Posted by Barrie on Saturday, 2 January 2010

How Many Records Will Chris Johnson Break on Sunday?

This has hardly been a season to remember for the Tennessee Titans; starting 0-6 and being eliminated from any playoff possibilities in their own stadium on Christmas Day.

There are some positives for them to take out of this season though. First, Vince Young coming back in and being a much more matured leader than the one he was before losing his job to Kerry Collins. They still have one of the best offensive lines in the league. They can still stop the run. Oh – and Chris Johnson is one of the elite running backs in the league now.

Tennessee have two missions when they travel to Seattle for their final game of the season on Sunday. 1) Get the win. 2) Get Chris Johnson into the record books.

The 2nd year running back out of East Carolina is the first Titan to be voted to Pro Bowls in each of his first two seasons since Jevon Kearse did so a decade ago (1999 and 2000). Last season he ran for 1,228 yards and 9 touchdowns, splitting time with LenDale White. This season White has had only 63 carries since being their lead runner with 303 carries, 2 seasons ago.

Chris Johnson has blown by defences this season, as early as week 2 when he ran for 197 yards on 16 carries and caught 9 passes for 87 yards in defeat to the Houston Texans. He is currently on a 10-game streak of 100+ yards. He needs 234 rushing yards on Sunday to beat Eric Dickerson's rushing record set back in 1984. His single best performance is 228, set in week 8 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

As he has been a threat at both running and receiving, Johnson is only 75 yards short of Marshall Faulk's all-purpose yardage record of 2,429 yards, set in the 1999 season when his St Louis Rams beat the Tennessee Titans in that infamous Superbowl.

If Chris Johnson gains 128 rushing yards on Sunday, he will become only the sixth player in NFL history to run for 2,000+ yards in a single season.

Johnson has been a big hitter this season. While he has been stuffed in the backfield on a number of occasions or brought down for a minimal game, one missed tackle or perfect blocking has sprung him big runs this season. He is the quickest player in the NFL, added with his power makes him one of the elite running backs in the NFL.

Seattle's goal on Sunday is to quite simply stop the run. They didn't do so well last Sunday, when Ryan Grant of the Green Bay Packers average 6.1 yards per carry. While they rank 14th against the run this season, allowing an average of 109.5 rushing yards per game, they look like a team eagerly waiting for the off season to come. Thus giving Chris Johnson every ounce of confidence to break the 2,000 mark barrier. Whether they come out to crash the party and run blitz for the majority of the game remains to be seen.

Check out our NFL Tipster's picks for the final weekend of the regular season.

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Posted by Barrie on Friday, 25 December 2009

San Diego Set to Spoil Tennessee's Christmas Party

The Tennessee Titans entertain the San Diego Chargers with kickoff only a few hours away. After seeing our NFL Tipster's Picks for this week's games, I couldn't resist elaborating on this matchup, being a keen admirer of the Titans myself.

I'm surprised the Titans are favourites for this match, albeit just by 3 points. Perhaps a long journey on Christmas day for the visitors had something to do with the bookmakers odds, because I am one of many backing the underdog tonight.

Preparation could be a key I have not taken too seriously. Jeff Fisher's side are always well-prepared, but I remember them losing 37-16 at home to the Denver Broncos on Christmas Day 5 years ago.

The San Diego Chargers are one of the best teams in the NFL right now and a genuine contender for the Superbowl. A 9-game winning streak has seen them take the AFC West after a gloomy 2-3 start that saw them far behind the 6-0 Denver Broncos. Both teams have gone in different directions since Broncos won the first battle in week 6. The San Diego Chargers were confirmed as division champions last weekend when the Oakland Raiders beat the Denver Broncos. If the Chargers win tonight they will wrap up a bye week as the number 2 team.

A dreadful 0-6 start to the season for the Tennessee Titans seemed to eliminate any post season opportunity in the opening weeks of the season. Only 2 of those sides they lost to are sitting in a playoff position currently. Since then they've been on a long recovery, winning 7 of their last 8 matches. Only one of those victories came against a playoff-bound team and that was thanks to a magical drive and final play touchdown pass from Vince Young against the Arizona Cardinals. Truth be told, they're beating the teams they can be expected to beat. But they're not beating the good teams. And the Chargers are a good team.

If San Diego can give Philip Rivers time in the pocket he will have a big game tonight. The Titans defence has already allowed 300+ yard passing games from 7 quarterbacks this season, including 349 yards by Chad Henne last weekend in their overtime victory over the Miami Dolphins after letting slip of a big 4th quarter lead.

Keith Bulluck, one of the best all-around linebackers in the league is gone for the season now and his loss may well be exposed tonight. He can play both the pass and running games very well and Tennessee can't replace him. Antonio Gates is already over 1,000 yards on the season and will benefit from Tennessee's loss. LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles will also benefit in the running game.

As for Tennessee's offence. Chris Johnson needs another 270 yards in his final 2 games to reach the 2,000 yard mark. He will find it tough against the Chargers defence that will load the box. Johnson is always one missed tackle away from a big gain, so the Chargers will need to play it perfectly. Johnson is looking for his 10th straight 100+ rushing yard game this evening although his numbers have come down in the past 3 weeks. This defence are setup to bring that run to an end.

That leaves work for Vince Young to do. A mobile quarterback, he may have a hard time finding room to run when nothing's opened downfield against this defence. He has shown good touch on deep passes and limited the number of bad decisions this season. He will need Nate Washington to catch the deep passes this week as they may look to stretch the Chargers defence if the running game is taken away. Justin Gage has been a reliable receiver for Young, and dumping the ball off to Chris Johnson has always been a good option.

This match pits two of the in-form teams going face-to-face. As optimistic as I have been in recent weeks, I think this is the game that ends any final hopes of a playoff spot for the Tennessee Titans. I can't look past the San Diego Chargers and am taking them at 13/10. You can also take them at 10/11 with +3 on the points spread, with Tennessee very unlikely to win by more than 3 points in anyone's optimistic mind.

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Posted by Barrie on Monday, 30 November 2009

Vince Young Developing into an NFL Quarterback

On Sunday night, Vince Young threw for a career high 387 yards as he lead the Tennessee Titans to a dramatic last play victory over the Arizona Cardinals to keep their thin playoff hopes alive.

Everyone has been talking about him after he lead the Titans on a dramatic 99 yard winning drive. The test came for Young starting at his own 1 as the Titans trailed 17-13 with less than 3 minutes remaining. He gained 6 yards in 3 plays before Kenny Britt made a game-saving catch behind a defender on 4th and 4. Young would face another 4th and 4 later on the drive, which he successfully converted into the hands of Lavelle Hawkins. Young was taking the short completions on the sidelines that Arizona were giving him. He was doing it with his arms and not his legs. The game down to one final play, after each team had taken a timeout, leaving Tennessee at 4th and goal from the Arizona 10 with 6 seconds remaining. Vince took the snap from the shotgun, and threw down the middle on the move and into the hands of rookie Kenny Britt – touchdown and victory! His mistake on the last play before half time can be forgotten.

Tennessee's playoff hopes remain barely in tact, but a trip to Indianapolis Colts next week could be where it ends. The undefeated Colts look too good on paper for this Tennessee team, even if their defence struggled to deal with the Texans offence in the first half on Sunday. Their second half comeback secured the AFC South for Indianapolis as early as week 12. The Colts enjoyed a comfortable 31-9 victory in week 5 over the Titans.

Tennessee started the season 0-6 with Kerry Collins at the helm, before Jess Fisher made the switch during the bye week under the guidance of owner Bud Adams. He played a pedestrian game, with Tennessee's defence and Chris Johnson leading them to victory. Until today's game, Vince's skills have gone largely unnoticed because they haven't been big, and Tennessee's victories have come on the legs of Chris Johnson and their defence.

Vince Young seems to have matured very well on the sidelines. He is patient in the pocket and doesn't panic. His strength and mobility has enabled him to break and move away from would-be sacks. He has learnt to look off defenders and check down his receivers, staying in the pocket longer and not relying on his legs for big plays. Young hasn't tried to force passes that aren't there since his return and is reading coverages. And when he does see a receiver open down field, he has a good touch on his pass. Vince Young is becoming a top quarterback, and he plays behind one of the best offensive lines and with one of the best running backs in the NFL to help him get there. Indianapolis' defence is likely to step up for next week's match after a slow start to their game in Houston today, and this will be a serious test for Vince Young who hasn't faced a top defence this season.

Vince Young, who had lost both previous games in his career when he had attempted over 40 passes, completed 27 of 43 passes, and 1 all-important touchdown on the final play of the game. He ran for 8 yards on 4 carries. Young goes 2-0 against Matt Leinart after Vince scored the winning touchdown with 19 seconds remaining of the historic 2006 Rose Bowl.

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Posted by Barrie on Sunday, 15 November 2009

Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson?

Adrian Peterson came into the season rated the top running back in the NFL by many, and certainly most people's favourite choice in the fantasy football drafts. And he delievered in week 1 when he ran for 180 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 34-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns. This evening's victory over the Detroit Lions was only the 3rd time he'd broke the 100 yard rushing barrier this season as he helped the Minnesota Vikings to an 8-1 record with 2 touchdowns. 143 yards against Baltimore in week 6 looked impressive, but he failed to produce anything significant in both victories over the Green Bay Packers. Peterson is averaging 5.1 yards per rush and has caught 21 passes for 199 yards and fumbled four times this season.

Chris Johnson was the only positive thing for Tennessee in their opening 6 games that all ended in defeat. But he's been a big part in their last 3 victories too and starting to get more and more appreciation amongst the leaders elite running backs, this evening becomming the first running back to go over 1,000 yards this evening when he rushed for 132 yards on 26 carries and 2 yards. Johnson also caught 9 passes for 100 yards, being a great option for Vince Young to dump the ball off too, or on screen plays. That's his 4th straight 100+ yard running game which included 124 yards in a 59-0 defeat in New England, and becoming the first player to rush for over 100 yards against the San Francisco 49ers last week (Peterson had 85 yards on 19 carries against them in week 3). Johnson is averaging an incredible 6.4 yards per carry (8 touchdowns) and has caught 30 passes for 262 yards and 1 touchdown, with 1 fumble.

Both of these players are amongst the mid-season MVP candidates, although some quarterbacks would argue that. The statistics are in Chris Johnson's favour, but the Titans record of 3-6 won't work in his favour unless they can magically turn their season around and make the playoffs. But Chris Johnson really is Tennessee's one-man offence, with few others having much of an impact. The Minnesota Vikings have other weapons on their offence, with the acqusation of Brett Favre in the summer putting them amongst the Superbowl favourites, and his favourite target, Sidney Rice amongst the receiving leaders.

Peterson is both a quick, agile and powerful running back that is capable of winning games for Minnesota with his capability to make a big play at any time, and forcing defences to stack the box, allowing their receivers more space for Brett Favre to find them in. Johnson's speed is a lethal weapon as he too has the ability to make a big play at any time, both rushing and receiving. He was a big part of the Titans last season when they ranked number 1 at the end of the regular season, before the Titans went out in the playoffs to the Baltimore Ravens, failing to get much going on offence after Chris Johnson left the game in the first half with a controversial ankle injury incident.

Who would you want in your team? I know I'd be grateful to have either in my fantasy team...

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Posted by Barrie on Sunday, 8 November 2009

NFL contenders for the #1 Draft Pick



Remaining Schedule

Tampa Bay Buccaneers



St. Louis Rams



Cleveland Browns



Tennessee Titans



Kansas City Chiefs



Detroit Lions



Oakland Raiders



Washington Redskins



Seattle Seahawks



The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the only remaining winless team have a tough schedule during the second half of the season. They only have 3 teams with a losing record to face, all on the road. While Miami is a short journey, I don't see them coming away with a victory there. Division rivals Carolina are still to come and the easiest opponent in terms of win-loss record is their trip to 2-5 Seattle, but the long journey won't work in their favour. Can they get a win with their remaining schedule? With the youngest coach in the league and problems at quarterback, the number 1 pick looks on course to be heading to Tampa Bay.

Shutout twice this season, the St Louis Rams have looked ugly this season, but finally recorded their first victory of the season in Detroit last weekend. They have a great running back in Stephen Jackson, but everything else about them isn't looking good. They've got a few winnable fixtures remaining for being in the NFC West, but the way they're playing I can't see them picking up more than 2 more.

Player unrest in Cleveland hasn't helped with Eric Mangini's leadership. 6 of the Cleveland Browns' defeats have been by 13 or more points which includes a 31-3 defeat by Green Bay and 30-6 defeat by Chicago over the past 2 weeks before their bye this week. Being in a tough division this season doesn't help, but trips to Detroit and Kansas City, while hosting Oakland and Jacksonville give them chances to pick up another victory or 2 this season.

The Tennessee Titans have been this season's surprise package. Superbowl contenders at the beginning it all fell apart with 6 straight defeats to open their season. They came back from their bye week with an impressive victory over Jacksonville to get their season started and they have a few more winnable wins in the next couple of weeks, starting with a trip to San Francisco this evening. They won't be amongst the number 1 draft pick contenders come the end of the season but have to play catchup on Jacksonville if they want to avoid finishing bottom of the AFC South,

The Kansas City Chiefs have struggled on offence this season, with the offensive line not protecting Matt Cassel and Larry Johnson unable to produce anything on the ground. They've already lost to the Raiders this season, but go to Oakland for revenge in week 10 and have back-to-back home games with Buffalo and Cleveland with a good chance to pick up another victory from them.

The Detroit Lions were grateful to end their losing streak in week 3 when they beat the Washington Redskins. Since then there's been nothing for the Lions fans to smile about, which includes losing at home to the St Louis Rams last weekend. There's an odd opportunity to pick up another win this season, but ultimately they will be amongst the number 1 pick contenders.

But for a great, one-off performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Oakland Raiders have been their usual, terrible selves this season. Fortunate to pick up a win over the Kansas City Chiefs in week 2, they host them in week 10 after the bye to record their 3rd win of the season.

With a very tough remaining the schedule, it's possible that the Washington Redskins may not get another win all season. Defeats to Detroit and Kansas City already this season sums them up as pressure grows on head coach Jim Zorn.

I expected better of the Seattle Seahawks this season, but they still have a few winnable games remaining to help them break away from this pack. Matt Hasselbeck's health has been a problem to them whilst they are one of the worst teams at running the ball in the league which gives them an unbalanced offence.

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Posted by Barrie on Monday, 19 October 2009

New England Patriots Set Records Ahead of Wembley Trip

The New England Patriots emphatically crushed the Tennessee Titans on Sunday night, 59-0 ahead of their game next weekend with Tampa Bay at Wembley Stadium.

There were a few inches of snow on the field at Gillette Stadium in mid-October, perhaps adding an extra advantage to the Patriots, with Tennessee not as adapted to these conditions. But none-the-less there were no excuses as to what took place on Sunday.

Tom Brady looked back in form, completing 29/34 for 380 yards and 6 touchdowns; 5 of those coming in the second quarter alone, a new NFL record. Those stats were mainly accumulated in the first half with Brady playing just the opening drive of the second half before rookie backup Brad Hoyer came in and put in average numbers. The Titans defence, missing both starting cornerbacks in Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper were unable to defend the pass, as has been the case all season, allowing 300+ passing yards in 5 of their opening 6 defeats now. The 59 points and 619 total yards were both franchise records for the Patriots.

Tennessee were dreadful on both sides of the ball, as they completed as many passes to their own players (2) as New England's defence (Butler, Chung) for a total of -7 yards (yes, that's minus seven). Chris Johnson was their only positive highlight, running for 128 yards on 17 carries as the Titans failed to register on the scoreboard.

Jeff Fisher said in his post game conference that he was "very disappointed obviously, and embarrassed, to say the least", an understatement to what must have been on the minds of Titans fans during and after the mess they were seeing their own team cause on the field. The Titans were unbeaten in their opening 10 games last season, and are now winless in their opening 6 games this season with a win looking hard to come by as they fail to produce anything on offence and cannot stop the pass.

Vince Young came in, but only when down by 59 points, throwing an interception on his opening pass attempt and finishing the game 0/2 as he spent the rest of it handing it off to the backs. With doubts over his future, Tennessee have a lot of rebuilding to do in the off season and now coach Jeff Fisher's future must come into question after this result.

Tennessee have two weeks to prepare for the next game, at home to Jacksonville who beat them in week 4. Meanwhile New England travel to London, England for their next match. They certainly won't be playing in the snow, but rain is always a possibility in England. While we are expecting a lopsided match, Brady and New England shouldn't come close to matching this Sunday's result.

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Posted by Barrie on Monday, 12 October 2009

Tennessee: We Have A Problem

Last season the former Houston Oilers made a 10-0 start before finishing the season with the best record in the NFL at 13-3. However, they were beaten in their first playoff match to old rivals Baltimore Ravens, and their losing streak continues 5 games into the regular season.

Coming off of a humiliation in Jacksonville the week before, Tennessee could only have hope coming into last night's game with Indianapolis that they could come away with a victory. They didn't help themselves when Alge Crumpler fumbled inside his own half on their opening possession that lead to Peyton Manning throwing his first of 3 touchdown passes, to Reggie Wayne on 4th down to opening the scoring.

Their defence that hasn't played well this season intercepted Manning in the opening quarter and Keith Bulluck who made the catch returned it into Colts territory but the Titans offence could only come away with 3 points. Tennessee failed to capitalise on a bodged punt return that handed possession over to them, and with the prospect of going into half only 5 points down, their defence imploded. They allowed Indianapolis to drive 93 yards for the score in 47 seconds, aiding them with two roughing the passer calls to gift the Colts 30 yards and time outs. Austin Collie finished the drive breaking 2 tackles for a 39 yard score. The game was over at that point and the Colts went on to win 31-9.

Vince Young got a few snaps in at the end, going 0/3 with 2 of those passes closer to a Colts player than a team mate and the other dropped by Nate Washington. He did have 1 rush for 6 yards to convert a third down, but it's unlikely to get him above Kerry Collins on the depth chart next week with coach Jeff Fisher declaring after the game that Collins is “not the problem” with their team. And he's made a fair point. Dropped passes have been a big part of the Titans dreadful start to the season as they haven't got the ball moving through the air. Even Chris Johnson, 3rd in rushing yards in the NFL hasn't been able to get the rest of the offence ticking.

Defensively they cannot defend the pass. While perhaps only Peyton Manning could have completed some of those passes last night, they can't excuse another 300 yard passing game against them on the basis “he's on form” (throwing 300+ yards in all 5 games so far this season). They've allowed 300+ passing yards in 4/5 games now, with the other 3 quarterbacks being Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub and David Garrard. Manning only ranks 4th on that list. New defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil will have the finger pointed at him for miscommunication and poor calls for some of their plays this season, while up front they aren't getting enough pressure on the quarterback following the loss of Albert Haynesworth in the off-season. He clearly hasn't been replaced, and can't be replaced. They're not creating as many turnovers as they did last season, and they're giving more away. Ultimately that has to be avoided if they want to start winning again.

As for head coach Jeff Fisher, he remains calm. The face of this organisation, it will be interesting to see if he remains in charge after this season if things don't turn around. He's brought a lot of success during his reign here including their only ever Superbowl appearance. He will probably be given another chance, subject to how badly beaten they end up. But he needs to look at the rest of his coaching staff because they don't look set to have long careers in the NFL and he needs to address this problem.

Their final game before their bye week is in New England, another defeat on the cards there I expect our NFL Tipster to say, before they face the Jacksonville Jaguars who only stuffed them a week ago. The Titans will eventually pick up a few wins this season, but will be far, far short of the playoffs.

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Posted by Barrie on Tuesday, 29 September 2009

NFL Season Starting to Take Shape

Only 3 games into the season, some teams in the NFL have put their foot down with an impressive starts, while others have a lot of work to do to overcome their slow starts.

None more can be true than of the Tennessee Titans. Defeated by 7 points, as predicted in our NFL Expert's Picks. A tough overtime defeat on the opening game of the season in Pittsburgh, before being upset at home to the Houston Texans in week 2, Jeff Fisher's team who didn't lose until week 12 last season have started the season 0-3, opposite to the AFC South leaders, Indianapolis Colts at 3-0. The Titans face a tough trip to Jacksonville this coming weekend while the Colts host Seattle before the two division rivals meet in the late Sunday night game at LP Field. After that game the season could be as good as over for the Titans if they don't pick up a victory with other tough matches in New England, San Francisco and Indianapolis still to come, while they host the San Diego Chargers on Christmas day. The Indianapolis Colts have a much easier schedule on paper and a comfortable victory in Arizona on Sunday shows what they are capable of. The Colts can still be found at 8/15 to win the AFC South, with Houston shortly behind them at 2-1 but unlikely to maintain a serious challenge.

The New England Patriots looked better this week, although quarterback Tom Brady isn't anywhere near his best since his since his surgery (despite throwing over 300 yards in week 1), but Fred Taylor is helping them out in the backfield and their defence held Atlanta to 10 in their victory on Sunday that moves them to 2-1. The AFC East leaders, New York Jets are looking very good at 3-0 with back-to-back victories over New England and Tennessee now, behind the rookie head coach and quarterback partnership of Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez. 4-0 looks unlikely with a trip to New Orleans this weekend, but a run of winnable games follows that before 3 tricky games at the end of the regular season, facing Atlanta, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. The Patriots host Baltimore and Tennessee within the next 3 weeks and still have to travel to New Orleans. The Dolphins and Bills don't have easy schedules either and these two don't look like strong competitors in this division this season. The AFC East won't live up to it's dramatic end last season, but looks set to be interesting none-the-less. The Patriots are currently the favourites for the AFC East division crown at 8/13.

In the AFC North, the defending Superbowl Champions went down late against the Cincinnati Bengals who our NFL Tipster described as a "potential surprise package" ahead of that game. The Steelers are now 2 games behind the Ravens who became favourites for the AFC North after this weekend's results. With the AFC North facing the NFC North and AFC West divisions this season, I can see all three of the aforementioned teams finishing on a winning record, should the Bengals offence perform as they did late on Sunday, throughout future matches. Ultimately, I cannot see them keeping up with the Ravens and this division will be between the same 2 teams as last season.

The Chargers are the only team in the AFC West. How long will Oakland stick with JaMarcus Russell, who is ready to be on the list of biggest disappointments in future lists that are currently filled with Cincinnati Bengals players over the last decade or so?

In the NFC there are many tight divisions. Start up North first, the Vikings maintained their winning record thanks to Brett Favre's incredible touchdown pass to Greg Lewis with 2 seconds left on the clock. Favourites for their division aided by Adrian Peterson at running back, and with Green Bay having suffered a defeat to Cincinnati already this season and the Bears going down at Lambeau Field in week 1 leaves the Vikings as solo division leaders. It should be a close tussle between these 3 teams all season however. I couldn't leave this division without mentioning the Detroit Lions ending their 19 game losing streak with a victory over the disappointing Washington Redskins on Sunday. Congratulations to them.

The Saints are looking good in the NFC South, the highest point scorers through the opening 3 weeks. They came into the season with the most-impressive offence and are failing to disappoint with Drew Brees in charge. They look much improved on defence too this season which will not only help them win their division, but gives them a chance of going far in the playoffs. The Falcons are their only threat to prevent them winning the division with Jake Delhomme's days number with a 0-3 Carolina and the Buccaneers just a very poor team right now.

The hardest division to predict is the NFC West. The 49ers are looking very good despite an unfortunate defeat in Minnesota on Sunday. The only team with a winning record after 3 games in this division and are at a good price to win it. The Cardinals have got off to a slow start, but will remain contenders with their great receiver trio and experienced quarterback, despite a non-existent ground game. Defensively they're capable of creating turnovers to win games. The Seahawks lost late to Chicago on Sunday and face a tough couple of games over the next few weeks which could leave them playing catchup. The St Louis Rams remain the dismal team that they have been over the past few seasons.

Finally, the NFC East. The New York Giants produced the only shutout of the weekend, winning 24-0 in Tampa Bay as they remain favourites in this division. The Philadelphia Eagles are a strong force at 2-1 and will be looking to challenge the Giants for the title and hoping to make it into the post-season again. The Dallas Cowboys aren't to be ignored either despite the criticism going around of Tony Romo. They may go unnoticed for a while as the Giants and Eagles headline this division, but don't count them out just yet.

The NFL promises to be exciting as always. While I'll do my best to keep up updated with my opinions on it, don't forget to check out our weekly NFL Picks to help you make money from it while enjoying the action across the pond!

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Posted by Barrie on Sunday, 5 July 2009

RIP Steve McNair

Last night (GMT), News Channel 5 in Nashville, Tennessee broke the news of the death of former Tennessee Titans legend, Steve McNair.

The quarterback, who famously lead the Tennessee Titans to within one yard of forcing overtime in SuperBowl XXXIV, was found dead on Saturday with multiple gunshot wounds, including one to the head. A 20-year old female friend, Sahel Kazemi was also found dead at the scene, with a single gunshot wound to the head in a residence Steve McNair was renting.

For me, being a Tennessee Titans fan, McNair was my favourite player when I first got into the sport. He played with his heart and with unbelivable toughness. Whilst he will be remembered most for the Titans only SuperBowl appearance, and the dramatic ending, no one should overlook what he done in 2002, when he lead the Titans on a 6-game winning streak, and 10 of their last 11 regular season games after a disappointing start, most of this whilst being unable to practice because his body was so bruised and beaten, before coming up short against the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Championship game. Former teammate at both Tennessee and Baltimore, Derrick Mason paid his respects:

"On the field, there isn't player that was as tough as him, especially at the quarterback position". "What I have seen him play through on the field, and what he dealt with during the week to get ready for a game, I have never known a better teammate."

Whilst it is too early for police to announce what has happened, an autopsy is scheduled for today. His name and number were on the first NFL shirt I ever got. It's not everyday one of your heroes dies and I am finding it to be a bitter pill to swallow.

Former Titans and Ravens teammate Samari Rolle was quoted yesterday as saying:
"If you were going to draw a football player, the physical part, the mental part, everything about being a professional, he is your guy". "I can't even wrap my arms around it. It is a sad, sad day. The world lost a great man today."

Steve McNair's NFL career began in 1995 as the 3rd overall draft pick by the then Houston Oilers. He spent 11 seasons with the Tennessee Titans franchise (under 3 names), starting 131 games, throwing 156 touchdowns, rushing for another 36, leading the team to 4 playoff berths, 2 Championship games and 1 Superbowl. He was also the league's co-MVP in 2003. He was married and leaves behind 4 children.

Former teammate and Titans great, Eddie George had this to say:
"To see what he has been able to accomplish in his lifetime and just knowing Steve, he was a great father to his sons and his children and just a pillar in the community. From the Titans and everyone else we lost a great human being that brought so much joy to us."

To me, he's an NFL great and as a Titans fan, he's a legend. A sad loss to the sport and the world, a person who gave so much back to the community. A man with so much heart, he will be greatly missed. He was only 36.

Vic Carucci paid his tribues on

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