Sunday, January 13, 2019

NFL PLAYOFFS - Divisional Round Review

The NFL playoffs are down to the final four teams as the New England Patriots will play at the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC championship. In the NFC title game, it will be the Los Angeles Rams traveling down to The Big Easy to face the New Orleans Saints.

Saturday, January 12
Kansas City 31, Indianapolis 13 -The Chiefs dismantled the Indianapolis Colts, 31-13 as they ran the ball for four scores, including two by running back Damien Williams (129 yards on 25 carries). It was the first home playoff win for Kansas City since the 1993 season.

LA Rams 30, Dallas 22 - The host Rams battered the Dallas defense to the tune of 273 rushing yards as both C.J. Anderson (123 yards and two rushing TD) and Todd Gurley (115 yards and a rushing score) surpassed the 100-yard plateau. The Cowboys defense allowed 463 yards while they only had 50 yards rushing in the game.

Sunday, January 13
New England 41, LA Chargers 28 - The host Patriots ran all over the Chargers defense, bolting out to a 35-7 halftime lead as RB Sony Michel (24 carries, 129 yards) scored three touchdowns to lead the rout. Quarterback Tom Brady passed for 343 yards and a touchdown as the Patriots coasted in the second half.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers had three scoring passes in defeat. This is the eighth straight season the Patriots are advancing to the AFC Championship Game, which is an NFL record.

New Orleans 20, Philadelphia 14 - Marshon Lattimore sealed the win for the home team New Orleans Saints with his second interception of the day (off a deflection through the hands of Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery) with 1:53 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Saints fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter as Philly QB Nick Foles threw a 37-yard TD pass to Jordan Matthews and then scored on a one-yard run. From there, the Saints did all the scoring for the rest of the game as QB Drew Brees had a pair of touchdown passes, including a two-yard strike to WR Michael Thomas (12 receptions for 171 yards) to give them the lead late in the third quarter. Saints kicker Will Lutz made two field goals to help provide the final outcome.

Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints

New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs

Friday, January 11, 2019

NFL PLAYOFFS - Divisional Round Preview

Here we go, it's time for the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.
There are four games on tap and all of them could be very close, possibly being decided on the final possession of the game.
The action starts Saturday in Kansas City where the Chiefs, the top seed in the AFC, will host the upstart Indianapolis Colts, who have rebounded from a 1-5 start to advance to this round of the playoffs.
The night game on Saturday is the Dallas Cowboys at the Los Angeles Rams in what will likely be a test between the new "Doomsday" Dallas defense going against the Rams high octane offense.
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Chargers head back to the East coast where they will face the mighty New England Patriots, who have been to three of the last four Super Bowls and won two of them.
The final game of the weekend will have the New Orleans Saints hosting the Philadelphia Eagles, who are the defending Super Bowl champions and won a thriller on the road last week against the Chicago Bears.
The following offers a look at the games this weekend and the Heftyinfo picks will follow.

Saturday, January 12

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs -  The Chiefs boast the NFL's highest scoring offense, led by hot shot quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who passed for over 5,000 yards and had 50 touchdown passes. Top flight wide receiver Tyreek Hill (87 receptions for 1,479 yards with 12 TD) is a threat to score whenever he gets the ball in his hands. Another big weapon is tight end Travis Kelce, who had 103 receptions for 1,336 yards and ten touchdowns.
Not to be outdone is Colts QB Andrew Luck, who had 39 TD passes this season and also in the mix is running back Marlon Mack, who went off for 148 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in last week's 21-7 victory over the Houston Texans. Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (76, 1,270 yards and six TD) and tight end Eric Ebron (66 receptions, 13 TD) are the main targets Luck will throw to.
Defensively, the Colts rate the edge as they defend both the run and the pass fairly well. The Chiefs can get after the quarterback, but they also give up too many big pass plays and that could be what makes the difference in this game.

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams -  The Rams have a talented offense that scores points at a rapid fire pace behind QB Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley, who is expected back in the game after missing the final two games of the regular season with nagging injuries. Gurley led the NFL with 21 touchdowns this season.
The Cowboys have a triple threat with QB Dak Prescott (passing and running TD in last week's wild card game win), RB Ezekiel Elliott and wide receiver Amari Cooper, who is the deep threat the team lacked in the first half of the season when they stumbled out to a 3-5 start.
The Rams have some playmakers on the defense, especially pass rusher Aaron Donald, but the Cowboys defense is better overall and is a cohesive unit that plays strong against both the run and the pass.

Sunday, January 13

Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots -  The Chargers bring the best road record (8-1 including playoffs) in pro football against the Patriots, who are nearly unbeatable at home in the playoffs in the Belichick-Brady era. In fact, New England had an 8-0 home record this season, so something has to give in this game.
The Chargers are loaded with talent on both sides of the football, led by QB Philip Rivers (32 TD passes and 12 interceptions) and a trio of gifted wide receivers, led by Keenan Allen (97 receptions, six TD) and also Mike Williams, who had ten touchdown receptions this season. Also running back Melvin Gordon (provided he is completely healthy) is a threat to break one whenever he carries the ball. Gordon scored 14 touchdowns and averaged 5.1 yards per carry.
The Patriots have arguably the greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady and he has never lost a game against the Chargers when Rivers is the starting quarterback, including 2-0 in playoff games.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski will be a key factor for the Patriots to have success against a strong Chargers defense, which kept Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson in check in last week's road win against the Ravens in the wild card game.
Whichever team has the fewest turnovers will most likely win this football game and advance to the AFC Championship Game next weekend. The Patriots will be looking to get there for the eighth consecutive time, an NFL record they already own with trips to that game the past seven years.

Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints -  The Eagles surprised the Chicago Bears 16-15 in the wild card game last week and will look to continue their magic carpet ride behind quarterback Nick Foles, who helped take the Eagles to the Super Bowl title last season.
The Saints have one of the top offenses in the NFL and QB Drew Brees set a new record this season for completion percentage (74.4 percent) along with 32 touchdown passes and only five interceptions thrown. It helps too that he has so much talent around him, especially the running tandem of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.
Wide receiver Michael Thomas had 125 receptions (1,405 yards) and nine touchdowns. Kamara scored 18 touchdowns and had over 1,500 combined yards rushing and receiving.
If the Eagles defense can get after Brees and keep the offense in check, they stand a chance to pull off the upset. However, if Brees and company can do what they did against Philly (in Week 11, New Orleans won at home 48-7 vs. the Eagles) last time, it could very well be another blowout win for the Saints.

The Heftyinfo predictions for the Divisional Round  . . . . . . .   (Home teams are listed in bold)

Indianapolis over Kansas City 
LA Rams over Dallas
LA Chargers over New England 
New Orleans over Philadelphia

Last Week's Record -  2-2 

Playoffs Record -  2-2

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Clemson Buries Alabama For CFB Championship

The Clemson Tigers completed a perfect 15-0 season as they completely dominated the Alabama Crimson Tide (14-1) in a 44-16 win to capture the CFB Championship, which was their second title in the last three seasons.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence had three touchdown passes (347 yards passing) and running back Travis Etienne scored two rushing touchdowns to lead the rout.
The Tigers defense shutout the Crimson Tide in the second half after gaining a 31-16 halftime advantage.  Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa passed for 295 yards with two TD and two interceptions.

  Heftyinfo  College Football FINAL Top Ten   (2018 season)

1.  Clemson  (15-0)
2.  Alabama  (14-1)
3.  Oklahoma  (12-2)
4.  Notre Dame  (12-1)
5.  Ohio State  (13-1)
6.  Florida  (10-3)
7.  LSU  (10-3)
8.  Georgia  (11-3)
9.  Washington State  (11-2)
10.  Texas  (10-4)

Sunday, January 6, 2019

NFL PLAYOFFS - Wild Card Round Review

The Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs provided quite a bit of excitement and some fantastic finishes as four teams moved on to the next round while four others are going home.
Here's the breakdown on the four playoff games this past weekend.

SATURDAY, January 5

Indianapolis Colts 21, Houston Texans 7 - Colts running back Marlon Mack rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown while quarterback Andrew Luck had two touchdown passes in the road win. Texans QB Deshaun Watson had a TD pass and 76 rushing yards in the loss.

Dallas Cowboys 24, Seattle Seahawks 22 - The Cowboys advanced past the Seahawks with the home win as RB Ezekiel Elliott scored the go ahead touchdown (rushed for 137 yards) while QB Dak Prescott passed for a TD and also ran for another. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson also had a passing and rushing touchdown in the game, which marked the first time in Wilson's career his team failed to win at least one playoff game.

SUNDAY, January 6

Los Angeles Chargers 23, Baltimore Ravens 17 - The Chargers got another road win as they jumped out to a 23-3 lead and held off a furious fourth quarter rally by the Ravens. The Chargers defense registered seven QB sacks against Lamar Jackson (two pass TD in the loss) and also forced three turnovers (two fumbles and one interception) which included a strip-sack fumble recovery to seal the game. Chargers kicker Mike Badgley made five field goals and RB Melvin Gordon scored a rushing TD to help provide the outcome.

Philadelphia Eagles 16, Chicago Bears 15 -The Eagles got a fourth quarter two-yard TD pass from QB Nick Foles (266 passing yards, two TD, two INT) to wide receiver Golden Tate late in the fourth quarter for the road win, but the real drama happened when Bears kicker Cody Parkey's (3-for-4 on field goals in the game) 43-yard potential game-winning kick hit the left upright with five seconds remaining in the game.
Bears QB Mitch Trubisky passed for 303 yards and had a 22-yard scoring pass to WR Allen Robinson, who had 10 receptions for 143 yards in the loss.


Saturday, January 12

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams

Sunday, January 13

Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints

Friday, January 4, 2019

No Doubt About It

In light of recent events, especially the TRUMP government shut down, this sums it up very well . . .

Thursday, January 3, 2019

NFL PLAYOFFS - Wild Card Round Preview

The NFL Playoffs are here.
Two games on Saturday and Sunday with the winners moving onto the divisional round next week.
The home teams are all favored to win with the Chicago Bears being the biggest favorite to knock off the Philadelphia Eagles late Sunday afternoon.
There are three quarterbacks who are making their first playoff start (Mitch Trubisky - Bears, Lamar Jackson - Ravens and Deshaun Watson - Texans) while two of the starting QB's include Super Bowl winners Nick Foles (Philadelphia Eagles) and Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) who will be looking to get back to the big game in a few weeks.
There will be many twists and turns the next couple of weeks as the teams battle it out and the many football analysts will talk and talk and talk about those teams and the individual players of those teams.
Keeping it simple, here is a brief breakdown of the wild card games with the Heftyinfo predictions following up.


Indianapolis Colts (10-6) at Houston Texans (11-5) - Look for the Colts to go after Texans QB Deshaun Watson, who was sacked 62 times in the regular season. Both teams will look to run the football while airing it out with top flight receivers (Colts have T.Y. Hilton and Texans have DeAndre Hopkins). Colts rate the edge at tight end with Eric Ebron, but Houston has many more stalwarts on defense, led by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. These two teams split the two games in the regular season.

Seattle Seahawks (10-6) at Dallas Cowboys (10-6) - The Seahawks beat the Dallas Cowboys (Week 3) 24-13 up in Seattle, but this time the game is being played in Dallas. Cowboys "big three" of QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott and WR Amari Cooper will look to break the solid Seattle defense. Seattle QB Russell Wilson has been there and done that when it comes to playoff football, so the Cowboys defense will have a challenge.


Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) at Baltimore Ravens (10-6) - The Ravens utilized two big plays to win at Los Angeles two weeks ago, 22-10 as the defense sacked L.A. quarterback Philip Rivers four times and picked off two passes. The Ravens with their running attack have caught recent opponents off guard with rookie QB Lamar Jackson leading the way. The Chargers will have the advantage of having seen this type of offense before, so it will be just a matter of executing on defense once the game starts. Chargers have been banged up in recent weeks, but will likely have RB Austin Ekeler along with Melvin Gordon and possibly even tight end Hunter Henry to help bolster the offense.

Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) at Chicago Bears (12-4) - The Bears have arguably the best defense in the NFL this year and the Eagles will be hard pressed to break that defense, which has been dominating opponents the last four weeks. Linebacker Khalil Mack is the leader of the Bears defense so Philly QB Nick Foles will have a real test as he seeks to lead the Eagles back to another Super Bowl run. As long as the Eagles aren't able to mix things up on offense, the Bears should be able to keep this game low scoring. If it becomes a free-for-all (doubtful) then the Eagles rate the edge.

The Heftyinfo picks for the Wild Card Round   . . . . . . .  (Home teams are listed in bold)

Indianapolis over Houston 
Seattle over Dallas
LA Chargers over Baltimore 
Chicago over Philadelphia

Last Week's Record -  12-4 


Lock of the Week Record -  15-2

Monday, December 31, 2018

NFL - Week Seventeen Review

It's on to the playoffs for twelve NFL teams, starting next weekend in the Wild Card Round.
The Indianapolis Colts (10-6) punched the last playoff ticket by beating the host Tennessee Titans, 33-17 on Sunday night.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had three touchdown passes and running back Marlon Mack rushed for 119 yards and scored a TD as well while the Colts defense intercepted two passes and also had a fumble recovery. The loss knocked the Titans (9-7) out of the playoff race.
The Colts will face AFC South division foe Houston (11-5) in the AFC Wild Card round next weekend.
The Houston Texans wrapped up the AFC South with a resounding 20-3 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans defense dominated the game, holding the Jags to only six first downs and 119 yards in total offense.
The Baltimore Ravens (10-6) clinched the AFC North title and their first playoff appearance in four years with a thrilling 26-24 home win against the Cleveland Browns. Ravens rookie QB Lamar Jackson scored two rushing touchdowns and kicker Justin Tucker made four field goals. Browns QB Baker Mayfield had three TD passes, but also threw three interceptions, including a pick on fourth-and-ten at the Baltimore 39-yard line with 1:02 remaining in the game.
The Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) clinched a wild card playoff spot in the NFC race with a 24-0 shutout win at Washington. The Eagles defense crushed the Redskins, limiting them to a ridiculous 89 yards in total offense (21 rushing, 68 passing) and only eight first downs. Meanwhile, QB Nick Foles had two scoring passes and completed 25 consecutive passes, tying an NFL record, before leaving the game with a rib injury. Backup Eagles QB Nate Sudfeld threw a TD pass in relief.
The Eagles will face the Chicago Bears (12-4) in the Wild Card round next weekend.
The Bears helped Philadelphia get into the playoffs by defeating the host Minnesota Vikings, 24-10 behind two rushing touchdowns by Jordan Howard and another rushing TD from Tarik Cohen. The Bears defense dominated the Vikings offense, limiting them to just 164 total yards. The Vikings (8-7-1) were eliminated from playoff contention.
The Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) clinched home field advantage in the AFC as they won at home, 35-3 over the Oakland Raiders. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes had two TD passes in the rout, which gave him 50 TD passes for the season along with over 5,000 yards passing as well, becoming just the second quarterback in NFL history to accomplish that. Peyton Manning was the other QB to do so back in 2013 with the Denver Broncos.
The Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) will be the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs as they beat the Denver Broncos, 23-9. The game was a sloppy one as each team had four turnovers and there was 150 penalty yards as well.
The Los Angeles Rams (13-3) clinched a first round bye in the NFC with a 48-32 thumping of the visiting San Francisco 49ers. Rams QB Jared Goff had four scoring passes and running back C.J. Anderson scored once and ran for 132 yards in place of Todd Gurley, who sat it out with a playoff spot already clinched.
Tom Brady (pictured right), the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, and the New England Patriots
(11-5) clinched a first round bye in the AFC with a 38-3 trouncing of the New York Jets. Brady had four TD passes in a balanced attack (131 yards rushing, 244 passing) while the Patriots defense forced three turnovers, including a score off a fumble recovery.
The Seattle Seahawks (10-6) held off the stubborn Arizona Cardinals, 27-24 thanks to a 33-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski as time ran out. The Seahawks locked up the fifth spot in the NFC playoffs and will face the Dallas Cowboys next weekend in the Wild Card round.

                                                       Elsewhere  Around  the  NFL  . . . . . . .  

The Carolina Panthers finally snapped their seven game losing streak, beating the host New Orleans Saints, 33-14 as QB Kyle Allen ran for a score and passed for two more as the Saints (13-3) rested many starters, including QB Drew Brees, having already clinched home field advantage in the NFC playoffs . . .   The Dallas Cowboys (10-6) won an exciting game, 36-35 on the road against the New York Giants as QB Dak Prescott connected with wide receiver Cole Beasley on a 32-yard scoring pass on fourth down with just over a minute to play. The Cowboys got the two-point conversion for the win. Giants RB Saquon Barkley became only the third rookie (running back) to go over 2,000 scrimmage yards in a season . . .  Atlanta concluded a dismal season with a 34-32 road win at Tampa Bay as QB Matt Ryan threw two TD passes and also caught a touchdown pass. Bucs QB Jameis Winston had four TD passes in the loss to the Falcons . . .  The Detroit Lions routed the host Green Bay Packers, 31-0 as they knocked Packers QB Aaron Rodgers out of the game (concussion) and cruised to the shutout win as QB Matthew Stafford had a pair of TD passes . . .  The Buffalo Bills crushed the Miami Dolphins, 42-17 for a home win as QB Josh Allen passed for three touchdowns and also ran for two more scores . . . The Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6-1) won their home finale, 16-13 against the Cincinnati Bengals behind three field goals from Matt McCrane, but then watched helplessly as they were eliminated from the AFC playoffs when Baltimore beat the Cleveland Browns.

Notable - Four more head coaches were let go today (Adam Gase in Miami, Vance Joseph in Denver,  Steve Wilks in Arizona, Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati) joining Todd Bowles (NY Jets) and Dirk Koetter (Tampa Bay), who were fired yesterday. Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy and Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson were canned during the regular season.

Chicago 24, Minnesota 10
Detroit 31, Green Bay 0
Philadelphia 24, Washington 0
Dallas 36, NY Giants 35
Seattle 27, Arizona 24
LA Rams 48, San Francisco 32
Atlanta 34, Tampa Bay 32
Carolina 33, New Orleans 14
Indianapolis 33, Tennessee 17
Houston 20, Jacksonville 3
New England 38, NY Jets 3
Buffalo 42, Miami 17
Baltimore 26, Cleveland 24
Pittsburgh 16, Cincinnati 13
Kansas City 35, Oakland 3
LA Chargers 23, Denver 9