Friday, January 16, 2015

2014-15 NFL Playoffs: AFC/NFC Championships

(2) Green Bay Packers @ (1) Seattle Seahawks

Kick Off Time: Sunday 3:05 PM (FOX)

The Green Bay Packers (13-4) and Seattle Seahawks (13-4) kicked off the 2014 NFL season inside loud CenturyLink Field. This time though, the winner advances to play in Super Bowl XLIX. Seattle won the Week 1 match-up easily 36-16. In the divisional round of the playoffs; Seattle dismantled the Carolina Panthers 31-17 while the Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys 26-21 a day later. If Seattle does defeat Green Bay; they will be the first NFC team to go to back-to-back Super Bowls since the Packers did it in the 1996 and 1997 seasons. They have a huge advantage being at home where they have won eight straight postseason games and are 10-2 all-time. Green Bay is going to try and prevent Seattle from becoming the 12th team to reach the Super Bowl after winning it in the previous season. They have some history on their side being 2-0 in the playoffs against Seattle all-time.

QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' No. 1 offense will have to do a lot better job executing against Seattle's No. 1 defense than they did over four months ago. That includes using the entire field in the passing game and running the ball right up the middle. The biggest thing though is the offensive line just keeping Rodgers clean in the pocket and being more physical in the run game. RB Eddie Lacy can't run for a season-low 34 yards on 12 carries like he did in Week 1. WR Davante Adams is much more experienced than he was in the first meeting and could be an X-factor. Defensively, it is all about stopping Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch and preventing QB Russell Wilson from extending plays with his feet. They allowed 207 rushing yards in the first meeting with Seattle. Green Bay's front-7 featuring OLB's Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers need to generate pressure. They also need to have a positive turnover margin. Green Bay was 4-4 on the road in 2014.

With Rodgers banged up still for the Packers, Seattle should be able to get to him multiple times in the passing game. CB Richard Sherman should see some more passes come his way this time around which is a mistake for opposing QB's most of the time. Safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor continue to be enforcing playmakers for the defense hitting any Packers pass-catcher coming across the middle. Ever since ILB Bobby Wagner has come back from his injury, the Seahawks run defense has been excellent and he registered a season-high 14 tackles against the Packers in the season opener. On offense, Wilson just needs to keep playing mistake-free football while making big time throws. WR Jermaine Kearse had a career-high 129 receiving yards last week against the Panthers and along with WR Doug Baldwin; they should be good enough. Then there's Beast Mode. Seattle is now 8-1 at home after last weeks win.

Prediction: Seahawks win 28-24

(4) Indianapolis Colts @ (1) New England Patriots

Kick Off Time: Sunday 6:40 PM (CBS)

If it seems like the New England Patriots (13-4) are in the AFC Championship game every year. It's because they are pretty much entering their 4th straight AFC title game and 9th overall with head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady. Belichick is looking for his NFL record 21st postseason victory. On the other side, the Indianapolis Colts (13-5) are trying to reach the Super Bowl for first time since the 2009-10 season. They'll also try to not get completely run over by the Patriots as they have in their last three meetings with QB Andrew Luck at the helm. In those three meetings, the Colts have been outscored 144-66. New England beat Indianapolis 42-20 earlier this season. New England came from behind down 14 points twice to defeat the Baltimore Ravens 35-31 in the divisional round last week. The Colts handled the Denver Broncos 24-13 on the road in their postseason match-up. This is the 3rd time these franchises will meet for the AFC title. The Patriots won in 2003 and the Colts won in 2006 where the winner went on to win the Super Bowl.

Once again, the Colts offensive line was great last week in protecting Luck and they will have to be up to the task this week against New England. They also were able to generate a solid running game towards the end of last weeks game to finish off Denver. Luck has to stay away from the turnovers as he's thrown 8 INT's in three games against the Patriots but at the same time, can't be too conservative. RB Dan Herron will be Luck's best friend as a check down as he's caught 18 passes in the postseason but he'll have to do better than last weeks 2.7 yards per carry in the run game. Pass catchers T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, Hakeem Nicks, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener have to get open against New England's good pass defense. It's the defense that has let Indianapolis down in the past three meetings however. They allowed 59 points during Luck's rookie season and allowed an average of 240 rushing yards in the last two match-ups. They didn't sack Brady earlier this season either. Indy is 6-3 away from home.

Brady threw it all over the place last week against the Ravens compiling 367 passing yards and 3 TD's. He also ran one in for a score. That means they'll throw it 50 times against the Colts too, right? Anything can happen but the logical way they'll try and beat Indy is by running the ball. If RB Jonas Gray can rush for 201 yards and 4 TD's like he did earlier this year facing the Colts; then RB LeGarrette Blount can do it also. Blount rushed for 166 yards and 4 TD's against Indy during the 2013-14 posteseason. TE Rob Gronkowski should have another big game because no one can cover him and WR Danny Amendola has been productive in his last three games. Defensively, New England needs to confuse Luck and create turnovers. OLB Jamie Collins should be all over the field making plays and covering Indianapolis' great TE duo. While CB Darrelle Revis and the Patriots secondary held Hilton to 24 yards earlier this year. New England is now 8-1 at Gillette Stadium this season.

Prediction: Patriots win 37-28

Saturday, January 10, 2015

College Football National Championship: Oregon vs Ohio State

Oregon Ducks vs Ohio State Buckeyes

Location: Arlington, Texas

Stadium: AT&T Stadium

Kick Off Time: Monday 8:30 PM (ESPN)

So far, so good with this new college football playoff thing. The Pac-12 champion Oregon Ducks (13-1) will face off against the Big Ten champion Ohio State Buckeyes (13-1) for the national championship inside AT&T Stadium. On New Year's Day, the Ducks pounded the defending champions; the Florida State Seminoles winning 59-20 in the Rose Bowl. Ohio State later pulled off the upset in the Sugar Bowl to beat No. 1 ranked Alabama 42-35 meaning the SEC would not have a representative in the national title game for the first time since the 2005 season. While the Buckeyes are aiming for their first national championship since 2002; the Ducks are seeking their first ever. Oregon lost to the Auburn Tigers 22-19 the last time they were in the title game back in the 2010 season. Ohio State lost the national championship game in back-to-back years in 2006 and 2007. Once to an Urban Meyer coached Florida Gators team. Oregon has never beaten Ohio State going 0-8 all-time.

Ducks Offense vs Buckeyes Defense
Oregon's offense led by Heisman Trophy winning QB Marcus Mariota has been unstoppable all year minus the slip up against Arizona. As a team, they have scored 88 TD's this season which is tops in the FBS and are 3rd in total offense with 552.9 yards per game. They've also converted on 3rd downs 51.6% of the time and have the best turnover margin (+20) in the country. Mariota will make plays with his arm and legs putting up points as the Ducks scored 47.2 points per game in 2014. He also has a very good offensive line in front of him that can open holes for RB Royce Freeman who has rushed for 1,343 yards and 18 TD's this season. WR Byron Marshall led all Duck pass catchers with 66 catches for 834 yards and 5 TD's.

The Buckeyes defense needs to try and contain Mariota in the pocket and stop the run. DE Joey Bosa and DT Michael Bennett both have to be excellent and Ohio State has registered 43 sacks on defense. Then just hope Mariota makes a rare mistake or two and get off the field on 3rd downs as Oregon's offense has worn down defenses all year. Ohio State has been a big play defense this season with six defensive TD's and CB Doran Grant and the rest of the secondary has a huge task ahead of them. The task did get easier though because Oregon's WR Darren Carrington won't play due to a failed drug test.

Buckeyes Offense vs Ducks Defense
Ohio State's season seemed to be doomed twice this year with the injury to QB Braxton Miller before the season started and an injury to QB J.T. Barrett during the Michigan game. Enter 3rd string QB Cardale Jones and the Buckeyes haven't missed a beat dominating Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game 59-0. Then upsetting Alabama last week. RB Ezekiel Elliott has really stepped up in those two games averaging 11.25 yards per carry compiling 450 yards rushing and 4 TD's. As a team, they've scored the 2nd most TD's in the FBS with 84 totaling 509.7 yards per game along the way. Like Oregon, the Buckeyes also convert on over 51% of 3rd downs and they averaged 45 points per game. Buckeyes WR Devin Smith has been the big play receiving threat.

Oregon's front-7 on defense has to out-muscle Ohio State's offensive line. They have to force Jones into beating them with his arm rather than letting Elliott run wild on them. The Ducks defense showed that they are a physical football team against Florida State and are able to force turnover after turnover in the blink of an eye. They also have to get off the field on 3rd down as the Buckeyes offense is similar to their own. Teams converted on 41.6% of their 3rd downs against them. Make Ohio State kick field goals in the redzone and take WR Devin Smith out of the game.

Special Teams
The Ducks have used two kickers in 2014. K Aidan Schneider is their long range kicker and went 9/10 (90%) with a long of 42 yards. The other kicker is Matt Wogan who converted on 7/9 (77.8%) field goals. Both kickers have missed two extra points in 2014. Punter Ian Wheeler doesn't have to punt often and averaged 39 yards per punt. He had three of his 41 punts land in the endzone and 10 punts land inside the 20-yard line. WR Charles Nelson took two punts to the house this year and is also Oregon's main kick returner.

Ohio State has a decent freshman kicker in Sean Nuernberger who has made 13 of his 20 field goal attempts with a long of 49 yards. He hasn't missed an extra point all season. Punter Cameron Johnston has averaged 45.3 yards per punt this season with a career high punt of 73 yards. Of his 45 punts, 24 have landed inside the 20-yard line with just five going for touchbacks. RB Jalin Marshall is a dangerous punt returner and RB Dontre Wilson has handled the majority of kickoff returns.

Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich knows offense and worked under Chip Kelly. In his first two seasons as the head man, he has led the Ducks to a 24-3 record and on Monday could win for the 25th time. He'll be highly regarded in Oregon if he can lead the Ducks to their first ever national title in football.

Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer has been here before. He won two national championships as the head coach of the Florida Gators during the 2006 and 2008 seasons. Meyer knows how to motivate players and has done a great job of getting this 2014 Ohio State team through plenty of adversity. He has won 84.4% of his games.

Prediction: Ducks win 41-36

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014-15 NFL Playoffs: Divisional Match-Ups

(6) Baltimore Ravens @ (1) New England Patriots

Kick Off Time: Saturday 4:35 PM (NBC)

The Baltimore Ravens (11-6) will face the New England Patriots (12-4) in Foxboro once again in the playoffs. They are the two most successful teams in the postseason since 2000 with New England accumulating 18 wins and Baltimore winning 15 times. The Ravens have gotten the best of the Patriots in two of the last three playoff meetings. As a franchise, Baltimore has won five straight playoff games mostly due to QB Joe Flacco's mistake-free play. Their last loss in the postseason came against New England in the 2011-12 AFC Conference Championship game. The Patriots are coming off a first-round bye for the fifth consecutive season and are looking for their first Super Bowl appearance since the 2011-12 season. QB Tom Brady will look to add another win to his NFL record 18 playoff wins.

OLB's Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil have to have big games on Saturday getting to Brady. The two combined for 29 sacks in the regular season, more than any other pass-rushing duo in the NFL. SS Will Hill will also have a huge task in trying to slow down Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski. He did shut down New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham for the most part earlier this season. Baltimore has the capability to shut down the Patriots' run game but could have problems stopping their passing attack. On offense, Flacco just needs to play like he has been in the playoffs especially on the road. He already has the most road playoff wins in NFL history with seven. He's thrown 13 TD's and zero INT's over his last five postseason games. The Ravens are now 5-4 on the road this season after last weeks win over Pittsburgh 30-17.

Tom Brady has to take advantage of the Ravens secondary in the passing game for New England to win this game. RB's LeGarrette Blount and Shane Vereen are probably not going to have much space to run the ball with Ravens defenders Haloti Ngata and Brandon Williams clogging up the middle. That just means pass catchers Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell and Gronkowski need to get open while the offensive line tries to hold up in pass protection. Defensively, New England can lock down about any teams' passing offense with their secondary led by CB Darrelle Revis. The Patriots were also tougher against the run late in the season and have a challenge in trying to stop Ravens RB Justin Forsett. With a win Saturday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick would tie Tom Landry for the most playoff wins with 20. New England was 7-1 at home in 2014.

Prediction: Patriots win 34-31

(4) Carolina Panthers @ (1) Seattle Seahawks

Kick Off Time: Saturday 8:15 PM (FOX)

After beating the Arizona Cardinals 27-16 last week in the wildcard round, the Carolina Panthers (8-8-1) travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks (12-4). Carolina will enter a hostile environment and will be up against the No. 1 defense in the Seahawks. They'll also try to advance to the NFC Conference Championship game for the first time since a 34-14 loss to the Seahawks in the 2005-06 postseason. After struggling some in the first half of the season; Seattle hit their stride winning six straight to end the season and are ready to be back-to-back Super Bowl champions. These two teams faced each other during Week 8 in Carolina with the Seahawks pulling out a last minute victory 13-9. This game should feature a lot of defense with QB's Russell Wilson and Cam Newton trying to be the playmakers that they are.

The Panthers defense limited Arizona to a playoff-record-low 78 total yards last week. However, they're not playing Cardinals QB Ryan Lindley this week. Instead, they will have to slow down Seahawks QB Russell Wilson who led all NFL QB's this season with 849 rushing yards and six rushing scores. Panthers ILB Luke Kuechly is a beast and will be all over the field making plays like he has been all season. They won't have DT Star Lotulelei though which is a huge blow to a team that has to stop Seattle's great ground game. QB Cam Newton has to play the game of his life for his Panthers to have a chance against the Seahawks. He has to be accurate with the ball and must create plays with his legs. They also can't turn the ball over like they did last week. RB Jonathan Stewart has been a load to bring down in recent weeks and also needs to have a big day. This year, Carolina went 3-4-1 away from home.

Seattle's defense has been dominant during their six game win streak and really dominant when it counts. They haven't allowed a single point in the 4th quarter during the streak. The Seahawks' secondary led by FS Earl Thomas and CB Richard Sherman should contain Carolina's receiving targets. The key for the defense is just to force Panthers QB Cam Newton to make throws from the pocket and hit him repeatedly. For Wilson and the rest of the Seahawks offense; they can just take what the Panthers defense gives them. Wilson has faced the Panthers in Carolina each season he's been in the NFL and he's beaten them every time. This time he'll be at home with the crowd behind him along with RB Marshawn Lynch who should be well rested. Seattle will also have OC Max Unger back. They were 7-1 inside CenturyLink Field this season.

Prediction: Seahawks win 23-10

(3) Dallas Cowboys @ (2) Green Bay Packers

Kick Off Time: Sunday 1:05 PM (FOX)

The Dallas Cowboys (13-4) are about to play the Green Bay Packers (12-4) in the cold elements at Lambeau Field. They haven't met in the postseason at Lambeau since "The Ice Bowl" back in 1967. This game will also be the first time in NFL history that an 8-0 road team will play an 8-0 home team in the playoffs. Dallas became only the eighth team since the 1970 NFL merger to have a perfect road record in the regular season. However, the Cowboys haven’t won a road playoff game since the 1992-93 season losing six straight away from home since then. Green Bay led the league in scoring averaging 30 points per game this season and 40 points per game at home. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers should be healthy enough to be as effective as he was all year and he hasn't thrown an INT at Lambeau in forever.

The Cowboys are able to play this week because of a nice comeback win over the Detroit Lions 24-20 with a little help from their referee friends. With that, they have a defense that can play at a high level sometimes but they don't have the front-4 to get after a limited Rodgers. A middle of the road run defense isn't going to cut it either when facing Green Bay's talented offensive line and RB Eddie Lacy. QB Tony Romo and the offense will have to score often which they can do since they averaged a league-high 34 points on the road in 2014. The Packers run defense is even worse than their own but they improved greatly ever since Packers OLB Clay Matthews moved inside. Feeding RB DeMarco Murray the rock 25+ times is still a must obviously and the great Cowboys offensive line needs to move people. Green Bay had problems trying to stop WR's Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson this season so Cowboys WR Dez Bryant could have a huge game.

The Packers just need to do what they have been doing all year at home. Scoring a lot more points than the other team. Rodgers at 80% or whatever he is at is still very capable of getting the ball to his WR's Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Lacy can also take over a game running over defenses with the ball in his hands. The Packers defense has allowed just 86.4 rushing yards per game since Matthews moved inside so they can slow down Murray. Without a run game, Romo becomes a very mediocre QB like he was last week posting a 34.7 QBR. Green Bay needs to take Dez Bryant out of his game so he starts whining about not getting the ball and focus on Cowboys Jason Witten on key downs. Most importantly though, just generate pressure on Romo so he folds into making a mistake or two.

Prediction: Packers win 38-24

(4) Indianapolis Colts @ (2) Denver Broncos

Kick Off Time: Sunday 4:40 PM (CBS)

These teams will meet again this season in Denver. The Broncos won the previous match-up 31-24 in Week 1 holding off a furious comeback from Indianapolis. This time, the stakes will be much higher between the Indianapolis Colts (12-5) and Denver Broncos (12-4). QB's Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck will always have some kind of connection to each other ever since Luck was drafted to be Manning's replacement in Indianapolis. The "connection" will get stronger this weekend because for the first time in NFL history, two sons of former NFL quarterbacks will square off as starting quarterbacks in the postseason. The Colts beat the Cincinnati Bengals last week convincingly 26-10 while Denver got much needed rest.

Luck led the league in TD passes this season with 40 a year after Manning threw 55 TD passes setting the NFL record. He'll have to play his best football to go on the road and beat his predecessor. The Colts offensive line did a solid job last week protecting Luck and creating some holes for the run game but they'll have to deal with Denver's pass rushing duo of DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller this Sunday so they could struggle. If the Colts can't run the ball and control the clock; they'll lose. They can't expect Luck to throw it 50 times trying to match scores with Denver because he'll turn it over sooner or later. On defense, the Colts have to force turnovers and force Manning to move in the pocket. CB Vontae Davis did a nice job earlier this season on Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas limiting him to 48 yards. They also have to shut down Denver's run game which features RB C.J. Anderson. Indy was 5-3 on the road this season.

Denver was a top defense against the run all year and shouldn't have any trouble stopping Indy's poor run offense. Their leading tackler OLB Brandon Marshall could be back from injury also. The Broncos defense has the secondary with CB Chris Harris, CB Aqib Talib and SS T.J. Ward to slow down all of Luck's weapons on the outside. They picked off 18 passes on defense as a whole in 2014 including two during Week 1 against the Colts. Offensively, Denver needs to establish a run game with C.J. Anderson. The Broncos were 12-0 in games this season when compiling at least 88 yards on the ground. That way, the Colts can't just tee off on Manning and their play-action passing game will be effective. The Broncos have too many weapons for the Colts to try and stop and Manning will find the match-up that he likes. At home, Denver went undefeated this year.

Prediction: Broncos win 27-17

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014-15 NFL Playoffs: Wildcard Match-Ups

(5) Arizona Cardinals @ (4) Carolina Panthers

Kick Off Time: Saturday 4:20 PM (ESPN)

The first match-up of the 2014-15 NFL playoffs will feature the Arizona Cardinals (11-5) and Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) on ESPN. Arizona started the season 9-1 but couldn't hold the No.1 seed in the playoffs after losing four out of their last six games. Third string QB Ryan Lindley is starting again for the Cardinals and he threw his first career touchdown passes last week after setting an NFL-record 229 pass attempts without a touchdown pass. Meanwhile, Carolina has gotten hot at the right time and won their last four games to clinch the NFC South division and a home playoff game. They are the second team to enter the playoffs with a losing record but Matthew Hasselbeck, QB of the 2010 7-9 Seahawks once said: "What do you call the person that graduated medical school with the lowest GPA? A doctor."

Arizona has one of the best head coaches in the NFL with Bruce Arians. He along with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will devise great game plans for their team. The defense, led by CB Patrick Peterson and DE Calais Campbell should stymie the Panthers' passing and running attacks. The defense generated 35 sacks and forced 25 turnovers on the year. Offensively, Lindley has to execute the offense and make some plays with his arm. He has the weapons on the outside that can make plays with the ball in their hands. The offensive line which has struggled to open up lanes for the RB's all season have to be better also. For 2014, the Cardinals were 4-4 on the road.

The Panthers were well on their way to a highly disappointing 2014 season after going 12-5 a year ago including the loss in the postseason. Then they flipped the switch and became the first team to earn back-to-back NFC South titles. A big part of the turnaround was their running game that featured RB Jonathan Stewart who got them tough yards when they needed it. QB Cam Newton should feel pretty healthy and TE Greg Olsen should have a big day as the Cardinals do not cover TE's well at all. Also, rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin has a tough match-up with Arizona's Patrick Peterson. Carolina's defense has been stellar during the four game win streak and should shut down the Cardinals offense. This season, the Panthers were 4-4 at home.

Prediction: Panthers win 20-9

(6) Baltimore Ravens @ (3) Pittsburgh Steelers

Kick Off Time: Saturday 8:15 PM (NBC)

On Saturday night, two teams that absolutely hate each other will clash at Heinz Field. The Baltimore Ravens (10-6) and Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) will meet for the third and final time this season. They split the regular season match-ups with the home team winning each time by 20 points. The Ravens and Steelers have meant three previous times in the playoffs and each time, the Steelers prevailed at home. Baltimore's offensive line created the path to the playoffs with some help from the Chiefs in Week 17. The Ravens' RB Justin Forsett led all running backs with 5.4 yards per carry running behind that offensive line. On the other side, Pittsburgh will be without RB Le'Veon Bell who accounted for 2,215 total yards in 2014. They did win their last four games to win the tough AFC North division though and have weapons on the outside.

On defense, the Ravens are extremely stout against the run and with Bell out for the Steelers; they should have no trouble stopping the run. Their problem though is that they are not good against the pass especially since CB Jimmy Smith went down for the year. Baltimore allowed 340 yards and six touchdowns through the air in a Week 9 loss against Pittsburgh. Offensively, QB Joe Flacco has to make plays and be smart with the football. He knows what it takes to win the Super Bowl so the game shouldn't be too big for him. WR Torrey Smith has 11 touchdowns on the year and Pittsburgh's secondary is certainly burnable. Really though it comes down to Forsett getting tough yards in the run game behind his great offensive line. Baltimore was 4-4 on the year away from home.

The 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers were finally a balanced offense under offensive coordinator Todd Haley. QB Ben Roethlisberger posted career highs in passing yards (4,952) touchdowns (32) and completion percentage (67.1%) in 2014. Also, WR Antonio Brown led the NFL in receptions (129) and receiving yards (1,698) along with 13 touchdowns. Even without RB Le'Veon Bell, the Steelers offense is explosive enough to march right through the Ravens defense. The Steelers defense has to stop the Ravens running game and make Ravens QB Joe Flacco beat them in the passing game. They also need to create pressure on him and force a few turnovers creating short fields for their offense. The Steelers were 6-2 at home this season.

Prediction: Steelers win 34-27

(5) Cincinnati Bengals @ (4) Indianapolis Colts

Kick Off Time: Sunday 1:05 PM (CBS)

The Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) will try to avenge an earlier loss to the Indianapolis Colts (11-5) this season by hopefully winning this postseason game. Something that has eluded the franchise since the 1990 NFL season. Cincinnati was completely dominated by the Colts losing 27-0 in Week 7. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is 0-5 in the playoffs and QB Andy Dalton is 0-3. Another loss would be their 4th straight 1st Round exit. The Colts won the AFC South for the second straight season thanks to an excellent year from QB Andrew Luck and a pretty good defense. Each teams defenses forced 26 turnovers on the year and will try and stop offenses that are quite different from each other. With the Bengals being more run-oriented and the Colts more pass-oriented.

So can head coach Marvin Lewis and QB Andy Dalton win a playoff game? Well only if they can dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Dalton has proven that he can't win big games virtually by himself. He'll need RB's Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard to have huge games running and catching the ball. Hill has run for 100 or more yards in his past three games while Bernard has caught 3+ passes in four games in a row. WR A.J. Green suffered a concussion last week and will have to battle against a great cornerback in the Colts' Vontae Davis if he plays. On defense, they have to get after Luck but only sacked QB's an NFL low 20 times all season. Cincinnati has picked off 20 passes though and Luck is sometimes prone to making dumb decisions. The Bengals ended up at 5-3 on the road this season.

Indianapolis' front-7 on defense just has to shut down the Bengals run game and they will win. They can also get after Dalton and did in Week 7 sacking him four times while allowing just 135 total yards. Without a good offensive line and run game, Andrew Luck has to seemingly do it all by himself in the postseason again. A challenge he certainly can handle along with the weapons he has in the passing game like WR T.Y. Hilton and TE's Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. Luck threw for career highs in passing yards (4,761) and touchdown passes (40) this season. RB Trent Richardson did have success against the Bengals earlier this year totaling 118 yards and averaging 5.5 yards per carry. This year, Indianapolis was 6-2 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Prediction: Colts win 30-28

(6) Detroit Lions @ (3) Dallas Cowboys

Kick Off Time: Sunday 4:40 PM (FOX)

The last two times these teams faced each other. Miracles happened for the Detroit Lions. The last time the Lions won a playoff game. It was against the Dallas Cowboys back in the 1991 season. Cowboys WR Dez Bryant has scored five touchdowns in his three career games against the Lions. Not to be outdone, Lions WR Calvin Johnson put up career highs with 329 yards on 14 catches against Dallas last year. Also can't forget about the touchdown catch in 2011 over three Cowboy defenders. It's a new year however for both teams as the Detroit Lions (11-5) will face the Dallas Cowboys (12-4) in Jerry World. The big match-up is the league's leading rusher RB DeMarco Murray trying to run against the league's top run defense in the Lions who will have All-Pro DT Ndamukong Suh.

It's now well known that Lions QB Matthew Stafford is 0-16 on the road against winning teams. He gets another opportunity to put a one there instead of keeping a zero that's been hanging there for a long time. Detroit must feed the rock to RB Joique Bell and establish a run game. The offensive line has to play it's best game of the season opening up holes in the run game and protect Stafford so he has time to get the ball out to Johnson and WR Golden Tate. The Lions defense has to slow down a Dallas offense that has scored with ease the last four weeks. It starts with shutting down the run and then getting after Dallas QB Tony Romo. The only losses Dallas has suffered have come because they could get to Romo. Detroit was 4-4 away from Ford Field and Stafford will look to get his first postseason win of his career.

Back in May, Jerry Jones' selection of OG Zack Martin paved the way for success in 2014 for the Dallas Cowboys. Martin ended up being an All-Pro in his rookie season and was essential for Tony Romo's and DeMarco Murray's success this year. They now go up against one of the best front-7's in all of football featuring Suh, DE Ezekiel Ansah and OLB DeAndre Levy to name a few. They have to establish a running game like the Packers had against Detroit a week ago. Then Romo can hit them through the air finding WR Dez Bryant who set a Cowboys record with 16 touchdown catches this season. The Cowboys defense although not that talented plays very hard for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. ILB Rolando McClain has been a key contributor for them and the team shouldn't have trouble stopping the Lions run game. They just need to stop Calvin Johnson. Dallas was 4-4 at home this year.

Prediction: Lions win 31-27

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 NFL Regular Season Final Standings: Looking Back

The 2014 NFL regular season came to an end on the 28th of December. With that, the 20 teams that didn't make the playoffs have already started looking ahead to the 2015 season. Whether that is making drastic changes like firing a general manager or head coach or preparing for the 2015 NFL Draft. Meanwhile, the other 12 NFL franchises are focused on one goal. Winning the Lombardi Trophy. The early favorites to meet in Super Bowl XLIX are likely the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots as they each clinched the No. 1 seed for their respective conferences.

2014 was the year of the rookie WR. Odell Beckham (Giants), Mike Evans (Bucs) and Kelvin Benjamin (Panthers) all surpassed 1,000 yards and scored at least nine touchdowns. Beckham came down with one of the best catches ever this season while putting up 1,305 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns in 12 games. Evans was the 1st rookie since Randy Moss to record 100 yards receiving and a TD in three straight contests. WR Martavis Bryant of the Pittsburgh Steelers had as many touchdown catches as Detroit's Calvin Johnson with eight and he only played in 10 games. Bills WR Sammy Watkins also proved he is likely going to be a special player when he was healthy. Jordan Matthews (Eagles), Brandin Cooks (Saints), John Brown (Cardinals), Allen Robinson (Jaguars), Donte Moncrief (Colts), Davante Adams (Packers) and Jarvis Landry (Dolphins) also showed plenty of promise of being very good NFL WR's.

A number of players could win MVP for their 2014 season. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers passed for 4,381 yards, 38 TD's and just 5 INT's. He threw zero INT's at home. Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray and the offensive line carried Dallas into the playoffs as they exceeded everyone's expectations. Texans DE J.J. Watt scored touchdowns as a defender and a tight end along with becoming the first player in NFL history with 20 or more sacks in two different seasons.

For this seasons playoffs, the defenses will be key as every franchise tries to match the blueprint of what the Seahawks are doing and have done. The Seahawks, Lions and Cardinals were the only teams to allow less than 300 points for the year. In the AFC, the Patriots and Ravens have very good defenses and the Broncos are much better than they were a year ago. The Packers led the league in scoring averaging 30 points per game while the Broncos, Patriots, Cowboys and Steelers are no slouches on offense either. Colts QB Andrew Luck will have to try and win a championship by himself basically with a below average offensive line and no run game. While the Panthers should probably beat the Arizona Cardinals at home after finishing the season with four straight wins. For the Bengals, they just have to win a playoff game for once. Maybe the 4th time's a charm for QB Andy Dalton. Pittsburgh and Baltimore should be a great wildcard battle. Finally, Dallas will have to run on the NFL's best run defense in the Lions that will have DT Ndamukong Suh.

These were my good/bad predictions before the regular season started on what records for all the NFL teams would have and what they actually ended up with as the regular season ended.

AFC East
New England Patriots (12-4): Took the No.1 playoff seed in the AFC finishing 12-4.

New York Jets (8-8): The Jets couldn't cover anyone and the QB position was their downfall going 4-12.

Miami Dolphins (7-9): QB Ryan Tannehill showed promise but the offense was inconsistent. Miami's record ended up being 8-8.

Buffalo Bills (4-12): Failed to make the playoffs again but went 9-7 behind a great defense.

AFC North
Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Made the playoffs again at 10-5-1 but can they win a playoff game with QB Andy Dalton?

Baltimore Ravens (9-7): Snuck into the playoffs going 10-6 with RB Justin Forsett having a breakout year.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Won their last four games to claim the AFC North at 11-5. Pittsburgh needs RB Le'Veon Bell to be healthy for the playoffs.

Cleveland Browns (6-10): Started the season 7-4 and then realized they were the Browns and finished 7-9.

AFC South
Indianapolis Colts (10-6): Behind QB Andrew Luck and a pretty good defense; the Colts won the weak AFC South again at 11-5.

Tennessee Titans (8-8): The Titans have zero identity as a franchise and finished a disappointing 2-14.

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10): The Jaguars had a hard time scoring on offense but the defense was much improved from a season ago. Ended up at 3-13.

Houston Texans (3-13): Houston had a successful first season under head coach Bill O'Brien going 9-7. DE J.J. Watt continued to be an unblockable force.

AFC West
Denver Broncos (10-6): The 12-4 Broncos will have to establish a run game to reach the Super Bowl for a 2nd straight season.

San Diego Chargers (9-7): 2014's San Diego Chargers went 9-7 and also went through about five centers. RB Ryan Mathews continued to be fragile as well.

Kansas City Chiefs (9-7): Not one WR caught a TD pass all year for the Chiefs as they finished 9-7.

Oakland Raiders (3-13): Oakland ended up at 3-13 and may have found their franchise QB in Derek Carr.

NFC East
Philadelphia Eagles (10-6): Philly faltered towards the end of the season finishing 10-6 and didn't qualify for the playoffs.

Washington Redskins (6-10): The RGIII drama continued with a different coach in 2014 and so Washington went 4-12.

New York Giants (5-11): Overall, the Giants were a pretty lousy team this year going 6-10 but at least they have WR Odell Beckham Jr. on their team.

Dallas Cowboys (4-12): They were supposed to be awful. They weren't and won the NFC East at 12-4 including 8-0 on the road.

NFC North
Green Bay Packers (11-5): Winners of the NFC North again at 12-4 with MVP favorite QB Aaron Rodgers.

Detroit Lions (10-6): The Lions defense was surprisingly outstanding and it carried them to an 11-5 record with a trip to the playoffs.

Chicago Bears (10-6): QB Jay Cutler was benched for QB Jimmy Clausen at one point. All that needs to be mentioned for a 5-11 team.

Minnesota Vikings (3-13): The Vikings defense was much better in 2014 under head coach Mike Zimmer. Went 7-9 without RB Adrian Peterson.

NFC South
New Orleans Saints (13-3): A Super Bowl favorite before the season but not a very good team during it going 7-9.

Carolina Panthers (11-5): They won the sad NFC South at 7-8-1 for the 2nd straight year which has never happened in that division. (Going back-to-back.)

Atlanta Falcons (7-9): Atlanta still lacks talent in the trenches. Head coach Mike Smith was fired after the 6-10 season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): Lovie Smith thought QB Josh McCown was a starting NFL quarterback. He thought wrong and the Bucs went 2-14.

NFC West
Arizona Cardinals (12-4): Excellent defense and went 11-5 but couldn't hold off the Seahawks for the division once QB Carson Palmer tore his ACL.

Seattle Seahawks (11-5): After struggling some in the first half of the season; Seattle hit their stride winning six straight to end the season. Won the division at 12-4.

San Francisco 49ers (10-6): QB Colin Kaepernick wasn't good and the defense was without key players. They finished 8-8 in Jim Harbaugh's last season as head coach.

St. Louis Rams (7-9): They competed in about every game and beat Seattle and Denver this season going 6-10. They have to find a QB.

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 NFL Power Rankings: Final Rankings

1. Seattle Seahawks (12-4) - Previous Ranking: 3
2. Green Bay Packers (12-4) - Previous Ranking: 1
3. New England Patriots (12-4) - Previous Ranking: 2
4. Denver Broncos (12-4) - Previous Ranking: 4
5. Dallas Cowboys (12-4) - Previous Ranking: 15
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) - Previous Ranking: 17
7. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) - Previous Ranking: 7
8. Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) - Previous Ranking: 10
9. Detroit Lions (11-5) - Previous Ranking: 8
10. Arizona Cardinals (11-5) - Previous Ranking: 6
11. Baltimore Ravens (10-6) - Previous Ranking: 14
12. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) - Previous Ranking: 5
13. Kansas City Chiefs (9-7) - Previous Ranking: 12
14. Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) - Previous Ranking: 26
15. Houston Texans (9-7) - Previous Ranking: 18
16. San Diego Chargers (9-7) - Previous Ranking: 13
17. San Francisco 49ers (8-8) - Previous Ranking: 9
18. Miami Dolphins (8-8) - Previous Ranking: 11
19. Buffalo Bills (9-7) - Previous Ranking: 19
20. Minnesota Vikings (7-9) - Previous Ranking: 23
21. Cleveland Browns (7-9) - Previous Ranking: 20
22. New York Giants (6-10) - Previous Ranking: 25
23. St. Louis Rams (6-10) - Previous Ranking: 21
24. Atlanta Falcons (6-10) - Previous Ranking: 24
25. New Orleans Saints (7-9) - Previous Ranking: 16
26. Chicago Bears (5-11) - Previous Ranking: 22
27. New York Jets (4-12) - Previous Ranking: 29
28. Oakland Raiders (3-13) - Previous Ranking: 32
29. Washington Redskins (4-12) - Previous Ranking: 28
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) - Previous Ranking: 31
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-14) - Previous Ranking: 27
32. Tennessee Titans (2-14) - Previous Ranking: 30

*Previous Rankings are from after Week 13.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football: Week 16 QB Rankings

1. Tom Brady - New England Patriots: @ New York Jets
Earlier this season, Brady threw for 261 yards and 3 TD's against the Jets.

2. Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers: @ Tampa Bay
Rodgers will bounce back in a good match-up with the Bucs.

3. Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints: vs Atlanta
In Week 1, Brees registered 333 yards through the air, a TD and an INT.

4. Andrew Luck - Indianapolis Colts: @ Dallas
Luck is a virtual guarantee for at least 2 TD's every week.

5. Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons: @ New Orleans
Ryan set a franchise-record with 448 yards passing against New Orleans in Week 1.

6. Matthew Stafford - Detroit Lions: @ Chicago
On Thanksgiving, Stafford shredded the Chicago defense for 390 yards and 2 TD's.

7. Peyton Manning - Denver Broncos: @ Cincinnati
Cincinnati is tied for the fewest TD passes allowed this year with 14.

8. Russell Wilson - Seattle Seahawks: @ Arizona
Facing Arizona earlier this year, Wilson totaled 284 yards and passed for a TD.

9. Mark Sanchez - Philadelphia Eagles: @ Washington
Washington has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing QB's in 2014.

10. Ben Roethlisberger - Pittsburgh Steelers: vs Kansas City
Didn't throw a TD pass last week but once again recorded at least 340 yards.

11. Joe Flacco - Baltimore Ravens: @ Houston
Flacco has been highly efficient the last six weeks and Houston can be thrown on.

12. Ryan Tannehill - Miami Dolphins: vs Minnesota
Only 2 TD's in Tannehill's last three games. Should be much better against Minnesota.

13. Tony Romo - Dallas Cowboys: vs Indianapolis
Back-to-back 3 TD games for Romo but Indy isn't a great match-up and he doesn't throw enough.

14. Philip Rivers - San Diego Chargers: @ San Francisco
San Francisco allows the 5th fewest fantasy points to Rivers' position.

15. Eli Manning - New York Giants: @ St. Louis
The Rams secondary can be thrown on if Manning has time in the pocket.

16. Robert Griffin III - Washington Redskins: vs Philadelphia
Teammate Kirk Cousins threw for 427 yards and 3 TD's against them in Week 3 so RGIII has a chance.

17. Alex Smith - Kansas City Chiefs: @ Pittsburgh
Smith just might throw a TD pass to a WR this week as the Steelers allow the 6th most fantasy points.

18. Andy Dalton - Cincinnati Bengals: vs Denver
This season, the Broncos give up the 7th most fantasy points to QB's.

19. Cam Newton - Carolina Panthers: vs Cleveland
On track to start and should get many short fields to work with.

20. Colin Kaepernick - San Francisco 49ers: vs San Diego
Will probably have less than 200 yards passing and might throw a TD.

2014 Fantasy Football: Week 16 RB Rankings

1. DeMarco Murray - Dallas Cowboys: vs Indianapolis
Broke his hand but Indy allows the 8th most fantasy points to RB's.

2. C.J. Anderson - Denver Broncos: @ Cincinnati
Denver will continue to feed Anderson the rock and Cincy allows the 5th most points.

3. Eddie Lacy - Green Bay Packers: @ Tampa Bay
Lacy has been dominant in his last eight games and the Bucs are without DT Gerald McCoy.

4. Le'Veon Bell - Pittsburgh Steelers: vs Kansas City
Bell has scored in four straight games. Kansas City allows the 2nd most rushing yards.

5. Jamaal Charles - Kansas City Chiefs: @ Pittsburgh
Last week ended his 8-game streak with a touchdown.

6. Matt Forte - Chicago Bears: vs Detroit
Chicago refused to give Forte carries against Detroit on Thanksgiving. Totaled 58 yards.

7. Marshawn Lynch - Seattle Seahawks: @ Arizona
Lynch totaled 82 yards against the Cardinals in Week 12 on 18 touches.

8. Arian Foster - Houston Texans: vs Baltimore
The Ravens are allowing the fewest fantasy points to Foster's position this year.

9. Mark Ingram - New Orleans Saints: vs Atlanta
In the season opener, Ingram ran for 60 yards and 2 TD's on the Falcons.

10. Tre Mason - St. Louis Rams: vs New York Giants
The Giants should see a heavy dose of Tre Mason running at them this week.

11. Alfred Morris - Washington Redskins: vs Philadelphia
In Week 3 facing Philly, Morris carried the ball 23 times for 77 yards.

12. Joique Bell - Detroit Lions: @ Chicago
During a Week 13 showdown with Chicago, Bell totaled 107 yards and 2 TD's.

13. Justin Forsett - Baltimore Ravens: @ Houston
Didn't have a good game last Sunday but should get back on track this week.

14. Lamar Miller - Miami Dolphins: vs Minnesota
Has yet to get 20 rushing attempts in a game but Minnesota allows the 10th most fantasy points to RB's.

15. Jeremy Hill - Cincinnati Bengals: vs Denver
Hill rushed for 148 yards last week but Denver allows the 2nd fewest rushing yards.

16. LeSean McCoy - Philadelphia Eagles: @ Washington
McCoy was shut down by Washington in Week 3 rushing for 22 yards on 19 carries.

17. Steven Jackson - Atlanta Falcons: @ New Orleans
Rushed for 52 yards on 12 attempts in a Week 1 win over New Orleans.

18. Fred Jackson - Buffalo Bills: @ Oakland
Oakland gives up the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing RB's in 2014.

19. Jonathan Stewart - Carolina Panthers: vs Cleveland
RB DeAngelo Williams could be back but Stewart is still a good play against the Browns.

20. Toby Gerhart - Jacksonville Jaguars: vs Tennessee
Received 15 touches last Sunday and Tennessee allows the 3rd most fantasy points.

21. Isaiah Crowell - Cleveland Browns: @ Carolina
Less than 15 rushing attempts in every game but one this season.

22. Matt Asiata - Minnesota Vikings: @ Miami
Had a nice game last week. Miami has allowed the 5th most fantasy points the last four weeks.

23. Doug Martin - Tampa Bay Buccaneers: vs Green Bay
Martin rushed for a season-high 96 yards last week and Green Bay can be run on.

24. Chris Ivory - New York Jets: vs New England
In Week 7 facing the Patriots, Ivory had 25 touches for 125 total yards and a TD.

25. Carlos Hyde - San Francisco 49ers: vs San Diego
Will start if RB Frank Gore can't go. He's not 100% healthy either though.

26. Kerwynn Williams - Arizona Cardinals: vs Seattle
Averaging over five yards per carry the last two weeks.

27. LeGarrette Blount - New England Patriots: @ New York Jets
Blount hasn't got going against the Jets lately. This year with the Steelers or last year with New England.

28. Latavius Murray - Oakland Raiders: vs Buffalo
Difficult match-up but Murray will see plenty of touches.

29. Giovani Bernard - Cincinnati Bengals: vs Denver
Bernard will have to be used in the passing game this week.

30. Andre Williams - New York Giants: @ St. Louis
Williams will likely see the majority of the carries again out of the Giants backfield.

31. Dan Herron - Indianapolis Colts: @ Dallas
Herron will get his 10-15 touches and produce decently.

32. Branden Oliver - San Diego Chargers: @ San Francisco
RB Ryan Mathews could be out again. Oliver received 16 touches last Sunday.

33. Shonn Greene - Tennessee Titans: @ Jacksonville
Greene led the Titans backfield last week with 17 touches totaling 63 yards.

34. Pierre Thomas - New Orleans Saints: vs Atlanta
The Falcons allow the most fantasy points to RB's this season.

35. Chris Johnson - New York Jets: vs New England
Received 15 touches for 80 yards in a Week 7 loss to New England.

36. Shane Vereen - New England Patriots: @ New York Jets
Verren registered 114 total yards and 2 TD's against the Jets earlier this year.

37. Terrance West - Cleveland Browns: @ Carolina
Decent match-up but RB Isaiah Crowell will get the first crack at touches.

38. Reggie Bush - Detroit Lions: @ Chicago
Bush ran all over the Bears in 2013 but won't see many touches this time.

39. Trent Richardson - Indianapolis Colts: @ Dallas
Less than 10 carries in three straight games and he's still terrible.

40. Joseph Randle - Dallas Cowboys: vs Indianapolis
In case RB DeMarco Murray doesn't play; Randle is a Top-20 option.

2014 Fantasy Football: Week 16 WR Rankings

1. Jeremy Maclin - Philadelphia Eagles: @ Washington
In Week 3 against Washington, Maclin had 154 yards receiving and a TD.

2. Julio Jones - Atlanta Falcons: @ New Orleans
Jones caught seven balls for 116 yards in the season opener against the Saints.

3. Jordy Nelson - Green Bay Packers: @ Tampa Bay
Hasn't gone back-to-back weeks without a TD so far this season. He's scoring.

4. Calvin Johnson - Detroit Lions: @ Chicago
Johnson hauled in 11 passes for 146 yards and 2 TD's facing the Bears earlier this year.

5. Antonio Brown - Pittsburgh Steelers: vs Kansas City
Tough match-up but Kansas City is the 2nd most targeted when it comes to WR's.

6. Odell Beckham - New York Giants: @ St. Louis
Keeps producing at a high rate and 15 targets in each of the last two weeks.

7. Mike Evans - Tampa Bay Buccaneers: vs Green Bay
Mike Evans scores TD's. Green Bay has allowed the most TD's to WR's in 2014.

8. A.J. Green - Cincinnati Bengals: vs Denver
No Joe Haden this week so he should have at least 100 yards or a TD. Or both.

9. Dez Bryant - Dallas Cowboys: vs Indianapolis
Going up against Colts CB Vontae Davis but he leads all WR's in TD catches.

10. Demaryius Thomas - Denver Broncos: @ Cincinnati
Tough match-up and the Broncos aren't throwing as much.

11. T.Y. Hilton - Indianapolis Colts: @ Dallas
Injured his hamstring last Sunday and Dallas gives up the 6th fewest points to WR's.

12. Randall Cobb - Green Bay Packers: @ Tampa Bay
Hasn't scored in over a month but the Bucs allow the 7th most fantasy points.

13. DeAndre Hopkins - Houston Texans: vs Baltimore
Saw a season-high 13 targets last week and Baltimore is an excellent match-up.

14. Golden Tate - Detroit Lions: @ Chicago
Tate brought in eight passes for 89 yards on Thanksgiving against Chicago.

15. Alshon Jeffery - Chicago Bears: vs Detroit
Jeffery put up a 9/71/2 stat line on the Lions during Week 13.

16. Kelvin Benjamin - Carolina Panthers: vs Cleveland
Benjamin has recorded at least 100 yards or a TD in four of the last five games.

17. Emmanuel Sanders - Denver Broncos: @ Cincinnati
The Bengals allow the 2nd fewest fantasy points to WR's. Less than 75 yards in three straight games.

18. DeSean Jackson - Washington Redskins: vs Philadelphia
Jackson pulled in five passes for 117 yards and a TD in Week 3 against his former team.

19. Steve Smith - Baltimore Ravens: @ Houston
Smith brought in his 900th catch of his career last Sunday against Jacksonville.

20. Roddy White - Atlanta Falcons: @ New Orleans
White registered five catches for 72 yards and a TD during Week 1 facing New Orleans.

21. Julian Edelman - New England Patriots: @ New York Jets
Edelman totaled 52 yards in a Week 7 win over the Jets.

22. Josh Gordon - Cleveland Browns: @ Carolina
Gordon hasn't scored yet and QB Johnny Manziel further hurts his chances of that happening.

23. Kenny Stills - New Orleans Saints: vs Atlanta
The Falcons have given up the most yards to Stills' position in 2014.

24. Brandon LaFell - New England Patriots: @ New York Jets
Earlier this year facing the Jets, LaFell had four catches for 55 yards.

25. Mike Wallace - Miami Dolphins: vs Minnesota
Reached 100 yards receiving last week finally and even scored too.

26. Jordan Matthews - Philadelphia Eagles: @ Washington
Matthews caught 2 TD's during a Week 3 win over Washington.

27. Torrey Smith - Baltimore Ravens: @ Houston
In 2014, the Texans have given up the 3rd most fantasy points to WR's.

28. Vincent Jackson - Tampa Bay Buccaneers: vs Green Bay
Green Bay has allowed the 8th most fantasy points to Jackson's position.

29. Anquan Boldin - San Francisco 49ers: vs San Diego
Decent match-up but has totaled just 99 yards over the last three weeks.

30. Marques Colston - New Orleans Saints: vs Atlanta
Produced 110 yards on five catches during Week 1 against Atlanta.

31. Malcom Floyd - San Diego Chargers: @ San Francisco
With WR Keenan Allen out, Floyd becomes a top option is San Diego's offense.

32. Sammy Watkins - Buffalo Bills: @ Oakland
Watkins hasn't found the endzone since Week 8 and Oakland allows the 4th fewest fantasy points to opposing WR's.

33. Allen Hurns - Jacksonville Jaguars: vs Tennessee
In Week 6, Hurns had two catches for 18 yards facing the Titans.

34. Kendall Wright - Tennessee Titans: @ Jacksonville
Wright had just one catch for six yards in the Titans' last win against the Jags.

35. Charles Johnson - Minnesota Vikings: @ Miami
Big play threat but Miami's secondary is good.

36. Jarvis Landry - Miami Dolphins: vs Minnesota
Not a good match-up but Landry gets targeted enough to make an impact.

37. Martavis Bryant - Pittsburgh Steelers: vs Kansas City
Boom-or-bust option and Kansas City allows the 10th fewest fantasy points.

38. Eric Decker - New York Jets: vs New England
Decker hauled in four balls for 65 yards against New England in Week 7.

39. Andre Johnson - Houston Texans: vs Baltimore
Baltimore allows the most fantasy points to opposing WR's this season.

40. Dwayne Bowe - Kansas City Chiefs: @ Pittsburgh
The Steelers give up the most fantasy points to WR's over the last four weeks.

2014 Fantasy Football: Week 16 TE Rankings

1. Rob Gronkowski - New England Patriots: @ New York Jets
During Week 7, Gronk pulled in five passes for 68 yards facing the Jets.

2. Greg Olsen - Carolina Panthers: vs Cleveland
Olsen has 10 grabs in each game the last two weeks combining for 182 yards and a TD.

3. Jimmy Graham - New Orleans Saints: vs Atlanta
Graham registered eight catches for 82 yards in the season opener against Atlanta.

4. Martellus Bennett - Chicago Bears: vs Detroit
Hauled in eight balls for 109 yards against Detroit on Thanksgiving.

5. Antonio Gates - San Diego Chargers: @ San Francisco
Reached double digits in TD's on the season for the 4th time in his career last week.

6. Julius Thomas - Denver Broncos: @ Cincinnati
Only one catch last Sunday and Cincy allows the 5th fewest points the last four weeks.

7. Dwayne Allen - Indianapolis Colts: @ Dallas
Easy match-up and he scored once again last week.

8. Travis Kelce - Kansas City Chiefs: @ Pittsburgh
Kelce has been productive the last two weeks and the Steelers allow the 8th most fantasy points.

9. Delanie Walker - Tennessee Titans: @ Jacksonville
His 793 receiving yards this season are the most for a TE in Oilers/Titans history.

10. Coby Fleener - Indianapolis Colts: @ Dallas
This season, Dallas has given up the 3rd most fantasy points to TE's.

11. Jason Witten - Dallas Cowboys: vs Indianapolis
Witten recorded a season-high seven catches on SNF. Indy allows the 5th most fantasy points to TE's.

12. Jared Cook - St. Louis Rams: vs New York Giants
The Giants give up the 11th most fantasy points to Cook's position this year.

13. Jordan Cameron - Cleveland Browns: @ Carolina
Has topped 50 yards receiving just once this season.

14. Heath Miller - Pittsburgh Steelers: vs Kansas City
At least 68 yards or a score in Miller's last four match-ups.

15. Jordan Reed - Washington Redskins: vs Philadelphia
Reed totaled 50 yards on six catches against the Eagles last year in two games.

16. Owen Daniels - Baltimore Ravens: @ Houston
Ravens OC Gary Kubiak might make sure Daniels scores on his former team.

17. Larry Donnell - New York Giants: @ St. Louis
Only 11 yards last week and the Rams allow the 2nd fewest fantasy points.

18. Mychal Rivera - Oakland Raiders: vs Buffalo
Buffalo gives up the fewest fantasy points to opposing TE's.

19. Jermaine Gresham - Cincinnati Bengals: vs Denver
Gresham should be good to go and Denver allows the 6th most fantasy points.

20. Kyle Rudolph - Minnesota Vikings: @ Miami
Tough match-up but set season-highs last week with seven catches for 69 yards.