Road to the Super Bowl: Contenders will rise and pretenders will fall, who will be left standing #nflplayoffs

After nearly six months of NFL games the playoffs has arrived and all that remains are the serious contenders for the NFL title. Although there may still be a few more poser among the six teams remaining, at the end of the weekend their true colors will shine bright as only four teams will inch closer to representing their conference and ultimately celebrating a NFL championship in the Big Easy.

in a rodg we trustSix out of the head coaches remaining in this single elimination tournament are entering unchartered waters as they each attempt to build a legacy similar to one time Super Bowl Champion Packer Head Coach or four-time Super Bowl  winning Coach Belichick of the New England Patriots. Each of these franchises quarterbacks all have compelling stories: Peyton Manning’s (Denver Broncos) fused neck; Russell Wilson’s (Seattle Seahawks) small stature and 3rd draft selection; Colin Kaepernick (SF 49ers) youth and inexperience; Joe Flacco’s (Ravens) clutch gene missing an unaccountedbrady manning for; Aaron Rodgers (GB Packers) will his arm hold up to three games of 60+ passes due to a deficient  running game; Matt Schuab (Houston Texans) will he finally get the monkey off his back and shake off the bug of inconsistency; Matt Ryan (Falcons)will he finally win a game when it counts the most; and last but not least Tom Brady (NE Patriots) will he be forced into another shootout.

Although each of these quarterback will get their fare share of headlines this weekend do not be fooled by their gold boy looks and smiles because the outcomes of each of these games will ultimately won on the defensive side of the ball. The Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots bend but don’t break defenses have been serviceable during the regular season but they both know that the playoffs is a different beast all its owntalib and johnson. Both former Super Bowl Champion teams will rely heavily on their secondary to produce turnovers. The Patriots corner back Aquib Talib will be left in man coverage against the Texans All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson. Green Bay’s Charles Woodson will certainly test the youth and inexperience of 49ers quarterback Kaepernick.

The Seahawks, 49ers, and Broncos each have a number of game breakers on the defensive side of the ballseahawks each team will certainly keep the offensive coordinator and the quarterback up the night before game day. The secondaries of the Seahawks and the 49ers play most games in man coverage which gives the defensive coordinator the luxury of blitzing at a high rate. The Broncos led by All-Pro linebacker Von Miller dominate the line of scrimmage giving opposing quarterbacks very little time in the pocket.

The Atlanta Falcons certainly have their fare share of talent on the defense including a stud at linebacker in Sean Witherspoon and free safety Will Moore in the secondary. Unlike their dirty bird defenseplay-off peers the Falcons often gets overlooked but this weekend they will have an opportunity to cast their embarrassing loses to cellar dwellers into the sea of forgetfulness. As the epic battle of titans grows near tune be sure you have your pop corn ready, because this weekend its going down and it promises to be a good one Also be sure to join me Saturday 1030 EST for my NFL Playoff Primer for this weekend’s games. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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New York Jets – Rex Ryan, writing checks that his Jets cant cash #jets

A year ago before his highly anticipated match up against crosstown rival the New England Patriot the ever enigmatic Jets head Coach referred to himself as a future Hall-of-Famer while also dawning a make shift Hall of Fame coat presuming that a bust of his image was a foregone conclusion. Not one to bite his tongue Rex Ryan finally appears to be at a lost for words as his Jets will miss the playoffs for the second year in a row with major changes and firing within the organization on the horizon. < Rex Ryan = ‘alligator mouth, hummingbird a-$ – ti’> rex hall of fame

The dismal play of the offense is unacceptable, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez appears to have completely lost his confidence after throwing 3 interceptions in a game for the fourth time this season. After leading the Jets  to two consecutive AFC Championships expectations for him to take the next step as an elite quarterback appeared to be virtual certainty. But the Jet front office failed to retain any of the play-makers who made those playoff runs possible (Braylon Edwards, Brad Smith, Jerricho nfl bust o meterCotchery). The front office’s decision to go in a more affordable direction would not have been a problem had they not drafted so horribly. From 2010-2012 the Jets have drafted twenty players which has only produced 2 starters, 11 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and 10 sacks combined this season (

Bad player evaluations has led to wasted draft selections, poor player development, and an aging defense has truly been a recipe for disaster. The future of the Jets franchise is unknown as the front office continues to make bonehead moves like signing Mark Sanchez to an extension guaranteeing him 8 million next year and who can forget the Tebow-bania that has now been reduced to a whimper with him being a permanent fixture on the tebow gqsideline with clipboard in hand. An off-season filled with hype and shirtless runs in the rain are reasons why this once proud franchise has become the laughing-stock of the league. In order to change the fate of New York’s ‘other’ NFL team wholesale changes are in order. The lack of leadership and cohesiveness is so clear that a blind man can see it.

At this point it may be given that the general manager and the president of football operations may be sporting new NFL apparel next season. Although the continues to gain steam the chances of him returning for another year may hinge on how the Jets finish the season. The Rex Ryan era has been anything short of boring from Superbowl predictions, to self-appointed Hall-of-Fame enshrinement, Rex Ryan has certainly ensured that the Jets were always relevant. Those antics are tolerable as long as you are collecting W’s but now those wins have now been replaced with embarrassing loses, in-game spats with players, and division amongst Jets players in the locker-room.

jet fans brown bagsAlthough the future of the Jet franchise is unknown the downward trend guarantees that the Jets will be preparing for more than just the NFL draft once the regular season comes to an end. Have we seen the last of Rex as Jets head coach? Is Mark ‘I throw picks for fun’ Sanchez still the franchise quarterback? Have we seenjest fans the last of Tim Tebow in the Big Apple? No matter what happens the J-E-T-S jets jets jets off-season promises to be a compelling one. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

New England Patriot Dominance and NFC Parody – in search of a NFC King #superbowl

Parody in the NFL has become a widespread phenomenon that has infected the entire NFC. The only team that appears to be immune to its elixir are the New England Patriots who continue to widen the gap of dominance over their AFC counterparts. NFC division leaders New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, and Atlanta Falcons have all been remarkably inconsistent all season suffering loses to unacceptable opponents and conference cellar dwellers.

The regular season is nearly over and no dominant team from the NFC has separated themselves from the packNFL Playoffs 2013 as a prohibitive favorite to represent the conference for the Super Bowl in New Orleans. Unlike the NFC teams the Patriots continue to stomp on the throat of their opponents and it would not be considered presumptuous for their fans to start booking flights and making hotel arrangements to Bourbon street for another shot at another Super Bowl.

As the playoff picture begins to become more clear fans and odds makers alike have no clue who will contend. At the start of the season the Green Bay Packers were projected to have the best chance to win another Superbowl.

Green Bay PackersAlthough the play of the Packers has been impressive at times, the Packers have failed to overcome the injury bug as well as produce a serviceable running game. Last week against the reigning Super Bowl Champion New York Giants they were thoroughly dominated as the G-men defensive line made life for Aaron Rodgers a nightmare.

Led by Eli these same New York Giants have also been remarkably inconsistent recently ending a 4-game no touchdown pass drought. Despite holding onto a slimColin Kaepernick San Francisco 49ers lead in the division over the resurgent Washington Redskins there chances of repeating and potentially missing the playoffs all seem like unsurprising outcomes. Their NFC Conference Championship foe the San Francisco 49ers are still breaking in quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has been both electrifying and riddled with mistakes all alike.

The Falcon continue to prove pundits right with two embarrassing loses to two teams with records below .500.Cam Newton Carolina Panthers Despite an 11-2 record has their ever been a team with such an impressive record that everyone presumes will make an early playoff exit like they have done in times past The last three Super Bowl winners were NFL wildcards which means teams like the dangerous Seattle Seahawks and the talented but inconsistent Chicago Bears may serve as more than just first round exits during the postseason.

As the season progresses the Patriots eventual crowning as AFC Champion seems like a certainty. However, history has shown us that the Super Bowl Super Bowl 48 New OrleansChampion may come from the NFC for the fourth time in five years. Although the Patriot’s eventual foe has yet to be determined their challenger promises to be compelling none the less. Will the Giants and Falcons shake the bug of inconsistency? Will the 49ers led by their unproven quarterback prove pundits wrong and return to the site of their last Super Bowl run in 1990? Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark

NFL Week 3 Observations: Return of Dominant Defenses and the Demise of the Elite Quarterbacks

At the beginning of the season teams like the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers graced the covers of endless magazines and were considered shoe-ins to play for the Lombardi Trophy. Fans in New Orleans believed that making Drew Brees the highest paid player in the NFL would ensure that the Saints would operate without a hitch and contend for another Super Bowl.

However in only a short time the NFL has dealt its fans one harsh reality, that an unpredictable season awaits and the popular picks to win it all may struggle to even make playoffs. Last season was truly an exceptional one but the record-breaking offensive outputs are unlikely to be repeated EVER again. After being victimized by these potent offenses defensive coordinators around the league have had an entire off-season to prepare for the rigors of a long NFL season.

So far this season the NFL’s so-called elite quarterbacks (Brees, Manning, Brady, and Rodgers) have all struggled to adapt to the new wrinkles defenses have installed to beat them. The New Orleans Saints sit at 0-3 and so far this season Drew Brees has made a number of game changing decisions like the safety or the costly interception which cost the Saints the game against perennial doormat the Kansas City Chiefs.

Not to be out done, the two other 19 million dollar men Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have become shadows of themselves, their play on the gridiron is not matching the names on the back of their jerseys. For the first time in his thirteen year career Peyton Manning admitted being lost and confused when he attempted to explain his three interceptions to a stunned media room. Tom Brady was also at a loss for words when asked to explain the plight of the New England Patriots who with a loss next week may fall below .500 for the first time in nearly seven years.

Last night there were many times when NFL MVP Aaron Rodger also looked lost against the Seattle Seahawks, failing to read defenses quickly enough resulting in a NFL record 8 sacks in the first half. After nearly five years of offensive dominance by these elite quarterbacks it appears a new generation of defensive masterminds have arisen and made these future Hall of Famers finally look human.

Although there are still many more games left to play the revival of elite defenses is no mirage and the chess match which will occur throughout the season will truly be one to marvel at. A $19 million dollar quarterback used to guarantee you of a playoff run, we shall see if these old guys will have any new tricks. Are we witnessing a new era or the careers of these elite quarterbacks in decline, in 17 weeks we will know for sure. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)

Capt. ELITE: The Evolution of Eli Manning, the silent assassin!

Eli Manning, a man of few words, sent shock waves when he confidently proclaimed that he was an elite quarterback in the NFL. Radio pundits swiftly filled the radio waves dismissing Eli’s perception of himself alleging that a Super Bowl didn’t make you elite because quarterbacks like Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer were barely even average. Although every quarterback besides the two mentioned in the last twenty years have been inducted or are on track to be inducted into the Hall of Fame ( scroll and see for yourself

This season Eli Manning evolved into Captain Elite displaying impressive poise in the pocket and elevating the talent of his wide receivers, Hicks who was on the verge of being considered a bust and the ‘Salsa Dancing’ Victor Cruz an undrafted hidden gem that barely made the 53-man roster.

Captain Elite let his game do his talking, each week putting up impressive numbers consistently outshining the quarterbacks that many pundits considered to be elite like Aaron ‘Discount Double Check” Roger who many believe will be awarded MVP this season. Unlike the future ‘hall of famer’, Rex Ryan, Eli has won two Super Bowl Championships in four years.

Captain Eli has become the most unlikely King of New York, a southerner who is no longer just the little brother of Peyton but an elite quarterback in his own right.

Eli Manning lead his team over the 49ers and outdueled Tom Brady on the big stage for a second time to hoist the Lombardi Trophy not only cementing his status as an elite quarterback but also securing his rightful place in the NFL Hall of Fame.


A true leader leads by his actions, not his words.’ – A.Denmark follow me @Eatdrnkslpsprtz