Friday, November 30, 2018

NFL - Week Thirteen Preview

As the calendar turns over into December, the NFL is heading down the home stretch and the numerous teams still in playoff contention are ready to make things happen.
One team that did that last night was the Dallas Cowboys (7-5) as they beat the New Orleans Saints, 13-10 in a home game that saw their defense dominate the game, holding the high powered Saints offense to their lowest output this season. It was the fourth straight win for the Cowboys and snapped the Saints (10-2) ten-game winning streak.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott hauled in a scoring pass from quarterback Dak Prescott for the 'Pokes only touchdown in the game. Kicker Brett Maher made two field goals while the defense limited New Orleans to just 176 total yardage in offense.
As for the rest of the action, two games in particular will have big impact for playoff positioning in both conferences. The Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) travel to face the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1) in the "prime time" Sunday Night Football game while the New England Patriots (8-3) will host the Minnesota Vikings (6-4-1) in the afternoon schedule.
The Chargers and Steelers have been two of the hotter AFC teams in recent weeks, but both had six-game winning streaks snapped by the suddenly resurgent Denver Broncos in the past two weekends.
However, this game is huge as Pittsburgh is looking to get back in place for a first round bye that now belongs to New England and top seeded Kansas City (9-2) in the AFC. As for the Chargers, they are just one game behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West race.
Both teams have potent offenses and the Chargers lead the NFL in big plays this season (gains of 20-plus yards) and QB Philip Rivers (26 TD passes and six interceptions) is coming off a record setting performance last week when he completed his first 25 passes of the game in a rout of Arizona.
He has a plethora of targets in the passing game (wide receivers Keenan Allen - 69 receptions, four TD; Tyrell Williams - 28 catches, five TD and Mike Williams - 24 receptions and seven TD) along with running back Austin Ekeler, who will be starting in place of injured Melvin Gordon (knee sprain). Ekeler has 409 rushing yards and has scored four total touchdowns (three receiving) along with 32 receptions out of the backfield.
The Steelers are led by QB Ben Roethlisberger (24 TD passes and 12 interceptions this season) and wide receivers Antonio Brown (eleven TD receptions) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (team high 77 receptions and also four TD) while running back James Conner has rushed for 849 yards and scored ten rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, the Chargers received a huge boost as rush end Joey Bosa is back after missing the first nine games of the season with a foot injury. Along with Melvin Ingram (5 1/2 sacks), the duo forms a strong pass rush tandem that is tough on opposing offenses.
The Steelers defense is solid against the run (101.8 ypg allowed) but has struggled at times against the pass, giving up an average of 223 yards per game.
Meanwhile, the Patriots rebounded from a blowout loss three weeks ago in Tennessee with a solid effort against their AFC East rival New York Jets. Pats QB Tom Brady has been pretty pedestrian this season, averaging 270 yards passing per game along with 19 TD passes and seven picks thrown.
The Vikings knocked off the Green Bay Packers last Sunday night as QB Kirk Cousins had three TD passes (he has totaled 22 TD so far this year along with seven INT) while their stellar defense held Aaron Rodgers and company in check. They will look to put the pressure on Brady as well this weekend.
The rest of the action should provide excitement as numerous teams look to solidify their playoff positions while the rest of the contenders jockey for better positioning in the playoff hunt.

The following provides a capsule style preview of the games and is followed up by the Heftyinfo picks for Week Thirteen.

Baltimore (6-5) at Atlanta (4-7) - Don't sleep on the slumping Falcons in this one. They are always tough to beat at home.

Denver (5-6) at Cincinnati (5-6) - The surging Broncos travel to face the lethargic Bengals, who are now without starting QB Andy Dalton (broken thumb) for the remainder of the season.

LA Rams (10-1) at Detroit (4-7) - Can the Lions dial up another home surprise as they did earlier this year vs. Patriots?  Doubtful in this one.

Arizona (2-9) at Green Bay (4-6-1) - Yes, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is correct. The Packers MUST run the table if they want to be in the playoffs.

Cleveland (4-6-1) at Houston (8-3) - Texans roll again !

Indianapolis (6-5) at Jacksonville (3-8) - The Colts should win this one, but on any given Sunday.

Buffalo (4-7) at Miami (5-6) - The loser of this game can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.

Chicago (8-3) at NY Giants (3-8) - The Bears defense is perhaps the BEST in the NFL this year. Giants are just playing out the string at this point.

Carolina (6-5) at Tampa Bay (4-7) - The Panthers look to stop their three-game losing streak in this one. Toss up.

Kansas City (9-2) at Oakland (2-9) - The Chiefs could hang 50 points on the board for the second straight game in this one.

NY Jets (3-8) at Tennessee (5-6) - The Titans must win this game while the Jets have no pressure at all.  Beware!

San Francisco (2-9) at Seattle (6-5) - Seahawks in a rout !

Minnesota (6-4-1) at New England (8-3) - This game could go down to the wire.

LA Chargers (8-3) at Pittsburgh (7-3-1) - Great Sunday night match up that will likely go down to the wire.

Washington (6-5) at Philadelphia (5-6) - The Monday night game with two teams desperate for a win as they chase the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East race.

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

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

Last Week's Record -  11-4

SEASON RECORD -  117-57-2

Lock of the Week Record -  10-2

Monday, November 26, 2018

NFL - Week Twelve Review

What a weekend in the NFL as the Thanksgiving Day games offered up some excitement, followed by some record setting performances in the Sunday games.
Bears defense celebrates another touchdown in win over Lions.
The Chicago Bears (8-3) won at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day, 23-16 as defensive back Eddie Jackson took an interception back 41 yards for a score late in the fourth quarter to help decide the outcome. The Bears defense leads the NFL in takeaways and has 20 interceptions as well.
It was the fifth straight win for the Bears and Chase Daniel filled in at quarterback for the injured Mitch Trubisky in this one.
The other Turkey Day game saw the Dallas Cowboys improve to 6-5 by downing the visiting Washington Redskins, 31-23. Dallas wide receiver Amari Cooper had two TD receptions, including a 90-yard score as he hauled in eight receptions for 180 yards.
Meanwhile, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott also scored a rushing TD and went for his third straight game with over 100 yards rushing, gaining 121 yards on 26 carries. The Redskins (6-5) dropped their second straight game as backup QB Colt McCoy was picked off three times.
The New Orleans Saints (10-1) rolled past the visiting Atlanta Falcons, 31-17 in the Thanksgiving night cap behind four TD passes from QB Drew Brees, which gave them their tenth consecutive win. Falcons QB Matt Ryan had two TD tosses in defeat.

Chargers QB Philip Rivers had a record setting day in big win over Arizona.
The Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) routed the visiting Arizona Cardinals, 45-10 as QB Philip Rivers, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, stole the show by completing his first 25 passes and finished the game with 28-of-29 accuracy (96.6 percent) with three TD passes included. Rivers set two records (completion percentage for a single game and 25 consecutive completions to start a game) in the win.
Chargers running back Melvin Gordon scored a pair of rushing touchdowns, but left the game with a sprained knee in the third quarter. His status is listed as week to week.
The New England Patriots (8-3) toppled the host New York Jets, 27-13 as QB Tom Brady broke Peyton Manning's NFL record for most career passing yardage, which includes post-season games. Brady had two TD strikes in the win as the Pats rolled up 498 yards in total offense, including 215 rushing yards.
The Denver Broncos (5-6) surprised the Pittsburgh Steelers, 24-17 as their defense intercepted two passes and had two fumble recoveries, which made the difference as the Steelers amassed 527 total yards in offense, including a 97-yard TD pass play to WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (13 receptions for 189 yards).
Denver QB Case Keenum had two TD passes and RB Phillip Lindsay (110 rushing yards) scored the deciding touchdown on a two-yard run. The loss snapped the Steelers (7-3-1) six-game winning streak.
The Seattle Seahawks (6-5) showed their resilience as they knocked off the host Carolina Panthers, 30-27 on a 31-yard field goal by kicker Sebastian Janikowski as time ran out. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson had two TD passes and 339 yards passing in the win. Carolina QB Cam Newton also threw for two scores, but the Panthers (6-5) lost their third consecutive game.

                                               Elsewhere Around the NFL  . . . . . . .  

The Minnesota Vikings (6-4-1) put some distance between themselves and the Green Bay Packers (4-6-1) in the NFC playoff race with a 24-17 home victory on Sunday night as QB Kirk Cousins passed for three touchdowns . . .  The Baltimore Ravens (6-5) won at home, 34-17 over the Oakland Raiders as QB Lamar Jackson ran and passed for a TD to lead the way . . .  The Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) survived at home, beating the New York Giants, 25-22 on a game winning 43-yard field goal by Jake Elliott . . .  The Cleveland Browns routed the host Cincinnati Bengals, 35-20 behind four TD passes from rookie QB Baker Mayfield. Bengals QB Andy Dalton was lost for the rest of the season with a thumb injury in the loss . . .  The Indianapolis Colts (6-5) won their fifth consecutive game, 27-24 over the visiting Miami Dolphins as kicker Adam Vinatieri drilled a 32-yard field goal as time expired. Colts QB Andrew Luck had three TD passes in the win . . .  Tampa Bay rolled the visiting San Francisco 49ers, 27-9 as QB Jameis Winston returned to the starting role and had two TD passes . . . The Buffalo Bills held off the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-21 as rookie QB Josh Allen had a rushing and passing touchdown . . .  The Houston Texans (8-3) beat the Tennessee Titans, 34-17 on Monday Night Football. The win was the eight in a row for the Texans, a franchise record. Houston QB Deshaun Watson had a pair of scoring passes to WR Demaryius Thomas and running back Lamar Miller led the rushing attack (Houston gained 281 yards) with a 97-yard TD run. Titans QB Marcus Mariota was 22-for-23 passing for 303 yards and two TD passes in defeat.

Chicago 23, Detroit 16
Dallas 31, Washington 23
New Orleans 31, Atlanta 17
Cleveland 35, Cincinnati 20
Buffalo 24, Jacksonville 21
Tampa Bay 27, San Francisco 9
Philadelphia 25, NY Giants 22
New England 27, NY Jets 13
Baltimore 34, Oakland 17
Seattle 30, Carolina 27
LA Chargers 45, Arizona 10
Indianapolis 27, Miami 24
Denver 24, Pittsburgh 17
Minnesota 24, Green Bay 17
Houston 34, Tennessee 17 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten                           (Week ending November 25)

1.  Alabama (12-0)
2.  Clemson (12-0)
3.  Notre Dame (12-0)
4.  Georgia (11-1)
5.  Ohio State (11-1)
6.  UCF (11-0)
7.  Oklahoma (11-1)
8.  Michigan (10-2)
9.  Florida (9-3)
10.  Penn State (9-3)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

NFL - Week Twelve Preview

It's that time again - Thanksgiving Day and the annual NFL games played on the holiday.
The Detroit Lions will be hosting the Chicago Bears to get things started, then the Dallas Cowboys will be doing the same against the Washington Redskins and that game will be followed by the night cap as the Atlanta Falcons travel to The Big Easy to face the New Orleans Saints (9-1), who are the hottest team going right now in professional football, having won nine consecutive games.
The Bears (7-3 and leading the NFC North division) will be playing the Lions (4-6) without starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who is out with a sore right (throwing) shoulder, which was injured during last Sunday night's victory against the Minnesota Vikings.
 The Lions will likely be without their top running back as well. Kerryon Johnson, who is having a good rookie season, injured his knee during last week's win against Carolina. Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones is also being ruled out for the Thanksgiving Day game.
The Cowboys (5-5) are resurgent all of a sudden, winning two in a row (over Philadelphia and Atlanta on the road) and now host the faltering Redskins (6-4), who are without starting QB Alex Smith, out for the season with a broken leg.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has rushed for over 100 yards in those wins and the offense has looked much better than the first half of the season. If they can do that once again this week, the Dallas Cowboys should win this one and that would put them into a first place tie with Washington. 
The night game between the Saints and Falcons (4-6) will likely be a win for the home team, which would be their tenth straight. The Falcons have stumbled the past two games after winning three straight to get back to a .500 record.
It should be a fun day of football on Thanksgiving Day once again and the rest of the action this weekend should be equally as good. Only the Rams and Chiefs have the bye week.

For the rest of the action and previews, the following offers a look at the games with the Heftyinfo picks following up.

Oakland (2-8) at Baltimore (5-5) - Ravens roll !

Jacksonville (3-7) at Buffalo (3-7) - Hard to believe these two teams were playing each other in the NFL Playoffs last season.

Seattle (5-5) at Carolina (6-4) - Big battle for positioning for a possible wild card spot.

Cleveland (3-6-1) at Cincinnati (5-5) - Browns could win this game, which would really make things interesting in the AFC Wild Card race.

Miami (5-5) at Indianapolis (5-5) - The Colts are red hot while the Dolphins have sputtered after a hot start.

New England (7-3) at NY Jets (3-7) - Patriots roll !

NY Giants (3-7) at Philadelphia (4-6) - The Eagles have to win this game, right? Not necessarily with the way they have been playing.

San Francisco (2-8) at Tampa Bay (3-7) - Who cares?

Arizona (2-8) at LA Chargers (7-3) - If the Chargers lose this game, they don't deserve to make the playoffs.

Pittsburgh (7-2-1) at Denver (4-6) - Broncos lucked out last week at home for a win, not this time vs. the hottest team in the AFC in recent weeks.

Green Bay (4-5-1) at Minnesota (5-4-1) - The Vikings on the Sunday night game two straight weeks? They should win this one at home, but Aaron Rodgers knows his team is in a MUST WIN situation. Stay tuned.

Tennessee (5-5) at Houston (7-3) - Can the Titans stop the Texans seven-game winning streak? Doubtful.

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

Thanksgiving Day Games
Chicago over Detroit 
Dallas over Washington
New Orleans over Atlanta

Sunday Games
Baltimore over Oakland
Jacksonville over Buffalo 
Carolina over Seattle
Cincinnati over Cleveland
Indianapolis over Miami
New England over NY Jets
Philadelphia over NY Giants
Tampa Bay over San Francisco
LA CHARGERS over Arizona
Pittsburgh over Denver 
Minnesota over Green Bay

Monday Night Football
Houston over Tennessee 

Last Week's Record -  9-4

SEASON RECORD -  106-53-2 

Lock of the Week Record -  9-2

Monday, November 19, 2018

NFL - Week Eleven Review

Drew Brees and the Saints dominated the Philadelphia Eagles.
The New Orleans Saints (9-1) continue to dominate the league, winning their ninth straight game on
Sunday with a 48-7 pounding of the visiting (and defending Super Bowl champion) Philadelphia Eagles.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the Heftyinfo NFL co-Player of the Week, had four touchdown passes and 363 yards passing as they rolled up 546 total yardage in offense. The Saints defense dominated as well, limiting the Eagles to a paltry 196 total yards in offense. The Saints also intercepted Eagles QB Carson Wentz three times.

The Monday Night Football game saw a record for scoring as the Los Angeles Rams (10-1) topped the visiting Kansas City Chiefs, 54-51, which is the most ever combined points scored for the "prime time" game.
Mahomes and Goff put on a show on Monday night.
Rams QB Jared Goff, the Heftyinfo NFL co-Player of the Week, had four TD passes and 413 passing yards along with a rushing TD as the Rams outlasted the Chiefs (9-2) in the roller coaster event.
Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 478 yards and six touchdowns, but was intercepted three times, including the pick that sealed the game in  the final minute.
Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam scored twice, one touchdown on a fumble recovery and another on an interception return. The Chiefs Allen Bailey also had a defensive TD on a fumble recovery (fumble by Goff) and return. It was the first time in NFL history both teams scored 50 or more points in a game as they also combined for 1,001 total yards in offense.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2-1) won for the sixth consecutive game, storming back from a 16-0 hole to defeat the host Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-16. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger called his own number and scored the game winning TD on a one-yard plunge with only five seconds remaining in the game. Big Ben also had two TD passes, but was also picked off three times, including two by Jags corner man Jalen Ramsey.
The Houston Texans (7-3) won their seventh straight game with a thrilling 23-21 road win at Washington. Texans safety Justin Reid turned the tables on the Redskins with a 101-yard interception touchdown to give them a 17-7 halftime lead. That proved to be the pivotal play as kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn nailed a 54-yard field goal to make the difference in the final score.
Redskins starting QB Alex Smith was lost for the season to a broken leg, and backup Colt McCoy did rally the 'Skins to a brief 21-20 advantage with a scoring pass to tight end Jordan Reed, followed by a seven-yard scoring run from Adrian Peterson.
The Denver Broncos stunned the Los Angeles Chargers, 23-22 as kicker Brandon McManus drilled a game winning 34-yard field goal as time ran out. The Broncos received a second chance when the Chargers (7-3) self destructed late in the fourth quarter as they attempted to run out the clock.
Los Angeles out gained Denver 479-325 in offensive yardage, but two interceptions from QB Philip Rivers and 120 yards in penalties, along with a missed PAT kick and allowing a successful fake punt for the Broncos proved to be huge in the final score. The loss snapped the Chargers six-game win streak.
The Chicago Bears improved to 7-3 with a 25-20 home win against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football. The Chicago defense dominated once again as Eddie Jackson had a 27-yard "pick six" interception to give the Bears a 22-6 lead early in the final quarter.
The Vikings were held to just 22 rushing yards as they turned the football over three times. Meanwhile, Bears kicker Cody Parkey made three field goals, including a 48-yard kick that iced the game late in the fourth quarter.

                                                    Elsewhere Around the NFL  . . . . . . .

The Indianapolis Colts (5-5) won their fourth game in a row with a 38-10 rout of the visiting Tennessee Titans, who also dropped to 5-5 with the loss. Colts QB Andrew Luck had three TD passes (seven straight games doing that) to lead the win. Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton caught two of the touchdown passes . . .  The Dallas Cowboys (5-5) notched a huge win in Atlanta, 22-19 as kicker Brett Maher nailed the game winning 42-yard field goal as time ran out. Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott had 122 rushing yards and a 23-yard scoring run in victory . . .  Baltimore rode the first start of rookie QB Lamar Jackson (117 yards rushing of team total 265 rushing yards) to a 24-21 win over the visiting Cincinnati Bengals. Ravens kicker Justin Tucker hit a 24-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to help make the difference as both teams are now 5-5 in the AFC North race . . .  The New York Giants outlasted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 38-35 as rookie RB Saquon Barkley scored three touchdowns while rushing for 142 yards . . .  The Detroit Lions dodged a bullet with a 20-19 home win when the Carolina Panthers (6-4) tried an unsuccessful two-point conversion with just over a minute to go. Panthers QB Cam Newton had three TD passes in defeat . . .   The Oakland Raiders got a game winning 35-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson as time expired to defeat the host Arizona Cardinals, 23-21, snapping their five game losing streak . . .  The Seattle Seahawks (5-5) edged the Green Bay Packers, 27-24 last Thursday night as QB Russell Wilson threw a 15-yard TD pass to Ed Dickson in the final quarter to decide the outcome. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers had a pair of TD passes in the loss.

Seattle 27, Green Bay 24
Pittsburgh 20, Jacksonville 16
Baltimore 24, Cincinnati 21
Detroit 20, Carolina 19
Dallas 22, Atlanta 19
Houston 23, Washington 21
Indianapolis 38, Tennessee 10
NY Giants 38, Tampa Bay 35
Denver 23, LA Chargers 22
New Orleans 48, Philadelphia 7
Oakland 23, Arizona 21
Chicago 25, Minnesota 20
LA Rams 54, Kansas City 51

Sunday, November 18, 2018

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten                           (Week ending November 18) 

1.  Alabama (11-0)
2.  Clemson (11-0)
3.  Notre Dame (11-0)
4.  Georgia (10-1)
5.  Michigan (10-1)
6.  UCF(10-0)
7.  Oklahoma (10-1)
8.  Ohio State (10-1)
9.  Washington State (10-1)
10.  LSU (9-2)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

NFL - Week Eleven Preview

The big showdown in the NFL is this Monday night when the Los Angeles Rams will host the Kansas City Chiefs.
The game was supposed to be played in Mexico City, Mexico, but because the field conditions are so poor, the game was switched to the L.A. Coliseum (it is a Rams home game on the schedule) for the big Monday night tilt between the teams with identical 9-1 records.
The Rams lost on the road at New Orleans two weeks ago while the Chiefs only setback came a little over a month ago in New England on Sunday Night Football.
Both teams have high octane offenses along with suspect defenses, although the Rams defense has been more consistent through the first ten games.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has 31 touchdown passes along with seven interceptions while Rams QB Jared Goff has tossed 22 TD passes and been intercepted six times. But these two teams offenses are not just about the quarterbacks.
The Chiefs have Kareem Hunt (4.5 yards per carry with seven TD) and Spencer Ware (5.6 ypc) in the backfield and little wide receiver Tyreek Hill has nine touchdowns already while averaging 16.2 yards per catch. Tight end Travis Kelce has been solid with 57 receptions to lead the team, good for a 13.8 ypc average and six TD grabs.
Meanwhile, the Rams have running back Todd Gurley (an NFL MVP candidate this season along with K.C. QB Patrick Mahomes) who has averaged 5.0 yards per carry while gaining 988 yards to lead the league in that category. In addition, Gurley has 40 receptions (10.1 ypc average) and has scored 17 total touchdowns, with 13 of them coming on the ground.
L.A. wide receivers Brandin Cooks (51, 857, 16.8 ypc and three TD) and Robert Woods (55, 832, 15.1 ypc and three TD) have been a dynamic duo so far this season. However Cooper Kupp, the third leg of the trio was lost for the rest of the season when he suffered a knee injury last weekend. Kupp has six TD receptions to lead the team along with his 40 receptions for 566 yards.
Defensively, Kansas City allows 411 yards per game (122 rushing, 290 passing) while getting 31 QB sacks to this point. The Rams defense yields 355 yards per game (122 rushing, 233 passing) and has 26 QB sacks.
The game figures to be a shootout and could come down to whoever has the football last.
But stranger things have happened in the NFL when the top two teams go at it, so who knows, this game could wind up being a 7-3 affair. But don't count on it because Mahomes and Goff have been flinging the ball all over the yard on a consistent basis through ten games and that doesn't look to stop any time soon.

     PREDICTION - Rams 38, Chiefs 35

The rest of the action around the NFL is featured below in the capsule style format and the Heftyinfo  predictions follow.

Green Bay (4-4-1) at Seattle (4-5) - The Thursday night battle between two teams struggling along at the .500 mark.  Toss up here.

Dallas (4-5) at Atlanta (4-5) - Another NFC tilt between two teams fighting to keep their post-season hopes alive. Falcons rate the edge (slightly) at home.

Cincinnati (5-4) at Baltimore (4-5) - The Ravens are coming off the bye week and need this game as they have fallen out of the playoff mix to this point.

Carolina (6-3) at Detroit (3-6) - The Lions are a strange team this season and just might pull off a surprise at home in this one.

Pittsburgh (6-2-1) at Jacksonville (3-6) - Two teams going in opposite directions. Steelers would love to get revenge after last season's playoff debacle against the Jaguars.

Tennessee (5-4) at Indianapolis (4-5) - Two teams that have been getting it done the last few weeks battle it out in Indy. Toss up.

Tampa Bay (3-6) at NY Giants (2-7) - Can the Giants make it two wins in a row? You bet.

Houston (6-3) at Washington (6-3) - Two teams that have been flying under the radar in their conferences so far. Redskins win this one at home.

Philadelphia (4-5) at New Orleans (8-1) - The Saints have won eight in a row and play the struggling Eagles in The Big Easy.  Beware!

Oakland (1-8) at Arizona (2-7) - Two of the worst teams in the NFL go at it in this one. Cardinals should win this home game.

Denver (3-6) at LA Chargers (7-2) - The Chargers have been rolling, but the Denver defense is tough and could keep this one close.

Minnesota (5-3-1) at Chicago (6-3) - This game was "flexed" to the "prime time" Sunday night game and for good reason. These two teams have excellent defenses and are battling for first place in the NFC North.

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

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

Last Week's Record -  7-7

SEASON RECORD -  97-49-2

Lock of the Week Record -  8-2 

Monday, November 12, 2018

NFL - Week Ten Review

Who Dat?
The New Orleans Saints (8-1) completely destroyed the Cincinnati Bengals, 51-14 as quarterback Drew Brees (pictured left) threw for three touchdowns and also had a rushing score and running back Alvin Kamara scored two rushing touchdowns to pace the rout, which was the eighth straight win for the Saints.
New Orleans totaled 509 yards (including 244 yards rushing) in offense while building up a 35-7 halftime lead, which ballooned to 45-7 after three quarters.
Last Thursday night, the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1) had a similar result as they crushed the visiting Carolina Panthers, 52-21 behind a huge game from QB Ben Roethlisberger, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week.  Big Ben (pictured below right) had 328 yards passing and threw five scoring passes while the Steelers defense held the Panthers to 242 yards in total offense and forced two
The Los Angeles Rams (9-1) knocked off the Seattle Seahawks, 36-31 but later found out they lost wide receiver Cooper Kupp for the rest of the season to a knee injury.
The game had four lead changes before the Rams took control following a fumble recovery which they converted to a score when Brandin Cooks scored on a nine-yard run to give them a 36-24 lead with 5:49 remaining in the game. The Seahawks (4-5) rushed for 273 yards in the losing effort.
The Chicago Bears (6-3) beat the Detroit Lions, 34-22 behind QB Mitch Trubisky, who passed for 355 yards and three touchdowns, including two to WR Allen Robinson (six receptions, 133 yards). Meanwhile, the Chicago defense totaled six QB sacks and forced three turnovers, including two interceptions.
The Tennessee Titans shocked the visiting New England Patriots, routing them 34-10 as QB Marcus Mariota had two TD passes and RB Derrick Henry had two rushing scores. The Patriots were limited to just 40 rushing yards in the game.
Kansas City (9-1) knocked off the Arizona Cardinals, 26-14 for a home win as QB Patrick Mahomes threw two TD passes to WR Tyreek Hill, who celebrated one of the scores by going into the stands and taking over the TV camera and putting it on his teammates in the end zone.

                                           Elsewhere Around the NFL  . . . . . . .     

The Los Angeles Chargers (7-2) beat the Oakland Raiders, 20-6 for their sixth consecutive victory behind a pair of scoring passes from QB Philip Rivers, including a 66-yard strike to RB Melvin Gordon . . .  The Washington Redskins (6-3) beat Tampa Bay, 16-3 despite their defense allowing 501 yards to the Bucs. The difference in the outcome was four turnovers by the Buccaneers . . .  The Green Bay Packers had an easy home game, beating the Miami Dolphins, 31-12 as Aaron Rodgers had two TD passes and Aaron Jones rushed for 145 yards and two more scores . . .  The Cleveland Browns won at home, topping the Atlanta Falcons, 28-16 as Nick Chubb went 92 yards for a TD run while also hauling in a 13-yard TD pass from QB Baker Mayfield, who had three TD passes in the win . . .  Buffalo stormed past the host New York Jets, 41-10 as backup QB Matt Barkley had two TD passes and RB LeSean McCoy ran for 113 yards and two TD to lead the rout . . .  The Indianapolis Colts forced a crucial fumble late in the game to thwart a Jacksonville Jaguars rally as they won, 29-26. Colts QB Andrew Luck had three TD passes in the win . . .  In the Sunday night game, the Dallas Cowboys surprised the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-20 for their first road win of the season, riding RB Ezekiel Elliott's (151 yards rushing) two touchdowns, including the game winner on a one-yard run late in the fourth quarter. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott had a TD pass and a scoring run in the win while Eagles QB Carson Wentz threw two TD passes in the loss. Both teams are now 4-5 and trail the Washington Redskins (6-3) by two games in the NFC East race . . .  The New York Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers, 27-23 on Monday Night Football, snapping a five-game losing streak as QB Eli Manning had three TD passes, including two to WR Odell Beckham, Jr. and the game winner to WR Sterling Shepard in the fourth quarter.

Pittsburgh 52, Carolina 21
Chicago 34, Detroit 22
New Orleans 51, Cincinnati 14
Cleveland 28, Atlanta 16
Washington 16, Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 26, Arizona 14
Tennessee 34, New England 10
Buffalo 41, NY Jets 10
Indianapolis 29, Jacksonville 26
LA Chargers 20, Oakland 6
LA Rams 36, Seattle 31
Green Bay 31, Miami 12
Dallas 27, Philadelphia 20 
NY Giants 27, San Francisco 23

Sunday, November 11, 2018

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten           (Week ending November 11)       

1.  Alabama (10-0)
2.  Clemson (10-0)
3.  Notre Dame (10-0)
4.  Georgia (9-1)
5.  Michigan (9-1)
6.  Ohio State (9-1)
7.  UCF (9-0)
8.  Oklahoma (9-1)
9.  West Virginia (8-1)
10.  Washington State (9-1)
(tie)10.  LSU (8-2)  

Friday, November 9, 2018

NFL - Week Ten Preview

Week Ten started off with a bang last night as the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1) dominated the Carolina Panthers, 52-21 as Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdown passes (328 yards passing) to lead them to their fifth straight victory. The Panthers (6-3) saw their three-game win streak snapped in the Steel City.
The rest of the NFL action this weekend features 13 other games slated (four teams have their "bye week") with the headliners being the New Orleans Saints at Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks traveling to Los Angeles to face the Rams (8-1), who lost for the first time this season last week.
The Saints (7-1) have been the hottest team in the league with seven straight wins (including the 45-35 win over the LA Rams last week) and face a Bengals team that has slowed down after racing out to a 4-1 start in the AFC North.
Drew Brees and company will look to continue to fling the football all over the field once again, but will likely be without wide receiver Dez Bryant, whom they just signed as a free agent. Bryant, the latest addition to the potent offense in New Orleans, reportedly suffered a torn Achilles in practice.
As for the Seattle-LA Rams game, if the Rams can win this one, they would open a huge five game lead in the NFC West with only six games remaining following Week Ten. The Seahawks (4-4) were on a roll until last week when the other L.A. team known as the Chargers defeated them in The Great Northwest.
The rest of the games are featured below in the capsule style previews, along with the Heftyinfo predictions for all of the action this weekend.

Detroit (3-5) at Chicago (5-3) - The Bears have been playing well this season and should beat the Lions, but you never can tell in this NFC North division rivalry.

New Orleans (7-1) at Cincinnati (5-3) - It's Who Dat (Saints) vs. Who Dey (Bengals) this week in Cincy. The big question is . . .  WHO wins?  Who Dat!

Atlanta (4-4) at Cleveland (2-6-1) - Falcons soar again this week.

Miami (5-4) at Green Bay (3-4-1) - Packers need this game and they will get it.

Jacksonville (3-5) at Indianapolis (3-5) - Can the Jaguars end their disappointment? Perhaps, but the Colts have been playing better after a rough start.

Arizona (2-6) at Kansas City (8-1) - Chiefs roll BIG TIME !

Buffalo (2-7) at NY Jets (3-6) - Both of these teams are banged up but somebody has to win. J-E-T-S - Jets! Jets! Jets!

Washington (5-3) at Tampa Bay (3-5) - Redskins were routed last week at home, so they better be ready on the road against FitzMagic and the Bucs.

New England (7-2) at Tennessee (4-4) - Patriots have won six in a row, but the Titans defense could present a challenge.

LA Chargers (6-2) at Oakland (1-7) - The Chargers will be looking to keep pace with the Chiefs in the AFC West race. Raiders are terrible.

Seattle (4-4) at LA Rams (8-1) - Rams should win this game and by doing so could actually clinch the NFC West before Thanksgiving Day with another win next week . . . Incentive.

Dallas (3-5) at Philadelphia (4-4) - Eagles soar at home in the "prime time" Sunday night game.

NY Giants (1-7) at San Francisco (2-7) - The "Who Cares" game is on Monday Night Football this week.

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

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

Last Week's Record -  10-3

SEASON RECORD -  90-42-2

Lock of the Week Record -  7-2 

Monday, November 5, 2018

It's Your Civic Duty

NFL - Week Nine Review

Drew Brees and the Saints took it to the Rams.
There are no longer any undefeated teams left in the NFL this season.
The New Orleans Saints (7-1) outlasted the Los Angeles Rams, 45-35 to knock the Rams (8-1) from the unbeaten category, ensuring the 1972 Miami Dolphins will remain the only team to have a perfect season (17-0) for at least another year.
Saints running back Alvin Kamara scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) to lead the way along with quarterback Drew Brees' big game, which included four TD passes (to four different players) and 346 passing yards. Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas had 12 catches for 211 yards and one score as well. Rams QB Jared Goff had 391 pass yards and three TD passes in the loss.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2-1) served notice they are the team to beat in the AFC North as they won on the road against the Baltimore Ravens, 23-16 behind a pair of TD passes and a one-yard scoring run from QB Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers defense limited the Ravens offense to just 268 total yards. Baltimore suffered their third straight loss and dropped to 4-5 in the division race.
The New England Patriots (7-2) knocked off the Green Bay Packers, 31-17 in the Sunday night game as QB Tom Brady connected with wide receiver Josh Gordon on a 55-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter to seal the game. The Patriots scored two times in the final quarter to overcome two TD passes by Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers.
Pats running back James White scored two rushing touchdowns and Cordarrelle Patterson also scored a rushing TD as they won their sixth consecutive game. The Packers (3-4-1) slipped below the .500 mark this late in the season for the first time since 2005.
The Los Angeles Chargers (6-2) won their fifth straight game as they beat the host Seattle Seahawks, 25-17 as RB Melvin Gordon scored a rushing touchdown to go with 113 yards rushing in his return from a groin injury. The game came down to the wire but the Chargers defense held off the Seahawks (4-4) on the final play of the game as the pass by Seattle QB Russell Wilson into the end zone fell incomplete.
Chargers kicker Caleb Sturgis missed two extra point kicks and a 42-yard field goal to help keep Seattle in the game. As a result of his miscues, Sturgis was released by the Chargers following the game.
The streaking Carolina Panthers (6-2) stayed within one game of the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South race by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 42-28 for their third win in a row.
Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey scored two rushing touchdowns and WR Curtis Samuel had two scores as well (one of them a 33-yard TD run) to offset the four TD passes by Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

                                            Elsewhere Around the NFL  . . . . . . .

The Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) hammered the host Cleveland Browns, 37-21 as QB Patrick Mahomes had three TD passes while RB Kareem Hunt scored three times in the win . . .  The Chicago Bears (5-3) crushed the host Buffalo Bills, 41-9 as their defense scored two touchdowns and forced four turnovers (one fumble, three interceptions) which included Eddie Jackson's 65-yard fumble return for TD and Leonard Floyd taking a pick back for a 19-yard score as they built a 28-0 halftime lead . . .  Atlanta (4-4) won their third straight game as they routed the host Washington Redskins, 38-14 behind four TD passes from QB Matt Ryan . . .  The Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1) rolled the visiting Detroit Lions, 24-9 as their defense registered 10 QB sacks, including 3 1/2 sacks by Danielle Hunter, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week. Hunter also scored a 32-yard touchdown off a fumble recovery to pace the easy victory . . .  The Houston Texans (6-3) held off the Denver Broncos, 19-17 for their sixth straight win as QB Deshaun Watson had two TD passes. Broncos kicker Brandon McManus missed a 51-yard field goal as time expired . . . The Miami Dolphins (5-4) beat the New York Jets, 13-6 in a defensive struggle as the two teams combined for only 21 first downs and a meager 443 total yards in offense. The Dolphins defense had four interceptions in the win, including Jerome Baker's 25-yard pick six for the only touchdown in the game . . .  In the Thursday night game, the host San Francisco 49ers blew away the Oakland Raiders, 34-3 as backup QB Nick Mullens had three TD passes . . .  The Tennessee Titans (4-4) defeated the host Dallas Cowboys, 28-14 on Monday Night Football as QB Marcus Mariota had two TD passes and a nine-yard scoring run to lead the way.

San Francisco 34, Oakland 3
Chicago 41, Buffalo 9
Pittsburgh 23, Baltimore 16
Minnesota 24, Detroit 9
Kansas City 37, Cleveland 21
Carolina 42, Tampa Bay 28
Miami 13, NY Jets 6
Atlanta 38, Washington 14
LA Chargers 25, Seattle 17
Houston 19, Denver 17
New Orleans 45, LA Rams 35
New England 31, Green Bay 17
Tennessee 28, Dallas 14 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten                  (Week ending November 4)  

1.  Alabama (9-0)
2.  Clemson (9-0)
3.  Notre Dame (9-0)
4.  Georgia (8-1)
5.  Michigan (8-1)
6.  Ohio State (8-1)
7.  UCF  (8-0)
8.  Oklahoma (8-1)
9.  West Virginia (7-1)
10. Washington State (8-1)
(tie)10.  LSU (7-2)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

NFL - Week Nine Preview

Two huge games stand out on the NFL schedule for Week Nine as the undefeated Los Angeles Rams (8-0) travel to face the New Orleans Saints (6-1), winners of six in a row themselves. Meanwhile, the "prime time" Sunday night game will feature the Green Bay Packers (3-3-1) at the New England Patriots (6-2), who have won five straight and once again have a firm grip on first place in the AFC East division.
The Patriots and future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Tom Brady facing the Packers and great QB Aaron Rodgers in a head-to-head game is usually exciting and should be a good one once again. The Packers really need to win this game as they are in a log jam of a race in the NFC North, trailing both the Chicago Bears (4-3) and Minnesota Vikings (4-3-1) by one-half game.
Meanwhile, the Saints and Rams game could very well be a shootout in The Big Easy.  The Rams have one of the top offenses in the NFL and the Saints, led by quarterback Drew Brees are right there with them. Both teams also play pretty good defense as well, so turnovers will likely make the difference in this one.
In the AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2-1) share first place with Cincinnati (5-3) as they travel to Baltimore to face their arch rivals. The Steelers and the Ravens (4-4) is usually a hard hitting affair as both teams dislike each other.
Pittsburgh has been playing well, winners of three straight games while the Ravens have lost two straight, including last week's 36-21 debacle at Carolina.
One other game that merits attention is the Seattle Seahawks (4-3) hosting the Los Angeles Chargers (5-2) on Sunday afternoon. The Seahawks blasted the Detroit Lions last week (on the road) while Chargers, winners of four consecutive games, are coming off their bye week.
The Seahawks defense has been improving each week while the running game seems to be alive and well in the Great Northwest once again, which eases the pressure on QB Russell Wilson to feel the need to do it all for the offense. The Chargers have shown balance on offense this season while the defense is getting the job done and will soon have injured All-Pro rush end Joey Bosa back in the fold.

The rest of the action should be exciting this weekend, so here is the capsule style previews of all the games, followed by the Heftyinfo predictions for Week Nine.

Oakland (1-6) at San Francisco (1-7) - Thursday night (yawner) action between two teams vying for the number-one draft pick next spring.

Pittsburgh (4-2-1) at Baltimore (4-4) - The Ravens are in a MUST WIN game this weekend vs. their fiercest rivals.

Chicago (4-3) at Buffalo (2-6) - Bears roll !

Tampa Bay (3-4) at Carolina (5-2) - The Panthers should win this one, but the Bucs have "Fitzmagic" back as the starting quarterback.

Kansas City (7-1) at Cleveland (2-5-1) - Will the Browns (with a new Head Coach) be able to slow down the Chiefs?  Doubtful.

NY Jets (3-5) at Miami (4-4) - This game could go down to the wire.

Detroit (3-4) at Minnesota (4-3-1) - NFC North battle where anything can (and usually does) happen.

Atlanta (3-4) at Washington (5-2) - Both of these teams have been on modest rolls, so something  has to give.

Houston (5-3) at Denver (3-5) - The Texans head to Denver with a five-game winning streak. Beware!

LA Chargers (5-2) at Seattle (4-3) - Seahawks could slow down the Chargers this week.

LA Rams (8-0) at New Orleans (6-1) - Toss up here. Expect a lot of scoring and a fantastic finish.

Green Bay (3-3-1) at New England (6-2) - Brady vs. Rodgers in "prime time." Doesn't get much better than that for NFL fans . . .   Patriots win in a squeaker.

Tennessee (3-4) at Dallas (3-4) - Monday Night Football battle between two also ran type teams.

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

San Francisco over Oakland
Pittsburgh over Baltimore 
CHICAGO over Buffalo
Carolina over Tampa Bay
Kansas City over Cleveland 
Miami over NY Jets
Minnesota over Detroit
Atlanta over Washington 
Denver over Houston
Seattle over LA Chargers
New Orleans over LA Rams
New England over Green Bay
Dallas over Tennessee

Last Week's Record -  9-5

SEASON RECORD -  80-39-2

Lock of the Week Record -  6-2