Monday, September 29, 2014

Major League Baseball - Post Season Preview

Back in March, Heftyinfo made the predictions for the MLB Playoffs and World Series that will get started tomorrow in Kansas City where the Royals will host the Oakland A's in the American League "Wild Card" Playoff Game. On Wednesday (October 1) it will be the San Francisco Giants facing the host Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League "Wild Card" Game.
Seven of the ten teams that made the playoffs were accurately picked by Heftyinfo in the MLB 2014 Season Preview back on March 31, so now here we go with a preview of the playoffs and the World Series, along with fearless forecasts as to what will happen in October.

In the National League, the Washington Nationals are loaded and playing great baseball since late July. Led by a solid pitching staff and a steady lineup, they appear to be headed toward the Fall Classic after being denied by the defending National League champion St. Louis Cardinals (who won it all three years ago) in the 2012 Division Series.
The Cardinals have been one of baseball's hottest teams down the stretch and pulled away past Milwaukee and Pittsburgh in September to win yet another NL Central division crown.
The Los Angeles Dodgers feature the game's best pitcher in Clayton Kershaw and they are hoping to ride his arm past the Redbirds in the NLDS.
Pittsburgh has reigning (2013) NL Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutcheon leading the offense and a pitching staff that finally is healthy just in time for the post-season.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants (who won it all in 2010 and 2012) are back in the playoffs and manager Bruce Bochy knows what it takes to get this team to the World Series.

In the American League, it's the talent laden Los Angeles Angels as the top seed after winning 98 games and they boast the best regular season record in baseball. Matt Shoemaker and Jared Weaver are the top pitchers for the 'Halos (Ace hurler Garrett Richards is out for the season with injury) and the lineup is led by 2014 MVP candidate Mike Trout.
The Baltimore Orioles surprised many people by not only winning the American League East, but they ran away with it, going 96-66 and winning the division by twelve games. Led by Adam Jones and Home Run king (40 dingers this year) Nelson Cruz, the O's smacked 211 home runs to lead the league. They also have a solid starting pitching rotation and a deep bullpen loaded with leftys, including a shut down closer in Zach Britton.
The Detroit Tigers are back again after winning their fourth consecutive AL Central division title and are led by the "Big Three"starting pitchers Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and David Price. The lineup is solid, led by two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera. Their Achilles heel is their bullpen.
Oakland has a deep pitching staff, led by Jon Lester and Sonny Gray, and a scrappy crew of bearded wonders in the lineup. Kansas City is a team that is making it's first playoff appearance since 1985, when Hall-of-Famer George Brett and company won it all.
The Royals boast a lights out bullpen and a lineup that will get on base and run run run as they led the major leagues in stolen bases this season.

The following predictions are slightly different from the ones back in March, where the St. Louis Cardinals were selected to top the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, but here goes nothing as the Major League Baseball post-season gets started.


Wild Card Game - Oakland A's defeat Kansas City Royals

Division Playoffs - Los Angeles Angels over Oakland A's (3-1)  Baltimore Orioles over Detroit Tigers (3-2)

American League Championship Series - Baltimore Orioles over Los Angeles Angels (4-2)


Wild Card Game - Pittsburgh Pirates defeat San Francisco Giants

Division Playoffs -  Washington Nationals over Pittsburgh Pirates (3-1)  St. Louis Cardinals over Los Angeles Dodgers (3-1)

National League Championship Series - St. Louis Cardinals over Washington Nationals (4-2)


            WORLD SERIES

Baltimore Orioles over St. Louis Cardinals in seven games

NFL - Week Four Review

There were some surprises once again around the NFL in Week Four as the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers went into Pittsburgh and stunned the Steelers, 27-24 as quarterback Mike Glennon hit wide receiver Vincent Jackson for a five-yard touchdown pass with seven seconds remaining in the game. The Bucs defense sacked Steelers QB Ben Roehtlisberger five times as the offense rallied down the stretch to get the win.
Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay blew out the host Chicago Bears, 38-17 behind four touchdown passes from QB Aaron Rodgers (two each to Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson) to offset 235 rushing yards and 496 yardage in total offense for Chicago. The Packers defense intercepted Bears QB Jay Cutler twice in the game.
San Francisco won a thrilling 26-21decision over the visiting Philadelphia Eagles as kicker Phil Dawson made four field goals and 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick threw for two touchdowns. Philadelphia's high octane offense did not score as all the Eagles' scores came on special teams and defense.

The Houston Texans held off the Buffalo Bills, 23-17 for a home victory as defensive lineman J.J. Watt took an interception back 80 yards for a score while kicker Randy Bullock drilled three field goals to help make the difference.
Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck had four TD passes in a 41-17 rout of the visiting Tennessee Titans as the Colts rolled up 498 yards in offense while the defense picked off two passes and recorded three QB sacks.
Revenge was sweet for Baltimore Ravens WR Steve Smith as he caught seven passes for 139 yards and burned his former team for two touchdowns in a 38-10 blowout win at home against the Carolina Panthers. Ravens QB Joe Flacco passed for 327 yards and three touchdowns.
Over in London, England, the Miami Dolphins smashed the Oakland Raiders, 38-14 behind two touchdown runs by Lamar Miller and a pair of scoring passes from QB Ryan Tannehill. Miami's defense intercepted three passes and had two QB sacks.
The Detroit Lions rode their strong defense and two touchdown passes and a scoring run by QB Matthew Stafford to earn a 24-17 road win against the New York Jets.
Last Thursday night, the New York Giants blasted the host Washington Redskins, 45-14 as Giants QB Eli Manning had four touchdown passes, including three of them to Larry Donnell. The Giants defense rose up by picking off four passes by Redskins QB Kirk Cousins.
Minnesota pulled off a home win, beating the Atlanta Falcons, 41-28 as running back Matt Asiata scored three touchdowns to pace a balanced attack that gained 558 yards in total offense, including 241 on the ground.
Rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater passed for 317 yards in his first NFL start and also scored a rushing touchdown. Falcons QB Matt Ryan passed for 298 yards with three TD passes and two interceptions in the loss.
The San Diego Chargers cruised to a 33-14 home win against the Jacksonville Jaguars as QB Philip Rivers had 377 yards passing and three touchdown strikes to lead the way. Jags rookie QB Blake Bortels had two TD passes and two interceptions in his first pro start.
The Sunday Night Football game was a blowout in Dallas as the host Cowboys smoked the New Orleans Saints, 38-17 behind a big game from running back DeMarco Murray (149 yards rushing and two TD) and QB Tony Romo, who passed for three touchdowns. Saints QB Drew Brees had 340 passing yards with two TD passes and an interception in defeat.
In the Monday Night Football game, the host Kansas City Chiefs crushed the New England Patriots, 41-14 as QB Alex Smith had three touchdown passes to go with 248 passing yards while the running tandem of Jamaal Charles (92 rushing yards and three TD in game, two receiving TD) and Knile Davis (107 yards rushing) punished the Patriots defense to the tune of 207 rushing yards in the game. Pats' QB Tom Brady was intercepted twice in the game, including a pick six early in the fourth quarter.

Friday, September 26, 2014

NFL - Week Four Preview

As the month of September winds down, that means the NFL season is in full swing as the "Bye Week" hits for the first time for six teams.
There are thirteen games on tap this weekend, including one over in London, England where the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders will square off in what will likely be a ho-hum game.
Still not sure why ($$$) the NFL big wigs continue to force teams from here in America to travel all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to play over in England. But that's how it is these days in professional sports.
It's all about the money.
Over here in the USA, there will be twelve games going on and the one that appears to be most interesting is the game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field in Chicago.
The Packers have looked listless in two of the three games this season and their 1-2 mark reflects that. Meanwhile, the Bears have suddenly awakened after losing the opener to Buffalo by responding with big wins against the San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets, both on the road and in "prime time."
Carolina will be at Baltimore and that should draw some interest as Steve Smith (wide receiver who left Carolina to sign with Baltimore this past off-season) gets the chance to show the Panthers he still has some football life left and will do all he can to help the Ravens win this game.
Two other matchups that should be good ones are the Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco and the Sunday Night Football game between the New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys in Jerry Jones' wonder dome down in Dallas.
Expect high scoring in both of those games and expect to hear NBC color analyst Cris Collinsworth compare Dallas quarterback Tony Romo with Saints QB Drew Brees at least ten times during the game.
It should be another interesting week around the league (and yes, Roger Goodell is still the NFL Commissioner) so here's a look at the games in capsule style breakdown with the Heftyinfo predictions for Week Four following up.

Green Bay (1-2) at Chicago (2-1) -  Can Aaron Rodgers and company steal another win in Chicago like they did last year? Bears better be ready.

Buffalo (2-1) at Houston (2-1) - The Texans got a wake up call last week after beating up on two cupcakes ... the Bills were blown out at home by the Chargers and now have to travel this week.

Tennessee (1-2) at Indianapolis (1-2) - The loser of this game could find themselves two games out of first place in the AFC South.

Carolina (2-1) at Baltimore (2-1) - The visiting Panthers were crushed at home last week by Pittsburgh while Baltimore has manhandled those same Steelers a week earlier. So it stands to reason the Ravens should win this game, right? Not necessarily.

Detroit (2-1) at New York Jets (1-2) - The Jets really stunk it up again last week (this time on Monday Night Football) and will look to get even against the Lions. The Lions thumped the Packers last week and are flying high heading into this game.

Tampa Bay (0-3) at Pittsburgh (2-1) - The Steelers are coming off a huge road win and are facing the hapless Bucs ... beware!

Miami (1-2) vs. Oakland (0-3) in London, England -  Yawn.

Jacksonville (0-3) at San Diego (2-1) - The worst team in pro football traveling to play a Chargers team whose running game is depleted by injuries. But the 'Bolts have QB Philip Rivers and that's the big difference here.

Atlanta (2-1) at Minnesota (1-2) - This could be a good one as rookie Teddy Bridgewater gets his first start as QB for the Vikings. Falcons showed they can score at will last week in rout of Tampa Bay.

Philadelphia (3-0) at San Francisco (1-2) - Can the 49ers rebound after two consecutive losses? Will the Eagles continue to soar and light up the scoreboard once again?

New Orleans (1-2) at Dallas (2-1) - The Cowboys are riding high after coming back from a 21-point deficit last week, The Saints struggled again, but did get their first win of the season.

New England (2-1) at Kansas City (1-2) - The Monday Night game in KC should be a good one. Could go down to the wire.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week Four  . . .     (Home teams are listed in BOLD type and Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

NY Giants over Washington
Chicago over Green Bay
Houston over Buffalo
Indianapolis over Tennessee
Baltimore over Carolina
Detroit over NY Jets
Pittsburgh over Tampa Bay
Miami over Oakland
SAN DIEGO over Jacksonville
Atlanta over Minnesota
San Francisco over Philadelphia
New Orleans over Dallas
New England over Kansas City 

Last Week's Record:  11-5


Lock of the Week Record:  2-1



Monday, September 22, 2014

NFL - Week Three Review

The big rematch between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos went to overtime, where the host Seahawks eventually won, 26-20 on a six-yard touchdown run by running back Marshawn Lynch.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning hit tight end Jacob Tamme for a 26-yard scoring pass with eighteen seconds left in regulation to complete an 80-yard drive with no timeouts left. The two-point conversion was good to force the extra session.
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson converted on running plays on third down to keep the OT drive moving before Lynch barreled in for the winning score to hand the Broncos their first loss of the season.
The Detroit Lions knocked off the visiting Green Bay Packers, 19-7 as the defense limited the Packers to only 223 yards in total offense while also getting a safety. Lions RB Reggie Bush scored on a 26-yard run to seal the victory in the final quarter.
The Philadelphia Eagles won at home, 37-34 over the Washington Redskins as QB Nick Foles had three TD passes (325 passing yards) to offset Kirk Cousins big game (427 yards passing and three TD passes) in a chippy game that saw both teams combine for 19 penalty flags and just over 200 yards in penalties.
Devin Hester sets NFL kick return TD record
Atlanta routed the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 56-14 last Thursday night behind three TD passes from QB Matt Ryan and a pair of touchdowns by WR-KR Devin Hester, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, who scored his NFL record 20th kick return touchdown on a 62-yard punt return. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones also had two touchdowns to go with nine catches for 161 yards.
The New York Giants won their first game as they topped the visiting Houston Texans, 30-17 as QB Eli Manning had two TD passes and running back Rashad Jennings went for 176 rushing yards and also scored a touchdown.
Cincinnati went to 3-0 with a 33-7 drubbing against the visiting Tennessee Titans as QB Andy Dalton caught a touchdown pass and Gio Bernard ran for two more scores to pace the rout. The Bengals defense had two interceptions in the win.
The Indianapolis Colts rebounded from a tough Monday night loss to crush the host Jacksonville Jaguars, 44-17 as QB Andrew Luck threw four TD passes and the defense scored on a 47-yard interception return by Greg Toler.  Jags' rookie QB Blake Bortels saw his first action in the second half and had two TD passes and was named the team's starter next week at San Diego.
Dallas stormed back big time against the host St. Louis Rams in a 34-31 win, overcoming a 21-0 deficit as QB Tony Romo threw two scoring passes and the defense came up big after the slow start, getting a score off an interception and forcing three turnovers to make the difference. Rams QB Austin Davis had 327 passing yards and three touchdown passes in the loss.
The San Diego Chargers went into Buffalo and knocked off the undefeated Bills, 22-10 behind a solid defensive effort (three QB sacks and limiting Buffalo to 292 total yards) and a pair of touchdown passes by QB Philip Rivers to WR Eddie Royal. Chargers RB Danny Woodhead suffered a leg injury and it was reported he will miss the rest of the season following surgery on the leg.
Kansas City surprised the host Miami Dolphins, 34-15 behind a big game from RB Knile Davis (132 rushing yards and TD) and three TD passes by QB Alex Smith.
The Arizona Cardinals improved to 3-0 with a 23-14 home win against the San Francisco 49ers. The tough Arizona defense held the 'Niners to just 82 rushing yards while backup QB Drew Stanton had two TD passes to lead the way on offense.
The Baltimore Ravens beat the host Cleveland Browns, 23-21 as kicker Justin Tucker nailed his third field goal of the game, a 32-yard effort, as time expired to win it.
New Orleans got their first win of the season 20-9 against Minnesota as QB Drew Brees had two TD passes and the Saints defense held the Vikings to just 247 yards in offense, including only 59 yards rushing for the game. Minnesota QB Matt Cassel left the game with an ankle injury and was replaced by first round rookie Teddy Bridgewater.
The New England Patriots won a lack luster effort at home 16-9 against the Oakland Raiders as neither team gained 300 yards in offense.
The Sunday night game saw the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers blast the Carolina Panthers, 37-19 behind a big effort on the ground as running backs Le'Veon Bell (147 yards) and LeGarrette Blount (118 yards and a touchdown) led the way for 264 yards rushing and 454 total yardage for Pittsburgh on the night. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger had two scoring passes and the defense sacked Panthers QB Cam Newton three times and held the Panthers to 42 rushing yards in the game.
The Chicago Bears topped the host New York Jets, 27-19 in the Monday Night Football game as QB Jay Cutler connected with tight end Martellus Bennett for two touchdowns and Ryan Mundy took an interception back 45 yards for a touchdown to get things started. Jets QB Geno Smith passed for 316 yards with a touchdown pass and two interceptions in the loss.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

NFL - Week Three Preview

There are some big games this weekend, but none bigger than the rematch of last season's Super Bowl as the Denver Broncos travel to face the defending champion Seattle Seahawks.
We all remember the dismantling the Seahawks gave the Broncos in Super Bowl 48 in a 43-8 win for their first ever Super Bowl title.
Seattle's young quarterback Russell Wilson was able to beat the old pro, Peyton Manning in that one.
But, as the old saying goes, that was then and this is now.
It should be a more exciting game than the one football fans witnessed last February. There are some other games on tap this week that should definitely be interesting as well.
San Diego, fresh off their 30-21 upset win over Seattle, travels to play the undefeated Buffalo Bills. Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins will be in Philadelphia to play the unbeaten Eagles. Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson will have the chance (provided he plays after a shoulder injury last weekend) to burn his former team.
With what has been going on around the NFL with all the domestic abuse cases against numerous players in recent weeks, the league could use a boost with some exciting football games. Hopefully, these issues will be thoroughly addressed as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talked about in his 45-minute rambling speech on Friday afternoon.
The first two weeks have provided both surprise and excitement on the field and this week should be no different. Here is a capsule style look at the games with the Heftyinfo predictions following.

San Diego (1-1) at Buffalo (2-0) - This game could come down to whoever has the football last.

Dallas (1-1) at St. Louis (1-1) - Can the Rams carry on without QB Sam Bradford? They will get a real test this weekend with the Cowboys coming to town this Sunday.

Washington (1-1) at Philadelphia (2-0) - Eagles looking to go 3-0 and possibly get a firm hold on the NFC East.

Houston (2-0) at New York Giants (0-2) - Will this be the week the Giants get off the mat and play some football? Houston has beaten two sub-par teams.

Minnesota (1-1) at New Orleans (0-2) - The Saints need to beat the Vikings or they may be in for a long season.

Tennessee (1-1) at Cincinnati (2-0)  - The Bengals are looking for a 3-0 start while the Titans look to rebound after getting spanked at home by Dallas last week.

Baltimore (1-1) at Cleveland (1-1) - Break up the Browns? This game will be a good one and the home team might win this game. The key is getting pressure on Ravens QB Joe Flacco.

Green Bay (1-1) at Detroit (1-1) - The Lions are tough at home... the Packers are not a real good road team.

Indianapolis (0-2) at Jacksonville (0-2) - Both these teams need a win to avoid the dreaded 0-3 start. Something has to give.

Oakland (0-2) at New England (1-1) - The Patriots should bury the Raiders in this one.

San Francisco (1-1) at Arizona (2-0) - The 49ers let one get away last week at home. The Cardinals have their chance to prove they are the real deal if they win this one.

Denver (2-0) at Seattle (1-1) - Super Bowl 48 rematch ... Look for a much closer game than the last time these two teams met.

Kansas City (0-2) at Miami (1-1) - Once upon a time, these two teams played the longest game ever in NFL history (1971 playoffs) ... take the Dolphins at home.

Pittsburgh (1-1) at Carolina (2-0) - The Steelers appear to have some real issues so far this season ... the Panthers get after it on defense and that should be good enough in this game.

Chicago (1-1) at New York Jets (1-1) - Two teams that went in opposite directions last weekend ... The Bears stormed back to surprise the 49ers while the Jets blew a big lead and lost at Green Bay.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week Three  . . .     (Home teams are listed in BOLD type and Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

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

Last Week's Record:  9-7


Lock of the Week Record:  1-1


Monday, September 15, 2014

NFL - Week Two Review

Chargers TE Antonio Gates burned the Seahawks D for three touchdowns.
There were more surprises around the NFL in Week Two as the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks were knocked off by the host San Diego Chargers, 30-21 behind a dominating offense that held the football for over 42 minutes in the game.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers passed for 284 yards and three touchdowns, all of them to tight end Antonio Gates, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, who had seven receptions for 96 yards and the three touchdowns.
The Chicago Bears beat the host San Francisco 49ers, 28-20 in the Sunday Night Football game in a huge comeback effort (they trailed 17-0 at one time) as QB Jay Cutler had four touchdown passes, three of them to wide receiver Brandon Marshall, to spark the effort. The Bears defense rose up and sacked 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick four times while also intercepting three passes, two of them by rookie Kyle Fuller. The 49ers had 16 penalties (for 118 yards) in the loss.
The Green Bay Packers had a similar performance to Chicago's earlier in the day as they overcame a 21-3 deficit at home to top the New York Jets, 31-24 behind three TD passes from Aaron Rodgers, who also passed for 346 yards. Green Bay WR Jordy Nelson had a career high 209 receiving yards, including an 80-yard TD reception, to help the big comeback win.
The Jets thought they had the potential tying score late in the game, but the touchdown pass was taken off the board because an assistant coach (Marty Mohrinweg) had called for time out just before the snap.
The Cleveland Browns won their home opener on a last second 29-yard field goal by kicker Billy Cundiff to shock the winless New Orleans Saints, 26-24. Browns defensive back Tashaun Gipson had a "pick six" interception, taking it back 62 yards to open a 16-3 lead prior to the Saints coming back to twice have a one-point edge, including 24-23 when running back Mark Ingram scored on a one-yard run early in the fourth quarter. But the Browns rallied as QB Brian Hoyer directed the game winning drive in the final minutes.

                                                              Around the NFL . . . . . . . .  

Carolina rolled over the Detroit Lions in a 24-7 win as the defense forced three turnovers and had four QB sacks to lead the way . . . . .  The New England Patriots got a big road win, blasting the Minnesota Vikings, 30-7 as their defense limited the Vikings to just 217 yards in total offense . . . . .  The Dallas Cowboys ambushed the host Tennessee Titans, 26-10 with four field goals and a huge game from RB DeMarco Murray, who ran for 167 yards and scored a touchdown . . . . .  Arizona improved to 2-0 with a 25-14 road win against the New York Giants as the defense got four turnovers, including two interceptions thrown by Eli Manning. The special teams played a big role in the victory for the Cardinals with four field goals and a 71-yard punt return for a score by Ted Ginn, Jr . . . . .  Buffalo won at home, 29-10 over a listless Miami Dolphins team as kicker Dan Carpenter (a former Dolphins player) drilled five field goals while C.J. Spiller took a kickoff back 102 yards for a touchdown . . . . .  The Washington Redskins pasted the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars, 41-10 but lost starting QB Robert Griffin III to an ankle injury and WR DeSean Jackson to a shoulder injury. Backup QB Kirk Cousins passed for 250 yards and a pair of scoring passes in the rout . . . . .  Houston won a yawner on the road 30-14 against the Oakland Raiders as they raced out to a 27-0 lead behind solid defense, which had four turnovers in the win. The Texans had good balance on offense, rushing for 188 yards and getting a TD pass from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick  . . . . .  The Cincinnati Bengals dominated in a home win, 24-10 over the Atlanta Falcons as they gained 472 total yards in offense, including 170 on the ground. The Bengals defense intercepted three passes in the win  . . . . .  The St. Louis Rams held on for a 19-17 road win against Tampa Bay as kicker Greg Zuerlein made four field goals and Zac Stacy scored a rushing TD to offset Buccaneers QB Josh McCown's two rushing scores . . . . .   Denver won at home, 24-17 against the Kansas City Chiefs as QB Peyton Manning threw for three touchdowns even though the Broncos were out gained in total yardage in the win . . . . .  The Baltimore Ravens steam rolled the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, 26-6 last Thursday night behind two TD passes from Joe Flacco and 157 rushing yards in a balanced attack to improve to 1-1 for the season . . . . .  The Philadelphia Eagles won a thriller on the road 30-27 against the Indianapolis Colts as kicker Cody Parkey made a 36-yard field goal as time expired to win the Monday Night Football game. Eagles RB Darren Sproles scored a rushing TD and had seven receptions for 152 yards and QB Nick Foles passed for 331 yards with a TD and one interception. Colts QB Andrew Luck threw for three scores in the loss, which dropped Indy to 0-2 for the season. The Eagles improved to a 2-0 record.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

NFL - Week Two Preview

After last week's start to the NFL season, what more can you say football fans?
This is going to be yet another one of those totally unpredictable NFL seasons once again.
Who knows what to expect as the 32 teams go at it again in Week Two ... so here's a capsule style look at the games this weekend.

Miami at Buffalo - Can the Bills do it again? They shut out the Dolphins last season in Orchard Park.

Jacksonville at Washington - Zzzzzzz.

Dallas at Tennessee - Remember the Titans? They might just well be back this season. Titans roll!

Arizona at NY Giants - The Cards squeaked one out on Monday night in the desert while the Giants were blown out in Detroit.

New England at Minnesota - The Vikes will be without Adrian Peterson. Not good... take the Patriots because it seems hard to believe they will start the season at 0-2.

New Orleans at Cleveland - Beware the Browns!

Atlanta at Cincinnati - Battle of the QB's in Cincy ... Matt Ryan or Andy Dalton? This should be a good one.

Detroit at Carolina - The Panthers defense vs. the Lions amped up offense.

St. Louis at Tampa Bay - The Bucs should win this one against the punchless Rams.

Seattle at San Diego - Chargers QB Philip Rivers could be in for a long day.

Houston at Oakland - This game could go either way ...  Taking the Texans in a tight one.

NY Jets at Green Bay - Packers roll!

Kansas City at Denver - Will the Broncos struggle at home with the Chiefs? Nope!

Chicago at San Francisco - The 49ers win big in their opening game at their brand new stadium.

Philadelphia at Indianapolis - This game should be a shootout ... take the Colts in a tight one.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week Two  . . .          (Home teams are listed in BOLD type and Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

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

Last Week's Record:  9-7


Lock of the Week Record:  1-0


Monday, September 8, 2014

NFL - Week One Review

There was a certain trend around the NFL in Week One as several teams blew huge leads and either lost the game or nearly lost as a result of their second half efforts.
The Pittsburgh Steelers held on for a 30-27 home win against the Cleveland Browns on a 41-yard Shaun Suisham field goal as time expired. Pittsburgh had a commanding 27-3 lead at the half before the Browns, behind two rushing touchdowns by running back Isaiah Crowell and a TD pass by QB Brian Hoyer, tied the game in fourth quarter. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 365 yards with a TD pass in the win.
The New England Patriots squandered a ten-point halftime lead and lost at Miami, 33-20 as the Dolphins came out in the second half and smoked the Pats, sacking QB Tom Brady four times, including two by DE Cameron Wake. Miami QB Ryan Tannehill threw two TD passes in the win. It was New England's first season opening loss in eleven years.
The New Orleans Saints led Atlanta by 13 points late in the first half before succumbing in OT, 37-34 as Falcons' kicker Matt Bryant nailed a 52-yard field goal in the extra session to win the game.
Atlanta QB Matt Ryan
Bryant also nailed a 51-yarder to force the OT as time expired after the Saints had gone ahead with just 1:20 left in regulation as RB Mark Ingram scored his second rushing TD of the game.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, passed for 448 yards and three touchdowns in leading the comeback win. Saints QB Drew Brees had 333 yards passing in the loss.
The Denver Broncos nearly squandered their game (they led 31-10 early in the fourth quarter) at home against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night, but held on for a 31-24 win behind Peyton Manning (269 passing yards with three TD passes) who connected with tight end Julius Thomas for all three TD passes in the first half. Indy QB Andrew Luck threw for 370 yards with two TD strikes and two interceptions in the loss.
The Jacksonville Jaguars blew a 17-point halftime lead and lost at Philadelphia, 34-17 as the Eagles dominated the second half behind two TD passes from QB Nick Foles and a 49-yard scoring run by Darren Sproles as well as a defensive score off a fumble recovery late in the fourth quarter to ice the game. Jags' QB Chad Henne had two TD passes with wide receiver Allen Hurns (four catches for 110 yards) in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills pulled off the upset of the day as they stunned the host Chicago Bears, 23-20 in overtime as kicker Dan Carpenter made a 27-yard field goal to win it after RB Fred Jackson rumbled 38 yards to set up the winning kick. The Bills rushed for 193 yards in the game and their defense forced three turnovers (fumble and two interceptions) to make the difference in the outcome. Bears QB Jay Cutler passed for 349 yards with two TD and two picks in defeat.
The Tennessee Titans went on the road and pounded the Kansas City Chiefs, 26-10 behind solid defense (four QB sacks and allowing just 245 total yards in offense) and a pair of TD passes from QB Jake Locker and four field goals by former Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop.
San Francisco throttled the host Dallas Cowboys, 28-17 as they built a 28-3 halftime edge behind a pair of scoring passes by 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick to TE Vernon Davis and a defensive score off a fumble return for touchdown just a minute into the game. Cowboys QB Tony Romo was intercepted three times in the loss.
The Cincinnati Bengals won on the road, beating the Baltimore Ravens, 23-16 as kicker Mike Nugent drilled five field goals and QB Andy Dalton hooked up with WR A.J. Green on a 77-yard scoring pass right after Ravens QB Joe Flacco connected with Steve Smith on a 80-yard scoring pass.

And on Monday afternoon, the Ravens released running back Ray Rice, (pictured right) who had been suspended by the NFL for the first two games this season, after a new videotape (from TMZ) surfaced showing him punching and knocking out cold his fiancee'/wife in an elevator. In addition, the NFL has suspended Rice indefinitely following the new taped evidence that prompted the Ravens to terminate Rice's contract effective immediately. 

In other NFL action this weekend . . . . .   The New York Jets won a lack luster game at home, 19-14 over the Oakland Raiders as RB Chris Ivory ran 71 yards for the clinching score . . . . .  The Minnesota Vikings stunned the host St. Louis Rams, 34-6 behind two TD passes from Matt Cassel and 102 yards rushing (on just THREE CARRIES) by Cordarrelle Patterson, who raced 67 yards for a touchdown in the rout . . . . .  Carolina topped the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 20-14 as backup Panthers QB Derek Anderson threw for two scores and the defense limited the Bucs to just 264 yards in total offense . . . . .  The Houston Texans won a 17-6 yawner at home against the Washington Redskins, recovering two fumbles and recording three QB sacks. Texans' rookie DE Jadeveon Clowney left the game with a knee injury that could sideline the NFL's top draft pick for anywhere from four to six weeks . . . . .  The Seattle Seahawks opened the season last Thursday night with a  home field thumping of the Green Bay Packers, 36-16 as the defending Super Bowl champions picked up right where they left off by pressuring Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers while the offense was led by running back Marshawn Lynch (110 yards rushing and two TD) and QB Russell Wilson, who threw for two more scores in the rout.


The traditional double header of MNF games for the season opener saw the Detroit Lions pound the visiting New York Giants, 35-14 as QB Matthew Stafford threw for for 346 yards and two touchdowns, both to WR Calvin Johnson, who made seven receptions for 164 yards. Giants QB Eli Manning was intercepted twice in the blowout loss . . . . .  The late game saw the Arizona Cardinals rally behind the play of QB Carson Palmer, who passed for 304 yards and two touchdowns in a 18-17 win over the visiting San Diego Chargers. San Diego QB Philip Rivers passed for 238 yards with a touchdown and interception in the loss. San Diego squandered a 17-6 lead in the fourth quarter.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Are You Kidding Me?


This sign is a joke, right?                                                                                            

I saw this on a morning walk recently in the neighborhood ... you have got to be kidding me. Some
people just do not get it!
Have they not seen what's been going on in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey, Kansas ... do I have to continue?
Republicans control those states with the office of governor as well as controlling the state legislatures.
LMFAO is the only way to describe my initial reaction to this sign.
Illinois is a BLUE STATE and will remain that way because we here in the "Land of Lincoln" have a state legislature that is Democratically controlled with a VETO PROOF majority. So even if that ass clown named Bruce Rauner is able to defeat Governor Pat Quinn in the November election, he doesn't know what he is in for.

As for that sign, these people have to be kidding because we here in Illinois are not "Koch Suckers" and that's a fact.

Friday, September 5, 2014

NFL - Week One Preview

The 2014 NFL season kicked off Thursday night (and as expected) with Seattle topping the visiting Green Bay Packers, 36-16. The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks picked up right where they left off by pressuring Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers while the offense was led by running back Marshawn Lynch (110 yards rushing and two TD) and QB Russell Wilson, who threw for two more scores in the rout.

Now it's on to the rest of the action around the NFL in Week One as Heftyinfo will provide a capsule style preview of each game this weekend as well as predicting the games.

Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears - The Bears are loaded on offense and the Bills are not... Bears roll!

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens  - Key AFC North matchup in Week One... Will the real Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco please stand up.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers - Another key AFC North matchup in Week One ... Steelers roll in this one.

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons - This game could be a toss up if Matt Ryan comes to play because we know QB Drew Brees and the Saints certainly will.

Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams - The Rams are going with Shaun Hill at quarterback. Huh? The Rams defense is solid and should save the day here in this yawner of an opener.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles - Seems everyone is jumping on the Jacksonville bandwagon as a team that will surprise people this season. Not likely to happen here in this game or at all this season for the Jags. Take the Eagles!

Oakland Raiders at New York Jets -This very well could be the stinker game of the week.

Washington Redskins at Houston Texans - This game could go to overtime.

Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs - Will the Chiefs start 9-0 again this year? They can attempt to start another run here in this game... Titans will be tough opponent in this one.

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins - Tom Brady and the Pats should win this game, but the Dolphins defense is solid and will keep it close.

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Last year's surprise team (Carolina) against what many project to be this season's surprise team in the Bucs. This game should go down to the wire.

San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys - Shootout in Big D this Sunday ... take the 'Niners.

Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos - Peyton Manning vs. Andrew Luck ... Manning!


New York Giants at Detroit Lions - Can Eli Manning and the Giants beat the Lions (with new Head Coach Jim Caldwell) in Motown?  Nope.

San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals - Chargers bolt out to a big lead again in MNF season opener night cap ... only this time they hang on and win a close one.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week One  . . .          (Home teams are listed in BOLD type and Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

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

Last Season's Record: 168-87-1 

Lock of the Week Record: 15-2-0

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

NFL Football - Season Opening Kickoff Game Preview

The Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, the defending Super Bowl champions, will get the 2014 NFL season started Thursday night in the Great Northwest.
It should be a great game, given the offensive fire power the Packers have, led by All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The running game features Eddie Lacy, who rumbled for over 1,000 yards in his rookie season. The Seahawks tenacious defense, led by the "Legion of Boom" secondary that led the NFL in pass defense last year, will present a stiff challenge to Green Bay's offense.
Of course, the Seahawks can score points too and are led by third-year QB Russell Wilson, who in his first two seasons already has a Super Bowl ring.
Running back Marshawn Lynch will attempt to get back in "Beast Mode" after going for over 1,200 yards (in 2013) while leading the running attack. Wilson can also run as well as pass the ball and that will present problems for the vulnerable Green Bay defense, which struggled last season.
And let's not forget the "12th Man" ... the home crowd in Seattle that can get ridiculously loud during games at CenturyLink Field.
Heftyinfo likes the Seahawks to repeat as Super Bowl champions this season, so getting the season started off right is a big step for them realizing that goal.

                           PREDICTION -  Seattle 27, Green Bay 20

Monday, September 1, 2014

Political Banter

It's Labor Day ... September 1st, 2014 ... politics is getting heated up as the mid-term Congressional elections near.
Here in Illinois, there is much at stake we are being told as Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner challenges incumbent Democratic Governor Pat Quinn. There is also the so called "tight race" between incumbent U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D) and challenger Jim Oberweis (R), a dairy farmer who is a five time loser for political office prior to finally winning  a seat in the Illinois state legislature two years ago.
Starting with the Senate race, I for one am not buying a new poll conducted by some pollster I've never even heard of. Oberweis will lose to Durbin by at least 8 to 10 points, which is considered a landslide in politics. The poll claims Durbin's edge is down to just seven or eight points.
Tell me more... Seems there is a local black pastor in Chicago named (Bishop) Larry Trotter who, along with fellow pastor Corey Brooks, has suddenly swayed his choice of endorsement from Durbin to Oberweis.
Hmmmm ... could it possibly be the secret donor money pouring in (a la citizens united) that is helping to "sway" the two pastors' opinions? You know, things like kick back money to the church for their public endorsement of the GOP candidate that the billionaire donors are backing?
No doubt about it.
Durbin leads Oberweis by nearly double digits and the media is claiming it's a close race.
The 8 to 10 point margin is pretty much the margin I have been predicting for Durbin come November and that's right where the poll seems to be. But again, to hear the corporate controlled media talking about it, it's like it's neck and neck right now as they come toward the stretch run for this year's election.
Now for the Illinois Governor's race ...
Pat Quinn isn't perceived as a real good governor, however, the guy has done things for the state of Illinois and unemployment has dipped in the state since he took over for disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich nearly five years ago.
Along comes Rauner, who has NEVER held any type of political office whatsoever and he wants to

buy the HIGHEST POLITICAL OFFICE, the governor's office, with his his untold billions of dollars (he's a VULTURE CAPITALIST JUST LIKE MITT ROMNEY) and thinks he will be able to dictate to the people of Illinois just like Rick Snyder in Michigan ... Scott Walker in Wisconsin ... Rick Scott in Florida ... Chris Christie in New Jersey ... etc. ... but you get the idea.
I for one am sick and tired of all this secret money being pumped into various states to buy the elections.
It's wrong Wrong WRONG!!!
Screw the U.S. Supreme Court and the insane "citizens united" decision from 2010 where it was deemed that corporations are people and can buy their way into politics, both nationally and locally.
Of course, it didn't work so well in 2012 when the billionaire donors lost their asses in the elections and Barack Obama was re-elected in a landslide against Rauner, oops... I mean Romney. Same dude really when you think about it.
Bottom line is corporations are NOT people... never have been, never will be.
Nationally, it looks like control of the U.S. Senate could hinge on the races in Arkansas and Kentucky, where incumbents Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) and Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) are in tight races and the Republicans need to carry both states to (possibly) get the majority in the Senate come January.
Fat chance!
Pryor will win a narrow race in Arkansas and McConnell is on his way out and he knows it as Democratic challenger Allison Grimes is leading slightly in some polls while others have the race in a dead heat.
McConnell has been cow towing to his billionaire masters (Koch brothers) and now makes no secret about it as the corporate ass kisser that he is.
Elections are strange things as history has proved throughout the years, so count on this year's mid-term Congressional elections to provide drama as the usual suspects (candidates and media alike) attempt to tell us what we should believe come November.
Stay tuned.