Sunday, October 28, 2012

Badgers Roundtable: Michigan State (JSOnline.com)


WHAT WENT RIGHT

Bruce Ciskie, Red Rock Radio (Duluth, Minn.) - I thought the defense played exceptionally well for probably 45-50 minutes. It wasn’t enough, but it wasn’t the defense’s fault.

Nick Grays, The Sports Bank - The defense played its best game of the season. Even on Michigan State’s scoring drives, it wasn’t a blown coverage or missed tackle, it was just good football on the Spartans part. I thought the defensive line played very well while limiting Le’Veon Bell to just 77 yards on 21 carries. Corner Marcus Cromartie also made a play (forced fumble in 4th quarter) that should have sealed a win for the Badgers.

Rex Sheild, Daily Cardinal - Despite allowing a touchdown on the final drive in regulation, the defense was again stout. The drive after Meyer got his punt blocked on their own 11-yard line was a specific drive that really stood out to me, as the defense held the Spartans to punt on the possession. It was great for Kyle French’s confidence to hit the two field goals, especially in overtime to give the Badgers a chance.

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Green Bay Packers running game in shambles in 24-15 win over Jaguars


Despite giving the Jacksonville Jaguars multiple opportunities to compete, the Green Bay Packers held on for a 24-15 win in a game where it could be argued the Jaguars looked like the better team.

Blaine Gabbert outplayed Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ (5-3) run-game was non-existent against a Jaguars (1-6) team who’s one of the league’s worst at defending the run.

A win is a win, but it leaves you wondering if the Jaguars’ moral victory is slightly better than the Packers’ real victory.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Michigan State ends the Wisconsin Badgers' 21-game home winning streak


With a thrilling 16-13 overtime win against Wisconsin, the Michigan State Spartans have proven that the Badgers can indeed be defeated at Camp Randall.

Wisconsin came into the game with the second longest active home-winning streak in the nation at 21 games, their last loss at home coming on October 17th of 2009.

The Badgers defense had quite possibly their best game of the season, but in the end they were on the field just way too much as the Spartans' quarterback Andrew Maxwell led his team on a pair of late touchdown drives.

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Green Bay Packers schedule gets easier with the Jacksonville Jaguars





The Green Bay Packers opened the season by playing teams who now have a combined record of 28-18 including the San Francisco 49ers (5-2), Chicago Bears (5-1) and Houston Texans (6-1).


Against the league’s cream of the crop, they went 2-1 and are inching back up the power rankings with each week’s stronger showing.

Finally, the Packers get to welcome one of the league’s bottom-feeders into Lambeau Field. The Jacksonville Jaguars have displayed more problems than positives and have a huge mountain to climb to compete with the Green and Gold.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

#25 Wisconsin faces a stiff test with the Michigan State defense


Unbeaten in their last 21 home games are the Wisconsin Badgers who feel they are back on track as one of the Big Ten’s elite teams after dominating wins overs Purdue and Minnesota.

What the Boilermakers and Gophers do not have, but the visiting Michigan State Spartans do is a legitimate defense.

If Michigan State had a business card, it would say “DEFENSE” in big bold letters and nothing else because it’s all they really need to keep a game close. But will their defense be enough to pull the ever-so rare upset at Camp Randall?

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

2012 Fantasy Trade #4: Calvin Johnson Not Living Up to Expecations, So He's Shipped


Some couples go out on romantic dates, Kari and I make fantasy trades. Brady-Tron (my team's new name) sent two players to Kari-Tron (old name, assuming she will change) in a blockbuster trade on Wednesday.

Kari-Tron (Kari Klitzman) Received:

RB Ryan Mathews
WR Brandon Lloyd

Brady-Tron (Nick Grays) Received:

WR Calvin Johnson
RB Alex Green

Kari's Perspective: To be honest, this was a desperation move on her part. She's upset with Megatron's humanly 10.5 fantasy points a game and she has an underwhelming 2-5 record. With the Cowboys' DeMarco Murray currently out with an injury, Kari is sick and tired of relying on a handful of waiver wire pick-ups for production. Mathews recently shed off a timeshare with Jackie Battle and appears to be the Chargers' workhorse for the rest of the season. I gave her a choice of any of my running backs and I think she made the right one.

Nick's Perspective: Seeing that I gave her a choice of any running back, I'll admit it, I have a man-crush on Johnson. I think he's without a doubt the best receiver in the game and just needs Matthew Stafford to accurately pass him the ball. My love for Johnson aside, I had way too many starting running backs (I also own Doug Martin, Alfred Morris and Jamaal Charles) and needed some WR depth. With a 5-2 record, I can afford to make a change and try to set up myself for my first championship.

Advantage: I think it would be easy to say I have the advantage because I have the better fantasy team, but when you consider the fact that Kari pulled Brandon Lloyd who I did not want to trade, she received a fare deal. When healthy, both Johnson and Mathews are first/second round fantasy talent and Lloyd is a much better player than the Packers unproven Alex Green.

What did you think of the deal? Let me know by commenting below.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Badgers Roundtable: Minnesota (JSOnline.com)


WHAT WENT RIGHT

Nick Grays, The Sports Bank - Bret Bielema and his team have to be ecstatic about the return of the offensive line and the running game. In the past two weeks, the Badgers have racked up 804 yards on the ground. Ryan Groy who was forced to move from left guard to left tackle has done a wonderful job filling in for Wisconsin’s best interior lineman in Ricky Wagner. Also have to credit corner Devin Smith with one of his best games. I thought it was a pleasant surprise to hear the coach say he’s setting himself up for an NFL opportunity after the game.

Rex Sheild, Daily Cardinal - For the second straight week, the offensive line dominated in the trenches and opened up huge holes for Montee Ball and James White, who combined for 341 yards with five touchdowns, especially as the game wore on. Some might have thought, including myself, that the O-line productivity might drop with the absence of Wagner but, as Nick said, Groy did a phenomenal job filling in for him and the unit didn’t miss a beat. The defense continues to establish themselves as one of the better units in the conference and were able to force two interceptions from Smith and Ethan Armstrong against an inexperienced Minnesota quarterback that led to a Kyle French field goal and a touchdown from Ball, respectively. Also, they held Minnesota to 4-of-11 on third down possessions.


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Aaron Rodgers close to perfect in a 30-20 win over the Rams


Quarterback Aaron Rodgers' "Shhhhhh" campaign continued as the Green Bay Packers beat the Rams 30-20 in front of a St. Louis crowd full of Cheeseheads.

Rodgers was near perfect while completing 30 of his 37 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns. Last season's MVP has thrown 16 touchdowns in his last four games.

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Wisconsin’s James White at the hub of the new and exciting “barge” package


In a 38-13 win over the Minnesota Gophers, the Wisconsin Badgers went creative and introduced a wildcat formation known as the “barge” package.

At the hub of the package is running back James White who’s actually quite familiar with taking the direct snap.

“It’s pretty cool. It’s something I did in high school, so it’s not something that’s too new to me. It’s just another way to me the ball, and I just try to take advantage of it,” said James who scored one of his three touchdowns out of this formation.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Badgers show off nation’s best running back tandem in win over Minnesota


Wisconsin Badgers running backs James White and Montee Ball are running away as the nation’s top running back tandem.

The duo combined to rush for 341 yards on 39 carries (8.74 average) and all five of Wisconsin’s (6-2, 3-1) touchdowns in a 38-13 win over Minnesota.

White not only dominated the normal running game, he debuted at quarterback in the Badgers wildcat formation known as the “Barge” package. Following the game, head coach Bret Bielema emphasized how “fun and exciting,” this year’s team is.

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Green Bay Packers will experience a franchise first against the St. Louis Rams


For the first time in franchise history, the Green Bay Packers will play their third consecutive game in a dome. After road games with the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans, the St. Louis Rams are the next team to welcome Green Bay into their house.

The Rams (3-3) are an up-and-coming team with a stingy defense. All three of their wins have come at home, but they haven’t faced the Packers (3-3) Aaron Rodgers who’s the all-time leader with a 115.9 passer rating in domes (minimum 200 passes).

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Green Bay Packers Alex Green has a shot to jump-start his career


In the NFL, one man’s injury creates a meaningful opportunity for another.

As is for most teams in the league, this was the case for the Green Bay Packers with running back Cedric Benson being placed on IR (designation to return) and the promotion of second-year back Alex Green to the starting job.

Green was far from overly-impressive in his first game as a starter (22 carries for 65 yards), but it provided the framework for what could be a promising career for the 24-year-old kid.

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Wisconsin Badgers go for nine straight against rival Gophers


Every time Wisconsin meets with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Badgers coach Bret Bielema makes sure to give all of his freshman a history lesson on FBS’s oldest rivalry.

Recent history has been kind to the Badgers who have won eight straight in the illustrious battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe.

After opposite starts to the season, the Badgers and Gophers are in pursuit of the same thing and that’s a bowl game. One slight different separates them though; the Badgers are looking for a berth to a significant bowl while the Gophers are merely trying to be bowl-eligible.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How can the Wisconsin Badgers Montee Ball get back in the hunt for the Heisman?


The 5-2 Wisconsin Badgers have been on a roller-coaster to start the season as has their best player in running back Montee Ball.

During the off-season, Ball was ticketed during a block-party and then assaulted by five men not far from his apartment building. The season started off just as rocky with sub-par performances from Ball behind a makeshift offensive line, all while the Badgers searched for an offensive identity during their first five games.

It would all change in a game against Purdue though, when Ball broke off a career-high 247 yards and became the Big Ten’s all-time leader in touchdowns with 72.

As Head Coach Bret Bielema pointed out during his weekly teleconference, Ball is “definitely feeling the mojo.”

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Aaron Rodgers goes Incredible Hulk in a 42-24 win over the Houston Texans


They say everything is bigger in Texas and the Green Bay Packers made sure to comply with a huge 42-24 win over the formerly undefeated Houston Texans.

Aaron Rodgers played angry and it showed.

Rodgers threw a career-high six touchdowns to go along with 338 yards on 24-of-37 passing and a near-perfect passer rating (133.8).

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Badgers Roundtable - Purdue (JSOnline.com)



WHAT WENT RIGHT

Nick Grays, The Sports Bank - Wow, who knew we would be looking at a number of things in this section so quickly? I guess I’ll start with the offensive line who were downright dominant against a Purdue defensive front that was touted as one of their strengths. Also give credit to Montee Ball and James White, who looked like the best running back duo in the country Saturday. And once again, not enough can be said about the Wisconsin defense who now has to be talked about as one of the best in the conference, if not the country.

Rex Sheild, Daily Cardinal - Finally, Wisconsin put together a complete football game together. Despite the first defensive play of the game, the Badgers absolutely dominated on both sides of the ball. The offensive line dictated play on the line of scrimmage, allowing Ball, White, and Gordon to run free en route to a total of 467 yards on the ground. It was also great to see TE Jacob Pederson get involved in the passing attack early and often. As Nick pointed out, the defense continues to prove themselves as one of the premier defenses in the conference as they constantly got pressure on the various Purdue quarterbacks with five sacks.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wisconsin’s Montee Ball leads an offensive renaissance in demolition of Purdue


It only took seven games, but the Wisconsin Badgers finally returned to the offensive dominance they displayed over the past couple of years. The running game was unstoppable with 467 yards on 57 carries in a 38-14 win at Purdue.

Montee Ball looked like the player everyone thought he was coming into the season while racking up a career high 247 yards on 29 carries and three touchdowns.

Ball is now the owner of the Big Ten’s all-time rushing touchdown record with 72, surpassing the great Ron Dayne.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Desperate Green Bay Packers need some help in Houston: Brutally Honest Preview


Two teams that many had as Super Bowl picks coming out of the preseason have drifted in completely different directions to start the year.

The Houston Texans are one of the league's two undefeated teams at 5-0 while the Green Bay Packers have stumbled to a 2-3 record.

A week six match-up between these two pits a Packers team desperate to keep pace in a competitive NFC North while the Texans attempt to further establish their selves as the best team in the league.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Purdue Boilermakers: Brutally Honest Preview


In order to evaluate the status of a team, sometimes it’s best to look at their coach’s record in conference play.

Wisconsin Badgers coach Bret Bielema owns a 34-16 record in Big Ten Conference play while the Purdue Boilermakers Danny Hope has a 10-15 record. Hope has aspirations to go in the direction

Bielema has taken the Badgers and it all begins with a critical game in West Lafayette this weekend.
Meanwhile, Bielema looks to maintain the Badgers recent dominance against the Boilermakers; six straight wins and four straight at Purdue’s Ross-Ade Stadium (last loss back in 1997).

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Badgers Roundtable: Illinois (JSOnline.com)


WHAT WENT RIGHT

Bruce Ciskie, Red Rock Radio (Duluth, Minn.) - We’ll take a win any way we can get one, right? It was the opposite of the Nebraska game, where UW seemed to get worse as the game wore on. In this one, the Badgers improved in the second half and pulled away as a result. I like what I’m seeing out of Joel Stave, who is going to be a good one, even after Jared Abbrederis graduates. The defense looked solid for the majority of the game … again.

Nick Grays, The Sports Bank - We’ve talked enough about the offense, so I’ll take the opportunity to give the defense all the credit they deserve. For the sixth time this season, they were the unit to keep the Badgers in the game and ultimately were the reason they won against Illinois. Chris Borland and Mike Taylor get all the cred, but the Badgers’ unsung linebacker, Ethan Armstrong has been very strong over the past couple of games. Nice to see all three of them reach double-digit tackle totals.


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Reggie Wayne and the Indianapolis Colts put a damper on the Packers’ season


Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck connected with Reggie Wayne 13 times for 212 yards and a go-ahead touchdown as the Indianapolis Colts upset the Green Bay Packers by the score of 30-27.

It was an all-around bad day for the Packers who lost Cedric Benson (foot),  B.J. Raji (ankle) and Jermichael Finley (shoulder) to injuries while allowing the Colts to score 27 points in the second half.

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Wisconsin Badgers go all defensive in a 31-14 win over the Fighting Illini


Madison, Wisconsin was the setting for a prototypical Big Ten match-up on Saturday as the Wisconsin Badgers defensively outlasted the Illinois Fighting Illini by the score of 31-14.

A cold and balmy day set the stage for a game that was rather ugly with both teams combining to go 7-of-26 on third downs and each committing two turnovers.

But it was the Badgers (4-2, 1-1) who survive to see another day in what has become a very confusing race in the Big Ten's Leaders Division.

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Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts: Brutally Honest Preview


The Green Bay Packers have had one of the tougher schedules to start the year. They started with the stout 49ers, a division rival in the Bears, a Seattle game marred by the replacement refs and a Saints team desperate for a win.To come out of that with a 2-2 record could be looked at as a success or an utter disappointment.

And just when you thought the road gets a little easier, it doesn’t.

The Packers travel to Indianapolis to take on a Colts team who will be playing with heavy hearts after learning about their Head Coach Chuck Pagano and his diagnosis with leukemia.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Wisconsin Badgers: Brutally Honest Preview


The Illinois Fighting Illini and Wisconsin Badgers have a lot in common in 2012 and it’s not a good thing. Most notably is the unexpected and disappointing starts  for both teams. Neither team looked half-decent against non-conference foes and both lost their Big Ten openers.

The Illini’s new head coach Tim Beckman could already be on the hot-seat and the Wisconsin Badgers are without any kind of identity on the offensive side of the ball.

Let the battle of the Big Ten’s Legends Division begin.

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