Sunday Update – #NFL #NFCWildCard

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Sometimes playoff football shows you something you’ve never seen before — and that you won’t soon forget. That was certainly the case in Minnesota on Sunday, as the Seahawks beat the Vikings, 10-9, after kicker Blair Walsh missed a go-ahead 27-yard field goal in sub-zero temperatures.

That’s what you call “icing the kicker.”

It was -6 at kickoff, the third-coldest game in NFL playoff history, and the weather certainly played it’s part throughout the contest as the Seahawks were down 9-0 going into the fourth quarter and Russell Wilson unable to continue his hot streak in the frigid temps. Things finally didn’t get going until it seemed they were falling apart: Wilson was trying to check to a new play in the fourth and center Patrick Lewis snapped it too early, sending the ball flying 20 yards past his quarterback. Wilson did the only thing he could do, which was try to make the best out of a bad situation, and managed to pick up the ball and scramble before finding Tyler Lockett for a 35-yard gain setting up first-and-goal.

Doug Baldwin scored two plays later on a throw from Wilson, Baldwin’s 12th touchdown in the last seven games. Wilson’s 13 career playoff passing touchdowns ties Dan Marino for the second-best mark through four seasons……

Continue Reading: MIN K Blair Walsh misses would-be GW chip shot.

  • Seattle’s victory at Minnesota was the first of its kind
    • From Elias: Seattle rallied for 10 points in the fourth quarter on Sunday for a 10-9 victory at Minnesota. The Seahawks were the first team in NFL history to win a road playoff game in which they failed to score in the first three quarters, following 40 such losses.
  • Carroll is the postseason Comeback Kid
    • From Elias: The Seahawks’ victory was Pete Carroll’s fifth playoff win after his team had trailed by more than eight points. That is now the highest such total for any head coach in NFL history. Prior to Sunday’s game, Carroll shared the mark with Bill Belichick, who tied Carroll’s total of four when the Patriots overcame a 10-point Seattle lead to win the Super Bowl in February.
  • A game decided by the kickers
    • From Elias: For the fourth time in this century, an NFL playoff game pitted the league’s rushing champion against its passing leader (each of them won by the high-rated QB’s team). ButAdrian Peterson and Russell Wilson both struggled in sub-zero temperatures at TCF Bank Stadium, while Seattle’s kicker provided the game-winning points and Minnesota’s went from hero to goat in a matter of minutes.
    • Blair Walsh gave the Vikings a 9-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter, and in so doing he became the first player in NFL history to kick two field goals of 40 yards or longer in a playoff game played at 20 degrees or below. We’ll have more on that shortly; for now we will note that Walsh’s field goals measured 22, 43, and 47 yards.
    • But it was Walsh’s counterpart, Steven Hauschka, who gave Seattle a 10-9 lead with a 46-yard field goal with 8:04 to play. That became the game-winner when Walsh pulled a 27-yard attempt wide left with 22 seconds to play. Only three other players kicked a game-winning field goal as long as Hauschka’s in the fourth quarter of a playoff game: Adam Vinatieri, who did it twice, (including a 48-yarder as time expired against the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI), Matt Bryant, and Gary Anderson.
    • Kicking in the kind of weather that Walsh and Hauschka encountered on Sunday is difficult at best. There have been 39 playoff games for which the temperature at kickoff was 20 degrees or colder. The longest field goal in any of those games was 48 yards, by Vinatieri for the Patriots in the 2004 AFC Championship Game at Pittsburgh.
    • As for Walsh, his 27-yard miss was the shortest on a potential go-ahead field goal in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter of an NFL playoff game. That distinction previously belonged to Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud, who did it in one of the most famous games in NFL history. On Christmas Day 1971, Stenerud missed three field goals in Kansas City’s 27-24 double-overtime loss in a first-round playoff game at Miami. His 31-yard attempt with 35 seconds to play would have given the Chiefs a victory.

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After months of offensive stagnation, the Packers rediscovered their offensive identity Sunday. They lit up Washington for a 35-18 playoff victory, earning the chance to take on the Cardinals in the divisional round.

Though the game ended with a Green Bay blowout, it started far differently. Washington shut out the Packers through the opening 21 minutes while producing 11 points of its own. Despite making his first start in the postseason, Kirk Cousins threw the ball all around the yard, connecting with Jordan Reed for multiple large gains.

Cousins nearly gave Washington a 9-0 lead in the first quarter, but wideout DeSean Jackson foolishly failed to extend the ball over the goal line.

Jackson’s error proved to be the turning point in the game, as the Packers held Cousins and the offense to just a field goal on that drive. When the Packers offense finally caught fire in the second quarter, the lead was easily surmountable.

Unsurprisingly, it was Aaron Rodgers who led the charge for Green Bay. From the start of the second quarter onward, Rodgers completed 20 of his 29 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns, good for a 111.1 rating. Rodgers’ receivers also stepped up their play, with James Jones hauling in seven passes, most of them contested, for 81 yards. Even the much-maligned Davante Adams made two big plays — an acrobatic sideline reception on third down and a touchdown — before exiting with a knee injury……

Continue Reading: Packers suddenly have a potent offense again.

  • When Green Bay got rolling, Redskins had no answer
    • From Elias: The Packers scored four touchdowns and a field goal on five consecutive drives to turn an 11-0 deficit to a 32-18 lead, then added a late field goal for a 35-18 victory at Washington. The Redskins have played 35 postseason games since 1970; this was the first time during that span that an opponent scored on more than three consecutive drives.
  • The visitors rule Wild Card Weekend
    • Green Bay’s victory completed a sweep by the visiting teams of the weekend’s four first-round games. The home-field advantage in the playoffs simply isn’t what it once was. For the first 12 years of the 12-team format (1990-2001), home teams went 35-13 (.729) in the first round. But over the last 14 seasons (2002-15), since the format change to eight division champs and four wild-card teams, home teams are 30-26 (.536) on “Wild Card Weekend.”
    • By way of explanation, from 1990 to 2001 there wasn’t a single first-round game in which the road team had a better won-lost record than its host. But that was the case for 20 of 56 first-round games since 2002, including two of four games this weekend: Houston (9-7) hosted Kansas City (11-5), and Washington (9-7) hosted Green Bay (10-6).

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5 Things To Know: Tuesday Morning Quarterback

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1. That’s How You Lose?

From almost disaster to celebration for the Broncos last night.  That kick though, by Mcmanus at the end of regulation – Cripes!  It almost cost them, but hey at least Denver figured out how to play in the 2nd half – problem is, it seems they haven’t played a full game since the Packers.

For me, the issue becomes less about Osweiler or Manning – it’s Denver’s line play.  The playoffs are a different animal and the inability to protect the QB, or run the ball consistently, or consistently generate a pass rush could lead the Broncos chances in the playoffs as a little more than Fool’s Gold.

Yes we have seen flashes of the line holding up, running the ball and sacks.  But look back at the playoff game against the Colts last year in Denver.  Ware and Miller never touched Luck and if you’re gonna play that much man-to-man coverage you need pressure on the other-team’s QB, if you can’t run the ball.  This team has something going for it, it’ll just depend if they can put it all together long enough to make it to Superbowl L.  It could be worse, you could be the Bengals and just keep watching guys go down like the Edmund Fitzgerald – if McCarron is hurt they’ll have to start what’s-his-name – here are some more thoughts about the game, with help from Elias Sports Bureau.

Broncos are the comeback kings of 2015

The Bengals led 14-0 late in the second quarter, but the Broncos came back to win 20-17 in overtime. It was Denver’s third win this season in a game in which it trailed by at least 14 points. No other team has won more than one such game in 2015.

Cincinnati had won its previous 29 contests in which it led by at least eight points since losing to Chicago in the first week of the 2013 season. That had been the longest active streak in the NFL.

+ Another long go-ahead TD run by Anderson

C.J. Anderson’s 39-yard touchdown run gave the Broncos a fourth-quarter lead in their overtime win over the Bengals. There have been three go-ahead rushing touchdowns of 30-plus yards in the fourth quarter or overtime this season, and Anderson has been responsible for two of them; he scampered 48 yards for the winning score in overtime against the Patriots in Week 12. The other run of that type in 2015 belongs to Marcus Mariota, who ran 87 yards against the Jaguars in Week 13.

Dunlap sets Bengals sack record

Carlos Dunlap sacked Brock Osweiler three times Monday, bringing his career total of quarterback takedowns to 49. Dunlap, who has spent his entire career with the Bengals, passed Eddie Edwards (47½) for the most sacks in team history (the NFL has recorded this statistic for individual players since 1982). Cincinnati is the only current franchise for which no player has produced 50 sacks.

2. FanDuel – 2×4’s and Milk

Source: NFL Week 16 Retrospectacle: Making Sense of Topsy Turvy Fantasy Action

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Arizona Cardinals Defense (33.0)—Nine sacks, four turnovers and two touchdowns in a rout of Rodgers, of all quarterbacks. You cannot love this play on FanDuel against the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday, but wouldn’t most have thought the same thing against Rodgers?

QB Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (31.22)—He still turns the ball over way too much for the Jags to be an elite contender or to be immune to the matchups, but you have to love the way he came through in the dream matchup against the New Orleans Saints defense. Bortles posted his sixth 300-yard game and his fifth game of three-plus touchdowns. We cannot recommend him against the Houston Texans defense in Week 17, but he is going to be a top-eight fantasy starter for 2016.

RB Tim Hightower, New Orleans Saints (30.4)—A long-time fantasy goner making countless fantasy owners champions, posting 169 combined yards with three receptions and two touchdowns. Who’da thunk this one? He’s even more surprising from August to December than Bortles. Hightower looks like a solid FanDuel play against the Atlanta Falcons run defense that has given up a league-high 19 rushing touchdowns.

RB DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers (30.3)—In an offense that is counted on for huge fantasy passing numbers, the ageless Williams continues to deliver for FanDuel owners even in losses and tough statistical matchups. The Baltimore Ravens had only given up five rushing touchdowns to fantasy backs before Williams posted two, 153 combined yards and six receptions Sunday. The Steelers need a victory and help, so D-Will will be a huge FanDuel play in NFL Week 17 against the Cleveland Browns, the NFL’s worst run defense.

WR Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (28.3)—The mark of a true fantasy star—one worth his salt on the FanDuel price list and a first-round candidate in season-long formats—is being immune to the matchups. Mark Jones down in the category after he torched Josh Norman’s Carolina Panthers for 9-178-1. He is 243 yards from breaking Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yards record. Chalk that up as a distinct possibility with that Saints defense on tap.

QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (28.18)—He went from game-time decision to game-time fantasy monster. We don’t love him against the Falcons secondary next week, but clearly he is not done being an impact fantasy player, passing for 412 yards and three touchdowns in a shootout victory over Bortles’ Jags. You have to love great fantasy quarterbacks with bad defenses in favorable matchups.

WR Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (27.5)—Usually a move to the Jets turns fantasy wideouts into wastes. It has given Marshall the best season of his career with a career-high 13 touchdowns. His 8-115-2 from Sunday should have a solid encore next week against the Buffalo Bills.

WR Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars (26.6)—He turned out to be an outstanding pivot play in that Jags stack with Bortles and WR Allen Robinson, as we wrote Sunday morning the NFL Week 16 Tipsheet. Hurns’ 8-106-2 put him over the fantasy receiver holy grail of 60-1,000-10.

WR Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (24.1)—Many were all over the Robinson breakout this season, but no one could have imagined this. He went 6-151-1 and moved into the elite with his 75-1,292-14 season totals. The Jags have an exciting set of Year 3 fantasy picks for 2016.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (23.14)—The Jets QB-WR stack has made FanDuel players a lot of prize money this season, something that won’t be forgotten in a must-win game against the New England Patriots. Fitzpatrick posted 296-3 and has averaged just a cut below that the past five games. Marshall and WR Eric Decker have helped Fitz to a career year, and a clear-cut starting role for 2016.

K Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings (23.0)—We have always loved a fantasy kicker backed by a great running game to get the ball into scoring position and a quarterback who struggles to stick the ball into the end zone. The Vikings with RB Adrian Peterson and QB Teddy Bridgewater are precisely that.

Houston Texas Defense (22.0)—This unit is rolling and is just a home victory over the Jags away from the AFC South title, something few could have expected this summer. Like the Cards above, it is not the most favorable of final matchups for the Texans, but they are the hot hands on FanDuel.

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QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (5.8)—Just 215 yards, two interceptions and no passing touchdowns is not what we’re used to seeing from Big Ben. This was a Baltimore Ravens defense that came into the game with a league-worst four interceptions all season and just one since Week 3. D’oh!

WR Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (1.5)—His appearance here goes down as a first in his Year 2 breakthrough. He hadn’t had a week this bad: Just one catch for six yards. The good news is we should jump back on the Big Ben stack against the Browns in Week 17.

WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (3.2)WR Jordy Nelson’s (knee) loss for the season was supposed to be a catalyst for Cobb’s best season of his career. Instead of bringing him fantasy production, it brought him extra attention and frequently to our bums list. You cannot play him against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday.

TE Richard Rodgers, Green Packers (0.7)—Did he make a deal with the devil before that Week 13 Hail Mary touchdown? In the three games since, he has caught just three passes for 12 yards. Thwadt!

TE Ben Watson, New Orleans Saints (1.0)—Now, this one just isn’t fair. We get the matchup right against the Jags because Brees goes off for 400-plus yards and three touchdowns; yet, Watson manages just one catch for five yards. That’s not just elementary, Watson. You simply stunk.

K Jason Myers, Jacksonville Jaguars (1.0)—His team scores 27 points in a shootout and all he can muster is one measly PAT. Fantasy football fate is just so unforgiving.

CoachingHotSeat3. TRYING TO PREDICT ‘BLACK MONDAY’:

In one week, the complexion of numerous NFL coaching staffs will change following the annual round of “Black Monday” firings. Besides affecting the lives of the coaches and their families, these decisions dramatically alter the NFL landscape, setting up some teams for future success while crippling others.

However, just as important as the firings are the teams that instead choose to retain their current coach. For one reason or another, some good coaches struggle to obtain success early. In those instances, patience from the front office and ownership can lead to reward later on. The past decade certainly would have played out much differently had the Giants parted ways with Tom Coughlin before 2007 or 2011, as they reportedly considered.

Let’s take a look at the current landscape via Magic 8 Ball-like predictions……(continue reading)

Source: A look at which NFL coaches will be fired next week.

DesmondCespedes4. MLB HOT STOVE UPDATE: BUYER BEWARE

For those among us who yearn for baseball season and all the happiness that comes with it, good news: We are closer to the first day of pitchers and catchers reporting (54 days until Feb. 19) than we are the last day of the World Series (56 days since the Royals beat the Mets).

The not-so-good news for a bunch of players out there is that they are about to start a new year without new jobs. That’s normal, of course, with free agency’s biggest names (the David Prices and Zack Greinkes and Ben Zobrists of the world) highlighting November and December and the next tier (the Justin Uptons and Alex Gordons) seeing action any day now.

So with a couple of dozen quality, established big league free agents still to be had, a reminder: They come with tremendous risk, and some more than others. Here’s a bit of a closer look at a handful of those seemingly brand-name free agents and why they might not be as attractive as one might assume, in the hopes of explaining why the market isn’t moving very fast.

Source: Some MLB free agents are riskier than others.

5. Ultimate Value Lineup – Week 16

All we want to do is provide you valuable information at a great price.  We’ve already helped hundreds of people learn how to make some extra lettuce playing fantasy sports; so let us Teach You How to #win!

Giving you the Perfect Lineup is easy and we tweet it, post it on Facebook and create an entire post about our RESULTS, so……What about if you had the greatest value lineup of all time?  A Lineup that every player chosen had low ownership, way less, and never cost you more than $6k – well my friends this is the Ultimate Value Lineup – culled directly from the numbers and our reports – look for us on twitter when we post the less than 12% lineup and follow along with the value-madness!!!

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