Monday, January 24, 2011

Super Bowl 45 is set - The SFB Podcast (1/24/2011)

At the end, we are left with the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers for the Super Bowl 45 crown. Both teams needed to hang on in the 4th quarter against two tough opponents who gave it everything they had, but at the end of the day the better teams came out on top. Mike's heart is finally beating normally, so he joins me to review Sunday's games. Enjoy.

The SportsFan Buzz: January 24, 2011 (right click to "save as target")
You can find and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.
Voice over talent provided by Morgan Thomas.

Friday, January 21, 2011

AFC & NFC Championship Game picks.....

Two great matchups for getting to play in Super Bowl 45. The Jets have to travel to Pittsburgh in a week 16 rematch, while in Chicago, division rivals play their "rubber match" for the season when the Packers play the Bears.

As for my Divisional round picks, I was 4-0 against the spread, but only 3-1 straight up with my only loss being the Jets upset of the Patriots.

Championship Games:

Packers (-3) over BEARS
I had the Packers in the Super Bowl before the season and I am not going to get off them now. I have not believed in the Bears all year, but they have grown on me as the season has gone forward. Mike Martz really made the correct adjustments in giving the ball to Matt Forte more in the running game and Mike Tice getting the offensive line to play much better in protecting Jay Cutler. On the defensive side of the ball, they have been solid all season and showed that they made the smart off-season move in getting Julius Peppers to help make their defensive line a force, which made their overall defense much better. That said, the Packers have also gotten better as the season has moved forward as they have overcome a large amount of injuries to important pieces on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Aaron Rodgers is playing great and the defense, which was ranked #2 this season in the NFL, is making plays at the right times with different players making those important plays. This is not a great matchup for the Packer offense as the Bears' Cover 2 scheme has given them trouble in their two meeting this year. The Packers will need to get some production from their running game and I think they will, while on the defensive side of the ball they make a play against Jay Cutler, either with sacks or an interception, that turns the tide in Green Bay's favor.
Packers 17
Bears 12

STEELERS (-3) over Jets
The Jets come into this matchup as high as possible after knocking off Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in back to back weeks, and now they look to take down their third straight Super Bowl winning quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger. Unlike the previous two games, stopping Roethlisberger will not be their top priority. It will be helping their quarterback, Mark Sanchez, be comfortable enough to put up points against this very good Steeler defense. That will mean running the ball against the #1 ranked run defense and #1 overall defense and while they did break the 100 yard barrier in their week 16 matchup, that same result is not likely here in the AFC Championship game. This game should be a little different for the Steelers with Troy Polamalu roaming the Steeler secondary, which will help their run defense and put the Jets in more third and long situations. Then on the offensive side of the ball, tight end Heath Miller will be in the lineup and was missed by Pittsburgh in the first meeting. The Steelers will have to try and not allow another big special teams play by the Jets kickoff returners like they did on the opening kickoff in their first meeting. On the offensive side, the Steeler offense was moving the ball well against the Jet defense and had two shots to win the game inside the 10 yard line in the final seconds. Not sure what the Jets will do differently this time to hold the Steeler offense at bay. In the end, it will be the Steeler defense harassing Mark Sanchez (like the Ravens and Packers both did during the season) and Roethlisberger making enough plays on offense which willmove the Steelers to Super Bowl 45 and their attempt at a 7th ring.
Steelers 22
Jets 13

Divisional weekend record: 4-0
2010 Playoffs: 7-1

Win/Loss picks:
Divisional weekend: Sal (3-1) / Mike (3-1)
2010 Playoffs: Sal (5-3) / Mike (6-2)

Sal / Mike --- Packers at Bears ---
--- Jets at Steelers --- Sal / Mike

AFC & NFC Championship Preview - The SFB Podcast (1/21/2011).....

Last week divisional rivals met in the AFC playoffs, while the NFC had rematches from the regular season. For the Championship games, it has flipped as the AFC game is a rematch from week 16 with New York going to Pittsburgh, while over in the NFC, it is the third game of NFC North rivals when the Green Bay visits Chicago. Mike joins me to preview the games and give our predictions on who we think will meet in Super Bowl 45. Enjoy.

The SportsFan Buzz: January 21, 2011 (right click to "save as target)
You can find and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.
Voice over talent provided by Morgan Thomas.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Well, #6 is Higher than #1 - The SFB Podcast (1/17/2011).....

We have seen #1 seeds go down in the Divisional round of the NFL playoffs, but not both top seeds in such convincing fashion. Aaron Rodgers had one of the best games ever by a playoff quarterback, while the Jet defense played the perfect game against the high scoring Patriot offense. Meanwhile the Steelers had a great second half in beating their division rival, the Baltimore Ravens. Then in Chicago, the Bears looked like a team off a bye week playing an inferior opponent in rolling the Seahawks. Mike joins me to go over the weekend's action and breakdown the games. Enjoy.

The SportsFan Buzz: January 17, 2011 (right click to "save as target)
You can find and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.
Voice over talent provided by Morgan Thomas.

Friday, January 14, 2011

NFL Divisional Weekend picks.....

I am really looking forward to this Divisional Playoff round, especially the matchups on the AFC side with both games being the third game of the year between the divisional foes. On the NFC side, they are also rematch games that were both three point affairs.

As for my Wildcard weekend picks, I was 3-1 against the spread (lost with the Colts), but only 2-2 overall in picking the winners (0-2 Saturday and 2-0 on Sunday), with me thinking the Seahawks would keep it close, but never expecting them to pull off the victory.

Divisional Round Weekend:

STEELERS (-3) over Ravens
Many consider this the best rivalry in the NFL, myself included, and NFL fans gets to see it for the third time this season and eighth time in the past three seasons. Unlike the last time they played in the 2008 AFC Championship Game where both teams played the prior week, this matchup has the Steelers coming off the bye week and I think that is an advantage for Pittsburgh. I look for at least one or two big plays by Ben Roethlisberger outside the pocket to the speedy wide receivers, Mike Wallace or Emmanuel Sanders, being the difference in this game. The Ravens need Ray Rice to have a big game running the ball and that will be difficult against this Steeler defense.
Steelers 23
Ravens 19

Packers (+3) over FALCONS
Atlanta beat Grren Bay with a last second field goal back in week 12 and we can only hope for a game with as much drama in this matchup. The Falcons are the #1 seed, but are the quiet team in this matchup as all the talk is about how well the Packers are playing,coming off their victory last week in Philadelphia. Atlanta plays solid football and at home they are a great team, but the Packers are a team that matches up well with them, especially when they spread the field in four and five receiver sets. Atlanta will need to control the ball for more than 35 minutes in order to keep the Green Bay offense in control and are capable of doing that, but in the end Aaron Rodgers gets the best of the Falcons and keeps the Packers moving forward.
Packers 24
Falcons 20

BEARS (-10) over Seahawks
There sure seems to be quite a few "Seattle can make some noise" statements and articles this week after they knocked out the New Orleans Saints last week. Well, if the Seahawks were this good as being said this week, shouldn't they have finished with a record better than 7-9 for the season? Seattle got the perfect opponent last week in a Saint team that overlooked them and played their worst defensive game of the season. An overlooked fact is the the Saints made it to the red zone seven times and scored each of those times. Chivago is rested and the overall better team. Unless the Bears play their worst defensive game, i don't see how Seattle pulls off this upset. Yes, Seattle won in Chicago during the regular season, but that was in week 6 and the Bears are much better than that early season team. My fear is the "bad" Jay Cutler shows up, and while that is possible, that Cutler hasn't been around for a couple of months and i don't think he makes an appearance this week.
Bears 31
Seahawks 14

Jets (+9) over PATRIOTS
There is a large part of my thinking that leans towards a blowout for New England in this matchup as the bye week and the third game against the same opponent is the perfect formula for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick to take advantage of, but something just says to me that this game is closer than the large spread. I think the Patriots win this game, but the Jets will and must run the ball to stay with New England and will find enough success doing so to keep this a low scoring matchup. If New York decided to put the ball in Mark Sanchez's hands, then that plays into New England's hands and then we could see a double digit blowout. This Patriot team is different than the 2007 team as it has gotten better over the season, while that 2007 team was not as good coming into the playoffs. They take the Jets best shots at the Patriots, but in the end Tom Brady shows why he his this year's NFL MVP and leads New England to the AFC Championship.
Patriots 27
Jets 19

Wildcard weekend record: 3-1

Win/Loss picks:
Wildcard weekend: Sal (2-2) / Mike (3-1)

--- Ravens at Steelers --- Sal / Mike
Sal / Mike --- Packers at Falcons ---
--- Seahawks at Bears --- Sal / Mike
--- Jets at Patriots --- Sal / Mike

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Divisional Playoff Weekend - The SFB Podcast (1/13/2010).....

This weekend's Divisional Playoff games are all rematches from the regular season, with the AFC games being the third game between divisional foes and the NFC games taking place on the same field as the regular season matchups. Mike joins me to preview the four games and some other news from around the sports world, including the BCS Championship and the new format for the NHL All-Star Game. Enjoy.

The SportsFan Buzz: January 13, 2011 (right click to "save as target)
You can find and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.
Voice over talent provided by Morgan Thomas.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wild NFL weekend - The SFB Podcast (1/10/2010).....

What a great playoff weekend with three of the four games coming down to the final possessions, while the Raven - Chief game was close for three quarters before Kansas City imploded. Who had the Seahawks as the only home winner this weekend? Not many. Mike joins me to take a look at the four games from the weekend and why they were won or lost. Enjoy.

The SportsFan Buzz: January 10, 2011 (right click to "save as target)
You can find and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.
Voice over talent provided by Morgan Thomas.

Friday, January 7, 2011

NFL Wildcard Weekend picks.....

Mike beat me by two games in picking the winners straight up for the 2010 season. On my picks against the spread, I was on the winning side of the ledger and that is all I can ask for after 256 games. Now it is onto the playoffs and hopefully I can stay on the positive side of the tote board. Enjoy.

Week 17 picks: 7-8-1
2010 season: 134-108-14

Win/Lose picks:
Week 17 results: Mike (11-5) / Sal (11-5) / Guest (10-6)
2010 season: Mike (163-93) / Sal (161-95) / Guest (145-111)

Wildcard Weekend:

SEAHAWKS (+11) over Saints
The Saints start their Super Bowl defense against a Seattle team that many believe don't belong in the playoffs. Well, the Seahawks are here and they will not be the pushover many think on Saturday afternoon. The key to Seattle will be feeding off the excitement of a home playoff game and not allow New Orleans to jump to an two score early lead. The lack of a running game (both Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory are out), a short week with long travel and the Seattle crowd will add up to a game closer than many think, but in the end Drew Brees and the Saint offense will find enough holes in the Seahawk defense to get the victory and move forward in defending their crown.
Saints 26
Seahawks 17

COLTS (-3) over Jets
A rematch of last year's AFC Championship game and both teams are different from twelves months ago. While the Colt offense is less explosive without Dallas Clark and Austin Collie, the Jet defense is not as dominant as last year and gives up more passing yard and points than in 2009. At the end of the day it is just hard to go against Peyton Manning, especially at home. I would feel more comfortable if Clark or Collie was available, but Joseph Addai is there and that will help Manning keep the offense balanced. New York needs to run the ball and the Indianapolis defense has been better against the run the last quarter of the season and will need a big game from Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson to help keep Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis away from Mark Sanchez.
Colts 27
Jets 20

Ravens (-3) over CHIEFS
The veteran Baltimore team against the young Kansas City squad. While I think the Ravens have the best shot of the AFC teams this weekend to make the Super Bowl, this is a match-up that is the worst one that could have happened for the Ravens. The Chiefs have more speed than the Ravens and that is the one area where Baltimore is vulnerable. While I fully expect the Ravens to pound the Chiefs with Ray Rice and Joe Flacco using play action, it would not surprise me to see this a game where the Kansas City speed bothers Baltimore enough to keep it close. Plus add in the Arrowhead crowd, where the Chiefs only lost once this season, and Kansas City has the goods to be able to pull the upset. In the end though, one of those veterans on the Raven defense steps up and helps put away Kansas City.
Ravens 23
Chiefs 19

Packers (+3) over EAGLES
Green Bay was my preseason Super Bowl pick and I will not be changing now that the playoffs have started. Andy Reid is a great coach when he has time to prepare his team and by taking last week off against Dallas, manufactured a bye week and much needed rest for Michael Vick. The Packers will attack Vick with defensive back blitzes (most likely Charles Woodson) from one side and Clay Matthews from the other, so it will be up to Vick to stay in the pocket and find DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin with Packers flying at him. The Green Bay defense has enough speed to keep up with the Eagle speed and could upset Vick enough to where he tries to force the issues. On the other side, while the Packers will try to run the ball, Aaron Rodgers will be the key to getting the victory and his ability to beat the Philadelphia biltzes. Rodgers, with his receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver will expose the Eagle secondary and get Rodgershis first playoff win.
Packers 30
Eagles 17

Win/Lose picks:
Sal / Mike --- Seahawks at Saints ---
Mike --- Jets at Colts --- Sal
Sal / Mike --- Ravens at Chiefs ---
Sal / Mike --- Packers at Eagles ---

Wildcard Weekend - The SFB Podcast (1/7/2011)

The NFL Playoffs start on Saturday and we are down to 12 teams looking to win the Super Bowl. Will the Saints repeat as Super Bowl champions or do we get a new team holding the Lombardi trophy? Mike joins me to preview the four games and give our thoughts on who will move on to the Divisional Round. Plus we discuss the Baseball Hall of Fame voting and the NHL Winter Classic. Enjoy.

The SportsFan Buzz: January 7, 2011 (right click to "save as target)
You can find and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.
Voice over talent provided by Morgan Thomas.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

NFL Week 17 & Holiday Sports - The SFB Podcast (1/4/2011).....

The NFL season ended on Sunday and we are onto the playoffs. NFL Week 17 wasn't the greatest football Sunday we have seen, but there was still good football. I'll review the games of importance from Sunday and set-up the Wildcard weekend. Also, there was a NHL Winter Classic and college bowl games over the holiday week that we'll look back on. Enjoy.

The SportsFan Buzz: January 4, 2011 (right click to "save as target)
You can find and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.
Voice over talent provided by Morgan Thomas.