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2019 NCAA FOOTBALL – WEEK 13 BIG GAMES

Penn St. at Ohio St. (Opening Line: Ohio St. (-17)): From an historical perspective, the line looks down right humiliating for Penn St., but Ohio St. has looked like the best team in the nation and the Buckeyes get DE Chase Young back from suspension. Most suspect Penn St. is somewhat of a paper Nittany Lion at this point and truth be told, Penn St. should probably have losses to both Michigan and Indiana at this point. I’m not sure Penn St. has any chance of winning this football game, but keeping it close and under 10-points would do a lot to establish their national credibility.

Illinois at Iowa (Opening Line: Iowa (-12)): Don’t be shocked if Illinois comes in and shocks Iowa! The Illini got bowl eligible last week with a road win over Michigan St. and they have been one of the best stories of the year as Lovie Smith is doing a great job turning around this recently awful program. It’s very similar to what we are seeing in Indiana under HC Tom Allen. Illinois also has a couple of close home losses early in the year meaning 6-4 could just as easily be 8-2 (5-2)! Of course, Iowa should win this game. Iowa is coming off a huge home win over Minnesota, but you couldn’t find a more “Iowa” thing for the Hawkeyes to do than beating Minnesota one week and then losing to Illinois the next.

Boston College at Notre Dame (Opening Line: Notre Dame (-18)): The Irish have been on a mission the last couple of weeks regarding style points in demolishing both Duke & Navy, but Boston College has had an extra week to prepare for Notre Dame so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens here. This is a classic strategy game between a team with a strong running game/bad defense going up against a superior team. If Notre Dame jumps out to a huge lead, then Boston College isn’t the type of team that can come back because they are predicated on a strong running game behind RB AJ Dillon. If Boston College can get the ball first, grind out a 9-10 minute drive and go up 7-0 then they’ve got a chance. That 18-point spread looks big to me, but ND should easily cover if they get off to a fast start.

Texas A&M at Georgia (Opening Line: Georgia (-14)): Great opportunity for Texas A&M to get some national notoriety. The Aggies are 7-3 and have barely cracked the Top-25 due to the fact that they’ve lost to Clemson, Alabama & Auburn which isn’t awful, but he 7-wins have come against anyone. This obviously won’t be an easy game, but what makes it interesting is that those early season losses to fantastic teams should have been great opportunities for A&M to fine tune what they do well and what they need to work on. This is the first chance we’ll get to see if A&M is ready to step up and be a major player in the SEC. Georgia of course is Georgia. They are in control of their own destiny and they will be extremely difficult to beat between the hedges.

Texas at Baylor (Opening Line: Baylor (-5)): It’s going to be really interesting to see how Matt Rhule and the Bears handle this gave after facing adversity in losing to Oklahoma last week. Texas isn’t going to be that different than Oklahoma as far as talent is concerned, and keep in mind that Texas is coming off a terrible loss to Iowa St., so the Longhorns could either be extremely motivated to win or they could be hanging it up this season & playing out the string. The key here for Baylor is stay aggressive throughout. If they come out like they did last week against Oklahoma & STAY THAT WAY FOR 60 MINUTES!!!!! then Baylor wins this game by 30. If not, Texas has an opportunity to steal one, just like the Sooners did.

Michigan at Indiana (Opening Line: Michigan (-7)): This line keeps moving towards Michigan being even bigger favorites. The line is now Michigan (-9.5) which is interesting given that Indiana should have beaten Penn St. in State College just like Michigan should have beaten Penn St. in State College. This is a huge game for both teams really, even Michigan. The Wolverines CANNOT look past the Hoosiers this week to Ohio St. next week in Ann Arbor. They do that & they are beat. This isn’t your older brother’s, your uncle’s, your dad’s or your grandpa’s Indiana team. The Hoosiers are for real. It’s a big game for Indiana because they need a signature win and Michigan would definitely provide that. It’s big for Michigan because Jim Harbaugh still needs wins. Losing to Indiana and then beating Ohio St. would still be a win for him, but losing to Indiana almost guarantees a loss to Ohio State.

SMU at Navy (Opening Line: Navy (-4.5)): Very cool AAC West game that could have severe repercussions. Memphis has beaten both SMU & Navy so if the Tigers win out, they’ll win the AAC West and play Cincinnati in the AAC championship game. However, if Memphis loses to Cincinnati in the season finale, the winner of SMU/Navy would go on to win the AAC West assuming they win out. If Memphis beats Cincinnati then this game doesn’t necessarily matter. This should be a great strategy game. Navy is going to run the triple option all day which means run run run and keep the clock moving. Their best defense is going to be keeping SMU’s offense off the field. The question will be whether or not Navy can run enough clock and SMU’s defense can get any stops.

Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech (Opening Line: Virginia Tech (-1)): The ACC Coastal is somewhat of a mess, but this game has meaning because these teams still have the ability to win the Coastal and be the sacrificial lamb to Clemson in the ACC title game. If Pittsburgh wins this game and then Virginia Tech beats Virginia next week, then Pittsburgh repeats as Coastal champions which is a pretty amazing story all things considered. If Virginia Tech wins out then they win the ACC Coastal division because they’ll have beaten both Pittsburgh & Virginia & will wind up with a 6-2 ACC record. Of course, if Virginia beats Virginia Tech next week in Charlottesville then this game has virtually no meaning. The winner here also has an opportunity at a 10-win season.

UCLA at USC (Opening Line: USC (-10)): You wouldn’t hear about it from the national media, but USC still has a chance to win the Pac 12 South should Utah lose one of their last two games of the season against Arizona or Colorado. This is kind of an interesting game. USC is 4-1 in their last 5 and have looked good in recent weeks. A win here would push the Trojans to 8-4 with a shot at 9-4 with a bowl win. That isn’t acceptable at USC, but HC Clay Helton would have led USC to a 6-1 finish with A TON OF UPSIDE heading into 2020. Is that enough to keep his job? It’s tricky. UCLA needs to win out (USC & California) to get to 6-6 and reach a bowl which would be a huge win in Chip Kelly’s 2nd year with the Bruins. UCLA had won 3 straight games before getting beat 49-3 at Utah last week which seems extremely uncharacteristic given how well UCLA had played recently. This is a rivalry game and I think it’ll be a close one. That 10-point line looks off to me.

Temple at Cincinnati (Opening Line: Cincinnati (-9.5)): Cincinnati hasn’t lost a home game all season and I think they get it done against Temple, but the Owls are a solid squad that can make life difficult and the Bearcats have been living on the edge all season long. There is still an opportunity for some chaos in the AAC East. If Temple were to win out, UCF wins out and Cincinnati loses out, then UCF, Temple & Cincinnati would be tie atop the AAC East at 6-2. It sounds crazy but if that were to happen then the winner of the AAC East would be the highest ranking team in the playoff ranks following the last week of the regular season. Currently Cincinnati ranks 19th while Temple & UCF are unranked. How that would affect the Bearcats if they lost two remains to be seen. There is a lot going on in this game!

Oregon at Arizona St. (Opening Line: Oregon (-16)): After starting the season 5-1, Arizona St. has somewhat fallen off the map, losing 4 straight games although the Sun Devils have been in all 4 games and you could consider 3 of them pretty close. ASU has played 3 of their last 4 games on the road but get their last two against Oregon & Arizona at home in Tempe. I don’t think Oregon loses this game, but ASU can make life tough on opponents and it’s a scrappy squad. The Pac 12 can be crazy at times although it does seem like Oregon & Utah are lending it some stability. I think Oregon gets the win here, but keep a close look on the line. I don’t know if Arizona St. loses this game by 16 points!

TCU at Oklahoma (Opening Line: Oklahoma (-19)): If Oklahoma is firing on all cylinders then this game is most likely a rout, but TCU’s 5-5 record could just as easily be 9-1 if the ball had bounced their way in close game. TCU needs another win to get to a bowl game which they’ll likely get next week at home against West Virginia, but this game matters. Oklahoma has been riding the edge quite a bit this season. Gary Patterson could have a few tricks up his sleeve this week and if Oklahoma doesn’t come 100% prepared, the Sooners could get beat. Patterson won’t make the same mistakes Matt Rhule did last week with regards to aggression.

Oregon St. at Washington St. (Opening Line: Washington St. (-15.5)): Very cool game for Oregon St. and HC Jonathan Smith. If you believe in the Vegas lines, then Oregon St. is going to lose their last two games on the road against Washington St. & Oregon. That would give the Beavers a 5-7 record which is a HUGE improvement over last year’s 2-10 squad in Smith’s first season. The players are buying into Smith’s vision which is awesome as college football is better when Oregon St. is a good team. In the unusual event that Oregon St. wins out, they’d finish 2nd in the Pac 12 North which would be huge. If they beat Wazzou but lose to Oregon then they likely finish 3rd which would also be huge. As for the Cougars, they still need another win to get bowl eligible in what’s been a down year for the Pirates and his deckhands.

Utah at Arizona (Opening Line: Utah (-24)): Not much to say here. Utah has been playing outstanding football while Arizona has lost 5 straight games and have been blown out in all 5. Utah is going to win this game and it’s more of another opportunity for the Utes to present their case to the playoff committee. They know that style points matter so don’t be surprised if Utah comes out and blows the barn doors off the Wildcats.

Boise St. at Utah St. (Opening Line: Boise St. (-9.5)): Crazy game here. Boise St. still has a shot at a New Year’s 6 Bowl should Memphis & Cincinnati start trading wins at the end of the season assuming Boise wins out, and gets to 12-1 as MWC champions. On the other hand, Utah St. can win the MWC Mountain division with a win here. Things get a little messy because even if Utah St. wins, they’d need Air Force to either lose to New Mexico or Wyoming, but if the Aggies want a shot at getting to the MWC championship game they have to beat a Boise team that hasn’t looked amazing in recent weeks & are dealing with QB injuries. Great opportunity for Utah St. & HC Gary Andersen.

San Diego St. at Hawaii (Opening Line: Hawaii (-1)): Very cool game here if you are up late! The opening line had the Warriors taking this one and if that were to happen then Hawaii would win the MWC West division! In essence this becomes the MWC West division title game. It’s going to be pretty wild if Hawaii ends up taking on Air Force in the MWC title game! Talk about crazy! With teams like Boise St., Utah St., Fresno St. and San Diego St., you’d wind up with Hawaii v. Air Force! Another cool nugget: Hawaii & Air Force didn’t meet in the regular season! Admittedly I’m pulling for chaos so go Hawaii and go Utah St.!!!

November 23, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2019 NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – WEEK 12

#1 LSU TIGERS (Last Week Beat Mississippi 58-37): Lot of fireworks for LSU this past week as QB Joe Burrow almost went for 500 passing yards (ended with 489) along with 5 TD! Burrow is going to get close to 5,000 yards & 50TD this season which means the Heisman Trophy is all but his to lose. The Tigers have home games against Arkansas and Texas A&M remaining which means a 12-0 finish is almost a foregone conclusion. Beat Georgia in the SEC Championship game & LSU is the #1 seed in the college football playoffs.

#2 OHIO ST. BUCKEYES (Last Week Beat Rutgers 56-21): Ohio St. hammered Rutgers, but……..so what? If you look at Ohio St. every week then it’s almost impossible to think they aren’t the best team in college football. They certainly look the part, but even I (an avid Big 10 apologist) am getting a little tired of looking at the Buckeyes schedule and wondering just who have they beaten? You can make a decent case that their 3 best wins are Indiana, Cincinnati & Wisconsin. Clemson & Alabama aren’t better, but good grief.

#3 CLEMSON TIGERS (Last Week Beat Wake Forest 52-3): The further away we get from the scare in Chapel Hill, the more it looks like Clemson is back to being Clemson. I keep doing this every week, but it’s interesting nonetheless in pointing out that since the 21-20 win over North Carolina, Clemson is 6-0 and have outscored their opponents 315-58. That’s an average score of 53-10!! Since the game against the Tar Heels, Trevor Lawrence has thrown 19TD to just 3INT. In his last 4 games, Lawrence has thrown 13TD to 0INT!

#4 ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (Last Week Beat Mississippi St. 38-7): After losing to LSU, Alabama needed wins, but they also needed style points in the worst way. They got the style points in going on the road and destroying Mississippi St. by 31 points in what looked like effortless football, but they also lost QB Tua Tagovailoa for the season. That would impact the way the playoff committee views them, but I almost wonder if losing Tagovailoa forces the Tide back to the kind of offensive team they’ve been in the past, focusing on the run with Najee Harris.

#5 GEORGIA BULLDOGS (Last Week Beat Auburn 21-14): Outstanding win for the Bulldogs that put Georgia back into serious discussions regarding the college football playoffs. Georgia’s D really stepped up in this game by completely shutting down the Auburn running attack. Jake Fromm isn’t going to do fancy things on a football field, but that kid is a winner & he doesn’t allow Georgia to beat themselves. I don’t have Georgia ahead of Alabama because I think losing to LSU is better than losing to South Carolina, but Georgia controls their own destiny.

#6 FLORIDA GATORS (Last Week Beat Missouri 23-6): This was an impressive win for the Gators despite Missouri not really living up to expectations this season in Columbia. The game was a dog fight in the first half with Florida leading just 6-3 after 2 quarters. QB Kyle Trask had a great game, and much like Jake Fromm did against Auburn, he put his team in position to win by not turning the ball over. Florida’s only losses have come on the road at LSU and on a neutral site against Georgia. It’s awfully hard to penalize them for those two losses.

#7 AUBURN TIGERS (Last Week Lost to Georgia 14-21): Tough loss for Auburn although you can see the makings of a national championship team in 2020 or 2021 with Bo Nix under center. I’m not entirely sure what was going on with Nix throwing the ball 50 times in a Gus Malzahn offense, but Georgia did an exceptional job of locking up Auburn’s running game. Auburn this season has lost 3 close games to Florida, Georgia & LSU all the while playing a true freshman QB. This is easily a top-10 team in the nation with a real shot at upsetting Alabama in the Iron Bowl.

#8 OREGON DUCKS (Last Week Beat Arizona 34-6): Another week, another dominant win for the Ducks. There really isn’t anything Oregon is doing at this point that would keep them from making the playoffs outside of their loss to Auburn. Auburn has lost to Georgia, LSU & Florida so they don’t have a whiff of a bad loss and Oregon has lost to Auburn so it would see you’d have to put the Ducks behind War Eagle. That loss was a long time ago for sure, and Oregon has won 9 straight games, but the Pac 12 is a mess at this point. Oregon has plenty of chances to move past Auburn, but not just yet.

#9 UTAH UTES (Last Week Beat UCLA 49-3): This is the team nobody wants to see in the playoffs. Since losing to USC on September 20th, Utah has went 6-0 having outscored their opponents 228-54. That’s an average score of 38-9. That’s not quite as impressive has Clemson’s 6 game run since their scare against North Carolina, but Utah is right there with Clemson in having the best 6-game stretch of any team in the nation. With games against Arizona & Colorado left, Utah is going 11-1 & will meet Oregon in the Pac 12 championship game. Even if Alabama finishes the season 11-1, I’d love to see a 12-1 Utah or Oregon team get that 4th playoff spot behind LSU, Clemson & Ohio State.

#10 OKLAHOMA SOONERS (Last Week Beat Baylor 34-31): An amazing win for Oklahoma considering they were down in this game 28-3 midway through the 2nd quarter & 31-10 at halftime. Oklahoma all but punched their ticket to the Big XII title game by beating Baylor. Most have a 12-1 Sooners team over Oregon or Utah, but I don’t know about that. Oregon’s lone loss came to Auburn if they finish 12-1. Utah’s loss came against USC. Oklahoma lost to Kansas St. which is a good team, but the Sooners almost lost to Baylor. They almost lost to Iowa State. They played a close game against Texas. Oregon, Utah & Alabama are just better 1-loss teams at this point.

#11 BAYLOR BEARS (Last Week Lost to Oklahoma 31-34): If Matt Rhule sticks around college football, he’s going to learn from this win. The Bears went up 28-3 on Oklahoma and from that point forward, Baylor was outscored 31-3. They were up 31-10 at halftime & was outscored 24-0 in the 2nd half. You can argue that Oklahoma just make a miraculous comeback, but watching the game, you got the sense that the moment was TOO BIG for Baylor and Rhule started to coach “not to lose” rather than “to win”. Early in the game, Baylor was aggressive and jumped all over Baylor. Then they got conservative and threw it away. If they had played aggressively throughout, they win that game. Tough loss. Baylor can still get to 12-1 and avenge their loss. I think a 12-1 Baylor team has a better argument than a 12-1 Oklahoma team for making the playoffs.

#12 WISCONSIN BADGERS (Last Week Beat Nebraska 37-21): Jonathan Taylor had another 200-yard performance & he’s almost become a forgotten man around college football. Taylor has run for 1,463 yards & 17TD while averaging 6.3ypc! He’s on pace to finish the season with 1700+ or potentially 2000+ if he gets to the Big 10 championship game & a bowl game. Minnesota losing to Iowa opens the Big 10 West up for the Badgers. If Wisconsin can go into Minneapolis and beat the Gophers in the season finale, then Wisconsin would finish the year 10-2 with a shot at Ohio State for the Big 10 championship game.

#13 MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (Last Week Beat Michigan St. 44-10): That was a MONSTER win for Jim Harbaugh & Michigan! The Wolverines have absolutely WORN OUT two big time rivals in Notre Dame & Michigan St. by the combined score of 89-24! It looks like Shea Patterson has turned a corner looking at his last 3 games which is something I think all Michigan fans have been waiting for. The loss to Wisconsin stings like crazy as does the Penn St. loss, but since the loss to Wisconsin, Michigan is 6-1 & have outscored their opponents 252-87. Michigan’s last 2 games are going to be very telling. A road date against Indiana is going to be very tough & then they go home for Ohio State.

#14 NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (Last Week Beat Navy 52-20): With losses to Michigan & Georgia, the world felt like it was falling for the Irish, but they were losses to Georgia & Michigan!! A lot of teams lose those games. If Alabama loses to LSU & Auburn this year, the sky won’t be falling and like the Crimson Tide, Notre Dame still has a shot at an 11-2 season which would be huge for the program. The Irish need style points & they got it this past week in DESTROYING a Navy team that usually plays the Irish tough. Ian Book threw 5TD passes, Chase Claypool couldn’t be stopped & the Irish defense forced 4 fumbles.

#15 IOWA HAWKEYES (Last Week Beat Minnesota 23-19): In a result that shocked absolutely nobody, Iowa beat Minnesota. If you follow the Big 10 you could see this game coming from a mile away. Beating Minnesota in Iowa City was the most Iowa thing Iowa could do this season. Nate Stanley had a great game & Iowa’s defense did a great job taking away Minnesota’s running game which made the Gophers a bit one dimensional. Simply put, Iowa took advantage of their opportunities & played great red zone defense. Iowa has games against Nebraska & Illinois remaining. They should win those games & finish 9-3. But losing one wouldn’t shock me in the slightest. If Iowa finishes the season with wins, they’ll end the year 10-3 with losses to Michigan, Penn St., and Wisconsin by a combined 14 points.

#16 MINNESOTA GOPHERS (Last Week Lost to Iowa 19-23): Tough loss for the Gophers but their best course of action is to forget Iowa as quickly as possible and get ready for their last two games. A road date against Northwestern shouldn’t be tough at all for the Gophers, but then Wisconsin comes to town which should be the de facto Big 10 West championship game. Minnesota can still get to 12-1 and the playoffs if they can beat Northwestern, Wisconsin & Ohio State! Even if they lose to Ohio St., they’ll still be 11-2 and Big 10 West champions. Losses are going to happen  but if they keep rowing the boat, a special season can still be made even more special.

#17 PENN ST. NITTANY LIONS (Last Week Beat Indiana 34-27): A horrifically officiated game led to Penn St. getting a win over a better Indiana squad. I’m not sure what to make of Penn State at this point. They beat Michigan so should they beat ahead of the Wolverines? They lost to Minnesota so shouldn’t they be behind the Gophers? Penn St. has to feel fortunate they beat Michigan because of a David Bell dropped pass in the endzone, but the other close wins over Pittsburgh & Iowa have to feel like gifts. We’ll learn a lot about Penn St. this week when they travel to Columbus and take on the Buckeyes. If they get beat by 50 or so, then ranking them at #17 might be too high.

#18 CINCINNATI BEARCATS (Last Week Beat South Florida 20-17): Cincinnati is living on the edge, but they keep winning & are now 9-1! The great thing about Cincinnati is that Desmond Ritter & Michael Warren give them a few ways to win. Combine that with a suffocating defense and the Bearcats are a tough out even when they are off. Against South Florida, Cincinnati didn’t have a great game through the air & Ridder was off. However, Warren ran for 134 yards & the Bearcats completed dominated the Bulls on the ground. UC’s last two games won’t be easy. They get Temple at home & then travel to Memphis. A win over Temple clinches the East, but they need to win out to get to a New Year’s 6 Bowl.

#19 MEMPHIS TIGERS (Last Week Beat Houston 45-27): Speaking of Memphis……Memphis is a lot like Cincinnati in that QB Brady White and RB Kenneth Gainwell give the Tigers multiple ways to win even if one of the two are off. Memphis has a much more explosive offense, but Cincinnati’s defense is better. The Tigers got off to a slow start against Houston last week down 17-7 after the first quarter, but Memphis righted the ship & outscored the Cougars 38-10 the rest of the way. White threw 5TD and Gainwell had over 100 total yards. Memphis is still in a dog fight for the AAC West. They could lose the division should SMU or Navy win out & they lose to Cincinnati in the season finale. They play at South Florida next.

#20 SMU MUSTANGS (Last Week Idle): No game for the Ponies last week and Houston didn’t do them any favors by coming up short against Memphis. SMU simply needs to take care of business at this point. They have a huge game this week on the road against Navy, but if the Mustangs can get that win, they should beat Tulane in Ft. Worth in the season finale. They need Memphis to lose to either USF or Cincinnati to win the West, but even if that doesn’t happen, SMU can still finish 11-1 and potentially 12-1 should they win their bowl game. That’s a HUGE YEAR for SMU and HC Sonny Dykes!

#21 BOISE ST. BRONCOS (Last Week Beat New Mexico 42-9): New Mexico is terrible. Forget this past week’s 42-9 thumping of the Lobos. The Broncos are now down to their 3rd string QB in Jaylon Henderson with Utah State coming up. What’s amazing about all of this is that Boise St., Utah St. & Air Force all have 1-loss. If Boise St. loses to Utah St. then Utah St. & Air Force would have one conference loss, but Air Force beat Utah St. meaning the Falcons would be the MWC Mountain division champions. In fact, a loss to Utah St. would push Boise St. to 3rd place in their own division despite the probability that Boise finishes 10-2 assuming they lose to Utah State! This point is moot should Boise upend the Aggies, but it could be an amazing reversal of fortunes.

#22 IOWA ST. CYCLONES (Last Week Beat Texas 23-21): That was a huge win. Iowa St. is 6-4 with losses to Oklahoma, Iowa, Baylor & Oklahoma St., by a combined 11 points. Those 4 teams are a combined 32-8. I don’t know where Iowa St. ranks. I know they don’t have a chance at winning the Big XII title game and they might actually have another loss on the schedule considering they finish the season with a road trip to Kansas State, but if you are trying to name the 25-best teams in college football for the 2019 season, Iowa St. deserves to be on that list.

#23 APPALACHIAN ST. MOUNTAINEERS (Last Week Beat Georgia St. 56-27): Who owns the Carolinas? It certainly seems like Appalachian St. can make a decent case as they have wins over both South Carolina and North Carolina. Wake Forest & Clemson could very well argue, but they aren’t on App State’s schedule so who knows!? The Mountaineers have some solid wins on their schedule including the domination of Georgia St. last week. There is a lot of talk about New Year’s 6 Bowls with Cincinnati, Memphis, SMU and Boise St., but App State has a VERY GOOD chance at getting to 12-1 and being considered. It would be pretty cool to see the Mountaineers get a shot at Alabama or Oklahoma.

#24 TEXAS A&M AGGIES (Last Week Beat South Carolina 30-6): The Aggies have somewhat been an afterthought all season, but A&M is 7-3 with their losses coming against Clemson, Auburn & Alabama. They also have a head coach in Jimbo Fisher that has won a national championship! Texas A&M hasn’t beaten anyone but neither has Alabama unless you count Texas A&M!!! So why are the Aggies barely cracking the AP Top-25 while Alabama stays in the top-5? Some of it is losses of course. Alabama has a loss to LSU and has won their other games, but Alabama hasn’t played Auburn or Clemson yet either. A&M finishes their season with 2 road games against LSU & Georgia. They can SIGNIFICANTLY move up the rankings with wins.

#25 INDIANA HOOSIERS (Last Week Lost to Penn St. 27-34): The Hoosiers were robbed. Plain & Simple. A lot like Iowa State, if you are looking for the best 25 teams in college football, you can make a serious argument that Indiana belongs in the discussion. Indiana’s defense ranks #32 in the nation which is a HUGE advantage for an Indiana team that has been historically awful on that side of the football. Here is where Indiana ranks in scoring defense over the last few seasons:

2019: 21.4 (32nd)
2018: 29.9 (81st)
2017: 25.3 (52nd)
2016: 27.2 (57th)
2015: 37.6 (117th)
2014: 32.8 (102nd)
2013: 38.8 (115th)
2012: 35.3 (104th)
2011: 37.3 (114th)
2010: 34.0 (102nd)

As you can see, HC Tom Allen has had a SIGNIFICANT impact on the defense. Indiana has a chance to right the ship this week against Michigan. If they can beat Michigan in Bloomington & then defeat in-state rival Purdue, IU can finish the season 9-3 with a shot at 10-win season which would be the first in school history! The last time Indiana had a 9-win season was 1967, the last year they played in the Rose Bowl. Is Tom Allen already the best football coach in Indiana history?

DROPPING OUT

#18 TEXAS LONGHORNS: Texas is 2-3 in their last 5 games and now has to go on the road to play Baylor. For whatever reason, things are going like HC Tom Herman and many thought they would in 2019. You can’t argue with the talent in Texas, but you can certainly make arguments that Oklahoma, Baylor, Iowa St., Kansas St., TCU and Oklahoma State are all better teams than Texas this season. That’s 7th in the Big XII! Ugly times in Austin. If everything falls right, I suppose there is some trickery that could land Texas in the Big XII title game, but it’s a long shot if possible at all.

#19 KANSAS ST. WILDCATS: Losing at home to West Virginia is inexcusable. A BRUTAL LOSS for Kansas St. that did so much this season to build up the program. How do you beat Oklahoma at home, but lose to West Virginia? Crazy times.

#24 NAVY MIDSHIPMEN: That didn’t last long. Losing to Notre Dame is one thing, but being brutalized by the Irish is another. Navy can still win the AAC West which is amazing. They’ll play SMU at home next which is a huge opportunity for Navy to get back into the top-25.

November 22, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2019 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS – WEEK 11

NFC

  1. Jimmy Garoppolo 9-1 (Last Week: 1)
  2. Aaron Rodgers 8-2 (2)
  3. Drew Brees 8-2 (3)
  4. Dak Prescott 6-4 (4)
  5. Russell Wilson 8-2 (5)
  6. Kirk Cousins 8-3 (6)
  7. Jared Goff 6-4 (7)
  8. Carson Wentz 5-5 (8)
  9. Kyle Allen 5-5 (9)
  10. Chase Daniel 4-6 (10)
  11. Jeff Driskel 3-6-1 (11)
  12. Kyler Murray 3-7-1 (12)
  13. Matt Ryan 3-7 (14)
  14. Jameis Winston 3-7 (13)
  15. Daniel Jones 2-8 (15)
  16. Dwayne Haskins 1-9 (16)

NFC ANALYSIS

  • Almost nothing changed from a week ago & that is to be expected now that we are finished with the 11th week of the season. The Rams & Eagles still have chances to make the playoffs, but unless something miraculous happens, I don’t see it working out for the Panthers, Bears or Lions.
  • You’ll note that I used the starting QBs currently instead of the team names which I think is fairly interesting. Outside of Matt Ryan and possibly Carson Wentz & Jared Goff, the 6 QBs you’d think would be in the playoffs are actually there. Three rookies are in the bottom 5 which makes sense. Jameis Winston is 14th which also makes sense seeing that he’s probably on his way out in Tampa Bay. I think this, for the most part, underscores the importance of the QB position.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 11

#6 MINNESOTA @ #3 NEW ORLEANS
#5 SEATTLE @ #4 DALLAS

With nothing different from the last week, I think the playoffs play out the same way. The Saints beat the Vikings. The Seahawks upset the Cowboys in Dallas. Then the Packers beat the Saints in Green Bay and the 49ers beat the Seahawks in San Francisco. Aaron Rodgers gets back to the Super Bowl after beating the 49ers in somewhat of a homecoming for the former Cal Bear!

AFC

  1. Tom Brady 9-1 (Last Week: 1)
  2. Lamar Jackson 8-2 (2)
  3. Patrick Mahomes 7-4 (4)
  4. Jacoby Brissett 6-4 (8)
  5. Josh Allen 7-3 (5)
  6. Deshaun Watson 6-4 (3)
  7. Derek Carr 6-4 (7)
  8. Mason Rudolph 5-5 (6)
  9. Ryan Tannehill 5-5 (9)
  10. Baker Mayfield 4-6 (13)
  11. Nick Foles 4-6 (10)
  12. Philip Rivers 4-7 (11)
  13. Brandon Allen 3-7 (12)
  14. Sam Darnold 3-7 (15)
  15. Ryan Fitzpatrick 2-8 (14)
  16. Ryan Finley 0-10 (16)

AFC ANALYSIS

  • AFC is a little more muddy than the NFC. Like the NFC, I listed the QBs instead of the team and GOOD GRIEF the QB play in the AFC is terrible. It’s kind of interesting but during the Tom Brady/Peyton Manning/Ben Roethlisberger era, who in the world has been a good QB in the AFC during this time? The Dolphins haven’t had a QB since Dan Marino for the most part. Same goes for Buffalo and Jim Kelly. Carson Palmer in Cincinnati? Steve McNair? Andy Dalton? Joe Flacco? Alex Smith? Good grief, no wonder the Patriots, Colts & Steelers have been utterly dominant for so long. They are the only teams that have had decent QBs during the last 20 years. It all points to the incredible question of  WHY ISN’T PHILIP RIVERS BETTER THAN THIS!?!?!?!
  • Steelers, Titans, Raiders and Browns still have a chance to make haste in the playoffs, but I think it’s pretty clear that the Ravens & Patriots are the teams to beat. Indianapolis & Houston have a big game coming up this week, but I wonder if that might be a case of Houston & Indianapolis flip-flopping between the #4 and #6 seeds?

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 11

#6 HOUSTON @ #3 KANSAS CITY
#5 BUFFALO @ #4 INDIANAPOLIS

The Wild Card games are a big different this week, but I think homefield advantage is what separates the games. Kansas City is SO TOUGH to beat at home and the Texans aren’t a great football team to be honest. Are they good enough to win the South? Sure. Are they an elite NFL squad? I certainly don’t think so. The Colts should also be able to ride their fans to a wild card win in Indianapolis over the Bills who I still think are 1-2 years away with Josh Allen. Buffalo’s time is coming, but this year is about experience for Josh Allen. Next year or in 2021, you’ll hear the Bills make a serious push for an AFC Championship. Homefield in the divisional round also plays. The Colts aren’t beating the Patriots in Foxboro with Jacoby Brissett as the QB although it’ll be an interesting homecoming for the former Tom Brady backup. I think the same goes for Kansas City & Baltimore. The Ravens should be able to win at home. In the AFC Championship game, I think Bill Belichick will do a good job of preparing for Lamar Jackson, and while the Patriots don’t look like vintage Patriots this season, they should be able to get to one last Super Bowl under the Brady/Belichick regime.

November 22, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2019 NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – WEEK 11

#1 LSU TIGERS (Last Week Beat Alabama 44-41): LSU is without a doubt the #1 team in the nation. Going into Tuscaloosa & beating the Tide is about as good as it gets. QB Joe Burrow all but locked up the Heisman Trophy going 31/39 for 393 yards & 3TD on the road! LSU has all but locked up the SEC West. They have Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Arkansas left on the schedule. That’s an easy 12-0 with plenty of opportunity for Burrow to keep padding his statistics.

#2 OHIO ST. BUCKEYES (Last Week Beat Maryland 73-14): Oh wow, the Buckeyes had to face Maryland without DE Chase Young? Oh my gosh! They are so at a disadvantage without their best defensive player on the field. I get that Ohio St. looks like the best team in college football but please let me know when they do something significant? LSU has beaten Alabama, Auburn, Texas & Florida. Ohio St. has beaten…….Michigan St.?

#3 CLEMSON TIGERS (Last Week Beat NC State 55-10): In their last 5 games, Clemson is 5-0 and have outscored their opponents 263-55. Clemson looks like Clemson now and a lot of what I’m saying about Ohio St. could apply to the Tigers as well except the national media isn’t quite as histrionic about Clemson as they are Ohio State. In his last 3 games, Trevor Lawrence is 48/62 (77%) for 769 yards (12.4YPA) with 9TD and zero picks. I’d say he’s over his early season struggles.

#4 ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (Last Week Lost to LSU 41-44): I’ve said all season long that something seems off with Alabama & it caught up with them against LSU. LSU is just as talented as the Tide across the board, but one advantage the Tide have had in recent memory is that LSU could never figure out the QB position. That was solved with Joe Burrow last season. With Tua Tagovailoa hurting, Alabama is vulnerable. The season isn’t over yet. Alabama needs excessive style points from this point forward & they need LSU to dominate Georgia in the SEC title game. That’s the only way Alabama can potentially grab that #4 seed in the playoffs.

#5 GEORGIA BULLDOGS (Last Week Beat Missouri 27-0): Solid methodical win for the Bulldogs against a team I thought would be much better than they’ve shown this season. I wonder if Mizzou HC is wondering about the mercenary approach of bringing in Kelly Bryant to play QB? Georgia still controls its own destiny. I don’t know how they leap Alabama in the playoff rankings considering Georgia lost to South Carolina while Alabama lost to LSU, but Alabama will get a shot at jumping Georgia if the Bulldogs lose to LSU in the SEC title game. Georgia controls its own destiny. They should have no issues winning out, but they’ll have to beat LSU to avoid that 2nd loss.

#6 FLORIDA GATORS (Last Week Beat Vanderbilt 56-0): That’s a severe beating! Kyle Trask threw for 363 yards & 3TD spreading the ball around to 11 different receivers while 9 different Gators rushed for 150 yards. Florida can still win the East if Georgia loses their next two games which isn’t impossible as the Bulldogs take on Auburn and Texas A&M. Should Georgia lose both, Florida wins the East & plays in the SEC Championship game. The big question is whether or not an 11-2 Florida team that is SEC Champions could make the playoffs?

#7 AUBURN TIGERS (Last Week Idle): War Eagle gets a week off before hosting Georgia which should be a decent advantage for the Tigers. Auburn has a couple of road losses this season to Florida & LSU. You can hardly punish Auburn for that especially as the Tigers have a win over Oregon, but they need to get a big win. Auburn can’t get past LSU, but finishing the season 10-2 with wins over both Georgia & Alabama could easily set Auburn up with a New Year’s 6 Bowl and an opportunity to finish the season 11-2 and in the Top-5.

#8 OREGON DUCKS (Last Week Idle): Oregon is riding an 8-game winning streak into their bye week. The Ducks finish their season with games against Arizona, Arizona St. and Oregon St., so they should cruise to 11-1 although I suspect the Beavers might be a tougher out than people realize. Oregon is sort of stuck behind Auburn for now which is a tough spot to be in. Even if Auburn loses to Georgia, how can you penalize them if they’ve lost to Florida, LSU & Georgia if those three teams keep dominating?

#9 UTAH UTES (Last Week Idle): Utah might be playing better football than any team in the nation right now which has to be scary for potential playoff teams hoping Utah somehow manages to not make the playoffs. If there is a darkhorse team to win the national championship right now, I’d say it’s Utah. Utah’s loss to USC is a tough one. When you look at 1-loss teams right now, Utah rates fairly low because USC isn’t any good. Oregon lost to Auburn. Alabama lost to LSU. Florida lost to Georgia & LSU. Auburn lost to LSU and Florida. Georgia’s loss to South Carolina is a little suspect at this point. Utah could make an argument USC is better than South Carolina and I wouldn’t argue.

#10 OKLAHOMA SOONERS (Last Week Beat Iowa St. 42-41): The Sooners are living on the edge! After losing to Kansas St., Oklahoma almost lost to Iowa St. as the Cyclones were a Brock Purdy 2-pt conversion away from losing this game 43-42 in Norman! Oklahoma was up in this game 42-21 before ISU put on a 4th quarter clinic to score 20 & get it to 42-41. Oklahoma still controls its own destiny but the Sooners are barely winning games against teams like Iowa St. & losing to teams like Kansas State. There are no style points here. Oklahoma needs to start winning much bigger.

#11 MINNESOTA GOPHERS (Last Week Beat Penn St. 31-26): Watching this game made me realize that Tanner Morgan is a PLAYER! I don’t know how far Minnesota can keep going & a road game in Iowa next week is going to be super tough, but Morgan can seriously play the QB position which is going to keep Minnesota in games. Also receivers Rashod Bateman & Tyler Johnson are problems on the outside. Minnesota needs to finish the job. Beating Penn St. is one thing, but they need to still get it done against Iowa & Wisconsin. Those are the big tests.

#12 PENN ST. NITTANY LIONS (Last Week Lost to Minnesota 26-31: Penn St.’s loss to Minnesota is bad, but it’s not season ending for the Nittany Lions. If Penn St. can beat Ohio St. then they could finish 11-1 and Big 10 East champions with a shot at avenging the loss to Minnesota if the Gophers win the West. On the other hand, you can make an argument that Penn St. got very fortunate with David Bell’s dropped pass in the endzone in the Michigan game, and outside of Michigan, who has Penn St. really beat? The Lions get Indiana next week which won’t be easy.

#13 WISCONSIN BADGERS (Last Week Beat Iowa 24-22): Iowa simply had no answer for Jonathan Taylor as the Heisman Trophy candidate racked up 250 rushing yards on 31 carries! Wisconsin did a great job dominating time of possession and the defense held Iowa to 1 of 9 on 3rd down conversions. Iowa isn’t the kind of team that can make huge comebacks so all Wisconsin really had to do was get the lead, run the ball and grind the clock down. The Badgers have a couple of losses, but if they can beat Minnesota and hope the Gophers drop a road date to Iowa, then Wisconsin can still win the Big 10 West and get back to the Big 10 championship game. An 11-3 season is still a huge possibility for the boys from Madison.

#14 MICHIGAN WOLVERINS (Last Week Idle): Jim Harbaugh & his feisty Wolverines got the week off after a couple of convincing wins over Maryland and Notre Dame. With 2-losses to Wisconsin and Penn St., it’s going to be hard for Michigan to win the Big 10 East, but the Wolverines can still make a significant impact this season by beating Michigan St. and Ohio State. Get those 2 wins and Michigan can finish the season 11-2 and in the top-10. Lose to Ohio St., and I think you are going to hear a lot of rumors about Jim Harbaugh leaving the program.

#15 NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (Last Week Beat Duke 38-7): I’m a Notre Dame homer and even I didn’t see this one coming! Ian Book passed for 181 yards and ran for 139 as the Irish jumped on the Blue Devils early and didn’t let off the gas for 60 minutes! In some ways you want to say this is a great win for Notre Dame after being humiliated by Michigan and barely escaping Virginia Tech. On the other hand, where is Notre Dame football when beating Duke is something to be happy about? The Irish need HUGE STYLE POINTS from this point out if they want a New Year’s 6 Bowl. I think ND needs to win out by huge margins and hope for some help.

#16 BAYLOR BEARS (Last Week Beat TCU 29-23): The Bears have been living on the edge all season & last week was no different as Baylor needed 3OT to finally put away TCU and keep their undefeated season alive. Baylor hosts Oklahoma next week and that is the game where Baylor will start to garner respect if they can pull off the win. A win over Oklahoma would put Baylor at 10-0 with Texas & Kansas left on the schedule. The trick for Baylor is beating Oklahoma not once, but likely twice as they’d get a rematch with the Sooners in the Big 12 championship. It might not matter the outcome though as Baylor is likely playing Oklahoma in the championship game regardless.

#17 CINCINNATI BEARCATS (Last Week Beat Connecticut 48-3): Cincinnati absolutely destroyed an overmatched Huskies squad in the Queen City. The Bearcats were up 38-0 at halftime and UConn never really strayed from their running attack which gave them no chance at winning this football game. Now that Alabama has lost to LSU, Cincinnati’s lost to Ohio St. is probably the 2nd best loss of the season. Cincinnati is playing for a New Year’s 6 Bowl and the AAC Championship game. Their big test is the season finale at Memphis but win or lose, they probably play Memphis the very next week in the AAC Championship game.

#18 TEXAS LONGHORNS (Last Week Beat Kansas St. 27-24): Great win for Texas but in an odd way. Texas was up 24-14 on Kansas St. but let the Wildcats back into the game forcing Texas K Cameron Dicker to hit a 26-yard FG with no time on the clock to seal the deal for the Longhorns. This was a great game for Texas & showed us yet again that UT can play with anyone. Not many people have Texas ranked, but I can hardly fault them for losing close games to LSU & Oklahoma. Texas can still find their way into the Big 12 championship game if they win out & Oklahoma beats Baylor.

#19 KANSAS ST. (Last Week Lost to Texas 24-27): I can hardly punish Kansas St. for losing a road game in Austin to Texas by a last second FG. The Wildcats still have wins over TCU, Mississippi St. & Oklahoma which is a pretty darn good resume. The loss against Texas was a good example of 5-star players going up against 3-star players when the 5-star players were playing exceptionally well. Kansas St. simply had no answer for Texas skill players Collin Johnson, Devin Durvernay and Keaontay Ingram. Ingram ran for 139 yards while Johnson & Duvernay each caught for 110 yards. Very tough loss for K-State who had an outside shot at getting to the Big 12 championship game, but this is HC Chris Klieman’s first season.

#20 MEMPHIS TIGERS (Last Week Idle): The Tigers had an off week after their huge win over SMU the week prior. Like Cincinnati, Memphis is clearly playing for a New Year’s 6 Bowl and an AAC championship. The Tigers have to go on the road to play Houston & South Florida before coming back home to host Cincinnati in the season finale. Both of these teams should be 10-1 which means they’ll play each other in Memphis and then again in the AAC Championship game. That could be a whammy for both teams if they split. A split means 2-losses for each team which opens the door for Boise St. to finish 12-1 and grab the New Year’s 6 Bowl from the Group of 5.

#21 SMU MUSTANGS (Last Week Beat East Carolina 59-51): Let’s forget SMU for a second. How good is East Carolina? The Pirates simply wouldn’t go away & QB Holton Ahlers threw for 498 yards & 6TD on SMU! Keep in mind that the week prior, ECU almost upset Cincinnati meaning East Carolina was THIS CLOSE to getting back-to-back wins over Cincinnati & SMU! ECU also has losses to Temple & UCF but neither were blow out losses! I don’t know what’s gotten into Ahlers over the last couple of games, but WOW! As for SMU, they aren’t out of it yet. If Memphis loses to Cincinnati & SMU wins out, SMU finishes 11-1 and gets to the AAC championship game.

#22 IOWA HAWKEYES (Last Week Lost to Wisconsin 22-24): Wisconsin is a real problem for Iowa. The Hawkeyes have now lost 4 straight to the Badgers and 7 of their last 8 games. From 1977 to 1996, Iowa never lost to Wisconsin. Iowa posted a record of 17-0-1 against Wisconsin. Since then Iowa is 7-14. Iowa is simply stuck in a perpetual state of 8-4/9-3. You can almost see Iowa beating Minnesota next week just to keep this narrative going. Lose to Wisconsin. Beat Minnesota. Get to 9-3 with maybe a bowl win and finish either 10-3/9-4. I love Kirk Ferentz as a HC and I really like the Iowa football program, but you almost wonder if some dynamic youth wouldn’t be good for the program.

#23 BOISE ST. BRONCOS (Last Week Beat Wyoming 20-17): Tough game for Boise who needed overtime to beat the Cowboys. Wyoming had a solid defensive team and Boise St. isn’t at peak levels given Hank Bachmeier’s injury. Chase Cord is a solid QB, but Bachmeier is better. The win takes Boise to 8-1 and they still haven’t lost a conference game because their lone loss came against BYU. Boise has to be a little bit careful here. They aren’t playing outstanding football & they do travel to Utah State. The Aggies have only one conference loss so a win over Boise would give the Aggies the Mountain West Mountain division.

#24 NAVY MIDSHIPMEN (Last Week Idle): The Middies get a week off before facing Notre Dame! Navy has had an outstanding year & you have to give a big cap tip to HC Ken Niumatalolo for the job he’s done in Annapolis this season. Remember that Navy finished 3-10 last year & only returned 8 starters this season. They are 7-1 with some solid wins over Tulane, Air Force, Tulsa & East Carolina. They lost to Memphis but get SMU at home. It sounds crazy, but if Navy can beat SMU and Memphis loses to Cincinnati, Navy would win the AAC West and get a chance at the Bearcats in the AAC championship game. The game against Notre Dame isn’t a huge deal per se outside of the rivalry, but a win would be HUGE & give Navy the opportunity to potentially finish 12-1 with an AAC Championship & likely a New Year’s 6 Bowl!

#25 INDIANA HOOSIERS (Last Week Idle): The Hoosiers climbed into the AP Poll for the first time since 1994 this past week! They might not be there for long as this week they travel to Penn St. to take on the Nittany Lions! Indiana can make a case they should have beaten Michigan St. which would have made IU 8-1 instead of 7-2. They should get to 8 wins as they play Purdue to end the season, but they have to play at Penn St. and then host Michigan in the two weeks before they take on their in-state rivals. We’ll learn a lot about the Hoosiers in those two games. We’ll either find out if the 7-8 wins are a product of schedule or if Indiana really is ready to become a top-25 program under HC Tom Allen.

DROPPING OUT

#22 WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS: Getting waxed by Virginia Tech isn’t a good look. The problem now is that Wake Forest is going to follow that game up with a road date at Clemson which is likely a blowout loss. Tough times for Wake after a great start to the season. A 10-win season is still possible even with losing to Clemson, but Wake Forest will have to keep it together.

#23 UCF KNIGHT: Losing to Tulsa? Are you serious? The Knights were long shots to potentially win the AAC East before losing to the Golden Hurricane, but now their season is effectively over. UCF is still most likely a top-25 team when they are firing on all cylinders. Heck they might even be a top-15 squad, but 3 losses including this most recent disaster is killer.

November 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2019 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS – WEEK 10

NFC

  1. San Francisco 49ers 8-1 (Last Week: 1)
  2. Green Bay Packers 8-2 (3)
  3. New Orleans Saints 7-2 (2)
  4. Dallas Cowboys 5-4 (4)
  5. Seattle Seahawks 8-2 (5)
  6. Minnesota Vikings 7-3 (6)
  7. Los Angeles Rams 5-4 (7)
  8. Philadelphia Eagles 5-4 (9)
  9. Carolina Panthers 5-4 (8)
  10. Chicago Bears 4-5 (12)
  11. Detroit Lions 3-5-1 (10)
  12. Arizona Cardinals 3-6-1 (11)
  13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-6 (13)
  14. Atlanta Falcons 2-7 (15)
  15. New York Giants 2-8 (14)
  16. Washington Redskins 1-8 (16)

NFC ANALYSIS

  • We’ve been in pretty much of a holding pattern with our Top-6 teams for a few weeks now. What’s going to be interesting is the seeding. With Seattle beating the 49ers last week, Seattle owns the tie-breaker over the 49ers meaning Seattle could jump into that #1 seed if things break there way. The 12th man is going to be EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to beat should they find themselves with homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. It’s also pretty interesting when you think about it because every team with a chance to get that #1 spot (SF, GB, NO, MIN & SEA) have significant homefield advantages that could determine playoff outcomes. I would think Dallas & Philadelphia would have solid homefield advantages as well, but with 4 losses each, neither team seems set on making a push for the #1 overall spot.
  • The only division that seems to be locked up is the South with New Orleans running away with it at this point even with the loss at home to the Falcons last week. The NFC is extremely top heavy with the top-8 or even top-9 teams but the seedings are nuts. One thing that is very interesting to think about is just how top heavy the conference is. The Rams have the schedule to win out and finish 12-4, but you can envision scenarios where the Packers, Saints, Vikings, Rams, Seahawks & 49ers all finish 12-4 or better! One of them doesn’t make the playoffs because the NFC East winner must get a playoff spot! It pays to be in a division with the Giants & Redskins!
  • For the Bears, Lions, Cardinals, Bucs, Falcons, Giants & Redskins, it’s time to start thinking about the draft and next season. You’ve already seen the Redskins turn the reigns over to Dwayne Haskins, but this is going to be an interesting time for all of those teams. Do the Bears keep Mitchell Trubisky for the future? How does Atlanta fix their problems and do those solutions involve Dan Quinn as the HC going forward? What kind of progress will we see from Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones & Dwayne Haskins? How does Tampa Bay deal with going forward without Jameis Winston? These are all interesting questions that we should get some answers to moving forward with these organizations. Two of these teams could have new head coaches as well so their directions could be completely changed.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 10

#6 MINNESOTA @ #3 NEW ORLEANS
#5 SEATTLE @ #4 DALLAS

New Orleans & Green Bay keep flip flopping which might be the most interesting development. I think homefield works in New Orleans favor, but I’m starting to think Seattle is simply too tough for Dallas in the Wild Card round. Jason Garrett & the Cowboys seem to want to make the Cowboys revolve around Dak Prescott instead of Ezekiel Elliott and I think that gets them beat. If the Seahawks are good enough to go into San Francisco & beat the 49ers, they are good enough to go into Dallas & beat a Cowboys team with an identity crisis. That sets up Seattle @ San Francisco an New Orleans @ Green Bay. It’s very hard to beat a good team on the road twice. Seattle falls to the 49ers in their 2nd go around in the Bay Area. GB/NO is really where that #2 seed comes into play. I think whoever has the homefield advantage between these two teams win. After week 10 that team is Green Bay. That sets up Packers @ 49ers and I think Aaron Rodgers wins his homecoming. Packers get back to the Super Bowl with Rodgers getting a chance to win a 2nd ring.

AFC

  1. New England Patriots 8-1 (Last Week: 1)
  2. Baltimore Ravens 7-2 (2)
  3. Houston Texans 6-3 (3)
  4. Kansas City Chiefs 6-4 (4)
  5. Buffalo Bills 6-3 (5)
  6. Pittsburgh Steelers 5-4 (7)
  7. Oakland Raiders 5-4 (8)
  8. Indianapolis Colts 5-4 (6)
  9. Tennessee Titans 5-5 (10)
  10. Jacksonville Jaguars 4-5 (9)
  11. Los Angeles Chargers 4-6 (11)
  12. Denver Broncos 3-6 (12)
  13. Cleveland Browns 3-6 (13)
  14. Miami Dolphins 2-7 (14)
  15. New York Jets 2-7 (15)
  16. Cincinnati Bengals 0-9 (16)

AFC ANALYSIS

  • This has nothing to do with the Top-6 seeds, but it’s going to be really interesting to see what the Cincinnati Bengals do with the #1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. If they use the Cleveland Brown model, then they select Chase Young with the #1 overall pick & look towards 2021 for their franchise QB the way the Browns took Myles Garrett and then went Baker Mayfield the following season. If they choose to go QB first then it’ll be interesting to see who they choose between guys like Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm and maybe even Jalen Hurts. Young seems to be a generational talent, and if that’s the case, it probably be the smart move to take Young first & deal with your QB second, but that would imply that Cincinnati typically makes the right call.
  • There was a lot of knashing of teeth last week about Indianapolis losing to Miami, but keep in mind that if the Colts beat Jacksonville this week in Indianapolis and the Texans lose to the Ravens in Baltimore, the Colts would be back atop the AFC South and controlling their own destiny even with the loss to Miami. Also note that Indianapolis owns the tiebreaker over Kansas City so the Colts could easily find themselves with the #3 seed or better by season’s end even with losing to Miami. A lot of Colts fans are disappointed over such an horrific loss, as they should be, but the sky isn’t falling just yet. Despite having losses to the Steelers, Raiders & Chargers, Indianapolis could prevent themselves from getting into a tiebreaker with all of those teams by simply winning the South.
  • I keep drinking the Kool-Aid but the Chargers could still make a run for that 6th seed. I think the Chargers are a squad that nobody would want to face in the playoffs because they have the talent & potential to really do some damage, but they simply can’t win football games. It’s that simple. The #6 seed in the AFC (and probably the #5 seed as well) is going to be super soft and I could easily see 9-7 being good enough to snag the last playoff spot if not the last couple. If that is the case then the Chargers can still make a play for one of those spots as can the Jaguars, Browns, Titans, Raiders and Steelers. The NFC might be better from top to bottom, but the chaos could very well reside in the AFC.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 10

#6 PITTSBURGH @ #3 HOUSTON
#5 BUFFALO @ #4 KANSAS CITY

A little different this week with the Steelers crashing the playoff party! Pittsburgh is playing over their heads while Josh Allen isn’t playoff ready just yet. That sets up Chiefs @ Patriots and Texans @ Ravens. I think homefield is too tough to overcome in the divisional round which sets up Ravens @ Patriots. The Ravens might have gotten the better of the Patriots & Bill Belichick in the regular season, but January in Foxboro is a completely different animal and I”ll believe the Patriots lose when I see it. The playoff race in the AFC actually sets up rather easy with these matchup as nothing out of the ordinary probably takes place. New England gets back to yet another Super Bowl in what is easily the greatest sports dynasty of all time.

November 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2019 NCAA FOOTBALL – WEEK 12 BIG GAMES

USC at California (Opening Line: USC (-4)): This is an interesting game. California still has a D that can show up at times & the Bears at 5-4 are not bowl eligible yet. USC still has an outside shot at winning the Pac 12 South considering they have a win over Utah. If USC can win out & Utah can lose another conference game, then USC has a shot at getting the Pac 12 title game. That might not mean a lot given that the Trojans were TRUCKED by Oregon a couple of weeks ago, but if Oregon can finish 12-1 & make the playoffs, USC would have a chance to get to the Rose Bowl where Clay Helton could keep his job. Can you fire Helton if USC wins the Pac 12 South and wins the Rose Bowl?

Georgia at Auburn (Opening Line: Georgia (-3)): I think it’s interesting that Auburn had a week off before this game while the Bulldogs were taking care of Missouri 27-0 last week. A lot is going on with this game. If Auburn wins here, they put themselves in position to potentially get to the Sugar Bowl assuming LSU wins out & Georgia stays ahead of Florida in the East. Auburn’s only 2 losses have come against LSU and Florida so it’s imperative that Auburn be able to make a case for the Sugar over the Gators. Beating Georgia gives them that case. Of course for Georgia, a win here keeps them alive for a potential playoff berth. It really doesn’t get much bigger than this.

UCLA at Utah (Opening Line: Utah (-20)): Utah has won 5 straight games coming into this one and you can make an argument that the Utes are playing better football than anyone else in the nation right now. Looking at the line, Vegas doesn’t give UCLA a chance in this one, but Chip Kelly is Chip Kelly & the Bruins have won 3 straight games themselves. I don’t think Utah wins this game, but I wouldn’t be shocked either if UCLA made this close or won a very tight game. Keep in mind that if Utah loses here, USC would lead the Pac 12 South division assuming USC beats Cal. Also keep in mind that UCLA needs to win 2 of their last 3 to get bowl eligible.

Michigan St. at Michigan (Opening Line: Michigan (-12)): You sort of have to throw out the records here when looking at a huge rivalry game, but this is a game where Michigan really does need the style points. I still think the Wolverines have really hit their stride since losing to Wisconsin. The loss to Penn St. was goofy, but Michigan still has a chance to do serious damage. They can finish 10-2 with a win over Ohio State. If they get to a New Year’s 6 Bowl they can get to 11-2. Yes it’s no national championship, but 11-2 with a win over Ohio St. would be huge. Style points matter against Sparty!

Minnesota at Iowa (Opening Line: Iowa (-2)): This feels like a game where Iowa wins & pretty much ruins the Big 10 West because the Gophers are a feel good story. A win also keeps alive the narrative that Iowa finishes yet another season at 8-4/9-3 with everyone wondering, “Hey, why didn’t Iowa go 12-0?” The Gophers are coming off a HUGE win over Penn St., so it’ll be interesting to see how they do in yet another big game, this time on the road following such a program changing win. If the Gophers win in Iowa City, they belong in the playoff discussions.

Alabama at Mississippi St. (Opening Line: Alabama (-21)): Style points matter and that matter HUGE for Alabama now that the Tide lost to LSU and are #5 in the current playoff rankings behind Georgia!!! That shouldn’t matter for now. If Georgia loses to LSU in the championship game, then that would push Alabama to #4. That might happen as soon as this week if Auburn beats Georgia, but regardless of other outcomes, Alabama has to win and WIN HUGE from this point forward so that their 11-1 with a 3-point loss to LSU looks as good as it possibly can. The Tide MUST win with style points the rest of the way which also includes destroying Auburn!

Indiana at Penn St. (Opening Line: Penn St. (-14)): Really cool game for the Hoosiers although Vegas doesn’t give them much of a chance. When the playoff rankings came out, Indiana wasn’t ranked and the committee said that Indiana was never a consideration for the Top-25 despite IU being ranked in the AP & Coaches polls for the first time since 1994. That’s massive disrespect, but to be fair, Indiana has racked up 7 wins this season yet hasn’t beaten Penn St., Ohio St., Michigan, Michigan St., Iowa, Wisconsin, or Minnesota. We can comfortably say Indiana is the 8th best team in the Big 10 (Illinois might disagree), but they can change all that with a win over Penn State!

Tulane at Temple (Opening Line: Tulane (-4.5)): This is kind of a neat game between a couple of 6-3 AAC schools. Temple has become a school that churns out Power-5 coaches (Geoff Collins – Georgia Tech, Matt Rhule – Baylor, Steve Addazio – Boston College, Al Golden – Miami)! Rod Carey is in his first year, but the Owls are already doing a great job & Carey did great work at Northern Illinois before coming to Temple. Obviously Willie Fritz is doing great things in New Orleans with Tulane. Neither of these schools are going to win their divisions within the AAC, but should be a great game against two teams that are ascending with solid head coaches. Worth watching.

Navy at Notre Dame (Opening Line: Notre Dame (-11)): It’s interesting to note that the line has moved to Irish (-7) so people are expecting Navy to keep this one close. Navy has been a solid surprise this year. The Middies were coming off a 3-10 season in 2018 with only 8 starters returning. Most didn’t think they’d make any mark in the AAC, but they’ve opened up 7-1 with their only loss coming to Memphis and now they are ranked. This is going to be a dog fight for the Irish as playing Navy is always difficult. Simply put, this is a must win for Notre Dame. The Irish not only need to finish 10-2, they need to finish a strong 10-2 with style points.

Wake Forest at Clemson (Opening Line: Clemson (-32.5)): This game was a lot more interesting before Wake Forest got waxed by Virginia Tech last week. With Alabama losing, Clemson is now in the top-4 in the playoff rankings and that’s where they will stay. The Deacons weren’t going to beat Clemson anyway, but it would have been interesting to note that if Wake pulled off the miracle of miracles, they could win the ACC Atlantic! Clemson over the past few weeks have hit their stride. They won’t be tested again until the playoffs, but if things keep up as they are, the Tigers likely play Ohio St. in the playoff semi-finals! That game would be CRAZY!

Texas at Iowa St. (Opening Line: Iowa St. (-7)): This is an interesting opportunity for Texas. The Longhorns have back-to-back road games against Iowa St. & Baylor. If Texas were to win both games, they’d put themselves in position to get back to the Big XII title game where they would likely take on Oklahoma. This assumes Baylor loses to Oklahoma. From a talent standpoint the Longhorns can go up against anyone. That much is certain, but they need results on the field. Losing to TCU wasn’t a good look, but their other two losses came against Oklahoma & LSU. Win out & Texas is 9-3 with a couple of chances to get to 10 wins.

Oklahoma at Baylor (Opening Line: Oklahoma (-9.5)): It’s put up or shut up time for the Baylor Beras! Baylor has lived on the edge a bit this season going 5-0 in 1-score games! On the other hand, championship team typically do have very fortunate records in close ones! I think it’s good to keep in mind that even if Baylor loses this one, they can still get to 11-1 and the Big XII title where they will likely get another game against Oklahoma. Even a loss there combined with a bowl win gives Baylor a final record of 12-2 with their two loses likely coming against an Oklahoma squad that is going to finish 13-1. That’s not a failed season by a LONG SHOT! If Baylor wins though? Like Minnesota, they’ll deserve to be in the playoff discussion.

Appalachian St. at Georgia St. (Opening Line: Appalachian St. (-13)): The line here has moved to App State (-17) so nobody is giving the Panthers much of a shot in this one. It’s a long shot to be sure, but if Georgia St. wins out they can finish 9-3 & win the Sun Belt East because they’d own the tiebreaker over Appalachian State! They’d have to win at Georgia Southern who beat App State already, but one step at a time!! Georgia St. is already bowl eligible at 6-3 & they have two great wins over Tennesee and Army. It’s been a great year, but a win here could be tremendous icing on the cake!

November 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2019 NFL FOOTBALL – WEEK 11 GAME PREVIEWS

Pittsburgh at Cleveland (Opening Line: CLE (-3)): Last week the Browns got off the skids by beating Buffalo at home. It didn’t exactly put them back into playoff contention, but the Wild Card in the AFC is going to be fairly soft so that was definitely a step in the right direction. Cleveland also isn’t as bad as their record despite all the black pilling surrounding Freddie Kitchens & the state of the team. The Steelers are playing WAY over their heads right now so don’t be surprised if the Browns win this game. Don’t be surprised if the Browns don’t win out.

Dallas at Detroit (Opening Line: DAL (-2.5)): It would be interesting to see how good the Lions could be if they could get both Matt Stafford & Kerryon Johnson 100% completely healthy for a full 16-game season. That’s not going to happen & the Lions will be without Matt Stafford this week so they might as well mail it in. The Cowboys are coming off a home loss to the Vikings & the Lions aren’t really playoff material this season so this is an opportunity for Dallas to win, and win big. My guess is that Dallas flexes quite a bit in Motown and hopes New England beats the Eagles.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis (Opening Line: IND (-3.5)): The return of Nick Foles! The return of Jacoby Brissett! After losing to the Dolphins at home last week, you can almost see the “must win” situation unfold for the Colts. Jacoby Brissett to Brian Hoyer is a lot like Andrew Luck to Jacoby Brissett. There are significant drop-offs in abilities, but at least with Brissett, he doesn’t beat himself which means the Colts are still a playoff team with him. They are a Super Bowl team with Andrew Luck. Colts win here because I can’t see them losing 2 straight at home.

Buffalo at Miami (Opening Line: BUF (-7.5)): Simply put, there is no way the Dolphins are going to peel off 3 straight wins. It’s not going to happen. The Dolphins are almost becoming a feel good story, but I think this is a definitely a game that speaks to the overall football narrative. Buffalo lost last week to Cleveland in Cleveland because the Browns were never as bad as their record suggested. The Dolphins beating on the Jets & Colts is fairly meaningless, but beating Buffalo starts to erode the narrative that the Bills are a playoff team. Buffalo should win here.

Denver at Minnesota (Opening Line: MIN (-10.5)): The Broncos are now hurting pretty bad at QB with Brandon Allen taking over for Joe Flacco for what looks to be the rest of the season. The Vikings are coming back home after a HUGE road win over the Cowboys. You can argue that the win over Dallas might have been that last hurdle QB Kirk Cousins needed to jump in order for him to take the next step into truly becoming an elite QB. We’ll see how that pans out in future big games, but the Vikings are firing on all cylinders against a below average Broncos squad.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay (Opening Line: NO (-5)): The Saints are coming off a bad home loss to the Falcons where they looked terrible in all facets of the game. That means bad news for the Bucs who are going to be facing a Saints team that should be laser focused. Tampa has shown they can score on anyone but my guess is they force bad Jameis Winston to reveal himself & the Saints win by 20-30 points. That seems ridiculous but the Saints have to be careful here. They can ill afford to travel to Green Bay in January for a playoff game. That has to be avoided.

NY Jets at Washington (Opening Line: WAS (-1.5)): This game appears interesting because it looks like an opportunity for Dwayne Haskins to get his first NFL win as a starting QB, but the Jets are coming off a home win over the Giants & I wonder if they aren’t about to go on a little run themselves. Losing to Haskins wouldn’t be a good look for Jets QB Sam Darnold & Darnold needs to start establishing himself as a future star QB in the NFL. This is actually an interesting narrative game. The Jets aren’t as bad as their record & they have the schedule to make a run at 5-7 wins. If the narrative holds, New York could beat Washington by 10-14 points.

Atlanta at Carolina (Opening Line: CAR (-7)): This is an interesting game. Atlanta is coming off a huge road win over the Falcons, but now must go on the road for a 2nd straight week and take on another potential playoff team in the Panthers. Carolina is coming off a loss to Green Bay and they are 1-2 in their last 3 games. Atlanta’s defense is a problem despite the showing last week in New Orleans and this fits with the Panthers who are going to force feed the Falcons Christian McCaffrey. This keeps the Falcons off the field and gives the Panthers a path to a double digit win.

Houston at Baltimore (Opening Ling: BAL (-5)): I really don’t care about the Watson v. Jackson aspect of this game, but what is interesting is the playoff fallout there. If the Texans win, then Houston has the tiebreaker over the Ravens and will be the #2 seed in the AFC assuming New England beats the Eagles. If the Ravens win, they move to 2 games over Houston in the AFC which is huge as it almost ensures the Ravens a top-2 seed in the AFC. Keep in mind also that if Baltimore loses, they’ll be 2 games behind the Patriots if the Pats win. If Baltimore wins & New England loses, the Ravens would now be the #1 seed in the AFC & the road to the Super Bowl would go through Charm City.

Arizona at San Francisco (Opening Line: SF (-14)): Just two weeks ago the 49ers played the Cardinals in Arizona and escaped with a 3-point win. Don’t expect a repeat performance in the Bay Area. The 49ers are coming off a brutal OT loss to the Seahawks at home & aren’t going to disappoint the hometown fans a 2nd week in a row. Arizona can’t play any defense and I’d be surprised if they come within 15 points of the 49ers. The 49ers D knows what’s coming and that’s bad news for Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray. This is an excellent opportunity for San Francisco to flex.

Cincinnati at Oakland (Opening Line: OAK (-8)): The Raiders had an outstanding game last week in beating the Chargers. This is a huge game when it comes to narrative because it was a must win for LA yet the Raiders came away with a solid victory in a Thursday night game that saw Philip Rivers make a lot of mistakes. Now the Raiders get the Bengals which is a HUGE opportunity for Oakland to build momentum. A win here gives the Raiders 3 straight pushing them to 6-4 going to the Jets next week. Win that game & they are on a 4-game winning streak at 7-4 going to Kansas City!

New England at Philadelphia (Opening Line: NE (-3)): Potential Super Bowl preview? Games like this are really tricky. The Patriots & Eagles are both coming off bye weeks. The week before the Patriots lost to the Ravens, but the Eagles come in on a 2-game winning streak. To me this game is about NFL narrative. It would certainly seem like this is a game the Eagles MUST have especially given that they probably expect the Cowboys to beat Detroit. Is it a must win game for New England? I don’t think so, but it’s the Patriots. Vegas favors New England & that line has moved to NE (-4).

Chicago at LA Rams (Opening Line: LAR (-7.5)): It looks like there are quite a few pundits predicting the Bears to win this game, but I simply don’t see it. The Rams are still a pretty good football team, and while I think the Bears defense could make life very difficult on Jared Goff given the way he’s played so far this season, the Rams as constructed looks better than their team last season. The sky seems like it’s falling at 5-4, but the schedule really does set up for the Rams to win at least 10 games with road games against the Cowboys & 49ers determining whether the Rams go 10-6, 11-5 or 12-4.

Kansas City at LA Chargers (Opening Line: KC (-3)): Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, I’m a complete idiot. Fool me four times and I probably need to be institutionalized. I keep believing in the Chargers. I WANT to believe in the Chargers! I want Philip Rivers to win a Super Bowl, but I’m off the Bolts Bandwagon. Both teams are coming off bad losses. KC to Tennessee & LA to Oakland, but it just seems like the Chargers need a change while the Chiefs are still ascending. This is probably the week LA wins & gives me false hope only to see them lose to the Bengals, but I think KC gets back into the thick of the top seeds in the AFC with a crucial road win here.

November 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2019 NFL POWER 32 – WEEK 10

1. Baltimore Ravens: Last Week Beat Bengals 49-13: The Lamar Jackson hype is reaching critical levels, and I’m not going to say they aren’t warranted because the wins over Seattle & New England were impressive, but I’m not willing to go as far as John Harbaugh & say that Jackson is changing the game in an extremely meaningful way. We’ve seen this before with Michael Vick & Vick never won a Super Bowl or even had a ton of success in the playoffs. Jackson is playing at an incredible level for sure, but we are starting to see defenses adjust to Sean McVay. They’ll adjust to Jackson too.

2. Seattle Seahawks: Last Week Beat 49ers 27-24: Living on the EDGE!!! The Seahawks have gone 6-1 in their last 7 games, but their last two wins have come in OT and of those 6 wins, the last 5 have come by 7 points or less! It was really interesting to see the emergence of TE Jacob Hollister against the 49ers. With the addition of Josh Gordon, the Seahawks can now run 3-WR sets with Gordon, Tyler Lockett & DK Metcalf. That’s going to leave Hollister open A LOT against LBs, a matchup he can win. Hollister was great last night catching 8 balls for 62yds/TD. This offense is getting super scary!

3. New England Patriots: Last Week Idle: The Patriots got a bye week after losing to the Ravens. I think it’s interesting that the Rob Gronkowski rumors are starting to pick up a little bit of steam. The TE position has been sorely lacking for the Patriots this year & Josh Gordon leaving only opens up more holes in the passing offense. After the bye the Patriots play the Eagles, Cowboys, Texans & Chiefs. The passing game is basically Julian Edelman & James White so getting another option to go with those two to make what might be one final run at a Super Bowl seems very feasible. Gronk may return.

4. San Francisco 49ers: Last Week Lost to Seahawks 24-27: You can’t win them all. Tons of missed opportunities in this one for the 49ers. The Seahawks scored 14 points off of turnovers & then missed the FG in OT to win it. Tough game especially when you get out to an early 10-0 lead & the Seahawks look shaken a bit. I would have liked to have seen the Niners be more dedicated to the run. Kyle Shanahan knows how to implement a dynamic run game & has some horses in Tevin Coleman & Matt Breida. Having Jimmy G throw the ball 46 times in a close games seems to be overthinking it.

5. Minnesota Vikings: Last Week Beat Cowboys 28-24: Great win for the Vikings that finally saw Kirk Cousins win a BIG TIME game on the road with playoff implications. That was a hard fought win & it was close, but the Vikings showed that they can be the best team in the NFL. Dalvin Cook was a monster rushing for 97yds/TD but also catching 7 balls for 86 yards. The emergence of TE Irv Smith while WR Adam Thielen is out is going to be a problem for teams going forward. When Thielen comes back, Minnesota is going to STACKED with adding Smith to the mix. This is a very scary football team. Very!

6. New Orleans Saints: Last Week Lost to Falcons 9-26: Biggest upset of the season thus far? The Falcons went into New Orleans as 13-point dogs with a 1-7 record & destroyed the Saints! New Orleans has to be careful here. Losing to the Falcons doesn’t necessarily change the narrative that the Saints dominate the NFC South. That’s happening regardless, but it could change the narrative of the Saints trying to win another Super Bowl while Drew Brees’ window is still open. They need to avoid Lambeau Field in January. They can’t allow the Packers to jump ahead of them in the NFC playoff seedings.

7. Green Bay Packers: Last Week Beat Panthers 24-16: Solid bounce back effort by the Packers after losing to the Chargers in LA the week before. Aaron Jones & Jamaal Williams did a great job running the ball & keeping the chains moving while the Panthers had no answer for the Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams connection. The defense did a solid job keeping Christian McCaffrey relatively contained & forced a couple of turnovers from Panthers QB Kyle Allen. Good teams beat good teams at home which is what the Packers did and they also stayed a step ahead of the Vikings in the NFC North.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers: Last Week Beat Rams 17-12: The Steelers are arguably the hottest team in the NFL right now having won 4 straight & 5 of their last 6 games. In fact, if the season ended today, the Steelers would be the #6 seed traveling to Houston in the Wild Card round, a game they definitely could win! It’s been really interesting to watch the Steelers this season as they are absolutely crushing teams with their ball hawking ability & their ability to get after the QB. They are now +13 in TO margin & +22 in sack differential! You are going to win a lot of football games playing that kind of football.

9. Dallas Cowboys: Last Week Lost to Vikings 24-28: Another weird game for the Cowboys that doesn’t quite fit their narrative. When things are going well for the Vikings, the best thing to do is keep them off the field, but when Dak Prescott throws the ball 46 times and Ezekiel Elliott runs the ball only 20 times, things are WAY OFF! I’m not saying it has to be 50/50, but it can’t be 70/30 in Prescott’s favor either. This game was never out of hand. Dallas has it all backwards. The run sets up the pass & not the other way around. Dak Prescott isn’t Peyton Manning. Not even a half of Peyton.

10. Philadelphia Eagles: Last Week Idle: An off week was a great week for the Eagles as the Cowboys lost which puts Philly in a 5-4 tie with the Cowboys even though Dallas has the edge right now because Dallas won their first meeting. Keep in mind that the Eagles can neutralize that win if they beat Dallas in Philly later in the season. It’s also worth noting that the Eagles remaining road schedule is MUCH MUCH easier than the Cowboys’ remaining road schedule which means the Eagles should be the favorites to win the division. Now it’s just a matter of cashing in on the opportunities, and reaping the rewards.

11. Houston Texans: Last Week Idle: How happy is Houston right now with the Colts absolutely BLOWING IT AT HOME against the Dolphins!? Indianapolis just doesn’t give Houston the AFC South at this point, but they also give them the #3 seed in the AFC! I’m not sure how key that is, but my guess is that Buffalo maybe falls into that #6 seed which is a game I think Houston wins. The next couple of weeks are going to be super important for Houston. Next week they play at Baltimore. The week after that they host the Colts. If Houston wins both, they should at least secure the #2 seed.

12. Los Angeles Rams: Last Week Lost to Steelers 12-17: You aren’t going to win many games on the road when your QB commits 3 turnovers & is sacked 4 times. Since acquiring Jalen Ramsey, the Rams have allowed just 37 points in 3 games (12PPG) which is outstanding, but since grabbing the former Jaguar CB, the offense has gotten steadily worse going from 37 to 24 to 12 points on offense. You have to wonder if DCs around the league have caught on to Sean McVay. The Rams are basically the same team as last year. Todd Gurley isn’t the same but everyone else is. They need to right the ship!

13. Kansas City Chiefs: Last Week Lost to Titans 32-35: Patrick Mahomes put up a Herculean effort by putting up 446yds/3TD but it wasn’t enough for Kansas City as the Chiefs feel to the Titans. The Chiefs drop to 6-4 which is still a half game up on Oakland & 2 up on the Chargers, but the truth is out that you can run on KC at will & if you can manage to be successful with that & keep Mahomes off the field, KC is very vulnerable. The Titans are underrated, but that D is banged up & there are quite a few other teams in the AFC better than they are. If I’m KC I might be a little worried about this season.

14. Oakland Raiders: Last Week Beat Chargers 26-24: If Oakland was going to be a factor in the AFC West, this was a must win game at home against a Chargers team coming off a huge win against the Packers. Oakland took advantage of some huge mistakes by Philip Rivers to build an early 10 point lead which pretty much decided the game. The Raiders D picked the Chargers QB off 3 times, with all 3 being meaningful. If the Raiders can win their home games, they can legitimate finish the season 10-6. That might actually be enough to win the division, but Jon Gruden has them ahead of schedule!

15. Carolina Panthers: Last Week Lost to Packers 16-24: Tough loss for the Panthers giving them their 2nd loss in 3 games, but those two losses have come on the road against the Packers & 49ers who are a combined 16-3. The Panthers are in a tough situation trying to get a Wild Card slot in the NFC. You are going to have to contend with GB, MIN, DAL, PHI, SF, SEA, LA & NO for one of those positions. Including Carolina gives the NFC 9 teams for 6 spots so not everyone is going to be happy. A key for the Panthers is how they’ll play in their own division. They have the Falcons & Saints twice each! Wow!

16. Buffalo Bills: Last Week Lost to Browns 16-19: Tough loss for the Bills but to be fair, the Browns are better than their record & they were playing at home. This game goes back to what we see a lot of from Dallas and even teams like the Ravens when Joe Flacco was playing for them, but why does a close game like this feature Josh Allen throwing the ball 41 times & Devin Singletary getting just 8 carries? The Bills as a team ran the ball just 20 times and the game was never out of hand. Buffalo doesn’t have Julio Jones, Mike Evans & Hunter Henry out there. No picks for Josh Allen though. Nice!

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Last Week Lost to Raiders 24-26: HORRIFIC loss for the Chargers who should have built off that huge 26-11 win over the Packers the week before. I don’t know if it was because of the short week or what not, but a couple of Philip Rivers interceptions to start the game put the Raiders up 10-0 before anyone got their seat warm! From that point forward the Chargers outscored Oakland 24-10. LA took a 24-20 lead with less than 4 minutes left in the game, but let Oakland march down the field to make it 26-24. I simply don’t get this team. How can they keep losing like this?

18. Tennessee Titans: Last Week Beat Chiefs 35-32: GREAT HOME WIN FOR THE TITANS!! Since taking over as starter, Ryan Tannehill is 3-1. You have to give HC Mike Vrabel & the Titans staff a lot of credit in this one. They kept to the gameplan of running Derrick Henry & Henry didn’t disappoint rushing for 188yds/2TD on 23 carries. Tannehill was efficient going 13/19 for 181yds/2TD although he did fumble the ball once. Tennessee is hurting on defense at the moment so giving up 32 isn’t fantastic & the O-Line is spotty especially with Taylor Lewan’s penalties, but the Titans are back in it.

19. Chicago Bears: Last Week Beat Lions 20-13: After losing 4 straight games, the Bears finally got in the win column with a close win affair against a Lions squad without Matt Stafford. It was a solid win for Chicago who played well defensively while Mitch Trubisky had arguably his best game of the season. I’m not sure I’d count the Bears out of anything just yet. Their defense is good enough to keep them in any game they play, but the real trick will be seeing if Trubisky can regain some of that 2018 form. The Bears travel to LA to take on the Rams this week. Let’s see if they can keep the wins coming.

20. Cleveland Browns: Last Week Beat Bills 19-16: Without a doubt this was a must win game for the Browns. Winning this game puts Cleveland at 3-6 which isn’t great, but I don’t think there was any coming back from 2-7 with a home loss to Buffalo. I don’t think Cleveland can catch the Ravens for the North title, but they are 2 games back of the Steelers for the last Wild Card spot & they still have the Steelers twice on the schedule. The Browns have the schedule to win out if they play to potential. They ended the losing streak against the Bills. Now can they keep the winning streak going?

21. Jacksonville Jaguars: Last Week Idle: With the bye Nick Foles gets an extra week of practice before taking the field in his first start this season since breaking his collar bone in Week 1! It’s going to be interesting to see how the Jaguars response. They aren’t out of the playoff picture by a long shot, but the energy is definitely going to be different going from the more “rock star” Gardner Minshew to the stoic Nick Foles. Foles is going to be thrown into the fire the next couple of weeks as Jacksonville has tough road games against the Colts & Titans which should make or break the season for the Jags.

22. Detroit Lions: Last Week Lost to Bears 13-20: The Lions need Kerryon Johnson to take that next step towards playoff contention. The Lions need Matt Stafford to be considered an NFL caliber football team! Not having either of them is an absolute disaster although Jeff Driskel didn’t play terribly & the Lions kept it close in Chicago before falling by 7 points. The Stafford injury is an odd one. Apparently he has broken bones in his back along with some hip issues yet he might play on Sunday! Sounds to me like he probably should be thinking about retirement given those injuries!!

23. Atlanta Falcons: Last Week Beat Saints 26-9: The Falcons hammering the Saints in New Orleans is surprising but should it really be? The Falcons are very similar to the team that almost won a Super Bowl 3 seasons ago. The offense can be outstanding & if the defense can find a pass rush then this team can beat any team anywhere. What happened against New Orleans? The offense played great & the defense was able to sack Drew Brees 6 times! It’s worth noting that the Falcons wins have come against the Eagles & Saints. Maybe they’ll keep disappointing, but they are better than 2-7.

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Last Week Beat Cardinals 30-27: It’s amazing that the Bucs rank #3 in the league in scoring offense. This despite them not really having much of a running game combined with Jameis Winston’s pace of throwing 25 interceptions! It makes absolutely no sense. Also throw in that Tampa’s defense ranks dead last in scoring D. If Bruce Arians can get a 3-4 players on D & a QB that won’t throw picks, Tampa Bay might become a monster squad in the NFC. You have to wonder what a Joe Burrow or a Jake Fromm might do for this team if the Bucs can figure out a way to grab one.

25: Denver Broncos: Last Week Idle: QB Brandon Allen gets a start, beats Cleveland, and then gets a bye week to celebrate. With Joe Flacco out of the season, this is all about whether or not the Broncos believe Allen has any gas left in the tank. My guess is that John Elway is hoping to catch lightning in a bottle this offseason by grabbing Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, or even Philip Rivers. There is some rumor mongering going on about Tom Brady leaving New England if Josh McDaniels leaves, but I doubt Denver is the destination for either of the even if both of them decide to leave.

26. Arizona Cardinals: Last Week Lost to Bucs 27-30: The Cardinals opened the season with a tie against the Lions. Then they lost 3 games. Then they won 3 games. Now they’ve lost 3 games. If they win their next 3, they’ll beat the 49ers, Rams & Steelers! Talk about playing spoiler! Losing in Tampa isn’t that surprising as the Cardinals are a slightly less than version of the Bucs. Arizona can score, just like Tampa Bay can, but they have a hard time preventing teams from scoring. Kenyan Drake & Chase Edmonds have done a great job running the ball. I’d love to see Arizona run the ball a little more.

27. Miami Dolphins: Last Week Beat Colts 16-12: The longest winning streak in the AFC East belongs to YOUR MIAMI DOLPHINS!!! Miami didn’t do anything amazing, but they did take advantage of the opportunities given to them. The Dolphins scored 13 points off of turnovers which included the game winning FG. If Indianapolis doesn’t completely give the game away, they win 12-3. You have to give Miami a ton of credit for not quitting on this season. They know they need a QB, but what if they draft Chase Young in 2020 & wait for a QB in the 2021 NFL draft? Sort of like Cleveland’s plan.

28. New York Jets: Last Week Beat Giants 34-27: Good win for the Jets who bounced back & beat the Giants after they fell to the Dolphins. Then again, the loss to the Dolphins might not look too bad with the way Miami is now playing!! If Le’Veon Bell wants to cry about the offense, he might want to do a little more than run for 34 yards on 18 carries! The difference in the game was a Jets defensive TD although give some credit to Sam Darnold. He finally had a game where he didn’t throw an interception and the Jets came out on top. TE Chris Herndon returned to action which was nice.

29. Indianapolis Colts: Last Week Lost to Dolphins 12-16: That was a disaster of EPIC proportions. It’s one thing for the Dolphins not to quit on a season & keep the games close. It’s another thing entirely when you arguably have a Super Bowl contending roster outside of QB & you get beat by a known tanking team in your own backyard! Brian Hoyer was downright terrible & the Colts have now lost 2 straight games. With Tennessee showing life & Houston at 6-3, the Colts should be in panic mode. They play their next 3 against division opponents. It’s now or never & it looks like it’s never. Horrible.

#30 New York Giants: Last Week Lost to Jets 27-34: You never want to lose games, but after a rough patch, Daniel Jones is starting to hit his stride. Against the Jets he was 26/40 for 308yds/4TD without a pick. In his last 4 games, Jones is 102/157 (65%) for 1063yds (266ypg) with 10TD to just 2INT. He’s averaging 6.8YPA which isn’t great but not horrible either. The Giants are 0-4 in these games, but 3 of the 4 have been close losses. There aren’t moral victories in the NFL but the Giants have to be thrilled with Jones’ progression this season. The G-Men should be a difficult out in 2-3 years time.

#31 Washington Redskins: Last Week Idle: The good news is that the Redskins are going with Dwayne Haskins for the rest of the years so we are going to get a good look at how the Ohio St. product is now that he’s definitely the start. The bad news is that Dwayne Haskins is going to be the starter for the rest of the season & he hasn’t looked anything like a starting NFL QB during his time so far. The Redskins play the Jets this next week & RB Derrius Guice should be playing. A future trio of Haskins, Guice & Terry McLaurin is something to be excited about if Haskins really is the QB of the future.

#32 Cincinnati Bengals: Last Week Lost to Ravens 13-49: The Ryan Finley experiment didn’t go so well & the Bengals fans in the stands were even chanting for Andy Dalton to be brought back into the game. That couldn’t have felt good fort he NC State product. I still think Cincinnati’s biggest problems are their defensive & offensive lines. It’s easy to make the QB the scapegoat, but no matter who they bring in to play QB, if the O-line is terrible it’s not going to matter. The same with the D-Line. If they can’t get pressure on opposing QBs, then they are going to have a very difficult time.

November 13, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2019 NFL POWER 32 – WEEK 9

# TEAM ANALYSIS
1 Computer Hope Last Week Idle: Has to feel good to be the Saints right now. Drew Brees comes back last week & shreds the Cardinals for 300+ yards & now they he gets an extra week of rest because of the bye. Same goes for Alvin Kamara, and Week 9 showed significant flaws in the Packers & Patriots as both teams lost. The Saints finished the first half of their season 7-1 & there isn’t a tough game on the schedule the rest of the way meaning 15-1 is definitely in order & that should be good enough to get the #1 overall seed in the NFC. You can’t really expect the 49ers to finish 16-0.
2 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Cardinals 28-25: Hard to argue with an 8-0 start! Statistically the 49ers are the best team in the NFL ranking 2nd in scoring offense & 3rd in scoring defense. Through half the season, SF is +4 in TO margin & +18 in sack differential. This is an incredibly balanced team & Jimm Garoppolo looks like he is really settling in the last couple of weeks. There aren’t really any stars on this squad outside of TE George Kittle, but the balance is incredible & they are going to be a tough out, especially at home. The defense is great & I love the running game & O-Line!
3 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Patriots 37-20: Outstanding performance by the Ravens who were as efficient as they possibly could be. The defense bottled up Brady & the Patriots running game & the offense was a perfect 4 for 4 inside of the redzone! The Patriots did a pretty good job stopping Lamar Jackson although the Louisville product passed a lot better than I would have expected. What makes Baltimore so dangerous though is that if you key in on Jackson, then they can beat you with Mark Ingram, which is what happened against the Patriots. This is a well balanced team!
4 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Ravens 20-37: Just not a good game for New England. It’s so difficult to go 16-0, and while we have seen the Patriots do it before, it’s not easy. Playing at Baltimore was a very good opportunity for an opponent to squash the reality of a perfect season & the Ravens capitalized. You have to wonder if Belichick wasn’t doing some type of odd strategy here in showing the Ravens nothing. I mean, this is the same Ravens team that lost to the Browns 40-25 & they boat raced the Patriots. I wouldn’t read too much into this loss. Seems rather Belichickian.
5 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Chargers 11-26: Tough loss for Green Bay although not completely unexpected as the Chargers are one of the best teams in the NFL if playing to potential. The Packers couldn’t get anything going vertically at all against the Bolts. Aaron Rodgers was 23/35 but for just 161yds (4.6YPA!!!). The Packers didn’t run the ball all that well & they were terrible on 3rd down. The Chargers did the exact opposite. They ran the ball well, got vertical a lot in their passing game & controlled this game from start to finish. GB didn’t beat themselves but didn’t look right.
6 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bucs 40-34: That was scary!!! On the one hand, you have to be impressed with Seattle’s offensive output. Russell Wilson went for 378yds/5TD! He looks like the MVP! Chris Carson had 105 rushing yards. Both Tyler Lockett & DK Metcalf went for over 120 yards receiving! Everything was working offensively. But defensively the Seahawks were SHREDDED by Jameis Winston & especially Mike Evans who caught 12 balls for 180yds/TD! Seattle’s secondary was CRUSHED & if not for a Herculean effort by the offense, Seattle loses this game. Great win but……
7 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Giants 37-18: The Giants aren’t a great team, but this was an excellent effort by the Cowboys. I don’t necessarily care if Dak Prescott gets more pass attempts than Ezekiel Elliott gets rushing attempts as long as Zeke is in that 25 carry range. Eliott ran 23 times for 139 yards! That’s key & you see the results. Prescott did go 22 of 35 for 257yds/3TD which is great as the Cowboys set up the pass via the run & not the other way around. This is how Dallas win the NFC East & makes a significant run towards a Super Bowl. Let’s see if they can keep this going.
8 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Vikings 26-23: Outstanding effort by the Chiefs defense which really held Kirk Cousins in check & didn’t allow Dalvin Cook any running room as Cook ran the ball 21 times for 71 yards & never really got loose. Matt Moore had an outstanding game as did Damien Williams (12 rushes for 125yds/TD) & Tyreek Hill (6/140/1). Kansas City benefited a bit from the Vikings not really staying within themselves, but this was a huge win for the Chiefs as they get Patrick Mahomes back next week. Kansas City needs to keep repeating this kind of defensive effort.
9 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Chiefs 23-26: The Vikings threw this game away & it showed why Mike Zimmer might not be an elite level HC in the NFL. Up 23-20, the Vikings had the ball midway through the 4th quarter. On first down they elect to throw the ball rather than run the clock out. They did run on 2nd & 3rd down, but for no net gain & punted with a 3 & out. Next possession, KC kicks a FG to make it 23-23. Vikings get the ball back & instead of running the ball, they throw 3 times & it’s a quick 3 & out. KC gets the ball back & kicks another FG to win the game 26-23.
10 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bears 22-14: Outstanding effort by the Eagles in what was a DOMINATING win despite them only winning by 8. Philadelphia’s defense played huge limiting Chicago’s offense to basically nothing. Chicago converted just 2 of 10 3rd downs & only had the ball for about 19 minutes. Offensively, Philly kept the chains moving & punished the Bears all game long with their running attack & timely Carson Wentz passes. This is the type of game the Eagles need to play. The Eagles are 4-2 in their last 6 heading into a bye week. They are rounding into form.
11 Computer Hope Last Week Idle: Despite not playing this past week, the Rams ALMOST had an extraordinary off week. The 49ers came this close to tripping up for the first time on the road against Arizona. The Seahawks needed OT to dispatch the Bucs. Green Bay lost. So did Minnesota. The Vikings throwing a win away against Kansas City was the big one for the Rams as it moved Minnesota down to 6-3, just a half game ahead of LA for the last Wild Card spot which right now is a product of schedule. LA gets a big test next week in Pittsburgh, but they are starting to look a lot better.
12 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Redskins 24-9: The Bills have to be thrilled with how Josh Allen is playing of late. Another game this week, another win & another game where Allen doesn’t throw an interception. In his last 4 starts, Allen is 69 of 112 for 750 yards with 7TD to only 1INT! That’s only 3,000 projected yards over a 16-game season which seems low by today’s standard, but it’s also on pace for 28TD to just 4INT! RB Devin Singletary got 20 carries against the Skins & looked good as well. Buffalo is a solid team. They aren’t elite yet, but they can still get into the playoffs this year.
13 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Titans 30-20: Christian McCaffrey is a 1-man gang! Against the Titans, McCaffrey got 27 touches for 166 yards & 3TD! Kyle Allen threw for 3TD and the Panthers completely took Tennessee out of their gameplan & dominated from start to finish. Allen is now 5-1 as a starter & this squad isn’t just about McCaffrey. He’s the straw that stirs the drink, but his ability to demand a defense’s attention opens up opportunities for Curtis Samuel, DJ Moore & Greg Olsen. If Allen doesn’t make mistakes, Carolina is going to score. Cam Newton’s days are numbered.
14 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Jaguars 26-3: A dominating win for the Texans in London against a division rival. Deshaun Watson was practically perfect going 22/28 for 201yds/2TD & only taking one sack. Carlos Hyde punished the Jaguars D all game long rushing for 160 yards on 19 carries. Duke Johnson led Houston in receiving yards with 68 showing every other team how dominating this RBBC can be. Houston’s defense tortured Gardnew Minshew, forcing the rookie into a couple of fumbles & a couple of interceptions. Indianapolis losing puts Houston back in the driver’s seat.
15 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Colts 26-24: Incredible win for the Steelers. James Conner didn’t play. JuJu Smith-Schuster was shut down. Mason Rudolph didn’t have a good game. Steelers still won! Pittsburgh has now won 3 straight games & 4 of their last 5 to climb to .500 at 4-4. They are very much in the playoff discussion & they now have wins over both the Chargers & Colts meaning they are in excellent tiebreaker situations. The Steelers look outstanding when it comes to TO Margin & Sack Differential. If they keep playing like this, they should be able to get to 9-10-11 wins.
16 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Packers 26-11: After a great win on the road last week in Chicago, the Chargers came home & beat the Packers in dominating fashion in what looks like a game that showed the Chargers are back & looking to get into the playoffs. The win over GB was a solid effort all around & showed how good LA can be when they are playing to their potential. They are 4-5 with 2 straight wins. Next week is on the road in Oakland & then at home against KC before the bye. The Chargers have a REALLY good chance at getting to 6-5 with a shot to win the West!
17 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Lions 31-24: The Raiders are the one team in the NFL that has truly changed their narrative from the beginning of the season. What’s really stood out for Oakland is that Josh Jacobs has already established himself as one of the best RBs in the league & Darren Waller as emerged as an elite TE. The O-line is MUCH BETTER than most anticipated & the edge rushing has been solid. Their back-7 isn’t that great, but the Raiders aren’t a complete team just yet. They should win their next two to get to 7-4 & then they travel to Kansas City. Oakland is for real.
18 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Steelers 24-26: This loss was BRUTAL for the Colts. Remember that Indianapolis has 3 losses, but those losses have come against the Steelers, Chargers & Raiders. If the season keeps going like it is, Indianapolis is going to be fighting the STEELERS, CHARGERS & RAIDERS for the final Wild Card spot & they’ve lost every kind of tiebreaker imaginable now! The Steelers were off & the Colts still found a way to lose this game. If Jacoby Brissett misses significant time, Indianapolis is hurting. If you are a Colts fan, you have to hope they win the AFC South!
19 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Raiders 24-31: This teams needs Kerryon Johnson to be 100% healthy. The Lions right now remind me of the franchise building model of: Lose Big, then Lose Little, then Win Little, and finally Win Big. The Lions are mostly a mixture of Win Little/Lose Little as they are 3-4-1 on the season. They could easily be 7-1 on the season, but they could also just as easily be 0-8. Given their remaining schedule, the Lions could easily be 11-5-1 by season’s end. On the other hand, they just as easily be 5-10-1. You simply never know which Lions team will show.
20 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Panthers 20-30: I get that the Panthers were winning 17-0 at halftime & 24-7 at the end of 3 quarters so if the Titans want to make a run, they need to throw the ball, but Tennessee CANNOT win games if Ryan Tannehill is throwing the ball 39 times a game & Derrick Henry is rushing only 13 times. It’s ridiculous. The Titans have a chance to shake things up next week against a Chiefs team that isn’t very good against the run. However, if the Titans decide to let Tannehill throw 3x as much as Henry runs, they’ll lose yet another game they should win.
21 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Eagles 14-22: The Bears have now lost 4 straight games after starting the season 3-1. Three of those 4 losses have been relatively close so you can certainly make an argument that the Bears could easily be 6-2 instead of 3-5, but offensively, Chicago simply can’t get anything going. There are rumblings that Mitch Trubisky needs to be replaced which is never good for an organization, let alone an organization coming off a 12-4 season that saw them win the NFC North. Could a QB like Philip Rivers come in and push the Bears over that last hurdle?
22 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Texans 3-26: The NFL is a weird place. Two weeks ago, Gardnew Minshew destroyed the Jets D & looked to solidify himself as the face of the Jaguars franchise. He’s brought a lot of excitement & swag to a team that was without hope once Nick Foles went down with injury. Last week Minshew has a terrible game, committing 4 turnovers in a loss to  Houston & new the Jaguars are switching gears & going back to Nick Foles now that he’s ready to go. I get you need to play the player you paid a ton of money too, but this shows a lot of team instability.
23 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to 49ers 25-28: When Andy Isabella took that late 4th quarter pass to the house for 88-yards, there was a glimmer of hope for the Cardinals, but it wasn’t meant to be as they fell by 3 at home to the undefeated 49ers. There is a lot to like here. The Cardinals are 3-5-1 which isn’t great, but they’ve had some close games. I will say that Kyler Murray can play. The ball explodes out of his hands & if he keeps getting better, the Cardinals really do have an elite level QB. They need to keep him healthy & the D needs to get better, but Arizona is a very tough out.
24 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Browns 24-19: Its not a completely shock that the Broncos could beat Cleveland in Denver given how unlucky the Browns have been & continue to be. Brandon Allen isn’t a great QB, but he’s a lot more mobile than Joe Flacco which allows Denver to extend some plays. Noah Fant & Courtland Sutton are serious receiving weapons that Allen was able to use. The Broncos have an above average D that can play extremely well at times. The surprising thing isn’t that Denver beat Cleveland, but rather that the Broncos are 3-6. They should be closer to 6-3.
25 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Broncos 19-24: There is a lot of talk about HC Freddie Kitchens being in over his head, but keep in mind that the Browns are 0-3 in close games & are -8 in TO margin. Baker Mayfield is on pace to finish the season with 3,926 passing yards, but with 24 picks to just 14 TD passes while completing less than 60% of his throws. The Browns are also -2 in sack differential. Kitchens might be in over his head, but his QB has been downright awful this season & they aren’t catching ANY breaks. Given their schedule, this team is capable of finishing 10-6. But will they?
26 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Seahawks 34-40: Good Jameis Winston showed up in Seattle & went 29/44 for 335 yards & 2TD! These are the kinds of games that have to be frustrating for Bucs fans. Good Jameis only shows you what could be the future for Tampa Bay, but there is too much “Bad Jameis” mixed in with the good. The defense was also awful as 34 points should be good enough to win ANY game you play. It wasn’t this week. Tampa needs to a new QB & a couple of more pieces on defense, but this isn’t an horrific team. This is another team that can play the spoiler role.
27 Computer Hope Last Week Idle: Another week and Dan Quinn is still the HC of the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons were off this past week so Quinn didn’t feel a lot of heat for losing yet another game, but there was some good news as it looks like Matt Ryan is going to suit up for Week 10’s game against the Saints in New Orleans. Atlanta’s next two tilts come on the road against the Saints & Panthers so 1-7 is going to turn into 1-9. If you look at the schedule, the best Atlanta is going to do is 4-12/5-11. If the defense steps up, the Falcons could play spoiler down the stretch, but it’s doubtful.
28 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Cowboys 18-37: The Giants did exactly the opposite of what the Cowboys did. At the end of the 3rd quarter, NY was down 16-15 so you have to wonder how a game this close for 45 minutes would produce only 14 rushing attempts for Saquon Barkley yet 41 passing attempts for Daniel Jones!? The Giants were terrible in the red zone as well, but you have to wonder why the offense doesn’t key off Barkley!? I know the NFL is a pass happy league, but when you have arguably the best RB in the NFL, you should probably try to get him the ball quite a bit.
29 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Jets 28-16: Break out the champagne bottles!!!! The Dolphins aren’t going to finish the season 0-16!! The Dolphins aren’t a very good team, that is clear enough, but these guys don’t quite & they are obviously buying into Brian Flores as HC & Ryan Fitzpatrick as their QB. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but the Dolphins might very well get to 2-14 or even 3-13! There was a downside to the loss however. WR Preston Williams has been a huge bright spot for the Dolphins all season long & he tore his ACL in the loss. Very tough break for the Dolphins.
30 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Bills 9-24: Washington didn’t get a victory, but Dwayne Haskins didn’t throw any interceptions so you have to think this is a big win for the Redskins. Adrian Peterson ran for over 100 yards & the Redskins D did a pretty good job limiting Josh Allen & Devin Singletary. The Redskins aren’t awful & there is definitely talent on this team. They’ve played some really good teams really tough so I think it’s just a matter of balls bouncing their way every now & again & then building off that momentum. This is a lost season, but they can still get Haskins reps.
31 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Dolphins 18-26: If you thought things were bad in Cleveland with Baker Mayfield, wait until you get a look at this Sam Darnold kid in New York!! Since coming back from injury, Darnold is 1-3 and has thrown 9 interceptions. Just using his stats over his last 4 starts, Darnold would finish a 16-game season with 36 interceptions to just 20TD while taking 56 sacks! Good grief! New York is better than this, but they clearly aren’t playing like it. I’m interesting to see what the return of TE Chris Herndon can do for this offense when he returns against the Giants.
32 Computer Hope Last Week Idle: It’s going to be really interesting to see what the Bengals do the rest of the season & into the offseason. They made a dumb move by not trading AJ Green before the deadline & getting something in return for him, but this organization needs to move forward without Andy Dalton & AJ Green. Super Bowl teams don’t have track records for having diva receivers & Dalton hasn’t shown anything in the playoffs. The front office needs to get a lot smarter, but the Bengals have at least moved on from Dalton by all appearances. Now they have to avoid 0-16.

November 10, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2019 NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – WEEK 10

# TEAM ANALYSIS
1 Computer Hope Last Week Idle: It’s all come down to this. An 8-0 LSU Tigers squad travels to Tuscaloosa to take on an 8-0 Alabama Crimson Tide team in what should be the game of the year up to this point. What’s interesting about this game considering that we have at best a couple of 1-loss champions in the Pac 12 & Big XII is that a loss in this game is not necessarily killer for either squad. If LSU loses to Alabama but goes 11-1 & Alabama finishes 13-0, then LSU is likely in the playoffs. The same goes the Tide. If they lose, but LSU finishes 13-0, Alabama gets in the playoffs.
2 Computer Hope Last Week Idle: The Buckeyes had the week off before playing Maryland and now we learn that standout edge rusher Chase Young won’t be suiting up against the Terrapins (not that it matters) because of a possible NCAA violation. Is there anyone in Columbus that plays on the football team that doesn’t cheat, beat their wives or somehow run afoul of the NCAA? It sure doesn’t seem like it. Even now if Ohio St. goes on and wins the national championship, they still have the stink of cheater on them. How does a program like this taint themselves this much?
3 Computer Hope Last Week Idle: Rumors are flying around that Nick Saban might use both Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones against LSU this weekend. That would be a daring move if true, and I wonder who well Tua holds up against a defense as fast and as aggressive as LSU’s? Alabama has allowed just 9 sacks in 8 games so Tagovailoa should have great protection throughout the game & if he can come back as accurate as he usually is then he should be fine. The chess match here is Alabama’s receivers up against the LSU secondary. Can LSU slow these guys down a little?
4 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Wofford 59-14: The 21-20 win over North Carolina seems very far away at this point. Clemson hammered Wofford which is to be expected, but again, Clemson looks utterly DOMINANT in their last 4 games, outscoring their opponents 208-45! That’s an average score of 52-11. Against Wofford, Travis Etienne needed just 9 carries to rush for 212yds/2TD! In his last 4 games, Etienne has rushed 56 times for 640yds/6TD (11.4ypc!!). When Etienne rushes for over 100 yards this season, Clemson is 5-0 having outscored opponents 260-59! That’s crazy!
5 Computer Hope Last Week Idle: Huge game for Penn St. this week traveling to Minneapolis to take on the 8-0 Minnesota Golden Gophers! This should be an interesting game, but should it be? Penn St. already has wins over Iowa, Michigan & Michigan State. They’ve clearly established themselves as the 2nd best team in the Big 10 on paper behind Ohio State. Minnesota is also 8-0, but their schedule has been extremely soft to date. People might be a bit shocked to see the Nittany Lions win by 20+ in this one, but I’m starting to think a blowout wouldn’t be that shocking.
6 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Florida 24-17: Huge win for Georgia & puts the Bulldogs back in the driver’s seat with their ability to determine their own fate. The loss to South Carolina still hurts because a loss in the SEC Championship game means 2 losses which would take them out of playoff consideration, but beating the Gators at least should put UGA at 11-1 & SEC East champs by year’s end. A win in the SEC title game puts them in the playoffs. UGA’s defense gave a great effort against Florida. They completely shut down the run game & killed Florida on 3rd down.
7 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Georgia 17-24: You can hardly punish Florida for having 2 losses when those losses have come against Georgia & LSU. Florida couldn’t do much on 3rd down. They were 2 of 9 on 3rd down conversions, but their defense couldn’t get off the field either allowing Georgia to convert 3rd down 12 times out of 18 chances! It allowed Georgia to dominate time of possession & limit Florida opportunities. Florida’s run game was also bottled up. That’s a tough loss but Florida should still finish 10-2 with a New Year’s 6 Bowl invite. Going 11-2 is awesome!
8 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Mississippi 20-14: I don’t know if Gus Malzahn was thinking this way, but watching Auburn/Ole Miss you got to wondering why Auburn was passing so much. Bo Nix had 44 passing attempts which was the most he’s had all season & I can’t help but wonder if Malzahn is tinkering with the offense just a bit seeing how Auburn still has Georgia & Alabama on the schedule & both are home games for War Eagle. I can’t quite see a path for Auburn to win the West, but upsetting UGA & Alabama could put them at 10-2 & take heat off Malzahn’s seat.
9 Computer Hope Last Week Beat USC 56-24: This game wasn’t as close as the final score. The Ducks took a minute to warm up as they went down 10-0 after the first quarter, but from that point forward Oregon outscored USC 56-14. Oregon benefited from a pick-6 and a kick off return TD, but QB Justin Herbert was brutally efficient & Oregon’s run game was able to move the ball at times. The defense forced 4 turnovers which was huge, but they were still a little sloppy allowing 31 first downs with USC converting 9 of 16 on 3rd down. Oregon also had 12 penalties. This win was huge.
10 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Washington 33-28: The Utes never had a lead over Washington in this one until Tyler Huntley ran in for a 1-yard TD early in the 4th quarter that finally put the Utes up 26-21. This was a close game, but tough teams need these types of games to show they can be down at times & still come back & win. Utah did just that in a VERY TOUGH road environment against the Huskies. Utah did what they do. Huntley & RB Zack Moss played well. Utah’s defense forced 3 turnovers & limited UW’s rushing attack. Utah won time of possession. That’s the gameplan.
11 Computer Hope Last Week Idle: The Sooners had the week off after their first loss to Kansas St. last week. Their final 4 games aren’t going to be the easiest as they play Iowa St., Baylor, Oklahoma St. & TCU. HC Lincoln Riley knows that style points matter for Oklahoma at this point. He’s got 4 games that are going to be great opportunities for the Sooners to get BLOW OUT wins and prove to the playoff committee that a 12-1 Big XII champion Sooners team is better than an 11-1 Alabama or LSU squad. It won’t be an easy argument to make, but it’s one Oklahoma can try.
12 Computer Hope Last Week Idle: And so it begins! If you believed in Minnesota (I did) from the beginning of the season then you knew 8-0 was going to be very much in the cards if not an outright foregone conclusion. What nobody knew before the season began was how the last 4 games were going to play out as Minnesota plays Penn St., Iowa, Northwestern & Wisconsin. I will say that Iowa & Northwestern are definitely beatable which leaves Penn St. & Wisconsin which are both home games for the Gophers. They’ve had an extra week to prepare. Now let’s see what they can do.
13 Computer Hope Last Week Idle: The loss to Illinois was humiliating and the loss to Ohio St. on a national stage was outright embarrassing, but Wisconsin can still go 10-2 and win the Big 10 West should they win out. This week they play Iowa, but at Camp Randall. Assuming home field advantage plays their way, Wisconsin should be able to come out of that one with a win. Then it’s back-to-back games against Nebraska & Purdue. Should be a couple of wins which would put the Badgers at 9-2 going into their season finale at Minnesota. Wisconsin is still potentially a top-10 squad.
14 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Maryland 38-7: Is Michigan turning it around at just the right time? I think it’s worth keeping some context with the Wolverines. Everyone is down on them, but since losing to Wisconsin, Michigan is 5-1 & they are a David Bell dropped TD pass in the endzone away from being 6-0 with a road win over Penn State. If that happened then Michigan is 8-1 & probably in the top-6 or top-7 with a shot at Ohio St. to win the Big 10 East. HC Jim Harbaugh hasn’t been the luckiest guy as HC of Michigan, and luck does indeed play a role if even a small percentage.
15 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Virginia Tech 21-20: You could see this coming from a mile away. Brian Kelly might be limited as a HC, but you can’t take away the sinking feeling that Notre Dame needs a QB. Brian Kelly has had Ian Book, Brandon Wimbush, DeShone Kizer, Everett Golson, Tommy Rees, and Dayne Crist as his QBs since taking the job in South Bend! They guy simply can’t identify or develop QB talent & it’s by far the most important position on a football field. ND is banged up & to be fair, their last 4 games are not easy. Losing out is not off the table. Can Kelly survive?
16 Computer Hope Last Week Beat East Carolina 46-43: East Carolina didn’t even have a conference win coming into this game with Cincinnati. They still don’t, but boy did they make this one interesting as the Bearcats almost threw their season away with ECU QB Holton Ahlers SHREDDING the UC defense for 535 yards & 4TD! QB Desmond Ridder wasn’t sharp at all, but Michael Warren ran 141yds/3TD & Ridder chipped in 121 rushing yards himself. If the Pirates had any answer for UC’s rushing attack, ECU would have won by 30! If you are Cincinnati, it’s survive and advance!
17 Computer Hope Last Week Best West Virginia 17-14: Close game for Baylor but the Bears dominated this game from start to finish. They had a 7-0 halftime lead but lost a fumble in WVU territory & then didn’t covert on 4th & goal from the WVU 1-yard line. That’s at least 14-0 if not 17-0 or 21-0 at the half. Denzel Mims fumbled the first pass of the 2nd half after a 35-yard gain. That could have maybe made at least 24-0. Baylor also gave up an 83-yard TD pass in the 3rd quarter that put the Mountaineers on the board. Close game. Scary game, but Baylor handled West Virginia.
18 Computer Hope Last Week Idle: The Longhorns aren’t ranked by any of the polls, but I have a hard time not thinking they are still one of the 25 best teams in the nation considering they’ve suffered close losses to both LSU & Oklahoma. The 10-point loss at TCU doesn’t look pretty at all, but it’s probably a better loss than Wisconsin’s loss to Illinois or Georgia’s loss to South Carolina. Texas needs a lot of help to get back to the Big XII championship game & their remaining schedule isn’t the easiest with road games against Baylor & Iowa St. along with K-State & Texas Tech. Tough!
19 Computer Hope Last Week Idle: Iowa can make a TREMENDOUS case for being 8-0 right now & in the top-5 in the nation behind LSU, Alabama, Clemson & Ohio St., but this is Iowa so they’ve lost close games to Michigan & Penn State. Iowa travels to Wisconsin this week in a game they should be in and should be able to win if they play to their potential. But that’s always the problem. I think the Hawkeyes have the squad that could get to 10-2 & win the Big 10 West, but they’ll need to play well & QB Nate Stanley can’t have off games. They have to win in Madison though!
20 Computer Hope Last Week Beat SMU 54-48: Last week’s game against SMU was BANANAS and it really did come down to who had the ball last as the Tigers recovered an on-sides kick & ran out the clock after SMU closed the game to 6-points. Memphis is a dynamic offensive team that has now put themselves into position to be the Group of 5 team that gets to a New Year’s 6. They still have a hurdle in the way with their season finale against Cincinnati, but I think a lot of people are hoping to see Brady White & Kenneth Gainwell go up against one of the big boys on New Year’s.
21 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Kansas 38-10: There was no letdown at all for the Wildcats as they traveled to Lawrence to take on in-state rival Kansas. Kansas St. PUNISHED the Jayahawks defense by rushing for 342 yards & 5TD on 60 carries. When you think of imposition of will, you think about what KSU did to KU. QB Skyler Thompson ran for 127yds/3TD while Harry Trotter tacked on 92yds/TD on 20 carries. The K-State defense completely shut down Jayhawk RB Pooka Williams & force a couple of turnovers. Beat Texas in Austin & Chris Klieman can finish 10-2 in Year 1!
22 Computer Hope Last Week Beat NC State 44-10: It’s going to be really interesting to see if Wake Forest can finish the season strong. After losing a 3-point stunner to Louisville, the Demon Deacons have bounced back with home wins over Florida St. & NC State, but now go on the road for back to back games against Clemson & Virginia Tech. I don’t expect Wake to beat Clemson, but if they can get by the Hokies then a 10-2 & potential 11-2 season is in play. What gets interesting is if HC Dave Clawson can take Wake to 11-2, what could he do with a big time program?
23 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Houston 44-29: You can forget the rest of the season. UCF is definitely winning out and finish the season 10-2 with their two losses coming against Pittsburgh & Cincinnati by a combined 4 points! Both were road games as well! The only way UCF can win the AAC East is if Cincinnati loses 2 games. You can be sure that UCF was horribly disappointed that East Carolina didn’t pull the upset last week. Still, Cincinnati has games against Temple & Memphis remaining so there is a way for UCF to get to the title game. If not, an 11-2 season is very attainable.
24 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Memphis 48-54: Brutal loss for the Mustangs that now see their path to the New Year’s 6 muddied a bit. The loss to Memphis puts SMU behind the Tigers for the AAC West lead. They are tied with Navy, but SMU gets Navy in Annapolis on November 23rd so SMU can fix that problem with a win over the Middies then. The issues then is Memphis needs to lose another game & the Tigers still have games against Houston & Cincinnati although the Tigers get Cincy in Memphis. This has been an incredible year & a 12-1 season is still there.
25 Computer Hope Last Week Beat San Jose St. 52-42: QB Hank Bachmeier returns & Boise St. ran the ball with authority, but the Broncos got quite a scare from San Jose St. and the defense had absolutely no answer for Josh Love as the Spartans QB torched Boise for 438 yards & 2TD. Boise has some room to make up. In the first playoff rankings released, the Broncos were behind both Memphis & Cincinnati so unless those two stumble, Boise St. could be on the outside looking in when it comes to a New Year’s 6 Bowl. There is still time & San Diego St. could be a huge win.

DROPPING OUT

#25 TEXAS A&M: Last week Texas A&M hammered UT-San Antonio 45-14 to improve to 6-3. The Aggies didn’t do anything to deserve being knocked out of the rankings, but I’m not sure I have them ahead of Boise St., Memphis, UCF or SMU at this time. As always, it’s hard to argue losses to Clemson, Alabama & Auburn, but what really hurts A&M at this point is that they don’t have any good wins. Their best win right now is Mississippi St. which is OK I guess. They need one or two better non-conference opponents & some better SEC East games. They’ll have a huge chance to move up in the rankings as they have games against Georgia & LSU to finish off their season.

November 8, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment