Plenty of surprises at mid-point of NFL season

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The NFL has become so unpredictable it’s become funny listening to so-called experts make definitive statements about what’s going to happen. So far the 2013 season has been one of the most unpredictable in years, and there have been tons of surprises. Last night’s Bengals/Dolphins game was one of many games that had to drive betters crazy, as the game ended up turning on a safety in overtime, which saved anyone who bet the under and killed everyone who bet the over. Of course these things happen all the time and that’s part of the fun (or agony) you know may be in store for you as you browse the lines each week with sites recommended by sites like SportsBettingPal.com, but the overall unpredictability of the NFL has added to the drama. Just consider some of these highlights:

- Who would have guessed that the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans could be this bad? The collapse of these teams has been stunning, even in a league that usually produces surprises.

- The Kansas City Chiefs are the last undefeated team in the NFL. Last year they earned the number one pick in the NFL draft by having the worst record in the NFL. Of course many predicted improvement with Andy Reid taking over for a team that was coached by the epicly inept Romeo Crennel, bit 8-0 is certainly a surprise. Now don’t let that fool you too much, as the Chiefs have been winning some close games against mediocre teams and have been very fortunate with turnovers, so the second half of the season could change this storyline quickly.

- The Cleveland Browns traded Trent Richardson, and then proceeded to win three straight after everyone had assumed that they tanked the season. Brandon Weeden played like a bust, but then Brian Hoyer came in and played like an All Pro. That’s the NFL.

- The New York Jets were left for dead even before the season started, but they’re 4-4. One week their defense look like the ’85 Bears, and the following week they give up over 40 points to Cincy along with five touchdowns for the erratic Andy Dalton.

All of this has added to the fun of picking games against the spread, but it also drives home the point that nothing is a lock in this league. Keep in mind that you’re playing probabilities, and that it can often pay to go against conventional wisdom.

  

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RG3 in adidas commercial on eve of 2013 NFL season

RG3 Adidas

The 2013 NFL season kicks off tonight with the Baltimore Ravens traveling to Denver as the Broncos try to avenge their gut wrenching loss from last season’s playoffs.

One story line this season revolves around the return of Robert Griffin III as he tries to return from a season-ending knee injury. He’s slated to start game 1, and here he’s ready to roll with Adidas as the season gets underway.

  

Fantasy Football Draft Day Strategy: Bank Your Offense

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Building a well-oiled Fantasy Football engine, that will drive you to a year-end Championship, takes quality craftsmanship and a dedication to details. With another NFL Fantasy Football season coming at us with the speed of the Acela Express, the time to prepare is now! Fantasy football fanatic and online sports betting expert StatsGuru here with some commentary on the value of a “positional” draft strategy that’s often employed once the clock starts ticking on Draft Day. This advice is based on a standard scoring system that includes a one point per reception bonus.

Running Backs First Strategy: Still a path to Success

You could make solid argument that the National Football League has been stealing a few pages out of the Canadian Football League playbooks recently. That’s because the run twice, pass, and then kick strategy, that the NFL was once infamous for, has turned to a pass a lot and run later strategy – very similar to the CFL. Once dominated by Barry Sanders and Walter Payton, the running back focused NFL is now all about the quarterbacks. It takes willpower, but I personally like to target pass catching running backs with my first three picks on draft day.

RB Secured: Wide Receivers and Quarterbacks are next

No matter which position you draft from, you can usually secure three top tier starting running backs with your first three picks – if you resist the urge to dip into the quarterback and wide receiver pool. While 110 points separated the top QB from 12th overall in 2012, and just 90 points separated the top 12 wide receivers, the gap from top down to twelve for running backs was 131 points. With so many teams employing a pass happy offense, the quarterback importance gap is shrinking. Look at banking your wide receivers with your next three picks – then your QB.

Tight End position continues to gain importance

Once your everyday starting roster of QB (1), RB (3), and WR (3) is secure, you’ll be rolling into the eighth round of your draft. Like the wide receiver position, there’s a smaller drop off when it at the tight end position – in 2012 it was just 87 points. I always aim to reach the first plateau, which is having starters in place at the four offensive “skill positions” by the end of the eighth round. Your first TE pick can also be inter-changed with one of your wide receiver picks if you spot value in a particular TE. Now, with over half of your draft sill to come, you’ll have a solid starting roster.

As you surf around the internet, during the another thrilling NFL regular season, and right up to Super Bowl XLVIII, feel free to click here for additional NFL commentary. Good Luck & Enjoy your 2013 Fantasy Football Ride. It’ll be amazing – it always is!

Image source: Cleveland Browns Facebook page

  

Clear Men Scalp Therapy Interview with NFL All-Pro Tony Gonzalez

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Tony Gonzalez is an NFL icon. A lock for the Hall of Fame when he retires, Gonzalez has the most receiving yards (14,268) and touchdowns (107) for a tight end in NFL history, and the second most receptions (1,242) all-time, trailing only 49ers legend Jerry Rice.

Recently, I spoke with the 17-year veteran about his partnership with Clear Men Scalp Therapy, “Marty Ball” and the evolution of the NFL. You can check out a transcription of the interview below, or just watch the embedded video of our discussion after the break.

Bullz-Eye: So Tony, what’s going on with you and Clear Men Scalp Therapy?

Tony Gonzalez: I teamed up with Clear Men Scalp Therapy because as you strive to be the perfect man, it starts with first impressions. And as a football player wearing a helmet all the time, we deal with flakes. They have flake free, dandruff free shampoo that really doesn’t dry your hair out and I love it. It smells great and I’m glad to be a part of it.

Bull-Eye: Speaking of flakes, how has the integration of social media in today’s world changed the way you interact with fans?

Tony Gonzalez: It’s a game changer; everyone has a voice. Let alone just athletes, anyone “famous” or whatever you want to call, everyone gets to voice their opinion. My 12-year-old son has a Facebook and Instagram and he’s like, ‘Dad why don’t you respond to me so I can get more friends?’ and all this stuff. As the professional athlete, it’s a blessing and a huge tool to reach whatever audience you want to reach. On the flip side of that, it’s a dangerous tool, if it’s used improperly and you see athletes putting stuff out there all the time. Once you push send, it’s on there forever; for the rest of your life and even when you leave the earth, people are still able to check out what you thought about a certain subject and it can be dangerous.”

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Who Needs Work in the NFL?

Each week 64% of Americans watch 6-10 hours of the National Football League throughout the US. And each year just as many have hopes that their team will make it all the way and be the big winners of the Super Bowl championship. Even fans that have never seen their team even come close, and hold out hope for miracles like the New Orleans Saints a few years ago. Everyone believes this is the year. But sadly, for many NFL teams they won’t even come close.

In 2012 we have seen the battles between the heavy hitters, but what about those who were trailing behind? What teams didn’t quite make it to the playoffs, or even halfway up the national roster? What about their season and now off season ventures?

This year the low team on the totem pole was the Kansas City Chiefs. With a 2-14 record the Chiefs had a rough year eventually firing their head coach and seeing the resignation of Scott Pioli, their General Manager. There is an upside though as they move ahead for the first draft pick in the 2013 season. Rumor has it they are looking at adding a quarterback to their team and right now there is a four way tie between Geno Smith of WVU fame, Ryan Nassib, Tyler Wilson, and Matt Barkley.

Another team that went 2-14 this season was the Jacksonville Jaguars. It seemed their quarterback was much to blame for this sad record and as it goes in the NFL head Coach Mike Mularkey was fired by the new GM. David Caldwell, the new GM, is excited however about rebuilding from the ground up in the offseason and next year the Jaguars could be good contenders. So if you are an avid fan or a season ticket holder, hold on to your Jacksonville Jaguars tickets because 2013 looks to be really exciting.

Although the Jets have two famed quarterbacks with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, they didn’t make it past #30 on the Fox Sports Power Ranking list. A lot of blame fell on Sanchez for playing poorly this year and not doing well with pre-snap reads. The QB coach is also being replaced and fans are looking at who may be coming in, and who else may be getting replaced this year. The 2013 draft is also crucial for the Jets as they have many holes to fill on their team roster and if they follow through with the expected cut of Calvin Pace in the offseason they will need a strong pass-rusher like Jarvis Jones.

Sadly another team that seems to have a quarterback that doesn’t quite cut it is the Oakland Raiders. It appears that QB Terrelle Pryor made a valiant effort for the 2012 season but fell just short of being all he needed to be for an NFL quarterback. There are hopes for the 2013 season however with newly signed contracts by running back Jon Hoese, nose tackle Johnny Jones, and a reserve contract for receiver Isaiah Williams.

The Eagles, the Titans, the Lions, and the Cardinals weren’t much better this season in their attempt for professional football glory. The reality is the NFL is a tough business to be in and with serious injuries like the Chiefs QB Robert Griffin III’s knee, or the Detriot Lions’ DT Nick Fairley’s shoulder, you never know where a team will end up when the first games of the season are played. But as much as you love to see your team succeed, a true fan will support their team through thick and thin, up and down, wins and loses always holding out hope for the next season, if nothing else.

  

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