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Five Players Most Likely To Be Overpaid In 2013 NFL Free Agency

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Free agency in the NFL is a time when players have a chance to get rewarded for their stellar play in recent seasons. However, some players get paid much more than they deserve due to market pressures. This year, who are the five players most likely to be overpaid for their services during the free agency period?

Joe Flacco, Quarterback, Baltimore Ravens

Flacco was the Super Bowl MVP and had a stellar playoff run this past January. However, is he really worth $20 million a year? Although he deserves to get paid, his true value is probably closer to $15 million per season. The worst part is that he could be setting his team up for failure as the Ravens are over the cap before adding his massive salary to that number for 2013.

Andy Levitre, Guard, Buffalo Bills

Levitre has never missed a start in the five years that he has played in Buffalo. However, guards are a dime a dozen in the NFL. Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix has a philosophy that you draft tackles and then shift them to guard if they don’t work out. However, this doesn’t mean that Levitre won’t get paid more than he is worth come March. Expect him to be offered around $8 million a season if he manages to make the open market. There is a small chance that he may be tagged by the Bills if they can’t resign him by March 12th.

LaRon Landry, Safety, New York Jets

Two years ago, Landry would have been one of the most sought after free agents on the market. However, he has proven to be an overrated player who is terrible in coverage. Although he made it to the Pro Bowl this year, it is unclear how he managed to do that considering his massive liabilities in coverage. The good news for Landry is that some desperate team is going to pay him anywhere between $6 million to $8 million a season. That team will enjoy being in cap hell for the next several years.

Greg Jennings, Wide Receiver, Green Bay

The Packers played most of last season without Jennings in the lineup due to injury issues. Although Jennings is a great receiver, his injury history should be taken into consideration before he is signed. Currently, it is being speculated that the Miami Dolphins are the team most likely to overpay for his services. Although they are getting a great player, there is unlikely to be a lot of suitors looking to pay him top dollar.

Jared Cook, Tight End, Tennessee

Cook is one of those players who will be overpaid simply because he has a lot of potential. However, that potential has failed to turn into results at the NFL level. This won’t stop a team that needs a tight end from paying him too much money to join their team. Expect him to command a salary of at least $5 million a year. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him make even more than that if a team really likes him.

All five players listed above are great talents who have contributed to the success of their teams. However, there is no way that any of them should be able to command top dollar on the open market. Unfortunately for their teams, the market often times works in strange ways. Look for everyone but Flacco to be on new teams next season while putting their new clubs in poor cap situations for years to come.

Click here to view a list of all free agents in 2013

Another Great NFL Season in the Books

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Two brothers, one trophy was one of the hottest story-lines heading  into Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans. It was a historic occasion between two brothers on opposite sidelines coaching against each other for the right to hold up the most coveted prize in all of professional football. John of the Ravens barely made it to the Super Bowl with no first round-bye and no home playoff game. Jim of the 49ers, on the other hand, was the captain of a team that barely missed making it to the Super Bowl the year prior. Unlike his brother’s Ravens team, it would have been more of a disappointment to many rather than a surprise if his 49ers did not make it all the way to the Big Game. With tens of millions of people all around the world tuned in, either Jim or John would be a victor in this face-off of siblings.

So who won this battle between brothers? If you don’t know by now, you’re probably not a very big NFL fan or you live in the middle of nowhere where the media cannot shape your life in any shape or form. Yes, it was John and his Ravens that held up the trophy for his Ravens/49ers football team. Bringing home a Championship to their team and their family was indeed special. The road to the Championship was indeed a tough one over the course of a full season where every NFL week brings unexpected challenges. This makes any Super Bowl victory a tremendous feat and the city of Baltimore/San Francisco will have bragging rights for the next few months.

The victory parade will come next along with days upon days of media hype and fan buzz. There’s no doubt that the Super Bowl brings the elements of intrigue and excitement all into one nice package. It’s a world wide event in all of its splendor and this year brought the NFL world a special treat that’s as sweet as it is bitter. Whether you’re a casual fan or a die hard fan, this will be another Super Bowl Sunday to remember.

Oh yeah, and it was also Ray Lewis’ last game as a NFL legend. Of course we mentioned the obvious last, but it’s surely not one fact that any NFL on-looker will soon forget. He brought passion and fire to the game and all NFL fans should be thankful for that. If every NFL player brought those intangibles to the game, the league would be different. Actually, it would be much enjoyable.

Lastly, the season finale makes us NFL fans remember what the NFL meant to us. Week by week, the NFL shapes our lives like no other sport can. From wearing our favorite team’s gear to Super Bowl parties, we will miss our football Sundays. For this we are truly thankful for another awesome season of NFL football.

 

Super Bowl Prediction: Ravens Will Upend the Niners

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Super Bowl XLVII’s most obvious storyline revolves around the Harbaugh brothers leading their respective teams to the “Big Game,” and that’s as it should be since it has never happened before. Also, neither Baltimore or San Francisco have ever lost in the Super Bowl, with the Ravens emerging victorious in SB XXXV in their lone appearance while the 49ers are a perfect 5-0, their most recent appearance being in SB XXIX.

Whether the Harbaugh influence is a factor or not, both teams are remarkably similar in style and approach. Defense is the foundation for each team, with Baltimore being traditionally one of the league’s stingiest and dominating, at least over the past decade. Offensively, Baltimore presents a different approach. Their QB, Joe Flacco, has made game management and consistency his trademark. This season however, the Ravens have become more adventurous. Baltimore’s receivers present an enviable mixture of speed (Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones), dependability and fearlessness (Anquan Boldin), and clutch sure-handedness (TE Dennis Pitta). Coach John Harbaugh is also unpredictable, liable to dust off a trick play at the most unlikeliest of times. RB Ray Rice has been somewhat the forgotten man recently, but he is fully capable of going the distance at any moment, while rookie Bernard Pierce has given the ground game an effective “change-of-pace” option. Up front, the Ravens OL provides a nice combination of experience and youth that provides excellent pass protection and above-average run blocking. Rookie PK Justin Tucker has solidified Baltimore’s kicking game, ranking sixth in the NFL with a 90.9 FG percentage (30 of 33). Veteran P Sam Koch is steady and reliable, ranking among the league leaders in punt return yardage at 7.8 yards per return, an often-overlooked statistic. Kick returner Jacoby Jones is another weapon that the ‘Niners will have to contain.

Lined up across from Baltimore’s defense is one of the NFL’s stingiest in terms of net yardage allowed (294.4 yards per game). San Francisco’s defense is most successful when their pass rushers are able to apply pressure, allowing their elite linebacking corps to make plays. The front three, DEs Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and NT Isaac Sopoaga work well together and create plenty of mayhem versus blockers, freeing up lanes for the afore-mentioned LBs (Ahmad Brooks, Navarro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith) to perform their specialty, harassing QBs and snuffing out RBs. Aldon Smith has developed a reputation as one of the league’s better sack specialists, recording 19 1/2 sacks. Willis and Bowman are tough-as-nails tacklers and always give receivers something to think about when crossing the middle of the field. The secondary is bereft of superstars, but the unit has meshed together well and is rarely out of position.

When the 49ers have the football, the number of ultra-skilled playmakers they can line up with is scary. QB Colin Kaepernick’s late-season rise to stardom is one of SB XLVII’s most intriguing storylines, and his unique skills will no doubt be the crux of Baltimore’s defensive game planning. After destroying Green Bay with his record-setting 181 rushing yards, Kaepernick demonstrated uncanny maturity the following week by shredding the Falcons with pinpoint passes when it was obvious the Falcons were determined to keep him in the pocket. Baltimore faces a daunting task in choosing which approach to pursue. RB Frank Gore has been a model of consistency throughout his career, and is expected to have his number called regularly on Sunday. LaMichael James has stepped up in the postseason, his diminuitive size (5’9, 195 lbs.) perfectly suited for the ‘Niners massive front line. Kaepernick, like his counterpart Flacco, has a standout set of receiving targets to throw to, led by WRs Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss, while TE Vernon Davis emerged from a late-season slump to destroy Atlanta. The OL excels in both pass protection as well as pile-driving run blocks, and their immense size often overwhelms defenders. Veteran PK David Akers has been up-and-down, but few are as dependable. Andy Lee specializes in the type of booming, high-altitude punts that usually results in fair catches, and his ability to pin opponents inside the 20 is also a valuable weapon.

For many seasons, Baltimore has hung their collective hats on their intimidating defense, led by veterans Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed. Injuries have taken their toll on these three perennial All-Pros in 2012, but they are all more than ready for this Sunday. Lewis’ “last ride” storyline is well-known, and expect his teammates to feed off his energy and inspiration, at least at the game’s beginning. This defense isn’t nearly as dominant or “lock-down” as some of their recent editions, but no one expects less than 110% effort from any team led by Ray Lewis. The Ravens feature both experience and youthful energy defensively, with the “team” approach utilized. Baltimore has enviable depth, with very little dropoff in production when substitutions are made. Young CBs Cary Williams and Corey Graham have been especially adept in the postseason, making several big plays against Tom Brady and the Patriots in the AFC title game.

The 49ers have been labeled as favorites to capture their sixth Super Bowl championship, which would tie them with Pittsburgh for the most in history. Luckily for Baltimore, the winner will be determined between the lines, and one big advantage the Ravens will enjoy is the two-week interval between conference championships and the Super Bowl. Rest assured that the Baltimore defensive coaching staff has left no stone unturned in dissecting San Francisco’s versatile, multi-faceted attack, and nothing the ‘Niners throw at them on Sunday will come as a surprise. The invaluable experience provided by Lewis, Reed, etc. should negate the 49ers “21st Century” offense, while Joe Flacco and the offense are a fine-tuned machine with options that are virtually impossible to account for over sixty minutes.

Our prediction: Baltimore 27 San Francisco 17.

49ers and Ravens Look to Bring Home A Super Bowl Trophy

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49ers Show The Poise of Champions

The San Francisco 49ers were the first entrants of Super Bowl 47 with a thrilling road victory over the Atlanta Falcons 28-24. They overcame a slow start to eventually pull out a tough victory over the Falcons. The Falcons looked poise to pull out the victory,  but the Niners’ dynamic offense was just too much over the final three quarters. Colin Kapernick was accurate and timely with his throws and Frank Gore got on track with 2 touchdowns.

It was a great season for this NFL team by the bay, going 11-4-1 in regular season and beating the Packers and now the Falcons in the playoffs. With a mid-season quarterback switch and tough losses along the way, these 49ers have rightfully earned their right to represent the NFC in New Orleans for a possible Super Bowl championship. Here’s a look at their road to the Super Bowl this season:

San Francisco 49ers Schedule 2012/13

Preseason
1 Fri, Aug 10 Minnesota Vikings vs Minnesota (0-0) W 17 – 6
2 Sat, Aug 18 Houston Texans @ Houston (0-0) L 9 – 20
3 Sun, Aug 26 Denver Broncos @ Denver (0-0) W 29 – 24
4 Thu, Aug 30 San Diego Chargers vs San Diego (0-0) W 35 – 3

Regular Season
1 Sun, Sep 9 Green Bay Packers @ Green Bay (0-0) W 30 – 22
2 Sun, Sep 16 Detroit Lions vs Detroit (1-0) W 27 – 19
3 Sun, Sep 23 Minnesota Vikings @ Minnesota (1-1) L 13 – 24
4 Sun, Sep 30 New York Jets @ NY Jets (2-1) W 34 – 0
5 Sun, Oct 7 Buffalo Bills vs Buffalo (2-2) W 45 – 3
6 Sun, Oct 14 New York Giants vs NY Giants (3-2) L 3 – 26
7 Thu, Oct 18 Seattle Seahawks vs Seattle (4-2) W 13 – 6
8 Mon, Oct 29 Arizona Cardinals @ Arizona (4-3) W 24 – 3
9 Bye
10 Sun, Nov 11 St. Louis Rams vs St. Louis (3-5) T 24 – 24
11 Mon, Nov 19 Chicago Bears vs Chicago (7-2) W 32 – 7
12 Sun, Nov 25 New Orleans Saints @ New Orleans (5-5) W 31 – 21
13 Sun, Dec 2 St. Louis Rams @ St. Louis (4-6) L 13 – 16
14 Sun, Dec 9 Miami Dolphins vs Miami (5-7) W 27 – 13
15 Sun, Dec 16 New England Patriots @ New England (10-3) W 41 – 34
16 Sun, Dec 23 Seattle Seahawks @ Seattle (9-5) L 13 – 42
17 Sun, Dec 30 Arizona Cardinals vs Arizona (5-10) W 27 – 13

Postseason
Div. Sat, Jan 12 Green Bay Packers vs Green Bay (11-5) W 45 – 31
Conf. Sun, Jan 20 Atlanta Falcons @ Atlanta (13-3) W 28 – 24

Ravens Show Usual Grit To Make It Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh

The Ravens went an underwhelming 10-6 in the regular season, fighting off tough division foes and equally tough (if not tougher) non-division opponents all season long. No matter, the Ravens reached the postseason with a tough road game against the Denver Broncos after handily beating the Indy Colts at home. The Broncos were in the midst of an eleven game winning streak behind the strong play of Peyton Manning and a swarming defense. Against all odds, the Ravens pulled off an improbable victory in double overtime to secure another berth in the AFC Championship game where they beat the New England Patriots in Foxborough. With two convincing victories on the road against two tough teams, the Ravens are more than deserving of representing the AFC in Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans. Here’s  a look at how the Ravens reached the Super Bow:

Baltimore Ravens Schedule 2012/13

Preseason
1 Thu, Aug 9 Atlanta Falcons @ Atlanta (0-0) W 31 – 17
2 Fri, Aug 17 Detroit Lions vs Detroit (0-0) L 12 – 27
3 Thu, Aug 23 Jacksonville Jaguars vs Jacksonville (0-0) W 48 – 17
4 Thu, Aug 30 St. Louis Rams @ St. Louis (0-0) L 17 – 31

Regular Season
1 Mon, Sep 10 Cincinnati Bengals vs Cincinnati (0-0) W 44 – 13
2 Sun, Sep 16 Philadelphia Eagles @ Philadelphia (1-0) L 23 – 24
3 Sun, Sep 23 New England Patriots vs New England (1-1) W 31 – 30
4 Thu, Sep 27 Cleveland Browns vs Cleveland (0-3) W 23 – 16
5 Sun, Oct 7 Kansas City Chiefs @ Kansas City (1-3) W 9 – 6
6 Sun, Oct 14 Dallas Cowboys vs Dallas (2-2) W 31 – 29
7 Sun, Oct 21 Houston Texans @ Houston (5-1) L 13 – 43
8 Bye
9 Sun, Nov 4 Cleveland Browns @ Cleveland (2-6) W 25 – 15
10 Sun, Nov 11 Oakland Raiders vs Oakland (3-5) W 55 – 20
11 Sun, Nov 18 Pittsburgh Steelers @ Pittsburgh (6-3) W 13 – 10
12 Sun, Nov 25 San Diego Chargers @ San Diego (4-6) W 16 – 13
13 Sun, Dec 2 Pittsburgh Steelers vs Pittsburgh (6-5) L 20 – 23
14 Sun, Dec 9 Washington Redskins @ Washington (6-6) L 28 – 31
15 Sun, Dec 16 Denver Broncos vs Denver (10-3) L 17 – 34
16 Sun, Dec 23 New York Giants vs NY Giants (8-6) W 33 – 14
17 Sun, Dec 30 Cincinnati Bengals @ Cincinnati (9-6) L 17 – 23

Postseason
Wild Card Sun, Jan 6 Indianapolis Colts vs Indianapolis (11-5) W 24 – 9
Div. Sat, Jan 12 Denver Broncos @ Denver (13-3) W 38 – 35
Conf. Sun, Jan 20 New England Patriots @ New England (12-4) 28-13

What a year it has been for NFL fans. A year where rookies made more headlines than ever, and one that saw some exciting postseason play. The Super Bowl will be the culmination of teams and players laying it all on the line quarter after quarter, game after game. With the best from the AFC and NFC set to battle it out for the ultimate NFL crown, this one looks to be one game that will have fans wishing that the season wouldn’t end quite yet. So what are you waiting for? Grab some Super Bowl gear and get your party schedules ready for the nation’s finest unofficial holiday.

Dream Super Bowl Matchups

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The 2012 NFL season was among the most exciting in recent memory. With that said, it is time to turn our attention to the postseason. Although the wild card round doesn’t kick off until Saturday, it is never too early to start thinking about which Super Bowl match-ups would be the most enticing to fans.

Washington vs. Indianapolis

Two rookie quarterbacks playing in the Super Bowl would be unprecedented. However, RGIII and Andrew Luck have both played like seasoned veterans all year. It would only be a mild shock to see these two square off in New Orleans this February.

Seattle vs. Indianapolis

Russell Wilson is another rookie quarterback who has led his team to the playoffs. Therefore, a match-up featuring the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts would be another example of a Super Bowl with two rookies starting at quarterback. It would also feature a powerful Indianapolis offense taking on a strong Seattle defense.

Denver vs. San Francisco

For older fans, this would be a classic Super Bowl match-up. The Broncos and 49ers squared off in two Super Bowls in the 1980s. Those games featured John Elway as quarterback for the Broncos and Joe Montana as quarterback of the 49ers. This season, it would be Peyton Manning playing quarterback against Colin Kaepernick playing quarterback for the 49ers. It should be noted that John Elway is an executive for the Broncos while former San Francisco starting QB Alex Smith almost lost his job in the off-season to Manning before losing it to Kaepernick during the season.

Houston vs. Atlanta

The Texans and Falcons have combined for zero Super Bowl victories. Therefore, the winner of this game would claim its first ever Lombardi Trophy. This doesn’t mean that a Super Bowl featuring the Texans and Falcons couldn’t be a great game. Houston has an explosive offense featuring running back Arian Foster and wide receiver Andre Johnson. Atlanta would match that with receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White. Tight end Tony Gonzalez is another target for Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan.

Houston vs. Minnesota

Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson are two of the best running backs in the game today. It could be the first Super Bowl where the winning quarterback wouldn’t be a shoo-in as MVP of the game. Fans could expect both backs to rush for at least 100 yards or more if this match-up were to materialize.

New England vs. San Francisco

The Patriots and 49ers played each other in New England during the regular season. San Francisco won that game 41-34 in a game that saw Brady lead New England back from a 31-3 deficit. These two teams would provide a dream match-up because New England has one of the best offenses in the game while San Francisco has one of the best defenses in the game.

These six potential match-ups would offer fans the excitement and intrigue that each Super Bowl should have. While the Super Bowl can boast a viewership in the millions regardless of which teams are playing, it is always best for the league to have a marquee match-up for its biggest game of the year.