It is not always the journey that takes its toll, it is the failure then to cross the finish line ….

It is not always the journey that takes its toll, it is the failure then to cross the finish line ….

Anyone who has ever participated in any type of endurance contest, will know it is always about the preparation before the event and in the lead-up what you as a contestant, have done to prepare yourself for that specific competition. The NFL season is simply no different , with a sixteen-week regular season schedule , that at times can seem like an eternity, not only for the players, but also for the fans themselves who will have to endure the highs and lows , as they go about supporting their respective teams . As the league enters its eleventh week , teams are now beginning to distance themselves from their divisional rivals, gaining the victories needed to assure them a berth in the playoffs . This weekend , when the Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) take on the Denver Broncos (8-1) at Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado, a great deal will be on the line for both teams , as a victory for franchise will most certainly assure them of a berth in the postseason . In the case of the Chiefs, as led by head coach Andy Reid , he knows a victory almost assures his team that they are in the driver’s seat in terms of seeking to unseat the Broncos as the AFC West champions for this season.

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Though I was not thoroughly convinced that the dismissal of Andy Reid by the Philadelphia Eagles was the right thing to do at the time. I fully understand the frustrations and reasoning behind the former head coach’s firing. Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman simply felt that Reid’s loyalty to the team’s quarterback Michael Vick was no longer worth the risk as the seasoned veteran had now become more of a liability , rather than an asset to the team. Vick’s stats over the past ten to fifteen games has simply borne this out , along with his inability to stay injury free,

While the Eagles continue their season of inconsistency , albeit that they are now in involved in a tight divisional race with the Dallas Cowboys (5-5) , in what I can best describe as being one of the worst divisional in the NFL simply by the records reflected of all four residents within the NFC East and the fact that all four are no better than .500 within the division . The fact that is quite possible , that the actual winner of NFC East could easily end up with an 8-8 record and make the postseason , not only adds insult to injury , but also once again shows how bad the division just happens to be , in terms of the quality of football being played. Now, the more docile of observers, may well choose to point out that injuries have played a part of what we the fans have observed within the NFC East this season . However, I would put it down to the ineptitude of the coaching on display and also the fact that a number of the players within the division are not as good as advertised.

As to this contest between the Chiefs and Broncos this game will be heightened by the health of Peyton Manning and his appearance, given his ongoing health issue by way of a high ankle sprain . Manning, long seen as one of the many faces of the NFL alongside perhaps his most famous peer and adversary , Tom Brady . Off to a tremendous start this season , Peyton Manning has simply set a pace not seen in the league in several years, as the player once again seems to be on a record pace for passing touchdowns in a season . It is my belief however, that the player would rather team success by way of a second Superbowl victory for Manning and a first for the Chiefs’ franchise, as well as, quite possibly adding to his mantelpiece of a fifth League MVP and a second Superbowl MVP award . By any measure, this contest will provide a spectacular ratings’ bonanza for the broadcast network .

It is extremely hard to discern, how the Pittsburgh Steelers’ (3-6) season has continued to spiral out of control. Although winners, of three of their last five games, the team sits at the bottom of the AFC North,where the divisional leader, is a still resurgent Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) . Bengals’ head coach Marvin Lewis , behind a young quarterback, in Andy Dalton and an offense that has proven to be resilient as they are explosive. Pittsburgh will face a stern test when they play host to the Detroit Lions (6-3) on Sunday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon , in what is sure to be a highly competitive game . The Bengals meanwhile, will have as their guests, in-state and divisional rival the Cleveland Browns (4-5). Needless to say, Andy Dalton and his teammates will seek to further distance themselves from the Browns and Baltimore Ravens (4-5) within the division. Both contests, should prove to be very intriguing, with the outcome likely to predicated upon time of possession, and sound defense. Something that as of late, seems to be something a “lost art form “ , for a number of teams around the NFL, where there now seems to be an abundance childlike mistakes that have become profligate within the game.

To witness a Steelers’ team struggle as they have done on both sides of the ball, does seem to be troubling for a franchise, known to be stymieing on defense and one who has always sought to “pound the rock” and then use an efficient passing game to gain a positive result. This season , the plethora of problems seems to have been omnipresent beyond the team injuries and the complete lack understanding between the offense and defense. Never-mind, the fact, that Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin remains at his wit’s end, as to the lackluster performances of this team .

The Detroit Lions and Jim Schwartz will seek to take advantage of the fact that with the Chicago Bears without Jay Cutler once again, as the Bears’ signal caller seeks to recuperate from an injury . It will also be a similar case, for the Green Bay Packers and their loss of Aaron Rodgers , as these two players have always been the focal points of their respective teams’ offensive strategies . Detroit will hope to make this advantage count , in their contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

When the Philadelphia Eagles play host the Washington Redskins (3-6) on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania, in a divisional game . This is likely to be one of those contests , where the game is likely to be extremely enthralling or a monotonous bore . I am inclined to be believed, that it will be the latter! The Redskins for their part, have simply regressed with neither Mike Shanahan or his son, defensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan being able to provide a succinct explanation as to why the team has been so pitiful this season . One could attribute that to the numerous injuries suffered by the team over the course their schedule , or as everyone seems to believe quarterback Robert Griffin III is not yet back to full fitness and playing at the level exhibited last season and during the playoffs . From my own standpoint, I believe that the Redskins and the coaching staff in particular, simply became lazy , complacent , over-confident and choosing to rest on their laurels , after the accomplishments of 2012.

With Robert Griffin III now suggesting that the last placed Redskins within the NFC East and their 3-6 record , are quite capable of still making the playoffs . I am beginning to wonder, if the second year player , is simply displaying a kind of false bravado on his part, to excuse his own poor play over the course of this season or is it, that he truly believes that over the remainder of the team’s seven games the Redskins are quite capable of winning five of the possible seven contests in question to achieve that feat ? Given the team’s play and the lack of commitment shown, I simply do not believe that they can attain that goal ! There has been no evidence, to suggest, that they have it within them collectively, to actually defeat the Eagles this upcoming Sunday.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Despite Robert Griffin III’s Confidence, Playoffs Are Long Shot for Washington Redskins

By Brian Skinnell , Yahoo Contributor

COMMENTARY | There is a big difference between being 3-6 in 2012 and being 3-6 in 2013. Last season, the Washington Redskins were in much better position to make a playoff run. Due to the current state of the team, they’ve got a lot more work to do to duplicate that magical run.
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This past weekend, star quarterback Robert Griffin III spoke with plenty of confidence to reporters regarding Washington’s playoff chances. He told The Washington Post that the team still believes and that they aren’t giving up. While that’s all fine and well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, here. The Redskins have their work cut out for them if they want to return to the playoffs.

The Special Teams Must Improve

All season long, it’s been one special teams headache after another. The coverage units have been poor and a few teams have defeated Washington thanks to the Redskins’ poor effort on special teams. Sav Rocca has had moments of brilliance as a punter, but he’s been somewhat inconsistent, as well.

There are three facets to the game of football: offense, defense and special teams. In order to be successful and win football games, you need to dominant in all three facets. For Washington, they certainly haven’t done that on special teams and that must get better if they want to make a playoff push.

The Defense Needs to Tighten Up

Much like the special teams, we have seen plenty of inconsistent play from the defense. Against the Denver Broncos, we saw them put together one of the best halves of the season only to throw it all away in the second half. The same can be said for their second-half debacle in Minnesota where Washington surrendered 20 unanswered points in their loss to the Vikings.

Statistically, Washington has one of the worst defenses in the NFL. They rank 26th in pass yards allowed (274.8 per game) and are 18th in rush yards allowed (113.8 per game). They give up an average of 388.6 yards per game which ranks them at 27th.

Let’s return to our three facets of football. We’ve established Washington’s inability to take care of the special teams facet of the game, and it’s fair to say they are having trouble getting it done defensively. The offense has played well, but last time I checked, one-out-of-three equals roughly 33-percent, which is a failing grade. In the NFL, that’s nowhere near close enough to win a football game.

The Schedule Isn’t in Their Favor

It’s not a stretch to say that Washington needs to win-out in order to make the postseason, something that will be extremely difficult to do. In the final seven games of the season, the Redskins will have to face the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons. While the Falcons and 49ers aren’t having great seasons, don’t underestimate their offensive prowess against a lackluster defense.

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The NFL now, no longer having a win-less team , the question now becomes which franchise is likely to have the dubious privilege of ending up with .the worst record in the league ? At present, the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) both share that dubious distinction with a 1-8 record apiece.. Is either team better than their respective records suggests? Well, given the fact that it was not until week ten > before either team was able to notch their very first victory of the season should tell you a great deal about teams and how their schedules have over the course of this year. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have as their guests , on Sunday, their divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons , who themselves are going through a season of missed opportunities and under-achievement . It is pretty much safe to say that this being a contest of utmost importance to both teams, with a great deal being at stake beyond quite possibly the long-term futures head coaches Mike Smith of the Falcons and Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Suddenly, with the Buccaneers’ defense playing a lot better after the team’s 22-19 victory over the Miami Dolphins , during which they held their woefully inept opponents to minus two yards of rushing offense and a meager two-hundred and thirteen yards of total offense for the AFC East based franchise. I am not so sure that Tampa will be able to repeat that type of performance against a Falcons’ team looking to rebound after being completely manhandled by the Seattle Seahawks in a lopsided 33-10 loss . As to what that says about a team, who last season was seen as one of the prohibitive favorites in the NFC, only to once again fall short with another understated performance by Matt Ryan in the postseason, in an NFC championship game loss to the San Francisco 49ers . Ryan, who alongside Tony Romo , might now be the most ” overrated quarterback “ currently . playing in the NFL and certainly one of the most overpaid given the lack of postseason results from both players .

Needless to say , my own observations concerning the Dallas Cowboys will simply evolve around the continued idiotic statements of the team’s owner Jerry Jones , because in terms of taking the franchise and team seriously , they are about as heartwarming and welcomed as a pandemic outbreak of the Ebola virus. The Cowboys have simply found ways , each week over the past five years to p have killed the meaning of the word ” quality” and talent when it comes to their brand of football , along with a coaching staff that is simply bereft of creativity and talent !

The Jacksonville Jaguars will now seek to win their second consecutive game of the season and push their win total for the year season to two , when they meet the Arizona Cardinals . Personally, I believe that if the Jaguars can keep that figure below five, then in all likelihood, they will be favored to obtain the number one overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft . With a plethora of talented said to be primed and ready amongst those who will undoubted declare their eligibility , I do not believe that there will be a need for Jaguars’ GM David Caldwell to be heeding any advice from either Mel Kiper or Todd McSDhay , as to whom they (Jaguars) should be taking as their first pick overall , much less their entire allotment of picks in 2014 .

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As the season ends enters the final quarter of the .regular season games’ schedule , what are you hoping to witness as the finals games and the scenarios are played out ? Also which teams do you believe will be a making serious surge down the final stretch of the season ? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks for the continued support of the site !

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(1) Mike Munchak head coach of the Tennessee Titans is seen here walking the sidelines during the fourth quarter of an NFL game played on Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts in Nashville , Tennessee ,. Indiana would go on to defeat Tennessee 30-27 in what was a highly competitive game between the two AFC South teams. AP Photo / Wade Payne ……

(2) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts rushes for a touchdown during the game played against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night , 14th November, 2013. The victory strengthened the Colts’ position at the top of the AFC South , with five games remaining in the regular season . AP Photo / Wade Payne …..

(3) Donald Brown (31) of the Indianapolis Colts evades Michael Griffin (33) of the Titans as he makes it into the end-zone after a six-yard touchdown run against the Tennessee Titans in a Thursday night game . AP Photo Wade Payne ….

(4) Kansas City Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid is seen here on the sidelines talking to the team’s quarterback Alex Smith during a regular season game. Reid and the Chiefs will be taking on divisional rivals the Denver Broncos as the Kansas City Chiefs look to preserve their unbeaten record in a week eleven match-up between the two AFC West teams. Getty Images North America / Eric Patterson ……

(5) Robert Griffin III, quarterback of the Washington Redskins is seen here with head coach Mike Shanahan . Having made the postseason in 2012 , the Redskins are likely to miss the playoffs this season as they currently reside in the lower rung of the NFC East with a 3-6 record . Griffin believes that the team can make a spirited run and gain a playoff berth within the NFC at the climax of the 2013 NFL season . Getty Images / Mark Harris ……

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tophatal …………. 11/15/2013

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Chloe Vevrier . More tools in her “tool chest” than even she would care to admit. More of Vevrier below .

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Can she ride side-saddle ? Or does she prefer bareback ? As that is what I would like to know !

Pop The Corks …… All Is Well In Philly !

Pop The Corks …… All Is Well In Philly !

I’m not so sure that over the last 48 hours things could have gotten any better for the city of Philadelphia from a sporting standpoint . As baseball slowly approaches the trade deadline it was being widely reported that the Philadelphia Phillies under the direction of GM Reuben Amaro Jr had acquired Houston Astros’ outfielder Hunter Pense . The team’s needs were viewed that they needed some added offense beyond the arsenal within the organization at large .

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With the Philadelphia Phillies amongst one of the more high salaried teams within baseball and the organization on the cusp of the league mandated luxury tax thresh-hold . The fact that the team was able to acquire Pense without having to give up that much in return , while adding to payroll makes their ambition all too clear and that is to place themselves amongst the favorites for the World Series . The Philadelphia Phillies now have what appears to be an insurmountable lead within the NL East over their closest rivals the Atlanta Braves .
In what now appears to be a race that all but theirs for the taking it’s clear to see that Charlie Manuel and his assistants along with Amaro felt that it was in the team’s best interests to prepare themselves for the postseason in terms of a roster fully capable of acquitting themselves down the line.

And amongst the NL representatives for the NLCS one would be remiss to deny the fact that the Phillies shouldn’t be viewed as the presumptive favorites . The team does stand head and shoulders above their peers within the NL and although the defending champions the San Francisco Giants made their very own pursuit into the free agent waiver deadline market with their acquisition of Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets it has to be said that the build up between the vying contenders in the months leading up to the end of the regular season should prove to be very interesting .

And while we can attest to the fact that the Philadelphia Phillies might just have the best pitching rotation in the game but that in of itself will not necessarily be the determining factor as to the fate of the team’s postseason ambitions. It is clear that Charlie Manuel and Reuben Amaro believe that if they are to be triumphant then this roster has to be one that is well balanced and with all of the prerequisites needed for success. I’ve no doubt that Hunter Pense will be a valuable asset to this team given his play and productivity and with the youthful zeal of the player one can only expect to see great things from him and this team.

Nnamdi Asomugha may well have been the most desirable free agent of the players in light of the NFL lockout and the league’s resumption of their operations. With the subsequent bloodletting and the mayhem we have all witnessed it was that the teams said to be gauging the interest in Asomugha ranged from the New York Jets , New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers but no one absolutely no one could have suspected that it would be the Philadelphia Eagles with Andy Reid , team President Joe Banner and GM Howie Roseman swooping down to acquire the player , signing him to a five year $60 million deal of which $25 million was guaranteed money . It had been thought that the Forty Niners may well have had the best hope of acquiring the player and keeping him in the Bay area given the fact that his career in the NFL had been with the Oakland Raiders .

Asomugha’s stellar credentials only adds to the luster of this Eagles’ team and it has to be said they now have to be seen as the favorites not just within the NFC East but also the entire conference . The Eagles depth and the fact that Andy Reid has a litany of offensive weapons at his disposal with the now resurgent Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson , Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy leading the charge has me believing they have to be considered amongst the favorites for the Superbowl .

The secondary of the Eagles with the cornerback tandem of Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel must rival if not surpass that of any duo in the league . And it is clear that Reid saw that the acquisition would immediately make this defense a great deal better from the get go.

There’s no denying that the Philadelphia Eagles as a team will flourish this upcoming season . From my own perspective I do believe that the likelihood of the New York Giants , Dallas Cowboys or Washington Redskins mounting a serious challenge within the division ( NFC East ) isn’t as great as one would presume. The Dallas Cowboys with Jason Garrett now firmly entrenched as the team’s coach now has to look over his shoulders each and every moment as Jerry Jones gauges his every move . With the fact that the team owner has seen fit to purge the roster of players such as Marion Barber and Roy Williams to name but a few the pressure still remains for the Dallas Cowboys to perform.

Now much has been made that Tony Romo is a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback but the issues for him has been that the Cowboys have never really surrounded him with the talent needed . Unless I’m mistaken but Jerry Jones has simply gone out and done whatever he felt necessary in bolstering the Cowboys , albeit that at times the players acquired simply have never measured up. Jones has finally admitted that mistakes were made last season but to my mind the one flaw in this remains and always has been the suspect play of Tony Romo. As good as many believe him to be there’s no denying that when placed under extreme pressure he tends to wilt when asked to go above and beyond what he’s been asked to do. For Jason Garrett and his coaching staff their task will be lead this team to some semblance of success and that has to viewed as the Dallas Cowboys making the postseason at a minimum.

The other residents within the NFC East ___ the New York Giants and Washington Redskins will vie for the task of trying to mount a serious challenge to the division’s prohibitive favorites the Philadelphia Eagles . It would be remiss to suggest that the Giants were not a monumental disappointment last season . The team simply underperformed and one has to now question the ability of the team’s quarterback Eli Manning . All this in the aftermath of having signed a bloated 6 year $96 million contract for which he’s failed to live up to even though he led the team to a Superbowl (SB XLII) victory.

The daggers were out for Giants’ coach Tom Coughlan last season and I found it somewhat surprising that the organization sought to retain the coach after the failures of last year. But such are the vagaries of the game that it’s always best to expect the unexpected even when it no longer really comes as a surprise .

For the life of me after the debacle of this past year I cannot see how Dan Snyder continues to think that overpaying for talent as well as coaches can be considered a measure of success by any means possible ! The Washington Redskins having hired Mike Shanahan and his son Kyle Shanahan have yet to show any measure of coaching pedigree much less that this team is on the way of achieving some semblance of success . We all witness the frailties of the players and in particular the woes of Donovan McNabb as the team fell from grace having been a complete embarrassment throughout much of last year .

Mike and Kyle Shanahan’s handling of McNabb led many to believe that the player’s days with the organization were numbered . And that was proven to be a fact when the quarterback was traded to the Minnesota Vikings where he will now become that team’s starting quarterback . Given the Vikings’ own woes last season with Brett Favre at the helm I am not so sure that McNabb at this stage of his career is that much of an upgrade over Favre ! But it is , what it is and we will simply have to wait and see what transpires both the player and the team over the course of the season .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the moves made by both the Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia Phillies how do you see both teams faring this season ? And what thoughts if any do you have concerning Donovan McNabb and his move to the Minnesota Vikings ? Do you believe that he will have a measure of success or simply flounder ? Leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within the piece .

Alan aka tophatal …… https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) Philadelphia Phillies Hunter Pence reacts after scoring on a double by Raul Ibanez in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies in Denver on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. The Phillies won 4-3 in the tenth inning. AP Photo/Chris Schneider ….

(2) Huston Street (16) of the Colorado Rockies returns to the mound as John Mayberry Jr. (15) of the Philadelphia Phillies rounds he bases on his pinch hit two run home-run to tie the score 3-3 in the ninth inning at Coors Field on August 1, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Street was credited with a blown save as the Phillies defeated the Rockies 4-3. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……

(3) Shane Victorino (8) of the Philadelphia Phillies scores the game winning run in front of catcher Chris Iannetta (20) of the Colorado Rockies on his solo home-run off of Rex Brothers (49) of the Colorado Rockies in the 10th inning at Coors Field on August 1, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Phillies defeated the Rockies 4-3 in 10 innings. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …….

(4) Manager Charlie Manuel (right) of the Philadelphia Phillies is seen here with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. as they celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-4 in game five of the NLCS MLB Playoffs to advance to the World Series . Getty Images North America / Jeff Zelevansky ……

(5) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) talks with head coach Andy Reid during the morning session of NFL football training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. on Monday, August 1, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Schultz …….

(6) Philadelphia Eagles’ Nnamdi Asomugha walks onto the practice field for the first time during the morning session of NFL football training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., on Sunday, July 31, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Schultz ……..

(7) Chased by Washington Redskins safety Chris Horton, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) scores a touchdown during the second quarter of the NFL football game against the Washington Redskins Monday in Landover, Md. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP …….

(8) Minnesota Vikings new quarterback Donovan McNabb, left, jokes around with first round draft pick, quarterback Christian Ponder , out of Florida State, during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Mankato, Minn. Under league rules, McNabb cannot practice until Thursday. AP Photo/Jim Mone ….

(9) Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, left, talks with Tony Romo (9) during NFL football training camp, Friday, July 29, 2011, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ………

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