Friday, December 29, 2017

NFL - Week Seventeen Preview

It's come down to the final weekend of the 2017 NFL season and there still are three playoff spots up for grabs between the two conferences. The AFC has two spots left (four teams in contention) and the NFC has just one spot left as the Atlanta Falcons or Seattle Seahawks will be the last team in.
In the AFC, there are numerous possibilities as the Baltimore Ravens (9-6), Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers and Buffalo Bills (all with 8-7 records) are battling for the remaining two wild card spots.

The following is a capsule style preview of all 16 games for the final week, followed of course by the Heftyinfo predictions for the games.

Green Bay (7-8) at Detroit (8-7) - This game means absolutely nothing to the NFC playoff chase.

Houston (4-11) at Indianapolis (3-12) - Who cares?

Chicago (5-10) at Minnesota (12-3) - The Vikings are looking to wrap up the number-two seed in the NFC playoffs.

NY Jets (5-10) at New England (12-3) - The Patriots should roll in this one as they look to clinch home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Washington (7-8) at NY Giants (2-13) - Eli Mannining's final game as Giants quarterback? Could be.

Cleveland (0-15) at Pittsburgh (12-3) - Steelers roll !

New Orleans (11-4) at Tampa Bay (4-11) - The Saints are marching back to the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Carolina (11-4) at Atlanta (9-6) - The Falcons need this one to clinch the sixth spot in the NFC playoff chase.

Cincinnati (6-9) at Baltimore (9-6) - Ravens looking to wrap up a playoff spot for first time since 2014 season.

Buffalo (8-7) at Miami (6-9) - The Dolphins always beat the Bills in South Florida.

Dallas (8-7) at Philadelphia (13-2) - The Eagles have already locked up home field edge in NFC playoffs. Cowboys are out of it.

Jacksonville (10-5) at Tennessee (8-7) - Must win for the Titans, unless both Chargers and Bills lose their games. Jaguars would love to knock the Titans out of the playoff race.

Kansas City (9-6) at Denver (5-10) -  Nightmare season for Denver coming to a close  . . . Chiefs are playoff bound.

Arizona (7-8) at Seattle (9-6) - Can the Seahawks make it to the playoffs for a sixth straight season?  They must win this one and get some help.

San Francisco (5-10) at LA Rams (11-4) - The Rams will likely be resting their starters as they are likely to finish as the third seed in the NFC playoffs . . .  49ers are unbeaten with Jimmy G at quarterback.

Oakland (6-9) at LA Chargers (8-7) - The Chargers are on a mission to make the playoffs after starting the season with a 0-4 record.

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

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

Last Week's Record -  13-3


Lock of the Week Record -  14-2 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

NFL - Week Sixteen Recap

Week Sixteen around the NFL answered many questions regarding playoff teams and positioning in both the AFC and NFC.
The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers (both 12-3) clinched first round byes in the AFC with easy victories while the Philadelphia Eagles (13-2) locked up home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with their 19-10 win against Oakland on Monday night.
The Patriots steamrolled the Buffalo Bills in the second half en route to a 37-16 win. The Steelers blasted the Houston Texans, 34-6 on Monday afternoon to stay even with New England for the top spot in the AFC race.
The Kansas City Chiefs (9-6) blasted the Miami Dolphins, 29-13 to wrap up the AFC West division. New Orleans and Carolina (both 11-4) also punched tickets to the post-season in the NFC playoffs with home wins against division foes. The Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons (9-6), 23-13 while the Panthers outlasted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 22-19 thriller.
The Los Angeles Rams (11-4) beat the Tennessee Titans, 27-23 to clinch the NFC West division for the foest time since the 2003 season. The Titans (8-7) still control their own destiny and can clinch a wild card spot with a win against Jacksonville next week.
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens (9-6) inched closer to a wild card spot in the AFC by beating the Indianapolis Colts, 23-16 on Saturday afternoon. The Minnesota Vikings (12-3) shut out the host Green Bay Packers, 16-0 on Saturday night to all but clinch the second seed in the NFC race.
Teams that stayed alive in the playoff chase included the Seattle Seahawks (9-6), 21-12 winners on the road against the Dallas Cowboys (8-7), who were eliminated from the playoff race with the loss.
The Los Angeles Chargers won a tight one in New York, beating the Jets, 14-7 to improve to 8-7 and stay in the hunt for the two remaining wild card playoff spots in the AFC.

                     Heftyinfo  NFL Player of the Week -  Jared Goff  (QB - Los Angeles Rams)

Rams QB Jared Goff had 301 yards passing with four TD passes to help them clinch the NFC West title.

Baltimore 23, Indianapolis 16
Minnesota 16, Green Bay 0
Chicago 20, Cleveland 3
Cincinnati 26, Detroit 17
Washington 27, Denver 11
New England 37, Buffalo 16
LA Chargers 14, NY Jets 7
LA Rams 27, Tennessee 23
Carolina 22, Tampa Bay 19
New Orleans 23, Atlanta 13
Kansas City 29, Miami 13
Seattle 21, Dallas 12
Arizona 23, NY Giants 0
San Francisco 44, Jacksonville 33
Pittsburgh 34, Houston 6
Philadelphia 19, Oakland 10 

Friday, December 22, 2017

NFL - Week Sixteen Preview

It's Week Sixteen around the NFL and it's also Christmas as the teams remaining in playoff contention battle it out for those remaining spots in both conferences.
In the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles (12-2) and Minnesota Vikings (11-3) have clinched playoff spots while in the AFC, New England (11-3), Pittsburgh (11-3) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4)  have clinched playoff spots already as well.
There is a very big battle that looms in the NFC South between the Atlanta Falcons (9-5) and the New Orleans Saints (10-4) on Sunday in The Big Easy. The Saints control the division for now as they topped the Carolina Panthers (also 10-4) twice this season. The Falcons could take over first place with another win against the Saints this weekend, but only if Tampa Bay (4-10) can get the upset win on the road against Carolina.
Stay tuned.
The Los Angeles Rams (10-4) will travel to face the Tennessee Titans (8-6) as they look to wrap up a playoff spot. Meanwhile, the Titans suddenly find themselves in a four way battle with Buffalo (8-6), Baltimore (8-6) and the Los Angeles Chargers (7-7) for the final two wild card spots in the AFC race.
Back in the NFC, there is a do or die battle looming in Dallas as the Cowboys (8-6) who have won three straight games, will host the Seattle Seahawks (8-6), who are literally a walking M*A*S*H unit as far as their famed defense is concerned.
Add to that the fact the Cowboys will be getting back All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott from his six-game suspension this Sunday, it looks like it could be another long afternoon for the 'Hawks, who were crushed, 42-7 at home last week against the Rams.
It all adds up to another exciting weekend around the NFL as jolly old St. Nick will be prepping for his annual trek across the skies later that Christmas Eve night.

The following offers a brief look at the rest of the games along with the Heftyinfo predictions.

Merry Christmas !

Indianapolis (3-11) at Baltimore (8-6) - The Ravens should blow out the hapless Colts in this game. 

Minnesota (11-3) at Green Bay (7-7) - The Packers shut down QB Aaron Rodgers after being eliminated from playoff contention. The Vikings can still get the top seed in the NFC.

Tampa Bay (4-10) at Carolina (10-4) - Cam Newton and company roll again.

Cleveland (0-14) at Chicago (4-10) - The Browns last won a football game exactly one year ago this Christmas Eve . . . Bears better beware.

Detroit (8-6) at Cincinnati (5-9) - Can the Lions keep their playoff hopes alive with a road win? Bengals will battle them.

Miami (6-8) at Kansas City (8-6) - The Chiefs can clinch AFC West with a win . . . Count on it.

Buffalo (8-6) at New England (11-3) - The Bills will likely have to win out to make the playoffs. The Patriots are on a mission once again.

LA Chargers (7-7) at NY Jets (5-9) - The Chargers are banged up heading into this must win game. The Jets could play spoilers in this one.

Denver (5-9) at Washington (6-8) - Who cares?

Jacksonville (10-4) at San Francisco (4-10) - Suddenly the 49ers with Jimmy G at QB are unstoppable. Jags have perhaps the NFL's top defense . . . something has to give.

NY Giants (2-12) at Arizona (6-8) -  Giants are due for a win, but the Cardinals are a better team.

Pittsburgh (11-3) at Houston (4-10) - Steelers still steaming after being robbed of a victory last week at home against the Patriots. Texans are a disaster.

Oakland (6-8) at Philadelphia (12-2) - With a win, the Eagles clinch home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.  Raiders blew their playoff chances last week with the home loss to Dallas.

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

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

Last Week's Record -  11-5

SEASON RECORD -  154-70 

Lock of the Week Record -  13-2

Monday, December 18, 2017

NFL - Week Fifteen Recap

Controversy surrounded the biggest NFL game of the regular season when the replay officials took a touchdown away from the Pittsburgh Steelers in the closing seconds of a 27-24 home loss to the New England Patriots.
Steelers tight end Jesse James had the football on a ten-yard pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the ball had already broken the plane of the goal line before hitting the ground in his grasp, but the replay review over ruled the touchdown call by the field officials.
The reversal ruined what was a great and very exciting game between the two best teams in the NFL this year. Especially exciting were the the final two minutes of the fourth quarter when Pats QB Tom Brady led the winning drive for the go ahead score. Patriots running back Dion Lewis scored on an eight-yard run and the two-point conversion pass from Brady to tight end Rob Gronkowski (nine catches for 168 yards) made it 27-24 for the Patriots (11-3) with just 56 seconds to play.
Pittsburgh (11-3) got a 69-yard pass play from Roethlisberger to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to set up the game ending drama at the New England 10-yard line.
The Steelers could have clocked the ball from just inside the Patriots' five-yard line following the ruling that took away their go ahead touchdown, but the Patriots intercepted a deflected pass in the end zone to wrap up the game.
Another strange ending to a game took place in the Sunday night affair out in Oakland as the Dallas Cowboys (8-6) held on for a 20-17 win over the Raiders (6-8) as Oakland QB Derek Carr (two TD passes) fumbled the football out of the end zone reaching for the pylon at the goal line in the closing minute to give the game to Dallas.
Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey made a 19-yard field goal to make the difference in the outcome after the 'Pokes coughed up a ten point halftime lead.
The Carolina Panthers (10-4) spoiled the return of Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers back from his injuries in a 31-24 home win as they picked off Rodgers three times. Rodgers did have three TD passes, but Panthers QB Cam Newton had four TD passes in the win. The Packers slipped to 7-7 with the defeat.
Minnesota (11-3) clinched the NFC North division in a 34-7 rout of the visiting Cincinnati Bengals behind a pair of TD passes from Case Keenum and a strong defense that held the Bengals to only 161 total yards in offense while also scoring a touchdown on a pick six interception.
The Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) dominated the second half in a 30-13 rout of the visiting Los Angeles Chargers (7-7) that puts them one step closer to clinching the AFC West. Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt went for 155 yards and scored two touchdowns while QB Alex Smith had a pair of scoring passes. The Chargers turned the ball over four times, including three interceptions thrown by QB Philip Rivers as they saw their four-game win streak snapped.

                                                 Elsewhere  Around the  NFL . . . . . .

The New Orleans Saints (10-4) fought off the New York Jets, 31-19 as Drew Brees had two TD passes and RB Mark Ingram scored two rushing touchdowns to help them maintain first place in the NFC South . . .  The Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4) clinched their first playoff berth since 2007 in a 45-7 thumping of the visiting Houston Texans. Jags QB Blake Bortles had three TD passes in the win  . . .  The Los Angeles Rams dominated the host Seattle Seahawks, 42-7 to improve to 10-4 and all but clinch the NFC West division. Rams RB Todd Gurley (152 yards rushing) scored four touchdowns in the rout. Seattle (8-6) managed to gain just 149 total yards in the loss . . .  The Philadelphia Eagles (12-2) won a hard fought game against the New York Giants, 34-29 as quarterback Nick Foles threw four scoring passes in his first start after starting QB Carson Wentz went down for the season with a knee injury last week . . .  The Buffalo Bills (8-6) won a big game at home, 24-16 against Miami as the defense had three interceptions while RB LeSean McCoy scored twice to lead the offense . . .  The Baltimore Ravens also improved to 8-6 in a 27-10 road win against the Cleveland Browns (0-14) as the defense scored a touchdown and QB Joe Flacco ran for a score and also had a TD pass . . .  The Washington Redskins beat the Arizona Cardinals, 20-15 as QB Kirk Cousins had two TD passes . . .  The San Francisco 49ers won their third game in a row with a 25-23 effort over the Tennessee Titans (8-6)  as kicker Robbie Gould made six field goals, including the game winner from 45 yards as time expired. Titans QB Marcus Mariota had two TD passes in the loss, which dropped them two games behind Jacksonville in the AFC South race . . .  The Detroit Lions (8-6) pounded the Chicago Bears, 20-10 on Saturday as QB Matthew Stafford had a pair of TD passes to keep their playoff chances alive . . .  The Thursday night game saw the Denver Broncos get a 25-13 road win against Indianapolis as QB Brock Osweiler came off the bench to throw two TD passes while running back C.J. Anderson rushed for 158 yards to lead the offense . . .  In the Monday Night Football game, the Atlanta Falcons (9-5) defeated the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 24-21 to stay within one game of New Orleans and Carolina in the NFC South race. Falcons RB Devonta Freeman rushed for 126 yards and scored a touchdown and QB Matt Ryan added a TD pass while the defense scored on a fumble recovery as well. Bucs QB Jameis Winston passed for 299 yards and three touchdowns in defeat. 

                       Heftyinfo  NFL Player of the Week  -  Todd Gurley  (RB - Los Angeles Rams)

Denver 25, Indianapolis 13
Detroit 20, Chicago 10
Kansas City 30, LA Chargers 13
Jacksonville 45, Houston 7
Minnesota 34, Cincinnati 7
Baltimore 27, Cleveland 10
Philadelphia 34, NY Giants 29
Buffalo 24, Miami 16
Carolina 31, Green Bay 24
New Orleans 31, NY Jets 19
Washington 20, Arizona 15
LA Rams 42, Seattle 7
New England 27, Pittsburgh 24
San Francisco 25, Tennessee 23
Dallas 20, Oakland 17
Atlanta 24, Tampa Bay 21

Thursday, December 14, 2017

NFL - Week Fifteen Preview

Week Fifteen around the NFL looms large as there are many big games taking place this weekend, with huge implications regarding divisional races and the playoff chase.
Starting on Saturday in Kansas City, where the AFC West leading Chiefs will host the surging Los Angeles Chargers, who have won their last four games. Meanwhile, the Chiefs (7-6) snapped a four-game losing streak last week by beating Oakland, 26-15. The Chargers (also 7-6) beat the Washington Redskins, 30-13 to set up the big showdown this weekend.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and company have been on a big time roll after starting the season 0-4 and looking totally incompetent on the football field, finding new ways to lose games late in the fourth quarter. However, the defense has stepped it up big time since early October and the offense has been protecting the football, committing just one turnover during the winning streak.
The Chiefs looked to be running away with the AFC West after a 5-0 start, only to lose six of the next seven games, including the four-game losing streak, before the defense got it turned around last weekend. They will need more of the same this week against the Chargers if they want to remain in first place.
The Seattle Seahawks (8-5) will be hosting the Los Angeles Rams (9-4) on Sunday in the great Northwest in the game that could very well decide the NFC West champion for this season.
Seattle QB Russell Wilson has been nothing short of brilliant this season, compiling eye popping numbers that account for a big chunk of the team's offensive output. The defense is banged up, especially in the secondary, but they are always tough when they face the Rams.
The Rams, led by running back Todd Gurley and QB Jared Goff, can score on any team at any time, evidenced by their being second in the NFL in scoring this season. Gurley also leads the NFL with 13 touchdowns this season.
The BIG GAME by far this Sunday will feature the top two teams in the AFC when the Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2) host the New England Patriots (10-3) in the game that will likely determine home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
Tom Brady and the Patriots have long been the nemesis of the Steelers, beating them three different times in the AFC Championship Game since the 2001 season, when the Brady-Belichick era began.
The Patriots were surprised by the Miami Dolphins last Monday night, 27-20 to put them one game behind the Steelers heading into this epic game. Pittsburgh pulled out a squeaker at home against their arch rival, the Baltimore Ravens, 39-38 as kicker Chris Boswell nailed a 46-yard field goal in the final minute to help seal the win.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger carved up the Ravens defense to the tune of 506 passing yards with two TD strikes, including one to running back Le'Veon Bell, who scored three times in the win. The Patriots defense will have their hands full with Big Ben, Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown leading the Steelers offensive attack.
This game could very well come down to whichever team has the ball for the final possession.

The rest of the NFL action this weekend is featured in the capsule style format, followed up by the Heftyinfo predictions for all the games.

Denver (4-9) at Indianapolis (3-10) - Hard to believe these two teams battled in the playoffs just three years ago. Where have you gone Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck?

Chicago (4-9) at Detroit (7-6) - The Lions are in another must win situation as they chase the playoffs. Bears are coming off their best overall effort this season.

Miami (6-7) at Buffalo (7-6) - The Dolphins would love to spoil the Bills playoff hopes with an upset win.

Green Bay (7-6) at Carolina (9-4) - This is a BIG game as far as NFC playoff possibilities are concerned. Oh yeah, the Packers also have Aaron Rodgers back at quarterback for this one . . .  Cam Newton and the Panthers will be ready.

Baltimore (7-6) at Cleveland (0-13) - The Ravens are still smarting after blowing a big lead against Pittsburgh last Sunday night. They had better be ready for the Browns, who also let one slip away late at home to remain winless.

Houston (4-9) at Jacksonville (9-4) - Can the Jaguars keep the magic carpet ride going?  Yes!!

Cincinnati (5-8) at Minnesota (10-3) - The Vikings had their eight-game winning streak snapped last week. They will take it out against the hapless Bengals this week.

NY Jets (5-8) at New Orleans (9-4) - The Saints need to keep winning as they have the Panthers and Falcons right on their heels in the NFC South race.

Philadelphia (11-2) at NY Giants (2-11) - Life without QB Carson Wentz begins this week for the Eagles . . . they should be fine against the Giants.

Arizona (6-7) at Washington (5-8) - Two also rans playing out the schedule in this one.

Tennessee (8-5) at San Francisco (3-10) - Titans better beware as the 49ers have won two in a row with Jimmy Garoppolo starting at quarterback.

Dallas (7-6) at Oakland (6-7) - The Sunday night "prime time" game with the loser of this one most likely being eliminated from playoff contention.

Atlanta (8-5) at Tampa Bay (4-9) - Must win game for the Falcons on Monday Night Football. The Buccaneers will not just roll over in this game.

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

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

Last Week's Record -  12-4 

SEASON RECORD -  143-65 

Lock of the Week Record -  12-2 

Monday, December 11, 2017

NFL - Week Fourteen Recap

It was the good, the bad and the ugly this weekend around the NFL as two teams clinched division titles and punched their tickets to the NFL playoffs.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers (both 11-2) did just that on Sunday as they won  exciting games. Philadelphia beat the Los Angeles Rams, 43-35 on the road, and that was the good. But the bad was they lost starting quarterback Carson Wentz for the rest of the season with a torn ACL knee injury.
Wentz left the game after throwing four touchdown passes as the Eagles amassed 455 yards in  total offense. The Rams took a 35-31 lead early in the fourth quarter on running back Todd Gurley's second TD run of the game. But the Eagles rallied with two field goals and a defensive score as time expired to win it.
The Pittsburgh Steelers won at home, 39-38 over the Baltimore Ravens as QB Ben Roethlisberger lit  up the vaunted Ravens defense with 506 passing yards and two touchdown passes to lead the way. Steelers kicker Chris Boswell made a 46-yard field goal in the final minute to make the difference. It was the fourth time this season Boswell has been the hero with a late kick to win the game. Ravens QB Joe Flacco had two TD passes in the setback, which dropped Baltimore to 7-6.
The Carolina Panthers outlasted the Minnesota Vikings, 31-24 to improve to 9-4 and force a first place tie with the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South. Running back Jonathan Stewart (103 rushing yards) scored three touchdowns, including the game winner from one yard in the final two minutes of regulation.
Jacksonville (9-4) won a chippy game against the visiting Seattle Seahawks, 30-24 as both teams scored at will after a 3-0 Jags lead at halftime. Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles had two TD passes and the defense intercepted three passes. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson had three TD passes in defeat.
Last Thursday night, the host Atlanta Falcons (8-5) beat the New Orleans Saints, 20-17 in a huge NFC South showdown. Falcons kicker Matt Bryant made a 52-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to provide the winning margin. The Saints have lost two of three games after an eight game winning streak.

                                                        Elsewehere Around the NFL  . . . . . . .  

The Kansas City Chiefs (7-6) won a big game at home as they pounded the Oakland Raiders, 26-15. The Chiefs defense forced three turnovers and had three sacks to pace the win while kicker Harrison Butker drilled four field goals . . .  The Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) blasted the Washington Redskins, 30-13 as QB Philip Rivers passed for 319 yards and two scores while the defense limited the 'Skins offense to only 201 yards in total offense . . .  The Green Bay Packers kept slim playoff hopes alive with a come-from-behind 27-21 victory in OT as QB Brett Hundley threw a 25-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Davante Adams . . .  The Buffalo Bills (7-6) outlasted the Indianapolis Colts, 13-7 in OT in a blizzard as LeSean McCoy (156 rushing yards) scored on a 21-yard run to win the game . . .  Detroit (7-6) won in Tampa Bay, 24-21 as kicker Matt Prater made a 46-yard field goal with 20 seconds left. Lions running back Theo Riddick had two rushing touchdowns in the win as well . . .  The Denver Broncos dominated the visiting New York Jets, 23-0 as their defense held the Jets to just 100 yards total offense. Jets QB Josh McCown suffered a broken hand in the loss . . .  The Chicago Bears came out of hibernation, snapping a five-game losing streak in a 33-7 rout at the Cincinnati Bengals. Bears QB Mitch Trubisky had a scoring pass and run and RB Jordan Howard went off for 147 yards rushing and two touchdowns . . .  The Dallas Cowboys broke open a close game with three scores in the fourth quarter of a 30-10 road win against the New York Giants. Running back Rod Smith scored twice in the decisive quarter and Cowboys QB Dak Prescott had three TD passes in the win . . .  San Francisco won a second consecutive game for the first time in three years as QB Jimmy Garoppolo had a TD pass and kicker Robbie Gould made four field goals to make the difference in a 26-16 road win against the Houston Texans . . .  The ugly game of the week took place in the Arizona desert as the host Cardinals beat the Tennessee Titans, 12-7 behind four field goals by Phil Dawson. The loss dropped the Titans to 8-5 and out of first place in the AFC South division . . .  The Miami Dolphins surprised the New England Patriots, 27-20 on Monday Night Football behind three TD passes from QB Jay Cutler and a solid defensive effort that limited the Pats to just 248 yards in total offense while intercepting two passes.

                     Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week - Ben Roethlisberger  (QB-Pittsburgh Steelers)

Atlanta 20, New Orleans 17
Chicago 33, Cincinnati 7
Green Bay 27, Cleveland 21 (OT)
Buffalo 13, Indianapolis 7 (OT)
Detroit 24, Tampa Bay 21
Carolina 31, Minnesota 24
Kansas City 26, Oakland 15
San Francisco 26, Houston 16
Dallas 30, NY Giants 10
Denver 23, NY Jets 0
LA Chargers 30, Washington 13
Philadelphia 43, LA Rams 35
Arizona 12, Tennessee 7
Jacksonville 30, Seattle 24
Pittsburgh 39, Baltimore 38
Miami 27, New England 20 

Friday, December 8, 2017

NFL - Week Fourteen Preview

It's getting to be crunch time around the NFL as the final four games of the season kickoff this weekend.
Some of the bigger games feature the Minnesota Vikings playing the Carolina Panthers, Seattle vs. Jacksonville, Oakland at Kansas City, Philadelphia traveling to face the Los Angeles Rams and the Sunday night game featuring the Baltimore Ravens at the Pittsburgh Steelers in a huge battle in the AFC North division. In fact, the Steelers can clinch the division title with a win.
The five games mentioned above will have a big impact on the playoff race.
The Vikings have been rolling at 10-2 and are tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for the top spot in the NFC race. The Carolina Panthers (8-4) need a win to get back some momentum after falling to the New Orleans Saints a week ago.
The Eagles-Rams game is also huge as far as the NFC race is concerned. Philadelphia (10-2) just had their nine game winning streak snapped last Sunday night in a 24-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Meanwhile, the Rams (9-3) can pass the Eagles in the NFC playoff seedings with a win.
The Oakland Raiders (6-6) travel to play the Kansas City Chiefs (6-6) in a suddenly jam packed AFC West division. These two teams are in a three-way tie for the division lead with the Los Angeles Chargers. Oakland nipped the Chiefs, 31-30 back in October. Expect a close game once again this Sunday.
The Seahawks will face the Jaguars (both teams are 8-4) in Jacksonville and it's the first time in a decade the Jags are playing meaningful football games in December while that's been the norm for Seattle throughout the current decade.

The rest of the games this weekend are featured below in the capsule style previews, followed up by the Heftyinfo predictions for Week Fourteen.

Indianapolis (3-9) at Buffalo (6-6) - If the Bills want to remain in wild card contention, they have to win this game.

Chicago (3-9) at Cincinnati (5-7) - Who cares?

Green Bay (6-6) at Cleveland (0-12) - Can the Browns actually win a game this weekend? It's possible, but not likely to happen.

San Francisco (2-10) at Houston (4-8) - The Texans are desperate for a victory, but the 49ers don't roll over for anyone.

Detroit (6-6) at Tampa Bay (4-8) - Lions in a must win game usually means a recipe for disaster.

Tennessee (8-4) at Arizona (5-7) - Cardinals are pretty much out of the playoff chase, but they could spring the upset in this one.

NY Jets (5-7) at Denver (3-9) - Can the Jets keep up the surprising success they have enjoyed to this point?   Maybe.

Washington (5-7) at LA Chargers (6-6) - Chargers can't let their guard down against a team now playing out the string.

Dallas (6-6) at NY Giants (2-10) - Giants Coach Ben McAdoo is out and quarterback Eli Manning is back starting again. Cowboys are in desperation mode.

New England (10-2) at Miami (5-7) - Patriots should win this game, but the Dolphins always seem to give them fits when they are in South Florida.

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

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

Last Week's Record -  12-4 


Lock of the Week Record -  11-2 


Monday, December 4, 2017

NFL - Week Thirteen Recap

The Seattle Seahawks knocked off the visiting Philadelphia Eagles, 24-10 on Sunday night, snapping the Eagles nine-game win streak and that also allowed the Minnesota Vikings (10-2) to forge a tie atop the NFC playoff race standings.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw for three scores and the Seattle defense forced a pair of turnovers from Eagles QB Carson Wentz.
Meanwhile, the Vikings beat the host Atlanta Falcons, 14-9 as their defense limited the Falcons (7-5) to only 275 yards in total offense and no touchdowns. Vikings quarterback Case Keenum had a pair of touchdown passes to make the difference.
The New Orleans Saints (9-3) took over first place in the NFC South division with a 31-21 win against the visiting Carolina Panthers (8-4) as running back Alvin Kamara had two touchdowns and QB Drew Brees threw for another one.  Panthers QB Cam Newton had two TD passes in the loss.
The New York Jets surprised the Kansas City Chiefs, 38-31 as QB Josh McCown had a pair of rushing touchdowns and a scoring pass as well. Chiefs QB Alex Smith had 366 passing yards and four TD passes along with a 70-yard run in the loss, which was the team's sixth in the last seven games.

                                                        Around the NFL   . . . . . . .

The Los Angeles Rams defeated the host Arizona Cardinals, 32-16 as QB Jared Goff had two TD passes and the defense scored a touchdown to boost the team to a 9-3 record and a one-game lead in the NFC West . . .  The Los Angeles Chargers (6-6) beat the winless Cleveland Browns, 19-10 as Philip Rivers had a TD pass and Travis Coons nailed four field goals . . .  The Oakland Raiders (6-6) forged a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West by beating the New York Giants, 24-17 as RB Marshawn Lynch rushed for 101 yards, including a 51-yard TD romp . . .  The Tennessee Titans (8-4) bested the Houston Texans, 24-13 as Derrick Henry had a 75-yard scoring run and Marcus Mariota threw for another score to keep the team tied for first place with Jacksonville . . .  The Jaguars throttled the Indianapolis Colts, 30-10 to improve to 8-4 as their defense had two interceptions and four QB sacks while QB Blake Bortles had 309 passing yards and a pair of scoring passes . . .  The Baltimore Ravens (7-5) smashed the Detroit Lions, 44-20 as QB Joe Flacco had two TD passes and the defense scored as well in a 24-point outburst in the fourth quarter . . .  New England (10-2) won a yawner in Buffalo, 23-3 as the defense held the Bills to only 268 yards of total offense. Patriots RB Rex Burkhead scored two rushing touchdowns . . .  Green Bay (6-6) kept very slim playoff hopes alive with a 26-20 overtime home win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Packers running back Aaron Jones scored the winning touchdown on a 20-yard run . . .  The San Francisco 49ers beat the host Chicago Bears, 15-14 as former Bears kicker Robbie Gould made all five field goal attempts, including the game winning 24-yarder with four seconds remaining . . .  The Miami Dolphins smashed the hapless Denver Broncos, 35-9 as QB Jay Cutler had a pair of scoring passes and the defense recorded two safeties and also had a pick six interception return to pace the win . . .  Last Thursday night, the Dallas Cowboys blew out the Washington Redskins, 38-14 behind two TD passes from QB Dak Prescott and a scoring run by RB Alfred Morris, who went for 127 yards rushing . . .  The Pittsburgh Steelers (10-2) roared back from a 17-0 deficit in the second quarter to defeat the host Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20 on Monday Night Football. Steelers kicker Chris Boswell made a 38-yard game winning field goal as time ran out. Wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le'Veon Bell each scored touchdowns to offset Bengals QB Andy Dalton's two TD passes to WR A.J. Green.

                            Heftyinfo  NFL Player of the Week -  Russell Wilson  (QB-Seattle Seahawks)

Dallas 38, Washington 14
San Francisco 15, Chicago 14
Minnesota 14, Atlanta 9
Baltimore 44, Detroit 20
NY Jets 38, Kansas City 31
Tennessee 24, Houston 13
Jacksonville 30, Indianapolis 10
Green Bay 26, Tampa Bay 20 (OT)
New England 23, Buffalo 3
Miami 35, Denver 9
New Orleans 31, Carolina 21
LA Chargers 19, Cleveland 10
LA Rams 32, Arizona 16
Oakland 24, NY Giants 17
Seattle 24, Philadelphia 10
Pittsburgh 23, Cincinnati 20 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten          (Week ending December 3)      

1.  Clemson  (12-1)
2.  Oklahoma  (12-1)
3.  Georgia  (12-1)
4.  Alabama  (11-1)
5.  Ohio State  (11-2)
6.  Wisconsin  (12-1)
7.  Penn State (10-2)
8.  Auburn  (10-3)
9.  USC  (11-2)
10.  UCF  (12-0)

Friday, December 1, 2017

NFL - Week Thirteen Preview

The month of December is here and that means the 2017 NFL season is into the "home stretch" as Week Thirteen takes place this weekend.
The Seattle Seahawks (7-4) host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football in what should be an exciting game. The Eagles (10-1) have won nine games in a row while the Seahawks have been sputtering of late with three of the four members of the famed "Legion of Boom" secondary in their defense missing games recently with injuries, including (cornerback) Richard Sherman and (safety) Kam Chancellor being out for the season.
Philadelphia leads the entire NFL in scoring while Seattle ranks ninth overall in points allowed, so something may have to give. But keep in mind the Eagles defense (190 points allowed) has given up less points this season than the Seahawks.
Minnesota plays Atlanta this Sunday in a huge NFC showdown. The Vikings (9-2) have been rolling (seven straight wins) while the resurgent Falcons (7-4) have won four of their last five games to get back into the thick of the NFC South race with both Carolina and New Orleans standing at 8-3 and facing each other in the Superdome on Sunday with first place at stake.
The Panthers have won four straight while the Saints just had their eight-game win streak snapped last week in s 26-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. It's always a great battle when quarterbacks Cam Newton and Drew Brees go head to head on the gridiron.
The Monday night game will have the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-2), winners of six in a row,  facing the host Cincinnati Bengals (5-6) as they look to increase their stranglehold on the AFC North division lead. The Bengals might have to win out to get a wild card spot in the AFC post-season.
The rest of the action can be seen below in the capsule style previews followed up by the Heftyinfo predictions for Week Thirteen.

Detroit (6-5) at Baltimore (6-5) - The Ravens defense will look to shut down the Lions attack in this key battle for two teams looking to gain a wild card in the playoffs.

New England (9-2) at Buffalo (6-5) - The Bills need to win this one to maintain momentum after snapping their three-game losing streak. The Patriots have won seven games in a row.

San Francisco (1-10) at Chicago (3-8) - The 49ers will have Jimmy Garoppolo starting at QB and he will face a decent Bears defense. Flip a coin in this one.

Tampa Bay (4-7) at Green Bay (5-6) - The Packers would like to win this one at home against a lackluster Buccaneers squad.

Indianapolis (3-8) at Jacksonville (7-4) - The Jaguars should win this one, but the Colts will not just roll over for them.

Denver (3-8) at Miami (4-7) - Dolphins QB Jay Cutler faces his old team in battle of crappy teams.

Kansas City (6-5) at NY Jets (4-7) - Is it time to panic in Kansas City?

Houston (4-7) at Tennessee (7-4) - Titans should roll in this one . . . The Texans are awful.

Cleveland (0-11) at LA Chargers (5-6) - The surging Chargers are on a big time roll, but keep in mind they were the only team to lose to the Browns last season. Not this time !

LA Rams (8-3) at Arizona (5-6) - Just going on a hunch and picking the Cardinals at home in this game.

NY Giants (2-9) at Oakland (5-6) - No Eli Manning starting at QB for the Giants for the first time since 2004 season.  Doesn't matter because the Raiders should crush them.

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

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

Last Week's Record -  14-2


Lock of the Week Record -  10-2