Tonight on the radio version of News, Notes and Rumors

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Bill Hubbell, beat writer for the Vikes on the draft and the Vikes’ plans.

Cleveland sports legend Bob Karlovec on the Browns and Cavs

Scott Wright, editor of DraftCountdown.com on the NFL Draft

NNR at 6PM EST follows the Moohead show at 5PM on http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/.  Press the Green arrow at 6 for NNR.

Join Mr. Moohead  on http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/ after early Cavs games for his post-game chat.

The archive of the show is available the following day at https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

Be part of the show by calling our SportSims.com hotline at 216-539-0607.

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 edits https://fryingpansports.com and was a senior writer for .  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits .  

 

What Did We Learn from the Championship games?

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nfl

NFC GAME Saints 31 Vikings 28 Overtime

Vikings

The turnovers killed the Vikes. They lost 3 of 6 fumbles and 2 picks. They totally outplayed the Saints on offense but gave Brees and Co. too many short fields. Even so, QB Favre brought them back to tie the Saints. The game was determined by the turnovers, the lack of protection for Favre, and the toss of the overtime coin flip.

Favre can not be blamed for what happens to the Vikes. The team never would have been in the game with Jackson or any other QB on the roster. Favre got the team there by pulling out so many wins during the season and giving the team the belief that the QB could win a game not just lose one. Now the question is what will Favre decide about coming back?

He had a great season with the fewest picks of his career. He looked like anything but a 40 year old QB and I think he really enjoyed playing with this team. I would guess that he will take his time in making up his mind about coming back. It will probably take until the 3rd game of preseason for him to decide. That way he avoids 2 a day practices and training camp.

The one thing that will help him make his decision is better protection. Favre stood in against a Saint pass rush that the Vike line was unprepared to handle. But despite the punishment, Favre was effective.

The Vikes’ running game was more effective than normal. It averaged 4.6 per carry. The O converted 58% of their 3rd downs and out gained the passing yards of the Saints 310 to 189.

The Viking D line did a nice job given the great field position the O gave up. They held the Saints to 68 yards rushing. They also caused 3 fumbles. They did miss a couple of picks that might have turned the game around.

Saints

Paul Brown once said “I’d rather be lucky than good. Good teams lose.” The Saints got lucky winning the flip of the overtime coin. But it took a good kick return and great drive to get into position to kick the game winning field goal. QB Brees’ numbers are not impressive but he did what he had to do. He was able to take advantage of the gifts the Vikes gave him.

The O line did a very good job. It allowed only 1 sack by a top D. They were not able to get the running game working however. The ground game only averaged 3 yards a carry.

The Saints D played well and created some of the turnovers that determined the outcome of the game. The one thing that the D was able to do was put pressure on Favre all game long. They beat him and therefore the O of the Vikes into submission.

The Bottom line: The Saints got VERY lucky. They won’t have the luck or the crowd when they play the Colts in Miami.

AFC GAME Colts 30 Jets 17

Jets

I have to admit I was wrong about QB Sanchez. He played as well as possibly could have been expected of any young QB let alone a rookie. He was 17-30 for 257 and 2 TDs but one pick. With the Colt safeties playing up to stop the run, Sanchez used a pump fake to help WR Edwards get open and threw a perfect pass for the first TD of the game. For once in the last couple of years, Edwards actually caught the ball and scored. Sanchez led the Jets to a 17-6 lead with less than 2 minutes left in the first half. That is when the wheels fell off the Jet and it crashed on the runway.

The running game of the Jets was nonexistent. It averaged only 3 yards per carry. The speed of the Colts D was too much for the O and they were not able to get the big runs that had helped get the team to the AFC Championship game. The team was also not able to make the 2nd half adjustments to move the ball.

The Jets D gave up a score with less than a minute left in the 1st half. That was a killer. The D couldn’t figure out how to stop Manning in that drive or the entire second half. When they played zone, Manning would look the safety off and hit the open receivers. When the Jets played man, Manning used double moves to get his guys open. The other problem was the lack of pressure on Manning. They were so focused on stopping the pass, they gave up 101 yards rushing and 4.2 per carry.

Colts

The Manning passing game is a thing of beauty. Manning cut up the pass D of the Jets like it was a rare steak. He was sacked twice but had the pass D totally confused. The O line did fairly well holding off the Jet pass rush. Manning showed why he is the best QB in the game right now. He has had his best season this year given the fact that he was working with a lot of rookie receivers.

The Colts D did the one thing they needed to do–shut down the Jet running game. The Jets ran the ball 29 times for only 86 yards. The Jet O line could not get to the LBs to open up the running lanes. The Colts D line played much better than they have in previous games. They bottled up the O line and the LBs cut off the outside run.

The bottom line: The Colts with Manning at QB will be a really tough Super Bowl competitor.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

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 is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL FOOTBALL,Super Bowl,Conference Championship game,Colts,Saints,Jets,Manning,Favre,Vikings,analysis

What did we learn from the NFC Divisional round of the playoffs.

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nfl

Cardinals 14 @ Saints 45

Cards

The O line let QB Warner down. It had played so well last week but folded under the pressure of the Saint D this week. The WRs didn’t have time to get open. Warner went 17-26 for just 205 and no TDs. That was not enough to offset the Saint O.

After a single run 70 yards the Saints shut the run down. With the Cards forced to pass on every down, the D line just opened up and rushed the passer.

The Cards D was unable to cover the Saint receivers early. When the Cards fell behind by 14 in the first quarter, the D couldn’t stop the run. Injuries to key players also contributed to the Saints scoring 45 points.

Saints

The Saint O had struggled in the last few games. In the last three games all of which were losses the Saints O scored only 44 total points. But someone flipped the switch for the playoffs and the O came alive. The passing game got them up by 14 after the 1st quarter and they did whatever they wanted after that. QB Brees was 23-32 for 247 and 3 TDs. RB Thomas carried 13 times for only 52 yards but RB Bush had 5 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown. The O line kept the ball moving by excellent pass and run blocking. The Card D was exhausted.

The Saints D was outstanding as well. They had played well in the losses at the end of the season but were let down by the lack of O. They allowed only 67 points in the 3 losses. Against the Cards they caused 3 fumbles (recovering 1) and a pick. The Cards just could not move the chains and keep the ball.

Cowboys 3 @ Vikings 34

Cowboys

This is the Boys we have come to see in the playoffs. They couldn’t get out of their own way. They couldn’t protect QB Romo. He was running around like a butcher shop delivery boy surrounded by a pack of wild dogs. Romo was 22-35 for 198 and a pick. The over rated Boy O line was unable to either open holes for the running game or protect their QB. RB Jones broke one run for 17 yards but had 13 attempts for 52 yards otherwise. Barber got just 8 attempts for 14 yards. The O committed penalties, missed assignments, and were unable to handle the D line of the Vikes.

The Boys D was equally inept. They did do a reasonable job against RB Peterson holding him to 63 yards on 26 attempts. But time after time, Favre hit a pass that moved the chains and kept the Boys D on the field.

Vikings

This game was why the Vikes had to sign Favre. He was the difference in this game as he had been in so many of the Vikes wins before. He was only 15-24 for 234 yards but threw 4 TDs. When the Vikes got a 14 point lead, the game was over. The O just kept the ball away from the Boys and wore the Cowboy D to a frazzle. It was a perfect combination of passing keeping the chains moving. The 14 point explosion in the 4th quarter was due to a totally defeated D giving up because the Boys O was totally outclassed by the Vikes.

One problem exists that will prevent the Vikes from getting to the Super Bowl–The O line has to be able to get Peterson running room. If they can not run the ball against the Saints, they will lose.

The Vikes D did what was expected. They harassed Romo and prevented the run from hurting them. They sacked Romo 6 times and made the tackle when he completed a pass. The Boys got just 3.8 yards per pass attempt. That is not nearly enough to get a win. They held the run to just 3.8 per attempt. This D is the real thing. The Vikes have had the D, O line, and running back to win in previous years. They one thing they lacked was a QB to get it done. With Favre they have that now.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

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 is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: nfl football,fantasy football,nfl playoffs,Super Bowl,Cardinals,Saints,Warner,Brees,Cowboys,Vikings,Romo,Favre

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

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nfl

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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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 .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,Playoffs,Colts,Chargers,Patroits,Bengals,Broncos,Ravens,Jaguars,Saints,Vikings,Eagles,Cowboys,Giants,Packers,Weis,Browns,Bears,Learner,Mangini,Reid
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  • Published: Oct 24th, 2009
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Around the NFL for 10/24/09

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nfl

There are some critical games this weekend that will define the leaders at the half way post of the season.

Vikes @ Steelers

The Steelers are behind the Bengals by virtue of their loss to Cincy a couple of weeks ago. They need to keep winning not only to insure they win the AFC North but because they don’t want to go to either Indy or New England in the playoffs. This will be a real test for them. They have not been dominate on the ground for a couple of years and it won’t do much against one of the best D lines in the league. The Steelers will rely on the arm of Roethlisberger. On D they will have to balance their efforts to both control the running of Peterson and the passing of Favre.

The Vikes will be at a disadvantage against the pass as all pro DB Winfield is out for the game. Look for them to rely more on the run with AP and keep the Steeler O off the field. The O line of the Vikes has not produced up to their billing blocking for the run. AP is averaging only 5.1 which is below his lofty standards. The line will have to get to the linebackers if AP is going to be successful.

The Vikes passing game has not produced the yards per game that Favre is used to but he has no complaints. The best WR is Rice who averages over 17 yards per catch. Harvin is expected to play and he is outstanding as well. The Vikes should win this game on the road and keep their record perfect.

Falcons @ Cowboys

The Falcons come off an exciting win over the Bears and will face the division leading Saints next week. That is a classic sandwich game. The Birds will have to be focused on this game because the Boys are dangerous particularly at home. The Bird O is only average because the running game has not been up to what it produced last year. RB Turner was outstanding last year but is only averaging 3.5 per carry this season. Part of that is due to a chest injury that has limited his practice. Another aspect is that teams are game planning to stop him after his first big year as a starter. The result is that they are getting less than 100 yards per game on the ground. That puts a lot more pressure on the passing game of QB Ryan.

The Falcons D has played well at times but tends to struggle against really good teams that can run the ball. To make matters worse, they have lost both starting S. The front 7 will have to keep the Boys ground game under control and put pressure on the QB.

The Boys have been as inconsistent as any team in the league. QB Romo is struggling but the team passes almost twice as often as they run despite both backs averaging more than 5 yards per attempt. Romo will have to stop throwing picks and get more accurate in the 4th quarter. He has not come through in close games and that is preventing him from getting into the top 10 of NFL QBs.

The D has been playing OK but not great. The team is 3-2 and needs to keep winning to stay competitive in the NFC East. The Falcons will win when Romo throws another pick late in the game.

Bears @ Bengals

Both teams come in needing a win. The Bears are in 3rd behind both the Pack and the Vikes at 3-2 2.5 games behind the latter. They suffered a tough loss last week at Atlanta. While the passing game has been fine with QB Cutler, the running game has struggled. RB Forte is averaging a poor 3.4 per carry. That has resulted in the Bears averaging less than 90 yards per game rushing. They have to do better.

The Bear D has had a lot of injuries losing MLB Urlacker to the IR and star DT Harris is doubtful for the game. Because of the injuries the Bears will struggle to stop the running game of the Bengals averaging 113 yards per game.

The Bengals were playing very well but looked more like the Bungles in a loss last week to the Texans. That cost them sole possession of 1st place in the AFC North. The Steelers are just a half game behind in the tie breaker because they lost to Cincy. The O is going to have to give Palmer better protection than they did last week. RB Benson has been a jewel. He has given the team the first real rushing threat in several years.

This game will tell us which Bengals team is likely to play the rest of the season. Is it the team that beat the Steelers and Ravens or the one that blew the game to the Texans? I think it is the former and the Bengals win at home.

Saints @ Dolphins

The Dolphin D won’t be able to handle the O of New Orleans and the Saints win.

Cards @ Giants

I love QB Warner. He is one of the best in the league. But the Arizona D is so inconsistent that I can’t bet on the Cards getting the win on the east coast. The Giants win in a shoot out.

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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