National Football League
Niners have pieces to pull off upset
National Football League

Niners have pieces to pull off upset

Published Jan. 13, 2012 12:00 a.m. ET

Peyton Manning is coming to the Jets. And he will be throwing to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Plus, a big upset special on the best weekend of the year.

It’s time for our weekly Sizzle and Fizzle around the NFL.



Romeo Crennel

Talking to a jubilant Crennel Thursday morning on SiriusXM NFL Radio, he gave the Chiefs fans a double dose of great news.

Crennel said that he will continue to call the defensive plays, even with his rightful elevation to head coach. That’s perfect. Romeo is one of the best defensive minds in the game.

And Crennel said he learned that he needs to eliminate quarterback controversies from his time in Cleveland. Matt Cassel is going to be his guy. And he should be. As Crennel said, “Matt has already led us to the playoffs and we look forward to him doing that again.”

With Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry and Cassel coming back and Crennel taking over, is it too early to pick the Chiefs for the playoffs next year?

Niners defense/special teams/offensive efficiency

NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis are the elite combination of inside backers in the NFL this year. Justin Smith does all of the dirty work and makes game-changing plays. Aldon Smith is a sack artist. Carlos Rogers has turned his career around. Punter Andy Lee and kicker David Akers got my votes for the AP All-Pro team. I know it is the year of the quarterback, but the Niners match up well at home, outdoors, with the Saints. Watch this week’s Cosmic Schein for the full effect of my Niners upset special pick.

I think San Fran can run on New Orleans. And after a season where Alex Smith only threw five picks, I trust him. What’s a fair projection of his numbers? How about 230 yards and a touchdown or two? I think so. As Vernon Davis told us this week on the SiriusXM Blitz, “Alex is a strong person and leader. He and Harbaugh have worked so hard together. He knew it was his last straw and he embraced it. We all have supreme confidence in Alex.”

As do I, Vernon. As do I.

Ray Rice

Marshal Yanda told us on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Thursday that the Ravens plan on putting the game on offense through Rice. Good plan. It would seem to be obvious, but Cam Cameron has this crazy notion of letting Joe Flacco chuck the ball around. Run it, Cam, with Rice behind Yanda and the Ravens offensive line. Win a low-scoring game against Houston. And watch Ray Rice go off, even against the great Texans defense. I don’t trust Flacco on Sunday afternoon.

Packers rest

The Giants have momentum heading into Sunday, with three straight big-time wins, peaking at the right time.

But please don’t spin that the Packers are rusty, with Aaron Rodgers not playing since Christmas. Greg Jennings, Chad Clifton, A.J. Hawk, and Desmond Bishop, among others, are healthy. McCarthy told us on our radio show on Thursday that the team has kept the same practice schedule and Wednesday’s practice was crisp and one of the best of the year. And he’s not Rex Ryan. McCarthy has ripped a practice session before.

I expect the game to be close, but how could you go against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at home?


Peyton Manning to the Jets

On Thursday, the back page of the New York Daily News had a picture of Peyton Manning on it for the third time in a week. “Journalists” are wondering and speculating if Peyton Manning would fit on the Jets, saving the club after an underachieving 8-8 season. Unnamed Jets, prompted by reporters at the paper, were comparing maligned Mark Sanchez to Manning, day-dreaming what it would be like to play with Manning while the anonymous sources slammed Mark Sanchez.

Why don’t you put a picture of John Elway on the back cover in a Jets uniform? Perhaps, Johnny Unitas or Sid Luckman would make for decent choices.

But then again, Randy Moss’ mug was plastered on the back pages this spring or summer, with the adjoining reports that Moss was destined to join the Jets when the lockout ended. I’m still waiting. We shot down that report here last summer.

Stop the insanity. Peyton Manning is not walking through that door. Multiple league sources tell me that Manning isn’t even on the radar for the Jets. Why would he be?

This is where we also inject logic into the conversation.

The Jets quarterback next year is Mark Sanchez. He most certainly regressed in 2011. If you take away the comparisons to Manning, the Daily News report on Sanchez’s worth ethic was legit and superb work. Chris Carlin and I discussed it on SNY’s Loud Mouths the Tuesday after the season ended. Derrick Mason spoke to us on SiriusXM NFL Radio about it on the record last Friday, questioning Sanchez’s leadership and whether or not he could ever be a franchise quarterback. But while some wonder if Sanchez can ever lead a team to the Super Bowl, and his leadership was poor this year, he does have four road playoff wins. The Jets rightly jettisoned offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer (as we called here the Tuesday after Christmas) and brought on Tony Sparano. They want to bring in Todd Haley. The changes are being made to aid Sanchez. They don’t need Peyton Manning. The Jets need someone, perhaps Sparano’s old quarterback Chad Henne, to come in, look pretty throwing the ball in practice, and push a quarterback who has been coddled by Rex Ryan. Manning is, in essence, his own offensive coordinator in Indy. He’s going to learn a new system? Come on.

One other important nugget: Peyton Manning can’t throw.

Jim Irsay fired Bill Polian because he got duped by Manning and agent Tom Condon. Have you been following Jay Glazer’s reporting on the NFL on FOX on the multiple procedures Manning’s had done on his neck? Did you notice Manning didn’t take a snap this year? Are you prepared to trade for Manning? Or if the Colts cut him, would you sign him and pay him and have Manning take up your salary cap? It doesn’t make any sense. Does Mike Tannenbaum want to get fired? Absolutely not.

Do you really think Peyton Manning would ever come and play in the same city as his younger brother and take some of his thunder? Have you followed their relationship?

Do you plan on benching Sanchez, Manning getting hurt, and Sanchez’s mindset being strong enough to reclaim the position?

Manning is the toughest practice player on the planet, he demands perfection. Do you think he, even if the Jets wanted him, would want a part of the Santonio Holmes’ led circus?

I always give any outlet credit for generating attention with pretty covers or day-dreaming columns. Everyone does it. We do it. Generating buzz is generating buzz.

But just like with Randy Moss, I’m opting to tell you the truth.


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