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  • Published: Dec 19th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
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What to look for in week 15 of the NFL.

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Colts 35 Jags 31

The Colts played down again to the opposition. The first 3 quarters the O looked very average. But great teams find a way to win games in which they have not played their best. The Colts did that. They have clinched home field so it will be interesting to see how much they play their stars. In the past when they have rested their stars after clinching the top spot they have lost early in the plahyoffs. When they have been challenged to get to the post season, they have done well. Fantasy owners need to watch out for Colts on their team.

Cowboys @ Saints

The popping your hear is the coming from the oil on the frying pan in which Boys coach Phillips is being cooked. Most experts say the only way he gets out of the frying pan is to win out including at least one game in the playoffs. Forget it. Phillips is gone even if he wins the Super Bowl, which he will not. The Boys’ O is top 5 but that is very misleading. They have piled up big numbers against the lesser teams on their schedule. Romo and the Boys struggle against an aggressive D. The Saints are a very aggressive D.

The Saints seem to be going for a perfect season because they have never been 13-0 before. Coach Payton won’t take the foot off the gas except for players nursing injuries. The Saints were playing outstanding ball up to week 12 then had two close calls in a row. Payton will want to make a statement with a national game and will do his best to get the team playing at the top of their game against the Boys. Saints win easily.

49ers @ Eagles

With their win over the Cards last week, this becomes a critical game for the Niners. They need to keep wining and hope the Cards fall again. They are not in a position to get into the hunt for a wild card. The Eagles need the game badly as well. By kickoff, they will know if a win will give them a 2+ game lead on the Boys. QB McNair has been hot and the Eagle D will be blitzing coming down in the elevator. The Birds will be too much for the Niners. Eagles win.

Dolphins @ Titans

Both teams need this game as well. The Fish are chasing the Pats. At 7-6 they trail the Pats by 1. The Titans’ playoff hopes are on life support at 6-7. Young is questionable with a injury so Collins may start. The running game of the Titans has really come around in the last few weeks as the O line is now healthy. But the Dolphins have been getting outstanding play from QB Henne in place of Pennington. The difference will be the Dolphins’ D. The Fish win.

Bengals @ Chargers

The Bengals not only have to overcome a bad loss to the Vikes but the loss of WR Henry. It looked like Henry was starting to turn his life around. The O of the Bengals was just not crisp at all last week. While part of that was due to the Vike D, part was the team showing the pressure of the playoff run. They would be helped by getting the #2 spot to avoid the Wild Card round. A win over the current #2 Chargers would put the Bengals in their spot with 2 to go as the Bengals would own the tie breaker. The O line is going to have to play better particularly in pass protection.

The Chargers are up on Denver by 2 games. But they know that they can not stop because the Broncos will probably win 2 of the next 3 games. The Chargers looked very good last week in beating the Boys on the road. The Bengals will play hard but not win again and see their lead in the AFC North shrink.

Bears @ Ravens

The Bears do not travel well. The Ravens are working hard to catch up to the Bengals or to get to a wild card spot. But they have the Steelers right on their tail feathers. The Birds have had an up and down season but are holding onto the 6th playoff spot now. With 2 other teams also having a 7-6 record to keep that spot they have to keep winning. The Birds beat the Bears and creep a little closer to the playoffs.

Packers @ Steelers

The Steelers have fallen and can’t seem to be able to get up. The Pack is hot winning 4 in a row after losing 3 straight. The O has really come on and now is able to run the ball better. But the O still depends on the arm of QB Rodgers. In addition to his 102 passer rating he has run for 3 TDs.

The Steelers are really down after a loss to the 1-11 Browns. He got sacked 8 times by a team that couldn’t find a bag at a Kroger grocery store. The Pack is playing outstanding D and is very effective at the pass rush. This one will get ugly quickly. Even at home the Pack win in a walkaway.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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What did we learn from week 14 in the NFL?

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The Steelers are really bad.

Losing to the injury depleted Browns was the last straw for the Steelers’ attempt to defend their Super Bowl title. The team started off 6-2 but after 5 straight losses are now 6-7 and done. The O line has totally failed to protect QB Roethlisberger who has suffered from concussions. On Thursday it allowed 8 sacks to a Browns’ D that couldn’t find one at a Kroger grocery store. The line is also struggling to open holes for the running game. The most surprising thing was a duct-taped D was more physical than the Steelers on O. The O line has deteriorated badly and has been neglected in the draft. There will be major changes on the line next season.

The Pit D hasn’t stepped up either. They are soft against the run and are not able to cause turnovers the way they did last year. No matter how the last 3 games turn out, there will be major changes on the D as well.

Things are getting so bad that there are rumblings that Coach Tomlin may be part of the problem. Can it be that he has already lost the support of the team in just his 3rd year? That is possible so you can add his name to the slightly warm seat list.

Did the win against the Steelers save Mangini’s job?

After the big win in Cleveland, there has been some talk around town that the win might save Magenous’ job. The issue is still open depending on what happens in the next 3 games. We have seen a national game win before. Last year a 1-3 Browns team beat the undefeated Giants. That Browns team went on to win 2 more games the rest of the way. To see my entire article on this check out NflDraftDog.com.

The Colts and the Saints stay perfect.

The Saints game wasn’t pretty but they came back and won. The Colts looked good wiping out the Broncos. Both face interesting games this week. The Saints host the Pats and the Colts go to Jacksonville that is still in a position to get to the playoffs.

The Broncos are falling and they won’t get up.

Denver lost last week and they will not make the playoffs. After a 6-0 start they have gone 2-5 and are now 2+ games behind the hot Chargers. Their only 2 wins were against the lousy Chiefs and the broken Giants. They are still 1 game up on the rest of the Wild card group but have a tough schedule down the stretch. So much for the Coach of the Year award for McDaniels.

The Bengals are who we thought they were.

The team is a lot better but has not yet gotten to the point where they can win a big game. They may be better prepared by playoff time but I don’t expect them to go too deep this year. But watch out next season because this team could be really good next year.

The Cardinals need to improve their O line before they get Warner hurt more.

We have seen what happens to the team when Warner is out and it isn’t pretty. The O line is terrible. It made no difference if the 49ers blitzed or not because they got to Warner either way.

The Dolphins took a big step toward a wild card or more.

The win over the Jags was big because it knocked Jacksonville out of the playoff spot as of now and put them in the 6th spot. Now they are looking at the Division lead currently held by the Pats. The Pats would have been in a tough spot had they lost to the Panthers but pulled out the win. The Fish have both Pit and the Titans left which is a tougher run than the Pats with the Jags and Bills left. Both teams will play the Texans. If the Fish make the post season they will have earned it.

Look for the Eagles to win the NFC Least.

The Cowboys took a major hit with their loss to the Chargers. With the wins over the Giants the Birds took control of their division. The Giants chances are on life support. The Boys have a heartbeat but need a pacemaker badly to keep going. The Eagles can end the Boy’s chances and Phillips coaching career by beating them in week 17.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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  • Author:
  • Published: Dec 12th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What to look for in the NFL for week 14.

What to look for in the NFL for week 14.

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Saints @ Falcons The Saints are undefeated and were rolling until they had a lucky win over the Redskins. If the Saints play the same way they did last week, the winning streak could end. Otherwise if QB Ryan is not playing for the Falcons, this game will be over quickly.

Packers @ Bears Both teams are struggling to overcome injuries. The Pack will be missing NT Pickett and might be without DE Jolly and LB Barnett. The Bears lost MLB Urlacher early in the season. In addition they may be without WR Hester, OT Pace, LB Briggs and DL Harris.

The Bears have not gotten the production out of QB Cutler that they expected. Part of that is his fault but part is due to a lack of a running game, below average protection, and drops by a lesser group of receivers that he had at Denver.

The Pack has playoff hopes and must win this game to keep their wild card chances alive. The D has been playing well particularly in their win last Monday against the Ravens. They still have to play at Pittsburgh and Arizona. They need this game in case they lose one or both of those games. Packers will win but it could be ugly.

Broncos @ Colts The Colts looked good against Tennessee last week after struggling to pull out a win over the Texans the week before. The Colts seem to play up or down to the competition but are still perfect. They have clinched their division and have only home field to worry about now. They have an easy schedule the rest of the way.

The Broncos are a game behind the Chargers in the division. Their 6-0 start is a distant memory since they have lost 4 out of the last 5. The win last week against a very weak Chiefs team was little help. The Broncos have an easy schedule after this game but need to stay close to top of the division but at 8-4 they are in good shape for a wild card. The big question for them is will QB Orton be playing? If not, it will get ugly for them quickly. Either way, the Colts should win at home.

Chargers @ Cowboys Both teams need this game to stay on top of their division. It should be a very fun game to watch. The Chargers are up by 1 game and the Boys are tied with the Eagles. Both have injuries. The key for the Boys will be containing the passing game of the Chargers. The visitors must pressure Boy QB Romo to slow down a good O. The Chargers should win if LB Merriman is healthy enough to play. Otherwise it’s a tossup.

Eagles @ Giants The Birds need a win to keep pace with the Boys. The Giants are a game behind both and need to win out to insure a shot at the post season. Giant QB Manning is limping on a bad foot but the O seems to play better at home.

The Eagles won 40-17 in their earlier meeting. But they had Westbrook then and he is sidelined with a concussion. After a disaster in week 10 against the Chargers, the Birds have won 3 straight. They looked very good last week against the Falcons.

While the Birds need this game but the Giants need it more. But the O fails the Giants who are struggling to run the ball this year and the Eagles win on the road.

GAME OF THE WEEK: Bengals @ Vikings This is a key game for Cincy. It is a chance to prove that they are a contender not a pretender. A win over the NFC North leader will clinch the AFC North for Cincy. But even more important is the ability to prove that they are among the very best in the league. The key for Cincy will be run blocking. If they can manage to run the ball against the Vikes, it will slow down the pass rush and allow the Bengals to balance their O.

The Vikes have looked solid except for a bad game last week at the Cards. The last 4 game are critical for the Vikes if they want to get the 2nd seed and a bye week in the post season. The game should be close but I can’t see the Bengals pulling it out. The Vikes win by a field goal.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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Tuesday QB—Projecting the playoffs at the 3/4th pole.

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AFC Seeds

  1. Colts At 12-0 there is little chance anyone will beat the Colts for home field.
  2. Chargers SD has a lead over Cincy in the AFC record. If SD can beat Cincy at home in week 15 they will clinch this spot.
  3. Patriots The loss to Miami last week eliminated any chance of the Pats to avoid the Wild Card round but they have an easy schedule the rest of the way. Their key game will be in week 17 against the Jags who might be fighting for a playoff spot themselves.
  4. Bengals  Cincy has the toughest remaining schedule of the top 4. I can’t see them winning at the Vikes and then at the Chargers to win the 2nd spot. Instead, they will likely lose both and end up in the 4th spot even if they can beat the Jets.
  5. Broncos Denver will probably lose 2 out of their 3 games left winning only against Oakland but their hot start has kept them in the race. They will lose to the Colts and the Eagles but hang on by a fingernail to the 5th spot.
  6. Jags or Ravens The Jags have a 1 game lead in the overall standings and 2 in the Conference loss column over the Ravens but the Jags have to play Indy at home and NE on the road. I expect them to lose both giving them a 9-7 record with an 8-4 within the AFC. I project the Ravens to have the identical records in both. The playoff spot will be determined by net points within the conference.

NFC Seeds

  1. Saints The only threat to a 16-0 record for the Saints will be the home game against what by then should be a crumbling Cowboy team in week 15. Other than that and some new injuries, this Saints team could march through the schedule unbeaten. To insure home field throughout the playoffs, they will have to be prefect.
  • Vikings If the Vikes get by Cincy next week at home, they should go the rest of the way without another loss. They will have to face the Saints in the playoffs at NO and that won’t be easy. Arizona showed the path to beating the Vikes last week by running multiple crossing patterns against the Vike zone.

  • Cardinals only if Warner stays healthy The Cards are the toughest team to project because they look like world champs one week only to look just weak the next. But they have the easiest schedule with a game at SF and DT and games at home against the Rams and the Pack. Only the Packers are good enough to beat them with a healthy Warner but anything can happen.

  • NFC (L)East team This had better be the Boys unless Coach Phillips wants to be unemployed and see Jones tear the team apart and put it back together crooked. The Eagles look like the team to beat for the 4th spot with a shot at sneaking into #3 if they win out. I project them at #4

  • Packers The Pack could end up with the 3rd best record in the conference but can’t catch the Vikes for the division crown. They will be a tough out in the playoffs.

  • The loser of the Eagles/Cowboys fight for the NFC Least title. This division has been a major disappointment this season. The Giants have a chance to overtake the Cowboys because they hold the tiebreaker.

  • Around the NFL

    Weis is dialing for dollars.

    Ex ND coach Weis is making the rounds of teams that might be looking for an Off Coordinator. Reportedly he visited the Bears yesterday and is scheduled to be in Cleveland today. There are rumors that he may be named OC this week replacing the often criticized Brian Daboll. Weis coached QB Quinn at ND and may be hired just as a consultant to help his development.

    Cleveland owner Lerner backing off his “football Czar” talk.

    After a particularly disgusting series of losses, Learner told the press he was going to look for an experienced NFL guy to oversee the operation. After a couple of games that were 2 bottle of Tums disgusting, he has not mentioned it since. There is a 40% chance that Mangini survives. The talk now is to hire a football guy that might be able to work with Mangini as HC without any input to the draft.

    Eagles coach Reid to get a new contract.

    Eagle management has recognized that Reid would be a top candidate for other NFL jobs opening after the season. They will give Reid a new deal.

    That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

    Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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    Around the NFL for 11/21/09

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    Miami 24 Carolina 17

    The Fish won without Ronnie Brown who is out for the year. Ricky Williams played both parts in leading the team to a critical win against the Panthers scoring 3 TDs. CR QB Delhomme was back to his normal production completing less than 50% of his passes and throwing as many TDs as picks.

    Fish QB Henne did just enough to keep the ball moving to get the win.

    Indy @ Baltimore

    The Colts are playing well but Raven QB Flacco is more than capable of taking advantage of the injuries in the D backfield of the Colts. The Colts D has never been great at stopping the run and may end up struggling IF the Ravens can get their ground game going again. That depends on the health of both RBs Rice and McGahee. I would not be surprised if Baltimore will pull off the upset.

    Atlanta @ NY Giants

    Both of these teams need a win to stay in the NFC wild card race. The Falcons are in the worst shape being 4+ games behind the undefeated Saints. They have no chance to win the division and must win conference games to stay in the WC race. Right now they are tied with the Packers for the second WC spot. Both of their RBs are hurt but key reserve Norwood should be able to go. He and Snelling will share the running duties.

    The Giants have injury problems of their own. QB Manning and RB Bradshaw both are hurting but will play. Manning has not been as effective since the injury to his foot. RB Jacobs seems to be a step slower than he was last year. There is no report of an injury but he is averaging only 4.1 per attempt which is much lower than his career average.

    Manning’s problems have been as much the injury as his young inexperienced WRs. There have been a lot of drops which are drive killers. The O line has also failed to protect him and drive defenders to make room for the running game. As a unit they played much better last year.

    The Giants D is still playing at a high level and they should win at home.

    San Diego @ Denver

    At one time Denver had a 3 game lead over the Chargers but after losing the last 3 games, they are now tied in the loss column. The Chargers need to beat the Broncos to clime out of 6th place in the second WC spot and into the division lead. They play KC and Cleveland in the next two games which should be 2 wins. The Chargers need to get their running game going because they need O balance. QB Rivers has done a lot with very little help. The D needs to put pressure on the Denver QB.

    Denver isn’t sure if QB Orton will be able to play because of an ankle injury. If not, they will certainly lose with QB Simms at the helm.

    This should be one of the best games of the week and I see the Chargers winning regardless of the Bronco QB.

    NY Jets @ New England

    Spygate II is always fun to watch. The Jets have fallen and they can’t get up. Pats win easily.

    Philly @ Chicago

    The Eagles need the win to stay in the 1st WC spot in the NFC. They were in the lead in the division until they lost to the Cowboys and the Chargers in the last two weeks. QB McNabb has fallen into bad habits as the O line has failed to protect him. He has also lost RB Westbrook for at least several weeks. That makes the Eagle O totally one dimensional.

    The Bears have fallen out of the playoff picture for now. QB Cutler has been frustrated by the lack of playmakers he has to throw to. The running game with RB McCoy has struggled. The D has played well but can’t overcome the shut down of the D.

    Even a loss to the Lions will not get Mangini fired.

    There is a lot of chatter but Owner Lerner doesn’t have the stones to fire Mangini. He will let whoever he hires to oversee the team do it. The Lions win.

    Nothing will come of the Cable ruckus.

    Raider coach Cable will not be suspended for either his history of possible wife abuse nor the confrontation with Hansen.

    That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

    Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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    Around the NFL for 11/14/09

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    SF 10 CH 6

    People around Chicago are wondering what is wrong with QB Cutler. The answer is two fold. First, the protection is bad to terrible. Second, he does not have anything close to the receivers he did in Denver. WR Hester is a KR trying to become a WR and he is the Bears top guy. The next best WR is Bennett but he is averaging less than 4 catches a game. Too many of the passes are going to RBs both because Cutler doesn’t have anyone getting open down field and he doesn’t have enough time to wait for them to uncover. TE Olsen is the best option that Culter has to go down field. The D is doing its job but they won’t win many games scoring 6 points.

    The 49ers are no offensive juggernaut either but Coach Singletary has them playing hard every snap. He has just enough talent to be dangerous to team’s playoff hopes. QB Smith is showing a few hints of getting it but only time will tell if he ever becomes worth the 1st overall pick.

    GAME OF THE WEEK—NE @ IN

    The Pats and the Colts have had the best non-division rivalry in the league over the last few years. They meet again in Indy. Given the Colts’ injury problems in the defensive backfield, QB Brady will probably be throwing a lot. The Pats’ running game has been below average. RB Taylor is hurt and Maroney is not producing the long runs he has in the past. But Brady is hot and nearly back to his pre-injury production. The Pats’ D has struggled more than usual but at 6-2 they have a 2 game lead in the AFC East.

    The Colts are depending on QB Manning because their running O has not developed. He doesn’t have his #2 WR Gonzalez who is on IR. No problem. TE Clark and WR Wayne have 60 and 59 catches receptively. WR Collie has 32 catches and Garcon has 23. The Pats DBs will struggle to keep all those targets covered.

    I think the Colts will win in a very close game.

    CN @ PT

    The Bengals squeaked out a win at home. They will not win this one. The key will be if Cincy can protect QB Palmer. The running of Benson will keep this close because Pit can’t run much. Cincy has lost a couple of key defenders and Pit has S Polamalu who was out for the first game. Pittsburgh wins in a close game and takes control of the division.

    DA @ GB

    The Boys are coming off a big win last week at Philly. The Pack got embarrassed at Tampa last week. So of course the Pack will win. The Pack needs this win badly to stay in the NFC North race. The Boys can’t seem to stand prosperity. They seem to take a step forward to make room for a couple of steps back. The Pack O line is a problem but the Boys will struggle to slow down the passing game. Everything here points to a Boy win and that is why they won’t.

    PH @ SD

    Both teams need this game badly. Both are 5-3 but trail in their divisions. The Eagles looked really good up to last week and their loss to Dallas. They should get RB Westbrook back and the O is not the same without him. He has provided the spark that ignites the Eagle O with his running and pass receiving. The Eagle D may be missing CB Brown and NT Bunkley both of whom have missed practice time this week. They will need both.

    The Chargers have not been able to run the ball at all. Since the Eagles will start blitzing coming down in the hotel elevators, the Charger O line had better be playing its best. The Eagle D will harass QB Rivers all day and the Birds should win.

    MUST WIN—Denver at Washington

    The Broncos were 6-0 at their bye. But they have lost both games since and scored only 17 points total. They have to win at the Redskins because there is a no win policy in the nation’s capitol. If the Broncos lose they will have wasted their great start. The D has played well even in the losses. It has been the total disintegration of the O that has caused the problem. Denver wins and gets 2 games up on SD.

    Stinker of the week (decade?)–Chiefs @ Raiders 

    Anyone that bets on this game deserves to lose money no matter who they picked to win.  Pres. Obama will need bail out any company that has to advertise on this game because no one in their right mind will watch it.

     

    That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

    Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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