Fantasy Gunslinger

Football with an Emphasis on Fantasy & Gambling

NFL FOOTBALL POWER 32 – 2018 WEEK 14

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bucs 28-14. Solid bounce back road win over the Bucs after losing at Dallas the week before. New Orleans needed a big 4th quarter to get the comeback win, but a win is a win is a win and given that the Rams lost to the Bears, the Saints are once again the #1 seed in the NFC. The Saints haven’t been playing exceptionally well lately, but they shouldn’t have any issue at least finishing 13-3 if not 14-2. Not bad eh?
#2 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Ravens 27-24. Good teams win close games, but Kansas City is playing it a little too close for comfort the last couple of weeks. Two weeks ago they barely escaped Oakland with a win & now this past week the Ravens took KC to OT before the Chiefs were able to pull it out against a Ravens squad who had Robert Griffen playing QB by game’s end. The Chiefs have problems with good rushing teams that play good defense.
#3 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bengals 26-21. The win over Cincinnati wasn’t really ever in question but the Chargers didn’t exactly win convincingly either. Life without Melvin Gordon is eventually going to catch up to the Chargers unless the defense produces quite a few more turnovers. The worst part of the schedule for LA is their last 3 games: road games at the Chiefs & Broncos with a home date against the Ravens in between. All are winnable.
#4 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Rams 15-6. What more can you say about the defensive effort the Bears gave against an explosive Rams offense. Chicago picked off Jared Goff 4 times! They sacked him 3 times & recorded 5 tackles for loss & 8 QB hurries. Sure the Bears only scored 15 points, & maybe the defense isn’t as good as the 1985 Bears defense, but it’s good enough to win a Super Bowl. If Chicago gets that defensive effort, I don’t think they can be beat.
#5 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Bears 6-15. There isn’t any shame going on the road & losing to a Bears defense that most likely put up the best defensive effort this entire season. Something interesting did come out of it though. The Rams are now 3-2 in their last 5 with road losses to both the Bears & Saints. That means LA might want to ensure they get that #1 seed so that the road to the Super Bowl goes through Los Angeles. They’ll need a Saints loss.
#6 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Eagles 29-23. In his 6 games with the Cowboys, Amari Cooper has 40 receptions for 642 yards & 6TD. Over a full 16 game season, Cooper would be on pace to finish with 107 receptions for 1,712 yards & 16TD! Yeah, I’d say the Cowboys found their #1 WR! The Cowboys offense has opened up since Cooper arrived & the defense is playing on an entirely different level. Dallas a real shot at finishing the season 11-5. Is that enough for the #3 seed?
#7 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Vikings 21-7. Seattle completely dominated the Vikings on Monday night proving to everyone that Seattle is going to be a terribly difficult team to beat in January. Seattle is a lot like Dallas in how they are playing. Both are playing outstanding defense with an emphasis on running the football. Dallas has better runners & Amari Cooper is the big time WR1 that Seattle doesn’t have so right now the Hawks are just at tick behind.
#8 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Dolphins 33-34. I’m not sure you can read too much into Miami beating the Patriots. If Tom Brady has a weakness, it’s playing in Miami! Throw in some questionable coaching on the last play of the game & the Patriots lose a game they probably should have won. The Patriots are 3-4 in road games this season with one more away game in Pittsburgh. Not being able to win road games could prevent a Super Bowl appearance.
#9 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Texans 24-21. TY Hilton was a 1-man band against Houston last week making 9 catches for 199 yards although his TDs got vultured by Marlon Mack, Eric Ebron & Zach Pascal! It’s incredible to think the Colts couldn’t move the ball at all against the Jaguars 2 weeks ago in a 6-0 loss but then head down to Houston & beat a 9-3 Texans team that had won 9 straight games! Indy has to win out, but nobody wants to see them in the post-season.
#10 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Colts 21-24. You can’t win them all! The worst part about Houston losing to Indianapolis isn’t the loss per se but the fact that the Patriots lost to the Dolphins which opened the door for Houston to take the #2 spot in the AFC which meant a first round bye & a home game against the Patriots in the divisional round assuming New England wins their wild card game. Instead they are still the 3-seed & a potential trip back to Foxboro!
#11 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Chiefs 24-27. The good news for Baltimore is that if the Ravens get any kind of elite QB play on Sunday they walk away with a win over Kansas City. More good news is that if the game were played on a neutral field, my guess is that the Ravens win that game as well. Baltimore’s defense is outstanding, but they need to figure out the QB situation now that Joe Flacco is getting healthy. The AFC North is in play & the Ravens can win it.
#12 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Patriots 34-33. It might be time to stop sleeping on the Dolphins! Sure there was a little luck involved in beating the Patriots this week, but how about the play of Ryan Tannehill!? Tannehill was 14/19 for 265 yards & 3TD! He absolutely TORCHED the Patriots defense & is playing the best football of his career. Miami can run & has some solid receivers. The defense isn’t great but at worst I think they’ll finish 9-7. GREAT JOB by HC Adam Gase!
#13 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Falcons 34-20. A great start to the Joe Philbin era even though the Falcons aren’t playing very well. The Packers raced out to a 34-7 lead after 3 quarters before the Falcons scored a couple of garbage TDs to pad Matt Ryan’s stats, but the defense pulled off a pick-6 and the offense was brutally efficient. Green Bay isn’t completely out of the playoff picture, but they Minnesota to at best go 1-2 in their final 3 & the Packers win out.
#14 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Seahawks 7-21. The horrific offensive showing against the Seahawks led HC Mike Zimmer to fire OC John DiFilippo, but now there are also rumors swirling that Zimmer himself might be on the hot seat! Things could turn sour in Minnesota fast unless this teams starts winning games. They are 1-3 in their last 4 with all 3 losses coming on the road. It’ll be interesting to see how the players rebound against a surging Miami team this week.
#15 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Raiders 21-24. Things are going off the rails in Pittsburgh! Losing a couple of games to the Broncos & Chargers is one thing, but following that up with an unbelievable loss to the Raiders is another. The loss to Oakland puts Pittsburgh in danger of losing the North because they now will follow up 3 straight losses with a home game against the Patriots who have their own reasons to play hard. Could the Steelers miss the playoffs?
#16 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Redskins 40-16. You know the Giants offense is humming when they hang 40 on a decent Redskins defense & Odell Beckham isn’t even playing! Eli Manning was fantastic throwing for 197 yards & 3TD while Saquon Barkley ran wild for 170 yards on just 14 carries. New York is 4-1 in their last 5 games. People are quick to write Eli Manning’s obituary, but he’s having one of the best seasons of his career & I bet he sticks in 2019.
#17 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to 49ers 14-20. Denver had momentum on their side until they headed to San Francisco & let George Kittle completely dominate them with 7 catches for 210 yards & a TD! Kittle is a solid TE so his name should have come up in Denver’s defensive meetings this past week! Apparently he didn’t! This loss pretty much knocks Denver out of playoff contention. They can win out, but then it becomes whether 9 wins is enough for the playoffs.
#18 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Panthers 26-20. The Cleveland Browns are 3-1 in their last 4 games & the win over Carolina combined with the Bengals losing lifted the Browns out of last place in the AFC North!!! When was the last time the Browns won 3 of 4 games you ask? You’d have to go back to October 12, 2014! An even better stat? Baker Mayfield is 4-6 as a starter. When was the last time a Browns QB won 40% of his games? Back to 2014 again! Brian Hoyer was 7-6!
#19 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Jaguars 30-9. Congrats to everyone last week who managed to start Derrick Henry last week in their fantasy leagues! Henry won a lot of games last week rushing for 238 yards & 4TD! Henry needed just 17 carries but therein lies the conundrum. Henry is a monster back at 6’3/250lbs! He won a Heisman & his performance against Jacksonville is indicative of how explosive the guy is. So why not 25 carries a game? Another mystery!
#20 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Browns 20-26. That’s 5 straight for Carolina. I think at some point you start to believe the things that might not necessarily be true. When you look at commericals for Panthers games, they focus primarily on Cam Newton. Against the Browns it was Cam Newton v. Baker Mayfield. It’s easy to do because the QB is important, but Carolina can’t allow Newton to throw the ball 42x and give Christian McCaffrey 16 carries. It makes no sense.
#21 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Cowboys 23-29. Brutal loss in OT for the Eagles that essentially ended their season. Now the Eagles aren’t sure if Carson Wentz is going to be able to play this week or possibly even the rest of the season. How amazing would it be if Nick Foles took the starting job back from Wentz, rallied Philly to 3 straight wins to finish 9-7, slip into that #6 seed & win the Super Bowl yet again!? Would winning 2 rings make Foles a Hall of Famer?
#22 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Packers 20-34. The scary part for Atlanta is that the score wasn’t nearly as close as the final & the final isn’t all that close! The Falcons have had to deal with some injuries, but if HC Dan Quinn survives this offseason, he needs to make drastic changes to his staff. The offense has completely stalled out & there is WAY TOO MUCH talent to waste. The defense has been absymal all season. Maybe Quinn should have more input on D?
#23 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Saints 14-28. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Jameis Winston is still just 24 years old! Since taking the starting spot back in Week 11, Winston is 79/122 (65%) for 973 yards with 8TD to 2INT. His YPA is a solid 8.0. He’s having his best season as far as accuracy is concerned so the Florida St. product is improving. Yes he turns the ball over a bit too much & the Bucs are just 2-2 in those 4 games, but the QB is playing well.
#24 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Cardinals 17-3. If a tree falls in the forest with nobody around, does it make a sound? Detroit picked up their 5th win of the season, but it wasn’t like the offense tore it up. A pick-6 gave Detroit 7 of their 17 points meaning the offense put up 10 points. You could say it was a solid defensive effort if it weren’t for the fact that Arizona has the worst offense in the entire NFL. Some team had to win, but did anyone even notice?
#25 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Titans 9-30. Let me get this straight. You go out against a Colts offense that is literally unstoppable & bottle them up for a 6-0 win. The very next week you play a Tennessee Titans team that hasn’t been able to score all year & you let Derrick Henry run for a 1,000 yards and give up 30 points? It’d be a lot more honest if the Jaguars front office simply came out & said they like Tennessee better than Indianapolis so they let them win.
#26 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Steelers 24-21. Don’t look now but the Raiders are 2-2 in their last 4 games and the offense has found a spark averaging 24.3PPG over that 2-2 run. The Derek Carr to Jared Cook connection has been great all season & Carr had another outstanding game against the Steelers. Oakland’s defense hasn’t been great in Year 1 under Jon Gruden, but Gruden has got Carr playing the best football of his career. Oakland has a shot at 4-5 wins.
#27 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Broncos 20-14. GEORGE KITTLE!!! WHO IS THAT MAN!! Kittle EXPLODED against the Broncos which led to an improbable win over a surging Broncos team that was blazing hot coming in. QB Nick Mullens played extremely well & RB Jeff Wilson did a good job running the football, but the 49ers played excellent defense holding Denver to almost nothing offensively. After giving up 43 to Seattle, the defense showed massive improvement.
#28 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bills 27-23. Not taking anything away from Ryan Tannehill, but when you look around the AFC East, you can’t help but wonder what Adam Gase could do with a QB like Sam Darnold! Darnold hasn’t had a perfect season, but he’s SILLY ACCURATE at times playing with an offense that isn’t that good with a HC that is pretty much a lame duck. This is an interesting team with lots of young talent if they don’t mess up the coaching hire.
#29 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Jets 23-27. Yes Josh Allen wasn’t very accurate & he did turn the ball over a couple of times against the Jets this past week which probably cost Buffalo a chance to get to 5-8, but for the 2nd straight week, Allen showed his incredible athleticism by rushing for 100+ yards on just 9 carries. Over the last 2 weeks Allen has rushed for 236 yards on just 18 carries! This accuracy issues are alarming however, and that could be his undoing!
#30 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Lions 3-17. Wow. Detroit didn’t play that well, but if you wanted exhibit A on how bad an offense can be in the NFL, look no further than your 2018 Arizona Cardinals! Maybe Mike McCoy wasn’t the problem after all? How can you explain David Johnson? Arizona gave him 15 carries & he caught 10 passes for 61 total yards! Johnson couldn’t even average 3 yards per touch against a Lions defense that has been downright awful.
#31 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Giants 16-40. You know things are getting bad when you rifle through your first 2 QBs and then your 3rd QB goes out there & finds himself down 40-0 before being pulled for your 4th QB!! The Redskins have 17 players on IR with a very good chance at adding 3 more to that total. Washington surprised us by jumping out to a 5-2 start, but injuries have finally caught up to them. They could finish 1-8 over their last 9 games!! Ouch.
#32 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Chargers 21-26. Cincinnati has now lost 5 straight games & is 1-7 in their last 8. There isn’t a team in the NFL playing worse than the Bengals right now. They aren’t playing with AJ Green or Andy Dalton although there are some bright spots. Tyler Boyd is going to flirt with 100 receptions & will easily top 1,000 yards. Jeff Driskel has actually played fairly well in Dalton’s absence. Joe Mixon is turning into a legit RB1.
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December 12, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NFL FOOTBALL – WEEK 15 BIG GAMES

AWAY HOME QUICK THOUGHTS
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: KC (-3.5). If you don’t think winning home divisional games is important, look no further than the Los Angeles Chargers. The Bolts come into this game 10-3 & the 2nd best record in the AFC, but 2 of those 3 losses came at home against the Chiefs & Broncos. Even if the Chargers win, they can’t take over the top spot in the West because of those 2 division losses. If the Chiefs lost, it would be their first divisional loss. I don’t think the outcome changes the playoff scenarios, but we’ll probably see Chargers/Chiefs round 3 in January!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: HOU (-6.5). This game is a little more important than at first glance. Houston can still find a way to lose the South if they lose this game to the Jets. From a strategic standpoint, that seems an impossibility given how well Houston’s defense is playing against a rookie QB coming off of missed time due to injury in Sam Darnold, but the Jets fought past Buffalo last week on the road & now get a home game while the Texans are coming off a home loss to the Colts & not go on the road. Houston’s defense will prove too tough for the Jets.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: DEN (-4). Don’t look now but the Browns are 3-1 in their last 4 games & coming off a solid home win over the Panthers. Denver wet the bed last week against the 49ers and I’d say their playoff hopes are now slim to none. If they don’t come out extra motivated to beat Cleveland, then the Browns are going to take advantage of that pull of another upset. The Broncos defense is going to be a rugged test for Baker Mayfield to pass, but outside of that bad first half against Houston a couple of weeks ago, Mayfield has been outstanding!!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: ATL (-10). A battle for draft positioning??? Right now the Arizona Cardinals own the #2 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft while the Atlanta Falcons hold the #4 spot! A win by either team certainly hurts their potential opportunities, but for the Falcons, a win could put take them from #4 all the way to #8, #9 or even #10! I’d say that is quite a drop in value. I’d expect Atlanta to win. Vegas has them as double digit favorites & Matt Ryan is too much of a professional not to go out in from of the hometown fans & light up the Cardinals for 40 or 50 points.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: Pick’em. Speaking of tanking, the Lions & Bills are a couple of more teams that right now have top-10 picks. Like Atlanta against Arizona, don’t expect Buffalo to lie down at home. Sean McDermott would like nothing more than to avoid a 10-loss season & if the Bills can win out they’ll finish 7-9! Josh Allen has played well of late even with all the interceptions & the Bills are coming off back-to-back 4-point losses. They are THIS CLOSE to being 6-7 & in the playoff hunt! I still think McDermott is doing a tremendous job for the Bills.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: CHI (-5). Green Bay needs a whole lot of help to get that #6 seed away from the Vikings (or possibly the Eagles), but games like this are the kinds that Rodgers can perform magic shows proving he’s the best QB in the NFL. This is going to be an incredible game. Best QB in the NFL v. Best defense in the NFL! Don’t think the Bears won’t be up for this game. The #3 seed isn’t completely locked up because the Cowboys look amazing. I’m sure Chicago would rather play their divisional game in Los Angeles than play it against Drew Brees in New Orleans.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: CIN (-3). If Chucky is playing to win then Oakland has a solid chance to run into Cincinnati & pick up their 2nd straight victory. The Bengals are playing without AJ Green & Andy Dalton which means they can’t do much on offense. Combine that with a terrible defense & you can see how the Bengals have fallen into the cellar of the AFC North. Derek Carr is playing with supreme confidence so the Bengals need to give Joe Mixon the ball 35 times & try to keep the Raiders off the field. We’re talking Marvin Lewis here though so that won’t happen.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: IND (-3). Last week the Colts went on the road to Houston & came away with a MUST WIN to keep their playoffs hopes alive. This week they’ll welcome the other team from Texas to Lucas Oil Stadium in what should be yet another must win for Indy. Andrew Luck sliced & diced the Texans defense & he’ll look to do the same against a Cowboys squad that defensively is a lot like Houston. If the Colts can get out to a 14-0 lead, they’ll force Dallas away from the run which is good for Indianapolis. Who can impose their will on the other team?
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: MIN (-9.5). There is a little bit of overreaction to the Vikings loss to the Seahawks on Monday night. It was an odd showing on offense that ultimately led to HC Mike Zimmer firing his OC, but the Seahawks aren’t a bad team & winning in Seattle is difficult in the best of times. The Vikings might not get that #5 seed, but unless they start losing home games to the Dolphins, they’ll do JUST ENOUGH to get into the playoffs. Don’t overlook the Phins. If they can pull off the upset here, they can easily win out, get to 10-6 & grab the #6 seed in the AFC!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NYG (-3). The Giants are 4-1 in their last 5 and let’s not forget that they beat a Chicago team 2 weeks ago that just finished hammering the 11-2 Los Angeles Rams! It’s too little too late for New York, but winning out puts them at 8-8. They can’t make the playoff unless everyone starts losing, but getting to 8-8 after starting 1-7 is a HUGE confidence booster to HC Pat Shurmur. The Titans need the win, but don’t count on an encore from Derrick Henry. They’ll need to find other pieces to thrive if they want to beat a surging Giants team in New York.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: JAX (-8.5). Two teams not going anywhere. The Redskins are in theory still playing for a playoff spot, but without a QB it’s going to be impossible to go into Jacksonville & beat the Jaguars with how well Jacksonville’s D should play. Last week the Redskins were down 40-0 before Jay Gruden pulled Mark Sanchez. It’s not going to be pretty this week either. If there is on interesting thing to this game, the loser probably gets another nail into the coffin of their head coach. These two aren’t far from being competitive so a new HC walks into a solid situation.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: BAL (-8.5). Jameis Winston has been playing outstanding football since taking back the starter’s role in Week 11. Tampa Bay can stay with the Ravens if Winston takes care of the football but Baltimore has a nasty defense & I think that could be the Bucs’ undoing. The loss in Kansas City was tough for the Ravens, but Pittsburgh losing to the Raiders opens up the possibility that Baltimore can steal the AFC North. They’ll come ready to play because a win puts all the more pressure on Pittsburgh who will be hosting the Patriots on Sunday night!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: SEA (-5.5). Two weeks ago San Francisco traveled to Seattle & the Seahawks rewarded their efforts with a 43-16 beating! I doubt this week is any different despite the 49ers being at home. Seattle is one of the hottest teams in football right now having won 4 straight & coming off a DOMINATING win over a pretty good Vikings team. The 49ers showed some spunk last week beating the Broncos, but George Kittle is going to be a key topic of conversation this week for Seattle’s defense. They’ll shut him down & thus shut the 49ers offense down.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NE (-1.5). A lot going on here. Pittsburgh has to be careful they don’t lose the season. Losing last week to the Raiders was absolutely horrible & coming back against the Patriots isn’t a bowl of cherries, but the Steelers are getting hammered at the wrong time. A loss here with a Ravens win give Baltimore the North. That makes this game a must win, but don’t count out the must win implications for the Patriots either. A loss could drop them to the #3 seed which means no first round bye & 2 road games if they want the Super Bowl!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: LAR (-9.5). The Rams are coming off a tough loss to Chicago that saw the Bears completely dismantle the Rams high octane offense. The Eagles aren’t as good as Chicago, but you can bet that DC Jim Schwartz is going to take a page out of Vic Fangio’s play book & try everything Chicago implemented. If the Eagles want to salvage their season then this is a must win game for them. They can win their final 2 games, but getting to 9-7 is their only hope of making the playoffs & even then they are going to need the Vikings to falter.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NO (-7). I can’t wait to see this game. After starting the season 6-2, the Panthers have dropped 5 straight games, but this one is intriguing because of the strategy. Carolina wants to run the football with Chrisitan McCaffrey & Cam Newton, but the Saints are one of the best run defensive teams in the NFL. The trick for Carolina will be getting the ball to McCaffrey’s hands via screens and roll out hot reads. If Carolina can utilize short passes to McCaffrey, they’ll be able to stay in the game, but the question is whether they can slow down Drew Brees.

December 12, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS – WEEK 14

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13 14 15 16
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NFC ANALYSIS

  • The Seahawks essentially locked up the #5 seed with their win over Minnesota Monday night. That put them 2 games ahead of every team that is 6-7 and they are essentially two games ahead of the Vikings because of the head to head win. Seattle has 2 games left against the 49ers & Cardinals so the only difference between them finishing 11-5 or 10-6 is whether or not they upset the Chiefs in a couple of weeks.
  • The battle for the 6th seed is a mess. I don’t think anyone wants to see Aaron Rodgers & a rejuvenated Packers team under new HC Joe Philbin, but if Rodgers plays to potential, then Green Bay could win out and get to 8-7-1. Would that be enough? Let’s look at the possible candidates:
    • Vikings: Possibly melting down but 3 winnable games (home game v. Bears) so they are 9-6-1 or 8-7-1.
    • Panthers: Right now 6-7 with 2 games left against a Saints team who is playing for the #1 seed. At best 7-9.
    • Redskins: No QB with road games against Jaguars & Titans followed by home against Philly. Do they win? Probably 6-10.
    • Eagles: Road against Rams. Home against Texans. If they go 2-1 they’ll finish 8-8. They need to win out.
    • Packers: Aaron Rodgers works miracles against Bears in Chicago. GB wins out & finishes 8-7-1.
  • The real question then becomes who wins the tiebreaker between Green Bay & Minnesota if both teams finish 8-7-1. That distinction goes to the Vikings who beat and tied the Packers meaning Minnesota holds the tiebreaker. If the Packers win out they’d get to 8-7-1, but they have to hope that the Vikings lose two of their remaining 3 games. Even if they lose their home game against the Bears, I’m not sure Minnesota loses on the road to Detroit or at home against Miami. The Vikings have a REAL shot at 2-1 in their final 3 meaning 8-7-1 with no way Green Bay can get past them.
  • The only team that could potentially upset the apple cart with Minnesota is Philadelphia. They have to win out to get past Minnesota assuming the Vikings lose a game (I’m not sure they will), but that’s Minnesota’s only threat and I don’t think it’s a good one. Nobody wants to see Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs, and luckily for them, they aren’t going to have to.
  • The battle of the #1 back after the Rams lost to the Bears to drop to 11-2 & even with the Saints. Luckily for Los Angeles, their final 3 games are home games against the 49ers & Eagles along with a road game against the Cardinals. LA should win out & get to 14-2, but they lost to the Saints earlier in the year so they’ll need New Orleans to drop a game. The Saints have a home & home against Carolina with a home game against the Steelers in between. That’s a FAR more difficult schedule than what the Rams have to face so at least on paper we can expect the Rams to get the #1 seed with the Saints grabbing #2.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 14

#6 MINNESOTA @ #3 CHICAGO
#5 SEATTLE @ #4 DALLAS

No change from last week, but after watching the Cowboys beat the Saints & Eagles in back to back week while the Seahawks manhandled the Vikings, you have to wonder if Seattle & Dallas might not be the two best teams in the NFC. If that is the case then it stinks that those two face each other in the wild card game. The big question will be whether or not the Seahawks can beat the Cowboys twice in one season. I don’t think it happens meaning the Cowboys advance. Chicago’s defense is playing at an entirely different level and we saw just how conservative Kirk Cousins became against the Vikings this past Monday night. That sets up Cowboys @ Saints and Bears @ Rams. Chicago might not be a sleeper tram at 9-4, but I’m not sure people think they’ll get to the NFC Championship game. I think they can with their defense. Interesting times!



 

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13 14 15 16
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AFC ANALYSIS

  • The road to the Super Bowl through the AFC is going through Kansas City. The Chiefs OT win over the Ravens combined with Houston, New England & Pittsburgh losing pretty much puts the #1 seed out of reach. In fact, the team with the most ability to upset this apple cart might be the Chargers who possess the 2nd best record in the conference at 10-3, just a game behind KC’s league leading 11-2. This is crucial because the the Chiefs perceived weakness, defense, isn’t as weak as home as it is on the road.
  • If the Ravens had beaten the Chiefs, Baltimore would be in the #4 spot instead of Pittsburgh because the Steelers later in the day on Sunday lost to the Raiders which would have put Baltimore ahead 8-5 over 7-5-1! It might not matter though. If you are looking at likely what happens based on remaining schedule, Baltimore is likely to finish 2-1 in their final 3 giving them a 9-7 record. The Steelers are likely to finish 1-2 in their final 3 giving them an 8-7-1 record which means the Ravens wind up AFC North champions.
  • Speaking of Pittsburgh, if the Steelers do manage to lose games remaining against the Patriots & Saints, then they are in danger of not even making the playoffs! If they finish 1-2 down the stretch, they’ll finish 8-7-1 & the early season tie against the Browns could cost them a playoff spot. Forget the #5 seed. The Chargers are taking that, but if just one of the Titans, Dolphins, Colts or Broncos finish 9-7, the Steelers are going to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2013! Does Ben Roethlisberger finally hang them up, as he’s thought about doing, if Pittsburgh doesn’t make the playoffs?

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 14

#6 BALTIMORE @ #3 HOUSTON
#5 LOS ANGELES @ #4 PITTSBURGH

No change from last week. If you are looking for trends, however, it’s easy to say the Steelers could be a one and done. I think the same might be said for the Ravens. Joe Flacco has never been a one & done QB in the playoffs which makes you believe he’d pull something out of his hat against the Texans, but on the road & the team taking longer looks at Lamar Jackson, it feels as if a QB controversy is brewing in Charm City & that could cost them. That sets up Chargers @ Chiefs & Texans @ Patriots in the divisional round. Those are tricky games, but as much as they don’t really look the part this instance, the road might be going through Kansas City, but the Patriots are still the team to beat.

December 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NFL FOOTBALL POWER 32 – 2018 WEEK 13

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Cowboys 10-13. For the first time all season the Saints defense was completely held in check. Give a lot of credit to the Cowboys for a solid win in Dallas. The Saints stay #1 in my rankings. Their record is still better than Kansas City’s and they’ve beaten the Rams which beat the Chiefs. I’m not quite willing to put New England in the #1 spot although you could certainly argue it. I’m betting on Brees!
#2 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Lions 30-16. The Lions have given good teams problems at home this year but not this past week against the Rams. LA put together a great defensive game which they haven’t done all that much & Todd Gurley ran all over the Lions defense. LA improved to 11-1 which puts them back into the #1 seed in the NFC. They should send gift baskets to the Cowboys for their win over New Orelans.
#3 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Vikings 24-10. Tom Brady is once again going to get all the credit, but much like the Patriots defense won Brady a bunch of Super Bowl rings early in his career, the incredible coaching of Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels and the running game might get Brady his 6th ring. If you want to know who the real MVPs of this team are, look no further than James White & Sony Michel. New England’s running game makes them Super Bowl favorites.
#4 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Raiders 40-33. No Kareem Hunt, no problem???? Kansas City won a close one in Oakland by withstanding a furious onslaught by the Raiders in the 2nd half. If Oakland could have gotten a stop or two on defense, then KC might have suffered a huge defeat. The Chiefs ran the ball fairly well, but Spencer Ware didn’t have a great game & Tyreek Hill was completely shut down. Let’s see if they can figure it out.
#5 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Steelers 33-30. MASSIVE confidence builder for the Chargers who went into Pittsburgh as underdogs & used an 18-point 4th quarter to pull off a stunning defeat of the Steelers & get to 9-3. Justin Jackson played extremely well when Austin Ekeler struggled & the Bolts might have a 3-RB monster when Melvin Gordon returns. Derwin James is the defensive rookie of the year & could be the NFL’s best defender!
#6 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Browns 29-13. That’s 9 straight for the Texans who used a solid first half that saw the Texans defense completely hold Baker Mayfield in check before holding off Cleveland in the 2nd half. RB Lamar Miller ran for 103 yards & while he plays great football, Houston is going to be VERY HARD to beat. The only knock I can think of is that their schedule has been pretty light. Have they beaten anyone?
#7 Computer Hope Last Week Beat 49ers 43-16. Sure it was the 49ers but these are the kinds of games good teams should dominate and the Seahawks did just that. Russell Wilson was EXCELLENT throwing 4TD on just 11 of 17 passing! The running game was feisty & the defense punished SF QB Nick Mullens with 15 QB hits, 3 sacks, & 1 interception! Rashaad Penny had a great game & that was nice to see out of the rookie RB. Pete Carroll is doing an outstanding job.
#8 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Saints 13-10. Incredible win for the Cowboys who now commands their own destiny in the NFC East. Dallas can’t sneak into first round bye territory but they could wind up the #3 seed in the NFC. Amari Cooper has opened up the offense &  Michael Gallup could be emerging. If the defense continues to play like they did against the Saints, the Cowboys are a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
#9 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bengals 24-10. The Broncos went into Cincinnati and won their 3rd straight game in an impressive streak that has seen Denver go on the road & beat both the Bengals & Chargers with a home win over Pittsburgh in between! Phillip Lindsay has been outstanding. He ran for 157 yards & 2TD on an overmatched Bengals defense. Denver is playing well within their system & it’s working splendidly. They are dangerous.
#10 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Chargers 30-33. Brutal loss for the Steelers who now trail the Texans & Patriots by quite a bit & could be in danger of losing the AFC North to the Ravens. The loss also claimed James Conner as a casualty & now we’ll really see if RBs don’t mean a thing as Jaylen Samuels will now take over. If Samuels steps in, rushing for 130 yards & 2TD while the Steelers put up 40 points, the RB position’s reputation will take a hit.
#11 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Patriots 10-24. Hard to hammer the Vikings for losing to the Patriots in Foxboro, but the play calling here is just weird. Dalvin Cook ran the ball just 9 times but he totaled 84 yards!!! Kirk Cousins on the other hand threw 44 passes & his 2 picks weren’t inspiring. Pittsburgh might be showing that RBs aren’t as valuable as people think, BUT playing off those RBs is a surefire way to win games. The Vikings didn’t.
#12 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Giants 27-30. Hard to get a read on Chicago the last couple of weeks because Mitch Trubisky hasn’t played. The defense is the best in the NFL without question so they’ll stay in games regardless, but the difference between Chase Daniel & Mitch Trubisky could be the difference between winning close games & losing close games. They need to keep winning because the North isn’t locked up yet.
#13 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Falcons 26-16. It’s going to be really interesting seeing if Lamar Jackson can save John Harbaugh’s job in Baltimore & led the Ravens to a playoff spot. Even the AFC North division title isn’t completely out of the question. Jackson is now 3-0 as a starter & Joe Flacco isn’t getting that job back. The Ravens are starting to figure out how to use Jackson & that means Flacco’s time in Baltimore is probably finished.
#14 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Redskins 28-13. The Eagles are starting to figure it out. Philly has won 2 straight games & in those games they are allowing 17-18PPG. Josh Adams is also doing a great job becoming the lead back. He along with Corey Clement & Darren Sproles give the Eagles a similar look to last year’s RBBC. Golden Tate is another weapon & Carson Wentz is healthy. Philly’s Super Bowl defense might be just beginning!!
#15 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Jaguars 0-6. That was awful. There has to be some questioning regarding Frank Reich’s aggressiveness on either 4th down (against the Jaguars) or going for the win (against the Titans). At 6-6 with a tough schedule coming up, Indianapolis might be looking at missing the playoffs. Going for the tie against Tennessee & taking the points against the Jaguars could mean the difference between 6-6 & 7-4-1!!!
#16 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Bucs 17-24. Cam Newton was downright awful in this one throwing 4 interceptions & being sacked 4 times. In as much as Jameis Winston was good, Cam Newton was bad & the result was a Carolina loss that now makes the playoffs seem like a distant possibility, especially when you consider the Panthers have 2 of their remaining 4 games against the Saints & New Orleans haven’t the #1 seed to play for.
#17 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Cardinals 17-20. Downright awful loss that ultimately lead to the termination of HC Mike McCarthy. The offensive woes are perplexing given the talent Green Bay has on that side of the football. Yes Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL, but Aaron Jones should be a huge part of this offense in the same way Alvin Kamara is a huge part of the offense in New Orleans. Let’s see if Joe Philbin is different.
#18 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bills 21-17. Since coming back from injury, Ryan Tannehill is 33 of 49 (67%) for 341 yards with 5TD to just 1INT. Tannehill was great against Indianapolis two weeks ago & he was great against Buffalo this past week. The win over the Bills pushed Miami to 6-6 & they are in the hunt for the last wild card spot. If they could run a little better & defend the run a little better, the Dolphins could make a little noise.
#19 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Jets 26-22. Huge 4th quarter comeback win for the Titans who absolutely needed this game if it wanted to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Jets outplayed the Titans in Nashville for 3 quarters, but Tennessee improve to 6-6 behind a solid effort by Marcus Mariota. The Titans have a great schedule to make the playoffs, but losing at home to the  Jets would have absolutely killed their playoff chances! Huge win.
#20 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bears 30-27. Incredible win for the Giants who have now won 3 of their past 4 games. New York is a lot better than their 4-8 record indicates & their offense of late has resembled what we thought we’d get before the the season began. You can argue their 3 wins are suspect because they’ve come against the 49ers, Bucs & a Chase Daniel’s led Bears team, but I’d hesitate. New York could finish the year 8-8.
#21 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Panthers 24-17. Good Jameis Winston showed up. Winston was outstanding against a Panthers D that can’t stop the pass this season. He threw for 249 yards & 2TD on 20 of 30 passing. Winston even led the team in rushing with 48 yards & didn’t turn the ball over. Tampa Bay’s defense looked the absolute BEST it has looked all season. These kinds of games show the upside of this Tampa Bay squad.
#22 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Colts 6-0. If Jacksonville’s defense had played like this all season, we’d be talking about the Jaguars trying to finish the job they started against the Patriots in last year’s AFC Championship game. The offense is TERRIBLE but we knew that. Given how the Andrew Luck was playing coming into this game, the Jaguars completely shut him down. It’s too little too late, but I’d love to see Jacksonville have an encore game.
#23 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Texans 13-29. In the first half against the Texans, Baker Mayfield passed for 46 yards & 3INT. In the 2nd half against the Texans, Mayfield passed for 351 yards & a TD! The 3 interceptions (Cleveland turned the ball over 4 times) were too much to overcome but remember the Browns outscored Houston in the 2nd half 13-6. Did Houston play to preserve the lead a bit in the 2nd half? Sure, but the Browns fought.
#24 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Ravens 16-26. The Falcons loss combined with Tampa Bay’s win over Carolina has put the Falcons in last place at 4-8. Atlanta played well for a half, but then Lamar Jackson got loose & the Falcons offense couldn’t stand up to a filthy Ravens defense. Atlanta has lost 4 straight & 3 of their final 4 games are road dates. Getting to 5-11 might be their best case scenario. Atlanta is the most disappointing team in the NFL.
#25 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Rams 16-30. If you believe in the 5-year rule then I think the question of Matt Stafford being a good fit for the Lions is a legitimate one. Stafford has been in the league for 10 years while Matt Patricia is a new HC. If Stafford can’t win a Super Bowl then Patricia’s next 4-years are pretty much doomed. That’s a tough beginning & I don’t think the Bears, Packers & Vikings are going to get worse all of a sudden.
#26 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Eagles 13-28. What can you do if you are the Redskins? The season up to this point has been a great one with Washington have a good chance to win the NFC East. Then Alex Smith gets hurt in what is likely a career threatening injury. Then Colt McCoy goes down & now all of a sudden you have Mark Sanchez as your starting QB. It’s almost like the Falcons & their defense. Injuries have decimated.
#27 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Packers 20-17. Didn’t see that one coming! Arizona was 2-9 coming into Green Bay with both of their wins coming against the hapless 49ers & on a 3-game losing streak. It was a solid game for the Redbirds. The rushing game played well & Josh Rosen protected the football. The defense got stops when it needed to & it ended with a close road win in a big time environment. That is a confidence builder.
#28 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Dolphins 17-21. Tough loss for Buffalo in a game they could have won, but rookie QB Josh Allen showed off quite a bit of athleticism in running for 135 yards on 9 carries while also passing for 231 yards & 2TD! Turnovers cost Buffalo the win & that’s something Allen needs to improve on, but the Bills offense have come alive over the past 3 weeks. Josh Allen looks like he’s starting to get it.
#29 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Broncos 10-24. Cincinnati is almost becoming the league’s laughing stock. Hiring Hue Jackson was a downright awful move. The fans aren’t showing up to games & anytime you have a game where Jeff Driskel is the QB & Joe Mixon is the RB, you DEFINITELY do not give Driskel 37 pass attempts while Mixon runs the ball 12 times. Cincinnati is now 1-6 in their last 7. How does Marvin Lewis have a job!
#30 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Chiefs 33-40. Kansas City’s defense has been fairly awful all season, but Derek Carr lit up the Chiefs on Sunday passing for 285 yards & 3TD in a game the Raiders were THIS CLOSE to winning! Oakland’s offense is playing well & this might be Derek Carr’s best season. If Gruden can figure out the defense & get ANYBODY that can run the football, Oakland could get really good, really fast. It should be exciting!
#31 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Titans 22-26. Brutal loss for the Jets who just ran out of gas in the 4th quarter where their defense simply couldn’t get any stops. After starting the season 3-3, the Jets have lost 6 straight. In some ways it’s exciting because New York is going to get a high draft pick to keep building their young core. On the other hand, the Jets have lost 4 close games so 3-9 in some ways could be 7-5. Very frustrating season.
#32 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Seahawks 16-43. That was ugly. Anything you can say has probably already been said about the 49ers. Injuries ravaged this team with Jimmy G went down, but the 49ers will most likely get the #1 pick in the NFL draft which means they’ll get Nick Bosa this upcoming April & he has the ability to be a game changing player on defense. This will be a much different looking 49ers team next season when they are 100%

December 9, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NFL FOOTBALL – WEEK 14 BIG GAMES

AWAY HOME QUICK THOUGHTS
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: TEN (-4.5). Last week the Titans got a gift as the Colts simply didn’t show up to play the Jaguars & they themselves got a solid come from behind win over the Jets. That improved Tennessee’s record to 6-6 & they are still very much part of the playoff race if not the favorite given their remaining schedule. Like last week against Indianapolis, it’ll be interesting to see if the Jaguars defense comes to play. The Titans have had a horrible time scoring this year so if the Jaguars come to play, then I don’t see how Tennessee scores enough to win.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: BUF (-3.5). Todd Bowles is on his way out, but it’s interesting that the Jets have been in some close games. If the ball breaks their way then New York could be 7-5/6-6 and in the thick of the race for that last playoff spot. I really like the young core here in reality the Jets are playing for improvement rather than wins. Buffalo’s offense has woken up a bit lately so I think they’ll be able to score. With their defense playing as well as it has, I think they beat the Jets & improve to 5-8. They’ll have a shot at 7-9! HC Doug McDermott is a wizard!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: Pick’em. This line has moved to favoring the Panthers, but opening as “Pick’em” against the Browns 4 weeks ago would have been unheard of with Carolina at 6-2! Unfortunately, Carolina has lost 4 straight & they can’t quite stop the bleeding. Three close losses have put Carolina’s season on the brink of disaster & the Browns won’t be an easy win as the fanbase has rallied hard around Gregg Williams’ team & the Browns will want to bounce back after a bad game last week. I’m not sure Carolina can lose a game like this. This is a must win game.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: GB (-5.5). Mike McCarthy is gone so will we see an uptick in the Packers ability to move the football? Atlanta will be a good test because the Falcons haven’t played any defense so Green Bay & Aaron Rodgers should be able to do what they want. It’s also worth noting that the Packers are far from out of it in the North. They need tremendous help, but there is a decent chance both Chicago & Minnesota lose this week. If the Packers win they’d be just 1 game behind the Vikings & 2 games behind the Bears in the loss column. It ain’t over yet!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: KC (-9). Tough draw for the Ravens as they get a Chiefs team in Kansas City that is coming off a decent scare from the Oakland Raiders. Maybe the Chiefs were looking past Oakland to Baltimore or maybe they were a bit off, but you can bet Andy Reid has the boys focused this week & that’s bad news for Baltimore. Losing this game doesn’t hurt Baltimore though. The Ravens own tie-breakers over the Titans, Broncos & Colts even if all three of those teams won & Baltimore lost. If Baltimore’s defense shows up then it might not even matter.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NE (-10). Vegas doesn’t believe this will be much of a game & maybe they are right, but the Dolphins have played decent football the last couple of weeks & it’ll be interesting if they can continue playing at that level against the Patriots in Miami. Miami beat Buffalo last week to get to 6-6, but they didn’t play that kind of inspired football we saw 2 weeks ago in Indianapolis even though they lost. Miami could pull a stunner if they show up like that in their own backyard. The Patriots are starting to look like the Patriots however so it could get ugly.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NO (-10). After the loss to Dallas last Thursday, the Saints need to bounce back in a huge way on the road against Tampa Bay. The Bucs are starting to catch a little momentum of their own having won 2 straight to get to 5-7 & to be honest, the Bucs are the type of team that could win out, finish 9-7 & potentially crash the playoff party. The one problem for is that Tampa beat the Saints in Week 1 of the season & I don’t see how it’s remotely possible for Tampa to beat the Saints two times in one season! It’s not happening. Saints go big.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: WAS (-1). Too little too late!? The Giants are 3-1 in their last 4 games and are coming off a huge OT win over the Chicago Bears so their confidence cannot be riding higher with tremendous momentum at the back as they travel to D.C. to take on a Redskins team that has gone from division lead to lost season as they’ve lost both Alex Smith & Colt McCoy at QB and now turn their eyes upon Mark Sanchez! New York is better than their 4-8 record & they’ll roll here. This might be the game Daniel Snyder decides to move on from Jay Gruden as HC.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: HOU (-4.5). The loss last week to Jacksonville made this a MUST WIN game for the Indianapolis Colts as falling to 6-7 pretty much seals their fate when you look at the schedules of Denver, Baltimore & Tennessee. The Colts could afford to lose to the Texans in Houston, but only if they beat Jacksonville the week before. They didn’t so now Indy has to win out to get to 10-6 & hope it’s enough. Houston has A LOT to play for as the #1 seed in the AFC is still up for grabs & losing divisional home games isn’t an option. Both teams are desperate here.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: LAC (-14.5). The Bengals are a complete mess at this point. They are now playing without AJ Green & Andy Dalton which is practically catastrophic. Cincinnati isn’t a good defensive team & I’m not sure they trust Joe Mixon to carry the ball 30 times in order to potentially run the clock down & stay tight. The Chargers on the other hand are one of the best teams in the NFL playing at home. With a spread that big you almost have to take the dog, but even with that said, Cincinnati doesn’t win the game. The Chargers are moving to 10-3.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: DEN (-6). Denver is arguably the hottest team in the NFL after winning 3 straight including wins over the Chargers & Steelers! Denver’s next 3 games come against the 49ers, Browns & Raiders so there is almost no question that the Broncos should be 9-6 when they host the Chargers to end the season. The 49ers aren’t going to be any issue even playing at home so it’s really just a wait & see approach. Denver might not be able to crack the playoffs just yet because they lost to Baltimore, but they seem like the team to beat for the 6-seed.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: DAL (-4). Huge game. If Philadelphia wins, the Eagles would be in first place over Dallas by virtue of having a better division record. If the Cowboys win then Dallas almost guarantees themselves an NFC East title! It’s really an amazing situation for both teams to be in. Philadelphia hasn’t  had a single thing go right as they defend their Super Bowl championship, but this is the opportunity to make it all right, take the East & get back to the playoffs. For Dallas the expectations are super high at all times & it’d be nice to finally meet those aspirations.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: PIT (-13). This might be the most underrated game of the week. Sure the Raiders are 2-10, but last week Oakland put up a helluva fight against the Chiefs & put on a 4th quarter performance that almost led them to a win. If the Raiders didn’t commit 3 turnovers or they could have just made a stop or two on defense, they could have upset Kansas City, which would have been huge. They’ll be playing at home again this week and it’ll be interesting to see if the Raiders can use that momentum & confidence from last week to pull off the stunner.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: DET (-1). Tough game for the NFL as it doesn’t really matter too much in the grand scheme of the season. The Cardinals are coming off a huge win over the Packers in Green Bay that ultimately led to Mike McCarthy being fired mid-season rather than waiting until January. Arizona is still just 3-9 but they are 2-3 in their last 5 & have been playing competitive football of late. The Lions are better than their record. Sure the defense stinks but Detroit isn’t far away from being 6-6 or even 7-5 which would be good enough for a playoff spot in the NFC.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: LAR (-4.5). The Rams sent gift baskets to the Dallas Cowboys last weekend for giving the Saints their 2nd loss which moves the Rams back into the #1 spot in the NFC despite LA losing to New Orleans earlier. This is key because the Rams don’t want to play the NFC Championship game in the Superdome. LA doesn’t want to give back the top spot to the Saints with a loss this week, but the Bears have to be getting a bit desperate. The North gets a little more open if Chicago squanders a home game & the Vikings pull off an upset in Seattle.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: SEA (-3.5). GREAT MONDAY NIGHT GAME!!! There is an awful lot going on here for both teams. The Seahawks win over the 49ers last week combined with the Vikings losing to New England propelled the Seahawks into the #5 seed. Seattle wants to stay there & owning the tiebreaker over the Vikings isn’t bad either. For Minnesota, despite the loss last week, the North is in play because the Bears play the Rams this week. If the Vikings win & the Bears lose then all of a sudden the North is in play. Kirk Cousins was brought in to win these.

December 6, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS – WEEK 13

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NFC ANALYSIS

  • Huge shift change in the NFC after the Saints lost to the Cowboys because now a Saints/Rams NFC Championship game will be played in LA instead of New Orleans. Remember that the Saints beat the Rams by 10 in the Superdome. I’m guessing that the Rams would have an edge in the City of Angels.
  • The biggest news of this past weekend might be Chicago’s loss to the New York Giants! The loss brings Chicago down to 8-4 which isn’t bad by any means, but keep in mind that the Vikings are just a game behind Chicago in the loss column & the Bears have games against the Rams, Packers & Vikings in the last quarter of the season. The Vikings are going to have to win some key games as well (at Seattle anyone!?) but the NFC North is far from over & instead of Chicago looking at a potential home game to begin the playoffs, they might be on the road in Dallas or Minneapolis.
  • Speaking of the Seahawks, Seattle moves up to the #5 seed which is their ceiling seeing that they can’t catch the Rams. There is an interesting catch to all this. They need to beat Minnesota this weekend to keep the stranglehold on that #5 spot, but here is something to think about. If Seattle loses to Minnesota then there is the potential for the Bears to drop to being a Wild Card team. That isn’t good news for the Seahawks because the Bears beat Seattle in Week 2 this year so they own the head to head tiebreaker over Seattle. The Seahawks would be wise to simply keep winning their home games, which includes this week’s game against Minnesota.
  • Keep an eye on the Eagles. Beating the Redskins pushed Philly to 6-6. That’s still a game behind the Cowboys, but Dallas is playing too well right now & their schedule sets up for them to finish 11-5/10-6. I don’t think the Eagles are going to catch them, but if they can pull off the upset in Dallas next week then Philadelphia would be 4-1 in the East which puts them in 1st place. The Eagles play 3 of their last 4 on the road, but if they win in Jerry’s World then they could shake things up a bit. I think it’s doubtful but possible.
  • The #3 seed is more wide open than it has been the last few weeks. Next week the Bears host the Rams while the Cowboys host the Eagles. If Chicago loses & Dallas wins, the Cowboys would hold the conference record tie-breaker over the Bears & ascend into the #3 seed. That’s a tricky spot. On the one hand you want your team to keep winning, but if the seeds hold and chalk wins, then the #3 seed would play their divisional game in New Orleans instead of Los Angeles. I think I’d want to be the team playing in LA for a chance at the NFC Championship game.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 13

#6 MINNESOTA @ #3 CHICAGO
#5 SEATTLE @ #4 DALLAS

Big changes to the NFC Wild Card weekend if the season ended after Week 13. Seattle & Dallas try & do a lot of the same things so that would be an interesting game in seeing which team can impose their will on the other. Remember that Seattle beat Dallas early in the season so the question would be whether or not Seattle can do it again. The Seahawks have gotten better since that game, but so have the Cowboys & the Dallas fans are craving a playoff victory in the worst way. Chicago/Minnesota would be a defensive showcase, but I wonder if the Minnesota’s offense wouldn’t be just a tick better than Chicago’s and that would give them an edge? What’s interesting about these two games is that the wild card teams could easily win setting up Minnesota @ Los Angeles and Seattle @ New Orleans.



 

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AFC ANALYSIS

  • Pittsburgh’s loss to the Chargers was huge. Forget about Pittsburgh trying to get into the top-2 couple of seeds so they can have a first round bye. They had better start playing better if they want to win their own division as 7-4-1 isn’t all that safely ahead of 7-5! The Steelers still have games against the Patriots & Saints for crying out loud meaning a 9-6-1 season might be their ceiling! Luckily for them the Ravens have road games remaining against the Chiefs & Chargers so it would appear Baltimore’s headed for 9-7 which leaves them JUST SHORT, but the AFC North is going down to the wire whereas we once thought Pittsburgh had it locked up.
  • As for the Chargers, the win in Pittsburgh has to be galvanizing for this team. Their 9-3 record is the tied for the 2nd best in the AFC. They’ll get a home game against the Bengals this weekend that should push them to 10-3 before facing the Chiefs (road), Ravens (home) & Broncos (road). The Steelers win either turned Los Angeles into a 12-4/13-3 team or the shine will wear off & the Bolts will crash towards a 10-6/11-5 season. I’m really hoping for the former.
  • HC Frank Reich and the Colts offense might have blown the entire season this past Sunday against the Jaguars as the Colts couldn’t get a single point in a ridiculous 6-0 loss to a Cody Kessler led Jaguars squad! Indianapolis was going to have to win division road games if they wanted to make the playoffs. They failed in their first attempt & now they’ll have to beat both Houston & Tennessee on the road to have a chance. The Ravens are looking at 9-7 so that means Indy can screw up just one more time & preferably they win out.
  • The Titans found a way to beat the Jets yesterday & they are still a team I’d watch out for. Three of their final 4 games come at home with their only road game coming against the Giants. The trip to New York isn’t going to be easy by a long shot, but if Tennessee wins their home games they’ll finish 9-7. Unfortunately they lost to the Ravens earlier in the season so if Baltimore finishes 9-7 it doesn’t matter. The Titans need to finish 10-6 to be safe.
  • Houston still has a chance to get that #1 seed. Houston can & should win out to finish the year 13-3. Keep in mind that the Patriots have a road game against the Steelers left. If Pittsburgh wins that game then Houston slides past them. Getting past Kansas City is going to be tough but the Chiefs still have games against the Chargers, Seahawks & Ravens. If the Chiefs lose a couple of games & fall to 12-4, Houston will have an excellent opportunity to get that #1 seed.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 13

#6 BALTIMORE @ #3 HOUSTON
#5 LOS ANGELES @ #4 PITTSBURGH

These game are the same as last week’s but this past week offered up a couple of new wrinkles. The first is that it’s going to be next to impossible to beat the Steelers twice at Heinz Field in the same season. For that reason I think the Steelers actually get the better of LA when it matters most. In the other wild card game, I think the play of Lamar Jackson could be interesting if he’s starting for the Ravens in the postseason. Houston is playing excellent defense but having a dynamic athlete at QB could give the Ravens a decent shot at pulling off an upset. The Ravens are also playing excellent defense so the offense that makes an extra play or two could have an advantage. Could that advantage reside in Lamar Jackson’s playmaking ability? That would set up Pittsburgh @ Kansas City and Baltimore @ New England. Not a bad divisional round at all.

December 3, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – 2018 WEEK 14

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: They can’t be. Alabama ran the table to 13-0 including an incredible come from behind win over a great Georgia team in the SEC championship game. Alabama finally faced some adversity this season & still came out winners showing they are prepared to win regardless of where they are in any particular game. The Jalen Hurts story is epic at this point & could get even better if he plays a significant role in winning Nick Saban his 7th national championship & his 6th in Tuscaloosa! There is simply nothing to quibble with here. Alabama might not only be the best team in the nation, but this group has a chance to be the best in the Saban era!
#2 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: They can’t be. If Georgia had finished the job & beaten the Crimson Tide then Georgia would be the #1 team in the nation regardless if both Clemson & Notre Dame were undefeated. As you can see from this power rankings, I believe Georgia is the #2 team in the nation so it’s disappointing to see them miss a shot at getting Alabama again. QB Jake Fromm showed himself to be one of the most elite QBs in the entire country! Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: Despite the close game with Alabama, Georgia is still a 2-loss conference runner up. Even Ohio St. & Oklahoma didn’t lose two games & they both won their conference title games.
#3 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: After the scare against Syracuse, the Tigers can make a case they’ve been playing even better than Alabama. Destroying Pittsburgh in the ACC Championship games doesn’t prove all that much, but in their last 8 games, Clemson has outscored their opponents 400-94! That’s an average score of 50-12! Clemson’s front-7 is incredible with potentially four 1st Round NFL Draft picks! Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: They can’t be. You can make an argument that Georgia should rank ahead of Clemson based on how close Georgia came to beating Alabama, but no other team in the nation can boast that & let’s be honest, Clemson is undefeated!
#4 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: Like Clemson, Notre Dame beat everyone on their schedule & finished the season undefeated, something Georgia didn’t do. Both the Irish & Bulldogs aren’t conference champions but Notre Dame doesn’t have the two losses the way Georgia does. Notre Dame hasn’t been as flashy as Oklahoma, Clemson, Ohio St. or Alabama, but the Irish are solid in every aspect of the game. They had a few games on the schedule they could have lost. They didn’t. Why They Should Rank Lower: If Notre Dame played Georgia, Ohio St. or Oklahoma on a neutral field, would the Irish be favored in any of those games? They eye test shows ND to be more of a #6 or #7 squad.
#5 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: Forget the loss to Purdue & forget the lackluster play the Buckeyes for most of the season. At the end of the day, Ohio St. saved their best for last as they DESTROYED Michigan & hammered Northwestern to finish the season 12-1 & Big 10 champions! The Big 10 is the 2nd best conference behind the SEC so if strength of conference matters, Ohio St. should be in the playoffs right now with a QB that should win the Heisman. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: Outside of the performance against Michigan, has Ohio St. inspired any confidence this season? The loss at Purdue looks terrible especially because Ohio St. was blown out in West Lafayette.
#6 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: If the Dwayne Haskins of Ohio St. doesn’t win the Heisman, then Kyler Murray of Oklahoma probably should. The Sooners have arguably the most prolific offense in all of football. They’ve beaten every team on their schedule & their one loss to Texas not only looks good, but they avenged that loss in the Big XII championship game. The Big XII is better than people think & Oklahoma beat every team in the conference. The only other teams that can say that about their schedule is UCF, Notre Dame, Alabama & Clemson. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: The defense is a serious problem. Should a playoff team really give up 40+ a game!?
#7 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: Losses to Ohio St. & Michigan are hardly reasons to hang your head. Those two teams are a combined 24-1 with one a Big 10 champion & the other a playoff team. Note that the Wolverines also lost both games on the road. If you believe Ohio St. is #3 & Notre Dame is #4 then Michigan would be right there at #5. Michigan can’t leap frog either the Buckeyes or Irish, but if Notre Dame wins the national championship & Ohio St. wins the Rose Bowl, should Michigan be ranked #3? Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: They can’t be. Michigan is getting killed because of the Ohio St. loss, but I’d take them over any team below them in the top-25.
#8 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: The Bulldogs won 4 of their last 5 games to end the season with their only loss coming on the road to Alabama. Joe Moorhead did a great job in his first year in Starkville. MSU’s defense is nasty & if Nick Fitzgerald is playing well, Mississippi St. could potentially beat Michigan, Ohio St., Oklahoma or Notre Dame. That could mean a higher ranking than 8th. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: Hail State doesn’t have a bad loss on the schedule, but they did lose 4 games which is a little much for the 8th team in the nation. Against Alabama, LSU, Florida & Kentucky, the Bulldogs couldn’t score to save their lives. A top defense could give them huge problems.
#9 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: They really can’t be. Texas A&M belongs in the top-10 in my opinion because they finished 8-4 & in 2nd place in the SEC West, but the loss to Mississippi St. limits their upward mobility just a bit. Jimbo Fisher is an outstanding coach & RB Trayveon Williams should be a Heisman favorite next season, but Fisher & his staff are going to have to be content with ranking 9th instead of being top-5. They’ll get there. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: Back to back road losses to Auburn & Mississippi St. hurt just a bit, but their other 2 losses came against Alabama & Clemson. They beat LSU so they can’t fall much. I’m not sure you can rank them any lower.
#10 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: It took Texas A&M 7 overtimes in College Station to finally beat the Bayou Bengals & let’s not forget that LSU beat both Georgia & Mississippi State! The road loss to Florida isn’t a bad loss & given the landscape of college football after the dust settled, you could easily make a case LSU might be one of the 3 or 4 best teams in the nation. Athletically they can stay with anyone & I think they’d have an advantage over teams like Notre Dame, Ohio St. & Oklahoma. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: They can’t be. Joe Burrow did a great job managing this offense & the defense was downright filthy until the Texas A&M game. LSU should finish 10-3.
#11 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: If the final two games break West Virginia’s way, then the Mountaineers are likely 12-1 & Big XII champions. If the committee goes with the Big XII champion for that 4th spot the way they did for Oklahoma, then West Virginia is preparing for Alabama right now. West Virginia’s offense has been just as explosive as Oklahoma’s & you could easily argue that WVU should be ranked much higher because of it. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: The losses to Iowa St. & Oklahoma St. aren’t fantastic losses but you can make a pretty good argument that Florida, Missouri & Kentucky should be ranked ahead due to their more impressive losses.
#12 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: Texas finished as the #2 seed in the Big XII and their losses to Maryland, West Virginia & Oklahoma St. came by a total of 9 points. Also remember that of the 4 playoff teams, the only team in the nation to have beaten one of them is Texas, having beaten Oklahoma! The Longhorns have a “best case” record of 12-1 & you could easily make an argument that if Oklahoma is #4 then Texas should be #5. The Big XII feels SO UNDERRATED at this point. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: Four losses is 4 losses. Kentucky, Florida & Washington all have fewer losses & the Huskies even won the Pac 12 championship. Even Missouri kind of looks better.
#13 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: Yes Kentucky did wind up losing to Georgia 34-17 in the de facto SEC East championship game, but if you watched that game you quickly understood the hype surrounding the Wildcats as they looked like they belonged on the same field as Georgia. Losing to Texas A&M in College Station looks amazing now & the loss in Knoxville came the week after the loss to Georgia. If A&M is #9, Kentucky can argue they should be #10. Don’t forget either that UK beat Mississippi State. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: At best Washington can make a case for being ranked ahead of Kentucky, but even that is questionable. Kentucky can’t rank lower here.
#14 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: Missouri looked utterly dominant down the stretch winning 4 straight games including blow out road wins over both Florida & Tennessee! Missouri lost two close games to South Carolina & Kentucky (combined 3 points!!) but their other 2 losses came against Georgia & Alabama. If the games against the Gamecocks & Wildcats go the other way, Missouri could easily be 10-2 & ranked in the top-6 or top-7. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: The win over Florida looks great but who has Missouri really beaten this season? Outside of the win over the Gators, Mizzou’s best win might be either Purdue, Memphis or Vanderbilt! That’s SOS is weak.
#15 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: It’s easy to forget that all 3 of Washington’s losses came on the road by a combined 10 points. If the breaks go UW’s way all season then this is a 13-0 season with the Huskies probably ranked #2 or #3. Jake Browning is a solid if not spectacular QB & Myles Gaskins can move the chains. The Huskies secondary can play with ANY TEAM in the nation which makes it a dangerous opponent when it comes to turnover opportunities. Pac 12 perception hurts them, but is Missouri honestly better than Washington? Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: How good is the Pac 12? Perception is sometimes reality & the conference simply hasn’t looked great in ’18.
#16 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: When everything is going right for the Gators and the defense is humming & Feliepe Franks isn’t turning the ball over, Florida’s team speed & athleticism jump off the game tape & you wonder how this team didn’t finish the year 11-1 or 12-0!? Dan Mullen is one of the best HC in the game & right now this minute, Florida is probably a top-7 or top-8 team. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: When Franks can’t hit the broad side of a barn & the defense looks in disarray, Florida can look awful. Losses to Missouri & Kentucky should never happen. Getting blown out by both should be inconceivable! When they’re off, they are barely a top-25 squad.
#17 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: Went toe to toe with Washington until the very end of the Pac 12 championship game & you can argue they should be Rose Bowl bound had Tyler Huntley & Zack Moss not went down with injuries in the loss to Arizona State. Incredibly well coached team with Kyle Whittingham as HC with Gary Andersen on the staff. When playing at 100% with 100% health, Utah might be one of the best 10 teams in the nation. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: As you saw in the Pac 12 championship game, without Huntley & Moss against an elite defense, Utah simply can’t score. It’s hard to believe this team would score points on Auburn or Northwestern.
#18 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: If you believe in the Big 10 then you have to believe in Northwestern. They lost two conferences games all season long. The first was a 3-point affair against Michigan. The 2nd was to Ohio St. in the Big 10 championship game. The Wildcats hung around against the Buckeyes to very end. How many teams ahead of Northwestern could pull that off? How many could get within 3 of Michigan? If both the Buckeyes & Wolverines are top-10 teams, NW can’t be very far behind. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: Going 0-3 in non-conference play? The loss to Notre Dame is understandable, but losing to Duke & Akron. The loss to the Zips is unfathomable.
#19 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: Four of Auburn’s 5 losses came against Alabama, LSU, Mississippi St. & Georgia! All 4 of those squads at top-10 teams meaning at worst Auburn can argue for being #11! War Eagle has a championship level defense, but an offense that didn’t quite live up to expectations this season. Remember that Auburn beat Washington. Put this team in the Pac 12 & they likely finish 13-0. Wins over Washington & Texas A&M mean something. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: Finishing 7-5 is still finishing 7-5! The loss to Tennessee doesn’t look to good after the Vols lost to Vanderbilt to end the season. That said, it’s hard to think they could drop lower.
#20 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: At the end of the day Central Florida is one of 4 teams left standing at the end of the year without a spot on their record. The program has won 24 straight games & that’s even including losing your head coach between the first & second seasons! You can only beat who is on your schedule & UCF hasn’t lost a game since 2016! Why They Should Be Ranked Lower:  This team is a lot more dangerous with McKenzie Milton at QB. Without him, I doubt UCF figures out a way to get their 2nd straight perfect regular season. That being said, UCF hasn’t play anyone! Keep in mind that their best wins might have come against Memphis, a team Missouri beat by 30+!
#21 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: The weather was downright awful in Pullman the night Washington St. playing Washington for the Pac 12 North title & to be honest, seeing how Utah played in the Pac 12 championship game, you’d have to think Wazzou & Gardner Minshew could have put up more than 3 points on the Utes! The only other loss the Cougars have on the schedule is a 3-point road loss to USC. Wins over Oregon, Utah, Stanford, and Cal should mean something. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: Let’s face it, the game against Washington was a colossal fail on WSU’s part. The perception of the Pac 12 is terrible this year so who has Washington St. really beaten?
#22 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: Based solely on the eye test, Stanford is the best team in the Pac 12. Finishing the year off with a road win against Cal is meaningful & the win over UCLA the week prior is a bigger win than most give the Cardinal credit for. The losses to Washington & Washington St. came by a combined 7 points. If the those close games turn Stanford’s way, the Cardinal would have been 10-2 with a chance to avenger their loss to Utah. Why They Should Rank Lower: Stanford never really got going this season. Bryce Love was terrible by his previous standards & the defense wasn’t as dominant as it could have been. They can compete with anyone, but so can Appalachian State.
#23 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: Wins over Oklahoma St. & West Virginia matter. Iowa St. was a different team when they inserted Brock Purdy as the starting QB. If Purdy is playing early on in the season you have to think the Cyclones beat Iowa and TCU with potential to upset Oklahoma. Beat Iowa & TCU and all of a sudden Iowa St. is 10-2 and looking at a New Year’s 6 Bowl. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: Finishing the season off with a 27-24 win over Drake is hardly a way to go out on top. Iowa St. had nothing to play for on the last week of the season, but keeping that once close hurts. Iowa St. had a couple of chances against Oklahoma & Texas this season but came up short.
#24 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: Penn St. might not have been as good as I thought they would be, but this team still finished 9-3 on the season with their only losses coming against Ohio St., Michigan St. & Michigan. Michigan took PSU to the woodshed, but the losses to the Buckeyes & the Spartans were by a combined 5 points with both games in State College. If Penn St. wins both games they are potentially a 12-1 Big 10 champion team that finishes ahead of Oklahoma. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: As great as their 9-3 season looks, who has Penn St. beat? They lost to their biggest rivals in the Big 10 East. Their best win is Iowa or Wisconsin. Penn St. has no signature win in 2018.
#25 Computer Hope Why They Should Be Ranked Higher: Tough to punish South Carolina for losing games to Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Clemson and Texas A&M. Of those 5 teams, I have Florida ranked lowest at #15 so South Carolina can easily argue they deserve to be ranked #16. And don’t forget that the Gamecocks beat Missouri who I have ranked #14. If SC doesn’t give the game away against Florida, SC climbs up these rankings significantly. Why They Should Be Ranked Lower: Sort of like Penn St., you can’t really punish this team for losing the games they lost, but it takes away any chance for them to have that signature win on the resume. Beating Missouri is nice, but that’s about the only team they beat.

DROPPING OUT

#24 OREGON DUCKS: The terrible perception of the Pac 12 along with Oregon getting blown out by an average at best Arizona team prevented them getting into the top-25. There was no way at this point I could keep justifying Central Florida outside the top-25. UCF’s gain is pretty much Oregon’s loss.

December 3, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NFL FOOTBALL POWER 32 – 2018 WEEK 12

#1 New Orleans (Last Week: Beat Falcons 31-17): New Orleans looks like the best team in the NFL at this point. The defense is a bit underrated & of all the teams considered Super Bowl favorites, the Saints have an offense you can’t stop & a defense that can make plays.

#2 LA Rams (Last Week: idle): Los Angeles gets a well deserved week of rest after winning a high scoring game against the Chiefs. The Rams can hang 50 on anyone, but the real test for the Rams will be seeing if they can beat the Saints when it matters. They came up just short on their first try.

#3 Kansas City (Last Week: idle): Coming off a loss to the Rams is the least of Kansas City’s worries at this point with all the distractions surrounding the Kareem Hunt situation. The Chiefs were decisive as an organization by cutting him quickly & appearing to move on, but Hunt is a solid talent. Can Spencer Ware substitute in and not miss a beat?

#4 New England (Last Week: Beat Jets 27-13): For all the talk of Tom Brady’s arm losing it’s pop against the Titans in New England’s loss, I sure didn’t see any of that against the Jets as Brady let several balls fly & he looked OK. Yes it was against a well below average Jets team, but New England is New England.

#5 Houston (Last Week: Beat Titans 34-17): Houston had no trouble winning their 8th straight game against a division rival & there might not be a hotter team in the NFL right now outside of New Orleans than the Houston Texans. A big key to Houston making significant waves in the playoffs will be the play of Lamar Miller.

#6 Chicago (Last Week: Beat Lions 23-16): The Lions are better than their record would indicate even if the defense has been sorely disappointing in Matt Patricia’s first season. Chicago got a huge win here with Chase Daniel playing QB for the injured Mitch Trubisky. Chicago should win the NFC North.

#7 LA Chargers (Last Week: Beat Cardinals 45-10): Great win for the Chargers to get to 8-3 after dropping a tough game to the Broncos the week before. Arizona isn’t great, but their defense can be stingy at times so running up 45 points on the Cardinals is a good week. They need to keep winning because Denver is coming.

#8 Minnesota (Last Week: Beat Packers 24-17): The Vikings had to have this one at home if they want to stay in line for a wild card spot. Chicago isn’t going away so putting some distance between themselves and the Packers was necessary. Kirk Cousins played great & the defense is rounding into form.

#9 Denver (Last Week: Beat Steelers 24-17): Denver is playing tough smash mouth football behind their running duo of Phillip Lindsay & Royce Freeman and playing tough defense. The win over Pittsburgh was a statement win. At 5-6, the Broncos still have an uphill climb to the playoffs, but it’s a possibility for sure.

#10 Pittsburgh (Last Week: Lost to Broncos 17-24): The Steelers shouldn’t rank this low, but they have to be below the Broncos for now because they just lost to them. Denver is playing extremely well so losing on the road to the Broncos isn’t brutal. The key for Pittsburgh is not losing to the Chargers this upcoming week.

#11 Seattle (Last Week: Beat Panthers 30-27): The Seahawks are playing a lot like the Broncos & it’s working very well. Going into Carolina & beating the Panthers put the rest of the NFC on notice. Pete Carroll is doing some of the best coaching of his life & Russell Wilson is a Super Bowl winner. This is a dangerous football team.

#12 Green Bay (Last Week: Lost to Vikings 17-24): Losing at Minnesota isn’t the bad part, it’s having to settle for a tie against the Vikings in Green Bay earlier in the season that stings. The door hasn’t completely closed on Green Bay yet & with Aaron Rodgers anything is possible, but their margin for error is down to zero.

#13 Indianapolis (Last Week: Beat Dolphins 27-24): Miami came to Naptown READY to play football & almost beat the Colts, but Indianapolis survived a couple of interceptions by Andrew Luck & won their 5th straight to get to 6-5. You can see the Colts grow more confident by the week & nobody wants to see Andrew Luck in the postseason.

#14 Dallas (Last Week: Beat Redskins 31-23): The win over Washington is nice & for the moment the Cowboys are leading the NFC East, but the Cowboys are going to have to show some sustainability to be taken seriously. Just a couple of weeks ago Jason Garrett & Dak Prescott were ready to be run out of town. A couple of wins shouldn’t change that.

#15 Carolina (Last Week: Lost to Seahawks 27-30): Brutal home loss for the Panthers. Carolina’s defense isn’t quite as good as it has been in the past & that’s been problematic. In years past, scoring 27 would have been a sure victory for Carolina? In 2018? Not so much. They can’t lose at Tampa Bay next week.

#16 Baltimore (Last Week: Beat Raiders 34-17): The Ravens are starting to figure out how to use Lamar Jackson both as a passer and as a runner & it’s starting to pay off. Beating the Raiders isn’t anything to write home about, but Baltimore is in command of their destiny at this point & Jackson can be a dangerous weapon.

#17 Philadelphia (Last Week: Beat Giants 25-22): For all that has went wrong, the Eagles could still be the mix to win the East. They have quite a few division games remaining & if they beat the Redskins next week & the Saints take care of business in Dallas, Philly will be tied for 1st place at 6-6! That’s insane!

#18 Washington (Last Week: Lost to Cowboys 23-31): Tough loss for the Redskins who are still tied with Dallas atop the NFC East but behind them because of the tie-breakers. Washington is a different team with Colt McCoy under center. He takes a few more chances than Alex Smith which means high risk high reward type football. Which will it be?

#19 Cleveland (Last Week: Beat Bengals 35-20): Baker Mayfield has been outstanding over the last 2 games & Cleveland has won 2 straight games. Over his past 5 starts, Mayfield is completing 70% of his passes on 158 attempts with 1166 yards & 13TD to just 2INT! He’s averaging 8.5YPA & is showing everyone while he was the #1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Cleveland might not make the playoffs, but this team is going to get after every team they play.

#20 Miami (Last Week: Lost to Colts 24-27): Miami played exceptional football against the Colts last week & came up a touch short. If the Dolphins can keep up that kind of intensity then there is no reason why they can’t finish the season at 9-7 with an outside shot at 10-6. Keep an eye on them.

#21 Atlanta (Last Week: Lost to Saints 17-31): There goes any chance the Falcons had at making the playoffs. Atlanta’s schedule was always going to prevent them from making a run to begin with. They have 6 of their final 9 games on the road and their defense has been absolutely dreadful this season.

#22 Tennessee (Last Week: Lost to Texans 17-34): Tennessee can’t score & it’s becoming a problem. The Titans have a schedule that can get them into the playoff picture if they can beat the Colts. It’ll be key for the Titans to keep winning while the Colts lose road games to Houston & Tennessee.

#23 Detroit (Last Week: Lost to Bears 16-23): You have to start wondering if Matt Stafford is the QB that is going to take the Lions to the playoffs. The Georgia product is in his 10th year in the league. He’s 0-3 in the playoffs & he’s made exactly one Pro Bowl in a decade. Is that the definition of a franchise QB?

#24 NY Giants (Last Week: Lost to Eagles 22-25): Tough loss. The Giants are better than their record would indicate as they’ve been the victims of a lot of close losses, but 3-8 is 3-8 & you can’t argue with the bottom line. With Justin Herbert likely staying at Oregon, it’s going to be interesting to see what the Giants do this offseason because Eli Manning is under contract through the 2019 season.

#25 Tampa Bay (Last Week: Beat 49ers 27-9): It’s hard to get too excited with a win over the 49ers but Tampa Bay will take their wins where they can find them. Tampa Bay is in a tough spot. Dirk Koetter looks like a HC that isn’t going to be retained & I don’t think the organization has a franchise QB in Jameis Winston.

#26 Buffalo (Last Week: Beat Jaguars 24-21): The Bills continue to exceed expectations & getting a win over the Jaguars with Josh Allen playing QB is a great lift to the organization as a whole. Doug McDermott is doing a tremendous job getting the Bills to 4-7 in clearly a rebuilding year. The defense has been outstanding.

#27 Cincinnati (Last Week: Lost to Browns 20-35): The franchise at this point is a joke. The only thing more laughable about keeping Marvin Lewis as a HC would be to fire Lewis only to hire Hue Jackson who was 1-31 as a HC in his first two years in Cleveland. I can’t believe people still show up to the games.

#28 Jacksonville (Last Week: Lost to Bills 21-24): It’s easy to rag on the Jaguars for completely falling off a cliff, but the Jaguars have been ravaged by injuries this season to the point that there was no way the team was going to be able to stay competitive. Sure Blake Bortles is a problem, but injuries have destroyed the Jaguars.

#29 Oakland (Last Week: Lost to Ravens 17-34): There hasn’t been much to celebrate with Oakland this year, but you can make a pretty good argument that Derek Carr is having the best year of his career. It doesn’t seem like that as compared to his 2016 season, but that Raiders team had the talent to go 12-4. This Raiders squad is 2-9.

#30 NY Jets (Last Week: Lost to Patriots 13-27): Good effort by the Jets against a superior Patriots squad. Better days are ahead of the Jets because they found a franchise guy in Sam Darnold, but they are still a couple of years away. It’ll be interesting who they have coaching next season.

#31 Arizona (Last Week: Lost to Chargers 10-45): Terrible loss for Arizona. Losing is one thing. Getting blown out is demoralizing for professionals. Arizona is such a puzzling team. Offensively you’d think they should be able to score more points with the personnel they have, but something isn’t working.

#32 San Francisco (Last Week: Lost to Bucs 9-27): The lost season keeps getting worse & worse. On the bright side, San Francisco is in play to get the #1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and let’s not forget that some people thought this team was a playoff squad before Jimmy Garoppolo went down. Adding a #1 pick to that forecast is something to look forward to next season.

December 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NFL FOOTBALL – WEEK 13 BIG GAMES

AWAY HOME QUICK THOUGHTS
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NO (-7). With Amari Cooper on board the Cowboys offense has opened up quite a bit & made a lot more room for Ezekiel Elliott to become more effective within the strategy of Dallas using the run game. The Saints of course are scoring machines so this game will come down to Dallas being able to run the ball effectively & keeping the Saints offense off the field. If the Cowboys can play a little D as well it’d be nice. It’s going to be extremely difficult for Dallas to pull off this win so they have to hope Philly beats the Redskins.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: BAL (-3). Lamar Jackson is going to start again the Ravens & given how porous the Atlanta defense has been, Jackson could put up some huge numbers in a Baltimore victory the Ravens sorely need. If Jackson does go off, this is exactly how teams get into QB purgatory. Jackson doesn’t seem at this point to be anything like what a championship winning QB is. Small sample size I know, but if he has a good 4-5 game stretch then Baltimore could be likely to invest in him. If he’s not what the 3-4 games say, then the Ravens become a sink hole.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: DEN (-3.5). The Broncos are playing outstanding football & Denver needs to win this game to keep climbing into the AFC playoff picture. On the other side, Jeff Driskel is going to start for an injured Andy Dalton which gives Denver an even bigger edge. The problem for Cincy though is that losing to Denver would be their 2nd straight home loss in as many weeks. With Marvin Lewis firmly on the hot seat, things could get pretty ugly in the Queen City faster than we might anticipate. This is a must win game for both teams.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: LAR (-9). It’s easy to look at this game & see an easy win for the Rams, but LA has been exceptionally fortunate this season when it comes to close games. The Rams are 6-0 in close games. The 10-1 record looks dominant, but closer inspection shows LA could just as easily be 7-4 or 8-3. The Lions have beaten the Patriots, Panthers & Packers in Detroit so this might not be as easy a game as Vegas’ opening line suggests. Detroit played Chicago tough last week & HC Matt Patricia has this team fighting. The Rams can ill afford to look past them.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: GB (-14.5). Green Bay is on life support when it comes to the playoffs, but there is still a sliver of hope & Aaron Rodgers and his compatriots should have no issues destroying an overmatched Arizona team that is going to have a difficult time scoring. Ideally, the Packers win while the Redskins, Seahawks, Panthers & Vikings lose. Forget about the Seahawks losing at home to the 49ers, but the other three teams could easily drop games. It’ll be interesting to see where Green Bay stands once Week 13 is complete. I think they’ll be very pleased.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: MIA (-6.5). Don’t count the Dolphins out. Last week in Indianapolis, Miami came THIS CLOSE to pulling off the upset. Ryan Tannehill played great, the defense was extremely opportunistic & the Dolphins were able to move the ball on the ground. If they play that way this week at home against the Bills, they’ll win by a couple of TDs and improve their record to 6-6. That might not seem like great shakes but the Ravens, Broncos & Colts all play on the road this week & if they all lose, then Miami is right back in the mix for that last wild card spot.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: CHI (-4). The Giants are getting quite a bit of respect from Vegas on this one which makes you wonder how much of this is New York and how much of this is Chase Daniel starting for an injured Mitch Trubisky? I think it’s probably more with how competitive the Giants can be. They are almost the anti-Rams in that New York has lost 6 close games. The 3-8 record could just as easily be 6-5 or 7-4 in which case we are talking about a possible division title. The Bears probably have too much defense, but New York will keep this one close.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: CAR (-4). Carolina might not be in “must win” territory yet, but going on the road against a division rival that has QB & defense issues being coached by a guy who isn’t going to return in 2019, is the type of game Carolina can’t lose either. Tampa Bay could put up a fight in this one because their skill players are so good, but like a lot of Tampa games, this will come down to which Jameis Winston shows up. If good Jameis shows up then Carolina below average D gets exposed. If turnover prone Jameis shows up, the Panthers should win easily.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: IND (-3). Indianapolis takes their 5-game winning streak into Jacksonville against a reeling Jaguars squad that has lost 7 straight games. The Jaguars still have a pretty good defense despite some injuries & it’s never a good time to threaten a wounded animal, but things get VERY DISAPPOINTING in Indianapolis if the Colts can’t beat a Jaguars team that is going to start Cody Kessler under center! The Jaguars have also been ravaged by injuries & could have most of the starting D missing the game. It’s time for the Colts to flex a little bit on the Jags!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: HOU (-4.5). Cleveland showed last week that they are a different animal under Gregg Williams & Baker Mayfield is starting to show some of that swagger he played with at Oklahoma. That’s bad news for the rest of the NFL as Cleveland has a schedule that allows them to have quite a say in the playoff picture if they can pull of a couple of upsets. This game in Houston is going to be difficult because it would be the Browns 2nd straight road win in as many weeks. That’s hard to do for good teams in the NFL! Cleveland is going to make it close.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: TEN (-9.5). The Titans get a Jets team in Nashville that seem to be playing out the string. That can’t come at a better time for the 5-6 Titans who have taken a beating from Houston & Indianapolis the last two weeks that have put their playoff chances in peril. Keep an eye on Marcus Mariota during this game though. The Jets can be opportunistic on D at times & Mariota is dealing with a core injury that isn’t great but it’s not going to keep him out of the game. Vegas has Tennessee winning big, but if QB troubles emerge, the Jets could get a knockout!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: KC (-15). Sure the Kareem Hunt situation is going to be a major distraction for the Chiefs & they might have to make a few adjustments on offense to account for losing a dynamic player of Hunt’s ability, but I’d be willing to bet that against the Raiders, Spencer Ware is going to be able to step right in & keep Kansas City’s offensive dominance rolling along. It’ll be shocking of Oakland can utilize a home game to take advantage of the Chiefs if KC comes in without focus, but my guess is that Andy Reid has the boys prepared & KC drops 40+!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NE (-7.5). Really interesting game for both teams. The game is in Foxboro so of course the Patriots are thought to be big favorites & they need the win. It’s likely the Chiefs, Steelers & Texans win their games so the Patriots need to stay the course. A loss would drop them to the #4 seed in the AFC, somewhere they are loathe to be. Minnesota is in a similar situation in that a loss for them puts their wild card hopes in jeopardy & completely destroys their chances of potentially catching Chicago. Neither team is going to be happy to lose this game.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: SEA (-11). This one isn’t going to be pretty. Due to tiebreakers, Seattle right now would be the 7th seed in the NFC playoffs which puts them on the outside looking in, but the 49ers don’t stand a chance which means Seattle is going to improve to 7-5. Given the rest of the schedule this week, I think the Seahawks have an excellent chance to be the ONLY 7-5 team standing & claim the #5 spot in the NFC. Seattle just needs to keep refining their approach. Keep running the ball well & playing stingy defense. Getting a 35-0 or 38-0 win is ideal this week.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: PIT (-3.5). HUGE AFC game with massive playoff implications. Last week’s lose to Denver dropped the Steelers to the 4th seed which means this could very well be a preview of a Wild Card game assuming LA keeps their stranglehold on the Wild Card! But the bigger problem here is that the Steelers don’t want to play road games against either New England or Kansas City in the divisional round. The Steelers want a first round bye & beating the Bolts is a must win game. For LA, it’s a chance to prove they are legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: PHI (-6.5). Huge game in the NFC East. The Eagles fought back against the Giants pretty hard last week & got a must win game for them if they want to defend their Super Bowl title. For all that has gone wrong with the Eagles this year, they are still in the thick of things. You’d have to assume the Cowboys lose to New Orleans which manes if the Eagles win, then Washington, Dallas & Philly are all tied at 6-6 atop the NFC East! On the other side, I have to admit I like the risk taking Colt McCoy brings to the table. It’s win big or lose big with McCoy.

December 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – 2018 WEEK 13

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Auburn 52-21. It took Alabama about a half to get warmed up, but the results were what we’ve come to expect in 2018 as the Tide outscored War Eagle 35-7 in the 2nd half! Tua Tagovailoa passed for 324 yards & 5TD while the Alabama running game kept Auburn’s defense honest. This was the worst lost Auburn has had against Alabama since 2012 when the Tide hammered the Tigers 49-0. It’s worth noting that in 2012 Alabama beat Georgia in the SEC championship game before beating Notre Dame for the national championship! There isn’t anything left to say about the Tide. The only thing that will be shocking is if Alabama actually loses one of their next 1-3 games.
#2 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat South Carolina 56-35. Not exactly the defensive performance you’d expect out of Clemson, but the offense was humming behind QB Trevor Lawrence’s 393 passing yards while RB Travis Etienne rushed for 150 yards & 2TDs! Clemson as a team ran for 351 yards & 7TD averaging 6.4ypc on a decent Gamecocks defense. Clemson is certainly making a case for being even better than Alabama. The offense has looked unstoppable since the scare against Syracuse & the defense, while not great against South Carolina, can bring enormous amounts of pressure on opposing QB which will lead to turnovers. Beating Pittsburgh for an ACC championship seems like a formality.
#3 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat USC 24-17. Very tough victory for the Irish in the Coliseum, but USC is a big time rival & you can’t discount how talented the Trojan players are in a big time rivalry game when you should throw the records out. Frankly, this was the type of game Notre Dame would have lost over the last few seasons, so while this wasn’t going to leverage any style points Notre Dame’s way, all the Irish really needed to do was complete the perfect season & punch their ticket into the playoffs. Now the Irish can prove they are as good as the big boys by staying competitive with Clemson. Win or lose, if ND keeps it close, it’ll go a long way in proving that these Irish are no fluke!
#4 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Georgia Tech 45-21. Georgia wasted absolutely no time getting after the Yellow Jackets, storming out to a 38-7 lead at halftime before cruising the final 30 minutes of the game. Jake Fromm was outstanding going 13/16 for 175 yards & 4TD. D’Andre Swift ran for 105 yards while Elijah Holyfield chipped in 79. The Bulldogs defense didn’t have much trouble with Tech’s triple option running attack either holding Ramblin’ Wreck to 2.8ypc on 46 attempts. Georgia Tech had won 6 of their last 7 games before taking this trashing at the hands of UGA. This wasn’t a game Georgia blew off which makes it that much more impressive. Now Georgia gets a their chance at redemption!
#5 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat West Virginia 59-56. Would you expect anything less from Oklahoma/West Virginia than a 59-56 final!? The one aspect of a game you have to watch when taking in Big XII games is that there isn’t much defense being played, BUT the team that makes a defensive play or two will usually be the team that winds up winning. Against West Virginia, Oklahoma scored 14 points off of turnovers. West Virginia scored 7 points off Oklahoma turnovers. That extra defensive play by the Sooners was the difference between Oklahoma playing for a chance at the playoffs and them being left out of the Big XII title game completely. Beat Texas now & with Georgia losing, they are in!
#6 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Michigan 62-39. Raise your hand if you saw that coming!? The Buckeyes saved their best game for when they needed it most against a Michigan team that everyone thought was going to finally beat Urban Meyer. It didn’t happen. The Buckeyes played their most complete game of the season with just about everything working. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Paris Campbell play that well while Mike Weber was unstoppable & Dwayne Haskins looked every bit the Heisman Trophy candidate. It might not be enough unless they BLOW THE BARN DOORS off Northwestern & Oklahoma loses to Texas, but at worst Ohio St. is going to finish 13-1 as Big 10/Rose Bowl champs.
#7 Computer Hope Last Week: Lost to Ohio St. 39-62. Very tough loss for Michigan, especially for Jim Harbaugh, who now runs his record against Ohio St. to 0-4. I think the loss to Ohio St. puts a few things in perspective if you watched the game. The first is that Ohio St. was faster & more twitchy than the Wolverines. It shows that Michigan doesn’t quite have the stable of athletes that Ohio St. has. It also showed that Michigan wasn’t as strong in the trenches as they thought they were either & that Shea Patterson isn’t a great QB. What Michigan needs to focus on his winning their bowl. Win that game & Michigan will finish 11-2 & ranked in the top-10. It’ll be Jim Harbaugh’s best season in Ann Arbor.
#8 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Mississippi 35-3. No injury prevented Mississippi St. QB Nick Fitzgerald from missing the Egg Bowl for a 2nd straight year & the senior QB from Richmond Hill, GA made the Rebels pay by passing for 111 yards & a TD and also running for 117 yards & 2TD. Kylin Hill ran for 108 yards & Aeris Williams added 64 of his own as Hail State destroyed their in-state rivals to finish the season 8-4. Mississippi St. finishes the season winning 5 of their last 7 games with their only two losses coming on the road to LSU & Alabama! The Bulldogs defense has been INCREDIBLE & it ranks #1 in the nation in scoring D. Jeffery Simmons & Montez Sweat are 1st round NFL draft picks. Underrated!
#9 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat LSU 74-72. An amazing win for Texas A&M in a game that saw the most combined points scored in FBS history! The loss takes Texas A&M to 8-4, but their 5-3 conference record gives them 2nd place in the SEC West due to their head-to-head tiebreaker over LSU. That’s a tremendous season for 1st year HC Jimbo Fisher. Texas A&M is now on a 3-game winning streak & are 6-2 in their last 8 games. It was tough to gauge how well Fisher would do in his first year in College Station, but a bowl win gets them to 9-4 & potentially in the top-10. I think Fisher met & exceeded expectations if that was to happen. Oh, and Trayveon Williams ran for 198 yards & 2TD! He’s a beast!
#10 Computer Hope Last Week: Lost to Texas A&M 72-74. Tough loss for LSU as a win over Texas A&M would have put LSU in position to win their bowl game & finish with an impressive 11-2 season & likely a top-5 finish. Any time you have a 7OT game, it’s going to be incredibly wild, but the craziest thing about the entire game might have been after the game when the LSU & Texas A&M coaches starting getting into a scuffle! LSU analyst Steve Kragthorpe apparently was hit in his pacemaker for crying out loud & a small melee apparently broke out! Does it get any better than SEC football?!? I almost can’t wait until LSU and Texas A&M play each other next season! What in the world will they do for an encore?
#11 Computer Hope Last Week: Lost to Oklahoma 56-59. Brutal loss for West Virginia. Will Grier was amazing. Gary Jennings couldn’t be stopped. David Sills was outstanding. The Mountaineers put up 56 points, yet still couldn’t get a win over the Sooners in Morgantown! With a trip to the Big XII title game on the line, WVU came up 3 points short & you have to start to wonder if Dana Holgorsen can get the West Virginia over the hump. That cuts both ways though. Is West Virginia the kind of school that can get into the playoff mix or is West Virginia definitely the kind of school that can get into the playoff mix, but their HC isn’t the guy to get them to that point? It’s a very tough situation for this program.
#12 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Louisville 56-10. Sure Louisville is terrible right now, but the 46 points thrashing at the hands of the Wildcats is the worst beating either team has taken in this rivalry’s history! The 2nd greatest margin of victory is 34 points back in 1998 when Kentucky beat Louisville 68-34! Everything was working for Kentucky. Terry Wilson was 17/23 for 261yds/3TD. Benny Snell & Asim Rose each rushed for over 100 yards while the defense racked up 10 tackles for loss & potential All-American DE Josh Allen was seemingly everywhere. UK has had an amazing year even if they couldn’t get over on Georgia. They now need to take care of business in a bowl & get that 10th win.
#13 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Kansas 24-17. It wasn’t pretty & it wasn’t dominant, but it didn’t have to be as Texas was able to get a win over the Jayhawks to secure their spot in the Big XII championship game. You have to give Kansas & David Beatty a lot of credit for showing up in this one. Beatty has already been fired, but Kansas had already found his replacement in Les Miles before they took on the Longhorns. It was a huge sign of respect from the players knowing that this was their coach’s last game & put it all on the line even if they came up just short. Now it’s a matter of whether or not Texas can beat the Sooners again? If they do, Tom Herman will take Texas to a Big XII title in his 2nd year!
#14 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Arkansas 38-0. Missouri didn’t waste any time dropping the hammer on Arkansas to finish off the season 8-4. Drew Lock tearing apart the Arkansas secondary? Check! Emmanuel Hall destroying any CB that dared try to cover him? Check! Larry Rountree running with reckless abandon? Check! DT Jordan Elliott playing like the Arkansas team abducted his grandma? DOUBLE CHECK! Missouri is somewhat a polarizing team because people aren’t sure the Tigers have beaten anyone outside of Florida, but I think having Mizzou ranked here might be too low. The losses to Kentucky & S.Carolina were flukes meaning their only real 2 losses come from Alabama & Clemson!
#15 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat BYU 35-27. You have to really credit Utah HC Kyle Whittingham & his staff, as Utah has been playing without QB Tyler Huntley & RB Zack Moss the last 3 games and the Utes have won all 3 ensuring they are Pac 12 South champs with a shot at getting to the Rose Bowl! Two of those 3 wins have come against Oregon & BYU & those couldn’t have been easy without their two most important pieces on offense. I thought Utah would win the Pac 12 South & they did. The real season for the Utes starts now. Can Whittingham get Utah to the next step by winning a Pac 12 title & earning the first Rose Bowl berth in Utah football history!? Would be a great story for the Utes.
#16 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Florida St. 41-14. Incredible game for the Gators who sent their in-state rival Seminoles to their first season without a bowl since 1981! Things looked a little shaky for the Gators after back-to-back losses to  Missouri & Georgia along with a close win over South Carolina, but Florida finishes strong with a great defensive effort combined with great performances by QB Feliepe Franks and RBs Jordan Scarlett & Lamical Perine. Dan Mullen has to be ecstatic with his first season in Gainesville. A bowl win puts Florida at 10-3 on the season with victories over LSU, Kentucky, Mississippi St., Tennessee & Florida State. Florida has a shot at finishing in the top-10 of the rankings.
#17 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Kansas St. 42-38. Like Kansas against Texas, Kansas St. didn’t make it easy for the Cyclones as Wildcat QB Sklyer Thompson lit ISU up for 3 TD & RB Alex Barnes was outstanding rushing for 184 yards! It wasn’t just enough as Iowa St. did just enough to eek out a 4 point win to get to 7-4. Remember that Kansas St. was playing for bowl eligibility so while the final score doesn’t look at the great for Matt Campbell’s crew, it was a bigger win that it seemed because Kansas St. had so much to play for. Iowa St. will have a make up game next week against Drake to get their 12th game in. It should be a win which will push the Cyclones to 8-4 with a chance to get their 9th win in a bowl.
#18 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Illinois 24-16. The final score wasn’t quite as indicative of the game as you’d think. Northwestern was up 21-6 at the half & up 24-6 after 3 quarters of football. QB Clayton Thorson was efficient going 12/18 for 110 yards & 2TD while the Wildcats ran the ball 46 times with Isaiah Bowser leading the way with 166 yards on 18 carries. Northwestern has had an interesting season. They were 0-3 in non-conference play with losses to Duke, Notre Dame & Akron of all teams, but obliterated the Big 10 West going 8-1 in conference play! Northwestern should probably 10-2 & if so they’d be getting a lot more respect. They can capture that respect with a win over Ohio State this week!
#19 Computer Hope Last Week: Lost to Alabama 21-52. A really interesting year for Auburn. QB Jarrett Stidham wasn’t the Heisman candidate most Auburn thought he would be & I think War Eagle had a little bit of trouble replacing Kerryon Johnson who now plays for the Detroit Lions. Auburn’s defense was still more than capable of a winning an SEC title, but the problem on offense puts a lot of pressure on the defense & things begin to break down. Auburn’s losses to Tennessee & LSU came by a total of 7 points & their other losses were road games against Georgia, Mississippi St. & Alabama. Going 7-5 isn’t going to satisfy any Auburn fans, but being a bit down along with a tough schedule is hard.
#20 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Washington St. 28-15. The path wasn’t as straight as many of us thought it would be, but once again the Huskies are Pac 12 North happens. Sometimes it’s hard to see just how “close” this season has been for Washington. UW finishes the year 9-3 but their 3 losses came by a combined 10 points, all coming on the road. Washington is THIS close to being 12-0 & being an almost certainty for the playoffs. Instead, Washington is going to have to hope for a season that ends with an 11-3 record as Pac 12 and Rose Bowl champions. It’s amazing to think that having a season like that can be considered a big disappointment, but you get the impression that UW feels like it is.
#21 Computer Hope Last Week: Lost to Washington 15-28. If not now then when? The clock definitely struck midnight on Gardner Minshew as the Cougars QB finished the game 26 of 35 for 152 yards & 2INT! Last year the Cougars had a chance to win the Pac 12 North had they beaten Washington but lost 41-14. This year they had a chance to win the Pac 12 North but lost to the Huskies yet again 28-15! It seems distressing, but if Wazzou wins their bowl game they’ll finish 11-2 which is likely the best season in school history. It would also mean WSU is 37-15 over the last 4 years which will be the best 4-year stretch in WSU history. Now they need to take the next step as a program & win the P12 North.
#22 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat UCLA 49-42. Solid win for the Cardinal even though UCLA doesn’t look fantastic when you look at their win/loss record. Chip Kelly actually has the Bruins playing pretty well & they were coming off a huge rivalry win over USC. UCLA was able to move the ball pretty well against the Stanford defense, but the Bruins defense is a bit behind their offense and they couldn’t stop the Cardinal offense. Typically if you post 42 points, you are going to win games, but that didn’t work out & Stanford improves to 7-4. Stanford gets a chance to improve to 8-4 next week against California & a bowl win gets them to 9-4. Like Washington that looks like a disappointment. Tough year.
#23 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Maryland 38-3. Maryland didn’t stand much of a chance of sending Penn St. out of the regular season on a sour note. Trace McSorley played well, Miles Sanders ran for over 100 yards & the Nittany Lions defense sacked the Terps QB 5x and posted 14.5 tackles for loss on the day! That’s how you dominate! PSU had a great season finishing 9-3 with a chance to get to 10 wins, but this team feels a little bit like a paper tiger to me. Their best win might be over Iowa or Wisconsin while they lost to Michigan, Ohio St. & Michigan State. The bowl game should provide an opportunity for Penn St. to show the belong in the top-15 or so teams in the nation. A good opponent & a win.
#24 Computer Hope Last Week: Beat Oregon St. 55-15. Oregon had no issues whatsoever against Oregon St. in the Civil War which is sort of what we expected. It’s amazing to think that Oregon arguably has the #1 pick in the 2019 NFL draft in QB Justin Herbert & they barely used him against the Beavers! Instead, Travis Dye ran for 199 yards & 2TD and CJ Verdell ran for 187 yards & 4TD for the Ducks who STEAMROLLED their in-state rivals. Oregon has some solid wins this season over Washington, Arizona St. & California and their losses weren’t terrible outside of a blowout loss at Arizona. Mario Cristobal has a chance to get his team to 9-4 with a bowl win. That’s a fantastic season for the first year coach.
#25 Computer Hope Last Week: Lost to Clemson 35-56. It’s hard to bang on South Carolina for losing at Clemson. The Tigers made a pretty convincing case they should be ranked 1B to Alabama’s 1A, so believing the Gamecocks are some how less than able because they lose a road game to their in-state rival is laughable. If anything, SC’s offense showed up in spades against an outstanding Clemson defense. Granted, they didn’t run the ball very well but Jake Bentley passed for 500+ yards & 5TD! SC couldn’t do anything to stop the Clemson rushing attack which was the difference in the game, but Bentley carved them up which could serve as a blueprint for other teams going up against the Tigers. We’ll see.

DROPPING OUT

#25 TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS: Really disappointed to see Tennessee go to Nashville with a bowl on the line & lose to Vanderbilt 38-13. There were some high points for the Vols as they beat both Auburn & Kentucky, but the loss to Vanderbilt is killer because it kept them from a bowl in HC Jeremy Pruitt’s first season as HC. Brighter days are ahead for Orange Nation.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment