Tag Archive | "williams"

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It’s OK if the Steelers win – and other Sunday thoughts…

Posted on 01 February 2009 by Drew Forrester

Having been surrounded by Pittsburgh Steelers football all week on radio row, you’d think I would be the first guy to scream, “PLEASE, ARIZONA…PLEASE BEAT THOSE BLACK AND GOLD RAT FINKS!”

But, I don’t feel that way.

I really don’t care one way or the other who wins today in Tampa, but I can give you a good reason why – in Baltimore – we should be OK with it all if Pittsburgh does come out on top: it reduces their chances of winning the Super Bowl next year.

Think about it.  How hard is it to win back to back Super Bowls?  Since 1990, it’s only been done 3 times.

I’ll take those odds.

So, if Pittsburgh wins today, they won’t win the whole thing again next season.  I’d make that bet in a heartbeat.

And, that means one less team we have to worry about being in the way of the Ravens in 2009.

For the record, by the way, I’m calling it Pittsburgh 27-Arizona 24.

I’d say “I hope I’m wrong…” – but maybe I’d rather not be.  

> The Australian Open Final between Nadal and Federer was tremendous…but it was a little sad to see Federer throw in the towel like that in the 5th set.  Even when Nadal lost the 4th set, 6-3, he made Federer battle for every point.  Once Rafa broke Federer’s serve in the 5th set, Roger packed it in.  One thing for sure right now:  Nadal has Federer’s number.  And don’t look now, but they both have major title wins on three different surfaces.  Federer lacks only a win at Roland Garros (French) to complete the career Grand Slam, while Nadal needs to triumph at Flushing Meadows (U.S. Open) to wrap up his Grand Slam.  I wonder how important it is to Federer to win the French before Rafa wins in New York?  We’ll see in May.

> Start saving your money now for NHL playoff tickets in Washington.  How many highlight-reel game-winning goals has Ovechkin scored this year?  I can think of four off the top of my head.  Most players would give their right leg to have four game-winners in a season…let alone the kind of goals The Great 8 has scored to win games for Washington this year.  Have you seen the goal he scored yesterday in their win over Detroit?  Here it is.  What can you say?  The guys is…well…he’s…GREAT.  

> A nice win for Maryland last night over Miami and they fulfilled my early-week prediction that the Terps would win one and lose one in that brief two-game homestand.  At 3-4 in ACC play, Maryland still needs to somehow get to that 9 win regular season total in conference play to finish with 20 wins and a shot at the NCAA Tournament.  Looking at their remaining schedule, I don’t see how Maryland gets six more wins unless they win two of the five remaining games against the league’s best four teams: North Carolina (2), Duke, Wake Forest and Clemson.  They could go 0-5 in those, unfortunately…but they won’t.  Can they get to 20 wins?  Probably not.  

> Towson continues to struggle at home in CAA play, as the Tigers dropped a 60-53 decision to a surprisingly good Drexel team yesterday before 2,900 at the Towson Center.  The Tigers (3-8/CAA) are just 1-5 at home in conference play and are in danger of finishing 10th or 11th in the CAA if they don’t string together some wins down the stretch.  Towson’s problems are similar to that of Maryland: no big guy, no one under the basket to fight for the ball on either end of the court, and, ultimately, no one the other team has to work hard to take out of the game.  

> I’ll be at the RAC Arena on Monday night for the annual visit from Boston University and their animated Head Coach, Dennis Wolff.  B.U. is one of the America East’s best programs and UMBC will have their hands full on Monday night.  The Retrievers are coming off of a 1-point loss at Stony Brook on Saturday night.  If you’re coming out on Monday night, e-mail me (drew@wnst.net) and we’ll have a soft drink together before the game. 

> I don’t ever get excited about early-season golf on the PGA Tour, but I see that Kenny Perry is leading the tournament in Arizona by one shot going into the final round.  I doubt I’ll watch it today.  But Kenny Perry is a helluva player.  There’s your golf coverage.

> Is the third time the charm?  Twice in the last month, I’ve contacted the Orioles to see if they’ll make room for me in Ft. Lauderdale and allow me to broadcast my morning show from their spring training site in late February.  I still haven’t heard from them (maybe they’re evaluating the hordes of media folks who are applying for spring training credentials?) so I’ll reach out to them ONE more time this week and see if we can make it happen.  

Have a great Sunday…

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Gary fighting with Maryland: Embarrassing for all…

Posted on 28 January 2009 by Drew Forrester

Anyone who has listened to me over the years at WNST knows my #1 sports axiom: “The toughest thing to do in sports…is to stop losing.”

When your car breaks down, you take it to a mechanic and he (or she) knows how to repair the problem. And, if for some reason they don’t know how to fix it, there’s a manual – or web-site these days – that will give them the steps to take to get the job done.

If your faucet starts leaking, you call a plumber and it gets fixed.

Where’s the coaching manual on how to fix a team that’s losing?

There isn’t one.

I might not know exactly how to fix the woes that are smothering the Maryland basketball program right now — but I definitely know what WON’T fix the problem(s).

Gary Williams fighting with the administration:  Won’t fix it.

The administration fighting with Gary: Won’t fix it.

If you haven’t seen this article yet, you may want to check it out, as it’s the latest chapter in Gary-Gate. The whole thing has now blossomed into an ill-timed word-scuffle about how the Terps have stumbled so much over the last six games.

Gary is telling folks he had a couple of players who would have helped this year’s team, but both (Gilchrist and Evans) scampered off for varying reasons…and he’s hinted that the school’s administration didn’t exactly help keep them on campus at College Park.

The administration has relayed a different story, saying Williams knew what was going on the whole time, approved Gilchrist’s departure, and discovered some new information on Evans that he assumed wouldn’t have gone over well with Athletic Director Debbie Yow.

Unfortunately – for both parties – now is not the time to air dirty laundry.  

You would think both of them would be smarter than this…but they’re evidently not…or they’re just looking for a fight.

Gary Williams is in a fight for career-continuation right now.  His team is struggling, his program has taken a significant step backwards over the last five years, and, more importantly, it looks like it might not be getting better anytime soon.

Still, the administration and Kathleen Worthington should be trying to help Gary through this down-time.  

I don’t consider a “he said/she said” newspaper article six games into the ACC campaign to be “trying to help”.

Sources say Worthington appeared in the post-game interview room after last night’s loss to Boston College at the Comcast Center.  Two different people both labeled that appearance “rare”, although Debbie Yow is a regular at Ralph Friedgen’s post-game press conferences.  So, while it’s not an eye-opener to see a member of the team’s athletic department or administration listen in to a coach discussing the game with the media, it’s probably not a coincidence that Worthington showed up out of nowhere last night and decided – on the same day she spoke with The Sun about Williams – to sit in and listen to what Gary had to say after that loss.

I’m no mind reader, but I’d say Worthington was in the room just to make sure Gary didn’t have free reign to hold court with the gathered press corps in the event more questions came up about the players he has and the players he doesn’t have.  Clearly, Sun writer Jeff Barker contacted Worthington during the day Tuesday to get her quotes for the article I linked above – and she must have known that Gary offered a counter-point to what his perceptions were of the departures involving Gilchrist and Evans.

Why Gus Gilchrist and Tyree Evans aren’t in Maryland red is NOT important right now.

Beating Boston College last night was important.

Winning over Miami on Saturday is important.

Creating friction with the coach over players who can’t help him win on Saturday is bush-league.  That said, Gary helped grease the skids for the back-and-forth serve and volley affair with Worthington by discussing the situation with The Sun.  I’m surprised, frankly, that Gary fell for that trick.  Gary Williams should have said:  ”I have a basketball game to win tonight vs. Boston College.  And, after that, I have a game to win against Miami.  I see no reason right now to talk about Gus Gilchrist and Tyree Evans.”

That approach – taking the high road – would have been the best way to go for Williams.  He could have, naturally, knocked on Worthington’s door yesterday afternoon and said to her privately – “Hey, I have games to win and you babbling to the newspaper about those two players and trying to pin it all on me just serves to aggravate me and get me thinking about stuff that takes away from preparing for Boston College.”

I seriously doubt that Gary Williams is pleased with The Sun’s story today.  It paints the picture of a program fractured.  It gives the impression that Gary’s trying to spin some of the blame in the direction of the suits – and they, in turn, have decided they won’t let Gary forget that it was he, not them, that “lost” those two players.

Gary might feel good about the way he defended himself.  But, that article in The Sun is not good for the on-going account of “what’s gone wrong” with the Maryland basketball program.  It’s also not good that Williams spiked the conversation with a snarky, “she’s never won a national championship…” comment when talking about Worthington’s role with the program.  Of course she hasn’t won a national championship, Gary… – if one could give a coach a technical foul for saying something inappropriate, I’d “tee up” Williams for that one.  It was a fan-flamer…and the hotter the fire, the tougher it is to put out.

What’s gone wrong at Maryland is simple:  Gary hasn’t brought in enough good players to compete at the top of the ACC.  Some will blame his coaching ability, some will blame the kids and their performance, and some will say “sports is cyclical and this is the way it goes…the other schools are trying too.”

All of those issues might have some validity.  It’s usually not just one thing that leads to drop-off in winning.

But a coach battling the administration in the newspaper over anything – or the administration battling the coach, whichever way you see it – is just not productive for all who are associated with the program.

I haven’t seen “the manual” on how to fix losing — but I’m almost sure there’s not a chapter in there that reads:  ”When all else fails and your program is going through a tough time, pick a public fight with the Athletic Director, Compliance Director, Coach, or other significant member of the school’s administration.

What’s the old saying?  Loose lips sink ships…

I think I hear the captain now:  ”Folks, we’ve encountered a problem and there appears to be a hole in our boat…”

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A Gary-departure would be costly – but so is losing…

Posted on 26 January 2009 by Drew Forrester

If the Gary Williams era at Maryland could be juxtaposed with a game of “horse”, Gary would have H-O-R-S at this point.

Make no mistake about it, the panic button is blinking and fans of the Terps basketball program have their fist in place, ready to pound on it.

Gary has been maligned for several years now at College Park, as his program has retreated from one of the best in the ACC to one of the most inconsistent.  Williams, naturally, doesn’t like to hear that kind of talk when folks around the Baltimore-DC corridor discuss his level of success and the condition of his program – but there’s no sense in running from the truth:  Maryland basketball is hurting.  Big time.  

Unless something dramatic happens in the next six weeks or so, Gary’s team is going to need a blazing run through the ACC tournament to make into the NCAA’s 65-team field for March Madness.  That’s not a pessimistic view – that’s the reality of a situation marked by three eye opening losses over the last four weeks.  The Terps blew a 14-point lead at home while losing to Morgan State – they squandered a 17-point lead at Miami in the second half and lost there – and last Saturday at Duke, Gary’s boys were humiliated by 41 at Cameron.  It’s ALMOST fair to wonder if the Lady Terps could have played and lost by less.  

I’m not a “fire the coach” kind of guy.  I never have been.  Good coaches (some would say Gary is a great coach) are hard to find.  And, overall, I’ve always preached patience when it comes to coaches because they tend to outlast the players, particuarly at the college level.

Now, though, on the verge of missing out on the big dance for the 4th time in 5 years, Gary Williams is under fire – again – and it might be time to bring out the hose and douse the Gary-flame. 

Notice the word “might” in that sentence above.  I’m not advocating that Gary be fired at Maryland.  But, I do think it’s time to up the magnification level to 10x on the Williams-microscope and watch what happens between now and the end of March.

Anytime you talk about firing a coach, especially in college, funds and finances always come into play.  It’s one thing for a football owner to fire his coach and be contractually bound to pay him $15 million over the next 3 years.  It’s a totally different  set of circumstances when you work for a state institution that is in the process of a hiring freeze, demanding non-paid furloughs to employees and reducing expenses in whatever manner necessary…and you decide to fire the coach despite the fact you still owe him roughly $6 million. 

That’s the case at College Park.  Gary’s contract is guaranteed through the ’11-12 season and 20-year employees don’t generally have “buyout” clauses in their deals.  Gary’s gettin’ paid if Gary gets fired.  

It’s easy for us to say, “Pay the man and get another coach in here and fix the program…” – But it’s not our $6 million.  That said, at some point, the school and the Athletic Department have to put winning ahead of everything else – and that includes: fund raising, who gets their feelings hurt, marketing dollars and having to pay off the $6 million you owe the guy you’re firing.

At some point, winning has to be priority #1.

The uncomfortably-evident (frosty) relationship between Athletic Director Debbie Yow and Gary Williams surely can’t be good for either of them with this kind of results-oriented “issue” at hand.  The fact that Debbie and Gary don’t get along isn’t a big deal because they don’t chat much – or often – even when the team wins.  It’s hard, though, for the two of them to steer this sinking ship together when they’re – well…not together.  If they had a productive relationship, they could bunker down together and figure out a way to make this work since they’re both responsible for the program’s drop-off.  Gary is the coach of the team that is struggling.  Debbie extended the contract of that coach.  They’re linked in ways they don’t want to be, although Debbie ultimately won’t fire herself if the Terps can’t turn things around on the hardwood.

As I always say anytime someone calls or writes “fire the coach!”: “who are you going to hire?”

That’s probably not a subject that needs to be detailed right now, mainly because Gary is still the coach, with a contract, and the position isn’t open to be filled.

Make no mistake about it, though:  If Gary Williams is relieved of his duties, there are some outstanding young, proven coaches in and around the mid-Atlantic who would be worthy of consideration, including Anthony Grant of VCU, Todd Bozeman at Morgan State and, perhaps, even ex-Terp assistant Mike Lonergan who has done such a good job reviving the University of Vermont program in a short period of time.

Finding a high-quality coach to come in and take on the challenge of returning Maryland basketball to its glory years wouldn’t be hard.  Returning Maryland to its glory years might be, though.

Gary’s program has lost its energy.  They’ve been on the wrong end of too many late game collapses in recent years and the “bad losses” have far outnumbered the “good ones”.  

In this year, particularly, Gary doesn’t have many good players.  It’s hard to win that way, at the level that is the ACC.  And, since Gary recruited those players, he gets the brunt of the backlash.  

Time might be running out on Gary at College Park.  Wasn’t it just two weeks ago that I wrote this same thing?  Well, four games later, it’s not any better…and a 41-point loss at Duke probably makes it worse.

Winning has to be the #1 priority at College Park.

If they can’t win, they have to make a change.

That’s a shame, but Gary Williams’ legacy at Maryland is stamped in concrete.  He’ll always be the guy that returned Maryland to its glory years and took them on a trip virtually no one could have ever dreamed in 2002.  

He’s the best coach they’ve ever had.

But when you can’t win anymore…someone has to pay the price.

Debbie might have to pay it.  Gary might have to take it.

It won’t be pretty, that’s for sure.

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Maryland hoops: Faithful getting restless?

Posted on 15 January 2009 by Drew Forrester

At some point, losses like the one suffered by the Terps last night have to stop.

Losing is one thing.  It happens all the time.

Squandering a 17-point lead in the game’s final 12 minutes…now that’s another story.

It’s still far too early to panic if you’re a fan of Gary Williams and the Maryland basketball program.

Let’s be clear on one thing:  I am NOT advocating that Maryland make a coaching change.

Not in the least.

But the ’08-09 campaign is an important one for Maryland and, particularly, for Gary, because the faithful are starting to get a tad restless.  The “unfaithful” jumped ship a year ago, or maybe three years ago, when the Terps couldn’t win late season games against the likes of Virginia, Boston College, Clemson and Virginia Tech.  In 3 of the last 4 years, the Terps have failed to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament.  In each of those three years, Maryland coughed up late leads and lost important games down the stretch in ACC play. Those defeats generated a mass exodus from the “unfaithful”.

Now, even the faithful are getting worried.

I’m one of them.

Gary’s locked in at Maryland, mainly because he’s been ultra-successful and has a fat, guaranteed contract to show for it.  It would be extremely difficult for Athletic Director Debbie Yow to terminate Gary and pay him a ton of money for sitting around.  Remember, when you fire a coach and have to pay him, you also have to hire a coach and pay him, as well.  Firing the coach isn’t as easy as, well, firing the coach.

This is a Maryland team that will more than likely battle right down to the final game or two of conference play before either making it into the NCAA tournament – or not.  At the start of the season, I thought Maryland had the goods to go 9-7 in the conference earn a spot in the big dance.  I still feel that way now. After all, they’re only 1-1 in ACC play.  

Losses like the one they suffered last night at Miami – and last week at home to Morgan State – are particularly unsettling because quality teams don’t gag away games with double digit second half leads.

It’s one thing if you go down to Miami and the Hurricanes shoot 47% from the field and win a nip and tuck affair, 62-60.  Hey, both teams are trying, right?

But when you hold a 17-point lead on the road and you can’t put that game away, something’s wrong.

When you own a 14-point advantage at home and you’re playing a mid-major program from a conference that routinely features a single “one and done” entry in the NCAA tournament – and you lose the lead and the game…something’s wrong.  With all due respect to the outstanding job Todd Bozeman has done at Morgan State, the Terps can’t lose that game to the Bears.  They did, of course.  

And that’s why it’s starting to be worry-time at College Park.

There’s no sense in breaking down what Maryland’s problems are on the court.  They have plenty of them. But so do a lot of schools in the ACC, SEC, Big East, etc.  Maryland doesn’t have a true big man.  They haven’t had one for a while, in fact.  Some call that a recruiting issue – and those that do point to Gary and say, “he’s not getting the right kids”.  There’s truth in that.  

Rather than break down Maryland’s issues, let’s just stick with the theme:

Maryland needs to turn it around.

And it’s Gary’s job to do it.

It’s his basketball program.

He’s the one that made it into something special – and he got the praise, the contract, the extension and the money for that hard work and success.

Now, with the team bobbing along trying to keep its head above water, Gary needs to fix the program.

I’m sure Gary is working as hard right now at trying to win games as he ever has…there’s no doubt in my mind losing games like the one he lost on Wednesday in Miami are tearing him up.

But those kind of losses can’t continue at Maryland.

In the ACC, you’re either flyin’ – or, dyin’.

Right now, Maryland’s not flyin’.

And, if they wind up missing out on this year’s NCAA tourney, I think it’s time to take a long look at where the program is headed under Gary Williams.

Let’s see where the next 2 months takes Maryland and their coach.

The faithful are getting restless.

That’s usually step number one, unfortunately.

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Given a choice why would someone want to play for Gary Williams?

Posted on 08 January 2009 by Jason Jubb

I ask myself this question all the time. If I was a HS basketball player being recruited by multiple top universities why would I want to play for Gary Williams and Maryland?

 

For starters, Gary tends to limit playing time of most freshmen which may have been a good idea at one time, but in today’s game I have to wonder if that deters top talent.

 

Then I look at Gary and his coach style/demeanor. Once again, his in your face style of coaching was something more suited for yesterday’s generation. I often feel his constant verbal tirades and sideline antics are more counterproductive than anything else. I would think that it may even make players play in a mode where they are scared to make a mistake which is never good.

 

I frequently make this comparison to Mike Krzyzewski. With the game on the line and down a point would you rather see coach K on the sideline remaining calm as if he knows you will pull out a win or would you rather see Gary sweating through his jacket and freaking out uncontrollably? It amazes me that a coach can sweat more than a person playing the game.

 

Maybe it’s just me but I am starting to think it’s time for Gary to move on and I am starting to understand why so many of the areas top recruits are going elsewhere. Sorry Gary, you did a lot for this UMD and brought it back from troubled times, but after failing to put a decent team on the floor for a number of years I think it may be time to move on.

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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 16

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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 16

Posted on 17 December 2008 by KZ

Fantasy Football What’s New For 12.17.08

Hey Check out the New Columns…CLICK HERE AND NEW THIS YEAR to FANS FANTASY FOOTBALL…your official FANTASY DRAFT GUIDE…not who but HOW to draft a winning Fantasy Football Team…CLICK HERE FOR THE WAY TO DRAFT THIS YEAR.

RANKINGS WILL BE OUT EVERY THURSDAY, CLICK HERE FOR THEM

and

REVIEW of the WEEK THAT WAS IN FANTASY FOOTBALL every TUESDAY RIGHT HERE ON THE WHAT’s NEW PAGE!

Some Notes from week 15:

  • AFC PLAYOFF TEAMS WILL BE: Titans, Jets, Steelers, Broncos, Colts and Ravens
  • NFC PLAYOFF TEAMS WILL BE: Giants, Panthers, Cardinals, VIKINGS, Bucs and Cowboys
  • Many Fantasy leagues start their playoffs this week…some advice…don’t get too cute. If a player is hot go with them…matchups matter but not over your studs.
  • Fantasy Football is heartbreaking…one bad week by those that have been great all year and you are done!
  • I will be a homer for a moment…but Ngata is a Pro Bowler, he plays every down and never comes out of a game…Rogers in Cleveland…well lets just say…I will be nice…he is not as good as Ngata.
  • MY FANTASY FOOTBALL PRO BOWL TEAM!
    • QB’s: Brees and Warner
    • RB’s: Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, Thomas Jones and D. Williams
    • WR’s: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Roddy White, Brandon Marshall and in PPR Leagues (Welker and Andre Johnson)
    • TE’s: Tony Gonzales and Jason Witten
    • K’s: S. Gostkowski and J. Carney
    • Defenses: Steelers, Ravens and Titans
    • FANTASY ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: MATT FORTE…beat out Chris Johnson by a hair!
    • FANTASY DUD OF THE YEAR: JOSEPH ADDAI (was top 6 pick in many drafts)
    • ALL BILLY VOLEK TEAM: (as in where did that come from): Tyler Thigpen, D. Williams, Eddie Royal, Steve Breaston and Lance Moore
  • TOP 5 PICKS 2009 FANTASY DRAFT: Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, Brian Westbrook, Chris Johnson and Matt Forte
  • Continue to watch the waiver wire very closely!!

TRADE BAIT(s): NO MORE TRADES...if you can…your league needs to change their rules

STAR(S) OF WEEK (officially renamed the LT of the Week): Andre Johnson and Philip Rivers

DUD(S) of the Week: Jay Cutler and the Broncos, Kurt Warner and the Cardinals, Eli Manning and the Giants and Brian Westbrook!

Hot Pick up(s) of the week: LAST WEEK: M. Morris, T. Bell and D. Branch

THIS WEEK: Pope (Denver RB), D. Foster, S. Wallace

TEAM(s) of the WEEK: Minnesota Vikings went the the Desert and blew out the Cards!

Ut Oh of the week: NY Giants now are in a fight for home field advantage, they seem to miss Burress!

Fantasy Football Start Them This Week…

Check back weekly. We will never say start LT or AP that is too obvious and We will never tell you to sit someone, but here are some people we really like ….you can make the sit calls or email us for our view…track how accurate we are…..we have been as good as everyone else so check us out.

PLEASE READ THIS WEEKS COLUMS ON STARTS: CLICK HERE

QB’s: MUST STARTS: ROMO, BREES, WARNER, ROETHLISBERGER, RODGERS, P. MANNING

Other to consider this week: Cassel, McNabb, Hill, Wallace, Schaub, Ryan
RB’s: MUST STARTS: LT, Adrian Peterson, Westbrook , Parker, Lynch, Portis, Barber, Gore, Steven Jackson,D. WILLIAMS, TURNER, Jacobs, Forte and Ronnie Brown

Others to consider this week: MJD, S. Morris, T. Jones, P. Thomas, Slaton
WR’s/TE’s: MUST STARTS: TO, Greg Jennings, Randy Moss, Wes Welker (ppr especially), Fitzgerald, Boldin, Andre Johnson, Burress, Steve Smith, Calvin Johnson, Marshall, Wayne, Gates, Witten, Gonzales

Other to consider this week: Bowe, Breaston, Edwards, TJ, R. White, E. Royal and Colston

Top 10 to 15 or so starts for IDP’s:

DL: Jared Allen, Mario Williams, Aaron Kampman, Will Smith, Julius Peppers, Patrick Kearney, Aaron Schobel, Trent Cole, Terrell Suggs, Gaines Adams, Aaron Carter, Justin Tuck and Justin Smith.

LB: D. Ryans, P. Willis, R. Lewis, N. Barnett, D. Harris, M. Peterson, K. Morrison, J. Beason, W. Witherspoon, K. Rivers, L. Fletcher, B. Urlacher, D. Edwards, AJ Hawk, James Harrison, J. Beason, J. Vilma and F. Keiaho

DB: G. Wilson, A. Wilson. C. Tillman, A. Bigby, C. Finnegan, A. Winfield, T. Polamalu, B. Sanders, L. Landry, M. Trufant, B. Pollard, Q. Jammer,A. Cromartie, E. Coleman and Mike Adams.

Some Other Guys We Like This Week…

SLEEPER(s) OF THE WEEK….what DUD will become a STUD…at least for one week….we will try to give a QB, RB and WR/TE each week…

QB: If Orlovsky starts for Detroit he is a sneaky play
RB: Ricky Williams has a nice match up
WR/TE: Issac Bruce comes home for a nice game
Kicker and Defense: Cincinnati Defense could be a sneaky play this week….Ryan Logwell in the dome for kicks!

Locks Of The Week…

In a suicide pool? We can help. Once again track our success. We will give you three a week.

After two years we are 118 – 51 (69.8%)…not bad!! TRULY pretty damn good…we have checked others out and we are just as good as they are! 2007 record: 48 – 21.

2008 RECCORD: 40 – 12

WEEK OF 12/18/08:

  1. New Orleans over Detroit
  2. Tampa over San Diego
  3. Chicago over Green Bay

Bonus Pick: Houston over Oakland

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FANTASY FOOTBAL WEEK 15

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FANTASY FOOTBAL WEEK 15

Posted on 11 December 2008 by KZ

Fantasy Football What’s New For 12.10.08

Hey Check out the New Columns…CLICK HERE AND NEW THIS YEAR to FANS FANTASY FOOTBALL…your official FANTASY DRAFT GUIDE…not who but HOW to draft a winning Fantasy Football Team…CLICK HERE FOR THE WAY TO DRAFT THIS YEAR.

RANKINGS WILL BE OUT EVERY THURSDAY, CLICK HERE FOR THEM

and

REVIEW of the WEEK THAT WAS IN FANTASY FOOTBALL every TUESDAY RIGHT HERE ON THE WHAT’s NEW PAGE!

Some Notes from week 14:

  • AFC PLAYOFF TEAMS WILL BE: Titans, Jets, Steelers, Broncos, Colts and Ravens
  • NFC PLAYOFF TEAMS WILL BE: Giants, Panthers, Cardinals, VIKINGS, Bucs and Cowboys
  • Many Fantasy leagues start their playoffs this week…some advice…don’t get too cute. If a player is hot go with them…matchups matter but not over your studs.
  • Maybe its just me…but LT owners…if you made the playoffs, you may get rewarded!
  • Playing Detroit is like going to Fantasy Heaven!
  • Meet Mr. Hillis…the man only Shanahan can stop!…and apparently an injury…I’d hate to be T. Bell right now!
  • MY FANTASY FOOTBALL PRO BOWL TEAM!
    • QB’s: Brees and Warner
    • RB’s: Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, Thomas Jones and D. Williams
    • WR’s: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Roddy White, Brandon Marshall and in PPR Leagues (Welker and Andre Johnson)
    • TE’s: Tony Gonzales and Jason Witten
    • K’s: S. Gostkowski and J. Carney
    • Defenses: Steelers, Ravens and Titans
    • FANTASY ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: MATT FORTE…beat out Chris Johnson by a hair!
    • FANTASY DUD OF THE YEAR: JOSEPH ADDAI (was top 6 pick in many drafts)
    • ALL BILLY VOLEK TEAM: (as in where did that come from): Tyler Thigpen, D. Williams, Eddie Royal, Steve Breaston and Lance Moore
  • TOP 5 PICKS 2009 FANTASY DRAFT: Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, Brian Westbrook, Chris Johnson and Matt Forte
  • Continue to watch the waiver wire very closely!! I kid you not I just picked up Willie Parker last week!

TRADE BAIT(s): NO MORE TRADES...if you can…your league needs to change their rules

STAR(S) OF WEEK (officially renamed the LT of the Week): Marshall, Branch, Westbrook, P. Thomas, D. Williams, J. Stewart, P. Manning and Schaub.

DUD(S) of the Week: Coles and Cotchery, Parker, Jamal Lewis, LJ, Lynch, Portis and ROMO

Hot Pick up(s) of the week: LAST WEEK: Brandon Jackson, Matt Schaub, Hixon and COLTS D

THIS WEEK: M. Morris, T. Bell and D. Branch

TEAM(s) of the WEEK: The EAGLES…may have saved their season?

Ut Oh of the week: Washington Redskins are done for 2008!

Fantasy Football Start Them This Week…

Check back weekly. We will never say start LT or AP that is too obvious and We will never tell you to sit someone, but here are some people we really like ….you can make the sit calls or email us for our view…track how accurate we are…..we have been as good as everyone else so check us out.

PLEASE READ THIS WEEKS COLUMS ON STARTS: CLICK HERE

QB’s: MUST STARTS: ROMO, BREES, WARNER, ROETHLISBERGER, RODGERS, P. MANNING

Other to consider this week:Ryan, Hill, Thigpen, Cassel and McNabb
RB’s: MUST STARTS: LT, Adrian Peterson, Westbrook , Parker, Lynch, Portis, Barber, Gore, Steven Jackson,D. WILLIAMS, TURNER, Jacobs, Forte and Ronnie Brown

Others to consider this week: MJD, Thomas Jones, C. Johnson and L. White, S. Morris and D. Ward
WR’s/TE’s: MUST STARTS: TO, Greg Jennings, Randy Moss, Wes Welker (ppr especially), Fitzgerald, Boldin, Andre Johnson, Burress, Steve Smith, Calvin Johnson, Marshall, Wayne, Gates, Witten, Gonzales, Winslow

Other to consider this week: L. Moore, Harrison, Roddy White, Branch, Bess, Bowe, D. Jackson, Carlson and Bryant

Top 10 to 15 or so starts for IDP’s:

DL: Jared Allen, Mario Williams, Aaron Kampman, Will Smith, Julius Peppers, Patrick Kearney, Aaron Schobel, Trent Cole, Terrell Suggs, Gaines Adams, Aaron Carter, Justin Tuck and Justin Smith.

LB: D. Ryans, P. Willis, R. Lewis, N. Barnett, D. Harris, M. Peterson, K. Morrison, J. Beason, W. Witherspoon, K. Rivers, L. Fletcher, B. Urlacher, D. Edwards, AJ Hawk, James Harrison, J. Beason, J. Vilma and F. Keiaho

DB: G. Wilson, A. Wilson. C. Tillman, A. Bigby, C. Finnegan, A. Winfield, T. Polamalu, B. Sanders, L. Landry, M. Trufant, B. Pollard, Q. Jammer,A. Cromartie, E. Coleman and Mike Adams.

Some Other Guys We Like This Week…

SLEEPER(s) OF THE WEEK….what DUD will become a STUD…at least for one week….we will try to give a QB, RB and WR/TE each week…

QB: Marc Bulger…in a pinch he is going against Seattle
RB: Dominic Rhodes...I am done with Addai!
WR/TE: Mike Walker will get a chance to start for the Jags
Kicker and Defense: Oakland could have a nice week Defensively and Rackers gets 3 FG’s

Locks Of The Week…

In a suicide pool? We can help. Once again track our success. We will give you three a week.

After two years we are 118 – 51 (69.8%)…not bad!! TRULY pretty damn good…we have checked others out and we are just as good as they are! 2007 record: 48 – 21.

2008 RECCORD: 38 – 11

WEEK OF 12/11/08:

  1. Philadelphia over Cleveland
  2. Washington over Cincinnati
  3. Atlanta over Tampa Bay

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 14 WRs

Posted on 03 December 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

Despite a rough patch for the Cardinals, their vaunted receivers remain ranked #1 and #2 in the power rankings, as well as this week’s start rankings. The veterans have started to reclaim the receiver rankings over the last few weeks, as many of the rookies appear to be hitting that proverbial wall. We’ll be back tomorrow with your tight end, kicker and defense rankings, so check back then too.

 

Keep in mind that the power rankings, listed here, are based on year to date performance and not a reflection of your best options for week 14. Just below the power rankings are match up previews advising who should be better or worse than usual this week, based on their opponents. At the bottom, are the week 14 start rankings, that’s where you should look for help with your week 14 lineup decisions.

 

Week 14 Fantasy Wide Receiver Power Rankings

 

WR Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8 - 9 - 10- 11 - 12 - 13

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Anquan Boldin (1) – AZ – 942 yds 11 TD

 

2. Larry Fitzgerald (3) – AZ – 1075 yds 8 TD

 

3. Greg Jennings (5) – GB – 1057 yds 7 TD

 

4. Calvin Johnson (2) – DET – 971 yds 8 TD

 

5. Steve Smith (4) – CAR – 958 yds 4 TD

 

6. Roddy White (6) – ATL – 1085 yds 6 TD

 

7. Bernard Berrian (13) – MIN – 795 yds 5 TD

 

8. Santana Moss (7) – WAS – 828 yds 5 TD

 

9. Andre Johnson (8) – HOU – 1146 yds 4 TD

 

10. Terrell Owens (12) – DAL – 816 yds 8 TD

 

11. Brandon Marshall (9) – DEN – 942 yds 4 TD

 

12. Randy Moss (11) – NE – 785 yds 8 TD

 

13. Lance Moore (14) – NO – 739 yds 8 TD

 

14. Eddie Royal (20) – DEN – 757 yds 5 TD

 

15. Reggie Wayne (10) – IND – 870 yds 5 TD

 

16. Vincent Jackson (16) – SD – 703 yds 5 TD

 

17. Kevin Walter (15) – HOU – 705 yds 7 TD

 

18. Lee Evans (NR) – BUF – 890 yds 3 TD

 

19. Hines Ward (18) – PIT – 755 yds 6 TD

 

20. DeSean Jackson (NR) – PHI – 775 yds 2 TD & 1 TYD rush

 

Dropped From Rankings: DeWayne Bowe – KC; Justin Gage – TEN

 

WRs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 14: Lee Evans vs. MIA; Randy Moss & Wes Welker @ SEA; Laverneus Coles & Jehrrico Cotchery @ SF; Tory Holt & Donnie Avery @ AZ; Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison & Anthony Gonzalez vs. CIN; Roddy White @ NO; DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis & Hank Baskett @ NYG

 

WRs Who Could Be Sleepers Based On Week 14 Match Ups: Roscoe Parrish & Josh Reed vs. MIA; Jabar Gaffney @ SEA; Chansi Stuckey @ SF; Derrick Stanley & Dane Looker @ AZ; Koren Robinson, Deion Branch & Bobby Engram vs. NE; Harry Douglass & Michael Jenkins @ NO; Matt Jones, Reggie Williams & Jerry Porter @ CHI; Justin Gage, Justin McCairens & Brandon Jones vs. CLE

 

WRs With Tough Week 14 Match Ups: Chad Johnson & TJ Houshmandzadeh @ IND; Braylon Edwards @ TEN; Terrell Owens & Roy Williams @ PIT; Santana Moss & Antoine Randle-El @ BAL; Andre Johnson & Kevin Walter @ GB; Chris Chambers & Vincent Jackson vs. OAK; Derrick Mason & Mark Clayton vs. WAS; Antonio Bryant & Ike Hilliard @ CAR; Steve Smith & Mushin Muhammad vs. TB; DeWayne Bowe & Mark Bradley @ DEN

 

 

And here are the week 14 Fantasy WR start rankings; it’s my top 75 WRs in the order that you should consider them this week. They were gotten using the Fantasy Flavor secret formula, and have their formulary numbers in parentheses, the lower the better. We’ll get all of the positional rankings out to you in time for Thursday’s game, so keep checking back for the rest.

 

1. Anquan Boldin (15)

2. Larry Fitzgerald (17)

3. Roddy White (19)

4. Greg Jennings (25)

5. Bernard Berrian (25)

6. Randy Moss (26)

7. Calvin Johnson (28)

8. Steve Smith (34)

9. Reggie Wayne (35)

10. Lee Evans (37)

11. Brandon Marshall (44)

12. Lance Moore (44)

13. Santana Moss (45)

14. Andre Johnson (46)

15. Terrell Owens (50)

16. Eddie Royal (50)

17. DeSean Jackson (50)

18. Hines Ward (52)

19. Justin Gage (55)

20. Vincent Jackson (59)

21. Laverneus Coles (59)

22. Kevin Walter (62)

23. Wes Welker (62)

24. DeWayne Bowe (65)

25. Issac Bruce (67)

26. Antonio Bryant (69)

27. Marques Colston (72)

28. Matt Jones (74)

29. Steve Breaston (75)

30. Jehrrico Cotchery (75)

31. Derrick Mason (78)

32. TJ Houshmandzadeh (80)

33. Mark Clayton (81)

34. Donald Driver (83)

35. Braylon Edwards (89)

36. Santonio Holmes (90)

37. Donnie Avery (90)

38. Chris Chambers (95)

39. Anthony Gonzalez (95)

40. Mark Bradley (97)

41. DeVery Henderson (98)

42. Michael Jenkins (99)

43. Ted Ginn Jr. (100)

44. Malcolm Floyd (105)

45. Mushin Muhammad (106)

46. Nate Washington (108)

47. Kevin Curtis (108)

48. Amani Toomer (109)

49. Marvin Harrison (109)

50. Tory Holt (110)

51. Devin Hester (115)

52. Koren Robinson (118)

53. Hank Baskett (120)

54. Chad Johnson (128)

55. Jabar Gaffney (128)

56. Brandon Stokley (130)

57. Reggie Brown (130)

58. Antoine Randle-El (131)

59. Josh Reed (131)

60. Rasheid Davis (133)

61. Ashley Lelie (136)

62. Bryant Johnson (139)

63. Dane Looker (144)

64. Roy Williams (146)

65. Reggie Williams (146)

66. Brandon Lloyd (147)

67. Chansi Stuckey (147)

68. Mary Booker (149)

69. Ike Hilliard (153)

70. Bobby Wade (157)

71. Brandon Jones (159)

72. Harry Douglass (159)

73. Josh Morgan (159)

74. James Hardy (159)

75. Miles Austin (166)

 

All of the rankings will be up in time for you to get your Thursday lineups in, so check back tomorrow for the rest. And use the links below to check all of the other positions; they’ll be activated as they become available.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

Week 14 QB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 RB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 TE Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 K Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 D/ST Rankings & Previews

 

 

 

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 14 RBs

Posted on 03 December 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

If this week’s running back rankings prove anything, it’s that everyone had pretty much an equal shot on draft day at putting together a winner. In fact, it’s probably those who drafted in the top 5 in most leagues who are the ones disappointed. Regardless, the running back rankings are littered with guys who would have been available in the 5th round and beyond, even in the deepest of leagues. Furthermore, the top 20 has been changing up dramatically from week to week, so every week is a chance to catch lightning in a bottle.

 

Keep in mind that the power rankings, listed here, are based on year to date performance and not a reflection of your best options for week 14. Just below the power rankings are match up previews advising who should be better or worse than usual this week, based on their opponents. At the bottom, are the week 14 start rankings, that’s where you should look for help with your week 14 lineup decisions.

 

Week 14 Fantasy Running Back Power Rankings

 

RB Power Rankings Archive34567 - 891011 - 12 - 13

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Thomas Jones (4) – NYJ – 1088 yds 11 TD & 161 yds 2 TD rec

 

2. Michael Turner (1) – ATL – 1208 yds 13 TD

 

3. Brian Westbrook (11) – PHI – 657 yds 8 TD & 233 yds 4 TD rec

 

4. Matt Forte (3) – CHI – 1012 yds 6 TD & 358 yds 4 TD rec

 

5. Adrian Peterson (6) – MIN – 1311 yds 9 TD

 

6. DeAngelo Williams (10) – CAR – 955 yds 11 TD & 112 yds 2 TD rec

 

7. Brandon Jacobs (5) – NYG – 950 yds 12 TD

 

8. Clinton Portis (2) – WAS – 1228 yds 7 TD

 

9. Marion Barber (7) – DAL – 870 yds 7 TD & 366 yds 2 TD rec

 

10. Steve Slaton (16) – HOU – 904 yds 8 TD & 250 yds 1 TD rec

 

11. Reggie Bush (NR) – NO – 294 yds 2 TD & 298 yds 3 TD rec

 

12. Steven Jackson (NR) – ST.L – 619 yds 4 TD & 275 yds 0 TD rec

 

13. Chris Johnson (15) – TEN – 958 yds 7 TD & 227 yds 1 TD rec

 

14. Frank Gore (8) – SF – 926 yds 6 TD & 354 yds 1 TD rec

 

15. Marshawn Lynch (13) – BUF – 844 yds 7 TD & 283 yds 1 TD rec

 

16. LaDanian Tomlinson (12) – SD – 794 yds 6 TD & 371 yds 1 TD rec

 

17. Maurice Jones-Drew (9) – JAX – 552 yds 11 TD & 415 yds 0 TD rec

 

18. Ronnie Brown (14) – MIA – 690 yds 10 TD & 19 yds 1 TD pass

 

19. LenDale White (20) – TEN – 575 yds 13 TD

 

20. Larry Johnson (18) – KC – 657 yds 4 TD

 

Dropped From Rankings: Joseph Addai – IND; Willie Parker – PIT

 

RBs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 14: Adrian Peterson @ DET; Larry Johnson @ DEN; Steve Slaton @ GB; LaDanian Tomlinson vs. OAK; Ryan Grant vs. HOU; Thomas Jones @ SF; Matt Forte vs. JAX

 

RBs Who Could Be Sleepers Based On Week 14 Match Ups: Peyton Hillis vs. KC; Chester Taylor @ DET; Tim Hightower vs. ST.L; Ryan Moats @ GB; Cedric Benson @ IND; Leon Washington @ SF

 

RBs With Tough Week 14 Match Ups: Clinton Portis @ BAL; Brian Westbrook @ NYG; DeAngelo Williams & Jonathan Stewart vs. TB; Marion Barber @ PIT; Frank Gore vs. NYJ; Kevin Smith vs. MIN; Marshawn Lynch vs. MIA; Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward & Ahmad Bradshaw vs. PHI; Willie Parker & Mewelde Moore vs. DAL; Warrick Dunn & Cadillac Williams @ CAR

 

And here are the week 14 Fantasy RB start rankings; it’s my top 50 RBs in the order that you should consider them this week. They were gotten using the Fantasy Flavor secret formula, and have their formulary numbers in parentheses, the lower the better. We’ll get all of the positional rankings out to you in time for Thursday’s game, so keep checking back for the rest.

 

1. Thomas Jones (11)

2. Adrian Peterson (12)

3. Matt Forte (18)

4. Michael Turner (20)

5. Steve Slaton (27)

6. Reggie Bush (33)

7. Brian Westbrook (37)

8. LaDanian Tomlinson (38)

9. Brandon Jacobs (39) *keep an eye on his injury status

10. Steven Jackson (39)

11. Chris Johnson (40)

12. DeAngelo Williams (42)

13. Larry Johnson (44)

14. Peyton Hillis (45)

15. Marion Barber (47) *keep an eye on his injury status

16. Clinton Portis (48) *drop him 5 or 6 spots if he’s worse than probable

17. Maurice Jones-Drew (53)

18. Ronnie Brown (54)

19. Frank Gore (56)

20. Marshawn Lynch (56)

21. LenDale White (56)

22. Joseph Addai (57)

23. Tim Hightower (61)

24. Willie Parker (62) *keep an eye on his injury status

25. Jamal Lewis (67)

26. Kevin Faulk (70)

27. Ryan Grant (72)

28. Sammy Morris (74)

29. Darren McFadden (76) *switch him with Fargas if he’s worse then probable

30. Derrick Ward (77)

31. Leon Washington (77)

32. Mewelde Moore (80) *bump him to Parker’s spot if Parker can’t go

33. Kevin Smith (81)

34. Jerome Harrison (82)

35. Warrick Dunn (83)

36. Pierre Thomas (83)

37. Dominic Rhodes (83)

38. Willis McGahee (86) *if he’s playing

39. Chester Taylor (86)

40. LeRon McClain (88) *bump him 5 spots if McGahee doesn’t go

41. Ricky Williams (98)

42. Jerious Norwood (102)

43. Mike Tolbert (102)

44. Deuce McAllister (103)

45. BenJarvis Green-Ellis (104)

46. Jonathan Stewart (108)

47. Justin Fargas (108)

48. Tatum Bell (109)

49. Mike Karney (111)

50. Julius Jones (113)

 

All of the rankings will be up in time for you to get your Thursday lineups in, so check back tomorrow for the rest. And use the links below to check all of the other positions; they’ll be activated as they become available.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

Week 14 QB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 WR Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 TE Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 K Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 D/ST Rankings & Previews

 

 

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NFL Power Rankings – Week 14

Posted on 02 December 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

The top eleven teams in last week’s power rankings all remained in the top 11 this week, as all still seem to be pretty clearly in control of their own playoff destinies. The 12th spot, for now, goes to the Vikings who are on an impressive run, and now find themselves in the driver’s seat for the NFC North.

 

There may be a few noteworthy suspensions handed down in the next week or so, which could have a dramatic impact on the playoff races as the final quarter of the season unfolds. Also, because of the relative assuredness of the playoff picture at this early stage in the season, how teams are able to manage staying focused and staying healthy in the teams’ final meaningless games should have a lot of impact of the playoff picture, even after the pairings are locked in early.

 

Admittedly, Atlanta should probably be at 12 in this week’s rankings instead of 10, with both Denver and Minnesota holding on to stronger playoff hopes at this time. For Atlanta, it seems that the division is out of the question, and it’s wildcard or bust, with the Cowboys still very much on their heels. I just didn’t have the heart to drop Atlanta 2 spots after an impressive road win on the left coast. They’ve definitely been the toughest team to grade out over the course of the season so far. They deserve their respect, there’s no questioning that, but their playoff hopes are still very fragile at this point.

 

NFL Power Rankings Archive3- 4567 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13

 

Week 14 NFL Power Rankings (last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. New York Giants (1) – 11-1 – The Giants have easily been the most impressive team in the league so far, and appear to be without weakness. Even with the uncertain future of Plaxico Burress in New York, experts seem reluctant to concede that this will even be an issue for the Giants. Their schedule is full of tough teams from here out, but the Giants already enjoy a 2 game lead for the #1 seed in the NFC, a 3 game lead in their division, and a four game lead over Minnesota and Arizona for a first round bye. Next Week: vs. PHI

 

2. Tennessee Titans (2) – 11-1 – A Thanksgiving Day chance to feast on the Lions was probably the perfect remedy for Tennessee team that had lost it’s first game of the season the week before, and who had struggled to run for the last 3 weeks. The Browns and Texans in the next 2 games will probably either wrap up home field for the Titans, or make their week 16 match up with Pittsburgh for potential home field advantage. Also depending on what the rest of the AFC does in the meantime, Tennessee could have a chance to ruin Indy’s playoff hopes before they get started in week 17. Next Week: vs. CLE

 

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (3) – 9-3 – At 9-3, the Steelers have been a tough draw for everyone that they’ve played. You may not be able to say that about any other team in the league this season. The Steelers have positioned themselves for a chance at a bye in the playoffs, and with a game remaining against the Titans, they’re still in striking distance for the #1 seed, if the Titans should stumble, or let up down the stretch. Next Week: vs. DAL

 

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5) – 9-3 – They’ve had a revolving door at quarterback and running back, and they’re playing a first place schedule, in the toughest division in the NFC, possibly the toughest in the NFL. The Bucs though, still find themselves in the driver’s seat for not only the NFC South title, but also a first round bye. They may not enjoy the cushion in the standings that they probably should at 9-3, and still have 2 tough divisional games on the road. But for now at least, the road to the NFC South title goes through Tampa. Next Week: @ CAR

 

5. Carolina Panthers (7) – 9-3 – If the Buccaneers are feeling salty about their relatively unsecured playoff hopes, despite their 9-3 record, than the Panthers have to feel outright frustrated with their standing in the playoff hunt, despite their strong performance thus far. A chance to beat Tampa head to head this week still leaves the Panthers somewhat in control of their own playoff destiny, but they’ll likely have to win out to have a chance at staying home for a playoff game. Next Week: vs. TB

 

6. Arizona Cardinals (6) – 8-4 – I’ve been feeling the need to justify ranking these Cards so highly all season, but even as the losers of 2 straight, the Cardinals are not a team that you want to sleep on. They’re still just an eyelash away from clinching the NFC West and at least one home playoff game. They’re also just one game behind Tampa and Carolina for a first round bye. In the playoffs, the Cards at home could be dangerous, especially if an east coast team has to travel to Arizona. Keep in mind that 3 of the Cards’ 4 losses came on trips to the east coast, the other was at home to the Giants. They’re front 7 is grossly underrated by most, and their running game still has a chance to get in gear. They’re unlikely to go across the country and beat anyone, but traveling to Arizona for a playoff game could be a lot tougher than it sounds. Next Week: vs. ST.L

 

7. New York Jets (4) – 8-4 – Success appeared to get to the Jets’ heads a bit last week, and they looked about as bad as they possibly could, just a week after dismantling the undefeated Titans. Brett Favre has been a rousing success for the Jets this season; clearly their playoff hopes would have been slim without him. But once the playoffs get here, I think that the Jets will have trouble finding their identity, a game manager would probably fit their formula a little better than a game breaker. Still, when the playoffs come around, there are few who can bring more experience to the table than Favre. The AFC East is still a dogfight, and with 2 west coast trips remaining, the Jets still have their work cut out for them in just getting to the playoffs. Next Week: @ SF

 

8. Indianapolis Colts (8) – 8-4 – If you took a poll among the AFC contenders and asked which team they’d most like to eliminate before the playoffs begin, my guess is that the Colts would be the team that’d be out. With that said, it appears that the rest of the AFC has missed their chance to bury these Colts when they were on the ropes early on. It’s still tough to imagine the Colts making a long run in this year’s playoffs, primarily because of their inability to stop the run. They can however, stop the run with their offense, in a manner of speaking, by jumping on opponents early in games and forcing them to play catch-up. The schedule looks like it could be pretty easy for the Colts from here, but don’t overlook their week 17 match up against Tennessee just yet. If Tennessee slips up and Pittsburgh keeps rolling, the Titans may need that one for the top seed. And if the Colts slip, just a bit in the meantime, the Titans may have a chance to send them home before the playoffs begin. I’m not so sure the Titans take that one off like everyone seems to think. Next Week: vs. CIN

 

9. Baltimore Ravens (9) – 8-4 – They’ve certainly been a great story so far, and the Ravens are starting to look more and more dangerous with each passing week. Their defense has adjusted to a lack of star power in the secondary, and despite the dominance of the run defense, the Ravens aren’t letting much go through the air either. Losses to Indianapolis and the Giants have shown that this team isn’t built for playing catch up, but with new wrinkles and guys stepping up every week, this team still appears to be growing into their prowess. The playoffs are by no means assured just yet, but they’re in sight. And the AFC North title could still be in the fold too. Next Week: vs. WAS

 

10. Atlanta Falcons (10) – 8-4 – The Falcons have taken the NFL by storm, but when it comes to their own division, not so much. There’s no shortage of storylines surrounding the Falcons this season. From moving forward without their jailed franchise quarterback, to finding a diamond in the rough in Matt Ryan; from being stepped out on by Bobby Petrino, to the meteoric rise of rookie head coach Mike Smith; this team is full of great stories. If they aren’t able to hold serve in their final four games however, the story will be about this miraculous rebound falling short of the post season. Someone with 10 or even 11 wins is likely to be left home in the NFC this season; Falcons fans are hoping that it’s not them. Next Week: @ NO

 

11. Denver Broncos (11) – 7-5 – The Broncos went a long way to locking up a playoff berth in week 13, and are quietly building a little head of steam too. If things keep going the way that they are, the Broncos could be looking at a first round match up with Indianapolis. They’ve had a couple of embarrassing post season blowouts at the hands of the Colts in recent years, but may be better equipped to go up and down the field with them this time around. Unless they can figure out how to play consistent defense, the Broncos will likely be short for the playoffs, but as long as their offense remains explosive, they should make it exciting while they’re in there. Next Week: vs. KC

 

12. Minnesota Vikings (16) – 7-5 – In yet another division where no one seems to be able to step up and grab hold of a playoff spot, the Vikings may be peaking at just the right time. Their two-headed backfield and stout defense could prove to be a formula for success once the post season rolls around too. The Vikings still have a very deep interest in pending suspensions of a number of key players, but are in good position for the playoffs despite a number of early season mishaps. Next Week: @ DET

 

13. New England Patriots (14) – 7-5 – The Patriots playoff hopes took a major shot on Sunday with their loss to the Steelers. They’re still very much in the hunt, and because of their experience and coaching have to be considered dangerous, but the Patriots have their work cut out for them too. Next up for the Pats are 2 straight games on the west coast, which has confounded a number of teams. The Jets did them a favor though by not taking advantage of a chance to bury them a little further in the AFC East last week too. Next Week: @ SEA

 

14. Dallas Cowboys (15) – 8-4 – The Cowboys look like they’re back in stride, the question now is, whether they’ll have enough time to make themselves a factor in the race for the playoffs. Their midseason stumble allowed a number of teams to pick up positions on them, but they’re not out of it quite yet. Games against playoff contenders in 3 of their remaining 4 will make the road bumpy, and the fact that two of them are from the AFC means that winning them doesn’t necessarily guarantee the reward of moving up in the standings. Next Week: @ PIT

 

15. Miami Dolphins (17) – 7-5 – I’m still not sure that people have started taking the Dolphins seriously just yet, and with the difficulty that they had in dealing with St. Louis on Sunday, I can understand why. One thing’s for sure though, opponents who’ve gone against Miami and given less than their best have paid the price this season. The Dolphins are more than flash and gimmick, they’re a pretty good football team, and they’re getting better too. They’ll need some help to get into the playoff hunt, but they still look like a factor at this point. Next Week: @ BUF *in Toronto

 

16. Washington Redskins (12) – 7-5 – It looks like the Redskins may have taken a couple of teams by surprise, especially with their improved offense early in the season. In recent weeks however, teams look less apt to let down for Washington, and they also appear to have adjusted to the Redskins new look on offense. Losing 3 of their last 4 has given a serious blow to the Redskins playoff hopes, and the schedule won’t make it any easier finishing up. They’re still in the hunt it seems, but fading fast. Next Week: @ BAL

 

17. Chicago Bears (13) – 6-6 – On one hand, you could say that the Bears let a golden opportunity pass them by against the Vikings in week 13. On the other hand however, you could say that the Bears never really looked like they belonged in the game in the first place. After playing everyone tough through the first 9 weeks of the season, the Bears have been blown out twice by divisional foes in recent weeks. Matt Forte has probably been too much of the offense this season, and looks to be hitting the rookie wall. Next Week: vs. JAX

 

18. New Orleans Saints (20) – 6-6 – Given the number of injuries that the Saints have been forced to deal with, and the tough games that they allowed to get away in weeks 2 and 3, they could consider themselves lucky to be at .500 with 4 games to go. When you look at the rest of the division staring squarely down at them in the rankings however, these Saints look like they’ll be playing for Dan Marino’s passing record, and something positive to carry into next season. The playoffs are pretty much out of the question for this bunch, but they could still affect the race. Next Week: vs. ATL

 

19. San Diego Chargers (19) – 4-8 – The Chargers playoff hopes are alive by the slimmest of margins, and fading quickly. It seems that week after week we look at the Chargers as a team with the potential of getting on a roll. The luxury of playing in the AFC West has kept them in the hunt for much longer than they probably deserve, and technically they could still get in. But the Broncos appear to be on somewhat of a roll lately, and the Chargers still haven’t been able to get things going. Next Week: vs. OAK

 

20. Buffalo Bills (18) – 6-6 – This season for the Bills will be one for the history books for sure. In addition to breaking new ground with a regular season game in Toronto, the Bills have gone from cruising to control of the AFC East early on, to a tail spinning mess of a team that has fallen into last place in the division that they controlled just a few weeks ago. It’ll take a miracle to rescue the Bills season, and  their playoff hopes with just 4 games remaining. Based on the way that they’ve played lately, simply holding up their own end of the bargain and winning out would be a minor miracle. Next Week: vs. MIA *in Toronto

 

21. Philadelphia Eagles (22) – 6-5-1 – Donavan McNabb responded to his benching in a big way with a Thanksgiving Day rally last week. Or maybe he just responded to a chance to play against a pretty bad Cardinals pass defense, traveling across the country in a short week. The Eagles are doing what they can to salvage a respectable record this season, but aside from a one-week infusion of confidence from beating the Steelers, the Eagles have never really presented themselves as a team that could be a factor in the playoff race. Next Week: @ NYG

 

22. Green Bay Packers (21) – 5-7 – Much like the Dow-Jones, the Packers have been either alarmingly good, or alarmingly bad from game to game, without any real warning. You truly never know which Packers team is going to show up from game to game, or as they proved last week, from quarter to quarter or even drive to drive. If the Jets make a sustained run into the playoffs, while the Packers are sitting home this post season, Ted Thompson may need to hire private security. (That is if he hasn’t already.) Next Week: vs. HOU

 

23. Houston Texans (23) – 5-7 – Media and PR types will try to come up with lots of reasons to make you believe that a lot of teams have the potential to be good really soon. When it comes to the Texans, they might be right. They’ve dealt with a considerable amount of adversity this season off of the field, and have had to struggle with injuries and a difficult schedule on the field too. Still, this week showcased a number of teams who look like they’ve already mailed in their seasons, and the Texans aren’t one of them. In fact they exposed one on Monday night against the Jags. Next Week: @ GB

 

24. San Francisco 49ers (27) – 4-8 – Mike Singletary has certainly made his impression on the Niners’ locker room, they’ve won 2 of their last 4, and showed well in a Monday night loss to Arizona. Clearly this team needs a pretty drastic overhaul in order to be competitive, but they’ve got some of the pieces in place already, Singletary looks like he may be one of them. Let’s not forget that they’re in the NFC West too, they could be closer than it seems to making a run at that division. Next Week: vs. NYJ

 

25. Cleveland Browns (26) – 4-8 – The Browns’ season may have been over before it began. Braylon Edwards was never able to establish a rhythm in the offense, Kellen Winslow Jr. has struggled to stay in the lineup, and Donte Stallworth was probably never really a good fit for this team, especially without Joe Jureviscius. The monumental letdown that the Browns have been overall, will probably steal some attention from the fact that their defense is vastly improved over last season. Their season is over now, but don’t sleep on these Browns for next year, they look like they have something that they can build on. Next Week: @ TEN

 

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (24) – 4-8 – The Jags are easily the most disappointing story of the season so far. There have been other teams that have failed to live up to high expectations, but few seem to have been as relatively healthy as Jacksonville. It looks like a slow start to the season derailed the Jags playoff hopes, and their hearts as well. They’re much too talented to be playing the way that they are, this team and its coaches should be outright embarrassed, on Monday night, they were. Next Week: @ CHI

 

27. Kansas City Chiefs (30) – 2-10 – Despite their 2-10 record, it’s not like these Chiefs are wasting a ton of young talent. To their credit, they have proven to be a handful for most opponents, but are simply overmatched on most Sundays. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they don’t appear to have a lot of pieces in place to build around at this point either. At least they continue to play determined football. That at least, is a testament to Herm Edwards and the veterans on this team. Next Week: @ DEN

 

28. Oakland Raiders (25) – 3-9 – Fresh off of a stunning victory against Denver in week 12, the Raiders appeared to be set up for a mini win streak with the Chiefs on tap last week. Things didn’t work out that way however, and despite the flashes of talent that the Raiders youngsters have shown, they can’t seem to keep it together consistently at this point. Given the coaching carousel in Oakland in recent years, it’s no wonder consistency is an issue. Next Week: @ SD

 

29. Seattle Seahawks (28) – 2-10 – It seems that Mike Holmgren’s decision to take a year away from football may have inspired the Seahawks in an unexpected way. The team it seems has decided to take this season off, and Jim Mora may be wondering just what it is that he signed on for. Next week: vs. NE

 

30. St. Louis Rams (31) – 2-10 – Without their once vaunted offensive attack, the Rams leave a lot to be desired all the way around. They have some offensive talent, but can’t seem to keep them healthy, or to find a rhythm when they are healthy. It appears that the head coach wasn’t all that was wrong with the Rams this season, but it is the NFC West; so next year is still bright. Next Week: @ AZ

 

31. Cincinnati Bengals (29) – 1-9-1 – They found a pulse momentarily this season, but the Bengals look like another team that simply cashed it in when the odds stacked up against them early on. The Bengals, at this point appear to be in need of a major overhaul, both on and off of the field. Whether they’ll finally figure that out or not is another question altogether though. Unfortunately for the fans in Cincinnati, much like those in Oakland, you can’t fire the owner. Next Week: @ IND

 

32. Detroit Lions (32) – 0-12 – Even if they wind up winless, the Lions may be better off for the future than a lot of teams in the bottom third of this list. They have Calvin Johnson and Kevin Smith to build around on offense. Their defense is actually much better than it’s been in recent years, which still leaves lots of room to grow, but is progress none the less. They’re poised to walk away with the number one pick in the draft, and could trade that back for more picks if they’d like. The boatload of picks that they got from the Cowboys, plus whatever they do with their own picks could make the rebuilding effort a lot quicker than you’d expect. And these are no longer Matt Millen’s Lions. Next Week: vs. MIN

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

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