Much like the Titan Atlas, who carried the weight of the world on his shoulders, Titans running back Chris Johnson carries the weight of his team on his. The Tennessee Titans all purpose back, who set an NFL record for yards from scrimmage in 2009, is in the midst of a bitter contract dispute. Without Johnson, the Titans are very thin at the running back position. Second on the depth chart is Javon Ringer, a second year player out of Michigan State who had a total of 48 rushing yards in 2009. Whether the Titans offense will be directed by Vince Young or Kerry Collins in Week 1 at home vs. the Oakland Raiders, it stands to be a tough day if Johnson is on the sidelines.

Currently, the Tennessee Titans are a seven (7) point NFL Week 1 odds favorite over the visiting Raiders in the season opener for both teams. The Raiders also have many question marks on offense; the biggest one being how will newly acquired quarterback Jason Campbell gel with his teammates? If Chris Johnson is out, this game looks as if it has “defensive struggle” written all over it. Even though both of these defenses ranked in the bottom third of the NFL in total defense in 2009, neither of these offenses have much firepower outside of Chris Johnson.

Tennessee Titans NFL Cheerleader

The outlook of this game rests squarely on if Johnson suits up or not. If he plays, the Titans should easily cover the seven points at home against a weak Oakland club. Also, the teams will likely go over the 41 points in the over/under with Johnson likely to score 2 or 3 touchdowns himself. On the other hand, if Johnson sits, this contest becomes very even. The Raiders have an up and coming defense with Rolando McClain and Nnamdi Asomugha and could cause problems for the lackluster Titans offense. With Johnson out, take the Raiders in a very close, very low scoring game.


Randy Moss Fires Agent

Randy Moss fired his longtime agent Tim DiPiero. The change started speculation the Moss was planning on ditching the New England Patriots when his contract expires after this season, but that is not the case.

Moss fired his agent because he is looking for someone who can get him more sponsorship deals and other off-field business opportunities. The move is not likely to affect Moss’ play on the field.

The New England Patriots are among the top teams in the NFL again this season with the fifth best odds to win the Super Bowl at +1100.


Brett Favre underwent surgery to repair his left ankle. The surgery was minor and he could have gone without it, but it was necessary to continue his NFL career and points to a return to the Minnesota Vikings for one more season.

The 40-year old Favre is now a grandfather and is one of the best quarterbacks never to have won a Super Bowl.

The Vikings are now co-favorites with the Indianapolis Colts in odds to win the Super Bowl at +800 reflecting the likely-hood that Favre plays.


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has cleared Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to start working out which is the first step to getting his six game suspension reduced to four.

Ben Roethlisberger Partying

Obviously this is excellent news for the Steelers whose stable of stop-gap quarterbacks might be able to get some wins with games against Atlanta, Tennessee, Tampa Bay and Baltimore, but aren’t going to make Big Ben expendable.

A loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 would be bitter, but not insurmountable and it would be the only divisional game that he would miss and he would make it back just in time to put the beat-down on the Cleveland Browns.

The Pittsburgh Steelers starting the season without Roethlisberger and without an elite receiver are longshots in Super Bowl odds at +2200.


Seattle Seahawks Draft Grade

The Seattle Seahawks entered the draft with two first round picks, so it’s no surprise that they were able to add some high-end talent to fill their many holes. They did their best work in the later rounds getting a number of prospects that are good values for their position and adding some veterans through draft-day trades.

Russell Okung will come in and start at left tackle for Walter Jones who will announce his retirement any day now. Okung is the best offensive line prospect in this draft class and he should help this team for years.

With the 14th pick, the Seahawks grabbed Texas safety Earl Thomas. Thomas has the potential to help this team for years to come and, like with Okung, the Seahawks were lucky that he fell to them.

Repeating the trend of players that fill Seahawks need falling to them is WR Golden Tate. He will be the third player from the draft pretty much guaranteed a spot on the opening roster.

CB Walter Thurmond and TE Anthony McCoy both have excellent long-term potential and are excellent values for a late-round picks.

Seattle Seahawks NFL Cheerleader

Gratuitous Cheerleader Pic

Seahawks Draft-Day Trades

The Seahawks were very busy addressing their other needs with a series of trades.

They picked up running backs LenDale White from the Tennessee Titans and Leon Washington from the New York Jets. Both of these players have bust potential, but having two of them in the lineup gives them a good chance that at least one of them will make an impact and help this team.

Seahawks Draft Grade: A

The biggest need for the Seahawks now is a pass-rusher, but it is hard to fault the Seahawks because they had so many holes to fill coming in and did an excellent job covering almost every one of them.

Pretty much everything went right for them at the draft. They got three players who can help the team right away with their top three draft picks and probably should have been taken earlier. Then in the later rounds they picked up a number of excellent prospects while using trades to fill their remaining needs.

While the Seahawks made a lot of good progress at the draft, they still have a long way to go to become a top competitor again. The Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl odds list them as longshots at +4500.


The Green Bay Packers picked up a couple of players who should make a difference right away, particularly Brian Bulaga who will help an offensive line that definitely needed an upgrade. They didn’t address cornerback and that’s why they get a C.

The Green Bay Packers are a good team that didn’t do enough at the draft and free agent table to make them a great team. That’s why their odds to win the Super Bowl are mired at a decent but not great +1350.


Brandon Marshall of the Miami Dolphins had an unspecified surgery that that will keep him off of the field until training camp.

The injury means that the Dolphins won’t be able to practice their re-worked offense until he returns which is going to hurt them early in the season.Miami Dolphins NFL Cheerleaders

Last season, the Miami Dolphins were a run-first team and didn’t have any receivers with anywhere near Marshall’s talent and his presence. Now they aren’t going to be able to practice their new offense until he gets back which means early season growing pains are going to be amplified.

Marshall isn’t the only receiver injured. Patrick Turner, a sophomore receiver who didn’t see much action as a rookie, is also out with an injury. He was making progress and could become a key to their throwing attack with Marshall drawing all of the extra defensive attention.

The Dolphins Week 1 opponent is the Buffalo Bills. The NFL odds list the Dolphins as 1-point favorites with an over/under of 37.5. You might consider taking that under now because it will probably drop when the Dolphins struggle in the pre-season while still getting used ot Marshall.


Cushing Retains Defensive ROY

AP voters have decided to retain Brian Cushing of the Houston Texans as the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Cushing could have potentially lost his DROY award after it was revealed that he tested positive for a banned substance HCG. Cushing will be suspended for the first four games of next season due to the positive test.

Houston Texans NFL Cheerleaders

I wonder if they know anything about performance enhancing drugs?

HCG is a fertility drug that is often used to mask steroid use by restarting natural testosterone production and is the same drug that Manny Ramirez was caught using last year.

Cushing had one positive test in September and hasn’t tested positive before or since.

Cushing originally won the AP vote by a 39-6 margin over Jairus Byrd and the second time around it was just 18-13. Nineteen people changed their vote from Cushing to someone else while one person changed his vote to Cushing.

Media types are having a field day debating the merits of the re-vote. I won’t rehash any of that here, but I recommend you check out Tom Curran’s Why I voted for Cushing . . . again, Don Banks’ Why AP’s revote decision is wrong, and why I’m still voting for Cushing, and Peter King’s Why AP’s revote decision is right, and why I won’t vote for Cushing.

The Houston Texans without Cushing for the first four games are long-shots in odds to win the Super Bowl at +3000.


The Cincinnati Bengals are officially where troubled NFL players go to be rehabilitated before resuming their careers.

The late Chris Henry, Odell Thurman, Cedric Benson, Larry Johnson, Matt Jones and now Adam “Pacman” Jones are all players with regular off-field conduct issues who have found a home with the Cincinnati Bengals while they get their careers back on track.

Cincinnati Bengals NFL Cheerleaders

Benson has been the biggest success of the bunch rushing for 1251 yards and 6 TDs last season while Johnson showed enough last year to be offered a contract from the Washington Redskins this year.

Henry was also showing signs of improvement until he died falling off of a truck in an altercation with his fiancee.

2009-2010 will be the season to for the Jones’ to see if they can get their careers back on track. Both players didn’t play last year. Matt Jones was suspended for cocaine possession while Pacman missed last season after being released by the Dallas Cowboys due to a host of suspensions for violations to the NFL conduct policy.

Pacman is the more obvious talent of the two, but Matt is more likely to succeed because there’s more space on the Bengals depth chart for receivers.


Could Chris Johnson Hold Out?

Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans is probably the biggest bargain in the NFL making a base salary of $550,000 in his third year of a five year contract.

Johnson isn’t attending offseason workouts with the Jaguars prefering to workout on his own. Could Johnson hold out and miss part of the season after topping 2,000 rushing yards in 2009?

As much as it pains me to say this about someone who received a $7 million signing bonus, but I think he has to. (more…)

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