Ah, the NFC South. When the NFL envisioned a socialist land of parity, where every team deserves a chance at greatness, this is what they had in mind. Much like every union worker at the Springfield Power Plant is guaranteed an employee of the month award (yep, we got sucked into The Simpsons marathon this weekend on FXX), every team has won the division title over the past seven seasons. There’s also never been a repeat winner of the NFC South; last year the Falcons defended their title by limping to finish line with a 4-12 record. Carolina would take the title, and be joined in the playoffs by New Orleans. Since the Saints won the Super Bowl in January 2010, the NFC South is 3-7 in the playoffs. This year, Vegas sees this bunch as a pretty productive group with the lowest win total among the four teams set at seven. The biggest shake up in the division is definitely in Tampa, where another extremely active year in free agency was paired with the hiring of Lovie Smith as their new coach. The schedule rotation lands on the North, both NFC and AFC. Can Carolina become the first repeat winner of the division? Or does the rotating crown continue? Let’s take a look.
Since the Patriots won their first Super Bowl in 2001, they’ve failed to win the AFC East twice (’02 Jets, ’08 Dolphins). That’s the basic question when you look at the division; can you make a case for another team winning it? The Patriots early Super Bowl run has dried up during this stretch of division dominance. Since their ’04 championship, they’ve made it back to the big game twice, only to lose to the Giants both games.
#5: January 14, 2012 – (NFC Divisional) 49ers 36 Saints 32: The BountyGate game, a game that would result in Saints coach Sean Payton getting unfairly suspended for the entire 2012 season after leaked tapes revealed Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams instructed players to injure key 49ers players, is one of the best games in NFL playoff history.
Last night, the Washington Nationals had an impressive 10 game win streak finally halted by the San Francisco Giants. What looked like another game destined for a dramatic finish became a lifeless rout, as the Giants lineup chased Doug Fister and feasted on lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Ross Detwiler. San Francisco landed at Dulles Airport at 4am after a long and bizarre day at Wrigley Field, in which they finished a suspended game after winning a protest with MLB, and then played their regularly scheduled game with the Cubs later that night. On very little sleep, they coasted to a 10-3 win in Southeast DC.
Here at FSB, we will cover the NFL in broad strokes. While this isn’t a 49ers site, it is most definitely, a 49ers “bar”, as we have been lifelong fans of the Red & Gold. The Niners made their debut in the shiny, new, expensive ($1.3B), and possibly cursed (see here, here, here and here) compound called Levi’s Stadium (we haven’t gotten used to the name yet) last Sunday for a preseason game vs the Broncos. As Candlestick Park had her lights shut off for good after a Paul McCartney concert last week, we wanted to look back at the top 10 games in our minds, ever played at The Stick.
Eight wins was good enough to win the NFC North last season, now Las Vegas went ahead and installed three of the four teams at 8.5 wins or higher. The big story within the division was Aaron Rodgers breaking his collarbone and missing seven games. Somehow, the rest of the division couldn’t take advantage, allowing Rodgers to return week 17 for a miraculous win at Soldier Field. This game sent the Packers to the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record and the Bears home for the winter. The Lions and Vikings enter the season with new coaches, Jim Caldwell and Mike Zimmer respectively. Marc Trestman is in his second year with the Bears, further exhibiting the lack of job security an NFL coach has these days, as the North is another division with short tenured head coaches. If Jim Caldwell is getting another shot, we’re wondering how Mike Singletary doesn’t have another head coaching job. The NFC North draws the AFC East and the NFC South this season. There’s a lot of skill player talent in this division, can it produce two playoff teams this season? Let’s take a look.
As this past February was drawing to a close, the Baltimore Orioles were in Sarasota preparing for Spring Training, their fan base was bickering over a disappointing off season, GM Dan Duquette was searching the leftovers of the free agent market and Nelson Cruz was sitting in the Dominican Republic, weighing his future.
A cold, empty Camden Yards eagerly awaited what the 2014 season would bring.
Things sure have changed in Birdland, as the Orioles have the biggest division lead in baseball (7 games at this moment) and Nelson Cruz, the man without a home in February, is tied with Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Abreu for the league lead in home runs.
Today we tackle what may be the most boring division in all of professional sports, the AFC South. But just because a division is boring, doesn’t mean you can’t make some money. The Colts won the division last season, as Andrew Luck took the next step in what appears to be a very promising career. The AFC South was the only division in the NFL to have three teams with losing records, and Vegas followed suit this year with only the Colts being slotted a win total higher than seven wins. The Texans were the big surprise, winning two games after winning back to back division titles. Two coaches are making debuts with their new teams (Ken Whisenhunt in Tennessee and Bill O’Brien in Houston). The most tenured coach in the division is Chuck Pagano, whose only been at Indy since 2012. The AFC South draws the NFC East and the AFC North, a pretty tame draw in the grand scheme of things.
As the NFL season draws closer, FSB will be taking a look at each division through the prism of the Las Vegas win totals set for each team. First up is the NFC East. Last year Chip Kelly and Nick Foles led the Eagles to 10 wins and a division championship. This division is such a crap shoot, that we may as well get it out of the way first. The win totals tell the story, as every team is posted between 7.5 and 9 wins. As far as the schedule rotation goes, the NFC East draws the best division (NFC West) and arguably the worst division (AFC South). Pretty much a wash there.
The baseball diamond has long been a symbol of Americana. They are revered cathedrals of sport, each one different from the next. Turn of the century gems like The Polo Grounds in New York and Forbes Field in Pittsburgh are symbols of a different time in American sports. Men wore suits and fedoras to the ball park, while pitchers named Babe and Red threw eephus pitches to batters who would then slug them over fences that featured advertisements for Brylcreem.