Denver Broncos Tickets

November 2010

TCU’s Big Move East, and Why It Should Be to the Big 12

Published on: 30th November, 2010

TCU's Big Move East, and Why It Should Be to the Big 12  | read this item

TCU has given up.  They are tired of being labeled as a second class citizen in college football.  They are fed up with hearing other university presidents tell them that they play “little sisters of the poor.”  So TCU is moving to the Big East, and boy is it a marriage made in heaven.

This year TCU is 12-0 and ranked third in the latest BCS rankings.  However, TCU does not play in an automatic bid conference and does not have an automatic berth into a BCS game.  This year they will most likely be playing in the Rose Bowl as an at large team regardless of whether or not Oregon and Auburn remain undefeated. 

If Oregon or Auburn lose in their final game, many feel that TCU would be jumped by a one-loss team because of the disparity in the ever-controversial strength of schedule column.  That’s why this move makes so much sense, and not only for TCU.

Texas Christian’s move to the Big East instantly legitimizes its conference games and also means that it will get a shot to play some of the big boys at home during their non-conference schedule.  After all, if a Big East team was one of two undefeated programs left in the FBS, there is no doubt it would be playing in the National Title game.  That means that if TCU was playing in the Big East this year, its shot at a national championship would be much more legitimate in many people’s eyes.

The move also makes sense for the conference.  The Big East has come under fire lately since it will be sending a mediocre football team to a BCS game.  If UCONN wins on Saturday, it will win the conference championship and be the Big East’s representative, and will most likely be unranked. 

By adding TCU, the Big East instantly legitimizes its automatic qualifier, since TCU will be that team more often than not.  If the Horned Frogs continue their success, the move also gives the Big East a legitimate championship contender for years to come. 

The move does bring up a few concerns, most of them geographic.  TCU is justifying the switch by stating that the Dallas Cowboys play in the NFC East and has for a very long time.  This reasoning is laughable.  Dallas plays three games a year where it must travel east to play a divisional game. 

TCU’s football team will have to do this at least that many times, if not more.  TCU also has 19 other athletic programs that will have to travel great distances much more frequently.

Let’s be honest, this was not a move in the best interests of the athletic department, but rather a move in the best interest of TCU football.  After all, football is the money maker, and if you don’t think college football is a business then you are sorely mistaken. 

The only other issue that comes to mind with this decision has nothing to do with the Big East or TCU, but rather with the Big 12.  Why in the world would the Big 12 not invite TCU, or Boise State for that matter, to join them?  The Big 12 just lost two of its long time, staple members in Colorado and Nebraska.  Sure, Colorado’s loss didn’t hurt too bad, but Nebraska has a solid football program once again with an extremely loyal fanbase. 

Some forget that the Big 12 had a shot at inviting TCU out of the now defunct Southwest Conference, but instead invited Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor.  Sure Texas and Texas A&M have had success, but the other two, especially Baylor, have done very little. 

Now would have been the perfect time to right the ship and invite in one of the hottest programs in college football.  Had TCU accepted an invitation from the Big 12, which it almost certainly would have, the conference would once again be a superpower in college football, rivaling the SEC for dominance. 

It certainly would’ve made much more sense than TCU joining the Big East both geographically and competitively.  It would have set up some intense rivalries with Texas, Texas A&M and possibly Oklahoma.  The Big 12 would have also reversed some of the embarrassment of losing two schools by adding at least one, if not two of the most popular and noteworthy football programs in TCU and Boise State. 

The Big 12′s loss is the Big East’s gain.  No longer will critics be able to say that TCU is not worthy of playing for titles because they play in a mid-major conference.  No longer will teams like UCONN or Pittsburgh get to play in BCS games with three or four losses, while a one loss or even undefeated TCU team plays in a second-class bowl game.  The move makes sense for all involved and should forever put TCU on the forefront of college football.

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Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: New York Jets Remain on Top

Published on: 30th November, 2010

Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: New York Jets Remain on Top  | read this item

1. New York Jets (9-2); Last Week- 1

If you don’t watch the Jets take on New England this Monday night, you aren’t a football fan.


2. Atlanta Falcons (9-2); Last Week- 2

Matt Ryan is now 19-1 at home, and the Falcons looks poised to win homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.


3. New England Patriots (9-2); Last Week- 3

The Patriots are so good because they win the “easy” games and play tough in the difficult ones.


4. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3); Last Week- 5

Big Ben never got it going against the Bills, but Pittsburgh still hung on for the win.


5. New Orleans Saints (8-3); Last Week- 6

I love to watch the Saints play, just not when it’s in a win over Dallas.


6. Green Bay Packers (7-4); Last Week- 4

The Packers and Falcons are evenly matched to me, but Green Bay is going to have to win on the road in the postseason.


7. Baltimore Ravens (8-3); Last Week- 8

The Ravens are really tough in January, but they want to make sure they win the AFC North first.


8. Philadelphia Eagles (7-4); Last Week- 7

The Eagles’ loss in Chicago was a bit surprising to me, and now they need to make sure they get back on track with so many seven-plus win teams in the NFC.


9. San Diego Chargers (6-5); Last Week- 9

You know the NFL has changed when people are seriously talking about a 6-5 team as perhaps the best in its conference.


10. New York Giants (7-4); Last Week- 11

With Philly’s loss, the Giants are still in the driver’s seat for the NFC East.


11. Chicago Bears (8-3); Last Week- 13

I officially give up on the Bears.  I still think this team should be .500 at best.


12. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4); Last Week- 14

San Diego is charging, but none of that matters to K.C. if they just keep on winning.  They should be favored in every game except one (against the Chargers) from here on out.


13. Indianapolis Colts (6-5); Last Week- 10

The good news for Dallas as they head to Indy this week is that Peyton is struggling.   The bad news is he always rebounds.


14. Tampa Bay Bucs (7-4); Last Week- 12

Tampa is playing tough against some of the league’s top teams.  It’s amazing what a solid quarterback can do for you.


15. Houston Texans (5-6); Last Week- 22

Can the Texans turn this thing around?  They’re shockingly just a game out of first place.


16. Miami Dolphins (6-5); Last Week- 17

I can’t stand watching the Dolphins play.  Run, run, short pass, punt.


17. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-5); Last Week- 15

The Jags are not a legitimate contender, but have you checked out David Garrard’s passer rating lately?


18. Oakland Raiders (5-6); Last Week- 16

The Raiders still have a glimmer of hope because they play in the AFC West, but they’re making me look bad.


19. Tennessee Titans (5-6); Last Week- 18

How do you get shutout by the Texans?  Start Rusty Smith at quarterback, I guess.


20. San Francisco 49ers (4-7); Last Week- 23

One game out of first place.  Wow.


21. Minnesota Vikings (4-7); Last Week- 24

I really have nothing to say about the Vikings.


22. St. Louis Rams (5-6); Last Week- 25

I actually think St. Louis might be headed for the playoffs.  If they aren’t at least .500, that will be tragic.


23. Cleveland Browns (4-7); Last Week- 26

Why is Peyton Hillis allowed to purposely go to the ground to celebrate touchdowns but Marc Colombo gets flagged for accidentally falling down?


24. Dallas Cowboys (3-8); Last Week- 20

My thoughts on the Cowboys’ loss are all over the place, so not much more to say.


25. Washington Redskins (5-6); Last Week- 19

It’s sad to watch Washington play and know that Dallas lost to them and has a worse record.


26. Seattle Seahawks (5-6); Last Week- 21

You’re looking at a team that it STILL tied for first in the NFC West.


27. Arizona Cardinals (3-8); Last Week- 27

Derek Anderson is about to laugh his way into the UFL.


28. Cincinnati Bengals (2-9); Last Week- 28

T.O. got a taste of Revis Island and came out empty-handed.


29. Buffalo Bills (2-9); Last Week 29

The Bills have now played well for about a month, which is surprising considering they may have the league’s worst personnel.


30. Denver Broncos (3-8); Last Week- 30

Josh McDaniels is just an a**hole. Still true from last week, and the week before.


31. Detroit Lions (2-9); Last Week- 31

Suh should win Defensive Rookie of the Year, hands down.


32. Carolina Panthers (1-10); Last Week- 32

And John Fox is the coach some Cowboys fans want?

Biggest Riser: Houston Texans (Seven spots)

Biggest Faller: Washington Redskins (Six spots)

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NFL Mock Draft 2011: Has Ryan Mallett Passed Jake Locker on Big Board?

Published on: 30th November, 2010

NFL Mock Draft 2011: Has Ryan Mallett Passed Jake Locker on Big Board?  | read this item

The 2011 NFL Draft may be several months away yet, but now that the season is 2/3 over, we’re not only getting a better idea of which teams will land in which spots, but we’re also getting a better idea of which college players will be able to make the leap to the pros. Players such as Ryan Mallett are rising on the big board, while others such as Jake Locker have been falling out of the top ten, maybe even the first round on some people’s boards.

Now that the college season is wrapping up with only championship and bowl games left to be played, those that have made a statement have seen their draft stock rise, which helps doubly so for those who can fill a major need on a team’s roster.

The draft order is based mainly on current record, with some modifications based on schedules for the final few games of the season.

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Is Les Miles the Most Valuable Coach in College Football?

Published on: 30th November, 2010

Is Les Miles the Most Valuable Coach in College Football?  | read this item

Has there ever been a more polarizing coach in college football? 

Les Miles is the luckiest man alive; Les Miles is a genius play caller, an idiot, a great man.  Les Miles eats grass; Les Miles doesn’t know a hole in the ground from his sassafras.

In the last six years Les Miles has been described as anything from a completely oblivious boob to a conquering hero of national championship fame.

Truth be told, he could be all of those things and a lot more.  Yet, if you ask key members of the athletic department, particularly those who see the profit and loss statement, you might hear the only relevant description of LSU’s oft criticized head coach.

“Les Miles is the most valuable college football coach in America.”

Is that right?  We know he is one of the most expensive at $3.8M per year through 2014, but is he really worth that kind of dough?

Some LSU fans, and not a “conservative reporter”-type minority of sport media pundits, don’t think so.  At 10-2 in a year when LSU beat more ranked teams than any other top-10 team, there are still some calling for his ouster.

That doesn’t make sense when you consider that Miles has the highest winning percentage of any coach in LSU history.  By any traditional method of evaluating coaches, Miles is Hall of Fame great.

But this is Les Miles we are talking about; traditional doesn’t translate into his vernacular.

In typical Louisiana fashion (I am familiar), Miles is judged not by the 61 victories but the 17 losses.  The victories are not judged even by the result but the margin and if you didn’t win by a lot, you might as well have lost.

If a player is better than expected (Jacob Hester) he was just over looked by recruiting services but if he is not performing at the level of his initial hype (Russell Shepard), then it’s because Miles and crew can’t evaluate or develop talent.

If a player doesn’t execute it is because Miles didn’t coach him up. On the other hand, when players do execute, it’s because they were just great to begin with.

When Miles won in his initial years, it was because he inherited Nick Saban’s players. Yet this year, without a single Saban recruit and with a still struggling offense, LSU traverses on of the most difficult schedules in the country and it’s because LSU recruits talent that wins despite him.

Is your head spinning yet?

Mine too, but we still haven’t addressed the question of Miles’ value as a coach.  What does he bring to the table?

According to Les Miles, “The full measure of success is to graduate and win championships.”

Since 2005, when Miles took over the program, LSU’s Football team has in creased its APR—Academic Progress Rate, a measure the NCAA uses in determining a school’s compliance with academic regulations—from 923 to 960 in 2009, which ranks in the top four in the SEC.

Miles has two SEC West crowns, an SEC and a National Championship to his credit. 

The team is poised to receive its fourth major (New Year’s Day or greater) bowl invitation this year.

Under his leadership, LSU’s recruiting has finished only once outside of the top 10, finishing No. 11 in 2005, when Miles was hired with less than a month to go before National Signing Day.

LSU is currently projected to finish in the top-five for the fourth time in Miles’ six years in Baton Rouge.

Miles also runs, what is by all accounts, one of the cleanest programs in the increasingly ill-reputed toughest conference in the country.

More importantly, to those that watch the bottom line, Miles has been very good at generating profit for a university that is in dire need of increasing that particular asset.

Due to severe budget deficits in Louisiana, state legislators are driving sweeping cuts to virtually all departments of the University system, including its flagship in Baton Rouge.

Yet the Athletic Department—one of only two self-sustaining ADs in FBS sports—is enjoying an ever increasing profit margin with Miles at the helm of its crown jewel, the football program.

In 2004, LSU ranked in the middle of the pack in contributing about $2.2M to the bottom line.  Last year, LSU’s Football program, alone was valued at $89M, raking in a whopping $39M annually in profits.

This year, LSU’s national marketability reached such a critical mass that the National Media began to dedicate whole segments to the ups and downs of the LSU football team and it’s sometimes embattled head coach.

Scott Van Pelt, who became a self-avowed Les Miles fanatic proclaimed that Miles has “mystical powers” and he and his co-host Ryan decided that LSU’s only non-nationally televised game of the of the year—a midseason tilt with FCS (formerly DII) in-state foe McNeese State—would be their can’t-miss game of the week. 

Yes, Les Miles became “must-see TV!”

Gary Danielson, CBS color analyst, and Verne Lundquist have become as familiar to LSU fans as Jim Hawthorn—“The Voice of the Tigers”—as LSU has now appeared on CBS’ Game of the Week more than any other team in the country, save Florida and Alabama.

LSU has always had the potential to be a national powerhouse and LSU’s previous coach, Nick Saban; former Chancellor now president of the NCAA, Mark Emmrett; along with former coaching great and then athletic director, Skip Bertmen, set LSU on its current course.

Without question though, LSU’s grass-eating, mystical power wielding coach—who is loved by his players, as evidenced by them awarding him with a players’ only “game ball” after the win versus the aforementioned Saban’s Alabama Crimson tide—has increased that National Presence ten-fold.

Indeed, the annual coaching carousel—that so clearly highlights the prize and peril of the profession—has already been set in motion and will include several schools looking to improve not only their play on the field but their value as a program.  At least two of the schools (and one pro team) thought to be in the market for a new coach have previous ties to coach Les Miles.

No doubt many would be interested in a proven commodity like Les Miles, but don’t underestimate the loyalty (and happiness) of the man.

In 2007, when LSU was poised to play for the SEC Championship, rumors of his departure became a breaking news story when (ESPN) College Game Day’s Kirk Herbstreit announced that he would be the next head coach at Michigan, his Alma-Matter and reported “Dream Job.”

At an impromptu news conference the coach blasted the network and proclaimed his love and loyalty to LSU.

Even amidst the most brutal commentary—mostly from LSU’s own fan base and local media—over the three years that have followed that press conference, Miles has maintained his deep affection for the school, its fans and the state of Louisiana.

As other suitors come calling, the fanbase is still somewhat divided; but for those hoping that LSU can maintain not only a competitive football team but an enviable bottom line, the thought of losing the most valuable coach in college football is more than a little scary.

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Throwing the Red Flag: Should the NFL Challenge Their Replay System?

Published on: 30th November, 2010

Throwing the Red Flag: Should the NFL Challenge Their Replay System?   | read this item

As another week goes by following the Packers and the 2010 season, a controversial replay (or lack of) again is part of the game.  

Late in the second quarter, in three-point road loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez was ruled to have made a catch which converted a fourth down for the Falcons. The drive culminated in a TD for the Falcons. 

Replay on the broadcast showed the ball moved a bit and possibly could have been worth a second look via review.  Nobody on the Packers apparently had a clear enough look on the field.  And Coach McCarthy later explained they didn’t get a look in time to throw the challenge flag.  

In a close game, this turned out to be a critical moment where rather than blasting the official for a blown call, many folks are asking why didn’t McCarthy do something to get a look at the play again.  

If you ask me, its just another example in a long list of plays where the current replay system in the NFL just wasn’t enough to get the call right.  Which in the end, should be everyone’s goal.  

The fact that there is some degree of gamesmanship with the current NFL replay system may appeal to some.  For me, I’d rather it be utilized to simply minimize the number of incorrect calls.  

One need look no further than college football and their current system.  Their emphasis is on getting the call correct.  I have found it has enhanced my enjoyment of college football to know that for the most part, if there is a questionable call, an official who sees timely views of replays can buzz down to his colleagues on the field and stop play. 

This seems to be pretty efficient as the college officials do a good job of minimizing the time it takes to review and rule on a call.  It also seems to minimize the number of critical calls impacting the outcome of the game. 

The NFL, on the other hand, seems to not be able to go a week without some questionable call, either reviewed or not, having an impact on the outcome of the game. 

The current NFL system puts the coaches in charge for the most part by giving them two challenges.  If you are wrong you lose a timeout, so there can consequences to a challenge.  And if unless you get both challenges correct, you are limited to those two challenges.  

While “the booth” can only call for challenges in the final two minutes of each half.  It seems this format has magnified the challenge/replay system to now being a critical part of the game rather than helping the game.  

The coaches’ decision (or not) to throw that precious challenge flag at the risk of a timeout can be a major decision in any game. 

I don’t know if that was the NFL’s intent, to make a side game out of the replay system. But I guess I would simply prefer they take a lesson from the college ranks and leave the officials in charge of replay for the most part. 

I want them to get as many calls correct as they can.  For the betterment of the game.  It takes away from the action of the game itself when fans and players alike are left on the short end of challenge decisions—not to mention a slight home field advantage for the team running the replay board.

Ultimately its still just an incorrect call by an official.  

Even if an NFL coach is 2-for-2 on his challenges and gets permitted to make a third challenge, that’s no guarantee there won’t be five or six questionable calls that may be unable to be reviewed under the current format.  

I’d like to see what other NFL fans think of the challenge system.  I understand it can work both ways for teams on any given day, but like I said, I think college does a very good job of minimizing the number of missed calls with their replay system.  

The NFL’s system still leaves too much room for bad calls to affect the outcome of a game.  Instead of blasting officials for poor calls, we are now blasting head coaches for their challenge use.

Seems like its half a dozen one way and six the other.  

On the other hand, I guess some replays are better than no replays.  

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Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: Jets and Patriots Continue To Dominate NFL

Published on: 30th November, 2010

Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: Jets and Patriots Continue To Dominate NFL  | read this item

The parity continues in the NFL this season as there are several teams still in the playoff race.

With the Jets and Patriots seemingly in a two-way battle for AFC supremacy and the Falcons looking like the cream of the crop in the AFC, will there be any surprise squads making a late season push?

Here are the Week 13 NFL Power Rankings.

1. New York Jets: 9-2, T-First AFC East

The Jets handled the Bengals on Thanksgiving and can really put some distance between themselves and the Pats with a second win against them on Monday Night Football.


2. New England Patriots: 9-2, T-First AFC East

Since looking like they were headed for disaster against the Browns, the Patriots have proved that they’re once again a Super Bowl contender.


3. Atlanta Falcons: 9-2, First NFC South

With an impressive win against the Packers in Week 12, Matt Ryan is now 19-1 in his career at home as a starter.  Odds are that Falcons will continue strong push to secure home field advantage for postseason.


4. New Orleans Saints: 8-3, Second NFC South

The Saints are getting healthier, and it’s clear that fantasy football stud QB Drew Brees is much more effective than he was in the early going. The defending Super Bowl Champs aren’t going anywhere just yet.


5. Pittsburgh Steelers: 8-3, T-First AFC North

The Steelers might be 8-3, but they could easily find themselves sliding in the rankings if they continue to look inferior against the top-tier teams.


6. Green Bay Packers: 7-4, Second NFC North

QB Aaron Rodgers is coming on strong for a Packers team that is playing quality football despite all of the injuries.


7. Chicago Bears: 8-3, First NFC North

If you don’t believe in the Bears by now, you probably never will. It’s tough to blame anyone who doesn’t, as QB Jay Cutler looks like the second coming of Brett Favre.  


8. Baltimore Ravens: 8-3, T-First AFC North

Despite the Ravens 8-3 record, many think that the team has underachieved this season. It will be interesting to see how they hold up through the stretch run.


9. Philadelphia Eagles: 7-4, T-First NFC East

Fantasy football godsend QB Michael Vick continues to look incredible even in a loss. If the defense can step up their level of play, this offense has the ability to go stride-for-stride with any other.


10. San Diego Chargers: 6-5, Second AFC West

The Chargers are making a strong push toward the top and there’s no reason to think that they won’t succeed with MVP candidate QB Philip Rivers playing the best football of his career.


11. New York Giants: 7-4, T-First NFC East

The most inconsistent first place team in the league, the G-Men look great one week and awful the next. With the Eagles playing better than most expected, the Giants will have a tough time making the postseason if they don’t win the division.


12. Kansas City Chiefs: 7-4, First AFC West

Why is this team still surprising people? The Chiefs have the most explosive RB in football in Jamaal Charles, WR Dwayne Bowe is a one man wrecking crew and they’re beating quality opponents.


13. Indianapolis Colts: 6-5, T-First AFC South

This is the worst the Colts have looked in a while, as even Peyton Manning doesn’t look right. Regardless, it’s hard to imagine a playoff picture that didn’t include Indianapolis.


14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 7-4, Third NFC South

Did anyone really believe Raheem Morris when he said the Bucs were the best team in the NFC? They’re certainly a pleasant surprise, but a couple of key injuries suffered in Week 12 could really come back to bite them.


15. Jacksonville Jaguars: 6-5, T-First AFC South

David Garrard is often ridiculed as one of the worst starting QBs in the NFL, but his level of play over recent weeks has been surprisingly high and he has the Jags headed in the right direction. When’s the last time they were tied for first headed into Week 13?


16. Houston Texans: 5-6, T-Second AFC South

After finally showing some signs of life against a depleted Titans team in Week 12, the Texans are just one game out of the top spot. Can the defense finally step it up?


17. St. Louis Rams: 5-6, T-First NFC West

The Rams might be a team built for the future, but they’ve got a very real shot at a playoff berth in a weak NFC West. QB Sam Bradford is performing like a franchise player, and Steve Spagnuolo has his troops highly motivated.


18. Miami Dolphins: 6-5, Third AFC East

The Dolphins finally rushed the ball, and guess what? It resulted in a win! If only they had implemented this gameplan from Week 1, and perhaps they’d be higher in the rankings.


19. Washington Redskins: 5-6, Third NFC East

Stuck toiling in mediocrity, it’s hard to see the Redskins finishing the season with more than eight wins. Without a real running game to rely on, Donovan McNabb is going to have a tough time winning over the critical DC crowd.


20. Cleveland Browns: 4-7, Third AFC North

It took all 60 minutes, but the Browns were able to secure the victory over the Panthers. Although they won’t make the playoffs, this is the best four-win team in the league.


21 .Seattle Seahawks: 5-6, T-First NFC West

The Seahawks might be tied for first, but there’s just not enough talent on this team to sustain any sort of success right now.


22. Oakland Raiders: 5-6, Third AFC West

In the early going, the Raiders were among the most surprising teams in football. Now with RB Darren McFadden struggling to find his groove and QB Jason Campbell back under center for the rest of the way, a 7-9 finish seems like a stretch.


23. Tennessee Titans: 5-6, T-Second AFC South

If rookie QB Rusty Smith is forced into any more action, the Titans will sink faster than the Titanic. Hey, at least the Randy Moss acquisition has worked out well.


24. Minnesota Vikings: 4-7, Third NFC North

Dallas Cowboys 2.0? The Vikes won their first game under new coach Leslie Frazier despite playing an entire half without their best player, RB Adrian Peterson. Unfortunately, this squad is on the outside looking in.


25. San Francisco 49ers: 4-7, Third NFC West

The 49ers still have a legitimate chance to take the division and save Mike Singletary’s job, but losing RB Frank Gore for the season is a serious blow to the aforementioned.


26. Dallas Cowboys: 3-8, Fourth NFC East

WR Roy Williams cost his team a chance at moving to 4-7, and it was very encouraging to see them play the Saints so tightly. However, at the end of the day, 3-8 is a mega disappointment.


27. Denver Broncos: 3-8, Fourth AFC West

They have the biggest surprises in fantasy football with QB Kyle Orton and WR Brandon Lloyd, but unfortunately the team has to play defense, too.


28. Buffalo Bills: 2-9, Fourth AFC East

Kudos to Chain Gailey and his team for not throwing in the towel on the season, as they give every opponent their best effort.  They were just a dropped TD pass away from taking down the Steelers.


29. Detroit Lions: 2-9, Fourth NFC North

QB Matt Stafford is quickly gaining a reputation as injury-prone, and rookie RB Jahvid Best hasn’t been the same since his initial first couple of weeks in the league.


30. Cincinnati Bengals: 2-9, Fourth AFC North

There’s not a more talented team on paper in the NFL that is performing this badly. It’s a nightmare season for everybody involved.


31. Arizona Cardinals: 3-8, Fourth NFC West

Derek Anderson’s Week 12 post-game tirade just about sums up the Cards’ issues in a nutshell.


32. Carolina Panthers: 1-10, Fourth NFC North

It really doesn’t even matter for the Panthers at this point, who seem destined to collect the No. 1 overall pick. QB Jimmy Clausen is looking like a big swing and a miss at this point.

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NFL Power Rankings Week 13: 10 Teams Feeling It in Preparation for the Playoffs

Published on: 30th November, 2010

NFL Power Rankings Week 13: 10 Teams Feeling It in Preparation for the Playoffs  | read this item

There are only five games of football left in the season, much to everyone’s chagrin, but with the end of the regular season comes the always exciting playoff games.

Aside from a great football team, one thing that has helped many teams going into the playoffs in years past is getting on a winning streak near the end of the year.

A string of wins put together near the end of the season shows that the whole team is clicking together, and that nobody is capable of stopping that team.

Teams gain confidence with every first down, every big play, every touchdown, every win, and every win streak, and if there is one thing that playoff, and Super Bowl worthy teams for that matter, need, it’s confidence.

So, here are the top ten teams in terms of confidence building win streaks at this point in the season.

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NFL Power Rankings Week 13: How Far Did Bears Rise After Taking Down Eagles?

Published on: 30th November, 2010

NFL Power Rankings Week 13: How Far Did Bears Rise After Taking Down Eagles?  | read this item

NFL Power Rankings are out, and the top two teams haven’t changed.

Now, all that’s left is to wait for next Monday’s matchup between the No.2 New York Jets (9-2) and No.1 New England Patriots (9-2). The Jets won the first meeting 28-14 in Week 2, but this isn’t the same Patriots team, and it continues to gain confidence while New York has been living on the edge.

The Jets-Patriots matchup is one of many storylines worth examining. It’s not the only great game on this week’s schedule, either. Pittsburgh and Baltimore are about to renew their rivalry, which has been one of the league’s best - and most physical.

Keep watching Denver, where Josh McDaniels still has a job. For now.

The NFL has also handed out fines for Sunday’s brawl during the Houston-Tennessee game.

San Diego is coming off a huge win over Indianapolis, but could have lost one of its star players.

There’s lots to examine and discuss. Time to dive into this week’s rankings: 

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Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel Leads NFL’s Hottest Offense To Prominence

Published on: 30th November, 2010

Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel Leads NFL's Hottest Offense To Prominence  | read this item

Seven weeks ago the Kansas City Chiefs were overachieving despite a lack of production from their lackluster offensive leaders Matt Cassel, Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs were 3-2 after disappointing back-to-back losses, and their critics and fans alike were wondering if this team could contend in the AFC West with such a nonexistent offense—but that was eight weeks ago.

It’s now Week 13, and my how things have changed in the Chiefs household. The offense has matured from looking like the picture of Alice Coopers vision of youth in “18″ to that of The Who’s empowered ballad “The Kids Are Alright.” Where youth and inexperience once reigned supreme, those characteristics have been replaced with maturity and resilience.

The defense is still holding up their end of the bargain, ranked 13th in points allowed (21 per game) and seventh against the run (1,061 yards allowed,) but it’s the offense that has kept this team leading the AFC West in every week of the 2010 season. They’re ranked fourth in the NFL in points scored (25.9 per game) and made strides every week in becoming a more complete, playoff-ready team by scoring an average of 33 points per game in their last three games. That’s the most points by any team in the last three games.

This article chronicles ten key factors to the Chiefs rising up in recent weeks and staying hot when they could have easily fallen prey to the pitfalls that all young teams on the brink face.

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 13: Top Two Teams Set To Meet on Monday Night Football

Published on: 30th November, 2010

NFL Power Rankings, Week 13: Top Two Teams Set To Meet on Monday Night Football  | read this item

1. (1) New York Jets (9-2)

Jets-Patriots should be a minor upgrade from Niners-Cardinals in the Monday Night Football lineup. 

2. (2) New England Patriots (9-2)

Tom Brady and the Patriots rallied from a halftime deficit at Detroit on Thanksgiving to blow out the Lions and set up the much-anticipated rematch with the Jets.


3. (3) Atlanta Falcons (9-2)

The Falcons have won seven consecutive home games, but now face the difficult task of going on the road for the next three weeks.


4. (4) Baltimore Ravens (8-3)

An appetizer for that Jets-Patriots game will be Steelers-Ravens on Sunday night.


5. (5) New Orleans Saints (8-3)

Drew Brees had has six consecutive games with multiple touchdown passes streak snapped, but a great defensive play by Malcolm Jenkins set up the Saints’ quarterback for the only TD strike he would need against the Cowboys.


6. (6) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3)

The Steelers were fortunate to escape Buffalo with an overtime win, but in a trap game, they’ll take the victory any way they can get it.


7. (11) Chicago Bears (8-3)

By handing the Eagles their first loss in a game in which Michael Vick played the full 60 minutes, the Bears established themselves as a legitimate contender in the NFC.


8. (7) Philadelphia Eagles (7-4)

Andy Reid must think field goals are worth nine points.


9. (10) New York Giants (7-4)

Eli Manning and the Giants overcame a 17-6 deficit and the absence of their top two receivers to beat the Jags.


10. (9) Green Bay Packers (7-4)

Aaron Rodgers had 395 all-purpose yards and two scores, but a goal-line fumble proved to be the difference in the Packers’ loss in Atlanta.


11. (19) San Diego Chargers (6-5) 

The Chargers kept a great deal of pressure on Peyton Manning to improve to 38-8 over the last five seasons in games played after their bye week.


12. (8) Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

Quick passes into the flat to guys like running back Donald Brown helped the Colts score a touchdown on their first drive, but they strayed from that plan and turned the ball over four times en route to their first home loss of the season. (Yes, I lost by 0.25 points with Brown on my fantasy team Sunday night.)


13. (12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4)

The Bucs are 0-4 against winning teams.


14. (14) Miami Dolphins (6-5)

The Dolphins have alternated wins and losses for the past eight games.


15. (18) Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

The Chiefs’ top-ranked rushing attack racked up 270 yards in Seattle, but it was Dwayne Bowe’s 170-yard, three-touchdown receiving day that highlighted KC’s victory.


16. (16) Houston Texans (5-6)

That was the Texans’ first shutout since they blanked Jacksonville, 21-0, on Dec. 26, 2004.


17. (17) Oakland Raiders (5-6)

The Raiders’ fifth-ranked rushing offense was held to just 16 yards by the Dolphins.


18. (25) Minnesota Vikings (4-7)

Should only be about two weeks before Brett Favre calls out his new coach.


19. (13) Washington Redskins (5-6)

With Ryan Torain and Clinton Portis both out with injuries, the Redskins managed just 29 yards on the ground against the Vikings.


20. (20) Jacksonville Jaguars (6-5)

The Jags’ 27th-ranked pass defense couldn’t even stop a Giants offense playing without Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith.


21. (15) Tennessee Titans (5-6)

Cortland Finnegan’s tired antics helped to overshadow an incredibly bad debut by Rusty Smith. The Titans are 0-3 since acquiring Randy Moss.


22. (21) Cleveland Browns (4-7)

The Browns needed a last-second miss by John Kasay to avoid falling at home to the woeful Panthers.


23. (23) Seattle Seahawks (5-6)

The Seahawks dropped to the worst rushing offense in the league following their 20-yard performance at home against the Chiefs.


24. (24) St. Louis Rams (5-6)

You don’t have to be a winning football team to win the NFC West.


25. (22) Denver Broncos (3-8)

The Broncos became the first home team to lose to the Rams since Nov. 1, 2009.


26. (27) San Francisco 49ers (4-7)

Just one game out of the playoffs!


27. (26) Arizona Cardinals (3-8)

Just two games out of the playoffs and two games out of the No. 1 Draft pick.

28. (28) Dallas Cowboys (3-8)

The Cowboys had been playing cleaner football under Jason Garrett, but three turnovers, including a crucial fumble by Roy Williams in the fourth quarter, snapped their four-game Thanksgiving Day winning streak.


29. (29) Buffalo Bills (2-9)

Thou shall not blame the Lord for your dropped game-winner.


30. (30) Cincinnati Bengals (2-9)

If the Bengals keep playing this poorly, they may get to play on Thanksgiving every year.


31. (31) Detroit Lions (2-9)

See above.


32. (32) Carolina Panthers (1-10)

That’s the first time Kasay missed two field goals in one game since Week 7 of last year.


Follow me on Twitter at @  JordanHarrison .

Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at,, and

Jordan can be reached at



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