Sunday, July 31, 2011

NFC North Predictions

NFC North Picks
The NFC Championship last year featured two teams from this division, and my Super Bowl favorite comes from this division as well. This could easily be the strongest division in the NFC this year.
Connor Jones 4th: Detroit Lions: Detroit should be an improved team this year with the draft picks of Nick Fairley, Titus Young and Mikel Leshoure. This team will be strong on the defensive line and should generate a good pass rush. They have good weapons on the outside being lead by Calvin Johnson. Once again, an improved Detroit team should have fans there excited but this team is at least one year away.
Josh Neighbors 4th: Minnesota Vikings: After seeing what Donavan McNabb was not capable of last year with my Washington Redskins, I believe at age 34 he will not be able to be productive with an offense that is broken at most skill positions. Bernard Berrian is 30, and a shell of his old self. Percy Harvin is too small to be the #1 receiver on any team and is still haunted by migraines. Adrian Peterson is a great player, but when you have entire teams gamep planning to stop you and you alone, things get difficult. Defensively is Jared Allen up front, chad Greenway at Linebacker, and Asher Allen in the secondary. Not terrible, but not good enough to be a contender for the division.

Connor Jones 3rd: Minnesota Vikings: Minnesota is a team that will be streaky at best this year. They bring in a motivated Donavan McNabb to help tutor Christian Ponder and win games for Minnesota. D Mac had a miserable year last year in Washington where he made mistakes not expected from a veteran. But this year he should most likely to be able to lead this team to an 8-8 season.
Josh Neighbors 3rd: Detroit Lions: To be completely honest I feel like I could put the Lions at 2nd. They easily have the best front 4 in the entire league. Kyle Vanden Bosch brings the experience, Suh has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with, Fairley no doubt is going to have an instant impact, and Corey Williams had 37 tackles last year and is the worst player on this line. That is one helluva line. Alphonso Smith has been inconsistent at corner.  Matt Stafford has a huge target in Calvin Johnson to throw to. Jahvid Best gets the RB job eventually I think, but that is the weak point on this offense. Too bad they are in such a tough division.

Connor Jones 2nd. Chicago Bears: Wow, speaking of motivation, Jay Cutler should be motivated. Last year his will to win and his toughness were questioned when he left the NFC championship game. Personally, I would not feel comfortable with Cutler leading my team but he should have a strong season. Chicago should win at least 9 games with my prediction being a 10-6 season.
Josh Neighbors 2nd: Chicago Bears: I was a Jay Cutler critic. He proved me wrong. Who knows, maybe it actually was the offensive line’s fault. Tough to place the blame on the guys that make it all happen. Anyway, this team is reloaded. Forte and Hester are great offensive options. The Bears could easily win this division......offensive line is the problem, once again sorry guys. You cannot let your quarterback get sacked 52 times. Israel Idonije and Julias Peppers anchor down the D-line. Briggs and Urlacher at linebacker. Tillman in the secondary. On defense its going to be business as usual for this team. That spells trouble for the rest of this division.

Connor Jones1st: Green Bay Packers: The Super Bowl champs will once again win their division. Aaron Rodgers, the best young quarterback in the league, will lead his team back to the post season. Now remember, Green Bay won the super bowl with 15 guys on the IR last year so what is that going to make them this year? BETTER. With one key addition this year being Ryan Grant. Last year, Green Bay had to do lots of mixing and matching to find a running back on a weekly basis. The defense should be top five this season. They will be lead by Corner Back Charles Woodson and Line Backer Clay Matthews. Matthews has 23.5 sacks in two seasons which is a ton. Green Bay will win there division and compete for another super bowl.
Josh Neighbors 1st: Green Bay Packers: What is so scary about this team is that they did what they did, with the significant number of injuries they had. It is just testament to the determination and will power demonstrated by this team and Aaron Rodgers. Lucky for him now Ryan Grant is back and he no longer has to do it alone. Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, and Donald Driver have all developed into options for Rodgers at any time in the game. BJ Raji anchors the front four. AJ Hawk and of course Clay Mathews at linebacker. This defense is stacked in the secondary with Charles Woodson and Nick Collins. Tramon Williams has also developed into a skilled corner. The Pack is back, and are a heavy favorite for the back to back.

Friday, July 15, 2011

No doubt abaut it

Jose Bautista has emerged as the one of the American League's premiere sluggers. The casual baseball fan looks to steroids as an explanation for his sudden rise. The real source in this mans great power has been a change in mechanics. Bautista has always had the build, and the potential to be a powerful hitter. he is just now tapping into his abilities at age 30. Last year Jose Bautista adjusted his swing to where he was started stepping into pitches earlier. His back right foot is closer to home plate, and his hands are positioned a tad higher on the bat. The result has been tremendous. Bautista's biggest year before this change was in 2006 with the Pirates where he had 15 homeruns and 63 RBI. In 2010 he had 54 homeruns and 124 RBI. This year he has 31 homeruns and 65 RBI. He is on pace for another huge year, and if you look at his body throughout his career he has been the same since he entered the league. It is sad that the first thought most fans have is that Bautista is using performance enhancing drugs. In all reality, this is just one case of many where a swing change makes a huge difference. As a baseball player, I go through the same thing, constantly adjusting my swing. Most hitters struggle to find a good consistent stroke, but when they do. There are fireworks.-Josh Neighbors

Monday, July 4, 2011

The not so new guy

On August 28, 2008 an entire stadium was hushed. The West End of Richmond Virginia held their collective breath with anticipation and concern. Russel Wilson lay on the ground face down and still. Russel Wilson went to Collegiate High School located on the West End(my high school). We all watched as the kid who had brought us back to back state championships, the kid who had become a rock star on campuss, the kid who's leadership qualities were unquestioned, the kid seemed invincible lay on the ground motionless. Suddenly, the pride was washed away and a sense of panic took over. Russel was taken off the field, South Carolina handed NC State a 34-0 lashing to start off the college football season. We thought our pride and joy would not be playing college football anymore. Who could have guessed that 3 years, 8454 passing yards, and 93 total touchdowns later, we would see Russel Wilson being the most sought after QB in the country. Wilson had to choose between Wisconsin and Auburn, and he chose Bucky Badger, making them the favorite in the Big 10 and a National Championship contender. There is no doubt Russel was a great Quarterback at NC State, but at Wisconsin Wilson can create a storybook ending to a fantastic college career.
     Wilson will get to start his senior season where his college career began, on Thursday night prime time. The Badgers start their 2011 campaign at home against UNLV to kick off the 2011 season. The Badgers first real test will be 5 games in against Nebraska in Madison. Besides this game the Big 10 is not particularly strong this year. This Badgers team is not a one man show, as this backfield is loaded. James White and Montee Ball are going to be getting a lot of touches in Brent Bielma's run first system. Wilson also has Nick Toon who is a great weapon on the outside. The Wisconsin defense is always tough and will keep opponents numbers low, while Wilson and the high powered offense should poor it on offensively. We will learn more about this Wisconsin team as the season approaches, but right now Russel Wilson is giving Badger Nation a lot to Jump Around about.-Josh Neighbors