Tag Archives: nfl

Colin and Sean’s Week 12 Fantasy Football Podcast

Colin and Sean are back again with their Week 12 podcast, discussing five under-the-radar players they expect to score monster points.  Then they discuss streaming defenses to get you ready for the fantasy football playoffs.

Click Here To Listen To the Week 12 Podcast

Questions/Comments? Send a message on Twitter @Cummingpodcast or email us at seanandcolinpodcast@gmail.com

Colin and Sean’s Five Players to Play Week 11 Podcast

Colin and Sean explain why fantasy owners should start Drew Stanton, Sterling Shepard, Austin Hooper, Dion Lewis, and Marshawn Lynch.  Then they discuss three good defenses to start: Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, and Baltimore Ravens.

Click Here To Listen to the Week 11 Podcast

Questions/Comments?  Email: seanandcolinpodcast@gmail.com     Twitter: @Cummingpodcast or @Sean__Cumming

Sean and Colin’s Week 10 Fantasy Football Podcast

Colin and Sean look at 5 players they think are good starts for week 10: Marlon Mack, Blake Bortles, Robert Woods, Tyler Kroft, and Robby Anderson.  Then they look at three key defenses to grab off the waiver-wire before answering a listener’s question about which of the Miami Dolphin’s running backs to start – if any.

Click Here to listen to Sean and Colin’s Week 10 Fantasy Football Podcast on Soundcloud.

Questioning who to start on before a game?  Questions/Comments about the podcast?  We love answering listener’s questions in the podcast, so send some of the toughest to us:  @Sean__Cumming


Arizona Cardinals Finale: Men, Beasts and Glory


Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer turned 37 this week and his body turned 49. Over his 13-year career, Palmer has suffered injuries to his shoulder, ribs, nose, ankle, head, knee, and elbow. He has suffered a concussion and blown out his ACL twice.

But in the final game of a discouraging season Palmer may well feel rejuvenated today when he leads his Cardinals teammates onto the sun-soaked lawn of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, an arena that still rings faintly with cheers from his halcyon days with the USC Trojans. The fair-haired Palmer detonated the school and conference record books, collected a Heisman Trophy, married his college sweetheart and was drafted into the NFL by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2003.

Palmer’s exploits in the Coliseum were perhaps more palatable to the modern fan than the goings-on in Rome’s first-century Colosseum, after which the stadium was named. There, before the emperor and the blood-thirsty wails of 80,000 spectators, criminals sentenced to death were released to fend for themselves against an assortment of beasts such as hippos, elephants, lions and leopards. A man might be mauled by a bear, trampled by a rhinoceros, and then have his rib meat picked over by an ostrich. Acrobats and magicians performed in the intervals, perhaps to lighten the mood (“Behold Emperor, the olive branch has vanished!!!”).

Palmer will face a stout Rams defense today, but there is little chance he’ll have a limb gnawed off by a Caspian tiger. Arizona is fresh off a road win against rival Seattle, a small consolation for a Cardinals team that will watch the playoffs from the comfort and safety of Barcaloungers. Another small prize is at stake today, as Arizona hopes to avenge a week-four 17-13 home loss to the Rams, who have lost 10 of their last 11 since.

Some will tune in today to see if Cardinals running back David Johnson can set a record: at least 100 yards from scrimmage in every game of an NFL season. Johnson, the 86th pick of the 2015 draft out of unheralded Northern Iowa, has been a revelation. He’s rushed for over 1,200 yards and added 841 receiving yards at a sterling 10.9 yards-per-catch clip. It’s not likely, but Johnson could hit another high mark today: with 159 yards receiving, he’d join NFL legends Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig as the only players to reach 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving in a single season.

With little else to play for, Arizona may well feed Johnson the ball today in hopes he might earn some personal glory. But the unassuming Johnson would gladly trade that for the game’s ultimate prize.

Tiffany’s silversmiths will not be etching Arizona’s name on the Super Bowl trophy this season. And one wonders if they might do so next season, considering that Palmer and star receiver Larry Fitzgerald are mulling retirement.

Cardinals Nation is hoping those inner fires will flicker to life next spring. And through the long off-season one question will enrich dinner conversations and barroom debates: Can coach Bruce Arians, movitator, philosopher and tinkerer, pry open the championship window that slammed shut this year?

Eric Forgaard

This blog is not sponsored by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Arizona Cardinals: Culinary Arts and Krampus


The Arizona Cardinals have labored through a difficult season, and like naughty children, they won’t receive the Christmas gift they coveted—an invitation to the playoffs.

Today they’re simply playing for a consolation prize—the chance to play spoiler and defeat playoff-bound Seattle. In the chill breezes that slip over Bainbridge Island and swirl through CenturyLink Field, the Cardinals might warm themselves with memories of their last two treks north, when they returned home with hard-fought victories. A Christmas Eve loss today would really roast Coach Bruce Arians’ chestnuts.

As you settle in to watch today’s game and nibble on fruitcake and gingerbread cookies, consider other Christmas culinary traditions from around the world:

  • South Africans sample the deep-fried caterpillars of the Emperor Moth
  • Many Japanese families enjoy KFC on Christmas, thanks to an effective 1974 ad campaign
  •  In Slovakia, the oldest man of the house scoops up a spoonful of Loksa pudding and whips it at the ceiling. The more that sticks, the better.
  •  In Greenland, raw whale skin is served with a side of blubber, and some enjoy kiviak—500 dead auk birds fermented for seven months inside a seal skin

And be mindful of other unusual Christmas traditions today:

  • Urged on by raucous Seattle fans, the Seahawks’ defense may well rise up like the Kallikantzaroi, a race of evil goblins that according to Greek legend lurk underground and then surface to wreak havoc during the 12 days of Christmas.
  • Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman is a bit like the Yule Cat, a mythical Icelandic beast that is said to stalk the hills devouring those who haven’t received new clothes before Christmas.
  • Hard-hitting safety Earl Thomas might be compared to Krampus, a Christmas devil who beats poorly-behaved children with branches.
  • And be thankful for the spirited cheerleaders today in their traditional outfits. At Christmastime in Bavaria, male revelers wear lederhosen and fire mortars into the air.

There, we’ve done it. We’ve diverted our attention for a few moments from the mournful fact that such a promising Cardinals team has stumbled to a 5-8-1 mark this year. This season’s story is all but written, and is rich with unpleasantries.

Still, the tale may be preferable to the story South African children are told about Danny, a young boy who angered his grandmother by eating the Christmas cookies that were left for Santa. In her rage she killed him, and he is now said to haunt homes at Christmastime.

Eric Forgaard

This blog is not sponsored by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Arizona Cardinals: Miami Invasion


After the Beatles’ first performance on American soil, February 9th, 1964, before a swarm of shrieking, swooning teenagers on the Ed Sullivan show, the band jetted south from snowy New York to take up a week’s residence in Miami’s Deauville Beach Resort, a sunny, swanky, palm-lined paradise then favored by Sinatra, Sammy and Joey, where fawning fans wrote love letters in the sand and offered free rides on their powerboats and yachts, prompting Ringo Starr to refer to Miami Beach as “The most magnificent place I’ve ever seen.”

The Arizona Cardinals flew into Miami International Airport with less fanfare Friday. They were whisked off to an undisclosed location, a flicker of desperation behind the eyes of a team fighting for its playoff life. Sunday’s clash with the Dolphins is a must win game for the 5-6-1 Cardinals against a Miami team that needs a victory to hold on to its own playoff position. This is a stern test for an Arizona team that has only one road win this season–against the hapless San Francisco 49ers. This is a business trip.

It’s serious business indeed, but this is the land of dangling chads, and the Cardinals need only look at actual headlines such as these to ease any stress:

  • Man sprinkled fiancée’s ashes at LensCrafters, causing Florida mall’s evacuation
  • Man who “exposed himself” tells police: “I was just airing out my penis”
  • Florida goat skateboards into Guinness Book of World Records
  • Babysitter accused of sleeping on toilet as 2-year-old wanders to canal with alligators
  • Florida man calls 911 80 times to demand Kool-Aid, hamburgers, and weed
  • Lawmaker files bill to repeal state ban on dwarf-tossing in bars
  • Kangaroo leads Florida deputies on 10-hour chase
  • Accused Florida man says his cat downloaded child porn, not him.
  • Florida woman renews marriage vows with Ferris wheel named Bruce

Strange things happen in Florida, but would an Arizona victory be so odd? Best to stick to the game plan: slow down Miami running back Jay Ajayi, who has sprung from obscurity to rush for a 5.2 yard average and seven TDs; devise a way for undrafted free agents John Wetzel and Ulrick John to slow down the onrushing bull that is Ndamukong Suh; and trust the defense to rise up in critical moments like it did last week in the Cards’ 31-23 victory over Washington.

Arizona’s leading lights shone in that Redskins game. 36-year-old Carson Palmer looked spry and solid for long stretches, and his 300 passing yards and three TD’s rekindled memories of last year’s glories. Quiet superstar David Johnson added two touchdowns of his own. With 175 yards from scrimmage, Johnson became only the second player in NFL history to gain 100+ yards in a season’s first 12 games. Larry Fitzgerald caught 10 balls for 78 yards, and moved into third on the all-time receiving list. Coach Bruce Arians rolled the dice and went for it on 4th down and 1 from Arizona’s own 34 yard line late in the game with the Cardinals holding a 24-20 lead. Johnson ripped off a 14 yard run, then Palmer chucked a 42 yard TD pass to struggling J. J. Nelson to add to the lead. And finally, Patrick Peterson intercepted Redskins QB Kirk Cousins with 41 seconds left to preserve the win.

Succeeding on key plays has gone from last year’s routine to this year’s rarity. The Washington triumph restored a dash of confidence though, and distracted from subtle retirement hints dropped by Palmer and Fitzgerald, if not after this season then perhaps the next.

But years from now, when those two recall this season on the porch to a huddle of grandkids, they’re more likely to hold the youngsters spellbound with tales of long bombs, one-handed catches, toe taps in the corner of the end zone and a raucous championship celebration than with the current slog of injuries, under-performance, offensive line position-shuffling, kicking game misadventures and a mediocre record.

Today’s game isn’t just about holding on to the bottom rung of the playoff ladder. It’s about the kids.

Eric Forgaard

This blog is not sponsored by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Arizona Cardinals: Buffalo Bill and the Queen


Patrick Peterson

After a tentative season-opening loss to New England, the Arizona Cardinals found their stride against visiting Tampa Bay last week. Carson Palmer threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns in the 40-7 victory, and the defense proved it can be one of the league’s premier units when all pistons are firing. When it was over, Arizona found itself in a flat-footed tie with every team in the NFC West at 1-1.

On to Buffalo.

Historically, western teams traveling east for morning games haven’t fared well. But the Cardinals catch a break traveling to upstate New York in snow-free September, and they face a stumbling 0-2 Bills team fresh off the firing of Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman. That early-season move comes with a whiff of desperation, considering Buffalo’s defense was far worse last week, giving up 37 points and nearly 500 yards in a loss to the visiting Jets.

But the Buffalo Bills lead the league in one respect: they are the only team named after a 19th century frontiersman.

“Buffalo Bill” (William Frederick Cody) was a ranch hand, Pony Express rider, fur trapper, gold prospector, and buffalo hunter. In 1867, he was contracted to supply Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with meat. He set off on a wild-eyed 18-month spree, slaughtering 4,282 buffalo. The bloody deed earned him the moniker that would stick with him the rest of his life.

Cody cemented his legend in 1883 with his formation of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, a sweeping spectacle with a cast of hundreds, Indian attacks on wagon trains, stage coach robberies and yes, a buffalo hunt. It portrayed a western frontier that was rapidly disappearing but captured the public’s appetite for tales of daring and conquest–not unlike Buffalo’s 2015 hiring of Coach Rex Ryan, a tough-talking gunslinger type who led the New York Jets to the doorstep of the Super Bowl in 2009 and 2010. But wins have been scarce lately and some fans are calling for his head.

The natives are restless.

Meanwhile, the mood lightened considerably in the Valley of the Sun after Arizona dismantled Tampa Bay last week. The victory was partly spurred by Carson Palmer warming up in a Stay Puft marshmallow suit prior to the game. Really. Palmer had lost the team’s weekly quarterback competition, and the loser must take the field questionably dressed. Check out the video: http://foxs.pt/2cXsWJx.

Palmer’s exploits helped keep the team loose, but their improved performance was likely due to solid game-planning and execution. The Cardinals defense picked off Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston four times. Larry Fitzgerald had been the lone bright spot in the receiving corps in week one, and this time seven different receivers caught passes. And the offense didn’t turn the ball over. Since 1940, the only other time the Cardinals started the season with consecutive turnover-free games was 2008, the year the franchise reached the Super Bowl.

Arizona’s defense strives to be one of the league’s top units, and it was especially promising last week. Coach Bruce Arians had uncharacteristically called many of the defensive plays in week one, and the zone coverages he dialed up took the edge off the aggression the squad is known for. Arians stayed away from that side of the ball against Tampa Bay, and Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher returned to man coverage and called for blitzes 43% of the time, from all angles, leaving the Buccaneers flummoxed.

Arizona looks to corral Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor today, who threw for 297 yards and three TDs last week. Taylor may be scrambling to find viable targets this week though, with Sammy Watkins, Greg Salas and tight end Charles Shaw all questionable with injuries.

The Cardinals are healthier but are still missing some pieces, most notably right guard Evan Mathis, who is sitting out with turf toe and didn’t even make the trip to Buffalo. Mathis had played in pain against the Bucs Sunday and Carson Palmer noted that when he came in Monday morning, “his entire foot was purple.” Medical issues aside, I find the color purple unsettling, as it brings to mind unpleasant things such as Barney and eggplant. I suppose it’s the color of royalty though, which conjures images of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, who at this moment may be holed up in her bedchamber in Buckingham Palace, Welsh Corgis lapping at the purple spider veins in her feet.

I’ve gone off the rails. Again.


The following players will be unavailable Sunday, and may be otherwise engaged:
Cordy Glenn, offensive tackle: ankle
Colt Anderson, safety: foot
Evan Mathis, guard: purple foot

The Cardinals’ task today is to overcome jet lag and a hostile Buffalo crowd. A loss would leave them with a 1-2 record, and raise fresh questions about a team with Super Bowl aspirations. A victory would keep them tied for the division lead and help their season-opening loss recede safely into memory.

– Eric Forgaard

This blog is not sponsored by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

And with the 10th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select…

Nobody.  At least if luck is in the cards.

Ideally, a team such as the Tennessee Titans, who have traded out of the top 10 and are allegedly trying to get back in, will swap picks with the GMEN and give up a second round pick in the 2016 draft or possibly a third and a fifth in this draft.  The Giants, with multiple needs, would benefit from additional picks.  They currently have six picks in this draft having given up their 7th round pick for Punter Brad Wing prior to last season.

So what players would you take with a later first round (say the 15th…) pick in the draft? The following list would make some sense:

  1. Shaq Lawson- Clemson DE. Great at getting to the ball carrier (led the NCAA in tackles for loss last season with 24; was 4th in NCAA in 2015 with 12 sacks).  Other pass rushers worthy of consideration with this pick are Georgia OLB Leonard Floyd and Clemson DE Kevin Dodd who was also credited with 12 sacks in the 2015 season.  Dodd draws comparisons with NFL DE Michael Bennett.
  2. Offensive Tackles Ronnie Stanley (Notre Dame) or Jack Conklin (Michigan State). Both are potential starting RT’s in their rookie seasons. Ohio State’s Taylor Decker is also considered by some to be starting caliber.
  3. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (Florida). It is true, you can never have too many pass rushers and you can’t have too many skilled DB’s as well.   This guy would cover the slot receiver. Later round (2nd or 3rd) consideration should be given to Clemson’s Mackenzie Alexander.  There is very little chance that a defender of Hargreaves caliber will be available here.
  4. Linebacker Myles Jack (Notre Dame). Like Hargreaves, it is very unlikely that he will be available at the 15th pick but injury rumors might cause him to drop in the first round.  Personally, after having to deal with a Giants LB core that often looked like the walking wounded, I would pass on selecting him.

Sure, additional picks makes sense for a team that has multiple holes to fill on it’s roster and is likely more than one player away from achieving greatness.  As for me, I will admit, I tend to like the most popular flavor of the day.  Getting caught up in the pre-draft hype has not yielded great results in the past.   Given the opportunity, I would have selected first round picks  D.J. Fluker (OT) as well as Running Back Melvin Gordon.  I guess I think a lot like the San Diego Chargers.

This year’s pick for me is Ezekiel Elliot, RB (Ohio State).  A fast, big play RB who is also a good blocker and is markedly better than the rest of the RB class can make an immediate difference in improving a team’s offense.  I know what you’re thinking… ghosts from the GMEN’s prior drafts!   Does anyone remember the careers of such Giant draft picks as:

  • George Adams
  • Jarrod Bunch
  • Tyrone Wheatley
  • David Wilson

I didn’t think so. But this is a new season and we need to break this disturbing trend. Continuing right along here with the remainder of their picks, they need to get a Right Tackle in the second round who stands a chance of starting day one.  Follow this up with a ball-hawking free safety in round three, and a fast, sure-handed wide receiver in round four.  Spend the final picks(2) taking a flyer on one of the abundant number of pass rushing linebacker or defensive end candidates who were able to get to the quarterback and rack up sacks in college.  Some candidates on this list include OLB’s Tyrone Holmes (Montana)and Victor Ochi (Stony Brook) and DE’s Roy Robertson-Harris (Utep) and Matt Judon (Grand Valley State).  Undoubtedly, some of these small school prospects from lesser competition levels will pan out as useful contributors in the NFL.

My selections still leave some holes to fill on this team.  There will still be significant questions with the Linebackers and possibly with the Secondary unless a quality cornerback is obtained who can cover the slot receiver.  The Linebacker group yet again appears to consist of serviceable journeymen.   But my plan should get the GMEN back above the .500 mark and possibly into the playoffs.  From there as we all know, it’s anyone’s game to win it all!

Your thoughts on who the Giants or any other team must select in the 2016 NFL Draft ?

Battle for the Conference Title: Arizona v. Carolina

After today’s games, the losers will settle in for months of whittling, breeding miniature schnauzers or whatever it is NFL players do in the off-season.

Conference Championship day has arrived.

The Arizona Cardinals will butt heads with MVP candidate QB Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte this evening, and the prize is a Super Bowl berth against the winner of the New England/Denver war.

Were it not for Larry Fitzgerald’s late-game heroics in last week’s rousing home win against the Packers, the Cardinals would be watching this one at home, guacamole at the ready, mojitos in hand.

Novellas may well be penned about the last five minutes alone last Saturday. But even the most subdued telling would be rejected by any credible publisher, so rife were those minutes with improbability, pendulum swings, Hail Mary success and twists of fate. Space precludes an analysis here, but Arizona rose from the mat after a body blow and in the end, Big Game Larry hoisted the football to wild cheers and pushed the franchise’s best season to the doorstep of the Super Bowl.

When Carson Palmer started dreaming of winning the NFC Championship game 13 years ago, Pluto was a planet and no one had heard of Billy Ray Cyrus’ daughter. I imagine Palmer’s rookie musings played out on a sun-splashed field before an adoring throng. But the Cardinals fly into hostile territory for this one, and a recent blizzard has dropped more than two feet of snow across the mid-Atlantic region and blanketed Bank of America Stadium.

Nothing rousts a dreamer from sleep like a cold shiver.

Carolina was 8-0 at home in the regular season and 15-1 overall. The defense is punishing, the team leads the NFL in turnover differential, and Cam Newton became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 35 touchdown passes and run for 10. Newton flashes his toothy smile, strikes superhero poses, and possibly feeds the hungry, roots out terrorist sleeper cells and adopts stray animals. But one thing he does delights Panthers fans more than any other: he wins games.

Coach Bruce Arians and his staff are tasked with dialing the tumblers into place and cracking Carolina’s winning code, and doing so in front of an antagonistic crowd that could well celebrate a win by draining beer kegs and discharging firearms into the snowy woods.

As a three point underdog and a western team flying east, the Cardinals will need to bring all their weapons to the fight. Their 7-1 road record is a point of pride, and as always, Palmer is the linchpin. He finished the regular season with a career high 104.6 passer rating and threw for 35 touchdowns, tied for second best in the league. He led the offense to an NFL-best 408.3 yards per game and the NFC West title. Palmer doesn’t have Newton’s legs and his passing hand seems to be bothering him a bit, but he’s experienced, relatively healthy, and he’s mastered coach Arians’ offense.

Palmer and Newton are the first Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks to meet in the playoffs.

Considering the unfriendly confines, jet lag, uncertain turf conditions and frigid game-time temperatures, the deck seems stacked against coach Arians and the Cardinals. But this team appears to have shaken off the stigma of too many decades without a title. The reigning NFL Coach of the Year brings his long, glowing history as a football mentor and mentee to the turf today. Arians has the pedigree to win with this team, and he’ll add a dash of gambler’s bravado to the tactics.

With a trip to the Super Bowl on the table, look for Arians to belly up and slide in all of his chips.

Eric Forgaard

This blog is not sponsored by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Arizona Cardinals v. Green Bay Packers: Burn the Boats

The wait is over. The Arizona Cardinals have enjoyed a well-earned playoff bye and two weeks’ rest. It’s time again to lace ‘em up, strap it on and start slapping butts in the locker room.

The Green Bay Packers are in town, and they don’t expect a cordial welcome from 63,400 strong in University of Phoenix Stadium. It will be the venue’s 104th straight sellout.

Arizona’s 38-8 home triumph over Green Bay twenty days ago is still fresh in mind for the “Red Wave.” The Cardinals faithful watched their team sack QB Aaron Rodgers eight times and hold him to 151 passing yards Dec. 27. A vengeful Packers team will take the field today, fresh off a comeback win over Washington in the wild card round last Sunday. The contest will hinge on whether Green Bay has the firepower to match that of Cardinals, and conventional wisdom says no. Arizona leads the NFL in total offense with 408 yards per game and is second in points scored with 30.6.

But Green Bay has more playoff experience than Arizona. And Rodgers is one of the best at his craft, leading the Packers to a Super Bowl win in 2010.

Quarterback Carson Palmer has no NFL playoff victories to his credit. He shares that distinction with you, my attorney and the I.T. guy at work, the one with excessive chest hair. To be fair, Palmer’s only had two cracks at it, both with the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincy lost to Pittsburgh in 2005 and the New York Jets in 2009.

2009 was a bewitching playoff season in the Valley of the Sun, thanks to the late-career wizardry of QB Kurt Warner, who led Arizona on an improbable run that died in a crushing last-minute loss to Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl. With his heroic status cemented, Warner hasn’t had to pay for a drink since. Never mind that he doesn’t drink. He’s in the pantheon of Cardinals greats, and Carson Palmer’s on a quest to join that lofty fraternity.

Is Palmer too old at 36 to find playoff success in today’s speedy and powerful NFL? Warner was 37 in 2009. Tom Brady’s still agile and accurate at 38. Palmer has his health, abounding offensive weapons and has led the Cardinals to 13 wins this season. He set franchise records with 4,671 passing yards and 35 TDs. This is his time.

Palmer and coach Bruce Arians are pleased with the 13 wins but they’ve cast their eyes forward and are hell bent on notching three more and gripping the ultimate prize. To inspire his troops, Arians would do well to remember the story of Alexander the Great, whose army arrived on Persian shores and found it was vastly outnumbered. Alexander did not slip into retreat or call in reinforcements. Instead he gave the order to burn boats.

Nothing readies a man for a fight more than the savage realization that there is simply no avenue of retreat. You win or you die.

Welcome to the NFL playoffs.

Eric Forgaard

This blog is not sponsored by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation