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NFC North Preview: 2013 NFL

200715_27If you’ve been keeping track at all, the NFC North has only won one Super Bowl title in the past 12 years (Green Bay, Super Bowl XLV) and Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota have only one championship between them. What they do have on their sides is raw star power.

The North has a real gem in the league’s top receiver, Calvin Johnson, superstar running back Adrian Peterson, who superseded his position last season in the field, and without question its top notch quarterback in Aaron Rodgers.  If those players weren’t enough, the league also has Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, Jared Allen and Brandon Marshall. The NFC North is certainly a force to be reckoned with in terms of talent.

While Green Bay might be the favored for the 2013 season, there are so many possibilities with the way that this season could end up.   There are probably four possibly playoff teams and on the flip side, at least three that could totally tank.

Here’s a peak at the NFC North Division:

Chicago Bears-

With the hire of new head coach Trestman, a sea change in approach for the Bears has been launched.  Trestman got rid of former coach Lovie Smith’s defense-first philosophy and implemented a CFL-honed offensive stylings.  Things should go better for Cutler this year, but with so much change, anything is possible. The Bears will be quite formidable with the football, especially with Martellus Bennett.  While defense last year was a top 5 set, Trestman has his work cut out for him this year.  Things look very good for the Bears in 2013.

Detroit Lions:

The Lions should be pretty middle of the pack this season.  Hopefully somewhere between their 2012 and 2011 seasons. The players to watch are Stafford, Johnson and Bush, and especially Ryan Broyles.  The offensive line and defense are still worrisome.  While this seasons seems markedly improved over last year’s, playoff potential still seems questionable.

Green Bay Packers:

Thought Green Bay won a second straight division title, last season was annoying for the Packers. They couldn’t match up against the NFL’s elite, ending in a 45-31 playoff loss to San Francisco.  While they are down a couple decent players this year, like Jennings, the Packers seem to be better poised.   GB added a few superb run-game players, and Rodgers will be that much more of a threat. Green Bay once again seems to be the the team to beat in this division and an almost expected Super Bowl contender.

Minnesota Vikings:

Adrian Peterson totally ran the show last year.  While he is a phenomenal player, the rest of the team needs to pull their weight if they want to keep ahead of the Bears and the Lions and beat the Packers in order to become Super Bowl contenders.  Things are stacking up well for the Vikings, if Ponder and Cassel can keep the team in line and quit with the excuses.  The Vikings are capable to go the distance this season, but there is not much room for error.

What do you think of how the teams are looking in the NFC North for 2013?

 

 

Big Ten Football Preview 2013

Last year’s Big Ten league was pretty terrible.  Only four teams ranked, and the two that did (Michigan and Nebraska) were ranked 24 and 25, and the second best team, Northwestern, finished 17.  Ouch.  In fact, the Big 10 hasn’t won a national championship since Ohio State in 2002. So, let’s review the teams for the upcoming 2013 season.

1.) Ohio State

Urban Meyer had  an awful year last year with a 12-0 record.  He is not known for keeping his players in line, either at his previous post as Gators head coach and the Aaron Hernandez shenangians or with his current Buckeye players.  He really needs to step up, but with players Braxton Miller as QB and Carlos Hyde as RB, they have a shot at ending the SEC’s reign.

2.) Michigan

The Detroit native, Devon Gardner, will start his junior year season as the starting QB after only playing a little last season, and at WR for parts of his first two years. Brady Hoke has done an excellent job recruiting high quality talent, such as newbie running back Derrick Green, to support his pro-style offense, and the go away from the spread offense of previous coach Rich Rodriguez.  They’re looking good this year!

3.) Northwestern

While the Wildcats were the second best team of the Big 10 last year, they still weren’t particularly noticeable.  They still have the very talented senior running back, Venric Mark and the equally thoughtful coach, Pat Fitzgerald. This year, the Wildcats have a huge advantage as Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State will play on their home grass.

4.) Nebraska

The Huskers have had a rough go of it lately. Every season they have huge expectations, and the last two seasons have been particularly bad, specifically when Wisconsin creamed them 70-31 in the title game.  This year isn’t shaping up too great either with another year of Martinez.

5.) Penn State

Under penalty last year for the Sandusky scandal, The Nittany Lions should do well this year under Bill O’Brien. Unfortunately, they are still ineligible for the postseason for three more years.  The team is made up of high quality tight ends, like Breneman

6.) Michigan State

The Spartans defense looks stellar again this year, as they did last year.  Their offense game, on the other hand, needs a ton of help.  They lost a key player in RB Le’Veon Bell.  Their passing game needs a ton of help too.  On their side is a weak schedule in their favor which might propel them into a quality bowl.

7. )Wisconsin

The new coach, Gary Andersen, hails from Utah State, after previous coach Bret Bielema departed for Fayetteville. The Badgers will continue on with the power running game, but the new OC has big plans to improve the passing game.  The Badgers are blessed with an easy schedule, they don’t play Michigan, Michigan State or Nebraska, so they’ll lack the game play to somehow get into the Rose Bowl for a fourth year.

 

8.)Indiana

The Hoosiers had the most passing yards per game in the Big Ten last .  Indiana has an abysmal track record, with  having played in one bowl in the last 20 seasons, but this year they have an advantage with  an easier schedule than 2012. Head Coach Kevin Wilson has his choice this year of starting QB with Cameron Coffman, Tre Roberson, and the rising sophomore Nate Sudfeld.

9.)Purdue

The Boilermakers have high hopes with new coach from Kent State, Darrell Hazell.  Hopefully he is able to work some magic on this team, who have only had one double digit win since 1979.  Ouch.  A lot of things are not on Purdue’s side, like a challenging schedule and an inexperienced backfield.

10.) Minnesota

Last year was pretty lackluster for the Gophers with only a 6-7  season with a loss to coach-less Texas Tech in a pre-New Year’s Day bowl. Minnesota takes on terrible opponents in the non-con schedule , so there is a good chance they could be 4-0 heading into conference play.

11.) Iowa

Coach Ferentz is back again and his team is just above .500 since 2005, if the fluke 2009 Orange Bowl season was toss out that is. An unnamed QB starts this year and they have a tough schedule.  The 2013 season is not shaping up well for the Hawkeyes.

12.) Illinois

Senior QB, Nate Scheelhaase is expected to have another stellar season, Heisman-worthy, even.  The team, though, might be a different story.  Scheelhaase, is a run-first, pass-last type of guy.  Good news for Illinois, though, is that they move tot he West division next year.

So there you have it, the good, the bad and the ugly of the 2013 Big Ten Football.

Top 10 Rookies to Watch this NFL Season

There is electricity in the air!  The NFL Draft is well in the past, training camp is inching ever nearer, and a clearer picture is being painted of NFL Football Rookies rankings for 2013.  The group of rookies from last year, were incredible, to say the least, and it’s exciting to think what they could do in the upcoming year.

Clearly these rankings can change as training camp/offseason news is made, rosters are creates and injuries happen.

As stated before, last year’s Rookies saw the most rookie quarterbacks land in the top 12 positions by season’s end, and three rookie running backs end up scoring loads of touchdowns which ranks them among the top 10 rookies over the past 10 years.

Top 10  Football Rookies For 2013 by Tickifieds

1. Montee Ball, RB, Denver

If Ball becomes a starter, he will come upon tough defense to halt the pass during most of the game.  He’s one to watch.

2. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay

While Lacy looks great on paper, he has some not great points of interest.  He recently had toe surgery and it’s pretty well known that he has attitude issues. These points make for not such a great team player and might not do as well this season.  The Packers also the have Johnathan Franklin in their back pocket too.

3. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston

Head coach Gary Kubiak, made a comparison between Hopkins and former Broncos WR Rod Smith. He will work closely with Johnson, and act as his protégé, as he hopes to outshine fellow defense WR Andre Johnson.

4. Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis

Stacy was a a fifth-round pick for the Rams in the 2013 NFL Draft, but Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson and still the frontrunners.

5.  Robert Woods, WR, Buffalo

Woods will be going through a lesser version of what fellow teammate Hopkins takes on. Unfortunately, Stevie Johnson cannot compare to Andre Johnson, and Woods’ outcome is linked to Manuel’s most likely.

6. Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh

Since Mike Wallace left for Miami, the Steelers had an extra wide receiver spot to fill. They already have starters in Brown and Sanders, but they plan to use Wheaton in the slot and in the backfield.

7. Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona

Ellington has been compared to fellow Clemson player C.J. Spiller.  He is a great addition Mendenhall and Williams with regards to speed and cutting.

8. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City

There is a plan in place by the Chiefs move Kelce out and line him up in several spots, but he has direct competition with free-agent signee Anthony Fasano and Moeaki.

9. Johnathan Franklin, RB, Green Bay

Franklin had the potential for being a top-three rookie running back had Lacy not been selected in front of him.

10. Aaron Dobson, WR, New England

Dobson has the oppotunity to start this season, across the way from Amendola.  This is special thanks to Welker and Lloyd moving on.

Check out tickifieds for all your football tickets needs!

Bruce Springsteen Announces “Wrecking Ball” Tour

The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, finally announced his upcoming tour, Wrecking Ball.  The tour got it’s name from his new album, the U.S. Wrecking Ball Tour currently features 19 dates in 16 cities. The tour kicks off March 18 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA, and concludes with a May 2 event at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Springsteen will also have a special show at Wrigley Field in Chicago in September.Bruce Springsteen Tickets

Hitting the road with Springsteen this year will be E Street members Roy Bittan, Nils Lofgren, Patti Scialfa,  Garry Tallent, Stevie Van Zandt and Max Weinberg. Other backing musicians include Soozie Tyrell and Charlie Giordano.

The album featuring the same name will be released March 6th and is his first new album in three years.

His last tour, Working on a Dream, was infamously tied with Ticketmaster’s paperless ticket fiasco.

2012 Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Schedule:

(Dates are subject to change.)

March 18 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
March 19 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum Complex
March 23 Tampa, FL Tampa Bay Times Forum
March 26 Boston, MA TD Garden
March 28 – 29 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
April 1 Washington, DC Verizon Center
April 3 – 4 East Rutherford, NJ IZOD Center
April 6, 9 New York, NY Madison Square Garden Arena
April 12 Auburn Hills, MI The Palace of Auburn Hills
April 13 Buffalo, NY First Niagara Center
April 16 Albany, NY Times Union Center
April 17 Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena
April 24 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion at San Jose
April 26 Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
April 29 New Orleans, LA New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
May 2 Newark, NJ Prudential Center

If you are looking to Buy or Sell Bruce Springsteen tickets be sure to check out Tickifieds.com!

Coldplay to tour North America – Spring/Summer 2012

Coldplay is finally coming to North America.  Not a moment too soon, either!  Coldplay, led by front man, Chris Martin, have toured Europe since the October 2011 release of their album, “Mylo Xyloto”, now the tour is finally coming stateside in two separate legs in spring and summer of 2012.  The spring leg will mostly focus on the Pacific Northwest markets.

The European shows have been a huge success thus far, with shows selling out within seconds. Tickets mostly go on sale to the public on December 17th, with the exception of two shows; the Hollywood Bowl (Jan. 9) and Chicago (Dec. 19).

The reason for the two legs of the tour is that Coldplay is already booked to perform at seven UK stadiums as a complement to the group’s current European tour dates.

Coldplay has performed in the states as recently as August 2011 as a headliner at Lollapalooza in Chicago’s Grant Park.  Previously, they supported the award-winning “Viva La Vida” with a tour through the states in 2009.

Coldplay has been together since 1996 and they received world-wide recognition in 2000 for the release of their single “Yellow” which was quickly followed by their debut album, Parachutes.  The band has won numerous awards throughout their career, including six Brit Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards and seven Grammy Awards.  They have sold over 50 million records worldwide so far.

The band is famously philanthropic.  They are active supports of various social and political causes including Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair, Amnesty International, Band Aid 20, Live 8 Sound Relief, Hope for Haiti Now and the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Chris Martin is married to A-list actress, Gwyneth Paltrow and they live in London with their two small children, Apple and Moses.  Martin credits the bands U2, A-Ha, Oasis and Muse being big inspirations for him.

 

Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto Tour itinerary: (Dates are subject to change.)

April 17 Edmonton, AB Rexall Place
April 18 Calgary, AB Scotiabank Saddledome
April 20 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena
April 24 Portland, OR Rose Garden Arena
April 25 Seattle, WA Key Arena
April 27 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion
May 1-2 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl
June 22 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
June 25 Houston, TX Toyota Center
June 28 Tampa, FL St. Pete Times Forum
June 29 Miami, FL AmericanAirlines Arena
July 2 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
July 5 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
July 8 Washington, DC Verizon Center
July 23 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
July 26 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
July 29 Boston, MA TD Garden
August 3 East Rutherford, NJ IZOD Center
August 7 Chicago, IL United Center
August 11 Saint Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center