Since it is the holiday week I have decided to combine my week 17 picks with a NBA belated preview. Week 17 is also a week where most teams either rest their players or have nothing to play for, therefore, there is really not many games with any playoff implications. If you want my picks scroll down to the bottom of this column. Otherwise enjoy my NBA season belated preview.
With a 66 game schedule and a very compacted schedule I once thought of this season to be very difficult to predict. What teams will benefit and what teams will suffer from the schedule complications? Will younger teams with fresher legs like Indiana or Minnesota get a better seed than teams like Boston or the Lakers who are older and have some players who may not last through the schedule? There are many intriguing questions that could lead to some very outrageous predictions so I am going to keep things simple and break down the league into 4 tiers. The contenders, teams that can contend, borderline playoff teams, and the teams in the lottery. Lets start with the lottery teams.
Toronto, Cleveland, New Jersey, Detroit, Washington, Utah, Phoenix, Golden State
These 8 teams are the long shots to do anything this year. Toronto and Cleveland are still recovering from the summer of 2010. New Jersey is waiting for Dwight Howard and is willing to give up the season to wait for him, Washington and Golden State are too young and do not play any defense though I think Golden State with Curry and Ellis have the best shot of these teams to stay competitive throughout the year. Utah just does not have the chemistry or enough talent to be successful.
That leaves the Phoenix Suns who by far have the worst team of the Robert Sarver era. This may even go down as the worst season in the history of the franchise. In the NBA you need guys who can score and guys who you can count on in crunch time to get you a basket when you need it. The Suns do not have a player who can do that. Steve Nash has been awful in the first two games this season. Same to Channing Frye and Grant Hill who have not stepped up at all. The center position seems to be the Suns strength with Robin Lopez and Marcin Gortat, but both are not go-to scorers and do not threaten the defense in the final 5 minutes of a game when most NBA games are decided. They have no shooting guard unless their recent signing of Michael Redd can provide them with something. Jared Dudley is one of the best bench players in the league, but when he is starting your team has problems.
The bottom line is this….the Suns are still recovering from not resigning Amare Stoudemire and they can not contend again unless they bottom out and get lucky in the lottery. Any team that loses a perennial All-Star for nothing goes through this. The Suns need to trade Grant Hill to a Chicago or New York for either a first round pick or a young rotation player and need to trade Steve Nash for a solid rotation player AND a first round pick, preferably a lottery pick. That way you will have 3 first round picks plus your own which would be a top 5 more than likely. The Suns also would have enough cap money to sign to max contracts. The Suns could be contending for a playoff spot again by next year if they make the correct trades with Nash and Hill. Or they keep both and win enough games to miss out on all the top prospects in the draft then lose both of them for nothing and be awful again for another year. With how Sarver runs things why do I think that this rebuilding process will last a few years??
Borderline playoff teams
Indiana, Atlanta, Orlando, Boston, Philly, Charlotte, Minnesota, Sacramento, Houston, New Orleans, Dallas, Denver, Portland, Denver
This is a very big group with some very good teams in it, but the bottom line here is none of these teams have a shot of winning the championship.
I am sure everyone wants to know why the Boston Celtics are in this group. The Celtics are a very flawed team this season that I think will struggle to even make the playoffs. They have very little depth on this team and can not afford ANY injuries to their big 4. For example they are starting Sasha Pavolvic with Paul Pierce missing the first 3 games of the year which resulted in a 0-3 start. Doc Rivers will also be forced to sit Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and even Pierce throughout the year to keep them fresh enough for a playoff run. There is no way I can this team can stay healthy and fresh enough to make a run in May with a short compacted schedule and are probably one of the teams hurt most by the lockout.
Dallas has looked absolutely awful to begin the year. Mark Cuban might have made his worst personnel decision by letting Tyson Chandler go to New York. Dallas has been totally out of sync to begin the year. There is still plenty of time to get things together, but Dallas has lost chemistry and defense from last year’s championship and I do not think they will be repeating.
Indiana, Minnesota, Sacramento, Philadelphia, and Charlotte are all wildcards. They all have young and fast paced teams that with this schedule I think can out run some of the older teams and steal a few wins that they wouldn’t with a normal schedule. I think Indiana and Minnesota will have legitimate teams this year and both teams will be the surprises of the year. It would not shock me at all if Indiana even gets a 4 or 5 seed in the East. They have 2 all-stars in Danny Granger and David West to go with some very solid young rotational players. The only thing missing is a consistent point guard and there is one that could be on the trade block in Phoenix that could make the Pacers a championship contender.
New York, Both L.A. teams, Memphis, San Antonio
These are 5 teams that could win the championship or at the very least make it to the finals, but they each are flawed enough to lose a 7 game series to any of the other teams.
New York has star power and 2 players who can score at will. They have one of the top defensive centers in basketball and some very young and intriguing guards. Their flaws are chemistry between Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire as they still try to co-exist. Defense and their bench are also some very big flaws that will leave them just short of Chicago and Miami this season.
Memphis I think is good enough to contend and if EVERYTHING falls their way they can get to the Finals, but there is no way they are beating Miami in a 7 game series. The Spurs will always be right there in the end, but will also be hurt like the Celtics with the compacted schedule due to their old age. The Lakers will also always have a chance as long as Kobe is healthy. The Clippers are the wild card of this bunch. They need to trade either Chauncey Billups or Mo Williams for some more depth elsewhere and to avoid chemistry issues. It is also not a good thing if Brian Cook is playing heavy minutes for you. If they can make the right deal to add another player they can definitely make a run to the Finals, but there is still plenty of work they need to do.
Miami, Chicago, Oklahoma City
All 3 teams bring back most of the same team and all of their core players from last season. They have combined 4 of the top 5 or 6 players in the league on their teams. They are all fairly young and all have yet to taste a championship. One of these three teams will be celebrating with the Larry O’brien trophy in June.
OKC big issue will probably be getting Russel Westbrook to concede that Kevin Durant is the best player on that team. The deal that should happen, but never will is a swap of Rondo for Westbrook. OKC would get a pass first PG which would fit that team better than a shoot first Point Guard. Boston needs more scoring from Rondo to be successful this year and they would defiantly get that from Westbrook. Both players also need a change of scenery it seems like and makes sense all the way around. I will be interested if any rumors ever come out of a Westbrook for Rondo swap this season.
Chicago has the same exact team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals last season with an upgrade of Rip Hamilton at shooting guard. They have the defense to shut down Lebron and Wade and if Rip can provide 15 points a night they will give Miami a run for their money in a Finals rematch this season.
Miami season can not be judged until after the first two rounds of the playoffs. They are going to win 55-60 games this season unless Wade or James miss an extended period of time. Their chemistry issues are more than likely figured out by now and we all know that Wade is the go-to guy in the final minutes and Lebron seems willing to defer to Wade in the crunch time which will be huge for their championship hopes. The only thing they need to figure out is their role players and who can be trusted coming off the bench come playoff time. Everything else is already a known. We all know that Lebron and Wade are the best talents in basketball. We all know that Lebron is the best regular season player and has the most talent of anyone on the planet. Those are obvious facts that are not worth arguing anymore. The arguments involving Lebron is can he lead a team to a championship. We already know he needs help, that is also an obvious fact. Can he be mentally tough enough to not shut down during the playoffs when his team needs him the most when the times get tough. The last two years he has been a frontrunner, so to say, playing his best when it is easy and playing his worst when it becomes a challenge. This season could be a cake walk for the Heat or it could be another disaster for Lebron. It really is up to him to decide the Miami Heat’s fate and we will not know what Lebron decides until May.
Miami over OKC in 6
Coach of the year
Rick Adelman (Minnesota)
Rookie of the year
Now my quick Week 17 picks…I do not have scores since this week is so hard to predict with not knowing about if teams are playing their guys or mailing it in.
Philly over Washington
Detroit over Green bay
Minnesota over Chicago
Atlanta over Tampa Bay
New Orleans over Carolina
Frisco over St. Louis
Jets over Miami
New England over Buffalo
Baltimore over Cincy
Pittsburgh over Cleveland
Arizona over Seattle
Jacksonville over Indy
Tennessee over Houston
Oakland over San Diego
Kansas City over Denver
Giants over Cowboys
Last week: 10-5
This has to be one of the best weekends that any calendar year can come up with. It is Christmas weekend with the bonus of having the NFL and opening day of the NBA all in one weekend (check back next week for my NBA preview). Can anyone come up with a more perfect weekend? Tomorrow morning we get to spend the day watching the NFL unless you have last second shopping to do which I would recommend doing today. Then after a full day of football it will be Christmas Eve and a night to be with your families and celebrate the holiday. Then on Sunday you get to wake up and open all of your presents from Santa and after that you get to watch 5 NBA games featuring probably 8 or 9 of the most interesting teams in the league. I almost forgot, you also get another football game to watch Christmas Night as well. I challenge anyone to come up with a better weekend than that. Football basketball, Christmas, family, Santa, gifts, traditions and fantasy. I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend and Merry Christmas to everyone.
Back in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes
Minnesota Vikings 17 at Washington Redskins 21
St. Louis Rams 6 at Pittsburgh Steelers 23
Thanks to the Texans for playing the most conservative game in recent memory and to Dan Orlovsky for being on a mission to not lose his backup job to some rookie prodigy the Rams and Vikings are right back in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. The Colts play the Jaguars next week and with the way both teams are playing I am betting Colts which means if the Rams or Vikings lose out they will have the number one pick. For the Rams that probably means trading it and getting 4 or 5 extra picks. For the Vikings maybe the same maybe not. They just took Christian Ponder last year in the first round so I am not sure they take another 1st round quarterback. For the Colts I am benching Dan Orlovsky immediately and getting Curtis Painter back out onto the field.
Tampa Bay Buccanears 14 at Carolina Panthers 27
Raheem Morris is probably the next head coach to be getting the pink slip. It happens when you don’t win a game after October 16th. The Panthers are going to be a very good team for the next decade as long as they build a defense to go with Cam Newton and that run game.
Upset of the Week
Denver Tebows 17 at Buffalo Bills 23
I think it is hilarious that we finally have a city who could care less about Tim Tebow and that is Buffalo, New York. Buffalo as of Wednesday had not sold 24,000 of its tickets meaning it will be blacked out in the local area. This is my upset pick of the week mostly due to my gut instinct. My gut told me to take the Colts as I said on my Twitter @jesanders11 before the game, but of course I did not. Sorry Tim, Im going with my gut on this one.
Lock of the Week
Miami Dolphins 23 at New England Patriots 34
A win and the Patriots clinch a bye in the first round. That is all Tom and Bill need for me to make this the lock of the week over a tough Dolphins team.
Flip a Coin
New York Giants at New York Jets
Would anyone in their right mind even bet a dollar on this game? You are literally flipping a coin when picking this game. I will say Jets, but I don’t even have a score for you. Both teams have been major disappointments, yet the Jets with a win will probably get the 6th seed which means a game against the Houston Texans. After that would be a trip to face the Patriots who they eliminated last year. Jets fans you are welcome for that sliver of hope…Giants fans you are on your own.
Arizona Cardinals 20 at Cincinnati Bengals 16
Walking around the mall with my brother the other day we walked into the sports memorabilia store when we saw an autograph photo of Adrian Wilson. This wasn’t just any autograph photo either. This is what me and my brother agree on is Adrian Wilson’s greatest hit ever. The hit came on Bills quarterback Trent Edwards in 2008. The Bills came into the game 4-1 I think and they were the talk of the NFL. First series of the game on the 3rd play Dubs comes untouched and knocks out Edwards with a crushing hit. Pretty much ruined Edwards career and is probably the greatest hit in Wilson’s career. It was $25 well spent plus another 10 for a frame and it is now one of the prized possessions of our Cardinals room in our house. Here is the you tube link to the hit… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjpANEVexhY
Cleveland Browns 10 at Baltimore Ravens 21
Hopefully Anquan Boldin is only out the remaining two weeks and will be back come playoff time. The Ravens and Joe Flacco need him in that offense to have any success in the playoffs. I kind of feel like the Ravens spent so much time, energy and focus into beating the Steelers this year that every other game does not seem as important and that is why you see the losses to the Jaguars, Titans and Chargers among others. If they are not careful they could blow the division and have to go on the road again in the playoffs.
Jacksonville Jaguars 16 at Tennessee Titans 20
What is new owner Shahid Khan’s first move going to be for the Jaguars? A. Announce the team will eventually move to Los Angelos B. Hire a new coach or C. get rid of Blaine Gabbert and pretend he never existed in the franchise and trade the next 5 future first round picks to draft Andrew Luck??? Correct Answer is C.
Oakland Raiders 10 at Kansas City Chiefs 13
This is another game I have no idea of who to pick. I will take the Chiefs since they are at home and have the better defense. Where has Darren Mcfadden gone for the Raiders?? That one injury has probably cost the Raiders the division and first playoff berth since 2002. Very unfortunate for Raider Nation I feel for you guys.
San Diego Chargers 31 at Detroit Lions 24
The Chargers just do not lose in December. It is just not conceivable for Philip Rivers and Co to lose a game in December. This year may be the time where it is too little too late for them.
Philadelphia Eagles 26 at Dallas Cowboys 23
Here is how the Eagles win the NFC East…They win out, and the Giants lose this week and beat the Cowboys next week which would create a 3 way tie and the tiebreaker would belong to the Eagles. Dream Team is not out of it yet Ladies and Gentlemen!!!!!
San Francisco 49ers 20 at Seattle Seahawks 24
This is not another “I hate the 49ers pick.” This is a I am picking logically pick. The Seahawks can be almost impossible to beat at home when they are playing for something important which is for their playoff lives. Also, Seattle was only down 2 points before Ted Ginn took back a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in the final five minutes to blow the game open in Week 1. This is one of my more for sure bets of the week. Take Seattle at home and thank me later.
Chicago Bears 7 at Green Bay Packers 24
Josh McCown is starting for the Bears this week in Lambeau Field. McCown has not started a NFL game since 2007. McCown started for the Cardinals back when they won 4 games a year almost a decade ago. Ladies and Gentlemen Merry Christmas!!!!
Monday Night Football
Atlanta Falcons 21 at New Orleans Saints 30
I am not sure why everyone is penciling in the Falcons for the playoffs. There is no way they win here in the Dome this week and next week they play Tampa Bay, which yes they are awful, but they will get up to play their hated rivals if they can knock them out of the playoffs. The Saints are my Super Bowl pick as of right now. Their only deficiency is playing on the road which they may have to do twice, but they are a good enough team to win 2 on the road and make the Super Bowl.
Last Week: 9-6
I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
I’m getting straight to the picks due to my computer shutting off after I was half way done with this post. I do not have time to rewrite everything I had written here so since I am on a time deadline onto the picks.
Dallas Cowboys 35 at Tampa Bay Bucs 16
The Bucs have given up on this season. I do not think even Blaine Gabbert himself thought he could put up 41 points in a NFL game himself. Meanwhile, there is no better comedy in sports then seeing the Jerry Jones face as the Cowboys are blowing a game on national television. If you have ever watched a Cowboys game you know what I am saying. I hope the Cowboys get to the playoffs just to see more of the Jerry Jones losing face. Hilarious!
Washington Redskins 17 at New York Giants 21
This has classic Giants written all over it. Getting a big win on the road then coming home and losing to a bad team. The only reason I am not picking the Skins is because they are so injury ravaged that I think no matter how hard the Giants try to lose, they will end up pulling out the win at home.
Seattle Seahawks 16 at Chicago Bears 10
If I was a bears fan I would probably have punched myself in the face at least 50 times after that loss Sunday to the Tebows. Also I want to give Barber a .55% of a break for running out-of-bounds. My reason…why did the Bears even call a stretch run toward the sidelines in the first place??? Just knee it four time for crying out loud!! Not even Jesus himself could throw a 80 yard pass with ten seconds. That game was a huge sucker punch to all Bears fans and I can feel your pain…you guys were TEBOWED!!
New Orleans Saints 38 at Minnesota Vikings 21
The Vikings secondary was shredded by Tim Tebow… What is Drew Brees going to do to it??
Lock of the week
Cincinnati Bengals 27 at St. Louis Rams 10
Steve Spagnuolo deserves a better fate than what is being dealt to him. He is the coach of a depleted and awful football team and he deserves a better fate. The Rams have won 15 games in the last 5 years. How would you like to be a St. Louis football fan??
Miami Dolphins 20 at Buffalo Bills 27
Ryan Fitzpatrick is now 1-6 since signing his 50 million dollar contract extension. Can they return that contract to Wal-mart???
Tennessee Titans 17 at Indianapolis Colts 20
Yes, I am calling it…. The Colts will win and avoid going 0-16 this week. Hasselback will probably be out this week meaning Jake Locker will start for the Titans. With the Texans winning the division last week it gives the Titans little to play for this week and I feel like the Colts will play this as their Super Bowl. I am going to pick the more desperate team in this one and the Colts have some very prideful veterans who will not accept a 0-16 season.
Green Bay Packers 31 at Kansas City Chiefs 13
Packers keep rolling toward a 16-0 season with an easy one against the Chiefs.
Carolina Panthers 17 at Houston Texans 23
When the Panthers get a good defense they will be a very scary team. Cam Newton can only do so much. Arian Foster and Ben Tate will run all over this defense and the defense will slow down Newton just enough for the Texans to pull out yet another win.
Detroit Lions 24 at Oakland Raiders 28
The Lions need to lose one of the next two games and HAVE to lose the Packers game to finish 9-7 and give the Cardinals the tiebreaker over the Lions if they both finish 9-7 for the playoffs spot. Why am I getting my hopes for this??
Cleveland Browns 13 at Arizona Cardinals 20
This game is not as much as a lock as it seems. It all depends on if the Browns come to play or not. There are talks Browns coach Pat Shumar will be getting the pink slip after just one year due to players tuning him out already and not listening to him, If that is the case the Cards should pull out easy. If the Browns decide to come motivated this will be a game. Remember the Cardinals could have easily loss almost all the games that they have won on this streak meaning they could just as easily be 2-10 rather 6-7. If they take care of business though they will be back at .500 which is remarkable given where they were.
New York Jets 21 at Philadelphia Eagles 17
Yes I will actually pick Mark Sanchez to win a big game on the road. Yes I am picking Mark Sanchez because I have Shonn Greene and Santonio Holmes on my fantasy team and need a few touchdowns from them.
New England Patriots 28 at Denver Tebows 21
Ummmm ya I better not try to say anything intelligent and move on.
Sunday Night Football
Baltimore Ravens 23 at San Diego Chargers 28
Here comes the Chargers run in December towards the playoffs. Unfortunately for them they are going up against the Tebows and Jesus this time.
Monday Night Football
Pittsburgh Steelers 14 at San Fransisco 49ers 15
Even if the Niners beat a beat up Steelers team without Roethilsberger and Harrison does not change the fact this team is limited on offense and can not score touchdowns. They have only scored 4 touchdowns in their last 20 trips in the red zone. The Niners lucked into a few wins and played a few teams at the right time which has given them this 10-3 record. Yes they have a good defense, but not much else. Please San Fransisco, give Alex Smith an extension…the rest of the NFC West is begging you.
Last Week: 10-5
There is something going on with this Cardinals team that is beginning to reach the point of having no explanations for anything anymore. Very much like what is going on in Denver with Tim Tebow and the Broncos. Both teams lead the NFL with 10 games finishing at 7 points or less. Only difference is the Broncos are 7-3 in those games and the Cardinals are 6-4. The other difference is the Broncos have a reason for their wordless ways of winning. That is Tim Tebow. The Cardinals recent stretch of turning a 1-6 record into a 6-7 record has no such explanation. Let’s see if I can find the Tebow belief that the Cardinals now seem to have on their team.
The Tebow belief is a term I just made up right now. My definition of it is having a certain mindset that something will happen, usually out of the ordinary but can also be very ordinary, in a game that will lead to a victory. Pretty much the opposite of the Lebron James effect of having the mindset that something will go wrong to lose the game. That is reserved for the Dallas Cowboys right now. Anyways, What is the Cardinals “Tebow Belief” right now that is leading them to all of these improbable victories? Let’s see if I can figure it out!
Patrick Peterson Belief
Patrick Peterson won two games this year by taking a punt back for a touchdown. The first game of the year and the unforgettable 99 yard return against St. Louis to start this stretch of success. He also had a touchdown that broke open the second Rams game a few weeks ago. The only negative with this theory is he had a return against Baltimore, a game the Cards blew a 24-3 lead. He also had minimal impact as a returner in the Philly, Dallas, and Frisco game. You can’t have a belief system made after you if you’re not as consistent as Tim is up in Denver.
To the average fan this belief as ALOT of hope, until you break things down a lot farther. He is 4-1 as a starter this year (im counting the game yesterday as a start since he played all but 3 snaps.) The formula for how he is getting there is a formula Derek Anderson should have taken last year to be successful. That formula has mostly been throw the ball around Larry Fitzgerald and hope for good things. Skeleton is REALLY hoping on some of his throws….and the thing is they are somehow working. Many of his throws could go either way, a catch by fitz or the defender, but since Larry Fitzgerald is a top 3 wide receiver in the game, he makes the catch to bail out the Skeletor every time. In both of his wins against St. Louis Skeleton was bad for the majority of the game. Even against San Fransisco he made many bad throws and was bailed out by two great catches to Larry and the busted the throw to Doucet for the touchdown. He definite has the luck factor going and even some of the Tebow belief factors working, but he is not the reason the Cardinals have been winning.
Defense is believing
The Arizona Cardinals defense is almost = to Tim Tebow in Denver. Take out the 1-6 start and hear me out before you call me crazy on this. In their last 6 games including their one loss to San Fransisco in the stretch, (which was due to AWFUL play by Skeleton) the defense has played with a sense of almost knowing something good will happen to get that stop they need. Lets start with the first St. Louis game, the Cardinals defense held the Rams to 9 points, other 4 coming due to safeties, and not once, not twice, but 3 times kept the Rams from winning the game. They stopped them on a 4th and short late, then BLOCKED a field goal to send it to overtime. Before the unbelievable 99 yard punt return by Peterson the defense forced a 3 and out to let that happen. Against Philly they broke Vick’s ribs and forced him to have the worst game in his career. Against the Rams again the defense stepped up and pretty much won that game with some help of 228 rushing yards by Beanie Wells. We all know the magic that happened against the Cowboys of their OWN coach icing his OWN kicker. Not to take out the fact the defense played dominant against the Cowboys high-powered offense. Their only touchdown was due great field position starting at their own 33. Then yesterday, holding the Niners repeatedly to field goals then stopping them 3 times after they took the lead by two points. They held the Niners to 2 first downs in the entire second half yesterday. If the defense played like this to start the year the Cardinals would not have lost those games to Washington, Seattle, and New York to begin the year.
During the last 6 games the defense has only given up 6 touchdowns with some of those due to turnovers by the offense. This unit, ever since that St.Louis game back on November 6th has had that same belief that is going on up in Denver and it is starting to trickle down throughout the entire organization. Does this mean they are going to the playoffs…no, but it does mean quite a lot. It means that they have a great chance to turn a 1-6 start into at least a 8-8 season. It gives GREAT hope going into next season and it gives us that X factor that anything can happen. We all know what can happen once a team has that Tebow Belief and it sets us up for what could be a crazy next couple of weeks for these Cardiac Cards where, for now, anything is possible.
With 75% of the NFL season complete I think it is time for another power rankings to take us down the home stretch. The small number on the right of every team is where they were ranked during my last power rankings post back in week nine. As far as my picks are concerned, which you can find at the bottom of this page, may seem kind of crazy to you. I am leaning toward the home underdog in many of my picks this week. Every so often you will have a week of games that just makes zero sense and I feel like this will be that week. If it wasn’t for the Browns lack of offensive power they would have started out the week on the right track for my “crazy week” prediction. This could take a while so let’s get on to my rankings.
Andrew Luck Division
32. Indianapolis Colts (32) 0-12
When you have not won a game all year then you probably are not going to be moving up in the rankings. Lets get a quick analysis of the Colts remaining schedule to find a possible win on there. @ Baltimore, vs Tennessee, vs Houston (Thursday), @ Jacksonville.
My quick take is they might even win 2 possible games. Both home games are very winnable games given the Texans quarterback situation now and Jacksonville might actually be worse than the Colts. If they somehow win 2 games, depending on the tiebreaker system might lose them Andrew Luck considering….
31. St. Louis Rams (24) 2-10
The Rams only have two wins themselves and no healthy quarterbacks. They could possibly start a guy named Tom Brandsteter at QB due to injuries to Bradford and Feeley. If the Rams have the first pick, even with Bradford could they still take Luck? Bradford only has thrown for 6 touchdown passes all year and without the trade for Brandon Lloyd it could be even less. With his struggles maybe he is not the savior of the Rams and if the Colts somehow get hot and lose Luck, it will make for a big decision down in St. Louis.
Blaine Gabbert division
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (28) 3-9
Ladies and gentleman, Now taking the field for the 2014 NFL season your Los Angeles Jaguars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
29. Minnesota Vikings (26) 2-10
You want to know a secret that has gotten no coverage?? The Minnesota Vikings do not have a stadium to play in next year. Their lease with their stadium runs out after this year and has yet to be renewed. A Minnesota columnist has even been tweeting things on this could be the final year in Minnesota if they refuse to vote for a new stadium. What happens then? Is it possible a team with a huge fan base and so much history can move?? Browns fans are nodding their head in shame. Art Modell is laughing hysterically.
Offensively inept division
28. Cleveland Browns (23) 4-9
A quick history… Art Modell moved the storied Browns after the 1995 season due to not being able to get a new stadium to Baltimore where he won a Super Bowl just a few years later. The Browns got an expansion team in 1999 and have made the playoffs once since then. They have had about 20 different quarterbacks with no hope in sight.
27. Washington Redskins (22) 4-8
Why, how, really??? are the questions I ask myself as to how the Cardinals lost to this team 22-21 back in week 2. Those are also the questions Redskins fans ask themself when they see Rex Grossman or John Beck play quarterback.
26. Tampa Bay Buccanears (15) 4-8
The Bucs took one of the biggest drops in the rankings. That is what happens when you have a historically tough schedule with a young team that overachieved a year ago. Head Coach Raheem Morris could be in some trouble if they don’t win a couple more games to close out the season.
25. Kansas City Chiefs (19) 5-7
In their last 5 games since their miracle MNF win against the Chargers the Chiefs have scored a grand total of….2 touchdowns. One of those touchdowns was their prayer against Chicago last week. Yes, I agree I have no clue how this team has 5 wins.
Dream Team division
Buffalo Bills (11) 5-7
The Bills are 1-6since Ryan Fitzpatrick signed his contract extension….oops.
23. Philadelphia Eagles (7) 4-8
I think this guy says it all….. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3x4DUrMz1Vw&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL61709C6BAE665CB2
22. Carolina Panthers (27) 4-8
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are going to be pretty good. Whoever they play here on out needs to be on upset alert.
21. San Diego Chargers (18) 5-7
Here comes the Chargers run down the stretch and no one is rooting for it harder than I am. I have Phillip Rivers on my fantasy team so I think it is time for himt ogo on his 300 yard 2/3 touchdowns a game streak he goes on every December.
Rocky Balboa Division
20. Miami Dolphins (31) 4-8
Is Matt Moore an actual franchise quarterback?? Could Tony Sparano actually save his job?? Has Reggie Bush actually found a job as a starting NFL running back?? Has the Miami Dolphins actually become the one team no one wants to face???
19. Arizona Cardinals (29) 5-7
If the Cardinals win this week they will almost be guaranteed of 8-8 with home games against Cleveland and Seattle still remaining. How amazing would that be considering they were at 1-6 with the Rams coming on the field to kick a potential game winning field goal just a few weeks ago??
18. Seattle Seahawks (25) 5-7
Could the Seahawks win out along with the Cardinals and force NBC to put another NFC west game on Sunday NIght football to end the year as they fight for the final NFC playoff spot?? The Cardinal season ticket holder in me would like to think so!!
New York Division
17. New York Jets (17) 7-5
16. New York Giants (16) 6-6
These two teams have moved up/down exactly zero spots. Mark Sanchez interception total has increased by about 41 since then as well.
Not quite ready division
15. Tennessee Titans (21) 7-5
Chris Johnson, Welcome back to the NFL!
14. Oakland Raiders (20) 7-5
Carson Palmer, Welcome back to the NFL!
13. Cincinnati Bengals (13) 7-5
Andy Dalton to A.J. Green will be putting up big numbers for a long time. But, as the 35-7 beat down to Pittsburgh shows…this team still is a year from making real noise in the AFC.
12. Detroit Lions (9) 7-5
I hope no one has bought playoff tickets in Detroit yet and if you did I really hope there is a way you can get your money back. This team has lost all self-control and that falls on the head coach. I would not even be surprised if they lose to the Vikings at home this week. When they get composure they will be a very good team, but until then… a bottom out finish of 8-8 is likely.
Jake Delhomme division
11. Chicago Bears (14) 7-5
The Bears did something bad karma wise for potential season ending injuries to both Jay Cutler and Matt Forte. They end up in the Jake Delhomme division because they have Caleb Hanie running plays for them with the potential of….Josh McCown, yes former Cardinal Josh McCown playing for the Bears this season. I feel like punching myself in the face and I could care less about the Bears!!!
10. Houston Texans (10) 9-3
It looks like T.J Yates might actually be decent enough to not blow the entire season for the Texans. But the legendary Jake Delhomme is looming and Vegas has to be TERRIFIED of the prospects of Delhomme in the playoffs facing Revis island and the NEw York Jets in round one.
Tony Romo Division
9. Atlanta Falcons (6) 7-5
8 Dallas Cowboys (12) 7-5
These two teams have all the talent to make a run to the Super Bowl, but there is just something missing with these two teams this season. I don’t think Atlanta has ever recovered from that Packers game last year. A game like that can really have a lasting effect on a franchise. The Cowboys meanwhile have the same issue every year. Something is just missing that you can never fully describe and if you watched them this week against the Cardinals I think you know where I am getting at. Super Bowl contending teams win games like that. The Cowboys are not contending for a Super Bowl this season.
7. Denver Broncos (30) 7-5
You know the Denver Broncos are going to make a run to the Super Bowl…how else will a team with Tim Tebow finish off this season?? People are now starting the arguments how the defense or Willis Mcgahee are the facts that are winning games. Yes, factually they are the facts of what is winning games for the Broncos, but the defense and running game is not what is REALLY winning games. The belief that this team has and the confidence they have with Tebow at QB is what is winning games. The Broncos are at a point right now where they KNOW that Tebow will make plays to win a game down the stretch. They KNOW the defense will come up with a stop or turnover when needed. They KNOW that they will win the game. When a team reaches this point they are very scary to play against and the sky is the limit for the Broncos this season. For everyone who says that the defense is winning games…ask them this… Are the Broncos 7-5 with Kyle Orton??
Alex Smith division
6. San Fransisco 49ers (8) 10-2
I will man up and take this space to congratulate the 49ers on winning the NFC West and making the playoffs for the first time since 2002. You guys deserve this and I wish you the best all the way to the NFC Championship game when we get to see Alex Smith in Lambeau Field in January. Comedy Central re-read what I just wrote….Alex Smith…in Green Bay….in January….
5. New England Patriots (4) 9-3
Tom Brady gives the Pats a chance every year to win the Super Bowl, but the defense just is not Super Bowl worthy enough for me to have them any higher than number five.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (3) 10-3
That was a gutsy win and a gutsy performance by Big Ben and the Steelers last night. Numbers 2-5 could go any numbers of ways and I pulled Pittsburgh out of the hat for number four, so please, all frontrunner Steelers fans do not complain to me about them not being number one. Take the number four ranking like a man and if you don’t like it switch your favorite team to the Packers.
3. New Orleans Saints (5) 9-3
If they can somehow still the 2 seed from the 49ers…. Comedy Central are you paying attention????? Alex Smith….in the Dome….in January!!!
2. Baltimore Ravens (2) 9-3
The Ravens get up for the big games and play down to their opponents. In the playoffs every game is a big game, so the playing down effect can not happen for the Ravens. The only person that can ruin the Super Bowl chances for this team is Joe Flacco…. Umm O.K all frontrunner Steelers fans now have permission to question why those two are not swapped in these rankings.
Discount Double-check division
1. Green Bay Packers (1) 12-0
Aaron Rodgers has the same number of rings as Favre, a better regular season than Favre ever had, and maybe the greatest commercial which is the opposite of what Favre has. You get where I am going with this?? Aaron Rodgers will have a better career than Brett Favre and I do not think that is going out on a limb anymore either.
Week 14 predictions
Lock of the Week
Patriots 30 at Redskins 13
Vikings 21 at Lions 26
Falcons 20 at Panthers 27
Eagles 24 at Dolphins 17
Chiefs 6 at Jets 17
Texans 10 at Bengals 20
Buccanears 14 at Jaguars 10
Colts 14 at Ravens 31
Saints 19 at Titans 21
49ers 16 at Cardinals 23
Bears 17 at Broncos 20
Raiders 24 at Packers 34
Bills 21 at Chargers 38
Tossup/ Sunday Night
Giants 24 at Cowboys 27
Monday Night Football
Rams 3 at Seahawks 16 (Thanks ESPN)
Last week: 11-4
It is 49er week for me this week. (Insert the team you hate here) week is always the most anticipated week of your team’s season. You spend all week breaking down the what ifs of how the game will be played out, check the injury reports to see who has the edge for the week, (for the record I doubt Patrick Willis is playing this week, if you’re the Niners why would you risk it, you have bigger things ahead of you.) and talk yourself into all the things you hate about that team to get your blood boiling and get yourself ready for the game.
There are many great rivalries in the NFL that gets all the coverage on ESPN, but that does not take out the hate that these two teams have for each other. Both teams are never playing for conference supremacy like the Ravens and Steelers or the Bears and Packers or do they have the history as the Cowboys Giants or Raiders and Broncos, but the hate that the fans and players have for each other equals any great rivalry in football.
Most rivalries have been diminished through the years due to free agency and so much player movement that some rivalries are only between the fans. After most NFL games players go out and hug it out on the field while fans are either gloating or fighting as they walk out of the stadium. With the Cards and Niners, players dont shake hands after the game. In fact Darnell Dockett refuses to shake hands with anyone on the 49ers. Giants offensive lineman David Baas, who played a few years with the Niners said he was the most excited to see the Cardinals on the Giants schedule this year because he hates us. That is the sign of a great rivalry when players still hate you even after they leave teams.
There is not that much history between these two teams. They weren’t even in the same division until 2002. Some memorable moments are the Cardinals ending Steve Young’s career on Monday Night football in 1999. In 2004 the 49ers, under Dennis Erickson ironically, won two games all year…both against the Cardinals. They have played each other on MNF 4 straight years that ended this season due to the Cardinals offensive ineptitude last season. In 2008 the Cardinals made a goal line stand to pretty much wrap up the division, in 2009 the Cards got beat up in Frisco after they had wrapped up their division, and last year was Derek Anderson’s infamous “I take Sh** seriously rant.”
In 2007 the Cardinals opened up the season in San Fransisco on Monday Night Football, the first MNF game of that 4 year stretch and for my 16th birthday present I choose to get tickets and go to that game with my family. The Cardinals lost in the final minute after Eric Green failed to recover a fumble and the Niners scored on the next play to win 20-17. After that game I pretty much got verbally assaulted by the entire stadium as a 16-year-old kid. It was so bad I actually took off my Cardinals jersey to at least look like I was a neutral fan. Ever since leaving that city I have hated nothing more than the 49ers and their fans. (For the record I was not surprised at all that their were shootings after a preseason game this year in the parking lots of the 49ers stadium. That place is the biggest dump of a football stadium that there can be.)My family use to make fun of me that if I ever met a girl from San Fransisco I would refuse to go out with her, which I always denied to them to save my dignity, but they were 100% correct. I can not stand anything about that team or city. There is not a better feeling than the Cardinals beating the 49ers, which unfortunately has not happened in a while.
This week the Cardinals are playing for their playoff lives while trying to play spoilers to San Fransisco’s hopes for a first round bye. That is the stakes for the Cards this week against the Niners. Also throw in the fact that they have lost 5 straight to the Niners and the last 3 by a combined score of 88 to 20 makes this week, in the words of Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, “The Cardinals Super Bowl.”
Even with the Niners dominating the Cardinals for the last few years I have not been more confident then I am this week. The 49ers just clinched their division last week meaning they spent the week partying it up and soaking it in. They will also be looking ahead to their MNF game against the Pittsbugh Steelers next week. The Cardinals have the pride factor to play for after 5 straight beat downs by them. They are at home and are the more desperate team by a mile. They have to win out to have a shot for the playoffs, while the Niners can lose this game and still have the 2nd seed the the NFC. Like I said earlier the Niners also may be with out their Defensive MVP and leader Patrick Willis. If there was ever a time for the Cardinals to end their losing streak to the 49ers it will be this week.
49ers 16 Cardinals 23
I can not tell you how excited I am for this weeks games. The potential quarterback play for this week may be one of the worst ever and the best ever in the comedy department. Here are the names of quarterbacks who will or may potentially start this week…John Skeleton, T.J Yates, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Caleb Hanie, Dan Orlovsky, Rex Grossman, A.J. Feeley, Tim Tebow, Blaine Gabbert, and of course Mark Sanchez. You just look at some of those names and know that they will be faliures at quarterack. The names I am most interested in following this week are Caleb Hanie of the Bears and T.J. Yates of the Texans. They interest me the most because their backups are former Cardinal Josh McCown for the Bears and the immortal, one and only, Jake Delhomme for the Texans. I hope the trade deadline has not passed yet in your fantasy league because if you have any Texans or Bears on your team you better get rid of them now! We will now go onto the picks and I will try to prepare you as best I can for the comedy that we all should recieve from quarterbacks around the league.
New York Jets 20 at Washington Redskins 13
DId any quarterback ever have a worse game while still throwing for four touchdowns than Mark Sanchez did last week? For fantasy players in a Defensive player league should pick up a Washington Redskin player in the secondary and gamble on who Mark will be throwing his pick six too. On the other side of the ball is Rex Grossman, who can easily match Sanchez’s ineptitude. Comedy could be pretty decent in this one and I have the Jets pulling it out since they still have something to play for and are the most desperate team of the two.
Game of the week
Kansas City Chiefs 9 at Chicago bears 19
First half (before both starters get pulled) Tyler Palko vs Caleb Hanie. Second half (after both starters get pulled) Kyle Orton vs Josh McCown. In the words of Mike Myers from the movie “Cat in the Hat” “I am sooooooooooooooo excited!!!!!!”
Carolina Panthers 20 at Tampa Bay Buccanears 24
We finally have a game with a couple of coherent quarterbacks, which makes this kind of boring to talk about in the theme of this week. Josh Freeman has taken a major step back this year and is struggling mightily. Cam Newton is putting up sexy numbers but he is still low in the win column number. Tampa Bay is on the verge of mailing in this season, but they will pull out a win again sometime this year.
Toss up of the week
Tennessee Titans 16 at Buffalo Bills 27
Since the Bills gave my man Ryan Fitzpatrick his huge extension he has gone 1-4 and looked nothing like the Fitzpatrick at the beginning of this season. He may rival Kevin Kolb as the most overpaid player in football at the pace he is going at. This is a big game for Tennessee who can easily catch the Houston Delhomme’s in the AFC South, but this is Buffalo’s first true home game since the beginning of November and they will come out to play in front of the home fans.
Oakland Raiders 13 vs Miami Dolphins 17
A match-up featuring Carson Palmer and Matt Moore has some potential for ineptitude. Highly doubtful though considering how well both teams have been playing lately, especially the Dolphins. Dolphins pull it out against the west coast team traveling to the east coast and playing the early game team.
Cincinnati Bengals 13 at Pittsburgh Steelers 28
The Steelers played as well as they needed to against the Chiefs to get the win. Coming home against the Bengals I am feeling a statement win is coming for the Steelers. Andy Dalton is still a rookie quarterback and this is DIck Lebeau’s second time game planning for him and this time he is at home. Steelers win big.
Atlanta Falcons 24 at Houston Texans 10
I will be watching this game intently on my computer for the possibility of a Jake Delhomme sighting. Trust me I will let you know on Twitter the second he gets in @jesanders11. Andre Johnson might be the first wide receiver to just flat-out walk off the field the first time Jake throws to the chest of the guy covering him. I would not blame him for a second. Houston Texans fans I truly am feeling for you guys right now. You guys deserve so much better than what is going on right now.
Denver Broncos 50 at Minnesota Vikings 0
Denver Broncos fans are the most easily offended fans in football right now. So, instead of saying like a normal person that TIm Tebow needs a reality check only to see him pull out another win out of his you know what, then every Bronco fan taking delight in showing how dumb you are picking games by picking against the team with a quarterback who can’t complete half his passes….I am just going to say Broncos blow out every team from now on since you know they are the greatest team in football with baby jesus leading them at quarterback. (For the record I love Tim Tebow….No hard feelings Tim.)
Lock of the century
Indianapolis Colts 0 vs New England Patriots 50
This is a serious score prediction by the way. With Dan Orlovsky starting this week…yes that same Dan Orlovsky who ran 5 yards out-of-bounds for a safety for the 0-16 Lions…I think makes him the worse quarterback of all time. He already played on a 0-16 team with the potential of another 0-16 team. That is not looking good on your resume Dan. The Patriots will pick the score of this game.
Baltimore Ravens 31 at Cleveland Browns 17
With the Steelers breathing down the Ravens backs this is a game they can not afford to blow. The browns are a tough team and if taken lightly can easily win this game.
Dallas Cowboys 20 at Arizona Cardinals 28
This is not a biased pick at all. This is the Cowboys 5th straight game against a team with a losing record with the Giants looming next week. This has all the makings of a let down game for them. The Cardinals have also been playing very well for the last month and get Kevin Kolb back at quarterback more than likely. The cardinals always play the Cowboys tough at home and it will be a playoff atmosphere crowd thanks to the Phoenix Cowboys fans who will be at the game. Cardinals always pull an upset at home which means they win this week or next week and I am betting they do it this week.
Green Bay Packers 35 at New York Giants 24
The Giants did not want to be playing football in New Orleans last Monday night. They got lucky with a couple of wins early in the season that they should not have won that is hiding the fact they are not really a good football team. The Packers continue the march towards an undefeated record.
St. Louis Rams 13 at San Fransisco 49ers 27
The 49ers showed last week that they wont be going far in the playoffs and there is no way they are beating Green Bay or New Orleans. That fact satisfies me enough to get me through this season with them clinching the division this week.
Sunday Night Football
Detroit Lions 28 at New Orleans Saints 38
The Saints can not be stopped in the Superdome and the Lions defense will not be the first to stop them in New Orleans this season.
Monday Night Football
San Diego Chargers 23 at Jacksonville Jaguars 10
The six game losing streak finally comes to an end for the Chargers on Monday Night Football. By the way who in their right minds thought it was a good idea putting Jacksonville on Monday Night twice in one season? Not to mention that we get St. Louis and Seattle next week. Flex scheduling needs to go to Monday night as well and those two games are perfect examples.
Last week: 11-4