Following a nice Week 10 (10-4
ATS), I crapped the bed in Week 11 (6-7-1). There are still a handful of
teams that I honestly don't have a solid read on...kinda disconcerting
this late in a season.
me, Philadelphia must be faded until further notice. Simply fading
Sanchez is usually a good bet; when you factor in a crumbling defensive
unit and a locker room that is reportedly coming apart at the seams, how
can you justify picking the Eagles? Four days isn't enough time to
address their growing list of problems. I can see Megatron eclipsing 200
yards vs. Byron Maxwell/Nolan Carroll.
of the Week. I love this spot for the Cowboys; an absolute must-win
situation vs. a team that has created some cushion in the NFC and blew
their wad against Washington. Don't underestimate the absence of Peanut
Tillman in this one. Without Tillman, Benwikere moves to the perimeter,
meaning the godawful Colin Jones draws slot duties. Cole Beasley should
Bennett is out, so if Alshon Jeffery can't go, Jay Cutler's starting
receivers will be Marquess Wilson, Josh Bellamy and Zach Miller. That's
practice squad-quality. Given Jay Cutler's history vs. GB and the
absence of secondary QB Antrel Rolle, there seems little hope for the
Bears. Still, I can't shake the feeling that they will keep it close if
Matt Forte is active. This might be Chicago's Super Bowl, and with high
winds/frozen rain in the forecast, both teams could be restricted to
ball-control offense...an ideal scenario for John Fox and the
Forte/Langford duo. If both Forte and Jeffery can go and the pregame
forecast is as expected, I may jump on the Bears.
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Posted June 27, 2009
We live in a society in which we demand instant results. I think our projections are often viewed in the short term as opposed to the long term. If you did well as a rookie, then you should do even better as a second-year player. However, if you didn't do much as a rookie, you aren't expected to do anything as a second-year player, but this isn't the case. Here is a list of players who didn't have a high level of production as rookies, but will make a surprising impact next season for their teams.
Chris Long, DE, St. Louis: It takes a while for ends to transition to the NFL. We saw it with Mario Williams and Osi Umenyiora in their second seasons. Granted, players such as Erasmus James, Kenechi Udeze, Andre Carter, and Jamaal Anderson simply did nothing as a second-year players, but Chris Long has those elite intangibles. He has a great work ethic, and the addition of James Laurinaitis, and moving Will Witherspoon to the weakside will give Long more time to rush the passer. Expect seven or more sacks - which is very good for a 4-3 defensive end - out of Howie Jr. next season.
Sedrick Ellis, DT, New Orleans: Ellis was the No. 3 player on my 2008 Big Board, and I think he will simply dominate for the Saints next year. They are finally moving him to 3-technique where he will flourish with his high level of athleticism and lateral quickness. I think Ellis' production makes this entire defense better and people will be surprised at how good the Saints will be next season on defense.
Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore: I was a big fan of Rice coming out of Rutgers, and it looks as if Baltimore plans on making him the featured back, as they should. They lost Jason Brown, but they get a smarter and highly technical player in Matt Birk to replace him. Michael Oher is a tremendous upgrade at right tackle. Rice can turn the corner and gain big yardage, but is still capable to pick up the three- and four-yard runs. Baltimore drafted him in the second round for a reason. Next season, you will find out why.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City: Like Rice, I feel Charles can definitely find a niche in the NFL at running back. Charles is more of a game-breaking back than Rice, but I expect him to get a higher number of carries next season for Kansas City. The Chiefs' potentially anemic passing game might hurt Charles' potential.
Jeremy Zuttah, G, Tampa: Tampa drafted Zuttah out of Rutgers to be a backup offensive linemen. When Davin Joseph went down last season, he started quite a bit early in the year. Arron Sears is mysteriously not in Tampa for OTAs, and Zuttah is slated to start at left guard. He will thrive in Jeff Jagodzinski's zone-blocking scheme with his athleticism and compact build.
Steve Johnson, WR, Buffalo: This was my guy. I didn't care that he went in the seventh round, I still had a second-round grade on him. Buffalo stole him, and like I predicted, he beat out James Hardy and received more playing time. If Buffalo's coaching staff isn't a bunch of complete morons, they'll start Johnson in the slot. He is a playmaker. He makes things happen. He is a gamebreaker. I have been on him for a very long time, and there have been reports that he has had a fantastic offseason, but I have said he will break out even before those reports.