Taking It to the House 2011 NFL Season First Half Awards by Lloyd Vance

It has been a great first half of the 2011 NFL Season for the NFC West Leading San Francisco 49ers (6-1) and their players including OG Mike Iupati and RB Frank Gore.  In fact, the Niners seem to be everywhere in Taking It to the House’s First Half Awards and they appear to be a very strong contender for this season’s second half too

(Philadelphia, Pa) — The 2011 NFL Season, titled “Back to Football”, so far has lived up to former league commissioner Bert Bell’s dream of “Any Given Sunday”.  Parity is everywhere as there are currently 19 teams with winning records and almost every team – except the reeling Manning-less Indianapolis Colts — seems to have a legitimate chance of winning a playoff spot or at the very least producing “W’s” on a weekly basis. 

But nothing in the National Football League should be taken for granted as shown by lower tier teams displaying that they are coming for a fight and not a “show” when facing upper level competition.  Both the Jaguars’ 12-7 win over the Ravens on MNF in Week 7 and the formerly winless Rams 31-21 win over the Saints show just how “even” the NFL really is at this time.

Sure there are the defending Super Bowl Champion undefeated Green Bay Packers and the winless reeling Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins (fighting it out for Andrew Luck) at the other end of the spectrum, but in between there is a whole lot more sorting out to do in the second half of the 2011 season.  Currently there is glut of 14 teams — over one-third of the league including NO, HOU, OAK, KC, SD, ATL, TB, NYJ, CHI, TEN, CLE, PHI, DAL, WAS — stuck between a record of 3-4 and 5-3 so there should whole a lot more exciting action as these teams sort themselves into “Contenders” and “Pretenders” before January brings the pageantry that is NFL Playoff football. Continue reading

Huddle Up Week 1: The Ravens and Texans make an Opening Week Statement By Jason King

There were some intriguing games in Week one of this new NFL season.  Packers/Saints, Lions/Buccaneers, and Cowboys/Jets were all exciting non-divisional games.  The two divisional games of importance were the Colts/Texans and of course Ravens/Steelers.  Neither was close as the Ravens and Texans both handled business respectively.

The Ravens/Steelers rivalry has been one of the NFL’s best over the last four years.  In that time frame no Ravens/Steelers regular season game was decided by more than 4 points.  Yesterday afternoon that changed.  It was clear from the very beginning of the game that the Ravens wanted to make a statement.  They demolished the Steelers 35-7.  Baltimore put their stamp on this win by forcing seven Pittsburgh turnovers.  They also ran all over the “vaunted” Steelers defense piling up 170 yards rushing yards (5.5 YPC).  Joe Flacco was 17-29 with 224 yards passing and 3 touchdowns.  He beat Ben Roethlisberger for the first time in his NFL career.  Flacco needs to thank his defense for that.  Baltimore’s blitzkrieg pressured Big Ben all day long forcing him into five turnovers (3 INT and 2 fumbles lost).  They never letPittsburghget into any rhythm offensively. Baltimoremade a statement loud and clear that the collapse in last season’s playoffs is behind them.  It’s only the first week of the season, but this was a big game psychologically for the Ravens.  Roethlisberger had won seven straight starts against the Ravens, but that run is now over.  The Ravens have to be feeling confident about themselves.  It is still early, but this was a great win for the Ravens.  On the other side, you can bet Mike Tomlin will have his team prepared for next week’s game against the Seahawks. Continue reading

AFC South and AFC West Preview by Jason King

 

The AFC South and AFC West are looking for their first team, other than the Indianapolis Colts, to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl — last time Oakland Raiders in XXXVII.  Right now, you would have to think both divisions are up-for-grabs in 2011, especially with Peyton Manning iffy (neck) for the start of  the 2011 NFL regular season.

AFC South Preview

 The AFC South belongs to the Indianapolis Colts.  Since the division was created in 2002, the Colts have won 7 division titles (2 straight) and the Titans won the other two.  The Colts have been in the playoffs for 9 straight years.  Could the Houston Texans win their first AFC South division title?  Could the Colts be in for their first losing season in 9 years?  Is Chris Johnson the best player in the division?  There are a lot of questions to be answered in the AFC South this season. Continue reading

A Glimpse At The 2011 NFL Season According To A So-Called Expert: Matt Lombardo

The temperatures have plummeted suddenly into the sixties, leaves are beginning to turn and there’s a certain crispness in the air that can only be broken by the perfect spiral of soaring pigskin. That’s right, the greatest time of the year, football season, is upon us again. Despite a 136-day lockout, the excitement around the NFL is at perhaps its highest levels ever.

As the opener draws closer by the minute, the time for me to sit idly by in hopes of avoiding making a Super Bowl prediction is rapidly drawing to a close. Preseason predictions are rarely worth the paper they’re printed on, but in this upside down world of teams sprinting through a nonexistent offseason, the Lombardi Trophy is truly anyone’s game this season.

Some teams have positioned themselves better than others with free agent acquisitions to finish their journey with confetti falling for Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Meanwhile, some teams stood pat in an effort to draw on existing team chemistry to propel them to glory once again. All of these stories, subplots and themes for the upcoming season make for a wild ride for the next six months. Continue reading

Indianapolis Colts Fail to Secure Franchise, Enter The Pros And Cons Of Kerry Collins. By Barry Barnes

 

What a wake up call for the Indianapolis Colts

After years of not preparing for this day, a day when their prized possession in quarterback Peyton Manning would be hampered by an injury or defeated by father time, causing his dynamic NFL career to take a turn. The Colts may be revisited by losing days earlier than expected.  Continue reading

Colts Sign Kerry Collins By Jason King

Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted on Wednesday morning that the Indianapolis Colts have signed veteran quarterback Kerry Collins. This is definite confirmation that the status of Peyton Manning is up in the air — not only for the season opener at Houston — but for some time into the regular season.

Colts veteran QB Peyton Manning has almost been robotic-like by starting in every one of his franchise’s games since he was drafted with the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.  RoboQuarterback, as some members of the media have dubbed Manning, has started an incredible 208 consecutive regular season games and 19 consecutive postseason games, which would bring his incredible streak to an amazing 227 consecutive games started.   Continue reading

Huddle Up Pre-Season Week 2: By Jason King

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a breakout season last year.  But despite finishing 10-6, they missed out on the playoffs.  They are the youngest team in the league and are hoping to have another successful year. 

Third year coach Raheem Morris is one of the most respected coaches in the NFL, despite being the youngest.  He is only 34 years old.  The Bucs finished 3-13 in his first season at the helm.  After that season, many people called for Morris to lose his job.  Mark Dominik, the Bucs general manager, stuck with him despite the criticism. Continue reading