowl glory?

In truth, the NFL largely has become what it is today because of these two teams (all-time great quarterbacks, as well as Bill Polian’s successful lobbying for rules changes after the 2003 AFC Championship game).

Now, though, the rivalry welcomes a new significant face: Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck.

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