Welcome back Lefty! Phil Mickelson is making his first appearance of the season at the Humana Challenge. This is his first start since the Ryder Cup. He will be looking to get off to a hot start in 2015 because his 2014 season was awful. Lefty had twelve top 25 finishes. The highest finish he had was second at the PGA Championship to Rory McIlory.
Defending champ, Patrick Reed will look to become the first repeat champion since Johnny Miller did it in 1975-76. At this event last season he became the third player to win this event wire-to-wire.
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.
Normally, I give a huge spill about what’s huge storylines, but this week there is only one storyline. It’s either win or go home.
If you had asked me a few weeks if these two teams would make the playoffs I would have laughed in your face. Jeremy Hill seems to be a great compliment to Gio Bernard. With both in the backfield Andy Dalton should have more time to throw the rock. It is no secret that I have been a little mean to the Steeler Nation. I still don’t believe them however to go deep into the playoffs.
There will be a huge game on the “Frozen Tundra” known as Lambeau Field. Green Bay has been unstoppable at home this season. They are 7-0 and averaging 41.1 points per game. Detroit is hot on offense. The question is will the front line be able to put some kind of pressure on Rodgers.
Both the Falcons and Panthers deserve a playoff spot by the way they have both ended the season. Both teams are on hot and they have apparently saved both of their head coach’s jobs. I have no problem with a team under .500 making the playoffs as long as they have some type of positive momentum ending the regular season.
Teams are still jockeying for the final AFC Wildcard spot. San Diego has the opportunity to serve out for the position. They will travel to Kansas City for a chance to do that. Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City are all still alive.
Earlier this week he was suspended by the Browns for the regular season finale against the Ravens.
Josh Gordon's one-game suspension today could cost him millions. By being suspended for last game of season,… http://t.co/hMtBOP6iWG
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.
This is a sports blog, but we can not ignore what has been happening in Ferguson, MO. Only two people will truly ever know the complete truth of what happened the evening that Michael Brown was killed. I may not be the smartest person but even I know that violence plus violence does not equal peace.
Let’s get back to football.
Will the loser of the Seattle/San Fran game not make the playoffs?
Who’s really the exceptional team in the NFC East?
Will we get a SB preview when NE goes against GB?
Can San Diego make a comeback and win the AFC West?
This division is arguably the most competitive group of four teams. Each team is still mathematically alive to win the division even though there is a possibility that no one will finish with a winning record. I still have Atlanta winning the NFC South. Cam Newton can’t stay on his feet and Tampa Bay is worth less than a $2 steak. Frankly, New Orleans never had a chance!
Jive Turkeys of the Year
This honor was fairly simple to award this year. Ray and Janay Rice truly deserve this prestigious distinction more than other couple on the planet. You know the story so I don’t need to go there again. He’s an ignorant imbecile while she is a dummy. They belong together.
Congrats on the award!
Presidential Turkey Pardon
If you are a weekly reader of Down the Line Sports you know that do not believe in the hardship that the NFL has put Adrian Peterson through. He should be reinstated into the NFL ASAP. There is no reason as why he is being put through hell.
Adrian Peterson, you have been officially pardoned.
Last Week: 12-3
Week 13 Picks
DETROIT over Chicago
DALLAS over Philadelphia
SAN FRANCISCO over Seattle
BUFFALO over Cleveland
BALTIMORE over San Diego
Carolina over MINNESOTA
Cincinnati over TAMPA BAY
HOUSTON over Tennessee
INDIANAPOLIS over Washington
JACKSONVILLE over New York (N)
PITTSBURGH over New Orleans
ST. LOUIS over Oakland If you watch this game you seriously need a life!
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?
You know, I feel heartbroken. I have gone far out of my way to support a few teams this season and I have absolutely nothing to show for it. The only other person who knows who knows about this degree of heartbreak is Taylor Swift. Her most recent classic “Blank Space” has inspired me to fill in the blank space that a few teams have created.
The Steelers are overrated beyond belief. So this team dominated both the Colts and Ravens, but the couldn’t beat the sorry Jets. Quarterbacks like Kyle Orton, Alex Smith, and Phillip Rivers have all lit up the Jets, but Mr. twelve-touchdown passer, Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t pass gas against the New York. I have no faith in Pittsburgh. Actually, no one should have faith in Steelers. Earlier, in the season the Tampa Bay beat Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. I sincerely like Mike Tomlin, but I believe he is ready to take over a new position with a team that worth his talents.
By the way, who was the genius that decided to invite Justin Beiber to bible study? His music career has been hit by a steel curtain for gosh sake. Why keep losers around your team? He screws up everything he is involved with.
Fans of Da Bears should feel extremely disgusted by the lack of production the extremely talented team has put on the field. Jay Cutler is making Brian Hoyer look like Tom Brady. A few weeks ago I said that Jay was not the only reason for the mournful play of the Chicago team. Since week seven the defense has allowed 133 points. Marc Trestman should be shown the door. The team has gotten significantly worse since he has taken over leadership over the franchise.
Cam Newton should apply for Affordable Healthcare. Apparently, Cam Newton is still not 100%. It also doesn’t help that his offensive line is worse than the secret service. Below is the list of quarterback hits in the past four seasons:
Cam Newton 531
Ryan Fitzpatrick 272
Alex Smith 257
Joe Flacco 254
No one can make a great play when they are lying on the ground. Ron Rivera has done a fantastic job as head coach, but if I were he I would be checking out prices for U-Haul rentals.
Week 11 Storylines
Is it possible for the Cards to remain at the top of the league without Carson Palmer?
Can the Seahawks beat a quality Chiefs team?
Will the Giants show they are worth something as they face the 9ers?
Can the Chip Kelly system defeat GB? The winner may be the Ayatollah of the NFC.
Which team is actually 2nd best in the AFC? Is it Indy or NE?
Is Cincy worth anything?
Can Teddy lead his team to a win at Soldier Field?
Hopefully, AP gets reinstated this week. He should be allowed back into the league immediately because what he did is questionable. What do I mean by questionable? He is this harsh violent football player, but he was not charged with any crime. I know people who were not whipped who turned out to be good people and I also know some who are now the scum of the earth. I ended up fine. Every time I did something wrong I was whipped. It’s how I learned right from wrong. Peterson thought he did the right thing for his child and the NFL should not be able to punish him for that.
Last Week: 9-4
New York (A), Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville
FYI: 1st time this season I have been confused on more than one game.
As we head into the second half of the NFL season the quarterback position becomes even more important. Several teams have backups in at the most important position in all of sports. Which one is the best? Frankly. who knows. Mark Sanchez is leading the 1st place Eagles. Can the butt-fumble guy lead his team into the playoffs? Some say that Sanchez was the best Philly QB during the preseason.
Because no one knows what will happen with Tony Romo. The only way Dallas will make the postseason will be if he plays. Brandon Weeden may play if the Cowboys up early. Romo will get the start in England against the Jags. Hopefully, he will not re-aggravate his injury.
Week 10 Storylines
Why play Tony Romo against the Jags?
Will Oakland pull of an upset?
Can the Big Ben hot streak continue?
Which team will survive the NFC East?
Can San Fran get a much-needed win in the Big Easy?
Are the Bears still worth watching?
Coach of the Year Race
Mike Pettine- Cleveland, yes Cleveland is having a great and surprising year. The Browns are 6-3 and are tied for first place in the AFC North. They are having a great season and their best player has not played a down yet this season. Wide receiver, Josh Gordon will return to action in a couple of weeks. It seems as if he made the right decision by starting Brian Hoyer over Johnny Manziel.
Bruce Ariens- The Arizona Cardinals has the best record in the NFL, which automatically qualifies him for the award. Expect his team to be competitive against the remaining squads on their schedule, which includes Seattle, San Francisco, and St. Louis.
Bill Belichick- Just a few weeks ago, his team was ruled out. Now, New England is on fire. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are clicking on all cylinders. Mind you they are doing this with a weak offensive line and average receivers.
The Washington football team once again could not get a victory. They had an opportunity to get a late win in Minnesota but fell short in the final minutes. Prior to the game beginning, rumors surfaced about the support for RG3. Reports surfaced saying that players felt as though the team should have started Colt McCoy, who had won the past two games for the team. Other reports claim that upper management, Dan Snyder, decided to play Griffin.
I would start the player who is winning me games. Washington is 3-6 with no chance of possibly making the playoffs. The franchise quarterback may be Griffin, but he has not earned the title on the field in the past two seasons. The job should be up for grabs. Kirk Cousins has proven to be good enough to be the quarterback for the Raiders or the Jets. He sucks he really really sucks. Griffin and McCoy should compete for the rest of the season to determine who should be the leader in the nation’s capital.
The starting QB job is should be the least of their concerns. The team was welcomed at TCF Bank Stadium by a group of protestors. Over 5,000 people showed up for the meaningful event. This will end will when the team eventually changes the name. There is a such thing as a right and wrong side of history and apparently this organization is hell bent on taking the iniquitous approach.
Normally, I write a positive lead, but for week 9 that task seems impossible. Last week, I seen some of the worst play I have ever seen in any sport. Jets quarterback, Geno Smith, played worse than Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez combined. Do you know how bad you have to play to do that? Before he was pulled for Michael Vick, Smith had already thrown three picks en route to a QBR less that 0.1. Watching this team seriously made my eyes hurt.
Two weeks ago the entire city of Chicago wanted to kill Jay Cutler, but he was not the reason they lost last week. Da Bears were trumped 51-23 in Boston. Their defense had no answers for Brady, Gronkowski, or LaFell. I really don’t understand this team. Chicago is way too good to be so bad.
I remember when the Oakland Raiders was a respected sports franchise. Now, they are possibly worse than President Obama’s approval rating on foxnews.com. I like Derek Carr and the receivers that he has, but that’s about it. The coaching is awful and the defense is miserable. Al Davis is rolling over in his grave and the people in the faithful black hole should consider giving up their season tickets for the foreseeable future.
Week 9 Storylines
Who really is better Peyton or Brady?
Can Tony Romo stay healthy for the duration of the season? We’ve talked so much about DeMarco Murray playing in all sixteen games, but no one has mentioned Romo. They cannot win without him, but they can lose with him.
Who are the Houston Texans? This week against Philly they will have an opportunity to play like the playoff team they should be.
What is Washington thinking? Do they ever think? Colt McCoy has won back-to-back games and they bench him. RG3 has garbage when he was healthy and Kirk Cousins played like a Jets quarterback. In the NFC East it is never too late for a team to make a come back and win the division. Expect Robert Griffin to come back to the trainer’s room within the next three weeks. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Can Ben Roethlisberger repeat his record-breaking performance last week? Heinz Field is still on fire as Big Ben had his way with the Colts.
For the life of me I cant understand why the NFL wants to take over the London market and put a team there. This week we will have the Seattle Seahawks go against the London Monarchs. Who will want to travel all that way? How about putting an NFL team in LA, Portland (OR), Toronto, Mexico City, Maui, Vegas, or San Antonio. Remember NFL Europe, how did that end? The Beijing Communists, Australian Kangaroos, Egypt Pyramids, and the Rome Chicken Parmesans will be on the docket ten years from now.
Coaches on the Hot Seat
Rex Ryan- I like him, but he knows that he has been set up to fail this season. The Jets have way too much cap room not to bring in quality players. Last week, the Jets had a receiver playing cornerback. With all of that money they can’t get a mediocre cornerback or quarterback. Something seems off. I hope he get another head coaching job.
Marvin Lewis- This Bengals coach has had a great team since he’s been in Cincy, but he has not made a significant push in the post season. Nothing will change this year. The AFC will run through New England and Denver. Cincinnati will have no say so.
Tom Coughlin- This two-time SB champion has run out of luck. I predict that the G-Men will go 7-9 and miss the playoffs. Since Coughlin joined the team in 2004 they have missed the playoffs in five of his ten seasons.s
The team I am beginning to LOVE:
Arizona- This was the best team last season to not make the playoffs and they are now showing teams that they are for real. Carson Palmer is possibly playing the best ball that he has ever played and he is doing it by not passing to Larry Fitzgerald on every down. They are also +9 on turnovers. I do not, however, like the way Patrick Peterson is playing. He is a shadow of what he was last season. Quarterbacks are no longer afraid to go after him.
The team I am beginning to HATE:
San Diego- The Chargers started the off hot, but they are starting to simmer off. Phillip Rivers is a great QB, but there is only so much he can do on the offensive side of the ball. Brandon Oliver has done an okay job in starting in the place of Ryan Matthews, but they need more. Especially since Denver is starting to pull away in the AFC West.
Dummy of the Week:
This award was made for Lamar Houston. His Bears were being blown out. Houston got a sack on the Patriots backup QB before he decided to celebrate. In which this happened.
Last Week: 9-6
Byes: Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Tennessee
Well the NBA season returns this week, and I must say that I am extremely excited. I’m excited because this has been an extremely long offseason that has only had a few storylines that have been covered for far too long by the media. C’mon you know what I’m talking about.
Where’s LeBron going?
Can D. Rose come back healthy?
Is Phil Jackson going to return as the head coach of the Knicks?
Are the 76ers going to win five games in the 14-15 season?
For the most part we already knew how those questions were going to pan out. Am I surprised that LeBron went back to Cleveland? Not really. He has a much better chance to win an NBA title and he can bring glory to his home city. Cleveland has not celebrated a championship since 1964. Jim Brown led the then Cleveland Browns to the NFL Championship.
Let’s examine the teams:
As previously mentioned, LeBron James did return home. He is team up with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. I believe Love is the best big man in the NBA because he can rebound and he can score from anywhere on the court. However, Chris Bosh was also a deadly big man as well who took a minor role to play alongside LeBron. I don’t see Love putting up the same numbers that he did when in Minnesota just because he doesn’t have to. I can hope that he is still effective on both sides of the court. Kyrie Irving is arguably the best point guard in the league. He can score and stretch the court. The Cavs also have a great bench who is made up of good scorers.
However, on the bad side the Cavs do a have a rookie coach, David Blatt. He is a respected coach. Blatt comes with a great resume. He’s a four time Israeli League Coach of the Year, six time Israeli Cup Champion, Italian Cup Champion, and Euroleague Champion. It will be interesting to see him bring an international flair to the NBA and see how he reacts to the nuances a new league.
For all of the friendly folks who pretended to be Miami Heat fans, please know that your presence will not be missed. It was just a few years ago where the Heat were in this same position. The leader of the team was Dwayne Wade and he had a mediocre supporting cast. Now players who actually have talent will surround Wade. Chris Bosh can be a beast within the paint again. He does not have to be on the perimeter to stretch the defense. I believe that Luol Deng is one of the most disrespected players in the league. He can score, play defense on log major minutes.
The million-dollar question with this team is their health. Wade must play in at least 70 games. If Danny Granger can return healthy they may have a chance at a playoff spot.
With all that being said the next time that the Miami Heat win a championship will be when LeBron James has a full head hair. It’s not gonna be anytime soon.
Derrick Rose appears to be back and playing like Derrick Rose. He’s making cuts and driving hard to the basket. My only concern about this team is the health of the former league MVP. Rose has had an ACL tear in the past and a torn meniscus. To play this sport you must have a good foundation and hopefully he has that.
The Bulls brought in a Pau Gasol during the free agency period. It will be hard for teams to matchup on the Bulls double-headed monster in the post. Gasol will play side by side with Joakim Noah. Noah carried the Bulls all of last season in the absence of Rose.
Chicago reminds me most of San Antonio. Meaning that this group of people plays great together. If and only if Rose is healthy will this team win the NBA title.
Paul George broke his leg while playing for team USA during the offseason. He will be out the entire 2014-2015 season. George says that he can possibly be back for the playoffs if needed. This team has no chance of making the playoffs in the easiest conference. The Pacers were disgusting in the postseason last spring. Roy Hibbert, proved his worth as he had games where he did not record a basket or a rebound. A 7’2 you can’t get a rebound. I have a great aunt over 80 who can play better. David West is the only person on this team that I trust. He will play hard, too bad his team won’t.
New York Knicks
We found out over the offseason that Carmelo Anthony cares more about money than winning a championship. He signed a five-year $124 million to stay in the Big Apple. It is understood that Melo does not pass the ball. It is also understood that he has no one to pass to. Amar’e Stoudemire is supposed to be his help, but Stoudemire can’t stay on the field. He has played in 55 games per season since signing with the Knicks. That ain’t gonna cut it. Derek Fisher is they’re new head coach. Oh, he knows absolutely nothing about coaching. He knows the triangle offense, but does he know that he has no talented players on his team. If New York makes the playoffs it will be in a very low position.
Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant is the Los Angeles Lakers. If Kobe Bryant stays healthy the Lakers can win 30 games. If he is not healthy the Lakers win 12. It’s as simple as that. The team sucks, and there is nothing that Bryant can do about it. Then there’s Nick Young. Who cares about Nick Young? Carlos Boozer is washed up! Steve Nash is out for the season. Truly, that’s a good thing. He would have made them worse. Jeremy Lin is overrated and the owners are delusional. Here’s a clip of Jeanie Buss on First Take last week. She thinks her team will make the playoffs. Excuse me. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
San Antonio Spurs
The defending champs will look to do the same thing they do every year. Except, this year they will catch no one by surprise. They’ve been to the finals the last two season and many are expecting them to go back there again. There really is no story here. This is a great team. Expect them to be in the mix.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant will miss at least the first month of competition. When he comes back the Thunder return to be the force that they truly are. But instead of talking about the league’s second best player let’s talk about Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is one of the best young players in the NBA. I believe that he has a very bright future in front of him, but he really needs to know his role. He is not the best player in Oklahoma City and never will be. I believe he is the modern day Penny Hardaway. Hardaway just knew he was better than Shaq and got a rude awakening once he found out he was not. Shaquille O’Neal went on to get four titles. Durant will get his championships with or without the help of Russell Westbrook.
Eastern Conference Standings
Western Conference Standings
Los Angeles Clippers
In the East, may the Knicks will play their way in. Look out for Orlando. They are a young talented team that will be on the way this year. The West is stacked. Memphis and Phoenix both made compelling arguments for being my eighth seed. I believe in Brian Shaw as a head coach and he will lead the Nuggets to a top eighth seed.
Finals: Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Clippers
Champs: Chicago Bulls (If Derrick Rose stays healthy.)
Wait for it. Wait for it. How ‘bout dem Cowboys? That is only the second time that phrase has been used here on Down the Line Sports and possibly not the last. The team is on fire and my pick for MVP, DeMarco Murray, is playing like is possessed. The entire offense is clicking on all cylinders and the defense is containing the opposing offenses. I expect the ‘Boys to get their next loss on November 23. They would be 9-1 going into that week 11 matchup with the New York Football Giants. By the way it has been a long time since I’ve heard a good Tony Romo joke.
Enough kissing up to Dallas! Congrats to Peyton Manning on overtaking Brett Favre as the all-time touchdown passer. Have a look at how many people he has thrown TD passes to.
By the way, that’s Peyton Manning not Gary Payton. Payton played in the NBA for the Seattle SuperSonics.
Week 8 Storylines
Who are the Bengals and Bears? These two teams are pit-i-ful. Cincy has a great excuse A.J. Green has been injured and there really is no one that can take his place. The Bears need Jesus or whomever they collectively believe in.
Will the real Atlanta Falcons please stand-up?
Can Aaron Rodgers continue his hot streak against a pathetic New Orleans secondary?
To the Cleveland Browns, please please please know that you are the Cleveland Browns. Why go for a first down last in the first half when you have the lead against the sorry Jags. Oh, and don’t be stupid. Brian Hoyer has been phenomenal quarterback for this team. Normally, the Brown would be 0-6, but because of him they are 3-3. Johnny Manziel has a comfortable seat on the bench don’t move him.
Then, there are the Raiders.. Who cares??
Last week, Percy Harvin was traded from the Seattle Seahawks to the New York J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS. Reports are still coming out as to why he was traded. Some are saying that he was disagreeable and he did not get along with Russell Wilson. Harvin will now pay for his sins. Would I rather Russell Wilson pass me the ball or Geno Smith? Whatever idiot just said Geno please excuse yourself from this conversation.
The Jets got the better of the deal. They only gave up a mid-round pick to rent Harvin for the rest of the season. If you are gonna miss the playoffs at least do it with a Pro Bowl receiver.
Cutler may now be the most hated guy in Chicago. Earlier in the week teammates and the media have talked about Cutler. Brandon Marshall, star wide out, said that the way Da Bears is playing is “unacceptable”. He’s right. I don’t know if it’s the QB’s fault, but he is the maestro of the offense and they are not performing as well as they should, especially at home. Chicago is 0-3 at Soldier Field including losses to Buffalo, Green Bay, and Miami. However, if they don’t think Cutler is the guy, please name someone else who could be better.
The Dallas Cowboys released Sam earlier this week. He had been on the practice squad since the season started. The team picked him up because they had a lack of health on the defensive line. Now that the defenders are healthy it really makes no sense to keep him around. Before the season started we knew it would be hard for him to make a team. I’m sure it really wasn’t from a lack of skill and I’m also sure it wasn’t because he gay. Let’s be real. There is a reason this story has not made a lot of noise. Simply put, he’s not that good, but I hope he gets another chance.
What a return to great we had last week! Nobody expected the Rams or the Dolphins to win last week, so we didn’t lose that much ground. I really can’t complain. Considering now that I have a .700 winning percentage. Any who to the picks…
Last Week: 11-4
Byes: San Francisco & New York (N)
DENVER over San Diego
ATLANTA over Detroit Game in London. Kickoff is at 8:30 AM Eastern.
Buffalo over NEW YORK (A)
Baltimore over CINCINNATI
NEW ENGLAND over Chicago
Miami over JACKSONVILLE
Minnesota over TAMPA BAY
Seattle over CAROLINA
TENNESSEE over Houston
KANSAS CITY over St. Louis
ARIZONA over Philadelphia
CLEVELAND over Oakland If you watch this game you should be committed!
Indianapolis over PITTSBURGH
Green Bay over NEW ORLEANS
DALLAS over Washington
Please comment, as I value all opinions.
Make sure you follow the blog and also follow me on twitter @regisjwelch.
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.)
Last week was another great week for Down the Line Sports Blog. It amazes me that how the wins can keep coming. We’ll get back to that later.
Since last week we found out that C.J. Spillman is connected to a sexual assault investigation. He remains on the Dallas roster. The Oakland Raiders became the first team to fire their head coach, Dennis Allen. The team was 0-4. Allen was fired over the phone after the team returned home after an embarrassing loss to the Miami Dolphins. He is rumored to become the new GM for the Oakland Athletics. The Raiders have had nine head coaches since Jon Gruden left in 2003.
I am tired of hearing about New England. The Patriots will win their division. Any questions, I didn’t think so. If Rex Ryan wants to keep his job he will make a decision at quarterback. Geno Smith sucks! Is Michael Vick better? Well he can’t be worse.
Questions for the week?
Can we have a Thursday night game worth watching?
Who are the Pittsburgh Steelers and how could they lose to Tampa? AT HOME nonetheless?
Will Washington be drafting a QB in the next draft?
Will LeSean McCoy finally break free?
Are the Cowboys for real?
How will Alex Smith fair in his return to the bay area?
What is Cam Newton’s health situation?
Why did the Bills bench E.J Manuel? Who is Kyle Orton?
Any way to the Picks
Last Week 10-3
Week 5 Byes: Oakland & Miami
Have you heard of Home Field Advantage?
GREEN BAY over Minnesota
DETROIT over Buffalo
TENNESSEE over Cleveland
NEW ORLEANS over Tampa Bay
PHILADELPHIA over St. Louis
DALLAS over Houston How ‘bout ‘dem Cowboys??
INDIANAPOLIS over Baltimore
CAROLINA over Chicago
Pittsburgh over JACKSONVILLE I really have no clue!
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.