Friday, December 9, 2016

NFL - Week Fourteen Preview

There are some key games on tap as Week Fourteen approaches the NFL schedule, with the Dallas Cowboys taking on the New York Giants in the Sunday night game.
That game could be the one that gives the Cowboys (11-1) the NFC East division title as they seek their twelfth straight victory following a loss to the Giants (in Dallas)  in the opening game of the 2016 season. The Giants are 8-4 and saw their six-game winning streak snapped last week in Pittsburgh.
Other games with some big implications include the Monday night tilt in New England, where the Patriots (10-2) face the Baltimore Ravens (7-5), who currently share the lead in the AFC North with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the AFC South, the Indianapolis Colts (6-6) will host the Houston Texans (also 6-6) in a battle for first place.
The Tennessee Titans (6-6) are the third team in the AFC South tied for the top spot and they will host the Denver Broncos (8-4) in a game that could go a long way to determine "wild card" positions in the AFC playoff chase.
The Seattle Seahawks (8-3-1) will travel to play the Green Bay Packers (6-6) as they look to continue to cement away the NFC West division. The Packers have won two in a row and are back in the hunt for a wild card spot as they trail the Detroit Lions (8-4) in the NFC North race.
The games get bigger and bigger as December ticks away toward the last game of the season in three weeks, so this weekend will help clear some things up as far as the playoffs are concerned.

For a more detailed look at all of the games this weekend, the following offers a capsule style preview followed by the Heftyinfo predictions for the games.

Pittsburgh (7-5) at Buffalo (6-6) - The Steelers rate the edge, but the Bills will not just roll over, especially at home.

Denver (8-4) at Tennessee (6-6) - The Broncos need to continue to win to keep pace with Kansas City and Oakland in the AFC West race. The Titans likewise to keep up in the AFC South.

New Orleans (5-7) at Tampa Bay (7-5) - The Buccaneers look to keep their "magic carpet ride" going against a desperate Saints squad.

Washington (6-5-1) at Philadelphia (5-7) - This could be looked at as an elimination game.

Arizona (5-6-1) at Miami (7-5) - Another good match up between two teams on the "playoff bubble."

San Diego (5-7) at Carolina (4-8) - Who cares?

Cincinnati (4-7-1) at Cleveland (0-12) - The Browns might actually win this game. The Bengals are banged up and RG3 is back at quarterback for the Browns.

Chicago (3-9) at Detroit (8-4) - Can the Bears de-claw the Lions once again this season? The game is in Motown, so don't count on it.

Houston (6-6) at Indianapolis (6-6) - The battle for first place in the putrid AFC South.

Minnesota (6-6) at Jacksonville (2-10) - The Jaguars may be just the tonic the sagging Vikings need, but they better be ready to play.

New York Jets (3-9) at San Francisco (1-11) - These two teams stink.

Atlanta (7-5) at Los Angeles (4-8) - Falcons need to win this game, but the Rams defense keeps them in games.

Seattle (8-3-1) at Green Bay (6-6) - The Packers need to win out to have a shot at the playoffs. The Seahawks are looking to stay ahead of the pack for a first round "bye" in the post-season.

Dallas (11-1) at New York Giants (8-4) - Can the Giants beat Dallas once again and spoil their victory party for the NFC East title?  Nope.

Baltimore (7-5) at New England (10-2) - This is one of the better Monday night games this season and could very well go right down to the wire.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week Fourteen  . . . . .       (Home teams are listed in bold; Lock of the Week pick is listed in BOLD CAPS)

Kansas City over Oakland
Pittsburgh over Buffalo
Tennessee over Denver
Tampa Bay over New Orleans
Philadelphia over Washington
Miami over Arizona
Carolina over San Diego
Cleveland over Cincinnati
DETROIT over Chicago
Indianapolis over Houston
Minnesota over Jacksonville
San Francisco over NY Jets
Atlanta over Los Angeles
Green Bay over Seattle
Dallas over NY Giants
New England over Baltimore

Last Week's Record:  11-4

SEASON RECORD:  125-65-2

Lock of the Week Record:  13-0

Monday, December 5, 2016

NFL - Week Thirteen Review

The Dallas Cowboys are the first NFL team to clinch a playoff spot after they defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 17-15 last Thursday night, coupled with the Washington Redskins 31-23 loss at Arizona on Sunday.
Despite gaining just 264 yards in offense, the Cowboys improved to 11-1 (eleven straight victories) as quarterback Dak Prescott threw a scoring pass to wide receiver Dez Bryant and running back Ezekiel Elliott scored a rushing touchdown.
The Redskins had a 20-17 lead entering the fourth quarter but could not maintain as Cardinals QB Carson Palmer had two of his three TD passes in the final quarter to pace the 31-23 victory.
The Detroit Lions served notice they are the real deal as they cruised to a 28-13 road win against the New Orleans Saints as QB Matthew Stafford (two TD passes) out dueled Drew Brees (three interceptions thrown) while kicker Matt Prater drilled five field goals to lead the way.
Joe Flacco led the Ravens to easy win.
The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers both had easy victories on Sunday. The Ravens steamrolled the Miami Dolphins, 38-6 behind four TD passes from Joe Flacco, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week.
In addition, Flacco passed for 381 yards while the Ravens piled up 496 yards in offense. The Dolphins (7-5) saw their six-game winning streak snapped.
The Steelers rolled the visiting New York Giants, 24-14 to snap the Giants six-game winning streak. Pittsburgh's defense limited the Giants to just 234 yards in offense while QB Ben Roethlisberger had two TD passes in the win.

                                                        Elsewhere Around the NFL  . . . . . .  

The Oakland Raiders (10-2) won their sixth consecutive game, rolling back the visiting Buffalo Bills, 38-24 by scoring 29 unanswered points in the second half. Raiders QB Derek Carr had a pair of scoring passes and RB Latavius Murray scored two rushing touchdowns to lead the way . . .  The Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) kept pace with Oakland by getting a 29-28 win on the road against the Atlanta Falcons (7-5) thanks to a pair of interceptions by Eric Berry, who took one back for a TD and the last one for a two-point play to make the difference in the outcome . . .   The New England Patriots (10-2) smashed the hapless Los Angeles Rams, 26-10 as LeGarrette Blount scored on a 43-yard run and the Pats' defense stymied the Rams by allowing just 162 yards in offense . . .  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5) took advantage of a huge break (13-yard INT TD off a deflected pass) to thwart the snake bitten San Diego Chargers, 28-21. The win was the fourth in a row for Tampa Bay . . .  Green Bay (6-6) won at home in a snow storm, 21-13 over Houston (6-6) as Packers QB Aaron Rodgers had two TD passes . . .  The Denver Broncos won a yawner at Jacksonville, 20-10 as Bradley Roby took an interception back 51 yards for a score to make up for a putrid offense, which managed just 206 total yards . . .  The Chicago Bears snapped a three-game losing streak with a 26-6 trouncing of the visiting San Francisco 49ers as RB Jordan Howard (117 yards rushing) scored three touchdowns while the Chicago defense allowed just 147 yards in offense and registered six QB sacks . . .  Cincinnati also snapped a three-game losing streak with a 32-14 win against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles as Andy Dalton had a pair of scoring passes and kicker Mike Nugent made four field goals . . .  The Seattle Seahawks (8-3-1) blasted the visiting Carolina Panthers, 40-7 on Sunday night as the offense rolled up 534 total yards while the defense forced two turnovers. Running back Thomas Rawls had a pair of rushing touchdowns in the win. However, Seattle's All-Pro safety Earl Thomas was lost for the rest of the regular season (or longer) with a broken leg . . .  Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck threw for four touchdowns, including three to tight end Dwayne Allen as the Colts throttled the host New York Jets, 41-10 on Monday Night Football. The win propelled the Colts (6-6) in to a three-way tie for first place with Houston and Tennessee in the AFC South division.

Dallas 17, Minnesota 15
Chicago 26, San Francisco 6
Cincinnati 32, Philadelphia 14
Detroit 27, New Orleans 13
Denver 20, Jacksonville 10
Baltimore 38, Miami 6
Green Bay 21, Houston 13
New England 26, Los Angeles 10
Kansas City 29, Atlanta 28
Oakland 38, Buffalo 24
Tampa Bay 28, San Diego 21
Pittsburgh 24, NY Giants 14
Arizona 31, Washington 23
Seattle 40, Carolina 7
Indianapolis 41, NY Jets 10

Sunday, December 4, 2016

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten              (Week ending December 4)      

1.  Alabama (13-0)
2.  Clemson (12-1)
3.  Ohio State (11-1)
4.  Washington (12-1)
5.  Michigan (10-2)
6.  Penn State (11-2)
7.  Oklahoma (10-2)
8.  Wisconsin (10-3)
9.  USC (9-3)
10.  Western Michigan (13-0)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

NFL - Week Thirteen Preview

As the calendar rolls into December, the playoff picture for the NFL is still very much up in the air as to who the contenders and pretenders are.
The Dallas Cowboys (who beat Minnesota 17-15 on Thursday night) will be the first team in if Tampa Bay and Washington lose this weekend. That very well could be the case as the Buccaneers travel to play the San Diego Chargers, who always are in their games even with a 5-6 record.
The Redskins have to go on the road against the Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1), who have been a disappointment this year but cannot be taken lightly.
The NFC playoff picture has the Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1) as the top two teams to date with Atlanta and Detroit (both 7-4) right there in the mix. After that, there are many contenders/pretenders vying for the final two playoff spots with five game remaining in the regular season.
In the AFC, the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots (both 9-2) are the top two seeds with Baltimore and Houston rounding out the top four division leaders. The last two spots (for now) are occupied by Kansas City (8-3) and Miami (7-4), two of the hottest teams in the NFL right now.
Week Thirteen promises to be exciting in what many have considered to be a rather lack luster NFL season to this point.
The following offers the capsule style previews for all of the action this weekend along with the Heftyinfo predictions for the games.

Kansas City (8-3) at Atlanta (7-4) - This game is one of the better ones this weekend and should go down to the wire.

Detroit (7-4) at New Orleans (5-6) - Saints QB Drew Brees coming off a very impressive showing last game . . . take the Saints.

Los Angeles (4-7) at New England (9-2) -  Patriots roll, even without All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Denver (7-4) at Jacksonville (2-9) - Upset alert!  Jags could win this one . . . they are due.

Houston (6-5) at Green Bay (5-6) - Packers need to win out to make the playoffs. They should beat the visiting Texans.

Philadelphia (5-6) at Cincinnati (3-7-1) - The Bengals have been a huge disappointment this year. The Eagles look to be in a free fall following a very hot start to the season.

Miami (7-4) at Baltimore (6-5) - Dolphins keep finding ways to win while the Ravens have been erratic this season.

San Francisco (1-10) at Chicago (2-9) - The loser of this game stays in the hunt for the top pick in the next NFL draft.

Buffalo (6-5) at Oakland (9-2) - The Raiders continue their winning ways in the 2016 season.

New York Giants (8-3) at Pittsburgh (6-5) - The Steelers will snap the Giants winning streak.

Washington (6-4-1) at Arizona (4-6-1) - This game is an interesting one for sure. Flip a coin.

Tampa Bay (6-5) at San Diego (5-6) - Two very evenly matched teams in this game.  Again, flip a coin in this one.

Carolina (4-7) at Seattle (7-3-1) - The Seahawks got a wake up call last week in a road loss. The Panthers are just awful this year.

Indianapolis (5-6) at New York Jets (3-8) - A yawner game for Monday Night Football.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week Thirteen   . . . . .    (Home teams are listed in bold;  Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

Dallas over Minnesota
Atlanta over Kansas City
New Orleans over Detroit
New England over Los Angeles
Jacksonville over Denver
GREEN BAY over Houston
Cincinnati over Philadelphia
Baltimore over Miami
Chicago over San Francisco
Oakland over Buffalo
Pittsburgh over NY Giants
Arizona over Washington
San Diego over Tampa Bay
Seattle over Carolina
Indianapolis over NY Jets

Last Week's Record:  12-4

SEASON RECORD:  114-61-2

Lock of the Week Record:  12-0

Monday, November 28, 2016

NFL - Week Twelve Review

Cowboys' rookies led the way to a 10th straight win.
The Dallas Cowboys won their tenth consecutive game on Thanksgiving Day, beating the Washington Redskins, 31-26 behind two rushing touchdowns by running back Ezekiel Elliott and another scoring run from quarterback Dak Prescott.
Redskins QB Kirk Cousins had three touchdown passes to go with 449 yards passing in the loss.
The Detroit Lions outlasted the Minnesota Vikings, 16-13 on a 40-yard field goal by Matt Prater as time expired to take over first place in the NFC North division.
The night cap game saw the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the host Indianapolis Colts, 28-7 as QB Ben Roethlisberger threw for three touchdowns and running back Le'Veon Bell gained 120 yards on the ground and scored a TD as well to pace the easy victory. The Steelers defense intercepted Colts QB Scott Tolzien twice.
The Sunday night game saw a great finish in the fourth quarter as the Kansas City Chiefs scored with just twelve seconds remaining and then converted a two-point play to force the overtime session before emerging with a 30-27 win against the host Denver Broncos.
Tyreek Hill scored three touchdowns for the Chiefs (rushing, receiving and kick return) and kicker Carlos Santos drilled a game winning 34-yard field goal in the OT that spoiled a big game from Broncos QB Trevor Siemian, who had 368 yards passing and three touchdown passes. 

                                                                                  Around the NFL . . . . . . .  

Quarterback Matt Ryan hooked up twice for scoring passes with wide receiver Taylor Gabriel as the Atlanta Falcons (7-4) beat the Arizona Cardinals, 38-19 . . .  LeSean McCoy had two rushing TD (including a 75-yard scoring run) to lead the Buffalo Bills to a 28-21 home win against the Jacksonville Jaguars . . .  Baltimore beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 19-14 as the Ravens defense forced two fumbles and kicker Justin Tucker made four field goals to lead the way . . .  Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week Drew Brees had four TD passes and a rushing TD to lead the New Orleans
Drew Brees had a huge game for the Saints
Saints to a 49-21 rout of the Los Angeles Rams in the Big Easy. The Saints piled up 555 yards in total offense while their defense limited the Rams to just 247 yards in offense . . .   The New York Giants won their sixth consecutive game with a 27-13 road win against the Cleveland Browns (0-12). Giants QB Eli Manning had three TD passes to lead the way . . .  The New England Patriots (9-2) rallied in the fourth quarter for a 22-17 road win against the New York Jets as QB Tom Brady threw an eight yard scoring pass to WR Malcolm Mitchell in the final two minutes . . .   The Miami Dolphins won for the sixth straight time as they held off the visiting San Francisco 49ers, 31-24 as QB Ryan Tannehill had three TD passes to offset three scoring passes (and 113 yards rushing) from 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick . . . San Diego QB Philip Rivers had three TD passes and the Chargers defense had three interceptions and a fumble recovery resulting in a 21-13 road win against the Houston Texans . . .  The Tennessee Titans beat the Chicago Bears, 27-21 as QB Marcus Mariota had two TD passes and Derrick Henry scored on an 11-yard run. Bears backup QB Matt Barkley threw for three touchdowns in the loss . . .  Tampa Bay won 14-5 over visiting Seattle in a yawner game as QB Jameis Winston had two scoring passes in the first quarter and the Bucs defense made it stand as they limited the Seahawks to just 245 yards in offense . . .  The Oakland Raiders (9-2) squandered a 17-point halftime lead but managed a fourth quarter comeback to beat the visiting Carolina Panthers, 35-32. Raiders QB Derek Carr had two TD passes and Kahlil Mack scored a TD off an interception to pace the win. Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart had two rushing touchdowns in the loss . . .   The Green Bay Packers beat the host Philadelphia Eagles, 27-13 on Monday Night Football as QB Aaron Rodgers threw two scoring passes to WR Davante Adams.

Detroit 16, Minnesota 13
Dallas 31, Washington 26
Pittsburgh 28, Indianapolis 7
Tennessee 27, Chicago 21
Miami 31, San Francisco 24
San Diego 21, Houston 13
NY Giants 27, Cleveland 13
Baltimore 19, Cincinnati 14
New Orleans 49, Los Angeles 21
Atlanta 38, Arizona 19
Buffalo 28, Jacksonville 21
Tampa Bay 14, Seattle 5
Oakland 35, Carolina 32
New England 22, NY Jets 17
Kansas City 30, Denver 27 (OT)
Green Bay 27, Philadelphia 13

Saturday, November 26, 2016

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten              (Week ending November 27)         

1.  Alabama (12-0)
2.  Ohio State (11-1)
3.  Clemson (11-1)
4.  Washington (11-1)
5.  Michigan (10-2)
6.  Wisconsin (10-2)
7.  Oklahoma (9-2)
8.  Penn State (10-2)
9.  Colorado (10-2)
10.  Oklahoma State (9-2)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

NFL - Week Twelve Preview

It's Thanksgiving and that means one thing beside family gatherings and turkey and pumpkin pie.
The Detroit Lions will be playing in the annual Thanksgiving Day game at home against the Minnesota Vikings this year. It's a big game because both teams are currently 6-4 and share first place in the NFC North division.
The Lions edged the Vikings 22-16 in overtime three weeks ago up in Minnesota as the Vikings blew a late lead. Lions kicker Matt Prater nailed a 58-yard field goal as time expired to force the OT and the Lions drove right down the field and won on a touchdown pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford to wide receiver Golden Tate.
This game should be a good one with the Vikings looking to make amends for their miscues at the end of the game in Minneapolis.
The middle game of the three being played will feature the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Washington Redskins. Dallas has won nine in a row and owns the NFL's best record at 9-1, which is good for first place in the NFC East division.
The Redskins (6-3-1) have also been rolling lately, coming off a 42-24 blowout win on national TV Sunday night against Green Bay. Dallas won a 27-23 squeaker in D.C. back in Week Two, but look for the 'Pokes to roll the 'Skins this time around.
The night game will have the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5) facing the Indianapolis Colts (5-5) in Indy.
But the Colts will be without starting QB Andrew Luck (concussion) for this one. Scott Tolzien (former back up to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay) will get the call for the game and the Steelers beleaguered defense will be looking to make the most of their chance to prove their critics wrong.
It should be a great Turkey Day for the NFL with these three games, along with the rest of the action taking place on Sunday and Monday night.

For a look at all of the games, the following offers a capsule style preview and of course, the predictions for the games.

Minnesota Vikings (6-4) at Detroit Lions (6-4) - This game could be another OT thriller.

Washington Redskins (6-3-1) at Dallas Cowboys (9-1) - Cowboys cannot be stopped.

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5) at Indianapolis Colts (5-5) - Colts will likely struggle without starting QB Andrew Luck . . . Take the Steelers.

Tennessee Titans (5-6) at Chicago Bears (2-8) - The stinker game of the week.

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8) at Buffalo Bills (5-5) - Bills should win this one.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-6-1) at Baltimore Ravens (5-5) - What has happened to the Bengals this season?

Arizona Cardinals (4-5-1) at Atlanta Falcons (6-4) - The Falcons soar at home against a struggling Arizona team.

New York Giants (7-3) at Cleveland Browns (0-11) - The Giants are going for six wins a row.

Los Angeles Rams (4-6) at New Orleans Saints (4-6) - Drew Brees and company need this one. The Rams have a winning record on the road this season.

San Francisco 49ers (1-9) at Miami Dolphins (6-4) - The Dolphins are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now.

San Diego Chargers (4-6) at Houston Texans (6-4) - The Chargers continue to find ways to lose games, especially in the fourth quarter.

Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) - The Seahawks better be ready or the Bucs will sting them.

Carolina Panthers (4-6) at Oakland Raiders (8-2) - The Raiders have won three straight games and QB Derek Carr is now in league MVP talk.

New England Patriots (8-2) at New York Jets (3-7) - This game was "flexed" out of the Sunday night prime time slot. Good reason for that . . . Patriots roll !

Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) at Denver Broncos (7-3) - The winner of this one will be in a very good spot going forward as far as playoff contention is concerned.

Green Bay Packers (4-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) - The loser of this Monday night game will likely not make the playoffs.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week Twelve . . . . .  (Home teams are listed in bold;  Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

Detroit over Minnesota
Dallas over Washington
Pittsburgh over Indianapolis
Chicago over Tennessee
Buffalo over Jacksonville
Baltimore over Cincinnati
Atlanta over Arizona
NY Giants over Cleveland
New Orleans over Los Angeles
MIAMI over San Francisco
Houston over San Diego
Seattle over Tampa Bay
Oakland over Carolina
New England over NY Jets
Denver over Kansas City
Green Bay over Philadelphia 

Last Week's Record:  10-4

SEASON RECORD:  102-57-2

Lock of the Week Record:  11-0