The 2015 NFL Wild Card round is will begin this weekend and there will be four great contests. All of the “few notes” are from ESPN Stats and Information.
Arizona vs. Carolina
I would not want to face the Panthers in the post season. This team is smoking hot. They’re riding a four game win streak and the defense is firing on all cylinders. They beat Atlanta 34-3 last week to get into the playoffs. Just because they are 7-8-1 DO NOT take this team lightly. Since Cam Newton’s wreck they have seemed to be invincible.
For the banged up Cards, they must be feeling like they are the most underrated team remaining. Injuries have mounted at nearly every skill position, but they have been able to implement the next man up philosophy. Ryan Lindley is a third string quarterback who will have to lead this team to possibly four victories. Is it possible?
Over the last 10 seasons, the Panthers are the 5th team to make the playoffs with a record of .500 or worse…each of the previous 3 teams went on to win in the Wild Card round.
Teams that finished .500 or worse in the regular season have won 5 of their last 6 Wild Card games. No team that finished .500 or worse has made it past the Divisional Playoffs, however.
From Elias: If Ryan Lindleystarts for the Cardinals, he will be the 7th QB since the 1970 merger to start a playoff game after having 1-or-fewer regular-season wins as a starter. Those QBs are a combined 2-4 and haven’t won since Gifford Nielsen won in 1979 for the Oilers.
I believe that this game will not be close. Bruce Arians has done a phenomenal job at motivating his team and preparing his troops for the next battle. However, Carolina is clicking and it will be tough for Arizona to stay in it.
Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh
This is the only divisional contest this weekend and it is fueled by hatred and that alone. The squads split the regular season contests by both winning on their home turf. Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 17-14.
Baltimore clinched the final playoff spot by defeating the Browns in there finale 20-10. They have a balanced offense that is being fueled by the strong running of Justin Forsett. He shockingly ran for over 1200 yards.
It’s still no secret that I have had it in for the Steelers all season. The Philadelphia 76ers have been more consistent than the Steelers. Remember this is the same team that lost to both the Bucs and Jets. They have won four games straight so they will be looking to keep their spark lit. The biggest question mark for Pitt is the health of arguably the best running back in the NFL, Le’Veon Bell. He has a right knee injury and he did not practice on Thursday.
Bell said, “I feel really good. I didn’t expect to be feeling this well this early. But I am, so I’m just going to take it day by day and see where it goes.”
Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 17-14
The Steelers were an NFL-best 6-1 against teams that finished over .500 this season.
The Ravens are 6-1 in the Wild Card Playoffs in team history, the best record in the NFL among the 29 teams to play at least 4 Wild Card games.
Well if I have not been that excited the Steelers through the regular season, do you really think I pick them now. Baltimore wins by a field goal.
Cincinnati vs. Indianapolis
I have no idea what to expect in this contest. Both teams have the ability to put up points, but they can also stink up the joint. On paper we can expect a high scoring game, but if it is low scoring I would not be surprised.
The only way Cincinnati can win is if AJ Green plays. He did not practice on Friday due to the NFL concussion protocol. Can Andy Dalton lead this team to victory win it counts? Will the Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard run for at least 150 to take some pressure off of Dalton? There are way too many questions and I have no answers.
I have the same doubts about Indy. They can’t run the ball. The defense is more off pitch than Idina Menzel singing at a New Year’s Eve performance. Click here for the performance.
Marvin Lewis has lost his 1st 5 postseason games as head coach. Lewis has won 100 games in the regular season and joins Jim Mora as the only coaches with at least 100 wins and 0 postseason wins in NFL history.
The Colts defense allowed just 7 pass TD and a 27.1 Total QBR at home this season, both best in the NFL.
The Bengals had 135 yards of offense and went 1-of-13 on 3rd down in the Week 7 shutout loss to the Colts. It was the Bengals worst offensive performance since getting shutout in Week 17 against the Jets in 2009, when the starters didn’t play the full game.
Andrew Luck has thrown 8 interceptions in 3 career playoff games. Luck is the 1st QB to throw 8+ interceptions in his 1st 3 playoff games since Dan Fouts (1979-80 seasons).
By default I have to give the win to the Colts.
Detroit vs. Dallas
This will be the best matchup over the course of the weekend. This will be a battle of the lines. Can the Cowboys o-line stop the Detroit d-line? The Lions have been the best team against the run this season only allowing 69 yards per outing.
Matthew Stafford will have to have a perfect game if he wants to beat the ‘Boys. I’m sure Joique Bell and Reggie Bush will some pressure off of Stafford, but he cannot have another playoff letdown.
Dallas very well may be the best team in the league. They can pass, run, and defend. Murray and Romo have both made claims for the MVP award. They finished 6-1 to polish a very good regular season.
If history tells us anything, the Cowboys should go ahead and pack their bags for Green Bay. Matthew Staffordis 0-16 in road games against teams that finished the season with a winning record, the 3rd-most losses without a win in such games for any quarterback since the 1970 merger.
The Lions allowed an NFL-low 3.3 yards per rush on first down during the regular season. Only three teams have allowed fewer yards per rush on first down in a season in the last five years.
With Nick Fairleyreturning to practice, the Lions run defense could get another boost after Ndamukong Suh’s suspension was overturned earlier in the week. The Lions allowed 2.48 yards per rush against 86 carries with that duo on the field together this season. Those numbers dropped off significantly when 1, or both were out of the game.
There is a big bear in the room and we need to address it. I like Jay Cutler there I said it. (See week 11 post and week 8) Should he have been the highest paid offensive player in the league? No, but who else could Chicago have gotten to be their starter. This has been a let down season for Cutler, but this is not completely his fault. I blame coaching and defense. When the defense allows so many points, the quarterback must take more risks to catch back up. Matt Forte is one of the best backs in the league, why is he not touching the ball? It’s a shame Jay played better under Lovie Smith, a defensive minded coach, than Marc Trestman. The entire front office should be cleared out.
Jimmy Clausen will get the start this Sunday.
Crazy Stat of Day: Jay Cutler is making $22.5 million this year, more than Wilson, Luck, Rodgers, Newton and Sanchez COMBINED.
The Marcus Mariota Bowl will be on Thursday, as the Titans will face the Jags. Is that a reason to watch? Uh no.
Really, who wants to win the NFC South?
Can RG3 save his Washington roster spot?
Will DeMarco Murray play just days after having hand surgery?
Is Phillip Rivers healthy enough to lead his team to a possible playoff spot?
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Odell Beckham Jr.
I don’t understand the argument against JJ Watt winning the MVP. The Texans would still be a contender for the number one pick without Watt. According to ESPN Watt has 16.5 sacks, 64 combined tackles, 5 fumble recoveries, and 5 total touchdowns. I think of JJ the way I think of a pitcher in baseball A pitcher has a specialty but they can affect the scoreboard and momentum and the same applies to Watt. Clayton Kershaw (in the regular season) = JJ Watt.
The former Oakland and Tampa Bay coach announced Monday night that he signed an extension to remain in the Monday Night Football booth through 2021. Hopefully, this puts an end to all of the rumors about him heading back to the sidelines. This is a huge announcement for the Gruden family. His brother Jay, coach of Washington, may need a new gig in the next couple of years.
Head Coaching Vacancies
These are the jobs that are certain to be open on Black Monday:
New York (N)
New York (A)
Possibly Tennessee & Jacksonville
Last Week: 12-4
JACKSONVILLE over Tennessee
Philadelphia over WASHINGTON
San Diego over SAN FRANCISCO
Baltimore over HOUSTON
Detroit over CHICAGO
Kansas City over PITTSBURGH
New England over NEW YORK (A)
CAROLINA over Cleveland
Green Bay over TAMPA BAY
MIAMI over Minnesota
Atlanta over NEW ORLEANS
Buffalo over OAKLAND
ST. LOUIS over New York (N)
Indianapolis over DALLAS
Seattle over ARIZONA
CINCINNATI over Denver
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Since 1999, the Cleveland Browns have had twenty starting quarterbacks. Let me reiterate that. Since 1999, the Cleveland Browns have had twenty quarterbacks. Some how this sorry excuse of a team finds themselves in a quarterback controversy. Brian Hoyer has led the team to a 7-5 record. 7-5 is outstanding for the Browns and it’s all because of Brian Hoyer.
Because the team was down by 17 in the fourth quarter last week head coach, Mike Pettine, decided to put in Johnny Manziel who led the team down field and scored a touchdown. Oh, happy day.
This organization has been looked down upon more than any other team in the NFL since the team resurfaced. They have an opportunity to go to the playoffs, but they will eventually cater to what people want instead of what works.
Last time I checked Johnny Manziel is not Aaron Rodgers, Steve Young or Doug Flutie. Hell, he’s no Earl Morrall. Those players just waited. Their Hall of Fame head coaches knew when the right time was to put them in and not a second sooner.
Cleveland may never experience success like this again. Ride the horse that brought you to the dance. If Manziel is the guy for next year play him then. Until then, stifle yourselves!
Is the beginning of another miserable December for the Cowboys?
Will someone actually step in front of the NFC South?
Will the Cardinals get a much-needed win against the Chiefs?
Can the Bengals extend their AFC North lead?
Can the Giants ever play like a NFL quality team?
Last week, Rice was reinstated back into the NFL like he should have been. Calm down please. This guy did the time he was originally awarded and then some. No one cares about public opinion. He has the right to make a living just like everyone else. Any team in the league can pick him up. If a team does not want to be surrounded with his baggage they have the option to not sign him.
I don’t believe Ray Rice will be signed this season because it’s just too late. However, he will be signed right after the draft next year. Expect him to be a vengeful player.
Which team in the NFL lost to New Orleans, Tampa Bay, and the Jets this season? Yep, that would be Pittsburgh. Well, I said it in week 11, but no one believed me. The Steelers are worse than the Philadelphia 76ers. Good thing the team remains dedicated to their coaches because Mike Tomlin would have been fired with any other team.
The team that may be trending at the right time has to be the Lions. If Matthew Stafford can place the ball in the receiver’s hands this team may be unbeatable in January. I like the way Joique Bell is running and that defensive line is nasty. Be on the lookout.
The Seahawks seem to be playing like the Seahawks again. Their defense shut down San Fran on Thanksgiving and it seems is though the running game is what’s moving the ball. It’s never been mentioned, but is Russell Wilson a MVP contender? Without him Seattle may be 4-12.
Why would the Niners consider trading Jim Harbaugh? Yes, he may be a pain in the behind, but he wins every place he goes. He even brought this team to the Super Bowl and they are not appreciative. At some point in time we all have to step outside of our comfort zone. Apparently, Frisco is not wiling to do that.
The Pro Bowler will miss the last four games of the season because of the use of Adderall. The defensive leader will be missed. We will see how the team reacts in a must win game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Hot Seat part 2
It appears as though Rex Ryan is a lame duck, so he is excused from this conversation.
Mike Smith- The head coach of the Falcons on their way to another disappointing season. Though Atlanta is still tied for the NFC South lead, they are still an awful team. The defense is dismal and the high-powered offense is weaker than Dodge Charger with a Ford Pinto motor. I believe the writing is on the wall for Smith.
Marc Trestman- Da Bears are possibly a bigger disappointment than the Falcons. Jay Cutler has underperformed and their defense has allowed over 149 points since week 8. I don’t believe his position is savable under any circumstance.
For other Hot Seat candidates please see my post from week 9.
RIP Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
On Thursday, December 4, the world lost one of the best sports journalists of our time. Maybe you have read his column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch or you could have possibly seen him on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters. Burwell was 59.
It is no secret that I am not a New Orleans Saints fan even though I live forty miles out of city limits. I can’t explain how disgusted I was last week when I seen one of their fans snatch a ball out of the hands of a Bengals fan. I was sick, seriously. I was embarrassed to be the stereotypical southern gentleman. I was embarrassed to be from southeastern Louisiana. OJ and Dennis Rodman did not make me this embarrassed to be African-American! He said that the ball will be for his grandson, but why would you want to give him a ball from the opposing team? The lady is an underpaid principal for Christ sake. Hasn’t she suffered enough? The New Orleans PR department did give the lady a football, but it did lack a touchdown flare. I do apologize to the Bengals franchise and everyone else for the lack of respect displayed to the world.
Can Josh Gordon return to glory? (Please my fantasy teams need it!)
Is RG3 worth the headache?
Can the best NFL team go into Seattle and get a win?
Are both Tom Coughlin and Eli performing for their jobs?
This NFL season has been exciting and do not expect it to stop this weekend. The folks in Dallas actually have the right to be optimistic about their favorite team. When was the last time that happened? The Ravens have fought adversity this entire season. Some things have gone along as expected. Peyton is God, the Bucs suck, and Pats are on their way to the playoffs. These are some things that you should be looking forward to as we move on into week 7.
Week 7 Storylines
Will Rex Ryan be fired before the end of the season?
Is Kirk Cousins a professional back up QB? He’s had chances to take the starting job.
Who are the Steelers and Giants?
Did you know the Browns should be 5-0?
Will Atlanta finally get a win on the road?
Can the Lions make a kick?
Which NY Giants will standup in the absence of Victor Cruz?
Can the Eagles running game stay hot?
Are the 9ers for real? We’ll say as they face the Broncos.
Is Dallas for real?
Will Jacksonville or Oakland win this season?
This is the preview of the 2015 NFL draft. The only player we will focus on is afore mentioned Florida State Seminole, Jameis Winston. He is arguably the best player in college football. He battles adversity better than anyone else. The media attacks him on a daily basis, but who does Winston have to blame but himself. Apparently, there is no proof that he has accepted money for over 950 autographed items. It also seems as if he will not face any penalties for the alleged rape investigation.
Winston needs to grow up. I find it hard to believe anything he says. His draft stock has fallen considerably. Because of his problems off of the field, I would not draft him.
(1/3 of the season) Power Rankings
San Diego Chargers
Green Bay Packers
San Francisco 49ers
New England Patriots
New York Giants
New Orleans Saints
Kansas City Chiefs
New York Jets
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFL 1/3 season awards
MVP: DeMarco Murray
Pick your jaws up. Murray has been spectacular thus far. He has rushed for 785 for six scores through six games. His offensive line is opening up some serious running gaps for him to rush within. Also, he is taking a lot of pressure off of Tony Romo by providing a balanced attack. He I hope he will be able to hold up.
Defensive Player of the Year: JJ Watt
Expect anything different He is the Houston Texans. He has two fumble recoveries and a pick six.
Dummy of the Year: Joseph Randle
This Cowboys backup stole underwear and cologne valued at a combined $123.50. It was a Class B misdemeanor. He was fined $29,117 by the team
Well, even the greats have a bad day. Babe Ruth struck out, Wayne Gretzky missed shots, and Wilt Chamberlin didn’t sleep with every woman he wanted to. Am I on their level? When it come to picking teams, yes I am. I had two more wins that were erased in the final moments of games. Cincinnati had an overtime win, but Mike Nugent couldn’t help but miss a game ending kick. Miami fell for the good ole okie-doke and allowed Aaron Rodgers to take a W away from them with :02 left on the clock. Both of those games cost me my winning week.
Last Week: 6-8-1
Week 7 Bye: Tampa Bay & Philadelphia
NEW ENGLAND over New York (A)
BUFFALO over Minnesota
Cleveland over JACKSONVILLE
CHICAGO over Miami
DETROIT over New Orleans
WASHINGTON over Tennessee Only God knows and cares
BALTIMORE over Atlanta
GREEN BAY over Carolina
INDIANAPOLIS over Cincinnati
Seattle over ST. LOUIS
SAN DIEGO over Kansas City
Arizona over OAKLAND
DALLAS over New York (N)
DENVER over San Francisco
PITTSBURGH over Houston
Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Performer is…
Katy Perry will be the halftime performer at the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona on February 1, 2015. I believe it was a great selection. She is one of the best acts on the planet and she is relevant. She was a finalist along with Rhianna. I believe that picked Perry because Rhianna is a victim of domestic abuse and it would have been another PR problem. However, the NFL missed a golden opportunity by not picking Rhianna. They could have shown that what life can be like after domestic violence. She has exhibited strength and courage while at the same time forgiving her abuser (She also doesn’t have to hesitate to call me at any given time.)
MVP and Offensive Player of the Year: Peyton Manning, again.
Until another power player comes along and puts an entire team on his back, this award will always go to Peyton Manning. He is the difference maker and he puts the most time and effort into preparing for a contest on a weekly basis. Reminder for the past two seasons he played with the same talent that Tim Tebow was privileged to.
Defensive Player of the Year: JJ Watt
His team was possibly the biggest disappointment in all of the NFL last season. There is no question that he is the best player on the defensive side of the ball for the Houston Texans. Because of that he will be a huge motivator and leader for his team. Expect the Texans to be in the playoff race.
Offensive Rookie of the Year Johnny Manziel..HAHA I made a funny. Zach Mettenberger is your winner:
I like Jake Locker, but something will happen that will force him out of the lineup. I’m thinking of another injury. There is a tremendous amount of talent at the wide receiver position for the Titans. Someone will have to get them the ball and I believe Metternberger will start at the helm by week 4.
Defensive Rookie of the Year Jadeveon Clowney:
I think that he and JJ Watt will be Batman and Robin. Clowney will get to the quarterback with no problem.
Coach of the Year Jay Gruden:
Washington went 3-13 last season. It’s pretty hard not to improve upon that. RG3 is healthy and the wide receiver core has been improved. They are in the worst division, which will help them out.
As we have reached the half- way point of the NFL season it is time to give out awards and announce the Power Rankings
MVP– Tom Brady
The Golden Boy has done the most with the talent, or lack thereof, around him thus far.
Most Improved Team- New Orleans Aints, I mean Saints
Okay, it is apparent that I hate this team more than the Tea Party hates poor people, but I must give this team their just do. For people who do not think that coaching is important, Sean Payton and Rob Ryan have worked wonders for the Aints.
Coach of the Year– Andy Reid
The Chiefs have the best record, and no one expected the team to be this good.
Biggest Disappointment (Player)– Larry Fitzgerald
No, he has played great, but the Cardinals franchise has failed Larry. He deserves to be apart of a better team. Maybe a team that would appreciate his efforts on the gridiron.
Biggest Disappointment (Team)– Tampa Bay
The team spent a great deal of money for an 0-8 record.
Rookie of the Year– Geno Smith
The J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS are 5-4 and this team has risen.
Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots
Green Bay Packers
San Francisco 49ers
New Orleans Saints***
New York Jets
San Diego Chargers
St. Louis Rams
New York Giants
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
***Personally, the worst team ever, but they are far from #1.