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Musings From The Hoodwood 1-27
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL NBA MLB College Football

RIP Mr, Cub 

Greetings from the Hoodwood where the flags are at half-staff for Mr. Cub

Coach K gets his grand victory

I’ve never been much of a Duke fan, I think they are the poster boy of the snobby ACC. I detested Duke for being the ones that the pundits pointed to as basketball the “right way” and how they celebrated when Duke stunned UNLV in the 1991 national semifinals in a game I still swear was fixed to give UNLV their comeuppance. The thing is as much as detested the school and program. I actually respected Mike Krzyzewski, he always seemed like a coach who actually believed in principles like staying in school. I thought for the longest time Duke didn’t put up its 1990 final four banner because of how they got humiliated in the national championship but it was because one of the players didn’t graduate. I found out later that the player. Alaa Abdelnaby did come back finish his coursework and the banner went up. But in any case, the more I read about Krzyzewski and his come up from humble beginnings in Chicago, and his yeoman like rise from coaching his alma mater to nearly being run out of Duke after a couple years, the more I respected him as much as I loathed the team that he coached. In any case, Krzyzewski has made himself a coaching institution and believe it or not been at Duke as long as Dean Smith was at UNC and has more wins he has 927 at Duke, and after the Blue Devils rallied smartly to down a plucky St. John’s squad at MSG Coach K became the 1st men’s coach in Div-1 to amass 1000 wins. Keep in mind, Coach K still has about 3 seasons to go to surpass Pat Summitt’s 1089 wins but he has a milestone that it’s a testimony to his  great teams whom he was quick to put to the forefront and effusive in praise for. But also to his longevity, you don’t coach somewhere 35 years without winning pretty consistently and he has done that in spades.

MLB changes leaders

As much as it catches me off guard to think Coach K has been at Duke for 35 years it makes me pause, but to think that Bud Selig has stepped down from his post as MLB commish, a job he held since 1992 makes me feel old. Selig has been MLB’s grand poobah since the owners ran Fay Vincent out after the 92 season. He has had the job officially since 1998 when the farcical acting title was finally removed. I’ve never been big on Bud Selig, as I’ve always thought of him as a puppet for the owners as he once was one as owner of the Milwaukee Brewers. I also thought that his ideas for contracting two teams (one of whom were my beloved Minnesota Twins in 2001) was ham handed and smelled like a plot to take care of his daughter who was then running the Brewers but that plan fell through, the Twins got good, the Expos moved to fertile baseball country in Washington and Selig soldiered on. Now some of his ideas I liked. Interleague play, moving the Brewers to the NL and the wild card were good. Others like the steroid bumbling, the aforementioned contraction and the inane All-Star-home field advantage But Selig was the 2nd longest tenured commish behind the first to hold the office, the bigoted Kennesaw Mountain Landis. With Selig’s retirement the mantle passes to Rob Manfred who has been the deputy CEO of MLB and by and large has the approval of the talking heads of MLB. We’re hoping that Mann looks at further improving the game and will be his own man and not a puppet of the owners.

NBA: Kobe done for the season…and for good?

This is a haunting refrain that is getting all too familiar. Kobe Bryant has played all of 41 games for the Lakers in the last two seasons suffering through injuries to his knee and Achilles but another injury, this time to his rotator cuff which will shelve him for the remainder of this season and will be the third time in as many season that Bryant will not finish the season healthy and leaves many to wonder will this be the last time we see the self-styled Black Mamba on the court. I think it won’t be, I think that Bryant will try it one more time. I can’t see Bryant walking away from the game after an injury. I think Bryant can be self-absorbed and selfish as a player but he has a legacy of a winner and a tough customer. I can’t see him letting an injury be the checkmate for him.

PHAT DAP\HEAD SLAP

 

Phat Dap- In Memoriam for Mr. Cub

In lieu of a phat dap, Hoodwood takes a moment to remember Mr. Cub. Ernie Banks. The player universally loved in the baseball and revered in Chicago passed away this past Friday at 83. One of the first players of color to play for the Cubs, Banks’ infectious play and boundless spirit fueled the otherwise sad sack Cubs of the 50’s and 60’s, he retired in 1971 as the Cubs all-time home run leaders and is still 2nd but his 1636 RBI’s are still team best. He was inducted into the baseball hall of fame on his first year of eligibility in 1977. His catchphrase “Let’s Play Two” was his enduring symbolism of his love for the game. The Cubs family have lost one of their greats, and the whole baseball and sports world grieves with them.

 

Head Slap

To Russ Knight who works for the CBS affiliate in Phoenix and was hired by the NFL as an assistant frequency coordinator for the Super Bowl festivities going on in the Valley of The Sun. Knight was given highly coveted All-Access Super Bowl credentials for his job. Rightly excited he took a picture and posted it on Facebook. That was a no-no. The NFL contacted him immediately and told him that his credentials would be revoked since there would be a slim but realistic chance that the picture of the credential could be zoomed in on can be duplicated. Considering how tight security is for the Super Bowl nowadays it’s not surprising that the NFL is so strict on posting pics especially of its prized credentials. Knight for his part took ownership of his goof blaming no one but himself. But he still gets a head slap for wasting a golden opportunity to be at the year’s biggest game.

Quick Hits

The Pro Bowl really needs to go back to Hawai’i and after the Super Bowl

The NHL All-Star was in Columbus and in a way I’m sad I missed it but 29 goals? That’s too much

The Yanks don’t want to pay A-Fraud his bonuses. Y’all act like you didn’t know???

Richard Sherman is the best corner in the league and doesn’t like inane questions about it

Doing away with defensive shifts, here’s a tip hitters should hit ‘em where they aint

Now the CFP won’t budge on their dates…did you think that they would give up their valuable cash cow dates?

Musings From The Hoodwood 1-20
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL College Football NBA

Kearse's lone catch of the game sends the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl

Meanwhile Brady and Belechick gear up for their 6th Super Bowl together

 

Greetings from the Hoodwood where we continue to honor the memory and  enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

NFL: Super Showdown Set

Now there are two and for only the 6th time since the current format was instituted in 1990 the NFL’s two top seeded teams have made it through to the Super Bowl. This doesn’t happen as often as you would think it does. In fact Before the seeding was introduced it happened 9 times in the 20 seasons from the merger to 1989. But the Patriots and Seahawks made it through the playoff minefield to the 49th edition of the ultimate pro football game. The Patriots thrashed the Colts in the Championship nightcap to many viewers surprise who expected the plucky Colts to give the Pats a tough game. The Pats big game experience showed in spades from the opening kickoff and initial drive. The Colts looked just really out of sorts from the word go. Beating a pernially playoff jinxed teams and a team with a gimpy quarterback made the Colts look a lot more tougher than they really were. The 45-7 rout was one sided as the score indicated but now there is swirling controversy. The Patriots may have deflated footballs that the Colts used in their offensive series. If these allegations are true the Pats could face the loss of multiple draft picks. This would be another suspicion of taint on Belichick and the Pats that dates all the way back to spygate in 2007. In the earlier game the Seahawks had their 12th man crowd revved up to the point that seismographic equipment was brought out to measure their impact. The crowd though was quite docile as the seemingly gimpy Aaron Rodgers helped the Pack grind to an ugly 19-7 lead. But the Seahawks overcame a horrid game by Russell Wilson to rally back to take a late lead, when the Packers tied the game with a field goal the game became a super high stakes showdown. The Seahawks won the toss and in the words of the late Hank Stram matriculated the ball down the field until Wilson led a streaking Jermaine Kearse for a dramatic catch and score to give the defending champs a 28-22 win. The Seahawks became the first team since the 2004 Pats to defend its conference title. Ill preview the game itself next week.

 

 

Phat Dap

Vince WIllfork was driving home late last night after the Pats win over the Colts and encountered a motorist that had been in an accident and was on its side. Wilfork stopped and stepped in to lend a helping hand, literally. He reached in the overturned vehicle and pulled the driver who was later cited for DUI out of the wrecked vehicle with one hand. Wilfork then left without looking for any pub, Hats off to Wilfork for being on point with a helping hand

Head Slap

To the Cowboys fans (and Skip Bayless) who continue to whine about the non catch by Dez Bryant in the Cowboys loss to the Packers in the divisional round. He didn’t catch the damn ball, and the Pokes lost. GET OVER IT!

Quick Hits

 

Max Scherzer gets paid Kershaw money is he worth it

Coach K on the precipice of 1000 wins, has he really been at Duke 35 years?

The Hawks just keep on winning in anonymity

Jokaim Noah out and the Bulls are coming apart

The Knicks finally win one in 2015, they had last won on December 12th. Are they really that horrid?

 Im adding more to this…

 

Musings From The Hoodwood 1-13
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL College Football MLB

Greetings from the Hoodwood where the locals (Hoodwood is in Ohio by the way and their head coach is an alum of my beloved University of Cincinnati) are helping celebrate the national title win by the Buckeyes

College Football: The Bucks go Duck Hunting in Dallas

The finale was all that it purported to be. The Buckeyes and Ducks went head up for the title. Many pundits said that the Ducks depth would wear the Bucks down late but in a stunning reversal. The Bucks spotted the Ducks an early touchdown then roared back with 21 straight points behind the rugged running of Ezekiel Elliott to take a 21-10 halftime lead. The Bucks couldn’t put the Ducks away though the repeatedly drove deep into Oregon territory only to be stymied by puzzling turnovers. The Ducks couldn’t cash it in until Heisman winner Marcus Mariota found for a 70 yard touchdown tha almost got called back as the ball was dropped right at the goal line. But the Ducks were in the game and cut the lead to 21-20 after another turnover. But it was that man Elliott again steadied the Bucks and they drove back down field and Elliott finished the quarter with a score. The Ducks looked like a beaten team and couldn’t move the ball with any effectiveness and the Bucks just ground the Ducks into the AT&T Stadium turf and the scored the last 14 points of the game to finish off a 42-20 win. Elliot rushed for 246 yards and 4 scores. The Bucks were seeded 4th but in the end were #1. Urban Meyer now is an Ohio legend as he brought the Buckeyes their 6th national title and first since 2002. The loss was tough for the Heisman winner Marcus Mariota who may have been playing his final collegiate game, he was repeadtedly stopped from scoring in the red zone, they were turned away in the red zone a couple times late. All in all the College football playoff will now go into legend like the its pro football equalivent. If only they would play it on the open Saturday before the Super Bowl, it would be perfect.

NFL: Rex shuffin off to Buffalo???

Ive made no secret over the years for my disdain and dislike for Rex Ryan whom I consider a grinning jeering buffoon of a coach and was not surprised that he was given the hook after the Jets 4-12 season, but knowing the NFL owners propensity for wanting to make a splashy hire was sure that Ryan would land on his feet somewhere. I suspected that he would go Atlanta, a fairly big market where he would be the big personality in town not seen since Ted Turner. With a high powered offense already made there, his defensive leanings would be the perfect compliment. But Ryan stunned many by heading to Buffalo. Now make no mistake, I have a soft spot for Buffalo. Ive been to that proud blue collar city a number of times and enjoyed the football experience I had there with their down to earth and doggedly loyal fan base. I relished the playoff atmosphere in the mid 90’s when the Bills and Dolphins battled for a division title in the snow. But the choice of Ryan is all wrong, the Bills have a stout strong defense. Their punchy offense is what needs a real guru, and Ive never known a coach named Ryan to like defense. Rex’s daddy Buddy was allergic to offense, and shaggy  maned twin Rob is a defensive coach. The Bills hiring of Ryan is a puzzler and with EJ Manuel still struggling, their need for an offense is apparent

NFL: Power play in Denver puts Fox out

The Broncos abject failure in the divisional round against Indy had rammifications. John Fox whos .719 winning percentage was the best in Broncos history and the team agreed to part way. While the Broncos won 12 in the each of the last 3 years, and had won the AFC West each of the last four years (The Broncos like the Bengals made the playoff each of the last four season for the first time in each teams history)  they only made one Super Bowl where they were of course hammered by the Seahawks and aside from that season only won one other time in the playoffs and that was Tebow Time in 2011 against the Steelers. The Broncos lost to the Ravens in 2012 in double OT and were steamrolled by the upstart Colts. The galling thing was that they were beaten at home in the intimidating venue of Mile High.  It seems that Fox and head football poobah John Elway just didnt get along and that Fox's laid back attittude just didnt sit well with the uber intense Elway and that eventually laid the groundwork for his exit. Rumor has it that the Broncos will look hard at their offensive coordinator Adam Gase, Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles (who will likely get lots of interviews to satisfy the Rooney Rule) and Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn (who is on everyones short list) Fox will have his suitors no doubt, the Bears are reportedly interested and you can bet the Jets and Falcons will be interested.The wild card in this is if Peyton Manning will comeback for another season, but his poor performance now has an explanation. He had a torn quad which limited his mobility and throwing power. All in all, the Broncos look more like a team in flux than a team that had such Super aspirartions a couple years back.

 

Phat Dap

To Leah Still who got a bit of bad news as she still isn’t cancer free. Her fight continues, I hope all that read this column would say a little prayer for Leah who as the daughter of Bengals defensive player Devon Still captured the nations heart in their battle against the rare form of pediatric cancer. Her fight is everyones fight. Im damn sure that everyone has lost someone or knows someone who is battling cancer. Dap to little Leah, and my hope that she wins this fight

 

Head Slap

To Karl Hess, a college basketball ref who has officiated no fewer than six final fours and a national title game for a brainless comment.  Hess directed a comment toward Mit Shah via his twitter page “When I’m older I want to sit in your seat & watch your Egyptian ass ref a game.” Hess claims it was a statement made in jest but no one was laughing. Shah who is of Indian decent but was born in New Jersey and raised in Winston-Salem is the CEO of a hotel management company based in Atlanta Hess was terminated from working any further ACC games, was supposed to be working the Houston-Memphis AAC game this Saturday but has withdrawn working this game as well as having withdrawn from all SEC games he was scheduled to ref too. Refs are independent contractors and get jobs with conferences as they can get them. Which is why you often see the same refs at a host of games for different leagues. Hess has been in trouble with the ACC before after ejecting two NC State legend players from watching a game because they were “excessively demonstrating on several calls.” But had Hess left the stupid ethic comment out of the twitter comment, he would still have a job. To his credit Hess took full responsibility for his comments and actions Like our Hoodwood Coach Herman Edwards has said repeatedly “Don t Press Send!”

Quick Hits

Mariota is going to the pros, he aint fooling anyone

Kevin Garnett used to be my favorite player, that head butt just took him off my faves list

Did Oregon’s wideouts weed craving cost them the title?

Brady and company shined against the Ravens, Harbaugh looked like a whiner

Is this the end for Peyton

No, Dez didn’t hold on to the ball

Another playoff failure for Romo and I couldn’t be happierA

Baseball got it right with its hall of fame class.

Ill add some more soon.

Until next post fellow sports fans…

Musings From The Hoodwood 1-6
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL College Football MLB NBA

Hoodwood Remembers Stuart Scott (1965-2015)

Greetings from the Hoodwood, where we honor one of our own. Though we never met, he was an inspiration to the sports writers and broadcasters alike.

NFL: Not so wild weekend

The first weekend of the NFL playoffs were not the usual wild upset filled weekend that everyone has become accustomed to. The three games were kind of boring. The woeful Panthers tried every which way to lose their home playoff game to the rudderless Cards but in the end the Panthers got a 27-16 win that sends them to a Saturday Night execution in Seattle. It was a sad coda for a team that won 11 games and for a time was looking like one of the preeminent teams of not only the NFC but the NFL, but after losing a bevy of quarterback and Ryan Lindley proving in spades why he wasnt an NFL caliber quarteback at all the Cards were a shell of the great team that had dreams of being the first team to play as a true home team in the Super Bowl

The Saturday nightcap looked like it would be a true grudge match, the Steelers hosted their bitter divisional rival the Ravens and a slugfest was expected. But without the dynamic running of LeVeon Bell the Steelers looked flat and uninspired. The Ravens never looked like that they were in any danger and a rowdy Heinz Field crowd sat mostly in stony silence as the Ravens dominated a 30-17 win from start to finish. The Ravens now head to Foxboro where they have had more success in recent memory. The Pats have been resting for two weeks having had clinched the #1 before Christmas. The Steelers having been so haughty just ten days ago and harboring dreams of their 7th title were sent home rather rudely

The Sunday game featured two teams that are the closest in the AFC, at 112 miles between Paul Brown Stadium and Lucas Oil Stadium both teams are so close yet so far away. The AFC South Champ Colts are ascending and with the dynamic Andrew Luck and dominant in their division. While the Bengals continue a stagnant pattern, decent in the regular season  and having qualified for their fourth straight playoff appearance and like the three before it, a lifeless playoff effort. The Bengals have yet to lead in the 2nd half of any of their playoff games and the Bengals Andy Dalton remains an enigma. The Colts led most of the way in the 26-10 win and head to Denver where Luck's p[redecssor Peyton Manning waits as only the 2nd QB to face the team he led to a title in the playoffs. Now the questions begin anew in Cincy, after 100 wins and 6 playoff apperances in the last decade is Marvin Lewis on the way out? Is he the right man to finally break the Bengals 25 year playoff jinx.The natives are restless and the spectre of the dark years of 1991-2002 hangs over this franchise. 

The weekend nightcap looked to be another boring game as the Lions jumped on the Pokes and led 14-0, I was all ready to write another sad chapter in the litany of playoff failures by Romo, Garrett and the star crossed Pokes. But a funny thing happened, the Cowboys hung tough and rallied aided by a curious non call pass interference call or rather a call that was made and picked up that short circuited a Lions drive. To Romo's credit he did lead the Pokes on a late drive capped by a touchdown strike to Terrance Willams to give them the lead and the win. The Pokes head to the frozen tundra of Lambeau to face a Packers squad that has yet to lose at home and a defense that has to solve the riddle of Aaron Rodgers who has yet to make a turnover at home. To their credit the Pokes have yet to lose on the road...something has to give

Thoughts on Stuart

I remember when ESPN2 started in the early 90 and they had Sportsnight, Trying desperately to seem hip and cutting edge, It was almost painful to watch Keith Olbermann try to be overly cool. Suzy Kolber was always easy on the eyes but she looked dumb reporting on sports that ESPN stopped showing in the early 80s with slo pitch softball and log splitting. The real star was Stuart Scott one of the few black anchor/reporters who looked and sounded like me. Now no dis to John Saunders who I admired (and still do) but Scott knew the hip hop lingo and sounded like he did, He reported the scores and highlights like the dudes at the barbershop did. But Scott was more than a hip linguist, he knew the sports and oozed a cool mannerism that was edgy yet disarming and magnetic. Scott became a favorite anchor of mine on ESPN and though I detested his often smug pompuous partner on Sportscenter the preening Rich Eisen I tolerated him to hear the catchphrases Scott said like "Having a block party with Pookie, Ray-Ray some Funkadelic on the 8 track" or The Lawd said you have to rise up-ah"  or everyones favorite "Cool as the other side of the pillow" Scott was like me a father to two daughters and was very poignant in his acceptance speech of the Jimmy V Espy for perserverance after having battled cancer on numerous occasions. He dedicated his fight to them and was eloquent in doing so. Scott lost his fight with cancer on Sunday and the sports broadcasting world mourned his passing. You might not like ESPN but you had to give Scott his credit for making sports a little more cooler and urban and urbane.

Give me 8 hours and Ill put the rest of the column in here...check back for it...seriously.

College Football: Is this the end for the SEC? I find it ironic that it started with Urb and he may have started the end of it as well. The SEC for the past ten years has been the preeminent if not dominant entity in college football. Start with Meyer’s Florida teams, add Alabama and LSU in the mix with a splash of Auburn and you’ve had a nearly unbroken stream of SEC teams dominating the college championships. Many shrugged off the Florida State win over Auburn in last years title game as a magical team at the right time catching an SEC team that was good but extremely lucky to be that far. But this year…the silence is deafening. Meyer’s Florida team put a whooping on Ohio State and in an ironic twist. Meyer led Ohio State to a thrilling shootout win against Alabama, long consider the bully of the bullies in the SEC. The odds were stacked high against a good but not great Ohio State team. I considered their teams from the past two years better. Starting a 3rd string QB in the capable but wholly untested Cardale Jones, the Bucks rolled up 537 yards on the Tide defense. Hold up 537 yards? On BAMA??? Yes, now Ive seen the Bucks offense twice in person. Once, in Columbus where they ran roughshod on my poor beloved Bearcats and in the Big Easy on New Years Night. I’m no Buck honk in anyway, but I was trying to tell my friends I was at the game with that the Bucks play high speed like an SEC team with Big Ten (plus four) brute power. They sat mouths agape as the Bucks rallied again and again, taking the Tides best punch and bouncing back with clutch scores. The 42-35 thriller sent the Bucks to North Texas where they will face Oregon who humiliated defending national Champ Florida State in a brutal 59-20 slaughter that was close for about 2 ½ quarters then got completely housed as the Ducks took advantage of every Seminole miscue to score the last 34 points of the game. Let that sink in …34 straight points in less than 25 minutes of game clock time. But back to the SEC, the other teams in the conference got housed badly. TCU angry about being left out of the national title picture, thrashed Ole Miss as the top 5 teams were blanked. Auburn, Mississippi State, LSU also took losses. You have to drill down to Georgia neophyte SEC members Mizzou and Texas A&M to find bowl wins

Phat Dap

To Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio and John Smoltz, the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. No questions on the creds of these four. These are my generations great players with no taint.

Head Slap

To the Oregon players that chanted No Means No in the waning moments of the Ducks semifinal rout of Florida State. Obviously directed to Jameis Winston, that was pure bad taste. And additional slap goes to the chowder head that keyed some of the Noles players cars in Tallahassee. The Noles had their 29 game win streak shattered they didn’t need that as well.

Quick Hits

If Atlanta is so fo real, why are they not drawing and rumors have them moving to Seattle

Andy Dalton….sigh

Jameis better get used to having his head kicked in…hes gonna experience that a lot in Tampa or Nashville next year

The Winter Classic…in balmy DC, is this something that should always be in an arctic venue?

If Marvin Lewis gets fired, he wont be unemployed long

Was it me or was it kinda weird to see Jim Harbaugh on the sidelines calm in Pittsburgh with the Ravens

Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans

NFL Wild Card Round Picks
Category: NFL
Tags: NFL Picks & Predictions

 

Cue up the old Kenny Loggins tune “This is it” Because this is it. 20 NFL teams have been excused from the conversation and there are 12 teams that are left. Now the Patriots, Packers, Broncos and Seahawks are sitting out the weekend watching with detached interest as they will join the fray next weekend. The wild card round have produced a fair share of Super Bowl winners since this format was introduced in 1990, so these games could realistically produce this years champ. 11 of the 12 teams are trying to get to the final game and Arizona wants to get home and be the first Super Bowl team to play the title game in its home venue. There have been two teams that have been the “host city” and made it but the then LA Rams were better than an hour away from Pasadena for the 14th Super Bowl, and Palo Alto was in the same area that the Niners were for their Super Bowl win in the 19th game. This year all four networks are involved this time around with ESPN getting in the action instead of ABC. The #1 Broadcast teams are doing the games this round and the game. So this is the playoffs and these are the picks. Odds are provided by ESPN and are for comparison and entertainment purposes and if you take the lines and get took, its nobodys fault but your own.

NFL SCHEDULE – WILD CARD WEEKEND

 Saturday, January 3

 

NFC WILD CARD PLAYOFF

#5 Arizona Cardinals (11-5 #1 NFC Wild Card) @ #4 Carolina Panthers (7-8-1 NFC South Champ)

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte 4:30 (ESPN, Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden)

Favorite Panthers by 5½

Playoff History Cardinals defeated Panthers 33-13 in the 2008 Wild Card round (Jan 2009)

Fast Facts: AZ: 11 Wins ties a franchise high set in 1975 CAR: 2nd losing season team to win their division

The Cards started as one of the hottest teams in the NFL, but cooled off seriously over the back quarter of the season to fall out of the NFC West lead. The Panthers were just about done at the start of December but came on strong late and routed the Saints and Falcons to take the otherwise woeful NFC South and garner a home playoff game. The Cards have a rugged defense but are painfully inexperienced at QB and that will be their downfall. As much as I would like to see the Cards make a run home to the Super Bowl. I cant see them doing it with a QB that has yet to throw an NFL TD.

Pick- Carolina

 

 Sunday, January 4

 

AFC WILD CARD PLAYOFF –

#5 Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1 #1 AFC Wild Card) @ #4 Indianapolis Colts (11-5 AFC South Champion)

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis 1:00 (CBS Jim Nantz, Phil Simms)

Favorite Colts by 4

Previous Playoff Meeting 1970 AFC Divisional Playoff Colts (Then in Baltimore) defeated Bengals 17-0

Fast Facts: These are the closest conference foes in distance (110 miles) CIN: Has NFL’s longest playoff drought (24 years, 0-6) IND: The last meeting with CIN resulted in the franchises 500th victory

The Colts have more or less sailed into the playoff after dominating the woeful AFC South, the Bengals led the AFC North till losing to Pittsburgh on the last day of the season. The Colts have Andrew Luck and a bevy of talented receivers but almost no running game, the Bengals have a solid running game but a scattershot talent at QB in Andy Dalton who will be lacking AJ Green as was the case in their first meeting. But for some reason I think the Bengals are different in this meeting. I think the Bengals will use the rugged running of Jeremy Hill to control the clock and make the Colts even more one dimensional. They set the blueprint with their win over the Broncos before Christmas. I have a funny feeling that they might use that blueprint to win here.

Pick-Cincinnati

 

 

 

 

NFC WILD CARD PLAYOFF

#6 Detroit Lions (11-5 #1 NFC Wild Card) @#3 Dallas Cowboys (12-4 NFC East Champs)

AT&T Stadium; Arlington, TX 4:40 (FOX- Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver)

Favorite: Cowboys by 6½

Playoff History. The Teams have split their 2 meetings. Cowboys winning 5-0 in 1970 NFC Divisional round, the Lions winning 38-6 in the1991 Divisional Round

Fast Facts DET: Last playoff win was against Dallas and holds the NFC’s longest playoff at drought 23 years DAL: Have yet to score a touchdown in two playoff meetings

The Lions rolled to an impressive 11 win season and will have enigmatic defensive standout Ndomakung Suh who won his appeal of his suspension, but this is the arguably the most complete Pokes team that has been fielded this century. Tony Romo throwing to Dez Bryant is only one facet of this team that also has the dynamic running of DeMarco Murray. Matthew Stafford will test the Pokes often suspect secondary and you can bet that Megatron Johnson will get his, but I think in this game the Pokes are just plain better on both sides of the ball. Will this translate into a roll to Arizona on the first of February? Ill get back to you on that, but on this day. I see the home team winning.

Pick-Dallas

Regular Season Final Totals

Week 17: 9-7

Overall: 160-95-1

Locks 13-4

Upsets 4-13

 

 

 

AFC WILD CARD PLAYOFF –

#6 Baltimore Ravens (10-6 AFC #2 Wild Card)  @ #3 Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5, AFC North Champ)

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh 8:15  (NBC- Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya)

Favorite Steelers by 3

Playoff History  This will be the fourth playoff meeting, with the Steelers winning all three previous meetings. The last meeting in 2011 AFC divisional round by a 34-31 score

Fast Fact All the playoff meetings have been in Pittsburgh

First meeting of two Super Bowl Winning QB’s in the playoffs since the 2011 NFC title game

The Steelers hanging around like a cloud came on strong late to take the AFC North title in the season’s last day and the Ravens loitered long enough but put together a strong enough finish to make it back to the playoffs. Without strong runner LeVeon Bell the Steelers are missing a key cog in their running game and hope that Ben Tate will be able to cover some of the slack. I really don’t trust Joe Flacco and the Baltimore offense to be consistent enough to put points up. The Steelers are awfully tough in their home venue especially in the playoffs.

Pick-Pittsburgh

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