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"The Stack" 12-5-16

Cam Newton was sat for the first possession of Sunday night's game against Seattle Seahawks. Derek Anderson threw a pick on the first play of the drive and it only got worse from there. The Panthers got drummed 40-7. Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Newton was sat for the first possession of Sunday night's game against Seattle Seahawks. Derek Anderson threw a pick on the first play of the drive and it only got worse from there. The Panthers got drummed 40-7.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Berry's interception on a Matt Ryan two-point conversion was returned for two points and lifted the Chiefs to a 29-28 victory.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Flacco was sensational with over 340 yards passing and four touchdowns as the Ravens slaughtered the Dolphins 38-6.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Stack is back on this Monday and we will be talking about the College Football Playoff final rankings and which team has most to gripe about on Tuesday, but for today, let’s look back at the week 13 Sunday NFL action in “the stack” for today, Monday, December 5th:

 

Kansas City 29 Atlanta 28

 

The Chiefs didn’t look too tired from their five quarter affair in Denver last Sunday.  Tight end Travis Kelce had a big day with 140 receiving yards and the Chiefs defense came through with another defensive score.  The Falcons actually came back to take the lead, but on a two-point attempt up 28-27, Eric Berry stepped in front of the Matt Ryan pass and returned it all of the way for two points.  Those two points were the deciding factor.  This win shows another reason why the Chiefs are going to be a dangerous team in the playoffs and while the Falcons still can’t be fully trusted.

 

Baltimore 38 Miami 6

 

I may have said in my preview for this week that the Dolphins had won six games in a row and I didn’t think the Ravens could match them.  Boy was I wrong.  Joe Flacco had an incredible day with 381 passing yards and four touchdowns as the Ravens whooped the Dolphins in every phase of the game.  This was not pretty for the Dolphins.  They came back down to earth in a hurry.

 

Chicago 26 San Francisco 6

 

So about that 49ers offense that was getting going.  Colin Kaepernick was atrocious (is that being too kind) and once again the 49ers run defense was a sieve as Jordan Howard had a big day rushing with 117 yards and three touchdowns.  This was a bad game to watch if you’re a 49ers fan, but then again haven’t they all been this year?

 

Cincinnati 32 Philadelphia 14

 

One of the few games I got right this week.  The Eagles just don’t have enough offensive weapons to compete with most of the other teams in the NFL.  Andy Dalton played really well and the Bengals defense came to play keeping their very slim playoff hopes alive.

 

Green Bay 21 Houston 13

 

This one wasn’t easy for the Packers as the game was tied in the fourth quarter, but Jordy Nelson had a big day and a go-ahead score that helped the Packers keep the Texans at bay to pull into second place in the NFC North.  For the Texans, thank goodness they are in the AFC South where they still have a shot at the division title.

 

Denver 20 Jacksonville 10

 

Here is something that is bound to shock you…Blake Bortles threw a pick six.  It happened in the third quarter that essentially put the game away.  Bortles throws interceptions and garbage time touchdowns.  That is about all he does.  Paxton Lynch got his first career win which was nice for the Broncos in a bounce-back win.

 

New England 26 Los Angeles 10

 

Hey, Rams fans.  Jeff Fisher just rewarded you after he received a two-year extension with a putrid performance against the Patriots.  LaGarrette Blount scored a touchdown.  Tom Brady only threw one touchdown, but he was effective and Stephen Gostkowski kicked four field goals to help the Patriots win this one convincingly.  Their defense was phenomenal.

 

Detroit 28 New Orleans 13

 

Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions for the first time this year didn’t trail going into the fourth quarter and that is because they played perhaps their most complete game of the year.  Stafford threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns plus the defense picked off Drew Brees three times delivering both a damaging blow to the Saints and their playoff hopes and sending a message to the rest of the league that they are in fact the team to beat in the NFC North.

 

Oakland 38 Buffalo 24

 

The Raiders had some troubles getting their offense going in the first half.  Buffalo was running the ball at will early on with LeSean McCoy and company, but once Derek Carr got hot in the third quarter with the Raiders trailing 24-9 and Khalil Mack started taking advantage of the Bills offensive line, it was see you later time for the Bills. Oakland is looking really legit.

 

Arizona 31 Washington 23

 

This game was really entertaining in the second half with the two teams exchanging scores, but in the end it was Cardinals running back David Johnson who had the go-ahead score.  Johnson has been unbelievable this year.  He scored twice and J.J. Nelson added an insurance touchdown reception as the Cardinals saved their season with a big win over Washington.

 

Pittsburgh 24 New York Giants 14

 

Eli Manning did not have a great game in this one.  The Steelers weren’t overpowering like we thought we would see, but they did enough including getting a big game from tight end Ladarius Green who finally had a breakout game for the Steelers with 110 yards receiving and a touchdown.  If Green can become another viable weapon, no one will want to face the Steelers in the playoffs if they can get in.

 

Tampa Bay 28 San Diego 21

 

Jameis Winston and the Bucs are getting hot at the right time.  They had a big second half and the defense came up with some big stops and forced a Philip Rivers interception at the right time to extend their win streak to three.  This team is not a team you want to face right now.

 

Seattle 40 Carolina 7

 

This game was incredibly bizarre.  First Cam Newton didn’t start the first possession of the game for the Panthers due to a team dress code violation.  That drive’s first play resulted in a Derek Anderson interception.  Then Seahawks safety Earl Thomas broke a bone in his shin and tweeted that he was contemplating retirement at halftime.  Then the Panthers essentially gave up in the second half and the Seahawks coasted to victory.  Strange, strange, strange.

 

Indianapolis Colts @ New York Jets 8:30 PM ET ESPN MNF

 

The Colts are right where they need to be in the AFC South race.  A win and they are part of a three-way tie atop the division.  Andrew Luck should play.  The Jets of course will try and win, but they aren’t that good.  Give me the team with more to play for.

 

Prediction: Colts 26 Jets 13

 

Coming up Tuesday: MNF reaction, CFP reaction and more.


"The Stack" 12-3-16

Adam Thielen's fumbled punt in the fourth quarter set the Cowboys up for the go-ahead touchdown and helping them beat the Vikings 17-15 Thursday night. Had he not fumbled, I think the Vikings would have won. Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Thielen's fumbled punt in the fourth quarter set the Cowboys up for the go-ahead touchdown and helping them beat the Vikings 17-15 Thursday night. Had he not fumbled, I think the Vikings would have won.
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Stack is back and we have belated Football Friday post as we had some issues getting into the site yesterday (Friday). It's the first Football Friday of December.  Where has the year gone?  Week 13 is off to a fast start and while our picks for the week are 1-0, The Stack is sad today that the Vikings lost 17-15.  The Vikings made plenty of mistakes and self-inflicted wounds haunted them in this game.  Game changed on the Adam Thielen punt return that he fumbled that set up Dallas for the go-ahead touchdown.  They just can’t catch a break.  Last week’s picks were good (14-2), but I’m not feeling nearly as confident this week.  Having said that, let’s get right to the previews and predictions you demand (hopefully) in “the stack” for today, Friday, December 2nd:

 

Kansas City Chiefs @ Atlanta Falcons 1 PM ET CBS

 

It feels stupid to pick against the Chiefs, but they are coming off of a very physical game against the Denver Broncos defense on the road in which they had to play a full five quarters.  Yes they won, but that defense could be tired as they face the high-flying Falcons offense.  I expect another good day from Matty Ice and company as the Falcons get the win.

 

Prediction: Falcons 24 Chiefs 16

 

Miami Dolphins @ Baltimore Ravens 1 PM ET CBS

 

We keep waiting for the Dolphins to start losing, but their six game winning streak is worth noting.  They have played very well in almost all of the games except for maybe the Rams game a couple of weeks back that they somehow found a way to win.  This Ravens team is average at best.  I don’t feel good about picking the Dolphins, but that is where I’m leaning at this time.

 

Prediction: Dolphins 24 Ravens 20

 

San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears 1 PM ET FOX

 

The 49ers didn’t travel back to San Francisco after their loss to Miami last week.  That makes sense.  Why put the wear and tear of travel on your player’s already aching bodies?  Colin Kaepernick played very well last week.  This is a crapshoot as far as I’m concerned and if the 49ers defense can’t contain Bears running back Jordan Howard they could be in trouble, but I’m going to take the 49ers to win a close one for some reason.

 

Prediction: 49ers 27 Bears 24

 

Philadelphia Eagles @ Cincinnati Bengals 1 PM ET FOX

 

The Bengals have been very disappointing this year.  Injuries have not helped and no real veteran depth at wide receiver behind A.J. Green has hurt the team.  Having said that, it’s not like the Eagles are lighting the world on fire with their offense.  The Bengals are likely out of the playoffs and this game will tell us all a lot if they have given up on the season.  I think they find a way to get a win.

 

Prediction: Bengals 20 Eagles 17

 

Houston Texans @ Green Bay Packers 1 PM ET CBS

 

The Packers, like Stella, finally got their groove back last week in Philadelphia.  I don’t think Brock Osweiler and the Texans offense scares them that much.  The Packers will win again and let everyone know that they are back.

 

Prediction: Packers 27 Texans 10

 

Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars 1 PM ET CBS

 

At the beginning of the season, I thought this game would be one where the Jaguars would pick up a signature victory on their way to an AFC South division title.  They are just looking for any win right now.  I don’t think they are going to find it here.  Blake Bortles pick-six anyone?  Malik Jackson and Julius Thomas are going to wish to be traded back to the Broncos after this game.

 

Prediction: Broncos 23 Jaguars 13

 

Los Angeles Rams @ New England Patriots 1 PM ET FOX

 

Let’s see if the Rams provide more of a fight to the Patriots than the ongoing fight between Jeff Fisher, the Rams front office and Eric Dickerson this week.  If Tom Brady doesn’t play, things could be pretty dicey, but the Patriots will still find a way to win.

 

Prediction: Patriots 34 Rams 16

 

Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints 1 PM ET FOX

 

The scoreboard operator better ready on Sunday because there will be points a plenty in this game.  The Lions likely will find themselves trailing in the fourth quarter, but that will be familiar territory to them.  Unlike in seven games though this season, this week I don’t think it will be enough to keep up with Drew Brees and the high powered Saints offense.

 

Prediction: Saints 37 Lions 27

 

Buffalo Bills @ Oakland Raiders 4:05 PM ET CBS

 

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr says his finger is feeling pretty good.  The Bills wide receivers are banged up.  The Raiders have more weapons and will win another game as they prepare for Kansas City next week.

 

Prediction: Raiders 27 Bills 17

 

Washington @ Arizona Cardinals 4:25 PM ET FOX

 

Washington may be without tight end Jordan Reed in this one.  That will hurt the offense a little bit.  The Cardinals season is on the line here.  They haven’t been playing at home a lot lately, but now is the time where they play a complete game and save their season…for now.  Give me David Johnson and company to take it to the Washington defense.

 

Prediction: Cardinals 30 Washington 24

 

New York Giants @ Pittsburgh Steelers 4:25 PM ET FOX

 

Eli Manning versus Ben Roethlisberger.  These two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks were in the same draft class and in all likelihood this will be their last meeting barring a meeting in the Super Bowl.  The Giants are playing really good football, but the Steelers offense is going to be too explosive and they will get the win.

 

Prediction: Steelers 34 Giants 27

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ San Diego Chargers 4:25 PM ET FOX

 

The Buccaneers return to the stadium where they won their only Super Bowl over a decade ago.  Their season has turned around the last couple of games thanks in large part to Jameis Winston.  The Chargers though are better than their last place record shows.  Philip Rivers and company will do enough to take down the Bucs.

 

Prediction: Chargers 27 Buccaneers 24

 

Carolina Panthers @ Seattle Seahawks 8:30 PM ET NBC

 

The Seahawks looked bad last week against Tampa Bay last week.  They got zero production from anyone on offense last week except for Russell Wilson.  Cam Newton and the Panthers are a very good team.  They’re a desperate team.  The Seahawks will win a close game if Earl Thomas and Michael Bennett are back.  I think they are back and therefore I think the Seahawks will win.

 

Prediction: Seahawks 23 Panthers 16

 

Coming up Monday: Week 13 NFL reaction plus MNF preview


"The Stack" 12-1-16

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer's status for tonight's game against the Dallas Cowboys is very much in doubt following emergency eye surgery Wednesday night. Zimmer has had issues with the eye throughout the season. Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer's status for tonight's game against the Dallas Cowboys is very much in doubt following emergency eye surgery Wednesday night. Zimmer has had issues with the eye throughout the season.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
The College Football Playoff teams will be announced on Sunday following championship Saturday. Will Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Washington stay as the four playoff teams or will chaos ensue and change everything up?
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Stack is back on this Thursday and my apologies for not having a blog post yesterday to discuss Oregon moving on from head football coach Mark Helfrich.  We’ll see where they go from here.  There are a number of different things we need to talk about today though so let’s get right to “the stack” for today, Thursday, December 1st (can you believe it is already the first of December?):

 

MLB, Player’s Association agree to new labor deal

 

With the threat that some executives from MLB teams would skip the upcoming winter meetings in Washington D.C. due to a lack of progress towards a new labor deal, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA decided to get to work and work they did.  The two sides agree to a five-year deal good through the 2021 season.  With the hugely successful season that MLB just came off of capped by a Chicago Cubs-Cleveland Indians World Series that resulted with the Cubs ended their century plus World Series drought, Major League Baseball could ill-afford any sort of work stoppage.  That will not happen now.  Luxury taxes will go up.  Teams that sign premium free agents won’t have to give up first round picks to the team that lost said player.  There will be changes to revenue sharing and to the domestic violence policy.  This is a good day for Major League Baseball and the two sides worked it out with very little fanfare from the national media.  Good job Major League Baseball!

 

College football weekend forecast

 

Can you believe (it’s December?) that college football has reached championship week already?  Unbelievable.  The college football playoff rankings came out as expected with Alabama at number followed by Ohio State, Clemson and Washington.  Michigan is at five, but they don’t play this week.  Wisconsin, Penn State and Colorado follow and then it’s Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.  There could be complete mayhem on Saturday and into Sunday when the College Football Playoff is announced.  Let’s look at all of the championship games:

 

  • #17 Western Michigan vs. Ohio (MAC Championship, 7 PM ET ESPN2 on Friday)…We’re “Rowing the Boat” to Detroit with a championship for the Broncos.

  • #8 Colorado vs. #4 Washington (Pac-12 Championship, 9 PM ET FOX on Friday)…Buffs are a nice story, but I think Washington dominates.

  • Temple vs. #19 Navy (AAC Championship, Noon ET ABC on Saturday)…Midshipmen just know how to win and they will do so again.

  • Louisiana Tech vs. Western Kentucky (Conference USA Championship, Noon ET ESPN on Saturday)…Don’t really care about this game, but I’ll take the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky.

  • #1 Alabama vs. #15 Florida (SEC Championship 4 PM ET CBS on Saturday)…Florida can’t score and Alabama is unstoppable.  Roll Tide.

  • San Diego State vs. Wyoming (MWC Championship 7:45 PM ET ESPN on Saturday)…Both teams were blown out last weekend, but I’ll take SDSU mainly because of running back Donnel Pumphrey.

  • #6 Wisconsin vs #7 Penn State (Big Ten Championship 8 PM ET FOX on Saturday)…Penn State in the Big Ten championship game?  Believe it.  But I believe that Wisconsin will win this one.

  •  #3 Clemson vs #23 Virginia Tech (ACC Championship 8 PM ET ABC on Saturday)…I love my Hokies, but Deshaun Watson and Clemson take care of business.

  • One non-championship game we should mention is #10 Oklahoma State @ #9 Oklahoma (12:30 PM ET FOX)  Go with the Boomer Sooners to win and then hope like hell crazy stuff happens the rest of the day.

 

Should be a great weekend of championship action and we will all find out what happens with the four playoff teams on Sunday at noon ET on ESPN.

 

Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings 8:25 PM ET NBC & NFL Network (Streaming live on Twitter)

 

These are two good teams.  The Cowboys are outstanding led by rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.  The Vikings have a great defense and if they weren’t plagued by so many injuries on offense, this would be a battle for first place in the NFC I feel.  As it is, the Vikings need a win desperately just to stay in the wild card discussion and put just enough pressure on the Detroit Lions for the NFC North division lead.  It sounds like wide receiver Stefon Diggs will play which would be huge, but as if things couldn’t get much worse for the Vikings, head coach Mike Zimmer might not be able to coach after having emergency eye surgery last night.  Just another hurdle for the Vikings.  They can’t overcome this.

 

Prediction: Cowboys 27 Vikings 20

 

Coming up Friday: Week 13 NFL preview and predictions


Listen to this week's "The Sports Block" podcast here.


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