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NFL POWER 32 – 2017 WEEK 13

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bills 23-3. The Patriots took care of Buffalo last week to win their 8th straight game & are now tied with a few other teams for the best record in the NFL. The Patriots have the East all but wrapped up & a win over the Steelers in Pittsburgh in a couple of weeks will ensure New England the #1 overall seed which is basically an invitation Brady’s 8th Super Bowl!
#2 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bengals 23-20. Another week another close win for the Steelers. Pittsburgh has won 7 straight games & 6 of them have been by 7 points or fewer. It’s hard to argue with a 10-2 record, but the Steelers are 6-1 in close games & -1 in TO margin. On paper the Steelers look like they are the best team in the NFL, but those close games are dangerous. They can turn on you fast.
#3 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Falcons 14-9. The Vikings are going through a brutal stretch in their schedule & they keep winning football games. It’s amazing to think this squad ranks 6th in the NFL in rushing yards & 12th in the league in passing yards. The Vikings are doing this with supposed backup players at QB & RB! The D is outstanding & they don’t turn the ball over. That equates to wins.
#4 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Seahawks 10-24. After winning 9 straight games, the Eagles feel to Seattle on the road. You can’t win them all. Carson Wentz was a bit off & Russell Wilson was playing out of his mind. It happens. I do think this could be indicative of the Eagles having potential future issues on the road in big games with a young QB. Getting that #1 seed seems pretty important to them.
#5 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Cardinals 32-16. WR Robert Woods has missed the last couple of games yet the Rams have scored 58 points & has won both games. It’s unclear when Woods will return, but in his absence the Rams are giving more work to Cooper Kupp & Josh Reynolds. That will be valubale experience for those players when Woods return. That makes this offense even better! Scary.
#6 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Panthers 31-21. Carolina has a pretty good defense & the Saints put up 400 total yards while Mark Ingram totaled 109 yards & Alvin Kamara totaled 126. Both combined for 3TDs. The Saints are ball hawking & Cameron Jordan is having an outstanding year on the edge. It’s all clicking with this team & it’s beginning to feel quite a bit like 2009 when the Saints won the Lombardi.
#7 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Eagles 24-10. The Seahawks put on an amazing performance against Philly in getting a win they absolutely needed. Seattle is making no secret that this team is squarely on the back of Russell Wilson & the Seahawks will go as far as Wilson takes them. If Wilson plays the rest of the way like he did against the Eagles, Seattle should win out & Wilson will win the MVP award.
#8 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Saints 21-31. Losing in New Orleans isn’t that big of a deal & in some ways is expected. What is exciting about the Panthers is the play of Cam Newton. In his last 5 games, Newton is 4-1 with 7TDs to just 1INT. The lone loss was this past week on the road to the Saints. Newton isn’t that accurate, but if he’s not turning the ball over then the Panthers are real threats to anyone.
#9 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to the Vikings 9-14. There has been a lot of discussion about Atlanta’s offense not quite clicking this season, but Atlanta’s biggest flaw has been their inability to win games at home. Atlanta has 3 losses to Buffalo, Miami & Minnesota at home! Sure the Vikings are tough, but if Atlanta wins those 3 games, they are 10-2 instead of 7-5. Those 3 losses have come by 14 points total.
#10 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Browns 19-10. The Bolts are 6-2 in their last 8 games & in those 8 games they are +14 in TO margin. This is a stark contrast to the Chargers fate in recent years. The game against Cleveland looks closer than what it was as LA statistically dominated the Browns. This is the team nobody wants to face in the playoffs. They are +11 in TO margin & +22 in sack differential!!!
#11 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Lions 44-20. The Ravens have won 3 straight games & look to be a virtual lock in the playoffs. This is dangerous for teams because Joe Flacco has never been to a playoff where he didn’t win at least one game. Speaking of Flacco, he’s throwing the ball a ton, but he’s not terrible and I think the reason why is Alex Collins. Just the hint of a running games improves Flacco’s play!
#12 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Colts 30-10. Nothing like a home game against the Colts to get your season right back on track after an unexpected loss! Blake Bortles played fairly well, but he’s coming up big against terrible teams & looking bad against good defenses. When Jacksonville gets to the playoffs, he’ll be facing some stout defenses & that is going to come back & bite the Jaguars. Bortles is key.
#13 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Redskins 38-14. With their backs against the wall, the Cowboys respond in a huge way by beating arch nemesis Washington like a drum! He’s not Ezekiel Elliott, but I’m not sure how much Dallas actually loses when Alfred Morris takes over at tailback, which is frustrating because Dallas is 1-3 during Elliott’s suspension. The Cowboys have to win out at this point for 10-6.
#14 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Chiefs 38-31. Fantastic win for the Jets! It’s hard to understate how amazing a season Josh McCown has had in New York this season. He’s thrown for 2,880 yards with 18TD to 8INT while completing 68% of his passes. The Jets aren’t great & they are incredibly young, but this illustrates how competitive ANY NFL team can be when they are not turning the football over.
#15 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Texans 24-13. It really is time to take the handcuffs off of Derrick Henry & see what this stud running back can accomplish with 25-28 carries per game. Against the Texans, Henry ran for 109 yards on 11 carries. That’s 200+ with 20+ carries. Tennessee is a different type of team when they can ground & pound & Henry gives them their best chance to win playing like that.
#16 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Cowboys 14-38. Tough loss that killed any hopes that the Redskins might still be a viable playoff team. Washington has dealt with massive injuries issues all season so being 5-7 should be looked upon as a compliment. Kirk Cousins & Ryan Kerrigan deserve better to be honest. The Redskins are stuck in the middle. Not quite a playoff team, but better than the NFL dregs.
#17 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Giants 24-17. The Raiders are 4-2 in their last 6 after losing 4 straight games. Like Pittsburgh the wins aren’t fantastic, but Oakland is running the ball well behind Marshawn Lynch & Derek Carr is playing solid football. Oakland’s remaining schedule is murderer’s row so their playoff hopes don’t look great despite improving to 6-6. If they get to the playoffs, they’ll earn it.
#18 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Steelers 20-23. Cincinnati needed that one. Giovani Bernard had a solid game after Joe Mixon went out with a concussion, but I think the Bengals offense still needs to flow through Mixon to be successful long term. The fact that the Bengals lost by 3 on a last second field goal with Mixon missing a lot of the game is telling. Can Mixon be the key to Marvin Lewis returning?
#19 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Ravens 20-44. In order for the Lions to have had a chance at the postseason I think they needed to beat Baltimore & instead they got hammered. Matt Stafford has injury problems with his throwing hand & Detroit still can’t find a running game. The Lions could still win out as their schedule isn’t that nasty, but does anyone think Jim Caldwell can lead this team in the clutch?
#20 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bucs 26-20. It wasn’t pretty but the Packers got just enough to beat Tampa Bay & now they only have one more week to go without Aaron Rodgers before the #12 returns. The win pushes Green Bay to 6-6 & on the cusp of the playoffs. RB Jamaal Williams had a big game & if the running attack and keep with Rodgers returning, this is the most dangerous team in the NFC.
#21 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Patriots 3-23. The next couple of weeks are going to be interesting for the Bills because they get a couple of home games against the Colts & Dolphins. Buffalo is going to start Nathan Peterman at QB this week against the Colts because Tyrod Taylor has knee problems. The question becomes whether or not the Bills can win with Peterman with the playoffs in sight?
#22 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Jets 31-38. If you are looking at just the last 7 games, the Chiefs probably deserve to be much lower than even 22 as Kansas City is 1-6 in their last 7. The Chiefs can make this all go away if they get some wins. KC plays their next 3 games in Arrowhead & if they defend home turf then 9-6 going into the season finale should be enough to ensure KC wins the AFC West.
#23 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Rams 16-32. That whole Blaine Gabbert experiment isn’t going so well afterall!? After beating the Jaguars, the Cardinals found themselves on the cusp of playoff contention with the outcome of the game against the Rams being of the utmost importance. Despite that importance, the Cardinals laid an egg and now their season is pretty much over. Tough season.
#24 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Packers 20-26. Jameis Winston went 21 of 32 for 270 yards & 2TD without throwing a pick. In the past, when Winston has been playing exceptionally well, the Bucs would win football games. Now Winston is playing good football & the Bucs are losing to teams that are starting their backup QB. That’s a bad situation for Tampa Bay & indicative that something isn’t right.
#25 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Broncos 35-9. After 5 straight losses, the Dolphins exploded for 35 points against a hapless Broncos team & pushed their record to 5-7. Kenyan Drake went off for 120 yards & a TD while Jay Cutler threw for 235yds/2TD. The Dolphins aren’t out of it yet. If they beat the Patriots & Nathan Peterman keeps playing QB for the Bills, the Dolphins could finish with a 9-7 record.
#26 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Jaguars 10-30. The Colts certainly have some issues but to be fair, Frank Gore & Marlon Mack combined to rush for over 100 yards against a fantastic Jacksonville front-7. They did this despite Jacoby Brissett throwing the ball 36 times & the Colts needing to throw the ball even more! Andrew Luck needs to get healthy & the D needs improvement, but are they close?
#27 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bears 15-14. Is it really that easy? The 49ers put in Jimmy G and all of a sudden they start winning football games! It’s interesting that the 49ers play the Texans this upcoming week because it really does represent a good chance for Garoppolo to start his first two games and get a couple of wins in order to build up quite a bit of confidence. The 49ers are playing this well.
#28 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Titans 13-24. I don’t think losing to the Titans is that bad when you have Tom Savage as your QB, but Houston’s overall game strategy doesn’t make sense. The game was never out of hand yet Savage threw the ball 49 times. Houston’s defense is also supposed to be decent, but the Titans ran for over 200 yards against them. The Texans could very well lose out this season.
#29 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to 49ers 14-15. After starting the season 3-4 with wins over the Panthers, Ravens & Steelers, the Bears have lost 5 straight games after losing at home by 1 to the 49ers. How can you be a team that beat the Panthers, Ravens & Steelers yet lose to San Francisco? The Bears aren’t horrible but their passing game is. Trubisky can handle the job but he needs more skill weapons.
#30 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Dolphins 9-35. Denver is a complete train wreck of a team & I’d rank them last except the Browns are 0-12 and the Giants just fired their head coach. Miami is terrible & Denver was BLOWN OUT en route to their 8th straight loss! It’s tough to get an idea of the identity the Broncos want to go with. They don’t have much of a running game & their QB situation is disastrous.
#31 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Raiders 17-24. The Geno Smith era ended after a single start & HC Ben McAdoo was fired. New York is by the far the most disappointing team in the NFL in 2017. The off season should also be insane as the Giants find a new head coach & they’ll no doubt draft a QB and move on from the Eli Manning era. Oddly enough, this is actually a pretty good football team.
#32 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Chargers 10-19. The game wasn’t as competitive as the final score would seem to indicate, but kudos to the Browns for sticking in the game. Cleveland fired it’s general manager this past week, but apparently ownership still has faith in Hue Jackson. If Cleveland can’t beat Green Bay or Chicago, they’ll finish 0-16. Can you keep your head coach if you pull a winless season??
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December 10, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

MY 2017 HEISMAN BALLOT

The Heisman Trophy is going to be awarded this weekend, and I’m pretty sure anyone who follows college football closely already knows the results we are going to see. I see now scenario in which Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield doesn’t win the award, and the quarterback deserves the recognition after having an incredible season in Norman & leading the Sooners to the college football playoffs. My ballot would have looked like this had I been voting.

1. Baker Mayfield/QB/Oklahoma Sooners

It’s hard to overstate just how good Mayfield has been all season long. He passed for 4,340 yards while completing 71% of his passes with 41TD to only 5 interceptions! That’s absurd at the collegiate level. He currently ranks 2nd in the nation in passing yards, 1st in the nation in yards/attempt, 1st in the nation in completion percentage for qualified QBs, 2nd in the nation in TD passes, 4th in passing yards per game and #1 in the nation in QB rating by a significant margin. Mayfield also ran for 310 yards with 5TDs. He doesn’t run the ball like Lamar Jackson, but it would be silly to question Mayfield’s athleticism because it’s there.

Mayfield led Oklahoma to a 12-1 finish with a Big XII championship. They are headed to the college football playoff & have a very good chance at winning the title if Mayfield keeps playing like he has been. To me that is what separates Mayfield from the pact. He has seemingly elevated his game to his competition. He had an incredible game against Ohio St. in Columbus which first put the nation on notice that the Sooners were national title contenders. He came up clutch against Texas in a close game in the Red River Rivalry. He went on the road to Stillwater against in-state rival Oklahoma St. and threw for almost 600 yards & 5TD! Mayfield was almost perfect against West Virginia. He beat TCU twice, throwing for 7TD without any interceptions! Mayfield had a better QB rating against ranked teams than unranked teams. He had a better QB rating against winning teams than losing teams. Even in Oklahoma’s only loss to Iowa State, Mayfield threw for over 300 yards, completed 73% of his passes, had 2TDs and didn’t throw an interception!

On the field, there simply wasn’t a player as good as Mayfield in 2017. If he gets a chance to play two more games, he could finish the season with 5,000+ passing yards, 50TD passes, a completion percentage greater than 70%, a Heisman Trophy and a national title. It will be the single greatest season ever by a college QB in the history of college football. I’m rooting for him.

2. Bryce Love/RB/Stanford Cardinal

Love rushed for 1,973 yards while averaging 8.3ypc and scored 19TD in 11 games. If Love hadn’t missed the Oregon State game (the 2nd easiest game on the schedule behind the opener against Rice), he would have went over 2100 yards rushing with 20+ touchdowns! Love ran for over 100 yards in 10 of his 11 games. He had a 2-game stretch against Arizona State & UCLA where he ran for a combined 564 yards! He ran for over 300 yards against Arizona St. and over 260 yards against UCLA! By all metrics, Love had a truly remarkable season. If Love was able to go over 2,000 yards rushing with 20+ TDs and Stanford didn’t leave opportunities on the field, Love would have made a huge case to win the trophy. The Cardinal suffered 3 close losses in their 9-4 season which means they were THIS CLOSE to finishing the season 12-1 with a Pac 12 Championship which would have put them in the college football players. If Love is playing for that team with his considerable accomplishments, he would have been neck and neck with Mayfield for the Heisman.

3. Lamar Jackson/QB/Louisville Cardinals

How hard is it to win back-to-back Heisman Trophies!? Consider Jackson’s 2016 season when he won the trophy & this year:

2016: 230/409 (56.2%), 3543yds/30TD/9INT; 1,571 rushing yards (6.04ypc), 21TD; 51TD rushing/passing
2017: 241/399 (60.4%), 3489yds/25TD/6INT; 1,443 rushing yards (6.94ypc), 17TD; 42TD rushing/passing

Jackson doesn’t have as many overall TDs this year as he did last, but you can certainly make an argument that Jackson v.2017 is actually a better player than Jackson v.2016. I think a couple of things hurt Jackson this season. The first is how good of seasons both Mayfield & Love are having. As good as  Jackson has been this year, Mayfield might end the season (including the bowl games) with 5,000 passing yards & 50TDs! That’s INSANITY! Love is going over 2,000 yards & 20TDs if simply plays in Stanford’s bowl game. Those are remarkable years. There wasn’t a runner in 2016 putting up as dominant of numbers as Love is this season. There wasn’t a QB last season that led his team to the college football playoffs with a 12-1 record & a conference championship that also put up a 4,000 yards/40TD season. Your competition matters.

The second thing that is hurting Jackson is Louisville’s relevance. In 2016, the Cardinals started the season 9-1 & were ranked #3 in the nation heading into the last week of November. They were definite playoff contenders before the season completely bottomed out. The season was a disappointment, but Jackson’s play & Louisville’s relevance kept the QB in the spotlight all season long. His play obviously earned the Heisman, but it certainly didn’t hurt that Louisville was playing like a great football team that had a shot at a national championship. This season Louisville hasn’t been ranked since October 1st and took losses to Wake Forest, NC State & Boston College! It doesn’t help when you feel like your QB is leading an underachieving team. The loss to Clemson makes sense, but the other 3 losses? Louisville should be 11-1 & headed to a New Year’s 6 Bowl ranked in the top-10. Instead, they are 8-4 and headed to the Gator Bowl to play a Mississippi State squad who just lost their HC to Florida.

Perception matters.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2017 NFL FOOTBALL – WEEK 14 BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope An absolute must win for the Falcons at home against the Saints in a huge division game! A Falcons loss would all but eliminate the Falcons from the division. Their odds are long as it is, but they’d be done. With Carolina playing at home, it could also put Atlanta 3 games behind the Panthers too. This is the first time these teams have met & the stakes couldn’t be higher. Atlanta has been wildly inconsistent. They need to bring it hard in this one. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This game is going to come down to whether or not Tyrod Taylor can suit up after banging up his knee last week against the Patriots. The Bills are in the thick of things, but throwing Nathan Peterman out there is recipe for disaster. I still don’t think the Colts are downright awful. Jacoby Brissett isn’t a QB1, but if he gets rolling & the Colts defense comes up every now & then, Indy can win. Peterman definitely will give the Colts a glimmer of hope. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Now you see why the Bengals absolutely needed to beat Pittsburgh in Cincinnati last Monday night. Getting the Bears at home to follow would have helped Cincinnati gain some momentum to get to 7-6, potentially putting a little pressure on the Ravens as they head down the stretch. Now Cincy is 5-7 & 2 games behind Baltimore. Sure they’ll beat Chicago but 2 of their last 3 are on the road against the Ravens & Vikings. They’ll win here. Won’t matter. Computer Hope
Computer Hope ONE MORE WEEK! ONE MORE WEEK! Rumor has it that Aaron Rodgers might be back on December 17th meaning this would be the last week the Packers will have Brett Hundley at QB. The Browns don’t have many opportunities left to get a win & this might actually be the best one they have to avoid 0-16, but Hundley has been playing better & Green Bay is now in the playoff hunt. I think every potential NFC playoff team is rooting for the Browns! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Is this the week the Chiefs finally fall out of first place in the AFC West? The Raiders have been playing really well the last couple of week although the competition has been thin, beating Denver & the NY Giants. I think this game comes down to whether or not the Chiefs can get their running game going. If KC can get some running help. Alex Smith was a monster last week against the Jets throwing 4TD, but the Chiefs still lost 38-31. Can the run the ball? Computer Hope
Computer Hope Eli Manning gets his starting job back, but the Giants just fired their head coach and general manager so this game couldn’t come at a better time for the Cowboys. Dallas should be able to get this W pushing them to 7-6. It’s not a great spot to be in & Dallas probably needs to win out, but it would be a win without Ezekiel Elliott and would put Dallas a week closer to their stud running back’s return. The G-Men might rally a bit but Dallas emerges. Computer Hope
Computer Hope A must win for the Lions after Detroit lost to Baltimore in stunning fashion last week. Both QBs appear to be banged up. Matt Stafford is dealing with throwing hand issues while Jameis Winston is still dealing with a bum shoulder. An interesting subtext to this game is the status of Lions HC Jim Caldwell’s job. This is Caldwell’s 4th year on the job and the Lions aren’t any closer to the playoffs than they were when Caldwell took over. Not a lot of progress. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This is the last game of an incredibly difficult 4-game run for the Minnesota Vikings. What’s amazing to this point is that Minnesota has beaten everyone thus far. They started with the Rams, then the Lions, last week the Falcons & this week the Panthers. Can they really get to 11-2!? You have to wonder if Case Keenum is the QB of the future in Minnesota. If the Vikings win the Super Bowl, can you really take him out of the starting lineup? He’s only 29 years old. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Jimmy Garoppolo got his first start for the 49ers last week against the Chicago Bears and delivered a win! This week Jimmy G goes on the road to Houston in a game SF could potentially win! I don’t know if Kyle Shanahan & management thought this way, but this is a perfect time in the schedule for Garoppolo to gain confidence. This 3-game stretch is at Chicago, v. Houston and v. Tennessee. The 49ers could put together 3-straight wins under Jimmy! Computer Hope
Computer Hope For the first time all season it seems like the Jets are playing with some expectations. The playoffs are still fairly far fetched for them given their schedule, but a road game against the Broncos should be a victory which would push the Jets to 6-7 which NOBODY thought possible. It’ll be interesting to see if the Broncos defense shows up a bit, but Denver is going to have to hard time scoring against a VERY salty Jets D. I think the Jets get a few turnovers & win. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Titans are 7-0 when Derrick Henry gets double digit carries and in those games Henry has rushed for 530 yards on 94 carries (5.6ypc!) with 3TD. I know Tennessee still has Demarco Murray on the roster, but Henry is a legitimate #1 RB who can carry the ball 20-25 times a game & he gets better & better as the game goes along. We saw this while Henry was at Alabama. The Titans are A LOT better with him running it. Are they smart enough to figure this out? Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Chargers simply cannot overlook the Washington Redskins this week with everything on the line. It was just a few weeks ago that the Redskins went up to Seattle and gave the Seahawks gut wrenching loss & the Chargers certainly do not want to suffer a similar fate especially with Oakland & Kansas City playing one another. I love the matchup of LA’s edge rushers against a beat up Redskins O-Line, but Kirk Cousins has been known to pull off miracles. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Game of the week! Can Philadelphia lose two straight games on the west coast? Last week the Eagles looked out of sorts against a good but not great Seahawks team. As good as Seattle might be, they aren’t playing as well as the Rams & their defense certainly won’t be as good as the Rams. Have the Eagles benefited from a soft schedule to this point? Both teams need the win & oh by the way, there is that little subplot of Jared Goff v. Carson Wentz! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Huge opportunity for Seattle to take control of the NFC West if you believe the Eagles aren’t going to lose two straight games. If Seattle can go on the road and get a win over the Jaguars, they’ll improve to 9-4 & at worst keep pace in the West. This is going to be really interesting from the QB play. Russell Wilson did a great job against Philly last week. Can he put back-to-back weeks together against great defenses? Can Blake Bortles not implode? Computer Hope
Computer Hope Hug Sunday night game. The schedule is setting up fine for the Ravens to win 3 of their last 4 at least meaning 10-6 is likely. That 4th game? Here in the Steel City! The AFC North isn’t completely wrapped up. If the Ravens win here they’ll improve to 8-5 to Pittsburgh’s 10-3. The Steelers also get New England the following the week. A loss there makes the Ravens a game out. That would add a little pressure on the Steelers to win their last 2 games. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Dolphins flashed a little bit last week against a lifeless Broncos squad but Jay Cutler threw two picks which isn’t a good sign. Miami isn’t bad, but they don’t do the things required to beat the Patriots. Their pass rush isn’t dominant enough to get Brady uncomfortable in the pocket. Miami is incredibly turnover prone which is spells disaster against a Bill Belichick coached squad. Miami can stay pretty close if they don’t commit any turnovers. Computer Hope

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

2017 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS AFTER WEEK 13

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NFC ANALYSIS

NFC EAST: The Eagles are up 4 games with 4 to play. The only way the Eagles can lose the East is if they lose out which isn’t happening with 2 home games left & a road trip to New York. What’s amazing about the Eagles is their loss to the Seahawks Sunday night cost them the #1 overall seed by way of Strength of Victory! All things being equal, if the Vikings & Eagles tie for the best record, Minnesota has the upper hand for the #1 seed meaning the #1 v. #2 NFC Championship game would be in Minneapolis and not Philadelphia. Dallas & Washington got a break with both Detroit & Atlanta losing games, but didn’t catch a break with the Rams & Seahawks winning. The Redskins are 3 games out of the Wild Card with 4 to play. Dallas is two games out with 4 to play. I think they are finished barring a miracle.

NFC NORTH: Like the Eagles, Minnesota has to lose out to not win the North. That isn’t happening with a home game against the Bears remaining meaning AT WORST the Vikings finish 11-5 while AT BEST the Lions & Packers finish 10-6. The Vikings need to keep pace though. They control their own destiny. Finish with the best record & not only do you get a first round bye in the postseason, you also will play every playoff game you play in your backyard. The Packers & Lions are in the same boat the Cowboys are in. The interesting part is the return of Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay plays at Cleveland next week & will be without #12. However, the following week in Carolina, Rodgers could return. They’ll need some help to get that 6th seed, but getting Rodgers back gives them a shot at 10-6. You can argue the very same for Detroit but with Matt Stafford’s throwing hand up in the air, I’d say the Lions season is probably done. One last thing to keep in mind: Minnesota holds head to head tiebreakers against the Saints & the Rams.

NFC SOUTH: New Orleans win over Carolina gives the Saints a commanding lead in the South. They are 2 up on Atlanta & get two more games at home, one against the Falcons. The swept the season series against the Panthers so they are in essence 2 up on the Panthers with 4 to play. The Saints need to be thinking about a first round bye. That is going to be tough to get and remember that earlier in the season the Vikings beat the Saints so New Orleans is effectively two games behind Minnesota. That’s tough. Carolina is still in good shape at 8-4, but they need to keep winning. Seattle beating Philly didn’t help the Panthers as Seattle moved into the #5 seed ahead of Carolina & and the Panthers still have a road game against the Falcons which would even the teams if Atlanta wins. Carolina also has games against Minnesota & Green Bay which won’t be easy. The Falcons are in a tough way as well. They still have to play the Saints twice & Carolina. The reason why you can’t completely shut the door on Dallas, Detroit & Green Bay is that the South should beat each other up quite a bit down the stretch. There are going to be losses because there are so many intra-divisional games.

NFC WEST: Seattle getting a huge home win over the Eagles puts the Seahawks in the 5th seed but also keeps them one game back of the Rams with LA coming to Seattle in a couple of weeks which could decide the division. The Seahawks won in Los Angeles so they’ll be going for the season sweep. The roads for both Seattle & Los Angeles aren’t easy. There is no doubting that which is another reason why you can’t discount the Cowboys, Lions & Packers. Arizona losing to the Rams this past weekend pretty much ended their season. At 5-7, the Cardinals are 4 back of LA and 3 back of Seattle with 4 games to play. Arizona made things exciting last week with their win over Jacksonville to pull to 5-6, but beating the Rams was necessary. They didn’t and are finished, left wondering if Bruce Arians is going to return to the sidelines for 2018.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 13

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

These matchups are INSANE and here is why. If Seattle beats the Rams in Seattle & the Rams still find a way to win the division, you’ll have two matchups between division rivals that had one team sweep the other. It’s extremely difficult to beat a good team twice in one season, but could Seattle & New Orleans really beat Los Angeles & Carolina respectively 3 times in a single season!? This could easily wind up being a situation in which both wild card teams advance to the divisional round giving us Carolina @ Minnesota and Seattle @ Philadelphia! In reality, these are almost impossible matchups. The remaining games within the NFC makes these about as unlikely as you can possibly get although I wouldn’t be surprised if the NFC playoff teams were already set.



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AFC ANALYSIS

AFC EAST: It’s over. The Bills had to beat the Patriots this past week for the Bills to have any chances at the East. New England is 10-2 now, up 4 with 4 to play. New England still has 2 games at home to play against the Bills & Jets and I don’t see them losing. Oddly enough, the other 3 teams in the East are sort of still in the playoff mix. Buffalo is just a game out at 6-6 and amazingly enough both Miami & New York are just 2 games back of the Ravens for the final playoff spot. I don’t like Buffalo’s chances if Nathan Peterman is lacing them up to be the starting QB, but could Miami and/or the Jets make a run? For both squads, the Ravens have to play awful. They have a road game against the Steelers and a home game against the Bengals. Maybe those are losses. Their other two games are on the road to Cleveland and home against the Colts. Those looks like wins meaning at worse Baltimore is probably going 9-7. That means both the Dolphins & Jets have to win out which means beating the Patriots. Miami has the better shot of the two as the Jets play the Saints, Chargers & Patriots in 3 of their final 4.

AFC NORTH: Not completely over I suppose because the Steelers are up on Baltimore by 3 with 4  left, but Pittsburgh plays 3 of their final 4 games at home. The Steelers aren’t winning pretty, but they are winning. At worst the Steelers go 2-2 down the stretch and finish 12-4 which puts the North away by a decent margin. It’s starting to be pretty clear that Baltimore is going to take down that last playoff spot. They are 7-5 and have the 6th seed right now & their remaining schedule should give them 3 wins allowing them to finish the season 10-6. In case you are Ravens fan worried about the Chargers, don’t be. The Chargers would have to go 4-0 to Baltimore’s 3-1 for both teams to have the same record, but in that case, the Chargers would win the AFC West and would no longer have to worry about any wild card tiebreakers. The Bengals are finished. They absolutely had to beat Pittsburgh on Monday night & fell just short. Cincinnati is 2 games back of the Ravens and have to play Minnesota, Detroit & Baltimore in 3 of their last 4. It might be time to clean house in the Queen City.

AFC SOUTH: It’s Jaguars v. Titans. Both teams won this past week so both teams improve to 8-4 with the Titans currently having the head to head tiebreaker. I will say that things could get pretty interesting in this division. If Blaine Gabbert plays well, the Cardinals aren’t bad. Jimmy Garoppolo played well this past week in a 49ers win. The Titans play @ARI, @SF, v.LAR and v.JAX in their last 4 games respectively. Could the Titans fall to 8-8 and potentially miss the wild card? The Jaguars on the other hand get v.SEA, v.HOU, @SF, and @TEN in their final 4. It’s hard to see the Jaguars losing out (it’s hard to see Tennessee losing out!) but the season isn’t over yet with both the Titans and Jaguars. One of them will win the division but if the other tanks, they could be in wild card jeopardy.

AFC WEST: Kansas City’s nosedive makes everyone in this division a contenders save Denver. The hottest team in the division by far is the Chargers, but at the moment the Chiefs still maintain the tiebreaker over both LA and Oakland due to divisional record. KC beat LA but Oakland beat Kansas City and Los Angeles beat Oakland. There are quite a few divisional games left to be played so you can’t completely count Kansas City out of it just yet, but if they keep tanking like this, they’ll wind up losing the division after a dominant start to the season. Kansas City does have 3 of the last 4 games at home & finish the season on the road at Denver. The Chiefs have a real shot at finishing 10-6 and putting the division away. The Chargers have 2 road games (Chiefs & Jets) and they need to win their homes games as well. You can no longer discount the Jets either. LA will have a tough time in New York. Oakland has the toughest road by far. They get both the Chiefs & Chargers in their final 4 games, but they also have to play the Cowboys & Eagles. I think Oakland finishing the season 2-2 would be solid but it would make them 8-8 to finish which won’t be good enough. As I’ve said before, if Oakland somehow manages to win the West, they’ll definitely have earned it.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 13

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

No changes again this week but that could start to drastically change if Kansas City keeps losing and Tennessee falls behind Jacksonville in the South. The AFC is a little different than the NFC in that the NFC is really a battle for the #6 seed between Seattle & Atlanta and possibly even Detroit, Dallas & Green Bay. The AFC has the same issues with the #6 seed, but I think the #5 seed could come into play as well if Tennessee/Jacksonville falters and I also think the #4 seed is up for grabs because it looks like Kansas City, Oakland & Los Angeles is in for a battle to the wire. If you think the #1-#2 seed isn’t cemented either, the AFC is a complete unknown when it comes to the actual seedings and how the teams will finish.

December 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NFL POWER 32 – 2017 WEEK 12

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bears 31-3. Remaining SOS rank = #13. The Eagles don’t seem to be slowing down. They’ve beat the Cowboys & Bears the last two weeks by a combined score of 68-12! Carson Wentz is the likely MVP at this point & the Eagles defense is outstanding.
#2 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Dolphins 35-17. Remaining SOS rank = #27. Tom Brady is doing things nobody thought he could do at age-40. The defense has been fantastic over the last few weeks & Dion Lewis’ reemergence is a scary thought for opposing defenses. Belichick’s best team?
#3 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Packers 31-28. Remaining SOS rank = #17. The Steelers won their 6th straight but a had a little trouble doing so. Four of their past 6 win have been close ones. Does that mean Pittsburgh is a team of destiny or merely not as good as their 9-2 record?
#4 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Lions 30-23. Remaining SOS rank = #19. Mike Zimmer should be coach of the year. The win over Detroit put Minnesota at 9-2 with the North all but sealed. Nobody would have believed you if you had said before the season that the Vikings would be 9-2 without Sam Bradford & Dalvin Cook!
#5 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Saints 26-20. Remaining SOS rank = #18. Great comeback win for the Rams who suffered a loss to the Vikings the previous week & then rebounded to beat a nasty Saints team who is streaking at this point. Sean McVay has done a great job with Jared Goff.
#6 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Rams 20-26. Remaining SOS rank = #26. You can’t win them all & losing to the Rams in LA is hardly something to hang your head over. The Saints have to rebound quickly. They get the Falcons twice & the Panthers in their final 5 games. It’s going to be exciting!
#7 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Jets 35-27. Remaining SOS rank = #5. This was a solid win over the Jets although it looks a bit suspect. The Jets played exceedingly well, especially Josh McCown but the Panthers were still able to get 30pts & the win despite Cam Newton not playing well.
#8 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bucs 34-20. Remaining SOS rank = #1. Atlanta’s now won 3 straight games & have averaged 31.7PPG in those 3 wins. The Falcons have seemingly figured out their offensive troubles at just the right time as their remaining schedule is brutal & they are fighting for the postseason.
#9 Computer Hope Last Week Beat 49ers 24-13. Remaining SOS rank = #2. The 49ers scored a garbage time TD so 24-13 might be more like 24-6. That’s a solid effort, but the Seahawks are going to have to play A LOT better down the stretch against a very difficult schedule. Russell Wilson is key.
#10 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Cowboys 28-6. Remaining SOS Rank = #25. The Chargers might be the hottest football team in the league right now save the Eagles, Patriots & Steelers. The win over Dallas was a BEATING & it’ll be a disappointment for LA to finish anything worse than 10-6 & a playoff spot.
#11 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Cardinals 24-27. Remaining SOS rank = #29. I’ve been saying this all season but from a personnel standpoint, the Jaguars might be the best team in the NFL if you don’t include the QB position. They should finish 12-4. They should win the South, but they SHOULD have beaten Arizona.
#12 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Texans 23-16. Remaining SOS Rank = 23. Flacco still throwing too many passes but when you look at the season in total, the Ravens only have the one bad loss to Chicago. This is exactly the kind of team John Harbaugh wants to have. Nobody wants to play these guys.
#13 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Giants 20-10. Remaining SOS rank = #28. Good win over the Giants to get to 5-6, but the win only keeps the Redskins peripherally in the playoff race. The key will be beating Dallas this upcoming week. Either way, Kirk Cousins has been outstanding. He’s going to get paid!
#14 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Vikings 23-30. Remaining SOS Rank = #21. Very tough loss to the Vikings that essentially eliminated the Lions from NFC North contention. Detroit isn’t out the wild card though. They need to win out & hope Seattle implodes & the NFC South beats themselves silly.
#15 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Browns 30-16. Remaining SOS rank = #3. Joe Mixon had a phenomenal game against a solid Browns defense. The Bengals rookie rushed for 114 yards & a TD while also catching his 3 targets for 51 yards. The Bengals can make noise down the stretch if Mixon keeps running.
#16 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Chiefs 16-10. Remaining SOS rank = #31. HUGE WIN FOR THE BILLS! I don’t think the Bills beat the Chargers with Tyrod Taylor the previous week but it makes you wonder. The key for Buffalo is beating the Patriots at least once. They need a chance at 10 wins for a playoff spot.
#17 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Bills 10-16. Remaining SOS Rank = #32. EEK. The Chiefs offense is going to keep sputtering until they get the run game reestablished. Benching Alex Smith in favor of Pat Mahomes isn’t going to do anything for the vertical passing game if KC can’t run the ball.
#18 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Colts 20-16. Remaining SOS rank = #14. What do you really make of Tennessee? They barely beat the Colts in a game you can argue they shouldn’t have won. The Jags lose & the Titans are back in 1st. It’ll be interesting to see how the Titans finish with a difficult slate.
#19 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Broncos 21-14. Remaining SOS rank = #8. Good win for Oakland who moves to 5-6 & keeps them in the playoff discussion. Next week against the Giants will be interesting because Oakland is dealing with the fall out from the Denver melee & the Giants have a new starting QB.
#20 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Chargers 6-28. Remaining SOS rank = #10. Losing to the Chargers at home was killer. It’s not out of the question that Dallas wins out finishes 10-6 & eeks into the playoffs, but I don’t see it with their remaining schedule. Tons of drama this year. Hardly any results.
#21 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Panthers 27-35. Remaining SOS rank = #6. The Jets gave it there all & still came up just short. New York might be the most interesting team heading into the 2018 NFL Draft. They are a few offensive pieces away from being a real threat in the AFC. Can they get them?
#22 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Steelers 28-31. Remaining SOS rank = #16. Aaron Rodgers might start practicing soon which is the best news to come out of Green Bay in weeks. The loss to Pittsburgh is gut-wrenching when you consider where GB would be if they had won. The season is over here.
#23 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Jaguars 27-24. Remaining SOS rank = #11. Well that was unexpected. If Blaine Gabbert plays the rest of the season like he did against the Jaguars, then Arizona could make things interesting down the stretch. I don’t think they can win out, but can they leap the Seahawks?
#24 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Falcons 20-34. Remaining SOS rank = #4. Hard to think Dirk Koetter returns next season, but to be fair I think he’s in an unwinnable situation. I don’t believe Jameis Winston is a franchise QB & the defense had no pass rush. That’s a very tough draw to win consistently with.
#25 Computer Hope Last Week Lost Eagles 3-31. Remaining SOS rank = #24. The Bears would have liked to have been competitive against Philadelphia, but sometimes blow outs happen. The Bears do not have any options for Mitch Trubisky to work with so these types of games are going to happen. They must fix WR.
#26 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Redskins 10-20. Remaining SOS rank = #9. The Eli Manning era is over in New York and you have wonder if Eli will simply take his 2 Super Bowl rings into retirement or will he try to keep playing with a different team. Eli would make the Jets & Jaguars completely different teams.
#27 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Titans 16-20. Remaining SOS rank = #15. Another week, another opportunity for the Colts to win a game, yet blow it. The Colts could be 7-4 & tied with the Titans & Jaguars. They could also be 0-11 & the worst team in the NFL. That’s the crux & why Chuck Pagano isn’t coming back.
#28 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Ravens 16-23. Remaining SOS rank = #22. Tough loss for the Texans, but beating the Ravens wouldn’t have mattered that much anyway. It’s scary to think how good this team could be if everyone on the team was 100% healthy. It’s scary to think that might never actually happen.
#29 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Seahawks 13-24. Remaining SOS rank = #12. Jimmy Garoppolo finally made his debut going 2 for 2 with a TD against the Seahawks last week after CJ Beathard was injured late. Garoppolo is now the starter and there isn’t any looking back. I can’t wait to see what he does from this point.
#30 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Patriots 17-35. Remaining SOS rank = #20. Adam Gase deserves better than this. Injuries have decimated the Dolphins this year, but doesn’t it feel like they are on the brink of tearing it all down & starting over? This team looks a lot better on paper than how they play. It’s been odd.
#31 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Raiders 14-21. Remaining SOS rank = #30. This team is a dumpster fire at this point. There has to be a record for how quickly a team goes from Super Bowl champion to disaster & the Broncos are trying to break that record. Obviously there are QB issues here that need solving.
#32 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Bengals 16-30. Remaining SOS rank = #7. The Browns are 0-11 & face the 7th most difficult schedule remaining. They still have the Packers & Bears remaining, but seeing a win is getting more difficult. The big question from this point is whether or not Josh Rosen is coming to Cleveland!

December 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

2017 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS AFTER WEEK 12

 

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13 14 15 16
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NFC ANALYSIS

NFC EAST: Clearly the division is over. The Eagles are easily taking the division & their only worry at this point is playing good enough football to secure the #1 seed which would ensure that the road to the Super Bowl definitely goes the City of Brotherly Love! Because the Cowboys & Redskins play each other this week, the winner is going to get to 6-6, but it might be too little too late given how well the Saints, Panthers, Seahawks, Rams, Lions & Falcons are playing. If the Redskins or Cowboys were to make the playoffs, they’d have to win out and finish to even have a chance to get into the discussion.

NFC NORTH: Like the East, the North has been decided with the Vikings taking the division. Minnesota has a 3 game lead on 2nd place Detroit with just 5 games to play. It’s over. I think the Packers at 5-6 are also out of it meaning the Lions at 6-5 are the only other viable playoff squad. What is absolutely killer for the Lions is that they have lost games this season to the Saints, Falcons & Panthers meaning Detroit loses all head-to-head tiebreakers against those team. The Lions are only 1 game behind Atlanta, but they are effectively 3 games behind New Orleans & Carolina. That’s almost IMPOSSIBLE to overcome and remember that the Lions have road games against the Bengals & Ravens left & both of those squads will be playing for their own playoff chances.

NFC SOUTH: This is the most competitive division when it comes to dominant front teams. Carolina & New Orleans are 8-3 followed by Atlanta at 7-4. Ultimately, this division is far from over. The Saints & Panther have a game left against one another. The Saints & Falcons still have 2 games to play against one another while the Panthers & the Falcons play each other in the last week of the season which could possibly be a game that decides the division. Given all of these games, you have to wonder if these teams are going to beat each other up enough to force one of them to miss the playoffs. One thing to keep in mind is the tiebreaker situation with Seattle. The only NFC South team to play Seattle has been Atlanta & the Falcons won that game. If the Rams are the West team playing for a playoff spot, then remember that the only NFC South team the Rams have faced is New Orleans & the Rams upended the Saints to own the tiebreaker. Tons of football left to be played in this division.

NFC WEST: This division comes down to the Rams & Seahawks. Like the South there is a lot of football to be played. Seattle trails the Rams by just a single game but remember that Seattle beat the Rams in LA back in Week 5 so the next time these teams play it’ll be in Seattle with the Seahawks having a shot to get the season sweep. Seattle has a little bit tougher road than Los Angeles, but if they can beat the Rams at home & stay even with LA then Seattle wins the West. I think a team that could be interesting down the stretch is Arizona. Sure the Cardinals are 5-6, but Blaine Gabbert flashed against the Jaguars last ween in an improbably win for the Cardinals. Arizona’s remaining schedule isn’t brutal and I could see them winning out to get to 9-6 before they play their season finale in Seattle. It sounds far fetched, but it sounded far fetched that Arizona would beat Jacksonville! At least Arizona is interesting now.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 12

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

Love these matchups. Matt Ryan v. Jared Goff and Drew Brees v. Cam Newton. I can’t help but root for a Jared Goff/Carson Wentz game which in this case would be the NFC Championship game. If the Rams get the #4 seed then those guys would meet in the NFC Divisional round. I think it’s also interesting to see somewhat of a changing of the guard when it comes to young QBs. I’d like to see Aaron Rodgers in the mix just because he’s outstanding, but Goff & Wentz entering the fray should put the rest of the league on notice.



 

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Computer Hope Computer Hope Computer Hope Computer Hope Computer Hope Computer Hope
7 8 9 10 11 12
Computer Hope Computer Hope Computer Hope Computer Hope Computer Hope Computer Hope
13 14 15 16
Computer Hope Computer Hope Computer Hope Computer Hope

AFC ANALYSIS

AFC EAST: The East is out of reach for the Bills because of the Patriots dominance, but Buffalo is still a viable wild card candidate. The AFC is tough because the wild card is such a mess. I think there are still 6 teams fighting for the two wild card spots and the Bills are one of them. What’s tough for Buffalo is that they still have two games left against the Patriots. If you assume they lose both then the best the Bills can finish is 9-7. Would that be enough? It’s certainly possible given that the Ravens are the current #6 seed & they are 6-5 just like the Bills. It’s worth knowing the Bills lost head to head games against the Bengals & Chargers while they won head to head wins over the Raiders and Chiefs. If the Bills can split with the Patriots they could finish 10-6 & potentially avoid some tiebreaker issues.

AFC NORTH: Like the East, the North is pretty much finished with the Steelers penciled in as division champs. Pittsburgh is essentially going to battle New England the rest of the way to decide the #1 seed and they’ll play each other in a couple of weeks. What is most interesting about this division is the battle for 2nd between the Ravens & Bengals. Cincinnati has won 2 straight games & Joe Mixon flashed huge against the Browns last week infusing serious hopes into Cincinnati’s playoff hopes. Cincinnati lost to Baltimore in Week 1 of the season 20-0 and both teams will end the season playing each other. The Ravens have a couple of games left against the Colts & Browns so I think Baltimore has the decisive edge, but the Bengals could make it interesting. At the very least I think we’ll see an extremely competitive Bengals team the last 5 weeks of the season. As for Baltimore, if the Ravens can defend their home turf, they should be able to finish the season 4-1 making them 10-6 which should be enough unless the Chargers win out.

AFC SOUTH: It’s worth noting that the Titans own the tiebreaker against both Cincinnati & Baltimore should they finish with tied records. It’s also worth noting that the Jaguars own the tiebreaker against the Bengals, Ravens & Chargers should they finish tied with any of those three teams. When it comes to tiebreakers, the Titans & Jaguars are in excellent shape to grab a wild card spot for whichever team finishes 2nd. I think Jacksonville is the better team, but both of these squads are seriously hampered by inept QB play so far this season. If Jacksonville can win out at home, at worst they’ll finish 11-5 which will be enough to get into the playoffs as a wild card team or division winner. The same goes for the Titans although I’d argue they have an easier path. Tennessee could legitimately get to 12-4, but remember that if Tennessee wins their home games, it would mean beating the Jags later this season giving Tennessee the season sweep.

AFC WEST: The AFC West plays a lot like the NFC South as it has 3 teams with legit chances to make the playoffs. Let’s look at each one. The Chiefs are in complete free fall at the moment going 1-5 in their last 6 games. They still lead the West with a 6-5 record but they can’t hold off the hard charging Chargers if they keep up this pace. Heck, if the Chiefs keep up this pace they’ll finish behind LA and Oakland! Kansas City’s schedule isn’t horrible. If they win at Arrowhead they should win their last 5 games, finish 11-5 and go to the playoffs. They get both Oakland & Los Angeles at home & if they win those two games the division is basically over. The Chargers are the most talented team in the division. Their schedule is very friendly too and they should easily be able to win 4 of their last 5 games with the tricky game coming on the road in Kansas City. If the Chargers play to talent, at worst they are 9-7. At best they are 10-6 & division winners. The Raiders aren’t out of it at 5-6, but their road is nasty. They have 3 remaining road games against the Chiefs, Eagles & Chargers and they also have home game against the Cowboys. If Oakland gets to the playoffs, they’ll definitely have earned it.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 12

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

I think this is a pretty fluid situation. The only guarantees in the AFC are the #1 and #2 seeds which are going to be occupied by the Patriots & Steelers. I think the other seeds are still up for grabs. I think what’s so interesting about the AFC is that the teams are effective in different ways. I think Pittsburgh & New England are the clear cut leaders in the AFC but they could run into some odd type of matchups. Nobody really wants to face Jacksonville, Baltimore or Tennessee because those squads could pose major problems with their running game. Nobody wants to face the Chargers because of Philip Rivers & their exceptional pass rush on defense. So much football to be played in these last 5 weeks to determine who actually gets in.

November 30, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2017 NFL FOOTBALL – WEEK 13 BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope Nothing better than Cowboys/Redskins rivalry games in prime time, but this game seems a little hollow. The Cowboys seem to be nosediving at this point in the season with the annual rumors of Jason Garrett’s demise rearing their ugly heads. The Redskins are that team approaching LA Chargers territory for bad luck. Both teams are behind the 8-ball which makes this game a make or break affair. Getting to 6-6 holds a glimmer of hope. Computer Hope
Computer Hope So much going on here. I think style here is going to matter. Steve Sarkisian seems to have figured things out offensively for the Falcons as they are starting to score quite a bit & Julio Jones is starting to flex. The Vikings are SO GOOD on defense, and that will be a good test for the Falcons to see if the offense really is playing better. I think it’ll be really great to watch Xavier Rhodes & Julio Jones go at it all day. This is a huge game obviously. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Bills are extremely reliant on creating turnovers to get wins. If you discount the Chargers game in which the Bills were -6 in TO margin, Buffalo is a 6-4 team with a TO margin of +12. The problem with that statistic this week is that Tom Brady really doesn’t turn the ball over and the Bills have a non-existent pass rush which means Brady is never going to be uncomfortable in the pocket. Put those two things together & New England rolls. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This game could get interesting if Jimmy Garoppolo plays which looks to be the case with CJ Beathard now injured. Last week against the Seahawks, Garoppolo came in at the very end with Beathard got hurt & was 2 of 2 for 18 yards and a TD. Sure it was garbage time, but that introduction had to have 49ers fans pretty jazzed up about the possibilities. The Bears aren’t a very good football team so there is a decent chance the 49ers grab a win. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Instead of Jameis Winston v. Aaron Rodgers, we are getting Ryan Fitzpatrick v. Brett Hundley! Hundley actually looked pretty good last week against the Steelers. He hasn’t had a great year in relief obviously but he flashed a bit against a solid defense & he should be able to build on it this week in what should be a home win over a bad Bucs squad. Green Bay isn’t completely out of it just yet. Atlanta & Seattle could lose this week so a win here is vital. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Titans should win this game which is interesting because as much as I watch the Titans play, they don’t seem like a 7-4 team that is leading a division. Sure it’s the AFC South but still. I think the Titans are almost a product of schedule. Win a couple of close games against the Browns, Ravens & Bengals. Show your true colors against the Steelers but then play the Colts & Texans in your next two weeks. Winning games yes, but also average team. Computer Hope
Computer Hope A TON of amazing games this week, but that also means a lot of clunkers as well. Broncos/Dolphins are certainly one of those clunker games. The Broncos are a colossal mess right now at 3-8 & are bringing Trevor Siemian back out to play QB. I’m sure the troops are duly inspired. Miami has lost 5 straight after starting 4-2 & are likely going with Matt Moore at QB which is dreadful. I’m not convinced Miami is awful, but they’ve gone sideways. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Kansas City has to be really careful here. They are in full implosion mode after last week’s 16-10 loss to the Bills. Fans are calling for Alex Smith to be benched in favor of rookie Pat Mahomes which is never a good sign. Combine that with a Chargers team who is 5-2 in their last 7 & the pressure is high for Andy Reid & his boys. That’s a bad recipe against a very loose Jets team that is playing with zero pressure. KC needs their running game back! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Great scheduling for the Jaguars. The loss to Arizona last week was abysmal, but they’ll get to bounce back at home against a Colts team they destroyed in Indianapolis a few weeks ago. Blake Bortles is obviously a limiting factor for the Jaguars and he proved it against Arizona last week. Maybe this week is a good time to experiment with the possibility of calling a game with zero pass plays. Can the Jaguars lure Kirk Cousins to Jacksonville? Computer Hope
Computer Hope The lost last week to Minnesota was killer for the Lions because it put Detroit completely out of the race for the NFC North. Now they have to hope to sneak into the wild card. Seattle & Atlanta have tough games this week which could result in losses, but that means Detroit has to win & that won’t be easy in Baltimore. The last time the Lions won in Baltimore was December 3, 1950 when they beat the Baltimore Colts 45-21. That’s wild. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Don’t expect a repeat of last year’s performance. Last year the 0-14 Browns hosted the Chargers & came away with a 20-17 win that would be Cleveland’ only win in 2016. Don’t think for a minute that Philip Rivers has forgotten about that game & he’ll make sure his teammates don’t forget either. Is Lady Luck starting to show mercy to the Bolts? They are 5-2 in their last 7 & get a game against the Browns which should give them another victory! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Eli Manning’s streak of starts is coming to an end at 210. You have to wonder if Manning is playing next year & if he is, will it be with the Giants? With two Super Bowl rings, there is nothing much left to play for to be honest unless he walks into a GREAT situation & can succeed. I get the Giants need to do some things, but benching Manning to go with Geno Smith? Good grief at least hand the reigns to Davis Webb! We know who Geno Smith is! Computer Hope
Computer Hope BATTLE FOR THE NFC SOUTH!!! From a statistical point of view, the Saints should win this game & it’s almost imperative they do so given that it’s a home divisional game, but the Panthers have won 4 straight games & are looking better & better on offense while the defense continues to keep playing at an extremely high level. I can’t wait to see how the Saints rushing attack does against Carolina’s front-7 that is excellent against the run. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Is Blaine Gabbert the answer to Arizona’s QB questions? Gabbert is getting some pretty good press after throwing 3TD against the Jaguars & leading the Cardinals to an improbable win last week to improve Arizona to 5-6 & remain on the very periphery of the playoff picture. That’s 5TD in two starts. On the other hand, he’s also thrown 3 picks. It’ll be really interesting to see how Arizona plays this week against a solid Rams squad after such a win. Computer Hope
Computer Hope WHOA! These are the kinds of games Sunday night is made for. I think Seattle is going to have a hard time with this one. The Eagles front-7 is so good that the Seahawks are going to have a hard time moving the football on the ground. They aren’t good at this already, which means they are relying on Russell Wilson to throw the ball, but Philly can get after the QB really well. Can Wilson make a ton of plays outside the pocket? That is the only way here. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I think a big part of the Bengals being able to win and sustain a winning culture at this time is their reliance upon Joe Mixon on offense. Mixon broke out last week against Cleveland so I can’t wait to see what he does against the Steelers & if he can keep his momentum going. Cleveland is an excellent team against the run so Mixon’s breakout is a legit data point & not an outlier that happened against  a terrible defense. Cincinnati has a real shot to win. Computer Hope

November 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2017 NCAA FOOTBALL – WEEK 14 BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope SEC CHAMPIONSHIP. These two teams met just 3 weeks ago when Auburn completely destroyed then undefeated & #1 team in the nation Georgia 40-17. Auburn did this by completely dismantling the Georgia rushing attack & sacking QB Jake Fromm 5 times! No team is playing better than Auburn right now, but Georgia is fantastic. Can Auburn beat a team as good as UGA twice in one season!? Whoever wins makes the playoffs so it’s winner take all here. Computer Hope
Computer Hope BIG 10 CHAMPIONSHIP. Paul Chryst didn’t become head coach of the Badgers until 2015, but Wisconsin’s seniors certainly remember 2014 when Ohio St. clobbered the Badgers 59-0 in the Big 10 championship game. You can be sure Barry Alvarez remembers & Paul Chryst is an alum so you can be sure he remembers even if he wasn’t on the sidelines yet. The Badgers are playing for revenge & for respect, but tOSU needs a win to keep playoffs hopes. Computer Hope
Computer Hope BIG XII CHAMPIONSHIP. A little like Auburn/Georgia. Texas Christian is a solid football team that finished the year 10-2 & probably should be 11-1 if not for fluky loss to Iowa State. Can Oklahoma beat the Horned Frogs twice in one season? If a defensive mind can shut down OU’s Baker Mayfield, betting on Gary Patterson to get the job done isn’t a bad option. There is some chaos factor here as well. A TCU win creates some confusion in the playoff race. Computer Hope
Computer Hope PAC 12 CHAMPIONSHIP. Another rematch game that will answer the question of whether or not USC can beat a very tough Stanford team twice in one season. The way the Cardinal are playing right now, you could consider them a top-6 or top-7 squad. It’ll be interesting to see if they can dispatch of the Trojans & finish 10-3 with a Pac 12 title. If that does come to pass, what a disappointing season for Stanford. Their 3 losses would look like huge missed chances. Computer Hope
Computer Hope ACC CHAMPIONSHIP. Certainly a lot of juice in this one, but I think this game is about as rock solid as you can get when it comes to how it affects the playoff race. Whoever wins this game is in at 12-1 & the loser is probably relegated to a New Year’s 6 bowl. I’m interesting to see how the Hurricanes play here. If they win or keep it close, I think their final 11-2 record is legitimate. If they are blown out convincingly, then I think Miami’s record is a bit inflated. Computer Hope
Computer Hope AAC CHAMPIONSHIP. Another rematch! I guess the only non-rematch of the best 6 conferences in college football is Wisconsin & Ohio State. Fantastic game here. Memphis is playing on an entirely different level than when UCF saw them earlier in the season. The coaching situations are also interesting. Both teams’ coaches probably will be the with different teams next year. Riley Ferguson v. McKenzie Milton! It simply doesn’t get better than that QB battle! Computer Hope
Computer Hope CUSA CHAMPIONSHIP. This game isn’t exactly going to move the meter but it’s interesting from FAU’s perspective because it’s Lane Kiffin’s first year as HC of the Owls. He’s done such a great job in his first season that Kiffin might only spend a year at FAU before moving on. What’s amazing is that this season is already the best year FAU has ever had in their history. If Kiffin wins out, FAU will finish 11-3 which would be incredible historic for the Owls. Computer Hope
Computer Hope MAC CHAMPIONSHIP. Matt Campbell did a great job at Toledo & you can see how good of a coach he is at Iowa St. with wins this season over both Oklahoma & TCU, but Jason Candle has done a GREAT job filling in. So far Candle is 20-6 as Toledo’s head coach with a chance to finish this season 12-2. He’ll have beat Terry Bowden who is plying his trade in Akron to get his 11th win, but Candle should get it done & his name is definitely on the rise in coaching. Computer Hope

November 26, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NCAA POWER 25 – 2017 WEEK 13

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Minnesota 31-0. The Badgers emerge as the only Power 5 conference team to post a perfect regular season. If you were looking for a blueprint to win a national championship, you want outstanding defense, big uglies up front that dominate & a great rushing attack. Wisconsin ranks #2 in the nation in scoring defense. They rank #1 in the nation in rush defense. They rank #18 in the nation in rushing offense & Jonathan Taylor should be at the Heisman ceremony. The schedule isn’t fantastic, but the Badgers check all the boxes.
#2 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Alabama 26-14. If you are going off the past 5 weeks, Auburn is the best team in the nation. They’ve beaten the #1 team in the nation in 2 of the last 3 weeks. This is what happens with Gus Malzahn has a fantastic QB running his offense. They are practically unbeatable. Auburn didn’t just beat Alabama. They dominated the Tide from start to finish. RB Kerryon Johnson is practically unstoppable and the War Eagle defense is one of the best in the country. Auburn is set to be the first 2-loss team to get into the playoffs.
#3 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Auburn 14-26. So you lose to Auburn in Auburn. Big deal. The Tigers might be the best team in college football right now so Alabama can definitely make a case they are the #2 team in the nation. Alabama’s big problem was they couldn’t get Auburn off the field. The Tigers were 9 of 18 on 3rd down. Coming into the game, Alabama was allowing just 31% conversion in 3rd down so it definitely affected outcome & certainly affected time of possession. Does Alabama make the playoffs now? They need some help at this point.
#4 Computer Hope Last Week Beat West Virginia 59-31. Baker Mayfield didn’t start? It didn’t matter! Mayfield still went 14 of 17 for 281 yards & 3TD. Mayfield finishes the regular season passing for 4,097 yards & 37TD to only 5INT. The Heisman is his to lose & I don’t see him losing it. Oklahoma can make a case for being the best team in the nation. The offense is incredible & the loss to Iowa St. now looks more like a fluke than anything meaningful. If the Sooners hammer TCU, Mayfield will be put on the biggest stage and we’ll see how he plays in the spotlight.
#5 Computer Hope Last Week Beat South Carolina 34-10. Like Oklahoma, Clemson can certainly make a case they are the best team in the nation. The loss to Syracuse came with Kelly Bryant wasn’t 100% so it seems more like a fluke than a red flag against the Tigers. South Carolina is a solid football team & Clemson treated them like a local high school team. It’s fairly remarkable how Clemson has finished the season 11-1 & is in prime position to defend their national title. We’ve seen how great Deshaun Watson really is and replacing him was no easy feat.
#6 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Michigan 31-20. One thing that stands out to me in this game is Michigan taking a 14-0 lead. After that, Ohio St. outscored the Wolverines 31-6! That’s humiliation boys! Maybe there is something to a cameraman actually injuring JT Barrett before the game which  meant it took the Buckeye QB a bit to warm up. That certainly seems to be the case, because after Ohio St.’s slow start, they were outstanding. Ohio St. is one of the best 4 teams in the nation. I don’t think you can argue that. Will they make the playoffs? Tough to say.
#7 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Georgia Tech 38-7. Anytime you play a tripe option team, your defense needs to be extremely disciplined, extremely fast and extremely tough. Georgia proved all three in spades, beating the Yellow Jackets by 31 & completely shutting Georgia Tech’s offense down. The 7 points was the lowest point total for the Tech offense this season & a lot of credit needs to go to Kirby Smart & his staff. Georgia’s task now is simple. Beat Auburn, go to the college football playoffs. Lose to Auburn and enjoy a New Year’s 6 bowl. Not bad.
#8 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Maryland 66-3. Pure domination. Maryland stinks but 66-3!? You can’t help but feel sad for the Nittany Lions. This is a 10-2 team with losses to Ohio St. & Michigan St. by a total of 4 points and both games were on the road. I think the fans miss out too. Penn St. has an exciting defense and their offense is heralded by a couple of the nation’s best playmakers in Trace McSorley & Saquan Barkley. If every team were to play every game on a neutral field, you could make a case that Penn St. might actually be the #1 team in the nation.
#9 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Pittsburgh 14-24. Mark Walton would have been nice to have against the Panthers. The loss to Pittsburgh stinks, but to be honest it doesn’t really matter. I think more than anything, this loss underscores how difficult it is to finish a season undefeated. The goal is still the same. If Miami-FL beats Clemson next week and wins the ACC, it’s going to the playoffs. It’s that simple. Lose to Clemson & the dream season ends. To be honest, Miami-FL is playing with house money at this point. Nobody would have expected this season.
#10 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Washington St. 41-14. That is the kind of Washington team we thought we’d see all year back when we were talking football in September. The Huskies defense can be completely dominant at times & showcased itself against a prolific Cougars offense. UW forced Wazzou into 4 turnovers and held the Cougars to just 14 points which was their 2nd lowest output of the season. Myles Gaskin ran WILD going for 192 yards & 4TD on the ground. Washington can’t win the Pac 12. They can’t go to the playoffs, but they can finish 11-2!
#11 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Texas A&M 45-21. Texas A&M isn’t fantastic & Kevin Sumlin is certainly on his way out but LSU still rolled them up decisively. Derrius Guice ran for 127 yards while Darrel Williams ran for 106. I didn’t like QB Danny Etling throwing 30 passes but you could argue that LSU didn’t want to run it up THAT bad so Etling starting passing more. Give a lot of credit to Ed Orgeron & his staff. They found a fantastic formula that works & with Guice healthy, LSU is VERY tough to beat. If the season started today, I think this is a top-5 squad.
#12 Computer Hope Last Week Beat South Florida 49-42. Quinton Flowers and the South Florida offense gouged the UCF defense a bit, but if I’m an opposing coach, I don’t want UCF QB McKenzie Milton anywhere near the ball with the game on the line. If it’s close and late, UCF probably isn’t losing when they have the football. Milton didn’t quite post the video game numbers that Flowers did, but he did finish with 373 passing yards & 4TD along with 56 rushing yards & another TD. It probably won’t happen, but getting Milton to the Heisman ceremony would be cool.
#13 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Baylor 45-22. QB Kenny Hill returns in the season finale & torches the Baylor Bears for 325 passing yards & 3TD, adding another TD on the ground. Given the chaos that happened on Saturday with Alabama losing & with Miami-FL losing earlier in the week, TCU seems like the forgotten team. They are 10-2 and they are playing for the Big XII championship game that would cause even more chaos should the Horned Frogs get revenge & beat the Sooners. What hurts TCU is the 2 losses & perception. They can’t crash the playoffs.
#14 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Notre Dame 38-20. When Stanford is playing well and Bryce Love is 100% healthy, the team is a viable top-10 squad. Because they lost two early season games, it’s difficult to keep in mind that Stanford is 8-1 in their last 9 games with wins over Notre Dame, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Arizona St. & UCLA. All bowl eligible teams mind you. The early season loss to San Diego St. looks ridiculous, but the Aztecs did finish the season 10-2. In context, their 3 losses look odd & Stanford is probably THIS close to being a 12-0 team.
#15 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Stanford 20-38. The season will make a lot of sense if Stanford beats USC in the Pac 12 title game. If that happens, then in essence Notre Dame seems a lot like Michigan. They can beat pretty good teams & have a great season, but they couldn’t be ELITE teams (Georgia, Miami-FL, Stanford) which forced the Irish to 9-3 & kept them still from making the jump into ELITE status. The bigger question is if this is as far as the Irish can go under Brian Kelly? Going 9-3/10-3 isn’t bad, but it isn’t nationally relevant either is it?
#16 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. USC was the only top team that didn’t play this past weekend so it got a chance to study either Wazzou (not worth studying) or Stanford (worth studying) on Saturday in preparation for the Pac 12 championship. The Trojans are going to get a second helping of the Stanford Cardinal, and this won’t be the same Stanford team they beat very early in the season. There is still quite a bit on the line for USC. A win & they are 11-2. Sure that is out of the playoff mix, but I think if enough chaos ensues next weekend, USC could start arguing.
#17 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Rutgers 40-7. You can’t read too much into the dominant win over Rutgers. Brian Lewerke was solid, the rushing game was dominant and the defense completely shut the Scarlet Knights down to run Michigan St.’s record to 9-3. This season has been a STUNNING success in East Lansing! In what could be considered a rebuilding year, the Spartans beat Michigan, they beat Penn St. and they finished with a better record than Michigan. It’s hard to believe this team only returned 4 starters on offense & 4 starters on D from 2016!
#18 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Washington 14-41. Terrible way for Washington St. to end their season. Not only did they get dismantled by in-state rival Washington in embarrassing fashion, the loss also cost them the Pac 12 North title & a shot at a New Year’s 6 Bowl. Washington St.’s narrative is pretty complete. When QB Luke Falk is off, the Cougars lose. In Wazzou’s 3 losses, Falk was 78/121 (64%) for 748yds (249ypg) with 2TD/8INT. In their wins, Falk was 279/413 (68%) for 2845yds (316ypg) with 28TD/5INT. That’s a pretty significant difference.
#19 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Illinois 42-7. The Wildcats have won 7 straight games and while they aren’t going to be playing in the New Year’s 6, it has been a tremendous season for Pat Fitzgerald & Northwestern. Hammering Illinois was icing on the cake. Justin Jackson ran for 144 yards on the day bringing his total to 1,154 yards with 9TD. The loss to Duke seems like a joke now in retrospect & if not for that loss, Northwestern could be playing for an 11-2 season with a bowl win. This could potentially be the best season NW has had in all of Fitzgerald’s tenure.
#20 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Virginia 10-0. Virginia Tech certainly isn’t finishing the season with a bang with uninspiring wins over Pittsburgh & Virginia, but wins are wins and the Hokies are sitting at 9-3. It’s not where they want to be for certain, but they’ll have a chance at bowl win to finish 10-3 on the season. The win over Pittsburgh actually looks better now that Pitt beat Miami-FL although the loss to Georgia Tech looks bad after the Yellow Jackets were pummeled by Georgia. A bowl win means HC Justin Fuente will have gone 20-7 in his first 2 seasons!
#21 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Kansas 58-17. It was Oklahoma St. v. Kansas. What did you expect if not the Cowboys running the score up & filling up stat sheets? I’m not sure what to think about OK State at this point. I don’t like the Kansas St. loss at all. Losing to Oklahoma & TCU I sort of get although both games were in Stillwater. Is the issue really the idea that coaches can’t win a title at Oklahoma St. like Jimmy Johnson & Les Miles suggest or has that paradigm changed & Mike Gundy might be the issue because he’s not emphasizing defense? Touch call.
#22 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Ohio St. 20-31. A lot like Notre Dame. There are some that are going to rag Jim Harbaugh about losing yet again to Ohio State, but I don’t think that is necessarily fair. Ohio St. is a MACHINE at this point under Urban Meyer & I think Harbaugh needs another year or two of recruits to get Michigan to that level. The Wolverines are still dealing with QB issues & I think the defense can be a little bit tougher at certain positions. Whereas Notre Dame has reached their ceiling under Brian Kelly, I still think UM is far away.
#23 Computer Hope Last Week Beat East Carolina 70-13. Memphis made a statement with a 70-13 beat down of the Pirates to finish off the season. The Tigers are a very good football team under HC Mike Norvell. I think the 70 points was a reminder to UCF, who they’ll meet in the conference championship game, that the Memphis they’ll see on December 2nd isn’t the same Memphis team that UCF beat earlier in the year. I think if Memphis can beat UCF next week they’ll crash the New Year’s 6 bowl party which would be a pretty amazing story for the Tigers.
#24 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Central Florida 42-49. What a show Quinton Flowers put on against UCF. Flowers ended the game having thrown for 503 yards & 4TD while rushing for 102 yards & another TD. For a little perspective, the feat of throwing for 500 yards & rushing for 100 yards in the same game is something that Louisville QB Lamar Jackson has never accomplished! Depending on how explosive Flowers is in their bowl game, the senior QB has a chance to finish the year with 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards. Great season!
#25 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Ole Miss 28-31. Losing QB Nick Fitzgerald probably cost Mississippi St. the Egg Bowl and a chance at a double digit win season, but keep in mind that Ole Miss was playing without starting QB Shea Patterson as well so you might be able to criticize the Bulldogs for wasting an opportunity. Like previous seasons, the big story surrounding Hail State isn’t their prowess on the football or whether or not they can take the next step, but rather is HC Dan Mullen finally going to be lured away to another destination? Florida could call…….

DROPPING OUT

#25 BOISE ST. BRONCOS: Losing to Fresno St. isn’t a huge deal I suppose if the ultimate goal is to win the Mountain West. In an odd sort of scheduling outcome, Fresno St. & Boise St. will play against next week in the Mountain West title game! What the loss did prevent is potentially Boise St. winning 12 games. If Boise had beaten Fresno St., they would have finished 10-2. A conference title win along with a bowl win would have Boise St. finishing 12-2 with the potential of finishing within the top-15. I guess they can still finish 11-3 which would be their best season since 2014 when they went……12-2 and finished #16.

November 26, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Clay Travis Breaks Down College Football Playoff

Clay Travis did an excellent job breaking down the playoff picture before the final week of college football’s regular season kicks off in about 3 hours. As a Notre Dame enthusiast, I was disappointed that he didn’t give the Irish more of a chance to make the playoffs, but unfortunately Mr. Travis is right. My only hope at this point is that the Irish beat Stanford, get to a New Year’s 6 bowl and win so the Irish can finish the season 11-2 which would be the best season they’ve had since the 2012 season in which Notre Dame finished 12-1 and lost to Alabama in the national championship game. That should be good enough for a top-5 finish. Here is my analysis of what Clay brings to the table in his article:

SEC

Travis concludes that the SEC is viable for 2 spots and he’s correct. I think the playoff committee is secretly hoping that Alabama wins out because it would solve a lot of problems for them across the country. If the Crimson Tide win out & finish 13-0, Auburn is no longer an issue with 3 losses. Georgia with 2 losses is also no longer and issue, because I think the committee can justify not having the Bulldogs in considering they just lost the SEC championship game.

What the committee doesn’t want to happen, and what I think does happen is for Auburn to win out. That would put Auburn at 11-2 and SEC champions which means they would be impossible to leave out of the playoffs. It would also put Alabama at 11-1 and I simply can’t envision a scenario in which the Crimson Tide are left out. Every other team in the nation would have at least 1 or 2 losses save Wisconsin (assuming they win out) and I don’t see how a 1-loss Clemson or a 1-loss Oklahoma or a 1-loss Miami-FL team gets in over Alabama if their lone loss is a close one at Auburn.

I think Auburn & Alabama get to the college football playoff. Travis says:

By the way, would the state of Alabama burn to the ground if the committee left out SEC champ Auburn, at 11-2, and put in 11-1 Alabama, just like it did last year to Penn State?

I think the state would burn. I’m not even joking.

Put simply, the SEC is very much alive for two playoff spots as we enter the final Saturday of the regular season.

He’s right.

Sidenote: If Gus Malzahn wins the SEC championship, it makes things even more interesting regarding his future job prospects. There is a lot smoke surrounding rumors that he could potentially bolt Auburn to take the Arkansas job that just opened up after the Hogs fired Bret Bielema last night after losing to Missouri. Could Malzahn really leave Auburn after he wins the SEC? Could he leave Auburn if he wins a national championship!?

ACC

Travis says this about the ACC:

I don’t see any way the ACC champ is left out of the playoff.

So the Miami loss to Pittsburgh isn’t likely to matter very much.

But what if Clemson loses at South Carolina today, many of you are asking? Well, I still think 11-2 Clemson or 11-1 Miami winning the ACC title would get them in the playoff. The only way I can see the ACC getting left out here is if, say, 12-1 Alabama lost to 12-1 Georgia in the SEC title game. Then could you make the argument that 12-1 Alabama was better than 11-2 Clemson? Yes, potentially.

But the biggest takeaway here is I think the ACC champ is pretty squarely in the playoff.

This is the only point I don’t entirely agree with. I think the Miami-FL loss to Pittsburgh is killer and here is why. If Alabama loses by 3 or less at Auburn and Auburn wins the SEC, then I don’t see how Auburn is left out, but I also don’t see how you leave out Alabama either. That gives 2 teams from the SEC leaving 2 open. If Wisconsin wins out & finishes 13-0 I don’t think the Badgers are left out. In fact, if Wisconsin finishes 13-0, there is a good chance they’ll go into the playoffs as the #1 seeded team. That means there are 3 slots left.

Assuming Clemson beats South Carolina today, the ACC winner would either be a 12-1 Clemson squad or a 12-1 Miami-FL squad. If Oklahoma wins out then you’d have a 12-1 Sooners team. Do you leave Oklahoma out at that point in favor of the ACC champ? Clemson lost to Syracuse. Miami-FL lost to Pittsburgh. Oklahoma lost to Iowa State. It’s crazy given recent seasons but Iowa St. is the best loss there. Also Oklahoma will have beaten TCU (twice), Oklahoma St., Texas, Ohio St., Kansas St., Texas Tech & West Virginia.

I think it would be hard not to give Clemson a chance to defend their title, but I can’t see them having a better case to make the playoffs than Oklahoma assuming both teams finish 12-1. If you believe the ACC champ is GUARANTEED to get in, then you are allowing that the SEC only gets one team in.

This is why the committee is hoping Alabama puts all this hype to rest & finishes 13-0.

BIG 10

Wisconsin isn’t losing to Minnesota. It’s that simple. I also don’t think Ohio St. is losing to Michigan. This means the Big 10 comes down to Wisconsin & Ohio State. I think the Big 10 is a dangerous position because if Ohio St. wins out they’ll finish 11-2 and they can make a significant argument that the Buckeyes should be in the playoffs. Wisconsin simply doesn’t have an argument at 12-1 with a loss to Ohio St. because their strength of schedule is so poor.

The Big 10 could go the way of the Pac 12 and get left out entirely. If Wisconsin loses to Ohio St. in the Big 10 championship game and Auburn wins the SEC, then you are looking at potentially Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma & Clemson/Miami in the playoff hunt. That leaves out an 11-2 Ohio St. team and a 12-1 Wisconsin team and probably for good reason. Travis says this about Ohio St.:

Ohio State will be in the mix for the playoff if the following happens: the Buckeyes beat Michigan and then beat Wisconsin to finish 11-2 and win the Big Ten. Then what else has to happen? Alabama needs to finish 13-0 and win the SEC, Clemson needs to finish 12-1 and win the ACC, and Oklahoma needs to finish 12-1 and win the Big 12. Then Ohio State at 11-2 would find itself being compared to 10-2 Notre Dame, 11-2 Georgia, 10-2 Miami and, potentially, 11-2 Pac 12 champ USC or 11-2 Pac 12 champ Washington State.

I know Buckeye fans believe they will be impossible to resist here, but I just don’t see why Ohio State’s resume is significantly better than any of these other teams.

He’s spot on. Like the ACC, the Big 10 in some ways needs Alabama to win out so they can put to bed the possibility of the SEC getting 2 teams in the playoffs. Of course, if Wisconsin wins out this point is moot.

BIG XII

The scenarios here are pretty easy:

  1. Oklahoma beats West Virginia & then beats TCU to finish 12-1. The Sooners are in.
  2. Oklahoma loses to West Virginia & then beats TCU to finish 11-2. Oklahoma & TCU are out.
  3. TCU beats Oklahoma regardless of Oklahoma/West Virginia outcome. Is TCU in?

Travis says this about the Big XII:

But here’s an interesting question, what happens if TCU upsets Oklahoma to finish 11-2 and win the Big 12 title? Could the Big 12 get two teams then? Because you’d have a real dilemma here. How can you leave TCU out of the playoff? I don’t think you can. But then how could you put 11-2 Big Ten champ Ohio State, who would be finishing with the same record as Oklahoma, in the playoff despite the fact that Oklahoma beat them by 15 on the road? I don’t think you could do that either.

Travis is assuming a little bit here, namely that Ohio St. wins the Big XII. Putting TCU in the playoff picture should they beat Oklahoma & win the Big XII is interesting but I don’t see how that is a possibility. I think if Alabama wins out and Clemson finishes 12-1 those two are definitely in if Oklahoma loses to TCU. To me what makes things interesting is if TCU wins then I think that opens the door for a 10-2 Notre Dame, 10-2 Georgia, 11-2 USC or 11-2 Washington St. and potentially 12-1 Wisconsin assuming Ohio St. wins the Big 10.

Why is that? Because if you put TCU in with 2 losses and Ohio St. wins the Big 10, then there would be some temptation to put Ohio St. in, but how can you put Ohio St. in at 11-2 and leave out Oklahoma who also finishes 11-2 but who also hammered the Buckeyes in Columbus? If you want to alleviate that entire mess then I think Notre Dame & the Pac 12 become possibilities simply because you don’t want to be in tiebreaker hell.

How is this for crazy: Alabama loses to Auburn by 3 & Auburn beats Georgia in the SEC Championship game. TCU beats Oklahoma by 1 in the Big XII title game. Wisconsin loses to Ohio St. by 25 in the Big 10 title game and Clemson loses to South Carolina but beats Miami-FL in the ACC championship game. Could we potentially see Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma, TCU in the playoffs!!??? That would leave out the Big 10, ACC & Pac 12!

PAC 12

Hello Michigan fans!!! Travis says this about the Pac 12 and he’s right:

What’s USC’s route to the playoff?

The Trojans need to get to 11-2 and they would 100% be in the playoff if the following happened: Alabama wins out, Clemson wins out, Oklahoma wins out, Stanford beats Notre Dame, Michigan beats Ohio State and then the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin.

Then the Trojans would be the last team standing and would definitely make the playoff.

I think the same scenario could also get 11-2 Washington State in the playoff. But Washington State also has to beat Washington today.

The key here is for Michigan to beat Ohio State! Stanford has to beat Notre Dame as well because a 2-loss Notre Dame is over a 2-loss USC team because the Irish destroyed USC earlier in the season, but the Ohio St./Michigan game would cause quite a stir should Big Blue get this win.

I have to admit that there is a big part of me rooting for chaos for the simple fact that Mike Leach getting into the college football playoff would be GOLD!!! What makes that even more interesting is the same reason Auburn getting the playoff is interesting. What does this do for Mike Leach? There is some talk of Leach bolting Wazzou for Nebraska after the season, but if the Cougars get to the playoffs, could Leach really leave?

The Pac 12 really clears up after the dust settles on Saturday night. If Auburn, Notre Dame & Ohio St. emerge as victors, the Pac 12 has no chance at getting into the playoffs.

NOTRE DAME

The Irish have to win out and:

Alabama wins out and Georgia loses to Georgia Tech. That would have given Georgia & Auburn 3 losses.
Wisconsin loses to Minnesota & Ohio State. Ohio St. loses to Michigan.
Washington beats Washington St. and then Stanford beats USC.
Oklahoma wins out.
Clemson loses to South Carolina and then loses to Miami-FL.

You’d have the following:

Alabama 13-0 (SEC champ)
Miami-FL 12-1 (ACC champ)
Oklahoma 12-1 (Big XII champ)
Notre Dame 10-2
Ohio St. 10-3 (Big 10 champ)
Wisconsin 11-2
Georgia 10-3
Auburn 9-3
USC 10-3
Stanford 9-4 (Pac 12 champ)
TCU 10-3
Clemson 10-3

Can Notre Dame get a playoff spot with Alabama, Oklahoma & Miami-FL in? That’s massive chaos, but the Irish could still potentially get in. Travis says:

Okay, for all you Fighting Irish fans out there who won’t stop Tweeting or emailing me about 10-2 Notre Dame.

I get that at 10-2 your resume is as good, or better, than 11-2 Ohio State, 11-2 USC, who you beat, 10-2 Miami or 11-2 Georgia.

But I still don’t think it’s possible for you guys to make the playoff.

Having said that, here’s what would need to happen to get the Irish into the legitimate playoff discussion.

First, you guys beat Stanford today.

Then Alabama goes 13-0, Clemson goes 12-1, Oklahoma goes 12-1, all to win their respective conferences, and Michigan beats Ohio State, which then beats Wisconsin. Then Stanford beats USC in the Pac 12 title game. This would leave the Pac 12 and the Big Ten with three loss champions and leave a playoff spot open.

Then, on top of that, Georgia loses to Georgia Tech and Wisconsin loses to Minnesota this weekend.

Then your playoff picture would theoretically come down to 10-2 Miami vs. 10-2 Notre Dame vs. 11-2 Wisconsin vs. 10-3 Big Ten champ Ohio State vs. 9-4 Pac 12 champ Stanford.

That’s the absolute best case scenario for Notre Dame.

But that isn’t the best case. The key for ND is for Alabama to win out, South Carolina to beat Clemson, Miami-FL to beat Clemson, Oklahoma to win out, Stanford to win the Pac 12, Minnesota to beat Wisconsin, Michigan to beat Ohio St. and then Ohio St. to beat Wisconsin. Georgia Tech must beat Georgia.

What Travis gets wrong is Clemson. The Tigers need to lose out to finish 10-3. That means Miami-FL gets to 12-1 which is better for the Irish anyway since they lost to the Hurricanes earlier.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY?

It comes down to the Iron Bowl. If Auburn beats Alabama then all bets are off because the playoff picture is going to get shaken dramatically. If Alabama disposes of Auburn then I think the playoff picture becomes a lot more clear in the sense that the SEC probably won’t get 2 teams in the Final Four.

I have the sneaking suspicion that Auburn wins out and both Alabama & Auburn get into the playoffs.

November 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment