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Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers Are Gearing Up For Another Deep Playoff Run 0

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  • September 7, 2012, 6:41 PM

1. San Francisco 49ers
2011 RECORD: 13–3
The 49ers' patience finally paid off last season as the team made the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Under the guidance of coach Jim Harbaugh, former Number 1 overall pick QB Alex Smith (3,144 passing yards, 17 TDs) had the best season of his seven-year career. He limited his mistakes (five INTs) and made clutch plays to help the 49ers reach the NFC Championship Game. But as reliable as Smith has become, the 49ers' heart and soul is their stellar defense. LB Aldon Smith (14 sacks) pressured opposing quarterbacks, and the unit had three All-Pro players: LBs NaVorro Bowman (143 tackles) and Patrick Willis (97 tackles), and DE Justin Smith. San Francisco has all its key defenders back and will be tough to move the ball against.

BOTTOM LINE: If the Niners' defense can stay healthy again in 2011, look for San Francisco to win back-to-back division titles for the first time since 1995.
Grade: A– More »

AFC West Preview: Exit Tebow, Enter Peyton Manning 1

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  • September 7, 2012, 4:41 PM

1. Denver Broncos
2011 RECORD: 8–8
The signing of QB Peyton Manning makes the Broncos the clear favorites to win the AFC West. The 36-year-old superstar missed all of last season with a neck injury, but he is fully recovered. Manning has two promising receivers in Demaryius Thomas (551 yards) and Eric Decker (eight TDs). The rushing attack, anchored by Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, and Lance Ball, is good enough to keep defenses honest. With Manning under center, Denver's offense will be much more balanced this year. On defense, the Broncos struggled in 2011, ranking 24th in points allowed. But the team has a franchise player in LB Von Miller (11.5 sacks, third in AFC), the 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. And with an offense that will put more points on the board, the D will be under far less pressure this season.

BOTTOM LINE: If Manning stays healthy, Denver will win the AFC West.
Grade: B+ More »

Gary Gramling

An Early Look at NBA 2K13 16

  • Sports Gamer
  • Posted by: Gary Gramling
  • September 7, 2012, 3:18 PM

Let's but to the chase: I got a sneak peak at NBA 2K13 (Oct. 2 release). The gameplay is still strong, the graphics are still sick. Movements and, more importantly, collisions are even more realistic. Here's what I think about some of the new features on the way... More »

U.S. Men's Soccer Team Inspired By Man Tearing Phone Books, Breaking Baseball Bats and Crushing Frying Pans 2

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  • Posted by: Jeremy Repanich
  • September 7, 2012, 2:37 PM

World Cup 2014 qualifying gets started back up again around the globe this weekend and the U.S. Men's National Team squares off with Jamaica Friday night in Kingston. While the world's best national teams get ready for action, we're pretty sure that no other squad will get a pep talk like the US players got. Motivational speaker Donnie Moore tried to psyche up the team by tearing phone books in half, rolling up frying pans like burritos and snapping baseball bats. It's all very weird, and his hair and track suit very 1980s. More »

Will the Houston Texans Repeat As AFC South Champs? 0

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  • September 7, 2012, 12:11 PM

1. Houston Texans
2011 RECORD: 10–6
Houston is coming off its first playoff appearance in franchise history and has a loaded squad this season. The Texans showed a lot of toughness in 2011, winning the AFC South title despite losing QB Matt Schaub, WR Andre Johnson, and DE Mario Williams to injuries. With Schaub and Johnson now at full strength and RB Arian Foster (1,224 yards, 10 TDs) in his prime, Houston will have one of the most powerful offenses in the NFL. The team also has dependable backups in QB T.J. Yates and RB Ben Tate. The defense was dealt a blow when Williams signed with Buffalo in the off-season, but LBs Brian Cushing (114 tackles) and Connor Barwin (11.5 sacks) can help the unit hold down opposing offenses. Rookie DE Whitney Mercilus, a 2012 first-round pick, could make an instant impact with his pass-rushing ability.

BOTTOM LINE: No team in the division can match Houston's firepower and depth.
Grade: A– More »

Can the Atlanta Falcons Regain Their NFC South Crown? 0

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  • September 7, 2012, 11:15 AM

1. Atlanta Falcons
2011 RECORD: 10–6
On paper, the Falcons look fantastic. They have the NFL's best receiving duo in Roddy White (100 receptions, 1,296 yards) and Julio Jones (959 yards, eight TDs), a QB who can air it out in Matt Ryan (4,177 yards, 29 TDs), and a dynamite RB in Michael Turner (1,340 yards). But the offense sputtered in the playoffs last season, scoring zero points against the Giants in the first round. Defensively, leading tackler LB Curtis Lofton signed with the division rival Saints, and the Falcons must fix a secondary that allowed opponents to convert on 44 percent of third-down attempts last season. With promising young LB Sean Weatherspoon (115 tackles) returning and new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan joining the organization, Atlanta's defense should be much improved.

BOTTOM LINE: The Falcons will have no problem making the playoffs. How far they go will depend on how well the offense can move the ball when the season is on the line
Grade: A– More »

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