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The Seahawks Secondary – Insight into Scouting

Mike Sando wrote an article for ESPN entitled “The Last Ride of the Legion of Boom: What next in Seattle?” It’s a great read so I suggest you go read it, but what I found most fascinating is the inside look at the scouting Seattle did with some of their secondary players. Here are some interesting quotes within the article:

Chancellor was so unusually large for a safety that some thought he was a man without a position in a traditional defense. He was the same height and weight as Aaron Rouse, a safety Green Bay had selected in 2007, when Schneider was with the Packers. There was discussion in the Seahawks’ draft room over whether Chancellor would struggle in space the way Rouse and other longer-levered safeties had struggled, even though Chancellor had shown enough body control to ultimately temper those concerns.

“I thought Kam was going to be a linebacker,” said former Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan, who was a Seahawks personnel evaluator from 2000 to 2004 and 2010 to 2013. “He was that big, but Johnny [Schneider] and Pete saw it. The thing that is cool about it is, it’s not just the player part, but the person you are getting. Kam didn’t test off the charts, he wasn’t a pretty guy, wasn’t the most athletic, but just a football player through and through, which ended up being the case with all three of them.”

This is really cool insight into Chancellor. Chancellor did grade pretty big at the combine. He measured over 6’3 and weight more than 230lbs. Going by that you would have actually thought he was more of a WIL type of LB especially considering that the Seahawks do run a 4-3 base. He didn’t blow up the combine with his speed either running a 4.62 40-yard dash. This is what is so interesting about player evaluation. Chancellor is SO GOOD because he’s so big but can also play with enough speed/intuition that he can roam as a free safety. It’s an amazing advantage that the Seahawks have enjoyed for the last 6-7 years with Chancellor being a fixture in the secondary.

Sherman was a former receiver under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford who became one of the great draft steals in the fifth round a year after Thomas and Chancellor came to Seattle. Carroll, familiar with Sherman from their shared time in the old Pac-10 Conference, called Sherman “unique and special” on draft day. He reiterated the team’s commitment to selecting players with unusual traits, especially length. (K.J. Wright was another example that year.)

Sherman, taller than most cornerbacks at 6-foot-2, was the 24th of 37 corners drafted in 2011. This was before there were Carroll disciples such as Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn, Los Angeles Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton and San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh targeting similar corners for other teams. That is why Seattle wasn’t especially worried about another team scooping up Sherman earlier. It seems improbable now, but I remember the Seahawks being at least as excited about Appalachian State safety Mark LeGree, whom they selected two spots after taking Sherman and who never played in an NFL game. That’s how unpredictable these decisions can be on draft day.

This is fantastic. You forget sometimes that Sherman came up as a wide receiver! The insight is looking at Pete Carroll talks about selecting players with unusual traits such as length. We don’t often make much of length when talking about football on Sundays, but when you are evaluating talent especially along the D-Line & O-Line along with the secondary, you are always talking about length because it matters so much when you get one-on-one matchups. I also love the last line where Sando states out unpredictable the decisions are on draft day. It really is an extremely inexact science.

The rest of the article is really good but those 2 quotes caught my eye because it gave us a small window into what management was thinking with the draft. What isn’t overtly said in the article is how sometimes things simply come together. Earl Thomas & Kam Chancellor were drafted in 2010. Richard Sherman was drafted in 2011. All 3 made Seattle’s secondary one of the best secondaries in NFL history, but it might not have necessarily broke that way.

Also underscored in the article is that these types of situations don’t last forever. They are magical when they do happen by happenstance, but they do have an expiration date, and we might be seeing the expiration date of the Legion of Boom. What makes the Seattle secondary so amazing is this:

Who knew Earl Thomas was going to be one of the best safeties in NFL history instead of merely being good?

Who knew a 6’3-6’4/235lbs DB could have enough skills to become one of the best free safeties of all time?

Who knew a converted 6’2 WR would become one of the most feared cornerbacks in the NFL?

It really is an amazing confluence of events. Thanks to Mike Sando for telling this story. It’s one of the more interesting ones from a player personnel perspective that led to extreme success.

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November 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NFL POWER 32 – 2017 WEEK 11

This week I’m going to veer on towards a different path with my Power 32. Since it’s Thanksgiving week and playoff talk is heating up, I’m going to discuss each team’s remaining strength of schedule rank as determined by Football Outsiders. This should shed some light on each team’s legitimate playoff chances. If you don’t already read Football Outsiders, I recommend you doing so. They are, to put it bluntly, outstanding. I link to them on my sidebar.

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Cowboys 37-9. Remaining SOS rank = #21. The Eagles hammered the Cowboys in a statement game in Dallas. It’s one thing to beat the Cowboys in Dallas. It’s another to beat them 37-9 when the Cowboys are gunning for a playoff spot! The scary part about Philly’s win is that they ran the ball for over 200 yards! If the Eagles can keep running the football like that, we might as well give them the Lombardi Trophy right now. The remaining schedule isn’t tough. At worst this team finishes 13-3. Incredible year!
#2 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Titans 40-17. Remaining SOS rank = #20. Like there in-state rivals, the Steelers went out & made a statement last week hammering a Tennessee team that is in the running to win the AFC North. Big Ben threw for 299 yards & 4TD while Antonio Brown went nuts! Le’Veon Bell had over 100 total yards & the Pittsburgh defense picked off Titans QB Marcus Mariota 4 times! Pittsburgh remaining schedule is fairly week. They get 4 home games in their final 6 & road dates against the Giants & Bengals. Not bad.
#3 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Raiders 33-8. Remaining SOS rank = #31. Just when you think a team might have a decent shot at upsetting New England, the Patriots put all that fear to rest with another blowout win. We thought Derek Carr might be able to exploit the NE secondary. We thought Khalil Mack might be able to get home against Tom Brady. None of that happened & the Pats won by 25. The Patriots only real game left on the schedule is a road date at Pittsburgh. Even if they lose that game, New England should still finish 13-3.
#4 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Redskins 34-31. Remaining SOS rank = #23. Last week’s win over Washington should put everyone on alert that the boys from New Orleans might actually be the best team in the NFL. The Steelers need Big Ben to win. The  Patriots need Tom Brady to win. The Saints don’t need Drew Brees to win, but when they do need him, he steps up and calmly seals an emotional victory over a decent Redskins team! That’s scary. The Saints have an easier road than either Carolina or Atlanta so they should win the South.
#5 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Rams 24-7. Remaining SOS rank = #16. I’ve been reluctant to push the Vikings up too far in the power rankings because I still think that Case Keenum is quite a bit behind championship level QBs, but as last week proved, maybe it doesn’t matter & maybe Keenum is a lot better than we think if given the right pieces in the right situation. The Vikings defense held the Rams offense to 7 points which should put everyone on notice. Their road is more difficult than the Saints so they need to stay sharp for that #2 spot.
#6 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Browns 19-7. Remaining SOS rank = #29. Did they have a little bit more trouble with the Browns than we expected? Probably, but give the Jags some credit. Cleveland is a pretty darn good rushing defense team & the Jags kept with their rushing attack & Blake Bortles didn’t throw any picks. That’s a solid win & a confidence builder in their overall team strategy. Their remaining schedule is pretty darn weak. That’s a product of a weak AFC South. Their only potential loss is at Tennessee so 12-4 is in sight.
#7 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. Remaining SOS rank = #10. The Panthers got an extra week of rest right before the final stretch of the season begins. Their remaining schedule fairly difficult with road games against the Saints & Falcons as well as a home date with the Vikings. Even if they lose all 3 games, the Panthers will still finish 10-6. If you assume the Saints are going to win the South then essentially you have the Seahawks, Falcons, Panthers & Rams fighting for 3 spots with LA or Seattle guaranteed one of them. Would 10-6 be enough?
#8 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Vikings 7-24. Remaining SOS rank = #11. You can’t be too hard on the Rams for losing at Minnesota. The Vikings could argue having the best defense in the NFL & it wasn’t like the Vikings weren’t a solid team as well. Seattle losing to Atlanta kept the Rams atop the West but most importantly, the Seahawks remaining SOS rank is #5! That bodes well for the Rams if they play to potential because it means the Rams should be able to outlast the Seahawks for the West title if only barely. At worst they go 10-6.
#9 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Seahawks 34-31. Remaining SOS rank = #1. HUGE ROAD win for the Falcons who have seemingly figured things out. I thought Atlanta might start making a run 3 weeks ago against the Panthers in Carolina, but they’ve beaten the Cowboys & Seahawks the last 2 weeks so I was just a week off in my predictions. As you can see, Atlanta’s biggest obstacle might be their schedule. It’s NASTY! Atlanta has a road game against the Saints & home dates against the Saints, Vikings & Panthers. They have to win home games.
#10 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bears 27-24. Remaining SOS Rank = #17. The Lions are a tough team to really look at. I rank them 10th because they won last week when a lot of teams lost. Also because Matt Stafford has a penchant for late game heroics that you really can’t account for. They have road games against Ravens, Bucs & Bengals. Those aren’t going to be easy games & they also get the Vikings in Detroit on Thanksgiving. Detroit really needs to win their home games. Let’s see where they stand after playing the Vikings on Thursday.
#11 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Giants 9-12. Remaining SOS Rank = #32. The Chiefs look like they are imploding going 1-4 in their last 5 games, but they’ve lost by a total of 21 points in those 4 losses & in their last 5 games, their point differential is sitting at -11! The Chiefs have 4 of their remaining 6 at home with the road games coming against the Jets & Broncos. Kansas City obviously has the weakest remaining schedule. If they can defend Arrowhead they should finish 12-4. Unfortunately those close losses probably cost KC a first round bye in January.
#12 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Packers 23-0. Remaining SOS Rank = 24. The Ravens had a convincing win over a week Green Bay team, but you get a little insight. The Ravens ran the ball, but Joe Flacco had more pass attempts. At this point I’m not sure what to think. I’d ride Alex Collins & Javorius Allen until their legs fall off, but maybe John Harbaugh really doesn’t have confidence in his runners which means Flacco throws more? Their remaining isn’t hard at all so the Ravens could finish 10-6. The have a date with Pittsburgh but that’s it.
#13 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bills 54-24. Remaining SOS Rank = #26. The Chargers simply have to avoid close games if they want to win! I’m sure if the game was 20-17 then the Chargers would have somehow lost. If the spread is 30? CHALK UP A WIN FOR THE BOLTS!!! The Chargers remaining schedule isn’t brutal considering it ranks #26. They have 3 home games they should win which would give them 7 victories. Their remaining road games come against the Cowboys, Chiefs & Jets. Assuming they lose to Kansas City, the Chargers have to win their remaining games to finish 9-7. Would that be enough to snag that final wild card slot in the AFC? They need help.
#14 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Falcons 31-34. Remaining SOS rank = #5. The loss to Atlanta is devastating especially coming off a home loss to Washington two weeks prior. The Seahawks are getting hammered by the injury bug especially in their secondary, but the 12th Man hasn’t helped them either. Incredibly, the Seahawks are 3-2 this season at home. If they had won those two losses, they’d be 8-2 instead of 7-4 & in perfect position. Their remaining schedule isn’t easy with games coming against the Jags, Cowboys, Rams & Eagles. Ouch!
#15 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Saints 31-34. Remaining SOS rank = #28. The Redskins are beginning to challenge the Chargers for being the most unlucky team in the NFL. Kirk Cousins is playing like a MONSTER and the Redskins simply can’t catch breaks. At 4-6, they are right there with the LA Chargers for best team at 4-6. Their remaining schedule isn’t difficult at all, but it might be a case of too little too late. Even if the Redskins were to win out, they’d finish 10-6 which might not be enough with Carolina & Atlanta hanging around! Here’s hoping!
#16 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Eagles 9-37. Remaining SOS rank = #13. The last couple of weeks the Cowboys have had plenty of opportunity to how the rest of the league that they are viable playoff contenders. They muffed it. The last two weeks have seen America’s Team lose to the Falcons & Eagles by the combined score of 64-16! A playoff contender the Cowboys aren’t. Their remaining schedule isn’t easy. They get the Chargers, Redskins, Seahawks & Eagles & 3 of their final 6 are at home. If they defend Jerry World, they have a shot at getting to 10-6.
#17 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Patriots 8-33. Remaining SOS rank = #14. I’m really disappointed with Oakland’s showing against New England especially because it came in the Bay Area. Oakland had a  solid chance at proving their worthiness among AFC playoff contenders & got hammered. Oakland’s schedule isn’t easy & what really sticks out is that they have 3 remaining road games against the Chargers, Eagles & Chiefs! It’s hard to see Oakland winning those games meaning at best they finish 7-9. That’s not going to be good enough.
#18 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Steelers 17-40. Remaining SOS rank = #25. At what point do you have to be concerned about Marcus Mariota? I know we all want to believe the 4-pick game against the Steelers was a fluke, but former Heisman winner is having his worst season in the NFL by a long shot &  to a degree it has been covered up because the Titans are 6-4. The remaining schedule is a joke outside of their final 2 games which are home dates against the Jaguars & Rams. Even if they lose those 2 games, they still should finish the year 10-6.
#19 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Chargers 24-54. Remaining SOS rank = #27. The Bills made a horrific mistake in taking the ball away from Tyrod Taylor & giving to a rookie QB who wasn’t ready. If the Bills had been playing Cleveland or Arizona then maybe starting Peterman wouldn’t have been awful, but against the Chargers who can flat get after QBs? That was a terrible decision. The Bills remaining SOS is tricky. Of their final 6 games, they get the Patriots twice & the Chiefs. They need get a win there to have a shot at finishing the year 9-7.
#20 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. Remaining SOS rank = #3. The Jets are 1-4 in their last 5 with a score differential in those 5 games of -7! The Jets are sitting at 4-6, but people don’t realize just how close they are to being 9-1 and that’s with Josh McCown as their starting QB with not very much to use with their skill position players. The schedule makers didn’t do New York any favors as 5 of their last 6 games against the Panthers, Chiefs, Saints, Chargers & Patriots. The Jets aren’t going to make the playoffs, but if they get a QB, other teams will be put on notice.
#21 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Ravens 0-23. Remaining SOS rank = #6. Losing Aaron Rodgers isn’t ever good, but it’s amazing to think of how many holes his play was covering for this Packers squad! Losing 23-0 to the Ravens? Wow. Even if Rodgers were playing, the remaining schedule would be daunting as the 6th most difficult. They have remaining games against the Steelers, Panthers, Vikings & Lions. All are road games except against Minnesota which you could definitely argue is the most difficult. At best the Packers an finish with 6 wins in ’17!
#22 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Lions 24-27. Remaining SOS rank = #15. Lose by a lot. Lose by a little. Win by a little. Win by a lot! I hope the Bears management is patient with John Fox & Vic Fangio because I think those guys are on to something with this Bears team. The coaching staff showed a lot of adaptability by trying to get Tariq Cohen the ball last week against Detroit. Hopefully that continues this week because I think the Bears are a few skill players on offense away from being very competitive in the North. No playoffs this season though.
#23 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Broncos 20-17. Remaining SOS rank = #4. Great win for the Bengals that kept them in the playoff race if only on the periphery. The story of Cincinnati’s season is that their parts are better than the sum. I think they are right to keep riding Joe Mixon. He hasn’t been a star, but I think he’s gaining valuable experience that the Bengals will reap big benefits in the future. The schedule is too tough to do anything, but you wonder if there won’t be quite a shake up in the Queen City should the Bengals finish the year 6-10/7-9.
#24 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Dolphins 30-20. Remaining SOS rank = #2. When you are the worst team in the NFC South, your remaining schedule is going to be next to impossible! In their final 6 games, the Bucs have to play the Falcons (twice), Panthers, Packers, Saints, & Lions! Tampa could easily wind up 4-12/5-11 on the season which probably will cause some shake up to the Bucs staff. What has to be interesting is Tampa Bay being 2-0 with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starting QB. I know it was just the Dolphins & Jets, but still. Wins are wins.
#25 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Bucs 20-30. Remaining SOS rank = #18. If you can’t beat a Bucs team starting their backup QB at home, then you have no business being a contender in the NFL. I don’t think Miami is as big a disappointment as either the Giants or Bucs, but they are getting close. What I wonder about the most with Miami is how good of an on-air color guy would Jay Cutler have been? Tony Romo is absolutely killing in the booth so it would have been interesting to see how good Cutler could be. I like him playing football though too.
#26 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. Remaining SOS rank = #22. Indianapolis is coming off a bye but they’ve showed quite a bit of moxie the last couple of weeks in beating the Texans in Houston & then coming home & almost upsetting the Steelers. At 3-7, the Colts are almost an afterthought when it comes to the postseason, but should they be? The remaining schedule isn’t brutal so the question becomes whether or not Indianapolis can win out. It wounds absurd but their only really tough game left is a road date with the Jaguars. Could 8-8 get them into the playoffs?
#27 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Chiefs 12-9. Remaining SOS rank = #12. That was a pretty amazing win for the Giants in what otherwise had been a dismal season. They are by far the most disappointing team in the NFL so let’s not overthink the win. Everything pretty much went wrong for KC and the Giants still needed OT to beat Kansas City. The offense is still absurdly bad & the remaining schedule isn’t kind. I think the Giants are one of the most interesting teams going into the 2018 draft. They need help at RB, QB & O-Line. How do they fix their issues?
#28 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Cardinals 31-21. Remaining SOS rank = #19. How about a dub for your troubles!! Tom Savage threw a couple of TDs while the combination of D’Onta Foreman and Lamar Miller ran for over 120 yards. That’s a pretty good blueprint for the Texans to stay in games, but it’s so hard to have a receivers like DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller and not want to constantly air it out. Their remaining schedule is tough. Four of the last 6 are on the road & they get a home game against Pittsburgh. When does Deshaun Watson start rehabbing?
#29 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. Remaining SOS rank = #7. I wonder what the 49ers are doing? This week against the Seahawks they have named CJ Beathard the starter meaning we are at a minimum of another week before Jimmy Garoppolo  makes his San Francisco debut. You would think the Niners want to at least see what they have in Jimmy G before going into next season with him as their point man, but maybe that is what they are thinking. Grab Saquon Barkley in the draft, pair him with Garoppolo and try to make a run with that young defense.
#30 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Bengals 17-20. Remaining SOS rank = #30. Losing at home to the Bengals was killer. Now the players are rebelling against John Elway’s claim that the team is soft. It’s amazing to think that a couple of years ago this team won the Super Bowl and now they seem like a dysfunctional mess. Trevor Siemian is done. Now the team thinks Brock Osweiler is done. Paxton Lynch is finally going to get his chance to start this week against the Raiders in Oakland. Denver’s SOS isn’t bad, but it’s far too little & far too late for them.
#31 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Texans 21-31. Remaining SOS rank = #8. If you can’t beat Tom Savage then something isn’t going right. Without David Johnson & without Carson Palmer you knew the Cardinals offense was going to struggle to score points, but what in the world is going on with the defense? Arizona gave up 31 to a Tom Savage led Texans squad & is allowing over 25 points per game which ranks 25th in the NFL! Should they be in the playoffs given their injuries? Probably not but the defense should have kept them relevant.
#32 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Jaguars 7-19. Remaining SOS rank = #9. Cleveland suffered another close loss in an attempt to get their first win of the season. It’ll be interesting to see what Cleveland does in the draft. There is some call that the Browns finally draft a no-doubt franchise QB such as Josh Rosen, Josh Allen or Sam Darnold. Darnold could return to USC so it’s possible the Browns go with Rosen or Allen. I don’t think they draft Baker Mayfield or Lamar Jackson. At 0-10 you can hardly accuse Cleveland of being good, but there is something here.

November 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2017 NFL FOOTBALL – WEEK 12 BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope Huge NFC North game. The Lions have already beaten Minnesota so a win here keeps Detroit perfect in the North & gives them a season sweep over the Vikings. More importantly, it draws Detroit to just one game behind Minnesota in the division. A Detroit loss puts the Lions back 3 with 5 games to play. That’s too much to overcome & the division is lost. The Lions also need to win because of the wild card. They have to win a slot outright. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Since this is an AFC-NFC game it might not mean much as far as tiebreakers are concerned, but this is a huge game for both teams. Dallas’ loss last week to Philadelphia sealed their fate. They are 4 back of Philly with 6 to play. The division isn’t happening, but they are just 1 game back of the Falcons for the last wild card. Dallas isn’t out of it, but they are close. The Chargers of course are in it. The key here is Tyron Smith. If he doesn’t play, LA wins. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Washington was victimized by their own schedule. After starting the year 3-2, the Redskins have been 1-4 in their last 5 games with losses coming to the Cowboys, Saints, Eagles & Vikings. Even the win was difficult as it came against the Seahawks in Seattle! Washington gets a reprieve this week to improve to 5-6. I don’t think the Giants can beat Kansas City & then come back & beat the Redskins at home. The Skins can’t afford to lose. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This is how playoff runs start. Atlanta is coming off a great victory over the Seahawks in Seattle which pushed the Falcons into the playoffs should the season have ended after Week 11. Now at 6-4, they come back home & get a Tampa Bay team they should have no issues beating. That puts Tampa Bay at 7-4 & closer to getting back to the playoffs to defend their NFC crown. I wouldn’t bet on it, but Atlanta seems to have discovered their swagger. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The AFC Wild Card race is so bizarre that the Bengals are still actually viable. Remember that the Ravens right now are the 6th seed at 5-5. Cincinnati is 4-6 so they are just a game out. There is so much football left to be played & to be honest, it’s almost a bit baffling why the Bengals aren’t better than they’ve shown. Offensively they should be A LOT better and the defense is pretty solid. A win here could inspire a little bit of confidence. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Titans need to be on upset alert here. The Colts have some definite flaws, but they showed against Pittsburgh last week that they can play a little football when motivated. I’m interested to see if the Titans use their running back duo of Demarco Murray & Derrick Henry to tire out a leaky Colts defense before hammering Indy in the 4th quarter & winning the game by 3TD. If the Titans strategy is bad, Indianapolis could keep this one close. Computer Hope
Computer Hope So that Nathan Peterman experiment didn’t go so well. The Chiefs are hemorrhaging pretty bad at this point, but will their struggles be enough for Buffalo to steal a win and get right back into the wild card? This should be one of the best games of the week. I think the Bills bounce back strong with Tyrod Taylor under center. I also think Kansas City is bound to start playing better at some point, but I’m not sure it’s this week. Should be a game! Computer Hope
Computer Hope The rich get richer. The Patriots get a Thanksgiving week home game against a Dolphins team that isn’t very good. This means New England rolls to 9-2 & keeps improving their position within the AFC playoff race. I don’t see Miami having much chance in this one, but I do think seeing how Jay Cutler plays will be interesting. New England’s defense has tightened up considerably since the first couple of weeks, but they’ll give up some yards. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Jets are a pretty feisty team this season and they get this one at home meaning Carolina should be on upset alert. The Jets have a very young and fast back-7 on defense and Cam Newton at times can get interception happy. That might be a recipe for disaster against a ball-hawking Jets team. On the other hand, a game like this is one in which a championship team gets it done. If Carolina fancies themselves an ELITE team, this is a game they win. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Mitch Trubisky against the Eagles Front-7? EEEEEK!!!! This is a terrible matchup for Chicago. If there is one aspect of the Eagles defense that maybe you can attack, it’s their secondary but the Bears have nothing on the outside so it’s going to be pretty limited. Chicago did a good job trying to get Tariq Cohen the ball last week and they should continue to do so. They have to get the ball to their ELITE playmaker out in space if they have a chance. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The 49ers named CJ Beathard the starter here so this should be a relatively easy win for the Seahawks who need a win desperately bad. The Seahawks are becoming the walking wounded. It wasn’t enough they they are without Richard Sherman & Kam Chancellor. In their last game, DBs Shaq Griffin & Mike Davis left too leaving the Seattle secondary in tatters. The Seahawks also waived Dwight Freeney this week. A win could raise spirits. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Oakland at 4-6 is still in it. It’s very conceivable that Buffalo, Baltimore, LA Chargers, Miami, NY Jets & Houston all lose while Oakland wins. You would definitely have to go to the tiebreakers, BUT the Raiders would at least be tied with everyone for the final wild card spot at 5-5. Considering the kind of year Oakland has had, it would be nothing short of a minor miracle for them to reach the playoffs, but aren’t you rooting for Derek Carr!? Computer Hope
Computer Hope Wow. The Rams played on the road last week against the Vikings and then come back home to play the Saints! I think this is a game where the Rams win. LA is too good a team to drop two straight games while the Saints just won an emotional thriller over the Redskins a week ago. Can New Orleans carry that over or will there be some let down? It’s worth noting that if the Rams lose & Seattle wins, the Seahawks would move into 1st. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This game reminds me a lot of Carolina/NY Jets. Jacksonville is starting to flex quite a bit and the Cardinals should prove to be no trouble for the Jaguars if the Jaguars really are the Super Bowl contenders I think they can be. Games like this have no upside to the favorites. If they win it’s no big deal because they were beating a team they should beat. If they lose, it’s a game that proves insanely meaningful when it comes to securing a playoff spot. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This would be an amazing game if Aaron Rodgers were playing. It would be a Super Bowl rematch but also a potential Super Bowl preview for this season. Instead, Pittsburgh should roll through this one relatively easy as Green Bay is starting Brett Hundley who keeps reminding us of why he is indeed a backup QB. Pittsburgh’s offense is starting to click a little bit. The scored 40 points last week against Tennessee & average 27+ in their last 4. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I don’t think this should be much of a game for the Ravens & Baltimore could solidify their hold on a playoff spot with a win here. It becomes annoying to constantly talk about Baltimore’s running game, but I think the Ravens need to pound the rock to get a win here. It’ll be interesting to see if Houston tries to turn the tables a bit behind Lamar Miller & D’onta Foreman. Houston can run the ball a little too & if they control the clock, they could win. Computer Hope

November 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2017 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS AFTER WEEK 11

1 2 3 4 5 6
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7 8 9 10 11 12
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13 14 15 16
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NFC ANALYSIS

1. EAGLES: The Eagles keep winning & trying to pull away with the #1 overall seed but New Orleans & Minnesota keep pace every week with wins of their own. The Eagles are 7-0 against conference opponents which is just a game ahead of both the Saints & Vikings. Amazingly enough, Philadelphia doesn’t play either the Saints or Vikings this year so there are no obvious tiebreakers between Philly and their closest threats.

2. VIKINGS: Every week matters. The Vikings beat the Saints in Week 1 which is why the Vikings are the #2 seed & not New Orleans. I keep coming back to this but how amazing is the difference between the #2 & #3 seeds? You can almost argue that the #1 seed doesn’t have that much value over the #2 seed, but the value the #2 seed has over the #3 seed is enormous.

3. SAINTS: The win over Washington this past week made the Saints feel like a team of destiny. Drew Brees is absolutely one of the best QBs to ever don an NFL jersey. It would be fitting if the Purdue product could get himself another Super Bowl ring the way Peyton Manning was able to do with the the Broncos. Brees is already a legend but getting 2 rings for the Saints would be historic.

4. RAMS: Tough loss to Minnesota which drops the Rams to 7-3. The Seattle/Atlanta game was pretty big for the Rams. The Rams actually would be behind Carolina in the tiebreaker had the Seahawks won. That would have dropped the Rams from the #4 seed to the #6 seed. That’s a big drop. Instead of potentially hosting Carolina in the first round, they would have been visiting New Orleans!

5. PANTHERS: The Panthers have to be thrilled to be sitting at 7-3 and just one game behind the Saints. Carolina lost a home game earlier in the year to New Orleans which hurts quite a bit because they still have to play at  New Orleans which could mean another loss. The Panthers also have a remaining road game against Atlanta, but even if they lose both games, they should finish 11-5.

6. FALCONS: It’s worth noting that the Falcons are 6-4 currently. Last year after 10 games the Falcons were 6-4. Last year the Falcons ended the season on a 5-1 run that resulted in a berth in the Super Bowl! Don’t count out a repeat. Four of Atlanta’s final 6 games come at home & they have a very winnable road game against the Bucs. Another 5-1 ending would put Atlanta at 11-5!

7. LIONS: Detroit gets the nod over Seattle for the #7 seed because of a better conference record. The Lions are closer to Atlanta for the last wild card spot but you have to wonder if Detroit wouldn’t have an easier time trying to overtake the Vikings for the NFC North than either the Falcons or Panthers for the last wild card game? The Lions have already lost to Carolina & Atlanta meaning they are in tiebreaker hell should it come to that.

8. SEAHAWKS: The loss to Atlanta stinks because a win would have put Seattle in the driver’s seat in the NFC West. Then again, it doesn’t really matter. Yes the Seahawks are a game behind the Rams, but they’ve also already beaten the Rams once this season & they’ll play the Rams again in Seattle. If the Seahawks get a season sweep, then all they need to do is tie the Rams record to win the West.

9. PACKERS: Green Bay beat Dallas earlier in the season so they get the #9 seed in the battle between the 5-5 squads. Green Bay has remaining road games against the Steelers, Panthers & Lions. They also have a home game against the Vikings meaning the Packers are going to be extremely lucky to get to 8-8. It won’t be enough.

10. COWBOYS: The Cowboys desperately needed to beat either the Eagles or Falcons the last couple of weeks & came up empty on both counts. The season isn’t lost on Dallas because they have winnable games in 5 of their last 6 with the only almost certain loss coming on the road to the Eagles. If they finish end the season on a 5-1 streak, they’ll finish 10-6 which I think will be one game short of the wild card.

11. REDSKINS: Washington isn’t completely finished but they need to finish strong and hope for help. They have winnable games in their final 6 but even if they win out they’ll be 10-6 & will be under the same gun the Cowboys will be, hoping that Atlanta, Seattle or Carolina falter quite a bit down the stretch. Would have been interesting to see a fully healthy Redskins team this year.

12. CARDINALS: Four of Arizona’s final 6 games are coming against playoff teams meaning even if they win the other two games, the best Arizona can hope for is 6-10. This team is starting Blake Bortles and they have games left against the Jags, Seahawks & Rams. Those are guaranteed losses! It should be a very interesting off season in Phoenix.

13. BUCCANEERS: The Bucs are screwed. They are currently 4-6 with their last 6 games coming against the Falcons twice, Panthers, Saints, Lions & Packers. Maybe they get lucky & beat Green Bay, but the game is in Lambeau so that is no sure bet. Tampa Bay might be headed towards 4-12 for crying out loud. That’s insane given the preseason hype surrounding the team.

14. BEARS: Kind of crazy to think this team is 3-7 with 2 of their 3 wins coming against the Panthers & Steelers! The Bears are 0-3 in their last 3 games but could just as easily have been 3-0 which means they could be sitting at 6-4 and in the thick of the playoff race. They aren’t going to the postseason but they could potentially win 3-4 more games making them 6-10/7-9.

15. GIANTS: Lose to the 49ers one week, come back and beat the Chiefs the next! Who knows!? Winning a 2nd game put the Giants drafting 3rd now behind both Cleveland & San Francisco. They can’t win too many more games or else their draft prospects keep getting worse & worse!

16. 49ERS: If the 49ers want to avoid their worst season in franchise history they are going to have to win road games against the Bears & Texans. The other games they have on the slate are almost guaranteed losses no matter if Jimmy G comes in and plays like the 2nd coming of Tom Brady. The best the 49ers can hope for is 3-13.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 11

#6 ATLANTA @ #3 NEW ORLEANS
#5 CAROLINA @ #4 LOS ANGELES

NOW WE ARE TALKING! How is this for a wild card foursome: Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton & Jared Goff!? I say this every week and I’ll keep saying it, but the potential #4 v. #1 matchup between the Eagles & Rams is incredible. Goff v. Wentz could be another Manning v. Brady in the making so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes down. Something else that is subtle that probably needs mentioning. The Saints might be the most dangerous team in the NFC right now. Keep in mind that in this scenario, Brees will play his first game in a dome against the Falcons. A win there & he’s going off to Minnesota to play the Vikings indoors which will be right up his alley. If the Eagles win their divisional game & Brees can beat the Vikings on the road, he’d then have to travel to Philadelphia & potentially battle the elements to get back to the Super Bowl. Brees is 1-4 all time in the playoffs on the road. That one road win? It came in Philadelphia!



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AFC ANALYSIS

1. STEELERS: The Steelers still hold the #1 spot over New England because their conference record is better than New England. This is a function of Pittsburgh playing more more conference game than the Patriots at the moment, but these two will be able to settle their differences on the field in mid-December. Unless one of the teams screws it up, that game probably decides the overall #1 seed in the AFC.

2. PATRIOTS: Does home field really matter to the Patriots if the Steelers are the home team? In his career, Tom Brady is 5-2 all time in the Steel City. He’s also 5-0 at home meaning Brady in his career is 10-2 all time against the Steelers! I guess if Brady is going to lose to Pittsburgh, it’s probably going to be in Heinz Field, but he doesn’t really lose to Pittsburgh so maybe it doesn’t matter.

3. JAGUARS: At 7-3 the Jaguars are just a game behind both Pittsburgh & New England, but the Jags have one more conference loss than both of those teams. One thing to note about the Jaguars is that they beat Pittsburgh earlier so if they find themselves tied with the Steelers at the end, they win the tiebreaker. That could very well could determine the #2 & #3 seeds in the AFC!

4. CHIEFS: The Chiefs are 6-4 but are slowly imploding. They are 1-4 in their last 5 games and lost to the Giants with 2 weeks rest! What is going on? The question is can Kansas City hold on to the West? Given their schedule it seems likely, but their dreams of getting a bye in the first round are now over. They are likely hosting a wild card game & then either going on the road to Pittsburgh or New England.

5. TITANS: Losing to Pittsburgh this past week showed the Titans weren’t ready for prime time, but their schedule is such that they shouldn’t have any issues finishing 10-6. If they can steal a game then they could get to 11 wins, but I’m not sure that is enough to overtake the Jaguars by season’s end. Regardless of what happens, Tennessee looks destined to play the AFC West winner in the wild card.

6. RAVENS: Baltimore seems poised to win the battle of attrition for the last wild card spot. Buffalo going to Nathan Peterman was a complete disaster & the Ravens blanking the Packers leads Baltimore to the #6 seed. The Ravens need to win the rest of their games in Baltimore. If they do that, then they have a very good chance at finishing the season 10-6. Given their injuries, it would be a minor miracle.

7. BILLS: The Bills are behind Baltimore because they have a slightly worse conference record than the Ravens. Do they beat the Chargers if Tyrod Taylor is the QB? Who knows. What I do know is that the loss cost the Bills quite a bit. If Buffalo had beaten the LA Chargers on Sunday, Buffalo would have moved up to the #5 spot in the playoff seedings by virtue of a  better conference record than the Titans. Opportunity lost.

8. DOLPHINS: The Dolphins have the 3rd worst point differential in the AFC and have lost 4 straight games, but here they are still #8 in the seedings and just a game behind Baltimore for the last wild card spot! Two games against the Patriots and one against the Chiefs are almost sure losses meaning AT BEST the Dolphins will finish 7-9 and that’s not good enough.

9. JETS: At 4-6 the Jets are better than people thought but their remaining schedule is brutal with almost 5 guaranteed losses. That means the Jets might wind up losing 11 games and possibly more depending on whether or not they can win the games they have a chance to. Still, if they can figure out a way to 6-10 or even 7-9, this season will have been a huge success.

10. BENGALS: So how do the 4-6 teams break this way? The Chargers beat Oakland so they own the tiebreaker over the Raiders. The Jets, Dolphins, Bengals, Texans are the other 4-6 teams from the other divisions. The Dolphins own the tiebreaker over the Jets due to their better division record although the teams have split during the regular season. That leaves Miami, Cincinnati, Houston & Los Angeles. None of these 4 teams have played the other 3 so best conference record wins. That means the Dolphins are the best of the 4-6 squads because their conference record is 3-3. That elevates the Jets to go with Cincy, Houston & LA. At 4-4, the Jets own the best record of the 4. That leaves Cincy, Houston & LA. Even though Houston beat Cincinnati earlier, the Chargers haven’t played either so best conference record wins which is Cincinnati at 4-5. That leaves Texans & Chargers. Houston has the better conference record so they are 11th. The Chargers all in line at 12th and the Raiders fall to 13th.

11. TEXANS: Four Houstn’s final 6 games are on the road & they will have 4 games against teams who will certainly be playing for playoff position. Their only winnable are a road game against Indianapolis and a home game against the 49ers. At 4-6, the best Houston can probably get to is 6-10. At worst they could be 4-12.  Even is Houston steals a game or two, it won’t be enough.

12. CHARGERS: The Chargers are 4-6 after administering a BEATING to the Bills and rookie QB Nathan Peterman. Amazingly enough, the Chargers find themselves in 2nd place in the AFC West just two games behind the reeling Chiefs. San Diego doesn’t have the easiest of schedules, but if they can find some momentum, this team is still a playoff caliber team. I’m rooting so hard for them!

13. RAIDERS: Despite the thrashing at the hands of the Patriots, Oakland, like their division mates Los Angeles, are still in the playoff hunt. The 4-6 is only a game out of first place & remember that last week the Raiders were the #8 seed! Losing a conference game was tough on their seedings, but Oakland has two very winnable games coming up. Let’s see where they stand if they get to 6-6.

14. COLTS: At 3-7, the Indianapolis Colts move up a spot by having a better conference record than the Broncos! Who would have saw that coming? It’s going to be difficult for the Colts to do anything for the rest of the season, BUT they do have home games left against the Texans & Broncos meaning Indianapolis could finish 5-11 & they could avoid last place in the AFC South. Better than nothing!

15. BRONCOS: Denver isn’t as bad as a 3-7 record would indicate, but they are an example of how things can get sideways when you don’t have at least a decent QB under center. John Elway is complaining that the team is soft, but it might not be a bad criticism. To be fair, the best QB in the Broncos organization right now probably is John Elway himself!

16. BROWNS: Sheesh! At 0-10 the Browns have a legit shot at getting to 0-16. They have home games left against the Packers & Bears which are probably their best chances to get a win. I don’t see it. I think at the end of the year the Browns are starting over yet again which is nuts. Hue Jackson is gone & I’m guessing that the Browns will draft a QB with the #1 overall pick because the new HC will want his own QB.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 11

#6 BALTIMORE @ #3 JACKSONVILLE
#5 TENNESSEE @ #4 KANSAS CITY

Just when we think there is some clarity to the AFC playoff picture, it gets a lot muddier with the Bills completely tanking. I think there are quite a few things that can happen because in reality the only locks in the AFC playoff race are New England, Jacksonville & Pittsburgh. I’m not even sure Kansas City is guaranteed to make the playoffs if they keep playing like they have been. Assuming Kansas City can somehow survive, there are still 2 playoff spots with 8 teams within one game of each other! Even the Colts aren’t completely out of it! We should be in for an exciting finish to the season in the AFC because I’m not sure any of the possible wild card teams have the ability to really pull away from the pack.

November 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NCAA POWER 25 – 2017 WEEK 12

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Mercer 56-0. The Tide took care of business against Mercer in a tune up for the Iron Bowl. Everything clicks when you beat a team 56-0 so there really isn’t any facets of the game you can point to that Alabama needs to improve upon. Jalen Hurts was a beast. The rushing attack was dominant. Calvin Ridley made big plays & the defense pitching a shutout. I’m sure Nick Saban is seething about the two turnovers which will certainly keep the guys motivated going into next week’s Iron Bowl against War Eagle!
#2 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Michigan 24-10. Are any of Wisconsin’s wins jaw dropping? Not really. Beating Michigan looks pretty good until you realize Michigan hasn’t beaten anyone. Beating Iowa had meaning until they starting losing to Purdue. That causes some doubt in some voters, but not me. Watching Wisconsin these past two weeks made 3 things perfectly clear. Jonathan Taylor might be the best RB in college football. The Badgers O-Line is incredible, & the defense is D-I-R-T-Y! Now Alex Hornibrook needs to stop throwing interceptions.
#3 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Virginia 44-28. It took the Hurricanes a half to warm up, but after going in to halftime down 21-14, the Hurricanes exploded & outscored UVA 30-7 in the 2nd half en route to a 16 point win. Virginia sticking around doesn’t bother me that much. Cavaliers QB Kurt Benkert is a solid QB who can keep his teams in games. The basic game plan remained the same. Miami-FL pounded the rock & the defense was opportunistic with 5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and forced 3 turnovers. Miami is +16 in TO margin on the year.
#4 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Kansas 41-3. Why do teams make Baker Mayfield angry? The Kansas guys not shaking Mayfield’s hand was ridiculous. This guy is the best QB in the nation right now and you knew he couldn’t wait to make the Jayhawks pay for that disrespect. They might not like Mayfield, but the guy is going to win the Heisman and possibly the national championship. He shouldn’t have made lewd gestures to the KU sideline, but when you get fired up you get fired up. It’ll cost Mayfield a start next week, but it won’t stop him winning.
#5 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Citadel 61-3. A lot like the Alabama/Mercer game, Clemson showed no mercy to the Citadel in a tune up for their season finale against South Carolina. Kelly Bryant was outstanding & the Clemson rushing attack was dominant. WRs Tee Higgins & Deon Cain each had over 100 yards receiving & combined for 318 yards & 3TDs on only 11  receptions! Clemson looks like they are starting peak at just the right time. It’ll be interesting to see if both Clemson & Miami-FL get to the playoffs if both teams finish at 12-1.
#6 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Louisiana-Monroe 42-14. In Auburn’s tuneup for the Iron Bowl, QB Jarrett Stidham completed 75% of his passes for 235 yards & 2TD while the War Eagle rushing attack gained 317 yards & 3TD on 48 rushes! Like Clemson, Auburn is peaking at just the right time. They are 4-0 in their last 4 games, outscoring their opponents 176-78! They haven’t rushed for less than 220 yards in their last 4 games & the defense has racked up 32 tackles for loss in their last 5 games. It’s impossible for Auburn to be playing better football.
#7 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Illinois 52-14. I don’t know what’s more disappointing? Ohio St. giving up 5 first downs to Illinois or the Buckeyes allowing the Illini to score at all! Ohio St.’s defense put on a clinic in Columbus in an utter beat down of Illinois. Ohio St. allowed 16 passing yards, 5 first downs & just 105 total yards. The Buckeyes ran for 325 yards led by RB Mike Weber who broke 100 yards on just 11 carries. Urban Meyer understands style points & knows he needs to have them to make the playoffs. Michigan & Wisconsin have been warned.
#8 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Kentucky 42-13. Georgia ran for 381 yards & 5TD on 44 carries led by Nick Chubb’s 151 yards & 2TDs! Sony Michel chipped in 87 yards of his own with 3TD on 12 carries & Georgia proved against Kentucky once again that if the Bulldogs get their running game going, they are almost impossible to beat. It’ll be interesting to see how Georgia does against Alabama if the Tide beat Auburn. It would be interesting to see how Alabama handles UGA’s rushing attack given the Tide’s issues with injuries at the linebacker position.
#9 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Navy 24-17. Navy is always a tough game for Notre Dame, but I was impressed with the fact that the Irish didn’t fold up and lose when in past seasons this kind of game would have almost certainly resulted in a loss for the Irish! What was most impressive to me about the win is that Navy completely dominated time of possession. The Middies had the ball for almost 43 minutes yet Notre Dame still found a way to win. The Irish need to forget this game & focus on Stanford. It should be a game they can win to finish 10-2.
#10 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Nebraska 56-44. After a few sub-par games, Saquon Barkley got back into Heisman form rushing for 158 yards & 3TD while also catching 6 balls for 66 yards for a game total of 224 total yards! Trace McSorley threw for 325 yards & 3TD as well as the Nittany Lions’ 56 points tied for their season high (PSU beat Georgia St. 56-0 earlier in the year). It was a little disappointing to see Penn St. give up 44 points on defense as Tanner Lee had an exceptional game for the Cornhuskers. Penn St. is looking at the New Year’s 6.
#11 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Texas Tech 27-3. QB Kenny Hill didn’t make the trip to Lubbock to face the Red Raiders due to concussion issues, but TCU didn’t have trouble, relying on a suffocating defense along with a running attack that dominated the trenches & gave the defense plenty of time to rest between series. Texas Tech had a few chances in the 2nd half to make this a competitive game, but the defense came up with timely turnovers that fueled the victory. TCU has to beat Baylor because they can still lose the #2 seed in the Big XII.
#12 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. The Cougars were on a bye week sitting at a cozy 9-2 atop the Pac 12 North! Washington St. had to be happy watching Washington struggle with Utah. While the Cougs were getting an extra week of rest, the Huskies were in a dog fight with the Utes needing the miraculous to happen at the end to overcome a 7 point deficit and eek out a 33-30 victory. Can Washington rebound that quickly at home & beat a rested Washington St. squad? If not Wazzou gets to the Pac 12 championship against a USC squad they beat earlier.
#13 Computer Hope Last Week Beat UCLA 28-23. Josh Rosen outplayed USC QB Sam Darnold but it wasn’t enough to beat the Trojans who finish the season 10-2 & Pac 12 champions. USC still has to play either Washington St. or Stanford in the Pac 12 Championship game, but let’s assume both USC & Ohio St. finish 11-2 with conference titles. USC will have lost to Iowa & Oklahoma. USC will have lost to Washington St. & Notre Dame. This might actually be good news for the SEC & ACC as a 12-1 Alabama or 12-1 Miami-FL probably solves this dilemma.
#14 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Maryland 17-7. The Spartans used a solid ground game to beat Maryland 17-7 and improve to 8-3 on the season. LJ Scott ran for 147 yards and scored a TD while the MSU as a team ran for 271 yards. QB Brian Lewerke was 2 of 14 for just 20 yards which doesn’t make sense. This was a solid bounce back win for Michigan St. after their humiliating loss to Ohio St. the week before. The Spartans have exceeded all expectations this season & should have a shot at 10 wins. It’s amazing what Mark Dantonio has done this season in East Lansing.
#15 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Utah 33-30. What a testament to the toughness of this Washington team & Chris Petersen’s ability to keep these kids focused & motivated. Utah had Washington down 30-23 late in the 4th quarter in essentially a meaningless game for Washington. The Huskies drive down to even the score 30-30, make a huge defensive stop on the ensuing series & then kick a game winning FG with 0:00 left on the clock to get the win. Will they have enough left in the tank to come back next week and beat arch rival Washington St.?
#16 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Temple 45-19. I thought a road game against the Owls might prove to be a difficult test for UCF. QB McKenzie Milton thought otherwise. Milton went berserk throwing for 4 touchdowns and also running for another one in a 26 point win over Temple! If you were going to nit-pick UCF, you’d have to say the one weakness they have is generating pressure up front with their D-Line. What helps this is how fantastic they’ve been at creating turnovers. Combine that TO margin with McKenzie at QB & you have a dangerous combination.
#17 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Arkansas 28-21. The Bulldogs got back in the win column this week as Arkansas had no real answer for either Nick Fitzgerald or Aeris Williams. The Razorbacks got out to a quick 14-0 lead, but Mississippi St. took control after that outscoring the Hogs 28-7 the rest of the way. Mississippi St. has 3 losses this year coming against Alabama, Auburn & Georgia. If those teams are top-1o, you can certainly make a case Hail State belongs in the top-10 as well. The Bulldogs can’t quite figure out how to join the SEC Elite.
#18 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Tennessee 30-10. LSU proved that Tennessee can just as easily lose without Butch Jones as they could with him! LSU has a pretty slick formula that is incredibly tough to beat. Derrius Guice pounds the rock while Darrel Williams does his own thing when Guice needs a breather. Danny Etling is high efficient when throwing 12-15 passes per game while the defense completely shuts the other team down. LSU’s issues might be that Guice hasn’t been 100% all season long. If they beat Texas A&M they can finish 10-3.
#19 Computer Hope Last Week Beat California 17-14. Stanford had to beat California if they wanted to stay in the Pac 12 North race, but it seemed that the win took a little more out of the Cardinal than HC David Shaw would have liked. Even if Stanford beats Notre Dame next week & wins the Pac 12 North they can’t make the playoffs. If they lose to Notre Dame, they can still win the Pac 12 North & will still not make the playoffs. You have to wonder, like Washington, if Stanford has anything left in the tank after an emotional rivalry win to beat the Irish?
#20 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Pittsburgh 20-14. Not an overly convincing win, but this is still a good if not very good Virginia Tech squad that had their heart ripped out against Miami-FL and simply didn’t get over that loss fast enough to defeat a dangerous Georgia Tech squad the following week. The win over Pittsburgh wasn’t pretty. The defense didn’t play all that well while the Virginia Tech rushing attack was just alright, but something is wrong with you if you don’t think this is one of the best 25 teams in the nation. They can still win 10 games.
#21 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Minnesota 39-0. Clay Thorson threw 3TD passes on just 9 completions while RB Justin Jackson ran for 166 yards in a complete stomping of the Gophers! It doesn’t look like PJ Fleck and his boys rowed the boat on Lake Michigan down to Evanston, because Minnesota didn’t show up. The Wildcats have won 6 straight games & should make it 7 straight next week when they take on Illinois. Northwestern has really had a fantastic season. The early season loss to Duke prevents them from 11 wins, but they can still get 10 wins.
#22 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Wisconsin 10-24. The loss to Wisconsin stinks in a way because Jim Harbaugh has still yet to win a game at Michigan that actually mattered. The talent level is certainly rising in Ann Arbor & Harbaugh can easily claim he’s winning 10 games a year, but he still hasn’t beaten Ohio St. & he hasn’t won anything in the Big 10. That being said, it’s crazy to argue this team doesn’t belong in the top-25. Are they beating top-10 squads? No, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t one of the best 25 teams in college football. They’ll get there.
#23 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Kansas St. 40-45. Seriously? It almost feels as if Oklahoma St. believes they can’t have nice things. Losing at home to Kansas State!? Give a lot of credit to KSU HC Bill Snyder. The win over Oklahoma St. made Kansas St. bowl eligible & it essentially ruined any chance the Cowboys had of grabbing the #2 seed in the Big XII. Oklahoma St. has to be one of the more Jekyll & Hyde teams in the NCAA this year. One week they are playing outstanding defense & the next week they are giving up 45 points to Kansas State!
#24 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Tulsa 27-20. The stink of the Houston loss has finally left the South Florida Bulls & here they are back in my Power-25. Last week against Tulsa, Quinton Flowers was outstanding passing for 142 yards & 2TD while also rushing for 119 yards! South Florida’s win over Tulsa pushed them to 9-1 with the showdown against 10-0 UCF looming. The Bulls have one of the most prolific rushing attacks in the country so it’s going to be interesting to see if they can keep UCF’s offense & especially McKenzie Milton off the field.
#25 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Air Force 44-19. QB Brett Rypien was surgically precise this week against Air Force going 16 of 22 for 300 yards & 3TD. Boise St. has won 7 straight games since losing to Virginia earlier in the year. That was during a time where Rypien was dealing with injuries. Boise is now 9-2 with a shot at 10-2 if they beat Fresno State. It’s going to be interesting to see if Boise St. can win the Mountain West & finish 11-2 because if things get crazy enough in the AAC, Boise could find themselves in a New Year’s Six Bowl!

DROPPING OUT

#19 NC STATE WOLFPACK: Love the Wolfpack this season but they are 1-3 in their last 3 and are coming off a loss to Wake Forest. Wake isn’t a bad team so NC State has 4 losses to Notre Dame, Clemson, South Carolina & Wake. Like Mississippi State & Michigan this year, this is a solid football team that simply couldn’t find their way into the ELITE class of teams.

#22 WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS: West Virginia lost to Texas at home and loss QB Will Grier in the process. I can’t figure out West Virginia & you have to wonder if coaches believe that Morgantown is simply a stepping stone. Would Dana Holgorsen be a championship level coach at Georgia or Ohio State? Tough to say, but it does seem like he’s taken West Virginia as far as he can.

November 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2017 NCAA FOOTBALL – WEEK 13 BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope THE IRON BOWL. Easily the biggest game of the week. By now I think we all know what is on the line. An Auburn win gives the Tigers the East & an opportunity to play Georgia for an SEC Championship. If Auburn wins out I think they get into the playoffs. For the Tide, I suppose it’s possible for them to lose & pull a 2016 Ohio St. & still make the playoffs. I’m sure they’d rather win. Key to the game will be Auburn’s offense. Can they score on Bama? Computer Hope
Computer Hope THE WAR ON I-4. This game was supposed to be the 11-0 Knights going up against the 11-0 Bulls! Houston ruined this by beating South Florida a few weeks ago, but this game is still winner take all in the AAC East. The winner here gets Memphis but most importantly I think if either team wins out they probably get to a New Year’s 6 Bowl which is the ultimate prize for either team. It doesn’t get much better than Quinton Flowers v. McKenzie Milton! Computer Hope
Computer Hope THE APPLE CUP. If Washington St. wins they win the Pac 12 North. If Washington wins, Stanford win the Pac 12 North. I think there are a couple of narratives to this game. The first is the evolution of Mike Leach. Winning at Wazzou is no easy feat & he’s climbed heights here that he didn’t at Texas Tech. The 2nd is the another step taken forward toward Chris Petersen making Washington one of the ELITE programs in the nation. This is a big game. Computer Hope
Computer Hope THE GAME. Not a ton on the line here in theory because Ohio St. has already wrapped up the East, but the Buckeyes are playing for style points in case they somehow find themselves at 11-2 & Big 10 championship hoping for credibility among the playoff committee. A huge win in Ann Arbor would definitely open some eyes to the thought that Ohio St. at this second is one of the best 4 teams in college football assuming they beat Michigan & beat Wisconsin. Computer Hope
Computer Hope THE BATTLE OF THE PALMETTO STATE. Last year Clemson beat South Carolina 56-7 en route to winning a national championship. I don’t think the Gamecocks would like anything better than to completely derail Clemson’s bid for a 2nd national title. South Carolina at 8-3 still has a double digit win season on the line assuming a win here & a bowl win. Beating Clemson would give the Tigers a 2nd loss which could hurt their playoff chances. Computer Hope
Computer Hope BATTLE FOR THE LEGENDS TROPHY. This game was a lot more interesting before Notre Dame lost to Miami-FL & the thinking was Notre Dame needed a tough road win in their season finale to cement their place in the playoffs. Now the Irish need the win to pretty much guarantee a spot in a New Year’s 6 bowl. I wouldn’t discount Stanford though. If they were to win out & Wazzou lose, Stanford has a legit shot at finishing the season with an 11-3 record. Computer Hope
Computer Hope CLEAN, OLD FASHIONED HATE. This game has without a doubt the best rivalry slogan of any football rivalry! Maybe any rivalry! Georgia Tech has been a solid team all year with the capabilities to pull upsets. Athens is close enough to Atlanta to make this more a neutral/home game for the Bulldogs than a true road game. The key will be Georgia making enough big plays on offense along with their defense being able to slow GT’s ground game. Computer Hope
Computer Hope BATTLE FOR THE OLD OAKEN BUCKET. This game might not move the meter nationally, but it’s an important game for both teams. Both teams have first year head coaches who desperately want to change the fortunes of their programs. For Tom Allen & Indiana, getting to a 3rd straight bowl game would be an incredible foundation to build on. For Jeff Brohm, getting Purdue to a bowl for the first time since 2012 would be a monumental achievement. Computer Hope
Computer Hope THE EGG BOWL. Ole Miss can’t get to a bowl game even if they were to somehow beat the Bulldogs due to their inegligibility, but I think it would be a monumental achievement for the Rebels to get bowl eligible with a win here. I don’t think anyone could have imagined Ole Miss getting to 6-6 when the season began. On the other sideline, could this be Dan Mullen’s final regular season game for the Hail State!? A win here & a bowl win would give MSU 10 wins. Computer Hope
Computer Hope RUMBLE IN THE ROCKIES. A pretty cool rivalry that got lost in the shuffle when conference started being formed. Both teams enter this game 5-6 meaning whoever wins this game becomes bowl eligible while the loser is packing it up for the year. I think it’s safe to say that the Buffaloes overachieved a bit last season winning the Pac 12 South, but I’m rooting for Coach MacIntyre to get back to a bowl game. I love the job he’s done in Boulder with this team. Computer Hope
Computer Hope BATTLE FOR THE MILK CAN. It’s pretty cool that these teams are relevant because it definitely throws you back to the days of Pat Hill going up against Chris Petersen in epic Mountain West battles! There is kind of an odd twist to this game because regardless of outcome, both teams are going to meet again next week in the Mountain West championship game! Boise St. is 9-2. A win here & a conference championship puts them at 11-2 & a threat to the New Year’s 6. Computer Hope

November 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NFL POWER 32 – 2017 WEEK 10

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. Philly moves up a spot to #1 heading into their bye week at 8-1 & the best record in the NFL. The Eagles have done what we’ve thought them capable of, but the real test starts this week when they play their last 7 games. To date, they’ve played 2 playoff teams (Carolina & Kansas City) and have split with those squads. There is something to be said for beating the teams you are supposed to beat, but to this point that is what Philadelphia has done. The schedule gets a bit tougher from this point forward.
#2 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Colts 20-17. I thought Indianapolis might be rallying the team after releasing Vontae Davis, but the Steelers had way more trouble than I expected. It was almost as if Pittsburgh sleep walked through this game. They were still good enough to beat a bad Colts squad, but Pittsburgh can’t expect to play like this against legitimate teams & come away with wins. Then again, if you are going to take a game off, why not against the Colts? JuJu Smith-Schuster’s emergence makes this an even better team.
#3 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bills 47-10. There is no question I’m high on the Saints, but what they are doing is now bordering on ridiculous! It’s one thing to hammer teams in the Superdome, but when the Saints are going on the road to play wild card caliber squads and pasting them by 37, you know New Orleans is a FORCE. Mark Ingram & Alvin Kamara both ran for over 100 yards each and combined to score 4TDs! The Saints defense essentially destroyed any job security Bills QB Tyrod Taylor had. The defense is scary now!
#4 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Broncos 41-16. Tom Brady threw for 266 yards & 3TD in New England’s win over Denver that sent the Patriots to 7-2. Brady leads the league in passing yards with 2,907 & is completing 67% of his passes. He has 19TDs to  only 2INTs thus far & it’s hard to believe he’s the oldest starting QB in the NFL. Health is a skill and if Brady has mastered this skill, he’s going to break every record in history of QB in the NFL. I love Peyton Manning. I love Troy Aikman, but it’s getting harder to argue that Brady isn’t the GOAT.
#5 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Texans 33-7. Houston stink, but last I checked Deshaun Watson played QB and not on the defense! Houston is supposed to have a respectable defense. The Rams offense is a thing of beauty at this point. Jared Goff is on pace to finish with over 4200 passing yards which is nuts considering what happened during his rookie season. He’s pushing the ball down the field & not turning the ball over. The Rams have an excellent defense which is gravy because it’s going to be hard to stop them from scoring 30.
#6 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Chargers 20-17. This was a big win for Jacksonville because the Chargers are a legitimate playoff team masquerading as a 3-6 squad. It’s ridiculous just how unlucky Los Angeles is. Their move from San Diego to LA certainly didn’t fool Lady Luck. What’s interesting about the Jaguars now is that they are good enough to win even when Blake Bortles is awful. I don’t think they can beat Pittsburgh or New England this way, but they can get to the divisional round of the playoffs even with terrible QB play.
#7 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. The Chiefs got a much needed week off after sputtering their last 4 games, going 1-3 in those contests before their breather. Going forward, Kansas City needs to figure out their defense. They rank 19th in the league in points allowed per game, but advanced metrics say they are even worse than that. The loss of Eric Berry was huge, but the Chiefs have also had DEs Tamba Hali and Dee Ford miss some significant time. To be fair, Kansas City’s backend schedule is brutally weak so they should in theory finish 13-3.
#8 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Dolphins 45-21. The Panthers enter their bye week playing excellent football having crushed the Dolphins by 24 points which was their 3rd straight win. The Panthers are 7-3 and in prime position to make the playoffs. An interesting stat about Cam Newton: In Carolina’s 3 losses, Newton has 1TD and 8INT. In Carolina’s 7 wins, Newton has 13TD and 2INT. I’m sure this is probably true of every QB, but the difference with Newton is startling. Carolina’s chances are directly tied to Newton’s interceptions.
#9 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Redskins 38-30. An odd defensive effort for the Vikings giving up 30 points which is probably masked by the QB controversy brewing in Minnesota. Case Keenum was fantastic again this past week against the Redskins. He’s 5-2 as a starter this season & playing the best football of his life. However, Teddy Bridgewater is now active so you have to wonder when he’s going to get a chance to get back on the field? The Vikings are a Super Bowl threat so it’ll be interesting to see how Coach Zimmer handles this.
#10 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Falcons 7-27. Chaz Green. WOW! Dallas was hammered last week against the Falcons. Many thought the big loss was going to be Ezekiel Elliott, but what we’ve found out is that losing Tyron Smith was a MUCH bigger loss than their 2nd year running back! Green was straight up abused by Adrian Clayborn in Dallas 27-7 loss. He picked up 6 sacks himself in the game while the Cowboys as a unit allowed 8 sacks. Tyron Smith isn’t playing this week either against the Eagles meaning bad things!!
#11 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Cowboys 27-7. The win over Dallas is nice & puts the Falcons back into the playoff picture, but the real test is this weekend with a road game in Seattle. A win and the Falcons might be well on their way back to the Super Bowl. A loss and Atlanta might be dead in the water assuming the teams above them don’t completely tank. The offensive problems with Atlanta are still perplexing. Julio Jones has one touchdown so far this year. One touchdown!?!?!?! I don’t expect Steve Sarkisian to be back next season!
#12 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Cardinals 22-16. Solid win for the Seahawks who find themselves in the #6 seed if the season ended today. Attrition is starting to become a problem for the Seahawks. They still aren’t a good running team and they still don’t have a good O-Line. Now they have defensive players dropping like flies. Kam Chancellor & Richard Sherman are out for the season with injuries which SEVERELY weakens their secondary. Chancellor is one of my favorite players & I feel almost underrated in a way. His loss is huge.
#13 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bengals 24-20. Something isn’t right here. Tennessee dominated time of possession against the Bengals and did what they wanted to with their running attack, yet they also needed a last minute TD to get a 24-20 win over a Bengals team that simply isn’t very good. It’s hard to ignore this Titans team because they are 6-3 & in theory have a team designed to win in the postseason given their two-headed monster rushing attack, but they have a more difficult time winning games than you would imagine.
#14 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Vikings 30-38. Brutal home loss for the Redskins who were coming off a very emotional road win over the Seahawks the week before. The Redskins had a pretty good game offensively & they did a nice job stopping Minnesota’s rushing attack, but Washington had no answer for Case Keenum & the secondary played poorly. The Skins couldn’t get Minnesota off the field on 3rd down & that’s usually a bad sign. The Skins have been dealing with massive injury issues so nothing is breaking their way in ’17.
#15 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Browns 38-24. Detroit had WAY TOO against a winless Cleveland Browns team. It was interesting to hear that Lions safety Quinton Glover tell reporters after the game that he thought the Browns had top-10 talent. Maybe there is something there, but you have to wonder about the argument that there are certainly a lot of talented football players in the NFL, but that doesn’t always mean that these talented NFL players are actually good football players. Is Cleveland really better than we think they are or…..
#16 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. No game for the Raiders this week, but Oakland did sort of get a win because the Bills are going to sit Tyrod Taylor in favor of rookie Nathan Peterman. Maybe Buffalo actually gets better with Peterman under center, but at this point the Bills hold on the #6 seed in the AFC playoff race seems tenuous meaning there is opportunity for the Ravens, Raiders, & Dolphins to swoop in and take that spot. Can Oakland find the consistency needed to emerge from that pack & take the last playoff seed? Would be interesting if they did.
#17 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Saints 10-47. Losing to the Saints at home by 37 is bad, but benching Tyrod Taylor when you are still a playoff team!? That’s a bold move by HC Sean McDermott, but I guess it’s possible the Bills get better. Maybe Taylor was losing the locker room? Had a drop in confidence? Even more weird is that rookie Nathan Peterman is going to get his first start against the Chargers who have a formidable pass rush. I like this Bills team. I like the defense & I think LeSean McCoy is a game changer. Very odd.
#18 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. Like the Raiders, Baltimore didn’t play a game, but they are seemingly in a better position with Buffalo playing a little loose with their grip on the last playoff spot. There is certainly a lot of football to be played, but I really like Baltimore’s chance to getting into the playoffs. I’ve been preaching this all season long, but if Baltimore can just commit to the run & rely on their defense, I think they make the playoffs with a legit shot at getting a playoff win. Joe Flacco has never been in the playoffs without winning at least one game!
#19 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Jaguars 17-20. GOOD GRIEF! ANOTHER CLOSE LOSS FOR THE CHARGERS! The Chargers are 2-6 this season in games decided by 8 points or less. They were 4-9 in 2016. They were 3-9 in 2015. It’s entirely feasible that the Chargers have been playoff caliber the last three years but are a combined 9-24 in close games. It’s one thing to be unlucky but good grief! In that same time period the Patriots have been 14-5! The Patriots avoid close games & maybe that’s the trick for LA. They need to stay out of close games!
#20 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bears 23-16. Brett Hundley gets his first win of the season! Hundley was really good against Chicago while he got tremendous help on the ground from Jamaal Williams & Ty Montgomery who ran the ball well. The Packers defense was able to hold Jordan Howard down & the Bears all but ignored Tariq Cohen forcing Mitch Trubisky to make plays through the air which he didn’t do. The Packers aren’t out of the playoff hunt. If they defend Lambeau down the stretch, they should be fighting for the last wild card spot.
#21 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Packers 16-23. Tough loss for the Bears at home. I don’t understand why Chicago isn’t game planning at all to get Tariq Cohen the ball more. He got one carry and 2 targets against the Packers last week. You can make an argument that Cohen is by far Chicago’s most dangerous play maker on offense & they simply don’t dial it up enough for him. It was encouraging for Mitch Trubisky however. The North Carolina product had his best game as a pro going 21 of 35 for 297 yards & a TD with no interceptions!
#22 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Bucs 10-15. Terrible offensive output for the Jets which underscores the fact that New York needs every skill position imaginable on offense going into next season. The defense played exceedingly well holding Tampa Bay to just 15 points, but the offense managed only 3 until a garbage time TD brought their final point total to 10. Of any team going into the 2018 NFL Draft, the Jets are the most likely to draft a QB. Their record is too good to get in on the Sam Darnold/Josh Allen sweepstakes, but Baker Mayfield?
#23 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Titans 20-24. This lost was soul crushing. Cincinnati hasn’t been nearly as good as I thought they’d be, but beating Tennessee would have pushed Cincy to 4-5 with 4 home games and a couple of winnable road games to finish the season. Win those games & the Bengals finish 10-6 & probably make the playoffs. They could still do that, but they’d finish 9-7 if everything breaks right & I think the difference between 9 and 10 wins is pretty big. That said, I wouldn’t count Cincy out just yet. They could make a run.
#24 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Jets 15-10. As if the questions about Jameis Winston couldn’t get any worse? The Bucs are in a terrible position right now because it has gone from a team many thought would make the playoffs to a team that literally needs to be rebuilt. I’m not sold on Winston anyway & given the nature of this latest controversy, I might cut ties with him. This isn’t Big Ben. The Bucs also need to move on from Doug Martin. They also have no pass rush, and could Dirk Koetter be on his way out? This looks like a huge rebuild!
#25 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Panthers 21-45. Miami isn’t completely out of it, but their remaining schedule is pretty bad. They still haven’t played New England or Buffalo meaning they get both of those teams twice. They also have a road game against the Chiefs. Let’s assume they lose in Kansas City & split their divisional games. That means Miami is looking at no better than 8-8 & potentially 7-9 if the Patriots sweep them which seems likely. It’s not on Jay Cutler. Cutler has been a lot better than I thought. He should play in 2018.
#26 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Seahawks 16-22. The Cardinals are now down to Blaine Gabbert playing QB which means they’ve hit rock bottom. Carson Palmer is injured. David Johnson is injured. Now Drew Stanton is injured. They never quite got into the game against the Seahawks. Arizona couldn’t run the ball & had no answer for Russell Wilson. That was a tough loss because it means Arizona is done for the season. They have some winnable games left on the schedule but everything has to break right & that rarely if ever happens in the NFL.
#27 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Patriots 16-41. EEK! In their last 5 games, the Broncos are averaging giving up 33 points. They’ve lost all 5 games. At this point you have to wonder if the defense is giving up on the team knowing they don’t have anywhere near the offense capable of competing for a championship. You’d hope that the Broncos defenders wouldn’t feel this way, but Denver is so bad at the QB position it’s laughable. It’s got to be dramatic for Von Miller going from having Peyton Manning as his QB to having Trevor Siemian.
#28 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Steelers 17-20. SO CLOSE! Big changes are coming for Indianapolis so it’s hard to get a grip on what is going on there now. I think the biggest question is whether or not we are going to see the same Andrew Luck ever again. This past week #12 was in Europe seeking alternative treatments to his ailing shoulder. That is never a good sign no matter how much the media wants to say it’s no big deal. It might not be, but at his point the only way Luck can prove the doubters wrong is to get on the field & show them.
#29 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Giants 31-21. The 49ers finally got a game into the win column by taking advantage of a terrible New York Giants team. CJ Beathard played really well & Carlos Hyde ran well while the defense did just enough to hold the G-men in check for 21 points. San Francisco goes on bye the next week so I’m sure we are going to see Jimmy Garoppolo the following week against Seattle in San Francisco. Amazingly enough, maybe that is a game SF could steal given all the injuries that the Seahawks have been suffering of late.
#30 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Rams 7-33. They’re terrible. In the 6 games that Deshaun Watson started for the Texans, Houston averaged 34.7PPG on offense & went 3-3. In the 3 games that Tom Savage has started for the Texans, Houston has averaged 9.3PPG on offense & went 0-3. I think the rest of the league would have caught up to Watson at some point, but there is no denying that Houston was significantly better with Watson under center than with Savage. I think the players know this as well & are playing like they have no chance.
#31 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to 49ers 21-31. Losing to the 0-9 San Francisco 49ers has to be the low point in New York’s season thus far. When you look at their remaining schedule, the wins are exceptionally difficult to see. A home game against the Redskins? A road game against the Cardinals? The Giants are looking at potentially finishing the season 1-15 which would be the worst record in franchise history. At what point do they roll the dice with Davis Webb? My guess that Eli Manning would have to give his blessing before being benched.
#32 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Lions 24-38. Is Quinton Glover right? Is this really one of the 10 most talented teams in all of football? I don’t know about that, but when you look at the roster, Cleveland does have some pretty good players & it makes you wonder why they are 0-9? If they are talented, you have to wonder what exactly is going on with the coaching. Hue Jackson is now 1-24 in his tenure as Cleveland’s HC. He’s 0-9 against other AFC North squads. What a mess. Do the Browns roll the dice on another QB in the 2017 Draft?

November 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NCAA POWER 25 – 2017 WEEK 11

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Mississippi St. 31-24. The Tide knew they were going into a bar fight in Starkville, but sometimes you survive and advance which is what Alabama did. It might not have been pretty. It might have taken all 60 minutes, but Alabama is 10-0 & ranked #1 in the college football playoffs. Going forward, I think Alabama has to be concerned defensively. They’ve taken some hits and MSU was able to keep the chains moving. On the other hand, it’s a testament to this team that why won having the ball just 20 minutes.
#2 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Notre Dame 41-8. THE U IS BACK!!! Talk about a dominant performance! The Hurricanes defense made Brandon Wimbush look like a QB who didn’t belong and they also held Heisman candidate Josh Adams to just 40 yards on 16 carries. The Canes also picked up 5 sacks against supposedly the best O-Line in the nation. Offensively Miami-FL ran the ball exceptionally well & QB Malik Rosier played well within his capabilities. With back-to-back wins over the Irish & Virginia Tech, could Miami-FL be #1?
#3 Computer Hope Last Week Beat TCU 38-20. Don’t discount just how amazing Oklahoma’s rushing offense is. Baker Mayfield is getting all the hype, and deservedly so, but the SOoners are running the ball almost 50 times per game & averaging 210+ yards rushing per game! They rank #27 in the nation in rushing offense! That’s going to open up a lot of opportunities for Mayfield who is taking advantage. Mayfield is coming up big when it matters most. Against Ohio St., Oklahoma St. & TCU, he’s 3-0 with 1,317yds/11TD/2INT. Give him the Heisman!
#4 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Florida St. 31-14. Florida St. isn’t fantastic this season but this was a dominant peformance by the Tigers. Clemson ran for 227 yards & 4TD while holding the Seminoles to 21 rushing yards. Clemson’s defense looked as advertised making life a living hell for FSU QB James Blackman. QB Kelly Bryant didn’t throw a TD pass but was 20/30 for 151 yards & no picks. Clemson still has South Carolina on the schedule but at this point we are all waiting for the colossal showdown with Miami-FL for the ACC title!
#5 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Iowa 38-14. You can make a pretty convincing case that Wisconsin is the #1 team in the nation. The Badgers committed 4 turnovers against an Iowa team that MURDERED Ohio St. the previous week & still managed to beat the Hawkeyes by 3TD! Wisconsin’s defense is exceptional. They made Iowa QB Nathan Stanley look bad. Really bad. They held Iowa to 5 first downs & 66 total yards! This is the same Iowa offense that scored 55 points on the Buckeyes. I think people are sandbagging on the Badgers. They’re FOR REAL!
#6 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Georgia 40-17. I thought Auburn had a pretty good shot at upsetting Georgia because it’s so hard to go 12-0 in the SEC, but winning by 23 and completely dominating the Georgia rushing attack!? This might be the best win of any this season & Auburn was rewarded by being ranked 6th in the college football playoffs despite the 2 losses. At this rate I think Auburn gets in if they win out. I think Auburn is showing how amazing the offense can be with a suitable QB. Jarrett Stidham has been great & the team is humming.
#7 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Michigan St. 48-3. This is what is frustrating about Ohio State. One week they look terrible in losing to Iowa in humiliating fashion giving up 55 points to an Iowa offense not known for its explosiveness on offense. The next week they can look like the best team in the country by a SIGNIFICANT margin in beating Michigan St. 48-3! When Ohio St. is playing at peak level, they are the best team in the nation by 2TD. They’re that good. It’ll be interesting to see if they can weasel their way into the playoffs if they finish 11-2. I think they do!
#8 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Auburn 17-40. At some point it was coming. A rival SEC team was going to take away the Georgia running game & frosh QB Jake Fromm was going to have to put the team on his shoulders & make some big plays. Fromm finished the game 13/28 for 184yds/1TD. He didn’t get picked off which is good but he didn’t play like Peyton Manning either. Losing to Auburn isn’t awful. You can argue Auburn is one of the best 3 teams in the nation right now. if UGA takes care of business, they can still win a national title.
#9 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Miami-FL 8-41. The loss to Miami-FL was embarrassing and the Brian Kelly haters have yet another game against a top opponent they can point to as evidence that Kelly can’t get Notre Dame over the hump against ELITE level teams. They might have an argument. The key for the Irish is not letting down against Navy & Stanford. A 10-2 season is still an option which means a big New Year’s 6 Bowl against another ELITE opponent that Notre Dame will have a chance to beat. Finishing 11-2 would be an amazing feat.
#10 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Rutgers 35-6. In Penn St.’s last 3 games, Saquon Barkley has rushed for 142 yards on 49 attempts with Penn St. going 1-2 in those 3 games. He didn’t even lead the Nittany Lions in rushing in their win over Rutgers! His Heisman chances are non-existent at this point. Penn St. ranks 10th in the playoff rankings but I don’t see how they can get much higher. It’s amazing really that PSU has 2 losses by a combined 4 points! If they beat Ohio St. & Michigan St. this team is 10-0 and making a big case for being the #1 team.
#11 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Oklahoma 20-38. Hey, give some credit to the TCU defense for holding Oklahoma to only 38 points! TCU simply had no answers for Oklahoma’s offense. The balance of OU’s rushing attack led by Rodney Anderson along with Baker Mayfield at QB is entirely too much to handle. Most college teams are this ridiculously balanced on offense, and despite TCU having a solid defense, there was simply not stopping the Sooners. The Frogs should get a shot at redemption in the Big XII championship game. Can they improve?
#12 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Utah 33-25. The Cougars are kind of interesting. They don’t get a ton of love in most power rankings or even the actual rankings, but at 9-2, it’s impossible to rank them below a USC team that Wazzou handled. The AP Poll ranks USC #12, but Washington St. #15. How is that possible given the head-to-head? The Cougars get a bye week this week before the Apple Cup. If Washington St., wins that they get USC again in the Pac 12 title game. I don’t think the Cougs can get into the playoffs even at 11-2, but it would be a great season.
#13 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Iowa St. 49-42. The Cowboys were able to do something neither TCU nor Oklahoma was able to do which is beat Iowa State! Of course, the Cowboys couldn’t be TCU or Oklahoma which is why they are on the outside looking in at the moment, but outlasting the Cyclones is a pretty big accomplishment this season! ISU took James Washington away from Mason Rudolph, but the OK-State QB was still extraordinary & RB Justice Hill picked up the slack. The Cowboys need TCU to lose to get to the Big XII title game.
#14 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Colorado 38-24. Solid win for the Trojans over an over-matched Colorado team. Sam Darnold & Ronald Jones were outstanding. A lot of talk about the Mason Rudolph, Justice Hill and James Washington triplet being the best in college football, but USC’s Sam Darnold, Ronald Jones & Deontay Burnett can’t be that far behind. USC has a Washington St. problem in the rankings because the Cougars keep winning. They also weren’t done any favors with Notre Dame taking a beating. Playoffs hopes are finished but 11-2 season isn’t.
#15 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Ohio St. 3-48. This kind of a loss you simply have to move on from. I think Sparty would rather have taken a 48-3 thumping on the road than lose by a last 2nd field goal in East Lansing. I would have liked to have seen QB Brian Lewerke play a little better, but the Buckeyes defense was extremely motivated after getting destroyed by Iowa the week before. At 7-3, Michigan St. needs Ohio St. to lose out (not going to happen) to win the East so they can forget it. However, MSU can still win 10 games. In a rebuilding year? Amazing!
#16 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Maryland 35-10. Michigan has looked impressive in their last 3 games hammering Maryland, Rutgers & Minnesota, but this actually is what Michigan has been doing all year. They have been soundly beating the teams they should beat, but losing to upper tier teams like Michigan St. & Penn State. The Wolverines are a quiet 8-2, but that could change quickly if they beat Wisconsin & Ohio St. to end the season! It’s a little bit absurd that Michigan can’t crack the playoff committee’s top-25. Come on now, Boise St. ranks higher?
#17 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Stanford 22-30. And there goes Washington’s chances down the drain! The Huskies could still win the Pac 12 North if they beat both Utah & Washington St. while Stanford loses to California. It would give UW a 10-2 record & a shot at USC for the Pac 12 title. Washington is a little bit like Penn St. although not as extreme. The Huskies have lost 2 games by a total of 14 points. The 13-7 loss to Arizona State is killer. I’ve said this before, but I think this team really misses John Ross. That big play threat on the edge is missing.
#18 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Connecticut 49-24. Now the fun starts! It feels like to this point all past is prelude. UCF’s final stretch includes a tough road game against temple, the season finale against South Florida and potentially an AAC championship game against Memphis. It is all that stands between the Knights and a perfect 12-0 season! I think it’s going to be interesting down the stretch to see if the Scott Frost rumors derails this team. I don’t think it will, but I don’t think Frost is coaching UCF next season either. Kind of a touch situation.
#19 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Boston College 17-14. Don’t knock the close win against Boston College. Sure BC is 5-5 but they also have wins over Virginia, Florida State & Louisville. BC plays outstanding pass defense which Ryan Finley saw first hand, but they also play terrible rush defense, which Nyheim Hines took significant advantage of by going for 110 yards and a TD on just 19 carries. The ND & Clemson losses were tough especially with Hines being banged up but NC State still has a shot at finishing 10-3 with a bowl win. That’s an impressive season.
#20 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Alabama 24-31. The Bulldogs did just about everything they could to beat Alabama except finish the game with more points than the Tide. With the Florida & Tennessee jobs opening up, you wonder how much longer Mullen can stay in Starkville if his true aspirations really are to play for a national championship? I suppose he could wait until Nick Saban retires, but right now Mullen does seem to have hit a ceiling. MSU should win out & a bowl win gets them to 10-3 on the year, but it’d be fun to see them 13-0 & in the playoffs.
#21 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Arkansas 33-10. When he’s rolling he’s unstoppable. Derius Guice racked up 147 rushing yards & 3TD on 21 rushes which was more than enough to throttle a bad Arkansas team in Baton Rouge. Even Danny Etling played like a star & WR DJ Chark caught 4 balls for 130 yards & 2TDs! Like Mississippi St., LSU should win out to finish 9-3 & a bowl win would give them double digit wins which is a great season for most. Not necessarily at LSU. The Tigers would love to have that Troy game back with a chance at 11 victories.
#22 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Kansas St. 28-23. It was a little sloppy & the score wasn’t convincing, but West Virginia walked into Manhattan & beat a decent Kansas State team. You can sort of see the evolution of the Mountaineers under Dana Holgorsen take a step this season. Sure they lost to Oklahoma St. & TCU. They also will probably lose to Oklahoma, but it’s a step forward. I think in years past WVU goes into a road game against Kansas State & loses. Not this season. It’d be nice if they could beat Texas next week but it’s another chance to show improvement.
#23 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Georgia Tech 22-28. Ouch. Georgia Tech is a pretty darn good football team so I don’t want to entirely blame the Hokies loss on a terrible hangover from the previous week’s loss to Miami-FL which essentially cost Virginia Tech the ACC Coastal, but to be fair, Virginia Tech didn’t seem that into the game. That’s a tough pill to swallow. Virginia Tech should still finish 9-3 with a chance to get to 10-3 which is still better than last year’s 10-4 although I think Virginia Tech would rather be 10-4 with an ACC Coastal title again this year.
#24 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Purdue 23-13. Northwestern has won 5 straight games to get to 7-3 and in most top-25 rankings. After they lost to Duke 41-17 in the 2nd week of the season, I think most people wrote the Wildcats off although a lot of people had them battling Wisconsin & Nebraska for the Big 10 West title. They lost to Penn St. & Wisconsin which pretty much ruined any hope they had of winning the West, but they did pick up wins over Iowa & Michigan State! They’ll easily finish the year 9-3 with a chance to go 10-3. That would be a huge season.
#25 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Washington 30-22. Bryce Love ran for 166 yards & 3TD while the Cardinal avoided turnovers in a 30-22 win over the Huskies which preserved Stanford’s ability to win the Pac 12 North. Stanford has been odd all season. I thought they were a dark horse candidate to get to the playoffs before the season began, but starting the season 1-2 killed those notions quick. Despite that poor start, Stanford could still win the Pac 12 North. If they beat California while Washington beat Washington St. in the Apple Cup, Stanford wins the North!

DROPPING OUT

#23 IOWA HAWKEYES: Sometimes things don’t make any sense. Iowa utterly destroys Ohio St. a week ago. This week they get destroyed by Wisconsin. I love the Iowa program. I think college football is better when Iowa is a strong team, but I’m finished trying to figure them out. Every week Iowa has a chance to beat anyone in the nation. Every week Iowa has a chance to lose to anyone in the nation.

#25 IOWA ST. CYCLONES: Incredible season for Matt Campbell in his 2nd year in Ames. A couple of great wins over Oklahoma & TCU had Cyclones fans hoping for a possible Big XII championship but inconsistency probably doomed ISU. They can still finish the year 9-4 if they win out. It would be the best season Iowa St. has had since 2000 when they went 9-3 & won the Insight Bowl.

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2017 NFL FOOTBALL – WEEK 11 BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope Great Thursday night game this week between the Titans/Steelers. I’m not sure it’s a must win for either team, but more importantly it’ll be a gauge to see if the Titans are good enough to contend with the ELITE AFC teams. Tennessee doesn’t necessarily have to win although with the Jaguars in Cleveland, a loss would push the Titans back into 2nd place. Keep an eye on whether or not the Titans can run effectively & if they can protect Mariota. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Oddly enough the Lions have been playing out of their mind on the road, so this might not be as dangerous a game as it might seem. The Bears have their own issues on offense, but what could be interesting in this one is that the Bears have a pretty good rush defense & their secondary can ball hawk at times with Eddie Jackson. I don’t think Detroit is going to be able to run on Chicago so can Matt Stafford have a huge game in the Windy City? Computer Hope
Computer Hope Can you believe the Jaguars opened up as 7-point favorites and it’s only moved to -8!? How in the world can anyone expect Jacksonville not to win this game by 20!? Jacksonville has a chance to put some distance between themselves & the Titans in the South. If the Titans lose in Pittsburgh & the Jaguars win, Jacksonville will be up a game on the Titans with a game left to play against their division rival. Jacksonville is ridiculously good. Computer Hope
Computer Hope It’s an old record to be sure, but this game will obviously hinge on Joe Flacco’s ability to throw 50 passes. If Flacco throws 50 passes, then the Packers are going to be in this game with a chance to win it late. If the Ravens can stick to a run first offense, there is no way the Packers are going to be able to stay with Baltimore. It’s one of the more perplexing situations in the NFL. Why in the world does Joe Flacco throw the football so much? Computer Hope
Computer Hope This game was actually supposed to happen in Week 1, but was reschedule because of all the weather the state of Florida was experiencing during this time. It’s interesting in a way with the Bills giving up on Tyrod Taylor. It creates an opportunity for Miami, Oakland & Baltimore to win games & get into the playoff chase for that last wild card spot. This is a game the Dolphins MUST win. The Bucs shouldn’t be good enough to win this one. Computer Hope
Computer Hope CLASH OF THE TITANS! Game of the week right here as it could easily be an NFC Championship game preview. This is going to be an excellent football game in regards to strategy. The Rams have been an excellent pass defense team & the Vikings sport an incredible WR duo in Adam Thielen & Stefon Diggs. If the Rams shut those two down, can Minny run the ball? Another thing to watch is the Rams offense against the Vikings D. Great game! Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Redskins have had issues at home. They have home losses to the the Eagles, Cowboys & Vikings. If the Redskins could have defended home turf, they’d be 7-2 instead of 4-5 & tied with the Redskins for first place in the East. The Saints are ROLLING at this point & the Redskins have to feel a bit dejected after last week’s loss to Minnesota that might have finished them. The Skins can pull off crazy though. Just ask the Seattle Seahawks! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Not a much win for Kansas City, but I have to admit that as bad as the Giants, the Chiefs need to assert some dominance with a huge margin of victory to reestablish themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Kansas City is 1-3 in their last 4 after starting the season 5-0. The defense has taken some hits & that unit needs to get back on track here in the 2nd half of the season to be ready for a playoff push. This win should be convincing at the least. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Arizona’s loss last week to the Seahawks pretty much finished any chance the Redbirds had at the playoffs. Houston of course is done now that Deshaun Watson is on the shelf. This is one of those touch NFL games where there is pretty much no meaning whatsoever in the outcome. The NFL has done a pretty good job at preventing these types of game, but sometimes they happen. I suspect Houston/San Francisco will have the same feel. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I don’t know who in the Bills organization thought it would be a good idea to start rookie QB Nathan Peterman against an outstanding pass rush defense with some players who can get home. Peterman should be on his heels all game long which should bode well for the Chargers, who could theoretically get back into this thing. On the other hand, it’s almost comical at this point how the Chargers can keep snatching defeat from the jaws of victory! Computer Hope
Computer Hope I guess somebody has to win this game. Both the Bengals & Broncos came into the season with high hopes of making the playoffs, but both teams sit at 3-6, and in Denver’s case, last place! This should be a pretty good barometer to see if the Broncos defense hasn’t given up on the season. Denver is playing at home with a defense that should be able to take advantage of an anemic Bengals offense. Denver’s not great, but the defense should carry. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I don’t give Oakland much of a chance in this game, but the Patriots don’t look like they have in the past. They are having issues with their O-Line a bit & their defense is playing more of a “bend don’t break” type of scheme. I think that gives Oakland an opportunity. Khalil Mack should get some solid opportunities to get home on Brady & I still think #12 is susceptible to big hits that will throw him off. Also the Raiders could get some looks on offense. Computer Hope
Computer Hope BAD BLOOD! It won’t be Tom Landry v. Buddy Ryan, but this game has some serious juice associated with it. It’s pretty much a MUST WIN game for the Cowboys who will be playing without Ezekiel Elliott. Last week the Cowboys were ABUSED by Adrian Clayborn & the Falcons which is rough sledding because Philly has a better defense than Atlanta. Dallas has to figure out how to protect Prescott with no Tyron Smith at left tackle. That’s huge. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Tons of playoff implications with this game. For the Seahawks a win could push them into 1st place in the West assuming the Rams lose at Minnesota. The game might be even more important for the Falcons who can’t afford a loss which would push them further back in the South. New Orleans is at home so they are likely going 8-2. Carolina is on bye but is 7-3. A loss puts Atlanta at 5-5 & possibly a little too far behind to make a move. Computer Hope

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2017 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS AFTER WEEK 10

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NFC ANALYSIS

1. Eagles: At 8-1 the Eagles only have road games against the Seahawks, Cowboys & Rams to worry about. Right now the Eagles don’t have any tiebreakers over the Saints, Vikings & Rams which is interesting. A loss to the Rams would push LA over Philly if they both ended up with the same record. Right now the Eagles are 6-0 against NFC teams.

2. – 4. Vikings, Saints, Rams: It’s impossible to tell when it actually happens because the games in the early weeks are sometimes variable & you don’t know how the season is going to play out, but the Week 1 game between Minnesota & New Orleans rears it’s ugly head in determining who gets the #2 seed. Because the Vikings beat the Saints, Minnesota is currently the #2 seed. The difference between #2 and #3 is so huge in the playoff seedings. The #2 team gets an extra week of rest and a guaranteed home games in the divisional round. The #3 seed is forced to play a wild card game & will play on the road in the divisional round if they win their wild card game. It’s amazing to think that a Week 1 game is the determining factor in who gets the #2 seed if the season ended today!

5. Panthers: The only 7-3 team in the NFC. Carolina is only a half game behind New Orleans at this point, but their remaining game against the Saints is in the Superdome as Drew Brees and his boys beat Carolina in Charlotte 34-13 in Week 3. It’s worth noting that Carolina is 4-3 in the NFC while the Seahawks are 4-2. Seattle gets the Falcons at home this weekend so a win by Seattle would push the Seahawks into the 5th seed assuming the Rams win.

6. Seahawks: The only 6-3 team in the NFC. Seattle is still in play for the NFC West title so they need to keep playing well. They beat the Rams in LA earlier in the season so getting a win over LA in Seattle would do wonders for their chances to win the West.

7.-10. Falcons, Lions, Packers, Cowboys: The Lions own the tiebreaker over Green Bay in the North. Atlanta beat both the Lions & Cowboys so  Atlanta slide easily into the #7 seed. The Lions edge Dallas by common games record. Green Bay beat Dallas which is why Atlanta is #7, Detroit is #8, Green Bay is #9 and Dallas is #10. All 4 teams are 5-4 so they are just a game behind Seattle for the last wild card spot. Atlanta is going to have to become more consistent but they are still the most interesting team of this group because their conference record is 4-1. Atlanta also has tiebreakers over Detroit, Green Bay & Dallas. The Falcons get a huge opportunity this week when they play the Seahawks. The game is in Seattle, but if Atlanta can get a pivotal road win, they’d vault into the #6 seed in the playoffs & they might not look back.

11.-12. Redskins, Cardinals: Both teams at 4-5 with the Redskins owning the tiebreaker because of conference record. At 4-5, both Arizona & Washington are 2-games out of the #6 seed with 7 games to play. It’s not out of the question they could make a huge run. If one of the teams were to win out they’d finish 11-5 which almost certainly guarantees a playoff spot, but with 10 teams ahead of them and 11 teams in Arizona’s case, both the Redskins & Cardinals might be a little too far out unless they make significant runs.

13.-14. Bucs, Bears: Both teams are 3-6 so there is no playoffs going for either team. TB beat Chicago in Week 2 so this is a lot like Minnesota/New Orleans although instead of that early season game determining the #2/#3 seeds, the Week 2 game between the Bears & Bucs determines the #13/#14 seeds!

15. Giants: With their loss to the 49ers, the G-Men are likely to finish as the 16th seed unless they can somehow win another game. That doesn’t look promising.

16. San Francisco: The 49ers got a win! Even if they finish 1-15, if the Giants finish 1-15, SF will hold the tiebreaker and get the #15 seed forcing New York to dead last place in the NFC!

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 10

#6 SEATTLE @ #3 NEW ORLEANS
#5 CAROLINA @ #4 LOS ANGELES

The NFC is definitely seeing a changing of the guard when it comes to QBs. In the Wild Card we have Cam Newton (age-28), Jared Goff (age-23), Russell Wilson (age-29) and Drew Brees (age-39) in the wild card with their ages being that when the playoffs are taking place. That’s also leaving out Carson Wentz (age-25) who currently is 8-1 with the Eagles! Brees is still a part of the old guard & he might actually win another Super Bowl before it’s all said and done this season, but the NFC is definitely seeing a change. These playoff matchups look likely at this point although there is still quite a bit of room to move. In both cases I think the home teams cruise setting up a divisional round between the Rams/Eagles and the Saints/Vikings. The Goff/Wentz rivalry could get cranked up REALLY FAST if both of these guys become the Brady/Manning of their era.



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AFC ANALYSIS

1.-2. Steelers, Patriots: No change from last week. The Steelers still have the edge in conference record by virtue of playing an extra conference game. At some point that will even out, but it might not matter because Pittsburgh & New England play each other.

3.-4. Chiefs, Titans: The Chiefs get the #3 seed over Tennessee by virtue of conference record. The Chiefs are 4-2 in the AFC while the Titans are 5-3. This is a tricky spot to be in for both squads. There really is no excuse as to why Kansas City shouldn’t finish with as good a record as New England. Given that KC took out the Patriots in Week 1 (notice a theme here!) it would mean the Chiefs would own the tiebreaker over Bill Belichick’s boys which could mean eventually the Chiefs host New England at Arrowhead instead of the Chiefs having to travel to Foxboro in what would almost certainly be a loss. The Titans of course are not in the best of situations. The #4 seed is going to have it tough no matter what because they are looking at going on the road in the divisional round to Kansas City, Pittsburgh or New England. Of course, all of that could change if Tennessee & Jacksonville keep winning. Keep winning and you can force yourself into the top-2 spots.

5. Jaguars: Jacksonville is tied with Tennessee atop the AFC South, both sitting at 6-3. Tennessee beat Jacksonville earlier in the season which gives them the edge. I think at this point both Tennessee & Jacksonville are playoff bound given the relative futility of the rest of the AFC at this point. I think the Jags are a dark horse candidate to win the AFC. Given their schedule, Jacksonville could easily finish the season 13-3.

6. Bills: The only 5-4 team in the AFC. Very tough to see what Buffalo is trying to do here. They go out and trade for Kelvin Benjamin to give the offense a little more firepower, but now they are sitting QB Tyrod Taylor in favor of rookie QB Nathan Peterman. It’s an odd situation given that the Bills have an excellent shot at snagging that last wild card slot. The wild card game against the #3 seed on the road wouldn’t be easy, but the Bills defense is salty enough to keep them in any playoff game.

7.-9. Ravens, Raiders & Dolphins: These are the three teams that could take over for the Bills in that #6 seed should Buffalo start faltering considerably. All 3 teams have flaws to be sure, but all 3 can be good at times. If the Ravens can commit to the run on a consistent basis, I think they have an excellent chance to not only get to the playoffs, but win a game or two. The Raiders are wildly inconsistent to say the least. You never know what you are going to get from them on a weekly basis. The Dolphins at times look terrible (lost to the Ravens 40-0) but if Jay Cutler is healthy & the offense can start clicking, they can be dangerous. These teams are all in different divisions, but the competition between these 3 and the Bills is one of the more fascinating storylines right now.

10. Jets: The only 4-6 team in the AFC. Tough loss to Tampa Bay. It was fun while it lasted but the Jets are going into a bye week 1.5 games behind the Bills. Their remaining 6 games are brutal and they are likely to finish 5-11. Losing to Tampa Bay this past week might have taken the wind out of them, but this is a young team & could steal a win or two down the stretch.

11.-14. Texans, Bengals, Chargers, Broncos: These are all very flawed teams. The Texans are without their QB. The Bengals need a new HC. The Chargers are the unluckiest team in team sports history and the Broncos are also dealing with no established QB who can play at a decent level. All of these teams are 3-6. The Chargers have a better common opponent record than Denver so they are ahead of the Broncos. Between Houston, Cincinnati & Los Angeles, everything breaks by conference record with Houston at #11, Cincinnati #12 and LA at #13.

15. Colts: The only 3-7 team in in the AFC. This isn’t a good football team to be sure, but watching them play Pittsburgh, you start to wonder if they aren’t closer than they seem. At 3-7 they aren’t getting to the playoffs.

16. Browns: Well at least they didn’t lose this week.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 10

#6 BUFFALO @ #3 KANSAS CITY
#5 JACKSONVILLE @ #4 TENNESSEE

No changes from last week. You have to wonder though how much longer Buffalo can hold onto the #6 seed if they are turning their hopes to a rookie QB. If not Buffalo then I think either Baltimore or Miami are your best bets to getting that last spot. Oakland is a long shot but if the Raiders would be able to get the final Wild Card slot, it would be a tremendous wild card game pitting too hated rivals against each other in KC & Oakland!

November 16, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment