Saturday, November 30, 2013

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten                            (Week ending November 30) 

1. Florida State (12-0)
2. Auburn (11-1)
3. Ohio State (12-0)
4. Alabama (11-1)
5. Oklahoma State (10-1)
6. Missouri (11-1)
7. Stanford (10-2)
8. Michigan State (11-1)
9. Baylor (10-1)
10. South Carolina (10-2)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NFL Football - Week Thirteen Preview

It's Thanksgiving folks and time for turkey with all the trimmings and of course, football!
Starting with the traditional Thanksgiving Day games in Detroit (forever) and Dallas (since 1978) and the night cap game, which is more of a recent thing than the day games.
The Detroit Lions (6-5) will host the Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) in an NFC North tilt that may go a long way in deciding the final outcome of the division. The Packers are once again without All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers (broke collar bone) for the game.
Detroit will face a Packers team coming off a tie with the Minnesota Vikings last weekend. The Lions lost to the Tampa Bay Bucs last week and are deadlocked with Chicago in first place in the NFC North. Lions' QB Matthew Stafford needs to get back on track after being intercepted four times last week if they are to win this game.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys (6-5) will face the Oakland Raiders (4-7) in Big D in the middle game of the day. Tony Romo and company will face a squad that lost a last second thriller to Tennessee last week and must be ready. Dallas beat the New York Giants last week on a last second field goal by kicker Dan Bailey to pull even with Philadelphia (6-5) in the NFC East.
This year's night game will be in Baltimore with the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens (5-6) playing the Pittsburgh Steelers (also 5-6) in a AFC North battle. The Steelers started the season 0-4 and have won five of seven games to get back into the AFC playoff chase.
There are currently six teams at 5-6 in the AFC  playoff race seeking the sixth and final wild card spot, so this game will be a big one for positioning for the sixth spot in the playoffs. 
Following the Thanksgiving holiday, there are some big games on Sunday, including the second meeting between the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs (both 9-2) in the last three weeks. The AFC West is still up for grabs and if Denver can win in KC on Sunday afternoon, they will have the edge in the tie breaker for the division crown by having swept the Chiefs.
The Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) travel to play the San Diego Chargers (5-6) and really need to win this road game because a loss would leave them just one game ahead of the winner of the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game. Meanwhile, the Chargers got a huge win last week in Kansas City to get back into the AFC playoff hunt and would definitely be in good position with a win.
In the AFC South, the Tennessee Titans (5-6) travel to play the Indianapolis Colts (7-4), which was blown out in Arizona last week. The Titans lost a tough one to Indy earlier this season, blowing a big lead in the game and would do wonders for themselves with a win this week.
One other interesting game in the AFC features Miami traveling up to New York to face the Jets. Both teams are in that 5-6 logjam for the wild card spot. So the loser of this game would be in real trouble as far as the playoffs are concerned.
Back to the NFC where the Arizona Cardinals (7-4) play in Philadelphia against the Eagles in a game which features two teams that have been rolling in recent weeks.
And of course, the huge game on Monday Night Football features the top two teams in the NFC as the New Orleans Saints (9-2) travel to the great northwest to face the 10-1 Seattle Seahawks, a team that hasn't lost a game since October 6, a 34-28 loss at Indianapolis. The winner of this game will likely enjoy "home field" advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
There are no more "bye weeks" for teams the rest of the way in the regular season, so each week brings additional pressure for those vying for the playoffs. Believe it or not, just one team (Atlanta Falcons) has been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs entering Week Thirteen.
The following capsule style previews follow below and of course, the Heftyinfo predictions for this week as well.

Thanksgiving Day Games

Green Bay (5-5-1) at Detroit (6-5) -  Turkey day in Motown ... the Lions and the Packers playing ... it doesn't get any better.

Oakland (4-7) at Dallas (6-5) - The Cowboys should roll in this game, but then again we are talking about the Cowboys, so nothing is guaranteed.

Pittsburgh (5-6) at Baltimore (5-6) - The loser of this game is likely out of the playoffs because of the fact so many teams have the same record.

The rest of the scheduled games

Tampa Bay (3-8) at Carolina (8-3) - The Panthers have won seven in a row while the Buccaneers have won three in a row ... something has to give.

Jacksonville (2-9) at Cleveland (4-7) - The Browns get off the mat this week.

Tennessee (5-6) at Indianapolis (7-4) - The Titans in a must win game on the road.

Chicago (6-5) at Minnesota (2-8-1) - The Bears have to win this one to keep pace with the Lions and Packers in the NFC North.

Miami (5-6) at NY Jets (5-6) - This is a big game for both of these teams for AFC wild card playoff hopes.

Arizona (7-4) at Philadelphia (6-5) - The surging Cardinals have won three straight and are starting to earn respect in the NFC and now face a rugged road test in Philly against an Eagles team that has also won three straight games.

Atlanta (2-9) at Buffalo (4-7) - The Falcons and the Bills ... who cares?

Denver (9-2) at Kansas City (9-2) - The AFC West battle between two teams coming off very tough losses.

Cincinnati (7-4) at San Diego (5-6) - Can Philip Rivers and company keep things going in the right direction?

St. Louis (5-6) at San Francisco (7-4) - The Rams have been blowing teams out lately while averaging 40 points per game. The 'Niners need to win this one to keep pace with Arizona in the NFC West battle for second place.

New England (8-3) at Houston (2-9) - The Patriots, coming off a huge comeback win against Denver last week, should give the Texans their 10th consecutive loss.

NY Giants (4-7) at Washington (3-8) - These two teams are just playing out the string.


New Orleans (9-2) at Seattle (10-1) - This is the game football fans have been waiting for... should live up to the billing in prime time.

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

Detroit over Green Bay
Dallas over Oakland
Pittsburgh over Baltimore
Carolina over Tampa Bay
Cleveland over Jacksonville
Indianapolis over Tennessee
Chicago over Minnesota
NY Jets over Miami
Philadelphia over Arizona
Atlanta over Buffalo
Denver over Kansas City
San Diego over Cincinnati
San Francisco over St. Louis
NEW ENGLAND over Houston
NY Giants over Washington
Seattle over New Orleans

Last Week's Record:  7-6-1

SEASON RECORD:  110-65-1

Lock of the Week Record:  10-2


Monday, November 25, 2013

NFL Football - Week Twelve Review

Tom Brady led the Pats comeback win over Denver.
What else needs to be said about the classic rivalry between quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning?
The feature Sunday Night Football game between the New England Patriots (8-3) and the visiting Denver Broncos (9-2) went to overtime with the Pats winning, 34-31 on a 31-yard field goal by kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
But the story was the second half comeback by Brady and the Patriots after falling behind 24-0 at halftime as the Broncos took advantage of three fumbles by New England.  Brady, Heftyinfo NFL co-Player of the Week, finished with three touchdown passes and also threw for 344 yards in the win. Manning had 150 pass yards along with two TD passes and one interception while running back Knowshon Moreno had 224 rushing yards in the loss.
Rivers and the Chargers shocked the Chiefs.

Another shootout took place in Kansas City earlier in the day with the visiting San Diego Chargers (5-6) storming back to shock the Chiefs, 41-38 as San Diego QB Philip Rivers, the Heftyinfo NFL co-Player of the Week, hit wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu with a 26-yard scoring pass with 24 seconds left to play to provide the final score. It was the second straight loss for the Chiefs (9-2) after starting 9-0 this season.
Rivers lit up the vaunted KC defense for 392 yards on 27 of 39 passing and three touchdown passes in the see-saw game that had eight lead changes. Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles gained 115 yards rushing on 14 carries and scored two touchdowns in the loss.

                                                              Elsewhere around the NFL . . . . . 

The St. Louis Rams rolled over the visiting Chicago Bears, 42-21 by rushing for 258 yards and forcing three turnovers that led to a pair of touchdowns . . .  The surging Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6) manhandled the host Cleveland Browns, 27-11 behind two TD passes from QB Ben Roehtlisberger and a TD off an interception return by William Gay . . .  Dallas (6-5) kept pace with Philadelphia (6-5) in the NFC East by knocking off the host New York Giants, 24-21 on a last second field goal by kicker Dan Bailey . . .  The Arizona Cardinals (7-4) served notice they are for real by blasting the visiting Indianapolis Colts, 40-11 as QB Carson Palmer hit WR Larry Fitzgerald for a pair of touchdown passes and the defense scored a TD as well in the rout . . .   The Detroit Lions (6-5) blew a chance to gain sole possession of first place in the NFC North by losing at home to Tampa Bay, 24-21 as QB Matthew Stafford was intercepted four times in the game while Bucs QB Mike Glennon threw for two scores and the defense also got a touchdown . . .  The Carolina Panthers (8-3) won their seventh consecutive game, beating the host Miami Dolphins, 20-16 thanks to a TD pass from QB Cam Newton to tight end Greg Olsen with just 43 seconds remaining . . .  The Tennessee Titans (5-6) also got some late heroics as QB Ryan Fitzpatrick found WR Kendall Wright for a 10-yard TD pass with ten seconds left to win 23-19 at Oakland . . .  The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings played to a 26-26 tie at Lambeau Field. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson had 146 yards rushing and Matt Flynn stepped in at QB for Green Bay (5-5-1) and threw for 218 yards and a TD to help force the overtime session, where the teams exchanged field goals  . . .  The New Orleans Saints (9-2) defeated the stubborn Atlanta Falcons on the road, 17-13 as QB Drew Brees had 278 yards passing along with two TD passes to lead the way . . .  Baltimore (5-6) throttled the visiting New York Jets (5-6) by a 19-3 count to set up a huge AFC North game on Thanksgiving Day behind solid defense that limited the Jets to just 220 yards while forcing three turnovers . . .  The Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) escaped the AFC South basement by sending the Houston Texans to their ninth straight defeat in a 13-6 road win as RB Maurice Jones-Drew scored a touchdown and the Jags' defense held Houston (2-9) to just 218 yards in total offense...  The San Francisco 49ers went on the road and buried the Washington Redskins, 27-6 on Monday Night Football behind solid defense and three touchdown passes from QB Colin Kaepernick to improve to 7-4 for the season.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten                     (Week ending November 23) 

1. Alabama (11-0)
2. Florida State (11-0)
3. Ohio State (11-0)
4. Auburn (10-1)
5. Oklahoma State (10-1)
6. Clemson (10-1)
7. Missouri (10-1)
8. Stanford (9-2)
9. Michigan State (10-1)
10. Baylor (9-1)

Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK Remembered

Fifty years ago today ... American history was forever changed.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

NFL Football - Week Twelve Preview

A lot of teams in the AFC are still vying for the sixth and final playoff spot, but that will start to thin out as the season winds down.
This weekend will be big for some of those teams, especially those going head-to-head in Week Twelve.
The New York Jets (5-5) face the Baltimore Ravens (4-6) while the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns (both 4-6) go at it on the shores of Lake Erie. The San Diego Chargers (yet another 4-6 team) will be at Kansas City, trying to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Two other 4-6 teams are the Oakland Raiders and the Tennessee Titans, who play each other in Oakland while the Miami Dolphins (5-5) will host the RED HOT Carolina Panthers.
Got all that?
In the NFC, the surging New York Giants (4-6) face the Dallas Cowboys (5-5) in the Meadowlands with both teams trying to catch the idle Philadelphia Eagles (6-5 and on the Bye Week) in the NFC East.
The Chicago Bears (6-4) will be in St. Louis while the Detroit Lions (6-4) will host the suddenly improving Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Motor City. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers (5-5) play at home against the Minnesota Vikings.
Later in the day out west, the Arizona Cardinals (6-4), definitely one of the bigger surprise teams in the NFL, play the Indianapolis Colts, which is the team current Cards' Head Coach Bruce Arians did such a great job serving as interim Head Coach last year when Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano was gone from the team battling cancer.
It all shapes up to be a great weekend around the league and come next week, things will be somewhat more in focus for the post-season picture ... maybe.
With all that going on, here are the capsule previews for this weekend and of course, the Heftyinfo predictions for Week Twelve. By the way, Heftyinfo enjoyed the best week this season last week, going a stellar 13-2 with the picks. Fluke or not, here's hoping for more of the same this week.
(Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Seattle have the Bye Week.)

New Orleans (8-2) at Atlanta (2-8) - The Saints should win this one, but then again when these two NFC South rivals go at it, throw everything out the window.

Pittsburgh (4-6) at Cleveland (4-6) - The Steelers and the Browns. Should be a good game.

Tampa Bay (2-8) at Detroit (6-4) - Lions better be ready because suddenly the Bucs are playing football after an 0-8 start.

Minnesota (2-8) at Green Bay (5-5) - Hard to believe just last January these same two teams were meeting in the playoffs. Packers (even without Aaron Rodgers) should win this game.

San Diego (4-6) at Kansas City (9-1) - The Chiefs are still unbeaten (at home that is) but the Chargers are a desperate team in need of a win and that makes them dangerous.

Chicago (6-4) at St. Louis (4-6) - The Rams rolled the Colts two weeks ago and after the bye week, now face the Bears. This will be a great game.

Carolina (7-3)  at Miami (5-5) - The Panthers are on a mission.

NY Jets (5-5) at Baltimore (4-6) - The loser of this game will likely be OUT of the playoff picture come December.

Tennessee (4-6) at Oakland (4-6) - See above comment.

Jacksonville (1-9) at Houston (2-8) - Will this finally be the week that Houston snaps the losing skid? Perhaps, but nothing is guaranteed with the Texans this year.

Indianapolis (7-3) at Arizona (6-4) - These two coaches (Chuck Pagano and Bruce Arians) know each others' team systems so well, this could wind up being the first TIE GAME of the season.

Dallas (5-5) at NY Giants (4-6) - A month ago, this looked like a ho-hum game on the schedule ... not any more as the surging Giants look to move up to second place in the NFC (L)East.

Denver (9-1) at New England (7-3) - Is anyone getting sick and tired of seeing the Broncos on Sunday Night Football yet? But then again, it is Brady vs. Manning and that means BIG ratings for the TV networks.

San Francisco (6-4) at Washington (3-7) - The 49ers have lost two in a row and this game is a must win for them. The Redskins can just go out and have some fun for the rest of the season.

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

New Orleans over Atlanta
PITTSBURGH over Cleveland
Detroit over Tampa Bay
Green Bay over Minnesota
San Diego over Kansas City
Chicago over St. Louis
Carolina over Miami
Baltimore over NY Jets
Oakland over Tennessee
Houston over Jacksonville
Indianapolis over Arizona
NY Giants over Dallas
New England over Denver
San Francisco over Washington 

Last Week's Record:  13-2


Lock of the Week Record:  9-2

Monday, November 18, 2013

NFL Football - Week Eleven Review

There was nothing quite like "home cooking" this weekend around the NFL as the host teams won 11 of the
13 games played. The only road teams to win Sunday were the Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals. The Indianapolis Colts won on the road at Tennessee on Thursday night.
Starting in the NFC North division, the Chicago Bears (6-4) weathered the storms around the area (the game was delayed for nearly two hours as tornadoes roared throughout Illinois on Sunday afternoon) to defeat the Baltimore Ravens, 23-20 in overtime. Bears' kicker Robbie Gould drilled a 38-yard field goal in the OT to win the game.
The Detroit Lions (6-4) lost at Pittsburgh, 37-27 as the Steelers defense rose up in the second half and shut down the Lions passing tandem of  Matthew Stafford and WR  Calvin Johnson, who had 179 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
The second half was all Steelers (4-6) as they shut out Detroit after trailing 27-20 at the half. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, passed for 367 yards and four
Big Ben led the way for Steelers in win.
touchdowns to lead the charge. It was the fourth win in six games for the Steelers after a 0-4 start.
The New York Giants (4-6) won their fourth straight game with a 27-13 home victory against the reeling Green Bay Packers (5-5), who lost their third straight game without QB Aaron Rodgers, who is out with a fractured collar bone.
Jason Pierre-Paul raced 24 yards with an interception for a touchdown to ice the game for the Giants. Packers backup QB Scott Tolzien threw three interceptions in the loss.
The Minnesota Vikings were flattened in Seattle, 41-20 as Marshawn Lynch ran for two scores and also caught a TD pass to lead the way for the Seahawks, who improved to an NFL best 10-1 record.
The big game was Sunday night where the host Denver Broncos (9-1) beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-17 behind two TD runs by running back Monte Ball and a touchdown pass from QB Peyton Manning, who has 34 for the season. It was the first loss of the year for Kansas City (9-1), which didn't get a QB sack against the Broncos. The two teams are tied for first place in the AFC West and will meet again in just two weeks in Kansas City.
The New Orleans Saints survived at home against the San Francisco 49ers, 23-20 as Garrett Hartley kicked the game winning field goal at the buzzer. It was the third field goal in the fourth quarter for Hartley and provided the difference for the Saints, who improved to 8-2 with the win. The 49ers (6-4) lost for the second straight game and are now tied for second place with surprising Arizona in the NFC West.

                                                    Elsewhere around the league . . . . . . 

The Miami Dolphins (5-5) won a listless game against the visiting San Diego Chargers, 20-16 by holding them out of the end zone in the closing seconds . . .  Philadelphia (6-5) took over first place in the NFC East with a 24-16 home win against Washington (3-7) behind two TD runs by LeSean McCoy and a defensive stand in the final minute to stifle the Redskins comeback effort . . .  The Buffalo Bills crushed the visiting New York Jets (5-5) 37-14 as Jets' QB Geno Smith threw three picks and also fumbled while fellow rookie QB E.J. Manuel was stellar with two TD passes for the Bills (4-7) . . .  Cincinnati (7-4) won at home, 41-20 over Cleveland to open a three-game cushion in the AFC North. Bengals' QB Andy Dalton had three TD passes and the defense and special teams (blocked punt for TD) each scored as well . . .  The Arizona Cardinals (6-4) showed they are playoff contenders with another win, this time 27-14 at Jacksonville as QB Carson Palmer had two TD passes, including a 91-yard TD strike to WR Michael Floyd . . .  The Oakland Raiders (4-6) won on the road against Houston, 28-23 behind three TD passes from backup QB Matt McGloin, sending the Texans (2-8) to their eighth  consecutive loss . . .  The Indianapolis Colts (7-3) stormed back from a 21-3 first half deficit to beat the host Tennessee Titans, 30-27 behind two rushing touchdowns from Donald Brown and a scoring run by QB Andrew Luck while the defense held the Titans (4-6) to just two field goals in the second half . . . The host Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) won their second consecutive game by pounding the hapless Atlanta Falcons, 41-28 in blowout fashion, building a 38-6 lead in the third quarter behind three scores and 163 yards rushing by Bobby Rainey. . .  The Carolina Panthers topped the visiting New England Patriots, 24-20 on Monday Night Football behind three TD passes from Cam Newton to improve to 7-3 with their sixth consecutive win.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten                        (Week ending November 16) 

1. Alabama (10-0)
2. Florida State (10-0)
3. Ohio State (10-0)
4. Baylor (9-0)
5. Oregon (9-1)
6. Clemson (9-1)
7. Auburn (10-1)
8. Missouri (9-1)
9. Texas A & M (8-2)
10. Oklahoma State (9-1)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

NFL Football - Week Eleven Preview

There are two huge games and both will be televised nationally in "prime time" as the Denver Broncos (8-1) host the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) on NBC-TV's Sunday Night Football while the red-hot Carolina Panthers (6-3), winners of five straight games and fresh off their road victory against the mighty San Francisco 49ers last week, take on the visiting New England Patriots (7-2) on Monday Night Football on ESPN.
These games will go a long way in helping to determine the playoff pictures in both conferences.
The Broncos are leading the NFL is scoring while Kansas City boasts the league's top defense in the scoring category. Meanwhile, the Patriots have been surging on offense after getting tight end Rob Gronkowski back a few weeks ago and posted their highest output of the season two weeks ago in a 55-31 blowout win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Panthers limited the 49ers to under 200 yards of total offense last week and sacked agile quarterback Colin Kaepernick six times in the 10-9 win, which was not only their fifth in a row, but first against a true "powerhouse" type team. In addition, Carolina is second (to Kansas City) in the NFL in scoring defense through the first nine games.
There are other games with big impact on the league's playoff picture entering Week Eleven, including the Chicago Bears (5-4) hosting the Baltimore Ravens (4-5) and the San Diego Chargers (4-5) playing at the Miami Dolphins (also 4-5) while the Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) host the Washington Redskins (3-6) in a big NFC East battle.
Another team from the NFC East, the New York Giants (3-6) face the visiting Green Bay Packers (5-4) who have lost two in a row following the injury to All-Pro QB Aaron Rodgers. The Giants have been hot, winning three straight and getting right back into the thick of the NFC East race.
And of course, let's not forget Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, who put up a ridiculous 600 plus yards against Dallas in a 49-17 thrashing last week, facing the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Dome in the late afternoon featured NFC game. Unlike The Dallas Cowboys, the 'Niners play solid defense and this one should live up to the billing.
The following capsule previews breaks down the action this week and as always, the Heftyinfo picks for the week's games are on tap.
(Dallas and St. Louis have the Bye Week) 

Indianapolis (6-3) at Tennessee (4-5) - The Titans blew a huge opportunity last week losing to Jacksonville. Meanwhile, the Colts were crushed (at home) by St. Louis. Go figure!

NY Jets (5-4) at Buffalo (3-7) - The Jets are riding high while the Bills are already playing out the string. But, watch out because that makes the Bills dangerous.

Baltimore (4-5) at Chicago (5-4) - This game could very well go down to the wire.

Cleveland (4-5) at Cincinnati (6-4) - If the Browns want to be considered serious playoff contenders ... this is their game to prove it.

Atlanta (2-7) at Tampa Bay (1-8) - Can the Buccaneers win two in a row? It's possible because the Falcons stink this season.

Arizona (5-4) at Jacksonville (1-8) - Can the Jaguars win two in a row? Nope!

Oakland (3-6) at Houston (2-7) - The Texans are looking to snap a seven-game losing streak and the Raiders should be just the tonic.

San Diego (4-5) at Miami (4-5) - Philip Rivers and company are due for a big game win. This very well could be the week.

Washington (3-6) at Philadelphia (5-5) - The league's most over-hyped QB (RG3) against the league's hottest QB (Nick Foles) in the past two games. Something has to give.

Detroit (6-3) at Pittsburgh (3-6) - Upset Alert! The Steelers are still in wild card playoff contention and the Lions are looking like the team to beat in the rugged NFC North ... Take the Steelers!

Green Bay (5-4) at NY Giants (3-6) - The Packers are hurting without Aaron Rodgers and the Giants are starting to get their mojo back.

Minnesota (2-7) at Seattle (9-1) - The Seahawks have the chance to become the league's first double-digit win team in 2013.

San Francisco (6-3) at New Orleans (7-2) - The Saints do not lose in the Dome. The 49ers are tough and should keep it close.

Kansas City (9-0) at Denver (8-1) - Peyton Manning and the Broncos will not allow the Chiefs to have their way in the Mile High City.

New England (7-2) at Carolina (6-3) - After last week's MNF stinker game, two solid teams go at it in "prime time" on ESPN. Should be a great game.

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

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

Last Week's Record:  9-5


Lock of the Week Record:  8-2


Monday, November 11, 2013

NFL Football - Week Ten Review

The Carolina Panthers served notice to the rest of the league that they are legitimate contenders in the NFC this season.
The Panthers (6-3) won their fifth consecutive game by beating the host San Francisco 49ers, 10-9 behind solid defense that limited San Francisco (6-3) to just 151 yards in total offense, including just 46 yards passing for the game. In addition, the suffocating Panthers defense sacked 49ers' QB Colin Kaepernick six
Carolina D crushed the 49ers.
times. Carolina running back DeAngelo Williams ran 27 yards for the game's only touchdown.
The win kept Carolina within one game of the first place New Orleans Saints (7-2) in the NFC South as the Saints dismantled the visiting Dallas Cowboys, 49-17 on the Sunday Night Football game.
New Orleans out gained the Cowboys in total yardage by a 625-193 count as QB Drew Brees threw four touchdown passes along with 392 yards. Meanwhile, running back Mark Ingram gained 145 yards on the ground and scored a touchdown and Darren Sproles added two scores as well, one rushing and one receiving. The Saints also set a new NFL record as they had 40 first downs in the game.
Two of the bigger surprises around the NFL on Sunday had to be the St. Louis Rams (4-6) crushing the Indianapolis Colts, 38-8 while the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) won their first game of the season by winning a road game against the Tennessee Titans, 29-27 with a safety being the difference in the outcome.
The Titans turned the ball over four times while the Jags built a 20-10 lead heading into the final quarter. The Jags' defense scored all nine points in the final frame with the safety and a touchdown off a fumble recovery. The Titans had to go with backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick after Jake Locker was knocked out with a foot  injury. Today, it was reported that Locker will be out for the rest of the season.
Tavon Austin was a one-man wrecking crew in Rams big win.

The Rams went into Indy and just lowered the boom on the Colts (6-3) behind Tavon Austin, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, who scored three touchdowns and accumulated 314 all-purpose yards to lead the way, including a 98-yard punt return for a touchdown. He also hauled in TD passes of 57 and 81 yards and defensive end Chris Long ran back a fumble 45 yards for the game's first score to help set the tone as Colts' QB Andrew Luck turned the football over four times (fumble and three INT) in the loss.

The Denver Broncos (8-1) won a big road game against the San Diego Chargers, 28-20 to set up a HUGE showdown in the AFC West next week against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs.
Broncos' QB Peyton Manning, despite being injured late in the game (ankle) threw for 330 yards and four TD passes, including three of them to WR Demaryius Thomas (seven catches for 108 yards) while the defense came through late in the game, stopping a late Chargers' threat that made it close after Denver had built up a 28-6 advantage early in the second half.
The Detroit Lions (6-3) knocked off the Chicago Bears on the road, 21-19 as the defense stopped a two-point conversion try with just 40 seconds left to play.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford (three TD passes) hooked up with WR Calvin Johnson twice for touchdowns and RB Reggie Bush rushed for 105 yards to lead the way on offense. Bears' QB Jay Cutler returned ahead of schedule from a groin injury, but left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury after showing gimpiness during the game. Backup QB Josh McCown nearly rallied the team back by hitting WR Brandon Marshall (seven catches for 139 yards) for a touchdown to pull the Bears to within two points.

                                              Elsewhere around the NFL    . . . . . . .

The New York Giants (3-6) won for a third straight time, beating the visiting Oakland Raiders, 24-20 as RB Andre Brown gained 115 yards and scored a touchdown to go with a special team score on a blocked punt  . .  .  Seattle (9-1) rolled past the host Atlanta Falcons, 33-10 as QB Russell Wilson threw two TD passes and RB Marshwan Lynch (145 yards rushing) ran for another score while kicker Steven Hauschka made four field goals . . .   The Arizona Cardinals (5-4) held off the visiting Houston Texans, 27-24 as the defense accounted for a score and QB Carson Palmer had two TD passes. The Texans (2-7) lost for the seventh consecutive time . . .  QB Nick Foles stayed hot with three scoring passes to lead the visiting Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) to a 27-13 win over Green Bay, who were without starting QB Aaron Rodgers (broken collar bone) and then lost backup QB Seneca Wallace to a groin injury early in the game . . .  The Baltimore Ravens (4-5) sucked it up and won in OT, 20-17 as Justin Tucker drilled a 46-yard field goal to win it after the Bengals (6-4) tied the game at the very end of regulation with a 'Hail Mary' TD pass from Andy Dalton to WR A.J. Green, who caught the ball off a deflection in the end zone . . .  Last Thursday night, the Minnesota Vikings rallied back to beat the visiting Washington Redskins, 34-27 as  QB Christian Ponder threw for two scores and RB Adrian Peterson rushed for two more to lead the way. Redskins' QB Robert Griffin III had three TD passes in the loss . . .   The Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6) beat the visiting Buffalo Bills, 23-10 with solid defense (limiting Buffalo to just 227 yards in total offense) and a balanced attack that included 164 passing yards and 136 rushing yards . . .  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their first game of the season with a 22-19 home win over the Miami Dolphins (4-5)  on Monday Night Football, with the Bucs defense recording a safety and holding the 'Fins to just two yards rushing for the game.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten                        (Week ending November 9)

1. Alabama (9-0)                            
2. Florida State (9-0)
3. Ohio State (9-0)
4. Baylor (8-0)                           
5. Stanford (8-1)
6. Clemson (8-1)
7. Auburn (9-1)
8. Oregon (8-1)
9. Missouri (9-1)
10.Texas A & M (8-2)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

NFL Football - Week Ten Preview

There are two big divisional battles taking place this weekend around the NFL as the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions go at it in Soldier Field in the Windy City while Baltimore Ravens host the Cincinnati Bengals in an AFC North tilt.
The Bears (5-3) knocked off the Green Bay Packers last week and are tied for first place with the Lions and Packers (both 5-3) in the NFC North division. Chicago may even have quarterback Jay Cutler back behind center for the game. Cutler has been out sonce suffering a groin injury against the Washington Redskins three weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the Lions are coming off the bye week and blasted the Bears up in Motown back in Week Four, 40-32 in a game that was nowhere near as close as what the final score would indicate.
The Packers will be without All-Pro QB Aaron Rodgers for an undetermined amount of time as he suffered a collar bone fracture against the Bears. How much impact that will have on the division race will have to play out, but the winner of the Bears-Lions game will definitely have some wind in their sails heading into the final seven games.
The AFC North is not a very strong division this season, so the Baltimore Ravens (3-5) know they have to win the division to likely get back to the playoffs this year. The Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) have a strong hold on the division lead at this point, but they are coming off a tough loss to Miami a week ago.
The Ravens are basically in a "must win" game here after falling to the Cleveland Browns (4-5 with the bye this weekend) last week and it won't be easy, but they have to start winning games, especially in the AFC North.
Some other games of interest have the Denver Broncos (7-1) at San Diego Chargers (4-4) in a AFC West battle and the Sunday Night Football game has the Dallas Cowboys (5-4) going on the road to face the New Orleans Saints (6-2) in a game that could help determine a possible first round bye in the post-season.
The Broncos are coming off their bye week and still trail the Kansas City Chiefs (9-0), who they will be playing next week and again two weeks later. So it is important for them not to look ahead because the Chargers have been a formidable team this season under rejuvenated QB Philip Rivers, who does boast a winning record (4-3 including two playoff wins) against Denver QB Peyton Manning in head-to-head games.

The rest of the action is featured in the capsule previews along with the Heftyinfo picks for Week Ten.
(Cleveland, Kansas City, New England and NY Jets have the Bye Weeks) 

Washington (3-5) at Minnesota (1-7) - The Vikings have had a tough year so far. Washington won a squeaker last week.

Seattle (8-1) at Atlanta (2-6) - The Seahawks have been struggling to win lately but the Falcons are simply awful this year.

Detroit (5-3) at Chicago (5-3)  - First place in the NFC North is on the line in this game.

Philadelphia (4-5) at Green Bay (5-3) - Can Eagles' QB Nick Foles throw for SEVEN touchdowns again this week? Can the Packers win without starting QB Aaron Rodgers? This should be a good game.

Jacksonville (0-8) at Tennessee (4-4) - The Jaguars have to win at some point this season. Not this week on the road against the Titans they won't.

St. Louis (3-6) at Indianapolis (6-2) - Take the Colts... they are rolling.

Oakland (3-5) at NY Giants (2-6) - The Giants can actually get back in the NFC East race with a win. The Raiders are a mess.

Buffalo (3-6) at Pittsburgh (2-6) - Yawn.

Cincinnati (6-3) at Baltimore (3-5) - It's put up or shut up time for the Baltimore Ravens.

Carolina (5-3) at San Francisco (6-2) - The 49ers have won five straight games. The Panthers have won four straight games. Something has to give. Take the 49ers at home.

Denver (7-1) at San Diego (4-4) - The Broncos are well rested while the Chargers let one get away at Washington last weekend.

Houston (2-6) at Arizona (4-4) - This could be a very exciting game ... stay tuned.

Dallas (5-4) at New Orleans (6-2) - This Sunday Night Football game in prime time should be a shoot out in the Super Dome.

Miami (4-4) at Tampa Bay (0-8) - This Monday night stinker could very well produce the first win of the season for the Bucs.

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

Minnesota over Washington
Seattle over Atlanta
Detroit over Chicago
Green Bay over Philadelphia
TENNESSEE over Jacksonville
Indianapolis over St. Louis
NY Giants over Oakland
Pittsburgh over Buffalo
Cincinnati over Baltimore
San Francisco over Carolina
Denver over San Diego
Arizona over Houston
New Orleans over Dallas
Tampa Bay over Miami

Last Week's Record:  7-6


Lock of the Week Record:  8-1

Monday, November 4, 2013

NFL Football - Week Nine Review

In what was a surprising weekend in many regards around the NFL, the main focus is on the health of two Head Coaches as Gary Kubiak (Houston Texans) and John Fox (Denver Broncos) both suffered physical ailments, in particular Fox, who underwent heart surgery following an episode of dizziness and feeling light headed over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Kubiak nearly passed out as the Texans and Indianapolis Colts headed to the halftime locker rooms. After being taken to the hospital, he was diagnosed in good condition and should be back with the Texans soon.
That puts things in perspective regarding the game of football.
The Colts (6-2) stormed back in the second half of the game to beat the host Texans, 27-24 behind three TD passes from QB Andrew Luck. Houston held a 21-3 halftime lead but couldn't muster much in the second half. Texans' QB Case Keenum passed for 350 yards and three touchdowns, all to WR Andre Johnson, in the loss, which was the sixth in a row for Houston following a 2-0 start.
Eagles QB Nick Foles had a record day in big win.

There was also a lot of excitement on the field elsewhere as the Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) clobbered the host Oakland Raiders, 49-20 with quarterback Nick Foles, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, leading the way with SEVEN touchdown passes and 406 yards passing. It was the second time this season a QB has thrown seven TD passes in one game. Peyton Manning also did it for Denver in Week One.

The Washington Redskins (3-5) edged the San Diego Chargers, 30-24 in overtime as Darrel Young scored his third rushing touchdown of the game to win it.
Chargers' QB Philip Rivers had 341 passing yards to go with two touchdowns and two interceptions and led the 'Bolts down the field in the final two minutes, but couldn't get the touchdown to win the game as the 'Skins defense held firm, denying the go ahead score in spite of first-and-goal from inside the one-yard line with 21 seconds to go and two timeouts remaining. Instead, San Diego (4-4) had to settle for the tying field goal to force the overtime.
The New York Jets (5-4), fresh off a 49-9 blowout loss at Cincinnati last week, turned the tables and beat the visiting New Orleans Saints, 26-20 behind solid defense that included two interceptions. Jets' running back Chris Ivory gained 139 yards against his former team and scored a touchdown to help provide the difference.

Tom Brady celebrates big win over Steelers.
The New England Patriots (7-2) had their biggest offensive output this season in a 55-31 rout of the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6) as QB Tom Brady threw for 432 yards and four touchdowns. The Patriots gained 610 yards in total offense, including 197 yards rushing while tight end Rob Gronkowski had nine catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. Steelers' QB Ben Roehtlisberger had 400 yards passing and four TD passes in the loss.

                                           Elsewhere around the NFL . . . . . 

The Tennessee Titans (4-4) outlasted the host St. Louis Rams, 28-21 behind 150 yards and two rushing touchdowns from running back Chris Johnson . . .  The Seattle Seahawks (8-1) survived a major scare at home, beating back the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 27-24 in OT on a 27-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka. The 'Hawks trailed 21-0 in the game but rallied behind two TD passes and a running score from QB Russell Wilson to force the overtime . . .  The Carolina Panthers (5-3) won their fourth straight game, blowing out the visiting Atlanta Falcons, 34-10 as the defense intercepted three passes, including a 38-yard return for score by Drayton Florence . . .  Kansas City (9-0) remained the NFL's only undefeated team with a 23-13 road win against the Buffalo Bills as the defense scored two touchdowns and kicker Ryan Succop kicked three field goals to lead the way . . .  The Dallas Cowboys (5-4) pulled off a late rally to win at home, 27-23 over the Minnesota Vikings as QB Tony Romo (337 pass yards) hit WR Dwayne Harris for a seven-yard scoring pass with only 35 seconds left to win the game  . . .   The Cleveland Browns (4-5) knocked off the visiting Baltimore Ravens, 24-18 behind three TD passes from QB Jason Campbell  . . .  Last Thursday, the Miami Dolphins (4-4) beat the visiting Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) with a safety in OT to win 22-20 as the defense sacked QB Andy Dalton in the end zone to win it on Halloween night . . .  The Chicago Bears (5-3) surprised the host Green Bay Packers (5-3) on Monday Night Football, 27-20 to force a three-way tie for first place (with the Detroit Lions) in the NFC North. Bears' backup QB Josh McCown threw for 272 yards and had two TD passes and RB Matt Forte' rushed for 125 yards and scored a TD while the defense recorded five QB sacks, including the one by DL Shea McClellin that broke Packers' QB Aaron Rodgers collar bone. Rodgers is out for an undetermined amount of time because of the injury.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten                          (Week ending November 2)  

1. Alabama (8-0)                            
2. Oregon (8-0)
3. Florida State (8-0)
4. Ohio State (9-0)
5. Baylor (7-0)
6. Stanford (7-1)
7. Clemson (7-1)
8. LSU (7-2)
9. Auburn (8-1)
10. Missouri (8-1)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Red Sox Win World Series

Someway, somehow, the Boston Red Sox went from "worst to first" (as the saying goes) as they beat the St. Louis Cardinals, four games to two, to win the 2013 World Series.
The Bosox were a last place team under former manager Bobby Valentine a year ago, finishing 69-93 in the American League East.
So why the turnaround in just one season?
There were many reasons.
The Red Sox hired John Farrell to manage the team and unlike the silly Valentine, he took on a no nonsense approach, and the team bought in early on.
They also signed many veteran players who were said to be "washed up" ... players such as Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Jared Saltalamacchia, Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew, pitchers Ryan Dempster, Jake Peavy and John Lackey, and relief pitchers Andrew Bailey and Mike Hanrahan.
That is quite a re-vamp and it worked out as those players, shucking the "re-tread" role, contributed along with key veteran players Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury to win the rugged American League East. Outside of Hanrahan and Bailey, who wound up on the disabled list for practically the entire season, everything went just right for Boston in 2013.
They even wound up with a closer by default as Koji Uehara emerged as the anchor and savior of the bullpen when the duo of Bailey and Hanrahan went down.
The Bosox finished with a 97-65 record (the best in baseball along with St. Louis) which was a 28-game turnaround from a year ago.
From there, they beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the Divisional round of the MLB Playoffs in four games, winning three games to one. After that, they managed to defeat the Detroit Tigers four games to two to win  the American League pennant.
In the World Series, The Red Sox were able to overcome a two games to one deficit by winning three straight games to win it four games to two, clinching the series in Fenway Park.
Indeed, it was quite a year for the Boston Red Sox, which nobody saw coming as these "bearded wonders" shocked the baseball world.
Congratulations are in order because I certainly didn't believe this team could do it.
But, they better enjoy it because next season they will not be sneaking up on anybody.
Baseball is a funny game and yesterday's fortunes can turn bad in a hurry. Just ask the San Francisco Giants, who went from being the World Series champions of 2012 to finishing in fourth place in the National League West in 2013.
But for now, the Boston Red Sox can bask in the glory of being called World Series Champions!