National Football League

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Starting Playoff tipping score: 0*

This week's picks:


New England < - - looking forward to this game more than any of the others.

I think it's on Sunday morning (our time) though, which will conflict with a 39 degree (C) hills ride, perhaps I can get the lads to reschedule.

Carolina - this was a tough one, toss a coin.

Not sure why I am picking the Panthers, I think perhaps SF could be emotionally spent after last week's game against Green Bay, having to travel again could prove telling and I think the Carolina D will be much more formidable than the defence that Green Bay threw up, with their 4th string linebackers and back up CBs.

SF should look to make better use of their timeouts, I see CK called one at the start of the second half because he forgot to put on his playcall armband and didn't know what audible to call. Their backup QB had to run it out to him, where's your head at CK?

San Diego (my roughie)

This is just the sort of game that the Broncos might lose. They will be strong favourites and all the pressure will be on Peyton Manning because according to everyone he is the most amazing QB in the universe blah blah blah.

It's all set up for a couple of career defining blunders sending the Chargers to their first Divisional Championship since (?)

So taking all that into consideration I suggest you all go down to your local betting shop and putting a cheeky $5er on the exact opposite of my picks.

Alpe d'Huez said:
This irk's me to no end when I see this in a playoff game. Now, if it were howling wind and freezing temps, and it were a blowout due to your team's mistakes, maybe I could see it. But the Bengals were actually in the game until late. .
agreed, part-time supporters, bandwagoners.
leftover pie said:
Note: If Foxy does rule you get a do-over I think with all the injuries to GB and PHI I could easily argue I'm actually 3-1 instead of 0-4. :D
It has to be an injury to a comparably valuable player, for essentially all of the game. For Philly, it would have been McCoy going down after three touches. For GB, someone with value between lacy or Cobb and Rodgers. Neither of those happened, of course.

Other injuries tend to get balanced out. NO lost Thomas before the game started. SF lost two CBs before the game started. KC lost two key defensive players in the second half, which probably had a lot to do with Luck’s resurgence, but so did Indy.

I usually find the WC games the easiest to predict, because generally one team not only has a significantly better record, but is playing at home, so there are in effect two advantages in play. But this year, three of the visiting teams had better records (I know that KC and Indy had identical records, and Indy won head to head, but KC almost certainly could have beaten SD if the game had been meaningful for the Chiefs), and I think this is why all three of those games were so close, and very difficult to predict. Any one of them could have gone the other way if the losing team had made a very makeable play at some point. You had HFA vs. stronger team, and as it turned out, the HFA only prevailed at Indy, where the teams were very close record-wise and maybe strength-wise. In the case of SD over Cincy, where both factors should have favored the Bengals, it came down to a very poor second half by Dalton. That wasn’t predictable going in, but in hindsight, neither was it a major surprise. But if the two teams played tomorrow, figuratively speaking, I’d still pick Cincy.

For this reason, I think next week’s games will be easier to predict. The team with the better record is at home in every game, though CA and SF had identical records, with CA winning head to head. With both those advantages, I see the home team winning everywhere except at CA, where I think the identical records are a little misleading. SF did not have Crabtree or Aldon Smith when they played CA in the regular season, whereas two key Panther offensive players, Steve Smith and Jonathan Stewart, may not be 100% for this game, assume they do play at all. But this game looks pretty near dead even, and I agree with those who say it may well come down to a mistake. The 49ers should remember what happened vs. the Giants two years ago.

One thing to keep in mind about SD @ Denver. Everyone is talking about how SD, despite a vulnerable pass defense, held the Broncos to less than 30 points in both their games. But the other side is equally surprising: Denver held SD to 20 and 27 points in those games, quite an accomplishment considering Denver’s equally weak pass defense. They had Von Miller, their best defensive player, for both of those games, but won’t have him next week. On paper, you would think that SD with Rivers—who was second in the AFC to Manning in passing yards and YPA-- could score more on Denver than they did in those two regular season games--like 30-35 pts. If they do, Manning will have to light up the scoreboard for Denver to win.

Edit: Here's a question for Foxxy, Alpe, or anyone else who wants to take a shot: what happens to Michael Vick? His contract I believe is done. He knows Foles is the future of the Eagles, but he has said he doesn't want to be a backup. At his age, declining skills, and proneness to injuries (increased by all the running), does he have a future as a starting QB? There are certainly teams that need one. All I can think of is maybe a team that drafts a QB for the future might want Vick to start for a couple of years while the draftee develops. But we have seen in recent years that really good college QBs don't want to sit on the bench in the pros, not even for their first year.
Re. Michael Vick - In the old days he would have gone to the Raiders... I actually think he should simply re-sign with Philadelphia, and accept being a back-up there. Some team may take a chance on him, and give him a shot to compete for the starting job. Houston, Jacksonville, Minnesota, maybe Oakland or Cleveland are all likely looking for new QB's. But I see nowhere he goes and is the assumed starter. And those teams I just mentioned, half of them are likely to take a QB in the draft. Bridgwater will go #1 to Houston, Manzeil, Carr and Bortles will all go before the end of the 2nd round and have as good of chance at starting as Vick would. Not saying they are better than Vick, but teams often look at beat-up veterans as finished, while unproven rookies give them hope. Also, Vick will have to compete with other discarded QBs: Kirk Cousins, Matt Shaub, Josh McCown, Josh Freeman, Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, Mark Sanchez, etc.

Staying with Philly makes sense. Chip Kelly has said he wants a high quality backup, as he expects that backup to play in several games due to injuries and needed rest for the starter. The Eagles are also a team on the rise. Vick knows Kelly and his system and vice-versa, and Kelly likes him for the most part. So, if I were Vick, I'd take the same tact that Tavaris Jackson has in Seattle. Happily support the starting QB and the team's chances to win, knowing I'm going to get a shot to play at least some to contribute, and could end my career with a SB win.

But aging players don't often take the same path as Tjax. They much more often have to be shown the door. And I fear Vick is going to end up in that same situation. Going to another team, not getting the starting job, and eventually being cut and out of work.
Lots of commentary to review I see, but not much time to relax ATM. So I get to my point. Roger Goodell, are you kidding me? Fining Marshawn Lynch 50 Grand for not talking to the media? (B/R LINK)
First off, if Lynch was comfortable doing media sessions I bet he'd do it. In his first media session of the year, he was very short with his answers (Bill Bilichick-like). But his body language during the interview looks like a guy who is afraid of speaking to audiences (e.g. he appears seated, legs nervously tapping causing his arms to shake, shallow breathing, little eye contact). Judge for yourself if you think he looks comfortable in his first media session this year (HAWKS VIDEO LINK). Goodell is simply acting like a flaming, oppressive, got-you-under-my-thumb, asshole. If Goodell was really a player's friend as he likes to portray himself as on draft day when he gives draftees a big hug when they come up on stage to be introduced after being drafted, instead of fining someone he'd give them a call explain himself and then ASK them to do media sessions.
Secondly, WTF is more important: doing media sessions, or involvement in the community??? Lynch may not be the most active player in the community, but he does give back (e.g. Lynch Gives).
No time to comment more other than to say Hawk fans are trying to raise the 50G to pay the fine for him. I'd chip in. Don't care how much he has/makes. Hope they raise enough to pay the entire fine.
I'll add to the criticism of Goodell (whom I often praise - his ability to sit and wait, then help get through a nasty lockout and only miss one single pre-season game, while leaving both sides pretty happy with a long term deal was very deft). He's not interested in re-seeding the playoffs, but still wants to expand them. To me this is a mistake. We've looked at the numbers. Plus, for every 11-5 or 10-6 team gets in, we'll also get more 8-8 or 7-9 teams that get in. He also still holds high winning your division. Which to me it's more important to win games, period. He says he wants to expand the playoffs to make the league competitive in week 17. It's already fairly competitive then. Outside of KC, no team rested virtually every starter (and even that game was great, an OT finish!). I think if you re-seeded you'd end up with teams fighting harder to win in week 17. Teams like, oh, KC this year. So, the only reasoning I can see for Goodell's thinking, is the same they want to use for expanding the season to 18 games, and that's greed. More games equals more money for the owners. Link here.

Seattle doesn't seem overconfident. At least Richard Sherman doesn't. He called Drew Brees the 2nd smartest QB in the NFL (behind only PM). He noted that Brees makes incredible adjustments, and that in the regular season win over NO, Brees didn't make many. He expects him to this week.

The Raiders agreed to have Dennis Allen back coaching for another season. But not really with much a vote of confidence, especially his staff - thus they're likely to lose Tony Sporano. So many owners are so damned short sighted. A guy doesn't win right away, and he's fired. It takes years to build a franchise. Find the right guy, nurture him and the team around him. Again, look at the most winning teams in history. The Steelers have had just three coaches over the last 40 seasons, and all of them have SB rings. Heck, if Mike Tomlin were coaching in Cleveland, they would have fired him when the team was 0-4. Yet, even with that battered, aging roster, they came within a whisker of the playoffs.

CJ - Charles Johnson is saying if Tennessee doesn't use him right, they should let him go. If I were GM for the Titans, I'd shake his hand and open the exit door for him. The Titans signed him to one of the worst (for the team) contracts in recent history. They spent so much money on him, and have struggled to build a team since.

On a flip side. Aaron Rodgers says he really looks forward to next year in Green Bay, and thinks they the personnel to make a serious SB run next year. This is the kind of leader you want on your team.
Yeah, after that home loss to a good Arizona team Seattle is not overconfident. Prior to that loss they may have been a bit overconfident. If there was a good time to lose in December, that situation for Seattle was it, as Alpe pointed out right after that loss.

Even after bountygate I still have a lot of respect for the Saints players, staff, and organization. And I love the area and down-to-earth folks from there all the way to Biloxi.

Now that you mention CJ. ..
DeSean Jackson (PHI) - 2 years into his 5-year, approximately 50 million dollar deal, wants a contract makeover. Two years ago he asked for a redo coz of financial woes. Now he had a good year under 1st year HC Kelly, but I'm not sure why he wants another contract Makeover now. Maybe some of you guys back there are hearing more on this. Philly's problem is I think they have other receivers that they need to deal with over contracts, and the last time Jackson whined about his contract 2 years ago it affected his play and was moping around.
We are still a month away from the super bowl, but all of a sudden there's a fair amount of draft talk going on that appears to have been started by Johnny Football's declaration for the draft. And of course there is some talk about where people think he should go (Fox Link). Personally, I think Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) made the best impression during the bowl games and has made a case to be the #1 overall pick in the coming NFL draft. I also think Manziel is not quite mentally ready or mature enough for the NFL, although he appears to have made good progress this year in those areas. But because he's still a bit weak in those areas, if I was in NFL management I'd have a bit of a concern taking Manziel with the intent of naming him the starter for the 2014 season. He might be better off developing behind a veteran starter for a couple years. So, out of the Fox link above, I summarized their list below:
1. Minnesota Vikings (No. 8 overall pick)
2. Cleveland Browns (No. 4 overall pick)
3. Oakland Raiders (No. 5 overall pick)
4. Arizona Cardinals (No. 20 overall pick)
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 3 overall pick)
Out of those teams I like Arizona first because of Palmer, who's a seasoned vet with not a lot of years left as a starter, and also because of Arians. But would Manziel still be around at #20? After that I like the Vikes and Raiders but not necessarily in that order.

But what about some other teams with veteran QBs who do not have very many years left? Denver Broncos? NE Patriots? Now what if one of those teams took a shot at Manziel? I have a hunch Johnny would feel pretty good about going either of those places. It would mean Manziel would have to fall quite a way down in the draft before being taken, and I'm not sure that would happen with so many teams needing a QB. Or a team having to trade up. Bilichick has shown he's not afraid to trade up. Thoughts?
First, I would not draft Johnny Football in the first two rounds, no matter how desperate I were for a QB. Why? Because I think he's got too big of an ego, wants a lot of money, and most of all, I question his ability to play in the NFL, aside form a few highlight reel type plays here and there. I also think he's probably too small, doesn't have a strong enough arm, and feeds off of broken plays (Tebow anyone?).

All of those teams you listed need more than a QB, with the probable exception of Arizona. Texas has the top pick, and are certain to take Bridgewater. Minnesota has three guys with noodle arms, and that's a problem. But I'm not so sure the draft is the solution. If I were Cleveland I'd stick with Hoyer, Campbell, and Weeden. Oakland has many problems, and QB may be one of them. But OL, WR and various defensive positions are a bigger problem. Jacksonville similar. Arizona however is in a position to say Palmer is the starter for the next couple seasons, then someone new will come along. But I'm not sure Manziel is that guy.

There are a lot of guys out there who are backing someone up, or young and being developed right now. And I'd like my chances there as much as with the untamed Manziel.

Having said that, as I noted before, teams look at the draft as a potential gold mine, like winning the lottery. They see QBs in the NFL who didn't recently shine, and ignore a lot of the reasons why they didn't (like poor protection, weak receivers, having to play from behind), but when the see rookie QB's they see them as never having failed. They also see years like 2012 with Luck, RG3, Tannehill and Wilson and think the same can happen again. As such, it wouldn't shock me if Bridgewater, Manziel, Bortles and Carr all go in the 1st round, and teams expect them to start from week 1, hoping they'll lead them to the promised land.

The Patriots on the other hand will either stick with Mallett, or just find someone in the 3rd to 7th round, or some undrafted free agent, and turn them into a pro bowl player...maybe.
Upset because your favorite team lost? Don’t just grumble about it, do something! This is America, exercise your right to sue someone:

A Pennsylvania man has sought an injunction that he hopes will keep the San Diego Chargers out of the postseason for what he feels was unjust entry because of bad calls in Week 17, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The "temporary emergency injunction" was filed last week, prior to the Chargers' playoff victory at the Cincinnati Bengals, by Daniel L. Spuck of Mercer, Pa. — which is about an hour north of Pittsburgh — claiming that the Chargers should not have been in the postseason because of a missed call in the game between the Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs in the final week of the regular season.

An added layer of intrigue to the story: It's believed that Spuck filed the injunction from prison. Online court records indicate that it was sent via inmate mail from the Pennsylvania corrections department, and that the plaintiff has not submitted a filing fee or requested a waiver.

The Chargers won in overtime of that game after officials failed to call an illegal alignment formation on what was a missed Chiefs field-goal attempt at the end of regulation. Had Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop made the kick — or the re-kick that should have been allowed with the penalty — the Pittsburgh Steelers, and not the Chargers, would have gone to the postseason as the final AFC wild-card team.

The chances of this injunction happening, naturally, are next to zero. But it is interesting to note just how far some fans — and we'll assume Mr. Spuck roots for the nearby Steelers — are willing to go to support their team.

Spuck suggests a few possible ways to alleviate the referees' apparent misdoing. He believes the NFL can suspend the playoffs for a week to 10 days and allow Succop to try his kick again, or the league can allow the Steelers and Chargers to play at a neutral site — for what it's worth, the midpoint between the cities would be somewhere close to Elk City, Okla., and Big Elk Stadium is currently open for use — to determine who plays on.

Granted, this has all been mucked up by the Chargers beating the Bengals. But it's an interesting and colorful suggestion, from prison, nonetheless.
In more serious news, report is that Harvin will play for Seattle this weekend. He should give their offense a boost, though I don't think they will need it. Harvin will be more important IMO if Seattle plays SF the following week.

The odds I’ve seen:

NO @ SE. SE by 9.5, over/under 47.5. I strongly favor SE minus the points, and lean towards the under.

IN @ NE. NE by 7.5, over/under 53. I slightly favor NE minus the points, and slightly favor the under.

SF @ CA. SF by 1.5, over/under 42. I favor SF minus the points, and think the under is a very good bet for two such defensive teams.

SD @ DE DE by 9, over/under 55. I favor SD plus the points, and think the over is a very good bet for two teams with potent offenses and weak defenses.
Latest weather forecast:

Cool temps, light rain and light wind in Seattle. Typical northwest weather. Doesn't look like much of a factor.

Warm and damp in Foxboro, with some winds that could come into play.

Perfect weather in Charlotte. Sunny, upper 50's, no precipitation, very light winds.

Cool and windy in Denver. This could be a factor, as some people feel it isn't the cold, but the wind that is the nemesis of Manning. But 15mph winds may only affect long throws and kicks.
New Orleans @ Seattle: Bank of the week.

Indianapolis @ Boston: Better team. At home.

San Francisco @ Charlotte: Coming into form at the right time. Have playoff experience. Home advantage not such a big deal for these 2.

San Diego @ Denver: Can see either team winning, but will go with home field advantage.
Jun 19, 2009
on3m@n@rmy said:
Big storm coming in from the Pacific. For Seattle Saturday, now they say a strong wind advisory is out with possible thundershowers. Could be interesting.
Will play to Seattle's game. Last big wet game was a blowout.
Alpe d'Huez said:
Heck, why stop there? I say we sue for the 1979 AFC Championship, when the Oilers probably lost because of a terrible call against the Oilers. Let's get Dan Pastorini, Mike Renfro, Earl Campbell, and the Steel Curtain back to replay that 4th quarter, this time with the score right.
I looked at that video, and I said, why didn’t they challenge the call, lol. Times have changed. But I never understood the fuss, give them the TD, the Steelers scored 10 more points after that, the Oilers none. How would it have changed the game?

Back then, the Oilers might have been the second best team in the nfl, but had the misfortune of playing in the same division as the best team. Maybe like SF and SE now. They had everything but a great QB, and got one in Stabler after that season, but gave away too much to get him, and got beaten soundly by the Raiders in the WC the following year. Then went on the decline.

Last year I complained about the scheduling of playoff games, which sometimes had a team playing Sunday one week and Saturday the next. And having games in cold weather cities played at night and those in warm weather cities played in the afternoon.

The SF-CA game brings up another problem. As on3m pointed out a while ago, west coast teams are at a disadvantage playing 1 PM games on the east coast, because it’s 10 AM west coast time, which means they have to get up earlier than they are accustomed to. You would think the nfl could kill two birds with one stone by switching the times of that game and SD-DE (set to begin at 2:40 PM Rocky time). SD is only one time zone from DE, so a 12:40 PM game there wouldn’t affect them that much, and starting that game two hours earlier would avoid the chillier evening at the end. Or even better, move the DE game to Sat, before NO-SE, and have IN-NE at 1 PM on Sun, followed immediately by SF-CA. That would avoid a cold night game in Foxboro.

However, the 49ers have been preparing for this by holding earlier workouts, and they are 5-0 in games like this under Harbaugh.

Eshnar said:
Not very original picks I'm afraid.

Very different from last week, everyone seems to be picking the same. Even Foxxy has deviated from his all-home strategy to go with SF.
Merckx index said:
Very different from last week, everyone seems to be picking the same. Even Foxxy has deviated from his all-home strategy to go with SF.
I'm a bit torn on the Seattle game - I won't be surprised if New Orleans wins, but I'll just kick myself if Seattle does. So I'm gonna go with the 'Hawks.

The others:

New England
San Francisco
May 27, 2012
I was 0'fer last week, so no picks this week.

I will be at the game tomorrow with my son, and the town is hyped. I will also report that I'm happy that all of the experts and all of the people here are picking against us. We play better that way, and this team will have a chip on its shoulder because of that. Not to mention the fact that SF looks and talks overconfident. If Cam is throwing when he is transferring his weight forward instead of off of his back foot, we will have a good day. If not, we still have a chance because our defense is amazing, but it will be infinitely tougher.

Hope I can come in here on Sunday night and make fun of all of your picks.
I'll make this simple for myself:
SEA - wins - wins - wins.
There. That takes care of my picks through the super bowl.
Didn't fare too well in my picks last week, so we'll see.
PNW weather forecasters must have caught on. Wind is whipping up here already, with severe winds expected by tonight.
May 27, 2012
Several other Panthers, including defensive end Greg Hardy, said they didn’t care what Las Vegas or analysts had to say about Sunday’s game.

If you don’t stop me, I’m going to break your quarterback’s face,” Hardy said. “If he doesn’t throw it to your receivers, he’s not going to win. It depends upon who’s in the position and who wants to make the plays. It doesn’t matter what team is hot, what team is up or down, what team’s feeling sorry for themselves, what team’s the favorite. ... I ain’t been a favorite in 24 years. I’m doing great.

“That’s just people talking. Naysayers, people jabbing, even old analysts and old players talking about a game that they’re too slow to play. Congrats to them. That’s what they get paid for.”

Read more here:
The first quote is why making us the underdogs is a bad idea.

The last quote is directed at Steve Young in particular. This team is p!ssed off.



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