It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………………… Triumph Or Go Home !

It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………….. Triumph Or Go Home !

The wildcard rounds of the playoffs begin this weekend and with a number of games set to get the fans salivating at their outcome . No game might be more intriguing than the NFC match-up that pits the Philadelphia Eagles against the Green Bay Packers . To my mind these are two evenly matched teams that are well coached by Andy Reid and Mike McCarthy respectively. Furthermore even with the advent of the play of Michael Vick I for one don’t believe this is by any means a foregone conclusion ! There’s enough here to suggest even with their records and play late in the season this game could go either way just like the flip of a coin.

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As good as Michael Vick has been playing, his counterpart Aaron Rodgers in spite of his injuries appears to be as tough as they come and willing to do battle in order for the Packers to win. And not only that it’d appear that the Lambeau faithful have taken Rodgers to their heart while onetime hero Brett Favre now remains a distant memory. He may well be still beloved in certain parts of Green Bay but I’m not so sure that holds through for the entire state of Wisconsin much less the rest of the country. This Packers’ team has shown a great deal of resiliency in spite of repeated adversity and when many may well have felt all was lost , they’ve risen to the challenge and this may well be one of the reasons why they could upset the apple cart as far as this match-up is concerned .

Defensively at times both teams have struggled but the Packers might well have the edge in that department . Where the advantage lies is in the fact that McCarthy’s coaching staff will have to deal with the mercurial and enigmatic play of Michael Vick . And as we know given his play this season a game can be turned at the drop of a hat. And I’ve no doubt that both defenses will be rigorously tested by the respective offenses at game time. This may well also become a game of attrition if neither side can find an opening but if it isn’t, then look for it to be something of a one sided affair with the winner showing the tenacity needed to seek out a win.

While many of us will have no doubt question the merits of a 7-9 team making the playoffs the Seattle Seahaws as winners of the NFC West are now there by right. And given what we’ve come to expect from that division within recent years I’m not entirely surprised. Sadly this is now what the league and to an essence the competitiveness of that division has now become where mediocrity is immediately rewarded rather than substance. How else can you explain when teams such as the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the season with better records but failed to make the playoffs ?

The Seahawks will have the privilege of hosting Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints this weekend and it remains to be seen whether or not the reigning Superbowl champions have overcome their recent slump of late. Both teams come into the postseason with a great deal to prove …….. the Saints in proving that they’re worthy champions and looking to make a successful defense of their title . Whereas Pete Carrolls’ team is simply looking for respect and a chance to upset the apple cart .

This game will certainly down to as the stealth of the Saints’ potent offense and how good this Seahawks’ defense is presumed to be. And given what we’ve seen from that defense this season they will have to be at the very top of their game . Having been ranked in the lower echelons of all of the defensive categories this season it remains to be seen whether not they will be able to counter act whatever the New Orleans Saints will be able to throw at them . What the Seahawks will have to their distinct advantage will be a home crowd of raucous fans at Q West Field in Seattle , Washington who will essence become the team’s twelfth man. If Matt Hasselbeck can rise to the occasion and lead this Seahawks’ team with any semblance of competitive instinct then this game could be a great deal closer than most would expect it to be . Discerning a victor from the midst of this all will come down to who has the greater appetite for the win.

With all of the off the field antics and some might say the overbearing personality of the New York Jets’ coach Rex Ryan one can’t help but wonder what the coach will do next. Apart from one time proclaiming the Jets the best team in the league this season Ryan has repeatedly put his foot in his mouth with some of his rather outrageous statements. Needless to say fans far and wide have either ridiculed the coach or supported his claims in part. Now comes crunch time for the team as they meet the Indianapolis Colts in a highly anticipated game that’s a rematch of last season’s AFC championship game .

Ryan and his team are certainly looking for redemption and the same can be said too for the Peyton Manning led Colts after their immense letdown in last season’s Superbowl against the New Orleans Saints . Many believed that the Indianapolis Colts would have the better of that Saints’ team on the day but that was clearly not the case as the defense of the Colts was exposed as flawed and extremely slow. Brees simply shredded that team almost at will and nothing could hide the disappointment from Manning’s face at the end of the day. To top it all off we then had the rather asinine claim by Colts’ GM Bill Polian that the reason for the team’s loss was the fact that the offensive line didn’t play well. This was a collective loss on all parts as the Colts were simply outplayed in every facet of the game and nothing can hide that fact not even the infantile rants of the team’s general manager.

It will be interesting to see how this Jets’ defense measures up against the Colts’ offense and how in fact they’re able to deal with Peyton Manning . One thing is sure this game won’t be short on drama whichever way you look at it and if Mark Sanchez is keen to prove that last season’s form was no fluke then now will be the time for him to prove that fact. As he goes so does this team and if he’s not performing at the highest caliber then the Jets’ postseason ambitions could come to an abrupt end once again at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts.

In this season of surprises within the NFL perhaps none could have been more of a surprise than the turnaround initiated by Todd Haley and the coaching staff of the Kansas City Chiefs . Having handily won the AFC West where many had expected to make the San Diego Chargers to make their normal late season charge the Chiefs simply held on whereas the Chargers fell by the wayside . Can someone please remind the Chargers that the NFL season is one played of sixteen games and not eight or nine as they and their fans have now come to expect ? Sooner or later it had to catch up with them and it’s safe to say that even with the exploits of Philip Rivers this season way too much was being asked of the player to lead this team into the postseason.

The Chiefs will have the privilege of hosting the Baltimore Ravens and somehow I get the feeling that Ray Lewis and Ed Reed of this Ravens’ team will be baying for blood as they look to seperate Matt Cassel’s head from his shoulders . I’m not suggesting that this won’t be a baptism of fire for this Chiefs’ team but I just hope that there are several fire engines and marshals in attendance at Arrowhead Stadium once this game begins. There’s liable to so much heat brought to this party by the Ravens that I’m not too sure that the Chiefs might be able to withstand the onslaught.

On the flip side of this , the Chiefs offense led by Cassel has a number of offensive weapons that could waylay the ambitions of John Harbaugh’s team. Thomas Jones , Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe are liable to give the Ravens’ defense all that they can handle if they’re left to their own devices as they’ve become the main threats on offense this season for the Kansas City Chiefs. And the trio are one the main reasons behind the success of the franchise this season in convergence with the team acquiring both Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel to take over the coaching responsibilities of the offense and defense respectively. If the Chiefs are to endure then it will come down to the coaching strategies put into place by Haley and his staff and how his team goes about executing that plan.

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What thoughts if any do have with regard to the wildcard round of the playoffs and which game do you anticipate will be the most entertaining to watch ? Simply chime in with a comment and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s gratefully appreciated !

NB : Click on the link shown to view the latest news in the NFL .

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Teams receiving a bye are the New England Patriots , Pittsburgh Steelers , Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………………….

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Continue reading “It’s Fair Game This Weekend …………………… Triumph Or Go Home !”

Dumb A_s ! Dumb A_s ! Dumb A_s !

The NFL evidently prides itself upon the image portrayed, in particular by its members. And that no doubt constitutes all of its staff. From its executives on down, through its owners and players. Which begs the question what sort of an a_shole must you be when you can act like a fool and denigrate not only the organization you’re employed by but also a certain group of individuals and think that you can get away with such behavior ? The reason I state this , is because of the recent incident concerning the Kansas City Chiefs’ Larry Johnson.

Chiefs'  running  back  Larry  Johnson  seen  here  in a  September  20th   picture   during  the    fourth  quarter of  an  NFL   game   played  against the  Oakland  Raiders   at  Arrowhead  Stadium  in   Kansas   City  , Mo.,   The  player   was   suspended   by   the   organization    after   his   criticism  of  them  as  well  as  some   disparaging   remarks   made   about  the   gay  community.   The   player  has  since  offered  an  apology  and   has  stated  that  he  will   contest   his  suspension  by  lodging   a  complaint with  the NFLPA  .   The   suspension  is   meted   out  by the  Chiefs  is  on  a  week  to   week  basis   at  the   franchise's    behest.   He's to  have   no   contact  with the  team   by  way  of   practice  or  other   activities  deemed   conducive   to  the   team  and   its  community obligations.    picture  appears   courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Charlie   Riedel   .......................

Chiefs’ running back Larry Johnson seen here on the sidelines in an NFL game played against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri,. The player was suspended by the organization after his criticism of them and some disparaging remarks made about the gay community. He has since apologized for those remarks but the franchise hasn’t not agreed to rescind the suspension. Johnson intends to lodge an appeal to the NFL and will seek representation through the NFLPA. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Charlie Riedel …………

The hapless Chiefs, under first year coach , Todd Haley, is going through a tough time in the NFL and in particular within the AFC West. Never mind the fact that at (1-6) within their conference, they stand at the bottom of their division looking up at the likes of the Oakland Raiders (2-5),San Diego Chargers (3-3) and the unbeaten Denver Broncos (6-0).

Beleaguered   first  year  coach ,  Todd Haley  of   the  Kansas City  Chiefs  seen  here  on  the   sidelines   of  a  game   against  their   divisional  rivals the  San Diego  Chargers.    The   Chiefs would   go  on  to  lose  the  game  in  a   lopsided   blowout  37-7   to  the  Chargers   .   The  team   has   a  record  of   (1-6)   in  the NFL  and  sit  afoot of   the  AFC  West  Division.     picture  appears   courtesy  of   ap/photo/ Ed  Zurga  .....................

Beleaguered first year coach , Todd Haley of the Kansas City Chiefs seen here on the sidelines of a game against their divisional rivals the San Diego Chargers. The Chiefs would go on to lose the game in a lopsided blowout 37-7 to the Chargers. The team has a record of (1-6) in the NFL and sits afoot of the AFC Western Division. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Ed Zurga ……………

Courtesy of NFL.com Wire Reports;

Chiefs give two-week suspension to RB Johnson, who plans appeal

From NFL.com Wire Reports

Running back Larry Johnson, who used a gay slur twice within a 24-hour period and has a history of poor behavior, received what amounts to a one-game suspension from the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday night.

In a three-sentence release, the Chiefs said Johnson would be suspended from the team until Monday, Nov. 9. The Chiefs are on their bye week and will not play again until traveling to Jacksonville for a Nov. 8 game against the Jaguars.

The Chiefs had been saying for three days that they were “investigating” the situation. Johnson was told to stay away from the team Tuesday.

Peter Schaffer, Johnson’s agent, told NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora that he already has been in contact with union officials and will appeal the suspension. Schaffer is hoping for a ruling from an independent arbitrator in the matter before Johnson, who stands to lose two paychecks (or roughly $560,000), would miss any playing time.

Schaffer contends that this suspension is “unwarranted under the circumstances” and said Johnson doesn’t want to miss any playing time. Schaffer also noted that Johnson already had issued a public apology before the suspension was issued and said “we respect the Chiefs’ right” to impose discipline, but “we disagree that the Chiefs’ proposed penalty is warranted by Larry’s actions.”

Ultimately, the Chiefs could elect to release Johnson, who’s averaging just 2.7 yards per carry this season. His $4.5 million salary for this season is guaranteed, but he’s set to make $5 million next season, not including a $2 million roster bonus. That likely means Johnson isn’t in the Chiefs’ long-term plans.

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Here an ESPN profile on NFLPA Executive Director , DeMaurice Smith. The expose’ was seen on the network’s magazine program ‘Outside The Lines’.

To say that this team is like a ship adrift at sea, aimlessly heading nowhere, would be a vast understatement to say the very least. Almost at will, this team has no semblance of defense, or offense, on either side of the ball. And even though the form once of expected of quarterback, Matt Cassel , has yet to be seen and the team still continues to struggle. Johnson, for his part hasn’t proven to be productive and as alluded to earlier , he has derided the organization , the coach and seemingly made an antagonistic and needless remark about the gay community. And all under the pretense of supposedly as an act of anger ? Or if the truth be told , the player actually wants out of Kansas ? Well if this is what it takes , he may not get his wish but more likely than not a suspension awaits and quite possibly a league reprimand and further punishment at the behest of league commissioner , Roger Goodell.

It’s often at times like this I begin to wonder if the NFLPA under its Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith , is entirely at all concerned with the conduct or behavior of his members ? Or is his primary concern more to do with the renegotiating of the collective bargaining agreement and the amount of money that the union can attain from the NFL by way of that agreement ? He’s had very little say about his members’ behavior. Especially, in light of them having transgressed the laws of the land. Never mind the only time he has shown any concern , is when he believes that the commissioner has overstepped his boundaries with regard to meting out punishment that he deems fit to players – when they’re in clear dereliction of the NFL’s personal conduct rule as it applies not only to the game but also with to the image of the NFL.

NFL  Commissioner   Roger  Goodell seen  here  addressing   members  of   the  press  at   a  news  conference   in  Tampa , Florida ,.    Both  Goodell  and   DeMaurice  Smith  of  the  NFLPA are   due  to  address    the   Senate   Judiciary  Committee  on health    related  issues  concerning   concussions  suffered   by    players  in  the  NFL .  There  may  well  be  a  great deal  of  posturing  and contentiousness   from   Goodell  and   Smith  when  they  address   the  Senate  Committee.    As  neither   party  wants  to  accept  any  responsibility   concerning  this   very   delicate   issue .       picture  appears  courtesy  of   reuters  / Jeffrey   Haynes   .....................

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seen here addressing members of the press at a news conference in Tampa , Florida ,. Both Goodell and DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA are due to address the Senate Judiciary Committee on health related issues concerning concussions suffered by players, current and former – in the NFL . There may well be a great deal of posturing and contentiousness from Goodell and Smith when they address the Senate Committee. As neither party wants to accept any responsibility concerning this very delicate issue . picture appears courtesy of reuters / Jeffrey Haynes …………

It’s obvious that the NFLPA and the game’s hierarchy are on a collision course in more ways than one. In the eyes of Smith it won’t be only about the collection bargaining agreement but also what he believes to be Goodell’s autocratic rule as he deems when it comes to dealing with player suspensions and the airing of their grievances by way of an appeal. Granted , some of Smith’s claims may well be justified but he, himself , has done very little to rein in the conduct of his players by way of meeting the situation head on and addressing the issue. It’s as if, his making a public statement merely adds window dressing to the issue by showing trite concern for the issue and the image of his members. What’s more it gives the appearance that he condones their very behavior by way of not acting in a proactive manner. Sadly enough, these players don’t want to be held accountable for their actions in any shape or form ! And they merely think that by offering a trite and meaningless apology , it will be enough to address the issue. As is the case now, with the Chiefs’ Larry Johnson , after his disparaging remarks about the gay community and the Chiefs’ organization.

Whatever is left to be said can be best summed up in six meaningful words to my mind ! And that is that is ” Larry Johnson is a dumb ass ” ! Dumb ass , dumb ass , dumb ass ! Need I say anything more on the subject ?