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2017 NFL FOOTBALL – WEEK 7 BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope One of the best rivalries in the NFL has an interesting twist in that both teams are coming off a loss & I’m not sure Oakland can afford to lose another one which would drop their record to 2-5 which would drop them 4 games behind KC for the West lead. Sometimes you can throw the records out when you get this sort of rivalry but Oakland can’t get ANYTHING going on offense so winning this game might be an impossibility. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Buffalo is coming off a bye week while the Bucs are coming off a road loss to Arizona with a banged up Jameis Winston potentially starting at QB. I’m really interested to see how the Bucs hold up against the Bills pass rush which has been very effective thus far. If Ryan Fitzpatrick starts, it might not be as important because we don’t be watching to see if Winston breaks, but Tampa Bay has a hard time winning with Fitzy! Computer Hope
Computer Hope Tough game for the Bears as they are coming off a huge road win over the Ravens which means they might be in for a let down especially given the variance that a rookie QB typically plays with. I think it’ll be interesting to see if the Bears can take advantage of opportunities provided by Cam Newton. The Bears aren’t forcing a lot of turnovers, but Newton throws some questionable passes. Can the Bears take advantage of these passes? Computer Hope
Computer Hope The Browns are a mess so it seems unlikely they can take down Tennessee. Cleveland has actually played really well against the run so if they are able to keep Demarco Murray & Derrick Henry at bay, it’ll force Marcus Mariota to beat them through the air. If Mariota is hurting, the Browns could have opportunities. The Titans D has also been horrible although the Browns can’t score. Let’s see if the Browns can stop the run. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I don’t think Brett Hundley will be quite as bad this week as he was last ween in relief against the Vikings, but the New Orleans defense is creating turnovers by the bucket and if Hundley makes some mistakes then this game is over in a hurry. Also be mindful of the running game. Green Bay’s rush defense isn’t that great & the Saints are starting to run over teams with Alvin Kamara & Mark Ingram. This game is ripe for the Saints. Computer Hope
Computer Hope It is looking more and more likely that Andrew Luck is going to be out of the season. How depressing must it be for the Colts at this point which is why I think they’ll TAKE A TREMENDOUS BEATING this weekend at home against the upstart Jaguars. Jacksonville has arguably the best secondary in the NFL & that’s bad news for Jacoby Brissett who should also be under tremendous pressure. Jacksonville isn’t losing twice in a row. Computer Hope
Computer Hope OK Adrian Peterson! Can you do it two weeks in a row? The Rams have been HORRIBLE against the run so far this season so there should be plenty of opportunities for Peterson to run wild. What will be interesting is how Arizona’s defense handles the Rams offense. Arizona gave up 33 points to Tampa Bay last week & LA has a much more potent offense. Arizona needs to play ball control offense & limit the Rams opportunities. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Talk about confidence! The Jets are coming off a game against the Patriots they almost won. The Dolphins are coming off a huge road win over Atlanta that saw them come back from a 17-0 halftime deficit! Miami’s defense is playing EXTREMELY well at this point so the Jets are going to have a VERY difficult time scoring while I think the Jets D is also playing well. This should be a low scoring affair with Miami edging the Jets. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The frustrating part about this game is that it should be competitive, but it will depend on whether or not the Ravens keep pounding the ball and don’t allow Joe Flacco to throw the ball 40+ times per game. I don’t think that is a plan for success for Baltimore as I think Minnesota’s defense is too opportunistic not to create some turnovers & the Ravens can’t give the ball away. The Vikings will be motivated to improve their record to 5-2. Computer Hope
Computer Hope UPSET ALERT! I’m not sure CJ Beathard is the answer at QB for San Francisco, but the offense did get a little lift when Beathard took over for Brian Hoyer last week in the 49ers close loss to the Redskins. That marked SF’s 5th straight loss by 3 points or less. The Niners are going to catch someone sleeping & it might be Dallas this week at home. The loss won’t go over well in Dallas who would fall to 2-4. Bet on the 49ers. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The win last week over Denver was fantastic but can the Giants put together back-to-back weeks of that kind of play? Russell Wilson is a far cry different than Trevor Siemian so you can expect Seattle to make a few more plays. The problem for the Giants is that Seattle is going to play press man coverage & keep 8 men in the box stuffing NY’s running game. Keep an eye on Evan Engam. If he has a big game, NY has a chance. Computer Hope
Computer Hope If the Steelers played like they did against Kansas City last week then I don’t think Cincinnati has much of a chance to win this game, but the Steelers have been somewhat inconsistent this season so the Bengals have to hope for the Pittsburgh squad that showed up to play the Jaguars rather than the team that played against the Chiefs. Andy Dalton can’t make mistakes & I think Joe Mixon needs a big game for the Bengals to steal one. Computer Hope
Computer Hope MUST WIN FOR THE CHARGERS! After starting 0-4 the Bolts have won 2 straight and could improve to 3-4 with a division win over the Broncos which would also improve their tie-breaking ability. A win won’t push LA into 2nd place in the West, but they’d be 3-4 while Denver would be 3-3. The Broncos might be a mess at QB & if the Chargers pass rush is dominant then I think life gets pretty tough for Denver on the road. Computer Hope
Computer Hope A Super Bowl replay! Playing at home hasn’t been great for Atlanta so getting out on the road might be a pretty good anecdote for the Falcons. To be fair, I’m not sure this game means a ton. A loss for New England drops them to 4-3 & while that is questionable it’s a loss against an NFC squad. The same goes for Atlanta. A loss drops them to 3-3, but really this game feels almost anti-climactic. A good chance they meet again! Computer Hope
Computer Hope I think if this was last season the Redskins would have a better chance at winning because they were more of a passing team on the edges with Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson & Jamison Crowder. That plays into Philly’s weakness in the secondary given that Kirk Cousins is pin point accurate. This year they are working more underneath which plays into Philly’s strengths as a defense. Should be a great game, but Philly has the edge. Computer Hope
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October 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NFL POWER 32 – 2017 WEEK 6

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Chiefs 19-13. Beating an undefeated Chiefs team in Arrowhead was no easy feat, but the Steelers gave us a glimpse of how good they can be when they are firing on all cylinders. The Killer Bs were on fire as Ben threw for 252yds/1TD, Bell ran for 179yds/1TD and Brown caught 8 balls for 155yds/1TD. The defense was outstanding making Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce & Tyreek Hill non-factors throughout the game. Pittsburgh also had 3 sacks & held KC to just 28 rushing yards. A complete game.
#2 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Steelers 13-19. Tough loss to Pittsburgh but note that the Chiefs lost by 6 points and only allowed 19 points to a Steelers offense that had their best skill players playing at their highest levels. If Pittsburgh is off by just a hair, KC wins this game going away. The Chiefs couldn’t get anything going on offense & Pittsburgh played a solid ball control game. KC was 3 of 13 on 3rd/4th down conversions which shows the trouble they had. All in all a good performance even if it was a loss.
#3 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Panthers 28-23. Outstanding road win for the Eagles. Carson Wentz did a great job guiding the team with 222yds/3TD & even had a 21-yard run, but the Eagles defense was the story of the game picking off Cam Newton 3 times and sacking the Panthers QB twice while hitting him 9 times! Philly held Carolina to 80 yards rushing & if you watched the game, the defense looked even better than the stats say they do! The Eagles are convincing people week by week they’re the team in the NFC.
#4 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Jets 24-17. Is this the 4th best team in the NFL? They were an odd ball fumble call away from going to OT with the Jets which should tell you something, but then again, you have the Belichick & Brady combination & with the way the NFL has played out thus far, New England deserves to be here as much as the next team I guess. The Patriots haven’t exactly inspired confidence to this point but they are 4-2 and in 1st place in the East. It seems as if everything is going to plan for them.
#5 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Dolphins 17-20. Atlanta takes a 17-0 lead over Miami at halftime at home and close the deal? What in the world is wrong with the Falcons? They didn’t sack Jay Cutler once? Only 4 tackles for loss? The defense allowed 130+ rushing yards? In some odd twist, Atlanta hasn’t been able to figure out how to win at home where they are 1-2 as compared to 2-0 on the road. Luckily they travel to New England. Unluckily, Atlanta can’t seem to beat AFC East squads. The Falcons’ losses are just odd.
#6 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. What do we know? We know the Seahawks are 3-2 and they beat the Rams in LA & it seems as if the Rams are a player. We know Russell Wilson can make some plays & that Wilson has a Super Bowl ring. We also know this defense is championship quality & that they are going to get even better with Sheldon Richardson acclimating himself. It’s a flawed team to be sure, but every NFL team looks flawed at the moment. If defense wins championships, then Seattle is in pretty good position.
#7 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Jaguars 27-17. Yes it was Jacksonville, but that was  HUGE win! The Jaguars have an outstanding squad with a middling QB which is going to hold them back, but the Rams going into Jacksonville & getting a win is a huge deal that pushes them to 4-2. Todd Gurley had a great game & the Rams kept their pass to rush ratio where it should be whereas Jacksonville went way off of game plan. If you are looking for a new favorite then seriously consider the Rams. I like everything about this team.
#8 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Lions 52-38. This wasn’t a great game for Detroit but consider that the Saints had 3 turnovers, were 2 of 12 on 3rd down, had 11 penalties & Drew Brees only passed for only 186 yards. This team still scored 52 points! New Orleans could be a BRUTAL team to deal with if their defense can keep creating turnovers (Detroit committed 5!), but look at the damage Mark Ingram & Alvin Kamara are doing! A defense that can create with a running game to support Brees!? That’s nasty!
#9 Computer Hope Last Week Beat 49ers 26-24. This is a better win that it seems. The 49ers are 0-6 & obviously they aren’t great but they’ve lost 5 of their 6 games by single digits. QB Kirk Cousins had an excellent game passing for 300+yds & 2TD while working the ball to 9 different receivers. A lot of credit has to go to Cousins who is doing a good job adjusting his ability based on his weapons. The Skins have a lot of passes going to their TEs & RBs this year which is a lot different than last season. They are sneaky good.
#10 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Saints 38-52. Some might think ranking the Lions at #10 might be kind of high but they still managed to put up 38 points on the Saints despite 5 turnovers & Matt Stafford having a very off game. Detroit’s only losses have come against Carolina, Atlanta & New Orleans with the Falcons & Panthers losses coming by a combined 7 points. Stafford is an ELITE QB and the defense is better than they showed. If we are in somewhat of a reset mode in the NFL, the Lions can make a pretty good case.
#11 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Rams 17-27. Something isn’t right when Leonard Fournette carries the ball 21 times while Blake Bortles throws the ball 35 times. You can make an extremely good case that the Jaguars beat the Rams if Fournett runs the ball 35 times & Bortles gets 21 pass attempts. It makes even less sense knowing that the Jags are playing without Allen Robinson & DeDe Westbrook. It sounds crazy, but Rams/Jaguars has the potential to be a Super Bowl preview, but Jacksonville has to commit to running.
#12 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Packers 23-10. The Vikings put Aaron Rodgers on ice for the rest of the 2017 season & then beat the Packers to improve to 4-2 & take the lead in the NFC North. No Stefon Diggs? No Dalvin Cook? No Sam Bradford? NO PROBLEM! Jerrick McKinnon is doing a pretty good job replacing Dalvin Cook to this point & notice that the Vikings O-Line didn’t give up a sack to Green Bay. Case Keenum isn’t the best QB in the world, but if stays upright, he can put up enough points on offense to win.
#13 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. Not the best week for the Bills as Miami & New England won improving those squads to 3-2 and 4-2 respectively. The Jets did lose dropping them to 3-3, but with the way New York played against New England, you have to feel the Jets’ confidence keeps rising. It’ll be interesting to see how the Bills come out of their bye. They have a schedule that could potentially give them 5 straight wins to get to 8-2 before traveling to Kansas City on November 26th. Could they really reach an 8-2 mark?
#14 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Eagles 23-28. I’m not completely sure what to think about the Panthers after watching them lose to the Eagles last Thursday night. On the one hand the Panthers lost to the Eagles by 3 points despite Cam Newton throwing 3 picks. If you watched the game you know that Newton could have easily thrown 7-8 picks. He was that off. On the other hand, Newton LOOKED TERRIBLE. You almost feel as if the Panthers peaked with Newton when they got to the Super Bowl. They hope not.
#15 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Vikings 10-23. The loss to Minnesota hurts. The loss of Aaron Rodgers for the season is absolutely stunning. Where does that leave the Packers? Brett Hundley didn’t exactly inspire confidence when he came in for relief and threw 3 interceptions. The good news for Green Bay is that they might have found something in RB Aaron Jones which potentially could help Hundley by taking pressure off the passing game, but I’m not sure how Green Bay competes for a playoff spot at this point. Tough.
#16 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Giants 10-23. It’s never a good look to lose to an 0-5 team even if that team had no business starting 0-5, but compounding problems is the injury to Trevor Siemian’s shoulder which now puts Denver’s starting QB position up in the air. Siemian hasn’t exactly been tearing up to begin with so there might be a lot of drama surrounding the position soon enough. Denver’s defense is still top-5 quality so they can be competitive in every game they play, but the QB position is a hole at this point.
#17 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Patriots 17-24. So Austin Sefferian-Jenkins never really lost control of the football yet the refs said he fumbled the ball out of the endzone on a TD that could have cut New England’s lead to 24-21? OK then! The Jets have to feel terrible about the loss but fantastic about their effort & ability to compete with the defending Super Bowl champs. Josh McCown looked good except for a costly mistake that ended up being an interception. This defense is young & good! This is a competitive football team!
#18 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Falcons 20-17. Miami didn’t get off to the best start, but they have now won 2 straight games against Tennessee & Atlanta which is impressive. Note that Miami is 3-0 this year when they rush for at least 100 yards, but 0-2 when they don’t reach triple digits running. There is a lesson in there. Jay Cutler needs to focus on Jay Ajayi and make plays when they has them. Miami can’t expect Cutler to lead them to wins if he’s throwing 50 passes a game. This is true for quite a few teams in the NFL. Run!
#19 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Browns 33-17. Look out Kareem Hunt because Deshaun Watson is definitely going to push him for offensive rookie of the year. Heck, if Watson keeps playing like this, he’s going to challenge for the MVP. Watson was excellent against Cleveland & in his last 3 games Watson is 58/94 (62%) for 769 yards & 12TD to only 2INT! At this rate he’ll throw 60TD on the season! The Texans are on bye this week before they travel to Seattle. It’ll be interesting to see what Watson can do against that D!
#20 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Raiders 17-16. The Chargers have now won 2 straight & while they haven’t been convincing wins, I’m sure LA will take them and say thank you hoping that they can change the narrative & start winning big. I still think this is a team that has enormous upside. Philip Rivers hasn’t played particularly well & the Bolts are +11 in sack differential. The Chargers need to get their running game going & Hunter Henry needs to become more prominent, but they are a playoff contender despite the 0-4 start.
#21 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. The Bengals were off this past week which means they got an extra week to prepare for the Steelers while Pittsburgh had to deal with a road game at Kansas City. It’s only Week 7, but this feels like a must win game for Cincinnati. It won’t be easy to win in the Steel City, but the Bengals have 4 of their next 5 games on the road so their season will probably be defined by how well they play in these next 5 games. Like the Chargers, Cincinnati is a playoff contender given the state of the AFC!
#22 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Colts 36-22. Solid win for the Titans over a hapless Colts team who can’t seem to stop imploding when they have leads. Marcus Mariota was obviously playing with a bad leg and the Titan got a boost when Derrick Henry ran for a  72-yard TD to end the game ruining the hopes off all bettors who took the Colts at +7.5! Instead of wearing the clock out with a 29-22 win, Henry rubs some salt in the wound that let Tennessee cover! The Titans improved to 3-3, but Mariota needs to get healthy.
#23 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bucs 38-33. Adrian Peterson had a HUGE day rushing for 134yds/2TD on 27 carries & took tremendous pressure off Arizona’s passing game which was much improved with Carson Palmer going 18/22 for 283yds/3TD! Larry Fitzgerald caught 10 passes for 138yds/TD while Jaron Brown & John Brown had some big plays. The defense still gave up 33 points to a Ryan Fitzpatrick led Bucs team which isn’t great, but you have to wonder where Arizona would be if David Johnson hadn’t got hurt.
#24 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. I’m not sure what to think about the Cowboys. The defense is in shambles & the Ezekiel Elliott drama simply won’t go away. I’m beginning to think that the Cowboys would be best served if their RB would just sit the 6 games and get it over with so the Cowboys can move on with the season regardless of where it goes. Sean Lee & Chidobe Awuzie might not play against the 49ers this week & Dallas better be on upset alert because San Francisco is getting closer & closer to pulling off a win.
#25 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Ravens 27-24. GREAT win for the Bears who went into Baltimore against a fairly tough Ravens team and got an upset in OT with their rookie QB making his second career start. Mitch Trubisky only threw 16 passes but RB Jordan Howard went OFF rushing for 167 yards which allowed the Bears to loosen up the passing game & keep pressure off Trubisky. Chicago completely took Baltimore out of their game plan as Joe Flacco threw the ball 41 times. The Bears have a blueprint now to get wins.
#26 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Cardinals 33-38. Tough week for the Bucs as Jameis Winston was forced from the game with a shoulder injury. Luckily for Tampa Bay, Winston suffered an AC joint sprain instead of breaking his collar bone like Aaron Rodgers did. Winston might be able to play this weekend against Buffalo, but you can be sure that won’t be easy with Buffalo’s defense being particularly effective in the pass rush. The season feels like it is starting to get away from Tampa Bay. Could Fitzpatrick be an upgrade?
#27 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Broncos 23-10. AND THE GIANTS GET INTO THE WIN COLUMN! In a game nobody thought the Giants would win, New York came out with literally nothing at their skill positions beat the Broncos in Denver! What was surprising was RB Orleans Darkwa running for 117 yards on 21 carries which at least allowed Eli Manning a little more room to work & Manning responded by featuring Evan Engram in the passing game. Can this work? Can Darkwa be the answer at running back?
#28 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Bears 24-27. So here we are. Joe Flacco goes 24/41 for 180 yards & 2 interceptions. His yards per attempt in this game was a paltry 4.39! Good grief. Everyone & their mom can see that the Ravens don’t win games when Flacco tries to throw the ball 40-50x per game. How can John Harbaugh not see this? This game was never a blowout yet Flacco keeps throwing. I don’t get it. This is exactly the opposite formula of what the Ravens used to win a Super Bowl. What a mess. It makes no sense!
#29 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Raiders 16-17. Derek Carr came back a week early to face off against the Chargers and was pretty accurate going 21/30 but only threw for 171yds and was picked off twice. To be fair, the Raiders defense held up. Oakland held the Bolts to 14 points until LA hit a game winning FG with 0:00 on the clock. What is weird this season is Oakland’s inability to put any points on the board. Amari Cooper looks like a huge disappointment & the loss now put the Raiders alone in last place.
#30 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Titans 22-36. The Colts can’t get out of their own way but even more troubling might be this week’s news that Andrew Luck’s recovery from shoulder surgey has had a setback and now there is no timetable to his return. The Colts aren’t completely out of it at 2-4, but if Indianapolis is being honest with themselves, they have to wonder if Andrew Luck will ever be Andrew Luck again. If there is doubt about this then the Colts would be wise to draft their QB of the future in 2018. Crazy!
#31 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Redskins 24-26. Another 2-point loss. It’s insane that the 49ers are 0-6 and their last 5 games they’ve lost by a combined 13 points! You can make a tremendous argument that the 49ers are a few plays away from being 5-1! Keep in mind too that the Niners have played 4 of their first 6 games on the road. I’m not sure where San Francisco winds up from here, but this is competitive football team. They are obviously a QB away, but they are a lot closer to contention than Cleveland.
#32 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Texans 17-33. The Browns are legitimate candidates to go 0-16. Who knows at this point. The QB situation has been handled poorly and now I’m not sure Cleveland knows what it’s doing & there are rumors that the Browns are thinking about getting rid of everyone in the front office. Keep in mind that some of the front office people used to work in baseball who were involved in “Moneyball”. The problem in the NFL is that you have to win games to keep your job. The Browns aren’t.

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

2017 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS AFTER WEEK 6

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NFC ANALYSIS

NFC EAST: Philadelphia got a HUGE road win this week over Carolina to maintain their grip on the overall #1 seed but more importantly at the end of the season the Eagles will hold the tiebreaker over Carolina should both teams win their division and wind up with the same record. Nobody thinks about this stuff because it’s only Week 6, but wait until Week 17 and everyone will be screaming about it if both Philly & Carolina are 12-4 and looking at the #1 overall seed. The Redskins held up against the 49ers which moves them to 3-2 and just 1.5 games behind the Redskins and in the #8 seed. I still think Washington has the ability to sneak into the playoffs especially with how down the G-Men are and the drama surrounding the Dallas Cowboys who look to be regressing. Does Carson Wentz get into the discussion of best QB in the NFL this season if he ends the year with a Lombardi Trophy? It’s early, but I don’t see how Washington catches the Eagles for the NFC East title.

NFC NORTH: The Packers loss to Minnesota along with Detroit losing to the Saints shakes up the NFC North quite a bit. The Vikings now lead the division at 4-2 and own the tiebreaker over Green Bay who is also 4-2. Detroit’s loss drops the Lions to 3-3, but it also drops them from the #6 seed all the way down to the #10. With Aaron Rodgers gone for the season and Sam Bradford unable to remain healthy, Detroit now has the best QB in the division by a significant margin. If the Lions can’t make hay with Rodgers gone for the year, then when are they going to do it under the Matt Stafford/Jim Caldwell marriage? The North gets really interesting and given everyone’s struggles, you almost wonder if Green Bay still can’t win the division especially if Detroit’s defense played like it did against New Orleans. Chicago got a solid win over Baltimore but it wasn’t enough to move the meter. The Bears remain the 14th seed at 2-4. I’m not sure 2 teams from this division make the playoffs.

NFC SOUTH: Huge weekend for the Saints as the Falcons, Panthers & Bucs all lose while New Orleans scores 50+ in a win over Detroit which catapults the Saints into the playoffs now as the #6 seed! How does this division shake out? Carolina wins with the best record at 4-2, but the Saints at 3-2 are ahead of Atlanta at 3-2 by virtue of winning percentage of games within the division. The Saints have beaten Carolina whereas Atlanta has yet to play a divisional game which gives the tiebreaker at this time to New Orleans! The Saints have the tiebreakers over Washington & Seattle because of strength of victory which puts them in the #6 seed and a wild card berth. The Bucs are last in the division after losing to Arizona and falling to 2-3 which is the worst record in the division. I thought the NFC South would be a fantastic division but I have to be honest in that every team in the division is a disappointment at this point outside of New Orleans. If the Saints defense can hold and Mark Ingram & Alvin Kamara keep running like they do, then the Saints might win this division and do some damage in the playoffs.

NFC WEST: The Rams beating Jacksonville was HUGE. Los Angeles takes advantage of Seattle’s bye week by getting a win and moving to 4-2 while the Seahawks remain at 3-2 which now puts the Seahawks a half game back they can’t make up until the Rams go on bye. I tell you what is really interesting about the West. Let’s assume Carson Wentz isn’t ready for prime time just yet. We know that Aaron Rodgers is out for the year. Tampa Bay looks off. Atlanta has lost home games to Miami & Buffalo at this point. Carolina can’t keep Cam Newton upright. Is it a stretch to think Seattle’s defense can’t get them back to the Super Bowl? Furthermore, is it a stretch to think the Rams can’t win the NFC if Jared Goff continues to improve and the Rams defense continues to get better & better? At the end of the day it really looks like either the Falcons or the Eagles will win the NFC if you are looking at the teams on paper, but keep an eye on the NFC West. If both the Rams & Seahawks get into the playoffs, it’ll be interesting to see if one of them can win the conference.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 6

#6 NEW ORLEANS @ #3 CAROLINA
#5 GREEN BAY @ #4 LOS ANGELES

Saints/Panthers is ENTICING in the 3/6 game because it’ll be a divisional rivalry game & the 3rd of the season! It will also be Drew Brees v. Cam Newton with both QBs having been to a Super Bowl and with Brees having won one. With Aaron Rodgers gone the 4/5 matchup between the Rams & Packers seems far fetched although I suppose the Packers could sneak into the playoffs if the rest of the field implodes. I think Green Bay probably settles into 3rd place in the NFC North behind Detroit & Minnesota which will make it almost impossible for them to make the playoffs. What’s even more interesting here is if chalk wins. At this point that would mean Carolina @ Minnesota which right now means the Panthers would have to win to get a road game against at team who featured Case Keenum as their QB! The other game would be Los Angeles @ Philadelphia which would feature the QBs taken in the top-2 picks in the 2016 NFL Draft! The Final-4 QBs in theory would be Cam Newton, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Case Keenum in a conference which features QB such as Kirk Cousins, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford, Sam Bradford, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer & Russell Wilson. Talk about a changing of the guard!



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AFC ANALYSIS

AFC EAST: And the East gets back to normal…..OR DOES IT? The Patriots win combined with Buffalo being on bye put New England in sole possession of 1st place in the AFC East. They would have been the #2 overall seed if Pittsburgh had fell in Kansas City, but that actually plays into New England’s favor as now the 4-2 Patriots are only a game behind the conference leading 5-1 Chiefs. What’s even more interesting is Miami beating Atlanta which pushed the Dolphins to 3-2 which is tied with Bills who are also 3-2! Buffalo owns the tie-breaker over Miami & the Bills have already beaten Denver so they drop 3 spots in the seedings yet remain the #5 seed and in the playoffs! Miami’s strength of victory is better than Denver so Miami not only beats Atlanta, but the win jumps them from the #9 seed into the playoffs as the #6 seed! Everyone thought the AFC West might get 3 teams into the playoffs, but right now the East would have 3 teams in! Just think, if the Jets win they would be in 1st place right now! The East is wild, and I’m not sure it doesn’t continue seeing how vulnerable the Patriots look!

AFC NORTH: Huge win for Pittsburgh on the road in giving Kansas City their first loss of the season. It’s amazing to think how much bluster the Steelers endured last week after losing to Jacksonville, but this week the Steelers win & the Jags lose to the Rams. Pittsburgh conference record gives them the edge over New England and they find themselves the #2 seed with a 1st round bye. Pittsburgh showed their upside this past week against Kansas City. If they play like that the rest of the way, they’ll be a very difficult out come playoff time especially if they get their playoff games at home. The rest of the division sets up by record. Baltimore took a tough loss to Chicago which hurts pretty bad, but only drops them to 3-3. It was an inter-conference game so it doesn’t hurt too bad with the tiebreakers. Cleveland still can’t win and Cincinnati was on bye. Cincy could make things interesting next week if they win and the Ravens lose.

AFC SOUTH: What a mess. Jacksonville & Indianapolis lost while Tennessee & Houston won leaving the Texans, Jaguars & Titans at 3-3 with the Colts being a game out at 2-4. Tennessee’s win over Indianapolis was a huge win when it comes to the seedings because it vaulted the Titans up 9 spots from #13 to #4. Even though Houston, Tennessee & Jacksonville are all at 3-3, the Titans end up winning the division based on their division record of 2-1 while the Jaguars & Texans are both 1-1 within the AFC South. The win over the Colts essentially put Tennessee over the top. It’s almost impossible to tell anything with this division. Blake Bortles isn’t fantastic although the rest of the team is. Marcus Mariota is battling hamstring injuries. Andrew Luck still isn’t playing. The Texans have a rookie QB and their best defensive player is out for the season. All we know is that some team is going to win the division.

AFC WEST: The Chiefs losing didn’t do much to dim Kansas City’s view of the West. With the Raiders losing to the Chargers, Oakland falls to last place in the division. Trevor Siemian has come back down to earth for Denver who just took a loss from the Giants who came into this week 0-5. At this point what do we know? Denver might be starting Paxton Lynch at QB. Oakland is starting EJ Manuel at QB. The LA Chargers can’t seem to get out of their own way although they have now won 2 straight games. At this point how can the Chiefs not win the division which means Alex Smith will get a chance to win big games in January. The question becomes can he? I would LOVE to say keep an eye on the Bolts, but they’ve been burning me for years. Can’t wait to see what they do at home against Denver this upcoming week. Win that and who knows?

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 6

#6 MIAMI @ #3 NEW ENGLAND
#5 BUFFALO @ #4 TENNESSEE

This Wild Card scenario features three AFC East squads! That’s nuts and I doubt that holds for the rest of the season, but with the way this year has unfolded so far, I wouldn’t be surprised by anything. Miami/New England is a pretty solid 3/6 game as it’s an rivalry game between division rivals. With New England’s defense struggling this season, Adam Gase could potentially dial it up a bit which would give Miami a decent chance to get a victory. Miami’s defense is playing well too. The 4/5 between Buffalo & Tennessee would be pretty interesting to see from a trench perspective as Buffalo’s defensive front has been a bit salty and could give the Titans O-Line some problems especially if Marcus Mariota hobbles to the finish line. In some way these wild card games mirror the NFC in that they set up the rest of playoffs in incredible fashion. If New England wins we’d get a Patriots/Steelers divisional game which would be epic although in an odd twist given how the teams are playing, could expose New England badly. I think Buffalo winning would set up an incredible Buffalo/Kansas City divisional game that could see the Bills pull an upset because of their defense. That of course would put the Bills in the AFC Championship game! Given how the season has played out so far, I’m not sure I’d be surprised if the Bills actually pulled this off!

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

2017 NCAA FOOTBALL – WEEK 8 BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope Very tough game for USC who is coming off a brutal home win over Utah that was a 2-point conversion away from giving the Trojans their second loss. At the same time this is a big test for the Irish as they haven’t seen a team as athletic as USC since they lost at home to Georgia 20-19. Both teams are playoff viable & Brian Kelly needs a win like this to push Notre Dame into the elite category of college football this season. Can USC stop the Irish runners? Computer Hope
Computer Hope The home loss to Michigan St. hurt, but a win over Penn St. in State College gets the Wolverines right back on track needing to win their date with Ohio St. to secure the Big 10 North, assuming Michigan St. doesn’t beat them to the punch. For the Nittany Lions, this is a huge validation game. Penn St. is 6-0 to be sure, but they haven’t really been tested yet & Saquon Barkley hasn’t seen a defense like Michigan’s. Let’s see Penn St. earn that #2 ranking. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Navy was ranked in the Top-25 before losing 30-27 to Memphis last week & giving the Tigers their spot in the AP Poll. UCF is absolutely killing it at this point, but Navy is a different kind of team with that triple option attack. The thing that sticks out here is can Navy’s defense have any answer for UCF QB McKenzie Milton? The Middies haven’t been great on defense while the Knights are scoring 50+ a game. Navy can’t score 50 running the ball. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Texas is SO CLOSE! In retrospect the Longhorns shouldn’t have lost to Maryland & if they played today they’d be the Terps by at least 10pts. It gook USC overtime to beat them & Oklahoma needed some last minute heroics to edge Tom Herman’s squad. Texas is going to upset the apple cart at some point this season & it might start this weekend at home against the Cowboys. Texas can still win the Big XII if they can turn the corner here. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Keep in mind that Ole Miss is 3-0 at home and 0-3 on the road & this game is in Oxford. Also keep in mind that LSU has fallen asleep at the wheel a couple of times this season against Troy & Mississippi St.! The Rebels are averaging 50PPG at home & if QB Shea Patterson gets rolling then look out. LSU is coming off a huge emotional win over Auburn that catapulted the Tigers back into the rankings. Can they seize momentum and keep going? Computer Hope
Computer Hope Maybe this game is a little under the radar given that Kentucky/Mississippi St. probably doesn’t move the meter much, but this is a huge game for Kentucky. UK is 5-1 & isn’t getting a ton of love because it’s easy to forget they beat South Carolina early in the season & easy to remember they still couldn’t beat Florida. A win over the Bulldogs in Starkville WILL NOT be easy, but if UK can survive they have a good shot at 9-1 before a date with Georgia! Computer Hope
Computer Hope It’s not always easy to get the Cyclones into a Big Games post, but here we are! Iowa St. is coming off a couple of big weeks that saw them upset Oklahoma in Norman & then toss a 45-0 shutout against a terrible Kansas squad. ISU finds themselves 4-2 & in the hunt in the Big XII! The schedule is nasty from this point on, but if ISU can win here they’ll get a chance at bowl eligibility against Baylor assume they don’t pull any more upsets. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This game should mean so much more. It’s amazing to think that Florida St. comes into this game at 2-3 while Louisville is 4-3 and both squads aren’t ranked! Florida St. needs to be thinking about bowl eligibility at this point. There isn’t an easy path to 6 wins & this looks to almost be a must win for the Seminoles considering the game is in Tallahassee. Neither team would admit to being happy with moral victories, but a win here would do wonders. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Not a huge game because Alabama is going to win this by 30+, but how in the world is Butch Jones still the head coach at Tennessee? He has to know he’s a dead man walking which means a trip to Tuscaloosa has to be somewhat humiliating knowing he doesn’t have much of a chance to win. How does he get his players ready to play? Are they motivated at all to be competitive against an overwhelming Alabama squad? Tennessee is in big trouble. Computer Hope
Computer Hope I’m not sure Indiana can ever be incredibly competitive at an ELITE level because of recruiting, but Tom Allen might go down as the best coach in Indiana history & that is saying something considering the job that Bill Mallory did with the Hoosiers. Getting Michigan to OT and hanging with Ohio St. for a half mean something even if IU fell short. It’s not a parallel to Texas, but Indiana is close to throwing a wrench into some team’s season. Computer Hope

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

NCAA POWER 25 – 2017 WEEK 7

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Arkansas 41-9. Sounds like a broken record at this point but Alabama keeps doing the same things by running the ball down the throats of opponents and playing superior defense. Against the Razorbacks, Alabama ran for 308 yards & 4TD while holding the Arkansas rushing attack to 27 yards. That’s insane when you think about the kind of offense Bret Bielema and his staff want to run. Damien Harris ran for 125yds while Bo Scarbrough chipped in 65. No one is close to them.
#2 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Missouri 53-28. Missouri hung in their for about 22 minutes & then Georgia turned the burners on and it was over. The defense played better than the 28 yards allowed. Georgia’s defense held the Tigers to just 10 first downs & 59 rushing yards. D’Andre Swift led the Dawgs in rushing with 94 yards on just 6 carries showing UGA’s ability to go 4 deep at tailback with Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Swift & Elijah Holyfield! That’s insane. One question though? Where were the sacks?
#3 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. Penn St. didn’t play this past week and maybe that was a good thing given how many top teams were falling to upsets. The Nittany Lions will definitely benefit with Clemson & Washington losing which should propel Penn St. to #2 in the nation behind the Crimson Tide. The table is set for Penn St. to have a special year. Saquon Barkley is without a doubt the Heisman frontrunner & if Penn St. wins out, they won’t face Alabama in playoff semifinals which gives them a shot at the title.
#4 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Kansas St. 26-6. The Frogs had to battle through a couple of weather delays but had relatively little problem putting away Kansas St. 26-6 in Manhattan. It certainly helped that K-State QB Jesse Ertz was sidelined with an injury but that shouldn’t take away from TCU’s 6-0 start that includes conference road wins over Kansas St. & Oklahoma St.! I was happy to see TCU’s defense play well after a 3-week span where they gave up a few points. QB Kenny Hill is in the Heisman race.
#5 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Purdue 17-9. Weird game for the Badgers. Jonathan Taylor dominated on the ground again rushing for 219yds/1TD yet the Badgers score just 17 points & don’t score a single point in the 2nd half! The Badgers defense was stingy as usual, but QB Alex Hornibrook was picked off twice which held the total points down a bit. I think Wisconsin caught a break with David Blough not playing for the Boilermakers but in a week a lot of top ranked teams lost, Wisconsin picked up a victory.
#6 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Syracuse 24-28. DID NOT SEE THAT COMING! QB Kelly Bryant left with an injury right before the 2nd half with Clemson down 17-14. Zerrick Cooper would come in and replace him, but Cooper couldn’t really get anything going offensively. Nothing really stands out other than Clemson’s defense, while hammering away at Eric Dungey, couldn’t get the QB to make mistakes. Dungey had a heck of a game & the Tigers offense simply couldn’t make any big plays to get a win.
#7 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Texas 29-24. Oklahoma blew a 20-0 lead before sealing the game late in the 4th quarter when Baker Mayfield hit Mark Andrews up the sidelines to put the Sooners up for good 29-24. Solid win for the Sooners who keep their playoff hopes alive & get a solid win over a Texas team that is a lot better than their 3-3 record would indicate. Mayfield threw for 302 yards and 2TD which keeps his Heisman chances alive to a certain extent. Clemson & Washington losing helped OU!
#8 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Nebraska 56-14. One thing you have to give Urban Meyer is that he understands the situation. Ohio St. lost badly to Oklahoma. After that loss Ohio St. was going to face a litany of teams that weren’t very good. It is imperative Ohio St. beat inferior opponents convincingly which is what they are doing whether it be Maryland or Nebraska. JT Barrett was INCREDIBLE throwing 5TD passes and running for another 2. The running attack almost accounted for 300 yards. Wow!
#9 Computer Hope Last Week Beat BYE. The fighting Irish had the week off and it couldn’t have been better for them. They get an extra week before hosting Southern Cal, but they also got to watch the Trojans have a very tough game against Utah before heading to South Bend. Notre Dame also saw Washington & Clemson fall while Georgia manhandled Missouri. Miami-FL also needed last second heroics to defeat Georgia Tech. It’s a long shot to see Notre Dame crash the playoff party, but this week added to that hope.
#10 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Arizona St. 7-13. Brutal loss for the Huskies who could not get anything going on offense against a Sun Devils defense that was playing out of its mind! QB Jake Browning was sacked five times & ASU didn’t give up a point to UW until the 4th quarter. The Huskies defense was stellar to be sure, but on offense nothing was happening. With Washington St. losing, the loss doesn’t mean the end of the world. If UW wins out they’ll be 12-1 with a tremendous case to make the playoffs.
#11 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Pittsburgh 35-17. The Panthers played NC State pretty close for a half until the Wolfpack dominated them 21-3 in the 2nd half to get a 35-17 victory & move into sole possession of the ACC Atlantic now that Clemson took on a loss. Pitt had no answer for RB Nyheim Hines who ran for 135yds/TD or WR Jaylen Samuels who is proving to be an incredible weapon! The D was outstanding again getting 7 tackles for loss & 8 QB hurries. Remember the Wolfpack get Clemson in Raleigh!
#12 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Georgia Tech 25-24. Playing Georgia Tech is difficult enough, but playing them without your stud starting RB Mark Walton? Miami-FL was facing an uphill battle without Walton but backup RB Travis Homer stepped up huge rushing for 170yds/1TD on 20 carries to lead Miami-FL which needed a last second FG, to a win over the Ramblin Wreck 25-24! Survive & advance! If Miami-FL can defend their home turf, there isn’t much prevented them from a 12-0 regular season. Just win at home.
#13 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. Like Notre Dame, the Hokies were on bye this past week and it turned out to be a very good week for the Hokies despite not playing. Both the ACC & Pac 12 had losses to their conference leaders & all of a sudden Clemson looks vulnerable. Miami-FL had a difficult time with Georgia Tech which should give VT confidence when they play the Hurricanes in early November. Virginia Tech still has a couple of tough road games against Miami-FL & Georgia Tech, but things look promising here!
#14 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Utah 28-27. Utah scored a late 4Q TD to come within a point and instead of sending the game to OT, Utah HC Kyle Whittingham went for 2pts and the win only to see the Utes come up short & USC get a close 28-27 victory. Sam Darnold wasn’t particularly accurate but did pass for 300+yds & 2TD. Ronald Jones is a beast of a runner & Doentay Burnett is almost impossible to cover. The defense however didn’t look nearly as good. USC has a TOUGH test this upcoming week in South Bend.
#15 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Baylor 59-16. Oklahoma St. looked in prime form after a week off, hammering the Baylor Bears 59-16! QB Mason Rudolph looked to get himself back in the Heisman race with 459 passing yards & 3TD while Justice Hill ran for 117 yards & QB James Washington went NUTS catching 6 balls for 235yds & 1TD! Evn OK-State’s defense played extremely well holding Baylor to under 20 points. The Cowboys next 3 games are against West Virginia, Texas & Oklahoma. It’s make or break time.
#16 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Minnesota 30-27. LJ Scott & Madre London were DOMINANT against the Gophers in leading Michigan St. to a solid conference road win. Scott ran for 194 yarsd & 2TD while London chipped in 74 yards & a TD as the Spartans rushed for 245 yards total. The finals core is a bit misleading as MSU had a 30-13 lead late in the 4th quarter before Minnesota scored a couple of last TDs so the defense was tight despite giving up 27 points. I think the Michigan win might have galvanized them!
#17 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Indiana 27-20. The win this past week in Bloomington doesn’t look like much given the Hoosiers reputation on the gridiron, but Tom Allen is the right coach for the Hoosiers & to be fair, Indiana had a lot of opportunity to win that game. RB Karan Higdon became a SUPERSTAR against IU rushing for 200yds & 3TD on 25 carries and single handedly put Michigan on his back & carried them to a road conference win. Michigan needs to be less sloppy. 16 penalties? Too many!
#18 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Oregon 49-7. The losses by Washington & Washington St. are godsends for the Cardinal! If Stanford can win the rest of the conference games, they’ll win the Pac 12 North and end the season at 10-2. It might be too difficult to see them make the playoffs at 11-2 and Pac 12 champions, but I think it’s at least a possibility given the upsets we are seeing. The 49-7 win over the Ducks!? INSANE! Bryce Love ran for 147 yards & 2TD. Love has to be considered one of the Heisman leaders.
#19 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Texas Tech 46-35. You knew this was going to be a shootout, but it’s also a great win for the Mountaineers who beat a ranked team after failing to pull out a win the first couple of tries against ranked teams (VT & TCU). QB Will Grier passed for 352 yards & 5TD & led WVU to a huge 4th quarter comeback victory. West Virginia was down 35-17 late in the 3rd when Grier put on a clinic scoring 29 unanswered points to blow the game wide open. West Virginia can still win the Big XII.
#20 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to California 3-37. What a wild night on Friday! First Clemson is shocked by Boston College & then the Cal Bears absolutely HAMMER the Cougars from Washington State! QB Luke Falk’s Heisman chances probably went down with a 5-interception game! The Cougars committed 7 turnovers, was -7 in TO margin in this game & couldn’t get ANYTHING going with the ground game. Wazzou’s defense wasn’t completely awful, but you aren’t going to win games being -7 in TO margin.
#21 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Cincinnati 33-3. South Florida improved to 6-0 with a dominating 33-3 win over the Bearcats. QB Quinton Flowers passed for 184 yards & he led the Bulls in rushing with 80 yards. There does seem to be some inevitability to USF finishing 12-0, but they were pretty sloppy against Cincinnati with 14 penalties for 137 yards & I still think there might be issues when elite defenses take Flowers out of the game. It looks like they’ll go undefeated but keep an eye on Central Florida.
#22 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Auburn 27-23. The Troy loss looks terrible but all of a sudden if LSU wins out they’ll win the SEC West! That sounds insane after LSU was blown out at Mississippi St. & then lost to Troy. DC Dave Aranda did a great job getting the LSU defense ready for Auburn & holding War Eagle to only 23 points. Who knows what to think at this point. LSU is 5-2 & they are as talented as anyone. If the defense can dominate & Derrius Guice can get going, they can play with anyone in the SEC.
#23 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to LSU 23-27. Jarrett Stidham didn’t have a good game completing 34.6% of his passes and War Eagle couldn’t get ANYTHING going on 3rd down. That about sums up why Auburn lost on the road to LSU in a pivotal SEC conference game that the Tigers needed to win to preserve their playoff hopes. Auburn wasn’t able to score a single point in the 2nd half. Kerryon Johnson ran for 156 yards and Auburn pounded the football, but didn’t do enough little things to get the win.
#24 Computer Hope Last Week Beat East Carolina 63-21. I’ve been a little reluctant to rank the Knights but this team deserves to be in the top-25. They are 5-0. They score over 50PPG and allow less than 20PPG. They blew out a Memphis team that now ranks 25th in the AP Poll. They also blew out Maryland 2 weeks after the Terps went into Austin & beat Texas. QB McKenzie Milton is on pace to throw for a 4,000 yard/40TD season. UCF runs well and the defense gets after it. They have a shot at a perfect season.
#25 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. The Hawkeyes remain in my Power-25 at 4-2 despite being on bye this past week. It wasn’t a bad week for Iowa as Michigan St. persevered over Minnesota, but Wisconsin didn’t lose which would have been a huge opportunity created for Iowa in the Big 10 West had Purdue been able to pull off the stunner a la Syracuse & California. I think Iowa has a decent shot to get to 9-10 wins if they’re able to win their bowl game. That’s a pretty darn good season for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

DROPPING OUT

#21 SAN DIEGO STATE: The Aztecs last test this season before potentially cruising to an undefeated season was a game against Boise St. that they were playing in San Diego. Instead of passing the test with flying colors, the Aztecs lost 31-14 in a blowout for the Broncos. It seems like a huge waste after SD State had wins over both Arizona St. & Stanford. It would have been crazy for both Stanford & Arizona St. to meet in the Pac 12 championship with San Diego St. having wins over both schools. That could possibly still happen & would have looked amazing for SDSU. It still would, but the significance would be a little less now that the Aztecs have a loss on the schedule. Rashaad Penny failed to reach 100 yards rushing for the first time this season as Boise St. held the runner to 53 yards on 21 carries.

#24 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS: What else can you say? Louisville is falling a part. How can you lose at home to Boston College 45-42. In their last 5 games, the Cardinals are 2-3 and definitely aren’t playing like a top-25 team. This loss probably eliminates Lamar Jackson from Heisman contention even if he’s one of the finalists. There is still quite a bit of talent on this team and with Jackson at QB, the Cardinals are never going to be out of a game. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see Louisville win out and finish 9-3 and they could possibly get to 10 wins if they win their bowl game. At the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Louisville lose the rest of their games & miss a bowl game entirely at 4-8. It’ll be interesting to see what Bobby Petrino can do with this team.

October 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ARE PLAYOFFS DREAMS DEAD FOR CLEMSON & WASHINGTON ST.?

If you are a sports fan and weren’t watching Game 1 of the ALCS between the New York Yankees & Houston Astros (I was!), then you probably settled in to take in a Friday night double header featuring a couple of top-10 ranked teams in games they were heavily favored in. That both teams were on the road might have thrown in a tiny bit of intrigue, but for the most part the Tigers & Cougars should have rolled over the Eagles & Bears respectively.

That didn’t happen.

To start the night off Clemson watched its QB get knocked out of the game before halftime and then suffered an mind-numbing defeat to Boston College 27-24. Fans had barely enough time to get over the shock of that loss when Washington St. turned the ball over 7 times including 5 interceptions from the Heisman hopeful QB Luke Falk! The Cougars would fall in humiliating fashion 37-3!

Both squads came in 6-0 with high hopes of winning their conference and making the playoffs. In Clemson’s case they had the possibility of winning back-to-back national championships.

Both squads ended the evening 6-1 with questions abounding about their playoff viability. So what do the losses mean? Let’s take a look at both teams.

CLEMSON TIGERS

I don’t think it matters much in Clemson’s case. Yes a loss to Boston College would look as sexy as a loss to Oklahoma should both Clemson & Ohio State finish 12-1 and conference champions. However, in this scenario Clemson can look back to last season where they waxed Ohio St. 31-0 in the playoff semifinals on their way to winning a national championship. If there aren’t 4 conference winners that are undefeated, it’s going to be hard to keep Clemson out of the playoff hunt because they are in fact defending national champions. It’s that simple. Clemson lost to Pittsburgh in a close game last season and it didn’t matter as long as they won the ACC Championship. I think it won’t matter this season either as long as they win out. That’s the big picture. The small picture is a little more difficult. At this point Syracuse could potentially have given other teams a blueprint. Keep Clemson’s pass rush from actually sacking the QB. Make sure you don’t commit turnovers. Hope that Kelly Bryant isn’t healthy to play an entire game. It sounds a bit silly, but YOU KNOW NC STATE is licking their chops at a chance to get Clemson in Raleigh with the Tigers questioning themselves. Ryan Finley has the ability to have a big game just like Eric Dungey and the Wolfpack have a D-Line that can be absolutely dominant in the trenches. If Clemson has to win out, their game against NC State is one which they can’t overlook. Down the road I think another tough game could come against South Carolina. The game is in Columbia and while the Gamecocks are not even close to Clemson when it comes to overall talent, Will Muschamp has the Gamecocks playing well & QB Jake Bentley is a player.

Clemson has to win out, but the loss means they need a bit of help. Penn State, Alabama, Georgia, Washington & TCU are all undefeated. If 4 of those teams end up 13-0 then Clemson is going to be left out in the cold.

WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS

Washington St. has it a little more difficult than Clemson in that they aren’t the defending national champions so they not only have to win out, they have to HOPE the loss to California winds up looking good. For example, if Wazzou wins out and ends up 12-1 as PAC 12 champions and Ohio St. ends up 12-1 as BIG 10 champions, it’s going to be hard for Wazzou to argue they should make the playoffs over the Buckeyes because Ohio St. lost to Oklahoma while Washington St. lost to California. This compounds if Oklahoma is 10-2/11-1. It’s possible California wins out (not really with back to back road games against UCLA & Stanford to end the season) but they would be 9-3 and that most likely won’t match Oklahoma’s final record. Washington State has to win out without question. They need to be 12-1, but now they need other eventual conference champions to lose a game to a mid-level opponent that will wind up looking worse than California by season’s end. These losses would also preferably be at home seeing that Washington St. did lose on the road. That is an extremely tall order at this stage of the season, so it seem as if Washington St.’s hopes for the playoffs died on Friday night with the loss to California. There is a slim chance, but style points and help is what Washington St. needs. They finish the season off playing Utah, Washington & Stanford. Win all 3 games by 20+ points each and hope for some help along the way.

Once again Mike Leach is going to get close, but JUST MISS.

October 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Which Teams Are Still Viable Playoff Contenders?

With a lot of teams having 6 games under the belt, we are pretty much at the half-way point of the college football season. With that being said, let’s take a look at the teams that are still viable playoff contenders. One thing to keep in mind is that name recognition matters! I know it’s probably not supposed to, but it goes. Let’s go by conference and see who is still in and who’s out!

SEC

Alabama/6-0: It’s easy for the Tide. Keep winning and they are in. What gets tricky is if Alabama were to lose at Auburn. In this scenario Alabama finishes 11-1, but remember that last season Ohio St. wound up as a playoff team despite losing the Big 10 East to Penn State. But remember that the Nittany Lions had 2 losses on their resume. Auburn will presumably have one. For Alabama to lose and make the playoffs, they’d have to lose on some fluke play to Auburn and then for War Eagle to destroy their SEC East opponents in the SEC Championship game. Another way Alabama could get there with a loss is if they lose to someone besides Auburn, then beat Auburn, win the SEC Championship and finish the season 12-1. The only road game they have left outside of Auburn is in Starkville to play Mississippi State, but I don’t think the Tide lose there. Things only get a little dicey in Tuscaloosa if they lose to Auburn.

Auburn 5-1: The only loss Auburn has is to Clemson so Auburn could still get into the playoffs. They need to win the SEC and hope that a lot of teams don’t go undefeated while Clemson finishes as ACC Champions. For the most part though, Auburn needs to win out. It’ll be difficult for the playoff committee to keep a 12-1 Auburn team out who is most likely coming off back to back wins over Alabama & Georgia/Florida.

Georgia 6-0: Like Alabama, if Georgia keeps winning, it’ll be a foregone conclusion that they end up in the playoffs. If the Bulldogs don’t win the East, then they won’t get in. It’s that simple. The big question is whether or not Georgia could slip into playoff contention if they lose the SEC Championship game to Alabama if both teams enter the game 12-0? I think it’s a possibility but only if Georgia loses a close game on a fluky play that would give the committee pause to consider Georgia & Alabama two of the best 4 teams in the nation. Georgia’s road isn’t that easy either. They get road games against Auburn & Georgia Tech while also playing Florida in Jacksonville. If these Hairy Dawgs can emerge from their regular season at 12-0, then they’ll have earned the SEC East title. They of course could afford to lose a game, finish 11-1 and then beat either Auburn/Alabama from the West to lay claim to the SEC Championship at 12-1. The problem with losing a game is that it CANNOT be to Florida if the Gators can finish the season with only their conference loss to LSU which looks like a real possibility if the Gators can get by UGA.

Florida 3-2: Is Florida a possibility? It seems unlikely but if the Gators win out, they’ll finish 9-2 and SEC East champions. Beat Alabama in the SEC title game and you’d have a 10-2 Florida team as the champions of arguably the best conference in the country! The two losses are terrible and having 2 prevented Penn St. from entering the playoffs last season. If the Big 10, ACC, Pac 12 and Big XII all produce undefeated champions, I think Florida is left out in the cold and thus the SEC won’t have a playoff team. Remember that last season Ohio St. lost a mid-season road game to Penn St. by 3 points. That gave the committee time to forgive the Buckeyes to an extent despite them losing the SEC East. Alabama could potentially be 12-1 after losing to Florida in the SEC title, game, but that loss would be way too fresh for a 1-loss SEC squad to crash the playoff party especially if said team is coming off a loss.

Kentucky 5-1: How bad does the 1 point home loss to Florida feel now for the Wildcats? It’s insane we are even considering this as a possibility, but if Kentucky can get by Georgia & Mississippi St. away from Lexington, they have all winnable games remaining. They could finish the season 11-1 and SEC East champs. They’ll need Florida to lose to Georgia or at least lose another conference game, but UK still had viability. They certainly don’t have any name recognition in college football (hey this isn’t hoops!) but a 12-1 SEC Champion Kentucky team probably is enough to crash the playoff party no matter how improbable!

BIG 10

Penn State 6-0: Win out and you’re in. This is a lot like Alabama. An undefeated Big 10 champion is going to make the playoffs meaning Penn St. and Wisconsin are the only candidates for that route. The question becomes whether or not Penn St. can get to the playoffs with a loss. What’s different about Penn St. & Ohio St. or even possibly Michigan this season is that last year Penn St. lost to Pittsburgh early in the season. That wasn’t soul crushing for the Nittany Lions when it came time to win the Big 10, but they were passed over by an Ohio State team they beat last year for a spot in the playoffs. I didn’t agree with that at all. How can a team make the playoffs if it didn’t even win their own conference division, but that is why name means something and an 11-1 Ohio St. team had value. Penn St. could conceivably lose to Ohio St. and still go the Ohio St. route but only if Ohio St. loses a different game to a team that ended up losing two conference games which ensured Ohio St. won the conference with two losses but Penn St. still finished 11-1. Would the Penn St. name be good enough at 11-1 to be a bigger factor than an 11-2 Ohio St. team that won the Big 10? It worked for Ohio St. last year but something tells me it wouldn’t this year for the Nittany Lions.

Ohio St. 5-1: Win and your in. I don’t think Ohio St. can afford two losses and get into the playoffs especially if the ACC, SEC, Pac 12 & Big XII all have undefeated or 1 loss teams. The other issues for Ohio St. is that you can’t put them in over a 1-loss Oklahoma team. Not with the way the Sooners dominated Ohio St. in Columbus. If Alabama, Clemson & Washington finish 13-0 and Oklahoma finishes 12-1, it doesn’t matter if Ohio St. is 12-1 because they are left out. The Buckeyes can’t afford 2 losses, but they are also one of those precarious teams that now can’t afford undefeated teams along with Oklahoma winning the Big XII. Name recognition comes into play for the Buckeyes if the season gets wild and everyone starts losing games. Let’s assume for a second that every conference champion has a loss heading into the playoffs. Now the Buckeyes are on even playing ground & actually look good if Oklahoma finishes the season 12-1. If that scenario plays out, Ohio St. will be the only team who has one loss and that the lone loss came against another conference champion. The Buckeyes need to win out & hope for a tiny bit of help, or they need to hope for college football chaos.

Michigan 4-1: The reason Ohio St. can’t win out and automatically assume they’ll get into the playoffs is because of the loss against Oklahoma. Michigan doesn’t have this problem. If the Wolverines win out, they’ll finish the season 12-1 and Big 10 champions with their lone loss coming to Michigan State. If Oklahoma wins the Big XII at 12-1, then their lone loss came against Iowa State. Michigan wins that battle whereas Ohio St. wouldn’t because of the head to head issues with the Sooners. The loss to Michigan St. looks odd, but when you consider the weather conditions, you can sort of forgive Michigan and I think that will play a role in the playoff committee’s decisions. Keep in mind too this would allow Michigan and Jim Harbaugh into the playoff picture, something any committee member with an eye towards viewership would be frothing at the mouth to make happen. I don’t think Michigan can afford a 2nd conference loss. They couldn’t win the Big 10 East that way which precludes them from playoff discussion.

Michigan State 4-1: With the win over Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan St. is now a player in the playoff picture. Like Ohio St., Michigan & Penn St., it’s easy enough to win out & make the playoffs as a 12-1 Big 10 champion. Michigan’s loss to Notre Dame early puts them in somewhat of the same position as it did Penn State last year. The Spartans haven’t lost a conference game yet, but there is way for them to lose a conference game & still win the Big 10 East. A that point I think they can’t get into the playoffs. It would give them 2 losses and if either Ohio St., Michigan or Penn St. finish 11-1, I think they’d get the nod over Sparty to get to the Final 4. This is the same scenario that played out last year between Ohio St. and Penn State. Another wrinkle for Michigan St. is if Notre Dame finishes 11-1. If the Irish finish 11-1 and Georgia finishes 13-0, it would be almost impossible to put a 12-1 Michigan St. team in over Notre Dame given how badly the Irish beat the Spartans in East Lansing. Notre Dame lost to Georgia 20-19 in a game the Irish essentially won, so putting them ahead of Michigan St. would seem like a no-brainer if both teams finished with one loss and Georgia wins the SEC.

Wisconsin 5-0: Like Penn St., if the Badgers win out they’re in without question as a 13-0 team with a Big 10 championship. It will be impossible to keep them out of the playoff picture. The bigger question becomes what happens should Wisconsin lose a game? If they lose the Big 10 championship game then it’s over. Even if the Big 10 East champion has 2 losses, I don’t think Wisconsin can get in over a 2-loss Big 10 team that they just lost to, and a 2-loss Big 10 team isn’t getting into the playoffs. Wisconsin can afford to lose a conference game and still win the Big 10 West. If that were to happen and they ended up winning the Big 10 championship game, you’d have an 11-1 Badgers squad as a possible playoff team. At that point I think they’d need a little bit of help because they would need to probably face an undefeated Penn St. squad in the championship game and they’d also need no undefeated teams from the other conferences. I think the Big 10 is going to curry some favor, but at the same time I think what hinders the conference so much is Oklahoma beating Ohio State. If Oklahoma doesn’t come out of the Big XII then I think it’s a moot point, but if the Sooners do get to 12-1 and a Big 10 team is 12-1, the Sooners will have a decent argument to make as being better than whoever comes out of the Big 10. The easiest way for Wisconsin & Penn State to get into the playoffs is win out. If they wind up 12-1 and Oklahoma winds up 12-1, things get a bit more complicated.

ACC

Clemson 6-0: Like a lot of other teams we’ve discussed who are undefeated, if Clemson wins out there is NO QUESTION they get to the playoffs as defending national champions. Not only that but to get back they’ll have had to have beaten Louisville, Virginia Tech, Auburn, NC State, Florida State, South Carolina, Georgia Tech and most likely either Miami-FL or Virginia Tech (again!). If any team is going to earn it, it’s going to be the Clemson Tigers. At this point it only gets interesting for Clemson if they lose in Raleigh to NC State, because that could potentially cost the Tigers the ACC Atlantic and keep Clemson out of the ACC Championship game. At that point they would need a 2-loss Coastal team to win beat NC State in the ACC title game giving the Wolfpack 2 losses and leaving Clemson at 11-1 with only a loss in Raleigh which won’t look horrible. That would be an interesting dilemma, but it’s still a possibility. Clemson is toast if they were to lose 2 games, but I can’t see that given their schedule.

North Carolina State 5-1: In my opinion the most interesting team in the nation thus far. Like a lot of one loss teams already mentioned, if the Wolfpack win they are in the playoffs because a 12-1 ACC Champion gets in especially seeing that to do this, NC State will have beaten Louisville, Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame and likely either Miami-FL or Virginia Tech. Is it as good of a resume as Clemson? No, but if the Wolfpack beat Clemson in Raleigh on November 4th then it won’t matter. What has to burn NC State at this point is the opening week loss to South Carolina which doesn’t look so hot with the Gamecocks having lost games to Texas A&M & Kentucky. Oddly enough South Carolina could still win the East if they beat Georgia & Florida and Florida knocks off Georgia. That could make NC State’s loss more tolerable in the end. The problem with NC State in my opinion is name recognition. If Ohio St. finishes 12-1 and Oklahoma finishes 12-1 while Washington and Alabama finishes 13-0, I think it gets difficult for NC State to be taken in over Oklahoma & Ohio State although NC State could make a case that Ohio St. doesn’t deserve to be there since the Sooners already beat them. If Penn St., Washington & Alabama all finish 13-0 while Oklahoma & NC State finish 12-1, it’s going to be difficult to leave the Sooners out given name recognition and the fact that Baker Mayfield is probably going to be a Heisman finalist. Bradley Chubb might be playing like the best player in the nation right now, but Chubb wouldn’t move the national media the way a QB from Oklahoma who is bombing away would. NC State getting to 12-1 is a long shot, but it’s not as long as it was when the year began.

Miami-FL 4-0: As one of only 13 teams left that are undefeated, THE U has an easy route. Finish undefeated and cruise into the playoffs. Having Miami-FL in the playoffs would be huge as they are one of the most storied programs in college football history with tremendous legacy. The last minute win over Florida St. last week in Tallahassee got a huge monkey off their backs and now Miami-FL has no real tough road games left. They do still have Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech & Notre Dame on the schedule, but all 3 games come in Coral Gables which means the Hurricanes should probably be favorites to win all three. Miami-FL is now looking at either NC State or Clemson in the ACC title game which will be another tough game, but not a true road game the way Clemson has to go on the road to NC State. What happens if Miami-FL loses a game? They can’t lose to Virginia Tech or they risk losing the ACC Coastal. That automatically puts them out of contention, and I’d say they probably shouldn’t lose to Georgia Tech either as the Yellow Jackets still have their own championship aspirations. They could lose to another team (Notre Dame?) and still finish undefeated in ACC play. If they lost to the Irish then won the ACC Championship game, they’d be an 11-1 ACC champion. In this scenario it could get muddy if the Fighting Irish also finish 11-1 because you couldn’t put Miami-FL in the playoffs at 11-1 over an 11-1 Notre Dame squad that beat THE U! What if they lose to the Hokies or Jackets? It would mean the winner of Hokies/Jackets would have had to have lost to Miami-FL so the Canes could still win the tiebreakers. Lot of football left for Miami.

Virginia Tech 5-1: The Hokies are toast if they lose another game. Even if they somehow manage to win the Coastal with a loss within the division and beat Clemson in a rematch, I don’t think they can make the playoffs at 11-2 over any other Big 5 conference champion with 1 loss. The loss to Clemson isn’t horrible and if they get a rematch with the defending champs in the ACC title game, it’ll make some serious amends especially if Clemson comes in 12-0. If the Hokies finish 12-1 with their only loss coming to a 12-1 Clemson team, then I think Virginia Tech definitely has the resume to get over every other 1-loss team in the nation. Oklahoma & Ohio State won’t be problems in this scenario even if those names are bigger than Virginia Tech’s. What gets a little tricky is if NC State finishes 11-1 and meets Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship. The Hokies could still be a 1-loss conference champion and get in, but being 12-1 with their only loss to an 11-1 Clemson team that didn’t win their own division instead of 12-1 with their only loss to a 12-1 Clemson team who they beat in a revenge game in the ACC Championship, is a big deal in my opinion and would hurt Virginia Tech. If I’m Virginia Tech, I want to win out and hope that Clemson does the same.

Georgia Tech 3-1: The opening week loss to Tennessee by a point is horrible given how bad the Volunteers are at this point. You can be sure that Paul Johnson & his squad think about that game every waking moment of every day! Like NC State, Georgia Tech is a unique team on this list that is very interesting. They obviously can’t take on another loss because a 2-loss team isn’t getting into the playoffs unless all hell breaks loose & all the top contenders start losing. On the other hand, Georgia Tech has remaining games against Miami-FL, Wake Forest, Clemson, Virginia, Virginia Tech & Georgia. If they win out they’ll be 10-1 and likely looking at a game against either Clemson or NC State. Win that one then I think you are going to be VERY hard pressed to leave the Ramblin’ Wreck out of the playoffs. The schedule makes them a great choice, but the schedule is also the reason why Georgia Tech is probably out of it given the difficulty of said schedule. The only issue with Georgia Tech is if they get into a competition with another one loss team. If Ohio St. is 12-1 then the Buckeyes only loss came to Oklahoma while GT was beaten by Tennessee. This is in someway the same problem NC State has in that their loss came against South Carolina should NC State finish 12-1. You can’t change the past obviously. The easy route for Georgia Tech is to win out and hope for the best. Their resume will certainly look impressive.

Virginia 4-1: Yes the Cavaliers make the list! Essentially Virginia is in the same boat Georgia Tech is. They have a loss to Indiana which could come back to bite them should they finish 12-1 and go up against another 1-loss team. What is going to make it difficult for UVA is if that 1-loss team comes from the Big 10 and is either Ohio St. or Penn State. Both teams hammered the Hoosiers while Virginia was beaten by 17 points at home against Indiana in Week 2. The resume will certainly look nice if they win out and win the ACC Championship, but the loss to Indiana could be killer when it comes down to choosing playoff teams if Virginia is indeed part of the discussion.

PAC 12

Washington 6-0: If Washington wins out and gets to 13-0 there is no question they get to the playoffs. The Pac 12 is a very good and very deep conference. The Huskies got to the playoffs last season and played Alabama reasonably well They won’t be excluded by the playoff committee if they finish the year undefeated no matter what. It becomes a little trickier should they lose a game. If they lost the Pac 12 title game then I don’t see how they get in. You couldn’t put them in over the conference champions. In some odd way you can come up with the Penn St./Ohio St. scenario from last season but that is going to be next to impossible because the Pac 12 plays 9 conference games and nobody has non-conference games left outside of USC & Stanford who both play Notre Dame. Stanford already has 2 losses and USC has 1. USC isn’t in the Pac 12 North so that leaves a team like Stanford, but that analogy is off because Stanford already has the two losses and a 3rd loss to Washington would eventually kill them unlike Ohio St.’s loss to Penn St. last season. If the Huskies were to lose a game before the the championship game, they could still win the Pac 12 and finish 12-1. Unless the other Big 5 conference champions are undefeated I think Washington finds a way to sneak in. One thing I haven’t mentioned is that let’s say TCU, Penn St. and Clemson all go undefeated and Washington is 12-1 and conference champions and Alabama is 12-1 and conference champions. I think having two 1-loss teams with one coming from the SEC spells doom for the 1-loss team from the other conference. I think it’s true for every other conference. Alabama at 12-1 against Ohio State at 12-1? Roll Tide! Alabama at 12-1 against Oklahoma at 12-1? Go Bama! Alabama at 12-1 against Washington at 12-1? Alabama all day. The one comparison that could get trick is Alabama at 12-1 against Clemson at 12-1! Clemson can make a case it should get the chance to defend their national championship. The Huskies are in a good spot and frankly I don’t see how they don’t finish 13-0.

Washington State 6-0: The Cougars have a tough 3-game stretch to end the season taking on Stanford at home but then going on road games to Utah & Washington. If Wazzou wins out they go to the playoffs at 13-0 and Pac 12 Champions. It’s that simple really. I don’t think there is any way if Mike Leach gets his boys to 13-0 the playoff committee leaves out the pirate himself! The road is a bit more difficult if Washington St. loses a game. They still need to win the North which means they cannot lose to Washington. A loss to Stanford or Utah seems more palatable and Utah looks like an obvious trap game coming on the road before the Apple Cup and I could see a scenario in which the Cougars are caught looking ahead to Washington & lose a close one in Salt Lake City. If that were to happen and they follow the loss up with a win over Washington and then most likely a rematch with USC, I think it would still be hard to leave the Cougars out at 12-1 unless the other conference champions were undefeated. If Clemson, Alabama & Penn State are 13-0, then there is no doubt those teams get in. TCU at 13-0 is a no-brainer too to be honest, BUT if the perception of the Big XII is lacking just a bit, there will be at least some discussion between Washington St. and Texas Christian for that 4th spot.

Southern California 5-1: If USC wins out and finishes 12-1, it’s going to be VERY DIFFICULT to keep a Pac 12 Champion Trojan team out of the playoffs! Best case scenario for USC is for Washington State to win out so the Trojans get a chance to avenge their only loss in the Pac 12 Championship game. If that happens, the USC’s only loss on the schedule will have come to a 12-1 Washington State team by 3 points playing in Pullman. That’s a fantastic loss. It might even play better than Virginia Tech’s loss to Clemson should the Hokies wind up 12-1 and Pac 12 champions. Having Washington win out and then beating the Huskies in the Pac 12 championship would play pretty well too I think. USC certainly can’t lose a 2nd game, but if they win out they make a convincing case. As with any 1 loss team, they’d need to hope that the other Big 5 conference champions aren’t all undefeated. An interesting sidenote to USC is that they have TREMENDOUS name recognition. They have just as much as Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio St. and Michigan. From this perspective, a 1-loss USC team going up against other 1-loss teams might have an advantage when it comes to the decision making of the playoff committee. Having USC and arguably the best QB in the nation, Sam Darnold, in the playoffs would draw quite a crowd.

Utah 4-1: The Utes are still in contention even after their loss to Stanford this past week, but their hopes are slim. If Utah wins out they’d finish 12-1 with wins over Washington, Washington, St., UCLA, Oregon, Arizona St., and USC. They’d also draw Washington or Washington St. out of the North in the Pac 12 championship game. Win out and you’d have a hard time keeping Utah out of the playoffs with that resume! Heck, USC, Oregon & Washington are road games for crying out loud. Like Georgia Tech, the schedule is what hurts Utah. Sure if they win out they make a great case for going the playoffs. How can you keep them out? Lose another game however and they’re toast. Utah becomes a lot more interesting if they beat USC this weekend in Los Angeles.

BIG XII

TCU 5-0: Win out and they are going to the playoffs. The only way a 13-0 TCU teams gets left out is if Alabama is 13-0, Washington is 13-0, Clemson is 13-0 and Penn State is 13-0. At that point I think name recognition destroys TCU and they are left holding the bag. I think this actually has a domino affect of potentially forcing college football to expand the playoffs from 4 to 8 teams which I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of, but at some point in time all big 5 conference champions will end up undefeated. Randomness demands it! It would be pretty tragic at this point if TCU did miss out at 13-0. That record would mean they won road games against Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Iowa St., Kansas St., Oklahoma St. and Arkansas! Throw in wins over West Virginia, SMU & Texas and you have a tremendous resume that would be extremely difficult to ignore. I don’t think a 1-loss TCU could get enough traction against another 1-loss Big 5 team especially if that one loss came in the Big XII title game.

Oklahoma 4-1: The Sooners can’t lose again which means beating Texas in Dallas and beating Oklahoma St. in Stillwater, not to mention winning the Big XII title game as well. The Iowa St. loss was killer but if there is saving grace to Oklahoma, they can get to the playoffs as a 1-loss team rather easily if Ohio St winds up winning the Big 10. If the Buckeyes are 12-1 and Oklahoma is 12-1, there is no way you can put Ohio St. in over Oklahoma after the Sooners beat them in Columbus! If any other team with a loss shows up, Oklahoma likely loses the argument due to their loss coming at home against Iowa State! Frankly, OU needs to win out and hope Ohio St. wins the Big 10.

Oklahoma State 4-1: Best case scenario is Oklahoma St. wins out as does TCU so those two teams are the top-2 seeds in the Big XII and thus Oklahoma St. gets a chance to avenge their loss to the Horned Frogs. If that happens then the Cowboys have a great 1-loss resume given that their only loss would have been to a 12-1 TCU squad. They can’t afford to take on two losses.

Texas Tech 4-1: The Red Raiders have their work cut out for them with road games against Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Texas still left on the schedule. Like every other 1-loss team listed, Texas Tech can’t afford to lose a 2nd came, but their way to overcome their one loss is an interesting one. They’ll need to win out which will put them at 11-1 and almost certainly in the top-2 seeds, but for that to happen and to avenge their loss to Oklahoma St., they’d need the Cowboys to also win out and finish 11-1. It gets a little convoluted, but this actually works out fairly well for Texas Tech. They’d need Oklahoma St. to win out which means the Cowboys beat Oklahoma. Texas Tech would also need to beat TCU and it doesn’t really matter what happens between and then Oklahoma needs to beat TCU. Texas Tech would avenge their loss to Oklahoma St., and the loss to OK State early in the year wouldn’t look bad because Oklahoma St.’s only loss would be to TCU. In this scenario, Oklahoma St. finishes 11-1, Texas Tech finishes 11-1, TCU finishes 10-2 and Oklahoma finishes 10-2. Texas Tech avenges their only loss in the Big XII championship game to an Oklahoma St. team who is 11-1 with their only loss coming against a 10-2 TCU squad. TCU’s 2 losses would have come against a 10-2 Oklahoma and an 11-1 Texas Tech squad. It gets circular at this point but the key is Oklahoma getting to 10-2 because of their win over Ohio State. Whether it’s Oklahoma St. at 12-1 or Texas Tech at 12-1, you aren’t going to be able to put Ohio St. at 12-1 in the playoffs over either Oklahoma St. or Texas Tech because they will have beaten Oklahoma who beat Ohio State.

OTHERS

Notre Dame 5-1: In no way does Notre Dame make the playoffs if they have 2 losses. So if the Irish lose one more game at best they finish 10-2 and get a New Year’s 6 bowl but are firmly out of the playoff hunt. If you want an IDEAL scenario for Notre Dame to be included in the playoffs, then ND has to win out while Michigan St., Georgia, Miami-FL and USC all win their conference championships. That puts Notre Dame into the playoffs without any question because they will have beaten all of those teams save Georgia, a team Notre Dame lost to by a single point. The big question is whether or not Notre Dame can get in if all of those teams don’t win their conference championship? The key to me here is that Georgia has to win the SEC. If Georgia falls to Alabama in the SEC title game and doesn’t make the playoffs at 12-1, then you can’t put Notre Dame in over Georgia due to their loss to the Bulldogs. The other key is that Notre Dame can’t go up against undefeated conference champions. If Washington, Georgia, Penn State & Clemson are all undefeated, then Notre Dame can’t beat that. It would be the same if you substituted one of those teams for an undefeated TCU squad. What WILL BE tricky is if you only have 1-2 undefeated conference champions and Notre Dame is sitting at 11-1 with wins over Michigan St., USC, NC State, Miami-FL, Stanford, Navy & Wake Forest. That’s a good looking resume, but it’s also the reason (like Georgia Tech or Utah) that ND is likely to lose a game or two more and finish 10-2/9-3. Notre Dame has to win out and I think Georgia has to win the SEC. Those two things happen and Notre Dame is at least invited into the discussion.

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

2017 NFL FOOTBALL – WEEK 6 BIG GAMES

AWAY QUICK THOUGHTS HOME
Computer Hope Huge game between a couple of 4-1 teams that gets the added bonus of being the Thursday night game. It’ll be interesting to see how Cam Newton handles the Eagles pass rush. Newton has looked great the last two weeks but Philly is a different animal than Detroit & New England. At the same time it’ll be interesting to see if the Eagles can run & if their secondary can hold onto Carolina’s jumbo sized receivers on the edge. Computer Hope
Computer Hope With a week of rest and playing at home, I think the Falcons could blow the barn doors off the Dolphins with this game being pretty much over by halftime. Miami’s offense has looked terrible in their four games so far and getting the Falcons defense at home is a recipe for disaster with how fast Atlanta’s defense is. Last week Miami saw Matt Cassel. This week they get Matt Ryan. That’s an entirely different skill set to deal with. Computer Hope
Computer Hope A completely different game if Sam Bradford doesn’t play & I’m going to guess that Bradford misses another week given that he tweeked his knee last week in Minnesota’s win over Chicago. Green Bay’s defense is rolling while Minnesota’s defense is tough, but I don’t think the Vikings can score enough. It’s a tough game because it puts Minnesota 2 back of the Packers but effectively 3 back because of the head to head aspect. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Like Minnesota, the Lions can ill afford to lose another game and fall further behind the Packers in the North, but this is a perfect measuring stick game for the Saints. Detroit isn’t perfect & has flaws which means New Orleans, especially coming off a bye with 2 weeks to prepare, should be able to pull out a home win against a possible playoff team. If the Saints defense shows up like they have, I think the Saints get a win. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This is the week the insanity in the AFC East stops. New England doesn’t look like a Super Bowl team to be sure, but they should have little trouble with the Jets. With Buffalo on a bye week, a Patriots win puts New England in 1st place. With that being said, the Jets D is young with a lot of heavy hitters. I don’t think the Jets can score enough, BUT if they can get some early hits on Brady, they could make things interesting. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The 49ers are getting better & they’ve been unlucky losing 4 close games, but with the Redskins at home coming off a bye week, it seems like an impossible task for the 49ers to get their first win. The Redskins have played relatively well all things considered & this is the kind of game that is a must win should they have playoff aspirations. I think Chris Thompson & Kirk Cousins are going to have a field day against the 49ers D. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The going doesn’t get any easier for Mitch Trubisky. After his first start against a solid Vikings defense that currently ranks 8th in the NFL in scoring defense, he gets the Ravens on the road against a Baltimore defense that ranks 10th in the NFL in scoring defense. The Bears have shown they can be competitive & if the Ravens go off script and try to pass way more than they run, the Bears have the ability to pull an upset. Computer Hope
Computer Hope The loss of JJ Watt is brutal, but I don’t think the Texans will have much trouble with Cleveland even without Watt in the lineup. I’m not a huge fan of Deshaun Watson in his current form, but you have to be impressed with Houston’s skill players, especially how effective Will Fuller has been since coming back from injury. Myles Garrett could make things interesting if Cleveland lets him off the leash & plays him the whole game. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Will Adrian Peterson really make that much of a difference for the Cardinals offense? Through 5 games the Cardinals are flat out terrible. Usually I think the Bucs go as far as Jameis Winston can take them, but this week I almost think it’s a foregone conclusion that Tampa Bay can win even if Winston has an off game. I’d love to see the Bucs give Doug Martin 20 carries. He ran like a beast against the Patriots last week. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Whoa! What’s interesting about this game is that both of these teams have terrible rush defenses. Throw in a duel between RBs Todd Gurley & Leonard Fournette and you have an old school “3 yards and a cloud of dust” type of game. What will be interesting here is which teams makes mistakes & which team goes to the pass a little too often. I think the Rams trying to throw too much probably causes them to lose this contest. Computer Hope
Computer Hope This is the last team Ben Roethlisberger wants to face if he thinks he’s done. The Steelers are coming off a humiliating home loss to the Jaguars & now go on the road to take on the 5-0 Chiefs. In some ways this is a game that seems ripe for Pittsburgh to pull off an upset. On the other hand, KC has a chance to completely bury Pittsburgh’s confidence & send them into an horrific tailspin. I think Pittsburgh’s confidence is shattered. Computer Hope
Computer Hope OK Chargers! You get another chance to rise! Last week Los Angeles finally got into the win column and this week they get a road divisional game that would normally look like a probable loss, but with EJ Manuel under center, the Bolts should be able to steal a game, and put the Raiders in last place in the West! If the Chargers come up short, then they might as well burn the team down & rebuild without Philip Rivers. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Hmmm and offense with no skill players and a terrible offensive line going up against one of the best defenses in the NFL on the road. This game doesn’t look bad for the Giants. It looks like suicide. If I’m Eli Manning I’m coming up with a lame arm or something. Anything to keep me out of this game because if he plays the full 60 minutes, he might be joining a lot of his teammates on injured reserve. Denver rolls in this. Computer Hope
Computer Hope Colts v. Titans on Monday Night! Can’t you just feel the excitement between a clash of  titans featuring Jacoby Brissett & Matt Cassel! It doesn’t get any better than that! Marcus Mariota is questionable and if he doesn’t play then the Colts at least have a chance in this one. It sound insane but if the Colts win and the Jaguars lose, Indianapolis will be tied for 1st place in the South and Andrew Luck hasn’t even taken a snap in 2017! Computer Hope

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NFL POWER 32 – 2017 WEEK 5

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Texans 42-34. It’s easy to point to guys like Alex Smith, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce & Tyreek Hill on offense as the straws that stir the drink. The Chiefs do rank #1 in scoring offense, but a huge part of Kansas City’s 5-0 start should be credited to the offensive and defensive line. The O-Line isn’t giving up any sacks or even QB pressures on Alex Smith. They are also turning in a rookie RB into an All-Pro. The D-Line with Chris Jones, Benny Logan & Allen Bailey are playing out of their minds!
#2 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Cardinals 34-7. Carson Wentz is on pace to throw for 42oo yards with 32TD. He’s not really being hyped as an MVP candidate, but at some point shouldn’t he move ahead of guys like Tom Brady who people perpetually think should be in the top-3 no matter what? LeGarrette Blount ran the ball well again for the Eagles which is a great sign that he’s putting together some consistency in the run game. I still think the pass rush can get even better so the Eagles haven’t reached their peak just yet.
#3 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. Maybe the most interesting part of Atlanta’s bye week is seeing Carolina beating Detroit which followed the Panthers beating the Patriots. I think so far this season there has been a feeling of inevitability of Atlanta getting back to the Super Bowl, but the Panthers are starting to look like the Panthers of two years ago that got to the Super Bowl themselves. The win over Green Bay keeps looking fantastic and keep in mind that’s a big win when it comes down to home field advantage in the playoffs.
#4 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Cowboys 35-31. Would you really want any other QB playing for you right now other than Aaron Rodgers? Rodgers has been on a roll the past 3 games with a 10TD:1INT ration as Green Bay has gone 3-0 in their last 3. Rodgers put on a vintage performance against the Cowboys, ripping their hearts out for the 2nd consecutive game with a last second TD pass that seals the deal for Green Bay. Keep in mind that Rodgers is doing this behind a make shift O-Line & not much of a running game.
#5 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Lions 27-24. Beating Detroit is huge considering the tie-breaker implications it’ll have late in the season if both the Lions & Panthers are in Wild Card contention which seems like a foregone conclusion. Cam Newton was outstanding against the Lions passing for 355yds/3TD without a pick. In his last two games, Newton is 48/62 (77%) for 671 yards & 6TD with 1INT. Those games came against the Patriots & Lions so it’s not like Newton is beating up on the Indianapolis & Cleveland.
#6 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. The Broncos were on a bye week this past week which probably worked out for the best as the week was a little wonky with a lot of good teams going down and a lot of good players getting injured. Denver will host the Giants this upcoming week which should push their record to 4-1, but it’ll get interesting after that because they have 3 straight road games against the Chiefs, Chargers & Eagles. That 4-1 start could quickly dissolve into 4-4. The Broncos need to figure out how to win one of those.
#7 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Steelers 30-9. What complete domination!!! The Jaguars went into the Steel City and MURDERED the Steelers picking off Ben Roethlisberger 5 times while rushing for 231 yards on a solid Steelers defense! The Jaguars lead the NFL in point differential, turnover margin & sack differential. If not for the 2 losses this is the best team in the NFL right now. The formula is set. Against Pittsburgh, the Jags ran the ball 37 times with only 14 pass attempts. Leonard Fournett ran for 181 yards & 2TDs!!
#8 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bucs 19-14. New England’s defense stiffened up a bit on Thursday night against Tampa Bay, but this hardly looked like a Super Bowl contending team. At a certain point you are ranking the Patriots based on the reputations of Belichick and Brady, but they need to play a lot better. I’m not sure the Patriots can roll to another Super Bowl win without Rob Gronkowski in the lineup. Tampa Bay was exceptionally sloppy & Jameis Winston looked terrible & the Patriots still were only able to win by 5.
#9 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Panthers 24-27. Tough loss to Carolina but the Lions have now lost 2 games by a combined 7 points. That the Lions are are 3-2 and close to being 5-0 is more of a testament to how well Matt Stafford is playing. Carolina illustrated some definite weaknesses of the Lions, namely they don’t really have a running game and the O-Line is giving up way to many hits on Stafford. That’s going to catch up at some point whether it be in the playoffs or sooner. They also need to improve their pass rush.
#10 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Bengals 16-20. After HUGE wins against Denver & Atlanta, you had the feeling Buffalo was due for a let down game. Too bad it came against a 1-3 Bengals team who had only beaten Cleveland coming into this one. Cincy isn’t as bad as their record & it isn’t like Buffalo was going to win out. The Bills are bye this week but can make significant noise when they come back. They have 2 home games against the Raiders & Bucs followed by a road game against the Jets. The 3-2 could be 6-2!
#11 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. The Redskins were on bye this past week but had a good week nonetheless because both the Giants & Cowboys took losses giving Washington sold possession of 2nd place in the NFC East. Washington is dealing with some injury issues but I like this team quite a bit. They are going to have to try and figure out how to win road games because their remaining schedule isn’t the easiest of slates, but they’ve played well in their losses to the Eagles & Chiefs, two teams that are a combined 9-1 so far.
#12 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Jaguars 9-30. That was TERRIBLE. It might be time to hit the panic button in Pittsburgh. Big Ben threw 5 picks and even he’s starting to wonder if he’s finished. The last couple of years Roethlisberger has been contemplating retirement & you get the feeling that sentiment might be greater now that it ever has been. I think you are seeing this a bit with Eli Manning as well it makes you wonder if there really is a changing of the guard at QB coming sooner rather than later. Tough situation here.
#13 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bears 20-17. It’s never a good look to need a last second FG to beat the Bears when they are starting a rookie QB for the first time, but win and move on baby! If you are a Vikings fan you have to be encouraged a bit that Jerick McKinnon & Latavius Murray combined for 126 yards on 28 carries. Case Keenum looked very good going 17/21 for 140 yards/1TD. Is it Dalvin Cook & Sam Bradford? No, but the defense can cover up quite a bit of offensive shortcomings. They just need average offense.
#14 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Rams 16-10. Except for the disaster in Nashville, the Seahawks defense hasn’t allowed more than 18 points in a game this season. The Seahawks offense is a mess. I think Chris Carson could be a decent part of them improving on offense, but he was out against the Rams meaning it was up the defense to make plays which they did, forcing Jared Goff into 2 interceptions & holding Todd Gurley in check the entire game. I’m not sure I have any confidence in this team, but a 7-2 start seems likely.
#15 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Seahawks 10-16. The loss to Seattle in Los Angeles stinks for the Rams dropping them to 3-2 and relinquishing the lead in the NFC West, but a couple of good things come out of this loss. The first is that the Rams are without question one of the best 2 teams in the West meaning they are playoff contenders. The second is that they played terribly on offense & still only lost by 6 points to the Seahawks. The defense is +9 in sack differential but 23rd in scoring D. They’ll get even better on D.
#16 Computer Hope Last Week BYE. New Orleans had a bye this past week after winning two straight games. In the Saints next 8 games, I think 7 are winnable with the lone exception being a road game against the Packers. If New Orleans can put together a fantastic streak, they could potentially be 9-3 when they had to Atlanta on December 7th. The Saints are one of the most balanced teams in the NFL right now ranking 12th in both scoring offense & scoring defense. The Saints are also +7 in sack differential. They’re dangerous.
#17 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Browns 17-14. Can you believe the Jets have won 3 straight games!? Two of those wins came against Jacksonville & Miami, two teams who combine for a 5-4 record! The Jets aren’t really a 3-2 team we all know that, but you have to like the young pieces they have on defense. Guys like Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Daron Lee, Demario Davis, Leonard Williams & Jordan Jenkins are playing well & giving the Jets an identity on that side of the ball. They get the Patriots next week. It’ll be interesting.
#18 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Raiders 30-17. Granted it was the Raiders with EJ Manuel starting at QB, but it’s amazing how effective Baltimore can look when they get the game plan right which is focused on their running game with Joe Flacco making plays only if he needs to. Baltimore needs to play a lot like Jacksonville & they came close this past week rushing the ball 39 times to Flacco only attempting 26 passes. The Ravens have run for 136+yds in 3 of their 5 games this year. They are 3-0 in those games. Keep running.
#19 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Packers 31-35. Another game against Green Bay at home, another heart breaking loss at the hands of Aaron Rodgers! Couple of thoughts with the Cowboys. Last season Dallas was 7-1 in close games & +5 in TO margin. This year they are 0-2 in close games & -3 in TO margin. Some regression was in order which is why Dallas is 2-3 instead of 4-1. Dez Bryant isn’t a vertical threat meaning Dallas can’t stretch the field. It’s a problem. Jaylen Smith is killing them on defense. It’s becoming a problem.
#20 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Patriots 14-19. It sounds like a broken record, but the Bucs follow what QB Jameis Winston does and when Winston is off, Tampa Bay has a hard time winning football games. Winston avoided throwing any interceptions against the Patriots, but his accuracy was WAY OFF all night long & he never really looked that comfortable in the pocket. He had some receivers drop a couple of balls that could have changed the game so it’s not all on Winston, but he needs to be a lot more accurate to win.
#21 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Chiefs 34-42. You can’t help but be impressed with Deshaun Watson throwing for 5TD against the Chiefs defense, but you can’t help but be depressed to know that DE J.J. Watt is now out for the season. Give a lot of credit to HC Bill O’Brien for expanding the playbook and putting Watson into position where he feels a lot more comfortable which is getting outside the pocket. Maybe Houston can keep scoring 30-35 points a game & praying the defense can hold opponents to 25-28 points.
#22 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Giants 27-22. The Chargers finally WIN!!! Sure it came against the winless Giants, but Los Angeles got that first win under their belt and now can focus on getting better rather than having their record hang over their heads. The Chargers aren’t far away from being 4-1 instead of their current 1-4 and keep in mind that the team is +11 in sack differential which is 2nd in the league behind the Jaguars. If they can win their home games, the Bolts have a chance to get to 9-10 wins which is huge.
#23 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Bills 20-16. The Bengals defense looks like an entirely different group when Vontaze Burfict is healthy, starting and playing to his potential. Burfict was DOMINANT against the Bills last week recording 13 tackles, a sack and 4 tackles for loss! He definitely opened up the game for guys like Carl Lawson, Michael Johnson, Jordan Willis & Geno Atkins to dominate in the Front-7. Cincinnati ranks #2 in the NFL in scoring defense and if that trend holds they might end up winning the AFC North.
#24 Computer Hope Last Week Beat Titans 16-10. I’m not sure what to make of the Dolphins. They beat teams like the Chargers & Titans, but lose to the Jets? Tennessee was without Marcus Mariota which is a HUGE loss so I’m not surprised the Dolphins won. I am surprised that Miami’s offense is dreadful. Jay Cutler hasn’t been so good & the running game seems non-existent. The defense is playing well though. They got after Matt Cassel sacking him 6 times & getting 11 QB hits! Miami’s scoring defense ranks 4th in the NFL!
#25 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Ravens 17-30. A completely different team without Derek Carr in the lineup. Amari Cooper has been almost non-existent the entire season and the running game hasn’t been good either. Oakland goes from having a dynamic offense that could potentially score at will to arguably one of the worst offenses in the league led by a former 1st round bust. If Carr misses 2 weeks then Oakland could potentially rebound, but if he misses 6 weeks, their season is finished given the depth of the West.
#26 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Dolphins 10-16. This team is flat out terrible without Marcus Mariota under center. How in the world the coaching staff can justify letting Matt Cassel throw the ball 32 times while their running attempt just 20 carries is beyond my wildest imaginations. They are in a tight game with the Dolphins and have DeMarco Murray & Derrick Henry in the backfield and decide it’s better to keep airing it out? It makes absolutely no sense. Matt Cassel threw the ball 32 times!? What do the players think?
#27 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Vikings 17-20. Growing pains. You can’t really expect too much out of Chicago when they throw out a rookie QB making his first start against a defense like Minnesota’s, but the Bears gave a good effort and they are a lot closer than people expect. Close games against Atlanta & Minnesota look pretty good & the Bears do have that win over the Steelers. Trubisky needs to find a way to get Tariq Cohen the ball more. Cohen only had 6 carries and 1 reception. That’s not nearly enough for him.
#28 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Eagles 7-34. Trading for Adrian Peterson isn’t going to help. The defense is terrible. The offense can’t score a lick and the QB is about finished as a starter. The fall for Arizona came exceptionally fast and that’s too bad because Bruce Arians is a tremendous head coach. You can’t say enough about the loss of David Johnson. He makes the offense 100 times better. At this point the Cardinals need to be thinking about their QB of the future. They aren’t going anywhere in their current state.
#29 Computer Hope Last Week Beat 49ers 26-23. The Colts are 2-3 and a game out of first place in the AFC South with Andrew Luck’s return getting closer and closer. Sure they get the Titans next week, but if Marcus Mariota doesn’t play it’s another game Indianapolis could possibly win and get their record to .500! Talk about insanity! Marlon Mack also looked pretty good against the 49ers on Sunday. The Colts look downright terrible, but all of a sudden they are becoming one of the most interesting teams in the entire NFL!
#30 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Colts 23-26. It’s ridiculous to think that in their last 4 games, the 49ers are 0-4 losing all 4 games by a combined 11 points! Is San Francisco a 4-1 team? Absolutely not, but they are probably closer to 4-1 than they are 0-5! The defense has played pretty well outside of giving up 41 to the Rams and if regression has any say, the 49ers could be looking at a pretty nice bounce back year in 2018 especially if they can lure Kirk Cousins to California. Keep developing the young guys on defense!!
#31 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Chargers 22-27. It’s over. The Giants lost both Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall for the season. They were already playing without Sterling Shepard & Paul Perkins. Eli Manning seems to have an aversion to throwing Evan Engram the ball and the O-Line is terrible. This is the kind of season that could make Eli Manning want to hang them up afterwards. Like the 49ers, they are a bit unlucky going 0-3 in their last 3 by a combined 10 points, but I don’t see how they get any better.
#32 Computer Hope Last Week Lost to Jets 14-17. Well hello there Myles Garrett!! Garrett wasted no time in his very first professional start racking up 2 sacks in a 17-14 loss to the Jets. If you are looking for silver linings, the Browns for the most dominated the Jets statistically but committed 3 turnovers which essentially cost them the game. Kevin Hogan looked pretty good at QB & should probably remain the starter if only because it gives DeShone Kizer more time to develop. They’re 0-5 but Garrett is worth watching.

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2017 NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS AFTER WEEK 5

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NFC ANALYSIS

NFC EAST: The East breaks down according to record which is easy enough but so far the East has been somewhat of a disappointment. The Giants are downright horrible and now without both Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall, the offense looks bleak. The Giants have no offensive line and no runners worth a darn. This is shaping up to be a 1-15/2-14 season, and that kind of season might be enough for Eli Manning to take his 2 Super Bowl rings and go home. At 2-3 the Cowboys are turning into a disappointment. The Eagles of course are the class of the NFC and this makes sense really when you think about the make up of the team. Nobody is beating Philly in the trenches. The Redskins aren’t bad off at 2-2. It’s interesting that a lot of people thought the East would get a couple of teams in the playoffs, but that is looking fairly remote at this point. The division’s best hope for a wild card is the Washington Redskins.

NFC NORTH: The Lions own the tiebreaker over the Vikings which is why they rank ahead of them an nab the last wild card spot. The other teams follow record. I don’t think there is much to say about the North to be honest. It’s going to plan at this point. The Sam Bradford injury is brutal for the Vikings and they need to figure that one out. Bradford had to be pulled against Chicago on Monday night because he didn’t look right. Minnesota needs him long term because even without Dalvin Cook this is a team that could make significant noise in the playoffs because of their defense. Three of the top-7 teams according to seeding come from the North which is about what we would expect.

NFC SOUTH: The Saints win over Carolina gives New Orleans the tiebreaker over Tampa Bay. It sounds odd saying the Bucs are in last place despite being 2-2, but that is what happens when you play in the best division in football. The rest of the division goes by the record. Carolina is ahead of Atlanta because a 4-1 record is better than a 3-1 record, but this isn’t the Falcons fault as they were on bye in Week 5. The play of Carolina is a bit surprising I suppose, but when looking at the defense and the roster, it makes sense for the Panthers to be a pretty good team. Should they have beaten New England in Foxboro? Probably not, but those are the kinds of games you need to win if you are going to be a division winner. The Saints were on bye this past week keeping their record at 2-2, but something is clicking for the Saints because they’ve won their last 2 games by the combined score of 54-13. Did New Orleans figure out a way to play defense? If so, that is a game changer for the rest of the teams in the division.

NFC WEST: Seattle’s win over the Rams in Los Angeles rights the ship in the NFC West. Granted, the Seahawks are the #4 seed right now, but getting that win over LA gives them the division lead which is where they need to be. Don’t be surprised if Seattle wins up 13-3/12-4. The rest of the division follows their records. I think it’s safe to say the Rams are better than the Cardinals and that the 49ers are the worst team in the division. If you are looking for an interesting team to watch it might be San Francisco. In the 49ers last 4 games, they’ve lost all 4 by a combined 11 points including their last two losses which came in overtime. Sure SF’s “worst” case scenario is 0-5, but their “best” case scenario record is 4-1 which would lead the West. Right now the 49ers are 0-5 in close games and their TO margin is zero. If they can get some regression going this season and win some games they shouldn’t, I think the 49ers can potentially climb out of the NFC West basement.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 5

#6 DETROIT @ #3 CAROLINA
#5 ATLANTA @ #4 SEATTLE

It’s instructive note the QB on Wild Card weekend as compared to what the AFC QBs looks like (See below for a discussion on AFC QBs who are currently in and currently out of the playoff picture). The NFC in the Wild Card has Matt Stafford, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson while Carson Wentz & Aaron Rodgers have 1st round byes. The elite QBs not in the playoffs if the season ended after Week 5 are: Kirk Cousins & Drew Brees. The Atlanta/Seattle matchup above is a rematch of last year’s divisional round game that the Falcons won on their way to an NFC Championship game. Obviously Matt Ryan v. Russell Wilson is a marquee matchup. The Lions/Panthers game would be pretty interesting as a contrast of styles. The Panthers want to ground and pound quite a bit while the Lions feature more of an aerial attack given their lack of credible running options. It would be interesting to see which offense won out.



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AFC ANALYSIS

AFC EAST: What a wild division. Buffalo had a chance to put some distance between themselves and the Jets & Patriots, but instead lost a game to the 1-3 Bengals! Good job Bills, but it wouldn’t be the Bills if they didn’t lose games like this. Amazingly enough, the Jets beat the Browns and are on a 3-game winning streak!! What in the world is going on? New England did beat Tampa Bay on Thursday night which was a solid win, but they didn’t look anywhere close to being a Super Bowl contender in that victory. Divisional tiebreakers keep New England behind the Bills & Jets for now, but New England plays the Jets next week and Buffalo is on a bye week. By this time next week the Patriots could very well be the #2 seed in the AFC and things will at least appear like they are back to normal. If the Jets figure out a way to beat New England, the Jets could be the #2 seed in the AFC after 6 weeks, in which case, we’ll all be checking to see if Hell really did freeze over.

AFC NORTH: The Steelers beat the Ravens earlier this season so Pittsburgh has the division tiebreaker even though both have the same records. The Bengals & Browns break down easily because of record. You have to give a lot of credit to Baltimore & Cincinnati for winning big games this week that felt like must-win games given who they were playing. Cincinnati took advantage of a Bills team that were probably going to come down to their actual level of play at some point and the Ravens pounded a Raiders team that had to start EJ Manuel at QB because Derek Carr was injured. The Browns are certainly a mess and are now starting to play with Deshone Kizer’s head by pulling him as their starting QB. As always Cleveland is a mess and a possible 0-16 season is on the table.

AFC SOUTH: The storylines in the South are INCREDIBLE. The Jaguars hammered Pittsburgh & now find themselves in the #3 seed knocking on the door of the #2 seed and a first round bye in the playoffs! The Jaguars are playing to their strengths & the defense might be the best in the NFL. The Texans were dealt a MASSIVE blow when JJ Watt broke his leg Sunday night in Houston’s loss to Kansas City. The Texans played without Watt for the majority of last season & still made the playoffs. I’m not sure a repeat is going to happen. Tennessee without Marcus Mariota in the lineup is an absolute disaster. If Mariota doesn’t play, then the Titans might very well be the worst team in this division. The Colts beat the 49ers to get to 2-3, but Andrew Luck’s return now seems likely and Indianapolis is only a game behind the Jaguars. Could getting Luck healthy combined with everything else going on in the division push the Colts back into division title contention!? The AFC South has to be the wildest division in the NFL!

AFC WEST: The Chiefs simply keep winning and are easily the #1 seed with a 2-game lead on their nearest opponent. KC dominated the Texans on Sunday night despite the final score. Alex Smith is the MVP of the league right now and the offense is humming at pace I haven’t seen out of Kansas City in a very long time. The Raiders are a different team without Derek Carr and that’s unfortunate. By the time Carr gets back, Oakland might be out of it. It doesn’t seem like a big story because the Chargers are still just 1-4, but getting that first win could galvanize the Bolts into a legitimate playoff contender. The wild card teams are 3-2 and LA is 1-4 which is only 2 games out. There aren’t many easy games on the schedule for the Chargers, but they get a road game against Oakland next who’ll be without Derek Carr and after that they get a home game against the Broncos which won’t be easy, but it’s still a home game. That could push them to 3-4 before heading to Foxboro to take on New England, but you have to sort of like the Chargers in a way because of the Patriots problems on the O-Line and LA’s incredible pass rushing abilities.

WILD CARD GAMES AFTER WEEK 5:

#6 NEW YORK @ #3 JACKSONVILLE
#5 DENVER @ #4 PITTSBURGH

Raise your hand if you thought after Week 5 we’d potentially have a wild card game between the Jaguars & Jets!? In an odd way, this sets up very well for Ben Roethlisberger who is the most playoff experienced QB in the playoffs at this point. Right now the QBs who are in the playoffs are: Alex Smith, Tyrod Taylor, Blake Bortles, Ben Roethlisberger, Trevor Siemian and Josh McCown. The QBs who are on the sidelines are Tom Brady, Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers and Derek Carr. That’s incredible when you think about it. As the playoff stand now, the best we could hope for in the AFC Championship would be Alex Smith against Ben Roethlisberger, but that would require the Jets to knock off the Jaguars so the 6th seed would play the 1st and the 4th seed would get the 2nd. As for these wild card games now, Steelers/Broncos would be a fantastic game while Jaguars/Jets would be more novelty. Like I wrote earlier, don’t be surprised if this works itself out quickly. The Patriots should lead the East after Week 6 which will certainly change the outlook of the AFC playoff picture.

October 10, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments