AFC & NFC Conference Championship Picks

January 17, 2014

AFC Championship – Patriots at Broncos (Sunday 3pm)
Both teams have injuries.  Both teams can run the ball.  And oh yeah, both teams have marquee QB’s as it’s Brady vs. Manning for the 15th time in their storied rivalry.  In the passing game, Denver has the more talented weapons (D.Thomas, J.Thomas, Welker, Decker, Tamme vs. Edelman, Amendola, Vereen and crew).  Certainly revenge is on the Broncos mind after blowing a gift-wrapped 24-0 lead in Foxboro in November. But, can the Pats do just enough to keep Manning off his game (as they have in the past)?  Heart says Pats, head says Broncos.
Players to watch: (NE: Shane Vereen / Den: Monte Ball).
Winner: Broncos

NFC Championship – 49ers at Seahawks (Sunday 6:30pm)

Hands down, the 49ers are playing their best ball right now.  Three straight road wins (Arizona, Green Bay and Carolina) speak to that.  The difference could come at QB.  Colin Kaepernick has had less than stellar results in two straight one-sided losses in Seattle.  On the other side, Russell Wilson’s in a prolonged month-long slump.  If Seattle’s offense can’t make big plays, they won’t make it to NY/NJ.
Players to watch: (SF: Anquan Boldin / Sea: Doug Baldwin)
Winner: 49ers

Last week: 4-0
Season: 172-90-1


NFL Divisional Playoff Picks

January 10, 2014

Saints at Seahawks (Saturday 4:35pm)
Rain and a a very loud 12th man in Seattle could stunt that stout Saints offense.  So could a very good Seahawks defense.  The x-factor will be the very inconsistent QB play of Russell Wilson.  Which ones shows up could be the difference between a blowout and an upset.
Winner: Seahawks

Colts at Patriots (Saturday 8:15pm)
After all is said and done, it’ll be the Patriots running game that should be the difference.  The Patriots are almost a lock in the Divisional Round after getting the 1st round bye (only a loss to the Jets in the 2010 Playoffs blemishes the Brady/Belichick record).  That having been said, the Colts and Andrew Luck should still be around to make things interesting in the fourth quarter Saturday night.
Winner: Patriots

49ers at Panthers (Sunday 1pm)
SF is hands down playing the best football in the NFL right now.  Home, away, warm, cold, rain, snow, it hasn’t mattered lately.  The question is can the Panthers defense hold the Niners down long enough (like they did in November in SF) so that Cam Newton and the Panthers offense can make enough plays to win.
Winner: 49ers

Chargers at Broncos (Sunday 4:40pm)
It’s the spot Peyton Manning fans dread most.  The 1 and done spot. Peyton’s 9-11 playoff record speaks to that in the 3rd matchup of the season between these two (each winning on the road). It’s hard to see Manning acting like Andy Dalton did last week.
Winner: Broncos

Last week: 2-2
Season: 168-90-1


Full NFL Playoffs Schedule – 2013

December 30, 2013

WILD CARD ROUND
Saturday, Jan. 4
Chiefs at Colts, 4:35 p.m.(NBC)
Saints at Eagles winner, 8:10 p.m. (NBC)

Sunday, Jan. 5
Chargers at Bengals, 1:05 p.m. (CBS)
49ers at Packers, 4:40 p.m. (FOX)

DIVISIONAL ROUND
Saturday, Jan. 11
TBA at Seahawks, 4:35 p.m. (FOX)
TBA at Patriots, 8:15 p.m. (CBS)

Sunday, Jan. 12
TBA at Panthers, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)
TBA at Broncos, 4:40 p.m. (CBS)

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sunday, Jan. 19
3p AFC Championship (CBS)
630p NFC Championship (FOX)

SUPER BOWL XLVIII
Sunday, Feb. 2
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J., 6:30 p.m. (FOX)


Clearing the Deck – NFL Week 17

December 29, 2013

Clearing the deck for the final week of the regular season in the NFL…

* Kudos to the Broncos, Patriots, Seahawks and Panthers who did what they were supposed to do Sunday – win and keep their respective 1 and 2 seeds in the AFc/NFC.

* The same can not be said of the Bears, Dolphins and Ravens, who all blew a chance to get into the playoffs with a win.

* Congratulations to Rex Ryan, you earned the right to return to the Jets for 2014 and what should be a contract extension coming.

* The Steelers probably wish KC’s Ryan Succop was a better kicker. His 41-yard FG miss at the end of regulation cost Pittsburgh a spot in the AFC playoffs (won by SD).

* Black Monday is here around the NFL and the firings will be swift.  Already reportedly out: Rob Chudzinski in Cleveland and Mike Shanahan in Washington.  Moves could be coming in Oakland, Minnesota, Tennessee, Detroit and Tampa Bay (Schiano to Penn State?). (UPDATE: Chudzinski already fired as of 9:30pm Sunday night)

* Do you think the Seahawks are a little concerned with Russell Wilson’s play the last month heading into the playoffs?

* Do you think Aaron Rodgers makes a little difference in Green Bay?

* Talk about being stacked in the NFC: the 49ers and Saints are 5th and 6th seeds.

* Who’s a bigger disappointment in the NFC North: Lions or Bears?

* Give the NFL its due, week 17 was full of drama!

* Let the playoffs begin!


Clearing the Deck – NFL Week 15

December 15, 2013

Time to go around the NFL for week 15…

* The “D” in “Big D” stands for dysfunctional in Dallas. Losing a 23 point lead against the Packers and now the turmoil is ratched up with coaches now calling up QB’s. Good times!

* Big weeks for the Chiefs, Colts and the Dolphins, who all get much needed wins.

* Have a day Jamaal Charles – 215 all purpose yards and 5 TD’s. Bazinga!

* Jay Cutler’s start in Cleveland wasn’t exactly what he had in mind with two early INT’s.  3 TD’s and win later, cooler heads prevail in Chicago as the Bears stay in contention for the NFC North Title.

* Can you believe the Cardinals at 9-5 still wouldn’t make the playoffs?

* Philly, just like Dallas and New England, just can’t stand prosperity as all 3 come up with lousy losses in winnable spots.

* ICYMI, the Jets won’t be making the playoffs after NY’s loss in Carolina, a win the Panthers desparately needed.

* Raise your hand if your saw the Rams upset of the Saints (or St.Louis’ 1st half onsides kick) coming? Yeah, didn’t think so.

* Don’t look now, but the 49ers keep getting better the closer we get to postseason.

* Just in case you had any doubts, the Seattle Seahawks are clearly the best team in football.


NFL Week 14 – Clearing the Deck

December 8, 2013

Clearing the deck for a snowy week 14 of the NFL season…

* The Patriots win the battle (13 points in the final 63 seconds in a comeback vs. Cleveland) but may have lost the war, losing TE Rob Gronkowski with a reported torn ACL.

* The Chargers, Dolphins and Packers survive!

* Yes, NFC, there’s still some fight left in San Francisco.  Just ask Seattle.

* Ditto in the AFC with the Chiefs.

* Can the last one in Washington, DC please turn off the lights? Pitiful.

* The Lions can’t stand prosperity.  The Eagles, in a blinding snowstorm, sure can though.

* If you missed the final few minutes of Ravens/Vikings, do yourself a favor and watch it on replay. Six, yes 6, fourth quarter lead changes!

* Somehow, the Cardinals continue to win. Yet, at 8 wins, they’re on the outside looking in for the NFC Playoffs.

* Don’t look now, but the Bengals are still undefeated at home and looks like they’ll be there for at least one playoff game this January.

* The Broncos put up 51 points against the Titans, but keep an eye on Wes Welker, who suffered in second concussion in less than a month.


Clearing the Deck – NFL Week 11

November 17, 2013

Clearing the deck for a Sunday afternoon full of surprises in week 11…

* Thoughts and prayers are with everyone touched by the dramatic tornadoes in the Midwest Sunday.

* With that having been said, the Bears OT victory over the defending Super Bowl Champion Ravens despite a two-hour weather delay with those tornado warnings and playing with a backup QB is a good thing on a bad day.

* There’s no doubt the Saints (23-20 winners over SF) and the Seahawks (41-20 over Minnesota) are the class of the NFC at this point.

* Don’t look now, but the Cardinals are just as good (record-wise) as the 49ers at 6-4.

* Hello roller coaster: the Giants have now four in a row and are now just a game out of first place after stating the year 0-6. Who are they behind? The 6-5 Eagles and 5-5 Cowboys.

* Congratulations Texans’ fans, your team has now lost eight in a row after getting beat by Matt McGloin (3 TD’s) and the Raiders in Houston.  Oh yeah, Matt Schaub is back as your QB. Ouch!

*  Maybe the Jets should have spent more time practicing that playing at Dave & Buster’s in Buffalo this weekend.

* That’s two in a row in Tampa.

* Not even a win over San Diego will squash the bad bullying vibes in Miami.

* Just when you thought the Lions were progressing, they give up nearly 400 yards of offense and 4 TD’s to a previously struggling Ben Roethlisberger.

* Do you think Aaron Rodgers should ask the Packers (0-3 without Mr. Discount Double Check) for a raise?