Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 NFL Wild Card Predictions

#6- Cincinnati Bengals @ #3- Houston Texans - Sat 5 Jan 13 - 4:30 PM ET - NBC - Midway through the season, many people thought it was all over for the Bengals. They were as low as 3-5 while the Steelers at their peak were 6-3 with the Ravens being as good as 9-2. However, this Bengals team snuck up on a lot of people, myself included, by winning seven of their last eight to end at 10-6. A Pittsburgh collapse also helped their cause in getting in. By making the playoffs, the Bengals have also done something that they haven't done in thirty years and that is make the playoffs two consecutive seasons. Now they look to do something that they haven't done in twenty years and that is win a playoff game. Their fortunes are looking up because they look to get revenge on the team that beat them in the playoffs last year. Earlier in the season, I wouldn't have given anyone a huge shot to beat the Texans, but right now the Texans are reeling and in the NFL momentum is key in the playoffs. Momentum in this match-up is definitely on the side of the Bengals. However, despite this I still have a gut feeling that the Texans are going to pull it together and come out with a win, because when they do pull it together, they are a really good team that is tough to beat. Prediction: Texans 31 - Bengals 28

#6- Minnesota Vikings @ #3- Green Bay Packers - Sat 5 Jan 13 - 8:00 PM ET - NBC - I swear I have seen this match-up recently, almost like a deja vu. Oh yeah, that's right. They just played each other in their last game. If their week 17 match-up is any indication of how this game is going to go, then we will be in for another dog fight. Now the Packers did win back in week 13 at Green Bay, so each team has a win on their own field and this time around they'll be back in Green Bay which does give the Vikings a huge advantage not just because it is at Lambeau Field, but also because it is January at Lambeau Field and a night game nonetheless. Is it too rash of me to predict that this is going to be a cold game? The Vikings will be missing their dome back in Minnesota this next weekend and will come up short. But props to Adrian Peterson putting this team on his back and almost single-handedly take them to the playoffs. Any question he should get MVP?  Prediction: Packers 17 - Vikings 10

#5- Indianapolis Colts @ #4- Baltimore Ravens -  Sun 6 Jan 13 - 1:00 PM ET  - CBS - This Colts team is easily the story of the year. A year ago, their team completely crashed. Franchise quarterback out with a neck injury all year led to a 2-14 record, a firing of the GM and Head Coach,  a parting of ways with Petyon Manning, and the number one pick in the NFL draft. They were swung full force into rebuilding mode and no one expected much of anything from them for at least a few years and what do they do the very next season? 11-5? Head Coach Chuck Pagano getting diagnosed with lukemia at the start of the season makes things even more story book. I really want them to win and thus set up a match-up against old quarterback Peyton Manning, but unfortunately I don't know if that will happen. It's true that the Ravens have lost four of their last five, but this past week doesn't count because they weren't playing for anything and so they let their starters have the day off. The previous week they demolished the Giants and I have a feeling that that is the Ravens team that will show up to this game. Despite this storybook season for the Colts, playoff experience is something most of their team doesn't have while the Ravens team has plenty of it. I'm giving the nod to experience in this one. Prediction: Ravens 34 - Colts 21

#5- Seattle Seahawks @ #4- Washington Redskins - Sun 6 Jan 13 - 4:30 PM ET - FOX - Halfway through the season we all thought the NFC East race was over.  The Giants were 6-2 and playing like the best team in the league while the Eagles, Redskins, and Cowboys all only had three wins each. The Redskins even got as bad as 3-6 and if at that point you were to predict that not only would they make the playoffs, but they would win the division, everyone would've laughed at you. However, after being 3-6, they had a bye week and something must've happened that week because they haven't lost since and look at where they are now. And how about this rookie class of quarterbacks? The top two picks in this past draft both led their teams to the playoffs and of course we can't forget Russell Wilson being the third rookie quarterback to lead his team to the playoffs this year. Speaking of Seahawks. This Redskins magic thing will get a little tricky here as they just happened to go up against the one team that no one wants to play in the playoffs. The Rams slowed them down a bit this past week, but their offense has been connecting on all cylinders recently and to go along with that their defense is the best defense in the league in terms of points per game and in the top five in terms of yards per game. While the Redskins have been magical, they've looked very vulnerable in their past two games and overall in terms of defense while the Seahawks are at the top, the Redskins are actually towards the bottom and that is the x-factor for me in this game. Just like they say, defense wins championships. If you know me well enough, you will know who I am going to be rooting for in this one, but if I am being unbiased I have to go with the Seahawks. And I don't even know if it's going to be close. Prediction: Seahawks 44 - Redskins 13

Friday, December 28, 2012

Les Misérables Review

Don't you wish you lived in a world where all everyone did was sing? Sing when you're in jail. Sing when you're in court. Sing when you're having a problem. Sing when you are a prostitute about to... uhhh... get some money? Sing when your daughter wants to know what the heck is happening. Sing when you read the love letter to your daughter. Sing when you jump off a bridge. Sing your loudest when everyone around you is sleeping and not have them hear you at all. Or not. Maybe your with me and would prefer to talk everyone once in a while. Yup, you guessed it. I just got back from seeing Les Mis and giving you my thoughts about it.

I'll be perfectly honest. Before seeing Les Mis tonight in the theater, I had never seen any movie or play production of Les Mis and have never read the novel. This is a fact that I am more embarrassed about then proud of. In no way am I against Les Mis, its just for some odd reason I had never got around to seeing it. So I repented of my past mistakes and went in to this with very high hopes as all my friends seemed to be in love with it. How did I like it? Uh, well, I left the theater with an overall good impression of the movie, but I do have some reservations about what I saw that hopefully don't get me stoned too bad by Les Mis fans.

So lets start with what a referred to in my first paragraph. This is obviously a musical. I enjoy musicals, I really do. In fact, I love music in general. I took six years of band throughout grade school and while I never took choir, I always enjoyed singing. In fact I have roommates that have said living with me is like living in a musical. Something will be said that will remind me of a song and I will just break out singing randomly. However, most musicals I have seen include part talking dialogue (non-singing) and part song. A lot of Disney animated movies are like this. I say that because I watched the movie Tangled right before going to Les Mis. And before you stone me for claiming those aren't real musicals, let me redeem myself by comparing this with Fiddler on the Roof. That's a movie musical that includes dialogue and music together. A Fiddler on the Roof style of movie is what I expected when I went into this movie. And what I got was a movie that never stopped singing for the entire 157 minutes. Yes, that style did bother me a bit. And by a bit I probably mean more than a bit. Go re-read my first paragraph for a few examples of this that I found a bit ridiculous.

That aside, another thing that bothered me was that the first half of the movie was really raunchy. A big part of this was Anne Hathaway's part. I really loved her in The Dark Knight Rises and so I was excited for her role in this, especially after the Oscar buzz is all over her. But seriously? Prostitute version of Anne Hathaway was not pleasant to watch. I mean, if you are going have a movie that includes prostitutes, can you at least do more implying? Watching a dirty, beaten up Anne Hathaway get partially stripped down and watching the guy have sex with her (no nudity shown) was extremely gross. Oh but we weren't done there. We then get graced with a whole song in a whore house (or whatever that was), led by Thénardier couple (Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter). No nudity is shown, but there is plenty of cleavage to go around in that scene (which includes a girl getting it on with Santa Claus, or Saint Nicholas I guess) as well as before and after and pretty much every time we see Anne Hathaway.

Now lets quickly move on from that. If you have made it this far into my review, you will now be rewarded with what I thought was great. And that would be the second half of the movie. Jean Valjean adopts the extremely adorable Cosette. That little girl was just a sweatheart that I fell in love with. After that happens, we shortly get fast-forwarded into the future when Cosette is a young lady played by Amanda Seyfried and from this point on the movie was fantastic. It was emotional, moving, and well-acted. Yes, the movie was a touch on the long side, but I felt it needed the good long ending that it had in order to semi redeem itself from the awful beginning. And of course the music was great, even if I thought there was a bit too much of it.

Now lets end this by going over the musical stars. In my eyes, Isabelle Allen (young Cosette) and Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche) stole the show for me. Those two young child actors singing were just adorable. Next most impressive was the amazing and beautiful voice of Samantha Barks (Éponine). The cute young couple played by Amanda Seyfried (older Cosette) and Eddie Redmayne (Marius) did a great job, although I will admit that I was slightly more impressed by Eddie than Amanda. Hugh Jackman did fantastic throughout most of the movie, although there were a few iffy moments for him. Anne Hathaway despite her awful role, actually did have a great voice that I have to praise. Cohen and Carter get an all around F from me, both in singing and in acting. And Russell Crowe, uh.... well, lets just say he shouldn't make a habit of doing musicals. Aaron Tveit as Enjolras was our other main singer and I did enjoy him as well.

Ending with my overall grade, I didn't hate this movie. Although not what I expected, I did have a positive feeling coming out of it because of the fantastic ending, but I can't ignore the raunchiness of the movie. That's something that I really don't appreciate and can't praise. This movie has given me a desire to go see other Les Mis productions and movies, but this specific one was a miss for me. 6 out 10.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 17

1- Denver Bronocs - 12-3 (+0) - Thanks to the Minnesota Vikings knocking of the Texans this past week, the Broncos have a decent  for the playoffs in the AFC to go through Denver. They just have to beat the 2-13 Chiefs and hope that the Texans stumble again when they travel to Indianapolis in this final week.

2- Atlanta Falcons - 13-2 (+4) - The Falcons have been an iffy team all year, but they've turned it on at just the right time. The NFC playoffs will be extremely competitive this year and the Falcons should feel fortunate that they have to go through Atlanta.

3- Green Bay Packers - 11-4 (+3) - It's true that the Titans aren't much competition, but still a 50+ point game is a message to the league to not overlook the Packers in the playoffs, which is something many have been doing recently. A win gives them a first round bye, but they will have to go through a record-seeking Adrian Peterson to do so.

4- Seattle Seahawks - 10-5 (+3) - If you weren't convinced about the Seahawks contending yet, then that blowout of the Niners should've been enough. Now the disadvantage they will have is that despite being the best team in the NFC West, they won't get to take the 12th man into the playoffs with them. All the Niners need to do is beat the lowly Cardinals to win the division. While undefeated at home, the Seahawks are only 3-5 on the road.

5- New England Patriots - 11-4 (-1) - It's not a good time of the year for the Patriots to be slipping as they followed up a Niners loss by nearly losing to the now 2-13 Jaguars. If they get a little help from either the Colts or Chiefs they have a chance at a first round bye. They own tiebreakers over both the Broncos and Texans.

6- San Francisco 49ers - 10-4-1 (-4) - I finally gave the Niners some love last week for the first time in several weeks and what do they do? Get themselves pummeled by the Seahawks. Lucky for them they just have to beat the Cardinals in order for them to win the division. Unlucky for them is that I still think them going with Kaepernick at quarterback is going to cost them their season early on in the playoffs.

7- Houston Texans - 12-3 (-4) - Winning the Super Bowl in the NFL is all about having positive momentum going into the playoffs and the Texans are going the complete wrong way. They need to win this week at the Colts and they will barely sneak away with the homefield advantage. Then they have a week off to get back on track.

8- Washington Redskins - 9-6 (+0) - They almost let that game against the Eagles get away from them on Sunday. Now its time to see how magical they really are on Sunday as the Cowboys come to town for a winner takes all in the NFC East while the loser will be watching the playoffs on their coaches.

9- Baltimore Ravens - 10-5 (+2) - That statement win against the Giants was timed quite nicely for the Ravens. I'd say this final game against the Bengals is useless because the Ravens are pretty much locked into the 4 seed, but they need it to keep their momentum going. They can't afford going into the playoffs having lost 4 of 5.

10- Indianapolis Colts - 10-5 (+0) - The Colts have officially pulled off an outstanding feat. Who would've thought these Colts, fresh off the top pick in the draft, would be in the playoffs with double digit wins? They may be a quick exit in the playoffs, but they have a lot of hope with Andrew Luck as their quarterback.

11- Minnesota Vikings - 9-6 (+3) - I keep counting the Vikings out, but now they completely control their own destiny. With them owning the tiebreaker over the Bears, the goal is simple on Sunday. Beat the Packers and they are in. And you know you have a great running back when 85 yards is considered a bad week. AP certainly has my vote for MVP if the Vikings pull this off.

12- Cincinnati Bengals - 9-6 (+1) - The Bengals did. They held of the Steelers and claimed a spot in the playoffs. They are now locked in at the 6 seed, so it will be interesting to see what they do when the Ravens come to town on Sunday.

13- Dallas Cowboys - 8-7 (-4) - Maybe dropping the Cowboys four spots was a little harsh after a useless loss against the Saints. I say useless because how things shaped out, this week whoever wins the Cowboys vs Redskins game will take the division. Can Tony Romo lead this team to the playoffs or is he going to be Tony Choko again?

14- Chicago Bears - 9-6 (-1) - Despite how much Bears nation like Brandon Marshall hate the Packers, Bears fans need to be Packers fans this weekend because if the Vikings win, its all over. But a Packers win followed by a Bears win in Detroit sneaks them into the playoffs, which would be a miracle considering how these last two months have gone. Remember that these Bears were once 7-1?

15- New York Giants - 8-7 (-3) - The Giants have been in this situation before, they all say. They'll make it through again. Yes, I believed that too. I kept waiting for that end of the season switch to turn on, but it never did. Now in order for them to get the mere 6th seed, they need the Packers to beat the Vikings, the Lions to beat the Bears, the Redskins to beat the Cowboys, and they need to beat the Eagles. Chances of all that happening? Pretty slim.

16- St. Louis Rams - 7-7-1 (-1) - It's been a good year for the Rams. To end the season, they would like nothing more than to beat the Seahawks in Seattle, ending their perfect home record. Before you count the Rams out, remember that they are still undefeated in the NFC West this season.

17- New Orleans Saints - 7-8 (+1) - These last two weeks have been impressive for the Saints. If they beat the Panthers, they wind up at .500, which is pretty good considering all they have been through.

18- Pittsburgh Steelers - 7-8 (-2) - Big Ben can blame Todd Haley or anyone else on the Pittsburgh team all he wants, but when push comes to shove, its his own fault that he'll be watching the playoffs from his couch this season. Two bad passes led to two interceptions which led to two losses in the last two weeks that led to the Steelers being eliminated.

19- Miami Dolphins - 7-8 (+0) - This Dolphins team has a lot of work to do in order to become playoff contenders, but if Tannehill improves on his rookie season and the Dolphins add more pieces around him, they could compete in the future.

20- Carolina Panthers - 6-9 (+1) - It's been impressive how the Panthers have clawed their way out of the basement of the league to looking semi respectable. Now they just need to build on this and win games at the start of the season next year and maybe they can make a playoff push.

21- San Diego Chargers - 6-9 (+1) - Rumors are already flying around about the next Chargers head coach. I hope they get a good one because its sad to see so much talent go to waste. The Chargers really have the potential to be a great team.

22- Cleveland Browns - 5-10 (-2) - No one really expected them to beat the Broncos this week, but doing so has earned them their 9th double-digit loss season in 10 years. I feel bad for this franchise.

23- Buffalo Bills - 5-10 (+0) - The Bills don't have as many double digit loss seasons as the previously mentioned Browns, but I do feel bad for them as well. They haven't made it into the playoffs once this millennium. 1999 was their last appearance.

24- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 6-9 (+0) - Remember when the Bucs were 6-4 and had a legit shot at the playoffs from how they were playing? Yeah, neither do I.

25- Tennessee Titans - 5-10 (+0) - Now that's a way to add insult to injury. I wonder how many Titans players were even trying during that barn-burner against the Packers.

26- New York Jets - 6-9 (+0) - You know the TV show Extreme Home Makeover? That is exactly what needs to happen in New York this offseason. Fire the head coach. Fire the GM. Dump Sanchez and Tebow. Then start over. New head coach. New GM. New quarterback. New crew of running backs and receivers. It'll take some time to clean up this mess, but it needs to happen.

27- Arizona Cardinals - 5-10 (+0) - After another disappointing season in Arizona, is it time to move on from Ken Wisenhunt? It seems that Kurt Warner was the only person that could remove the Arizona curse and now they need to find a way overcome it again.

28- Philadelphia Eagles - 4-11 (+0) - Only one more week and the Andy Reid era will officially be over. Michael Vick will be back for the Giants finale and claims this isn't an audition, which is probably a good mindset to have, but the reality is that it probably is. Unlike quarterbacks like Sanchez and Tebow, there will probably a good number of teams interested in his services, so he'd be best to perform well.

29- Detroit Lions - 4-11 (+0) - In light of a dismal season for the Lions at least they had one bright spot last week with Calvin Johnson breaking the single season receiving yards record. And now he has a shot at hitting the 2,000 receiving yards mark, which is totally insane. Too bad he's been the only Lion to show up this year.

30- Oakland Raiders - 4-11 (+0) - Hey there was a Matt Leinart sighting this past week! If you had no idea where he ended up, you now know that he is currently an Oakland Raider. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what needs to happen to make this a good team. They're just another cursed franchise.

31- Jacksonville Jaguars - 2-13 (+0) - A near victory against the Patriots is a good way to end the season for the Jags. Now they get to take a trip to Tennessee to finish off this awful season. They should come out with a victory and end this season on a positive note.

32- Kansas City Chiefs - 2-13 (+0) - That fourth down play against the Colts really does show you why this team is going to wind up with the top pick in next year's draft. Jamaal Charles is having a heyday and you don't give him the ball at the most critical time of the game? Wow.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Top 10 Songs of 2012

The following list is a list of the most popular songs of 2012, based on the Hot 100 charts on This is not a list of my favorite songs of the year in case there is any confusion. In order to compile this list, I kept track of every song that made an appearance in the top 10 of the Hot 100 specifically noting how many weeks they were in the top 10, how many weeks they were in the top 5 (if any), and how many weeks they were #1 (if any). I then devised a simple formula that gave them a certain number of points based on these totals that would determine the most popular songs of the year. More points were awarded for a top 5 appearance than a top 10 appearance and most points were awarded for making it to #1. Yes, it is true that there is still a week and a half left of 2012 at my submission of this list, but the billboard charts that were released this past week were for the week of December 28th, meaning that the charts released next week would be considered 2013 in my book, so the timing is appropriate. You may be surprised at what songs did or what songs didn't make the list, although if you followed music this year, none of these choices should be too much of a shocker. Here they are in descending order with their corresponding music videos:

10- Glad You Came - The Wanted

9- Set Fire to the Rain - Adele

8- We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together - Taylor Swift

7- Some Nights - fun.

6- Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) - Kelly Clarkson

5- Payphone - Maroon 5 (featuring Wiz Khalifa)

4- We Are Young - fun. (featuring Janelle Monae)

3- One More Night - Maroon 5

2- Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen

1- Somebody That I Used to Know - Gotye (featuring Kimbra)

Honorable Mentions- Lights - Ellie Goulding; Whistle - Flo Rida; Diamonds - Rihanna; Gangnam Style - PSY; We Found Love - Rihanna (featuring Calvin Harris)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 16

1- Denver Broncos - 11-3 (+2) - It's a really confusing top 5 here for the power rankings this week because just about every team has lost to another team here in the top 5. When push came to shove, I awarded the top position to the team that hasn't lost a game since the first week in October.

2- San Francisco 49ers - 10-3-1 (+4) - That impressive win over the Patriots earned them a significant jump in the power rankings. They need to take that momentum into Seattle to face a red hot Seahawks team to officially lock down that division.

3- Houston Texans - 12-2 (-1) - That was a big win on Sunday to clinch the division. They'll host a Vikings team this Sunday fighting for their playoff lives. Win and they will lock down home field advantage in the playoffs, something they'll desperately need with the way the Patriots and Broncos are playing.

4- New England Patriots - 10-4 (-3) - The loss to the 49ers on Sunday was a bit of a setback for them, but don't worry too much about them. They will bounce right back and be dangerous in the playoffs.

5- Atlanta Falcons - 12-2 (+0) - After all the disappointing showings for them this season, it was great to see them flex their muscles against the Giants on Sunday. They just need to use that newly gained momentum and take it with them into the playoffs and maybe they'll be able to do something.

6- Green Bay Packers - 10-4 (-2) - They don't really deserve to drop two spots in the rankings after winning a clutch game against the Bears to win the division. I't just huge wins for the Falcons and Niners gave those teams kudos in these rankings. Packers haven't been winning impressively, but don't sleep on them.

7- Seattle Seahawks - 9-5 (+2) - Two straight wins where they score 50+ points? Pete Carroll is getting this team to look like his USC teams. Now lets see them do that to a team that is not the Cardinals or the Bills. The fake punt, by the way, was one of the more unclassy things I've seen this season. Uncalled for.

8- Washington Redskins - 8-6 (+4) - Right now this team is pretty magical and officially on top of their division. They only have a weak Eagles team in their way before their game of the year against the Cowboys that will most likely determine the division winner.

9- Dallas Cowboys - 8-6 (+4) - All they have to do this week is beat the Saints and they will set up an epic divisional match-up against the Redskins where a likely situation will be that the winner will take the division and the loser will miss the playoffs. No pressure.

10- Indianapolis Colts - 9-5 (-3) - A loss on the road to the Texans wasn't a complete surprise, but they did give them a run for their money. A win at Kansas City on Sunday will guarantee them a spot in the playoffs.

11- Baltimore Ravens - 9-5 (-1) - Luckily for them the tiebreakers have fallen just the right way that no matter what happens, they will at least get a playoff spot, but right now this is a team that looks like they won't make it very far at all in the playoffs. They could use a confidence booster these next two weeks.

12- New York Giants - 8-6 (-4) - Usually the Giants are pretty good at these late season runs to sneak into the playoffs which is why you would've thought they would've made the trip to Atlanta on Sunday. Now they have to go into Baltimore and beat the Ravens to even get a wild card spot. They're lucky the Ravens have been sucking it up as well.

13- Cincinnati Bengals - 8-6 (+3) - After suffering a disappointing loss to the Cowboys, they did their job and beat the Eagles Thursday night. Now its time for a huge game against the Steelers which should determine which team makes it in. All the tiebreakers go against them, so they need a win here or else they are done.

14- Minnesota Vikings - 8-6 (+0) - Thanks to what looks like a super human performance by that monster named Adrian Petereson, the Vikings are still alive. If the playoffs began this weekend, they'd actually be in, but to keep that spot, they have a tall order in front of them. Travel to Houston and knock of the Texans, then go back home and knock of the Packers. If they do it, AP definitely deserves MVP.

15- Chicago Bears - 8-6 (-4) - Sorry Brian Urlacher, if your team sucks it up like they have, your fans have every right to boo you. Emotions from him and Brandon Marshall definitely show what this Bears team is going through right now.  Lucky for them they finish the season with the Cardinals and Lions.

16- Pittsburgh Steelers - 7-7 (-1) - They really could've used that win against the Cowboys on Sunday, because now they are in a tight position. Lose to the Bengals on Sunday and their season is over. Ironically, if they win and the Ravens lose out, they could still win that division. They own the tiebreaker if they end up tied with the Bengals and Ravens at the seasons end.

17- St. Louis Rams - 6-7-1 (+0) - I guess mathematically the Rams aren't out of it, but barring a miracle, Adrian Peterson's monster performance on Sunday eliminated them. They need to keep their heads up though, because they have a lot of positive things to build on for next season.

18- New Orleans Saints - 6-8 (+5) - The Saints have got to be one of the most bi-polar teams I have seen in quite some time. One week they get smoked by the Giants and the other week they completely light up the Bucs. They have chance to spoil the Cowboys' season on Sunday if they keep their switch on.

19- Miami Dolphins - 6-8 (+2) - Despite yet another disappointing season for the Dolphins, their future still looks bright with Ryan Tannehill as their quarterback of the future. Great rookie year for him.

20- Cleveland Browns - 5-9 (+0) - The Browns almost spoiled the Redskins magic, but unfortunately they couldn't hang on. They end their year on a fun two game road trip to Denver and Pittsburgh.

21- Carolina Panthers - 5-9 (+4) - After starting 2-8, they've managed to avoid complete embarrassment this year by climbing out of the NFL basement with three wins in their last four games. Put a few more pieces around Cam Newton and this could be a team that competes in the near future.

22- San Diego Chargers - 5-9 (-3) - Norv Turner only has two games left with the San Diego Chargers before its time for the Bolts to officially start the search for a coach that can actually do something with this talented roster they have here in San Diego.

23- Buffalo Bills - 5-9 (-1) - It's rather embarrassing when any team scores 50 points on you. But hey, as a silver lining, they made it into the top plays of the week with an awesome one handed catch by Stevie Johnson. Too bad that's almost been the highlight of their season so far.

24- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 6-8 (-6) - What in the world happened to the Tampa Bay Bucs? Just four weeks ago they are standing at 6-4 and are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Now they are on a huge slide and turning into the laughing stock of the league again. That's quite the change.

25- Tennessee Titans - 5-9 (+2) - I have no idea who thought it was a good idea to put the Titans and Jets on the schedule for Monday Night Football, but somehow the Titans survived one of the messiest games of the year. Mark Sanchez was once again doing everything he could to help his opponent win and this time it worked.

26- New York Jets - 6-8 (-2) - I don't know why it took Rex Ryan until week 16 to realize starting Mark Sanchez isn't the way to help your team win. Maybe this is why the Jets are awful - they have a clueless idiot leading them. Time to redo this whole team and that starts with getting a new head coach.

27- Arizona Cardinals - 5-9 (+2) - Hey look! The Cardinals got a win this past Sunday! I don't know what sparked that sudden burst of greatness, but if they keep it up next week they have an opportunity to essentially eliminate the Bears from the playoffs.

28- Philadelphia Eagles - 4-10 (+0) - For a bit there, it seemed liked they were going to pull off a two game winning streak, but that poor Eagles team that we are so used to this year showed up and the Eagles dropped to double digit losses for only the second time since 2000.

29- Detroit Lions - 4-10 (-3) - Calvin Johnson only needs 182 yards to top Jerry Rice's single season receiving yards record and being that he has averaged 147 yards per game over the last 7 games, he should get it. It's too bad the rest of the Lions team didn't show up this season.

30- Oakland Raiders - 4-10 (+0) - Shutting out their division rival Chiefs 15-0 surely felt good for them. McFadden also had a nice game with over 100 yards rushing in his second game back. But that's still only the fourth win for this club.

31- Jacksonville Jaguars - 2-12 (+0) - The Jaguars are back on a slump after showing some signs of life a few weeks ago. This makes the Patriots happy as the Pats look to get back on track after that heartbreaking loss to the Niners this week as they travel to Jacksonville.

32- Kansas City Chiefs - 2-12 (+0) - You know you are having a bad season when you travel to Oakland and not only get shut out, but you only manage to get 46 plays off for a terrible 119 yards with your star running back getting only 10 yards on 9 carries.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Review

The Hobbit, the highly anticipated prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, finally made it's theatrical debut this past weekend. Well, the first of three Hobbit movies anyways. And not to be punny, but it took me on quite the unexpected journey in the past few months. Originally it was supposed to be two movies. No argument there. Then they decided to turn it into three movies. That's when I started having doubts about this. But then Peter Jackson justifies himself. Tolkien made some notes and was originally intending on rewriting the Hobbit, but it didn't happen and the notes became the appendices in Return of the King. Peter Jackson just wants to fulfill Tolkien's dream. Ok, I buy it. Then the reviews start coming out on RottenTomatoes. Not terrible, but a lot lower than the all the LOTR movies on the site. I become nervous again. But then user reviews come out. IMDb has it just as high as the the LOTR movies and all my friends who saw it at midnight are loving it. Great news! I'm excited again and go see it Friday night. How does this story turn out? To be perfectly honest, I walked out of that theater slightly disappointed.

Now we should probably back up a little bit real quick. I love the Lord of the Rings movies. I saw all of them in theaters and I am always up for a Lord of the Rings movie night or marathon. Did I like the books? Of course I did. But unfortunately I can't claim LOTR nerdism because the books do kinda lose me in the intense details. I mean I can appreciate that of course, but its the style of book that I don't make a habit of reading very much because it takes me too long. Thus I haven't jumped into all the extra Tolkien stuff like the appendices and Simirilian and what not. But I did read the Hobbit. Back in 7th grade. And, uh, well, I probably need to give it a second chance. I enjoyed it as a book, but wasn't blown away at all and even though reading the LOTR books was like trying to walk a mile uphill in sand for me, I preferred it over the Hobbit by a long shot. And it was meant as a children's book? Uhh... that 7th grade didn't think so. Children's books are usually a lot easier to finish.

So now that you are well versed on my Hobbit and LOTR background, lets jump into this movie that I saw. First of all, lets put it out there that I did enjoy it. It's a good movie and I recommend you go check it out. I just didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would enjoy it. The first half of the movie was the big problem. They were trying so hard to make it as epic as Lord of the Rings. They were also trying really hard to make this a believable, justifiable trilogy. I never bought it. They seemed like they were trying to hard and all I got was that they were just milking the cash cow because they know that no matter how many movies they make, people will go see them. The first half was just so boring to me. It had pacing issues. There were moments where I could tell that they were purposely trying to extend a scene out as long as possible to fill the three hour movie. It just didn't work for me. Remember that despite the bad things that were said about this movie, I came in excited and ready to see a great movie, so its not me just being biased due to coming in with preconceived notions. There came a point where my excitement ran out and after me being patient with the movie for a while, I was telling myself that the Hobbit has failed. They tried so hard to make this epic and it just isn't.

Now is the whole movie a waste? Am I just going to banter it endlessly until I decide to stop? No. There is some good parts to this movie. Namely the second half of it. It almost made up for the first half of the movie. With my being bored and concluding that this wasn't an epic movie while even dosing off a bit, the second we got to the Bilbo and Gollum scene it was like BAM! I was back. My negative emotions and disappointing feelings all went away and that was a scene I just loved. In fact, the rest of the movie I also loved. It was great. If the first half was that great, I would've been praising the whole thing. Also, I do have to praise the amazing music and fantastic cinematography. That was fantastic throughout. The acting was great. Andy Serkis nearly stole the show for me, but Martin Freeman and the other newcomers also did great. And of course, old-timers like Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, and Cate Blanchett were welcoming to see, even if some of them were limited in their role. Now there are many complaints about the 3D HFR that it was filmed in. I can honestly say that I had zero desire to see this movie in that format and with the awful reviews that it is getting, I most likely never will, so I have no say in the matter. I saw it in normal 2D.

So overall, here is what I think. The Hobbit is a movie that deserved to be made. But three movies I think is too much. I was skeptic about that going in and after seeing it I am disappointed that they made the decision. With the way the movie ended and with the potential this movie had, I fully believe that if they had edited a lot out, got further into the story in the first movie, and limited themselves to two movies instead of milking the cash cow to get three, I think that this movie would've been really epic. But that's not what they did. And because of that, I can only give this movie a disappointing 7 out of 10.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Movie Preview: December 2012

The month of December is about halfway over as the second weekend of the month is just coming at us, but there is still plenty to preview. In fact, last weekend there was only one new movie that came out and it hardly made a dent. This weekend, one of the most anticipated movies of the year, The Hobbit, finally makes it to the big screen but has no brave competitors, meaning two movies in the first two weeks. The last two weeks of the month, however, have eight new releases, meaning the holiday season has plenty of options for everyone, so let's jump right into it!

December 7th - 9th - This first weekend in December has already passed in case you didn't get the memo, but if you are wondering what came out, there was only one new release and that was Playing For Keeps. At first glance, you might think this is a movie that would've done better than in did. It only earned $5.7M which was only good enough for sixth place. Instead, people spent their money catching up on the November holdovers that carried November 2012 to the record books as the highest grossing November ever. After three weeks on top of the Box Office, Twilight fell down to third as Skyfall jumped back on top. Skyfall is by far the highest grossing Bond movie ever, although not the most attended. Adjusted for inflation it is currently number four behind Thunderball, Goldfinger, and You Only Live Twice. Dreamworks flop Rise of the Guardians rose to second place this weekend. Now I say flop not because of reviews (those were decent) but because it was the worst opening for a Dreamworks animated movie since 2006's Flushed Away. It also is in jeopardy of breaking Dreamworks Animation's 11 movie streak of $100M+. Also finishing ahead of playing for keeps is the two likely Oscar nominees Life of Pi and Lincoln as great word of mouth has helped those two movies hold really well. Now in talking about the actual movie in question, Playing For Keeps, it is a star studded romantic comedy with Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. But no matter how many stars you have, you need a good script and a smart movie that has good advertising and it looks like Playing For Keeps has none of those as it is currently at a pathetic 3% on RottenTomatoes and 5.2 in IMDb.

December 14th - 16th - It is finally here! The movie that many people have been waiting for all year to see. That is of course The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. By the time you actually read this, many of you will have already seen it because millions of people are in line as I am typing right now. The Hobbit is sure to perform fantastically and only needs to beat $77M to beat the current December record for opening weekend. Now the Lord of the Rings movies were never ones to post Harry Potter / Twilight numbers in opening weekend, but they always held well and went over $300M, which is what the Hobbit should do. Now the Lord of the Rings movies were praised all around by critics, fans, and oscars and so far the Hobbit is not following that trend. The questions stem from an interesting decision to split the book into three movies, when it really only needed two at most and the reaction is split so far as to how that is turning out. But that won't stop crowds from swarming to theaters to see it.

December 21st - 23rd - This is the weekend where things get extremely crowded. Five nationwide releases hit theaters in an attempt to try to draw in crowds the weekend before Christmas. All five of them will be really hard pressed to dethrone The Hobbit from the top of the box office, but in battling against each other, Jack Reacher has the best chance to win out amongst the new releases. Jack Reacher is a movie based on a book series written by Lee Grant. There are 17 books so far and this movie is going to be based on book number seven. The movie stars Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher and what it is is essentially a Jason Bourne or James Bond like series with Reacher being the hardcore action character. It is certain to satisfy the male crowd and if it does well, who knows how far they will take the series on the big screen, but I'm sure this won't be the only one. Opening up on Wednesday the 19th is yet another of Disney's 3D re-releases Monster's Inc. Right after Lion King was a huge hit, Disney quickly announced four more and this is number three. The overall gross for these 3D re-releases by Disney has gone down each time as Finding Nemo this year only opened to $40M, which was surprisingly less than Beauty and the Beast's underwhelming performance. Now Monsters Inc is timed kindly nicely as Monsters University is set to come out next summer, so it could do better than the previous two, but it could also get easily lost in the very crowded Christmas season. Next up is a pair of comedies, the first being the stronger R-rated comedy This is 40. It's advertised as the sort-of-sequel to Knocked Up and that describes it pretty well. It follows the life of Pete and Debbie (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann) a few years after the events of Knocked Up. Now Knocked Up opened to $30M back in the Summer of 2007 on its way to $150M, which is an impressive feat for an R-rated comedy. If This is 40 could match those numbers that would be very impressive, but it probably won't. However, it could easily compete Jack Reacher and Monster's Inc for the best new release of the week. The other comedy is Seth Rogan and Barbara Streisand's movie The Guilt Trip. It is a lighter PG-13, so it will attract a slightly different crowd than This is 40, but I imagine it will get overlooked this Christmas season and not make much of a dent. The last movie to open up in wide release also won't make much of a dent, partially because it is only playing in 800 theaters. That would be Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away. This is a concert movie that actually is directed by Andrew Adamson and has the help of executive producer James Cameron. Cirque Du Soleil started in 1984 in Canada and have been touring ever since and this is their first shot at a movie. Lastly, there are two significant movies coming out in limited release this weekend in order to have their names officially submitted for the Oscars. Both are likely to win big in terms of nominations at the very least. I will talk about them later when they get their wide release, but to make you aware, they are Zero Dark Thirty and Amour.

December 25th - 30th - Whew! That last weekend was quite the chore and you may have to take a quick breather before moving on. You'll notice that I put a wider margin of dates for this weekend, mainly because there are three nationwide releases and they have all wisely decided to open up on Christmas Day, which is a Tuesday and gives them the whole week and a weekend to perform well. Now the Hobbit will once again lead a whole slew of holdovers coming into Christmas and it could very well still keep ahead after all is said and done, but it will get some stiff competition from a few newcomers this weekend. The biggest threat to take over will certainly be another movie that has been highly anticipated for quite some time now and that is Les Miserables. Les Mis is widely considered one of the most popular musicals and is based originally off the novel by Victor Hugo in the 1800's. It has been turned into a movie on a few different occasions, most notably before this one being in 1998 starring Liam Neesen and Geoffery Rush among others. That version was strictly movie with no musical while this new one will be a full fledged musical. So much so that the music is all sung on set and none of it coming from prerecorded stuff. It has quite the lineup of actors which includes Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway and should get a good share of Oscar nominations. Competing with Les Mis will be Django Unchained. This movie is director/writer Quentin Tarantino's latest work of art and while it took until just a week ago to officially give it the R-rating, that shouldn't be a surprise knowing Tarantino's history. With that in mind it will be quite the hardcore Western drama and if it follows the pattern Tarantino's last movie it could easily wind up with over $30M on its opening weekend and even steal the weekend away. Award buzz will also help it's case as it has a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding it and just got nominated for Golden Globe for Best Picture. With all the competition this week, the last nationwide release may be the one to get shafted and that is Billy Crystal's family comedy Parental Guidance. It fittingly has the PG rating to go along with that title, which means I will be expected the sequel Parental Guidance: Some Material Not Suitable for Children Under Age 13 followed by the third movie Restricted. Joking aside, this will attempt to win over some family audiences on Christmas as it is about a set of grandparents asked to tend their three grandchildren. On a final note, one more movie will come out in limited release this weekend - a weekend before it's nationwide expansion - in order to submit itself for Oscar awards. This movie will be Matt Damon's Promised Land. I will speak of it next month.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 15

1- New England Patriots - 10-3 (+1) - The Patriots may not have the best record in the NFL, but they certainly are the best team in the NFL right now. They now have seven wins in a row topped off by a smashing of the Texans.

2- Houston Texans - 11-2 (-1) - People are ready to write off the Texans already after that loss against the Patriots and that would be a bad idea. That game was certainly a wake-up call for them, but they can recover and learn from it. They have the chance to officially clinch the division this week against the Colts at home.

3- Denver Broncos - 10-3 (+1) - Not a pretty win for Manning and company against the Raiders on Thursday, but eight wins in a row is great going into a very important game against the Ravens this week.

4- Green Bay Packers - 9-4 (+1) - The Packers keep on fighting and continue to be clutch as they held on to beat the Lions who are a lot better than their record says they are. Since they already beat the Bears once this year, a win in Chicago this week  will give them the division.

5- Atlanta Falcons - 11-2 (-2) - Even though the Falcons are 11-2, I didn't even know if I wanted to put them in my top five this week after they got owned by Cam Newton. This team won't make it very far into the playoffs playing like this. They get a great test against this week as the G-Men come to town.

6- San Francisco 49ers - 9-3-1 (+0) - Colin Kaepernick gets back on track with a hard fought win against the Dolphins. We'll see what he's made of this week as the Niners take a trip to Foxboro to face the red hot Patriots.

7- Indianapolis Colts - 9-4 (+2) - It wasn't an easy win against the Titans, but the Colts pulled it off to guarantee them a winning record. They still have a shot to win their division as they play the Texans twice in the last three weeks. Their first shot at the Texans will be this week in Houston.

8- New York Giants - 8-5 (+2) - The way the Giants played on Sunday is how they need to continue playing the rest of the season. The Cowboys have won four of five and the Redskins have won four in a row. The problem is that its not going to be easy for them as they travel to Atlanta this week then travel to Baltimore the next week. Their big ray of hope is that both of those teams are struggling, so they can do it.

9- Seattle Seahawks - 8-5 (+2) - Now how's that for some rivalry revenge? The Seahawks lost a heartbreaker to the Cards in week one, so a 58-0 beatdown is always satisfying. That was also the Seahawks' first division win. They can't afford to slip up in Buffalo this week, because they end with the Niners and Rams and they need to get to 10 wins with the way this wild card race is shaping up.

10- Baltimore Ravens - 9-4 (-3) - The Ravens are now on their first losing streak of the season and that comes at a bad time because the Broncos are coming to town followed by the Giants. If they aren't careful they could be looking at a 9-6 record when they travel to Cincinnati week 17. It's a good thing the Bengals and Steelers also lost this week to give them a little bit of breathing room.

11- Chicago Bears - 8-5 (-3) - In a short span of time, the Bears have gone from favorites to win their division to questionable to make the playoffs. They need to beat the Packers this week to even have a shot at the division. It's a good thing for them that after hosting the Pack, they get to travel to Arizona and Detroit to end the season.

12- Washington Redskins - 7-6 (+3) - The Redskins are very much alive in both the divisional race and the wild card race. They get to play the Browns and Eagles at the same time the Giants will be playing the Falcons and Ravens. However, don't consider this week's Browns game a gimmie for them. It is in Cleveland and RG3's status is in question. To go along with that, the Browns are on a three game winning streak.

13- Dallas Cowboys - 7-6 (+3) - Just like the aforementioned Redskins, the Cowboys are still in this. The problem is their road is a little bit harder as they get to play host to the Steelers and Saints before the big match-up against the Redskins in week 17.

14- Minnesota Vikings - 7-6 (+3) - That was a huge win against the Bears that keeps the Vikings alive in the wild card hunt. They still need a lot of help from other teams, but they first need to beat the Rams in a game where the loser will be officially out while the winner will still hold onto a ray of hope.

15- Pittsburgh Steelers - 7-6 (-2) - The Steelers got a lucky break this past week as the Cowboys saved their lives by beating the Bengals. Now they get to play that same Cowboys team this week in a game where the loser will be in a really rough situation.

16- Cincinnati Bengals - 7-6 (-4) - A loss to the Cowboys really hurt them, but now they get to camp out in Pennsylvania for the next two weeks. At the end of their trip, they will know if they are in or out of the playoffs. If they win both games and the Ravens lose their next two games, week 17 they will get to host the Ravens in a game that will determine the division.

17- St. Louis Rams - 6-6-1 (+4) - Believe it or not, but the Rams are not out of this playoff race. If they win out, the Niners beat the Seahawks, AND the winner of the Redskins/Cowboys game loses one of their other two games, the Rams are in.

18- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 6-7 (-4) - The Bucs losing to the Falcons and Broncos is understandable. Losing to the Eagles is not. They really needed that win and now ending the Eagles' eight game losing streak cost the Bucs their playoff hopes. Technically it's possible, but realistically it's not. Especially if the Bucs can't beat teams like the Eagles.

19- San Diego Chargers - 5-8 (+3) - The Chargers finally looked like the Chargers usually look like when it comes to the end of the season. Its too bad they couldn't figure things out before they were already at eight losses.

20- Cleveland Browns - 5-8 (+6) - It's been since Derek Anderson was behind center when the Browns had a three game winning streak, so they get their moment of fame this week. From now on they get to play spoiler. Each of their next three opponents, the Redskins, Broncos, and Steelers, will get hurt pretty badly if they underestimate this young Browns team.

21- Miami Dolphins - 5-8 (+2) - From watching this team play, I believe that they have a promising future. But there present has them losing five of their last six. With the Jaguars and Bills on the docket next, they have a chance to end on a semi-positive note.

22- Buffalo Bills - 5-8 (-2) - If they want to end yet another disappointing season with a Buffalo pride, they have the opportunity to with the Jaguars and Dolphins on the schedule to finish things off. But first they get to host the Seahawks who just came off a 58 point win. If the Bills knock them off, it will put the Hawks in a really tough situation, so they can have fun with that.

23- New Orleans Saints - 5-8 (-5) - The good news of the day for the Saints is all their suspended players from the bounty scandal got their suspensions removed, that they hadn't yet served. Now if the NFL had decided that three or four months earlier when they should've, maybe the Saints would've had more motivation this year.

24- New York Jets - 6-7 (+1) - Congrats to the Jets for barely beating two of the worst teams in the NFL the last two weeks? Despite their 6-7 record, they are still playing like one of the worst teams in the NFL and should be embarrassed. Ironically, if the Bengals and Steelers continue to screw up, the Jets have winnable games against the Titans, Chargers, and Bills and could sneak into the playoffs. When's the last time one of the worst NFL teams was rewarded with a playoff appearance? Crazy!

25- Carolina Panthers - 4-9 (+3) - That Panthers team that showed up against the Falcons is the Panthers team that everyone thought would show up. It was a great win against an overrated Falcons team and if they continue to play like this, they could end the season on a nice winning streak. They have the Chargers, Raiders, and Saints left.

26- Detroit Lions - 4-9 (-3) - This team has the talent to be much better than 4-9, but a five game losing streak against five playoff contenders has spoiled Calvin Johnson's nearly historic season. Getting last place in the NFC North should benefit them next year as in theory they would have a much easier schedule then they've had to endure this year.

27- Tennessee Titans - 4-9 (-3) - This is another team that has great potential for the future with Jake Locker and company as they gave a good Colts team a run for their money, but they are currently owners of five losses in their last six games.

28- Philadelphia Eagles - 4-9 (+1) - Andy Reid looked happier Sunday at the end of that game than I have seen him in a long time. The Eagles have the chance to play spoiler as the Bengals, Redskins, and Giants are the games left on their schedule. If they win out, is it enough to save Andy Reid's job?

29- Arizona Cardinals - 4-9 (-2) - What an insult to this Cardinals team that was. Its one thing to have a nine game losing streak. It's another to have the ninth straight loss be the worst loss in franchise history. A loss to the Lions on Sunday will bring their losing streak to double digit games.

30- Oakland Raiders - 3-10 (+0) - The Raiders are a mess. Their next game, however, is a slightly important game as it will determine some positioning in next year's draft as they travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs.

31- Jacksonville Jaguars - 2-11 (+0) - That near comeback on Sunday was almost impressive. It's too bad it was the Jets they were playing. Once again, Mark Sanchez tried his hardest to help the Jaguars win, but they couldn't capitalize.

32- Kansas City Chiefs - 2-11 (+0) - That was quite the homecoming for Romeo Crennell and Brady Quinn in Cleveland, in the embarrassing sort of way. When you make the Browns look like a great team, you know you have issues.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 14

1- Houston Texans - 11-1 (+0) - After two weeks of needing overtime to beat much weaker opponents, they finally get a double digit win when they should get one. Now for the big test at New England this next week.

2- New England Patriots - 9-3 (+0) - That win in Miami wasn't a convincing one for the first time in several weeks, but they often tend to struggle against the Dolphins late in the season, so that isn't too surprising. Huge test this week as the top ranked Texans come to town.

3- Atlanta Falcons - 11-1 (+2) - They now have something more to put on their resume after these past two weeks besides a bunch of close wins against average at best opponents. A week after beating a surging Bucs team, they shut down a good Saints team that really is better than their records indicates. Also, thanks to the Broncos giving the Bucs a loss, the Falcons have officially clinched their division.

4- Denver Broncos - 9-3 (+4) - They just seem to be coasting along right now, but that seven game winning streak looks really good headed into the final weeks of the regular season. They get to have a party in Oakland this week before they get to play the Ravens for playoff positioning the following week as a win against the Bucs officially gave them the division title.

5- Green Bay Packers - 8-4 (+4) - They rise this high in the rankings based more on the struggles of others in the top 10, but also you can't this Packers team out. Despite not winning impressively, they have still won six of their last seven and they have the pieces in place and the experience needed to do some damage come playoff time.

6- San Francisco 49ers - 8-3-1 (-3) - I hope that the Niners learned that Alex Smith needs to start right now when he's healthy. Kaepernick is really talented, but he doesn't have the experience needed to take the Niners all the way, as seen by some rookie mistakes he made down the stretch that cost the Niners the game.

7- Baltimore Ravens - 9-3 (-1) - The Ravens are still two games ahead of both the Steelers and the Bengals with only four weeks left, so a lot needs to happen for them to give up the division title, but they need to pick up their game. Their next three games are against the Redskins, Broncos, and Giants.

8- Chicago Bears - 8-4 (-1) - Was it the fact that they played poorly or that the Seahawks played really well. I'd actually vote for the latter, but that was a costly loss as now the Packers have the heads up in the divisional race and if they fall too far the Seahawks own the tiebreaker over them.

9- Indianapolis Colts - 8-4 (+2) - Now that was an impressive win. It's one thing to be in the playoff picture because of an easy schedule. It's another thing to score two touchdowns in the last few minutes of a game to pull of an impressive comeback win, which included a game winning touchdown with zero seconds on the clock. That is the sign of a great quarterback. Andrew Luck is going to do great things for this franchise and definitely did not look like a rookie on Sunday.

10- New York Giants - 7-5 (-2) - Another costly setback for the Giants. They are now just one game ahead of both the Redskins and Cowboys and with a 2-3 divisional record, they are currently losing the tiebreakers. In a tough NFC playoff race, losing their division could easily lead to them missing the playoffs. To make things worse, they play the Saints, Falcons, and Ravens next.

11- Seattle Seahawks - 7-5 (+2) - That was a huge win for the Seahawks on Sunday. They own the tiebreakers against most teams fighting for the NFC wild card spot. With the Bucs and Vikings both losing, they now have a huge advantage. But they have no room for error these next two weeks against the Cardinals and Bills because they end the season with games against the Niners and Rams. Despite how good they have been, winning a game in their division is a feat they have not yet accomplished this season.

12- Cincinnati Bengals - 7-5 (+0) - The Steelers beating the Ravens on Sunday put a minor wrench in their plans as it looks like they will actually have to earn a spot in the playoffs by beating the Steelers and Ravens. The Colts getting a last second win against the Lions didn't help either. You often hear the phrase in the NFL of teams "controlling their own destiny". This is not the case for the Bengals.

13- Pittsburgh Steelers - 7-5 (+1) - They may have just saved their season with that win over Baltimore on Sunday. They didn't play great, but they did just enough to win and if they can do that until Big Ben comes back they can pull this off. They have winnable games against the Chargers, Cowboys, and Browns as well as a critical week 16 showdown against the Bengals.

14- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 6-6 (-4) - They put up a valiant effort against both the Falcons and the Broncos, but unfortunately a tough schedule is going to be the death of them in this tough wild card race. They have the Eagles coming in to town, so that should put them back on track.

15- Washington Redskins - 6-6 (+2) - A three game winning streak is impressive, but a three game winning streak against teams in their division is something that will end up putting them into the playoffs. I'll be the first one to admit that I was wrong when I said they were done a few weeks ago. They'll need a bit of help to pull it off, but all they need to do is win one more game than the Giants in this final stretch. An upset win against the Ravens this week will really help.

16- Dallas Cowboys - 6-6 (+2) - Just like the previously mentioned Redskins, they still have a shot to pull off a divisional title as both the Redskins and Cowboys are one game back of the Giants. However, the difference between the two teams is that the Cowboys have a much harder schedule down the stretch with the Bengals, Steelers, and Saints on the docket before the season finale against the Redskins.

17- Minnesota Vikings - 6-6 (-2) - After starting a promising 6-2, they have now only won one game in their last five. They end with the Bears, Rams, Texans, and Packers, so it looks like they are done as Adrian Peterson is the only Viking to have shown up recently.

18- New Orleans Saints - 5-7 (-2) - They still had a glimmer of hope before this past Thursday, but the Falcons essentially put a nail in the coffin of their season. Now they get the opportunity of playing spoiler as their next three opponents, the Giants, Bucs, and Cowboys, are all fighting for their playoff lives right now.

19- Miami Dolphins - 5-7 (+0) - The Dolphins put up a good fight against the Patriots on Sunday, but unfortunately the only thing that matters is that they needed to beat the Patriots to keep their playoff hopes alive and they didn't. Now they are two games back of the final playoff spot and they still have to go through the Niners and Patriots again.

20- Buffalo Bills - 5-7 (+3) - Technically the Bills still have a shot. Three of their last four games are at home and only one of them is a playoff team. However, as stated with the Dolphins, they are two games back and so they will have to win out and hope that both the Bengals and Steelers only win one more game, so the chances are quite slim.

21- St. Louis Rams - 5-6-1 (+1) - The Rams are still undefeated in their division after five divisional meetings, that being a 4-0-1 record. It's too bad they have gone 1-6 against everyone else they have played. The playoffs are a long shot, but with the Bills, Vikings, Bucs, and Seahawks left on their schedule, they could still end with a winning record.

22- San Diego Chargers - 4-8 (-1) - Might I once again remind you that another week has passed and its still been since week two that the Chargers have beaten a team not named the Chiefs? At 4-8 they are only a week maybe two away from being officially eliminated from the playoffs, but with the Panthers, Jets, and Raiders on their schedule after they visit the Steelers this week, they have a shot at at least ending the season on a positive note.

23- Detroit Lions - 4-8 (-3) - I'm not sure which to blame for Sunday's game. A motivated, clutch Andrew Luck for just putting together two great late fourth quarter drives or a Lions defense that completely collapsed. Either way the Colts and Lions have inverted records right now and the Lions are stuck on a four game losing streak.

24- Tennessee Titans - 4-8 (+0) - The silver lining to another no show for the Titans is that Jake Locker broke 300 yards passing in the game. Now if he just builds on the performance and the Titans play like they have the potential to play like, this could be a good team in the future.

25- New York Jets - 5-7 (+0) - On paper they may have won that game against the Cardinals, but in my opinion, both teams lost. Many times you can credit the defense for a low scoring game. This time it was two horrible offenses that couldn't put anything together. And let me add my opinion on this quarterback situation. Mark Sanchez is awful. Tim Tebow isn't much better. Greg McElroy has never been great, but what he has done his whole life is win games, which is what he did for the Jets when he came in. This job needs to be his going forward for the rest of the season.

26- Cleveland Browns - 4-8 (+2) - Don't look now, but the Browns are on a two game winning streak. I'd say the team has potential to be good in the future when they all gain more experience, but their rookie quarterback is older than several season veterans already, so it could be challenge. They do have a huge bright spot in Trent Richardson. He's going to have a great career.

27- Arizona Cardinals - 4-8 (-1) - The thing that makes this eighth straight loss for them is that Mark Sanchez did everything in his power to make sure the Cardinals won, but the offense still couldn't do anything about it. There are 32 players (most of them quarterbacks) that can brag that they personally got more yards than the entire Cardinals offense did.

28- Carolina Panthers - 3-9 (-1) - It's always embarrassing losing to a team that has more losses than most teams have wins, but it's a little different when you are playing a team that is has motivation to play well in wake of a horrible tragedy. But nonetheless, its still another game where the Panthers couldn't pull it together in the fourth quarter to grab the win in a close game.

29- Philadelphia Eagles - 3-9 (+0) - That was a valiant effort against the Cowboys, but it still led to their eighth straight loss. The worse news for them is that their remaining four opponents are all fighting for their playoff lives and will welcome in a horrible eagles team to boost their moral. The good news is that they found one player on their team that has decided to show up. Rookie runningback Bryce Brown has ran for 347 yards and 4 touchdowns in the last two outings.

30- Oakland Raiders - 3-9 (+0) - I'm trying to look for some upside on this Raiders team, but right now there really isn't much. Their offense consists of Carson Palmer and that's it. Their defense can't even stop the Browns as Brandon Weedon threw for the second most passing yards of any quarterback this past week.

31- Jacksonville Jaguars - 2-10 (+0) - The brief surge of good performance was put to a stop as they traveled to Buffalo and got trounced by the Bills. They have a chance to end the season off good as three of their last four are against non-playoff teams, starting this week with a Jets team that has absolutely no identity.

32- Kansas City Chiefs - 2-10 (+0) - Things could not get any worse for this Chiefs team this year. Your starting linebacker committing suicide in front of the coach and owner is not how you want to follow up a 1-10 start. My condolences go out to his family, friends, and the entire Chiefs squad. I'm glad they got the win against the Panthers in his honor. I can't imagine having to play a game just a day after that tragedy happened.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions: December

Time is running out on our NFL season and being that December starts this upcoming weekend, it's time for me to reveal my last updated predictions of the regular season. Usually in the NFL, the last month will include some really tight divisional races, but the way its worked out this year is that essentially all the divisional races are over. Barring some crazy breakdowns, the Patriots, Ravens, Texans, Broncos, Giants, Falcons, and 49ers will all be division champs. The one division still up in the air is the NFC North where the Bears and Packers will be fighting it out this month. The most interesting races this month will be happening with both wild card races. In the AFC we have a three headed race between the Colts, Bengals, and Steelers. The Bengals are on the rise, the Steelers are in bad need of Ben Roethlisberger, and the Colts still have two games against the Texans on the docket, so this is anyone's game. It gets more confusing in the NFC as there are six teams within one game of each other all fighting for the final spot. Seahawks, Bucs, and Vikings stand slightly ahead at 6-5 while the Saints, Cowboys, and Redskins are all at 5-6. Here is how I think it will all play out.

Regular Season Predictions


AFC East
z-New England Patriots - 13-3
Miami Dolphins - 7-9
Buffalo Bills - 7-9
New York Jets - 6-10

AFC North
z-Baltimore Ravens - 11-5
y-Pittsburgh Steelers - 9-7
Cincinnati Bengals - 8-8
Cleveland Browns - 5-11

AFC South
*-Houston Texans - 14-2
y-Indianapolis Colts - 8-8
Tennessee Titans - 6-10
Jacksonville Jaguars - 3-13

AFC West
z-Denver Broncos - 12-4
San Diego Chargers - 7-9
Oakland Raiders - 5-11
Kansas City Chiefs - 2-14


NFC East
z-New York Giants - 11-5
Dallas Cowboys - 8-8
Washington Redskins - 7-9
Philadelphia Eagles - 5-11

NFC North
z-Chicago Bears - 12-4
y-Green Bay Packers - 10-6
Detroit Lions - 8-8
Minnesota Vikings - 8-8

NFC South
*-Atlanta Falcons - 13-3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 9-7
New Orleans Saints - 6-10
Carolina Panthers - 6-10

NFC West
z-San Francisco 49ers - 10-5-1
y-Seattle Seahawks - 9-7
St. Louis Rams - 6-9-1
Arizona Cardinals - 4-12

x - clinched playoffs
y - clinched wild card
z - clinched division
* - clinched division and homefield advantage 

Playoff Predictions

Wild Card Round
3- Denver Broncos - W
6- Indianapolis Colts - L

4- Baltimore Ravens - L
5- Pittsburgh Steelers - W

3- New York Giants - W
6- Seattle Seahawks - L

4- San Francisco 49ers - L
5- Green Bay Packers - W

Divisional Round
1- Houston Texans - W
5- Pittsburgh Steelers - L

2- New England Patriots - L
3- Denver Broncos - W

1- Atlanta Falcons - L
5- Green Bay Packers - W

2- Chicago Bears - L
3- New York Giants - W

Championship Round
1- Houston Texans - W
3- Denver Broncos - L

3- New York Giants - L
5- Green Bay Packers - W

Super Bowl XLVII
1- Houston Texans
5- Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Predicted Draft Order

1- Kansas City Chiefs
2- Jacksonville Jaguars
3- Arizona Cardinals
4- Oakland Raiders
5- Cleveland Browns
6- Philadelphia Eagles
7- New York Jets
8- New Orleans Saints
9- Tennessee Titans
10- Carolina Panthers
11- St. Louis Rams
12- San Diego Chargers
13- Buffalo Bills
14- Miami Dolphins
15- Washington Redskins
16- Cincinnati Bengals
17- Dallas Cowboys
18- Minnesota Vikings
19- Detroit Lions
20- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
21- Indianapolis Colts
22- Seattle Seahawks
23- San Francisco 49ers
24- Baltimore Ravens
25- Pittsburgh Steelers
26- Chicago Bears
27- Atlanta Falcons
28- New England Patriots
29- New York Giants
30- Denver Broncos
31- Green Bay Packers
32- Houston Texans

For any questions, comments, concerns, or random emotional outbursts, please leave a comment below. Also check out my weekly power rankings for my thoughts on each individual team.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 13

1- Houston Texans - 10-1 (+0) - That is now two straight games that it took the Texans overtime to beat a team that they shouldn't have had a huge problem with. And had the refs made the correct call on the 80 yard touchdown run (should've only been a five yard run), the Lions would've most likely got the Thanksgiving win. The Texans have a date in New England with the Patriots in a couple of weeks, so they need to get themselves back on track.

2- New England Patriots - 8-3 (+1) - With a 49-19 Thanksgiving beatdown against the Jets, the Patriots have now averaged 47.5 PPG over their last four games. The thing that other teams should be scared of is that in this past game, the defense actually showed up and made plays. Sure, it was against a team without an offense, but still. 

3- San Francisco 49ers - 8-2-1 (+3) - The Niners looked really good against the Saints and the confusing thing is that Kaepernick looked really good in the process. I say confusing because now the Niners have themselves a quarterback controversy going into December. Not something that usually happens when you are an 8-2 team going into December. I'd still say give it to Smith come playoff time. As good as Kaepernick looks, he has no playoff experience and that could be a deal breaker for the Niners in a tough NFC.

4- Denver Broncos - 8-3 (+0) - That was a minor bump in the road for the Broncos as the Chiefs decided that they wanted to play spoiler on Sunday. Losses to the Texans and the Patriots earlier in the season may come back to bite them as they try to fight for a first round bye in the playoffs.

5- Atlanta Falcons - 10-1 (+0) - The Falcons barely escaped yet again this week but this time it was actually impressive because the team they barely beat was a hot Bucs team. It was their first impressive win since week two against the Broncos. They have games against the Saints and Giants in  the next three weeks, so they'll actually get tested.

6- Baltimore Ravens - 9-2 (-4) - With the Steelers struggling, the Ravens have the division locked down, but that was a sloppy game they played in San Diego. If they play like that against the Texans, Broncos, or Patriots during the playoffs they are going to be an early exit, so they need to pick it up.

7- Chicago Bears - 8-3 (+0) - It's quite noticeable what a difference Jay Cutler means for this team. He was out for a game and a half and they look sloppy and awful. He comes back and once again they look like a scary team to play. But they got hurt with injuries to other key players on Sunday, so we'll see if they can make it through that.

8- New York Giants - 7-4 (+5) - Something went very right for the Giants during that bye week because that was an impressive turnaround. Thanks to that clobbering against the Packers combined with the Cowboys losing on Thanksgiving, they are back in control of that division.

9- Green Bay Packers - 7-4 (-1) - If you payed attention to my power rankings the last few weeks, you knew that I thought the Packers were overrated. I didn't think they were a top five team and that showed on Sunday. However, I still think they will be fine. They'll shake this loss off and make a run in the playoffs.

10- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 6-5 (+0) - That was really a heartbreaking loss for the Bucs. Had they come through in the end against the Falcons, they'd be in the drivers seat to make a wild card spot. It's a good thing for them that the Seahawks and Vikings also got losses.

11- Indianapolis Colts - 7-4 (+0) - It may have only been against the lowly Bills, but the Colts bounced back after that embarrassing showing against the Pats. They have the Bengals right on their tail and with two games against the Texans left as well as the Lions next week, this AFC wild card race will be interesting.

12- Cincinnati Bengals - 6-5 (+4) - The Bengals have been a very streaky team this season and lucky for them, they are streaking in the right way right now. Add to that a favorable schedule and they could pull off a playoff spot, especially with the state of the Steelers and the young Colts team as their only competition.

13- Seattle Seahawks - 6-5 (-4) - They couldn't afford that loss to the Dolphins this week, but lucky for them everyone else in contention for the NFC Wild Card also lost. It won't get much easier for them as the are travelling to Chicago next week. After that three of their last four games are against their division, of which they are 0-3 so far.

14- Pittsburgh Steelers - 6-5 (-2) - The Steelers really need Ben Roethlisberger back because the last two weeks without him has been awful. They have had 11 turnovers in his absence, 8 of them against the Browns last week. If they don't get him back soon, the Bengals will quickly pass them up and won't look back. The two teams are already tied, with the tiebreaker going to the Steelers.
15- Minnesota Vikings - 6-5 (-1) - The Vikings are the third team tied up in the NFC wild card mess, but it looks like they will be the odd team out. They got in the way of a Bears team that was hungry to turn things around and now they get the same situation with a Packers just got clobbered by the Giants. To make things worse, after the Packers game, the get the Bears again.

16- New Orleans Saints - 5-6 (-1) - It looks like the Saints are done. They really needed that win against the Niners Sunday, but didn't get it and now get rewarded with a two game road trip against the Falcons and Giants starting tomorrow night.

17- Washington Redskins - 5-6 (+5) - RG3 is back! Two straight weeks of ridiculously good games might get the Redskins fans hopes up. They are going to need a ton of help though if they want to make the playoffs, especially since the Giants look like they are back on track.

18- Dallas Cowboys - 5-6 (-1) - It's amazing how fast things can change. Last week at this time, they had a legitimate shot at the division. One week later, after a Cowboy loss to the Redskins and a Giants blowout of the Packers, the Cowboys are probably done. 

19- Miami Dolphins - 5-6 (+2) - That was a nice win against the Seahawks on Sunday, but with back to back wins against the Patriots and Niners, the playoffs are a long shot. If they do make it though, it would be well deserved.

20- Detroit Lions - 4-7 (-2) - A valiant effort against the Texans on Thanksgiving. But in the NFL all that counts is wins and losses and the Lions now have three losses in a row. What a disappointing followup to last year's breakout season.

21- San Diego Chargers - 4-7 (-2) - It's 4th and 26. All you need to do in order to win the game against the Ravens is prevent the first down. But yet the Chargers can't do it. Yeah, its been that kind of season for the Chargers. It's still been since week two that they've won a game against a team other than the Chiefs.

22- St. Louis Rams - 4-6-1 (+4) - The Rams have been quite the bipolar team, but I suppose they just have a thing against their division in which they are still undefeated. Next week we will get a Rams vs Niners rematch that will hopefully not end up in a useless tie.

23- Buffalo Bills - 4-7 (-3) - Any hope of a surprise playoff run ended this past week as the Bills dropped a game to the Colts. The season will end with yet another disappointing year for this squad.

24- Tennessee Titans - 4-7 (+0) - They had a week off to figure out which team they were and the answer comes with them getting taken down by the one win Jaguars. That was rather embarrassing.

25- New York Jets - 4-7 (+0) - The Jets gave the Patriots trouble the first time the two teams met this season, but this time around it was quite the polar opposite as the Pats have been on fire since that first Jets game. The Jets need to forget about that Thanksgiving night and move forward because they have a winnable schedule ahead of them.

26- Arizona Cardinals - 4-7 (-3) - Remember when the Cardinals were undefeated this year? Yeah, neither did I. They have now lost seven games in a row. It's a battle of the losers this week as the Cardinals travel to New York to play the Jets.

27- Carolina Panthers - 3-8 (+3) - After all those close losses, it is a relief that the Panthers finally hung on and won a close game in the fourth quarter. Too bad it was only against the Eagles who forgot how to win games.

28- Cleveland Browns - 3-8 (+1) - Each of the Steelers running backs fumbled the ball on Sunday in addition to Charlie Batch throwing a few interceptions. They turned the ball over eight times total. And the Browns only won by six. But hey, a win's a win and the Browns will take what they can get. Can they make it two in a row against the NFL's most giving defense?

29- Philadelphia Eagles - 3-8 (-1) - I wonder who's going to win a game first, the Eagles or the Cardinals. Both teams won in week four and haven't won since. Now both teams will get two game road trips coming up, so start placing your bets!

30- Oakland Raiders - 3-8 (-3) - Carson Palmer whined his way out of Cincinnati for this? I wonder if he was wishing he was still retired. The Raiders have given up 42 PPG in their current four game losing streak.

31- Jacksonville Jaguars - 2-9 (+0) - That's two weeks in a row where Chad Henne has played quite well, this time getting a win over the Titans. Four of their last five games are winnable games, so we'll see how far Henne can take this team.

32- Kansas City Chiefs - 1-10 (+0) - They actually put of a fight against the Broncos on Sunday, which was surprising. That is their defense did. But a loss is still a loss and the Chiefs become the first team this year to get to double digit losses.