Saturday, December 31, 2016

With Few Exceptions, Good Riddance 2016

Wasn't going to post any kind of New Year's sentimentality this time around, but keeping it short let me just go on by saying that 2016 (with few exceptions) was absolutely a terrible year for the United States of America.

We all know why.

There are some people who just don't understand they choose against their own best interests to benefit the top one percent in this country, so next month we have to deal with insanity for the next four years.

Enough said on that subject.

In other areas, 2016 took away so many beloved people (entertainers, sports figures, etc.) we like to call celebrities.
The list is simply TOO LONG this year to name them all, but some of the more famous (or most recent ones) included Pop music icons Prince and David Bowie, as well as singer/song writer George Michael, who died on Christmas Day.
Also passing away last summer were NHL legend Gordie Howe and golfing ambassador Arnold Palmer.
Carrie Fisher of "Star Wars" movie fame just passed away a few days ago and one day later her mother, singer/actress Debbie Reynolds died.
Former U.S. Senator and astronaut John Glenn died in early December and so did former First Lady Nancy Reagan earlier this year. Again, so many names to list . . .

And of course, boxing legend "The Greatest" Muhammad Ali died earlier this year as well.

On a bright note (at least here in Chicago) the CHICAGO CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES in 2016!!!  That ended a 108 year sports championship drought for the historic franchise.

All in all, 2016 was a horse shit year, so good riddance.

Here's hoping that 2017 brings more cheer. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

NFL - Week Seventeen Preview

The Sunday Night Football game will be the one to determine the NFC North division champion as the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions play for all the marbles in Motown. These two teams met back in Week Three in Green Bay and the Packers won 34-27 in that game.
Both the Packers and Lions are 9-6, but have been trending in opposite directions recently. Green Bay has won five straight games to vault back into contention in the NFC playoff race while backing up quarterback Aaron Rodgers' claim they could "run the table" and make the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Lions who looked so good just a few weeks ago, have lost two in a row and now have to win or else get a lot of help if they don't to make the playoffs.
They lost to the Dallas Cowboys last Monday night, 42-21 and what made the beat down especially difficult is the fact the Cowboys had nothing to play for as they had already clinched the NFC East crown and home field advantage throughout the post-season.
The NFC has two spots left to decide and this game will definitely solve one of those. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7) and Washington Redskins (8-6-1) are both right there to snatch the sixth and final playoff spot away from the loser of the Lions-Packers tilt. The good news for both of the NFC North foes is they will KNOW what their fate is when the game begins.
The Redskins host the New York Giants (10-5 and playoff bound) while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the disappointing Carolina Panthers (6-9), who find themselves on the outside looking in this season as far as the playoffs are concerned.
The AFC playoff picture is set as far as teams go and the only thing to be decided is the seedings of the teams.
The AFC West is still up for grabs as the Oakland Raiders (12-3) play on the road against the Denver Broncos while the Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) travel to San Diego in what should be an easy win. The Chargers have been awful in recent weeks and are coming off a road loss to the previously winless Cleveland Browns.
The Raiders will be without their star quarterback Derek Carr for the rest of the season (and playoffs) as he suffered a broken leg in last week's win against Indianapolis.
The other playoff bound teams in the AFC include the New England Patriots (13-2) who will be in Miami (10-5) to face the Dolphins, who are going back to the post-season for the first time in eight years. Pittsburgh (10-5) has the number-three seed locked up and the Houston Texas (9-6 and number-four seed) will likely face either Oakland or Kansas City in the wild card round.

The following offers a look at all of the games for the season finale along with the Heftyinfo predictions as well.

New York Giants (10-5) at Washington Redskins (8-6-1) - The Redskins must win or else.

New Orleans Saints (7-8) at Atlanta Falcons (10-5) - The Falcons would wrap up a first round playoff bye with a win.

Carolina Panthers (6-9) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7) - Who would have thought the Bucs could be playing for a post-season spot in this one?

Houston Texans (9-6) at Tennessee Titans (8-7) - The Titans choked away their shot at making the playoffs in last week's loss to the lowly Jaguars. The Texans are in the playoffs again.

Baltimore Ravens (8-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-9-1) - Both of these teams have U-Haul trucks backed up to locker room already.

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12) at Indianapolis Colts (7-8) - Will this be Colts' Head Coach Chuck Pagano's last game with the team?

New England Patriots (13-2) at Miami Dolphins (10-5) - This could be a good one as both teams have incentive to win.

Chicago Bears (3-12) at Minnesota Vikings (7-8) - Who cares?

Buffalo Bills (7-8) at New York Jets (4-11) - Bills coach Rex Ryan (and his brother Rob) were fired this week.

Dallas Cowboys (13-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-9) - Take the Eagles, Cowboys will be resting key players.

Cleveland Browns (1-14) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) - The Steelers should win this one, even with the reserves in the game.

Arizona Cardinals (6-8-1) at Los Angeles Rams (4-11) - Both of these teams used to play in St. Louis.

Oakland Raiders (12-3) at Denver Broncos (8-7) - The defending Super Bowl champs would love to prevent the Raiders from clinching the AFC West in the Mile High City.

Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) at San Diego Chargers (5-10) - This could be the Chargers last game in San Diego. Sentimental hog wash - Chiefs need to win this one.

Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1) at San Francisco 49ers (2-13) - Seahawks roll !

Green Bay Packers (9-6) at Detroit Lions (9-6) - This game could go down to the wire. The Packers rate the edge.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week 17  . . . . .  (Home teams are listed in bold; Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

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

Last Week's Record:  9-7

SEASON RECORD:  157-81-2

Lock of the Week Record:  16-0

Monday, December 26, 2016

NFL - Week Sixteen Review

Following this weekend, the AFC playoffs picture is set while only two spots remain to be filled in the NFC as the 2016 NFL season goes into the final week.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) wrapped up the AFC North division with a resounding come-from-behind win at home against the Baltimore Ravens, 31-27 as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw a four-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown with only nine seconds left in the game.
The Ravens (8-7) squandered a double-digit lead as Pittsburgh rolled up 21 points in the fourth quarter as Roethlisberger had three touchdown passes in the victory, which was the sixth straight for the Steelers. Running back Le'Veon Bell had 122 yards rushing in the win and also scored twice.
By winning 34-31 on the road in Buffalo on Saturday, the Miami Dolphins (10-5) are going to the playoffs. Kicker Andrew Franks nailed a game-winning 27-yard field goal in overtime. Earlier, Franks made a 55-yard FG as time ran out in regulation to force the overtime.
Miami RB Jay Ajayi rushed for 206 yards and scored a touchdown while QB Matt Moore had two TD passes. Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor had three TD passes in the loss.
The Houston Texans (9-6) clinched the AFC South division on Saturday night with a 12-10 win over stubborn Cincinnati. Texans kicker Nick Novak made two field goals and RB Alfred Blue made the difference with a 24-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter. Bengals kicker Randy Bullock missed a potential game winning field goal (wide right) as time expired.
The fact Houston won the division with the win was made possible when Tennessee laid an egg in Jacksonville, losing 38-17 to the Jaguars, who ended a nine-game losing streak. In addition, Titans QB Marcus Mariota suffered a broken leg in the loss. The Jags defense limited the Titans to 263 yards in total offense.
The Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) clinched a playoff spot with a 33-10 thumping of the Denver Broncos (8-7), which eliminated Denver from playoff contention. Two big plays made a big impact for Kansas City as Tyreek Hill ran 70 yards for a score and tight end Travis Kelce caught an 80-yard TD pass from QB Alex Smith.
The New England Patriots continued to roll as they won at home, 41-3 against the hapless New York Jets. Tom Brady had three TD passes and RB LeGarrette Blount rushed for two more scores to pace the rout. The Pats defense came up with four turnovers in the game, including three interceptions.
Oakland won a 33-25 home decision against the Indianapolis Colts, but lost QB Derek Carr (three TD passes) for the season to a broken leg. Running back DeAndre Washington had two scoring runs for the Raiders (12-3) as they maintain a one-game lead over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.
The Atlanta Falcons won the NFC South division as they toppled the Carolina Panthers, 33-16 behind a pair of touchdown passes from QB Matt Ryan.
The New Orleans Saints helped the Falcons clinch by beating the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 31-24 as RB Mark Ingram had two rushing touchdowns. Bucs QB Jameis Winston had a pair of TD passes and two interceptions in the loss. Tampa Bay (8-7) can still make the playoffs with a win in the final game and some help.
QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are rolling.
The Green Bay Packers (9-6) kept the pressure on the Detroit Lions for first place in the NFC North as they won at home, 38-25 against Minnesota. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers had 347 passing yards and four touchdown passes to earn the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week. Two of Rodgers TD passes went to WR Jordy Nelson, who had nine receptions for 154 yards in Green Bay's fifth consecutive victory.
The Washington Redskins (8-6-1) kept alive their playoff hopes as they routed the host Chicago Bears, 41-21 on Saturday afternoon.  Redskins QB Kirk Cousins had two rushing touchdowns and also a TD pass in the game as they piled up 478 yards in total offense while the defense intercepted five passes.
Arizona surprised the host Seattle Seahawks, 34-31 as kicker Chandler Catanzaro made a 43-yard field goal as time expired to give the Seahawks (9-5-1) their first home loss this season. Cardinals RB David Johnson scored three touchdowns to help lead the way. Seattle QB Russell Wilson had four TD passes in the loss . . .  The Dallas Cowboys (13-2) kept rolling even after clinching home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs by throttling the Detroit Lions, 42-21 on Monday Night Football. QB Dak Prescott had three TD passes (including two to WR Dez Bryant) and RB Ezekiel Elliott rushed for two more scores to lead the way.

                                                     Elsewhere Around the NFL . . . . .   

The Philadelphia Eagles beat the visiting New York Giants, 24-19 last Thursday night as RB Darren Sproles scored a touchdown. Giants QB Eli Manning was intercepted three times . . .  The Cleveland Browns (1-14) finally won a game as the held off the visiting San Diego Chargers, 20-17 when Chargers kicker Josh Lambo shanked two field goals in the final minutes, including a miss as time was running out. Browns RB Isaiah Crowell scored two touchdowns in the win while the Chargers defense had nine QB sacks in defeat . . .  The San Francisco 49ers snapped a 13-game losing streak by rallying late in the fourth quarter in a 22-21 win at Los Angeles. Colin Kaepernick had two TD passes in the win and the 49ers defense limited the Rams (4-11) to a paltry 177 yards in offense.

Philadelphia 24, NY Giants 19
Miami 34, Buffalo 31 (OT)
Atlanta 33, Carolina 16
Washington 41, Chicago 21
Cleveland 20, San Diego 17
Green Bay 38, Minnesota 25
Jacksonville 38, Tennessee 17
New England 41, NY Jets 3
Oakland 33, Indianapolis 25
San Francisco 22, Los Angeles 21
New Orleans 31, Tampa Bay 24
Arizona 34, Seattle 31
Houston 12, Cincinnati 10
Pittsburgh 31, Baltimore 27
Kansas City 33, Denver 10
Dallas 42, Detroit 21

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

NFL - Week Sixteen Preview

Without question, the biggest game of the coming weekend in the NFL is the Christmas Day battle in Pittsburgh between the host Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens in what is the game that will determine the AFC North division champion.
The Steelers (9-5) have won five straight games and the Ravens (8-6) are right there in the AFC North and with a win would sweep the Steelers and take over first place in the division.
Another Christmas Day game later that evening takes place in Kansas City where the Chiefs will host the Denver Broncos (8-6), who are in desperation mode regarding their playoff chances with an 8-6 record and trailing the Miami Dolphins (9-5) and the Chiefs (10-4) for the final two AFC playoff spots.
Both the Chiefs and Broncos recently lost to the Tennessee Titans (also 8-6) so it's a must win for the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos or else they can kiss their playoff chances goodbye.
The Monday Night Football finale for the 2016 season is a good one as well as the Detroit Lions (9-5 and leading the NFC North) travel to face the Dallas Cowboys (12-2) as the 'Pokes look to wrap up the NFC East division title.
The action for Week Sixteen gets started tonight as the New York Giants (10-4) face the Philadelphia Eagles (5-9) in the Thursday night tilt. The Giants have been rolling and their defense looks to dominate the struggling Eagles in this one.

For a look at all of the action for Week Sixteen, the following offers a capsule style look at each game and is followed by the Heftyinfo predictions for the games.


New York Giants (10-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-9) - The Giants are rolling and their defense is looking rather dominant these days.


Miami Dolphins (9-5) at Buffalo Bills (7-7) - The last gasp for the Bills this season and possibly for Coach Rex Ryan too?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6) at New Orleans Saints (6-8) -  The Saints could very easily win this one and spoil any chances the Bucs have of making the playoffs.

New York Jets (4-10) at New England Patriots (12-2) - The Patriots are looking to wrap up home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Tennessee Titans (8-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12) - The Titans have to be careful not to look past this game to the finale against Houston.

Minnesota Vikings (7-7) at Green Bay Packers (8-6) - The loser of this game is out of playoff contention in the NFC.  Take the Packers.

San Diego Chargers (5-9) at Cleveland Browns (0-14) - This is the last chance the Browns have to win a game this season.

Washington Redskins (7-6-1) at Chicago Bears (3-11) - The Bears can play spoilers for the Redskins playoff hopes.

Atlanta Falcons (9-5) at Carolina Panthers (6-8) - Can Cam Newton and company play spoilers again as they did vs. the Redskins last weekend?  It's possible.

Indianapolis Colts (7-7) at Oakland Raiders (11-3) - The Raiders are already in the AFC playoffs while the Colts are fighting for their playoff lives.  Take the Raiders.

Arizona Cardinals (5-8-1) at Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1) - No tie game this time around . . . Seahawks roll !

San Francisco 49ers (1-13) at Los Angeles Rams (4-10) - Who cares?

Cincinnati Bengals (5-8-1) at Houston Texans (8-6) - The Texans need this one and the Bengals are playing out the string. Caution Houston Texans.


Baltimore Ravens (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) - The Steelers will wrap up the AFC North division in this game - Merry Christmas!

Denver Broncos (8-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-4) - The Chiefs need to beat Denver again and prove they are the team that can contend with New England for AFC supremacy.


Detroit Lions (9-5) at Dallas Cowboys (12-2) - The Cowboys looking to win the NFC East division crown at home. The Lions must win to keep the surging Green Bay Packers at bay in the NFC North race.

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

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

Last Week's Record:  12-4

SEASON RECORD:  148-74-2

Lock of the Week Record:  15-0

Monday, December 19, 2016

NFL - Week Fifteen Review

Three more teams joined Dallas in stamping their post-season tickets as the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders each took care of business this past weekend by winning their games.
The Seahawks blasted the visiting Los Angeles Rams, 24-3 limiting them to just 183 yards in total offense. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw for three touchdowns to lead the way on offense as the Seahawks (9-4-1) clinched the NFC West division.
The Oakland Raiders are playoff bound for the first time since the 2002 season as they squeaked by the host San Diego Chargers, 19-16 to improve to 11-3 for the season. Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski made four field goals and QB Derek Carr connected with wide receiver Michael Crabtree for a touchdown to make the difference. Chargers QB Philip Rivers had two TD passes in the loss.
The New England Patriots won the AFC East for the eighth consecutive season as they beat the host Denver Broncos, 16-3 to improve to 12-2. LeGarrette Blount scored on a one-yard touchdown plunge and the Pats defense smothered the Broncos offense, forcing three turnovers and sacking QB Trevor Siemian four times.
The Sunday night game saw the Dallas Cowboys (12-2) win a 26-20 thriller against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys defense forced four turnovers (three interceptions and a fumble) while sacking Bucs QB Jameis Winston four times. 'Pokes QB Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott (159 rushing yards) each scored a rushing touchdown to go with four Dan Bailey field goals to make the difference.

                                                     Elsewhere Around  the NFL  . . . . . . .   

The New York Giants improved to 10-4 with a 17-6 win against the Detroit Lions (9-5) as QB Eli Manning threw for two touchdowns . . .  The Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) rallied past the host Cincinnati Bengals, 24-20 as kicker Chris Boswell made six field goals . . .   The Houston Texans (8-6) rallied as well as they beat the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars, 21-20 behind backup QB Tom Savage leading the offense after starter Brock Osweiler was benched. RB Lamar Miller scored on a one-yard run to clinch the win. The Jaguars (2-12) fired Head Coach Gus Bradley following the loss . . .  The Baltimore Ravens (8-6) kept pace with the Steelers in the AFC North as they held off the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-26 behind two TD passes from Joe Flacco. The Eagles decided to go for two points following a late touchdown, but the Ravens defense stymied the play to provide the win . . .  The Tennessee Titans continued their "magic carpet ride" season going as they improved to 8-6 (tied for first place in AFC South with Houston) by beating the host Kansas City Chiefs, 19-17 as former Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop nailed the game winning 53-yard field goal as time expired . . .  The Atlanta Falcons (9-5) claimed sole possession of first place in the NFC South with a 41-13 trouncing of the hapless San Francisco 49ers (1-13) as their offense piled up 550 total yards.
Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week Devonta Freeman (pictured lower right) scored three rushing touchdowns and went for 139 yards on the ground to lead the way. 
The Indianapolis Colts (7-7) kept alive their slim playoff hopes with a huge win, 34-6 at Minnesota. Colts QB Andrew Luck had a pair of scoring passes while the defense gathered three turnovers. The Vikings dropped to 7-7 (after a 5-0 start this season) and third place in the NFC North division . . .  The Green Bay Packers (8-6) took over second place in the NFC North with a 30-27 win at frigid Chicago. Packers RB Ty Montgomery ran for 162 yards and two scores and Christine Michael rambled 42 yards for another TD to pace the offense. The Bears rallied back from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but Packers kicker Mason Crosby drilled the game winning 32-yard field goal as time expired to give Green Bay their fourth straight win . . .  The Buffalo Bills (7-7) kept the Cleveland Browns winless by virtue of a 33-13 blowout in Buffalo. Bills RB LeSean McCoy ran for 153 yards and two touchdowns to pace the rout . . .  The highest scoring game of the weekend happened in Arizona as the New Orleans Saints topped the host Cardinals, 48-41 behind four TD passes from Drew Brees and a pair of scoring runs by former Cardinals RB Tim Hightower . . . The Miami Dolphins (9-5) leaped back into playoff contention in the AFC with a 34-13 rout of the host New York Jets (4-10) on Saturday night. Dolphins QB Matt Moore made his first start in over four years and had four TD passes while the Miami defense forced four turnovers, including three picks. The game was close (13-10 in favor of Miami) at halftime, but the Dolphins rolled the Jets with 21 points in the third quarter to get the easy victory . . .   The Washington Redskins (7-6-1) blew a big game at home on Monday Night Football by losing to the Carolina Panthers, 26-15 that could very well cost them a wild card playoff spot in the NFC. The Panthers defense came up with three turnovers and QB Cam Newton had two TD passes while RB Jonathan Stewart ran for 132 yards to pace the offense.

Seattle 24, Los Angeles 3
Miami 34, NY Jets 13
Green Bay 30, Chicago 27
NY Giants 17, Detroit 6
Tennessee 19, Kansas City 17
Indianapolis 34, Minnesota 6
Baltimore 27, Philadelphia 26
Buffalo 33, Cleveland 13
Pittsburgh 24, Cincinnati 20
Houston 21, Jacksonville 20
Atlanta 41, San Francisco 13
New England 16, Denver 3
Oakland 19, San Diego 16
New Orleans 48, Arizona 41
Dallas 26, Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 26, Washington 15

Friday, December 16, 2016

NFL - Week Fifteen Preview

Just three weeks to go in the regular NFL season and these are a few of the headliner games this weekend.

Green Bay (7-6) at Chicago (3-10) - Packers should roll in this one, but the temperatures are expected to plummet to sub-zero wind chills in the Windy City after a good amount of snow this weekend. Could be closer game than most might think.

Detroit (9-4) at New York Giants (9-4) - Two of hotter teams going right now in the NFL. This game will likely be a defensive battle.

Tampa Bay (8-5) at Dallas (11-2) - This Sunday night game could go down to the wire, although if the Cowboys get out to an early lead, they could easily turn this one into a rout.

New England (11-2) at Denver (8-5) - MUST WIN game for the host Broncos against Tom Brady and the Patriots, who are looking to build up a lead on Kansas City and Oakland (both 10-3) for home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Tennessee (7-6) at Kansas City (10-3) -  The surprising Titans looking to prove they belong in the post-season talk, will get their chance to prove it against the surging Chiefs, who are one of the hottest teams in the entire NFL right now.

Pittsburgh (8-5) at Cincinnati (5-7-1) - The Steelers should win this road game, but the Bengals would like nothing better than to put a dent in the Steelers playoff chances.

Philadelphia (5-8) at Baltimore (7-6) - The host Ravens CANNOT be caught looking ahead to next week's huge showdown game (on Christmas Day) against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Oakland (10-3) at San Diego (5-8) -  Throw out the records when these two teams go at it. Raiders obviously playing for something, but never count out Philip Rivers and the 'Bolts at home, especially against their bitter rivals.

Indianapolis (6-7) at Minnesota (7-6) - Must win game for both teams as the loser of this one is likely going to be OUT of playoff contention.

Carolina (5-8) at Washington (7-5-1) - The Redskins need this one to stay in the thick of the NFC "wild card" playoff chase. Panthers are just playing out the string.

The Heftyinfo predictions for Week 15     (Home teams are listed in bold;  Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

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

Last Week's Record:  11-5

SEASON RECORD:  136-70-2

Lock of the Week Record:  14-0

Monday, December 12, 2016

NFL - Week Fourteen Review

The New York Giants knocked off the Dallas Cowboys 10-7 on Sunday night, marking the second win against them this season. The win improved the Giants to 9-4 for the season and prevented the Cowboys (11-2) from clinching the NFC East division. The Cowboys also saw their eleven game winning streak snapped.
The Giants defense limited Dallas to 260 yards in total offense and also intercepted quarterback Dak Prescott twice. Meanwhile Eli Manning hooked up with wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (pictured right) for a 61-yard touchdown and Robbie Gould kicked a 39-yard field goal to make the difference.
Last Thursday night, the Kansas City Chiefs raced out to a big lead and defeated the Oakland Raiders, 21-13 to take over first place in the AFC West. Chiefs QB Alex Smith threw a 36-yard scoring pass to Tyreek Hill, who also returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown to pace the win. Both teams are 10-3, but Kansas City swept Oakland in the head-to-head games.
The Houston Texans pulled off a mild upset as they beat the host Indianapolis Colts, 22-17 as the defense forced three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble) while kicker Nick Novak made five field goals. The win put Houston (7-6) into a first-place tie with Tennessee in the AFC South.
The Tennessee Titans held off the Denver Broncos, 13-10 to forge a first place tie with Houston in the AFC South division as running back DeMarco Murray scored a touchdown and kicker Ryan Succop kicked two field goals. The loss dropped Denver to 8-5 for the season.

                                                                 Elsewhere around the NFL  . . . . .      

The Detroit Lions (9-4) continued to roll as they beat the visiting Chicago Bears, 20-17 as QB Matthew Stafford scored on a seven yard run with three minutes remaining to play . . .   The Green Bay Packers smashed the visiting Seattle Seahawks, 38-10 as the defense intercepted five passes and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers had three TD passes . . .   The Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) beat the host Buffalo Bills, 27-20 behind a huge day from Le'Veon Bell, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week.
Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell was dominant in win.
Bell rushed for 236 yards (on 38 carries) and caught four passes for 62 yards while scoring three touchdowns to lead the way . . .   The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) won a nail biter against New Orleans, 16-11 behind stellar defense that held Saints QB Drew Brees without a TD pass. Bucs RB Doug Martin scored the game's only touchdown as Tampa Bay stayed in a first place tie with the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South . . .   The Atlanta Falcons blasted the host Los Angeles Rams, 42-14 behind two defensive scores and three TD passes from QB Matt Ryan to improve to 8-5 and remain in a first place tie with Tampa Bay. The Rams followed up the loss by firing Head Coach Jeff Fisher, who was in his fifth season with the team . . .  The Washington Redskins topped the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-22 to stay in the NFC playoff hunt. 'Skins RB Robert Kelley scored on a 22-yard run and QB Kirk Cousins had two touchdown passes to lead the way . . .  The Miami Dolphins improved to 8-5 with a 26-23 home victory against Arizona. Dolphins kicker Andrew Franks made a chip shot 21-yard field goal as time expired for the win . . .  The Minnesota Vikings rolled to a 25-16 win at Jacksonville as kicker Kai Forbath made four field goals to help make the difference that improved them to 7-6 and keep them in playoff contention in the NFC . . .  The Carolina Panthers drilled the visiting San Diego Chargers, 28-16 as they raced out to a 23-0 lead while intercepting Chargers QB Philip Rivers three times. Chargers RB Melvin Gordon and linebacker Joey Bosa left the game with injuries and were listed as day-to-day . . .  The Cincinnati Bengals won a yawner at Cleveland, 23-10 that kept the Browns winless. Bengals QB Andy Dalton hooked up with tight end Tyler Eifert for two touchdowns to lead the way . . .  The New York Jets roared back from a 14-point deficit to hand the host San Francisco 49ers their 12th consecutive loss in a 23-17 overtime game. Jets RB Bilal Powell (145 yards rushing) scored on a 19-yard run in  the OT to win it. San Francisco RB Carlos Hyde rushed for 193 yards in the loss . . .  New England Patriots QB Tom Brady carved up the NFL's best defense for 406 passing yards and three touchdowns as the host Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens, 30-23 on Monday Night Football. Ravens QB Joe Flacco passed for 324 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the loss.

Kansas City 21, Oakland 13
Detroit 20, Chicago 17
Cincinnati 23, Cleveland 10
Tennessee 13, Denver 10
Tampa Bay 16, New Orleans 11
Pittsburgh 27, Buffalo 20
Washington 27, Philadelphia 22
Minnesota 25, Jacksonville 16
Houston 22, Indianapolis 17
Carolina 28, San Diego 16
Miami 26, Arizona 23
NY Jets 23, San Francisco 17 (OT)
Green Bay 38, Seattle 10
Atlanta 42, Los Angeles 14
NY Giants 10, Dallas 7
New England 30, Baltimore 23

Friday, December 9, 2016

NFL - Week Fourteen Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Week's Record:  11-4

SEASON RECORD:  125-65-2

Lock of the Week Record:  13-0

Monday, December 5, 2016

NFL - Week Thirteen Review

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

                                                        Elsewhere Around the NFL  . . . . . .  

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

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

Sunday, December 4, 2016

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten              (Week ending December 4)      

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

Saturday, December 3, 2016

NFL - Week Thirteen Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Week's Record:  12-4

SEASON RECORD:  114-61-2

Lock of the Week Record:  12-0

Monday, November 28, 2016

NFL - Week Twelve Review

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

                                                                                  Around the NFL . . . . . . .  

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

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

Saturday, November 26, 2016

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten              (Week ending November 27)         

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

NFL - Week Twelve Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Week's Record:  10-4

SEASON RECORD:  102-57-2

Lock of the Week Record:  11-0

Monday, November 21, 2016

NFL - Week Eleven Review

The Dallas Cowboys just keep on rolling along, winning at home, 27-17 against the Baltimore Ravens as quarterback Dak Prescott had three touchdown passes, including two to wide receiver Dez Bryant. It was Dallas' ninth consecutive win.
The Seattle Seahawks blasted the Philadelphia Eagles, 26-15 as QB Russell Wilson passed for 272 yards and a touchdown and also caught a touchdown pass to go with a 72-yard TD run by C.J. Prosise. The Seattle defense intercepted Eagles QB Carson Wentz twice in the win.
The New England Patriots handed the host San Francisco 49ers their ninth straight loss in a 30-17
Xavier Rhodes had a huge game in Vikings win
contest as Pats QB Tom Brady had four TD passes.
The Minnesota Vikings (6-4) snapped a four-game losing streak thanks to two huge plays in a 30-24 win against Arizona.
Cordarrelle Patterson took the second half kickoff back 104 yards for a touchdown and Xavier Rhodes, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, had two interceptions, including a game changing 100-yard touchdown return of a pick. The Vikings defense rose to the occasion and also had four QB sacks to go with the two interceptions.

                                                                            Around the NFL . . . . . .

The Buffalo Bills snapped a three-game losing streak with a 16-12 road win at Cincinnati as kicker Dan Carpenter made three field goals to provide the difference . . .   The New York Giants outlasted the visiting Chicago Bears, 22-16 for their fifth consecutive victory. Giants QB Eli Manning hit WR Sterling Shepard on a 15-yard scoring pass late in the third quarter to provide the winning margin . . .   The Detroit Lions won a thriller over the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars, 26-19 as Andre Roberts took a punt back 55 yards for a score and Eric Ebron's one-yard scoring run made the difference . . .  The Pittsburgh Steelers won at Cleveland, 24-9 to snap a four-game losing streak. Le'Veon Bell scored a touchdown and rushed for 146 yards to lead the way . . .   The Indianapolis Colts nearly squandered a 21-0 lead but held off the visiting Tennessee Titans, 24-17 as QB Andrew Luck had two TD passes . . .   Miami QB Ryan Tannehill threw two TD passes and the Dolphins rallied in the fourth quarter to squeak out a 14-10 win at Los Angeles to spoil the debut of Rams rookie QB Jared Goff . . .  Tampa Bay beat the host Kansas City Chiefs, 19-17 behind four field goals by kicker Roberto Aguayo and a stellar defense that limited the Chiefs to just 82 yards on the ground and also forcing two turnovers . . .   Last Thursday night, the host Carolina Panthers built a 20-point lead and then  held on for a 23-20 win against the New Orleans Saints. Kicker Graham Gano made three field goals and RB Jonathan Stewart scored a rushing touchdown to offset two TD passes from QB Drew Brees . . .  The Washington Redskins squashed the visiting Green Bay Packers, 42-24 in the Sunday night game as QB Kirk Cousins had 375 passing yards and three touchdown passes to go with Robert Kelley's three rushing touchdowns and 137 yards on the ground. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers threw for 351 yards and three scores in the loss . . .  The Oakland Raiders (8-2) defeated the Houston Texans, 27-20 in come-from-behind fashion in the Monday night game as QB Derek Carr had three touchdown passes, including the game winning 35-yard TD pass to wide receiver Amari Cooper late in the fourth quarter.

Carolina 23, New Orleans 20
NY Giants 22, Chicago 16
Tampa Bay 19, Kansas City 17
Dallas 27, Baltimore 17
Pittsburgh 24, Cleveland 9
Buffalo 16, Cincinnati 12
Detroit 26, Jacksonville 19
Indianapolis 24, Tennessee 17
Minnesota 30, Arizona 24
New England 30, San Francisco 17
Seattle 26, Philadelphia 15
Miami 14, Los Angeles 10
Washington 42, Green Bay 24
Oakland 27, Houston 20

Sunday, November 20, 2016

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten              (Week ending November 20)    

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

NFL - Week Eleven Preview

The NFL season is getting into crunch time as far as teams going for the playoffs are concerned.
Three of the bigger games this weekend include Philadelphia playing at Seattle, Green Bay at Washington in the Sunday night game and the Houston Texans facing the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City on Monday Night Football.
Both the Texans (6-3) and Raiders (7-2) are in first place in their divisions, so this game has big meaning as teams head toward the home stretch of the 2016 season.
The Redskins (5-3-1) are in the thick of the NFC wild card race while the Packers are struggling at 4-5, but are just one game back of the NFC North lead.
The Seahawks (6-2-1) have been getting it going again, including a huge road win against New England last week as the defense rose to the occasion as the game ended with a goal line stand. Philadelphia (5-4) is in last place in the strong NFC East division, but they know with a win this weekend, they could leap frog the Redskins and match the New York Giants for second place.

The other game this weekend are on tap below, with the capsule previews and followed by the predictions for the outcome.

Pittsburgh (4-5) at Cleveland (0-10) -  The Steelers have to get things going, right?

Baltimore (5-4) at Dallas (8-1) -  Will the Cowboys ever lose a game again?

Jacksonville (2-7) at Detroit (5-4) - The Lions have been playing good football . . . Jacksonville, not so much.

Tennessee (5-5) at Indianapolis (4-5) - This is a big game in the AFC South as both teams are chasing Houston.

Tampa Bay (4-5) at Kansas City (7-2) - Chiefs have won five straight games . . . The Bucs have been very erratic this year.

Buffalo (4-5) at Cincinnati (3-5-1) - The Bills have been reeling while the Bengals haven't been doing much better. Flip a coin in this one.

Chicago (2-7) at New York Giants (6-3) - The Bears have been awful while the Giants have won four in a row.

Arizona (4-4-1) at Minnesota (5-4) - The Vikings have lost four in a row and the Cardinals seem to be back on track after a terrible start.

Miami (5-4) at Los Angeles (4-5) - Rams rookie QB Jared Goff makes his debut this week against a red hot Miami Dolphins squad.

New England (7-2) at San Francisco (1-8) - The Patriots will be very angry after losing at home last week. The 49ers have lost eight straight games.

Philadelphia (5-4) at Seattle (6-2-1) - Take the Seahawks.

Green Bay (4-5) at Washington (5-3-1) - The Redskins can really knock the Packers down with a home victory in "prime time."

Houston (6-3) at Oakland (7-2) - Two first place teams going at it down in Mexico. Go figure.

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

Carolina over New Orleans
Pittsburgh over Cleveland
Dallas over Baltimore
Detroit over Jacksonville
Indianapolis over Tennessee
Kansas City over Tampa Bay
Cincinnati over Buffalo
NY Giants over Chicago
Arizona over Minnesota
Miami over Los Angeles
NEW ENGLAND over San Francisco
Seattle over Philadelphia
Green Bay over Washington
Oakland over Houston  (in Mexico City, Mexico)

Last Week's Record:  6-8

Lock of the Week Record:  10-0

Monday, November 14, 2016

NFL - Week Ten Review

It was a weekend of fantastic and strange finishes around the NFL as several games came down to the wire, including the Dallas Cowboys stunning 35-30 finish against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
There were three touchdowns scored in the final two minutes of the game. The game had five lead changes and the Cowboys finally won it when running back Ezekiel Elliott (114 rush yards, 95 yards receiving) romped untouched for a 32-yard TD run (his third of the game) with just nine seconds remaining.
The Steelers had gone back in front when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (408 yards and three TD passes) threw a 15-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown with 42 seconds remaining.
But Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (319 passing yards and two TD) led the drive down the field that led to the winning score. The win was the eighth in a row for the Cowboys.
The Sunday night game was equally exciting as the Seattle Seahawks got a huge road win at New England, beating the Patriots, 31-24 as QB Russell Wilson led the way with three TD passes along with 348 passing yards. The game saw seven lead changes and the Seahawks scored with 4:08 left on Wilson's third TD pass to WR Doug Baldwin.
From there, the Patriots drove to the Seattle two-yard line, where the Seattle defense rose up and made a goal line stand to win the game. Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, made the play against tight end Rob Gronkowski to end the drama. Chancellor (pictured left) made eight tackles in the game and also forced a fumble.
Pats' RB LeGarrette Blount scored three rushing touchdowns in the loss.
The Denver Broncos outlasted the host New Orleans Saints, 25-23 thanks to a blocked PAT kick that was returned for two points by Will Parks in the final minute of play.
Broncos QB Trevor Siemian had two TD passes in the win while Saints QB Drew Brees passed for 303 yards with three TD strikes and two interceptions.
The Kansas City Chiefs overcame a 17-point deficit to beat the host Carolina Panthers, 20-17 as kicker Carlos Santos made a 37-yard field goal as time expired. It was the fourth field goal for Santos. Chiefs defensive back Eric Berry took an interception back 42 yards for the only touchdown for Kansas City.
A strange fourth quarter in San Diego saw Chargers QB Philip Rivers intercepted FOUR times as the Miami Dolphins rallied back from an early deficit to beat the host Chargers, 31-24. Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso took a pick back 60 yards to the house to make the difference with just a minute to play in the game.

                                                               Around the NFL . . . . . .

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers smashed the Chicago Bears, 36-10 as the defense forced four turnovers, including a "pick six" interception by safety Chris Conte and also scored a safety to lead the way . . .  The Houston Texans held off the host Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-21 as QB Brock Osweiler threw two TD passes and Kareem Jackson took an interception back 42 yards for a score . . .  The Washington Redskins handed the Minnesota Vikings their fourth consecutive loss with a 26-20 home win. 'Skins QB Kirk Cousins had a pair of TD passes to offset Vikings QB Sam Bradford's two scoring passes. Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins made four field goals in the second half to provide the difference in the outcome . . .  The Los Angeles Rams rode three field goals by kicker Steve Zuerlein to beat the New York Jets, 9-6 . . .   Philadelphia got a home win against the Atlanta Falcons, 24-15 as RB Ryan Mathews scored a pair of rushing touchdowns . . .  The Tennessee Titans had a 47-25 rout of the visiting Green Bay Packers as QB Marcus Mariota threw four touchdown passes and RB DeMarco Murray (123 yards) scored on a 75-yard run to lead the way. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers had two TD passes (and two INT) and a rushing TD in the loss  . . .   The Arizona Cardinals held off the stubborn San Francisco 49ers, 23-20 as kicker Chandler Catanzaro  drilled a 34-yard field goal as time ran out to send the 49ers to their eighth consecutive defeat . . .  The Baltimore Ravens rolled the visiting Cleveland Browns, 28-7 last Thursday night as the defense limited the Browns (0-10) to a paltry 144 total yards in offense. Meanwhile, Baltimore QB Joe Flacco had three TD passes to pace the easy win . . .  Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns and the New York Giants used a balanced offensive attack to beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 21-20 on Monday Night Football.

Week Ten Scores
Baltimore 28, Cleveland 7
Washington 26, Minnesota 20
Tampa Bay 36, Chicago 10
Kansas City 20, Carolina 17
Los Angeles 9, NY Jets 6
Philadelphia 24, Atlanta 15
Houston 24, Jacksonville 21
Tennessee 47, Green Bay 25
Denver 25, New Orleans 23
Dallas 35, Pittsburgh 30
Arizona 23, San Francisco 20
Miami 31, San Diego 24
Seattle 31, New England 24
NY Giants 21, Cincinnati 20


Sunday, November 13, 2016

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten                  (Week ending November 13)     

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

Friday, November 11, 2016

NFL - Week Ten Preview

It's a flashback weekend in the NFL when the Dallas Cowboys face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
These two storied franchises have played in many classics through the years, including going at it in three Super Bowls.
The Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowls 10 and 13 over Dallas (21-17 in 10 and 35-31 in 13) before the Cowboys got some revenge 17 years later by winning 27-17 in Super Bowl 30.
Some of the names throughout the years include Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Franco Harris, Rocky Bleier, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, "Mean" Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Andy Russell, Mel Blount, Drew Pearson, Tony Dorsett, Bob Lily, Randy White, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith and countless others.
Let's not forget the legendary coaches either.  Chuck Noll and Tom Landry in the 1970's along with Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson (and yes Barry Switzer) in the 1990's.
This Sunday when they meet up in Pittsburgh, it will be Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott's turn for Dallas and Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown for the Steelers.
The Cowboys have been rolling since losing the season opener to the New York Giants, winning seven consecutive games.  The Steelers are 4-4 and are coming off a loss to the Baltimore Ravens (on the road) last week. Roethlisberger saw action in the game after missing two weeks with a knee injury.
Regardless the outcome this weekend, these two teams should be in contention for the playoffs the rest of the way.
For a brief look at all of the games, here is the capsule previews for all of the action.

Minnesota (5-3) at Washington (4-3-1) - This game could go either way, although the Vikings have been reeling lately.

Green Bay (4-4) at Tennessee (4-5) - Who cares?

Chicago (2-6) at Tampa Bay (3-5) -  See above comment.

Kansas City (6-2) at Carolina (3-5) - Both of these teams are hot right now.

Atlanta (6-3) at Philadelphia (4-4) - The Eagles need this game.

Los Angeles (3-5) at New York Jets (3-6) - Joe Namath played for both of these teams once upon a time.

Denver (6-3) at New Orleans (4-4) - The Saints are rolling right now, the Broncos not so much.

Houston (5-3) at Jacksonville (2-6) - The Jags could win this game. Which Houston team will show up?

Miami (4-4) at San Diego (4-5) - The Dolphins have won three straight games, but that streak ends this weekend against the Bolts.

Dallas (7-1) at Pittsburgh (4-4) - Can the Steelers slow down the Cowboys? This game likely will go down to the wire.

San Francisco (1-7) at Arizona (3-4-1) - Cardinals roll !

Seattle (5-2-1) at New England (7-1) - The Sunday night "prime time" game between the two teams that went at it in the memorable Super Bowl two years ago.  A must see game!

Cincinnati (3-4-1) at New York Giants (5-3) - Eli and the G-men taking on the Bengals on Monday Night Football . . . take the Giants.

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

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

Last Week's Record:  11-2


Lock of the Week Record:  9-0


Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Donald Trump is the President of the United States?

Strange but true.

Monday, November 7, 2016

NFL - Week Nine Review

The Oakland Raiders are for real.
They showed that Sunday night in Oakland as they manhandled the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, 30-20 as running back Latavius Murray scored three touchdowns to lead the way to victory. The Raiders defense limited the Broncos to a paltry 33 yards rushing in the game.
The New York Giants held off the Philadelphia Eagles, 28-23 behind four touchdown passes from Eli Manning and the defense getting two interceptions, plus holding the Eagles four times on fourth
Lions kicker Matt Prater was clutch.
The Detroit Lions stunned the Minnesota Vikings, 22-16 in overtime for a big road win. Detroit trailed 16-13 with just over 30 seconds to play in regulation when QB Matthew Stafford rallied them down the field to set up kicker Matt Prater, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, for a game tying 58-yard field goal as time ran out.
In the extra session, Stafford connected with wide receiver Golden Tate for a 28-yard TD pass to win the game and send the Vikings to their third consecutive loss.

                                                         Around the NFL  . . . . . . .  

The Dallas Cowboys won their seventh straight game as they blasted the host Cleveland Browns, 35-10 as QB Dak Prescott threw for three touchdowns and RB Ezekiel Elliott scored two rushing touchdowns . . .  The Carolina Panthers won a yawner on the road, 13-10 over the Los Angeles Rams despite gaining just 244 total yards in offense . . .  The Indianapolis Colts knocked off the host Green Bay Packers, 31-26 behind a pair of scoring runs by Frank Gore and a 99-yard kickoff return by Jordan Todman. Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers had three TD passes in the loss . . .   Baltimore beat the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-14 to spoil the return of QB Ben Roethlisberger. A 95-yard TD pass from Joe Flacco to Mike Wallace and a blocked punt for a score made the difference for the Ravens in the win  . . . New Orleans (4-4) steam rolled past the host San Francisco 49ers, 41-23 as QB Drew Brees had three TD passes to go with 323 passing yards. Running back Mark Ingram rushed for 158 yards and scored twice as both teams combined for 1,057 yards in offense . . .   Kansas City beat the stubborn Jacksonville Jaguars, 19-14 as kicker Cairo Santos made four field goals to offset two TD passes by Jags' QB Blake Bortles . . .  The  Miami Dolphins (4-4) won a wild game against the New York Jets, 27-23 in a game that had four lead changes. Kenyan Drake took a kickoff back 96 yards for the deciding touchdown in the fourth quarter after Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an 18-yard TD pass to WR Jalin Marshall . . .  The San Diego Chargers put on an offensive show as they toppled the visiting Tennessee Titans, 43-35. Chargers RB Melvin Gordon had a career best 196 yards rushing and 65 receiving yards to go with a touchdown while QB Philip Rivers had two TD passes and the Chargers defense scored two touchdowns (fumble return and interception). Titans QB Marcus Mariota ran for a score and threw for three more scores in defeat . . .  The Atlanta Falcons blasted the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 43-28 last Thursday night as QB Matt Ryan had 344 yards passing to go with four TD passes . . .  In the Monday Night Football game, the Seattle Seahawks (5-2-1) beat the Buffalo Bills, 31-25 behind a pair of TD passes from Russell Wilson to tight end Jimmy Graham. The loss was the third straight for the Bills, who slipped to 4-5 for the season.

Atlanta 43, Tampa Bay 28
Dallas 35, Cleveland 10
Baltimore 21, Pittsburgh 14
NY Giants 28, Philadelphia 23
Miami 27, NY Jets 23
Kansas City 19, Jacksonville 14
Detroit 22, Minnesota 16 (OT)
New Orleans 41, San Francisco 23
Carolina 13, Los Angeles 10
Indianapolis 31, Green Bay 26
San Diego 43, Tennessee 35
Oakland 30, Denver 20
Seattle 31, Buffalo 25