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2018 NFL FOOTBALL – SUPER BOWL PREVIEW

The last time the Super Bowl was held in Atlanta was back in the 1999 season when the St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans! Rams fans have to be thrilled that they are going back to the place where the organization has won their only Super Bowl! There is going to be a lot of talk about the strategy involved in his game, but to me the really interesting storyline is Bill Belichick taking on Sean McVay. This is a battle of the greatest head coach in NFL history going up against a young savant who many think have the ability to eventually challenge Belichick for his title as the G.O.A.T. It only adds to the drama that Belichick is a defensive coach while McVay is an offensive coach. Who will win a battle of wills?

AFC NFC QUICK THOUGHTS
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: Pick’em. From a matchup standpoint I think it’s going to be interesting to see how the Patriots handle Aaron Donald & Ndamukong Suh. New England should throw a lot of doubles on those guys forcing LA’s LBs to handle the run. This also means Brady has to get the ball out quickly to avoid the pass rush. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see the Patriots run the ball a ton. For the Rams, it’s going to be play-action after play-action. Sean McVay does a fantastic job of keeping the opposing team guessing, but Belichick has had two weeks to prepare his defense. The Patriots play extremely close games in the Super Bowl so expect another one. If Donald & Suh play great, Rams start a new era.
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February 2, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NFL FOOTBALL – CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREVIEWS

AWAY HOME QUICK THOUGHTS
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NO (-3.5). It’s not surprising we end up with the Rams/Saints in the NFC Championship game as these two teams seemed destined to collide for the NFC Championship since early in the 2018 NFL season. This is a rematch of Week 9 when the Saints beat the Rams 45-35 in New Orleans. Remember that the game wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated as New Orleans went up 35-14 late in the 2nd quarter. Expect another shootout this weekend but LA can’t afford another slow start. The Rams have to match the Saints score for score if they want a chance at revenge!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: KC (-3). Bet against Tom Brady at your own risk! Like Saints/Rams, we saw this game in Week 6 when the Pats beat the Chiefs 43-40 in Foxboro. Now New England heads to Arrowhead to see if they can get to the Super Bowl for the 9th time in the Brady/Belichick era. The Patriots won’t make the same mistakes that Indianapolis made last week. You can be sure that Belichick has studied the Week 6 tape ad nauseum & Brady is going to match Kansas City score for score if it turns into a shootout. If Joey Bosa & Melvin Ingram couldn’t stop Brady, I don’t think KC will stop him either.

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

NCAA FOOTBALL POWER 25 – 2018 FINAL RANKINGS

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Final Record: 15-0: One team definitely separated itself from the rest of the college football landscape in 2018. We all thought that team was Alabama, but it actually turned out to be Clemson as the Tigers throttled the Crimson Tide in the national championship game 44-16! It’s hard to get away from just how amazing true frosh QB Trevor Lawrence was this season after Dabo Swinney made the call to make him the starter over Kelly Bryant. Bryant transferred & Lawrence won a title! This is an historically great team. The defensive front-7 was OUTSTANDING. Travis Etienne is incredible & the receivers are untouchable. The O-Line had been underrated all season long. Clemson left ZERO doubt.
#2 Computer Hope Final Record: 12-1: Nobody will have the Irish at #2 behind Clemson, but if you watched Clemson’s last 2 games, you’ll see that Notre Dame played them much tougher than Alabama did. If you believe Alabama is the #2 team in the nation then Notre Dame has a good argument for being ahead of the Tide. Playing without CB Julian Love was devastating for the Irish in their playoff given that when he went out, Clemson attacked his replacement seemingly on every down. Even with Love in the game, the outcome might not have been different, but I dare say it would have been closer. Yes the final was 30-3, but Brian Kelly was right when he said the game came down to 3-4 big plays.
#3 Computer Hope Final Record: 14-1: Hard to complain about Alabama’s season. The Crimson Tide rolled through the SEC & dominated Oklahoma in the semifinals of the playoffs. The loss to Clemson was humiliating because of the margin of victory & that it was the national championship game, but Clemson is probably one of the greatest college football teams in history. Nick Saban’s squad could find a rhythm against Clemson, but turnovers & penalties were costly and never allowed for momentum to swing Alabama’s way. Tua Tagovailoa was markedly off all night long & that wasn’t going to cut it against this Clemson team. There are no moral victories in Tuscaloosa, but Alabama can’t win every damn year!
#4 Computer Hope Final Record: 13-1: In a year that started off with off-field scandals & led to Urban Meyer retiring, again, from coaching, the Buckeyes found a way to win the Big 10 and the Rose Bowl. Given the semifinal games, you can make a pretty good argument that the Buckeyes should have been in the Final-4, but you can’t be upset with just how much winning Ohio St. did in 2018. Statistically Ohio St. was one of the most dominant teams in college football. In retrospect Dwayne Haskins probably should have won the Heisman & the defense  held up well even without DE Nick Bosa. The loss to Purdue looks outrageous now that the season is over. We can only dream about Ohio St./Clemson.
#5 Computer Hope Final Record: 12-2: Oklahoma had a rough time of it against Alabama going down 21-0 after the 1st quarter & 31-10 at halftime. The Sooners rallied in the 2nd half but still ended up losing 45-34 against the Tide. There is no question that Oklahoma was one of the most exciting teams to watch this season. In my opinion the Sooners had the most explosive offense in the nation featuring the Heisman winning QB Kyler Murray along with WR Hollywood Brown and a cast of RBs that could explode to the house at any moment. Defensively Oklahoma was exposed against Alabama. That might not matter in Big 12 play, but it was definitely a problem against Alabama in 2018 and Georgia in 2017.
#6 Computer Hope Final Record: 9-4: College football has to be thrilled that the season is over because if it started today, Texas A&M would make a good case that they’d be SEC favorites & it might be Jimbo Fisher’s squad going up against Clemson in the title game instead of Alabama. A&M finished the season 7-2 in their last 9 & it’s worth noting that 2 of  the Aggies losses were early season affairs against Clemson & Alabama. They also lost road games to Mississippi St. & Auburn. Those are the perils of playing in the SEC West. Texas A&M lit up NC State in the bowl game behind RB Trayveon Williams’s 236 rushing yards & 3TD! Williams finished the year with 1,760yds/18TD! He had over 2,000 total yards in 2018!
#7 Computer Hope Final Record: 11-3: The Bulldogs didn’t have a great ending to their season, losing 2 straight to Alabama & Texas. Bowl season gets tricky for various reasons, but motivation is a big one & Georgia showing up against Texas reminded me a lot of Auburn showing up against UCF last season.  After playing for a national championship in 2017, Georgia didn’t have much to play for in 2018 even if it was a high profile bowl game against another historically great school in Texas. Life is about to get much more difficult for Kirby Smart & the Bulldogs. UGA had a big window the last 2 years to get a national title, but now Florida is emerging under Dan Mullen & that is going to make life difficult for Georgia.
#8 Computer Hope Final Record: 10-3: Speaking of Florida……the Gators manhandling of the Michigan Wolverines 41-15 was the most impressive bowl performance this season excepting Clemson’s win over Alabama. QB Feleipe Franks did a great job protecting the football & the Gators running attack ran roughshod over a supposedly dominant Michigan defense. Dan Mullen did an outstanding job in his first year in Gainesville. The Gators were 4-7 last year & in one season turned it around to 10-3 with a New Year’s Six bowl win. If Florida wins home games against Kentucky & Missouri, they could have finished the season 12-1. If Feleipe Franks can take a step in 2019, Florida will be a very dangerous team!
#9 Computer Hope Final Record: 10-4: It would be easy to dismiss what a great season the Longhorns had based simply on the fact that Texas lost 4 games, but remember that a year ago Tom Herman’s bunch limped towards the finish line at 6-6 before beating Missouri to garner a winning season. This year the season didn’t get off to a great start with the loss to Maryland, but Texas fought back & ended up with in the Big XII championship game & beat Oklahoma during the regular season. They finished the year with a 28-21 win over a Georgia squad many thought should have been in the playoffs. The win over Georgia shows that Texas IS BACK! Herman is an outstanding HC & Texas will keep getting better.
#10 Computer Hope Final Record: 10-3: It is amazing what a consistently good QB can do that protects the ball & is a good decision maker. It seems like LSU has been in the QB wilderness for a decade, but Ohio St. transfer QB Joe Burrow came in & immediately settled the position. Burrow wasn’t fantastic, completing only 57.8% of his passes, but he threw for almost 3,000 yards & had only 5 interceptions on 379 attempts for a pick rate of 1.3%! Burrow’s presence allowed LSU’s skill players to shine more often & the defense to win games with their playmaking abilities. LSU’s 3 losses came against Florida, Alabama and Texas A&M! Beating UCF was a necessity & LSU took care of business, winning 40-32.
#11 Computer Hope Final Record 10-3: It’s really difficult to see where Michigan goes from here. They ended their season on a horrific note when going into the Ohio St. game the Wolverines all but had a playoff spot sewed up if they simply took care of business. Instead they lose to Ohio St. & Florida by the combined score of 103-54! Jim Harbaugh is 38-14 in his first 4 seasons in Ann Arbor. Most teams would kill for that, but Lloyd Carr went 39-11 & won a title in his 3rd year. Bo Schembechler went 38-6 in his first 4 years & got to 2 Rose Bowls. Carr was 3-1 against Ohio St. in his first 4 years; Schembechler went 2-2. Harbaugh is 0-4. The natives will keep being restless until Harbaugh wins a national title.
#12 Computer Hope Final Record: 10-3: Kentucky’s 27-24 win over Penn St. in the Citrus Bowl gave Kentucky their first 10-win season since 1977! You really can’t say enough about what a great season the Wildcats had. RB Benny Snell was a beast running the football while DE Josh Allen was must watch football all season long as the senior DE racked up 17 sacks which was good enough for 2nd in the entire nation! Kentucky lost to Georgia at home & to Texas A&M on the road. They dropped a road game to Tennessee after the Georgia loss which really is the only black mark on the season. Mark Stoops has done an outstanding job in Lexington & it’ll be interesting to see what he does to keep the momentum.
#13 Computer Hope Final Record: 8-5: The loss to Iowa in the bowl game was a tough one, but Hail State dominated the game statistically. If the Bulldogs had not committed so many penalties & turned the ball over three times, they would have beaten the Hawkeyes by 20-25 points. Mississippi St. held Iowa to 199 total years, -15 yards rushing & Iowa was just 1 for 11 on 3rd down conversions. You might be wondering how Mississippi St. lost the game!? That being said, Iowa is a solid, tough football team & losing them to them isn’t brutal. Joe Moorhead had a great season in his first in Starkville. Wins over Auburn & Texas A&M are impressive & I think they’ll be better without QB Nick Fitzgerald going forward.
#14 Computer Hope Final Record: 8-5: Auburn finally decided to play a complete game & unfortunately for Purdue, the Boilermakers happened to be the victims! Auburn came out with a vengeance & DESTROYED Purdue 63-14 in the Music City Bowl, and it could have been worse. War Eagle was up 56-7 at halftime! Jarrett Stidham threw for 373 yards & 5TD while Auburn’s rushing attack racked up 208 yards & 3TD! Auburn’s defense kept Purdue RB/WR Rondale Moore in check & made life a living hell for QB David Blough. Auburn’s schedule was a monster. The loss to Tennessee makes no sense, but losing to Alabama, Georgia, LSU & Mississippi St. shouldn’t hurt. This is a no doubt top-15 team in the country.
#15 Computer Hope Final Record: 10-4: It’s amazing to think that Washington’s four losses this year came by a combined 15 points! The Huskies fell victim to a slow start against Ohio St. in the Rose Bowl, but the Buckeyes 21-7 halftime lead was simply too much for UW to overcome. It’s hard to call the season a failure when Washington added another Pac 12 championship to the trophy case, but in Jake Browning’s & Myles Gaskin’s senior years, I think the Huskies were hoping for a return to the playoffs. It’s an end of an era for Washington, but it was also an era that was never going to see the Huskies win a national title given the current landscape of college football. Chris Petersen will get to work rectifying this.
#16 Computer Hope Final Record: 12-1: The loss to LSU in the Fiesta Bowl actually did UCF more good than if the Knights would have beaten the Tigers. With the loss we can appreciate UCF for what they are, which is a great football team that has went 25-1 over the last 2 seasons. If LSU wouldn’t have showed up like Auburn did last season, then we’d be dealing with the ridiculous conversation that UCF should have gotten a chance to beat Clemson to see which team was the national champions the way UCF trolled Alabama last season. UCF can argue that with QB McKenzie Milton they might have beaten LSU, but I’d counter that LSU was playing without 8 of their defensive starters & still was able to beat UCF.
#17 Computer Hope Final Record: 11-2: The Cougars took advantage of a very sloppy performance by Iowa St. in the Alamo Bowl to grind out a 28-26 win to get to 11 wins which is a school record! It’s hard to overstate just how great a job Mike Leach has done in Pullman. Before Leach arrived, Paul Wulff went 9-40 in his 4 seasons at the helm. Leach went 12-25 in his first 3 seasons trying to turn this ship around, but over his last 4 season, the Pirate has guided Wazzou to a 37-15 record including 4 bowls & the most single season wins in school history! Sure there hasn’t been any Pac 12 titles or Rose Bowl just yet, but Leach is building something with the Cougars and it’s going to be interesting to see where he takes it.
#18 Computer Hope Final Record: 8-5: Losing to Oklahoma St. 38-33 in the Liberty Bowl was a tough way to close the season for Barry Odom and the Tigers. The defense simply couldn’t get a stop in the 3rd quarter & the hole Mizzou dug for themselves was too big to climb out of. It was a year of near misses for the Tigers. Losing to Alabama & Georgia can be forgiven but Missouri lost to Kentucky & South Carolina by a combined 3 points. Win those games & Mizzou is 10-2 & probably playing in a New Year’s Six bowl with a shot at finishing 11-2 & inside the top-8. This team is better than their 8-5 final record, but sometimes the breaks don’t go your way. Odom is underrated & Missouri has proven they belong in the SEC!
#19 Computer Hope Final Record: 8-4: You can’t really read into the Mountaineers bowl loss to Syracuse given that starting QB Will Grier decided to skip out using the horrific excuse of “preparing for the draft” to screw his teammates over. West Virginia had opportunities to get into the playoffs, but back-to-back losses to Oklahoma & Oklahoma St. by a combined 7 points ended those dreams & then the bottom fell out. First Grier doesn’t suit up for the bowl game & then HC Dana Holgorsen departs for Houston!? Holgorsen proved you can win in Morgantown & he came “THIS CLOSE” to getting it done the last couple of seasons. Former Troy HC Neal Brown now takes over. He’s been phenomenal at Troy. Can he at WVU?
#20 Computer Hope Final Record: 9-5: It took HC Pat Fitzgerald a few years to get Northwestern going, but the Wildcats have now won 36 games over the past 4 years & they are on a 3-bowl win streak after using a terrific 3rd quarter to get by Utah 31-20 in the Holiday Bowl. Northwestern won their first ever Big 10 West title & got to the Big 10 championship game despite starting the season 1-3. In a bizarre twist, Northwestern would actually finish the season 0-3 in non-conference play but 8-1 against Big 10 teams! The Wildcats probably should have won home games against Duke & Akron which could have given them an 11-win season which would have been the most in school history. One of the toughest teams of 2018.
#21 Computer Hope Final Record: 10-3: The bowl win over West Virginia feels a little bit hollow because Will Grier & Gary Jennings didn’t suit up for the Mountaineers, but you can’t take away how great of a season the Orange had this season in the ACC. Syracuse lost back to back road games against Pittsburgh & Clemson by 11 points while the loss to Notre Dame was played without star QB Eric Dungey. Dungey had a fantastic year running HC Dino Babers offense, guiding the Orange to 40.2PPG! The 10-3 mark is the best Syracuse has had since they went 10-3 in 2001! The biggest win might be keeping Babers around! In his first two seasons Syracuse went 4-8, but his 3rd year marked a huge breakout. A great year.
#22 Computer Hope Final Record: 9-4: Iowa going into the Outback Bowl & beating a superior Mississippi St. team 27-22 as an underdog is about as Iowa as Iowa can get. The Hawkeyes took advantage of a sloppy Bulldogs team that committed too many penalties & turned the ball over 3 times to get their 9th win. Mississippi St. is an excellent team & it makes you wonder how Iowa can lose 3 straight games during the season to Purdue, Penn St. & Northwestern by a combined 12 points!? It was a wasted year for the Hawkeyes who couldn’t take advantage of a Big 10 West that saw Wisconsin meltdown. Things will only get tougher as Scott Frost molds Nebraska. Nine wins is solid, but a big missed opportunity in 2018.
#23 Computer Hope Final Record: 9-4: Knowing now that Bryce Love had an ACL tear & seriously under-performed the entire season, I’m not sure exactly how to categorize this Stanford squad. QB KJ Costello had a great year with some outstanding receiving options in Kaden Smith, JJ Arcega-Whiteside & Colby Parkinson. The defense wasn’t as good as it has been in the past & the Cardinal didn’t get what they thought they’d get with their running attack. Given that, ending the year with 9 wins & a bowl win over Pittsburgh seems pretty good. On the other hand, if close losses to Washington & Washington St. turn into wins then Stanford might be here as your Pac 12 Champions. Kind of like Iowa with a season that almost was.
#24 Computer Hope Final Record: 12-2: What HC Jeff Tedford has done at Fresno is damn near miraculous! Remember that the Bulldogs went 3-9 in 2015 & 1-11 in 2016! Tedford shows up in 2017 & immediate turns Fresno into a 10 win team & wins the West division of the Mountain West. This year Tedford takes Fresno St. to a 12-2 season, the most wins in school history, and wins the Mountain West championship by beating Boise St. in Boise! They deserved better than Arizona St. in the bowl game, but hammered the Sun Devils 31-20. QB Marcus McMaryion deserved more hype this year while the defense & O-Line were superb. Both of Fresno’s losses were by 7 points. This team was VERY close to going a perfect 14-0.
#25 Computer Hope Final Record: 10-3: The Broncos might not play in a Power-5 conference, but you know they’ve reached elite status because a 10-3 season is a major disappointment to the program. Boise St. hasn’t been in a New Year’s 6 Bowl since 2014 & haven’t gone undefeated since 2009. A major depression right!?!?! Like Fresno St., Boise St. had a couple of losses by a combined 9 points meaning 10-3 could have very likely been 12-1. It’s the end of an era in Boise as QB Brett Rypien moves on. He didn’t overtake Kellen Moore as the Broncos all time leading passer, but Boise St. did go 40-13 in his 4-years. Boise’s bowl game against Boston College was canceled due to weather. That could have been win #11!

DROPPING OUT

#17 UTAH UTES: Losing Tyler Huntley & Zack Moss down the stretch was killer. Utah ended up 3-3 in their final 6 and lost the Pac 12 Championship & Bowl games. Oddly enough, Utah wasn’t exactly blown out in either matchup. The 9-5 final record could have been 11-3 although a win over Washington in the Pac 12 championship would have put the Utes up against Ohio St. in the Rose Bowl & that would have been a very difficult game to win. Huntley & Moss can return next season & with USC & UCLA still looking like they are 1-2 years away, Utah has another window to win the Pac 12 and either get to the Rose Bowl or crash the playoff party.

#23 IOWA ST. CYCLONES: Sloppy play cost the Cyclones their chance to beat Washington St. in a bowl game & ISU had to settle for 8-5 on the season. Matt Campbell has proven he’s one of the best head coaches in college football, but right now he has to be content with being a team that can on occasion pull of a shocker like beating Oklahoma or Texas. The unfortunate part is that the talent disparity is so overwhelming that it’s going to take a lot of luck for Iowa St. to ever break through. The question becomes when does Campbell leave Ames in order to get a shot at a national championship?

#24 PENN ST. NITTANY LIONS: Everyone is going to have Penn St. ranked because they went 9-4, but the Nittany Lions didn’t beat ANYBODY this season! They lost to Michigan, Michigan St. and Ohio State in Big 10 play. They lost to Kentucky in their bowl game. They did not play Big 10 West champion Northwestern and beat both Iowa & Wisconsin in State College. The only thing Penn St. can point to this year as a success really is winning 9 games, but don’t look at their opponents. The Big 10 East isn’t the easiest place to play, but you can’t go 0-3 against the 3 big opponents and feel like you had a successful season.

#25 SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS: Losing to Virginia 28-0 to end the season was a huge disappointment. Look, Virginia is better than people probably give them credit for & Bronco Mendenhall is doing an incredible job down in Charlottesville, but 28-0!? South Carolina plays in the SEC for crying out loud! It’s hard to bang on South Carolina when their regular season losses came against Clemson, Kentucky, Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida. I finished with those teams ranking #1, #12, #7, #6 and #8 respectively! South Carolina can make a pretty good argument for being the #13 tam in the nation if you go by those rankings, but they finished the year 7-6, the defense was average & they were shutout out by Virginia. QB Jake Bentley has one more year to make the magic happen.

January 11, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NFL FOOTBALL – DIVISIONAL ROUND GAME PREVIEWS

AWAY HOME QUICK THOUGHTS
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: KC (-5.5). Kansas City is expecting 4-6 inches of snow for this game which completely changes the nature of this contest. A close look at the Chiefs point to them being paper tigers. Outside of a Week 1 win against the Chargers, the only playoff team KC beat the rest of the way was Baltimore in KC in OT! Also the weather might clamp down on KC’s ability to get big plays which is a cornerstone of their offense. The difference to me is that Indy O-Line negates KC’s pass rush & Marlon Mack is going to dominate this game on the ground. Indianapolis keeps on winning & winning!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: LA (-7). This will be the 9th time the Rams/Cowboys have played in the postseason which is a record for both teams. The two teams have split the previous 8 games! There are so many angles here. Will Ezekiel Elliott be able to get anything going against the Rams front-7? Will Zack Martin be able to slow down Aaron Donald? How will the Rams handle the Cowboys front-7 with their play action attack? How will Jared Goff perform? There are so many games within games in this matchup that it is probably the best game of the weekend. It’s a tough call, but the Cowboys get it done.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NE (-4). If not now Philip Rivers then when!? This Chargers team is likely the best team that Rivers has ever led into the playoffs & I think the team is young enough not to get caught up in the Brady/Belichick mystique. The way to beat New England has been to get pressure on Tom Brady & Los Angeles simply brings too much heat with Joey Bosa & Melvin Ingram. They’ll get after Brady & make him uncomfortable. Yes the game is in New England & Bill Belichick will have something special for Rivers, but the Patriots dynasty looks shakier than it ever has. Philip Rivers can begin the ending.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NO (-8). This is the NFC Championship game most of us thought we would get last year before the Vikings pulled off a miracle. There are a couple of competing storylines here. The Eagles are literally rewriting the script word for word from last year’s underdog team. Nick Foles is simply the best story in football & it could literally keep on going. On the other side, Drew Brees & Sean Payton are chasing legacy with both wanting to be 2-time Super Bowl champions. I think the Superdome is the ultimate equalizer here for the Saints and fairy tales almost never happen in consecutive years!

January 11, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREVIEW

ACC SEC QUICK THOUGHTS
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: Alabama (-7). Alabama v. Clemson Round 4! It is truly amazing that this is the 4th time in 4 years that the Crimson Tide & Tigers are meeting each other in the playoffs. It’s the 3rd time in 4 years that they’ve faced each other for the national championship with Alabama having won 2 of the 3. This game seemed inevitable from the beginning of the season, but I think this is where the Tide separate themselves from the rest of college football. Clemson is suspect in its secondary & Alabama is going to exploit it. Clemson won’t be able to run & Nick Saban wins his 7th national title.

January 7, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NFL FOOTBALL – WILD CARD GAMES PREVIEW

AWAY HOME QUICK THOUGHTS
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: HOU (-2). The Colts come into this game on a 4-game winning streak & winners of 9 of their last 10. Houston is 2-2 in their last 4 but did start the season 9-3. These teams are very familiar with each so neither of them are going to be doing things the other team hasn’t seen. The key here is Houston’s defense making Andrew Luck uneasy in the pocket & forcing Luck into some mistakes. If Houston can’t accomplish that then the Colts should beat Houston. The Colts look like the only AFC team in the playoffs without a real weakness. Does the guard change in 2018?
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: DAL (-2.5). There isn’t going to be any surprises in this game which means there might be quite a few surprises! Both teams rely heavily on their ground game so it would seem intuitive that the battle will come down to which team dominates the trenches with their rushing attack, but don’t be surprised to see a lot of play action being called to open up the field for both Russell Wilson & Dak Prescott. Running is going to matter for sure, but the real key to this game is seeing which QB dominates on play action. If that’s the case, it’s hard to bet against Russell Wilson!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: BAL (-2.5). These two teams played each other two weeks ago when the Ravens ruined Los Angeles’s chances of clinching the #1 seed. If you watched that game, the Chargers couldn’t have played worse & couldn’t have made more mistakes. That being said, the Chargers were down 16-10 when Antonio Gates dropped a first down pass from Philip Rivers that would have set LA up for a go ahead TD. With all that said, the outcome won’t be any different unless LA gets better play out of their O-Line. If the Ravens get pressure, then I think Baltimore’s D buries the Chargers.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: CHI (-6). The NFL saving the best for last on Sunday night. Ultimately this story is going to center around the Eagles remarkable surge into the playoffs behind Nick Foles. This is almost a mirror image of last year’s drama & that makes this the best story in NFL history should Foles lead Philly to back-to-back Super Bowl titles! Chicago isn’t going to be an easy opening round victory. Chicago’s D is the best in the NFL & HC Matt Nagy is doing wonders with the Bears offense. You can make a significant case that Chicago might be the most complete team in the NFL. We’ll see.

December 31, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS – WEEK 17

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NFC ANALYSIS

  • The top-5 heading into Week 17 held serve, but the big surprise is the Eagles sneaking into the #6 seed after the Vikings wet the bed at home against the Bears. To be fair, there really wasn’t expected to be surprises as all 4 divisions were already decided & a home game against the Cardinals pretty much guaranteed the Seahawks the #5 seed.
  • Overall I think half of the playoff field ended up like I thought it would. The Saints, Rams & Eagles were thought to be clear cut playoff teams before the beginning of the year although I sort of thought the Falcons would win the South with New Orleans being one of the wild card team.
  • The one overwhelming disappointment in the NFC is the Atlanta Falcons, but with that being said, Atlanta finishing 7-9 isn’t a bad finish considering how the year went. I suppose you could call Carolina, Green Bay & New York a bit disappointment, but I thought Atlanta would get back to the Super Bowl & finish the job in 2018. That isn’t going to happen.
  • I always think it’s interesting to take a look at the QBs. In the NFC we have Drew Brees, Jared Goff, Mitch Trubisky, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson & Nick Foles. Wilson, Brees & Foles have all won Super Bowls, but Goff, Trubisky & Prescott don’t have much playoff experience. It should be interesting.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 17

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

The Wild Card changes up a bit with Philadelphia crashing the party with a chance to defend their Super Bowl title. It’ll be interesting to see how much momentum the Eagles can take into Chicago. Soldier Field is a tremendous place to play football & Chicago is a great football city. The Eagles have gotten healthy in recent weeks which is why they are playing like a Super Bowl championship team again, but the Bears defense is approaching historically good levels, but playoffs oftentimes comes down to the play of the QB. Can Mitch Trubisky, a 2nd year QB, play well enough to knock off a Super Bowl champion team that all of a sudden feels like a team of destiny? On the other side you have Dak Prescott & Russell Wilson going at it in a game that will certainly be determined by each team’s running attack.



 

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AFC ANALYSIS

  • Looking at the QBs in the AFC we have Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson, Philip Rivers & Andrew Luck. It’s an interesting group & I think Ben Roethlisberger not being among the names is a big omission that could signal some changing of the guard, but Brady, Rivers & Luck stick out like sore thumbs & it’s hard to envision a team other than the Patriots, Colts or Chargers emerging from the AFC.
  • One thing to keep in mind here is that the New England Patriots are 8-0 at home which is a bad omen for the rest of the AFC. Note that that New England went 3-5 on the road which is why getting that #2 seed was so important. Having a home game in the divisional round almost guarantees the Patriots a spot in the AFC Championship game. And don’t forget that if the Chiefs lose in the divisional round then New England gets the AFC Championship game at home as well. It’s worth noting that the Patriots were the only team in the NFL this season that went 8-0 at home.
  • The most interesting question going into the AFC playoff is the play of the Indianapolis Colts. A wild card team hasn’t won the Super Bowl since 2010 when the Green Bay Packers were the #6 seed & won 4 straight games to give Aaron Rodgers his 1st Super Bowl title. Could the same happen for Andrew Luck? There is no hotter team in the NFL than the Colts. They are 9-1 in their last 10 & have won 4 straight games.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 17

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

These games are pretty interesting. Houston & Indianapolis split their two meetings during the regular season & both teams are very familiar with each other. Another interesting aspect to this game is that the Texans beat the Colts in Indianapolis and then the Colts beat the Texans in Houston. Can Indianapolis beat Houston twice in one season in Houston’s building? This might be the biggest game in Andrew Luck’s career. The Ravens/Chargers is also an interesting game because these two teams played each other a couple of weeks ago & the game was essentially decided by an Antonio Gates dropped pass. The Chargers aren’t going to be surprised by a Lamar Jackson led Ravens offense and you can be sure LA is going to be out for revenge. Philip Rivers didn’t have a great game against the Broncos so that is a good sign for Baltimore. If Rivers would have went into full “F YOU” mode against Denver then Baltimore might have issues. That could still happen with Rivers given his motivation. It should be a wild one in Charm City.

December 31, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NFL FOOTBALL POWER 32 – 2018 WEEK 16

#1 New Orleans Saints – Come from behind win over the Steelers at home & the Saints now have a chance to make history by posting the best regular season in Saints history at 14-2 if they can win a home game over the Panthers. Drew Brees is sitting this one out so Teddy Bridgewater will be responsible for picking up that 14th win.

#2 Chicago Bears – It wasn’t pretty but Chicago eeked out a 14-9 victory over the 49ers to get to 11-4. Mitch Trubisky was outstanding & the Bears defense was once again smothering. If defense wins championships then expect the Bears to be there until the very end. The Bears have a lot to play for in the last week as a win over Minnesota combined with a loss by the Rams gives Chicago the #2 seed.

#3 Indianapolis Colts – The win over the Giants has Indy at 8-1 in their last 9 games, the best mark over that time period in the NFL. Looking back at their 1-5 start, the Colts aren’t that far away from 11-4 or even 12-3 at this point. Andrew Luck is playing exceptionally well & the Colts defense can get after it. I don’t see significant weaknesses on this team.

#4 Los Angeles Rams – Sure it was the Cardinals, but the Rams looked a lot more like the Rams, beating Arizona 31-9. CJ Anderson looked really good playing for the injured Todd Gurley & Aaron Donald keeps emphatically proving he is the best defensive player in the NFL. The Rams need to beat the 49ers in Week 17 to secure the #2 seed. It won’t be an easy game.

#5 Baltimore Ravens –  An incredibly impressive win in Los Angeles against a Chargers team that had EVERYTHING to play for! What I said about defenses regarding the Bears is true for the Ravens. They have the best defense in the AFC & if defenses win championships then Baltimore is going to be an extremely tough out. I’m not sure I love Lamar Jackson at QB in big time playoff games, but the Ravens seem set on going as far as he’ll take them.

#6 Los Angeles Chargers – The Chargers absolutely blew it. I will say though that the Bolts were driving late in the game when Antonio Gates made that horrific fumble that gave Baltimore the ball back. That was game right there, but if Gates doesn’t fumble the football then the Chargers win that game which would have pretty much wrapped up the #1 seed in the AFC. A horrific gaffe by one of the Chargers all-time greats. An error that could be the difference between the Chargers winning the AFC and not winning the AFC.

#7 Seattle Seahawks – How hard is it to win in Seattle? Just ask the Kansas City Chiefs who lost to the Hawks 38-31 guaranteeing Seattle a spot in the NFC playoffs. As much as I think Adam Gase has done a great job with the Dolphins this year, Pete Carroll is going to be hard to bet against for NFL coach of the year. Seattle is a definite Super Bowl contender & Carroll has done a masterful job getting every ounce of ability out of his squad.

#8 New England Patriots – The Patriots beat the Bills 24-12 in Foxboro but the warning signs are there. Despite the win, Tom Brady was 13 of 24 for 126 yards with only 1TD to 2INT. The Patriots are 1-2 in their last 3 and they haven’t looked dominant since the middle of the season. Yes it’s Belichick/Brady & it’s impossible to bet against them, but the warning signs are there.

#9 Kansas City Chiefs – The media loves the Pat Mahomes story, but in reality are the Chiefs as good as their 11-4 record might say? Their 4 losses have been: @New England, @LA Rams, @Seattle and at home against the Chargers. They’ve only beaten 2 playoff teams. The first was the Chargers way back in Week 1 & the Ravens in Week 14 in Arrowhead, and the Chiefs needed OT to get that done. The Chiefs are going to be dependent on home field advantage & they need good teams to be considerably off.

#10 Dallas Cowboys – The 27-20 win over Tampa Bay guaranteed the Cowboys a playoff spot by clinching the NFC East. Dallas can’t do better than the 4th seed, so they are going to rest their starters for Week 17. A couple of thoughts on that. The first is that Ezekiel Elliott is going to sit, but it won’t jeopardize his rushing title. The 2nd is that all the rest has Dallas thinking that LB Sean Lee & OT Tyron Smith will be healthy in time for the Wild Game. The Cowboys might be at their best when the playoffs start.

#11 Minnesota Vikings – Don’t look now but over the last 5 games the Vikings defense has allowed just 17.6PPG which is the best 5-game stretch the defense has put together all season. The Vikings are finally hitting their stride defensively & that’s bad news for the NFC. Minnesota has a tough game against Chicago to end the season, but it’s a home game & the Vikings have to win if they want to ensure themselves a playoff spot.

#12 Pittsburgh Steelers – When Baltimore beat Los Angeles last Saturday night, Pittsburgh knew it has to go into New Orleans & beat the Saints to remain atop the AFC North. That didn’t happen & now Pittsburgh is in danger of missing the playoffs. The only way they can do is if they win on Sunday while the Ravens lose. Mike Tomlin might start feeling a little heat.

#13 Philadelphia Eagles – Nick Foles threw for almost 500 yards & had 4TD passes last week against the Texans as the Eagles 32-30 win kept their playoff hopes alive. Philadelphia only makes the playoffs if they win at Washington in the last week of the season while the Vikings must lose at home to the Bears. The Eagles are the best story in the NFL & it’s not even close. Vikings fans don’t want to hear it, but everyone who doesn’t live in Minnesota is hoping beyond hope the Eagles sneak into that #6 seed!

#14 Houston Texans – The Texans had the #2 seed all but wrapped up & with the way KC & LA has played in recent weeks, the Texans probably should have had the #1 seed locked up by now, but losing 2 of their last 3 games have knocked the Texans down to the #3 seed & even that is precarious. Houston has to beat Jacksonville in Week 17 to win the South. If that doesn’t happen, the winner of Titans/Colts will win the division & the Texans are looking at the #6 seed!

#15 Cleveland Browns – Beat Baltimore in Week 17 & the Browns will have their first winning season since 2007 when they went 10-6. It’s downright amazing to watch a QB who has “IT”. Baker Mayfield has everything it takes to be a Super Bowl winning QB for the Browns which is diametric opposition to what we saw with Cody Kessler, Johnny Manziel, Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy, Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy & Tim Couch.

#16 Tennessee Titans – The Titans are limping into the finish line but they’ll need to beat the Colts in  Nashville without QB Marcus Mariota to make the playoffs. They’ll also be without pro-bowl DL Jurrell Casey. It’s going to be a tough game for Tennessee, but with all the injuries & the last playoff spot on the line, there could be a big time rally spirit pervading the Titans locker room that could propel them to victory.

#17 Green Bay Packers – Green Bay is 2-1 under Joe Philbin and averaging 31.7PPG since he took over for the departed Mike McCarthy. Green Bay needs help with their pass rush this offseason but mostly it’ll be interesting to see who the new HC is because he’ll take over the team with the most physically talented QB in the NFL who happens to also be a Super Bowl champion.

#18 New York Giants – Amazing effort by the Giants that fell just short of victory against the Colts in Indianapolis. Everyone loves to hammer Eli Manning, but Manning has had a great year this year completing 67% of his passes for 3,998 yards with 19TD to 10INT. The TDs are a little low but Eli has also posted the lowest interception rate of his career. In Week 17 we should see Eli go over 4,000 yards passing over 20TD.

#19 Atlanta Falcons – Tough year for the Falcons who couldn’t really get anything going on defense combined with quite a few injuries. Atlanta has big defensive questions to answer this offseason but the offense was superb under OC Steve Sarkisian in year #2. If Atlanta beats Tampa Bay in Week 17 they’ll finish 7-9 which isn’t awful. Considering their close losses, the Falcons aren’t that far away from 11-5. They’ll be back in 2019 & most will be sleeping on them.

#20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – For better or worse it’s been announced the Jameis Winston is going to be brought back in 2019 as the starting QB for the Bucs. Tampa Bay has been in QB purgatory since Winston was drafted. They’ll continue to stay there, but it’s going to be difficult if Tampa Bay removes Dirk Koetter as the HC. Koetter has been with Winston since the Florida St. product came into the league & I’m not sure a new HC wants to be saddled with a QB carrying as much baggage as Winston does.

#21 San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers gave the Bears all they could handle & almost pulled off a stunning upset to get to 5-10. San Francisco has come together of late having won 2 of their last 3. If SF had to do it over again, I’m not sure they lose both games to Arizona & I’m not sure they lose the home game against the Gaints they lost 27-23. Giving the Niners those 3 wins would make them 7-8 going into Week 17 rather than 4-11. They’ll make the Rams earn it in Week 17.

#22 Buffalo Bills – Buffalo gave the Patriots all they could handle last week defensively which has been Buffalo’s calling card all season. The Bills are deficient offensively, but they are 3-3 in their last 6 games which is outstanding considering everything else. Josh Allen has completed 51.7% of his passes this year for 7TD & 11INT. The question becomes whether or not Allen can improve those numbers & if the Bills can give him more weapons. If the answer to both questions is “yes” then Buffalo might be the team that is ready to pounce when the Patriots dynasty ends.

#23 Carolina Panthers – Carolina has lost 7 straight games & being #23 might be entirely too high. Carolina isn’t unlike Tampa Bay in that they might be in QB purgatory with Cam Newton. They might also be in coaching purgatory with Ron Rivera. This is the 8th year that Cam Newton & Ron Rivera have been together & you have to wonder if 2015 was the absolute pinnacle that this combination can achieve.

#24 Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jaguars defense showed up last week as they beat the Dolphins 17-7. It wasn’t unlike the showing they put up against the Colts a few weeks before when they held the Colts scoreless in a 6-0 win. The defense can still show up, but the Jaguars offense is downright putrid. Hopefully they don’t waste defense with years of ineptitude on offense. They need to find a sustainable QB option immediately.

#25 Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins would rank much higher here if not for the rumors surrounding Adam Gase & his possible losing his job as HC. I’ve been on record saying Gase has done a tremendous job in Miami this year & should get NFL coach of the year considerations. Ryan Tannehill has been solid this year & Kenyan Drake has proven enough to me that he deserves a shot at being a 3-down back. Take away Miami’s injuries this year & they’re probably in the playoffs.

#26 Washington Redskins – Injuries utterly destroyed this team late. I think the Redskins would have been a tough out if Derrius Guice had not gotten injured before the season began & Alex Smith had not gone down with an horrific leg injury. Smith might never play again so the Redskins all of a sudden have massive QB issues. Maybe they should have truly committed to Kirk Cousins?

#27 New York Jets – Sam Darnold is starting to get it. Over his last 3 games, Darnold is 64/97 (66%) for 764 yards (7.9YPA) with 6TD to just 1INT! HC Todd Bowles is a dead man walking at this point, but the Jets have definitely got two things right over the past two years & those 2 things are Sam Darnold & Jamal Adams. If Darnold keeps improving at this rate & the organization upgrades the team a bit, New York becomes playoff contenders.

#28 Oakland Raiders – I’m not sure how anyone can believe the rumors that the Raiders might be looking at a different QB this offseason. Derek Carr is going to go over 4,000 yards passing this season while completing 69% of his passes! He should get over 20TD as well. Keep in mind that he’s done this with no running game & his leading receiver has been TE Jared Cook. Oakland’s deficiencies on defense are well documented, but if Oakland upgrades their pass rush & gets Carr a weapon or two on the edge, this won’t be a 4-11 team this time in 2019.

#29 Denver Broncos – The Broncos have fallen apart at the end of the season so much so that Vance Joseph is expected to fired & Denver isn’t quite sure they want to go into the 2019 season with Case Keenum as their starting QB. It’s hard to be in a worse spot than when you really don’t have a QB or HC for the next season. Compounding the misery is that Denver’s defense is more than good enough to contend for a championship.

#30 Detroit Lions – The defense has been awful all season long and now there are rumors swirling that the Lions might try and trade QB Matt Stafford this off-season. Talk about starting over!? Matt Patricia was known as a defensive mind when he came to Detroit from New England. If the Lions are smart, they’ll get the defense being one of the leagues 5-6 best in the league. I wouldn’t worry about Stafford being able to score enough points to win if he was backed up by excellent defensive play.

#31 Arizona Cardinals – Not a great year for Arizona but it looks like they’ll get the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft. The key is to not squander the opportunity. Arizona needs an entirely new coaching staff because Steve Wilks & his guys have been completely overmatched all season long. Josh Rosen should be OK. David Johnson is a dynamic runner. Christian Kirk has skills & Larry Fitzgerald is a reliable slot guy at this point in his career. The defense has been great at times so how is this team 3-12 with 2 of their 3 wins coming against the 49ers?

#32 Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals will continue to be the worst team in the league as long as Marvin Lewis is HC. Even worse, the Bengals are starting to become the one organization in the NFL that is a complete laughing stock.

December 30, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NFL FOOTBALL – WEEK 17 BIG GAMES

AWAY HOME QUICK THOUGHTS
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: BUF (-3.5). Nothing really at stake between these teams on the field, but all of a sudden the game takes on some significant meaning for the Dolphins as HC Adam Gase is rumored to potentially be on the chopping block! That is surprising to me because I think Gase has done an outstanding job for the Dolphins but owner Stephen Ross isn’t a happy camper. A loss to the Bills in the season finale wouldn’t go over well. For the Bills, they are picking in the top-10 of the 2019 draft, but a win here could put that position in jeopardy. A weird game.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: GB (-9). Green Bay has been great at home so I think they’ll send the Lambeau faithful off with a victory. Aaron Rodgers has a chance to flirt with 5,000 yards & 30TD if he has a monster game throwing the football. Detroit’s pass defense has been a disaster this year so I’m guessing Rodgers goes off. For Detroit, they are picking right now in the top-5 of the 2019 NFL Draft and I’m not sure they want to rock the boat on that front. It’ll be really interesting to see where the Lions go defensively in the draft. I’m not sure the Lions are that far away from competing.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NE (-14.5). Oddly enough, the Patriots can still get the #1 seed should they beat the Jets while both the Chiefs & Chargers lose! More realistically this game is extremely important to New England because a win here ensures that Bill Belichick & Tom Brady get a 1st round bye & get their divisional game in New England. It seems like that is more imperative that it has been in years past. New York shouldn’t put up much of a fight. Todd Bowles is coaching his last game for the team & at this point I’m sure the players are more interested in going home.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NO (-9). With the #1 overall seed wrapped up, there is no incentive for the Saints to come out firing on Sunday other than wanting to give their home fans their money’s worth for coming out to the game. Carolina isn’t starting Cam Newton & I’d wager that players like Drew Brees, Cam Jordan, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara & Sheldon Rankins won’t see much playing time. It’s worth noting that the Saints have never finished 14-2 so they could make history. Christian McCaffrey could also make history by gaining 75 yards to get to 2,000 total for ’18!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: NYG (-7). That line is ridiculous, but it’s possible Vegas thinks Dallas is going to use Week 17 for resting its players since the Cowboys can’t do better than the #4 seed and that the #4 seed is guaranteed. If that does happen, I think it’s an interesting move for a Cowboys squad that has struggled to find consistency on offense. The team needs the rest for sure, especially the O-Line, but Dallas will need to be hitting on all cylinders to beat the Seahawks even if the game is being played in Dallas. This will be a tough game for Dallas if the Giants show up!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: ATL (-1). Lost in a disappointing 6-9 season is how amazing the year has been for QB Matt Ryan. Through 15 games, Ryan is completing 69% of his passes for 4,546 yards with 33TD to just 6INT! Ryan’s season is every bit as good as the year he had in 2016 when he won MVP honors & led the Falcons to the Super Bowl. Atlanta’s defense has been a nightmare which is why the Falcons are 6-9 instead of 10-5/11-4, but Ryan has established himself as truly an elite QB in the NFL. A better defense makes them Super Bowl contenders once again in ’19.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: HOU (-10). The Texans find themselves needing a win after they’ve lost 2 of their last 3. A loss to the Jaguars would cause Houston to fall to the #6 seed while the Titans/Colts winner ascends to AFC South supremacy! Here is a good question. If the Texans win, they’ll likely face the Colts in Houston in the 3/6 game, but if the Texans lose, they could potentially get a road game against Baltimore in the 3/6 game. Home field plays a HUGE roll no question, but would you rather see rookie Lamar Jackson in the playoffs, or an Andrew Luck that’s on fire?
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: LAC (-7). How quickly can the Chargers recover from a devastating loss to the Ravens this past Saturday night? Denver isn’t playing for anything, but division home games aren’t exactly easy so LA will need to show up if they want to have a chance at the AFC West title. How the Chargers come out for this one is the most interesting aspect of this game. Did the loss to Baltimore galvanize the team or does LA think the West is out of reach & they should rest players & settle for the #5 seed? Los Angeles can’t let last week’s loss define their entire season.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: KC (-14.5). Kansas City has EVERYTHING to play for in this game because they have to believe the Chargers will beat Denver. Kansas City has to win in order to not only win the West but to secure the #1 seed. That being said, the last time these two teams met, KC came away with a 40-33 win so the Raiders know they can put up points on KC. Derek Carr’s been phenomenal in a lost year for the Raiders & he’ll be able to keep the Raiders in this one. If the Raiders D can shut down Travis Kelce, who destroyed Oakland the last time they played, it’s close!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: LA (-7.5). Back in Week 7 the Rams destroyed the 49ers 39-10, but clearly the odds makers don’t see a repeat performance in our future. The 49ers are 2-1 in their last 3 games & almost pulled off a stunner against Chicago last week before losing 14-9. Oddly enough, San Francisco is the only team in the NFL that hasn’t won a road game this season. The Rams are in a must win situation because a loss combined with a Bears win drops LA to the #3 seed & I think the Rams need that divisional home game. The Rams win, but I think SF keeps it tight.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: MIN (-7). It’s amazing that the opening line for this game is the Vikings by 7! Chicago still has some things to play for as a win here combined with a Rams loss would give Chicago the #2 seed in the NFC which means a first round bye. I think the NFL was pretty tricky having Chicago/Minnesota as one of the 4pm games because it would usually be a 1pm game. With the Eagles/Redskins being a 4pm as well as Rams/49ers, all the drama of how these games interplay with each other will play out in real time. If the Vikings win they win a playoff spot.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: PIT (-17). Pittsburgh has to win this one & hope that the Browns pull off a miracle in Baltimore. It’s worth thinking about the Steelers future with Big Ben & Mike Tomlin should the Steelers miss the playoffs which is likely. Since winning the Super Bowl, Tomlin has coached 10 years. In that time he’s won 4 division titles & his playoff record has been 5-6. It’s not a great resume & if Roethlisberger retires, then you have to wonder if the Steelers might try to simply rebuild it all. It’s a long shot & I think Tomlin & Roethlisberger return for 2019, but the end is near.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: SEA (-14.5). Seattle is kind of in the same situation as the Texans assuming the Vikings beat Chicago. If Seattle wins then they’ll secure the #5 seed which ensures they travel to Dallas for the 4/5 Wild Card game in the NFC. If they lose then they could drop the #6 seed which means traveling to Chicago in the 3/6 Wild Card game. The Hawks will get the #5 no matter what if the Eagles are the last playoff team, but would you rather take on the Cowboys or Bears in the Wild Card round? I’d say Dallas so expect Seattle to come out firing here & get a win.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: PHI (-7.5). How ridiculous is Nick Foles? Over the last 2 weeks Foles has started games on the road against the Rams & then at home against the Texans. Those are two division winners mind you! Foles in those two games has gone 59/80 (74%) for 741 yards (9.3YPA) with 4TD to 2INT! He passed for over 400 against the Texans! Philadelphia has to beat the Redskins & hope Chicago upends the Vikings to get the #6 seed, but is there anything St. Nick Foles can’t do at this point!? Can Philly be a team of destiny two years straight? The story is incredible!
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: BAL (-7). The Ravens need to be on upset alert here. Vegas sees Baltimore as a 7-point favorite, but the Browns have nothing to play for & that might not be a great thing. Cleveland is 5-1 in their last 6 games &  you can be sure that Gregg Williams would like to be the permanent HC of the Browns after this season. The Ravens are still rolling with Lamar Jackson & are coming off a HUGE road win over the Chargers. I think guys like Eric Weddle will keep everyone ready, but that Cleveland defense could be a problem. Baltimore wins the North with a win.
Computer Hope Computer Hope OPENING LINE: IND (-2.5). WINNER TAKE ALL!!!!! The NFL got pretty lucky flexing this out to Sunday night with what’s on the line. The winner here is the #6 seed in the AFC unless Jacksonville pulls off a stunner in Houston which would make the winner of this game AFC South champions! The last time these two teams played, the Colts murdered Tennessee 38-10. I don’t think the Titans lose by 28 at home, but I don’t see a way for them to win this game. The Titans are terrible on offense & Derrick Henry won’t run for 200 against Indy. The Colts are a legit Super Bowl threat.

December 26, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS – WEEK 16

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7 8 9 10 11 12
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13 14 15 16
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NFC ANALYSIS

  • #1 SEED
    • It’s over. The Saints have the #1 overall seed so the road to the Super Bowl for all NFC teams goes through New Orleans. In case you are wondering, the Saints have lost a home game this season. In Week 1, the Bucs came into town & beat New Orleans!
  • #2 SEED
    • If the Rams beat the 49ers in Los Angeles it’s over. The Rams will get a 1st round bye and get their division game at home. If the Rams lose & the Bears win in Minnesota, Chicago would then vault to the #2 seed.
  • #3 SEED
    • The reverse of the #2 seed. Chicago has it locked up unless Los Angeles loses & the Bears dispose of the Vikings.
  • #4 SEED
    • The Cowboys have this seed without question. At best Dallas finishes the season off 10-6 if they win in New York next week over the Giants. Ten wins isn’t good enough to break into the 3rd seed.
  • #5 SEED
    • Seattle currently resides in the #5 seed & that is likely where they’ll stay considering they finish the season at home against the Arizona Cardinals. The only way Seattle falls out of the #6 seed is if they lose to the Cardinals & the Vikings beat the Bears. That would drop the Seahawks into the #6 seed. Seattle will own the conference record tiebreaker over Philadelphia so regardless of the outcome on Sunday, the Seahawks are in the playoffs.
  • #6 SEED
    • Minnesota gets in, but there are caveats here. The easiest way for the Vikings to make the playoffs is to take care of business at home against Chicago. That would guarantee them a spot regardless if Philadelphia beats Washington in Week 17. The Vikings can get the #5 seed if they win & Seattle loses. The only way for the Vikings to miss the post-season is to lose to Chicago while the Eagles beat the Redskins.
  • ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
    • The Eagles are the only team capable of making the playoffs that would be out if the season ended after Week 16. Philadelphia needs to go on the road to D.C. and beat the Redskins & hope the Chicago Bears pull off a road win over the Vikings. If that happens, Philly is the 6th seed.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 16

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

No changes in what feels like forever. It’s interesting to note that Minnesota & Chicago will be playing for the 2nd time in 2 weeks if these seeds hold out. Couple of things that are interesting here. Chicago beat Minnesota 25-20 back in Week 11 & the Bears will have plenty of incentive to play hard on Sunday in Minneapolis given that a win could secure the #2 seed should the Rams lose to the 49ers which isn’t out of the question. Also note that on Sunday the Bears/Vikings & Rams/49ers are late games so Chicago or LA won’t have the advantage of knowing if the Rams/Bears lost or not. If Chicago does win then it becomes a situation of whether a team can beat another 3 times in one season? The same is true for Seattle & Dallas although it would be twice. The Seahawks upended the Cowboys earlier in the season in Seattle. Can they replicate that success in Dallas?



 

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7 8 9 10 11 12
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13 14 15 16
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AFC ANALYSIS

  • #1 SEED
    • Kansas City has the #1 seed & should be sending Christmas presents to the Baltimore Ravens for beating the Chargers in Los Angeles Saturday night to preserve the seed. KC ends their season at home against the Raiders which should mean a 12-4 record that guarantees their #1 spot. That being said, the Patriots, Texans & Chargers could all find themselves with the #1 seed.
  • #2 SEED
    • Speaking of early Christmas presents, the Patriots should send some to the Eagles for knocking off Houston & getting New England back into the top-2 seeds which gives them a first round bye. The Patriots get the Jets in Foxboro in Week 17, so like Kansas City, a lot of things could happen in the final week that could see multiple teams wind up with the #2 seed, but it’s likely New England wins, finishes 11-5 and grabs the #2 spot.
  • #3 SEED
    • Houston’s loss has them slipping to the #3 seed which has to be a kick in the teeth to the Texans. Houston gets a home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars next week & the Jags are a complete mess at this point so it seems likely Houston will win & finish 11-5. Amazingly enough, Houston doesn’t have the South locked up. If they lose to Jacksonville, then the winner of Indianapolis/Tennessee would win the South!
  • #4 SEED
    • Baltimore has the toughest game of the top-4 seeds going into Week 17 as they’ll face the Browns at home. That’s still a likely win meaning Baltimore finishes 10-6 & wins the North. Baltimore can still win the North should they lose & the Steelers lose, but if the Ravens lose they’ll be out of the playoff all together. Baltimore can’t get the #1 seed but they could climb as high as the #2 seed if they win while New England & Houston both lose.
  • #5 SEED
    • It’s the Chargers unless they win & the Chiefs lose. If that happens then LA is the #1 seed while Kansas City falls to the #5 spot.
  • #6 SEED
    • The #6 seed basically comes down to the winner of Tennessee/Indianapolis unless Houston loses. In that case, the winner of Tennessee/Indianapolis wins the South & Houston gets the #6 seed. Note that if Houston, Baltimore & New England lose while the Titans win, then Tennessee would catapult to the #2 seed in the AFC! The best Indianapolis can do is the #3 because they lost to the Patriots earlier in the year.
  • ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
    • The only team not talked about above that could still make the playoffs are the Pittsburgh Steelers. They will need to beat Cincinnati while Baltimore loses to Cleveland. They have to win the North to make it. Their wild card hopes are finished.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 16

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

Now we see some changes! The Indianapolis/Houston game gives us the rubber match between these two AFC South rivals whereas we just saw a great game go down to the wire between the Ravens & Chargers! Will it be possible for Baltimore to play a perfect game twice in 3 weeks against a very good Chargers squad? A couple of things to watch out for in these games if I’m Kansas City & New England. If I’m KC, I don’t want to see the Colts in Round 2. The Chiefs can’t stop opposing offenses & getting into a shoot out with Andrew Luck seems like a bad idea especially because I think Indy’s defense is overrated. For New England I don’t want to see Philip Rivers in full on “F YOU” mode. If the Bolts come out next week & hammer the Broncos in Denver by 30 then Baltimore might have awakened a beast in this Chargers offense & New England isn’t going to be able to handle it. We typically don’t see 5/6 matchups in the AFC Championship game, but I think there is a good possibility we get Colts @ Chargers this year.

December 25, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment