Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What A Farce

Trump's choice for the Supreme Court of the United States in a nut shell . . .


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Falcons, Patriots Advance to Super Bowl

It will be the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI in two weeks.
The Falcons crushed the Green Bay Packers, 44-21 while the Patriots blasted the Pittsburgh Steelers, 36-17 to move on to the Super Bowl for a record ninth time, including the seventh time in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (pictured left) had four touchdown passes (and one rushing TD) along with 392
passing yards while wide receiver Julio Jones caught nine passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta defense harassed Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (287 pass yards, three TD, one interception) all game long, which included two sacks.
It's the Falcons first trip to the Super Bowl since the 1998 season, when they lost to the Denver Broncos in that one in what was Broncos' Hall-of-Fame QB John Elway's last game.

Tom Brady and the Patriots are Super Bowl bound again
In New England, the Patriots dominated the Steelers in a rout as QB Tom Brady threw for 384 yards and three scores while his main targets were wideouts Chris Hogan (9 receptions for 180 yards, two
TD) and Julian Edelman, who had eight receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown.
The Patriots defense bent, but did not break as they limited Pittsburgh to just 17 points and gathered two turnovers. Steelers star running back Le'Veon Bell was limited to just six carries for 20 yards and left the game in the first half with a groin injury and didn't return for the remainder of the game.
So now it is on to Houston and Super Bowl LI for the Patriots as Brady looks to become the all-time leader in Super Bowl victories for a quarterback while Belichick attempts to do likewise among NFL Head Coaches in a career.


Alternative facts?  There is no such thing. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017


NFL PLAYOFFS - AFC and NFC Championship Games Preview

Here we go football fans.
The AFC and NFC Championship games take place on Sunday with a trip to Super Bowl 51 on the line.
Once again, the New England Patriots are there as they make a record sixth consecutive appearance when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC match. The early game will be the NFC title tilt between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons in the last game being played in the Georgia Dome.
All in all, it looks to be a great day of football ahead as quarterbacks Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan lead the way in these games.
The Packers have been rolling, winning eight straight games heading into this one. The Falcons beat Green Bay, 33-32 back in Week Eight in Atlanta.
Both teams can score tons of points to go along with suspect defenses, so look for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Falcons Matt Ryan to spread the football around and the scoreboard to light up as these two teams go back and forth in what should be a high scoring affair.
Meanwhile, in the AFC game that follows up, the Patriots rate a slight edge simply because they are so tough to beat at home. The Steelers offense has to perform better than last weekend when they couldn't put the ball in the end zone in a victory at Kansas City.
New England can score and of course, QB Tom Brady had another monster season (28 TD passes with just two interceptions) and did that without his favorite target Rob Gronkowski, who is out for the season after going on IR after playing roughly half the season.
The Patriots defense led the NFL in scoring 'D', giving up just 250 points in the regular season. The Steelers defense has been steadily improving as the playoffs approached and has given up only 28 points in two post-season games.
This game might not be as high scoring as most "experts" might think even with Brady and Ben Roethlisberger leading the two dynamic offenses.

Heftyinfo predictions -  Green Bay 35, Atlanta 31
                                       New England 24, Pittsburgh 17

Last Week's Record:  2-2
Playoffs Record:  5-3

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thank You President Barack Obama

AMERICA, THIS is what a President looks like . . .  

Thank you sir, it has been a great run.

Monday, January 16, 2017

NFL PLAYOFFS - Packers, Steelers Get Road Wins To Advance

The Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers both won on the road on Sunday to advance to conference title games next weekend.
The Packers won a thriller in Dallas, defeating the Cowboys, 34-31 as Mason Crosby made a 51-yard field goal as time ran out. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 18-16 as kicker Chris Boswell made six field goals, which set an NFL playoff record.
The Packers will travel to Atlanta to play the Falcons next Sunday while the Steelers will face the Patriots in New England.

The Steelers held off the Chiefs as Boswell was the hero with the six field goals. Kansas City managed to score two touchdowns, including the one-yard run by Spencer Ware with just under three
Steelers kicker Chris Boswell set a record in win.
minutes remaining in regulation to get the game to 18-16.
However, the two-point conversion was a problem as a holding call negated the successful pass from quarterback Alex Smith to wide receiver Demetrius Harris. The follow up attempt was incomplete and following the kickoff, the Steelers were able to get a first down and run out the clock to advance to New England next weekend.
For the game, the Steelers defense limited the Chiefs to just 227 total yardage in offense, including only 61 yards rushing. Kansas City QB Alex Smith passed for 172 yards with a touchdown and one interception.
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell ran for 170 yards (30 carries) and top receiver Antonio Brown had six receptions for 108 yards.

The game of the year took place earlier in the day in Dallas where the Packers held on for the 34-31 win as Mason Crosby kicked the winning 51-yard field goal as time expired.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers celebrates win with Crosby.
The Cowboys mounted a furious fourth quarter rally to eventually tie the game at 31-31 with just 35 seconds remaining when Dan Bailey drilled a 52-yard field goal. Just before that, Crosby nailed a 56-yarder to put Green Bay ahead 31-28 with 1:33 remaining.
The Packers held a 28-13 lead heading to the fourth quarter as QB Aaron Rodgers (356 passing yards with two TD and one INT) sliced and diced the Dallas secondary all day long. The Packers trailed 3-0 but then reeled off 21 unanswered points on a touchdown pass and two rushing touchdowns from Ty Montgomery.
The Cowboys trimmed the halftime deficit to 21-13 as QB Dak Prescott (302 pass yards, three TD, one INT) hooked up with WR Dez Bryant on a 40-yard touchdown pass play. Bryant had nine receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Bailey added a 33-yard field goal just before the half.
The only score in the third quarter was a three-yard TD pass from Rodgers to tight end Jared Cook, (pictured right) who would later haul in the clutch 36-yard reception while straddling the sidelines to set up Crosby's game winning field goal.
In the fourth quarter, Prescott connected with TE Jason Witten (six-yard TD pass) and Bryant from seven yards to get the 'Pokes to within 28-26 with 4:08 left in the game. Prescott scored on a run for the two-point conversion to tie the game at 28-28.
For the game, Green Bay amassed 414 yards compared to 429 for Dallas (291 passing, 138 rushing) as Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott ran for 125 yards on 22 attempts.
The win was the eighth straight for the Packers dating back to Week Twelve in November.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

NFL PLAYOFFS - Home Cooking Continues As Falcons, Patriots Roll

After a four-game sweep in last week's Wild Card round, the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots won their home playoff games yesterday as the host teams won for the sixth consecutive time in the NFL Playoffs.
The Falcons blasted the Seattle Seahawks, 36-20 as they battered one of the league's best defenses to the tune of 422 total yards in offense as quarterback Matt Ryan had three touchdown passes to lead the way. Ryan connected with eight different teammates while completing 26 of 37 pass attempts for 338 yards.
The Falcons defense intercepted Seattle QB Russell Wilson twice and had three sacks while limiting Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls to just 34 yards.
The game seemed to take a huge turn in the second quarter when Seattle kick returner Devin Hester's big punt return was called back because of a holding penalty. The 84-yard difference bottled Seattle up inside their own 10-yard line rather than having the ball inside the Atlanta 20-yard line while holding a 10-7 lead as well.
Two plays later, Wilson tripped when the center stepped on his foot as he took the snap and the result was a safety for the Falcons defense to make it a 10-9 ball game. From there, the Falcons scored the next 17 points to gain an insurmountable lead.
The Falcons now wait and see whether they will have to travel to Dallas or host the Green Bay Packers next week in the NFC Championship Game.

The New England Patriots jumped out to a quick lead last night as they eventually won 34-16 against the Houston Texans to advance to their NFL record sixth consecutive AFC Championship Game.
New England held a 14-3 lead after the first quarter as running back Dion Lewis returned from the injured list to score three touchdowns on a 13-yard pass from QB Tom Brady (287 passing yards with two TD and two interceptions) and a 98-yard kickoff return.
In fact, Lewis became the first player ever in NFL history to score three touchdowns via a run, reception and kick return in a playoff game. Lewis would score on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter to give the Patriots a 15-point lead.
The Texans made a run late in the first half as they trimmed the New England lead to 14-13 following a fumbled kickoff return by Lewis that resulted in a ten-yard scoring pass from QB Brock Osweiler (three interceptions thrown) to tight end C.J. Feidorowicz.
The Patriots got a late Stephen Gostkowski 19-yard field goal to close the first half ahead by a 17-13 count. In the second half, the Patriots defense took over as they twice picked off Osweiler, one time deep in Pats' territory to help seal the win.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

NFL PLAYOFFS - Divisional Round Preview

The NFL Playoffs move forward this weekend as the Divisional Round gets going today with the Atlanta Falcons hosting the Seattle Seahawks. Tonight, the Houston Texans take on the New England Patriots, the team that posted the NFL's best record this season.
On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers travel to face the Dallas Cowboys, the top seed in the NFC while the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs will do battle in Kansas City on Sunday night. The game was moved back from an early afternoon start because of severe ice storms sweeping across the Midwest.

The following offers a closer look at the four games on tap with the Heftyinfo picks following afterward.

Saturday, January 14

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons - These two teams met back in Week Six in Seattle (Seahawks won 26-24) and this time the game is in Atlanta, where the Falcons went 5-3 in the regular season.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan will be looking to improve upon a 1-4 record as a starter in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has two Super Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl title under his belt.
The key to the game will be the Seahawks defense, one of the best in the NFL once again this season, limiting the Falcons offense. Atlanta had the highest scoring offense in the NFL this season.
Seattle will need to have a big day from the running game again this week. Last week, RB Thomas Rawls went off against the Detroit Lions to help the 'Hawks advance. Atlanta's defense is suspect at best.
The Falcons will look to jump ahead of the Seahawks as Ryan has multiple weapons to spread the ball around to. Wide receiver Julio Jones is among the best wide receivers in the league. Running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are a two-headed monster for the Falcons.

Houston Texans at New England Patriots - The Patriots are a huge favorite in the game tonight at Gillette Stadium. Look for QB Tom Brady (pictured right) and company to get a quick lead and let the defense do the rest against a less than stellar Texans offense, led by QB Brock Osweiler, who suffered through a horrible regular season.
The New England defense allowed 250 points during the regular season and led the NFL in scoring defense, giving up an average of just under 16 points per game. In addition, the Pats shut out the Texans 27-0 back in Week Three with their third string QB Jacoby Brissett starting the game in place of suspended Tom Brady and injured backup Jimmy Garoppolo.
Meanwhile, the Texans bring the best overall defense in the league, led by Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus. They will look to slow down the Patriots offense, which was third best in the NFL in scoring this season.
The Patriots are without All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, out for the season with injuries but haven't missed a beat. In fact, they finished the season on a seven-game winning streak to finish at 14-2 while earning the top seed in the AFC playoffs.
As long as they avoid any costly turnovers and the defense takes away Houston offensive weapons (running back) Lamar Miller and (wide receiver) DeAndre Hopkins, the Patriots should roll to a pretty easy win in  this one.

Sunday, January 15

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys - This one has the makings of a classic playoff game on paper with these high powered offensive teams going at it.
The Cowboys are led by a pair of rookies in QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott, who led the NFL in rushing yardage (1,651 yards for a 5.1 ypc average and 15 rushing TD) while making a very strong case for the Rookie of the Year Award. Plus, the passing game has veterans tight end Jason Witten and WR Dez Bryant for Prescott to throw the ball to, along with WR Cole Beasley (75 receptions to lead the team) and Elliott, who made 32 receptions out of the backfield.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is the hottest NFL QB going.
Not to be outdone, the Packers offense is among the hottest in pro football, led by QB Aaron
Rodgers, who led the NFL with 40 TD passes (with only seven interceptions) in the regular season. He torched the New York Giants top flight defense for an impressive four scoring strikes last week in a 38-13 rout in the Wild Card game in Lambeau Field.
The Packers have won seven straight games and will look to continue to "run the table" as Rodgers said they could do back in November when the team was mired at 4-6 while going through a four-game losing streak. Since then, Rodgers and company have been averaging nearly 32 points per game.
One big negative for the Packers will be not having WR Jordy Nelson (97 receptions for 1,257 yards and 14 TD in regular season) for the game. Nelson suffered fractured ribs injury in last week's win over the Giants. However, wide receivers Davante Adams and Randall Cobb (three TD catches last week), along with TE Jared Cook, give Rodgers plenty of options in the green and gold attack.
Both of these teams' defenses have been doing an adequate job in the second half of the season and when they met back in October in Green Bay, Dallas won rather easily 30-16 when the Packers were struggling.
Don't expect the defenses to dominate this one as both offenses should light up the scoreboard. The final outcome could come down to which team has the ball last.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs - The game was moved back from an early afternoon start (12 PM CT) to a "prime time" game on Sunday night due to severe winter weather in the Midwest as ice storms have been wreaking havoc in many areas this weekend.
The Steelers will be looking to duplicate a 43-14 blowout win against the Chiefs (played in  Pittsburgh) back in early October.
Both teams are on a roll coming into this one as the Steelers have won eight in a row while the Chiefs have won five of their last six games to gain the number-two seed in the AFC playoffs.
Pittsburgh rates the edge on offense with their "Big Three" of QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le'Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown going off last weekend against Miami in a 30-12 win in the Wild Card game.
The Chiefs have a solid defense, but will have their hands full against the Steelers offense. They will need to limit Bell on the ground and get pressure on Roehtlisberger, who appeared to tweak his ankle late in the game against the Dolphins.
The Chiefs have shown they can score as well as they rang up 70 points in their final two games combined against Denver and San Diego (both wins) with multi-purpose player Tyreek Bell making big plays, including a 95-yard punt return for a score against the Chargers in the final game of the season.
Kansas City QB Alex Smith has always been labeled a "game manager" throughout his 12-year career and whether he deserves it or not, all he seems to do is win under Head Coach Andy Reid's system.
The Chiefs will look to Smith to spread the ball around against a resurgent Pittsburgh defense, which has been allowing just 16.5 points per game during their eight-game winning streak.
Tight End Travis Kelce (85 receptions in regular season) is the primary target for Kansas City, along with Hill (61 catches and six TD) and running back Spencer Ware (921 rushing yards) who will look to move the ball against the Steelers defense.
As long as the Chiefs can maintain a ball control style offense and keep the Steelers potent attack off the field, they can stay in the game for sure. If not, look for Big Ben and company to attack as they did in the prior meeting when he had five TD passes in the easy win.

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

Seattle over Atlanta
New England over Houston
Dallas over Green Bay
Pittsburgh over Kansas City

Last Week's Record:  3-1


Friday, January 13, 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Chargers Bolting San Diego For Los Angeles

The San Diego Chargers are no more.

The team's owner, Dean Spanos, announced today the team is relocating from San Diego to Los Angeles for the 2017 NFL season. The Chargers have been in San Diego for 56 years following their first year of existence in Los Angeles in the old American Football League.
They had success in the old AFL, winning the championship title in 1963 before eventually joining the NFL in the 1970 AFL-NFL merger that brought about the modern day league with the AFC and NFC conferences in the National Football League.
During the 1970's it was lean times for the team as they continually finished in the cellar of the AFC West division behind Oakland, Denver and Kansas City.
That began to change in 1978 when the team hired Don Coryell as Head Coach and the term "Air Coryell" soon followed up as the Chargers won division titles three straight seasons from 1979 to 1981 while leading the league in offense and scoring with Hall-of-Fame player Dan Fouts at quarterback.
Fouts teamed up with tight end Kellen Winslow, wide receivers Charlie Joiner, John Jefferson (and also Wes Chandler when Jefferson was traded to Green Bay in 1981) and running backs Chuck Muncie and James Brooks to form a formidable offense.
San Diego "SUPER Chargers" was the team's theme song.
The team twice lost in the AFC Championship games (1980 to Oakland and 1981 to Cincinnati) before falling back to mediocrity through the rest of the '80's and into the early 1990's. One of their most memorable games in the decade of the 1980's was the "Epic in Miami" in the 1981 playoffs when they outlasted the host Dolphins, 41-38 in overtime.
In that game, kicker Rolf Benerschke won the game with a 28-yard field goal but it was Kellen Winslow who stole the show, blocking a potential game winning field goal by the Dolphins in the OT session while also making numerous catches. The 'Bolts raced to a 24-0 lead in the first quarter before Miami mounted a fierce rally to get the game into overtime.
In the 1990's the team enjoyed their highest measure of success when they reached the Super Bowl following the 1994 season.
With Stan Humphries at quarterback and Natron Means (running back) and Tony Martin as the primary wide receiver, the Chargers offense did enough to complement the rugged defense, led by  the late Junior Seau (linebacker) and defensive back Rodney Harrison, which propelled them to Super Bowl 29, where they were soundly defeated 49-26 against the San Francisco 49ers.
The team fell off again after that and hit rock bottom in the 2000 season, going 1-15 to earn the top draft pick heading into the 2001 season.
They got running back LaDainian Tomlinson and quarterback Drew Brees and they were on their way for the rest of the decade as they built the team up for the next four years.
In 2004, they picked Eli Manning with the top draft choice, but traded him for Philip Rivers (New
York Giants selection with 4th pick) because Manning played the prima dona role, stating he would not play for the Chargers.
The Chargers went 12-4 in 2004, winning the AFC West and making the playoffs for the first time in nine years. They lost in OT to the upstart New York Jets.
In 2005, they slipped to 9-7 with a talent laden roster that included future Hall-of-Fame players Drew Brees (QB) and LaDainian Tomlinson (RB) along with running backs in reserve Michael Turner and rookie Darren Sproles. Also included was tight end Antonio Gates and first year wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd. The defense was led by rookie stud linebacker Shawne Merriman, who led the NFL with 17 QB sacks.
The 2006 season saw the Chargers go 14-2 and run away with the division title and the best record in the NFL. Tomlinson had a MONSTER season, leading the NFL in rushing while scoring 31 touchdowns (28 rushing TD) to set the records for scoring by an individual player in a single season. In fact, Tomlinson outscored the Oakland Raiders team by himself in the 2006 season.
However, once again the team fell short in the playoffs, losing 24-21 to the New England Patriots. They blew an 11-point lead and inexplicably went away from giving the ball to LT in the second half, a mistake which would cost Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer his job.
Norv Turner was hired in the off-season and the 2007 Chargers team went 11-5 and again won the AFC West (the second of four consecutive division titles) and this time around they won TWO playoff games, beating Tennessee 17-6 in the Wild Card round and then stunning the heavily favored and defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts, 28-24 as Rivers and LT suffered knee injuries that knocked them both out of the game.
Once again, the New England Patriots proved to be too much as they beat the 'Bolts, 21-12 in snowy New England in the AFC Championship Game. Tomlinson sat for much of the game as he could not rebound from his knee injury suffered the week before. Rivers played through his knee injury, but it wasn't enough.
Both 2008 (8-8 finish)  and 2009 (13-3) produced division titles, but again the team lost in the playoffs, falling short of the Super Bowl. Tomlinson was released following that season as well as Merriman and eventually others followed their exits one by one as the team fell back to mediocrity the last seven seasons. The only playoff appearance was in 2013 with Rivers leading the way on offense.
In fact, only Rivers and Gates remain (on offense) from the "glory years" of 2004-2009.
So now it is on to Los Angeles for the Chargers, back where it all began for the team back in 1960 when the team was founded.

Thanks for the memories.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo FINAL 2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL TOP TEN                      

1.  Clemson (14-1)
2.  Alabama (14-1)
3.  Oklahoma (11-2)
4.  Wisconsin (11-3)
5.  USC (10-3)
6.  Penn State (11-3)
7.  Ohio State (11-2)
8.  Washington (12-2)
9.  Florida State (10-3)
10.  Michigan (10-3)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL - Clemson Wins Thriller Over Alabama

Deshaun Watson and Clemson won the title.
The Clemson Tigers won a last second thriller over the Alabama Crimson Tide, 35-31 on a touchdown pass from quarterback Deshaun Watson (420 passing yards and four TD passes) to wide receiver Hunter Renfrow with just one second left on the clock.
The win allowed the Tigers (14-1) to avenge last year's 45-40 setback to the Crimson Tide (14-1) in the title game.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

NFL PLAYOFFS - Steelers and Packers Get Easy Wins in Wild Card Games

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers both sent a message to the teams remaining in the playoffs that they better be ready to play.
The Steelers rolled past the visiting Miami Dolphins, 30-12 as running back Le'Veon Bell rushed for a team playoff record 167 yards and scored two touchdowns. Meanwhile, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a pair of scoring passes to wide receiver Antonio Brown (five catches for 124 yards) in the first quarter as the Steelers put this one away early, building up a 20-6 halftime advantage.
The Pittsburgh defense also forced three turnovers, including two fumble recoveries to thwart any momentum for Miami. 
The only concern following the game was Roethlisberger showing up to the post-game press conference in a walking boot for a slight ankle injury late in the game, but he assured everyone he will be ready to go when the Steelers play at the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday in the Divisional Round.

In the NFC Wild Card game, after a tight game in the first half, the Green Bay Packers drew away from the New York Giants for a 38-13 win that sends them to Dallas to face the Cowboys next Sunday in the Divisional Round.
The Giants had a 6-0 lead before Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (362 yards passing) threw the first of his four touchdown passes in the game to WR Davante Adams (eight receptions for 125 yards) for a 7-6 lead.
Just as the first half ended, Rodgers threw a 'Hail Mary' pass to WR Randall Cobb, who had five receptions for 116 yards and three touchdowns, for a score to give Green Bay a 14-6 halftime lead.
The second half was all Packers as the defense harassed Giants QB Eli Manning with the big play being a forced fumble by linebacker Clay Matthews, who recovered the ball to seal the game with eight minutes remaining and Green Bay ahead 31-13.

So the Divisional Rounds for next weekend are set . . .

Saturday, January 14
Seattle at Atlanta
Houston at New England

Sunday, January 15
Pittsburgh at Kansas City
Green Bay at Dallas

NFL PLAYOFFS - Texans, Seahawks Roll In Wild Card Games

The Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks rolled to easy wins on Saturday in the NFL Playoffs Wild Card Round games.
Both teams were at home for the victories as the Texans rolled over the injury riddled Oakland Raiders, 27-14 while the Seahawks crushed the Detroit Lions, 26-6 to advance to next weekend's Divisional Round.
The Seahawks rode the legs of running back Thomas Rawls (161 yards rushing) who scored on a four-yard run, along with the arm of quarterback Russell Wilson, who had a pair of touchdown passes to lead the way.
The closest the Lions could get was a 10-6 deficit when Matt Prater made a 53-yard field goal early in the third quarter. From there, it was all Seattle as the defense limited the Lions to only 231 yards in total offense.
The Seahawks will face the Atlanta Falcons next Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Texans jumped out to an early lead and a 20-7 halftime edge as their defense limited the Raiders offense to just 203 total yards. Because of injuries, Oakland had to go with third string QB Connor Cook, who was intercepted three times and also sacked three times.
The Texans got scoring runs from RB Lamar Miller and QB Brock Osweiler (who also had a TD pass in the win) to pace the win.
The Texans will face either the New England Patriots or Kansas City Chiefs next weekend, depending on the outcome of Sunday's Wild Card game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

NFL PLAYOFFS - Wild Card Round Preview

The regular season is finished and now the fun begins around the NFL as the playoffs begin this weekend with the four Wild Card Round games.
On Saturday, the Oakland Raiders face the Houston Texans and the Detroit Lions play the Seattle Seahawks. Then on Sunday, The Miami Dolphins face the Pittsburgh Steelers and wrapping up the weekend will be the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers going at it in historic Lambeau Field.

Here's a capsule style break down of the games, followed by the Heftyinfo picks for the Wild Card round. 

OAKLAND RAIDERS (12-4) at HOUSTON TEXANS (9-7) -  The Raiders are down to their third string quarterback in this one while the Texans are going with one time starter and demoted QB Brock Osweiler. This game will likely be a low scoring affair based around running and defense.

DETROIT LIONS (9-7) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (10-5-1) -  The Lions struggled down the stretch, losing three straight while Green Bay won the NFC North title. The Seahawks have been banged up and are looking to right the ship as the playoffs take flight.

MIAMI DOLPHINS (10-6) at PITTSBURGH STEELERS (11-5) -  The Steelers are set to get it rolling as they have QB Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown on the field at the same time. The Dolphins are going with a backup QB and are likely in for a long afternoon.

NEW YORK GIANTS (11-5) at GREEN BAY PACKERS (10-6) -  This game should be the most exciting of the four this weekend. The Giants have knocked off the Packers two times in recent years in the post-season on the way to Super Bowl titles. But that was then and this is NOW ... Packers have been rolling and Aaron Rodgers and company should get it done in this one, but don't dismiss the Giants defense.

The Heftyinfo picks for the Wild Card games . . .  (Home teams are listed in BOLD)

Oakland over Houston
Seattle over Detroit
Pittsburgh over Miami
Green Bay over NY Giants

Last Week's Record:  14-2


Lock of the Week Record:  17-0

Monday, January 2, 2017

NFL - Week Seventeen Review

The regular season is over in the NFL for 2016 and now it's on to the playoffs for twelve teams, beginning next weekend.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are rolling.
However, there was business at hand in Week 17 as two spots were left in the NFC playoff picture and those were filled as both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions qualified for the post-season. The Packers beat the host Lions, 31-24 in the Sunday night game as quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Heftyinfo NFL co-Player of the Week, threw four touchdown passes to lead the way to a sixth consecutive victory and a 10-6 record to clinch the NFC North. The Lions (9-7) will be a wild card playoff team.
The reason the Lions, losers of three straight games to finish the regular season, qualified for the playoffs is because the Washington Redskins (8-7-1) lost at home earlier on Sunday, 19-10 to the New York Giants (11-5), who are the fifth seed in the NFC playoffs.
The defense was the story for the Giants in the win as they held the 'Skins to just 284 total yards of offense, including a meager 38 yards rushing. They also had three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble recovery) while sacking Washington QB Kirk Cousins four times.
The Atlanta Falcons (11-5) clinched the number-two seed and a first round playoff bye in the NFC race with a resounding 38-32 home win against the New Orleans Saints.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan had a big year.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan had four first half touchdown passes (along with 331 passing yards) to lead the way as well as getting the Heftyinfo NFL co-Player of the Week for the effort.
The game was not as close as the final score as the Falcons built a 35-13 halftime lead and coasted the rest of the way.
Over in the AFC playoff race, the Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) leap frogged the Oakland Raiders (12-4) in the final week to capture the AFC West crown by beating the host San Diego Chargers, 37-27 in what might have been the last game played in San Diego as the team's ownership is mulling a move to Los Angeles. Kansas City wins the AFC West by virtue of a two-game sweep of the Raiders this season.
Chiefs kick returner Tyreek Hill took a punt back 95 yards for a score to put the game away late in the third quarter as the Chiefs opened up a 17-point cushion. In addition, Kansas City QB Alex Smith had two TD passes and a rushing TD to pace the win.
Following the game, San Diego fired Head Coach Mike McCoy after four seasons with the team.
While the Chiefs were winning, the Raiders lost 24-6 in Denver as they had to go with third-string QB Connor Cook after backup QB Matt McGloin suffered a shoulder injury in the first half. Oakland's starting QB Derek Carr is out for the season after suffering a broken leg in Week 16.
Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak, who led the team to the Super Bowl title last season, announced he is retiring following a 9-7 finish this season.
The Raiders will be the fifth seed wild card team in the post-season and will face the Houston Texans next weekend. The Chiefs are the two-seed and have a first round bye.

                                                  Elsewhere Around the NFL . . . . . .

The New England Patriots (14-2) rolled to a 35-14 win at Miami to clinch home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs as QB Tom Brady had three TD passes. The Dolphins (10-6) will be the sixth seed in the playoffs and will face the Pittsburgh Steelers . . .  The Steelers (11-5) wrapped up the regular season with a 27-24 win in overtime against the hapless Cleveland Browns (1-15), who will have the first selection in the NFL Draft. The reserves led the way for the Steelers as QB Landry Jones threw for three scores, including the game winner in OT that gave Pittsburgh a seventh straight win heading into the playoffs . . .  The Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1) beat the host San Francisco 49ers, 25-23 behind four field goals by kicker Steven Hauschka and solid defense. The 49ers fired Head Coach Chip Kelly following the game . . .  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) concluded the regular season with a 17-16 win against Carolina but failed to reach the playoffs as they didn't get the help needed based on tie breakers against Green Bay and Detroit . . .  Same thing for the Tennessee Titans as they won their finale over visiting Houston, 24-17 to finish 9-7 but out of the playoffs as they lost in tie breakers for the AFC South. The Texans (also 9-7) won the division and will host the Oakland Raiders next weekend . . .  The Philadelphia Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys (13-3 and top seed in NFC playoffs) at home, 27-13 as QB Carson Wentz had two TD passes. Longtime Cowboys starting QB Tony Romo played for the first time in over a year and had a touchdown pass in the loss . . . The Minnesota Vikings (once upon a time 5-0 this season) finished at 8-8 as they throttled the visiting Chicago Bears, 38-10 as QB Sam Bradford set an NFL record for highest pass completion percentage in a season . . .  The Indianapolis Colts salvaged a .500 finish this year as they beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-20. Colts QB Andrew Luck had a pair of second half TD passes, including the game winner with just nine seconds remaining . . .  The New York Jets (5-11) concluded a miserable season with a 30-10 blowout win at home against the Buffalo Bills, who finished the season with a 7-9 mark . . .  The Cincinnati Bengals (6-9-1) wrapped up the year with a 27-10 win at home against the Baltimore Ravens (8-8) as running back Rex Burkhead (119 yards rushing) had two touchdowns to lead the way. Following the game, Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith announced his retirement from the NFL after 16 seasons with Carolina and Baltimore . . .  The Arizona Cardinals (7-8-1) demolished the host Los Angeles Rams, 44-6 as QB Carson Palmer had three TD passes to lead the easy win.

Cincinnati 27, Baltimore 10
Minnesota 38, Chicago 10
New England 35, Miami 14
NY Jets 30, Buffalo 10
Philadelphia 27, Dallas 13
Indianapolis 24, Jacksonville 20
Tampa Bay 17, Carolina 16
Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 24 (OT)
Tennessee 24, Houston 17
NY Giants 19, Washington 10
Seattle 25, San Francisco 23
Denver 24, Oakland 6
Kansas City 37, San Diego 27
Atlanta 38, New Orleans 32
Arizona 44, Los Angeles 6
Green Bay 31, Detroit 24

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, Same Results

As the calendar rolls over into 2017, two familiar foes will go at it for the second consecutive year for the College Football Championship next Monday night.
The Alabama Crimson Tide steam rolled the Washington Huskies, 24-7 to advance in an attempt to repeat as the national champions. Meanwhile, the Clemson Tigers shut out the Ohio State Buckeyes, 31-0 to get back to the big game for the second consecutive year.
Early lines have the Tide favored by seven points (they beat Clemson 45-40 last year) which sounds about right.
Roll Tide!