#NFL Weekend Update: 9 Things We Need To Know on Monday

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It’s was a strange weekend, from undefeated teams going down, to threats at WWE in Atlanta to the Mafia telling ISIS, NYC is their turf and to stay away – it all leaves us with more questions then answers and first off, is this:  How does the #NFL concussion protocol fail Case Keenum?  So Let’s Get It On with the 9 things we need to know, (h/t Elias Sports Bureau).

1

Famous Jameis and the Return of the Muscle-Hamster

Doug Martin ran for 235 yards, the highest single-game total in the NFL in the last three seasons. But he had to share the headlines with Jameis Winston, who threw five touchdowns passes in the Buccaneers’ 45-17 win at Philadelphia. Winston tied the record for TD passes in a game by a rookie, nullset by Ray Buivid of the Bears in 1937 and tied only once previously, by Matthew Stafford in 2009.

The last player to gain as much rushing yardage in one game as Martin was Martin himself, with a 251-yard performance at Oakland in 2012. He fell 2 yards short of the highest rushing-yards total by a player who didn’t score a touchdown in the game. Barry Sanders gained 237 rushing yards without scoring in Detroit’s victory over the Bucs in 1994.

There was only one other game in NFL history in which a player rushed for at least 200 yards and a teammate threw five or more TD passes. Jamal Lewis gained 216 rushing yards and Derek Anderson threw five scoring passes for the Browns in a 51-45 win over the Bengals in 2007.  What it means is Tampa might be relevant again at 5-5.

2

For Chiefs – The Last 3 weeks Has Been the Playoffs

One week after routing the Broncos, 29-13, at Denver, the Chiefs posted their biggest win at San Diego in 47 years, defeating the Chargers, 33-3. Kansas City’s last victory at San Diego by at least 30 points was a 40-3 win in 1968­­. In that game, Len Dawson threw three touchdown passes and the Chiefs made a team-record seven interceptions.

But Kansas City’s performance over the last two weeks deserves more than a comparison only to the team’s own history. It marks the first time since 1992 that any team NFL won consecutive games, both on the road against division opponents and both by a margin of 16 points or more. The last team to do so was San Diego, with road victories against the Raiders (36-14) and Seahawks (31-14) in December 1992.  Would anyone be shocked if the Chiefs finished 10-6 and and beat up the AFC South champ in a wild-card game?

3

Panthers Troll Washington

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A question for Redskins fans: How long have you rooted for your team? Because unless you saw Sammy Baugh play, you never saw a Redskins game that started as explosively as Sunday’s, in which each team scored two touchdowns in the first quarter. It was the first such game in Carolina’s 21-year history in the league, and it was the Redskins’ first since a 45-35 loss to the Giants in 1949 in which Baugh threw a pair of early TD passes to Hugh Taylor.  The Redskins kept Cam Newton out of the end zone on Sunday, but Newton threw five touchdown passes in the Panthers’ 44-16 victory. Newton, who scored six TDs in Carolina’s first nine games this season, is only the third player in NFL history with five or more touchdown passes in a game and at least five rushing TDs in that same season. Yes, it’s a bit tortured, but there’s a payoff for fans who enjoy a bit of NFL history in Elias Says. The first player to do so was Dandy Don Meredith with the Cowboys in 1966; in fact, he had two games with five TD passes that season. The other was Steve McNair of the Titans in 1999.

4

With Romo, The Cowboys are Undefeated

Tony Romo passed for 227 yards and two touchdowns as the Cowboys snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 24-14 win at Miami. The Cowboys’ losing streak coincided with the seven games that Romo missed with a broken left collarbone. Dallas has won the last seven regular-season games that Romo has started and lost the last nine that Romo missed.

But don’t overlook the contribution of Darren McFadden, who rushed for 129 yards. Romo has a 23-8 record as a starting quarterback when a teammate has gained at least 100 rushing yards.

5

Peyton Place

During the pregame show for Sunday Night Football, Mike Florio reported that not only is Manning planning on came back for another season in 2016, he is willing to do it for a team other than the Broncos.  Clearly, he wants to erase the stink of the last game he played and does not want to go out like that.  As for Peyton getting healthy, it may not matter, because Kubiak is already quiet with his decision on who gets the start against the Patriots.  Pretty sure that Elway, Kubiak, and the rest who wear Orange-Colored Glasses all want the same thing and it’s the guy he played in Chicago.  Brock Osweiler played a turnover-free game in the Broncos’ 17-15 win at Chicago. Osweiler connected with Demaryius Thomas for a 48-yard score in the game’s 3rd minute. The only other active players to throw a touchdown pass that long in the first 3 minutes of their first start in the NFL were Matt Ryan in 2008 and Marcus Mariota two months ago. Note that Manning threw at least one interception in each of his nine games this season, for a total of 17.

6

Old Guys Win in C’Ant’Lanta

Matt Hasselbeck improved his record to 3-0 as the Colts’ starting quarterback in a 24-21 victory at Atlanta. Only two other QBs won three consecutive starts after turning 40 years old: Warren Moon and Brett Favre.

Last month, Adam Vinatieri kicked a field goal in overtime in Hasselbeck’s first victory for Indianapolis. That marked the first time in NFL history that a player in his 40s scored the winning points in the fourth quarter or OT in a game started by a quarterback age 40 or older. Vinatieri did it again yesterday, kicking a game-winning 43-yard field goal with 52 seconds to play.  For the Colts, it’s “No Luck, No Problem” – do we need to rethink Andrew’s place among the Elite?

7

Break up the Lions!

The Lions defeated the Raiders, 18-13, one week after a surprising 18-16 win over the Packers – That’s the first #NFL Team to score 18pts and win back-to-back games. It was also the first time in 15 years that Detroit won consecutive games despite scoring fewer than 20 points in each of them. Over the last 15 seasons, the Lions have a 16-99 record when they scored fewer than 20 points.  For the Raiders it seemed like the same ol’story and might not be ready for PrimeTime just yet – or it’s just the curse of Jack Del Rio.

8

Takeaways from #NFL Week 11

It’s Thanksgiving and what a glorious time of year – but when you look around the #NFL you might see the coincidence that, after tonight, all teams will be at the 10 game mark – No more BYE’s, and we begin the stretch run to the playoffs.  6 games, all the marbles and some thoughts on what we witnessed.

Source: Top 10 takeaways from Sunday’s Week 11 NFL action

9

Worst QB Performances of week 11

A few of the NFL’s top quarterbacks suffered through miserable performances on Sunday.

More often than not, these guys are lighting up opposing defenses and leading their teams to victory, but the football gods had different plans this time around.

Of course, as usual this list is also populated by guys you would expect to play poorly. Without any further ado, these were the worst quarterbacks from Week 11.

Source: Eight worst quarterback performances from Week 11

Free-agent Rawls makes history in Seahawks’ win

Thomas Rawls gained 209 yards on 30 carries and 46 yards on three receptions, and he scored a pair of touchdowns in the Seahawks’ 29-13 win over the 49ers. Rawls was the first rookie in NFL history with at least 250 yards from scrimmage, a rushing touchdown, and a TD reception in the same game.null

Only one other undrafted rookie rushed for 200 or more yards in an NFL game, and that was nearly six decades ago. Tom Wilson of the Rams ran for 223 yards against the Packers on Dec. 16, 1956. That was three weeks after Wilson, who according to an Associated Press story at the time, did not play college football, returned a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown.

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Weekend Update: #NFL Week 9 Edition

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1. It was Supposed To Be Different:

You said this year would be different after starting 2015 the same way you started 2014 – the only thing different is you beat Atlanta and not sure how that happened.  Sure, one particular play or tip did not cost the Saints the game – it’s everything.  Even history is stacked against this team – Does anyone remember the last time the Saints beat a rookie QB?  Tim Couch, first year back for the Browns – hail mary – I remember that one the most because it cost me a 15 team $50 parlay in Vegas, and that was the only way I could have lost!!! I did and so did the Saints.  The Saints lost to RG3 and his 1st game at home.  Lost to Jameis Winston already, at home – and now Marcus Mariota!  How do you still have a job Rob Ryan?  When does it end?  Brandon Browner can you go more than one series without a penalty?  You made Mariota look like he’s ready for Canton and he just lost his coach!!!  I hope we do not play the 49ers, because I’m not sure I could handle losing to Blaine Gabbert.


Mariota stakes his claim to looming NFL stardom

Marcus Mariota passed for 371 yards and four touchdowns, including a 5-yard toss to Anthony Fasano in overtime, to give the Titans a 34-28 win at New Orleans. But the most impressive number on Mariota’s record on Sunday was a zero in the interceptions column. It was the second game this season in which Mariota threw four TDs and no INTs, matching the total of all other rookie quarterbacks since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The only other rookie QBs with even one such game during that time were Trent Edwards of Buffalo (2007) and Robert Griffin III of Washington (2012).

Incidentally, both of Mariota’s tours de force were accomplished on the road. His first game with four TDs and no interceptions was Tennessee’s season opener at Tampa Bay. The only other rookies to do so in a road game were Ray Buivid of the Bears (1937), Mickey Slaughter of the Broncos (1963), and Greg Cook of the Bengals (1969).


Another signature game for Newton in Panthers’ win

The Panthers improved to 8-0 with a 37-29 victory over the Packers, as Cam Newton ran for one touchdown and passed for three others. It was the fifth time that Newton threw at least three TD passes in the same game in which he himself scored a touchdown. That’s one short of the highest such total in NFL history, a record set by Tobin Rote and matched by Billy Wade, Jack Kemp, and Steve Young.  Can we also stop with the Cam Newton MVP talk – he has the same numbers as Xerxes, look it up – he is not any better than before this year – he’s just on a team that is undefeated.


Packers’ own perfect record succumbs to a pair of other undefeated teams

Green Bay’s record now stands at 6-2 following a pair of losses to undefeated teams: Denver last week and Carolina this week. Only three other teams in NFL history faced consecutive unbeaten and untied opponents with at least six wins each: Detroit in 1934, Pittsburgh in 2004, and Indianapolis this week and last, same as Green Bay.AltX.Logo.white

Against all odds, the Steelers won both of those games, against New England and Philadelphia, and they did it with a rookie quarterback. Those were Ben Roethlisberger’s fifth and sixth starts in the NFL.

The 1934 Lions won their first 10 games by a combined score of 215-27. But Detroit ended the season with three straight three-point losses: 3-0 to the Packers, and then 19-16 and 10-7 to the Bears, who finished the season with a 13-0 record (but lost the title game).


Brown & Williams post gaudy numbers in Steelers’ win

Antonio Brown caught 17 passes for 284 yards-both team-record totals for one game-and DeAngelo Williams gained a total of 225 yards (170 on 27 carries and 55 on two pass receptions) in the Steelers’ 38-35 win over the Raiders. It was only the third game in NFL history in which teammates both gained at least 200 yards from scrimmage. Clem Daniels and Art Powell did it for the Raiders in 1963; Brian Westbrook and Kevin Curtis did it for the Eagles in 2007.


Blount is key to Patriots’ victory

LeGarrette Blount was the star of the Patriots’ 27-10 win over the Redskins, gaining 129 yards on 29 carries. Over the last 10 seasons, only one other New England player rushed the ball that many times in a regular-season game: Jonas Gray, who gained 201 yards on 37 carries against the Colts last November. Of course Blount set a team postseason record with 30 carries in the AFC Championship Game last January, gaining 148 yards and scoring three touchdowns.


Patriots tie NFL record for quarter-by-quarter scoring

By scoring in all four quarters of its victory, New England tied an NFL record of scoring in 31 consecutive quarters. That mark was set by the Colts in 2005 and previously equaled by the Rams, who did it spanning the 1999 and 2000 seasons.


Veterans help Colts spoil Broncos’ perfect record

Peyton Manning still has not won a game and in his return to Indianapolis needed 284 passing yards and one victory to surpass Brett Favre’s all-time record totals in those categories. Manning fell three yards and one win short, as the Colts denied him both marks-at least for the moment-and handed Denver its first loss of the season, 27-24. Some notes on the game:AltX.Logo.white

This was the fifth time that the Colts faced a team that was undefeated and untied with at least seven wins, and it was their first victory in such a game.

Frank Gore carried the ball 28 times, his highest total in one game since 2011. Gore was the oldest player in Colts history with that many carries in one game, and he was the oldest to do so for any team since Ricky Williams in 2009.

Adam Vinatieri kicked a tie-breaking 55-yard field goal with 6:13 to play. At age 42, Vinatieri was by far the oldest NFL player to kick a game-winning FG that long in the fourth quarter or overtime. Matt Bryant previously held that distinction, having kicked a 55-yard game-winner for the Falcons in 2012 at age 37.


Jacksonville extends a very specific losing streak

Blake Bortles fumbled the ball away in the fourth quarter as Jacksonville drove for a potential go-ahead touchdown, and the Jaguars lost to the Jets, 28-23. That was the Jags’ 21st consecutive loss in a road game against a team with a winning record. Dating back to the 2008 season, that is now the second-longest such streak in NFL history. But get this: The Jaguars are only halfway to the record. Over a span of 15 seasons from 1990 to 2004, Cincinnati lost 42 straight road games in which its opponent had a winning record at the time of kickoff.


Bills score from distance in win over Dolphins

The Bills defeated the Dolphins, 33-17, in a game that featured three long touchdowns by Buffalo: a 44-yard pass from Tyrod Taylor to Sammy Watkins and runs of 48 yards by LeSean McCoy and 38 yards by Karlos Williams. It was only the second game in team history in which two different players scored rushing TDs of 30 yards or longer. The first was played 51 years ago, and the touchdowns were scored by Cookie Gilchrist (60 yards) and Bobby Smith (37) in a victory over the Houston Oilers (Nov. 1, 1964). Gilchrist was the AFL rushing champion that season, and that was his only 100-yard game of the year (139 yards).


Gabbert a winner in first start for NinersAltX.Logo.white

Blaine Gabbert started in place of Colin Kaepernick and threw two touchdown passes in the 49ers’ 17-16 win over the Falcons. Gabbert hadn’t started a game since 2013, hadn’t won since 2012, and had lost his last 10 starts for Jacksonville. During the NFL’s expansion era, dating back to 1960, only two other quarterbacks snapped a personal losing streak of 10 or more starts with a victory in their first start for a new club: Steve Bartkowski for the L.A. Rams in 1986, and Charlie Batch for the Steelers in 2005.


Zuerlein kicks a second field goal of 60-plus yards

In a game billed as a matchup of great breakaway runners old and new, Adrian Peterson ran for 125 yards and Todd Gurley for 89 yards as the Vikings defeated the Rams, 21-18, in overtime. But it was a kicker-in fact, the kicker for the losing team-that made headlines, as Greg Zuerlein kicked four field goals, including a 61-yarder.

Zuerlein, who kicked a 60-yard field goal against Seattle three seasons ago, became only the second player in NFL history with two FGs of 60 yards or longer. The other is Sebastian Janikowski.

Weekend Update: #SadFansAreSad

#1 with a Bullet…

 

Oh the humanity…Bert, you got waxed again – remember when you opened your mouth at a Texas football camp and said; if you didnt have a fullback you would get your ass kicked?  Well Pepperidge Farms remembers and apparently so did Kingsbury.  All the offseason hype, all the faux-swagger and next week is Texas A&M – you’ve got Hawg-Town losing their minds.  Bert, you know it’s bad when the people of Hawg-nation are calling for Greg Schiano, Lame Kitten, or just outright cheating.  It’s gotta sting the nostrils a bit.  Sure, fans will get over ranking 118th in 3rd-down conversion-defense, or ranking 84th in penalty yards and even 119th in RedZone efficiency – but having Kliff Kingsbury put you in your place?  These are Dark Days Bert, dark days…


Dark Days ahead for Auburn too.  This is who Auburn is.  They just don’t go quietly into the night, they fall off the cliff.  It’s in their DNA.  Their history proves it, and when a defensive back spouts off about how easy it will be to stop Leonard Fournette…well we all saw what happened.  Fournette had Auburn quitting before halftime, especially Mr. Ford – the mouthee.   But, to me, the issue is Jeremy Johnson.  He had a lot of hype coming in and the expectation was that he would do and be everything we’ve come to expect from the field-general of Auburn’s offense.  He has the talent, just not the heart or more importantly the head to get it done, because it is not translating to the field in real time.  Seriously though, it’s Auburn and it was a great weekend for those who dislike the entire state of Alabama.


More sad fans were found in SoCal.  Beyond Sark’s pre-game holla-ba-looza earlier in the year, the only thing people really had to say about him was – He’s a nice guy.  I’m sure he is a nice guy and that is honorable, but when it is attached to a football coach that is getting treatment for a drinking problem, he says he doesn’t have and then Stanford happens, you get flashbacks.  The kind of flashbacks that take you back to Seattle where Sark was 34-29 and the thought was, “it was hard to breakthrough in Washington, and wait and see what he can do with national-elite talent.”  Well we did. Talent is important, but it’s what you do with it, and so far and far too often, Sarkisian is outmatched by the other guy on the other side-line.  It’s going to get harder for “the Fans of Troy” to believe this is going to work as envisioned, because, as of right now –  it’s not the symbol of victory that fans are giving, it’s the number of losses every year.


But what about Ole Miss and Alabama? The Rebels caused five turnovers Saturday and also benefited from a once-in-a-lifetime—see Auburn in bamasad2013—miracle touchdown in a six-point win in Tuscaloosa.  Alabama is going too have to, again, win out.  But is it the same as last year? Last year, Alabama had a defined starting quarterback. Saturday, Nick Saban went with sophomore Cooper Bateman (who got blown up) before he was replaced by Jake Coker – who had started Alabama’s first two games. Coker almost led Alabama to it’s best come-from-behind victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium since the one Cam Newton led in 2010.  This is a fluke they say, the dynasty is still intact, the emperor’s new clothes are still made from the finest invisible silks…To quote our friend Lee Corso – NOT SO FAST…Alabama is 4-5 against top 15 teams since 2013.  That’s a trend, not a fluke, and what I’m saying is – gone are the days that Alabama beats teams with comparable talent more often than not.  Back in the day, Alabama fans would be upset if you beat someone by 10pts instead of 20 and after they’d come back down to earth, they’d be on to the next week.  Now the freakouts seem longer and that might cause Saban to see the writing on the wall and pack up.

For week 3 we were 72% SU and 64% ATS – that still crushes, but it is not what we are used to around here – our upsets did pretty well, but the ones we thought would be E-Z, hmmm not so much as we’d like.  If you haven’t seen it, take a look at how Memphis tied the game at 41 in the 4th qtr against Bowling Green – yeah a full-on double-reverse-flea flicker!!!

Other thoughts I cannot put anywhere else:

  • Notre Dame has lost a starting defensive tackle, a starting tailback, a starting tight end and a starting quarterback to season-ending injuries. Saturday, it may have lost a starting safety to a chest-bump-celebration
  • TCU lost their cornerback to a knee injury against SMU and also had 5 other defensive players sit out with injuries
  • Doing his best Johnny Manziel impression – OU quarterback Baker Mayfield, accounted for a school-record 572 yards of total offense and six touchdowns in the Sooners’ 52-38 win over Tulsa
  • Al Golden escaped with a much needed victory over Nebraska, but it still does not seem to haved cooled off his seat any.  During the game you could see a plane pulling a banner that read: C’MON #FIREGOLDEN. THESE BANNERS ARE EXPENSIVE – nevermind the Hurricanes were up 17 by halftime.  Maybe he felt vindicated after watching Miami choke away a 23pt lead, yet still won 36-33 in OT
  • For Nebraska, it could have been one of the great comebacks in their history – then Tommy Armstrong threw an interception on the 1st play of OT, and then a player gets flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when he shoved the Miami guy who intercepted it – Miami, short field goal – ball game.  It’s a heart-breaking way to lose a game, and yet it has happened to Nebraska twice in three weeks.

It’s all about the Benjamin

Some headlines will highlight Johnny Manziel‘s role in the Browns’ 28-14 win over the Titans. But the star of the show was Travis Benjamin, who caught touchdown passes of 60 and 50 yards from Manziel and returned a punt 78 yards for a TD. The only other active players to have scored three TDs of 50 yards or longer in one game were Chris Johnson (2009) and Tavon Austin (2013). Benjamin was the first Browns player ever to do so – ever.

Benjamin also caught a 54-yard touchdown pass from Manziel in the Browns’ season opener. The only other player in NFL history with four touchdowns of 50 yards or longer in his team’s first two games of a season was Jim Brown for Cleveland in 1963 – 1963!

Manziel may have completed just 8-of-15 passes, but he was able to limit the turnovers and make plays when the Browns needed him the most.  In reality, there is absolutely no reason for Mike Pettine to go back to a lower-ceiling quarterback in Josh McCown.  As a result of Manziel replacing McCown, Cleveland extended its streak to 14 consecutive seasons in which at least two different players started a game at QB. That tied the longest such streak in the NFL since 1950, set by New England from 1980 to 1993. The Patriots drafted Drew Bledsoe with the first pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, and Bledsoe ended New England’s streak in 1994.


Are the Cardinals early Favorites?

Fresh off a solid win against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, Bruce Arians and the Cardinals laid the smack down against an inferior Bears team in Chicago. While the game was relatively close about halfway through, anyone watching it knew full well that Arizona was going to end up pulling away.

For Carson Palmer, it was a continuation of what has been a stellar run for a USC quarterback. The veteran has posted a 15-2 record with 34 touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions. His four touchdowns on Sunday – including three to Larry Fitzgerald – represents the first time Palmer has matched that total since he was with the Oakland Raiders back in November of 2012.  That was the first regular-season game of Fitzgerald’s NFL career in which he scored more than two touchdowns; he came into the game with 89 TDs.

Only one player in league history with that many touchdowns never scored three in a game: Charley Taylor (90 TDs) – (Note that Fitzgerald caught three touchdowns in the NFC Championship Game following the 2008 season, but never before in a regular-season game.)


New Rams, same as the old Rams

All the good feelings the St. Louis Rams may have felt following their Week 1 win over the Seattle Seahawks came crashing down in D.C. on Sunday. Never really in control of the game against Washington, St. Louis dropped an ugly game by the score of 24-10. At this point, we have come to expect Fisher-led squads to lay eggs following good performances.

It happened in all three of the Rams big wins last year — against Seattle, San Francisco and Denver. In fact, the Rams lost the following week after beating those favored teams. This is one of the primary reasons I avoided to pick St. Louis on Sunday.

Kirk Cousins completed 23 of 27 passes (85%) and Matt Jones gained 123 yards on 19 carries in the Redskins’ 24-10 win over the Rams. Jones and Alfred Morris, who gained 121 yards on Week 1, are the first Redskins teammates to rush for at least 100 yards in the team’s first and second game of a season (one in each game, that is). The only other running backs to do that in this century were LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Turner for San Diego in 2006.

For his part, Cousins posted the fourth-highest completion percentage in team history (minimum: 20 passes). The three higher marks were by Mark Brunell, 89 percent against Houston in 2006; Patrick Ramsey (Tulane), 86 percent against the Giants in 2004; and Sammy Baugh, 86 percent against the Steelers in 1945.


New England is putting the league on notice

Tom Brady passed for 466 yards and three touchdowns in the Patriots’ 40-32 win at Buffalo. Brady’s totals after two games-754 yards and 7 TDs without an INT-are rare even for a quarterback of his elite status. This is the second time he has passed for at least 700 yards and seven touchdowns in his first two games of season, the first being 2011. Only four other players did that even once: Jim Kelly (1991), Drew Bledsoe for the Patriots (1994), Peyton Manning (2013), and Aaron Rodgers (2013). Of those players, only Manning and Brady did so without throwing an interception.

Incidentally, Brady set a record for passing yards in one game against the Bills, breaking a mark that was set the same month that Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home-run record. On October 29, 1961, George Blanda of the Houston Oilers passed for 464 yards at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, and that mark remained the highest against the Bills until Sunday.

At some point, the Patriots will have to find a run/pass balance on offense – right?. They won’t be able to dominate like this through the air on a consistent basis – can they? The interesting dynamic here is that New England did average nearly four yards per rush. It’s not like the running game was completely ineffective.  Instead, Bill Belichick and Co. decided to make a statement, again, that the big boys of the East don’t reside in Western New York and play under Rex Ryan.  It could be a long year for anyone who gets in their way.


The Eagles are mess

About halfway through three quarters on Sunday against Dallas, the Eagles had racked up more penalty yards than total yards. Heck, the Cowboys domination could be summed up by the fact that they had run more plays (44) – at about the nine-minute mark in the third quarter – than the Eagles had total yards (34). It was that ugly.

The Cowboys defeated the Eagles, 20-10, in a game in which the story was Tony Romo‘s broken collarbone.  But storyline 1-A was the continued ineffectiveness of DeMarco Murray, who netted two yards on 13 carries one week after gaining nine yards on eight carries in Philadelphia’s season opener.  Over the last 30 seasons, there are only four games in which a defending rushing champion gained less than 10 yards on at least five carries. Christian Okoye did it in 1990, Chris Johnson in 2010, and Murray in each of his first two games with the Eagles.

Murray’s net of 2 yards was the third lowest in NFL history by a defending rushing champion in a game of at least 10 carries. Steve Van Buren of the Eagles was held to negative-2 yards on 10 carries by the Browns in 1950; and Clem Daniels, the 1963 AFL rushing leader, carried 14 times for negative-1 yard against the Boston Patriots in the Raiders’ opening game of the 1964 season.  But Murray’s performance on Sunday was extraordinary for any player, not just for a rushing champion. Over the last 37 seasons, only one other player finished a game with at least as many carries and as few rushing yards as Murray. Jonathan Wells of the Texans carried 13 times for 1 yard on Dec. 29, 2002 against the Titans.

It’s this type of offensive performance that will have many questioning Chip Kelly’s scheme moving forward. More than that, it will have skeptics on full alert when it comes to criticizing the team’s off-season moves. And now at 0-2 on the season, Philadelphia finds itself in a must-win situation against the New York Jets next week.


6 straight home losses?!

At 0-2 on the season (2nd straight year), Drew Brees and Co. are in a terrible position. Only 10 percent of teams that have started 0-2 since the 2007 season have earned a playoff spot. And while playing in the NFC South helps New Orleans early in the year, they just lost a home game against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad that won just two games last season.  Costing many people their survivor pool!!!

Jameis Winston led the Buccaneers to a 26-19 win at New Orleans. Winston became the first quarterback chosen first in the NFL Draft to get a September road win in his rookie season since John Elway did so in 1983.  Of course, Elway’s two road wins in September 1983 have a big fat asterisk, since Steve DeBerg was the QB who rallied the Broncos to both of those victories.

Since that time, #1 picks had lost 16 straight September starts in their rookie season, and it’s an impressive list of QBs: two losses each by Troy Aikman, Jeff George, Drew Bledsoe, Peyton Manning, Tim Couch, and David Carr, followed by single losses by Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, and Andrew Luck.

There isn’t much left up for interpretation here. New Orleans appears to be terrible.

Looking well past his prime, Brees was outplayed by Jameis.  Drew completed 24-of-38 passes for 255 yards with one touchdown and one interception. This came on the heels of Tampa Bay’s defense yielding FOUR touchdown passes to Marcus Mariota last week.

If the Saints can’t win a home game against a bottom-feeder, it pretty much tells us what we need to know about this team. Unfortunately for Brees, the twilight of his career is likely going to be spent with fans watching him thru paper-bags.

 

Jason Day, #NFLPreseason and #TebowTime, Oh MY!

Jason Day did something, no one in Golf has ever done – finish -20 at a Major.  With a final round score of 67, Jason Day won the PGA Championship that was contested from start to finish.  So what did we learn?

We learned that Jason Day might have learned how to finish.  Before yesterday’s win, Day had been known as a really talented golfer that had yet to win.  He had come close on several occasions, with 9 top-10 finishes and three-runner ups, but struggled to get over the hump.  At the PGA, Day made the field chase him and still walked onto the 18th green with a three-stroke lead and the victory.cropped-logo_1260147_print-1-e14180934753933.png

We also learned that Jordan Speith is having one helluva season.  Speith came within one shot of making it into the playoffs at the British Open last month and three strokes from catching Day at the PGA Championship.  Speith’s run ranks up there with Ben Hogan in ’53 and Tiger Woods in ’00, when both golfers won 3 Majors.  Jordan is only 22, so the future looks bright.

Finally, we learned that Tiger Woods may never “be back”.  Tiger missed the cut for the third time in a row and never really got into sync.  Even he acknowledged he is struggling making putts.  But from what used to carry the tour in Tiger Woods, it is comforting to know that there is till plenty of star-power and drama these days that gives Golf a shot to withstand the loss of Tiger.


#TebowTime

Eagles backup QB Tim Tebow (11) dives into the end

After a two-year absence Tim Tebow returned to a football field to a standing-ovation from Eagles fans.  In fact, twice Tim had to quiet the crowd.  In what is likely Tebow’s final shot at being a NFL quarterback – Tim finished his day going 6-for-12, for 69yds, no TD’s or INT’s, but did run 4 times for 15yds and touchdown.

He seems to have improved since the last time we saw him – but still made some of the same mistakes that can not happen at the position – he held onto the ball to long and struggled reading coverages.  Some of that could be the O-Line at Philly, but all Tim has to do is beat Matt Barkley for the third string.  Barkley, by comparison was 12-for-20 for 192yds, 0 TD’s and 1 interception that was tipped at the line of scrimmage.

So maybe the issue for Tim is not necessarily that he wins the third-string job for the Eagles – it’s that he does enough improvement that he finds a different team he could join.  Either way #TebowTime is back and it’s fantastic, right Skip Bayless?!

2015-08-16-jameis-winston

Photo: Bruce Kluckhohn, USA TODAY Sports

Here are some other #NFLPreseason tidbits from Tom Pelissero of USA Today:

Jameis Winston said he wasn’t nervous before his first NFL preseason game.

“No, not nervous. Anxious,” the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2015 said after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 26-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday night. “Of course, I have butterflies, but it is just because I want to do the right thing.”

Winston did that in spurts, recording his first completion on a 40-yard strike to Vincent Jackson and later leading the Bucs’ no-huddle offense to a touchdown against the Vikings’ reserves.

But the former Heisman Trophy winner also did his fair share of, in Bucs coach Lovie Smith’s words, “typical things that a rookie will do” on his way to a 9-for-19 passing performance (131 yards) with an interception, two mishandled snaps and several misfires.

At least now the first live game action — albeit with no game planning, no real atmosphere and no starters on the other side of the ball after a few series — is now behind them.

“Oh, it’s going to be pivotal I think for all of us,” Mariota said after the Titans’ 31-24 loss against the Atlanta Falcons. “I think that we can learn from our mistakes and get better from them.”

Injuries adding up

St. Louis Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines (foot), Minnesota Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholt (Achilles) and Washington tight ends Niles Paul (ankle) and Logan Paulsen (turf toe) are out for the season. Chicago Bears receiver Kevin White might be, too, after undergoing surgery for a stress fracture in his shin that landed him on reserve/physically unable to perform. Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas (fracture in hand) is out for the rest of the preseason. The list goes on, yet still almost a month before the real games begin.

Johnny Progress

The best sign for Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel: He seemed to be playing under control, using his feet to extend plays instead of just trying to run around. There was some vintage Johnny Football as he high-stepped away from oncoming rushers and scrambled for a 12-yard TD in the Browns’ loss to the Washington. Journeyman Josh McCown is entrenched as the starter for the time being, and that’s probably not a bad thing. Baby steps.

cropped-logo_1260147_print-1-e14180934753933.pngNothing final

The two primary quarterback competitions will last at least one more week. Brian Hoyer got the starter treatment for the Houston Texans: one series, a 58-yard touchdown pass and then a seat on the bench while Ryan Mallett went to work (and did it well). But coach Bill O’Brien said Mallett will start next week. Ditto in Buffalo, where coach Rex Ryan said Tyrod Taylor will get his shot next week after Matt Cassel started the exhibition opener. Former first-round pick EJ Manuel threw a 51-yard touchdown in that game and hasn’t been ruled out, either (at least not publicly).

Be like Barry?

New York Jets coach Todd Bowles is getting ahead of himself with the comparison to Barry Sanders’ quickness. But it’s easy to understand the sentiment after Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah carved up Bowles’ defense on a 45-yard run. Abdullah was a workhorse at Nebraska and is putting himself in position for a big role while starter Joique Bell keeps working his way back from knee and Achilles surgeries. Added explosion on offense might be Detroit’s best hope for making up for the loss of all-pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

Down under

One of the NFL’s fascinating longshot stories got more interesting when former Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne broke off a 53-yard run for the San Francisco 49ers. He has an unusual, upright running style and a lot to learn. But he figures to keep getting a long look on offense and in the return game.


Players Who Have Cleared Revocable Waivers

via  Major League Baseball Trade Rumors

MLBTR will continue to update this post as players reportedly clear revocable trade waivers, making it a running list of players that may be traded to any club in the season’s final two months. Player names are linked to the source articles, and this article can always be found under the MLBTR Features portion of the sidebar on the right side of the page.

First, several notes are in order. For one, many players have and will clear waivers without public reports revealing that status. (Some of them have already been traded, such as Mike Napoli.) Remember, also, that players must be acquired by August 31 to be eligible for their new team’s postseason roster. Click here for a further explanation of the August waiver and trade rules. And bear in mind that a player’s no-trade rights remain effective even if he clears waivers.

Last Updated: 8/14/2015

  • Jose Reyes, Rockies — The 32-year-old Reyes has struggled offensively since being dealt to the Rockies and has seen his defensive work take a hit over the past couple of seasons as well. He was still a very serviceable bat while playing with Toronto, though, and a departure from the artificial turf at the Rogers Centre could benefit his legs and back, perhaps even restoring some of his speed and range. Some have speculated on a potential move to second base for the former All-Star, who is owed about $54.37MM through the end of the 2017 season (as of Aug. 14).
  • Chase UtleyPhillies — Utley, 36, has produced at well below his typical rate for much of the year and just ended an extended DL stint. But he’s a highly-respected veteran, and the ankle issue could explain his struggles. Indeed, Utley has looked more like himself since returning to action. He’s owed about $4.5MM the rest of the way (as of Aug. 11), but the absence means that he won’t be a threat to trigger a vesting option for next year. For teams looking to bolster their options at second base down the stretch, Utley will surely hold appeal.
  • James Shields, Padres — The veteran hurler is in the first season of a four-year pact, making him an atypical trade candidate, but San Diego’s struggles and desire to clear payroll could see him dangled. There’s only about $2MM left to pay in 2015 (as of Aug. 11), but the deal is backloaded: it comes with $65MM in future guarantees (including the buyout on a $16MM option for 2019). The contract does have an opt-out after next season. Shields is already 33, and hasn’t been quite as good this season as in years past, but he’s still a durable and reliable arm who could help a lot of clubs.

Over/Under Value

I’ve spent some time reviewing the experts and their consensus (ECR) and playing around several mock drafts to find an average draft position (ADP) for a lot of the players that’ll be selected in your Fantasy Football League(s).  In participating, I found some strange outcomes that should help you, and I have put together a little something that might help your plan of attack.  For me, it has been about QB’s and WR’s for years and that knowledge has taken me to no worse than 3rd place in any year I have played FF (currently reigning world champ) – so it is still surprising to me how often people go after RB’s so early.  Here is an example from one of my mock drafts, I was drafting 6th, out of 10:

mockDraft_2015

At the end of day, it is still your draft, and your choices, along with your instincts that sometimes you have to go with.  Afterall, you know your league-mates better than anyone else, and what they are going to do.  So, to recap – a player’s ECR and their ADP (average draft position) will not coincide with one another very often. There are players with large discrepancies from where the experts are projecting them and where drafters and mock drafters alike are selecting their picks.

With less than two months until the start of the season, let’s take a look at which players are being overvalued and undervalued based on their difference in ECR and ADP. It’s a classic experts versus the average drafter. I’m providing three undervalued and three overvalued players at each of the four offensive positions (QB, RB, WR, TE).

Undervalued QBs

  • Colin Kaepernick – SF (ECR-105, ADP-138, Diff. +33)
    It appears that a lot of people are down on Xerxes after a sub-par 2014 season, as he is being massively undervalued as the 21st QB. He finished last year as the 16th-best QB. With Jim Harbaugh out of the mix and the defense depleted from retirement, I expect Kaepernick to get plenty of garbage time opportunities to rack up fantasy points.
  • Teddy Bridgewater – MIN (ECR-104, ADP-136, Diff. +32)Teddy Two-Gloves came into his own the last five games of 2014 and could take another leap with Adrian Peterson returning to the mix. He is a borderline QB1 yet is currently being drafted as the 19th QB off the board, even behind rookies Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota –  If you are a fan of streaming QBs, Teddy might be your guy to target for 2015.
  • Ryan Tannehill – MIA (ECR-75, ADP-95, Diff. +20)Tannehill, who was the eighth-best QB in 2014, is currently being taken nearly two rounds later than what experts would expect. Many fantasy owners are still unsure of Tannehill, but with his underrated running ability (317 yards), he still looks like a steal as the 11th QB taken.

Overvalued QBs

  • Jameis Winston – TB (ECR-152, ADP-131, Diff. -21)Winston is being taken almost a full two rounds before the experts’ consensus. Winston is still a gamble at best in 2QB leagues, as we’ve yet to see him take a snap under center in the league. The Bucs’ offensive line is one of the worst in the league and they have zero run game. Do not reach on Famous Jameis until the last round of your draft.
  • Tom Brady – NE (ECR-86, ADP-72, Diff. -14)Even if his suspension were cut to zero games, Brady is being taken as an elite quarterback, a level he only briefly performed at in 2014. Despite a stretch of monster games in Weeks 5-9, Brady was a QB1 only two more times. In other words, if you are expecting consistency and an elite level of performance every week, look elsewhere.

 

  • Peyton Manning – DEN (ECR-43, ADP-31, Diff. -12)Manning is being taken consistently as the third QB in drafts, mostly propped up from years of fantasy football respect. During the second half of 2014, Manning was a replacement level QB, as the Broncos leaned heavily on the run game. He’s not the Peyton of old, so be sure to draft accordingly.

Undervalued RBs

  • Roy Helu – OAK (ECR-150, ADP-235, Diff. +85)Helu is another PPR owner’s dream that is slipping tremendously in drafts. The newly-inked Oakland Raider should be an active third down back with exceptional receiving skills. At +85, Helu has by far the greatest discrepancy of any ECR vs. ADP ranking. Maybe snag this guy in your drafts because no one else seems to be!
  • LeGarrette Blount – NE (ECR-59, ADP-73, Diff. +14)It looks like owners are still skeptical of the weekly Patriots RB roulette. Despite being the most talented back in New England, Blount is being taken behind Giovani Bernard, Joique Bell, and Tevin Coleman, backs in a clear time-share situation. He was the lead back after being acquired in Week 12 and lead man throughout the playoffs. He represents great value as a RB3/FLEX play.
  • Danny Woodhead – SD (ECR-139, ADP-149, Diff. +10)Woodhead is currently being taken as the 57th RB mostly as a reaction to his lost 2014 campaign due to a broken fibula in Week 3. As a third-down back, he is a perfect PPR candidate as a FLEX and should be taken above other backs with no clear role in their offenses (Duke Johnson, Charles Sims, Darren McFadden).

Overvalued RBs

  • DeAngelo Williams – PIT (ECR-175, ADP-127, Diff. -48)As Le’Veon Bell’s handcuff and replacement during his suspension, owners are scooping up Williams almost 50 picks before the experts’ consensus. He offers replacement-level value at best and does not offer long-term fantasy relevance at his current ADP. He is simply not a must-own for those who do draft Bell early.
  • Todd Gurley – STL (ECR-58, ADP-44, Diff. -14)The former Georgia Bulldog has yet to touch the field as a professional and yet is being drafted as a clear-cut RB2 and the 20th RB overall. Drafters seem to have much more confidence in Gurley than the experts. Although he has the talent, he is still a relative unknown for fantasy purposes coming off ACL surgery.
  • Joique Bell – DET (ECR-64, ADP-57, Diff. -7)Bell’s fantasy value has taken a hit this offseason, especially with the Lions’ drafting of speedster Ameer Abdullah. This has not kept owners from grabbing Bell as a borderline RB2. Expect his value to drop even further as preseason begins and Bell loses his grip on the starting role.

Undervalued WRs

  • Anquan Boldin – SF (ECR-93, ADP-122, Diff. +29)Although many owners have pegged Boldin as over-the-hill and it seems like he’s been in the league forever, the veteran finished his 2014 campaign 21st WR in standard formats and 18th in PPR scoring. He is being “rewarded” for these efforts by being selected as the 47th WR. He will still be Kaepernick’s favorite target and an excellent WR3 candidate for those who wait patiently.
  • Allen Robinson – JAX (ECR-74, ADP-87, Diff. +13)Robinson has been one of the most talked about fantasy players of the offseason yet is still not receiving his due. Despite being the Jaguars clear No. 1 option at WR, he is going a full round later than projected. He will only go up in value from this point, as he has WR2 potential.
  • Vincent Jackson – TB (ECR-61, ADP-71, Diff. +10)Jackson had a hard-luck 2014 season, as he had only 55% of his targets considered “on-target,” the lowest total in the league. His two touchdowns were a disappointment, another testament to poor QB play. He is being drafted currently as a WR3 and could present some sneaky value.

Overvalued WRs

  • Kevin White – CHI (ECR-98, ADP-78, Diff. -20)What do we know so far about White as an NFL receiver? Other than Mel Kiper Jr. drooling over his potential and the hangover owners are experiencing from last year’s rookie WR blowout party – White should be handled with much more care than the nearly two-round differential he is being selected at. Owners need to take into account newly-signed slot receiver Eddie Royal, who will compete with White and gather targets over the middle from QB Jay Cutler.
  • Victor Cruz – NYG (ECR-114, ADP-97, Diff. -17)After a devastating patellar tendon injury ended his 2014 season, owners seem to think Cruz is capable of coming back with a vengeance. He will compete for second place in the Giants’ target pecking order with Rueben Randle, someone who is currently going 204th overall and presents much better value. For Cruz’s skill set as a shifty, speed receiver, a big return from this kind of injury is unlikely and does not warrant anything above a ninth- or tenth-round pick.
  • Sammy Watkins – BUF (ECR-55, ADP-46, Diff. -9)After a rookie year in which Watkins flashed game-breaking ability as well as having major hip surgery, owners are drafting him as the 19th-best WR. With an unsettled quarterback situation and a change in the coaching regime in Buffalo, Watkins has too many variables to be taken this early.

Undervalued TEs

  • Larry Donnell – NYG (ECR-133, ADP-231, Diff. +98)Poor Larry…He is basically being undrafted, as there’s a huge difference between the ECR and ADP. Although he crept in as a TE1 and was a red-zone target for Eli Manning
    last year, he is currently being forgotten behind throw-aways Eric Ebron and Jared Cook.
  • Tyler Eifert – CIN (ECR-137, ADP-219, Diff. +82)Eifert represents a significant value for owners with TE1 upside. Eifert had major shoulder surgery in the offseason but will be the main TE target in Cincinnati following Jermaine Gresham‘s departure. If you are looking for a late-round flyer, he should be available. Yahoo has basically dropped Eifert off the face of the planet, ranking him as the 55th TE overall and 1840th overall!
  • Delanie Walker – TEN (ECR-103, ADP-140, Diff. +37)Walker quietly put together a solid season despite poor QB play in Tennessee, finishing as the 8th TE overall. Owners must have forgotten that a trusty TE is always a rookie QB’s best friend, as he is currently going behind a suspended Antonio Gates, an offseason-hyped Josh Hill, and a TD-dependent Dwayne Allen. Walker has great value and should finish as a TE1.

Overvalued TEs

  • Julius Thomas – JAX (ECR-94, ADP-75, Diff. -19)Other than being a red-zone monster (12 TDs) in 2014, Thomas had minimal value with 43 catches for only 489 yards. After getting paid by the Jaguars this offseason, he currently is being drafted as the sixth TE, almost two rounds before the experts. Taking into account the change of scenery from Denver, it will be hard to recreate Thomas’ red-zone opportunities from 2014. Advice; pass on him at his current ADP.
  • Owen Daniels – DEN (ECR-126, ADP-110, Diff. -16)It is clear that Daniels and Gary Kubiak have a good thing going. From Houston to Baltimore and now Denver, Daniels has had a significant role in each offense Kubiak has led. Drafters are betting on Manning finding Daniels regularly, although he could face stiff TE competition from an emerging Virgil Green.
  • Dwayne Allen – IND (ECR-122, ADP-111, Diff. -11)Much like Thomas, most of Allen’s value in 2014 came from the eight touchdowns he scored on only 29 catches. He is being drafted as the 11th overall TE yet will be splitting time with Coby Fleener. Earlier this offseason, the Colts also revealed that they are ditching their two-TE sets, meaning Allen should be falling even further in an offense where the ball will be flying all over the place.

Nose in the DiRT

Merry New Year

Quick and DiRTy – The Armed Forces Bowl – Houston is down 21pts with 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter to Pittsburgh – they begin on their own 17 yard-line – Houston scores a touchdown with 3:41 left to play – Onside kick is recovered by Houston – Houston then scores another touchdown with 1:58 to play – Houston, down by 7, successfully recovers their SECOND onside kick – scores a touchdown and converts for 2pts to take the lead 35-34 over Pitt with 54 seconds left.  Houston scores 29pts and racks up over 290 yards in the 4th quarter to beat Pitt 35-34.  Another amazing finish for this terrific bowl-season.  If you followed our bowl picks you would see that we are 69.6% of the 33 bowl games played with 5 remaining.  No other site – that we have seen – is over 60% accuracy.  Of the 8 games we provided, that had a probability of 80% or more – we are currently 5-of-7 with Washington left to play, for 71.4% accuracy overall.


after this bowl season it looks like the SEC West has cable

SEC West – After being called the most dominant division in all of college football – they ended up being a joke this bowl season, (while we are telling jokes, someone tell Les Miles that he supposed to let Leonard Fournette touch the ball more than 11 times against Notre Dame – seriously?!! – and develop a damn QB!!!).  The entire Gulf Coast got embarrassed and for most of 2015 everyone can tell SEC-fan to shut it.  Does it mean the end of an era?  Maybe not, but instead lets applaud the selection committee and applaud the brilliance of a 4 team playoff – because the beauty of it all is what we witnessed yesterday.  Think about it, the BCS would have given us Alabama v FSU and likely another title in a flawed system.  It is possible to conceive that if we would have done the right thing at the start of this millennium the southern dominance would not have been so dramatic, or maybe this is just a hiccup.


Congratulations to…

Everbody Duck!

Oregon – started slow and then ran away with it, thanks to FSU who turned the ball over 5 times in 20 minutes and then did their best impression of a flight-less bird that likes its head in the sand.  After the game, some “student-athletes” chanted and gesticulated their immaturity when they chanted “no-means-no” to the tune of the Seminole-War-chant making fun of Jameis and his rape-allegation.  The move comes off as idiotic as the Preacher that spews fire and brimstone about the evils of homosexuality and drugs – only to be found in a gay massage parlor soliciting sexual favors for meth.  The irony would be, however, that these players are punished more for this than Jameis was.  On a lighter note, the sagacity of college football fans is on full display here: (click for more)

Memes1

Ohio State – the last time two coaches met in a bowl game with multiple National Championships was in 1977, also in the Sugar Bowl and also Ohio State v Alabama.  However, this time it was Ohio State with the victory.  It also means that Nick Saban is terrible with Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and his overall record is 8-8 in bowl games (he is perfect however in the Sugar Bowl when LSU is involved).  Meanwhile, Urban Meyer is 8-2 in bowl games and has yet to lose a conference game in the BIG (not)10.  If Urban wins against Oregon, who do you say is the better coach – you would have to say it goes to Urban with what he did at Utah, Florida and now THE Ohio State, 3rd string QB, etc.., right?!  You could tell that when Ohio State finally scored a touchdown – also an amazing catch – that the (low)tide had changed, and every SC fan was all-to-familiar with that offense from Lane Kiffin, #DejaVu.  No SEC or ‘bama apologists can take away what happened – a third-string QB made Alabama look slow and proved to be better than any QB the Tide have.  The BIG (not)10 made a statement yesterday – now it’s on to Dallas and it is gonna come down to which team plays better D.

Doug Marrone – for having a phenomenal contract.  Doug left the Bills because of a clause in his contract that gave him a 3-day period to opt out at the end of the regular season if the Bills were sold while he was the coach.  Even better was the absence of another clause that no matter what happens, the Bills still have to pay him $4 million for 2015.  Who knows what the reasons exactly are or what he may have said to Bill Polian to keep him from taking over the GM duties in Buffalo – but I will go with his contract and the rumor that he asked for an extension for his assistants and himself, and on both counts, he was told no.  That makes it a no brainer for me when you consider further that the Bills do not have a 1st round draft pick and no QB – at least one that was not benched for Uncle Rico – and a love for all things New York.


My knees and my back…

Being 30 is hard, especially when you have to carry so many people.  Maybe now Cleveland can figure out how to get Kevin Love going and play up to expectations – or maybe this team already is playing to its realistic potential and Lebron just needs a break to see where his talents are going geaux next year.  Anyway, when I heard about his two-week stay-cation because of his knees and his back – I went straight to this classic:


NFL Playoffs

It never gets old…

with the playoffs approaching, here are some things to consider:

Cardinals Arizona_whitetail_ntc120 @ Carolina_6n_120 Panthers 01/03 04:35 PM ESPN Rain 50f Drizzle 3m ENE

CAR -6.5 (38)

This seems like a classic trap scenario – The public is all over the Panthers and why not?  Arizona has not scored a rushing TD in their last 7 games and averages only 1 TD/game offensively.  Factoring in that the Carolina D has returned to being excellent the last few games and you wonder how Arizona is going to score.  But, you should never question the power of TEAM and the belief that it is US against THEM and regardless of Ryan Lindley or Logan Thomas, it is still (s)Cam Newton and Ron Rivera without a playoff victory.  The numbers say this game is close and the Panthers win by 2.5, but I’m gonna take the Fightin’ Bruce Arians and the points.

FanDuel considerations: Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Olsen, J.Stewart, Cam Newton

Vegas consideration: tease the OVER and Arizona plus 6.5

Numbers say: CAR 21  AZ 18


Ravens Baltimore_ntc120 @ Pittsburg_ntc120 Steelers 01/03 08:15 PM NBC Nrain 44f Light Rain 9m SSE

PIT -3 (45)

This game comes down to each teams Passing Defense and their ability to limit aerial touchdowns.  9 of the last 13 games these two teams have played have been decided by 3pts or less.  So this is likely to be another came that is close and comes down to field goals.  It is expected that Leveon Bell will not play and so that makes it more important for BigBen to throw that pig-bladder all over the yard.  I trust Ben more than Flacco, but I trust Harbaugh and the rest of the Ravens, (who have more recent success) more than I trust Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers.  The numbers say Ravens win and that’s where I will side.

FanDuel considerations: Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, J.Forsett, Torrey Smith, Flacco

Vegas consideration: BAL plus 3 and tease the OVER

Number say: BAL 23  PIT 20


Bengals Cinncinnati_6n_120 @ Indianapolis_6n_120 Colts 01/04 01:05 PM CBS Dome DOME 20m WSW

IND -3 (49)

Jeremy Hill is trucking 6.5 YPC the last 3 weeks and seems to have given the Bengals greater toughness on the offensive side of the ball – when motivated.  Andrew Luck is 31-19 against the spread and Indy smoked them the last time they played.  But, teams playing again in the playoffs after beating the other by more than 2 TD’s, are 10 games below .500 the next time.  So do you trust Dalton enough with that running game to beat the Colts?  This time around expect the game to be closer but the Colts still win.

FanDuel consideration: Andrew Luck, TY Hilton, Jeremy Hill, Sanu, Dwayne Allen

Vegas consideration: tease INDY and tease the OVER

Numbers say: IND 25  CIN 21


Lions Detroit_6n_120 @ Dallas_6n120 Cowboys 01/04 04:40 PM FOX Clear-day 40f Clear 10m NNW

DAL -6.5 (48)

You could say that if this was a road game for Dallas it would be a gimme, considering they were 8-0 on the road this year.  The public is all over Dallas but look who they have played to finish the year and it’s a bit of fool’s gold.  Not to say that Dallas is not good, because they are, (they might be the best overall team) but Detroit has an excellent D that could take advantage of Dallas’ home struggles.  But it still comes down to who do you trust at QB – Stafford or Romo – and although you might say it is a toss-up, the numbers validate Romo.  This should be close but Dallas wins the game and Detroit is the right play with getting 6.5.

FanDuel consideration: DeMarco Murray, E.Ebron, Dez Bryant, Golden Tate

Vegas consideration: Detroit plus 6.5 and tease the OVER

Numbers say: DAL 24  DET 21


Possible lineup combinations for FanDuel

#1

Big Ben

Demarco

J.Hill

Golden Tate

Steve Smith

Sanu

Olsen

Bailey

Bengals


#2

Flacco

j.Hill

j.Stew

Ant.Brown

Mi.Floyd

Steve Smith

Olsen

Nugent

Bengals


#3

Cam

Herron

Bush

Ant.Brown

Calvin Johnson

Torrey Smith

Witten

Bailey

Lions