2014 NFC SOUTH PREVIEW

The NFC South is intriguing this year. The Panthers surprised all by taking out the division last year but the Saints are the Saints and the Falcons will be back this year making it very competitive. 

Here is a preview of the four teams from the NFC South:

Carolina Panthers 

Coach: Ron Rivera

Stadium: Bank of America Stadium 

These cats purred under the radar all last year and then won the division. And then they were one and done. In the off season they lost their wide receivers. Newton’s law says what goes up must come down. Let’s hope for Cam he can throw the pigskin up and it comes down in the right place with his new receiving corp. 

Key losses: WR Steve Smith, WR Brandon LaFell, WR/KR Ted Ginn, OT Jordan Gross, G Geoff Hangartner, G Travelle Wharton, CB Captain Munnerlyn, S Michael Mitchell, S Quintin Mikell 

Key signings: WR Jerricho Cotchery, WR Jason Avant, WR Tiquan Underwood, TE Ed Dickson, CB Antoine Cason, S Roman Harper, WR Kelvin Benjamin, DE Kony Ealy, G Trai Turner, S Tre Boston, CB Bene Benwikere

 Panthers

New Orleans Saints

Coach: Sean Payton

Stadium: Mercedes Benz Superdome 

First there was ‘bountygate” and then last year there was “roadgate”. The Saints just need to win on the road to be a legitimate chance. “Brees to Graham”, “Drew to Jimmy” will be the most common phrases said by commentators when New Orleans are in possession and so they should be. Let’s just hope the commentators don’t say “and there’s a slam dunk from Jimmy Graham”. It’s a very dangerous division, but so is Drew. 

Key Departures: RB Darren Sproles, WR Lance Moore, LB Jonathan Vilma, S Roman Harper, S Malcolm Jenkins, DE Will Smith  

Key Arrivals: S Jairus Byrd, C Jonathan Goodwin, WR Brandin Cooks and CB Jean Stanley-Baptiste

 Saints

Atlanta Falcons 

Coach: Mike Smith

Stadium: Georgia Dome 

They had the Ice Man throwing the ball last year, but he just didn’t’ have anyone to throw too. There was more ice thrown in the ice bucket challenge, than touchdowns. The Falcons had both their wings clipped when they lost Roddy White and Julio Jones last season. These two are now fit and expect the Falcons to be sticking their beaks into everyone’s business this season. 

Key losses: TE Tony Gonzalez, FS Thomas Decoud 

Key signings: G Jon Asamoah, OT Jake Matthews, DE Tyson Jackson, DT Paul Soliai, RB Devonta Freeman

atlanta

 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 Coach: Lovie Smith

Stadium: Raymond James Stadium 

There’s plenty of love in Tampa Bay with new coach Lovie Smith. These Buccaneers aren’t quite swashbuckling yet, but they aren’t too far away. They didn’t come on last year like many expected, but with an extra year under their belt don’t be surprised to see them in a wild card race. Doug Martin is integral to success and if the new QB can connect with star Vincent Jackson, a few teams will be walking the plank to defeat. 

Key losses: CB Darrelle Revis, FB Erik Lorig, OT Donald Penn, G Ted Larsen, G Davin Joseph 

Key signings: OT Anthony Collins, C Evan Dietrich-Smith, CB Mike Jenkins, DE Michael Johnson, QB Josh McCown, DT Clinton McDonald, CB Alterraun Verner, SS Major Wright

Tampa

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2014 AFC SOUTH PREVIEW

This is the weakest division in the NFL. The Colts will win it, it’s just by how many games. Andrew Luck has been good for the last few years, watch for him to really show his true colours this year.

Here is a preview of the four teams from the AFC South:

Indianapolis Colts

Coach: Chuck Pagano

Stadium: Lucas Oil Stadium 

The Colts have certainly tapped into the right well. They haven’t just struck gold or oil. They’ve got something better. They’ve struck Luck. His poise is incredible and he is also poised for an incredible year. Their owner was arrested in the offseason, but whether or not he should have been, is all Irsay. There used to be some guy called Manning who played at this club apparently. Indy will be playing deep into January and who knows, February may even be around the corner. Obviously it is, but you know what I mean. 

Key losses: RB Donald Brown, FS Antoine Bethea, OT Jeff Linkenbach, LB Kavell Conner, G Mike McGlynn, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, CB Cassius Vaughn  

Key signings: DL Arthur Jones, WR Hakeem Nicks, LB D’Qwell Jackson

 Colts

Tennessee Titans

Coach: Ken Whisenhunt

Stadium: LP Field 

A very wise choice with the new coach. Whisenhunt has worked with some incredible Quarterbacks in the past and let’s hope he can work wonders again. If he can’t, Jake will be back in the Locker room very quickly. The Titans have been a very strange team over the past few seasons. They are there when they shouldn’t be in the mix. They can look simply incredible one week and then look like the Nashville Numbats the next. Hang in Titans fans, you’re in a weak division and this year will really be a ‘choose your own adventure’ year.  

Key losses: RB Chris Johnson, CB Alterraun Verner, OT David Stewart, PK Rob Bironas, WR Kenny Britt 

Key signings: LB Wesley Woodyard, OT Michael Oher, LB Shaun Phillips, RB/PR Dexter McCluster, RB Bishop Sankey, OT Taylor Lewan

 Titans

Jacksonville Jaguars 

Coach: Gus Bradley

Stadium: EverBank Field 

Ding Dong the Gabbert’s dead. What a spectacular failure. It’s been a while between celebration drinks but there is definite hope. Toby Gerhart is a great signing. A fit and healthy Luke Joeckel will make a monstrous difference. Blake Bortles is a genuine franchise Quarterback. When I say franchise, I’m not completely sure if I mean McDonalds or Jack in the Box, or somewhere in between. The Jaguars will begin moving up the ladder this year and the future is very bright for this team. 

Key losses: RB Maurice Jones-Drew, QB Blaine Gabbert, C Brad Meester, DE Jason Babin, LB Russell Allen 

Key signings: Rookie QB Blake Bortles, RB Toby Gerhart, G Zane Beadles, DERed Bryant, DE Chris Clemons, DT Ziggy Hood, LB Dekoda Watson

 Jaguars

Houston Texans 

Coach: Bill O’Brien

Stadium: NRG Stadium 

I picked the Texans to be in the Super Bowl last year. That went well for me…They drink Fosters beer in Australia and every Texan fan hopes Arian Foster is going to be the toast of this town again. Cirque de Soleil can’t even compete with some of the freaks in this team. J.J Watt is superhuman and Jadeveon Clowney has genuinely scary speed and size. When you get married you need something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Ryan Fitzpatrick is all off these! Will the Texans fans say “I do”?

Key losses: QB Matt Schaub, TE Owen Daniels, RB Ben Tate, DT Earl Mitchell, DE Antonio Smith, SDanieal Manning, CB Brice McCain, LB Darryl Sharpton, LB Joe Mays, QB T.J. Yates

Key arrivals: Rookie LB Jadeveon Clowney, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, S Kendrick Lewis, DT Jerrell Powe, Rookie NT Louis Nix III

 texans

Solved: the hex of Eden Park

kazblah

Image by Alex Hague Image by Alex Hague

This is Eden Park in Auckland. It’s a nice enough footy field. But it’s only a footy field.

So why is it such a graveyard for Aussie rugby dreams? What are they spraying on the turf that makes it so Wallaby repellent?

It’s 28 years since Australia beat the All Blacks on this ground, or at least it will be in a couple of weeks. On 6 September, to be precise. Not that anyone’s counting.

Twenty-eight years. By my reckoning, there are more than eight million Aussies who haven’t experienced an Eden Park win in their lifetime. That’s about 35 per cent of the population.

These are frightening numbers. Almost as scary as Saturday’s scoreline, which I’m not going to repeat because I have way too much Aussie pride.

Haka gangnam

We fancied our chances on Saturday, didn’t we? Go on, admit it. We’re Aussies, we always fancy…

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MONDAY-ITIS LAUGH- the cyclist one is the best!

Here is a small compilation of sport bloopers. I hate seeing these types of fails in high competition sports such as the Olympics, but when it’s not there it’s slightly amusing.

It’s only a short video and I hope you enjoy. If you were the cyclist in the second bike related piece, you would be so embarrassed! And the poor pole vaulter..I’m still cringing in pain!

The below clip is courtesy of Stupid Jock Videos.
 

2014 NFC NORTH PREVIEW

The NFC North will be tight this year. The Lions have the most talented team, the Bears have the best WR duo, the Packers are the Packers and their QB is not unhandy and the Vikings have AP and. Well they have AP. 

Here is a preview of the four teams form the NFC North: 

Green Bay Packers 

Coach: Mike McCarthy

Stadium: Lambeau Field 

Collarbone. Fixed. That’s all you really need to know if you are a Packers fan. A healthy Aaron Rodgers means the cheeseheads won’t be on the nose this season. Their star running back from last year, Eddie Lacy will get better with Rodgers by his side this year and while you always expect snow to fall in Green Bay, expect plenty of touch downs to fall the way of this team, too. They’ve added some salt and Peppers to spice things up as well.  

Key losses: WR James Jones, C Evan Dietrich-Smith

Key signings: LB / DE Julius Peppers, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

 greenbay

Chicago Bears 

Coach: Marc Trestman

Stadium: Soldier Field 

This team can score points and plenty of them. They just had some trouble tackling last year and they’ve looked to address this in the offseason. Bears might be circus animals, but the wide receiving duo of this team are magical and will fit under any Big Top. When Brandon Marshall’s his troops, the Soldiers will be marching. 

Key losses: DE Julius Peppers, KR Devin Hester, QB Josh McCown, DT Henry Melton 

Key signings: DE Jared Allen, DE Lamarr Houston, DE Willie Young, DB Kyle Fuller

 funny-chicago-bears-pictures

Detroit Lions 

Coach: Jim Caldwell

Stadium: Ford Field 

With the roster of this team and given the injuries of key personnel in other division rivals, it was just assumed the Lions would make the play offs last season. Somehow and beyond all odds, they didn’t make it. Matthew Stafford is so close to being an incredible QB. If he can tweak a few things he will be able to lead this team to a division title and it’s up to them if they go further. It’s Jim Caldwell’s first year with the Lions. Let’s see if he calls well or ends up at the bottom of the well.  

Key losses: CB Chris Houston, S Louis Delmas, WR Nate Burleson, DE Willie Young, PK David Akers, QB Shaun Hill, S John Wendling 

Key signings: WR Golden Tate, S James Ihedigbo, TE Eric Ebron, LB Kyle Van Noy, PK Nate Freese, QB Dan Orlovsky, FB Jed Collins, CB Cassius Vaughn, CB Nevon Lawson, OL Travis Swanson, DE Darryl Tapp, DE Larry Webster, DT Caraun Reid.

 Detroit

Minnesota Vikings

Coach: Mike Zimmer

Stadium: TCF Bank Stadium

You have to Ponder about this team. How did they overachieve so much in 2012 and then be so disappointing in 2013? Who will be the Quarterback for this team? Has there been enough water under the bridge for Matt Cassel and will Vikings fans finally find something to hold on tightly to, like Teddy Bridgewater? Their home ground is TCF but if they don’t produce results it might become TFC- thanks for coming. By the way, they still have some running back called Peterson or something.

Key losses: DE Jared Allen, TE John Carlson, CB Chris Cook, QBJosh Freeman, RB Toby Gerhart, DT Letroy Guion, LB Erin Henderson, LB Marvin Mitchell, DT Kevin Williams

Key signings: Rookie LB Anthony Barr, rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater, LBJasper Brinkley, S Kurt Coleman, CB Derek Cox, DT Tom Johnson, NTLinval Joseph, rookie RB Jerick McKinnon, CB Captain Munnerlyn, DE Corey Wootton

 vikings

FLASH BACK FRIDAY- Plugger gets the Swans into the 1996 Grand Final

Tony Lockett is one of, if not the greatest Sydney Swan. 

I don’t want to jinx the Swans as they march towards the semi finals, but today we take a quick look at Plugger’s kick which got the Sydney Swans into the 1996 Grand Final and the very first GF for the team known as the Sydney Swans. The previous Grand Final was under the South Melbourne banner, when they lost in 1945.
 
With the scores all locked up and just 17 clicks left, Plugger took a mark and lined up, needing to just kick a point to get the Swans over the line. He had a dodgy groin and a 50m kick in front of him, which must have seemed a mile away.
 
Watch what happens…