Tag Archives: football

The Divisional Round: 4-0, 3-1, 3-1

The Divisional playoff round is upon us and if it plays true to form almost any result could be possible.  Historically speaking the favorites have dominated in recent years winning 10 of the previous twelve games, but peel back the history just a little bit further and you see that two out of four home teams lost in 2007 and 2010, and in 2008, three of the home teams lost on divisional playoff weekend.

Are there any underdogs likely to win this weekend?

In truth all of the dogs other than the Panthers have a legit chance. The Ravens simply play much better in the playoffs than in the regular season and are to some degree, a decent match for New England (a duel threat offense with a defense that features strength in the middle and the ability to push from the edges as well disturbing the pocket-a major issue for Brady), the Cowboys have the running game to keep the Packers offense off the field, and Rodgers is hobbled, at least to some extent, and the Broncos have not been impressive at all in recent weeks, particularly in the passing game.  So what can we expect?

Baltimore @ New England

A year ago with the playoffs on the line the Patriots crushed the Ravens in Baltimore, 41-7. A year later and the Patriots are a much better side while Baltimore is only improved minutely, and on the offensive rather than the defensive end. Brady should be able to obliterate the Ravens secondary so long as his interior line can hold up and they can keep Suggs in check. The Ravens will likely struggle to consistently move the ball against the Patriots, relying more on a short passing game and Forsett, Steve Smith appears to be stuck on Revis Island, something Steve’s ego at least can handle, so Torey should have some opportunities. I see the Patriots winning this far more comfortably than mediots suggest. They’re simply the better team and at home.

Patriots 31 Ravens 20

Carolina @ Seattle

There isn’t much reason to spend a lot of time on this game. In recent years the contests between these foes have been tight, but Carolina has been unable to move the ball. They’ve been low scoring defensive battles remiscent of the Ravens-Steelers games of that 2004-2012 era. This is the playoffs, however and Seattle will be able to make life miserable for a Panthers offense that has looked putrid whenever it’s had to attack quality defenses. Newton was particularly awful last week and the fact that the Panthers struggled to put away a Cardinals team completely lacking in offensive weapons last week is not a good sign. Seattle shouldn’t have much trouble locking down the Panthers passing attack, the main issue will be in locking up their rushing attack, which could exploit a soft Seattle middle.

Wilson and Lynch will work to soften up the panthers D, and by the second half, shouldn’t have much trouble putting an exhausted defense away, the 11 points appear to be a rough number to take on, but this is the sort of game that historically has proven to be a blow out in the playoffs, and historically, .500 or worse teams that pulled off an upset in the wild card round have lost every single divisional playoff game they’ve ever played.

Seattle 31 Carolina 10

Dallas @ Green Bay

A rematch of the 1967 Ice Bowl forty-seven years later, it won’t be nearly so cold on Sunday morning. The Cowboys have been quite lucky as the weather fairy delivered snow in the run up to the game, but expectations are for relatively clear skies and a wind chill temperature of 7 degrees. Quite cold but nowhere near how cold it was for the Ice Bowl.

Rodgers will man up and play through pain on sunday, but the expectation is that both Green Bay and Dallas will try to utilize the run considering injuries on the one hand, and the cold on the other.

Betters have pushed the line down a full 1.5 points since the Rodgers injury news hit the wire, and for those keen on playing the dog, the time was several days ago. If you like Green Bay you should be able to wait until sunday morning when you may be able to grab a 4.5 point line.

Expectation? This game is entirely contingent on Rodgers health and turnovers. If Rodgers can play relatively well despite the injury and not suffer any setbacks during the game the Packers should win this and cover. If Murray has fumbling issues, the Packers should also win this assuming Rodgers is good to go.

Green Bay 34 Dallas 24

Andrew Luck @ Denver

This is the game of games to avoid. On the one hand the Colts are basically Luck, and not much else, while Denver has seen Manning turn into a pumpkin as the year came to an end. Seems a safe bet to assume Denver can simply rely on CJ Anderson, and limiting Manning’s drop backs, while exploiting the one dimensional nature of the Colts. One wrinkle in this is that people continue to assert that the Colts have no running game, a fact clearly contradicted by the performance of Boom Herron during the closing month of the season. Herron could be the x-factor in this game if Manning goes “Pumpkin” again, as he would remove provide Luck with a much needed duel threat to occupy Denver defenders and open up opportunities for Moncrief, Hilton, Fleener, and Allen.

However Denver has a strong defense, if not an elite one and should be able to go slow down a Luck whom historically is no better than 2 games above .500 on the road, while Anderson should open up opportunities for Manning to play solid ball, especially considering the weather will be unseasonably warm for a January game.

Denver 31 Indianapolis 17

 

Best Bets:

New England -7

Seattle -11

Green Bay vs Dallas Under (52)-

I wouldn’t consider this until we know more on sunday morning, but a O/U of 52 in sub-freezing temperatures seems incredibly ambitious, especially when you consider both sides will be relying heavily on their run games, and that Murray has begun to slow down as his carry total for the year approaches 400.

A lot of people will be tempted to play the dogs in this, particularly Baltimore, and Dallas because they’re fancied, and Carolina for the sheer obscene scale of the number Seattle must cover. The problem here is that New England is a vastly superior team to Baltimore, Carolina is a horrible team that has beaten nobody of consequence during this run, and Dallas will need Rodgers to be totally ineffective in order to pull off the upset. You’d have to go back to 2010 to find the dogs pulling off major upsets, and if you recall, last year, the dogs went 0 for 4 on the divisional playoff weekend. I think we may see a dog pull out a win this time around, but I find it highly unlikely we’ll see something analogous to 2007 and 2010, and there’s zero chance of a replay of the shocking divisional round from 2008.

 

Share

Pete Morelli on Controversial Pass Interference Reversal: “It Would Have Probably Been Smoother If We Got Together”

Jim Caldwell is known for his stoicism. This postgame press conference, though tame by beer commercial meltdown standards, is about as emotional as the Lions coach gets. When asked about whether he received an explanation after Pete Morelli, inexplicably and without explanation, reversed the call of pass interference on Anthony Hitchens, Caldwell was unsurprisingly not satisfied.

“It was not good enough,” he said. “I’m gonna leave it at that. I’m not gonna sit up here and act like that was the call that made the difference in the game. We still had our chances.”

Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew was also not happy:

As of yet, there has been no statement from the league.

The NFL finally released the pool reporter interview with referee Pete Morelli regarding the fourth quarter pass interference call in the Detroit-Dallas game that wasn’t, after it initially was.

Todd Archer: Can you talk about the decision to overturn the call and why you overturned the call?

Pete Morelli: The back judge threw his flag for defensive pass interference. We got other information from another official from a different angle that thought the contact was minimal and didn’t warrant pass interference. He thought it was face-guarding.

Archer: Which official?

Morelli: The head linesman.

Archer: What did you see?

Morelli: It’s not my responsibility. I’m a hundred miles away.

Archer: Face-guarding is not a foul?

Morelli: Face-guarding is not a foul. It is a penalty in college but not in professional football.

Archer: What is the process you go through after you announce the call? Should you have waited before you announced the call?

Morelli: Probably, yes. The information came and then the officials got together a little bit later, after it was given to me, the first information. It would have probably been smoother if we got together.

Archer: Do you remember this type of player happening before?

Morelli: No, not particularly.

Archer: So one more time on who the person was that had a better view?

Morelli: The better view was from the head linesman.

At this point, while plenty of conspiracy theories will be referenced, the bigger issue is that the NFL goes with crews in the playoffs who do not necessarily work together during the regular season, grading each individual official to determine their playoff standing. The crew didn’t get together to confer, and it’s possible that two officials that didn’t have a feel for one another disagreed, with the head linesman winning out in his view of the play.

Dallas-Detroit missed pass interference call-replay

[UPDATE: The NFL finally released the pool reporter interview with referee Pete Morelli regarding the fourth quarter pass interference call in the Detroit-Dallas game that wasn’t, after it initially was.

Todd Archer: Can you talk about the decision to overturn the call and why you overturned the call?

Pete Morelli: The back judge threw his flag for defensive pass interference. We got other information from another official from a different angle that thought the contact was minimal and didn’t warrant pass interference. He thought it was face-guarding.

Archer: Which official?

Morelli: The head linesman.

Archer: What did you see?

Morelli: It’s not my responsibility. I’m a hundred miles away.

Archer: Face-guarding is not a foul?

Morelli: Face-guarding is not a foul. It is a penalty in college but not in professional football.

Archer: What is the process you go through after you announce the call? Should you have waited before you announced the call?

Morelli: Probably, yes. The information came and then the officials got together a little bit later, after it was given to me, the first information. It would have probably been smoother if we got together.

Archer: Do you remember this type of player happening before?

Morelli: No, not particularly.

Archer: So one more time on who the person was that had a better view?

Morelli: The better view was from the head linesman.

At this point, while plenty of conspiracy theories will be referenced, the bigger issue is that the NFL goes with crews in the playoffs who do not necessarily work together during the regular season, grading each individual official to determine their playoff standing. The crew didn’t get together to confer, and it’s possible that two officials that didn’t have a feel for one another disagreed, with the head linesman winning out in his view of the play.]

[Video from ESPN]

Share

Adam Jones and Geno Atkins Separated by Marvin Lewis After Sideline Argument [Video]

Adam Jones and Geno Atkins had some words with each other after the Bengals gave up a swift touchdown on the Colts’ opening drive. Missing AJ Green and Jermaine Gresham on offense, Cincinnati’s defense is going to need to be a lot better going forward to keep the team in the game.

The Colts lead 13-10 going into halftime, but scored a touchdown on their first possession and now lead 20-10 late in the 3rd quarter.

Share

NFL RAPID REACTIONS – WEEK 17

There were a lot of teams ready for vacation and a lot of teams trying to jockey for playoff position.  Either way, the final week in the NFL season did not disappoint (for the most part). Clearly there are more than a few teams that have to get back to the drawing board. My thoughts on the final week of the regular season……

RAVENS 20  BROWNS 10

The Browns basically had no shot of winning this game by having to play a 3rd string QB. He wasn’t even on the team last week, but then he gets the Ravens which isn’t fun. The Ravens will meed the “good” Flacco if they want to make a real playoff push.

torrey smith ravens

COWBOYS 44  REDSKINS 17

This was a prime example of what we like to call a “revenge game.”  Dallas was clicking on all cylinders and wanted to make a statement after the Monday Night debacle over a month ago. If the Redskins want to get better then the offseason needs to be dedicated to the defensive side of the ball.

COLTS 27  TITANS 10

This game was never in question as Luck only played a half and TY didn’t even record a catch. The Titans need help everywhere so Whisenhunt will have his work cut out this offseason.  The Jake Locker era is over so the qb position will need to be addressed as well.

SAINTS 23  BUCS 20

The Saints won this game as expected but they are surely disappointed with the season. Lovie Smith was expected to take the Bucs defense to new heights but instead it was new lows. Sean Payton will make the proper corrections to get the Saints back on track and it might start with getting rid of Rob Ryan.

EAGLES 34  GIANTS 26

This game had no meaning for either team outside of pure pride. ODJ is a bonafide stud and put his talents on full display again. The Giants finally have something to build upon. Chip Kelly will need to find some cornerbacks and more viable receivers this offseason as Riley Cooper can’t be a starter next year.

BILLS 17  PATRIOTS 9

The Patriots had no incentive to winning this game and the Bills were out of the playoff hunt. It will be interesting to see what the new management does with the current Bills coaching staff.

TEXANS 23  JAGS 17

Once again the Texans fall short and the Jags just fall. The Texans desperately need a franchise QB to take this team to the next level. The Jags are still rebuilding and look to be headed in the right direction.

Jaguars trick play touchdown against Houston

CHIEFS 19  CHARGERS 7

The Chargers were decimated by injuries on offense all year and the final game of the season was no different. There was no way the Chargers would beat KC without Keenan Allen and Ryan Matthews. The Chiefs are heading back to the playoffs behind the brilliant mind of Andy Reid who continues to amaze based in the severe lack of production from anybody outside of Jamaal Charles.

JETS 37  DOLPHINS 24

Did the Jets come to play or did the Dolphins lay down?  Who knows, but this was by far the Jets most impressive showing all year. Rex Ryan will land on his feet somewhere but Philbin could be next if he doesn’t get to the playoffs next year.

VIKINGS 13  BEARS 9

Teddy Bridgewater has quietly put together a solid rookie campaign and the Vikings defense will be really good next season. This season couldn’t have ended fast enough for a Bears franchise that was flat out pathetic all year. Unfortunately they are stuck with Cutler so something has to give.

BRONCOS 47  RAIDERS 14

Yep this was pretty much what we expected. Even with the Broncos not playing for much it was a mismatch. It will be a long offseason for Oakland who has plenty holes.

Arizona flea flicker touchdown against San Francisco

49ERS 20  CARDINALS 17

The 49ers came out and played inspired knowing this was their coach’s last game.  However it was good to see the Cardinals QB finally throw a couple TD’s because they will need him to produce going into the playoffs.

PACKERS 30  LIONS 20

A heroic performance by Aaron Rodgers locked up the NFC North and a 1st round bye. Being that he has a bad calf it was much needed.  Stafford is very inconsistent and Sunday was no different at Lambeau field. He will need to be at his best next week versus a hungry Cowboys team.

LeVeon Bell hit in knee by Reggie Nelson

SEAHAWKS 20  RAMS 6

The Seahawks defense came through once again to help propel the Seahawks to another win and put a stamp on being crowned NFC West champs. The NFC playoffs will go thru Seattle once again and the rest of the division has been put on notice as the Seahawks are peaking.

PANTHERS 34  FALCONS 3

The Falcons couldn’t have played worst in a “must win” game at home. This was a clear indication that Mike Smith needs to go. Cam Newton looked healthy and primed to make a small playoff push. It was very surprising to see the Falcons offense get shut down considering the fact they have been explosive the last month of the season.

STEELERS 27  BENGALS 17

Antonio Brown dominated this game and made all the game changing plays to help Pitt go home with the AFC North crown. The Bengals need more out of Andy Dalton to really be a force in the AFC as he was outplayed by Big Ben. The Steelers might be in trouble as Leveon is hurt with a hyper extended knee.

 

Share

The Ten Worst Roughing the Passer Plays of the 2014 NFL Season [Video]

The NFL is trying to protect its quarterbacks, often above all else. This point of emphasis leads to a fair amount of false positives when it comes to roughing the passer calls, as was evident last week. Referees are going to err on the side of calling Roughing the Passer if it looks close, and on bang-bang plays, lots of things can look close.

This as you can imagine, has become quite a nuisance for defensive players and coaches. Just when you think your team has just successfully stopped a drive with a big third-down play and a flag mysteriously appears, causing you to curse the gods and claim it’s the worst call of the year.

With that in mind, here are 10 of the absolutely worst roughing the passer penalties of the season thus far.

10. Wallace Gilberry on Cam Newton, Week 6, Carolina at Cincinnati

9. Jason Hatcher on Eli Manning, Week 4, New York Giants at Washington

8. Corey Liuget on E.J. Manuel, Week 3, San Diego at Buffalo

7. Patrick Willis on Drew Stanton, Week 3, San Francisco at Arizona

6. Eugene Sims on Tony Romo, Week 3, Dallas at St. Louis


5. Jason Worilds on Matt Ryan, Week 15, Pittsburgh at Atlanta


4. Jo-Lonn Dunbar on Josh McCown, Week 2, St. Louis at Tampa Bay


3. Sio Moore on Carson Palmer, Week 7, Arizona at Oakland


2. D.J. Swearinger on Robert Griffin III, Week 1, Washington at Houston


1. Nick Moody on Russell Wilson, Week 15, San Francisco at Seattle


This one takes the cake, given the call and the situation. Seattle was up 10-6, in the fourth quarter, near the goal line on third down. Without this call, Seattle would have been attempting a field goal and San Francisco would have stayed within a score.

First, Ed Hochuli’s explanation:

“I felt he hit the quarterback [Russell Wilson] in the chest with the hairline [of his helmet]. It’s a foul unless his head is completely up and would hit him face on with his face mask, so that’s why I called it. After you hit, the face mask comes up. That’s the mechanics of the body, but that wasn’t the initial contact. The hairline [of the helmet] is still a foul when you hit the quarterback with that part of your head.”

Of course, the NFL came out and actually said it was a bad call, so you know, at a time where they want everything called, this one gets the title.

Share

The Washington Redskins’ Are Falling Apart: Andre Roberts and Bashaud Breeland Get into Wild Fight at Practice [Video]

As if it couldn’t get any worse for the Washington Redskins, the team is now fighting with each other, as tension and frustration over a lost season has hit its boiling point.

During practice on Wednesday, wide receiver Andre Roberts and cornerback Bashaud Breeland were involved in a pretty violent fight. The two players exchanged punches before teammates were able to step in and separate them.

According to CSNWashington.com’s Tarik El-Bashir, the scuffle happened just moments after Breeland played tight coverage on Roberts during a drill. Roberts couldn’t complete the catch, and the play resulted in both players on the ground.

El-Bashir theorizes, “It’s possible the rookie was injured as the two players hit the ground because he bent over for a moment before returning to the drill line.”

At the end of the video, though, it sounds like Roberts says to Breeland, “You better get your f—–g mind right.” The Redskins are playing in New York on Sunday, looking to settle the score after the Giants  clobbered them 45-14 in Week 4.

[CSN Washington]

Share

NFL RAPID REACTIONS – WEEK 13

Typical NFL drama when it seems all is figured out their always lies a twist.  Nobody thought the Ravens would lose at home to San Diego or that the Saints would snap their 3 game losing skid on the ROAD in an OUTDOOR stadium! Overall we probably shouldn’t be too surprised being that the NFL is so unpredictable weekly.  My week 13 views……

LIONS 34 BEARS 17

This game went as most expected as far as the outcome is concerned.  However, the Bears seemed to have an excellent game plan consisting of short passes to negate the Lions pass rush. Well it worked for them up to a 14-3 lead and it was downhill from there. The Bears defense is atrocious and Cutler/Trestman aren’t helping the situation.  Sad to see this season evaporate consodering all this offensive talent they put together.

EAGLES 33 COWBOYS 10

The Cowboys looked tired and caught completely off guard from the opening kickoff. This was a typical Dallas type of letdown with the magnitude of this game. The Eagles look to be clicking at the right time as the O-Line and Mark Sanchez seem more comfortable.  Everyone looks “comfortable” against Dallas to be fair.

SEAHAWKS 19 49ERS 3

The 49ers offensive coordinator is allergic to touchdowns and designed runs for Kaepernick apparently.  It is clear Kaep has a ton of work to do as a passer but he can still be a lethal runner (memo to Greg Roman). On the flip side the Seahawks are emerging and have gotten fairly healthy at the riggt time defensively. Russ is carrying this team on offense which is what they will need if they want to reach the playoffs.

Torrey Smith one hand catch against San Diego

CHARGERS 34 RAVENS 33

Stunner of the NFL Sunday as Rivers was on fire in Baltimore passing for almost 400yds. The injury to their top corner Jimmy Smith is really starting to hurt this defense when they play good QB’s. The Chargers are prone to huge letdowns following big wins but with the playoffs on the line they better be ready for Brady coming to town.

BUFFALO 26 BROWNS 10

The Browns will need to get back to smash mouth football in order to save their season. Forcing the ball to Josh Gordon is not the answer. Manziel gave them a spark and could possibly start this week but the playoffs could be slipping away.  Buffalo took care of business against a reeling Browns team and are still alive. Orton has to be better for this team to make a push.

Johnny-Manziel-touchdown-run-against-Indianapolis

TEXANS 45 TITANS 21

The Titans are so bad they let Ryan Fitzpatrick torch them for 6 touchdown passes. It is very clear that the Titans are in “U-Haul” mode for the rest of this season. JJ Watt also caught a touchdown pass which validates his greatness and the Titans pathetic ways all at the same time.

COLTS 49 REDSKINS 27

It saddens me to see that Colt McCoy is 10x times better in the Redskins offense because RG3 was suppose to thrive but ahh well. Meanwhile, nobody wants to mention how awful the defense has been and how the d-coordinator’s job should be in jeopardy. The Colts hung 49 on them.

JJ Watt touchdown against Tennessee

JAGS 25 GIANTS 24

The Giants should be ashamed of themselves for squandering a 21pt lead to the hapless Jags. This is officially the pinnacle of terrible football for the G-Men and Lawrence Taylor is rolling over in his grave (figuratively speaking).

VIKINGS 31 PANTHERS 13

The Vikings are playing solid football for a team that isn’t goin anywhere this season which is a huge credit to head coach Mike Zimmer. On the flip side, the Panthers front office needs to get the boot for the injustice they have done to Cam Newton this season. Rivera deserves blame as well especially for the defensive side of the ball that went from elite to bottom of the bucket this season. The Panthers gave up 2 blocked punts for touchdowns which is code word for “we don’t care anymore.”

SAINTS 35 STEELERS 32

This game wasn’t even as close as the score indicates.  Leave it to the Steelers to wet the bed again in this game and give up another precious win they desperately needed. Maybe the Saints were a tad more desperate though as they dropped 3 straight home wins prior to this road victory. Ike Taylor’s reappearance to the Steelers lineup didn’t help as he gave up his trademark big plays.

RAMS 52 RAIDERS 0

The Raiders must have had a 1 win hangover from last week.  It takes major work or lack thereof to lose 52-zip.

rams

BENGALS 14 BUCS 13

Supposedly Andy Dalton was sick heading into this game but he plays like he is sick often so go figure. The Bucs have quietly been better defensively over the past few weeks so they might be grasping thinhs better. The Bengals won’t win many more games this season if they perform like this moving forward.

FALCONS 29 CARDINALS 18

I think Bruce Arians may want to retract the statement about saying Drew Stanton can lead them to a Super Bowl. They have 2 tds in their last 12 quarters of football and are losing ground on the NFC West fast. The fact that they had difficulty scoring on the Falcons swiss cheese defense is quite alarming.  Oh yea and Patrick Peterson may want to just be quiet after giving up a career day to Julio Jones after claiming he was ready to face his former SEC foe.

PACKERS 26 PATRIOTS 21

Definitely an instant classic of a game and potentially a Super Bowl prequel.  Both QB’s were dynamic but the biggest story was how the Packers defense held up against the Patriots juggernaut offense.  Holding them to 21 points is a major accomplishment and if they can play that inspired every game they will surely be Super Bowl bound (Seahawks might have some say in that too though).

Tom-Brady-yelling-fuck-during-Green-Bay-gam

BRONCOS 29 CHIEFS 16

The Chiefs simply cant score enough points so the Broncos winning this game is no surprise. There are only so many ways you can get the ball to one guy (Jamaal Charles).

DOLPHINS 16 JETS 13

The Jets were without a doubt going to find a way to lose a game they controlled all night. They ran the ball 100 times seemingly which is Rex Ryan’s dream scenario but ultimately 2 missed field foals came back to haunt them. The story of the Jets life. Miami keeps pace in the playoff race and could be a sneaky wildcard.

Share