Saturday, December 29, 2012

NFL 2012: Week 17 -- THIS IS IT

With flex scheduling, the NFL can literally save the best for last s they have done with this year's 2012 schedule moving a game between two long standing traditional rivals to the Sunday Night nationwide telecast, the winner will be the NFC East champ.  If the Redskins lose, they can still make it in if some other teams fold. Dallas must win. It will be blazing hot football action in Largo, Maryland tomorrow night.

The 2nd NFC Wild Card and the NFC East are the only playoff slots where teams participating are yet to be determined. The remaining teams in the NFC teams have been selected with some seedings at stake like. Atlanta has the #1 seed and will have home field advantage through out.

The AFC teams are decided. Most final positions are still up for grabs.

Current Playoff Standings:
(1) Houston
(2) Denver
(3) New England
(4) Baltimore
(WC-1) Indianapolis
(WC-2) Cincinnati

(1) Atlanta
(2) Green Bay
(3) San Francisco
(4) Washington
(WC=1) Seattle
(WC-2) Minnesota 
Chicago, Dallas, and the New York Giants are in the hunt.

For more information on playoff possibilities, check:

Farce on the field: New York Jets in Buffalo  -- Mark Sanchez should have lost his starting job. Tim Tebow is the #2 guy (supposedly).  For some reason, Rex Ryan refuses to start Tebow despite some of the most embarrassing offensive blowouts with Sanchez recently.  Tim Tebow will be playing elsewhere next year. Want to bet Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez will be gone too.

The Games:

Baltimore @ Cincinnati (-2 1/2)
Which Ravens will show up?  If it's the team that clobbered the NY Giants, it will be a tune up for the post season.  It's time for the Ravens to show they can dominate on the road or the Bengals will win.

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta (No odds)
Atlanta will work to stay sharp without getting hurt for their #1 seed.

New York Jets @ Buffalo (-2 1/2)
Do they have to play this one?  Buffalo does play well in spurts, but the Jets on-going soap opera is no longer entertaining.  Expect major changes there next year.

Chicago (-3) @ Detroit
The Lions should continue their slide back into inconsequential as the Bears must win to keep playoff chances alive.

Jacksonville @ Tennessee (-4 1/2)
Not much to look at here other than many Jags will be gone next year. Titans win.

Houston (-8.5) @ Indianapolis
This shouldn't be a must win for Houston, but it is. Their #1 seed is at stake. Meanwhile, the Colts can only get happier should they pull the upset.

Carolina @ New Orleans (-5)
The Saints will be glad to get this year over with a win before their home team.

Philadelphia @ NY Giants (-7)
This is likely Andy Reid's last game with the Eagles and Philadelphia will begin to reshape a team that was a horrible disappointment this year. The Giants must win to keep playoff choices alive after an embarrassing loss in Baltimore.

Cleveland @ Pittsburgh (XX)
The Steelers should be glad to get this year over but must win to avoid a losing season. Meanwhile, the Browns will try to show what they hope is a brighter future having been a rather inconsequential team since their rebirth in their new stadium from 1999.

Miami @ New England (-10)
The Patriots need this win to maximize seeding possibilities and the Fish have little to show them.

Green Bay (-3) @ Minnesota
The Vikings will throw all they've got at the Packers to assure their playoff berth, but Aaron and the Pack will be ready.

Kansas City @ Denver (-16)
The Broncos and Peyton Manning are highly motivated to win to assure the highest playoff seed possible as KC ends a horrible season full of questions for 2013.

Oakland @ San Diego (no odds)
Will the Chargers show Norv Turner out in style. It's hard to say but they're better than Oakland.  It's hard to imagine Norv Turner will return nexy year, but folks must also be wondering about what's up with Phil Rivers.

Arizona @ San Francico (-16.5)
The 49er's need this one to assure their playoff spot with the surging Seahawks on their tales.

St. Louis @ Seattle (-10.5)
So how many points will the murderous Seattle offense post in this sure to be blowout?

Dallas @ Washington (-3 1/2)
The overrated Cowboys will try to steal the division crown from the upsurging Redskins, but the Tony Romo Cowboys always lose the big game. "America's Team"  -- baloney, not these Cowboy posers.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

NFL 2012: Week 16: Pl-Pl-Pl-Playoffs??? Playoffs?? Did Somebody Say Playoffs???

Yes, why don't we recall the elder coach, Jim Mora's famous words as the Indianapolis Colts under his charge years ago were limping into playoff contention. While a few teams look strong and ready for January, there are others for whom it appears the game can't giveaway spots as the usually mighty Pittsburgh Steelers look all but finished while their arch rival, Ravens, are beat up so badly, they might make the playoffs but almost surely need a faith healer and some Chesapeake Bay snake oil to be strong enough for a strong run in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the defending champs, the New York Giants, have practically stumbled out of contention with an identical record to Washington and Dallas in their division.

The AFC picture could be essentially decided Sunday with perhaps some travel plans to be decided on the final day. The Ravens need a win to capture the AFC north. The Indianapolis Colts look locked in as a wild card. The winner of the Pittsburgh/Cincinnati battle will get the second wild card seed. If Cincinnati runs the table and the Ravens lose Sunday - they'll host the Ravens two weeks in a row.

Houston's looking good to have the #1 slot w/ Denver in the 2nd slot. New England's in.

The NFC, Atlanta's the likely #1 seed and Green Bay second. San Francisco, possibly Seattle will take the west while it's a game of cutthroat for the NFC East. Dallas must beat an angry New Orleans team then travel to Washington while Washington visits Philadelphia before hosting the Cowboys. The advantage appears to belong to Washington.  The Giants need to beat Baltimore and Philadelphia.

The remaining teams in the fight are Chicago and Minnesota also 8-6 teams. Thus these two teams along with the East Beasts are all fighting for one Wild Card spot since the West owns two spots.

Atlanta (-4) @ Detroit

The game should be a tune-up for the Falcons. No injuries, just play intelligent ball against the once again bottom feeding Lions.

New Orleans @ Dallas (-3)

Dallas in hungry and motivated but no team can blow a important game like the "Boys."  It's hard not to give them the edge, but an upset is quite possible.

Indianapolis (-6.5) @ Kansas City

The Colts march on to a visit to most likely Baltimore in the playoffs.

Buffalo @ Miami (-4.5)

Take the seafood over the beef in a meaningless game.

Washington @ Philadelphia (no odds)

Washington, damaged QB or not, should beat the Eagles who are "already gone" like the Eagles rock band once sung.

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh (-4.5)

Vegas seems a lot more certain than we do the Pitts win this one. We'd only say they're slightly favorted playing at home.

St. Louis @ Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay has the edge in another game that perhaps has early draft picks at stake. HO-HUM

Tennessee @ Green Bay (-13)

Message to Packers, don't get hurt, just win.

Oakland @ Carolina (-8.5)

Awful Oakland as Carolina is looking for signs of a team that simply didn't launch this year.

New England (-14.5) @ Jacksonville

What kind of Florida vacation is this?  New England plays a scrimmage in a big empty stadium.

Minnesota @ Houston (-7.5)

Minnesota would love an unlikely upset to enhance their playoff odds by Houston still needs to win to lock down home field advantages.

New York Giants (-2.5) @ Baltimore

Yeow, two super underachievers in 2012 except Baltimore is beaten and battered. Both teams have much at stake. Our home team bias forces us to pick the Ravens.

Chicago (-6.5) @ Arizona

The Bears must win to keep in the playoff hunt which given the Cardinals' performance most of the year should mean an easy win for Chicago.

San Diego @ New York Jets (-2.5)

This game could be downright comic, but nobody will be watching it. New York fans will be watching the Giants. This was to be the 8:00 pm game but who wants to watch the two most generous teams in the game for giving away games this year. Two coaches who are almost certainly fired with Phil Rivers, the interception king, playing the Jets' 3rd string QB which essentially ends the Tebow saga in Jersey.  Why did the Jets select Tebow if they were never going to play him?  The good news is it's hard to image the Jets playing worse than their last game.

San Francisco (-1) @ Seattle

Experience gives SF a slight edge, but this one should be seen as a wide open brawl for dominance in the NFC west.  How wonderful it is that the whole NFL world gets to see what could be a superb showdown as two former great PAC 10 coaches are now going for NFL glory.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

NFL 2012: Week 15 -- AFC:: 8 Playoff Spots - 9 Teams Figting; -- NFC: Four Teams Outside Looking in -- Help Wanted!

The 2012 Playoff Seedings are as follows:


1- Houston, 11-2  (South Division) clinched berth
2- New England, 10-3 (East Division) clinched division
3- Denver 10-3 (West Division) clinched division
4- Baltimore 9-4 (North Division)
5- Indianapolis: 9-4 (Wild Card #1, South Division)
6- Pittsburgh: 7-6 (Wild Card #2, North Division)

7- Cincinnati: 7-6 (North Division)

The cutoff is clear since the next team is the 6-7 Jets. The Jets-Jets-Jets are going NOWHERE!!!!


1- Atlanta, 11-2 (South Division) clinched division
2- San Francisco, 9-3-1T (West Division)
3- Green Bay, 9-4 (North Division)
4- New York Giants, 8-5
5- Seattle, 8-5 (Wild Card #1, West Division)
6- Chicago, 8-5 (Wild Card #2, North Division)

7- Washington, 7-6 (East Division)
8- Dallas, 7-6 (East Division)
9- Minneosta, 7-6 (North Division)
10- St. Louis, 6-6-1T (West Division)

Warning: There is now buzz about EXPANDING the playoffs. Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the league is looking into going to a 14 or 16 team field. EGADS, is this the NBA?  The current format works beautifully. Who needs teams with losing records becoming playoff teams?  Right now in the AFC, two wild cards have marginally winning records at 7-6 and one team outside at 7-6. That's just about right.  The balance of power has the NFC on top, thus more teams but again, no team with a losing record is a serious threat to may the post season.

The NFL is the one professional sport that appears to have the right math for its schedule. The 16 game regular season among 32 teams balances beautifully while there is clear logic behind the post season selection proccss. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!!!

This Week's Games:

Thursday Night:

Cincinnati (-4) @ Philadelphia
The butt-kicking will continue in Philadelphia after a one week reprieve last week. The Bengals will knock their teeth out.  The Andy Reid era is over. Fans dream of what comes next.


Denver (-2.5) @ Baltimore
This game will be a key test for Peyton Manning consolidating his reign over the Denver Broncos. Already seeded in the playoffs, a win over the Ravens, one of the nattiest home fields in the NFL would show the same kind of power he showed in his prime with Indianapolis. For the Ravens, this is a MUST win to stay in the hunt for a first round bye needing at least one win to ensure the Northern Division champ.  If the Ravens play like they normally play at home, they win. If they look like the confused mess of the last two weeks, Denver will slaughter them. The situation is urgent enough for the Ravens to have ditched offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, who has been severely criticized by Ravens'fans all season. Jim Caldwell, once Peyton Manning's QB coach and head coach at Indy takes on calling the plays.

New York Giants @ Atlanta (-1.5)
The Falcons will be anxious to get back on the winning track after an embarrassing to Carolina. For Atlanta, this is a move to secure a first round bye and be in firm control of complete home field advantage. Meanwhile, the New York Giants must show dominance with Washington and Dallas a game back hunting for the division lead. Atlanta should win this one unless the Giants step up their game to a new level.

Green Bay (-3) @ Chicago
Green Bay needs this game to nail down the NFC north while Chicago could be fighting for playoff survival. Right now, the Bears don't seem to have enough game in them to handle this chalenge. Give it to Green Bay.

Washington @ Cleveland (no odds posted)
This is a tough game to pick. RG III is injured but practicing. The Redskins are fighting for a playoff spot. Cleveland has been quite impressive recently winning their last three games albeit it against a hobbled Pittsburgh, Oakland, and Kansas City. If RGIII is healthy and in good form, this one goes to the Skins.

Minnesota @ St. Louis (-3)
Both teams are fighting for a playoff berth, but St. Louis has looked stronger recently. One team stays in the playoff hunt. The other is wait for next year.

Jacksonville @ Miami (-7)
Ugh, if you like football in Florida in 2012, avoid the AFC. Miami wins, but who's paying attention?

Tampa Bay @ New Orleans (-3.5)
New Orleans season of misery continues. Gone from the playoff chase, they have one huge chip on their shoulders based on the bounty scandal punishments.

Indianapolis @ Houston (-8.5)
Houston seeks to regain form after a dreadful ass-whoopin' in New England. They should prevail at home while the Colts continue their surprise season probably not surprising enough to stage this upset.

Detroit (-6) @ Arizona
Here's a battle between the underachievers, but egads, after winning their four games including upending New England, they've been playing powder puff football ever since. Detroit, meanwhile, another 4-9 team hs once again secured its place among the mediocre and worse of the game, but they're strong enough to beat Arizona right now.

Carolina @ San Diego (-3)
Look out, here's San Diego's late season surge. Talk about "too little -too late." Okay, they beat Pittsburgh last week and could make it four in a row at the end of the season, they're playing chimps and chumps down the stretch.

Seattle (-5) @ Buffalo (in Toronto)
The NFL in the Skydome (aka Rogers Center) in what could be a permanent arrangement once 94 year old owner, Ralph Wilson, is no longer in the picture. Seattle, a team that's practically in another country, should win this international contest.

Pittsburgh (-2) @ Dallas
What a historic matchup this is, and though Dallas hardly deserves much hype in their present form is fighting for a playoff spot or perhaps even their division. However, the Steelers, suffering a weak season, are starting to regain health and are anxious to solidify their playoff chances. Slight edge to the Steelers.

Kansas City @ Oakland (=3)
Ugh, can they just flip a coin and call it a game. Vegas says Oakland (3 point advantage for the home team). We say KC. It doesn't matter.

San Francisco @ New England (-5.5)
Nationally televised games always get lots of hype and contrived story lines...POSSIBLE SUPERBOWL PREVIEW. Well, maybe...   Jim Harbaugh will need one hell of a bag of tricks to bat the New England team that flattened Houston last week.

ESPN MNF (Mostly Nothing Football)

NY Jets @ Tennessee (-1.5)
Okay it's the big market Jets, but what a ho-hum for a Monday Night game. Don't worry, the ESPN producers will come up with tons of contrived dialogue for a game that slightly favors Music City over Big City.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

NFL 2012: Week 14: The Season Begins its Final Quarter

Denver (-10) @ Oakland
There’s no reason to believe Oakland hasn’t mailed in the 2012 season, while Peyton Manning consolidates his leadership of the Denver Broncos, molding them into true champs.

Baltimore @ Washington (-2 ½)
The Ravens looked awful against a depleted Pittsburgh last Sunday losing a game that was clearly in their grasp. As the injuries mount, the erratic play proves more costly. Meanwhile the Redskins are rallying behind their red hot rookie quarterback RG-III.  The Ravens need this win to continue their march to the undisputed lead in the AFC North, but now the Skins are in the hunt for an NFC berth particularly if the Giants continue to struggle.

St. Louis @ Buffalo (-3)
Hard to pick a winner here. Both teams have shown flashes of brilliance but we’ll give the Bills the edge at home.

Dallas @ Cincinnati (-3)
Dallas is feeling frisky with the Giants current slump, but Cincinnati is the stronger team.

Kansas City @ Cleveland (-6 ½)
This year can’t end soon enough for the tragedy besot Chiefs and a road trip to Ohio makes it even tougher.

Philadelphia @ Tampa Bay (-7 ½)
The season’s already over for the Eagles. They’ve given up. It’s over.

Atlanta (-3 ½) @ Carolina
The Falcons continue their assault racing to the top seed in the NFC.

New York Jets (-2 ½) @ Jacksonville
Sanchez has lost his mojo while Tebow’s nursing a broken rib. The Soap Opera known as the Jets continues but they should be strong enough to hold off the Jags.

Tennessee @ Indianapolis (-5 ½)
The surprisingly strong Colts behind rookie QB, Andrew Luck, continue their march to a wild card berth.

Chicago (-3) @ Minnesota
The Bears have to tighten up and strengthen their game to assure post season success. The Vikings provide a tough test.

San Diego @ Pittsburgh
What does it say that Vegas won’t post odds for this game?  San Diego looks like they’ve mailed it in weeks ago; while the Steelers are still seriously on the mend beating a surprisingly weak and unmotivated Ravens team in their last contest.  We’ll give the Steelers the edge.

Miami @ San Francisco (-10)
The “Niners” need a good tune-up game which the mediocre Dolphins should provide.

Arizona @ Seattle (-10 ½)
Arizona’s miseries continue as Seattle is right in the thick of the Wild Card chase.

New Orleans @ New York Giants (-5)
The Giants need to step up their intensity while New Orleans’ performance has been haphazard in recent weeks.

Detroit @ Green Bay (-7)
The Cheeseheads should celebrate the miserable lions who’ve faded back into the mire of mediocrity that has been their hallmark for decades. It appears their brief hiatus flirting with glory is over.

Houston @ New England (-3 ½)
Here’s a battle for post season dominance. The Texans win this won and they’re all but assured the 1st seed in the playoffs.