Sunday, October 15, 2017

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten             (Week ending October 15)   

1.  Alabama  (7-0)
2.  Penn State  (6-0)
3.  Georgia  (6-0)
4.  Wisconsin  (6-0)
5.  TCU  (6-0)
6.  Ohio State  (6-1)
7.  Clemson  (6-1)
8.  Miami, FL  (5-0)
9.  Oklahoma  (5-1)
10.  Washington  (6-1)

Friday, October 13, 2017

NFL - Week Six Preview

The best game of the week in the NFL was actually played last night in Carolina, where the visiting Philadelphia Eagles beat the Panthers, 28-23 (the pick here was Carolina- wrong!) but that happened before Heftyinfo post of Week Six Preview, so  here goes nothing for the action this weekend.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings is an exciting looking game as the NFC North division rivals get it going once again. The Packers rallied past the Dallas Cowboys last week while the Vikings escaped with a 20-17 win at Chicago on Monday Night Football. Aaron Rodgers and company rate the edge, even on the road. The Minnesota defense should keep this one close.
Another interesting game will be the game between the Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars, two very surprising teams (both are 3-2) so far. Rams were losers at home against Seattle while Jags stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road, 30-9.
Pittsburgh at Kansas City should be a good one as both teams are in first place in their divisions. 
The Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) are coming off that blowout loss at home to Jacksonville last week while the Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) rolled to another win at Houston last Sunday night. The Steelers have owned the Chiefs in year's past, but they have been Jekyll and Hyde so far this season.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, have been the model of consistency in the NFL to this point. Their quarterback, Alex Smith, is having a superb season through the first five weeks.

The rest of the weekend games can be seen below in a capsule style preview form.

Miami (2-2) at Atlanta (3-1) - Falcons coming off bye week and a loss while the Dolphins survived at home last week.

Chicago (1-4) at Baltimore (3-2) - The Ravens have been up and down so far. The Bears defense is decent, so watch out.

Cleveland (0-5) at Houston (2-3) - The Texans will be without defensive star J.J. Watt, but the Browns suck!

Detroit (3-2) at New Orleans (2-2) - In years past, this would be a high scoring game, but both teams playing well on defense lately. Pick 'em game here.

New England (3-2) at New York Jets (3-2) - How in the hell are the Jets 3-2? The Patriots should win this game, but beware.

San Francisco (0-5) at Washington (2-2) - Redskins roll !

Tampa Bay (2-2) at Arizona (2-3) - The Cardinals have been a disappointment so far. Buccaneers still feeling their way.

Los Angeles Chargers (1-4) at Oakland (2-3) - The Raiders are reeling without QB Derek Carr, but he may be able to play this week . . .  Hmmmm.

New York Giants (0-5) at Denver (3-1) - Sunday night game featuring a hapless Giants team (four wide receivers injured) against the NFL's best defense. Take the Broncos.

Indianapolis (2-3) at Tennessee (2-3) - AFC South battle on MNF game . . . both teams are looking up at first place Jacksonville Jaguars.

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

Carolina over Philadelphia
Atlanta over Miami
Baltimore over Chicago
HOUSTON over Cleveland
Green Bay over Minnesota 
New Orleans over Detroit
New England over NY Jets
Washington over San Francisco
Arizona over Tampa Bay
Jacksonville over LA Rams
Pittsburgh over Kansas City 
Oakland over LA Chargers
Denver over NY Giants
Tennessee over Indianapolis

Last Week's Record -  10-4 


Lock of the Week Record -  3-2 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

NFL - Week Five Recap

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
The best game by far this weekend was the one between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys, which the visiting Packers won, 35-31 as quarterback Aaron Rodgers (three touchdown passes) found wide receiver Davonte Adams for a 12-yard scoring pass with only eleven seconds remaining. The Cowboys had just taken a 31-28 lead with 1:13 left to play when QB Dak Prescott (three TD passes) scored on an 11-yard run.
The Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) remained unbeaten as they topped the host Houston Texans, 42-34 on Sunday night. The Texans lost defensive star J.J. Watt for the season as he suffered a severe leg injury.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith had three touchdown passes to pace the offense and Tyreek Hill took a punt back 82 yards for a score to help blow it open in the fourth quarter, which saw the teams combine for 40 points. Texans QB Deshaun Watson had five TD passes in the loss.
The Jacksonville Jaguars pulled off the surprise of the week  with a 30-9 trouncing of the host Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jags defense intercepted Ben Roethlisberger five times, including two for scores to set the tone. In addition, the Jags rushed for 231 yards in the rout.

                                              Elsewhere in the NFL . . . . . .    

Despite being outgained by over 200 yards, the New York Jets (3-2) won their third straight game as they beat the winless Cleveland Browns, 17-14 behind two scoring passes from QB Josh McCown . . .  The Seattle Seahawks held off the host Los Angeles Rams, 16-10 behind a solid defensive effort that yielded five turnovers . . .   The Los Angeles Chargers won their first game in a 27-22 victory against the New York Giants (0-5) thanks to a ten-yard scoring pass from Philip Rivers to running back Melvin Gordon (105 yards rushing and two receiving TD) that made the difference. The Chargers defense sealed the game with an interception in the final minute. The Giants lost star wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. for the season with a broken ankle . . .  The Philadelphia Eagles blasted the Arizona Cardinals, 34-7 as QB Carson Wentz went off with four TD passes while the Philly defense limited the Cards to just 31 rushing yards . . .  The Carolina Panthers (4-1) rode the hot play of QB Cam Newton (three TD passes) to a 27-24 win at Detroit. The Lions scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, but this time the rally fell short . . .  The Baltimore Ravens took advantage of Oakland not having starting QB Derek Carr (back injury) as they throttled the host Raiders, 30-17 behind a defensive score in the first quarter and a balanced offense, paced by efficient QB Joe Flacco . . . The New England Patriots won a squeaker at Tampa Bay on Thursday night, 19-14 as QB Tom Brady had a scoring pass and kicker Stephen Gostkowski made four field goals . . .  The Minnesota Vikings came up with a huge interception late in the fourth quarter to spoil the regular season debut of Bears rookie QB Mitch Trubisky (one TD pass and one interception) in a 20-17 win in Chicago on Monday Night Football. Kicker Kai Forbath made the deciding 26-yard field goal with just over two minutes to go to decide the game.

                      Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week -  Carson Wentz  (QB- Philadelphia Eagles)

New England 19, Tampa Bay 14
Jacksonville 30, Pittsburgh 9
Cincinnati 20, Buffalo 16
NY Jets 17, Cleveland 14
LA Chargers 27, NY Giants 22
Carolina 27, Detroit 24
Indianapolis 26, San Francisco 23 (OT)
Philadelphia 34, Arizona 7
Miami 16, Tennessee 10
Seattle 16, LA Rams 10
Green Bay 35, Dallas 31
Baltimore 30, Oakland 17
Kansas City 42, Houston 34
Minnesota 20, Chicago 17

Sunday, October 8, 2017

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo  College Football Top Ten              (Week ending October 8)     

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

Friday, October 6, 2017

NFL - Week Five Preview

Week Five around the NFL brings about the first of many "bye" weeks as four teams (Atlanta, Denver, New Orleans, Washington) get the weekend off.
There will not be any games played over in London, England either this weekend. Just good old football being played right here in the United States of America.
The big match up this week features the Green Bay Packers facing the Dallas Cowboys deep in the heart of Texas, the same place where the Packers knocked the 'Pokes out of the NFC playoffs last January.
Look for another close game between these old rivals as Aaron Rodgers and company seek to improve to 4-1 for the season. The Cowboys (2-2) will look to get the offense going again this week. Even though they hung 30 points on the L.A. Rams, it wasn't enough in a 35-30 setback.
On the other side of the coin, two winless teams will battle it out in New York as the Giants host the Chargers, who lost their 16th one-score game since the 2015 season last weekend.  Somebody has to win this one . . . but there is always the possibility of a tie game.
The Seattle Seahawks (46-18 win over the Colts last week) travel to Los Angeles to face the surprising Rams (3-1 and 1st place in the NFC West) as they look to get back to the top of the division race. The Rams seem to always play the 'Hawks tough, so this week's game should be no different.
The Houston Texans, fresh off a 57-point outburst (a franchise record) against Tennessee, will host the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs in the Sunday night game. The Monday night game will see the Minnesota Vikings travel to play the Chicago Bears, who will start rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky for the first time.

The rest of the games are featured in capsule style and are followed up by the Heftyinfo picks for Week Five.

Buffalo (3-1) at Cincinnati (1-3) - Can the Bills keep their early season success going?

NY Jets (2-2) at Cleveland (0-4) - The Browns are awful. The Jets can actually go above .500 with a win on the road this weekend.

Carolina (3-1) at Detroit (3-1) - Two surprise teams in first place ties in their divisions battle in Motown. Take the Lions.

San Francisco (0-4) at Indianapolis (1-3) - The stinker game of the week.

Tennessee (2-2) at Miami (1-2) - Will Titans' QB Marcus Mariota (hamstring injury) play in this game? Will the Dolphins score any points this week?

Arizona (2-2) at Philadelphia (3-1) - The battle of the birds in Philly.  Take the Eagles in a tight one.

Jacksonville (2-2) at Pittsburgh (3-1) - The Steelers looked much better in last week's win while the Jaguars lost to the lowly Jets.

Baltimore (2-2) at Oakland (2-2) - Two teams currently in nose dives early on. The Raiders will be without QB Derek Carr in this game. Toss up here.

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

New England over Tampa Bay
Cincinnati over Buffalo
NY Jets over Cleveland
Detroit over Carolina
Indianapolis over San Francisco
Miami over Tennessee
NY Giants over LA Chargers
Philadelphia over Arizona
PITTSBURGH over Jacksonville
Seattle over LA Rams 
Baltimore over Oakland
Green Bay over Dallas
Kansas City over Houston 
Chicago over Minnesota

Last Week's Record -  5-11


Lock of the Week Record -  3-1 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

NFL - Week Four Recap

Upset Sunday was the theme this past weekend around the NFL as the Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills each improved their records to 3-1 with huge road wins. The Rams outscored the Dallas Cowboys, 35-30 while the Bills stunned the Atlanta Falcons, 23-17.
Perhaps the biggest surprise  was Carolina topping the New England Patriots, 33-30 on the road as Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was superb, passing for 316 yards with three touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown. Panthers kicker Graham Gano kicked the game winning 48-yard field goal as time expired. Patriots QB Tom Brady had two TD passes in the loss, which was the second in three games at home so far this season for the Patriots.
In the Rams win, kicker Greg Zuerlein made seven field goals while QB Jared Goff had a pair of TD passes to lead the way. Running back Todd Gurley rushed for 121 yards and caught a 53-yard touchdown pass. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott threw for three scores, but the Rams defense limited Dallas to just six points in the second half to secure the win.
Buffalo rode a solid defensive effort, including getting three turnovers, to hold off the Falcons, who came up just short in the final minute of the game as they lost for the first time this season. Bills rookie cornerback Tre'Davious White took a fumble back 52 yards for a touchdown and Stephen Hauschka kicked three fourth quarter field goals (two from over 50 yards) to make the difference.

                                                          Elsewhere around the NFL . . . . .  

The Denver Broncos won a defensive struggle at home, 16-10 against the Oakland Raiders, limiting Oakland to only 256 yards in offense. The Raiders lost QB Derek Carr to a back injury in the second half. Carr is likely to be out for at least two weeks, but likely longer. Broncos kicker Brandon McManus drilled three field goals to help provide the final outcome  . . .  The Pittsburgh Steelers blasted the host Baltimore Ravens, 26-9 as their defense had three turnovers and RB Le'Veon Bell (144 rushing yards) rushed for two scores to pace the offense . . .  The Houston Texans exploded for 57 points as they crushed the visiting Tennessee Titans, 57-14 as rookie QB DeShaun Watson had four TD passes and a running touchdown to lead the rout . . .  The Detroit Lions beat the Minnesota Vikings, 14-7 with a stellar defense, including three fumble recoveries while Ameer Abdullah ran for a three-yard score. Vikings rookie RB Dalvin Cook suffered a knee injury that could keep him out for the rest of the season . . . The Philadelphia Eagles won on the road, 26-24 over the Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) as kicker Jake Elliott made four field goals and the offense was balanced (214 rush yards and 240 pass yards) to lead the way. Chargers QB Philip Rivers passed for 347 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the loss, which was the Bolts' seventh consecutive home defeat dating back to last year . . .  Over in London, England, the New Orleans Saints shutout the Miami Dolphins, 20-0 with QB Drew Brees throwing two TD passes while the defense sacked Miami QB Jay Cutler four times and also had an interception . . .  Tampa Bay got a game winning 34-yard field goal from Nick Folk as time expired in a 25-23 victory against the winless New York Giants. Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston threw for three scores in the win while Giants QB Eli Manning had two TD passes and a rushing score . . . The New York Jets won their second consecutive game, 23-20 in overtime against the Jacksonville Jaguars as kicker Chandler Catanzaro made a 41-yard field goal with 28 seconds left. Jets RB Bilal Powell had a 75-yard scoring run and went off for 163 yards to lead the way . . .  The Green Bay Packers routed the visiting Chicago Bears on Thursday night, 35-14 as QB Aaron Rodgers had four TD passes . . .  The Seattle Seahawks blasted the Indianapolis Colts, 46-18 on Sunday night behind a huge second half (outscored the Colts 36-3) as QB Russell Wilson ran for a touchdown and also had two scoring passes. The Seahawks outgained the Colts, 477-237 in total yardage . . .  The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Washington Redskins, 29-20 to remain unbeaten as QB Alex Smith hooked up with tight end Travis Kelce for a scoring pass and rookie running back Kareem Hunt ran for 101 yards to pace a balance attack. Redskins QB Kirk Cousins had two TD passes in the loss.

                             Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week - Deshaun Watson (QB - Houston Texans)

Green Bay 35, Chicago 14
Houston 57, Tennessee 14
Carolina 33, New England 30
Pittsburgh 26, Baltimore 9
NY Jets 23, Jacksonville 20  (OT)
Cincinnati 31, Cleveland 7
New Orleans 20, Miami 0
Detroit 14, Minnesota 7
Buffalo 23, Atlanta 17
Philadelphia 26, LA Chargers 24
LA Rams 35, Dallas 30
Arizona 18, San Francisco 15  (OT)
Denver 16, Oakland 10
Tampa Bay 25, NY Giants 23
Seattle 46, Indianapolis 18
Kansas City 29, Washington 20

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Major League Baseball - 2017 Post Season Preview

The 2017 Major League Baseball regular season is over and now it is on to the post season as ten teams battle for a shot at the World Series.
The Chicago Cubs won it all last year and are back again looking for a repeat following the 108-year drought they endured until last November.
The Cleveland Indians (22 game winning streak and all) are also back after winning 102 games this season. They boast perhaps the most formidable pitching in the big leagues. Although the Los Angeles Dodgers (104 wins to lead the league) might have an argument about that.
There are three 100-win teams in the playoffs this year as the Houston Astros (101 wins) ran away with the American League West division and will face the Boston Red Sox in the divisional series.
The Red Sox were extremely hot down the stretch and have Cy Young candidate Chris Sale (300-plus strikeouts this season) leading the pitching staff. The lineup just grinds and while they don't boast real power like past lineups, they have a knack for getting the long ball in clutch situations.
The Astros have Jose Altuve, a solid candidate for American League Most Valuable Player, leading the way as well as Carlos Correa, George Springer and solid pitching, led by Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel.
The Cubs will play the NL East champion Washington Nationals in the divisional series.
The Cubs are the defending champions and Manager Joe Maddon knows what it takes to get his team ready for October baseball. Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant lead the offense while Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester anchor the starting pitching. Closer Wade Davis blew just one save all season long and has experience in the playoffs, having been the closer with Kansas City in their World Series title season two years ago.
The Nationals have Bryce Harper (just off the disabled list), Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, (Cubs killer) Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner in a very strong lineup while the trio of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez is perhaps the best in baseball. All three have earned run averages below three runs. The bullpen has been suspect in years past, but the addition of Sean Doolittle, Brandon Kintzler and Ryan Madson at the trade deadline seems to have solved that issue.
Before those series get going, there is the matter of the wild card games in both leagues.
In the American League (Tuesday, October 3) the New York Yankees will host the surprising Minnesota Twins, who were coming off a 103-loss season. The National League game features two West Division foes, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies on Wednesday in Arizona.
The Yankees feature a power laden lineup led by rookie Aaron Judge (MLB rookie record 52 home runs) and Gary Sanchez, along with a solid bullpen, anchored by Dellin Batances and Aroldis Chapman. The Twins have a solid nucleus of grinders and manager Paul Molitor has been getting everything out of this team all season long. The Yankees have dominated the Twins in recent memory and will likely win this one, but anything is possible is a one-game playoff.
The Cleveland Indians will host the Divisional Series against the winner of the wild card game and will be the favorites.
Led by manager Terry Francona (two World Series titles with Boston) the Tribe has a great pitching staff with Cy Young candidate Cory Kluber anchoring the starters. Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger and Josh Tomlin have been consistent pitchers all summer long. The bullpen was the best in baseball in 2017 and has the three-headed monster of Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen to close out games.
The lineup is led by Francisco Lindor, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Ramirez, Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley. Speed and power is consistent throughout the batting order and Cleveland can score runs at any time.
Meanwhile, Arizona and Colorado know each other all too well and this game could go either way as both teams have solid lineups with plenty of pop and good pitching to boot. Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado is a Most Valuable Player candidate in the NL as is D-Backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
The Diamondbacks have been the more consistent team during the stretch run of September, so they rate the edge, especially with ace pitcher Zack Greinke starting the game.
Whoever wins the game will face the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers and their formidable pitching. Staff ace Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the game and is surrounded by Rich Hill, Yu Darvish and Alex Wood. Bullpen closer Kenley Jansen has been stellar all season as well.
Rookie of the Year candidate Cody Bellinger leads a solid lineup that features Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Cory Seager and veteran Chase Utley, who has been a part of numerous post-season rosters.
Once the action begins, anything can happen and let's not forget the recent runs of the Kansas City Royals (2014 and 2015) when they came so close to winning it all in 2014 and then parlayed that into a World Series title the next season. Also coming to mind is the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals, who barely finished over .500 but caught fire and beat Detroit to win the World Series.

Here are the Heftyinfo predictions for the 2017 MLB Playoffs and World Series.


Wild Card -  Arizona over Colorado

NLDS -  Chicago over Washington;  Los Angeles over Arizona

NLCS -  Chicago over Los Angeles


Wild Card -  NY Yankees over Minnesota

ALDS -  Houston over Boston;  Cleveland over NY Yankees

ALCS -  Cleveland over Houston


                                                         WORLD SERIES 
    Cleveland Indians over Chicago Cubs in six games  

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten            (Week ending October 1) 

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

Friday, September 29, 2017

NFL - Week Four Preview

The one-quarter mark of the 2017 NFL season will be in the books after this week's action.
Hard to believe there is football actually being played on the field as news of the league has been dominated by distractions about the national anthem and NFL teams taking a knee during the song.
Point is football is still king of the hill in American sports and no matter what any politician says about the subject, the game is pro football and the games go on.
So there!

On to the action this weekend . . .

New Orleans (1-2) at Miami (1-1) - (Game in London, England) - The Saints come off a big win while the Dolphins lost to perhaps the worst team in the NFL last week.  Toss up here.

Buffalo (2-1) at Atlanta (3-0) - Falcons soar again.

Pittsburgh (2-1) at Baltimore (2-1) - Both of these teams suffered embarrassing losses last week, so something will change this week.

Cincinnati (0-3) at Cleveland (0-3) - The "Battle of Ohio" is the stinker game of the week.

LA Rams (2-1) at Dallas (2-1) - This could be an exciting game. Rams playing well so far this season. Cowboys still feeling their way.

Tennessee (2-1) at Houston (1-2) - Titans should win this one. They look like a confident team so far this season.

Detroit (2-1) at Minnesota (2-1) - Vikings looked very good last week blasting Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, the Lions got robbed of a win on a bad replay review.

Carolina (2-1) at New England (2-1) - Panthers QB Cam Newton just doesn't look right so far while Tom Brady has passed for eight touchdowns in the last two games. Take the Patriots.

Jacksonville (2-1) at NY Jets (1-2) - The Jaguars could actually be 3-1 following this game. They won three games all of last season.

San Francisco (0-3) at Arizona (1-2) - Yawn.

Philadelphia (2-1) at LA Chargers (0-3) - Hard to believe the Chargers will start the season at 0-4. Eagles pulled out a thriller last week.

NY Giants (0-3) at Tampa Bay (1-1) - Giants are a desperate team while the Bucs got a huge dose of humble pie last week.

Oakland (2-1) at Denver (2-1) - Two good teams going at it in the battle of the AFC West division.

Indianapolis (1-2) at Seattle (1-2) - When will the real Seahawks show up? Colts waiting for the return of QB Andrew Luck from injuries.

Washington (2-1) at Kansas City (3-0) - The Redskins and the Chiefs battle it out on Monday Night Football. This is the game of the week for sure.

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

Green Bay over Chicago
Miami over New Orleans (Game played in London, England)
ATLANTA over Buffalo
Baltimore over Pittsburgh
Cleveland over Cincinnati
Dallas over LA Rams
Tennessee over Houston 
Minnesota over Detroit
New England over Carolina
Jacksonville over NY Jets 
Arizona over San Francisco
LA Chargers over Philadelphia
Tampa Bay over NY Giants
Oakland over Denver
Seattle over Indianapolis
Kansas City over Washington

Last Week's Record -  9-7 


Lock of the Week Record -  3-0

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

NFL - Week Three Recap

Fantastic finishes was the theme for Week Three around the NFL as the on field action was very
exciting with five games coming down to the closing seconds or being decided in overtime.
The New England Patriots won at home, 36-33 over the Houston Texans as quarterback Tom Brady (378 yards and five touchdown passes) connected with wide receiver Brandin Cooks for a 25-yard scoring pass with 23 seconds left in the game.
The Green Bay Packers beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 27-24 in OT as kicker Mason Crosby nailed the 27-yard field goal to provide the difference. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers connected with Jordy Nelson on a three-yard scoring pass with 17 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Cincinnati (0-3) coughed up a 21-7 halftime lead as QB Andy Dalton tossed two TD passes.
The Atlanta Falcons (3-0) escaped Detroit with a 30-26 victory after an apparent game-winning touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Golden Tate was wiped out when it was ruled his knee was down just short of the goal line as he reached the ball across it for the score. Falcons QB Matt Ryan had two touchdown passes to offset three interceptions, including one which was a pick-six for the Lions defense.
The Philadelphia Eagles won at home, 27-24 over the New York Giants as kicker Jake Elliott boomed a 61-yard field goal as time expired to improve the team to 2-1. The Giants are now 0-3 this season, in spite of the three TD passes by QB Eli Manning, two of them to WR Odell Beckham, Jr.
The Chicago Bears had perhaps the shocker of the day as they beat the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, 23-17 in OT when running back Jordan Howard (138 yards rushing) scored on a 19-yard TD run for the win. The Bears blew the Steelers defense away by rushing for 220 yards and getting the two rushing scores from Howard.
Tennessee held off the Seattle Seahawks, 33-27 as running back DeMarco Murray ran for a 75-yard score and QB Marcus Mariota had two TD passes. Seattle QB Russell Wilson had four TD passes against the Titans defense in the loss.
Kansas City (3-0) remained unbeaten as they topped the winless Los Angeles Chargers, 24-10 behind a defense that intercepted Chargers QB Philip Rivers three times while RB Kareem Hunt scored on a 69-yard run to seal the game.
The Jacksonville Jaguars slammed the Baltimore Ravens, 44-7 in the first game played in London, England this season as their offense exploded against what was the NFL's best defense in the first two weeks. Jags QB Blake Bortles had four TD passes, three of them to tight end Mercedes Lewis, while the Jacksonville defense limited the Ravens to only 186 yards total offense in the blowout. Baltimore only passed for 52 yards in the game as QB Joe Flacco was picked off twice.
The New York Jets shocked the visiting Miami Dolphins, 20-6 as QB Josh McCown threw for a score while the defense limited the Dolphins to a paltry 225 yards in offense, including just 30 yards rushing.
The Minnesota Vikings throttled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 34-17 as their defense intercepted Bucs QB Jameis Winston three times. Meanwhile, QB Case Keenum had three TD passes with two of them going to WR Stefon Diggs.
The Los Angeles Rams won a high scoring thriller, 41-39 over the host San Francisco 49ers as both teams combined for 839 yards of offense. Rams QB Jared Goff had three TD passes and RB Todd Gurley scored twice while rushing for 113 yards to pace the win. The 49ers dropped to 0-3 for the season.
The Sunday night game saw the host Washington Redskins ambush the Oakland Raiders, 27-10 behind three TD passes from QB Kirk Cousins and a suffocating defense that held the league's top scoring offense to just 128 yards in total offense. The Redskins defense also had two interceptions.
The Dallas Cowboys topped the host Arizona Cardinals, 28-17 on Monday Night Football as QB Dak Prescott had two TD passes and also a 10-yard scoring run to lead the way.

                                  Heftyinfo NFL co-Players of the Week 

           Tom Brady (QB - New England Patriots) and Jake Elliott (Kicker - Philadelphia Eagles)

LA Rams 41, San Francisco 39
Chicago 23, Pittsburgh 17 (OT)
Jacksonville 44, Baltimore 7
Indianapolis 31, Cleveland 28
Buffalo 26, Denver 16
Atlanta 30, Detroit 26
New Orleans 34, Carolina 13
New England 36, Houston 33
Minnesota 34, Tampa Bay 17
NY Jets 20, Miami 6
Philadelphia 27, NY Giants 24
Kansas City 24, LA Chargers 10
Tennessee 33, Seattle 27
Green Bay 27, Cincinnati 24 (OT)
Washington 27, Oakland 10
Dallas 28, Arizona 17

Sunday, September 24, 2017

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten     (Week ending September 24)   

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

Saturday, September 23, 2017

NFL - Week Three Preview

Two teams will be traveling "across the pond" this Sunday as the NFL once again has games being played in London, England.
The Baltimore Ravens face the Jacksonville Jaguars in the game and the Ravens are big favorites to win this one after getting off to a 2-0 start while allowing just ten points overall and their defense has forced TEN turnovers in the first two games. Jacksonville is 1-1 after a surprisingly easy win over Houston in Week One, followed by a loss to Tennessee.
A match up between a pair of 2-0 teams takes place in Detroit where the Lions host the Atlanta Falcons, who looked rather dominant against Green Bay last Sunday night. The Lions have impressed so far with wins over Arizona and the New York Giants.
Both Matt Ryan (Atlanta) and Matthew Stafford (Detroit) have done well at the quarterback spot heading into this one. Ryan has completed 69 percent of his passes with a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions. Meanwhile, Stafford has six TD passes already along with one interception and a 71 percent completion rate.
NFC East rivals Philadelphia and New York will go at it in the city of brotherly love. The Eagles are 1-1 thus far while the Giants have really struggled so far, scoring only 13 points in two games. Giants quarterback Eli Manning has resembled a tackling dummy as he was sacked five times in the Monday night loss to the Lions.

The rest of the action is in capsule style preview and is followed up with the Heftyinfo predictions for Week Three.

Denver (2-0) at Buffalo (1-1) - Broncos have been playing great football so far, but don't sleep on the Bills at home. Buffalo defense is strong.

New Orleans (0-2) at Carolina (2-0) - Saints defense is terrible so look for a high scoring game that could go down to the wire. Panthers playing a light schedule so far.

Pittsburgh (2-0) at Chicago (0-2) - All signs pointing to a Steelers blowout victory, but this is the NFL in 2017, so all bets are off.

Cleveland (0-2) at Indianapolis (0-2) - The stinker game of the week in the NFL. Someone has to win.

Tampa Bay (1-0) at Minnesota (1-1) - This game should be a tight one. Flip a coin here.

Houston (1-1) at New England (1-1) - Patriots are banged up, but seemed to be back on track last week. Texans offense has struggled so far.

Miami (1-0) at NY Jets (0-2) - The Dolphins lucked out to win last week. The Jets may the be the worst team in the NFL.

Seattle (1-1) at Tennessee (1-1) - Toss up game here. Both teams haven't shown much to impress yet.

Cincinnati (0-2) at Green Bay (1-1) - The Packers were blown out last week, so expect a long day at Lambeau Field for the Bengals, who have scored only nine points in the first two games.

Kansas City (2-0) at LA Chargers (0-2) - The Chargers have had very hard luck in two losses while the Chiefs are on top of the NFL world so far.

Oakland (2-0) at Washington (1-1) - The Sunday night game should be a good one. The Raiders offense leads the league in scoring. Redskins coming off a road win.

Dallas (1-1) at Arizona (1-1) - Two teams still feeling their way along through the first two games. Pick 'em game here on Monday night.

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

LA Rams over San Francisco 
Baltimore over Jacksonville (Game played in London, England)
Buffalo over Denver
Carolina over New Orleans
Pittsburgh over Chicago
Atlanta over Detroit
Indianapolis over Cleveland
Tampa Bay over Minnesota
New England over Houston
Miami over NY Jets 
Philadelphia over  NY Giants
Seattle over Tennessee 
GREEN BAY over Cincinnati
Kansas City over LA Chargers
Oakland over Washington 
Dallas over Arizona 

Last Week's Record -  12-4


Lock of the Week Record -  2-0

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

NFL - Week Two Recap

Denver is playing Mile High so far in 2017
The Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders all served notice in Week Two to the rest of the NFL they are the teams to beat.
The AFC West is loaded with all three of those teams now at 2-0. Heck, even the LA Chargers (0-2) are decent as they have lost two nail biters in the closing seconds or they could be undefeated.
Denver deserves top billing this week after dismantling the Dallas Cowboys, 42-17 behind stellar defense (limiting Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott to just 8 yards for the game) and four touchdown passes by much maligned QB Trevor Siemian.
The Chiefs held off the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-20 before a raucous crowd at Arrowhead Stadium as rookie RB Kareem Hunt scored two more touchdowns to lead the way. Hunt has five touchdowns already in his first two NFL games.
Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders buried the New York Jets, 45-20 in their home opener as QB Derek Carr had three  TD passes and RB Marshawn Lynch scored another on the ground. The Raiders lead
the NFL in scoring with 71 points through the first two games.

Elsewhere around the NFL in Week Two . . .

Baltimore throttled the visiting Cleveland Browns, 24-10 as their defense once again came up with five turnovers (that's TEN already in just two games) to pace the win. Ravens QB Joe Flacco had a pair of touchdown passes . . .  Tampa Bay beat the Chicago Bears, 29-7 as their defense took an interception back for a score and limited the Bears to just 20 yards rushing in the rout . . .  Pittsburgh topped Minnesota, 26-9 as Ben Roethlisberger had two TD passes, including a 27-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who missed all of 2016 due to suspension . . .  The Tennessee Titans blasted the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars, 37-16 behind a balanced offense (179 rushing yards and 211 passing) and the defense getting three turnovers . . .  The New England Patriots bounced back from their opening game loss by knocking off the host New Orleans Saints, 36-20 as QB Tom Brady had three TD passes and 447 yards passing to lead the way . . .  Carolina won a 9-3 yawner over visiting Buffalo, but lost their All-Pro tight end Greg Olsen for 6 to 8 weeks with a broken foot . . .  Washington beat the host LA Rams, 27-20 as RB Chris Thompson had two scoring runs, including a 61-yard romp. Rams RB Todd Gurley scored twice in the loss . . .  The Miami Dolphins lucked out in a 19-17 win at Los Angeles, spoiling the Chargers home debut in their new city. Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo missed a 44-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds that would have won the game. Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey made all four of his field goals in the win  . . . The Sunday night game saw the Atlanta Falcons destroy the Green Bay Packers, 34-23 as QB Matt Ryan had a scoring pass to WR Julio Jones while RB Devonta Freeman had two rushing touchdowns. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers had a pair of scoring passes in defeat . . . The Detroit Lions served notice they are for real as they beat the host New York Giants, 24-10 on Monday Night Football. Detroit QB Matthew Stafford threw for two scores and the Lions defense sacked Giants QB Eli Manning five times. Jamal Agnew raced 88 yards on a punt return touchdown to seal the win for the Lions.

                             Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week  -  Trevor Siemian (QB - Denver Broncos)

Houston 13, Cincinnati 9
Tampa Bay 29, Chicago 7
Arizona 16, Indianapolis 13 (OT)
Pittsburgh 26, Minnesota 9
Carolina 9, Buffalo 3
Tennessee 37, Jacksonville 16
New England 36, New Orleans 20
Baltimore 24, Cleveland 10
Kansas City 27, Philadelphia 20
Oakland 45, NY Jets 20
Washington 27, LA Rams 20
Miami 19, LA Chargers 17
Seattle 12, San Francisco 9
Denver 42, Dallas 17
Atlanta 34, Green Bay 23
Detroit 24, NY Giants 10

Sunday, September 17, 2017

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo  College Football Top Ten    (Week ending September 17)         

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

Friday, September 15, 2017

NFL - Week Two Preview

With Week One in the books around the NFL, it's now on to Week Two and the prime time Sunday night game between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons is the featured game this week.
The Packers defense shined bright last week in a 17-9 win over the Seattle Seahawks while the Falcons won a squeaker in Chicago, 23-17 as their defense rose to the occasion in the closing minute with a goal line stand to preserve the win.
Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan are two of the premier quarterbacks in the league and will look to show NFL fans just why that is so once again in this game. The last time the Packers faced the Falcons (in last season's NFC Championship Game), they were blown out by a 44-21 score.
Both teams have explosive offenses, while the Packers look to rate a slight edge on defense. This game will likely come down to the final possession as these two teams are so evenly matched.
Other big time matchups include New England traveling to face the New Orleans Saints as two of the greatest QB's will battle it out.
Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees . . . it doesn't get any better than that for football fans.
The season is just getting started, so it's really still too early to get a real accurate read on the teams. But as past experience shows, teams that start out 0-2 face very insurmountable odds to make the playoffs.

The following offers a capsule preview of all the action this weekend, along with the Heftyinfo predictions for all the games.

Cleveland (0-1) at Baltimore (1-0) - The Ravens should smash the Browns, but again,  it's only Week Two around the league.

Buffalo (1-0) at Carolina (1-0) - This game features two teams that are looking to get a good start to the season.  Take Carolina.

Arizona (0-1) at Indianapolis (0-1) - Both of these teams laid an egg last week so something has to give.

Tennessee (0-1) at Jacksonville (1-0) - Can the Jaguars get off to a 2-0 start? It's possible.

Philadelphia (1-0) at Kansas City (1-0) - Following this game, the Eagles (just like the Patriots) will likely be asking - Who are these guys? 

New England (0-1) at New Orleans (0-1) - The loser of this game could be in danger of missing the playoffs. Take Brady and the Patriots in a high scoring game.

Minnesota (1-0) at Pittsburgh (1-0) - Steelers out to show that last week's sleepwalk win over lowly Browns was a fluke. Vikings impressive in opening game win over the Saints.

Chicago (0-1) at Tampa Bay (0-0) - The season opener for Tampa Bay. The Bears played pretty well last week, just missing a win against the mighty Atlanta Falcons.

Miami (0-0) at LA Chargers (0-1) - Chargers should have won last week in Denver, they will not lose their home opener.

NY Jets (0-1) at Oakland (1-0) - No "Heidi" game here . . . Raiders roll BIG TIME in this one.

Dallas (1-0) at Denver (1-0) - The Cowboys defense shined last week in easy win while the Broncos were lucky to escape their opener with a win.

Washington (0-1) at LA Rams (1-0) - The Rams will not score 46 points this week. In fact, they may not score that much for the next five games combined. 

San Francisco (0-1) at Seattle (0-1) - The Seahawks should dominate in this one.

Green Bay (1-0) at Atlanta (1-0) - This should be a great game that could very well go down to the last seconds.

Detroit (1-0) at NY Giants (0-1) - The Monday night game with the Lions coming off a huge opening day win. The Giants looked awful last week and must turn it around quickly.

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

Houston over Cincinnati 
Baltimore over Cleveland
Carolina over Buffalo 
Arizona over Indianapolis
Tennessee over Jacksonville
Kansas City over Philadelphia
New England over New Orleans
Pittsburgh over Minnesota
Tampa Bay over Chicago
LA Chargers over Miami
OAKLAND over NY Jets
Dallas over Denver 
Washington over LA Rams 
Seattle over San Francisco
Green Bay over Atlanta 
NY Giants over Detroit

Last Week's Record -  8-7


Lock of the Week Record -  1-0 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

NFL - Week One Recap

The 2017 NFL season kicked off last week with the Kansas City Chiefs stunning the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, 42-27 on the road to spoil the Patriots championship celebration prior to the game.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith had four touchdown passes and rookie running back Kareem Hunt scored three times while rushing for 148 yards and making five receptions for 98 yards (two for TD) to lead the second half rout. New England held a 17-14 halftime lead.
The Dallas Cowboys defense dominated the New York Giants in a 19-3 win on Sunday night. The Cowboys defense held the Giants to just 35 yards rushing and QB Dak Prescott had 268 passing yards and one TD pass . . . The Atlanta Falcons held off the Chicago Bears, 23-17 with a goal line stand in the final seconds while QB Matt Ryan (321 passing yards) hit Austin Hooper with a 88-yard TD pass to help make the difference . . . The Los Angeles Rams throttled the Indianapolis Colts, 46-9 as their defense returned two interceptions for scores. Rams QB Jared Goff had 306 yards passing in the win . . .  Aaron Rodgers passed for 311 yards and one scoring pass as the Green Bay Packers knocked off the listless Seattle Seahawks, 17-9 . . .  The Detroit Lions roared back to defeat the Arizona Cardinals, 35-23 behind four TD passes by Matthew Stafford while the defense intercepted Cards QB Carson Palmer three times . . .  The Philadelphia Eagles beat Washington, 30-17 as Carson Wentz threw for two scores and passed for 307 yards . . .  The Baltimore Ravens crushed the host Cincinnati Bengals, 20-0 as their defense forced five turnovers (four INT and a fumble from Bengals QB Andy Dalton) while running back Terrance West ran for 80 yards and scored a touchdown . . .  Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette went for 100 yards and scored a TD to help pace the 29-7 win at Houston . . .  The Oakland Raiders rode the arm of QB Derek Carr (262 yards passing and two TD) in a 26-16 road win against the Tennessee Titans . . .  The Pittsburgh Steelers survived an opening game scare at Cleveland, 21-18 as QB Ben Roethlisberger threw two scoring passes to tight end Jesse James . . .  The Minnesota Vikings rolled past the New Orleans Saints, 29-19 on Monday night as QB Sam Bradford had three TD passes (two of them to WR Stefon Diggs) and 346 passing yards while rookie running back Dalvin Cook rushed for 127 yards to spoil former Vikings RB Adrian Peterson return to Minnesota . . .  The Denver Broncos blocked a field goal at the buzzer to preserve a 24-21 win against the visiting Los Angeles Chargers. Denver QB Trevor Siemian had two passes to lead the offense while Chargers QB Philip Rivers had three TD passes in the loss.

                  Heftyinfo NFL Player of the WeekAlex Smith (QB- Kansas City Chiefs)

Kansas City 42, New England 27
Pittsburgh 21, Cleveland 18
Detroit 35, Arizona 23
Atlanta 23, Chicago 17
Green Bay 17, Seattle 9
Philadelphia 30, Washington 17
Carolina 23, San Francisco 3
LA Rams 46, Indianapolis 9
Buffalo 21, NY Jets 12
Baltimore 20, Cincinnati 0
Jacksonville 29, Houston 7
Oakland 26, Tennessee 16
Dallas 19, NY Giants 3
Minnesota 29, New Orleans 19
Denver 24, LA Chargers 21

Sunday, September 10, 2017

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten    (Week ending September 10)                

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

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

NFL - Week One Preview and 2017 Season Predictions

Tom Brady and the Patriots are looking for a 6th Super Bowl title this year.
The 2017 NFL season kicks off on Thursday night as the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs for the opener. The rest of the NFL teams play on Sunday and four teams will play on Monday night.
One exception on the opening week schedule is the game scheduled between Tampa Bay and Miami in Miami is being cancelled due to impending Hurricane Irma. The Buccaneers and Dolphins will play the game in Week 11 (November 19) in Miami as both teams have their bye week at that time.
One never knows what to expect in the opening week around the NFL, but one thing for sure is the defending champion Patriots will be ready to play on Thursday night in the opener after proving all their doubters and detractors wrong last season as they won yet another Super Bowl.
As usual, there will be two Monday night football games in the first week as the Minnesota Vikings host the New Orleans Saints while welcoming back the Vikes' all-time rushing leader Adrian Peterson, who is now playing for the Saints.  The night cap game on Monday features AFC West rivals Denver and the Los Angeles Chargers. The Broncos will be hosting the Chargers as the former San Diego based team starts anew this year in La La Land.
It should be interesting to see what develops all season long, but for now Heftyinfo will attempt to pick the winners of the first weekend of action.

The following offers a capsule style preview of the games and is followed by the predictions for the upcoming season and which team will win the Super Bowl.

Thursday Night Game
Kansas City at New England - Pick against the Patriots in their home opener in prime time? Are you crazy?

Sunday Games
NY Jets at Buffalo - Two teams looking at very long seasons in 2017 kick it off against each other. The good news is one of them will win, barring a tie of course.

Atlanta at Chicago - The Falcons get back to it after squandering away the Super Bowl last year. Bears defense is being touted as a tough one.

Baltimore at Cincinnati - This game could go either way.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland - Steelers should roll, but this is the opening game.

Arizona at Detroit - Another interesting match up in Week One. Take the Lions, only because they are at home.

Jacksonville at Houston - Jags on the road against a city still smarting from Hurricane Harvey. Take the host Texans.

Tampa Bay at Miami - Hurricane Irma forces this game to move to Week 11 (November 19)

Oakland at Tennessee - This game just might go down to the wire . . .  Titans in a squeaker.

Philadelphia at Washington - Redskins looking to avoid a slow start, but the Eagles are no slouch.

Indianapolis at LA Rams - The Colts will be without QB Andrew Luck. Rams looking to rebound after a terrible 2016 season.

Seattle at Green Bay - This is the Game of the Week . . . Packers win a tight one in Lambeau Field.

Carolina at San Francisco - Cam Newton and company eager to avenge last season's disaster. 49ers have too many question marks.

NY Giants at Dallas - The Sunday night prime time game and the Cowboys will have running back Ezekiel Elliott for this game as his six-game suspension mandated by the NFL was put on hold in court. As for the game, Giants are a solid team and could win this one on the road.

Monday Night Games
New Orleans at Minnesota - The Saints could win this one. The Vikings are solid defensively, but have questions on offense.

LA Chargers at Denver - Philip Rivers and company in for a stiff test against familiar rival. Broncos offense out to prove doubters wrong.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week One  -  (Home teams listed in BOLD; Lock of the Week pick is listed in BOLD CAPS)

New England over Kansas City
Buffalo over NY Jets
Atlanta over Chicago
Cincinnati over Baltimore
PITTSBURGH over Cleveland
Detroit over Arizona
Houston over Jacksonville
Tennessee over Oakland
Philadelphia over Washington
LA Rams over Indianapolis  
Green Bay over Seattle
Carolina over San Francisco 
NY Giants over Dallas
New Orleans over Minnesota
LA Chargers over Denver

Last year's SEASON RECORD  - 171-83-2

Lock of the Week Record - 17-0 

2017 NFL SEASON PREDICTIONS                                                              

East - 1. Patriots  2. Dolphins (wild card) 3. Bills  4. Jets
North - 1. Steelers  2. Ravens  3. Bengals  4. Browns
South -  1. Titans  2. Texans  3. Colts  4. Jaguars
West -  1. Raiders  2. Chiefs (wild card)  3. Broncos  4. Chargers

East -  1. Giants  2. Cowboys (wild card)  3. Eagles (wild card) 4. Redskins
North -  1. Packers  2. Lions  3. Vikings  4. Bears
South -  1. Falcons  2. Buccaneers  3. Panthers  4. Saints
West -  1. Seahawks  2. Cardinals  3. Rams  4. 49ers

AFC Playoffs
Wild Card Round -  Raiders over Dolphins; Titans over Chiefs
Divisional Round -  Patriots over Titans; Steelers over Raiders
AFC Championship Game -  Steelers over Patriots

NFC Playoffs
Wild Card Round -  Cowboys over Falcons; Seahawks over Eagles
Divisional Round -  Packers over Seahawks; Giants over Cowboys
NFC Championship Game - Packers over Giants

Green Bay Packers over Pittsburgh Steelers

Saturday, September 2, 2017

New England Patriots - 2017 NFL Season Preview

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS                                      

2016 Record -  14-2-0

Head Coach -  Bill Belichick

Offensive Rank4th  (386 yards per game, 27.6 points per game)

Defensive Rank8th  (326 yards allowed per game, 15.6 points allowed per game)

Quarterback Tom Brady, the Super Bowl MVP, is still going strong at age 40 and returns for his 18th season in New England. Brady passed for 3,554 yards with 28 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Jimmy Garoppolo will continue to backup, but did show he is capable when he filled in at QB in the first four games while Brady served a suspension.
The running backs will be have the likes of James White (three TD in the Super Bowl win and also 60 receptions with five for TD in regular season), Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, Brandon Bolden and Mike Gillislee, who rushed for 577 yards and eight touchdowns with Buffalo last year.
The wide receivers got a big shot in the arm when Brandin Cooks (78 receptions for 1,173 yards and eight TD with the Saints) came over in a trade. However, Julian Edelman, the Pats leading receiver last season, is out for the season with a knee injury. Chris Hogan (38, 680, four TD) will likely step in as the starter along with Cooks while Danny Amendola (23, 243, four TD) and Malcolm Mitchell (32, 401, four TD) will now have bigger roles with Edelman out.
Rob Gronkowski (25, 540, three TD in only eight games played) is the tight end and will have Dwayne Allen (35, 406, six TD with Colts) along with him this season after Martellus Bennett left for Green Bay in the off-season.
The defense was among the best in the NFL a year ago and has linebacker Dont'a Hightower anchoring things along with Malcolm Brown, Trey Flowers (seven QB sacks) and Alan Branch up front. The secondary has Malcom Butler (four interceptions) and Stephon Gilmore (five interceptions with Buffalo last season) at the corners while Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty play safety.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - As long as Tom Brady remains healthy, the Patriots are the team to beat. He and Head Coach Bill Belichick may very well be the best ever QB-Coach tandem the league has ever seen.
The offense should continue to roll with the running back by committee approach that will look to complement the passing game that now includes deep threat Brandin Cooks to go with Chris Hogan. Brady will be without his main go-to guy (Edelman) this season, but has shown in years past he can work with just about anybody in the Patriots system. Gronkowski, if he can stay in one piece for an entire season, is the other main target in the passing game and actually plays more like a wideout than tight end as he averaged 21.6 yards per catch last season.
Defensively, New England led the NFL in scoring defense, giving up just 15.6 points per game.  The run defense was third in the NFL (88 yards allowed per game) while the pass defense gave up 238 yards per game, but was tougher in the red zone and also had 13 picks as the Pats were a plus-12 in the turnover category.
Figure New England to go 13-3 this season as they continue to roll to another AFC East title and perhaps another Super Bowl appearance, which would be their third in four seasons if they pull it off.
The goal for this team is another Super Bowl title and that's a high possibility again this season.

Week One - vs. Kansas City
Week Two - at New Orleans
Week Three - vs. Houston
Week Four - vs. Carolina
Week Five - at Tampa Bay
Week Six - at NY Jets
Week Seven - vs. Atlanta
Week Eight - vs. LA Chargers
Week Nine - BYE
Week Ten - at Denver
Week Eleven - at Oakland (in Mexico)
Week Twelve - vs. Miami
Week Thirteen - at Buffalo
Week Fourteen - at Miami
Week Fifteen - at Pittsburgh
Week Sixteen - vs. Buffalo
Week Seventeen - vs. NY Jets

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Atlanta Falcons - 2017 NFL Season Preview

ATLANTA FALCONS                                         

2016 Record - 11-5-0 

Head Coach - Dan Quinn

Offensive Rank2nd  (416 yards per game, 33.8 points per game)

Defensive Rank 25th  (371 yards allowed per game, 25.4 points allowed per game)

Quarterback Matt Ryan returns after winning the NFL Most Valuable Player award for the 2016 season. Ryan passed for 4,944 yards with 38 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Matt Schaub will likely be the backup quarterback.
The running tandem of Devonta Freeman (1,079 yards, 11 touchdowns and also 54 receptions for462 yards and two TD) and Tevin Coleman (520 rush yards with eight TD and 31 catches for 421 yards and three TD) is the best in the NFL.
Julio Jones is the premier wide receiver in the league and last season he had 83 receptions for 1,409 yards with six touchdowns in 14 games played. Mohamed Sanu (59, 653, four TD), Taylor Gabriel (35, 579, six TD), Justin Hardy and Andre Roberts are the other receivers. The tight ends are Jacob Tamme (22, 210, three TD in only eight games played) and Austin Hooper, who had 19 receptions for 271 yards and three touchdowns.
The defense has NFL sacks leader Vic Beasley (15 1/2 QB sacks) leading the way while Adrian Clayborn (4 1/2 sacks) and run stuffer Dontari Poe (nose tackle) who was with the Chiefs last season, will also be in the front seven. Linebacker Deion Jones had three interceptions to lead the team.
Rookies Takkarist McKinley (UCLA) and Duke Riley (LSU) will look to make a difference this season. The secondary features Ricardo Allen (two INT), Keanu Neal, Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The Falcons high flying offense could not be stopped until they crashed and burned in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl loss in OT to the New England Patriots.
How they rebound from the biggest collapse in Super Bowl history remains to be seen, but with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones and the two-headed monster running game, the Falcons will be right there among the top offenses in the NFL once again.
Head Coach Dan Quinn needs to see the defense improve, especially against the pass, where the Falcons ranked 28th in the league.
As long as they stay healthy and the offense keeps humming along, Atlanta has a chance to get back to the Super Bowl again, but the defense has to get better. Another question is whether MVP Matt Ryan can duplicate the eye popping numbers he put last season.
The rest of the NFC South is no slouch as Carolina looks to rebound from a terrible season while the Tampa Bay Bucs appear to be on the rise and New Orleans can never be counted out with their league leading offense.
As long as the Falcons take care of business in the division and avoid any major injuries, they should at least finish 10-6, which could be enough to win the NFC South again. How far they go in the playoffs will hinge on Ryan and company and an improved defense coming through.

Week One - at Chicago
Week Two - vs. Green Bay
Week Three - at Detroit
Week Four - vs. Buffalo
Week Five - BYE
Week Six - vs. Miami
Week Seven - at New England
Week Eight - at NY Jets
Week Nine - at Carolina
Week Ten - vs. Dallas
Week Eleven - at Seattle
Week Twelve - vs. Tampa Bay
Week Thirteen - vs. Minnesota
Week Fourteen - vs. New Orleans
Week Fifteen - at Tampa Bay
Week Sixteen - at New Orleans
Week Seventeen - vs. Carolina

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Pittsburgh Steelers - 2017 NFL Season Preview

PITTSBURGH STEELERS                                    

2016 Record -  11-5-0

Head Coach -  Mike Tomlin

Offensive Rank7th  (373 yards per game, 24.9 points per game)

Defensive Rank12th  (343 yards allowed per game, 20.4 points allowed per game)

Coming back for his 14th season is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who passed for 3,819 yards with 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season. His backup is Landry Jones. Running back Le'Veon Bell (1,268 rushing yards and seven TD, along with 75 receptions for 616 yards and two TD) has been out all pre-season, but is expected to sign his franchise tender before the season opener. On hand are Knile Davis and Fitzgerald Toussaint to fill in when needed.
The wide receivers have All-Pro Antonio Brown (106 receptions, 1,284 yards and 12 TD), Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates (21, 435, two TD), Eli Rogers (48, 594, three TD) and Martavis Bryant, who missed all of the 2016 season due to a suspension. The tight ends are Jessie James (39, 338, three TD) and Ladarius Green, who missed ten games a year ago while making 18 receptions for 304 yards and one touchdown.
The defense has linebacker Ryan Shazier (3 1/2 QB sacks and three interceptions) along with veteran James Harrison (five sacks), Vince Williams and Cameron Heyward heading up the front seven. Rookie linebacker T.J. Watt (Wisconsin) will look to make an impact. The secondary has Artie Burns (three picks), Ross Cockrell and veteran William Gay looking to shore up the pass defense. In addition, the Steelers just signed Joe Haden (cornerback), who was released by the Browns. Haden had three interceptions last season.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The Steelers had a decent season once again in 2016, but missing key players (Bryant-suspended all season and Bell - groin injury in playoffs) proved to be too much as they fell to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
Head Coach Mike Tomlin knows the team can get to the Super Bowl, especially with their big play offense featuring Big Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and this year wide receiver  Martavis Bryant is back to take pressure off Brown.
If the defense can improve against the pass (the Steelers were torched for 243 yards per game against the pass last year) and get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, it would go far to help them in their quest to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2010 season.
Pittsburgh was a plus-five in the turnover category, getting 13 interceptions and ten fumble recoveries. The key will be staying healthy as the season wears on and the defense coming up big when it matters most to take some pressure away from the offense.
The team will be tested late in the season with a very tough schedule against playoff-caliber teams, including a huge showdown with defending Super Bowl champion New England (in Pittsburgh) in mid-December. 
The Steelers should win the AFC North again, going 11-5 and from there it will be up to them to do what they have fallen short of the past six years. That being getting to and (possibly) winning the Super Bowl.
It could happen this year.

Week One - at Cleveland
Week Two - vs. Minnesota
Week Three - at Chicago
Week Four - at Baltimore
Week Five - vs. Jacksonville
Week Six - at Kansas City
Week Seven - vs. Cincinnati
Week Eight - at Detroit
Week Nine - BYE
Week Ten - at Indianapolis
Week Eleven - vs. Tennessee
Week Twelve - vs. Green Bay
Week Thirteen - at Cincinnati
Week Fourteen - vs. Baltimore
Week Fifteen - vs. New England
Week Sixteen - at Houston
Week Seventeen - vs. Cleveland

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dallas Cowboys - 2017 NFL Season Preview

DALLAS COWBOYS                                               

2016 Record -  13-3-0

Head Coach - Jason Garrett

Offensive Rank5th  (377 yards per game, 26.3 points per game)

Defensive Rank14th  (344 yards allowed per game, 19.1 points allowed per game)

Quarterback Dak Prescott (3,667 yards passing with 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions) returns to start and will likely be backed up by Kellen Moore.
Pending a six-game suspension, running back Ezekiel Elliott is back for his second season after leading the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns. If Elliott has to miss so many games, then Darren McFadden (only three games played in 2016) and Alfred Morris (243 yards and two TD) will have to fill the bill until Zeke returns.
The wide receiving unit has Dez Bryant (50 receptions for 796 yards and eight TD), Cole Beasley (75, 833, five TD), Terrance Williams (44, 594, four TD), Brice Butler (16, 219, three TD) and tight end Jason Witten, who made 69 catches for 673 yards and three touchdowns.
The defense is led by linebacker Sean Lee (team high 145 tackles), Benson Mayowa (six QB sacks), Maliek Collins (five sacks), Anthony Hitchens and Anthony Brown. Rookies Taco Charlton (Michigan), Chidobe Awuzie (Colorado) and Jourdan Lewis (Michigan) were picked in the first two rounds of the draft and should get a chance to contribute.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The offense is loaded with second year players Prescott and Elliott leading the way along with Bryant, Witten and perhaps the best offensive line in the NFL.
Head Coach Jason Garrett saw the team bounce back from a disastrous 2015 season to having the best record in the NFC (13-3) last season before losing to Green Bay in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The defense needs to step it up this season if the team wants to go further in the playoffs and make it to the Super Bowl for the first time in 22 years. The Cowboys defense went trough some wholesale changes this off-season with many new faces donning the roster this year. How quickly that defense can come together will make the difference for the Cowboys this season.
An 11-5 record and another NFC East title should happen in 2017 barring injuries to key players (Elliott's pending suspension doesn't help either), but if Dallas wants to win it all then the defense must keep pace with their high powered offense.
Stay tuned.

Week One - vs. NY Giants
Week Two - at Denver
Week Three - at Arizona
Week Four - vs. LA Rams
Week Five - vs. Green Bay
Week Six - BYE
Week Seven - at San Francisco
Week Eight - at Washington
Week Nine - vs. Kansas City
Week Ten - at Atlanta
Week Eleven - vs. Philadelphia
Week Twelve - vs. LA Chargers
Week Thirteen - vs. Washington
Week Fourteen - at NY Giants
Week Fifteen - at Oakland
Week Sixteen - vs. Seattle
Week Seventeen - at Philadelphia

Monday, August 28, 2017

Kansas City Chiefs - 2017 NFL Season Preview

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS                                          

2016 Record -  12-4-0

Head Coach -  Andy Reid

Offensive Rank20th  (343 yards per game, 24.3 points per game)

Defensive Rank24th  (369 yards allowed per game, 19.4 points allowed per game)

Alex Smith is the starting quarterback while the Chiefs QB of the future is Patrick Mahomes, the first round draft pick from Texas Tech.  Smith passed for 3,502 yards with 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also scored five rushing touchdowns.
The running game took a big hit when Spencer Ware went down with a knee injury recently and is likely out for the entire 2017 season. Taking over will be Charcandrick West (293 yards rushing last year) and rookie Kareem Hunt (Toldeo). Also in the mix is journeyman back C.J. Spiller.
The wide receivers are Tyreek Hill (61 receptions, 593 yards, six TD), Chris Conley (44, 530 yards), Albert Wilson (31, 279, two TD) and De'Anthony Thomas. Tight End Travis Kelce (85, 1,125, four TD) is one of the best in the league.
The defense has Justin Houston (four QB sacks), Dee Ford (ten sacks), Chris Jones, Derrick Johnson (looking to come back from a serious Achilles injury), Tamba Hali (3 1/2 sacks), Marcus Peters (six interceptions) and Eric Berry (four picks) leading the way.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 -  The Chiefs won the AFC West last season and have promise to do so again as long as Smith and company can generate enough offense. Losing Spencer Ware hurts big time, but there are plenty of other weapons on offense, most notably Tyreek Hill, who had an electric rookie season.
Hill did it all last year for the Chiefs as a runner, receiver and kick returner, but he will not catch anybody by surprise this year, so the others must also step up, especially in the running game.
Head Coach Andy Reid has pretty much seen it all through the years and he knows this team can take the next step and possibly reach a Super Bowl if they can stay healthy and everything comes together.
The defense is solid and as long as no key players lose time to injury this year, should be a top flight unit once again this season. A 10-6 record is most likely to happen as the Chiefs face a very tough schedule, especially in the first ten games. Most likely they get to the playoffs as a wild card this time around, but with some breaks, the Chiefs could be even better than they were last year.

Week One - at New England
Week Two - vs. Philadelphia
Week Three - at LA Chargers
Week Four - vs. Washington
Week Five - at Houston
Week Six - vs. Pittsburgh
Week Seven - at Oakland
Week Eight - vs. Denver
Week Nine - at Dallas
Week Ten - BYE
Week Eleven - at NY Giants
Week Twelve - vs. Buffalo
Week Thirteen - at NY Jets
Week Fourteen - vs. Oakland
Week Fifteen - vs. LA Chargers
Week Sixteen - vs. Miami
Week Seventeen - at Denver