Week one of my weekly power rankings. After the first week we see some teams (Rays, Cardinals and Tigers) are better than even we could advertise. While others (Yankees, Braves and Red Sox) need to get it together quickly. I’ll have to try and figure out when the last time those three franchises were swept the first three games of the season at the same time. I’m also fully prepared for the backlash from Orioles fans. Continue reading “MLB 2012: Week One Power Rankings”→
Every year a player takes that “leap to super stardom” with a performance that was neither expected or even explained. Some make that leap and stay there as Brian McCann did back in 2006. McCann was a “tweener” prospect at best when he was coming up with the Atlanta Braves; good enough bat to stick, but nothing spectacular. Now a six-time All-Star and five-time silver slugger winner, McCann is arguably the best offensive catcher in the game. Then there are others who, for one reason or another, never quite figure it out after that career year (Geovany Soto ring a bell?).
That’s a wrap on this NFL season. Congrats to the New York Giants on winning their second Super Bowl in four years and eighth (league and Super Bowl combined) overall. Eli Manning turned in another Super Bowl MVP performance, this time going 30/40 for 296 yards and a touchdown.
Note: Eli Manning this 2011 playoff season went (4-0) with a completion percentage of 66.4, nine touchdowns and just one interception.
Can’t forget about the defense of the Giants. They were essentially the reason New York went from (9-7) playoff question marks to the newly crowned champs that beat the number one and two seed on the road to do it. Lets put this in perspective folks: The Patriots averaged 28.3 points per game and the Giants held them to 17. That is with Brady turning in a record breaking performance halfway through the game.
Tom Coughlin basically punched his ticket to Canton with this victory on Sunday if he hadn’t done it already. All the man does is bring his teams together and coach solid football. He not only has two Super Bowl victories with the Giants but many forget his work with the expansion Jaguars in taking them to the AFC championship game in their second season of existence and turning in division titles in years three and four of the franchise. The man can coach and I think (like Eli Manning) its time to start recognizing these guys for what they are: an elite QB/coach tandem in the National Football league.
Peyton Manning is still in Indianapolis but for how long? Jim Irsay and the iconic Colts quarterback are set to meet this week. My bet is it will be to let number 18 know how thankful they are for his services but its time to part ways. In some ways its sad seeing the end of the Manning era in Indy because, like many legends, he is known in a Colts uniform. But as I stated previously on this blog it is a business; and my hunch says Manning will be free to walk by the end of the week.
On Tuesday the Colts fired Jim Caldwell after 3 seasons. Now for some they might look at the present situation and think “why wouldn’t you fire a guy who just went (2-14)?”
I’ll tell you why. Because that same guy led the Colts in the post-Dungy era to two division championships and a Super Bowl appearance. There will be many that say he only has this success because of Peyton Manning and , while Manning has a huge part in the success of this franchise, his ability should not be understated. After that Super Bowl appearance the Colts weathered a rash of injuries that included their best slot receiver (Austin Collie) , their top tight end (Dallas Clark), two of their best on defense (Kelvin Hayden and Bob Sanders) and that doesn’t even include the guy who replaced Collie (Anthony Gonzalez) going down as well.
What this firing also does is raise a serious red flag for African-American coaches in the National Football League and the rate of success they need to win in order to have adequate job security. I give credit to Irsay for staying in-house and choosing Caldwell to succeed Dungy following his retirement. But ultimately, that credit is revoked when you just terminated one of the better coaches in the league as a knee-jerk reaction to a season you entrusted to Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky and 79-year old Kerry Collins. For those of you counting at home it would have taken a modern miracle to win with those odds.
The list of replacements for the position was even more confusing.
First names out for the position were two former head coaches with a combined (15-65) record. I did say combined, and yes you read that win column correctly. Steve Spagnuolo and Marty Mornhinweg combined to win 15 games in 5 total seasons in St. Louis and Detroit. This is the direction you want your franchise to go? In the case of Spagnuolo the ink hadn’t even dried on his pink slip before he was mentioned as a candidate in Indy. Hard to understand the thinking on this one.
NFC Championship Prediction
Giants 28, 49ers 21
I’ve learned not to bet against Eli Manning, especially on the road in the playoffs. I’ve also been burned on my predictions against the 49ers all season. I wouldn’t be surprised if this score was flipped and San Francisco makes their first Super Bowl since 1994. It’s all going to depend on how Manning navigates this 49ers secondary and if Alex Smith can sustain a rejuvenated Giants defensive line that is much improved since their week ten matchup.
AFC Championship Prediction
Ravens 21, Patriots 34
I like the Ravens defense. I like coach John Harbaugh. I don’t like Joe Flacco and his ability to go bullet-for-bullet with Tom Brady. Brady was focused last week in his barrage against the Broncos and I think that singular focus will be seen in this game. Ray Lewis will have his troops ready but if their offense doesn’t move the ball efficiently against the Patriots it won’t be pretty for Baltimore.