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Raiders WR Brown attends practice

Raiders WR Brown attends practice

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown showed

Raiders WR Brown attends practice

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown showed up to work Monday as his search for a suitable helmet continues.

Multiple outlets reported that Brown attended team meetings, although a walk-through practice was apparently canceled.

His attendance came the day after Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said it was time for the All-Pro wideout “to be all-in or all-out.”

Brown has had only one full-speed practice this preseason, in part because he was recovering from foot blisters caused by a cryotherapy mishap and lately because of his helmet issue.

His old helmet is no longer approved for NFL use because it is more than 10 years old, and when Brown used social media to find a newer version of his favored model — the Schutt AiR Advantage — it failed NFL testing.

Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Get Up! on Monday that his client “wants to be part of the team, he wants to practice, but he’d also like to do it with the helmet he’s worn his entire life.”

“He’s a wide receiver. He gets hit across the middle. People are trying to take his head off,” Rosenhaus said. “He’s a big target. You talk about how many catches he’s had over the last six years, for example, this is his life. He’s risking everything. He’s got a family. He’s had a concussion before. This helmet has kept him safe. He’s had brutal hits.

“We’re just trying to find a way to work it out. We’ve worked very closely with the Raiders, we’ve worked very closely with the NFL, but I hope people can appreciate, this is not a simple issue. The helmet is the most important piece of equipment and he’s had the same one every single snap he’s played in his football career. This is a major issue for him.”

The Raiders acquired the seven-time Pro Bowl selection from the Pittsburgh Steelers in a trade in March and later signed him to a three-year, $50.125 million contract.

Brown, 31, caught at least 100 passes and exceeded 1,200 receiving yards in each of the past six seasons with the Steelers. He has appeared in 130 games with Pittsburgh from 2010-18, catching 837 passes for 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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Vikings take down Seahawks in Wilson’s debut

Vikings take down Seahawks in Wilson's debut

Russell Wilson threw for 82 yards

Vikings take down Seahawks in Wilson’s debut

Russell Wilson threw for 82 yards in his preseason debut, but the Minnesota Vikings used strong performances from their backup quarterbacks to beat the Seattle Seahawks 25-19 on Sunday in Minneapolis.

Wilson and Vikings starter Kirk Cousins each played two series and led their teams to one field goal. Wilson finished 6 of 9 and added two carries for 9 yards on the ground, while Cousins went 6 of 8 for 68 passing yards.

Sean Mannion entered next for the Vikings and was up and down. He went 11 of 14 for 88 yards with a touchdown but also threw an interception, which DeShawn Shead returned 88 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Third-stringer Kyle Sloter helped the Vikings pull it back, going 11 of 13 for 116 yards and a touchdown.

Paxton Lynch relieved Wilson and had a much rougher outing than his opener against Denver. He finished 6 of 15 for 67 yards. Recently signed ex-Ohio State star J.T. Barrett missed all three passes, throwing an interception, in minimal action.

–Field Level Media

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Texans extend C Martin for reported three years, $33M

Texans extend C Martin for reported three years, $33M

Texans extend C Martin for reported three years, $33M

The Houston Texans and center Nick Martin agreed to a contract extension on Tuesday.

According to multiple reports, the deal is worth $33 million over three years. Martin was set to become a free agent in March and was due $1.1 million in salary this season.

The deal includes $18.35 million in guaranteed money, according to multiple outlets. The $11 million average puts Martin just shy of the league’s highest-paid center, as Rodney Hudson averages $11.25 million annually on his new deal.

Martin, 26, has started all 31 games he has played in since the start of 2017 after missing his entire rookie campaign due to an ankle injury that required surgery. He has allowed just 3.5 sacks and committed only four penalties over that span, according to STATS LLC.

The younger brother of Dallas Cowboys All-Pro guard Zack Martin, Nick Martin was a second-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2016.

The Texans also signed quarterback Alex McGough from the practice squad to the active roster and waived cornerback Cornell Armstrong.

According to multiple reports, the Jacksonville Jaguars had hoped to sign McGough off Houston’s practice squad for depth after losing Nick Foles to injury, but the Texans signed him before the Jaguars could. McGough spent the offseason with Jacksonville before being released at final cuts.

Houston starter Deshaun Watson bruised his lower back in Monday night’s opener in New Orleans but was able to finish the game.

–Field Level Media

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WR Baldwin says his NFL ‘watch has ended’

WR Baldwin says his NFL 'watch has ended'

Former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver and apparent

WR Baldwin says his NFL ‘watch has ended’

Former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver and apparent “Game of Thrones” fan Doug Baldwin appeared to announce his retirement Sunday night, signaling in a series of tweets that his watch has ended.

The Seahawks terminated the 30-year-old’s contract last week after he failed a physical. Following an injury-plagued 2018 season, Baldwin underwent surgeries on his knee, shoulder and abdomen.

Through multiple posts on Twitter, Baldwin wrote a letter to a younger version of himself.

“Because the end of one journey sees the beginning of another,” he wrote. “And guess what..it will be one hell of a journey. You will feel emotional and physical pain you never knew existed. You will fail over and over again. But don’t worry, all of it will be the reason why you succeed.

“But when the journey finally comes to the end, you will reflect on what that little boy caught between Gulf Breeze and Pensacola really wanted: to be seen and to be loved.”

He also posted a “Game of Thrones” GIF reading, “My watch has ended.”

An undrafted free agent out of Stanford in 2011, Baldwin had 493 catches for 6,563 yards and 49 touchdowns in eight seasons with the Seahawks, reaching the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2017 and playing in 123 of a possible 128 games (90 starts). He ranks third in team history in catches and yards and second in receiving touchdowns.

He was part of Seattle’s Super Bowl XLVIII winning team and the squad that lost Super Bowl XLIV to the New England Patriots a year later.

–Field Level Media

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Woods on Haney’s ban over LPGA comments: ‘He deserved it’

Woods on Haney's ban over LPGA comments: 'He deserved it'

Responding to the suspension

Woods on Haney’s ban over LPGA comments: ‘He deserved it’

Responding to the suspension of his former swing coach Hank Haney, who made racially insensitive comments about LPGA players on his SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio show, Tiger Woods said Friday that Haney “deserved” to be punished.

After shooting an even-par 72 on Friday at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, Woods was quizzed for his response upon news of Haney’s ban. Haney had mocked the LPGA and the success of some of the tour’s Korean players.

“He deserved it,” Woods told reporters after his second round at Muirfield Village. “Just can’t look at life like that.”

From 2004-10, Woods won six majors with the assistance of Haney, now 63.

On his SiriusXM show on Wednesday along with co-host Steve Johnson, Haney discussed the U.S. Women’s Open by saying of the likely winner, “I’m gonna predict a Korean.”

“I couldn’t name you six players on the LPGA Tour,” Haney continued. “Maybe I could. Well … I’d go with Lee. If I didn’t have to name a first name, I’d get a bunch of them right.”

Upon handing down the suspension SiriusXM released a statement criticizing the comments as “insensitive” and citing the punishment coming “at the PGA Tour’s instruction.”

Haney later posted an apology statement on his Twitter account, saying “I have the highest respect for the women who have worked so hard to reach the pinnacle of their sport and I never meant to take away from their accomplishments.”

“He obviously said what he meant, and he got what he deserved,” Woods said.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Gase calls Bell trade talk ‘ridiculous’

NFL notebook: Gase calls Bell trade talk 'ridiculous'

New York Jets coach Adam Gase

NFL notebook: Gase calls Bell trade talk ‘ridiculous’

New York Jets coach Adam Gase on Thursday dismissed speculation that All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell was on the trading block, calling it “ridiculous.”

After the Jets fired general manager Mike Maccagnan and named Gase the interim GM last week, there was talk that Gase had objected to Maccagnan’s March signing of Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million deal.

“That’s ridiculous. That’s the first I’ve heard of that,” Gase said during his first news conference since the front-office makeover. Asked if he thought the Jets overpaid for Bell, Gase replied, “No.”

“No, the contract was what it was,” he said. “Everybody can criticize contracts all you want, but he’s here. I’m excited he’s here. I think the players are excited he’s here. I think the coaches are.”

–Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones expects star running back Ezekiel Elliott to avoid league discipline despite a recent incident involving security guards at a Las Vegas music festival.

Elliott briefly was placed in handcuffs and detained by police, but he was not arrested. A video showing part of the incident was released by the gossip website TMZ.

“I think that the main thing is that I don’t see anything that needs supporting,” Jones said. “In terms of his status with us, (it) has not been impacted in any way.”

–Free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is reciprocating the Cleveland Browns’ interest and will visit Berea, Ohio, at team headquarters on Friday.

McCoy will take his first-ever free agency visit with the Browns after being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this week. Cleveland general manager John Dorsey called the defensive tackle “a good player the Browns want to get to know a little better.”

Other teams with reported interest include the Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints.

–Ndamukong Suh officially signed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two days after his reported agreement.

Suh’s contract is worth $9.25 million and incentives could push it to $10 million, per multiple reports.

The 32-year-old Suh, entering his 10th season, played with the Los Angeles Rams in 2018 and had 59 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 19 quarterback hits and four passes defensed.

–San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward broke his collarbone diving for a ball during organized team activities and will miss eight to 12 weeks, the team announced.

That would give Ward a chance to return early in training camp, which begins in mid July, and a good shot at being ready for the Sept. 8 regular-season opener.

The team also announced top pick Nick Bosa will miss the rest of OTAs with a Grade 1 hamstring strain, but he’s expected to be ready for training camp.

–The Jacksonville Jaguars signed first-round defensive end Josh Allen to his four-year rookie contract. Like all first-round deals, it comes with a fifth-year team option.

Allen, chosen seventh overall, will make $22.7 million over four years, with the full figure guaranteed.

Allen sat out Thursday after bruising his right knee during the team’s first practice of organized team activities. He will sit out Friday as well.

“We’re just keeping him on the side, working,” head coach Doug Marrone told reporters before practice. “He’ll be fine. We’re not concerned about it.”

–The Denver Broncos signed first-round tight end Noah Fant to his rookie contract.

The deal is worth $12.6 million over four years, with $9.9 million fully guaranteed. Fant was chosen 20th overall last month after Denver traded down from No. 10.

–The Miami Dolphins signed free agent defensive tackle Adolphus Washington.

A third-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2016, the 24-year-old Washington was waived by Buffalo after one game last season and joined the Cincinnati Bengals for four games. He has 4.5 career sacks in 35 games (21 starts).

–The New Orleans Saints worked out free agent running backs Rob Kelley, Javorius Allen and Fozzy Whittaker, the Times-Picayune reported.

Kelley started 16 games from 2016-17 in Washington, including a 2016 campaign with 704 rushing yards and six touchdowns.

Allen had 1,249 rushing yards and eight scores across four years in Baltimore. Whittaker played in 53 games for Carolina from 2014-17 before missing 2018 with a torn ACL sustained last May.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins sign LB Bostic, move LB Foster to IR

Redskins sign LB Bostic, move LB Foster to IR

Two days after Redskins

Redskins sign LB Bostic, move LB Foster to IR

Two days after Redskins linebacker Reuben Foster was carted off the practice field with a season-ending torn left ACL, Washington placed him on injured reserve and signed free agent linebacker Jon Bostic.

Bostic, who turned 28 earlier this month, will essentially fill the substantial void left by Foster, who was injured after the first workout of the team’s offseason program.

A five-year veteran, Bostic started 14 of 16 games with Pittsburgh last season, recording 73 tackles and a career-best 2.5 sacks in his lone campaign with the Steelers. He has also played for Chicago (2013-14), New England (2015) and Indianapolis (2017) and spent 2016 with Detroit, but missed the entire season after suffering a season-ending foot injury during training camp.

For his career, Bostic has recorded 313 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 70 games (46 starts).

The move formally ends the season for Foster, who was emotionally distraught on Monday as he was assisted to the cart and into the locker room with an air cast on his left knee.

Foster crumpled to the ground on the third play and immediately was tended to by defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and team president Bruce Allen. Head coach Jay Gruden said Foster, in a non-contact drill while going about three-quarters speed, stepped on guard Tyler Catalina’s foot and “landed funny on his left leg.”

“Very disappointing what happened,” Gruden said after Monday’s workout. “His first rep as a Redskin, he runs through the gap and gets injured. … He’s devastated. He’s obviously guarded right now. He felt something happen in his leg. But he’s very upset about it.

The Redskins claimed Foster off of waivers when the San Francisco 49ers parted with the troubled linebacker last season. The 49ers let Foster go in the wake of a domestic violence accusation stemming from an alleged incident during a team road trip to Tampa, Fla.

Foster, 25, was a first-round pick out of Alabama in 2017 (31st overall). He has played in 16 of a possible 32 games in his career.

–Field Level Media

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NFL draft notebook: QBs Finley, Stidham taken in fourth round

NFL draft notebook: QBs Finley, Stidham taken in fourth round

NFL draft notebook: QBs Finley, Stidham taken in fourth round

The Cincinnati Bengals traded three picks Saturday to move up six spots in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, selecting former North Carolina State quarterback Ryan Finley with the 104th overall pick.

He was the first of two quarterbacks taken in the round, with New England selecting Jarrett Stidham of Auburn with pick No. 133, perhaps looking at him as the eventual successor to Tom Brady, who will turn 42 before the start of the 2019 season.

Other notable picks in the fourth round:

–Defensive end Anthony Nelson (No. 107 overall to Tampa Bay), joining safety Amani Hooker (No. 116 to Tennessee) to give Iowa two players selected in the round.

–Punter Mitch Wishnowsky (Utah), a 27-year-old Australian, to San Francisco (No. 110).

–Cornerback Kendall Sheffield (Ohio State) to Atlanta (No. 111).

–Running back Bryce Love (Stanford) to Washington (No. 112).

–RB Justice Hill (Oklahoma State) to Baltimore (No. 113).

–RB Benny Snell (Kentucky) to Pittsburgh (No. 122).

–Wide receiver Riley Ridley (Georgia) to Chicago (No. 126).

–Field Level Media

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Detroit Lions draft review

Detroit Lions draft review

Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions draft review

Detroit Lions draft review

1 (8). T.J. Hockenson, TE: 6-5, 251, Iowa

2 (43). Jahlani Tavai, LB: 6-2, 250, Hawaii

3 (81). Will Harris, S: 6-1, 207, Boston College

4 (117). Austin Bryant, DE: 6-4, 271, Clemson

5 (146). Amani Oruwariye, CB: 6-2, 205, Penn St.

6 (184). Travis Fulgham, WR: 6-3, 215, Old Dominion

6 (186). Ty Johnson, RB: 5-11, 210, Maryland

7 (224). Isaac Nauta, TE: 6-3, 244, Georgia

7 (229). PJ Johnson, DT: 6-4, 334, Arizona

Grade: C+

The Lions have been known to reach a tad under GM Bob Quinn — some work out great, like wideout Kenny Golladay — and Tavai and Harris both fit that trend. Both are good players who probably could have been had later on. Still, Hockenson was a great way to start, and Bryant — who fits Matt Patricia’s scheme perfectly — and Oruwariye were nice gets later on.

Best pick: Hockenson played just two years in college but is ready-made for the NFL. He’s already a great blocker who should improve as he adds strength. He shows route-running savvy and sticky hands to be a third-down threat right away, and also has the speed to threaten the seam.

Upside pick: Oruwariye is inconsistent in coverage and mostly poor as a tackler, but he has fantastic tools. At 6-foot-2, he moves fluidly and tested with 4.47 speed and explosive numbers in the vertical (36.5″) and broad jumps (120″). He could thrive with a bit of coaching.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Cardinals reportedly fielding offers for top pick

NFL notebook: Cardinals reportedly fielding offers for top pick

NFL notebook: Cardinals reportedly fielding offers for top pick

The Arizona Cardinals still haven’t tipped their hand as to how they’ll use the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft on Thursday, and teams continue to inquire about a trade, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday.

He also said general manager Steve Keim, coach Kliff Kingsbury and owner Michael Bidwill have a final meeting scheduled to make a decision.

The assumption is Cardinals will draft Kyler Murray, who won the Heisman Trophy and led Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff in 2018. Reports over the weekend surfaced that the Cardinals plan to keep Josh Rosen at quarterback and draft a difference-maker on defense.

CBS Sports columnist Pete Prisco reported that Bidwill wanted the team to take Murray, but that has changed. “Now all of a sudden they’re pulling back and, from what I have been told, they’re going to go in a different direction,” Prisco said. “They’re not going to draft Kyler Murray.”

–Washington Redskins senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams made it clear that the team is still seeking an upgrade at quarterback after trading for Case Keenum last month.

The Redskins, who hold the 15th pick in Thursday’s first round, have been connected to some of the draft’s top quarterback prospects and also to Rosen, whom the Cardinals could trade if they draft Murray.

“Case has done a good job over the last couple of years where he’s been, and you know, we needed a quarterback and was able to trade for Case,” Williams told reporters. “But that does not put us out of the realm of picking a quarterback if there’s one there that we like at 15. We don’t know who’s going to be there at 15. We’ve got some guys we do like, and if those guys are there, that’s the discussion that has to be had.”

–Peyton Manning will not join ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” broadcast team this season, Sporting News reported.

The future Hall of Fame quarterback met with network executives last month in Denver about replacing Jason Witten, who has returned to the Dallas Cowboys after one season in the booth.

But Manning is reluctant to comment on games while his younger brother, Eli, is still playing, according to NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. Eli’s New York Giants have two Monday night games scheduled in 2019.

–Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb clarified his recent comments about current Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

“For those of you who misread, didn’t understand, were confused or just didn’t like my comments let me clarify it for you,” McNabb wrote on Twitter. “Let me start by saying there’s no beef, riff or ill-will toward (Wentz) or the @Eagles. My comments were strictly based off of experience and understanding of how the business of football works.”

McNabb said on Saturday the team should consider drafting another quarterback if Wentz doesn’t take the Eagles beyond the second round of the playoffs within “two years or so.”

–A week after Russell Wilson agreed to his four-year, $140 million deal with the Seahawks, he reportedly decided to share the wealth with the Seattle offensive linemen, gifting them each $12,000 in Amazon stock.

Each of Wilson’s 13 linemen reportedly received a letter with the gift, expressing his gratitude and hopes that the gift would help them “prepare for life after football.”

“You sacrifice your physical and mental well-being to protect me, which in turn allows me to provide and care for my family. This does not go unnoticed and it is never forgotten,” he wrote in a letter first published by TMZ.

–Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett signed his franchise tender on Monday, locking in a one-year, $15,209,000 salary for 2019.

The team has been vocal about its intentions to sign Jarrett to a long-term deal, which the sides have until July 15 to negotiate. If no extension is agreed upon, he will play out 2019 on the tag.

The Falcons also announced the signing of free agent safety J.J. Wilcox, who spent 2018 with the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts.

–The Green Bay Packers intend to exercise their fifth-year option, expected to be worth about $8 million, on defensive tackle Kenny Clark for the 2020 season.

General manager Brian Gutekunst confirmed that plan to reporters, although the team has until a May 3 deadline to make the move official.

–Buffalo signed free agent running back T.J. Yeldon to a two-year contract. Terms were not disclosed.

Yeldon, 25, had 414 rushing yards and one touchdown with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.

–The Denver Broncos signed defensive linemen Billy Winn and Mike Purcell, along with offensive lineman Jake Rodgers.

Winn was out of the league last year after missing all of 2017 with a knee injury. He had 19 tackles for Denver in 2016.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: TE Watson visiting Patriots

Reports: TE Watson visiting Patriots

Reports: TE Watson visiting Patriots

Tight end Benjamin Watson could end his short-lived retirement and is spending Thursday meeting with the New England Patriots, according to multiple reports.

Watson is no stranger to the organization, which made him the No. 32 overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft. He played six seasons in New England, followed by three seasons in Cleveland.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday that Watson also is considering the Chiefs, Bills and 49ers.

Watson, 38, played four of his previous five seasons with the New Orleans Saints, including last season’s run to the NFC Championship Game.

He announced his retirement in December.

“It’s time. It’s time to be done,” he said then. “I’m going to finish strong.”

In his career, Watson has played in 195 games, with 530 receptions for 5,885 yards and 44 touchdowns. In 12 postseason games, he has 22 catches for 234 yards and three scores.

The Patriots are looking for depth at tight end following the retirement of All-Pro Rob Gronkowski.

On Wednesday, the Patriots announced the release of wide receiver Bruce Ellington. He signed with New England as a free agent on March 15.

–Field Level Media

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Former Colts Hall of Famer Marchetti dies at 93

Former Colts Hall of Famer Marchetti dies at 93

Former Colts Hall of Famer Marchetti dies at 93

Former Baltimore Colts defensive end and Pro Football Hall of Famer Gino Marchetti died Monday night. He was 92.

The Hall of Fame confirmed the news, which was met by an outpouring of support for the family in Indianapolis and Baltimore.

A veteran of the Battle of the Bulge against Nazi Germany, Marchetti was a nine-time All-Pro and 11-time Pro Bowl selection. The Colts won back-to-back championships with Marchetti anchoring the defensive line.

“You’ll never know the sleepless nights I had when Green Bay was getting ready to play Baltimore,” the late Forrest Gregg, the Packers’ Hall of Fame offensive tackle, once said of Marchetti in an interview.

Marchetti was one of three defensive ends named to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1994. The others were Deacon Jones and Reggie White.

Marchetti played for the Colts from 1953-66 after one season with the Dallas Texans in 1952; he was a second-round pick of the New York Yanks, but that franchise moved to Dallas before the 1952 season. The Texans folded after a 1-11 season and moved to Baltimore.

A three-year starter after his tour in the U.S. Army, Marchetti was a two-way tackle and part of the undefeated University of San Francisco team in 1951.

–Field Level Media

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Ex-caddie: Tiger’s comeback ‘an incredible story’

Ex-caddie: Tiger's comeback 'an incredible story'

Steve

Ex-caddie: Tiger’s comeback ‘an incredible story’

Steve Williams, who caddied for Tiger Woods for 13 years, was as transfixed as any observer when his former employer made a run to his fifth Masters title earlier this month.

Williams, who retired to his native New Zealand in 2017, told ESPN in a story published Monday that he hadn’t watched any golf on television since retirement — until Woods was making a run on Sunday at Augusta. Williams said he tuned in from New Zealand — where it was around 5 a.m. on Monday — as the final grouping was reaching the 15th hole.

Woods went on to birdie that hole and take the outright lead for good, while Italy’s Francesco Molinari double-bogeyed and fell out of contention.

“Given the fact that two years ago, he stated that he was unlikely to play competitive golf again, or was seriously doubting it … he wouldn’t just say that in jest,” Williams told ESPN of Woods, who made his return to the tour last year after a fourth back surgery. “There would have been a lot of truth to it. For him to actually come back full cycle to win a major championship … it’s just an incredible story.

“It’s an amazing achievement of pure guts and hard work for him and just a true indication of what he is made of. It proves again what an amazing athlete he is. It’s just an amazing achievement.”

Williams, 55, became Woods’ caddie in 1999 and remained on the bag until Woods fired him in July of 2011, covering a span of 13 of Woods’ 14 major victories to that point. Joe LaCava has caddied for Woods since.

Williams, who had caddied for Adam Scott while Woods was away from the tour, joined Scott regularly from 2011 until September of 2017. Scott won the 2013 Masters with Williams.

After seeing Woods claim the 15th major of his career and his first since 2008, Williams touted how strongly the achievement will impact the sport.

“You look at it from a broader perspective,” Williams said. “Here in New Zealand, golf is somewhat struggling. The number of rounds is down, junior numbers are slipping. Now that Tiger has come right back there again, winning a major championship, possibly putting Jack’s (Nicklaus) record (of 18 career major wins) in play again … it just re-energizes the game.

“It’s absolutely awesome. He’s the only guy who can energize the game like that. All those kids who were watching had to think it was fantastic. And so what he’s done is a remarkable achievement. It’s so positive.”

–Field Level Media

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Woods wins fifth Masters

Woods wins fifth Masters

Tiger Woods won his fifth

Woods wins fifth Masters

Tiger Woods won his fifth Masters on Sunday in Augusta, Ga., and his first major tournament since the 2008 U.S. Open.

It was his 15th victory in a major tournament in his career, three off the record 18 held by Jack Nicklaus.

Woods finished the tournament at 13-under 275. He shot a final-round 70, closing out the victory with a bogey putt.

The 43-year-old Woods is the oldest Masters champ since Nicklaus won at age 46 in 1986.

“A big well done from me to Tiger,” Nicklaus said in a message read by Jim Nantz of CBS. “i am so happy for him and for the game of golf. This is just fantastic.”

Woods won his first major in the Masters in Augusta, Ga., in 1997.

It was his first major win after four back surgeries and a well-publicized personal scandal.

Xander Schauffele (68), Dustin Johnson(68), Brooks Koepka (70) finished one shot back.

–Field Level Media

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Duke QB Jones: Joining Giants would be ‘awesome’

Duke QB Jones: Joining Giants would be 'awesome'

Duke QB Jones: Joining Giants would be ‘awesome’

For a team that doesn’t select a quarterback early in the 2019 NFL Draft, Duke’s Daniel Jones could be a strong consolation choice.

Jones generally is believed to be the fourth quarterback who will come off the board at the draft, following Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Missouri’s Drew Lock. He is a potential first-round pick, with much of the buzz focusing on the possibility that the New York Giants will select him at No. 17 overall, assuming they don’t go for another quarterback with the sixth overall pick.

New York also has the fifth pick of the second round.

Giants offensive coordinator Mike Shula was among the team’s contingent at Duke’s pro day on Tuesday, when Jones drew positive reviews for his 40-time — a reported 4.67 seconds — and seemed to show better arm strength to pair with his known strong points of touch and accuracy.

Former NFL quarterback and current TV analyst Troy Aikman chimed in on Twitter: “Caught the tail-end of Duke’s Daniel Jones’ pro day on @nflnetwork and liked what I saw – accurate ball placement which is #1 for me when evaluating QBs”

Jones (6-5, 221) decided to skip his senior season after passing for 8,201 yards and 52 touchdowns against 29 interceptions in three seasons with the Blue Devils.

If the Giants view him as an eventual successor to Eli Manning, it could be a seamless transition. Duke coach David Cutcliffe coached Peyton (Tennessee) and Eli Manning (Ole Miss) in college, and Jones has attended the Manning Passing Academy.

When Eli visits Duke’s campus, Cutcliffe said on NFL Network, “Daniel follows him around like you would follow Mother Goose.”

After Tuesday’s workout, Jones told NFL Network that getting to know the Giants’ brass during the scouting process “has been awesome.” He is expected to have a private workout with the Giants later this week, according to ESPN.

“With a guy like Eli Manning, to have that opportunity, if I did, to learn from him and watch him on a day-in and day-out basis, and kind of study him would be awesome,” Jones said.

“I have been lucky to do that a couple of times when he has come down — and I have gotten a lot from that.”

Jones made a quick rise at Duke after his only other Division I offer was from FCS school Princeton.

“He did a lot of things naturally well,” Cutcliffe said of his impressions of Jones as a recruit. “I knew he had a shot at being special and, boy, was I right.”

Cutcliffe added that scouts should not be fooled by Jones’ boyish looks.

“I think some people probably read that as him being a guy who is not a fierce competitor and not tough,” Cutcliffe said. “Don’t challenge him. He is physically and mentally tough.”

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Chiefs trading LB Ford to 49ers

Reports: Chiefs trading LB Ford to 49ers

Reports: Chiefs trading LB Ford to 49ers

The Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday agreed to trade pass-rushing linebacker Dee Ford to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2020 second-round pick, according to multiple reports.

Just last week, the Chiefs put a franchise tag on Ford, though reports indicated a deal was in the works.

A source told ESPN that Ford is expected to receive a multiyear deal in the range of five years, $87.5 million from the 49ers. The deal will become official on Wednesday, when the new league year begins.

Moving Ford seemed inevitable after the Chiefs decided to switch from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3 under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. An undersized defensive end didn’t exactly seem to be the right fit.

“Still kind of assessing that,” Spagnuolo said in February when asked about Ford. “The one thing he can do, and we all know this, he is an explosive football player that makes a lot of plays. He’s had some production and if he is here with us, I’ll be excited to have him and be excited to work with him.”

Ford has 30.5 career sacks in five seasons, all with the Chiefs, including a personal-best 13 in 2018, when he attained career firsts by starting all 16 regular-season games and being selected to the Pro Bowl. He also forced a league-high seven fumbles.

Ford, 27, earned about $8.7 million in 2018 after the fifth-year option of his contract was exercised. The one-year franchise tag for linebackers is worth $15,443,000 in 2019.

On Sunday, the Chiefs released veteran linebacker Justin Houston, leaving them without their top two pass rushers from last season.

–Field Level Media

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Woods says he’s ready for Players Championship

Woods says he's ready for Players Championship

Woods says he’s ready for Players Championship

Tiger Woods arrived at TPC Sawgrass on Monday and declared himself ready for The Players Championship.

“I feel good, man,” he told Golfweek at the course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Last week, Woods withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational, citing a neck strain.

“I didn’t want to push it. No need to,” Woods said about his choice to drop out of the tournament he’s won eight times. “Not at my age. Can’t do that anymore.”

Woods, 43, said he took most of the week off and didn’t touch a club until Saturday.

“Everything is good,” Woods said. “I feel good. I needed last week off.”

This will be the fourth tournament of the year for Woods. He has finished in the top 20 in each, with his best finish a tie for 10th place in the WGC-Mexico Championship three weeks ago.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Steelers ship WR Brown to Raiders

Reports: Steelers ship WR Brown to Raiders

The Oakland Raiders acquired wide receiver Antonio

Reports: Steelers ship WR Brown to Raiders

The Oakland Raiders acquired wide receiver Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night, according to multiple media outlets.

The Steelers will receive third- and fifth-round draft picks in exchange for the eccentric wide receiver, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Raiders will add money to Brown’s existing contract, which now calls for $50.1 million over the next three years with $30.1 million guaranteed.

Brown quickly embraced the deal. He posted a photo illustration of himself in a Raiders uniform only minutes after the deal was first reported.

The 30-year-old wideout now becomes the top offensive threat in Oakland after a remarkable but sometimes turbulent nine-season stint with Pittsburgh. Brown has surpassed 1,250 receiving yards in six straight years and hauled in double-digit touchdowns in four of his past five seasons.

The Steelers reportedly had sought a first-round pick for Brown before settling on Oakland’s offer. Several other teams, including the Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans, also had expressed interest in acquiring the playmaker before Pittsburgh decided to send him west.

Trade rumors had swirled for months amid a public spat between Brown and the Steelers. The disgruntled veteran did not play in last year’s must-win regular-season finale because he was “banged up,” which prompted Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to tell him to go home.

During the offseason, Brown held firm with his criticism of the franchise. He also ripped veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, whom he felt wrongly blamed him for an interception in a loss to the Denver Broncos in late November.

“He feels like he’s the owner,” Brown said during a recent appearance on “The Shop,” LeBron James’ HBO show. “Bro, you threw the (expletive) to the D-lineman! What the (expletive)? I’m over here wide open! You need to give me a better ball!”

A move to Oakland — and tens of millions in guaranteed money that Pittsburgh had not promised — represents a fresh start for Brown.

The Raiders drew scrutiny before the start of last season for trading Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears rather than meet his contract demands. Then the team shipped wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys, only to watch him thrive with his new team.

Brown’s arrival appears to signal a renewed aggressiveness in Oakland, where Jon Gruden will enter his second season at the helm. Brown also provides the best playmaking option yet for sixth-year quarterback Derek Carr, who is coming off a season in which he threw for a career-high 4,049 yards.

Last season, Brown caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has 837 receptions for 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns in his career.

The Raiders are not scheduled to face the Steelers during the regular season.

–Field Level Media

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Caputi: 2019 NFL Mock Draft (Final)

It's Draft Day! In what might be the most difficult draft to mock in recent memory, here's my first and last attempt of the season. Trades are expected to considerably impact the early portion of the first round. In 2016, there were five trades on day one. In 2017, there were six

It’s Draft Day! In what might be the most difficult draft to mock in recent memory, here’s my first and last attempt of the season. Trades are expected to considerably impact the early portion of the first round. In 2016, there were five trades on day one. In 2017, there were six and last year there were seven. Expect movement – and for your reading pleasure, I’ve included a few in this mock.

Enjoy the process!

1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, DE. Ohio State

• At no point throughout the process have I logically felt the Cardinals were serious about Kyler Murray. Talent is required across the board and this woeful defense benefits from a plug and play edge with an All-Pro ceiling.

2. New York Giants: Kyler Murray, QB. Oklahoma (TRADE w/SF)

• Let’s assume the trade up includes both No 6. and 17. Big Blue has kept it close to the vest but must leverage this opportunity to reignite a dispirited fan base in the wake of the Odell Beckham trade.

3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, EDGE. Kentucky

• Premium pick, premium value position. Gang Green lacks a legitimate cornerstone piece to work with off the edge and Allen reminds me of peak Justin Houston in 2014 (his 22.0 sack season).

4. Oakland Raiders: Ed Oliver, DT. Houston

• In 2010, Jon Gruden participated in drafting Gerald McCoy, a 3-tech profile who some viewed as being the more natural interior pass rusher compared to Suh. Oliver can bench press interior lineman and plays with speed + leverage.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quinnen Williams, DT. Alabama

• What would’ve been an ideal spot for a trade down becomes an opportunity. Williams offers positional flexibility for Bowles hybrid setup and tremendous upside. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

6. San Francisco 49ers: Jonah Williams, OL. Alabama

• Following a trade down, the 49ers go to the well for another long-term piece along the offensive line. They could use immediate improvement at guard and 2018 first round pick Mike McGlinchey is presently the only tackle signed through 2020.

7. Cincinnati Bengals: Dwayne Haskins, QB. Ohio State (TRADE w/JAX)

• Simba 7 remains in-state and becomes a Bengal. A fresh, young, offensive-minded Zac Taylor begins his head coaching tenure with the Big Ten’s single-season total yard and touchdown record holder. Cincy can preemptively part with Andy Dalton at no cap penalty in 2020.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Rashan Gary, DL. Michigan (TRADE w/DET)

• The always-aggressive Thomas Dimitroff has made at least one trade in every draft since becoming GM in 2008. There’s a buzz about Atlanta and Detroit making a deal. Movement skills are valued by Atlanta along the line and Grady Jarrett is a UFA in 2020.

9. Buffalo Bills: T.J. Hockenson, TE. Iowa

• After spending money on depth at receiver, it’s apparent the Bills brass wants to supply anointed franchise quarterback Josh Allen with as many options as possible as he develops. There remains a hole at tight end and Hockenson is the most complete player at his position in the class.

10. Denver Broncos: Devin White, LB. LSU

• If this isn’t a quarterback (and I’m about 50/50 on the matter here), White is the obvious and fortunate selection. Denver has a pair of stout run defenders in Jewell and Davis, but White totally revolutionizes the interior of Denver’s linebacking core.

11. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor, OT. Florida (TRADE w/CIN)

• After moving down to acquire a pick or two, this is improved value for possibly the best long-term tackle in the draft. The talented in-state product helps Nick Foles in the short-term and perhaps whoever the starter is on the end of his bridge deal.

12. Green Bay Packers: Devin Bush, LB. Michigan

• It’s a new era under second-year GM Brian Gutekunst, who’s breaking some of the organizational molds created by Ted Thompson. With a pair of first round picks, the Pack are well-positioned to address the seemingly perennial need at linebacker with a unique talent in Bush.

13. Houston Texans: Andre Dillard, OT. Washington State (TRADE w/MIA)

• Houston, initially placed at No. 21 overall, are also armed with back-to-back second round picks (No. 54 and 55) – they must leverage their assets to bolster pass pro. Dillard is the most natural left tackle in the class and compares favorably to Duane Brown.

14. Detroit Lions: Brian Burns, EDGE. Florida State (TRADE w/DET)

• A fortuitous conclusion following a trade down, as Detroit is still able to inject twitch and athleticism off the edge to complement the signing of Trey Flowers. Lions get faster on defense.

15. Washington Redskins: Drew Lock, QB. Missouri

• It’s tough to predict how the ‘Skins will approach the quarterback position on draft day, but should this scenario materialize without a trade up it’d alleviate some of the organizational misfortune of Alex Smith’s injury. Prototypical, tools-based passer for Jay Gruden to polish.

16. Carolina Panthers: Noah Fant, TE. Iowa

• When healthy, Greg Olsen is still a threat but Fant is a unique weapon who can be aligned as a traditional tight end, as a big slot or even as a boundary mismatch a la Devin Funchess. Also a red-zone terror.

17. San Francisco 49ers: Marquise Brown, WR. Oklahoma (TRADE w/NYG)

• With the second of two first round picks (courtesy a mocked trade down with the Giants), San Francisco adds an electric vertical passing game weapon. Brown is ultra-productive and hurts defenses in space. He missed the combine due to a Lisfranc injury, but is expected to be ready for camp.

18. Minnesota Vikings: Cody Ford, OG. Oklahoma

• Plainly put, Minnesota desperately needs to reinforce the offensive line and protect the Kirk Cousins investment. If they’re as intent on running the ball as Mike Zimmer wants, Ford is the ideal profile and they’ve had success with Sooners. Played right tackle in 2018, but he can be an elite guard.

19. Tennessee Titans: Garrett Bradbury, OG/C. NC State

• Interior offensive line was a legitimate sore spot in 2018 and while Rodger Saffold was added, more is required. Bradbury is a one-stop addition that will immediately elevate either the right guard or (his natural) center position. A former tight end, he has the athleticism to accommodate the mobile Mariota.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Greedy Williams, CB. LSU

• Perhaps the leader of a markedly imperfect but talented cornerback class, Greedy is the prototypical long, athletic boundary profile. I don’t rule out a handful of the remaining front-seven pieces still on the board either.

21. Seattle Seahawks: Clelin Ferrell, DE. Clemson

• Frank Clark out, Clelin Ferrell in. An economically savvy transaction for Seattle, also adding a polished plug and play edge with a three-down skill-set.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Elgton Jenkins, OG/C. Mississippi State

• Three-position interior power blocker with prototypical size. The ideal addition to accommodate the down-hill, man-to-man based approach that appeals to new offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

23. Miami Dolphins: Jeffery Simmons, DT. Mississippi State

• In this scenario, understand two things: 1. The ‘Phins have conceded this isn’t their year to address quarterback early, 2. They’re all-in on a rebuild year in 2019. Simmons is a top 10 talent and could be an All-Pro if given time to recover from a torn ACL suffered in February. No edge value remains, so they stash a gem.

24. Oakland Raiders: DeAndre Baker, CB. Georgia

• Perhaps he’s a nickel at the next level, but he provides sticky coverage and plays a physical game with experience on the boundary. Nevin Lawson was brought in for depth, but this represents a large improvement.

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Josh Jacobs, RB. Alabama

• The roster is well-built, so aside from acquiring a succession plan for Jason Peters or preemptive receiver depth, this stands as a big talent upgrade in the backfield. Philly fields a stable of decent ‘backs, but few of which would start elsewhere and Jordan Howard is a UFA in 2020.

26. Indianapolis Colts: Christian Wilkins, DT. Clemson

• If there’s one thing Chris Ballard has proven in his time relatively short time in Indy, it’s a willingness to build in the trenches. This is true of the organization he came from in KC – and what a bargain Wilkins would be at this point.

27. Oakland Raiders: Chris Lindstrom, OG. Boston College

• Rookie GM Mike Mayock puts his stamp on the first round by selecting a fellow Eagle alum. Too easy, right? Emotional attachment aside, trading Kelechi Osemele to the Jets has left behind a need at guard. Gruden has a first round O-line track record as well.

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Kaleb McGary, OT. Washington

• Telesco needs a trench upgrade, be it on offense or defense. A big, projectable blocker with power and length, Kaleb McGary steps into the right tackle spot immediately. He also projects quite well inside if required. A pick for the O-line is a pick for Rivers.

29. Denver Broncos: Daniel Jones, QB. Duke (TRADE w/SEA)

• After acquiring a cornerstone piece earlier in Devin White, Elway finds an opportunity to slide back into the late portion of round one to select his next quarterback – all the while securing the coveted fifth-year option contract. Seattle, after landing a Frank Clark replacement, trades out (but take a safety if they stay).

30. Green Bay Packers: Dalton Risner, OL. Kansas State

• The Pack could stand to upgrade and add depth in multiple areas along the offensive line. Risner is athletic and proportioned well enough to fill a need at 3-4 positions, be it immediately at guard or long-term at tackle.

31. Los Angeles Rams: Dexter Lawrence, NT. Clemson

• Imposing with brute strength, Lawrence profiles to be an outstanding fit as a central anchor in Wade Phillips’ base 3-4. Packing 340 nimble pounds of bulk, he should help keep Aaron Donald clean.

32. New England Patriots: Irv Smith Jr., TE. Alabama

• Austin Seferian-Jenkins has some untapped veteran upside, but more is required in the wake of Gronk’s retirement. Irv Smith Jr. is a field-stretcher who can accumulate after the catch. New England has succeeded with multiple tight end options in a variety of profiles.

Hit me up on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

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Super Bowl 53 Betting Preview – Best Props Picks, Trends

It’s time for Super Bowl 53 betting and you haven’t done a bit of handicapping or studied a single prop and you just want to best bets to make on Super Bowl 53.

We have condensed 100,000 articles on Super Bowl betting and 75,000 more on Super Bowl props betting into one article. Your welcome.

It’s time for Super Bowl 53 betting and you haven’t done a bit of handicapping or studied a single prop and you just want to best bets to make on Super Bowl 53.

We have condensed 100,000 articles on Super Bowl betting and 75,000 more on Super Bowl props betting into one article. Your welcome.

What is the current Super Bowl 53 point spread?

Most Vegas and offshore sportsbooks have the New England Patriots favored by either 2.5 points or 3 points. Obviously, if you have the choice as a Patriots bettor, you want to find a -2.5 and if you are a Los Angeles Rams bettor, you should try to find the +3. A comparison of NFL odds providers will tell the story quickly today.

Where can I try Super Bowl 53 betting?

This depends on where you live, where you happen to be watching the game and what kind of NFL bettor you are. If you happen to be in Vegas today, good for you, it will be a blast! And there are plenty of casinos to place a side bet on the Patriots or Rams as well as action on thousands of fun prop bets.

Some US states are now regulated with online wagering and have offered up sports betting at racetracks, such as New Jersey. The rest of the wagering public will probably have their action at Super Bowl sportsbooks that offer services around the world. Most of the names will be familiar to you and most of them enjoy plenty of mainstream media attention.

What are the most popular Super Bowl props this year?

Every year, two pre-game props steal the show. The first is the National Anthem prop, where you can bet whether Gladys Knight’s version of the Star Spangled Banner will run over or under 1 minute and 50 seconds. Believe it or not, there is lots of handicapping and speculation (and betting) on this and some sites with too much time on their hands actually timed every national anthem from every Super Bowl and found some trends.

The second is the Super Bowl coin toss which for some reason more people bet on heads than tails every year. It’s one of those fun 50-50 props. An interesting trend here – when the Patriots lose the coin toss, they are 5-0 in Super Bowls. When the Pats win the coin toss, they are 0-3.

Who is the Super Bowl MVP betting favorite?

Surprise, surprise, Tom Brady is the big favorite here at about +125, meaning a $100 bet turns into a $125 profit if he wins. Rams QB Jared Goff is next in the +225 range. Winning QBs usually win the Super Bowl MVP (9 of the past 12 times).

There is also money on Patriots rookie RB Sony Michel and Rams RB Todd Gurley. As well, some people like the longshots and the only defensive player with any real betting value, which is Aaron Donald of the Rams.

What is the Super Bowl 53 betting over-under?

The total or over-under number was set around 57.5, one of the highest of all time. But bettors have been backing the UNDER so the number has crept down. The theory is that both teams like to run the ball, which chews up the clock and limits the number of possessions for each team.

What are some of the other cool prop bets?

Since the first Super Bowl prop 25 years ago, prop betting has grown like crazy. Now there are literally thousands of outcomes you can bet on for Super Bowl 53. Some of the fun ones:

Will any player kneel during the National Anthem?

How many times will Donald Trump tweet on Super Sunday?

Will Sony Michel score 2 or more TDS?

Will the stock market rise or fall on Monday, the day after the Super Bowl?

Many sites carry lists of literally hundreds of Super Bowl 53 props (along with their best bets) and list the places where you can wager on them and the current odds.

So we have saved you from 175,000 articles today. Instead, use this to find the best places to find odds and information to enjoy Super Bowl 53.

Your welcome.

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Projected States with Legal Sports Betting (2019)

With the Paspa act gone states are quickly legalizing sports betting. Here are the States expected to legalize sports betting in 2019. Select a month on the graph to see which states will have legalized sports betting by that month.

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With the Paspa act gone states are quickly legalizing sports betting. Here are the States expected to legalize sports betting in 2019. Select a month on the graph to see which states will have legalized sports betting by that month.

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NFL Conference Championship Weekend: Over and Under Bets

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we're making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we're offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Take the

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we’re making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we’re offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Take the over: New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs

Total: 56.5

The Chiefs remain vulnerable against the run. The Colts averaged 6.2 yards per rush against them but weren’t able to establish the run consistently due to the score.

Meanwhile, the Patriots have really discovered a strong running game thanks to the emergence of Sony Michel. Look for them to keep it on the ground and set things up for the passing game to take advantage of a secondary that is also beatable. 

You know Tom Brady will get some shots in, and there’s little doubt Patrick Mahomes will do the same. New England’s run defense is also vulnerable — only the Rams surrendered more yards per carry than the Pats and Chiefs this season — and Damien Williams and Spencer Ware should have plenty of success setting up the passing game. Kansas City could also get a shot in the arm from the return of injured guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. 

These teams combined for 83 points in their first meeting, and this should be another track meet. After initial weather concerns, the latest forecast indicates this game won’t be played in sub-zero temperatures after all, and I think both teams will have just enough in them on offense to push this one into the 60s. 

Predicted score: Chiefs 34, Patriots 28

Take the under: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints

Total: 56

Dating back to Week 13, the Saints have averaged fewer than 20 points per game. And while they scored 45 points the last time they faced Los Angeles, Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is too smart to let that happen again. Look for Aqib Talib — who didn’t play in that first meeting — to do a better job against productive star Saints receiver Michael Thomas, and don’t be surprised if underrated Rams linebacker Cory Littleton limits Alvin Kamara’s damage. 

That could make life real tough against a defensive front featuring defensive player of the year shoo-in Aaron Donald as well as Ndamukong Suh, who looks inspired thus far in January. 

And while the Rams also scored 35 points in that Week 9 meeting, that offense has also been less stable and consistent without Cooper Kupp down the stretch. 

The Saints defense is certainly beatable, but keep in mind that New Orleans completely shut down the Eagles for three and a half quarters on Sunday and has surrendered 17 or fewer points in seven of its last nine games.

Not even sure this one will hit 50. 

Predicted score: Rams 24, Saints 23

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 2-0
2018 season: 23-14-1

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What To Look For – Divisional Playoffs

PRESS RELEASE

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

LOWER SEED SUCCESS: The INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (11-6) and PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (10-7) both earned victories on Wild Card Weekend as the No. 6 seed in their respective conferences.​

The Colts, who travel to Kansas City on Saturday (4:35 PM ET, NBC), and the Eagles, who

PRESS RELEASE

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

LOWER SEED SUCCESS: The INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (11-6) and PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (10-7) both earned victories on Wild Card Weekend as the No. 6 seed in their respective conferences.​

The Colts, who travel to Kansas City on Saturday (4:35 PM ET, NBC), and the Eagles, who play at New Orleans on Sunday (4:40 PM ET, FOX), look to become the first No. 6 seeds to reach the Conference Championship since 2010, when both the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets accomplished the feat.​​​​

The No. 6 seeds to reach the Conference Championship since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990:

SEASON

TEAM

CONFERENCE

ADVANCED TO

2010

Green Bay

NFC

Won Super Bowl XLV

2010

New York Jets

AFC

Conference Championship

2008

Baltimore

AFC

Conference Championship

2008

Philadelphia

NFC

Conference Championship

2005

Pittsburgh

AFC

Won Super Bowl XL

 

 

 

 

2018

Indianapolis

AFC

???

2018

Philadelphia

NFC

???

 

In the AFC, the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (13-4, No. 5 seed), who face New England on Sunday (1:05 PM ET, CBS), and the sixth-seeded Colts are both still alive. With victories by both teams in the Divisional Playoffs, it would mark the first Conference Championship game featuring a No. 5 and No. 6 seed since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990.

 

WINNING WAYS: The DALLAS COWBOYS, who defeated Seattle 24-22 on Wild Card Weekend, and the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, who had a bye last week, will each be playing in the Divisional Playoffs.

Dallas, who plays at the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night (8:15 PM ET, FOX), has 35 playoff wins and can tie the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (36) for the most postseason victories all-time. New England, who hosts the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday (1:05 PM ET, CBS), has 34 postseason victories and can surpass the GREEN BAY PACKERS (34) for the third-most playoff wins all-time.

The teams with the most postseason wins in NFL history:

TEAM

WINS

LOSSES

WIN PCT.

SUPER BOWL WINS

Pittsburgh

36

25

.590

6

Dallas

35

27

.565

5

Green Bay

34

22

.607

4

New England

34

20

.630

5

San Francisco

30

20

.600

5​

 

TOUCHDOWN LEADERS: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES and the Chiefs are s​et to face off against Indianapolis quarterback ANDREW LUCK and the Colts in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday (4:35 PM ET, NBC).

Mahomes, who led the NFL with 50 touchdown passes, and Luck, who ranked second with 39 touchdown passes in 2018, have the most combined regular-season passing touchdowns (89) among any opposing quarterbacks in a playoff game in the Super Bowl era.

With Mahomes and Luck ranking first and second in regular-season touchdown passes, Saturday will mark the fifth time since 2002 that the top two passing touchdown leaders from the regular season will face off in the postseason.

The postseason games between the top two regular-season passing touchdown leaders since 2002:

SEASON

PLAYER (TEAM)

TD PASSES

PLAYER (TEAM)

TD PASSES

PLAYOFF ROUND

2016

Aaron Rodgers (GB)

40

Matt Ryan (Atl.)

38

NFC Championship

2014

Andrew Luck (Ind.)

40

Peyton Manning (Den.)

39

AFC Divisional

2009

Drew Brees (NO)

34

Peyton Manning (Ind.)

33*

Super Bowl XLIV

2009

Drew Brees (NO)

34

Brett Favre^ (Min.)

33*

NFC Championship

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018

Patrick Mahomes (KC)

50

Andrew Luck (Ind.)

39

AFC Divisional

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Tied for 2nd

 

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER: New England quarterback TOM BRADY and the Patriots welcome quarterback PHILIP RIVERS and the Los Angeles Chargers to Gillette Stadium on Sunday (1:05 PM ET, CBS).

Brady, who will be 41 years and 163 days old on Sunday, and Rivers, at 37 years and 36 days old, combine for a total of 28,688 days old, the oldest combined age by opposing starting quarterbacks in a postseason game in NFL history.

The oldest combined age by opposing starting quarterbacks in a postseason game in NFL history:

DATE

QUARTERBACK

TEAM

QUARTERBACK

TEAM

COMBINED DAYS OLD

1/13/19

Tom Brady

New England

Philip Rivers

Los Angeles Chargers

28,688*

1/24/16

Peyton Manning

Denver

Tom Brady

New England

28,603

1/9/99

John Elway^

Denver

Dan Marino^

Miami

27,704

1/16/94

Warren Moon^

Houston Oilers

Joe Montana^

Kansas City

27,306

1/22/17

Tom Brady

New England

Ben Roethlisberger

Pittsburgh

27,162

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Total days as of Sunday, January 13

 

 

RATED WELL: Philadelphia quarterback NICK FOLES and the Eagles head to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday (4:40 PM ET, FOX) to face New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES and the Saints.

Foles, who has the highest postseason passer rating (105.2) in NFL history, and Brees, who ranks fifth with a 100.7 passer rating, are two of five quarterbacks to have a passer rating of 100 or higher in the postseason (minimum 150 attempts).

The quarterbacks with the highest career postseason passer rating (minimum 150 attempts):

QUARTERBACK

COMP.

ATT.

YARDS

TDS

INTS

RATING

Nick Foles

125

179

1,432

10

3

105.2

Bart Starr^

130

213

1,753

15

3

104.8

Kurt Warner^

307

462

3,952

31

14

102.8

Matt Ryan

237

351

2,672

20

7

100.8

Drew Brees

354

537

4,209

29

9

100.7

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Foles (69.8 percent) has the highest postseason completion percentage in league annals (minimum 150 attempts) and Brees (65.9 percent) ranks fifth.

The quarterbacks with the highest career postseason completion percentage (minimum 150 attempts):

QUARTERBACK

COMP.

ATT.

PCT.

Nick Foles

125

179

69.8

Matt Ryan

237

351

67.5

Kurt Warner^

307

462

66.5

Ken Anderson

110

166

66.3

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

 

SHOWDOWN IN SO CAL: Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT and the Cowboys head to Southern California to take on defensive tackle AARON DONALD and the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night (8:15 PM ET, FOX).

Elliott, who led the NFL with 1,434 rushing yards in 2018, rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown in Dallas’ Wild Card Weekend victory over Seattle. Elliott has recorded at least 125 rushing yards in each of his first two playoff appearances and can become the fourth player in NFL history to record three consecutive postseason games with at least 125 rushing yards.

The players with the most consecutive postseason games with at least 125 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

DATES

CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 125+ RUSH YARDS

Terrell Davis^

Denver

1/11/98-1/17/99

4

Arian Foster

Houston

1/7/12-1/5/13

3

John Riggins^

Washington

1/15/83-1/30/83

3

 

 

 

 

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas

1/15/17-1/5/19

2*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Active Streak

 

 

Donald, who led the league with 20.5 sacks and earned the 2018 Deacon Jones Award as the NFL’s sack leader, became the 11th different player since 1982 to record at least 20 sacks in a single season.

With a Rams win on Saturday, Donald would join Pro Football Hall of Famer LAWRENCE TAYLOR (1986) as the only players to record at least 20 sacks and advance to the Conference Championship in the same season since 1982.

The players to record at least 20 sacks and advance to the Conference Championship in the same season since 1982:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

SACKS

ADVANCED TO

Lawrence Taylor^

New York Giants

1986

20.5

Won Super Bowl XXI

 

 

 

 

 

Aaron Donald

Los Angeles Rams

2018

20.5

???

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Courtesy of NFL Communications

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NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend: Over and Under Best Bets

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we're making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we're offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we’re making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we’re offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of the week: Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams

Total: 49

The Cowboys offense has come alive. Dak Prescott is playing well, Ezekiel Elliott has picked up steam and the offensive line is healthier than it was during much of the regular season. As a result, Dallas has averaged 32.3 points per game the last three weeks.

Meanwhile, the Rams might not be projected to load up on points considering the way they finished the regular season — they averaged “just” 27.0 points per game during the final four weeks of the year — but they still averaged a league-high 37.1 points per game at home this season, and star running back Todd Gurley is now healthier than he’s been in weeks.

Both defenses have stellar playmakers, but the Rams have the league’s worst run D in terms of rushing yards allowed per attempt. That bodes well for Elliott. The Dallas D is excellent against the run but remains vulnerable through the air and struggled when defending running backs in the passing game. And that, of course, bodes well for Gurley and the rest of L.A.’s high-powered, innovative offense.

It’d be a huge surprise if the Cowboys and Rams didn’t combine for 50-plus points Saturday night in front of a split crowd at the L.A. Coliseum.

Predicted score: Cowboys 30, Rams 27

Under of the week: Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs

Total: 57.5

Whaaaat?

OK, the Chiefs have one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and that unit was at its worst when it gave up 35.6 points per game between Week 11 and Week 16 before recovering in finale against Raiders. But let’s not forget that Indy’s shockingly strong defense has surrendered a league-low 15.5 points per game dating back to Week 7.

Both offenses will undoubtedly move the ball and find the end zone, but I get the feeling oddsmakers have given too much credit to NFL touchdown pass leaders Patrick Mahomes and Andrew Luck and not enough credit to Indy’s all-around stellar D and Kansas City’s under-the-radar pass-rush.

The Chiefs can be had on the ground and in the secondary, but don’t be surprised if Bob Sutton dials up some stops with his sneaky-good pass-rush, and be less surprised if the still-mistake-prone Mahomes experiences some growing pains in his first career playoff start.

After all, the same thing happened to Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky last week, as well as Jared Goff in his maiden playoff voyage last January.

This game won’t be low-scoring by any stretch, but I doubt these teams combine for more than 50 points.

Predicted score: Colts 27, Chiefs 24

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 2-0
2018 season: 21-14-1

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Super Bowl 53 Future Book Odds: Start To Finish

Wildcard weekend is out of the way and Super Bowl 53 coming up fast.  Here are the current odds for teams in the playoffs. We've also put together a visualization of the odds for teams throughout the season below. The Saints have been the consistent favorite throughout 2018, with the Chiefs following close behind.

Wildcard weekend is out of the way and Super Bowl 53 coming up fast.  Here are the current odds for teams in the playoffs. We’ve also put together a visualization of the odds for teams throughout the season below. The Saints have been the consistent favorite throughout 2018, with the Chiefs following close behind.

NFL Odds

Super Bowl LIII Line

AFC                  +3

NFC                  -3

 

Who will win Super Bowl LIII?

AFC Team         +130     (13/10)

NFC Team         -150     (2/3)

 

Odds to Win Super Bowl 53       

New Orleans Saints                                      5/2

Kansas City Chiefs                                        4/1

Los Angeles Rams                                        9/2

New England Patriots                                   6/1                   

Los Angeles Chargers                                  9/1

Indianapolis Colts                                        10/1

Dallas Cowboys                                           12/1

Philadelphia Eagles                                     12/1

 

Exact Super Bowl Matchups (Most likely to least likely)

New Orleans Saints vs. Kansas City Chiefs                    4/1

New Orleans Saints vs. New England Patriots                 5/1

Los Angeles Rams vs. Kansas City Chiefs                      6/1

Los Angeles Rams vs. New England Patriots                  8/1

New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Chargers                8/1

New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts                      10/1

Los Angeles Rams vs. Los Angeles Chargers                  12/1

Los Angeles Rams vs. Indianapolis Colts                        14/1

Dallas Cowboys vs. Kansas City Chiefs                          16/1

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs                     16/1

Dallas Cowboys vs. New England Patriots                       20/1

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots                 20/1

Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Chargers                      28/1

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Los Angeles Chargers                28/1

Dallas Cowboys vs. Indianapolis Colts                            33/1     

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Indianapolis Colts                      33/1

 

Here you can select a team and see what the probability of them winning the Super Bowl was throughout each week of the season.

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Ballin’ on a Budget Wild Card Weekend Results, Super Bowl Value Picks

We didn't exactly go out with a bang. If we were an NFL team, we would have been eliminated from the playoffs this weekend. It turns out as the games get tougher for the players, they get tougher for bettors too. We went 1-4 this week, our worst week of the season, but

We didn’t exactly go out with a bang. If we were an NFL team, we would have been eliminated from the playoffs this weekend. It turns out as the games get tougher for the players, they get tougher for bettors too. We went 1-4 this week, our worst week of the season, but let’s not let that distract us from the fact we picked at a 58 percent clip during the rest of the year. We’re going to recap what went wrong this week and as we put a bow on the 2018 season of this column, we’ll look at who presents the best Super Bowl value.

LOSS: Texans -1.5 vs. Colts (-105): Colts 21, Texans 7.

This was a true beatdown. I’ll be the first to admit that we underestimated just how hot the Colts were. Their offensive line looks impenetrable and Andrew Luck, as a result, looks like an elite quarterback once again. They took Houston out of the game from the jump by rushing out to a big lead. Deshaun Watson and Co. were simply never able to recover.

Watch out for Indy against the Chiefs in the Divisional Round, they match up really well against Kansas City. If K.C. isn’t able to generate a pass rush on that tough offensive line, they could be in for a long day, whether they have the league MVP playing at his best or not. Teams surprise us in the playoffs and our first surprise came thanks to Indy.

LOSS: Seahawks to beat Cowboys (-105): Cowboys 24, Seahawks 22.

If only we would have taken the spread, which was Seahawks +2.5, we would’ve had the greatest backdoor cover of all time. Boy, kicker Sebastian Janikowski getting injured in the first half really threw this game through a loop with Seattle having to go for two and having to go for it on fourth down deep inside Dallas territory. Of course, having to go for two (and succeeding) at the end of the game, pushed the final score to a two-point margin instead of four.

However, we took Seattle to win straight up, because that was the better value and Pete Carroll’s unwillingness to pass the ball in the first half bit us right where it hurts. It really doesn’t make sense to be running the ball so much when you have one of the most clutch quarterbacks in the league, but what do I know? This was a tough game to watch and an even tougher game to lose a bet on.

WIN: Chargers-Ravens UNDER 41.5 points: Chargers 23, Ravens 17.

For a while there, it seemed like we were solidly in the clear, but scoring picked up in the fourth quarter. Had Lamar Jackson led an improbable comeback drive in the final minute, it would have pushed the over. Let’s be honest, though, that would’ve been pretty cool regardless. Los Angeles held on as they continue to look like a team of destiny and they saved the over by a couple points.

This is the only game we picked correctly this week, which makes it our last correct game pick of the season on this column. Don’t be surprised if the Chargers end up knocking off the Patriots on the road next week. L.A. is now 8-1 on the road this season and is coming for a New England team, which was the only team in the league to go a perfect 8-0 at home in the regular season.

LOSS: Bears -5.5 vs. Eagles (-110): Eagles 16, Bears 15.

Writing this recap makes me physically ill, because I’m a Bears fan. I was in a fit of blind rage for about an hour after Cody Parkey’s game-winning 43-yard field goal attempt clanked off two different posts. While that field goal wouldn’t have won us this bet anyway, it doesn’t make it any easier a pill to swallow.

What we should blame this on is Matt Nagy’s vanilla play calling in the first half. It seemed like he was playing not to lose and didn’t let QB Mitch Trubisky push the ball down the field. That may have been a mistake given the fact he torched the Eagles in the second half, giving him the most overall passing yards of any QB playing on wild card weekend. It still should have been enough as he led the team down for a very makeable game-winning field goal, but a fingertip re-directed Parkey’s attempt and the play that will forever live in Chicago sports infamy was born.

LOSS: Texans-Colts OVER 48.5 (-110): Colts 21, Texans 7.

This game is really the gift that keeps on giving, huh? When one team scores just seven points, you can be pretty certain you aren’t hitting the over. I expected this to be a much closer game in the mid-20’s hence the pick. I couldn’t have anticipated Houston’s offense stalling out for most of the game. Credit to Indy for jumping out to an early lead and not giving it up, but that game flow really put us in a bind.

Since Indy went up so big so soon, Houston had to go into predictable play calls and that hindered them on offense. Up big, Indy just ran the ball and continued running out the clock. It was the perfect storm to lose us the over pretty quickly.

Okay, this bad betting week behind us, let’s jump to some Super Bowl picks. I’ll give you two Super Bowl values I really like and two I don’t like so much as you look to make a longer term bet in the coming weeks. These are all based on teams’ odds of winning the Super Bowl going into the Divisional Round.

Like: Chargers +1000. Yes, I get that the Chargers now have to take on the Patriots on the road to even advance to the AFC Championship, but this is really good value. A 10-to-1 that I really could see going all the way. Since they were a wild card team, it’s easy to forget they were tied for the best record in the AFC this season.

Saints +250. It’s weird to call the Saints a “value” pick, because they are the favorites to win it all. However, even a 2.5-to-1 payout is great for them and here’s why: they have the path of least resistance to get there. With the Bears eliminated, the NFC is now theirs for the taking and that alone, makes them a good value.

Dislike: Chiefs +400. The Chiefs are the most overrated team in football and it’s because they have the league MVP and the league’s most dynamic offense. However, in the playoffs, when games get tighter, you need a defense to win you games and K.C. has the worst defense remaining in the playoffs. They simply can’t slow down opponents in the passing game and they have a less-than-stellar match up this week with the Colts coming to town. They’re tied for the second-best odds to win it all and that’s just bad value.

Rams +400. I dislike this for many of the same reasons I dislike the value of taking the Chiefs. First of all, the team hit a rough patch in the final quarter of the season. They should beat the Cowboys at home, but that’s not a given. One thing they have over the Chiefs is a game wrecker like Aaron Donald. Even with a subpar overall defense, Donald can change a game with a big strip sack at any time. Overall, though, you just can’t convince me they’re going to march into New Orleans and beat the Saints. They, along with Kansas City, are the second-best odds behind the Saints and I just don’t see value in that.

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NFL Wild Card Weekend: Over and Under Best Bets

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we're making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we're offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we’re making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we’re offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of the week: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys

Total: 42.5

Just 34 percent of games involving the Seahawks or Cowboys fell short of the total this season, and Saturday’s over/under of 42.5 indicates we’re still under-estimating both teams’ ability to score points.

The Cowboys put up 63 points in their final two games of the regular season and averaged 25.0 points per game at home this season, while Seattle scored 65 points in its last two games and averaged 26.8 points per game overall.

That made the Seahawks offense the sixth-highest-scoring unit in football, thanks partly to the league’s highest-ranked running game and a suddenly-respectable offensive line. Plus, Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett have been crushing it in that receiving corps,

Meanwhile Amari Cooper has teamed up with Ezekiel Elliott to give Dallas one of the most dangerous offenses in the game. The Cowboys scored at least 27 points in five of their last eight games with Cooper, and Elliott once again gained steam during the second half of the season.

That doesn’t bode well for a Seahawks run defense that surrendered 4.9 yards per carry during the regular season, especially as the Dallas offensive line gets healthier.

Predicted score: Cowboys 26, Seahawks 23

Under of the week: Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens

Total: 42

I can’t comprehend why this total is above 40. After all, the Los Angeles Chargers offense has gone a little cold, scoring just 33 points in their last two regular-season games. Just 10 of those points came in Week 16 against these Ravens, who scored just 16 offensive points of their own in that prime-time matchup.

Baltimore’s top-rated defense surrendered just 17.9 points per game during the regular season, while the Chargers ranked in the top 10 with just 20.6 points per game allowed.

Look for Baltimore’s D — which has been known to rise to occasions in the playoffs — to be just as strong at home as it was in that road victory over the Chargers. And look for L.A. to do an even better job at limiting the Ravens’ unique rushing attack, now that it has more tape and experience to work from.

It’s a lot easier to trust these defenses than these offenses, especially considering the Chargers’ history with big-game duds and L.A.’s turnover-filled final few games of the 2018 regular season.

Predicted score: Ravens 20, Chargers 17

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 0-2
2018 season: 19-14-1

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Ballin’ on a Budget Wild Card Weekend Picks

We made it through 17 weeks of the NFL season and as an added bonus, we're going to give you one more week of picks. Wild Card weekend tends to provide the most interesting matchups of any playoff round, because it often matches up a really hot team with a team that is

We made it through 17 weeks of the NFL season and as an added bonus, we’re going to give you one more week of picks. Wild Card weekend tends to provide the most interesting matchups of any playoff round, because it often matches up a really hot team with a team that is better on paper. The reason for that is simple. Think about it. Whoever gets the No. 6 seed in either conference had to beat out a handful of other teams and has been in playoff mode for weeks. That’s why the Bears and Texans could have their hands full with the Eagles and Colts respectively. Anyway, let’s get to our picks.

Texans -1.5 vs. Colts (-105)

Bettors are loving the Colts, who snuck into the playoffs by beating the Titans in Week 17. There’s plenty of reason to believe in this team, whose offense looks to finally be humming entering the playoffs. I alluded to the fact that a hot No. 6 seed often can go on a deep playoff run, but there are a few reasons I don’t think this is happening this week. First of all, the Texans offense has plenty of weapons (ones the Titans didn’t have in Week 17) to outscore the Colts.

Second of all, the Texans have a very stout defense, which should give Indy some trouble. The same could have been said about the Titans, but their defensive efforts week to week were much less consistent than Houston’s. Let’s not forget the Texans were a win against the Eagles away from having home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They’ve been one of the best teams in the AFC all season long and this one just doesn’t scream upset to me. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.80.

Seahawks to beat the Cowboys (-105)

This game is essentially a pick ’em as the line is only one point and there are negative odds for picking each to win (Seattle at -105, Dallas at -110). I get that this game is on the road and the Seahawks play differently away from home, but they also have a ton of playoff experience. The x-factor here is really Russell Wilson. In what should be a close game, I trust him 10 times more than I trust Dak Prescott in a pressure situation.

Sometimes, in these games, you have to trust the players who have been there, done that and are better equipped to handle the pressure. This is a dangerous game as each team has shown some flaws in recent weeks, but between these two imperfect teams, there is still a ton of talent. Expect a lot of big plays and an exciting finish. If it comes down to the fourth quarter, as playoff games usually do, the edge has to be given to Russ and Co. who have proven they can get it done in crunch time before. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.80.

Chargers-Ravens UNDER 41.5 (-110)

I just can’t bring myself to pick this game against the spread. The Chargers and Ravens are such different teams and this is a toss up for me. Los Angeles is 7-1 on the road this season, but Baltimore runs the exact type of offense that bleeds the clock and keeps opposing teams off the field that the Chargers hate. It gets them out of their rhythm and that could put them in some real trouble if they don’t stop Lamar Jackson.

Again, I can’t for the life of me decide who I think is going to win this game, but I do think we’re going to see a low-scoring game that comes down to the wire. 21-17 or something along those lines certainly isn’t out of the question and that would get us the under. There isn’t a ton of confidence in any bet involved in this game, but to make sure this one was covered, we’ll take the under as the most confident bet associated with it. $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Bears -5.5 vs. Eagles (-110)

This game scares me a lot. Full disclosure: I’m a Bears fan. I very rarely like to pick a team I root for, especially under these circumstances, so I’ll tell you why I’m doing so this week. On paper, the Bears are a much better team than the Eagles, much better. Of course, games aren’t played on paper, but we need to remember the Bears have a lot more talent and if we’re defaulting to something, it has to be that. Let’s not forget, the Bears are the first 12-win NFC team since 2014 to not get a first-round bye. Second of all, for as scared as myself and all Bears fans are for playoff Nick Foles, there is reason to believe he won’t duplicate last year’s success.

Chicago allows the lowest opponent’s quarterback rating in the entire league. Essentially, QB’s have their worst performances when they play against the pass rush and secondary of the Bears. With Pro Bowl safety, Eddie Jackson, set to return to the fold, that Bears defense looks even stronger. For the Bears to win, they need to take care of the football. If they don’t turn it over, Philly stands very little chance. Whether or not they cover comes down to Mitchell Trubisky’s performance in his first career playoff game. All they need is a touchdown margin of victory to cover and we’ll trust the Bears enough to do that. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.50.

Texans-Colts OVER 48.5 (-110)

For as much as I talked about how Houston’s defense is going to slow the Colts down, this game could still become somewhat of a shootout. 31-24, or something along those lines isn’t out of the question. In my opinion, holding the Colts to 24 would be a victory for the Texans and would also hit the over as long as Houston won the game. Picking over/unders in the playoffs is tricky, because they’re often dictated by the pace set at the very beginning of the game. If one of these teams scores early, players and coaches start to loosen up and the field opens up. In that case, I love the over.

One thing that could hurt us here is if a few defensive stops are made early on and it becomes a field position battle. That’s entirely possible, but I think that’s the less likely of the two scenarios. Each team has offensive playmakers capable of picking up chunks of yards at a time, so as long as both team converts its red zone trips into touchdowns instead of field goals, I feel good about the over in this one. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

These are the last picks of the year, so let’s hope they’re fruitful like the entire regular season has been for us. One final time, we’ll cross our fingers and hope that we can hit on that elusive five-team parlay we’ve been so close to all year long. Based on the picks above, a $20 five-team parlay would pay out $530.16. For the final time this season, good luck, and we’ll have one more recap column to look at how our Wild Card Weekend picks panned out.

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Seven From Sunday – Week 17

PRESS RELEASE

 

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY – WEEK 17

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 30, the 17th week of the 2018 season.

  • NEW PLAYOFF TEAMS: Six of the 11 teams to have qualified for the playoffs are new

PRESS RELEASE

 

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY – WEEK 17

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 30, the 17th week of the 2018 season.

  • NEW PLAYOFF TEAMS: Six of the 11 teams to have qualified for the playoffs are new to the postseason in 2018: Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, the Los Angeles Chargers and Seattle. Should Indianapolis defeat Tennessee on Sunday Night Football, that number would increase to seven.

    Since 1990 – a streak of 29 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

    WORST-TO-FIRST: Both the Chicago Bears (NFC North) and Houston Texans (AFC South) completed “worst-to-first” turnarounds and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 15 of the past 16 seasons.

    PLAYOFF SEEDING: The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS won the NFC South and finished as the NFC’s No. 1 seed. The Saints will have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

    The LOS ANGELES RAMS, who defeated San Francisco 48-32 and won the NFC West, are the No. 2 seed and clinched a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.

    The CHICAGO BEARS, who defeated Minnesota 24-10 and won the NFC North, are the No. 3 seed and will host Philadelphia in the Wild Card round. The PHILADELPHIA EAGLES defeated Washington, 24-0, and combined with Minnesota’s loss to Chicago, clinched a playoff berth for the second consecutive season.

    The DALLAS COWBOYS, who defeated the New York Giants 36-35 and won the NFC East, are the No. 4 seed and will host Seattle in the Wild Card round.

    In the AFC, the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS defeated Oakland, 35-3, and clinched the AFC West division title and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

    The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, who defeated the New York Jets, 38-3, are the AFC’s No. 2 seed and clinched a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.

    The HOUSTON TEXANS, who defeated Jacksonville 20-3 and are the No. 3 seed, clinched the AFC South division title and will host a game on Wild Card weekend.

    The Texans completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround after finishing tied for last place in the division in 2017. Houston is the sixth team in NFL history to make the postseason after beginning the season 0-3 and joined the 1992 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS as the only teams in league annals to win their division following an 0-3 start to a season.

    The BALTIMORE RAVENS defeated Cleveland, 26-24, and clinched the AFC North division title for the first time since 2012. Baltimore, the AFC’s No. 4 seed, will host the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card round.

  • Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES passed for 281 yards and two touchdowns with one interception for a 109.9 rating in the Chiefs’ Week 17 win over Oakland.

    Mahomes has 50 touchdown passes this season and joined PEYTON MANNING (55 touchdown passes in 2013) and TOM BRADY (50 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks with at least 50 touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history. ​​

    Chiefs wide receiver TYREEK HILL had five receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns, including a 67-yard touchdown reception, against Oakland and had a 15-yard touchdown run.

    Hill has 16 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards and tied Pro Football Hall of Famer GALE SAYERS (16) for the most touchdowns of at least 50 yards by a player in his first three seasons.

    Hill has 1,479 receiving yards in 2018 and surpassed DERRICK ALEXANDER (1,391 receiving yards in 2000) for the most receiving yards in a single season in franchise history.

  • New England quarterback TOM BRADY completed 24 of 33 attempts (72.7 percent) for 250 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 133.8 passer rating in the Patriots’ Week 17 win against the New York Jets.

    Brady has 6,004 career regular-season completions and is the fourth player in NFL history with at least 6,000 career regular-season completions, joining DREW BREES (6,586), Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (6,300) and PEYTON MANNING (6,125).

  • Cleveland rookie quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD passed for 376 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in the Browns’ Week 17 loss at Baltimore.

    Mayfield has 27 touchdown passes this season, surpassing PEYTON MANNING (26 touchdown passes in 1998) and RUSSELL WILSON (26 in 2012) for the most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback in the common draft era.

  • San Francisco tight end GEORGE KITTLE had nine receptions for 149 yards and one touchdown in the 49ers’ Week 17 loss.

    Kittle, who has 1,377 receiving yards this season, and Kansas City tight end TRAVIS KELCE (1,336 receiving yards in 2018) both surpassed ROB GRONKOWSKI (1,327 in 2011) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

  • Houston defensive end J.J. WATT had 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in the Texans’ Week 17 win over Jacksonville.

    Watt has 16 sacks in 2018 and joins Pro Football Hall of Famer REGGIE WHITE (five seasons) as the only players since 1982 with four seasons of at least 15 sacks.

  • Three non-quarterbacks – Atlanta wide receiver MOHAMED SANU, Detroit kicker MATT PRATER and Miami wide receiver KENNY STILLS – threw touchdown passes in Week 17.

    In total, there have been 13 touchdown passes thrown by non-quarterbacks in 2018, the most in a single-season since 1983 (15 touchdowns).

    Quarterbacks RYAN TANNEHILL of the Dolphins and MATT RYAN of the Falcons both had touchdown catches in Week 17, marking the first week in the Super Bowl era in which multiple quarterbacks recorded a touchdown reception.

  • Other notable performances from Sunday include:
     

    • Eagles quarterback NICK FOLES recorded 25 consecutive completions against Washington, tied with Chargers quarterback PHILIP RIVERS (Week 12 vs. Arizona) for the most by a quarterback in a single game in NFL history.
    • New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY had 142 scrimmage yards (109 rushing, 33 receiving) and one rushing touchdown in the Giants’ Week 17 loss.

      Barkley has 2,028 scrimmage yards and joins Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (2,212 scrimmage yards in 1983) and EDGERRIN JAMES (2,139 in 1999) as the only rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

​​Barkley, who had four catches against the Cowboys, has 91 receptions this season and surpassed REGGIE BUSH (88 catches in 2006) for the most receptions by a rookie running back in league annals.

    • Buffalo rookie quarterback JOSH ALLEN passed for 224 yards with three touchdowns and rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns in the Bills’ 42-17 win against Miami.

      Allen is the second rookie quarterback in NFL history to record three touchdowns passes and two rushing touchdowns in the same game, joining Miami’s DAVID WOODLEY, who had three touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns against the Los Angeles Rams on November 9, 1980.

      Allen has eight rushing touchdowns this season and joins CAM NEWTON, who had 14 rushing touchdowns in 2011, as the only rookie quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era with at least eight rushing touchdowns.

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 17 Results

We did it, guys. We bet five games in Week 17 and won more than we lost. That's hard to do. On the season, we only had a couple losing weeks all year long. It was a good run, with us going 3-2 this Sunday. With the playoffs looming, we will have one

We did it, guys. We bet five games in Week 17 and won more than we lost. That’s hard to do. On the season, we only had a couple losing weeks all year long. It was a good run, with us going 3-2 this Sunday. With the playoffs looming, we will have one Wild Card Round column to round out the year, but this is just about it. Let’s dive into what went right and what went wrong in Week 17.

LOSS: Redskins +7 vs. Eagles (-115): Eagles 24, Redskins 0.

Washington finally ran out of gas. They’d been playing inspired football while being the most banged up team in the league, but without a sense of direction or identity, they fell apart in Week 17. Philly, with some help from the Bears, somehow sneaks into the playoffs, even though starter Nick Foles hurt his chest and had to leave this game.

This is why picking Week 17 games is so hard: you just never know when one of the teams is going to lose their fight. The Redskins lost theirs sooner than we would’ve hoped, so we have to put this one in the L column. Total payout: $0.

WIN: Texans -6.5 vs. Jaguars (-110): Texans 20, Jaguars 3.

Houston still had to win in order to take care of the division, so you felt like they’d come up with a more inspired effort than the Jaguars, who would probably prefer a higher draft pick. For the first two and a half quarters, that didn’t seem to be the case, but then the Texans turned things on. They started to roll and with Jacksonville looking anemic on offense, we had a good feeling that would be all we needed.

With a stout defense, Houston didn’t let the Jaguars sniff the end zone and dominated the second half. In the final week of the season, you usually go with the team which has more to play for. We didn’t follow that line of thinking in the Redskins pick and it came back to bite us. Total payout: $5.70.

WIN: Chargers -6.5 at Broncos (-110): Chargers 23, Broncos 9.

Just like with the Texans, the Chargers had more to play for (a first-round bye if Kansas City slipped up against the Raiders) Sunday afternoon. They started slow like Houston, but picked up steam in the second half as well. With Denver’s offense looking absolutely atrocious over the past few weeks, we knew we probably only needed a couple scores from L.A. to cover this spread.

The Chargers are going to have a tough match up with the Ravens in the first round of the playoffs, but we of course, don’t care about that. They won us our bet this week and that’s all that matters. Total payout: $7.60.

LOSS: Browns-Ravens UNDER 41 points: Ravens 26, Browns 24.

This turned out to be one of the most exciting games of the day, but it didn’t go in our favor. Both teams started off hot on offense, which was unexpected. Each play good defense and the last time they met, they combined for just 21 points in a 12-9 affair. That didn’t happen this time around. The offenses stalled for most of the third quarter, which left us with a glimmer of hope for an under hit. However, as soon as the Browns showed they were staying in the game, we knew our hopes would be dashed.

Cleveland, even in a loss, ends the season as one of the hottest teams in the league and have some really positive momentum heading into 2019. We sure would’ve liked if they could’ve built some momentum while scoring fewer points, but you can’t win them all. Total payout: $0.

WIN: Colts -3.5 at Titans (-115): Colts 33, Titans 17.

We ended the regular season on a high note. Really, we should never feel nervous about betting against Blaine Gabbert, but things were interesting for a while in Nashville. In the end, though, Indy looked like the much superior team as we figured they might. Needing to win by just four points, I felt pretty confident coming in they had the offensive firepower to do some damage.

Whether or not they stand any chance against the Texans next week remains to be seen, but tonight, they did us a solid and won us our final bet of the season, giving us yet another winning week of picks here in the Ballin’ on a Budget column. Total payout: $9.35

PIGGY BANK: $368.20 (8.3% return on investment)

PICK PERCENTAGE: 58% (47-34-4)

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Alabama Favorites to win CFP Championship

The Alabama Crimson Tide will enter the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium as 6.5 Point favorites vs the Clemson Tigers. It will be the 3rd time in 4 years that these two teams have met in the finals, with both teams 1-1 in the rivalry. Last season, Alabama defeated Clemson in

The Alabama Crimson Tide will enter the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium as 6.5 Point favorites vs the Clemson Tigers. It will be the 3rd time in 4 years that these two teams have met in the finals, with both teams 1-1 in the rivalry. Last season, Alabama defeated Clemson in the Sugar Bowl by a score of 24-6. This years championship will likely resemble the previous championship matchups and be a high scoring shootout that could very possibly come down to the final drive.

Both of the championship matchups between these teams resulted in the #2 seed winning the championship. With #1 Alabama as 6.5-point favorites, it’s likely we’ll see that streak come to an end. Also, the past three championships have been decided by 5 points or less, so expect a good one out of next Monday’s matchup.

Notable previous matchups between Alabama and Clemson:

January 11, 2016 (CFP National Championship)

Alabama defeats Clemson 45-40. Clemson scored a touchdown with under a minute left to bring it to a 1-possession game, but were unable to secure an onside kick.

January 9, 2017 (CFP National Championship)

Clemson defeats Alabama 35-31. Clemson scored the go ahead touchdown with one second left on the clock to win the title.

January 1, 2018 (Allstate Sugar Bowl)

Alabama defeats Clemson 24-6. Clemson only managed a pair of field goals in this 18-point rout by Alabama.

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What To Look For – Week 17

PRESS RELEASE

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 48 touchdown passes this season.

With two touchdown passes on Sunday against Oakland (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Mahomes can join PEYTON MANNING (55 touchdown passes in 2013) and TOM BRADY (50 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks with

PRESS RELEASE

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 48 touchdown passes this season.

With two touchdown passes on Sunday against Oakland (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Mahomes can join PEYTON MANNING (55 touchdown passes in 2013) and TOM BRADY (50 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks with at least 50 touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history.​​

The players with the most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history:​

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

TOUCHDOWN PASSES

Peyton Manning#

Denver

2013

55

Tom Brady#

New England

2007

50

Peyton Manning#

Indianapolis

2004

49

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City

2018

48*

Dan Marino^#

Miami

1984

48

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associate​d Press Most Valuable Player

*Entering Week 17

 

RIDICULOUS ROOKIE: New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY ranks third in the NFL with 1,886 scrimmage yards this season.

With 114 scrimmage yards against Dallas (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Barkley would join Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (2,212 scrimmage yards in 1983) and EDGERRIN JAMES (2,139 in 1999) as the only rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

The rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

SCRIMMAGE YARDS

Eric Dickerson^#

Los Angeles Rams

1983

2,212

Edgerrin James#

Indianapolis

1999

2,139

 

 

 

 

Saquon Barkley

New York Giants

2018

1,886*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 17

Barkley has 87 receptions this season and needs two catches against the Cowboys to surpass REGGIE BUSH (88 receptions in 2006) for the most catches by a rookie running back in league annals.

 

RUN & CATCH CMC: Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY ranks second in the league with 1,925 scrimmage yards (1,080 rushing, 845 receiving) this season. McCaffrey has 106 catches in 2018 and surpassed MATT FORTÉ (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in league annals.

With 55 receiving yards at New Orleans (1:00 PM ET, FOX), McCaffrey would join Pro Football Hall of Famer MARSHALL FAULK (1998& 1999) and ROGER CRAIG (1985) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 900 receiving yards in a single season.

The players with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 900 receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RUSHING YARDS

RECEIVING YARDS

Marshall Faulk^

St. Louis

1999

1,381

1,048

Marshall Faulk^

Indianapolis

1998

1,319

908

Roger Craig

San Francisco

1985

1,050

1,016

 

 

 

 

 

Christian McCaffrey

Carolina

2018

1,080*

845*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Entering Week 17

 

HISTORY FOR AB: Pittsburgh wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN has 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and leads the league with a franchise-record 15 touchdown catches this season.

With three receiving yards against Cincinnati (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Brown would become the first player in league annals with five seasons of at least 100 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards.

The players with the most seasons of at least 100 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS WITH 100+ CATCHES & 1,300+ REC. YARDS

Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh

4*

Marvin Harrison^

Indianapolis

4

Andre Johnson

Houston

4

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Has 104 receptions & 1,297 receiving yards in 2018

Brown and teammate JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER, who has 106 receptions and became the youngest player in league history with at least 100 receptions in a single season, can become the first pair of teammates in league annals to each record at least 110 receptions in the same season.

 

DOMINANT DONALD: Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle AARON DONALD leads the NFL with a career-high 19.5 sacks this season.

With three sacks against San Francisco (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Donald would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL STRAHAN (22.5 sacks in 2001) for the most sacks in a single season since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The players with the most sacks in a single season since 1982:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

SACKS

Michael Strahan^

New York Giants

2001

22.5

Jared Allen

Minnesota

2011

22

Mark Gastineau

New York Jets

1984

22

Justin Houston

Kansas City

2014

22

 

 

 

 

Aaron Donald

Los Angeles Rams

2018

19.5*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Entering Week 17

Donald, who has recorded at least two sacks in seven games this season, can become the second player since 1982 to record at least eight games with two-or-more sacks in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers REGGIE WHITE (eight games in 1987).​

The players with the most games with two-or-more sacks in a single season since 1982:​​

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

GAMES WITH 2+ SACKS

Reggie White^#

Philadelphia

1987

8

Chris Doleman^

Minnesota

1989

7

Aaron Donald

Los Angeles Rams

2018

7*

Bruce Smith^#

Buffalo

1990

7

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year

*Entering Week 17

 

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

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NFL Week 17: Over and Under Best Bets

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we're making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we're offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we’re making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we’re offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of the week: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

Total: 40

The Minnesota offense has exploded for 68 points in its first two games under interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. The Vikings also play extremely well in Sunday matinees at home, and they’re fighting to keep their season alive in this case.

Against a Bears team that may go into auto-pilot mode as soon as it becomes obvious that a win won’t help them, look for Minnesota to light up the scoreboard with 30-plus points all on its own.

The Chicago defense is stellar, but it has surrendered 30-plus on the road twice this season. That’ll likely happen a third time, meaning the Bears just need an early score or two out of their regular offense, maybe a garbage-time score or two for good measure.

Regardless, this one should be closer to 50 than 40.

Predicted score: Vikings 31, Bears 17

Under of the week: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens

Total: 41

Baker Mayfield is on fire and the Browns offense has become legitimately good, which might explain why the total for Sunday’s matchup between the Browns and the Baltimore Ravens is up above the 40 mark.

But that’s an overreaction. These teams combined for just 21 points when they met earlier this year, the Baltimore defense is the best in the NFL, and Mayfield and the Browns offense haven’t been the same on the road.

Mayfield has more interceptions (four) than touchdown passes (three) and a mere 78.9 passer rating on the road this month (and the Browns have averaged just 15.0 points per game), compared to four touchdowns and no interceptions and a 125.1 rating at home (where the Browns have averaged 26.0 points per game).

The Cleveland defense has also performed well and should have the playmaking ability to limit mistake-prone Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.The Browns have an AFC-high 30 takeaways (Jackson has fumbled 10 times), and they recently shut down mobile quarterbacks Cam Newton and Jeff Driskel on the ground (Jackson sorta likes to run).

Predicted score: Ravens 16, Browns 13

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 0-2
2018 season: 19-12-1

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 17 Picks

It's the most dangerous betting week of the NFL season. Week 17 provides so many challenges that a normal week doesn't. Most of the league has already been eliminated from playoff contention. How can we possibly pick games in which we don't know either team's motivation? Better yet, how can we pick any

It’s the most dangerous betting week of the NFL season. Week 17 provides so many challenges that a normal week doesn’t. Most of the league has already been eliminated from playoff contention. How can we possibly pick games in which we don’t know either team’s motivation? Better yet, how can we pick any games in which the normal favorite will likely be resting its starters? It’s a very hard week to pick and to avoid the madness, we’re going to make sure we pick games in which at least one team is guaranteed to have something to play for. Here we go one last time in the regular season as we try to go out with a bang.

Redskins +7 vs. Eagles (-115)

The Eagles are red hot and I’d be shocked if they lost this game. However, they seemingly only play in close games, so this seven-point spread looks pretty juicy. Also, Jay Gruden has quietly done one of the best jobs in the NFL this season. He has lost three quarterbacks as well as countless other playmakers on both sides of the ball and his team is 7-8. They are not a good football team with Josh Johnson at quarterback, but they’ve shown heart.

This game is also in D.C. With just one game to play, Washington’s season comes down to them getting a chance to knock their rivals out of the playoffs. Of course, if Philly wins and Minnesota loses, the Eagles sneak in. If either of those fails to happen, they don’t. This could randomly turn into a blowout, but I really don’t see it going that way. Philly wins a close one and the Redskins cover the spread. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.61.

Texans -6.5 vs. Jaguars (-110)

Houston is still playing for a first-round bye, something they choked away for the time being against the Eagles last week. Now, they’re tied with New England and the Patriots have the tiebreaker. The danger here is that if the Texans see the Patriots are up big on the Jets at halftime, there’s a very real chance they could rest their starters in the second half. If that happened, it could really throw off this bet.

However, playing at home and with home field on the line, let’s just assume that the Texans, a team far superior to the Jaguars, will come out and dominate in the first half. If that’s the case, hopefully they can hang on by a touchdown in the second half. We have slim pickens this week, folks, so this is one we’re going to roll with and hope for the best. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Colts -3.5 vs. Titans (-115)

This one’s for all the marbles. These two AFC South foes are battling it out for the final playoff spot in the AFC. It’s on Sunday Night Football, because it is the only game in which the winner is guaranteed a playoff spot. Both these teams have been so inconsistent this year, it’s torture to pick this game. However, we don’t know how healthy Marcus Mariota’s going to be and the Colts offense can run away from you fast.

Indy hasn’t beaten many good teams this year, but I’m still not convinced the Titans are a good team anyway. It’s in Nashville, but the Colts feel like the more deserving team. That doesn’t always add up to a win and in such an intense match up, the game should be close. That makes a 3.5-point spread seem like a lot. Let’s just say Indy wins by a touchdown in a relatively low scoring game and call it a day. The bet: $5 for total payout of 9.35.

Chargers -6.5 at Broncos (-110)

As it turns out, the Chargers wasted their shot at the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC last week with a loss to the Ravens. Kansas City ended up losing to the Seahawks, so L.A. would control its own destiny this week had they won. However, they have to win and have the Raiders pull off the huge upset of the Chiefs in order for that to happen now. Meanwhile, their opponents, the Broncos, are flat out broken. If you didn’t see them against the Raiders on Monday Night Football, you’re lucky.

They look like a downtrodden team that will have no motivation to finish the season strong for a head coach in Vance Joseph, who will likely be fired Monday. While L.A. might be a long shot to get the top seed in the AFC, they still have a shot and that’s enough to convince me Phillip Rivers and Co. have what it takes to cover a touchdown spread, even if they’re playing on the road. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Ravens-Browns UNDER 41 points (-110)

This is a very interesting game. Baltimore is into the playoffs with a win and will clinch the AFC North division title. Cleveland is mathematically eliminated from the postseason, but is among the hottest teams in football. These are also two of the best defenses in the league. Combine good defense with the Ravens’ new affinity for running the football and this one has the under written all over it.

Even if Baltimore is successful moving the football, they’re likely going to run a lot of clock in the process. It isn’t hard at all to see this game ending 20-17 or somewhere in that neighborhood. In that case, we’d be in the under right where we want to be. The Ravens might not be the most exciting team to watch, but they’re among the most effective and if they run their game plan to perfection, this game is likely to hit the under. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.50.

In our last week, maybe we will finally get the 5-for-5 week we’ve been looking for all year long. If that happens, we will have a pretty little parlay payout of $486.55. Best of luck in your last week of betting before the real fun starts in the playoffs.

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Seven From Sunday – Week 16

PRESS RELEASE

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY – WEEK 16

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 23, the 16th week of the 2018 season.

  • The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS defeated Pittsburgh, 31-28, and clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. With the

PRESS RELEASE

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY – WEEK 16

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 23, the 16th week of the 2018 season.

  • The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS defeated Pittsburgh, 31-28, and clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. With the Steelers’ loss, the HOUSTON TEXANS clinched a playoff berth.

The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS defeated Buffalo, 24-12, and clinched the AFC East division title for the 10th consecutive season.

The Patriots have advanced to the postseason in 10 consecutive seasons (2009-18), surpassing Dallas (nine from 1975-1983) and Indianapolis (nine from 2002-2010) for the most consecutive seasons in NFL history with a playoff berth.

With their 10th win of the season, New England (16 seasons from 2003-2018) tied San Francisco (16 from 1983-98) for the most consecutive seasons with at least 10 victories in NFL history.

New England quarterback TOM BRADY, who has 4,105 passing yards this season, joins PEYTON MANNING (14 seasons), DREW BREES (12) and PHILIP RIVERS (10) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with 10 seasons of at least 4,000 passing yards.

The DALLAS COWBOYS defeated Tampa Bay, 27-20, and clinched the NFC East division title for the second time in the past three seasons.

Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT had 109 scrimmage yards (85 rushing, 24 receiving) in the Cowboys’ Week 16 victory.

Elliott, who has 4,048 rushing yards and 1,199 receiving yards in his three-year NFL career, is the fifth player in NFL history with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his first three NFL seasons, joining OTTIS ANDERSON, CHRIS JOHNSON, and Pro Football Hall of Famers BARRY SANDERS and LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON.

Elliott, who had 1,994 scrimmage yards in 2016, leads the NFL with 2,001 scrimmage yards this season and joins Pro Football Hall of Famers ERIC DICKERSON and LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON, and EDGERRIN JAMES as the only players in league annals with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards in two of their first three career seasons.

  • Cleveland rookie quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD completed 27 of 37 pass attempts (73.0 percent) for 284 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 121.9 passer rating in the Browns’ 26-18 win against Cincinnati.

Mayfield, who has 24 touchdown passes in 2018, surpassed ANDREW LUCK (23 touchdown passes in 2012) for the second-most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era. Only PEYTON MANNING (26 in 1998) had more passing touchdowns as a rookie quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era.

  • Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS completed 37 of 55 pass attempts (67.3 percent) for 442 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 103.8 passer rating and had two rushing touchdowns in the Packers’ 44-38 overtime win at the New York Jets.

Rodgers is the only player in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. He also previously accomplished the feat on October 2, 2011 against Denver (408 passing yards, four touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns).

  • Philadelphia quarterback NICK FOLES passed for 471 yards and four touchdowns while tight end ZACH ERTZ had 12 receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 32-30 victory against Houston.

Foles is the first quarterback in franchise history with multiple career games of at least 400 passing yards and four touchdown passes (406 passing yards and seven touchdown passes on November 3, 2013 at Oakland). His 471 passing yards are the most in a single game in franchise history, surpassing DONOVAN MC NABB, who passed for 464 yards against Green Bay on December 5, 2004.

Ertz, who has a franchise-record 113 catches in 2018, surpassed JASON WITTEN (110 receptions in 2012) for the most receptions by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

  • Minnesota wide receiver ADAM THIELEN had five receptions for 80 yards in the Vikings’ 27-9 victory at Detroit.

Thielen, who signed as an undrafted free agent with Minnesota in 2013, has 110 catches and 1,335 receiving yards in 2018 and joins ROD SMITH (2000 & 2001) & WES WELKER (2009, 2011 & 2012) as the only undrafted players in the common draft era with at least 100 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards in a single season.

  • Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY had 178 scrimmage yards (101 rushing, 77 receiving) and 12 receptions in the Panthers’ Week 16 loss against Atlanta.

McCaffrey, who leads all running backs with 106 receptions this season, surpassed MATT FORTÉ (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in NFL history.

McCaffrey, who has 1,080 rushing yards in 2018, joins Pro Football Hall of Famer LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON (2003) and MATT FORTÉ (2014) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 100 receptions in a single season.

  • Pittsburgh wide receiver JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER had 11 receptions for 115 yards in the Steelers’ Week 16 loss against New Orleans.

Smith-Schuster, who is 22 years and 31 days old, has 106 catches this season and surpassed LARRY FITZGERALD (22 years, 123 days) as the youngest player to reach 100 receptions in a single season in NFL history.

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 16 Results

We navigated the treacherous waters of late-season NFL betting and came out okay. After going 2-2-1, the stage is set for the end of our season. Week 17, we will have both our 60 percent pick percentage as well as our 10 percent return on investment goals on the line. Each are on

We navigated the treacherous waters of late-season NFL betting and came out okay. After going 2-2-1, the stage is set for the end of our season. Week 17, we will have both our 60 percent pick percentage as well as our 10 percent return on investment goals on the line. Each are on the line and each is possible with a good week. Following a rough start, this week could have been a lot worse. As it is, we will take the virtual wash and move on to the final week of the season with our heads held high.

LOSS: Dolphins -4 vs. Jaguars (-110): Jaguars 17, Dolphins 7.

We knew better than to bet on the Dolphins in back-to-back weeks. We even talked about it in our pick column. That line against the Jaguars and at home looked too juicy to pass up, though. Just when it matters, Miami folds. That’s how it goes every single year, folks. News flash: this isn’t the year Ryan Tannehill becomes a premiere quarterback. Despite showing flashes, he’s just never becoming that guy.

Jacksonville’s defense decided to show up, which was nice of them when we bet against them. This was just a gross game and the fact we had money on the wrong side of it made it even worse. Ironic, because I’m not sure you could pay me to watch this game otherwise. Total win: $0.

LOSS: Cardinals +14.5 vs. Rams (-110): Rams 31, Cardinals 9.

Well, the streak had to come to an end at some point. This was the fifth time in 2018 that we took a team that was +14 or more. This was the first one we lost. Arizona looked competitive for a half, trailing just 14-9 at one point late in the first, but this one got away from them. The Los Angeles offense got back on track even without Todd Gurley in the lineup, which is an encouraging sign for a team that’s struggled in recent weeks.

Of course, that’s not an encouraging sign for us as we were taking the big home underdogs. At least now the illusion that every +14 or greater underdog is a lock is gone and we can make more calculated decisions about those types of bets in the future. Total win: $0.

WIN: Bears -4 vs. 49ers (-110): Bears 14, 49ers 9.

This was just another methodical win by the Bears, who are still alive for a first-round bye in the NFC going into the final week of the season. Down 9-7 at halftime, they buckled down and shut San Francisco out in the second half. They also were able to put together two long drives, one which ended in a touchdown, another in a near backbreaking fumble. Either way, the offense was moving the ball, despite scoring just 14 points.

These are the types of games the Bears want to play. They want to milk the clock, put up a couple scores and let their defense do the rest. Whether that will work in the playoffs remains to be seen, but it worked on the road today and they just edged out the win for us with a five-point win on a four-point spread. Total win: $9.50.

PUSH: Bengals-Browns OVER 44 points: Browns 26, Bengals 18.

We can all thank Cincinatti’s late comeback for this nice backdoor cover. It just didn’t look like we were going to get there with the Browns defense playing really well, but the Bengals willed it to happen. Late in the game, they scored a touchdown and went for two in order to make it a one-possession game. With that successful conversion, they pushed the total to 44, meaning we then had nothing to lose.

Unfortunately, no more points were scored, so we were stuck with a push, but that was a lot better than what it seemed like we were headed for when Cleveland dominated the first half. We haven’t had a push in a while and they generally feel dissatisfying, but this one feels all right. Total win: $5.

WIN: Steelers +6 at Saints: Saints 31, Steelers 28.

They may have fallen apart down the stretch and allowed the Saints to win on a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter, by gosh darn it, the Steelers covered and that’s all that matters. They now are in desperation mode, needing a win and some help next week to make the playoffs. That’s a real shame for them, but again, they covered for us, so all is right in the world.

After looking shaky on offense recently, the Saints got back to doing their thing at home, a scary prospect for any team that has to pass through there in the playoffs. After this win, that’s everybody, because NOLA locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC with this win. You know what that means: they’re resting their starters next week and we’re not coming anywhere near that game from a betting perspective. Total win: $5.70.

PIGGY BANK: $345.55 (8.0% return on investment)

PICK PERCENTAGE: 57.9% (44-32-4)

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 16 Picks

It's hard to believe we only have two weeks left in the NFL regular season. These two weeks will really test our betting mettle, because the last couple weeks of the season are always the hardest to wager on. Who's going to give their starters a little bit of a rest? Which teams

It’s hard to believe we only have two weeks left in the NFL regular season. These two weeks will really test our betting mettle, because the last couple weeks of the season are always the hardest to wager on. Who’s going to give their starters a little bit of a rest? Which teams out of the race will take their feet off the gas in order to grab a higher draft pick? At this stage in the season, there are so many things at play beyond X’s and O’s. As such, we will try to sort through the noise and tip toe around the minefield of games this week and make sure we end the regular season on the right note.

Dolphins -4 vs. Jaguars (-110)

The Dolphins made us look foolish last week when we took them +7 against the Vikings and they lost 41-24, but we’re going to give them another go. Jacksonville has looked marginally better in recent weeks, but not enough to convince me they will give Miami a decent game. This will be played in South Florida, where the Dolphins are really tough to beat. Add to that this is a do-or-die game for Miami and this should add up to at least a touchdown victory.

Of course, that being said, we will all be watching in agony as they squeak by with a three-point win. This is a pretty gross game to pick, but it’s one of the only games of the week where we can theoretically predict the motivation level of both teams. There’s a lot to be said for that this time of year. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Arizona Cardinals +14.5 vs. Rams (-110)

Once again, we have ourselves a multi-touchdown underdog and once again, we’re going to jump all over it. We are 4-for-4 this year in such bets and I don’t see it slowing down this week. The Rams are trying to take a step toward locking up home field in the playoffs and they should win this game pretty easily, but the Cardinals defense is no joke. Their offense might not be able to keep up, but if the D can help keep red zone drives to field goals, they’ll cover.

The only worry is if this game gets out of hand from the get go and the Cardinals just can’t keep up while only being able to pass. However, with a steady dose of David Johnson and controlling the clock, Arizona should be able to keep this game a little closer than most people anticipate. Let’s not forget the Rams’ offense has looked broken ever since it was embarrassed by the Bears on Sunday Night Football. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Bears -4 at 49ers (-110)

I get that the 49ers just beat the Seahawks and that they get this game at home, but Seattle is a rival. Chicago still has a shot at getting a first-round bye, and despite the Rams’ cupcake final two games on their schedule, the Bears should be playing like they have a chance at that bye. There’s just no way you can convince me Nick Mullens is going to be able to do anything against a Bears defense allowing the lowest opposing QBR in football this season.

Yes, San Francisco’s at home, and them keeping this game within a field goal is not out of the realm of possibility. However, the Bears are one of the hottest teams in football with plenty of motivation to actually win this game and give themselves a chance at a first-round bye. All of these factors added together make this a pretty good bet. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.50.

Steelers +6 at Saints (-110)

Given how unpredictable the Steelers have been this season, this is a pretty big risk. However, the Saints have looked human in recent weeks and the Steelers really need this game more than New Orleans. It is in the Big Easy, where opponents often go to die, but this is a chance at a statement win for Pittsburgh. Even if they don’t win, it certainly should be closer than a touchdown.

Where the Saints are simply trying to clinch the top overall seed in the NFC (something they can do with a win in either of the next two weeks), the Steelers are trying to avoid falling into a wild card spot or worse. Will the desperation be enough to fuel them to a straight-up win? That remains to be seen, but I see this being a close, one-score game, which makes +6 look pretty good. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Bengals-Browns OVER 44 points (-110)

Here’s our only over/under of the week and it looks like a promising one. Cleveland’s defense has stepped up big time during their recent hot streak, but the Bengals defense is finally starting to click. They’re going to need a big day from Joe Mixon to establish the run and set up the passing game for Jeff Driskel, but that isn’t out of the realm of possibility. On the other side of the ball, Cincinnati’s defense is putrid and Baker Mayfield and Co. should be in for a field day.

We need to hope this game stays close and climbs into the 20’s. That seems likely to happen and with it, it seems more likely than not that these two teams will go over the 44-point mark that has set the over/under. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.50.

If we’re able to pull a rabbit out of a hat and go 5-for-5 this week, our big winnings on our $20 would be $507.06. There’s only two weeks left for us to pull it off. Here’s to hoping it’ll be this week.

Read More 895 Words

What To Look For – Week 16

PRESS RELEASE

WORST TO FIRST: As the NFL enters Week 16, five postseason berths have been clinched and seven remain up for grabs. Nineteen of the league’s 32 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII and 14 of the 16 games on this week’s schedule feature at least one

PRESS RELEASE

WORST TO FIRST: As the NFL enters Week 16, five postseason berths have been clinched and seven remain up for grabs. Nineteen of the league’s 32 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII and 14 of the 16 games on this week’s schedule feature at least one team still alive in the race to Atlanta.

Two teams – the Chicago Bears (NFC North) and Los Angeles Chargers (playoff berth) – clinched a berth in the 2018 NFL postseason last week. The Bears, who finished in fourth place in the NFC North last season, completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround in 2018. The Houston Texans (10-4), who finished in last in the AFC South in 2017, can clinch the division title at Philadelphia (1:00 PM ET, CBS) with a win or tie or if both the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans lose or tie.

In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team has finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 45 touchdown passes this season.

On Sunday night at Seattle (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Mahomes can continue his climb up the NFL’s single season touchdown pass leaderboard.

The players with the most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

TOUCHDOWN PASSES

Peyton Manning#

Denver

2013

55

Tom Brady#

New England

2007

50

Peyton Manning#

Indianapolis

2004

49

Dan Marino^#

Miami

1984

48

Drew Brees

New Orleans

2011

46

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City

2018

45*

Aaron Rodgers#

Green Bay

2011

45

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

*Entering Week 16

 

4,000 in 10: New England quarterback TOM BRADY ranks fifth in the league in passing yards (3,979) while Los Angeles Chargers quarterback PHILIP RIVERS ties for seventh  in the league with 3,951 passing yards this season. Both quarterbacks have eclipsed 4,000 passing yards in nine different seasons during their careers.

In Week 16, Brady, who faces Buffalo on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), and Rivers, who faces Baltimore on Saturday night (8:20 PM ET, NFL Network), can join PEYTON MANNING (14 seasons) and DREW BREES (12) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to record at least 10 seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards. Brees has 3,666 passing yards in 2018.

The quarterbacks with the most seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

SEASONS WITH 4,000+ PASSING YARDS

Peyton Manning

Indianapolis, Denver

14

Drew Brees

New Orleans

12

Tom Brady

New England

9*

Philip Rivers

Los Angeles Chargers

9#

*Has 3,979 passing yards entering Week 16

#Has 3,951 passing yards entering Week 16

 

SHAKE& BAKER: Cleveland quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD, selected first overall by the Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft, leads all rookies with 21 touchdown passes this season.

With three touchdown passes on Sunday against Cincinnati (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Mayfield would surpass ANDREW LUCK (23 touchdown passes in 2012) for the second-most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era.

The most touchdown passes by a rookie selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

PASSING TOUCHDOWNS

Peyton Manning

Indianapolis

1998

26

Andrew Luck

Indianapolis

2012

23

Jameis Winston

Tampa Bay

2015

22

Baker Mayfield

Cleveland

2018

21*

Cam Newton#

Carolina

2011

21

#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 16

 

RUN & CATCH: Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY leads all running backs with 94 receptions in 2018.

With nine receptions on Sunday against Atlanta (1:00 PM ET, FOX), McCaffrey would surpass MATT FORTÉ (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in NFL history.

The running backs with the most receptions in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RECEPTIONS

Matt Forté

Chicago

2014

102

Larry Centers

Arizona

1995

101

LaDainian Tomlinson^

San Diego

2003

100

Larry Centers

Arizona

1996

99

Chrstian McCaffrey

Carolina

2018

94*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Entering Week 16

 

New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY leads all rookies with 82 receptions and needs seven catches at Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET, CBS) to surpass REGGIE BUSH (88 in 2006) for the most receptions by a rookie running back in league annals.

The rookie running backs with the most receptions in league annals:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RECEPTIONS

Reggie Bush

New Orleans

2006

88

Earl Cooper

San Francisco

1980

83

Saquon Barkley

New York Giants

2018

82*

*Entering Week 16

 

RECORD-SETTING TIGHT ENDS: Kansas City tight end TRAVIS KELCE leads all tight ends with a career-high 1,220 receiving yards in 2018.

With 108 receiving yards against Seattle on Sunday night (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Kelce would surpass ROB GRONKOWSKI (1,327 receiving yards in 2011) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RECEIVING YARDS

Rob Gronkowski

New England

2011

1,327

Jimmy Graham

New Orleans

2011

1,310

Kellen Winslow^

San Diego

1980

1,290

Tony Gonzalez

Kansas City

2004

1,258

Todd Christensen

Los Angeles Raiders

1983

1,247

 

 

 

 

Travis Kelce

Kansas City

2018

1,220*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Entering Week 16

 

Philadelphia tight end ZACH ERTZ, who ranks third in the NFL with 101 receptions, needs 10 catches against Houston on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS) to surpass JASON WITTEN (110 receptions in 2012) for the most receptions by a tight end in a single season in league annals.

The tight ends with the most receptions in a single season in league annals:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RECEPTIONS

Jason Witten

Dallas

2012

110

Tony Gonzalez

Kansas City

2004

102

Zach Ertz

Philadelphia

2018

101*

*Entering Week 16

 

KEEP IT 100: Five players – New Orleans wide receiver MICHAEL THOMAS (109 receptions), Minnesota wide receiver ADAM THIELEN (105), Philadelphia tight end ZACH ERTZ (101), Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES (100) and Green Bay wide receiver DAVANTE ADAMS (100) – have recorded at least 100 receptions this season.

Entering Week 16, six additional players – Pittsburgh wide receivers JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER (95 receptions) and ANTONIO BROWN (90), Houston wide receiver DE ANDRE HOPKINS (94), Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY (94), Kansas City tight end TRAVIS KELCE (93) and Minnesota wide receiver STEFON DIGGS (92) – currently have at least 90 receptions.

With 10 players recording at least 100 catches this season, the 2018 season would surpass the 1995 season (nine) for the most players with at least 100 catches in a single season.

The seasons with the most players with at least 100 receptions in NFL history:

SEASON

PLAYERS WITH 100+ RECEPTIONS

1995

9

2015

7

Many tied

6

 

 

2018

5*

*Entering Week 16

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 971 Words

Mr. Townsend and the Polish Prince: An American Story of Race, Redemption, and Football.

Mike Gastineau's new book Mr. Townsend & the Polish Prince: An American story of race, redemption, and football, written with Joe Purzycki, tells the remarkable story of Joe Purzycki, the first-ever white head football coach at a historically black college, and Nelson Townsend, the athletic director who had the courage to hire him.

In November

Mike Gastineau’s new book Mr. Townsend & the Polish Prince: An American story of race, redemption, and football, written with Joe Purzycki, tells the remarkable story of Joe Purzycki, the first-ever white head football coach at a historically black college, and Nelson Townsend, the athletic director who had the courage to hire him.

In November of 1980, Delaware State College lost a football game to Portland State University by the outrageous score of 105 to 0. In the wake of that loss, athletic director Nelson Townsend decided to hire Joe Purzycki as Del State’s new coach. Purzycki was well-known throughout the state of Delaware.

He had been an all-American football player at the University of Delaware and had won a championship as coach of one of the largest high schools in the state. He was young, charismatic, and in Townsend’s eyes the perfect man for the job.

There was only one problem. He was white.

Delaware State is one of dozens of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in America. No HBCU had ever hired a white head football coach until Townsend hired Purzycki in 1981. The news was not well received.

Students staged angry protests, players boycotted his first meeting, 17 scholarship players quit, Purzycki’s office was vandalized, he received death threats, and the student newspaper derisively nicknamed him “the Polish Prince.”

Townsend and Purzycki stayed loyal to one another through two tough seasons as Purzycki slowly turned Delaware State’s football fortunes around. One of the players who helped was a guy who arrived as a transfer at the start of Purzycki’s second season. He was quiet, maybe even shy, and he was so small that both the coach and the AD were worried that he could handle college football. In this excerpt from the new book “Mr. Townsend & the Polish Prince, they not only find out that he could handle college ball, they even eventually learn his name.

From Chapter 22

                               Townsend finished his lunch and began walking across campus on a hot afternoon in the summer of 1982. He needed to get back to his office for a meeting with a student who wanted to transfer to Delaware State and play football.

The player and his parents were visiting Dover to check out the campus and meet with Townsend to see what needed to be done. As he got close to his office, he squinted his eyes to make out three people coming from the opposite direction.

“John?” he asked. “Alice? Is that you?”

Indeed, it was. John Taylor and his wife Alice had been Townsend’s classmates at Mary N. Smith High School on Virginia’s Eastern Shore in the 1950s. They exchanged hugs and hellos and laughed the way you do when you unexpectedly bump into someone you haven’t seen for a long time. Eventually, Townsend asked them what they were doing at Delaware State.

“This is my son, JT,” Taylor said. “He’s transferring here this fall and we’re supposed to meet the athletic director and the football coach.”

Townsend laughed at the series of coincidences unfolding in front of him. “I’m the athletic director,” he said as he introduced himself to JT. “Let’s head over to the office and I’ll introduce you to Coach Purzycki.”

His friend’s son was small and as they all talked, Purzycki and Townsend exchanged glances of concern as to whether he was big enough to play college football. He had attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte in 1981 but had been cut from the football team during the preseason, which was another red flag. Still, Purzycki was not in a position to turn away players: He needed all the help he could get.

They returned to Townsend’s office and began the paperwork for JT to become a Hornet. When Nelson asked him why he had decided to transfer he explained that he had become homesick and he thought Del State would be a better fit.

John and Alice Taylor’s son hadn’t even planned to go to college. He got a job driving a truck for a liquor warehouse right out of high school. A few months in, he realized he was hanging around his client’s establishments a little too frequently.

“I need to get out of here,” he told his father, “or I’ll end up no good.” His year in Charlotte with the Golden Bulls had been a bust athletically but he got good grades and was able to transfer into Delaware State. The NCAA ruled him eligible to play in the sixth game of the 1982 season, but he could begin practice immediately.

He had been undersized his whole life and the equipment he was issued at Delaware State hung on his body like a trench coat on a toddler.

“My head was so small that I could almost spin my helmet completely around,” he said. “My shoulder pads were way too big, and my pants sagged the way kids began wearing them in the 1990s.”

The first time he walked onto the field for practice he heard other players laughing at him. They also laughed at Ace Comer who took one look at the new guy and piped up, “Who the hell is this reject?”

Soon enough they found out. Taylor was a quiet, likable guy who showed tremendous ability from the start. “You could tell when he walked on the field that he was something special,” said Steven Holiday.

Assistant coach Walt Tullis decided that the J in JT stood for Jake. And Jake Taylor began working with the Hornets’ scout team during practice.

One day, with Purzycki watching, the scout team ran a play that called for Taylor to run a slant from the left side. He ran the route, caught the pass, put a move on his defender, and sped upfield untouched.

“I come back to the huddle and they called the same play to the other side,” he said. “I did the same thing. Caught the ball, put a move on a guy, and ran away from everybody.”

“I remember his speed was just different,” said safety James Niblack. “He’d get on you and he’d pass you. He was small and quiet off the field. But something happened when he put pads on. He became a different animal and he got stronger and faster. It was like he flipped a switch. He was true to his craft and you could tell he was going places. I remember right away thinking he’d make it to the next level.”

Linebacker Mike Colbert remembered something else about Taylor. After watching the new guy scamper past everyone on the defense, Colbert decided to put a stop to it. On the next play, Taylor caught a pass and Colbert zeroed in on him.

“He was a skinny, scrawny little guy,” said Colbert, who would lead the MEAC in tackles that year. “But he was like running into a brick wall. He was the hardest player I ever tried to tackle. He was a beast out there, he was so strong. He was the best player I ever saw.”

Taylor’s debut as a Hornet came during homecoming against Virginia State. Del State trailed 14-7 in the fourth quarter when he got his chance.

“I came into the huddle,” Taylor said, “and Rod Lester (the quarterback) looked at me and said, ‘we’re gonna run that slant pass you like.’”

Just like he had done with the scout team, Taylor caught the ball, made a move and rolled into the end zone for a touchdown to pull the Hornets to within one with about a minute to play. Suddenly, Purzycki was in position for back-to-back wins for the first time as a college coach and he wanted to go for it.

“I don’t want to tie this game,” he yelled at Billings. “I want to win it. Let’s go for two!” Billings concurred that was the right move.

Purzycki shifted into Dutch Uncle mode: “Now Herky, I need a two-point play … and it better be good.”

“I’ve got a two-point play,” Billings replied. “I don’t know how good it is, but I’ve got one.”

It was good enough to work this time (“Barely,” Billings admitted) and lifted Delaware State to a second consecutive victory and third of the season.

The Wilmington News Journal referred to the hero as “seldom-used freshman Jake Taylor,” which was accurate although to be fair, he had only recently become eligible. The touchdown was his first on offense since his days as a pee-wee football star in the Pennsauken Youth Athletic Association (he had been a defensive back in high school).

He would catch three more passes that season and by the end of the year informed everyone that they had been calling him the wrong name all season. For some reason, Tullis got it in his head that Taylor was named Jake.

“Coach,” he said one day in practice. “My name isn’t Jake. It’s John. I’m John Taylor.”

As in John Taylor, who would go on to spend nine seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, earning two Pro Bowls and three Super Bowl rings, and catch the game-winning pass in Super Bowl XXIII in 1989. THAT John Taylor. The one who would be selected to the NFL’s all-decade team in the 1980s.

 

                            Taylor would go on to play four years at Delaware State and establish numerous school records. He still holds the record for receiving yards in a game at the school (223 vs St. Paul’s in 1985) and is third all-time at Delaware State in career receiving yards. Both of those notes are made more remarkable considering Taylor played for a team that ran the Wing-T offense and focused more on running than passing. The two players ahead of him on the all-time list had 201 and 160 receptions in their careers. Taylor rolled up 2426 yards on just 100 career receptions.

Mr. Townsend & the Polish Prince: An American story of race, redemption, and football can be purchased at Amazon.com or requested from your local bookseller.

View the Youtube video of Coach Purzycki talking about the book here.

Read More 1644 Words

NFL Week 16: Over and Under Best Bets

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we're making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we're offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we’re making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we’re offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of the week: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals

Total: 46.5

Not going to lie — it wasn’t easy to find a clear-cut over this week. Far too many offenses are shorthanded or struggling and far too many defenses have emerged.

But it was still surprising to see the Rams and Cardinals with a sub-47 total for their matchup Sunday in Glendale, simply because Los Angeles has made a habit of crushing weak opponents this season.

Look for the Rams, frustrated following a shocking home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, to bounce back with a strong offensive performance against an opponent that gave up 40 points to the previously-sleeping Atlanta Falcons in Week 15.

Los Angeles should easily generate more than 30 points on its own here, while Arizona should at least have a touchdown or two in it. After all, the Cards might want to avoid embarrassment in their home finale, and the Rams have surrendered a season-high 30.8 points per game over the course of the last eight weeks.

Predicted score: Rams 38, Cardinals 17

Under of the week: New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts

Total: 46.5

The Colts offense has really bounced back with Andrew Luck under center this season, but three consecutive Indianapolis games have fallen short of the Las Vegas total. And I think Vegas is once again too high with an over/under of 46.5 for Indy’s Week 16 matchup with the New York Giants.

This Colts defense is for real. It has surrendered 10 or fewer points in three of the team’s last five games and is giving up an AFC-low 12.2 points per game during that stretch.

Darius Leonard might be the defensive rookie of the year, Margus Hunt has been a revelation, and Anthony Walker, Jabaal Sheard and Quincy Wilson have also shined under the tutelage of Matt Eberflus.

Now they’re going up against a Giants team that was shut out on Sunday by the Tennessee Titans and has given up just 33 points total the last two weeks.

Saquon Barkley went cold against Tennessee and now faces an even better run defense, and Odell Beckham Jr. is dealing with a pesky quad injury. But the Indy offense also hasn’t been as crisp as it was earlier this season, so New York might hang around with a strong defensive effort from Olivier Vernon, Dalvin Tomlinson, B.J. Hill and Janoris Jenkins, all of whom are playing well.

Predicted score: Colts 20, Giants 17

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 1-1
2018 season: 19-10-1

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 15 Results

We were off to such a good start, but Sunday really kicked us where it hurt. In our two Saturday games, we began the week 2-0. However, a miserable Sunday, which saw us go 0-3 ensured us one of our only losing weeks of the season. Luckily, one of those two games was

We were off to such a good start, but Sunday really kicked us where it hurt. In our two Saturday games, we began the week 2-0. However, a miserable Sunday, which saw us go 0-3 ensured us one of our only losing weeks of the season. Luckily, one of those two games was our highest confidence pick, so we were able to mitigate our losses to a degree. It’s not going to get any easier in the final two weeks of the season, so let’s take a look at what went right, what went wrong and where we go from here.

WIN: Texans -6.5 vs. Jets (-105): Texans 29, Jets 22.

For the third straight week, the Jets were part of a winning bet for us. For the first time in that span, we weren’t betting on them. Getting Houston for less than a touchdown, even in a battle of two tough defenses, seemed like a pretty good idea. Obviously, it barely worked for us, but the only reason we took it is we knew we could win this bet with a touchdown margin of victory. Still-hot Houston gave us exactly that and started our week on a high note.

Now 10-1 in their last 11 games, the Texans look like a real force to be reckoned with. They control their own fate as far as a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs goes and if Deshaun Watson is healthy with the defense humming like they are right now, look out. Total payout: $9.76.

WIN: Browns +3 at Broncos (-110): Browns 17, Broncos 16.

Like I said in this week’s column, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns won this game straight up. It being played away from home was the only thing keeping me from taking the money line in this one. We took the extra three points of cushion and it’s not a big deal we did so. Cleveland is red hot and rolled right through Denver as they cling to their playoff hopes.

It seems like the Broncos are always playing in close games, so this field goal spread felt relatively safe. Down the stretch, teams like the Browns will be interesting to keep an eye on, because that faint chance of grabbing a playoff spot can be a huge motivator. Total payout: $5.70.

LOSS: Dolphins +7 at Vikings (-110): Vikings 41, Dolphins 17.

The wheels really fell off for Miami, huh? They threatened for a moment in the second half when they cut what was once a 21-0 lead into a 24-17 Vikings advantage, but then they went into hibernation. They can’t even blame the elements, because the game was indoors. Miami allowed Kirk Cousins, who has looked very pedestrian as of late, to be  a world beater and he had one of his best games of the season.

I would like to think the Dolphins should have at least earned a push in this game, especially with their playoff fate hanging in the balance, but hey, this is what Miami does every December. They’re just close enough to the playoff race to be interesting, but very rarely actually get there. Minnesota is now an interesting team to follow as they can catch the Seahawks for the No. 5 seed in the NFC.

LOSS: Cowboys over Colts (+130): Colts 23, Cowboys 0.

Yikes. Dallas hasn’t been shutout since 2003 and they looked absolutely horrific. So much for taking them in the upset. Indianapolis has been such a dangerous team to bet this season, because they are so inconsistent. Week to week, you never know what you’re going to get, so we might stay away from them in the future.

As for the Cowboys, I’m not sure what to think. The defense can only do so much and when the offense can’t move the ball, that does them no favors. We should try and forget about this game, because boy, were we off. Total payout: $0.

LOSS: Seahawks -4.5 at 49ers (-110): 49ers 26, Seahawks 23 (OT).

What a fitting end to a horrible Sunday of betting. San Francisco, who has nothing to play for, somehow beats Seattle in overtime, despite the Seahawks needing a win to gain firm control of the No. 5 seed in the NFC. We should give the 49ers some credit as they did actually play the better game, but you always expect to see the more talented team win out. That didn’t happen today.

Russell Wilson and Company fell back down to earth, it’s just unfortunate it happened in a week we bet them. Seattle has been very good against the spread this season and has won us money on numerous occasions, so we can forgive them this one time. Total payout: $0.

PIGGY BANK: $325.35 (8.5% return on investment)

PICK PERCENTAGE: 58.3% (42-30-3)

Read More 719 Words

Seven From Sunday – Week 15

Press Release

Seven From Sunday - Week 15

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 16, the 15th week of the 2018 season.

  • The CHICAGO BEARS defeated Green Bay,

Press Release

Seven From Sunday – Week 15

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 16, the 15th week of the 2018 season.

  • The CHICAGO BEARS defeated Green Bay, 24-17, and clinched the NFC North division title for the first time since 2010.

    The Bears, who finished in fourth place in the NFC North last season, completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround in 2018. In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team has finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place.
     
    The LOS ANGELES CHARGERS, who defeated Kansas City 29-28 on Thursday night, clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2013.
     

  • Tennessee running back DERRICK HENRY rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the Titans’ 17-0 victory over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

    Henry, who rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns in Week 14, is the fifth player since 2002 to record at least 170 rushing yards and two touchdown runs in consecutive games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON (2006), DEUCE MC ALLISTER (2003), CLINTON PORTIS (2003) and RICKY WILLIAMS (2002).

    Henry’s 408 rushing yards since Week 14 are the most by a player over a two-game span in franchise history, surpassing the previous high of 405 yards set by Pro Football Hall of Famer EARL CAMPBELL in Weeks 7-8 for the 1980 Houston Oilers. His six rushing touchdowns are the most by a player in team history over any two-game span.
     

  • Chicago quarterback MITCHELL TRUBISKY completed 20 of 28 passes (71.4 percent) for 235 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 120.4 passer rating in the Bears’ 24-17 victory over Green Bay.
     
    Trubisky has recorded a passer rating of at least 120 (minimum 15 attempts) in four games this season, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer SID LUCKMAN (three games in 1943), RUDY BUKICH (three in 1965) and ERIK KRAMER (three in 1995) for the most such games by a quarterback in a single season in franchise history.
     
  • Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES had 82 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Falcons’ 40-14 victory over Arizona.

    Jones, who leads the NFL with 1,511 receiving yards, is the fifth player in NFL history with at least three career seasons with 1,500+ receiving yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers JERRY RICE (four seasons) and MARVIN HARRISON (three), and ANTONIO BROWN (three) and ANDRE JOHNSON (three).

    Jones, who also has 100 receptions this season, joined Harrison (three), Brown (three) and Johnson (three) as the only players in NFL history with at least 100 catches and 1,500 receiving yards in three career seasons.
                                                      

  • The BALTIMORE RAVENS, led by rookie running back GUS EDWARDS (104 rushing yards) and rookie quarterback LAMAR JACKSON (95 rushing yards), recorded 242 rushing yards in the Ravens’ 20-12 victory over Tampa Bay.

    Baltimore has rushed for at least 190 yards in five consecutive games and is the first team to accomplish the feat since the 1976 PITTSBURGH STEELERS (five consecutive games from October 17 to November 14).
     

  • Indianapolis running back MARLON MACK rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts’ 23-0 victory over Dallas. 

    Mack, who also rushed for 132 yards and two scores in the Colts’ Week 8 victory over Oakland, is the third player in franchise history to record multiple games with at least 125 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (two games in 1987) and EDGERRIN JAMES (two games in both 1999 and 2005).
     

  • The MINNESOTA VIKINGS recorded nine sacks, including two sacks each from defensive end DANIELLE HUNTER and linebacker ANTHONY BARR, in the team’s 41-17 victory over Miami. 

    Minnesota, which recorded 10 sacks in the team’s Week 9 victory over Detroit, are the second team since 1990 to register at least nine sacks in multiple games in a single season, joining the 2017 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (two games). The Vikings are the seventh team since the 1970 merger to record multiple such games in a single season.

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 586 Words

What to Look For – Week 15

PRESS RELEASE

​​​​​​WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 15

WORST TO FIRST: Entering Week 15, two teams have clinched division titles – the NFC West champion LOS ANGELES RAMS and the NFC South champion NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – and five additional teams can clinch their respective divisions this week: the CHICAGO

PRESS RELEASE

​​​​​​WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 15

WORST TO FIRST: Entering Week 15, two teams have clinched division titles – the NFC West champion LOS ANGELES RAMS and the NFC South champion NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – and five additional teams can clinch their respective divisions this week: the CHICAGO BEARS (9-4), DALLAS COWBOYS (8-5), HOUSTON TEXANS (9-4), KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-2), and NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-4).

For the 2018 NFL Playoff Scenarios for Week 15, click here.

As the league enters Week 15, there are 20 teams either in or within one game of a playoff spot, including 11 teams that did not advance to the postseason in 2017. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

Two teams that finished in or tied for last place in their division in 2017 – Chicago (NFC North) and Houston (AFC South) – are currently in first place in their respective divisions this season. In 14 of the past 15 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Of the 46 teams in league history to go from “worst-to-first,” 23 of them have done so in the past 15 years (2003-17), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.​

HISTORY IN KC: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 43 touchdown passes this season.

With three touchdown passes against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon Prime), Mahomes would tie DREW BREES (46 touchdown passes in 2011) for the fifth-most passing touchdowns in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

TOUCHDOWN PASSES

Peyton Manning#

Denver

2013

55

Tom Brady#

New England

2007

50

Peyton Manning#

Indianapolis

2004

49

Dan Marino^#

Miami

1984

48

Drew Brees

New Orleans

2011

46

 

 

 

 

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City

2018

43*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

*Entering Week 15

 

HEY, ROOKIE: Denver rookie linebacker BRADLEY CHUBB leads all rookies and is tied for sixth in the NFL with 12 sacks this season.

With a sack against Cleveland on Saturday night (8:20 PM ET, NFL Network), Chubb would tie DWIGHT FREENEY (13 sacks in 2002) for the third-most sacks by a rookie in a single season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.​

The rookies with the most sacks in a single season since 1982:​​

PLAYER

TEAM

YEAR

SACKS

Jevon Kearse#

Tennessee

1999

14.5

Aldon Smith

San Francisco

2011

14

Dwight Freeney

Indianapolis

2002

13

 

 

 

 

Bradley Chubb

Denver

2018

12*

#Named Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 15

 

JULIO ON THE RISE: Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES leads the NFL with 1,429 receiving yards this season. In Week 13, Jones became the first player in NFL history to record at least 1,400 receiving yards in five consecutive seasons.

Jones, who had 1,593 receiving yards in 2014 and 1,871 receiving yards in 2015, needs 71 receiving yards on Sunday against Arizona (1:00 PM ET, FOX), to become the fifth player in NFL history with three career seasons with at least 1,500 receiving yards.

The players with the most career seasons with at least 1,500 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS WITH 1,500+ RECEIVING YARDS

Jerry Rice^

San Francisco

4

Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh

3

Marvin Harrison^

Indianapolis

3

Andre Johnson

Houston

3

 

 

 

Julio Jones

Atlanta

2*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Has 1,429 receiving yards this season

 

STARS FROM SCRIMMAGE: Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT leads the NFL with 1,262 rushing yards this season.

Elliott, who has 3,876 rushing yards and 1,134 receiving yards since entering the league in 2016, needs 124 rushing yards on Sunday at Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET, FOX) to become the fifth player in NFL history with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his first three seasons. ​

The players with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in their first three seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

RUSHING YARDS

RECEIVING YARDS

Chris Johnson

Tennessee

2008-2010

4,598

1,008

LaDainian Tomlinson^

San Diego

2001-2003

4,564

1,581

Ottis Anderson

St. Louis Cardinals

1979-1981

4,333

1,003

Barry Sanders

Detroit

1989-1991

4,322

1,069

 

 

 

 

 

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas

2016-2018

3,876*

1,134*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*In third season

 

BRILLIANT BARKLEY: New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY leads all rookies with 1,753 scrimmage yards and has 13 touchdowns (nine rushing, four receiving) this season.

With 147 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns on Sunday against Tennessee (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Barkley, can become the fifth rookie with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history. ​

The rookies with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history:​​

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

SCRIMMAGE YARDS

TOUCHDOWNS

Eric Dickerson^#

Los Angeles Rams

1983

2,212

20

Edgerrin James#

Indianapolis

1999

2,139

17

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas

2016

1,994

16

Billy Sims#

Detroit

1980

1,924

16

 

 

 

 

 

Saquon Barkley

New York Giants

2018

1,753*

13*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 15

 

LIGHTS, KAMARA, ACTION: New Orleans running back ALVIN KAMARA ranks sixth in the NFL with 1,384 scrimmage yards this season.

Kamara, who had 1,554 scrimmage yards as a rookie in 2017, needs 83 receiving yards at Carolina on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), to join HERSCHEL WALKER (1986-87) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,500 rushing and 1,500 receiving yards in their first two seasons in league history. ​

The players with at least 1,500 rushing and 1,500 receiving yards in their first two seasons in league history:​

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

RUSHING YARDS

RECEIVING YARDS

Herschel Walker

Dallas

1986-87

1,628

1,552

 

 

 

 

 

Alvin Kamara

New Orleans

2017-18

1,521*

1,417*

*In second season

 

SUPERCAM: Carolina quarterback CAM NEWTON ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with 473 rushing yards this season. Newton has rushed for at least 500 rushing yards in six of his first seven seasons in the league.

With 27 rushing yards against New Orleans on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), Newton can become the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 500 rushing yards in seven seasons.​

The quarterbacks with the most seasons with at least 500 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

SEASONS WITH 500+ RUSHING YARDS

Randall Cunningham

Philadelphia

6

Cam Newton

Carolina

6*

Michael Vick

Atlanta, Philadelphia

6

*Has 473 rushing yards this season

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 952 Words

Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 15

Key takeaways from week 14:

  • New Orleans is the favorites to win Super Bowl 53
  • The Cardinals, Bills, Jets, Jaguars, Raiders, and 49ers will not make the playoffs
  • Biggest jump: Chicago Bears (+80%)
  • Biggest drop: New England Patriots (-1300%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds

{{CODE_SB_ODDS_AFTER_WEEK_14}}

Key takeaways from week 14:

  • New Orleans is the favorites to win Super Bowl 53
  • The Cardinals, Bills, Jets, Jaguars, Raiders, and 49ers will not make the playoffs
  • Biggest jump: Chicago Bears (+80%)
  • Biggest drop: New England Patriots (-1300%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds

{{CODE_SB_ODDS_AFTER_WEEK_14}}

Read More -16 Words

Ballin’ on a Budget Week 15 Picks

With just three weeks left in the season, we have just enough time to hit our goal of 60 percent completion percentage and 10 percent return on investment. This year has been really steady minus a couple weeks as we've given you winning picks consistently. We'll look to keep that going this week

With just three weeks left in the season, we have just enough time to hit our goal of 60 percent completion percentage and 10 percent return on investment. This year has been really steady minus a couple weeks as we’ve given you winning picks consistently. We’ll look to keep that going this week as the playoff race heats up and we have to consider the almighty question of “who wants it more?” You’d be surprised how many times that seems to factor into the outcome of games this late in the season. Since our only losses last week were over/unders, we’re gonna stick with straight spread picks this week.

Texans -6.5 at Jets (-105)

Coming off their first loss in months, the Texans will be out for blood against the Jets. This might be a road game, but New York has no reason to want to win this game. In fact, they’d be better off not winning it in order to get a better draft pick. That doesn’t mean they won’t try, but if they get down early, the game might be over by halftime. Houston’s defense shouldn’t allow more than 17 points to this Jets offense and that means the Texans just would have to put up 24 to cover the spread.

As Houston tries to keep its hopes alive at a first-round bye come playoff time, they’re going to have a sense of urgency in this game. The fact the spread is under a touchdown makes it a must-bet in my eyes as one of these teams has everything to play for and the other really couldn’t care less about the outcome. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.76.

Browns +3 at Broncos (-110)

Cleveland is red hot and the Broncos are coming off a loss to the 49ers, a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft. Still, each of these teams has something to play for with a loss meaning they’re just about mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. With the momentum they have, it actually feels like the Browns might win this game straight up, but we will use those three points as a security blanket in case they lose a close game.

Denver has been so inconsistent this season that it feels dangerous picking any game they’re involved in, but we’re picking this game based on momentum, season-long momentum. Cleveland has a ton of it and Denver has none of it. Loser leaves town in this one and this should actually be one of the better games of the weekend. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Dolphins +7 at Vikings (-110)

I just really like road underdogs this week apparently. Miami is coming off their stunning, last-second victory over the Patriots, so you could say they’re primed for a letdown. However, they’re still very much alive in the wild AFC playoff picture. They’re also visiting a Vikings team that is spiraling out of control. Miami could very easily be the team to provide a knockout punch to Minnesota’s championship hopes, especially after the team fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo following their embarrassing showing against the Seahawks.

Minnesota is still very talented on defense, but that offense has really struggled to put anything together lately. Kirk Cousins’ confidence is at an all-time low and in a dome, the warm-weather Dolphins aren’t going to be affected by the elements. Expect Miami to give Minnesota a run for its money while the Vikings, in the end, will be able to do just enough to win a close game, giving us a Dolphins +7 victory. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Cowboys over Colts (+130)

It is curious to me how the Cowboys could be underdogs against the Colts, even if Indy did just hand the Texans their first loss in their last 10 games. The Colts offense has been great at times, but it’s been extremely inconsistent. Against a talented and red-hot Cowboys defense, they aren’t going to be able to do a whole lot. Dallas is slowly becoming that team you don’t want to play in the playoffs, simply because their defense is capable of shutting you down for 60 minutes.

They also bleed the clock with Ezekiel Elliott when they need to control time of possession. When they’ve needed to throw the ball over the last month or so, Dak Prescott has actually looked like a competent quarterback too. The Cowboys might find a way to screw up come playoff time, but they’re one of the hottest teams in the league and as three-point underdogs, the value here is to pick them straight up to win. The bet: $5 for total payout of $11.50.

Seahawks -4.5 at 49ers (-110)

I hesitated to pick this game, because these two teams tend to play each other close no matter what. That didn’t happen in their first meeting, but that game was in Seattle. This comes down to, again, which team needs it more, though. San Francisco showed that’s not the greatest strategy for picking games as they upset the Broncos last weekend, but it should hold here. Seattle’s offense struggled against a good Minnesota defense, but the floodgates should open up against the Niners.

I have a hard time believing Nick Mullens will be able to hang with Russell Wilson for four quarters. I don’t expect this to be a blowout, but I do expect the Seahawks to win by a touchdown or so, which gives us plenty of cushion on this 4.5-point spread. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Back to our dream scenario, which we’ve been close to several times this season with 4-1 weeks: if all five of these games hit, on a $20 parlay, we would stand to make $598.44. That would be a good way to start wrapping the season up, huh? Fingers crossed and good luck betting this weekend.

Read More 905 Words

NFL Week 15: Over and Under Best Bets

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we're making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we're offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we’re making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we’re offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of the week: Tennessee Titans at New York Giants

Total: 43.5

The Titans and Giants don’t scream OFFENSE, which is why this total remains below the season average. But look closely.

The Titans have scored 56 points in their last two games, and they’re well-rested following a Thursday Night Football romp in Week 14. Those two high-scoring performances came at home, but if we’re considering sites it should be noted that Tennessee has also allowed 72 points on defense in its last two road games.

Meanwhile, the Giants offense has exploded since their Week 9 bye. Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. have often been unstoppable for a team that has averaged 31.4 points per game dating back to Week 10. Sure, they surrendered just 16 points last Sunday in Washington, but that was more about the Redskins’ problems than New York’s defensive prowess. The Giants have still allowed 25.1 points per game during that post-bye run.

And they scored 40 in D.C. despite not having Beckham, who should be good to return from a quad injury on Sunday.

Look for both teams to easily hit the 20-point mark in Week 15.

Predicted score: Giants 30, Titans 27

Under of the week: Dallas Cowboys at Indianapolis Colts

Total: 47

Why in the world do oddsmakers think the Cowboys and Colts will combine for 47 points Sunday in Indianapolis? Both defenses have been stout, while both offenses have lacked consistency.

The Dallas D hasn’t surrendered more than 23 points in five consecutive weeks, and that’s a stretch that includes matchups with talented offenses like Philadelphia, New Orleans and Atlanta.

Meanwhile, the Colts D has allowed just 17.1 points per game in their last seven outings, with Jabaal Sheard, Darius Leonard and Margus Hunt killing it.

It’s true that both offenses have the ability to explode at any moment, but this doesn’t look like the time or place. Both teams should be tight for an important game, the Colts are two weeks removed from a zero-point performance in Jacksonville, and the Cowboys’ bread-and-butter offensive line is dealing with multiple injuries to key players.

This should be a tense, low-scoring battle.

Predicted score: Colts 20, Cowboys 17

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 1-1
2018 season: 18-9-1

Read More 360 Words

Ballin’ on a Budget Week 14 Results

For the second straight week, we won more bets than we lost and we can be happy about that. However, if it weren't for a Chargers strategic blunder, we would've looked even better, going to 4-1 for the second straight week. Nonetheless, it was another week in the black, pushing us ever closer

For the second straight week, we won more bets than we lost and we can be happy about that. However, if it weren’t for a Chargers strategic blunder, we would’ve looked even better, going to 4-1 for the second straight week. Nonetheless, it was another week in the black, pushing us ever closer to our end-of-year goal to have a 60 percent pick percentage and 10 percent return on investment.

WIN: Jets +3.5 at Bills (-115): Jets 27, Bills 23.

New York seemed in big trouble early in this game, but Sam Darnold and the offense turned things around in the second half. We knew this three-and-a-half-point spread was juicy since neither team is very good and it turns out we were right. For the second straight week, the Jets covered for us and this time, they even won the game straight up.

This really goes to pound the point home that if there are two teams you perceive as of equal ability, regardless of one of them being at home, taking 3.5 or more points on a spread is the way to go. Gang Green comes through again. Total payout: $7.48.

LOSS: Patriots-Dolphins UNDER 47 points (-110): Dolphins 34, Patriots 31.

Well, we were way off on this one. We didn’t take into account the weather would be beautiful in Miami and the Patriots struggle historically against the Dolphins in the month of December on the road. Of course, they still would have won if it weren’t for Miami’s miraculous lateral play on their final attempt from scrimmage, but the over/under was gone at half time. Whether you believe in Ryan Tannehill or not, the Dolphins are a different team with him on the field.

Sometimes, with bets like this, which are over before the second half, it’s better to just lick your wounds and move on. That same logic doesn’t hold for our second unsuccessful over/under of the week, which was the biggest heartbreaker you could imagine. Total payout: $0.

LOSS: Chargers-Bengals OVER 47.5 points (-110): Chargers 26, Bengals 21.

So, we lost it by half a point. Oh, by the way, the Bengals screwed up down the stretch. Cincinnati stormed all the way back and was a two-point conversion away from tying the game at 23 after a Joe Mixon one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. They didn’t get it and it kept us from hitting the over. L.A. eventually drove down and drilled a field goal with less than a minute left to extend the lead to five.

Had Cincy made that field goal, this game would have ended 26-23, with the over hitting and all of us going home happy. If it’s any consolation, the Bengals did help us in another department by keeping things close, so we owe them for that. Total payout: $0.

WIN: Bengals +14.5 vs. Chargers (-120): Chargers 26, Bengals 21.

So, we can be mad at the Bengals for not getting that two-point conversion and helping us with the over, but we can’t be mad at their overall effort in this game. We have a proven track record picking with underdogs of 14 points or more this season, but with Jeff Driskell at quarterback for Cincinnati, we were taking a chance. He actually played fairly well and rewarded our confidence in the team.

That now makes us 3-for-3 this season in picking big-time underdogs, so let’s keep an eye out for those down the stretch. That could be tricky with many good teams clinching playoff spots, but with the the race for home field in the AFC and NFC heating up, we should be able to rely on this method for at least the next couple weeks. Total payout: $7.33.

WIN: Lions -2.5 vs. Cardinals (-115): Lions 17, Cardinals 3.

This was a really gross game, but hey, the Lions covered and that’s all we care about. It was 3-0 Lions at halftime and it barely got more entertaining in the second half. Matthew Stafford had one of the worst games of his career, barely managing 100 yards, but his defense got the job done. Arizona, which looked decent against the Packers, wasn’t able to muster anything against Detroit’s D.

If you didn’t watch this game, but bet it and collected your winnings, good for you. You got the best of both worlds. This was not a game worth watching, but the fact we won some money doing it made it just a little bit easier on the eyes. Total payout: $7.48.

PIGGY BANK: $309.89 (10.7% return on investment)

PICK PERCENTAGE: 59.7% (40-27-3)

Read More 680 Words

Seven From Sunday – Week 14

PRESS RELEASE

 

Seven From Sunday - Week 14

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 9, the 14th week of the 2018 season.

  • The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS defeated Tampa Bay, 28-14,

PRESS RELEASE

 

Seven From Sunday – Week 14

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 9, the 14th week of the 2018 season.

  • The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS defeated Tampa Bay, 28-14, and clinched the NFC South division title for the second-consecutive season. New Orleans has won back-to-back division titles for the first time in franchise history.
    The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS clinched a playoff berth with a 27-24 overtime victory over Baltimore. The Chiefs advance to the postseason for the fourth-consecutive season.

    The LOS ANGELES RAMS, who clinched the NFC West division title in Week 13 and play at Chicago tonight (8:20 PM ET, NBC), can clinch a first-round bye with a victory over the Bears.
     

  • The MIAMI DOLPHINS defeated New England, 34-33, on the final play from scrimmage, as running back KENYAN DRAKE took a lateral from wide receiver DE VANTE PARKER 52 yards for a touchdown as time expired.

    The Dolphins’ game-winning 69-yard touchdown was the longest play from scrimmage to win a game with no time remaining in the fourth quarter since the 1970 merger.

    Dolphins running back FRANK GORE recorded 116 scrimmage yards (92 rushing, 24 receiving) in the team’s victory. Gore, who has 18,530 career scrimmage yards, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON (18,456) for the fifth-most scrimmage yards in NFL history. The four players with more scrimmage yards than Gore are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: JERRY RICE (23,540), EMMITT SMITH (21,579), WALTER PAYTON (21,264) and MARSHALL FAULK (19,154).
     

  • Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES completed 35 of 53 passes (66.0 percent) for 377 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for a 91.5 passer rating in the Chiefs’ 27-24 overtime victory over Baltimore.

    Mahomes, who was selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, leads the NFL with 4,300 passing yards and 43 touchdown passes this season. Mahomes joined Pro Football Hall of Famers DAN MARINO (1984) and KURT WARNER (1999) as the only first-or-second year quarterbacks in league annals with at least 4,000 passing yards and 40 touchdown passes in a single season.

    Chiefs tight end TRAVIS KELCE had seven catches for 77 yards and one touchdown in the victory. Kelce has 86 catches and 1,159 receiving yards this season and is the first tight end in league annals with at least 80 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons.

    Kansas City defensive lineman CHRIS JONES recorded a sack in the win and has at least one sack in each of the Chiefs’ past nine games. Jones is the first player to record a sack in at least nine consecutive games in a single season since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982. He is the sixth player since 1982 to record at least one sack in nine consecutive games at any point in time.

  • Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS completed 21 of 32 passes (65.6 percent) for 196 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 103.1 passer rating in the Packers’ 34-20 victory over Atlanta.

    Rodgers, who has not thrown an interception in 368 pass attempts dating back to Week 4, surpassed TOM BRADY (358 consecutive attempts from 2010-11) for the most consecutive pass attempts without an interception in NFL history.
                

  • New York Giants quarterback ELI MANNING passed for 197 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 132.0 passer rating and rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY rushed for 170 yards with one touchdown in the team’s 40-16 victory at Washington.

    Manning has 55,142 career passing yards and became the seventh quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 55,000 passing yards.        

    Barkley, who scored on a 78-yard touchdown run, has five scrimmage touchdowns of at least 50 yards this season, the most by a rookie in a single season since Pro Football Hall of Famer RANDY MOSS (five touchdowns in 1998). Only BILLY HOWTON of the 1952 Green Bay Packers had more such touchdowns as a rookie in a single season (six).

    Barkley has 12 games with at least 100 scrimmage yards in 2018, tying EDGERRIN JAMES (12 games in 1999) for the second-most games with 100+ scrimmage yards by a rookie in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (13 games in 1983) has more such games.
     

  • New Orleans wide receiver MICHAEL THOMAS had 11 receptions for 98 yards in the Saints’ 28-14 victory at Tampa Bay.

    Thomas, who has 298 receptions since entering the league in 2016, surpassed ODELL BECKHAM, JR. (288 catches from 2014-16) and JARVIS LANDRY (288 catches from 2014-16) for the most catches by a player in his first three seasons in NFL history.
     

  • Other notable performances from Sunday include:
     

    • New England quarterback TOM BRADY passed for 358 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 112.4 passer rating in the Patriots’ Week 14 loss at Miami.

      Brady has 582 career touchdown passes (including the postseason) and surpassed PEYTON MANNING (579) for the most touchdown passes in NFL history.

      Brady has 47 career games with at least 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes and surpassed Manning (46 games) for the second-most such games in league annals. Only DREW BREES (63) has more such games in NFL history.
       

    • San Francisco tight end GEORGE KITTLE had seven catches for 210 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown catch, in the 49ers’ 20-14 victory over Denver.
       
      Kittle’s 210 receiving yards are the third-most by a tight end in a single game in NFL history, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famers SHANNON SHARPE (214 receiving yards on October 20, 2002) and JACKIE SMITH (212 on October 13, 1963).

    • Cleveland rookie quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD completed 18 of 22 passes (81.8 percent) for 238 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions for a 126.9 passer rating in the Browns’ 26-20 victory over Carolina.

      Mayfield has thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of his first 10 career starts and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (1999) and BRAD JOHNSON (1996-97) as the only quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era with a touchdown pass in each of his first 10 career starts.
       

    • Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES had eight catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the Falcons’ loss at Green Bay.

      Jones leads the NFL with 1,429 receiving yards this season and has recorded at least 1,400 receiving yards in each of the past five seasons, the longest streak in NFL history

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

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‘Cover City’: NFL Week 14 Picks, Preview With Steve Hytner

Sports Handle is pleased to present Cover City: A Pro Football Betting Podcast, hosted by Eric Rosenthal (@ericcports), brought to you by PropSwap.com. Rosenthal is a professional sports bettor who focuses on NFL and college football. He’s wagered more than $25 million in the last nine years, getting banned from many sportsbooks along the way.

Sports Handle is pleased to present Cover City: A Pro Football Betting Podcast, hosted by Eric Rosenthal (@ericcports), brought to you by PropSwap.com. Rosenthal is a professional sports bettor who focuses on NFL and college football. He’s wagered more than $25 million in the last nine years, getting banned from many sportsbooks along the way.

Week 14 is here and it’s GOLD. Steve Hytner (@hytner), podcaster, sports bettor and comedian also known as Kenny Bania of Seinfeld, joins Rosenthal to discuss this week’s matchups. Listen below for the one team Hytner refuses to take on the road, and did Rosenthal get engaged this week? 

Listen and subscribe on Spotify here. Download the PropSwap app for iOS systems here and Android here. Time codes for the episode follow below.

7:06 — Baltimore Ravens +6.5 at Kansas City Chiefs

9:32 — Indianapolis Colts +4.5 at Texas Houstons

12:09 — Carolina Panthers -1.5 at Cleveland Browns

14:23 — Atlanta Falcons +5 at Green Bay Packers

20:03 — New Orleans Saints -8 at Tampa Buccaneers

20:56 — N.Y Jets -3.5 at Buffalo Bills

23:48 — New England Patriots -7.5 at Miami Dolphins

25:04 —  L.A. Rams -3 at Chicago Bears

26:36 —  A bundled trio of second- and third-string QBs: N.Y. Giants -3.5 at Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos -4 at San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals +14 at L.A. Chargers.

36:09 —  Detroit Lions -2.5 at Arizona Cardinals.

37:23 — Philadelphia Eagles +3.5 at Dallas Cowboys.

39:51 — Pittsburgh Steelers -10.5 at Oakland Raiders.

41:40 — Minnesota Vikings +3 at Seattle Seahawks.

47:55 — Additional thoughts on Week 14.

53:23 — PropSwap.com opportunities.

55:50 — Rosenthal’s SuperContest picks.


Also check out this week’s Pro Football Handle podcast!

 

Hear more ‘Cover City’: NFL Week 14 Picks, Preview With Steve Hytner on SportsHandle.

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What to Look For – Week 14

PRESS RELEASE

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 14

WORST TO FIRST: Entering Week 14, one team – the LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-1) – has clinched a playoff berth as the battle for the remaining spots forges ahead. Three ​​additional teams – the HOUSTON TEXANS (9-3), NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-3) and

PRESS RELEASE

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 14

WORST TO FIRST: Entering Week 14, one team – the LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-1) – has clinched a playoff berth as the battle for the remaining spots forges ahead. Three ​​additional teams – the HOUSTON TEXANS (9-3), NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-3) and NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-2) – can clinch a division title this week.

Two teams that finished in or tied for last place in their division in 2017 – the CHICAGO BEARS (NFC North) and Houston Texans (AFC South) – are currently in first place in their respective divisions this season. In 14 of the past 15 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Of the 46 teams in league history to go from “worst-to-first,” 23 of them have done so in the past 15 years (2003-17), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.

STAT PATTING: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 41 touchdown passes and ranks second in passing yards (3,923).

With 77 passing yards on Sunday against Baltimore (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Mahomes would join Pro Football Hall of Famers DAN MARINO (1984) and KURT WARNER (1999) as the only first-or-second year quarterbacks in NFL history to pass for at least 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a single season. Both Marino and Warner were named Associated Press MVP in those seasons.

The first-or-second year quarterbacks to pass for at least 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

PASSING YARDS

TOUCHDOWNS

Dan Marino^#

Miami

1984

5,084

48

Kurt Warner^#

St. Louis

1999

4,353

41

 

 

 

 

 

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City

2018

3,923*

41*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press MVP

*Entering Week 14

 

RAISING ARIZONA: Arizona wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD has 1,281 receptions for 16,053 yards and 115 touchdowns during his 15-year NFL career, all with the Cardinals.

With one reception on Sunday against Detroit (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Fitzgerald would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (1,281 receptions with San Francisco) for the most receptions by a player with one team in NFL history.

The players with the most receptions for one team in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

RECEPTIONS

Larry Fitzgerald

Arizona

1,281

Jerry Rice^

San Francisco

1,281

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

 

FIFTH FOR FRANK: Miami running back FRANK GORE has 18,414 scrimmage yards in his 14-year NFL career.

With 43 scrimmage yards on Sunday against New England (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Gore would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON (18,456 scrimmage yards) for the fifth-most scrimmage yards in league annals.

The players with the most scrimmage yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

SCRIMMAGE YARDS

Jerry Rice^

San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle

23,540

Emmitt Smith^

Dallas, Arizona

21,579

Walter Payton^

Chicago

21,264

Marshall Faulk^

Indianapolis, St. Louis

19,154

LaDainian Tomlinson^

San Diego, New York Jets

18,456

Frank Gore

San Francisco, Indianapolis, Miami

18,414

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

 

TOUCHDOWN STREAK: Cleveland rookie quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD has thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of his first nine NFL starts.

With a touchdown pass against Carolina (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Mayfield would become the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era to record at least one touchdown pass in each of his first 10 career starts.

The players with a touchdown pass in each of their first 10 career starts since 1966:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON(S)

Kurt Warner^

St. Louis

1999

Brad Johnson

Minnesota

1996-97

 

 

 

Baker Mayfield

Cleveland

2018*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Has TD pass in each of first nine starts

 

SAQUON FROM SCRIMMAGE: New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY had 146 scrimmage yards (125 rushing, 21 receiving) in the Giants’ Week 13 overtime victory against Chicago. Barkley leads the NFL with 11 games of at least 100 scrimmage yards in 2018.

With 100 scrimmage yards on Sunday at Washington (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Barkley would tie EDGERRIN JAMES (12 games in 1999) for the second-most games with at least 100 scrimmage yards by a rookie in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (13 games in 1983) has more such games.

The rookies with the most games with at least 100 scrimmage yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS

Eric Dickerson^#

Los Angeles Rams

1983

13

Edgerrin James#

Indianapolis

1999

12

 

 

 

 

Saquon Barkley

New York Giants

2018

11*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 14

 

RECORD-SETTING RECEIVER: Pittsburgh wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN has 81 receptions for 1,028 yards and leads the NFL with 12 touchdown receptions this season.

With 10 receptions on Sunday at Oakland (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Brown, who has 663 receptions since 2013, can surpass WES WELKER (672 from 2007-12) for the most catches by a player over any six-year span in NFL history.

The most receptions by a player over any six-year span in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

RECEPTIONS

Wes Welker

New England

2007-12

672

Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh

2013-18

663*

Marvin Harrison^

Indianapolis

1999-2004

649

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*In sixth year of span

 

Brown, who had 154 receiving yards in Week 13, has 8,876 receiving yards since 2013 and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (8,759 from 1990-1995) for the most receiving yards by a player over any six-year span in NFL history.

The most receiving yards by a player over any six-year span in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

RECEIVING YARDS

Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh

2013-18

8,876*

Jerry Rice^

San Francisco

1990-95

8,759

Marvin Harrison^

Indianapolis

1999-2004

8,707

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*In sixth year of span

 

ZACH ATTACK: Philadelphia tight end ZACH ERTZ ranks second in the NFL with 93 receptions and second among tight ends with 978 receiving yards this season.

With seven receptions and 22 receiving yards on Sunday at Dallas (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Ertz can become the fourth tight end in NFL history to record at least 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.

The tight ends with at least 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RECEPTIONS

RECEIVING YARDS

Jason Witten

Dallas

2012

110#

1,039

Dallas Clark

Indianapolis

2009

100

1,106

Tony Gonzalez

Kansas City

2004

102

1,258

 

 

 

 

 

Zach Ertz

Philadelphia

2018

93*

978*

*Entering Week 14

#Single-season record by a tight end

 

DOMINANT DONALD: Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle AARON DONALD leads the NFL with 16.5 sacks this season and has recorded at least two sacks in each of his past three games.

With two sacks on Sunday Night Football at Chicago (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Donald can become the fourth player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, to record at least two sacks in four consecutive games in a single season, joining SIMEON RICE (five games in 2002) and Pro Football Hall of Famers KEVIN GREENE (four games in 1998) and REGGIE WHITE (four games in 1987).

The players with the most consecutive games with at least two sacks in a single season since 1982:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 2+ SACKS

Simeon Rice

Tampa Bay

2002

5

Kevin Greene^

Carolina

1998

4

Reggie White^

Philadelphia

1987

4

 

 

 

 

Aaron Donald

Los Angeles Rams

2018

3*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Active streak

 

Donald, who has recorded at least two sacks in six games this season, can become the fourth player since 1982 to record at least seven games with two-or-more sacks in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers REGGIE WHITE (eight games in 1987), CHRIS DOLEMAN (seven games in 1989) and BRUCE SMITH (seven games in 1990).

The players with the most games with two-or-more sacks in a single season since 1982:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

GAMES WITH 2+ SACKS

Reggie White^#

Philadelphia

1987

8

Chris Doleman^

Minnesota

1989

7

Bruce Smith^#

Buffalo

1990

7

 

 

 

 

Aaron Donald

Los Angeles Rams

2018

6*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year

*Entering Week 14

 

JONES-ING FOR MORE: Kansas City defensive lineman CHRIS JONES ties for fifth in the AFC with 10 sacks this season and has recorded at least one sack in eight consecutive games.

With a sack on Sunday against Baltimore (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Jones would become the sixth player since 1982 to record at least one sack in nine consecutive games and the first player since 1982 to record nine consecutive games with at least one sack within a single season.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least one sack since 1982:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

SEASON(S)

CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A SACK

DeMarcus Ware

Dallas

2007-08

10

Simon Fletcher

Denver

1992-93

10

Dwight Freeney

Indianapolis

2008-09

9

Kevin Greene^

San Francisco, Carolina

1997-98

9

Bruce Smith^

Buffalo

1986-87

9

 

 

 

 

Chris Jones

Kansas City

2018

8*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Active streak

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

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