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Saints Fan

What Pierre Thomas’ Injury means for the Saints? posted by Saints Fan

The New Orleans Saints confirmed that Pierre Thomas will miss Sunday’s game as he recovers from an ailing shoulder injury that he suffered in the third quarter in a loss to the Detroit Lions.

While the Saints’ depth at running back got a major boost with the return of Mark Ingram, it will be a struggle to produce points in the coming weeks as Thomas is expected to miss 2 to 4 weeks.

The veteran back from Illinois doesn’t jump out at you with his stat on running the ball, 133 rushing yards, but Thomas’ real value is in the passing game. He is absolutely deadly as a receiver out of the backfield. Allowing Brees more than a last option check down receiver, but a true option to go to, to gash a defense that drops 7 or 8 defenders to take away the passing lanes.

Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson just don’t add that receiving value to the back position as they are more true, between the tackles, backs.

The best the Saints can hope for is a speedy recovery from Thomas as they are struggling at 2-4 and in desperate need of a boost to their offense. They are not a power running team and rely on multiple options in the passing game where Brees can operate effectively as a field general, distributing the ball amongst a cavalry of receivers.

For as long as Thomas is on the shelf, Ingram and Khiry Robinson are likely to share the running back duties. But the real hurt will again, be in the passing game as Thomas is the main passing target for Brees. The Saints already have major question marks this season and Thomas' absence will only give head coach Sean Payton even more to worry about in the coming weeks.

Continue reading "What Pierre Thomas’ Injury means for the Saints?"

Lions Fan

Why the Lions cannot overlook the Dolphins. posted by Lions Fan

With a restful bye-week, the Lions square off against the Miami. The Dolphins, many people may not think so, but are a very dangerous team, most recently showcased by their 37-0 route of the San Diego Chargers last week.

Ryan Tannehill is a highly accurate quarterback who can shred defenses with a barrage of crossing routes or beat you with his legs. Something the Lions need to game plan for.

Now the Lions have an excellent run defense and they will needto be more eye disciplined than ever as Tannehill runs read-options. They must stay on their assignments, linebackers and defensive ends must be disciplined and not overrun their assignments as they follow the ball through the mesh point so that Tannehill doesn’t slip out of the pocket and gash them with chunk yardage on the ground, which while is devastating from a yardage stabd point, is also demoralizing when a quarterback is eating up yardage on the ground.

On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins have a great pash rush and Lions’ right tackle Waddle will need to play his very best in order to give Stafford time to get the ball out to their playmakers.

One way to combat an effective pass rush are quick screens and short hot routes. Something the Lions naturally do well, so look to them to start their tempo with high percentage, quick release passes.

This is in no way a ‘gimme’ win for Detriot and they will need to play their very best if they stand a chance to win. Odds makers only have them favored by a few points so it’s going to be a dog fight. Hopefully with the returning healthy starters back in the line up, it will give the Lions offense a much needed boost.

Continue reading "Why the Lions cannot overlook the Dolphins."

Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 Gameday Review: Bears 26, Lions 24 posted by Joe Anello

Going into today’s match-up with the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Bears needed help from the Green Bay Packers in order to get into the playoffs. Did they take care of business? Did the Packers? It’s time to find out in this Gameday Review!


(10-6) Chicago Bears 26

(4-12) Detroit Lions 24 

The first half was all about turnovers as the Lions gave the ball away three times in the first two quarters, leading to several opportunities for the Bear offense to get ahead. After a short pass to Earl Bennett netted the Bears 60 yards and their first score, Joique Bell fumbled the kickoff return for the Lions, leading to the Eric Weems recovery. Mike Tice’s offense was unable to cross the goal line, but did get a 33 yard field goal from Olindo Mare. After a miss from Mare on a later possession, Matthew Stafford was the target of an Israel Idonije strip-sack, which was recovered by Julius Peppers deep in Lions territory. Jay Cutler threw it in Brandon Marshall’s direction twice at the goal line, but the receiver couldn’t bring it in on either occasion. The second attempt did elicit a pass interference call, setting up a Matt Forte run from the one yard line.

After a Stafford throw was picked off by Tim Jennings, Chicago had a 17 point lead close to the end of the second quarter, when the Lions mounted an 80-yard drive (their first of three) that ended in a TD pass from Stafford to Kris Durham in the endzone. Tim Jennings was in on the coverage, but safety Anthony Walters seemed to be out of position on defense. In the second half, the Lions fought back into the game with another 80 yard drive that was capped off with a Will Heller reception. That made the game 20-17, which was tighter than anyone needed to see. A couple of Mare field goals stretched the lead back out to 26-17, allowing for a breath to be taken.

Continue reading "Joe's 2012 Gameday Review: Bears 26, Lions 24"

Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions posted by Joe Anello

It’s the final week of the regular season in the NFL! Lovie Smith’s team has not secured a playoff spot, which means the Bears could be taking the field for the final time this season. Some fans are already calling for Smith’s job after the struggles down the stretch, but if the Vikings lose to the Packers today (a distinct possibility, but it’s an afternoon game) the Bears are in the postseason. But they have to take care of business early. Let’s start the Gameday Preview!


(9-6) Chicago Bears at

(4-11) Detroit Lions 

The Offense

The Defense

I’m feeling a little lazy with this one, so just go check out my Gameday Preview from week 7. It’s almost the same. The differences? Calvin Johnson has set the record for receiving yards in a single season, but now he’s going for 2,000 yards. The Bears are supposed to be getting Henry Melton and Tim Jennings back on defense, after missing each for multiple games. The interior of the Chicago offensive line has been decimated by injuries, which could mean less protection up the middle against Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh, who won’t have anything else to play for than to pad their stats and sack the quarterback.  Matthew Stafford has degenerated into a turnover machine, despite the insane yardage he’s putting up.

The Odds:

Chicago is a three point road favorite. 

Continue reading "Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Chicago ..."

Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 Gameday Review: Bears 13, Lions 7 posted by Joe Anello

Another week in the NFL has passed and so with it goes another victory for the Chicago Bears. As so many divisional games are, it was a slobber-knocker on Monday Night Football. Luckily Lovie Smith’s crew came to play and got their fifth win of the season. Time for a Gameday Review!


(5-1) Chicago Bears 13

(2-4) Detroit Lions 6 

After getting a gift of a drop from Calvin Johnson on the Lions opening drive, the Chicago Bears came right out and dominated the Lion defense on their opening possession. Jay Cutler scrambled for a first down and later found Brandon Marshall in the endzone for the game’s first touchdown, something that would prove to be a rarity at Soldier Field. Both offenses sputtered throughout the night, but the Bears at least capitalized on their red zone chances with field goals. The Lions? They left plenty of points on the board thanks to key turnovers.

The star of the night was obviously the Bear defense. Chicago’s defensive line rotation wrecked the Lions’ o-line on several occasions, including a hit late in the game which led to Matthew Stafford eating turf. They may have only garnered three sacks, but the line made its presence felt all night. Fumble recoveries from Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers and Zack Bowman on special teams cut into Detroit’s scoring opportunities at significant moments. Lance Briggs contributed with eight tackles on the night as he continues to shine in 2012.

Continue reading "Joe's 2012 Gameday Review: Bears 13, Lions 7"

Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears posted by Joe Anello

After pulling into first place in the NFC North on their bye (thanks to a Vikings loss), the Chicago Bears have a chance to pull away in the division race on Monday night. If they can take down one of the North’s playoff teams from 2011, Chicago may stake their claim. Let’s preview this primetime match-up!


(2-3) Detroit Lions at

(4-1) Chicago Bears The Offense

On what’s going to be a wet night at Soldier Field, Mike Tice’s offense has to continue to balance their gameplan as they have in the weeks since Matt Forte’s return. Forte’s been allowed to progressively return to the offense thanks to the consistent performances of fellow tailback Michael Bush. But on Monday Night Football he’s going to need to take a more centric role if the Bears are going to keep the Lions’ pressure off Jay Cutler. Detroit’s front line is undisciplined and sack-happy, which means they’re going to be vulnerable to draw plays and play-action passes. Ndamukong Suh can’t resist a good sack *snicker*, but he doesn’t like trying to stop the runner. And what better plays to employ against one of the worst secondaries in the game than play action off a run fake? Cutler excels on roll-out’s and fakes, so this could turn out to be his best game of the year thus far.

If you don’t believe me about the Lions secondary, you should. They’re absolutely terrible with a capital T. Opposing quarterbacks complete over 64% of their passes against them and they’ve giving up over 27 points an outing. That’s why they fall behind so often. As far as the match-up’s go, Chris Houston is a decent corner, but he’s no match for Brandon Marshall. But without Alton Jeffery on the opposite side, Marshall is going to attract more attention than normal. That means Devin Hester and tight end Kellen Davis need to step-up in his absence. If they can help the Bears jump out on these Lions early, it won’t be pretty.

Continue reading "Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Detroit ..."

Amari Harris

First Down Friday: Week Two posted by Amari Harris

First Down Friday

Evening football fans,

Week one of the NFL season is in the books and week two is on deck.  We’ve already seen the Packers vindicate themselves on Thursday night football after their week one loss, but this definitely doesn’t look like the 15-1 team from 2011 or the Super Bowl team from 2010.  Everyone had high expectations for the Bears after some offseason upgrades (Brandon Marshall & Michael Bush), and they seemed to justify those expectation with a week one drubbing of the Colts 41-21.  But last night’s game seemed to foreshadow the unpredictability of the 2012 NFL season and it feels as though we may know less after week two than we did after week one (if that’s possible).  Here are my thoughts about this upcoming weekend’s games:

  1. Scoring up?  Big Whoop!

Many fans and experts alike took note of the record breaking scoring that went on in week one, and a majority seemed concerned that this was a bad sign for the league.  The fact remains that the NFL has evolved into a more fast paced, passing-centered game that will result in more high scores.  Almost all new developments in the game are designed to enhance the passing game, increase the scoring, and bring more excitement to the game.  The NFL’s researchers know that audiences love the air shows that quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Aaron Rogers, and Tom Brady conduct on a weekly basis. 

However, there is still room in this game for punishing defense and an effective run game.  That’s how the 49ers were able to beat up on that 15-1 Packers team from a year ago despite the Pack’s upgrades at several positions.  That’s how the Cowboys were able to get revenge on the Super Bowl champion Giants.  While the passing game will get you points, put you in a position to win games, and get you to the playoffs, defense and the running game keeps the other team off the board, ends games, and wins you a championship.  Some will argue that the last few Super Bowl champions didn’t have great regular season defenses, but if you look at any of those teams playoff runs, you will see that each of those defenses was playing the best at the time.  We’ll see if that trend continues or if the league will completely shift to an offense dominated game. 

Continue reading "First Down Friday: Week Two"

Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 NFL Preview: The NFC posted by Joe Anello

I simply cannot wait for football to start. I’m been diving into preseason film, tearing through roster moves, and keeping myself awake at night pondering the possibilities of the 2012 season. Since the season kicks off with the Cowboys and Giants Wednesday night on NBC, let’s get right into my season predictions for the National Football Conference! As a preface, let me just say that this entire process is weird. I’ve looked a decent amount of schedules, but these records (which, when all totaled with the AFC, will equal out correctly) are more akin to indications of how good/crappy I think these teams will be. Let’s break it down!

The NFC East

Last year the NFC East turned into a slaughterhouse, with no team able to break the double-digit win mark. That didn’t stop these teams from making headlines on a daily basis though. With Philly re-charged for another run, a franchise QB finally in D.C., the Cowboys in a pivotal year and the Super Bowl champs looking to repeat, there won’t be any shortage of news in the NFC East. To preface these predictions, this division is a crap-shoot. The only team I’m sure won’t win the East is Washington. Otherwise these teams will just beat up on each other, ensuring that no one breaks away.

Philadelphia Eagles

Last year’s dream turned into something more like a nightmare as Andy Reid’s Eagles failed to meet expectations. Injuries and soft play contributed to their woes, as Michael Vick couldn’t stay on the field (as usual) and DeSean Jackson was worried about his contract situation. LeSean McCoy was a bright spot, but he couldn’t carry this team beyond its mediocre finish. Drafting Fletcher Cox and trading for linebacker DeMeco Ryans should boost second year coordinator Juan Castillo’s defensive unit quite a bit. If they can maintain that pass rush, Philly’s excellent corners will be able to take advantage of their match-up’s and show glimpses of the unit they were supposed to be in 2011. They’re primed to improve, but their over success still depends on Michael Vick’s health.

Continue reading "Joe's 2012 NFL Preview: The NFC"

Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2012 Wildcard Weekend posted by Joe Anello

Are you exhausted yet? There was TOO MUCH DRAMA! (That’s a lie. There’s never too much.) Both nights of Wildcard weekend ended in tremendous excitement, wrapping up with a dramatic overtime ending that didn’t even warrant explanation of the new rules. I’m still appalled. Let’s just get The Final Drive started.

(11-6) Houston Texans 31
(9-8) Cincinnati Bengals 10

The first game of the weekend started off awfully sloppy, with plenty of penalties and “jitters” as described by Nessler and Mayock. As the game drew on though, the Texans clearly established themselves as the better team by man-handling Cincy. Rookie lineman J.J Watt, who has shown an inherent talent and awareness to deflect passes at the line of scrimmage made the play of a game by boomeranging Dalton in the second quarter. Watt timed his jump perfectly and made the catch and rambled 29 yards to paydirt. Then he sacked Dalton to end the first half as the Bengals were driving. It was hilarious afterwards to see Dalton with the “Why didn’t you tell me that lineman wasn’t actually fat? I never would have thrown it his way had I known” face. I blame the scouts on that one. The Bengals performance could be encapsulated with their second half opening drive: they were stopped on second down for a loss, then flagged for 12 men in the huddle, then Dalton wasted a time-out as he couldn’t hear the play-call in Reliant’s noise. Those wheels came off. Missed chances to take away the ball from Houston, poor tackling on defense allowed Houston to let Arian Foster loose and control to flow of the game. T.J. Yates never had to make a big play, so the Texans got the win.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2012 Wildcard Weekend"

Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Wildcard Saturday posted by Joe Anello

It’s time. Time for the select few to battle out for the most coveted prize in the NFL: the Lombardi Trophy. The playoffs begin today with the Wildcard round. I’m so excited I can’t even finish this introduction! Let’s just get right to these games, shall we?

(9-7) Cincinnati Bengals at
(10-6) Houston Texans
4:30 PM ET, NBC

As has become tradition in the NFL, the opening game of the Wildcard round is sorta… crappy. The Bengals are a slightly above average team that defied their lowly preseason expectations. Andy Dalton started strong as a rookie, but his production has certainly fallen off in recent weeks. A.J. Green will be healthy enough to make a difference, but I don’t think Dalton has enough developed talent around him to light up the scoreboard. Cedric Benson is a workhorse running back, but he’s never been explosive. Cincy’s offense is decent, but I’d give the edge to Houston’s defense in that match-up. They’re fast and aggressive and can slow down the Bengals enough to give their own rookie quarterback a chance.

Speaking of, we’ve got freaking T.J. Yates starting a playoff game with FREAKING Jake Delhomme backing him up. So if Yates’ shoulder isn’t completely healthy or hinders his play, the Interception Machine will be coming on the field. The thought alone gets me all excited. For the rest of Houston’s offense, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson will both be healthy (ish) for the first time in forever, giving Yates a full complement of weaponry at his disposal. After the Cincy defense gave up two giant runs to Ray Rice last week, Foster will be licking his chops. They won’t be a juggernaut, but that offense should be able to get 21-24 on the Bengals’ D, which will be enough to get the win.

Continue reading "Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Wildcard Saturday"

Detroit Lions News

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Pettigrew put on PUP list by DetroitLions (Yahoo Sports)

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew has been put on the active-physically unable to perform list. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Calvin Johnson's retirement leaves a huge void for the Lions (The Associated Press)

Calvin Johnson's retirement leaves a huge void for the Detroit Lions. Detroit will face defenses for the first time in a decade without one of its players drawing double coverage on almost every snap. Johnson walked away from the Lions and the league in March, announcing his retirement at the age of 30. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Lions sign free agent tackle Luke Marquardt (Yahoo Sports)

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Lions have signed free agent tackle Luke Marquardt. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Lions add depth, signing former Broncos DE Quanterus Smith (Yahoo Sports)

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Lions have signed defensive end Quanterus Smith. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NFL to test computer chips in footballs in preseason (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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