WILD CARD WEEKEND DEFINITELY WILD

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    Well Folks I was 2 out of 4 on my picks.  Thats not too good of start for this year’s Playoffs.  However, all of the games were competitive and we even saw the second biggest comeback in the history of the NFL Playoffs.  Well there are ten things that I took out of the wild card round.

1) Dome Teams can win in the cold weather.  The Saints beat the Eagles at the Linc so that may be the most overrated theory in Football.

2) Home field Advantage and a Division Win does not necessarily mean that the home team will win.  Philly, Cincy, and Green Bay all lost at home.  

3) The final score is not over until Andy Reid is your coach.

4) Even though the Eagles lost to the Saints, there is a a bright future for this franchise and this team definitely was able to capture the entire Football Community from the depths of the river below the Walt Whitman Bridge.

5) Even good Quarterbacks can struggle in big games and Defense and the Run are still the major keys in winning a playoff game.

6) Andy Dalton is not the answer at Quarterback for the Bengals…they have too much talent around for him to not succeed.

7) Having a good Kicker that can consistently kick the ball into the end zone for a touchback is underrated.  Chip, please let Henry stick to Golf.

8) Frank Gore is still the spoon that stirs the 49ers Drink.

9) Andy Reid lived up to his biggest criticism once again as far as Clock Management.  Also, the fact that the Chiefs started out 9-0 and are bounced out in the first round shows that its not how you start, but yet how you finish that matters in the NFL.

10) I am so sick of hearing Chris Collinsworth and Al Michaels voices.  Please NBC, its time for the changing of the guard.

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So the first round of the NFL Playoff’s are in the books.  Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, and San Diego Chargers as they live to see another week.  Meanwhile, players in Green Bay, Philly, KC, and Cincinnati are packing their stuff from their lockers and its off to the Golf Course.  How many days is it till spring training??? Just Kidding.  Anyways, the playoffs are off to an exciting start and Im sure there will be much more excitement.  Meanwhile, back on the ranch, The Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, and New England Patriots all lie  in wait as they study their prey.  Stay tuned as later in the week I will have my picks for the Divisional Round.  In the meantime, Happy New Year to all of my fans and thanks again to INTHENEUTRALZONE.  If you are looking for a good website with a good mix of sports blogs, check it out sometime.  Also, I want to thank all of you as my blog has went over 9,000 Views!!! Till next time droogies…ROCK ON AND GET READY FOR WEEK 2 of the NFL’s greatest show.

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NFL: PLAYOFF RACE MAYHEM/WEEK #17 PICKS

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     I cannot remember an NFL Season that has entered the final week of play with so many questions unanswered and so many open Playoff Spots to be had.  The AFC Playoff Picture is a little more clear than the NFC, but not by much.  In the AFC, the New England Patriots have clinched the AFC East, the Cincinnati Bengals are the AFC North winners, the Colts the South, and Denver Broncos the West.  The only other team that has clinched a playoff birth is the Kansas City Chiefs.  No seeds have been clinched and home field advantage is still there for the taking.  So there will not be many players resting this week, or at least any whose team has a significant opportunity.  The Miami Dolphins, the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, and San Diego Chargers are all vying for the sixth and final playoff spot.

     The NFC picture is even more clouded.  Not one Division has been clinched thus far in the NFC, and only the Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, and San Francisco 49ers have clinched playoff births.  The Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, and Arizona Cardinals all go into Week #17 needing a win to lock up the final 3 Playoff Spots.  And here we are, the second week without a Thursday Night Game, making Sunday the Number One Story of the year.  2013 still has a few days left and Sunday will be a significant day in many team’s 2013 Season.  There could not be much more hype going into a final weekend of a regular NFL season.

     There are also many side notes as we enter this final weekend.  Peyton Manning has a chance to add to his league record 51 Touchdown Passes.  The Eagle’s Running Back LeSean McCoy goes into the weekend in search of the rushing crown and is only 50 yards shy of an Eagles Team Rushing Record.  It was announced just today that the Packer’s Aaron Rodgers will make his first start, after missing seven games due to a collarbone injury.  The Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo suffered an injury Sunday that many are saying is season ending, but you and I both know the media drama monster that the Cowboys propose.  This should be one of the most memorable final weekends in NFL History.  So now with out further a due…my picks.

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CAROLINA PANTHERS (11-4, 1st Place NFC South)

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ATLANTA FALCONS (4-11, Last Place NFC South)

This game is a microcosm of how the 2013 NFL Season has transpired.  The Falcons were many experts picks to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  My, my, my how wrong were they.  The Carolina Panthers lead the Division with one game to play and either need a win or Falcons loss to clinch the Division.  However; if for some reason the Panthers are upset by the last place Falcons and the New Orleans Saints can win, then the Saints take the Division Title.  On paper, this game is a huge mismatch.  Cam Newton has been stellar at Quarterback for the Panthers and has turned an abysmal start of the season into a tremendous run in the past two months.  Newton has lead the resurgent Panthers to the brink of a Division Win and a First Round Bye.  The Falcons would love to play spoiler in this one.  Every time I have picked against the Panthers this season I have been wrong.  So, I am changing my pattern and I am taking the Panthers to win the game and the Division.  They will win in comeback fashion 23-17.

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GREEN BAY PACKERS (7-7-1, 2nd Place NFC North)

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CHICAGO BEARS (8-7, First Place NFC North)

Here is a head to head contest where winner takes all and the loser goes home.  Its hard to believe that the Packers are a 3 Point Favorite in this game on the road.  The only reason that this game means anything is that tie that the Packers had a Month back.  If not for that tie, the Bears would have won the Division by default.  But that is a what if scenario that does not exist in the NFL.  The Bears were completely humiliated on Sunday Night Football last week against the Philadelphia Eagles.  The Packers on the other hand had another comeback win behind back up Quarterback Matt Flynn.  In order for the Bears to win this game, they will have to do a better job with their deep passing game.  Also, the Eagles were the first team to neutralize Running Back Matt Forte.  The Bears have the worst pass defense which does not bode well against a hungry Aaron Rodgers.  I have said numerous times that the Packers are the dark horse sleeper in the NFC if Rodgers could somehow come back.  Although Aaron Rodgers is back, and I do think this will make the game close, I am taking the Bears in an upset at Soldier Field.  The Bears win the game 31-28.

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HOUSTON TEXANS (2-13, LAST PLACE AFC SOUTH)

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TENNESSEE TITANS (6-9, Second Place AFC South)

The first meaningless game on my docket.  Well, it will not be meaningless if the Titans can beat the Texans at home, which would give the Texans the league’s worst record and the first pick of the 2014 Draft.  The Texans are the NFL’s most disappointing team.  Their defense has been ranked #1 almost all year, however, they turn the ball over and give up loads of points.  The Texans are favored by 7 in this game.  I am taking they Titans to win this game outright 17-14.

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CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-11, LAST PLACE AFC NORTH)

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PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-8, 3RD PLACE AFC NORTH)

The Steelers are favored by 7 in this one at home.  The Steelers have avery slim chance to make the playoffs but many things would have to go their way.  However, despite the ramifications, the Steeler’s coach said this week that they will not lay down.  I expect the Steelers to come out and play Steeler Football as they best the Browns 24-21.

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WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-12, LAST PLACE NFC EAST)

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NEW YORK GIANTS (6-9, THIRD PLACE NFC EAST)

Ok, so this Division Rivalry comes into Sunday with absolutely no meaning.  There will not even be bragging rights in this one as both teams were eliminated from playoff contention weeks ago.  However, this is still a Division Rivalry and these games always have some type of meaning.  I do not see the Redskins just crawling in a whole and throwing in the towel.  In fact, last week they almost beat Dallas, which would have played the playoff spoiler.  The Giants look like they gave up months ago, which is not like a Tom Coughlin run team.  Nonetheless, the Giants are favored by three at home.  I take the Redskins to beat the Giants, handing them their first ten loss season in ten years.  The Redskins win handily 27-14.

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BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-7, SECOND PLACE AFC NORTH)

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CINCINNATI BENGALS (10-5, FIRST PLACE AFC NORTH)

So here we are, the last week of the season and the Super Bowl Champion Ravens are still in contention.  However, they need a few things to go their way.  The Bengals on the other hand, are looking to lock up a top seed and a first round bye.  If the Bengals can win and the Patriots somehow lose, they would get the second Seed.  This is a huge game for a team that was highly rated coming into the season.  The way that the NFL has been this season is crazy.  So because of that fact, I am taking the Ravens to upset the Bengals who already have a playoff spot locked up.  A win by the Ravens could possibly set up a game the following week in the wildcard round as a rematch.  The Ravens win 20-17.

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JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-11, THIRD PLACE AFC SOUTH)

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INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (10-5, FIRST PLACE AFC SOUTH)

The Colts who are favored by 11.5 Points at home in this game against the hapless Jaguars have been quiet beast in the AFC.  The Colts have beat the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, and Kansas City Chiefs all of who are top Playoff Teams.  The Colts are also in search of a First Round Bye and a win would go pretty far in helping their cause.  I say that Andrew Luck does not need any luck and they beat the Jags 34-20.

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NEW YORK JETS (7-8, THIRD PLACE AFC EAST)

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MIAMI DOLPHINS (8-7, SECOND PLACE AFC EAST)

The Miami Dolphins come into this Divisional Game needing a win to have a shot at the playoffs.  The Dolphins beat the jets in New York last month, but have been extremely inconsistent.  The Dolphins need a win and a few other teams to lose to make the wild card round.  Ryan Tannehill has been superb most of the year but his playing status is in question due to an injury.  The Dolphins are favored by 5.  Although, it would be a nice conclusion for Rex Ryan and the boys to get to .500, the Fish win this game and sneak into the playoffs.  The Dolphins win 23-20.

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DETROIT LIONS (7-8, THIRD PLACE NFC NORTH)

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MINNESOTA VIKINGS (4-10-1, LAST PLACE NFC NORTH)

Wow, a month ago the Lions had a comfortable lead on the NFC North and looked like a playoff lock.  However, this team has totally collapsed.  They have one of the most potent offenses in the league but cannot put teams away.  The game a few weeks in Philly in the snow really seemed to be the turning point.  The Lions were 7-5, beating the Eagles and well on their way to 8-5.  Now, three straight losses coupled with Packers and Bear’s wins has knocked them out of playoff contention.  The Lions are favored by 5 in this one but not much matters.  The biggest story will be if Adrian Peterson can come back from that horrifying injury and finish out the season.  The Vikings win 27-20.

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BUFFALO BILLS (6-9, LAST PLACE AFC EAST)

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (11-4, FIRST PLACE AFC EAST)

Once again, another game with huge playoff implications.  The Bills have been a door mat for the most part this season.  The Patriots need a win to lock up home field advantage and a bye in this one so Im sure Bellicheck will have the troops ready.  The loss of Gronkowski has put a weakness in the Patriots armor.  Even though the Bills have had some upsets this season and have a chance to play spoiler, I see the Pats winning this one and locking up a Bye.  The Patriots win 28-20.

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TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-11, LAST PLACE NFC SOUTH)

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NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-5, SECOND PLACE NFC SOUTH)

Wow, the two bottom feeders of the NFC South have a chance to play spoiler against the Saints and Panthers.  Well, I do not see this happening this week.  Drew Brees is on a mission this season.  He is tired of hearing about Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.  He wants to show the NFL that he is still a force in the league.  The Saints roll over the dead Bucs 38-21.

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DENVER BRONCOS (12-3, FIRST PLACE AFC WEST)

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OAKLAND RAIDERS ( 4-11, LAST PLACE AFC WEST)

The Broncos go up big in the first half and rest their starters the rest of the way.  A win gives the Broncos Home Field throughout the playoffs and a week 1 Bye.  The Raiders have struggled against good offenses all year and the Broncos are averaging 38 Points per Game.  Peyton adds to his record stats and the Broncos are well inn their way.  Broncos win 35-24, as the game is much closer after Denver decides to rest their starters.

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SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (11-4, SECOND PLACE NFC WEST)

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ARIZONA CARDINALS (10-5, THIRD PLACE NFC WEST)

The Cardinals have to be kicking themselves for playing in the toughest division in football this year.  They have an extremely respectable record at 10-5 and may not make the playoffs.  The 49ers already have a playoff spot locked up and still have a shot at the Division.  If the Niners win and Seattle loses the Niners can win the Division.  The Cardinals can only make the playoffs with a win and Saints Loss.  The Niners take this one and make the Cardinals the best 10-6 Team to not make the playoffs in forever.  The 49ers 21-16.

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KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-4, Second Place AFC WEST)

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SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (8-7, THIRD PLACE)

The Chiefs have locked up a playoff spot and really cannot move up or down in the standings as they will be the Number 1 Wild Card Team.  However, the Chargers can sneak into the playoffs with a win and thats exactly what I see happening.  The Chargers win 28-24 at home and sneak into the playoffs.

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SAINT LOUIS RAMS (7-8, LAST PLACE NFC WEST)

The Rams have tread water ever since Sam Bradford went down with an injury.  They have a chance to finish with a .500 Record.  The Seahawks have been very dominant and are favored by 11.5.  However, my story has the Rams upsetting the Seahawks at home and giving the 49ers the Division Crown.  With an Eagles win against the Cowboys that would set up a Seattle Philly game in Philly in the Week One Wildcard Round.  Call me a homer, I don’t care, thats what I see happening.  The Rams win 20-17.

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PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9-6, FIRST PLACE NFC EAST)

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DALLAS COWBOYS (8-7, SECOND PLACE NFC EAST)

In August, if somebody would have told me that the Philadelphia Eagles would be playing on the last Sunday of the Season against the Dallas Cowboys, for a chance at winning the Division I would have said they were nuts.  However, here we are.  The Eagles have completely matured and bought into Chip Kelly’s System in year One.  The Cowboys have been inconsistent as usual. They do have that potent offense but their defense has been weak.  This game will be completely different than the one in Philly where the Cowboys won 17-6.  Since that game, the Eagles have won six games and are rolling behind a confident Nick Foles.  Tony Romo came up lame in the last game and there is a chance he does not play.  In my eyes, it does not matter if he plays.  The Eagles win the NFC East and beat the Cowboys 45-31.  There you have it my picks.  We shall see what happens.  No matter what the outcome, Sunday will matter up until the last buzzer during the Eagles Cowboys game.  Thats what makes the NFL the best.

NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIO FRENZY

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     Ok…I want to take this opportunity to wish all of my fans a safe and Happy Holiday Season.  Without my fans, I would be an epic failure.  A special thank you goes out to the website INTHENEUTRALZONE.COM for promoting my site.  I urge every sports fan to check out their material…great stuff.  So the NFL Season is down to two weeks and the playoff picture still remains a puzzle.  In the NFC, no team has clinched a Division as of yet and only the Seattle Seahawks have clinched a playoff birth.  The AFC story is not much better.  Only the Indianapolis Colts have clinched their Division and the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos have clinched playoff births.  At 11-3, the Broncos and Chiefs are tied for the Division lead and it comes down to the last two games.

     In the AFC, New England Patriots (10-4), Miami Dolphins (8-6), Cincinnati Bengals (9-5), Baltimore Ravens (8-6), and San Diego Chargers (7-7) are all vying for the final 4 Playoff Spots.  The NFC Picture is even more up in the air.  The San Francisco 49ers (10-4), Arizona Cardinals (9-5), New Orleans Saints (10-4), Carolina Panthers (10-4), Chicago Bears (8-6), Green Bay Packers (7-6-1), Detroit Lions (7-7), Philadelphia Eagles (8-6), and Dallas Cowboys (7-7) are playing for 5 Playoff Spots.  In the AFC, a win this week by the New England Patriots and a loss by the Miami Dolphins would give New England the AFC East Title.  A Bengals win and Ravens loss would allow the Bengals to lock up a playoff spot and clinch the AFC Central.  Obviously, the Chiefs and Broncos both control their own destiny, however the Broncos have the inside track to the Division crown as they beat the Chiefs twice.  So a preliminary Playoff Picture in the AFC could look like the following: Denver Broncos (13-3) First Round Bye, New England Patriots (11-5) First Round Bye, Indianapolis Colts (10-6), Cincinnati Bengals (10-6), Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) Wild Card, Miami, Baltimore, or San Diego last wild card.

     The NFC Playoff Picture has become a crapshoot.  Let us just say that the Seattle Seahawks win their remaining games and go 14-2.  Here are the other scenarios.  In the NFC East, an Eagles win and Cowboys loss Sunday will see the Eagles clinch the East and render the last game between the two teams null.  However, if both the Eagles and Dallas win then the final game of the season would decide the Division.  Obviously two Dallas wins and two Eagles losses gives the Cowboys the Division.  The NFC North is a 3 Team Battle between the Bears, Packers, and Lions.  The Bears have the inside track, however if they lose to the Eagles on Sunday it will be very interesting.  The dark horse and sleeper is the Packers.  If they can somehow sneak into the playoffs and get AARON Rodgers back they could make some noise and be a very dangerous team.  The 49ers control their destiny and if they win out they will definitely make the playoffs and could still steal the Division CROWN if Seattle slips.

     This week will go along way to determining the playoff berths in the NFC and AFC alike.  However, it probably will not be until next week until most Divisions and seeds are decided.  Let’s look at some of the key statistical races as we finish the season.  Peyton Manning has wrapped up the Passing Touchdown Title as he has 47 with 2 games left to play.  There is a pretty good chance that he will break Tom Brady’s single season record of 51 Touchdowns as Denver is still trying to clinch the Division and possibly a bye.  Barring a total collapse, the Eagles Nick Foles will win the Passer Rating Title in only his first starting season.  Right now he sits at 117.0 and if he can stay there or higher it, he will make the Top 10 of all-time single season passer ratings.  Peyton Manning has 4,811 passing yards and Drew Brees has 4,500 so it comes down to these two for the yardage crown.

     The Receiving Yardage Crown will come down to the Lion’s Megatron (1,449) and Josh Gordon (1,467).  Brandon Marshall, Antonio Brown, Pierre Garcon and Andre Johnson all have over 90 Receptions so one of these players will naturally win that category.  The Saints Jimmy Graham has 14 Receiving Touchdowns and appears to be the runaway favorite there.  The Eagles LeSean McCoy has 1,343 Rushing yards and will clinch the rushing title with two more decent games.  Other challengers are the Chief’s Jamaal Charles and the Bear’s Matt Forte.  Jamaal Charles has 18 Touchdowns (11 Rush/7 REC) so he will win that battle.  LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles battle for the All-Purpose Yards Crown.  Matt Forte is also there.  And Mathis of the Colts appears to have locked up the Sack Title…he has 16.5 so far.  In conclusion, good luck too the Fantasy Players still alive for the Championship.  Until next time, enjoy the rest of your week.

NFL WEEK 15: IT’S CRUNCH TIME

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     I cannot believe that its already week 15 of the NFL Season.  It just seems like yesterday that I was watching that first Thursday Night Game with Peyton Manning throwing 7 Touchdowns on Opening Night.  This season has been a gut wrenching one for many successful teams and some unlikely teams have dominated the league.  For instance, the New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets that were all playoff teams last year will miss this year’s Dance.  The Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, and New Orleans Saints have been surprise teams.  If these teams make the playoffs they will be a force to reckon with.  As we get close to the close of the season and the start of the Post Season (Playoffs), we will quickly analyze this seasons winners, losers, MVP Favorites, key injuries, Super Bowl Contenders or Pretenders, and a look at the teams that are on the bubble fighting for a playoff spot.  But first, lets look at this weeks match ups and I will give you my picks.

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WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-10, Last Place NFC EAST)

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ATLANTA FALCONS (3-10, LAST PLACE NFC SOUTH)

Okay, so this is a meaningless game between two of the worst teams in the league.  Washington and Atlanta are both tied for the worst record in the league behind the Houston Texans (2-10).  So yes, as far as the playoffs there are no implications here.  However, whatever team loses will go a long way to deciding next year’s NFL Draft.  The Washington Redskins, have been a major disappointment this season.  Some people will say that the injury that RGIII suffered last season is an injury that really takes two years to come back from.  I am not buying that.  The Redskins are actually ranked Ninth in Total Team Offense (17th Passing/2nd Rushing).  They are 23rd in Total Team Defense, however they are dead last in points allowed with 407, which is 31.3 Points allowed per week, terrible.  The Falcons were many people’s pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  Ouch.  What a bust.  Atlanta is 4th in points allowed so I sense a similar theme here.  Atlanta also lost their best Wide Receiver, the dynamic Julio Jones to a Knee injury and their second wide out, Roddy White has missed a ton of time.  Also, Steven Jackson their offseason signing at Tailback missed the first seven weeks.  Also, Matt Ryan has been very inconsistent.  Nonetheless, this matchup is important for both franchises.  The Redskins are 6.5 Point Road Dogs at the Dome in Atlanta.  For some reason, I see this as a trap game if there is such thing between two bad teams.  I see the Redskins winning in an upset 27-24 on the road.

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SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (9-4, 2ND PLACE NFC WEST)

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TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-9, 3RD PLACE NFC SOUTH)

The San Francisco 49ers are behind Seattle in the standings, however they need this game more than Seattle needs a win.  The Bucs on the other hand are just finishing out another poor season full of disappointment and injuries.  As good as San Francisco has been this year, their Offense is ranked 28th Total in the League.  However, they are in the middle of the pack as far as team scoring at 12th (24.3 Points Per Game.)  San Fran has the 4th ranked Defense behind the Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, and Houston Texans.  The 49ers bread and butter is their defense and they rely heavily on their running game and creating turnovers.  With the 49ers favored by 5.5 in this one, I would say this could be a trap game.  Nonetheless, Tampa is just too bad and has been plagued by injuries and controversy.  I am taking the Niners to win fairly easily by a score of 27-10.

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ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-5, 3RD PLACE NFC WEST)

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TENNESSEE TITANS (5-8, 2ND AFC SOUTH)

The Arizona Cardinals are holding on for dear life in the playoff race and basically need to win out to have any hope of making the playoffs.  They trail Seattle (11-2) and San Fran (9-4) in the Division.  So the only way they have a shot at the playoffs is to leapfrog the 49ers, which will take 3 wins and 49ers 2 Losses.  The Titans have been a weird team this season as they are lacking a true identity.  However, they have played spoiler to a few teams.  The Cardinals are favored by 2.5 in this one and I say they will win due to the playoff implications.  Arizona has the 5TH ranked Total Team Defense, which is amazing because Seattle, San Fran and Arizona are each in the Top 5.  The Cardinals have only been average on Offense but they bring it on the Defensive side.  Arizona wins 20-13.

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NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-3, 1st PLACE NFC SOUTH)

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SAINT LOUIS RAMS (5-8, LAST PLACE NFC WEST)

The New Orleans Saints have played above expectation this season.  Their Defense has turned it around and their offense is…well their offense is LETHAL.  They have the League’s 6th Ranked Total Offense and are averaging 26.4 Points per Game, which is good enough for 7th.  Drew Brees has only been overshadowed by Peyton Manning.  Brees has a 106.5 Rating with 33 Touchdowns (2nd NFL) and 4,107 Yards (2nd NFL).  Star Tight End Jimmy Graham has 14 Touchdown Receptions, which leads the NFL.  On Defense, End Cameron Jordan is 4th in the league with 11.5 Sacks.  The Rams lost Franchise Quarterback Sam Bradford for the season after Eight Games, so they actually have played above expectations as well due to the circumstances.  The Saints win 35-21.

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SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-2, 1ST PLACE NFC WEST)

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NEW YORK GIANTS (5-8, 3rd PLACE NFC EAST)

Well, this looks like a huge mismatch on paper.  The Seahawks are the First Seed in the NFC and the Giants are hanging onto playoff hopes by a thread.  The Seahawks as mentioned every week are one of the most balanced teams in the NFL as far as offense and defense.  They are 12th in Total Offense and 1st in Total Defense.  However, they can pound the ball and are 3rd in Rushing behind the Eagles and Redskins.  The Seahawks live and die with their Defense and also the 11th Man (FANS).  The Giants are 7 Point Underdogs at home.  I cannot bet against the Giants in December and near the Playoffs.  The Giants upset 20-17 as Eli Manning keeps the Giants slim playoff hopes alive.

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CHICAGO BEARS (7-6, 2nd NFC NORTH)

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CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-9, LAST PLACE AFC NORTH)

The Bears are only favored by 1 on the road in this one which tells me something.  The experts do not have much faith in the Bears at this point in the season.  They are tied with the Lions but talk about a team with no true identity.  ANd there is the Browns.  They have a terrible record, however, they have been in every game.  Their star receiver Josh Gordon leads the league in Receiving after serving a 4 Game Suspension.  Thats absolutely ridiculous.  And he is doing this with below average Quarterbacks, the latest being Josh Campbell.  The Bears really need this one but I say the Browns upset the Bears at Home, 27-24.

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HOUSTON TEXANS (2-11, LAST PLACE AFC SOUTH)

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INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (8-5, 1st PLACE AFC SOUTH)

The Houston Texans are the league’s biggest disappointment along with the Atlanta Falcons.  They are trying to become the first NFL team to lead the league in Defense and have the worst record.  Starting Quarterbacks have thrown 8 PICK SIXES.  The turnover has been Houston’s own worst enemy.  Indy on the other hand is playing consistent ball behind second year quarterback Andrew Luck.  The Colts have also shined on Defense.  They are favored by 5.5 in this one and i see them winning as well as covering as they play for a top seed in the AFC Playoffs.  The Colts beat the Texans 32-21.

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BUFALO BILLS (4-9, LAST PLACE AFC EAST)

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JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-9, 3RD PLACE AFC SOUTH)

The Jaguars were the laughing stock of the AFC, and the NFL for that matter for most the season, however they are on a  role lately lead by a resurgence in their running game with Maurice Jones-Drew and they are also playing much better defense.  The Bills have been absolutely brutal against the spread.  I am picking the Jaguars to win this one outright 20-13.

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-3, 1st PLACE AFC 

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MIAMI DOLPHINS (7-6, 2nd PLACE AFC EAST)

New England Patriots/Miami Dolphins games always seem to be very entertaining.  This game pits the Division leading Pats against the 2nd place Fish.  Miami has been hot as of late and will be playing in front of the home crowd.  Miami needs this win much more than the Pats.  Also, losing Rob Gronkowski for the season was a terrible blow to the Patriots Offense.  Tom Brady has not had a Brady Like Season.  Its been more like the Brady Bunch in New England.  The Pats are favored by 2 in this one.  Miami upsets the Pats by a score of 20-17.

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PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-5, 1st PLACE NFC EAST)

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MINNESOTA VIKINGS (3-9-1)

The Eagles are coming of their epic instant classic win against the Detroit Lions, last sunday in the snow.  What an awesome game to watch both live and on television.  Nick Foles continues to show improvement each week.  In my opinion, it was an absolute feat for him to throw some of the balls he did last week in that weather.  He is definitely becoming a fan favorite in Philly.  With his play he has also garnered some much deserved MVP credit.  The Eagles have already performed above expectation.  At this point, the Eagles control their own destiny.  If the Eagles can win out, they win the Division and host a home playoff game.  Nick Foles has 20 Touchdown Passes and only 1 Pick and continues to lead the league in passer rating.  LeSean McCoy, who comes off an Eagles season game rushing record is the leader in yards from scrimmage in the NFL.  McCoy has been compared to Barry Sanders.  The Vikings have been a huge disappointment and now start Chris Ponder at Quarterback.  The Eagles are favored by 5.5 in a game that Adrian Peterson will likely miss.  I am taking the Eagles in an onslaught 45-17.

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NEW YORK JETS (6-7, 3rd PLACE AFC EAST)

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CAROLINA PANTHERS (9-4, 2nd NFC SOUTH)

Up until last weeks loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Panthers were the NFL’s hottest team.  The Panthers had won 8 straight games.  They play a ferocious relentless type of defense and Cam Newton is another MVP candidate.  The Jets however, have been extremely disappointing.  I see this as a trap game.  The Panthers are favored by 11.5 Points.  I say the Panthers win 24-20 but do  not cover.

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KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (10-3, 2nd PLACE AFC WEST)

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OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-9, LAST PLACE AFC WEST)

The Chiefs have come down to earth, losing three straight after winning nine straight.  It makes perfect sense, tho.  For the first ten weeks, the Chiefs were Number One in Turnover Differential.  In their three straight losses, they have lost the Turnover Battle.  However, after the Broncos lost on Thursday, this is a perfect game for the Chiefs to rise back up and keep on the trail of the Broncos.  The Raiders are having another poor season.  Chiefs 27-Raiders 21.

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GREEN BAY PACKERS (6-6-1, 3rd NFC NORTH)

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DALLAS COWBOYS (7-6, 2nd NFC EAST)

The Packers are like Jekyll and Hyde without Aaron Rodgers.  The two time MVP has missed the past four games.  The Packers are barely hanging in there.  Dallas on the other hand is trying to keep pace with the Eagles in the NFC EAST.  However, the Cowboys have been dead last in total Team Defense all season n and have not been much better in points allowed.  The Cowboys do have a potent offense that can keep up with any team.  The Packers are 6.5 Point Dogs on the Road.  I say the Cowboys win big 45-27.

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CINCINNATI BENGALS (9-4, 1st PLACE AFC NORTH)

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PITTSBURGH STEELERS (5-8)

The Bengals are trying to play for seeding at this point as they almost have the Division wrapped up.  Don’t get me wrong yet, this is not over yet.  The Bengals are facing a fierce rival in the Steelers.  However, the Steelers are not the same Steelers in 2013.  There is no swagger.  The Bengals are favored by 2.  I say the Steelers upset the apple cart at home and win 17-14.

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BALTIMORE RAVENS (7-6, 2nd AFC NORTH)

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DETROIT LIONS (7-6, 1st NFC NORTH)

The champs are back as the Ravens are hot behind the resurgent Joe Flacco.  However, the Lions after their loss to the Eagles are in a must win so that they can win the Division.  The Lions win this game as Megatron goes off once again.  Lions 34-Ravens 24.

Winners- Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks.

Losers- Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay, Minnesota.

MVP FAVORITES- Nick Foles, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, LeSean McCoy, Jamal Charles, Calvin Johnson.

Key Injuries- Julio Jones, Sam Bradford, Mike Vick, Doug Martin, Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler.

Contenders- Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Carlina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers.

Pretenders- New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals.

Bubble Teams- Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys.

Until Next Time…This has been your host DA BIRD.  Enjoy your Sunday of Football and Good Luck to all of the Fantasy Football Playoff Teams.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL/NFL NEWS AND NOTES

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HOUSTON TEXANS (2-10)

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JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-9)

     Hello Fans…It has been a long Hiatus for me on the Blogging Sector but I am back and ready to give you all of the answers to your questions.  I have recently joined Twitter so you can also check out my material @mustaine3651#Twitter.  Anyways, Thursday Night pits two of the NFL’s worst teams.  My number one question would not be who is going to win the game?  However, I would ask how many NFL fans out there will be viewing this game either live or on television.  My guess would be not many.  What baffles me in this game is that the Texans, who have the league’s worst record, are favored in this game which is being played in Jacksonville.  However, the Texans are the more talented team.  Houston along with the Atlanta Falcons have to be the two most disappointing teams this season, as both were easily picked to go far in the playoffs.  Atlanta at one point was even the favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  However, injuries and horrible execution has plagued both of these teams.

     First of all, let us take a look at the Texans.  The loss of Arian Foster (one of the premier Running Backs in the league) has been devastating to an offense that is predicated on the Run.  Also, after winning their first two games, Houston has lost 10 Straight Games, a Franchise Record.  The Texans have many holes in their game and deficiencies on both sides of the ball.  For instance, the Texans are ranked number #1 in Total Defense as far as Yards but they are at the bottom when it comes to giving up points.  And when its all said and done, the Final Score is the only thing that matters in the NFL.  The Texans also are an abysmal minus-12 in the Turnover Differential.  During this 10 Game Slide, the Texans have been outscored 151-49 in the Second Half of Games.  Their offense has also been futile as their Starting Quarterback, Matt Schaub, has been benched after a horrible start to the season. He had 8 Touchdowns and 9 Interceptions when he was yanked from the Starting job, with six of the nine interceptions being PICK 6’s.  Case Keenum has been a completely different QB as far as production, throwing 8 TDs/3INT for 1,443 Yards in his first NFL action.  Arian Foster going down was the final nail in the coffin for Houston as he only had 2 100 Yard rushing games before being placed on IR.

     The Jacksonville Jaguars have been a different story.  First of all, you know that your team is doomed when your starting Running Back (Maurice Jones-Drew) has more passing Touchdowns for the season (3) than your starting Quarterback (Blaine Gabbert) who has only (1).  Chad Henne has took over the starting quarterback role and has not been much better posting a 75 QB Rating, 6TD, 10INT, and throwing for 2,319 Yards.  With all of these negative statistics, the Jaguars have somehow managed to win three of their last four games, after some say they were a lock to get the Number# 1 Pick in the Draft next season, which will most likely be Teddy Bridgewater.  Plus, it does not help that the Jaguars are 32nd in Team Offense (DEAD LAST).  They are also at the bottom at 25th in Total Team Defense.  However, they are 29th in points allowed with 352 Points allowed for a 29.3 Point Per Game Average.  However, despite all of these flaws, the Jaguars have somehow managed three wins.

     Ok, onto my pick for this game.  The Texans are favored by 3 Points on the Road.  I am going out on a limb and taking the Jags to win this game in front of their “tiny” crowd.  This game will find the Jaguars win 20-17.  Its ashamed that the league has not adopted an alternate schedule like they have during Sunday Games where they can change the times.  Well, in this case it would be harder as they would have to change the date.  However, I can see the ratings for GLEE being higher tonight than this football game.  Well, most Fantasy Football Leagues begin their playoffs this week.  Good luck to all of those participating and do not second guess your gut.  Too many times I have saw owners try to take the better matchup as opposed to the more consistent lineup and get burned.  Remember Folks, a team could be 11-0 at this point and get bounced out in the first round.  This is why the NFL Fantasy Football realm is so fun.  Its not over till the boy cries wolf.  I would say that so far, Peyton Manning has been the best Fantasy QB, Jamal Charles the best RB, Calvin Johnson the best WR, Jimmy Graham the best Tight End, Steven Gostikowski the best Kicker, and the Kansas City Chiefs the best Defense.  

     Around the league has a few key match ups.  The best game of the week and maybe most important as far as playoff implications go will be the New orleans Saints facing the Carolina Panthers.  Both teams are 9-3 and looking to get first round byes.  As hot as Carolina has been, I believe their run will end this week on the Saints turf, where Drew Brees has been amazing.  The Panthers are the more balanced team, however, the Saints are at home and can outscore just about anyone.  Another key game will be the 7-5 Eagles vs. 7-5 Lions.  The Eagles need a win to keep pace with the Cowboys for the Division Crown in the NFC.  The Lions are in the same boat as they are truing to fend off the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers to win the North.  The Eagles will not totally be able to eliminate Calvin Johnson (MEGATRON); however, if they can limit their mistakes they definitely match up well with the high flying offenses.  This game actually has the chance to be a major shootout.  Finally, the other huge game will be the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.  The 49ers have lost the first game against the Seahawks and are looking to get even.  The 49ers only chance I believe in this game will to be to try and run the ball, pound it and control the clock.  That will be a difficult task against the Seahawks Defense.  We shall see.  This week should go along way in opening the playoff picture.  Finally, Peyton Manning was invited to a wedding this week, in which he politely declined, but he did send an autographed invitation back to the couple.  What a class act by a Player that is having a season for the ages.  Also, lets see if Nick Foles, yes you heard it right, Nick Foles (Eagles QB) can break Peyton’s record of 20 TD’s without an INT to begin the season.  Foles has Nineteen so he only needs two.  It would be great to see Foles do this!

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NFL WEEK 11 EARLY GAME NEWS AND NOTES

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     There were 8 Early Games to begin Week #11 in the NFL.  The first big story was the Suspended Game in Chicago between the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears.  There was extremely dangerous weather, including flash flood and tornado warnings.  After the game resumed, the Ravens lead the Bears 10-3 with Eight Minutes left in the half.  In Detroit, the Steelers jumped out to an early lead on behind Ben Rothelisberger’s 2 TD Passes.  However, Detroit remaining true to form let the dogs out on the Steelers.  Matt Stafford had 327 Yards Passing in the first half.  Calvin Johnson is having another huge game with 6 Receptions for 179 Yards and 2 Touchdowns.  Detroit leads the Steelers 27-23 with less than Seven Minutes in the half.  Matt Stafford and Ben Rothelisberger have combined for over 670 Yards Passing thus far.  And Antonio Brown and Calvin Johnson have 13 Receptions for 326 Yards and 4 TD’s.

     In Buffalo, the Bills are 2 Minutes away from blowing out the New York Jets.  The Bills are beating the Jets 37-14.  The Jets came into this game needing a win to maintain pace in the Playoff Race.  Geno Smith had a horrible first half with only 100 Yards Passing, 3 Interceptions and was sacked 4 times.  E.J. Manuel has been more than efficient with 20 Completions for over 240 Yards and 2 TD’s.  At Houston, after it was announced that Gary Kubiak would coach from the Press Box,  the Raiders are beating the Texans 28-23 with 7 Minutes to play.  At Cincinnati, the Bengals are beating the Browns 41-20, despite Andy Dalton not reaching the century mark in passing.  At Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers on their way to their Second Win of the Season, are blowing out the sad luck Falcons.  Vincent Jackson has 10 Receptions, 165 Yards and a Touchdown.  Tampa’s 3rd String Running Back Brian Rainey has 162 Yards Rushing in his debut, after Doug Martin and Mike James both went out with season ending injuries.

     However, the most exciting game of the early games has definitely been the Washington Redskins at the Philadelphia Eagles.  The Eagles, trying to win their first Home Game since September of 2012, jumped out to a 24-0 lead.  Nick Foles, looking more and more like the Eagles Quarterback of the future, had almost 300 Yards Passing.  He also rushed for almost 40 Yards and a Touchdown.  LeSean McCoy, rushed for over 70 Yards and 2 Touchdowns.  However, there was a scary moment in the first half when McCoy went down with an apparent hamstring injury.  He left the field and his return was questionable.  I must say, it did not look good for the Eagles at that point.  Meanwhile, in the Second Half it seemed like the Eagles let off the gas and let the Redskins back in the game.  The Redskins scored two touchdowns and two-2 Point conversions to make the game close at 24-16.  With 3:27 minutes left, they got the ball at their three yard line.  It appeared that RGIII would lead the Redskins all the way back to tie the game as they got into the red zone with less than a minute left.  However, Brandon Boykin picked off a pass in the end zone intended for Pierre Garcon, and the Eagles escaped with a 24-16 Win.  This was the Eagles first Home Win in 413 Days!!!  Wow!  And now, as we speak the Steelers have stormed back to lead the Detroit Lions 37-27.  And as Stafford is sacked, the Lions lose 37-27.

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    So to recap, it was another whacky early beginning to Week #11.  Tampa upsets Atlanta.  The Steelers upset the Detroit Lions.  The Bills upset the Jets.  Oakland upsets Houston.  The Eagles hold on to beat Washington.  The Bengals destroy the Browns.  And Arizona beats Jacksonville as expected.  The late games will see the New York football Giants face the Green Bay Packers.  The 49ers will face the New Orleans Saints.  The San Diego Chargers play the Miami sinking Fish.  The Minnesota Vikings (Pirates) play the Seattle High Flying Seahawks and Baltimore continues their game against the Bears after being suspended because of weather.  And of course, could there be a better late game than tonights Sunday Night game between the Denver Broncos (8-1) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0).  The game will pit the League’s best Offense against the League’s Best Defense.  I am so looking forward to watching this game…and as Terrell Owens used to say…”Getcha Popcorn Ready!!!!”  Stay Tuned.  Check Out INTHENEUTRALZONE.COM for all the up to minute highlights.

NFL WEEK #11 PICKS

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     Week #10 of the NFL season went nothing the way experts and analysts alike had predicted.  My picks this season have been average at best.  However; I never quit until the “Fat Lady Sings.”  My Fantasy Team has also underperformed up to this point and right now I am on the Outside Looking In.  Nonetheless, I am not throwing in the towel.  At 4-6, I have 4 games left until the playoffs.  Last season I was 4-6 and then won 3 Straight to go 7-6 and make the Playoffs.  I actually ended up in the Championship and came within 4 Points of winning the whole entire thing.  There are many similarities in this season for my team as last season.  Without writing a book, I had the 8th Pick of the Draft back to back seasons.  My Running Backs have been average at best both years due to injuries and poor drafting.  Megatron has carried my team both seasons.  And my last pick, the very last pick of the draft was a key contributor to my team.  Last year it was a Kicker; this season it is Josh Gordon.  Anyways, I am still in this thing folks.  Ok…on to more important matters and the real NFL Season.  Here are my Week #11 Picks:

 

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ATLANTA FALCONS (2-7)

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TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (1-8)

This game is a Pick Em.  Both Teams have had extremely disappointing seasons.  First of all, the Buccaneers have lost their 1st String Running Back Doug Martin and 2nd String Running Back Mike James to season ending injuries.  Tampa’s Franchise Quarterback Josh Freeman was cut after an addiction problem.  The team also lost star Wide Receiver Mike Williams for the season.  The Buccaneer’s only bright spot has been a defense that cannot do it all without any resemblance of an offense.  Likewise, the Atlanta Falcons have been extremely frustrating to fans and analysts alike.  Many people had picked the Falcons to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this season.  In the offseason they added All-Pro Running Back Steven Jackson to an Offense that already included Matt Ryan “Matty Ice”, Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez.   Well, Julio Jones is out for the season with an injury.  Roddy White has missed most of the season due to various injuries.  Steven Jackson scored a Touchdown on his first play from scrimmage in game one and left the game injured.  He only returned in Week #9 and has been non-existent.  This leaves Matty Ice and Tony Gonzalez.  Unfortunately they are not Super Human.  Comparing the offense and defenses; Tampa is ranked 31st in Total Offense, having only scored 146 Points for an average of 16.2 Points Per Game.  Tampa is 30th in Pass Offense, 15th in Rushing, and 5th in Time of Possession.  Atlanta is not much better on Offense at 14th in Total Offense, 24th in Points with 186 Points for a 20.7 Average, 6th in Passing Offense, and Dead Last in Rushing.  Tampa is 14th in Total Defense while Atlanta is 25th.  Atlanta is 6th in Points allowed at 251 and 4th in average giving up 27.9 Points Per Game.  Tampa is 20th in Points allowed and 18th in average with 23.2.  Matt Ryan has thrown 16 Touchdowns compared to 10 Interceptions.  Tampa is going with rookie Mike Glennon who has thrown only 9 TD’s and 4INT’s.  This game is really dull on the outside but the Division Rival Aspect should rear its head.  I am taking Tampa to get their second win only because they are at home and the final score will be 20-17.

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NEW YORK JETS (5-4)

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BUFFALO BILLS (3-7)

The New York Football Jets are Second in the AFC East behind the Patriots and come into the game a 1 Point Favorite against the Division Rival Buffalo Bills, who are dead last.  The Jets are 8th in Total Yards allowed giving up roughly 326 Yards per game.  The Bills are 19th giving up 356.  The Bills and Jets are 16th and 17th respectively on offense.  So, the Bills have been disappointing as far as not competing.  In New York, Geno Smith continues to shine.  However, the Jets still are ranked very low in Passing Yards per Game.  Both of these teams can run the ball as the Bills are 7th in Rushing Yards and the Jets are 9th.  So, with two Top Ten Rushing Teams, we should expect a running game with both teams jockeying for Time of Possession.  The Bills keep losing Quarterbacks while Geno Smith has been a mainstay all year for the Jets.  Smith has 8TD’s/13INT’s and only 1800 Yards Passing.  However, he has contributed 172 Yards on the Ground with 3 Rushing Touchdowns.  However, Smith has been a game manager.  Another tough Divisional Game here and expect frigid temperatures.  The Jets will win on the road and keep pace with the Patriots as they win 17-10 in a low scoring affair.

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DETROIT LIONS (6-3)

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PITTSBURGH STEELERS (3-6)

At first glance one may think that this is an error.  It looks like no one proofread this game.  However, it’s true.  When is the last time the Lions were leading their Division at this point while the Steelers were in dead last place.  Well, that’s the exact scenario that we have here in Week 11.  The Detroit Lions have the 6th Ranked Offense rattling off over 410 Yards Per Game.  They are 3rd in the league in Passing and 21st in Rushing.  Matt Stafford continues to mature as a Quarterback.  Megatron has been better than Megatron if that can be possible.  Stafford almost has 3,000 Yards Passing already with 2,836.  He has also tossed 19 Touchdowns while only 7 Interceptions.  Of course, his favorite target Calvin Johnson continues to be an absolute beast with 53 Receptions for 904 Yards and 9 Touchdowns while missing almost two full games.  Then add Reggie Bush to the mix who has 623 Yards Rushing and 2 TD’s, and another 343 Yards Receiving and 2TD’s.  On the other hand, Detroit is only 24th in Defense while the Steelers come in with the Tenth Ranked Defense.  So, why are the Steelers so bad.  The Steelers are better than average on Offense at 15.  Well the answer lies in one easy word: Turnovers!  The Steelers are 31st in Turnover Ratio at -11.  This is not a recipe for success.  They really are putrid on Offense when you look at the numbers.  They are 11th in Passing Yards compared to 27th in Rushing.  This game is being played at Pittsburgh, which is the only reason that I am hesitating on my pick.  The Lions are favored by 2.5 on the road.  The Lions have an opportunity to add to their Division Lead and keep pace in the NFC.  I am going Detroit to win the game and cover as they beat the sad Steelers 34-21.

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WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-6)

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PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-5)

I always promise not to be a homer and favor my team.  This should be another Division Smash Hit.  The Eagles rolled on the Skins in Week #1, but that was the first time we saw Chip Kelly’s Offense.  Nonetheless, the Eagles Offense may be even better now.  There is definitely more balance.  Nick Foles is trying to become the second Quarterback this season to toss 20 touchdowns without an Interception.  Oh yeah, guess who the other QB was?? If you said Peyton Manning you were right.  The Eagles are 4th in Total Offense averaging 413 Yards per game while the Redskins are 5th with 410.  Wow, thats extremely close.  The Eagles are 2nd in Rushing with 153 Yards and the Skins are 3rd with 151 Yards.  Finally, the Eagles are 9th in Passing while the Skins are 10th.  So on paper, these two teams are very close on Offense.  Washington has been a tad bit better on Defense at 27th while the Eagles are 31st.  The Eagles are 31st against the Pass, however they are 14th against the Run giving up 110 Yards on the Ground.  The Redskins like to pound the ball with Alfred Morris.  The Eagles have a positive Turnover Ratio at +2 and the Skins are Even.  This game will be a knock em down beat em down type Division Battle.  This time the Game is in Philly.  The Eagles are Favored by 4 Points.  I am taking the Eagles to win and cover at home, their 1st Home Win in 13 Games!!!!  The Eagles will win 35-27.

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SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (4-5)

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MIAMI DOLPHINS (4-5)

This game is one that I am having a hard time to read.  Both of these teams come in 4-5 and are in Third Place in their respective Divisions.  Miami is coming off a loss on Monday Night to the Winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  They are also still going through the controversy regarding Incognito and Martin.  This story was the largest one on sports networks everywhere this past week.  San Diego is only favored by 1.5 Points.  The Chargers have been very inconsistent.  The Chargers are 7th on Offense while Miami is 30th.  Miami is 20th on Defense and San Diego is 29th.  Both of these teams are in must win situations.  I was leaning towards the Chargers, but now I am taking the Fins to win at home 20-17.

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CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-5)

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CINCINNATI BENGALS (6-4)

The Bengals are first in the AFC North while the Browns are Second.  During the early part of the season, fans and experts had written off the Browns as they traded their Franchise Running Back Trent Richardson.  They also lost their starting Quarterback Brian Hoyer.  However, somehow the Browns have been able to stay afloat.  The Bengals are so much more Balanced this season as they are 8th on Offense and 4th On Defense.  The Browns are 5th On Defense, which is truly unbeleiveable while their Offense has struggled.  The Bengals are 7th in Passing as Andy Dalton is having a career year.  Dalton has 18TD’s/13INTS, almost 3,000 Yards Passing and is completing over 60 Percent of his passes.  The Bengals also have over 900 Yards Rushing and 7 Touchdowns from the combination of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovanni Bernard.  The rookie Bernard is averaging over 4.0 Yards per Carry.  Brandon Weeden has over 1100 Yards Passing and 5 TD’s.  Richardson has been a bust so far.  Josh Gordon leads the Browns in Receiving once again with 35 Receptions, 626 Yards, and 3 TD’s.  The Bengals are favored by 6.5 Points at home.  I am going to take the favored Bengals to win the game as well as cover as they beat their Rivals 27-17.

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OAKLAND RAIDERS (3-6)

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HOUSTON TEXANS (2-7)

I find it hard to believe that the Texans are favored by 9 Points against the Raiders.  The Raiders have been much better the past few weeks.  The Texans are really playing horrible.  They lost their star Running Back Arian Foster.  The Texans do boast the Number One Defense in the League.  I am taking the Texans to win but they will not cover.  Final Score Texans 24-Raiders 20.

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ARIZONA CARDINALS (5-4)

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JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (1-8)

Jacksonville managed it’s first win of the season this past week.  They are still the worst team in the league however.  The Jags are 32nd in Offense and 28th in Defense.  The Cardinals are in 3rd place in the West behind the 49ers and Seahawks.  Arizona is ranked 13th on Defense and 13th on Offense.  You cannot get more balance than this.  The Cardinals are also a turnover machine on Defense.  Jacksonville comes back down to earth as the Cardinals win and cover the eight points 28-10.

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KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (9-0)

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DENVER BRONCOS (8-1)

One would have to say that the Kansas City Chiefs are America’s Team at this point as the only undefeated team in the league.  However, the Denver Broncos have maintained pace as they only have one loss.  The Broncos are still the League’s Number ONE Offense.  Peyton Manning has been absolutely lights out.  Manning has an incredible 33 Touchdowns/6Interceptions and 3,249 Yards Passing.  The past three games he has played on two sprained ankles.  Manning is having a season for the ages.  Obviously, the only thing stopping Manning from a trip to the Super Bowl is his health and the Chiefs.  The Chiefs at 9-0 are the other story of the season.  Andy Reid has brought a last place team to first.  The Chiefs are the best team as far as Turnover Differential.  However, Reid’s run stops tomorrow.  The Broncos, who are favored by 7.5 Points, will win and give the Chiefs their first loss of the season.  Denver wins 38-24.

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MINNESOTA VIKINGS (2-7)

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SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-1)

The Seahawks are the Best Team in the NFC.  The Vikings are one of the worst.  The Seahawks continue to dominate on both sides of the ball.  Russell Wilson is becoming one of the best Game Managers in the League.  Marshawn Lynch is an absolute beast on the ground.  The Vikings are using their third Quarterback.  Seattle wins big as the cover the 12.5 Points.  The Seahawks win 42-10.

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SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (6-3)

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NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (7-2)

The Saints are 3 Point Favorites on the Road in this one.  The Niners are still awesome on Defense.  Drew Brees is on a Hot Streak. The Saints win big at home 34-27.

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GREEN BAY PACKERS (5-4)

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NEW YORK GIANTS (3-6)

The New York Football Giants are playing the Packers who are still Aaron Rodgerless.  The Eagles beat the Packers pretty easily this past week.  The Giants are 4 Point Favorites.  However, I see the Packers beating the Giants 24-20.  The Giants remain in the basement in the NFC Least.

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (7-2)

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CAROLINA PANTHERS (6-3)

When is the last time the Patriots were underdogs??  That has not happened too often the past few years.  However, they are playing the hottest team in the NFL, the Carolina Panthers.  The Panthers have been absolute beasts the past few weeks.  They are playing stellar on offense and defense.  I am going to take the Patriots to beat the Panthers 27-24.

That is a wrap of this week’s games.  Stay tuned for my Fantasy Advice and also my next installment of the Top Lists of NFL by Position.  Thanks once again to Intheneutralzone.com.  Happy Sunday Everyone!!!

 

NFL WEEK #10 PICKS

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     It’s hard to believe we are already at Week #10 in the NFL.  Every NFL season has it’s share of injuries; however, 2013 seems to be much more devastating to teams as far as the amount of injuries as well as the caliber of players that are being injured.  Let’s take a look at some of the Season Ending Injuries, just on the Offensive Side of the ball.  So far, Reggie Wayne (WR), Doug Martin (RB), Julio Jones (WR), Miles Austin (WR), Jermicah Finley (TE), Randall Cobb (WR), Brandon Gibson (WR), Dustin Keller (TE), David Wilson (RB), Da’Rel Scott (RB), Mark Sanchez (QB), Jeremy Maclin (WR), Plaxico Burress (WR), Malcolm Floyd (WR), Sidney Rice (WR), Sam Bradford (QB), Mike Williams (WR), Kevin Walter (WR), Spencer Ware (RB) are all out for the season with injuries.  These are all important pieces to their team’s offense.  

     The following Quarterbacks have missed extended time due to injuries: Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Mike Vick, Terelle Pryor, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert, Brian Hoyer, E.J. Manuel, Kevin Kolb, and Thad Lewis.  There are also many Key Season Ending Injuries on Defense.  Of course, the most devastating injuries have hurt the Indianapolis Colts (Reggie Wayne), Atlanta Falcons (Julio Jones, Roddy White, Steven Jackson), Tampa Bay Bucs (Mike Williams, Doug Martin), Miami Dolphins (Brandon Gibson, Dustin Keller), and the Saint Louis Rams (Sam Bradford).  Injuries are a part of the game, but this season seems to have many more than usual.  These injuries have also hurt many Fantasy Teams throughout the nation.  Let’s preview Week #10’s Match Ups and we will pick our winners and losers.

 

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JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (0-8)

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TENNESSEE TITANS (4-4)

     Ok, the Jacksonville Jaguars have not come close to even sniffing a win so far this season.  The Jaguars will almost certainly get the First Pick of the Draft in 2014.  The Jags are 32nd in total offense with 2,292 Yards.  They are the only NFL team that is averaging less than 300 yards per game at 287 YPG.  They have also scored a league low 86 Points for a 10.8 Point Average.  The Jaguars have turned the ball over 15 times with 12 INT/3 Fumbles.  In contrast, they only have 8 Takeaways.  Their -Seven Turnover Ratio is tied for twelfth.  Jacksonville is 25th in team defense.  So add their pathetic offense with their horrible defense and they have a recipe for failure.  Tennessee on the other hand has the 7th Ranked Defense, only having given up 2,722 Yards.  The Titans are Eighth in Points Allowed (167) and Ninth for Points Per Game (20.9).  Tennessee is 28th In Team Offense.  So how do these two teams match up?  The Titans are 13 Point Favorites at home.  Jake Locker has been hot as of late and has a 91.0 QB Rating.  This is the Thirteenth Best Passer Rating which is not bad for a second year QB.  Chris Johnson had a breakout game last week with over 150 Yards Rushing and Two Touchdowns.  He is currently 12th in League Rushing.  I  am taking Tennessee in this one and they will cover.  Jacksonville is just that terrible.  Tennessee wins 24-10.

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PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (4-5)

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GREEN BAY PACKERS (5-3)

     The Packers come into this game only favored by one point at home.  Green Bay is missing their best Player and Leader Aaron Rodgers (QB) who is a perennial MVP and who always gives Green Bay a chance to win.  The Packers are also missing their best Wide Receiver, Randall Cobb who is out with a knee injury.  Senaca Wallace will be taking the snaps.  Rodgers has thrown Fifteen TD’s and only 4 INT.  Wallace in his limited action was 11 for 19 and 114 Yards, 0 TD’s/1 INT.  Meanwhile, Green Bay is 5th in Total Offense and 3rd in Points Scored Per Game.  The Packers have scored 232 Points, good enough for Fifth in the League and they bolster a strong rushing attack with Eddie Lacy.  Lacy is Eighth in Rushing with 596 Yards on the Ground and 4TD’s.  Green Bay is 11th in Total Defense and Fifteenth in Points Allowed Per Game with a 23.1 Yards Per Game Average.  Philly comes into the game  with the Leagues Second most potent offense with 3,719 Total Yards, only 20 behind Denver.  The Eagles have also scored 225 Points for an average of 25 Points per Game.  However, the Eagles are dead last in almost every Defensive Category.  Quarterback Nick Foles is coming off a career day as well as tying a league record with Seven Touchdown Passes.  Foles has a 127.4 Passer Rating, 1,028 Yards Passing and 13 TD/0 INT.  Expect Foles to come down to earth a little bit, but the Eagles will win the game pretty easy on the Road.  I am going with the Eagles 35-20 in a route.  The Eagles Defense will score a Touchdown in this game as well.

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BUFFALO BILLS (3-6)

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PITTSBURGH STEELERS (2-6)

     No one would have predicted that both of these teams would be as bad as they have been.  The Steelers and Bills both came into the season with high hopes.  Buffalo is Twelfth in Total Offense; however they are only averaging 21 Points Per Game which is 21st in the League.  Pittsburgh has been even more abysmal on Offense scoring 19.5 Points Per Game which is 25th in the League.  The Steelers are 23rd in Total Yards.  The Steelers are Eight in Defense though, while the Bills are near the bottom at 28th and have given up over 26 Points Per Game.  This game will not be a pretty one.  The Steelers are favored by a field goal and I say the Steelers will win and cover, 20-13.  However, the Steelers have come on a little too late and will not be making a playoff run.

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OAKLAND RAIDERS (3-5)

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NEW YORK GIANTS (2-6)

     The Oakland Raiders were manhandled by the Philadelphia Eagles in Week Nine, despite coming into the game with the Eighth best Defense.  The Raiders will also be without running back Darren McFadden, who will be out with an injury.  The Giants are only 26th in Total Offense and Tenth in Team Defense.  Eli Manning is having his worst season of his career and the Giants lack a strong running game.  The Giants are favored by a Touchdown.  Neither  of these teams are playoff contenders and both are sloppy on both sides of the ball.  The Raiders and Giants are also two of the most penalized teams in the league.  I am going to take Oakland with the upset as they beat the New York Football Giants, 24-17.

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SAINT LOUIS RAMS (3-6)

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INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (6-2)

     The Colts lead the AFC South with a record of 6-2.  Yes, the Colts have lost a key weapon in Reggie Wayne; however, they do have more talent surrounding Andrew Luck than the previous year.  Andrew has not needed as much “luck” this season.  The Rams are dead last in the NFC West, and have lost franchise Quarterback Sam Bradford for the season.  The Colts are in the middle of the pack with the 18th Ranked Defense and 24th Rated Offense.  However, the Colts are Eighth with a 26.8 Points Per Game Average and they have been multi-talented through the air and ground.  The Colts traded for running back Trent Richardson early in the season and he has yet to shine.  Colts Defensive End Robert Mathis leads the league with 11.5 Sacks.  The Colts have also beaten the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, and Houston Texans, all teams with winning records.  The Rams have been pretty bad.  The Colts are favored at 9.5 Points at home.  I say the Colts win but fail to cover, 21-14.

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SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (8-1)

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ATLANTA FALCONS (2-6)

     This line surprises me.  The Falcons have been the most disappointing team this season as they were many experts pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  However, poor Quarterback Play from Matt Ryan and injuries have shut the Falcons down.  Marshawn Lynch has been an absolute beast for the Seahawks and is Fourth in Rushing in the NFL with 726 Yards and 6 Touchdowns.  Russell Wilson has a 98.9 Passer Rating with 1,800 Yards Passing, 15 TD/6 INT.  Seattle is 11th in Total Offense and Fourth in Total Defense.  The Seahawks have given up only 16.6 Points Per Game.  The Seahawks are only favored by 4 Points??? Something does not add up here.  Seattle goes to 9-1 as they clobber the injury riddled Falcons 34-17.

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CINCINNATI BENGALS (6-3)

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BALTIMORE RAVENS (3-5)

     My how things change in a year.  The Ravens, fresh off of their Super Bowl win are second to last in the AFC North, while the Bengals are at the top.  The Bengals are Fourth in Offense and Sixth in Defense.  Andy Dalton is 4th with 2,587 Yards Passing and 16TD/10 INT and a 92.0 QB Rating.  The Bengals also have 961 Rushing Yards as Ben Jarvius-Green Ellis and Giovanni Bernard have been the Lightning and Thunder.  The Ravens have definitely dropped off on both sides of the ball, mainly the Defense.  They are however sixth in Total Defense.  Every time these teams get together there is a rivalry.  The Bengals are only favored by 1.5 Points on the Road.  Andy Dalton throws 4 TD’s and the Bengals beat the Ravens 35-20.

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DETROIT LIONS (5-3)

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CHICAGO BEARS (5-3)

     The Lions and Bears are both 5-3.  The Lions beat the Bears in their first meeting in Detroit, 40-32.  The Lions are coming off a bye after beating the Dallas Cowboys in the last 14 Seconds in week 8.  Calvin Johnson (Megatron) had 329 Yards Receiving in that game.  Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson on the same field has created mismatches all over the field.  The Bears are also hungry.  They lost Jay Cutler and have the league’s 14th Ranked Offense.  Detroit has the Sixth Ranked Offense.  Matt Forte has done it onb the Ground though with over 700 Yards and 7TD’s.  Calvin Johnson is 3rd in Receiving, despite being injured almost two games.  This is another rivalry game.  They are calling this a Pick Em, but I say Detroit wins big again, 35-27.  

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CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-3)

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SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (6-2)

     The 49ers and Panthers are both hot.  This game will pit two young Quarterbacks, Cam Newton vs. Colin Kaepernick.  This game will feature two veteran Running Backs with Frank Gore vs. Deangelo Williams.  This game will feature two old school receivers in Steve Smith vs. Anquan Boldin.  And this game will feature two good defenses.  The Niners have Five Straight Wins after two losses to the Seahawks and Colts.  The Panthers have Four Straight wins after starting 1-2.  The Niners are favored by two field goals.  I am taking the Panthers in an upset on the road, 24-21.

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HOUSTON TEXANS (2-6)

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ARIZONA CARDINALS (4-4)

     The Cardinals have been one of those inconsistent teams.  However, their Defense is extremely good.  The Houston Texans on the other hand have been horrible.  More Pick Sixes than any team in the league.  The Cardinals are favored by three points and are at home.  The Cardinals win 24-17.  Arian Foster will not play in this game which hurts the Texans chances.

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DENVER BRONCOS (8-1)

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SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (4-4)

     The Broncos role after their bye week.  Peyton Manning, Julius Thomas, Knowshon Moreno and the Receivers all come up big.  The Broncos are only favored by 7 Points.  However, the Broncos annihilate 49-32.

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DALLAS COWBOYS (5-4)

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NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (6-2)

     In the Sunday Night Matinee, the High Powered Cowboys go on the Road to the bayou.  The Saints are having a comeback year, while the cowboys are the best team in the NFC Least.  The Cowboys are nursing a few injuries.  Drew Brees has the Cowboys Number as of late.  The Saints win 35-31 in another thriller.

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MIAMI DOLPHINS (4-4)

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TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (0-8)

     The Bucs officially put their Franchise Running Back, Doug Martin on injured reserve.  This team will go the rest of the way with rookie QB Mike Glennolen and RB Mike James.  Tampa will fire their coach any week now, regardless of what the analysts are saying.  The Fish rise again as they beat the Bucs, 24-10.

*******STAY TUNED TO MY BLOG FOR MORE METAL AND SPORTS NEWS YET TO COME.  ALSO….

CHECK OUT INTHENEUTRALZONE.COM…they feature many blogs like mine.

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NFL HALFWAY POINT: Winners, Losers, Fantasy Studs and Duds, Contenders and Pretenders

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     Wow, Time flies when we are having Fun.  Yes, we are officially at that time of the year again where everything gets complicated in the world of sports.  The NBA is back.  The most easy answer to the question: If you were able to pick anyone in the NBA today to build your franchise around…who would it be?  92 Percent of people that were asked this question in a recent poll voted Lebron James.  The NHL is in full swing and the Toronto Maple Leafs are off to the races.  The Philadelphia Flyers on the other hand are creating many angry faces.  The World Series culminates tonight in Boston with Game Six between the Saint Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox.  The Red Sox are hoping to clinch a championship in front of their home town fans for the first time since 1918.  Standing Room Tickets are going for $1,000 on EBAY.  Let us all hope that the Cardinals can win game six and force a Game 7 on Halloween Night.  Don’t forget, there is also a Football Game on Thursday Night with the Cincinnati Bengals playing the Miami Dolphins.  And as this very exciting time comes around again, we are officially at the halfway point of the NFL Season.

     First of all, I would like to analyze the season thus far and give you my list of Winners and Losers.  Well, who would have saw the Kansas City Chiefs going 8-0 after a dreadful 2012 season in which they finished dead last in the NFL.  This is an amazing turnaround.  Yes, many people will argue that Andy Reid stepped into the perfect situation.  However, I would argue that he had better Offensive Superstars in Philly and the one difference maker has been the Chief’s Defense.  Jamal Charles has been nothing less than spectacular.  However, Reid had LeSean McCoy in Philly so one could argue that there is no difference here.  Dwayne Bowe is the Chief’s best wide receiver and he has just been about average.  DeSean Jackson has been and is still one of the best wide receivers in the league.  And Michael Vick, injuries and all, will always be a better Quarterback on paper than Alex Smith.  However, they do not play this game on paper.  Yes, the Chiefs have been efficient on offense, barely turning the ball over, while creating many turnovers on Defense.  The Chiefs are ranked #1 on Defense and have the best turnover ratio.  So the Chiefs take first place on my winner board.

     The Denver Broncos have been nothing less than spectacular.  Peyton Manning leads the entire league with 2,919 Yards Passing, 29 Touchdowns/6 Interceptions/and 119.4 Quarterback Rating.  The Broncos are 7-1, there only loss coming to Peyton’s former team the Indianapolis Colts.  The Broncos are loaded with weapons: Demariyous Thomas (685 Yards-3rd in NFL/6 Touchdowns-9th in NFL), Wes Welker(9 Touchdowns-1st in NFL, 555 Receiving Yards-19th), Eric Decker(669 Yards-6th in NFL/4 Touchdowns-20th NFL) and Julius Thomas(8 Touchdowns-3rd NFL/39 Catches-451 Yards) at the Tight End position.  Take that receiving core and Add Running Back Knowshon Moreno into the mix.  Knowshon Moreno(457 Yards-11th/Touchdowns-8 Rushing/2 Receiving-1st in NFL).  That is a scary bunch of players.  Denver does not have the best Defense, but they have shown they can outscore any opponent, even the Dallas Cowboys who they beat two weeks ago, 51-48.  In that game, Tony Romo threw for over 500 Yards and 5 Touchdowns while the Dallas Offense put up well over 600 Yards of Offense.  No Problem Peyton Manning said, as he lead the Broncos to that winning score.

     The Seattle Seahawks have picked up where they left off in 2012.  The Seahawks are the best team in the NFC with a record of 7-1.  Ironically, the Seahawks only loss also came to the Indianapolis Colts.  Seattle is first place in the NFC West and are probably the most balanced team in the NFL as far as Offense and Defense.  Second Year Quarterback Russell Wilson has a 99.0 Quarterback Rating with 1,628 Yards Passing, 13 TD/4INT and another 339 Yards and 1 Rush TD.  Marshawn Lynch has 601 Rushing Yards and 6 Touchdowns, both good enough for 4th in the League.  Lynch has chipped in another 181 Yards Receiving and a TD through the air.  The Seahawks are Second in Total Defense and 15th in Offense.  However, they have the goods to go far in the playoffs.

    The New Orleans Saints appear like they are back and prepared to shock the NFL.  The Saints are 6-1.  They have the Sixth Ranked Offense and 12th Ranked Defense.  They are Second in creating Turnovers to the Chiefs.  Drew Brees is second to Manning with 19TD/5INT, 2,290 Yards and 109.2 Quarterback Rating.  Star Tight End Jimmy Graham has 40 Receptions for 630 Yards and 8 touchdowns.  He has been unstoppable.  Their Defense has been even more of a surprise.  Right now, the Saints lead the South by 2.5 Games over the surging Carolina Panthers.  This team is actually my sleeper pick to win the Super Bowl.

     The Cincinnati Bengals are my Fifth winner.  This team actually on paper is the most balanced of the list with the 8th Ranked Defense and 9th Ranked Offense.  Andy Dalton is coming into his own and has a legitimate receiving core with AJ Green and Marvin Jones.  Dalton has 183 Completions (Good Enough For 65.5Percent), 16TD/7INT, and 2,249 Yards Passing.  AJ Green is second only to Megatron in receiving yards with 734 and also has 5 Touchdowns.  His counterpart, Marvin Jones had a 4TD game on Sunday and is becoming an extra threat for teams to account for.  Marvin Jones has 379 Yards Receiving and a whopping 7 Touchdowns.  Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard have provided the lightning and thunder in the backfield rushing for over 700 Yards and 5 TD’s.  The Bengals are another dark horse in the league.

     Ok, that is the TOP 5…The Honorable Mention is the Indianapolis Colts (5-2), New England Patriots (6-2), San Francisco 49ers (6-2), Green Bay Packers (5-2) and the Detroit Lions (5-3).  The Colts have beaten the Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.  Their two losses have come to the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers, so going by their tough schedule, they appear to be in this race until the end.  Miami and New Orleans are the only tow teams that the Patriots have beaten with winning records.  The Pats have been uncharacteristic on Offense and really are lucky to be leading their Division.  The 49ers have dominated after an early season struggle.  They held Houston to 3 Points, Tennessee to 17, and Jacksonville 10.  I mean, those are three bad teams but their Defense still has been on fire.  Kaepernick and Gore are playing top notch and Anquan Boldin and vernon Davis are having excellent seasons catching the ball.  Their two losses have come to Seattle and Indy.  Green Bay, despite all of their injuries are still leading the Division behind Aaron Rodgers.  And Finally, the Detroit Lions come in as another sleeper in the NFC.  They are 3rd in Total Offense.  Their Defense is 25th.  However, with Calvin Johnson, they are in  every game as they proved this past Sunday beating the Dallas Cowboys in the last minute of the game.

     Ok, now the fun part.  The worst team in the league is definitely the Jacksonville Jaguars.  The Jags may go 0-16.  They are 32nd in Offense, worst in the league and 28th on Defense.  The only four teams that have allowed more yards are the Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.  Hmmmmm…Notice something ironic.  Three of the Four worst Defenses come out of the NFC East.  When was the last time you remember this division this bad.  The NFC Least is Putrid and I say the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and New York Giants are my next three losers.  These teams have been horrible, none of them performing up to their Talent.  The Pittsburgh Steelers are my Sixth Loser at 2-5.  Pittsburgh has been downright horrible and very inconsistent.  I cannot remember a Steeler’s team that has played this bad in recent memory.  Of Course, rounding up the list of Losers is the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The Buccaneers have been terrible and are the only other team besides the Jaguars without a win.  They even cut their Franchise Quarterback, talk about controversy.  

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     Ok, the halfway point of the season is also a time to analyze the best and worst performers in Fantasy Football.  I will provide a list of the Top 20 Performers Thus Far and this is of course in a PPR League, so some players may be ranked higher than others:

1) Peyton Manning (QB)- 322 Fantasy Points- At this point Manning is on a record setting pace both in Fantasy and on the GridIron.

2) Drew Brees (QB)- 242 Fantasy Points- Brees has been hot as of late, he tossed 5TDs last week.

3) Matt Stafford (QB)- 241 Fantasy Points- Stafford is having another excellent season and now has Reggie Bush along with Megatron.

4) Tony Romo (QB)- 229 Fantasy Points- Romo is having a career year thus far.

5) Aaron Rodgers (QB)- 214 Fantasy Points- Rodgers is always in the Top 5 Every Year.

6) Andy Dalton (QB)- 212 Fantasy Points- Dalton is somewhat of a surprise to be this high on the list.

7) Philip Rivers (QB)- 205 Fantasy Points- Rivers is another Steady Performer Week after Week.

8) Matt Ryan (QB)- 199 Fantasy Points- Ryan has struggled but that is more due to injuries to his weapons.

9) Cam Newton (QB)- 189 Fantasy Points- Newton is having another solid year and has been hot as of late.

10) Jamal Charles (RB)- 187 Fantasy Points- Charles is the First Non Quarterback on the list…thats saying something.

11) Russell Wilson (QB)- 184 Fantasy Points- Wilson is not having a sophomore slump!

12) Andrew Luck (QB)- 180 Fantasy Points- His production may drop off with the loss of Reggie Wayne for the season.

13) Sam Bradford (QB)- 179 Fantasy Points- Bradford was having a stellar year before his season ending injury.

14) Colin Kaepernick (QB)- 170 Fantasy Points- Consistent Performer.

15) Calvin Johnson aka Megatron (WR)- 169 Fantasy Points- Calvin leads all Receivers and don’t forget he missed two games with injuries.

16) RG GriffinIII (QB)- 163 Fantasy Points- Griffin has been hampered by injury.

17) Jay Cutler (QB)- 161 Fantasy Points- Cutler has been out with an injury.

18) Wes Welker (WR)- 159 Fantasy Points- Welker is on the Best Offense with the Best Weapons and still cracks the Top 20.

19) Knoshown Moreno (RB)- 158 Fantasy Points- Moreno is on fire and reaping the benefits of playing with Manning.

20) Dez Bryant (WR)- 155 Fantasy Points- Dez has been the most consistent Receiver week to week.

Now the worst of the worst…not by points but just sheer disappointment…

Marques Colston, Roddy White, Ryan Matthews, Tom Brady, Doug Martin, Trent Richardson, CJ Spiller, Dave Wilson, Miles Austin, Mike Williams, Robert Meachem, Joshua Cribbs, Mike Wallace, Maurice jones-drew, Kembrell Thompkins, Tayvon Austin.

****Best Fantasy Sleeper Picks****

Well, I took Josh Gordon with the very last pick in my draft and he is now my Number Two Receiver.  I would say he is the best.  Other Sleepers include Andy Dalton, Knowshon Moreno, Antonio Gates, Ruben Randel, TY Hilton, and Brandon Gibson.

Now for some of the best Free Agent/Waiver Picks:

Julius Thomas, Terrance Williams, Giovanni Bernard, Alshon Jeffery, Kendall Wright, Chris Clay, Ted Ginn, and Billal Powell.

Ok, last but not least…Contenders and Pretenders:

Contenders- Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions.

Pretenders- New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers.

MVP- Peyton Manning, Offensive MVP-Peyton Manning, Defensive MVP-Tamba Hali, Best WR- Calvin Johnson, Best Running Back- Jamal Charles, Best TE-Jimmy Graham, Best Defense- Houston Texans, Best Kicker- Matt Prater.

****Stay Tuned, I will have my Thursday Pick Tomorrow and I will Reveal My Next Installment, in the meantime…Go Saint Louis!!!!!!!!!!!!

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NFL WEEK 8 ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT

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     Week #8 of the NFL Season provided more than it’s share of story lines and highlights.  First of all…Did I read the Box Score correctly?  Did my eyes truly see what my brain dictates?  Any fan of the NFL has to know where I am going with this.  Yesterday we not only witnessed history, but we also witnessed what is referred to as “MEGATRON.”  The Dallas Cowboys-Detroit Lions Game from yesterday will be an instant classic forever.  First of all, it was amazing enough to witness Calvin Johnson haul in Fourteen Passes for 329 RECEIVING YARDS.  By the way, his 329 Yards was the second highest single game total to the Ram’s Flipper Anderson’s 336 Yards, and that game went to overtime.  But what made yesterday’s game even more impressive was the circumstances, the pre game drama/hype, Dez Bryant’s circus act on the sideline, the Cowboy’s almost near win, and the last minute comeback that was lead by the Lion’s Matt Stafford.  

     Calvin’s 14th Reception was indiciative of the way the entire game went.  Calvin began the day with an 87 Yard Reception.  He had six catches of over 20 Yards on the day.  He only scored one touchdown but barely missed two more.  He lost a fumble while going in the end zone and also was tackled at the one on the last drive, before Quarterback Matt Stafford punched in the winning touchdown on the ground, with fourteen seconds left.  Pretty ironic eh…14 Receptions for Calvin Johnson and the Game Winning Touchdown was scored with fourteen seconds left…just saying.  On the day, Johnson single handedly had more yards on offense than Dallas, Washington, Minnesota, Miami, New England, New York Giants and Jets, Philly, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Atlanta, Carolina and Tampa Bay had all day.  He also had more receiving yards than all but three quarterbacks had passing (Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Matt Stafford…his own lol.)  Finally, take note that this was Johnson’s Sixth 200 Yard Receiving Game in only his past 27 Games.  The Great Randy Moss only had ONE 200 yard game ever in fifteen years!  There have only been four receivers to ever eclipse 300 Yards Receiving and two of them are Johnson and Anderson.

     I hate to focus on this one game, but its hard not to after watching history.  The Cowboys came into the game leading the NFC least and would go two games up on Philly with a win.  We will get to Philly next.  Dez Bryant, the Cowboys stud receiver, had yapped earlier in the week that he could do anything Calvin could do.  Well, I guess Johnson made hime eat crow.  Bryant had an excellent game for any receiver’s standards, over 125 Yards Receiving and two touchdowns.  However, Bryant was shown that he is no Decepticon.  And Calvin Johnson did all of this without showboating or any other kind of bravado.  In contrast, Bryant was observed yelling numerous times at Quarterback Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and the coach.  Bryant was carrying on for some reason, I guess he did not like getting upstaged by Johnson after he talked all of that smack.  Anyways, Bryant is good but he also had another receiver, Terrance Williams go for 100 Yards and a score, and the Cowboy’s star Tight End Jason Witten was double teamed nearly the entire game, giving Bryant many one on one opportunities.  Wow…what a game, they will be talking and writing about this performance for decades.

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     Ok, 10 in a row.  What does that stand for you ask?  10 Straight Home Losses for the Philadelphia Eagles would have been the correct answer.  Yes, the Eagles lost their tenth straight home game, which has to even more show how futile this team is right now.  Already down Nick Foles with a concussion, Michael Vick left the game in the Second Quarter with another injury.  It is not known how long that Vick will be out.  However, one thing that is known is that Matt Barclay is nowhere near the Quarterback of the future for this team.  The Eagles came into this season with high hopes and expectations after the firing of Andy Reid and the hiring of Chip Kelly.  Well, who would have known that Kelly’s Eagles would be 3-5 and sinking fast, while Andy Reids’ Chiefs are 8-0, atop the AFC.  Kansas City is trying to go from worst to first.  Forget that Andy Reid had to be let go.  This has to be stinging Eagles fans to the core, seeing Reid coach a team with a mediocre Quarterback to a perfect record.  Well, I have ONE WORD…Defense.  The Chiefs have the best and the Eagles have the worst.  I do not care how good your offense is, without a Defense you will fail.

     Let’s put this in perspective.  The last time the Eagles won a game at home was 383 Days ago, when they beat the New York Giants.  The last eight Game home losing streak for the Birds was 70 years ago!!  As mentioned on Comcast Sports Net in Philly, 142 Million Babies have been born, 35.6 Million Commercial Airlines have flown and landed, Peyton Manning has thrown 49 Touchdowns and the Sixers have made over 518 Three Pointers.  Wow.  This has gotten ugly.  And in case you have not noticed, this team is getting better no time fast.  They are going no where on a freight train, this train has totally gone off the track.  The Eagles will be lucky to finish .500 this year while the Kansas City Chiefs are on their way to the Playoffs.  Playoffs?  Are we talking about playoffs?  Yes Andy Reid is on the road to victory.  As the high flying Eagles have been grounded. 

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     Let’s take a look at some off the other highlights of yesterday pass.  Drew Brees threw for 300 Yards and 5 Touchdowns as the Saints rolled to another win to go to 6-1.  The 49ers smoked the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.  And no, it was not raining this game.  The Denver Broncos scored 38 unanswered points as they demolished the Washington Redskins.  Peyton Manning once again had 300 yards passing and threw four touchdowns.  He even uncharacteristicaly threw 3 Interceptions.  The Bengal’s other wide receiver not named AJ Green had four touchdown receptions.  Yes thats right…Marvin Jones their third receiver had four scores.  Quarterback Andy Dalton had five total touchdown passes, tying a career high.  So, last week was the week of injuries and this week was the week of infamy.  The Miami Dolphins jumped out to a 17-3 lead against the New England Patriots before crumbling to the ground.  They also lost star wideout Brandon Gibson for the season.  Man there have been a shit ton of injuries in the past two weeks, especially at wide receiver.  

     Green Bay smoked the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football.  They actually ran for three scores.  Washington lost RG III to an injury once again.  The Bronco’s lost star Tight End Julius Thomas to a foot injury, but it was confirmed today that there are no major issues and he should be back.  New orleans Saint’s Tight End Jimmy Graham had two touchdowns on one leg.  Matt Stafford ran in the game winning score to sink the Cowboys after faking a spike and waltzing into the end zone, a la Dan Marino.  The Chiefs remained unbeaten.  There were so many incredible moments Sunday, I am sure I have missed some.  Frank Gore had two  more touchdowns to take the league leading rushing total to eight.  Gore is also third in rushing yards.  

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     In conclusion, Sunday was a record setting day for the Detroit Lions.  Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson were a two man wrecking ball.  Dez Bryant needs to eat more wheaties because he just got punk’d. And then we had the Baseball Game.  For the second night in a row, the World Series ended in a way that had never been saw before.  The previous night, the Saint Louis Cardinals had been awarded the win as the winning run was tagged out at home after obstruction by the third baseman.  HUH??? Yes, this is actually a rule.  And then last night, with one on and no one out, Carlos Beltran (one of the all-time greatest post season hitters) up to bat, and the baserunner is picked off at first to end the game.

     *****STAY TUNED AS I WILL HAVE MY WEEK NINE PICKS AND FANTASY STUDS/DUDS********************