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Sports Then and Now

NFL Regular Season Recap: Preseason Picks Turn To Mush 6

Posted on January 05, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Tennessee Titans

Neither the Tennessee Titans or Pittsburgh Steelers were able to live up to early expectations.

This is the time of year that sports writers and bloggers tend to dread, the time to look back at season predictions and analyze for the world to see just how much, or how little, you got right during the recent NFL season.

When the season began in September with a Thursday night matchup between the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans, many expected at least one of those two teams to be contending for a spot in Super Bowl XLIV.

But, in a year full of surprises, one of the biggest is that neither of those teams will be among the 12 squads vying for a trip to Miami.

When I peered into my crystal ball in early September I predicted the Patriots, Ravens, Colts and Chargers would win divisions in the AFC with the Titans and Texans earning wild card spots. In the NFC, my division picks were the Giants, Packers, Falcons and Seahawks with the Bears and Eagles earning the wild card spots.

I then predicted Baltimore would edge the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game with the Packers defeating the Falcons in the NFC title game.

My Super Bowl pick was for the Packers to defeat the Ravens.

While I had more than my share of miscues, believe it or not my Super Bowl matchup could still actually happen, though it is a bit of a long-shot at this point. Read the rest of this entry →

10 Observations After 10 Weeks of NFL 2009 2

Posted on November 18, 2009 by Dean Hybl
St. Louis Rams OJ Atogwe and New Orleans Saints Marques Colston

Things sure have flipped in the NFL. The New Orleans Saints are among the best teams while the St. Louis Rams are vying for the title of worst team in the league.

With 10 weeks of the NFL season now in the books, here are 10 observations about what we have seen so far and what we could see over the final seven weeks of the 2009 NFL regular season.

Big Happenings In The Big Easy
The New Orleans Saints aren’t just the most explosive and exciting team in the NFL; they may also be the best team. Without question the Saints have an offense that can put pressure on any defensive unit. Ranking in the top five in the NFL in both passing and rushing yards makes them a nightmare for defensive coordinators.

What makes the Saints particularly dangerous is that over the last three to four years they have accumulated an amazing collection of talented athletes on both sides of the ball. Their defense is ranked near the middle of the pack in most categories, but they do what they have to in big situations. Most specifically, they don’t have one glaring weakness that can be easily exploited by opposing quarterbacks.

Drew Brees has developed into one of the 3-4 best quarterbacks in football, but the best quality for the Saints is that he does not have to do it alone. With a solid corps of runners and receivers, the Saints don’t have to rely on one player to win games for them.

It may seem very strange to say the words Saints and Super Bowl in the same sentence, but unless something dramatically changes over the last half of the season they could have a chance to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl for the first time in the 42-year history of the team.
Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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