Man it’s been two months since the Silver Stars tasted defeat, while the Pats overcame a scrappy NY Jets team. Seattle stumbled and so did the White Horses. But the Raiders continued their rise in the West while the second hottest team in the league is from the AFC East and it’s not the Patriots. NO! It’s Miami? Sho you right! Here is this week’s Top 10!
1. Dallas (10-1) – A 10 game win streak is on the line on a short week at Minnesota. You know, Dallas has won so much, I’m starting to think they might need to lose to see how they respond. The last loss was two months ago. But not often does a team go on a ten game win streak and still only be one game ahead of the team right behind them! This week @ Minnesota.
2. New England (8-2) – The Pats once again had a tough time with the planes of NY. And once again, the Pats won that close battle. You know New England is not as lonely at the top of the AFC East this season. I mean how long has it been since another divisional foe (Miami) was still alive in the title chase? This week vs Los Angeles Rams.
3. Oakland (9-2) - Not only are they in first place in their division, but the Raiders are alive for one of the top seeds in the AFC. How cool would it be to not have made the playoffs since 2002 be the #1 seed in the AFC? And that was the very same season the Raiders were also the #1 seed? Mmm that’s interesting! This week vs Buffalo.
4. Kansas City (8-3) - They nearly blew another game against rival Denver. But credit the Chiefs as they came up with a huge road win at Mile High. Now the boys from the Mid-West head to the Deep South to face the surprising Dirty Birds! This week @ Atlanta.
5. New York Giants (8-3) – The G-Men handled their business and did not become the embarrassed team that became the first win for the Browns. Now the Giants step up in class as they face the Steelers in the Steel City! This week @ Pittsburgh.
6. Seattle (7-3-1) – Five points? Man the Seabirds were in a game earlier this season in which they scored only six points in a tie against the Cardinals. Five was just not enough! This week vs Carolina.
7. Denver (7-4) - The Broncos made a comeback but could not seal the deal. You know the Broncos know a thing or two about good QB’s. After all their head coach was one and so was the man in charge of the team. His name, John Elway! This week @ Jacksonville.
8. Atlanta (7-4) – The Dirty Birds are in first place but are in a heated battle with the Bucs and Saints. QB Matt Ryan is having his best season as a pro and Julio is not too shabby either. Perhaps the last real hard game for the Black Birds this week? Maybe! This week vs Kansas City.
9. Detroit (7-4) – It took them until the last second but the Cats from Motown came through on Turkey Day with a huge win over the Vikings. Detroit has swept the Vikings and a two game cushion in the NFC North with five games to go is a place no one thought this team would be! And the Matt's (QB Matt Stafford and K Kyle Prater) are MONEY when the game is on the line. Google it! This week @ New Orleans.
10. Miami (7-4) – They are the second hottest team in the NFL second to only Dallas. The Dolphins have turned the corner. This team was 1-4 in their first five games and now have a record of 7-4 winning six straight. This week they go for 7! It won’t be easy! This week @ Baltimore.
The 2016 LSU football season will be remembered for many things. Some things were good and some things not so good, but certainly LSU fans were more than pleased with the first season under new Defensive Coordinator Dave Aranda.
Aranda came to LSU as one of the nation’s top coaches, and after what the Tigers defense did in the regular season, it’s more than safe to say that Aranda’s stock has risen greatly. “Dave Aranda is a great coach. We played great defense this season and I think he will only get better.” Those words came from the mouth of new LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron. During his official introduction press conference as LSU’s new Head Coach, Orgeron said his first order of business was to secure the services of his stout leader of defense.
True to his word, Orgeron locked Dave Aranda up with a new three year deal. Although no official numbers have been confirmed, Aranda could become one of the highest, possibly the highest, coordinators in all of college football.
Aranda first signed a three year deal back in January of 2016 making $1.2 million per season. Coach Aranda is expected to get a hefty raise with his new three year deal and has also been given the title of Associate Head Coach under Ed Orgeron.
The Tigers defense became of the best this season under Aranda. The Tigers finished the regular season ranked seventh nationally in scoring defense, allowing only 16.4 points per game. LSU was also 12th in total defense allowing just 323 yards per game.
Aranda and the Tigers will now wait and see where they will go bowling as official bowl invites go out Sunday evening.
There is that old saying that it’s only business, it’s never personal. I do sometimes agree with that statement, but I also believe that sometimes business becomes personal.
When the Saints welcomed the Los Angeles to the Dome on Sunday it marked the first time that Sean Payton faced his former Defensive Guru Gregg Williams. And although I’m quite sure neither will never admit it, that meeting was as much personal as it was about business.
Sean Payton and Greg Williams both had on their game faces and it would be Payton that flexed his muscles in this meeting of two of the best minds in football. Payton shredded the Williams led defense on the ground, in the air and with magical play calls throughout the carnage the Saints displayed against the Rams.
New Orleans rang up 555 yards of total offense, 49 points and the game was really never that close after halftime. The Saints led just by one TD at the break up 28-21. But New Orleans would quickly begin to stretch their lead over the Rams in the second half.
The Saints outscored the Rams 21-0 in the second half of the game picking up their fifth win of the season. The Saints had great balance on offense rushing for 209 yards on 32 carries for an average of 6.5 yards per carry.
And the Saints passing attack was in full effect as Drew completed 28-of-36 pass attempts for 310 yards and 4 TD’s with a QB rating of 139.6. And to add a little icing to the cake the Saints had WR Willie Snead throw a 50 yard TD pass to a wide open RB Tim Hightower.
The Saints saw rookie WR Michael Thomas add another 100 plus yard total to his season and two more TD’s and the Black and Gold Defense really put their foot down in the second half by not allowing a single point in the final 30 minutes of the game.
You could see how emphatic Saints Coach Sean Payton was on the sideline. Coach Payton was showing more emotion against the Rams than he normally does. Now I’m just speculation here but I would think that Payton wanted to score points and rack up the yards against his former DC in Williams.
So now the Saints are back with a chance to even their record at 6-6 by hosting the Red Hot Lions of Detroit Sunday in the Superdome. Unlike the Rams, the Lions can match points with the Saints and QB Matt Stafford is having one of his best seasons in a Lions uniform.
So was the first meeting between Williams and Payton more personal than usual? I don’t know but I’ll definitely say that Sean Payton wanted this game badly. And Payton and his offensive minded ways showed up, showed out and took it to the Rams and a Gregg Williams defense that was ranked among the NFL’s elite.
The Committee has some explaining to do, as the Big Ten title game looks irrelevant right now, according to the rankings. The Tide can lose and still be in the top three, Clemson better not sleep on the Hokies, the Pac-12 Title Game looks to be a dandy as does the Big Ten tilt. Michigan is out of the playoff mix and the Big XII needs to get a title game to make things fair among the power five conferences. So here is this week’s CFB Top 10.
1. Alabama – Does the SEC Title game even matter? No! If Florida were to shock us all and beat the Tide, Alabama would drop no lower than #2! This week vs Florida.
2. Ohio State – Will the Buckeyes remain at #2 this week in the CFP Poll? If they do then the panel is showing the rest of the nation that conference titles don’t matter as much as they claim they do! This week vs Michigan.
3. Clemson – The Tigers blew out their rivals from the Palmetto State and now take on Va. Tech in the ACC Title game. Clemson, watch out this week, as they Hokies are more than capable of beating you! This week vs Va. Tech.
4. Washington – This team is so underrated by everyone accept themselves. Washington plays balanced on offense, they have a good defense and Chris Peterson is one of the country’s top 5 coaches. Now a huge Pac-12 Title game takes place with a winner take all possibility on the line against the upstart Buffalos of Colorado. This week vs Colorado in Pac-12 Title Game.
5. Michigan – Hey Coach Harbaugh, you are respected but you can’t blame the officials or anyone for your team’s loss. It’s all on you, Coach. Michigan has no one to blame but themselves as they squandered many chances to put the Buckeyes away! Regular season complete.
6. Wisconsin – Of all the two loss teams the Badgers look like the team with the best shot right now anyway! A UW win over Penn State could land the Badgers in the playoffs. And folks they would have earned the right to be among the top four! This week vs Penn State in Big Ten Title Game.
7. Penn State – Outside of Alabama, the Lions are playing as good as any other team in America. Coach James Franklin has the Lions locked and loaded for this week’s Big Ten championship. This week vs Wisconsin in Big Ten Title Game.
8. Oklahoma – Baker Mayfield and the boys are still alive but right now it seems like the Sooners are not in the two loss playoff conversation as much as the Big Ten Teams are. But all the Sooners can do is win and see what happens. A trip to the Sugar Bowl is not bad is it? This week vs Oklahoma State.
9. Colorado – The Buffs have a leg up on the other two 2 loss teams as they will play the highest ranked team of all the power 5 leagues that have title games. A win over the Huskies could be the difference that gets this surprise playoff party crasher into the Final Four. This week vs Washington in Pac-12 Title Game.
10. Oklahoma State - You know, not many are talking about the Cowboys. I’m not sure if they can get close enough to make a run but a win in Bedlem gives them the Big XII Title and a spot in the Sugar Bowl. This week @ Washington State.
The National Football League is a league in which over 70% of the games are decided by a touchdown or less. This season the New Orleans Saints have seen their share of those close games including their most recent contest in which the Saints lost on the road by three points in a 20-23 setback to the Carolina Panthers.
The Saints fell to 4-6 overall on the season with another close loss leaving a bad taste in the mouths of members of the Who Dat Nation. Five of the Saints six losses have been by six points or less. The Saints only loss that was more than by a margin of six was a 45-32 setback to the Atlanta Falcons earlier this season.
It’s hard to not get negative when a team is so close to winning, but hey as we all know this is the NFL and each season the teams that win the close games are among the 12 playoff teams and the teams that don’t are among the other 18 teams that start off season work as soon as the regular season is done.
The Saints have more than their share of close calls but in the last two weeks the eye glaring mistakes point clearly to setbacks on Special Teams and losing the turnover ratio. New Orleans self-inflicted mistakes on special teams has cost the team dearly this season. And not just in one area of special teams is to lay blame too.
What I mean is when it comes to the Saints poor special teams play it is not just about kicking, it is not just about covering kicks, blocking, returns, no people... it’s all of the above.
Far too many times this season seemingly simple things such as knowing when to return a kickoff or remain in the End Zone for a touchback to knowing when to call a fair catch. Things that seem so basic, so simple, so Plain Jane Vanilla to coaches on every level of football, have not been so simple for the Black and Gold.
And as much as I hear Who Dats shout “man we are wasting a Hall of Fame QB,” the Saints have also let a few solid defensive performances slip away by not sealing the deal on close calls, especially in the Saints games against the Giants, Broncos and Panthers.
So now the Saints are 4-6 with six regular season games left. Can New Orleans prove that they are a team that is trending upward? Or will some embarrassing self-inflicted mistakes hinder the Saints shot at being that team that is on the rise and overcome another uncalled for and poor 7-9 overall record. Time will tell and we shall all soon see!
They are back at the top that being the Silver Stars from Big D! The Pretty QB-led Pats only fall one spot, Seattle rises some, the AFC West is locked and loaded in the rankings, while the back end of this week’s top 10 has some newcomers. Here is this week’s Top 10!
1.Dallas (8-1) - The Cowboys are one hot team right now. You know it’s hard to believe that a team that has been to eight Super Bowls and won five titles has never had an eight game win streak in the regular season. That’s what’s going on right now in big D! This week vs Baltimore.
2. New England (7-2) – Wow! Even though it came by way of a legit Super Team, the Patriots got somewhat shocked at home at the hands of the Seahawks. Oh well no need to worry. New England can still go 14-2 or I would gander 13-3 at worst and still lock up home field in the AFC! This week @ San Francisco
3. Seattle (6-2-1) – Talk about a huge win. If the Seahawks and Patriots see each other again the match-up would be on Super Sunday and it would have some good hype around it for sure! Oh yes that other QB in the game, Mr. Wilson, he ain’t too damn bad himself! This week vs Philadelphia.
4. Kansas City (7-2) – Hey going scoreless for three quarters and then scoring 17 unanswered in the fourth to beat the Panthers on the road is quite impressive. Now the Chiefs return home in first place and have a game on their hands that they should win. But hey this is the NFL of course! This week vs Tampa Bay
5.Oakland (7-2) – They are 7-2, in first place and the Silver and Black will play four of their last seven regular season games at home in the suddenly relevant Black Hole! This week vs Houston.
6. Denver (7-3) –With the help of the refs or not, Denver is still pretty good. In their last three games Denver has forced at least two turnovers in each of those games including four forced TO’s in their 25-23 win over the Saints.This week BYE.
7. New York Giants (6-3) – With the rest of the NFC looking kind of wack, the G-Men are in great position to get a grip on one of the Wild Card spots. But this team is the only team to beat the Cowboys this season and that could go a long way to NY catching Dallas and winning the East this season.This week vs Chicago.
8. Atlanta (6-4) – The Falcons had a golden chance to really put some distance between themselves and the rest of the NFC South. But in first place after 10 games is something that not many thought the Falcons would be in!This week BYE.
9. Houston (5-3) – The Texans did what they were supposed to do last week and handled their business on the road against the Jaguars. Now they face a huge road test at Oakland in the now suddenly dangerous Black Hole! This week @ Oakland.
10.Detroit (5-4) / Baltimore (5-4) – Ok these two teams may not be the flashiest but they are hot right now and they have big games this weekend that could lead to bigger and better things. The Lions have become the team to beat in the NFC North and likewise the Purple Birds in the AFC North. Both have good QB’s and both are catching fire at the right time. Oh yes and no other teams in their divisions are stepping up currently also helps. This week Jacksonville @ Detroit and Baltimore @ Dallas.
Right now other than Alabama the two loss teams in my top 10 are playing much better than three teams that were in the top four a week ago. What’s going to be fun is to see how the playoff crew sees some of these two loss conference champs and how they stack up against some of the one loss teams!
1. Alabama – Young Jalen is putting the “Hurts” on everybody. The Freshman QB had over 400 yards and 5 TD’s for the Tide in their win over Mississippi State. Now just five more wins and this team will win another title! This week vs UT Chattanooga
2. Ohio State – These Buckeyes are rolling right now. The last two weeks OSU has outscored their foes a combined 124-6. And many forget this is a very young team. Now the boys from Columbus are two big wins away from a Big Ten title game showing! Oh wait! A head to head tie breaker would go to Penn State. Damn can the Buckeyes go 11-1 again this season and not make their conference title game? You damn right it can happen! This week @ Michigan State.
3. Louisville – Can you believe that Cards QB Lamar Mr. Jackson only had one TD in a game? It’s the first time this season in which the QB did not score at least four TD’s in a game. Now the Cards will quickly find out if the playoff committee thinks they deserve to be ranked above the Tigers! This week @ Houston.
4. Michigan – Uh oh! You know there is always a week in which you have to just find a way to win. Unfortunately for UM they did not win at Iowa. Now the Wolverines must win their next three to make the playoffs! This week vs Indiana.
5. Clemson – Hey let’s be real Clemson should have already lost a game. So I guess the Football Gods evened things out. Now Clemson has to sit back and see what the playoff committee thinks about their loss! This week @ Wake Forest.
6. Wisconsin – Only once this season have they allowed more than 20 points and now they are the best looking two loss team in the nation. But will it be enough? Wisconsin needed a couple of teams ahead of them to lose. But not that many! This week @ Purdue
7. Penn State – Down the stretch they come! The Lions are now suddenly in control of things in the Big Ten. If Ohio State beats Michigan in two weeks it will be the PSU Lions that go to the Big Ten title game. Coach James Franklin may go from almost being fired this season to being named the national coach of the year! This week @ Indiana.
8. Oklahoma/Colorado – You know both of these teams are alive and well in their conference title chases. Colorado has a huge game this week against Washington State and next week against Utah. Win those and off the playoffs they could go! While the Boomer Sooners just need to win out and they are Big XII Champs. This week Colorado vs Washington State and Oklahoma is at West Virginia
9. West Virginia – The Mountaineers pretty much control their own fate. But they must win out to take care of the Big XII. If this is a one loss Big XII Champ I can’t see how the playoff pundits can leave them out of the four team playoff! If I said! This week vs Oklahoma.
10. Washington – I had a funny feeling in my stomach about Washington all season long. For nine weeks I thought it was heartburn. But my stomach never fails me. Now the Pac-12’s best hope may very well be Colorado and Washington State! Yes please believe it. This week vs Arizona State.
The New Orleans Saints take on the Denver Broncos Sunday at noon in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Here are some of the things to keep a close eye on when the White Horses come to town.
Team Records: New Orleans 4-4 and Denver is 6-3
Last week’s results: New Orleans beat San Francisco 41-23 and Oakland beat Denver 30-20
Next Week: New Orleans travels to Carolina to face the Panthers on Thursday night while Denver has a BYE
Who are the Broncos?
Denver comes to town still considered a Super Bowl contender in the AFC. Denver came out the gates red hot with a 4-0 mark. But since that 4 game win streak to start the season Denver has gone 2-3 in their last five games.
Like any other team, when the Broncos were winning they were pretty consistent across the board on offense, defense and special teams. And when a team is not winning, you can easily point out why.
Denver is banged up right now, with a few of their key players dealing with injuries. Against the Raiders, the Broncos lost the battle along the line of scrimmage. Oakland had good balance rushing and passing the football and it really kept the Broncos on their heels for most of the game.
Denver is not as good on defense right now as they were earlier this season. Denver does have the best pass defense in the league allowing only 183 yards per game. But the Broncos are not a good team facing the run as they are ranked 29th in rushing defense allowing 128.6 yards per game.
Denver knows full well of the Saints commitment to the run over the last month of the season, and if New Orleans can play with balance on offense, Denver knows their chances of winning in the Dome are much smaller.
Denver’s offense is 28th averaging 323 yards per game and they are 13th in scoring getting 23.8 points per game. The Denver defense is ranked 4th allowing only 311.9 yards per game and the Broncos give up 18.4 points per game which is 7th currently in the NFL.
How it will go down!
This is battle of strengths this week as the Broncos have the league’s #1 pass defense and they will try and slow down the NFL’s top passing offense as the Saints gain on average 326.4 yards per game.
Denver knows without putting pressure on the Saints QB Drew Brees they will have a long day in the dome and see their chances of winning slipping away.
The Saints will look to counter with a good balanced attack that has produced 42 passing attempts per game and 30 rushes per game over the last four weeks of the season. The Saints should feel pretty good about their chances of moving the ball on the ground and in the air this week.
The Saints own the league’s top trio of wide receivers in Willie Snead, Michael Thomas and Brandin Cooks. If the Saints can rush the ball effectively this week I think they will be able to pass the ball with a lot of success as well.
Over on defense the Saints need to do what they have been doing in their past five games. New Orleans is winning the battle of turnovers at +4 right now on the season. New Orleans has allowed under 24 points on average in their last four games. And the Saints defense has been applying good pressure on opposing QBs as well.
New Orleans really needs this game for many reasons. A win puts the Saints at 5-4 going on the road next Thursday night to face the Carolina Panthers. A two game losing streak would basically put the Saints out of the NFC South race and out of the post season as well.
The Big Chief says
I think you have to go with the hot team. The reason why I am going with the Saints is that they are the team that has played better of these two over the course of over a month. New Orleans has not just played well in a couple of games, the Saints have played well in their last five games.
And being at home in the Superdome is going to be huge. And a win over Denver gives the Saints wins over two of the last three Super Bowl winners in the same season. And that’s not bad. I’ll go with the Saints here. New Orleans 27 Denver 23
The Patriots head man sent a love letter to the Trumpster, the Cowboys just keep on winning. Oakland is all that and then some, Seattle is the class of the NFC West while the Dirty Birds down in the ATL are on fire behind Matty Ice and Mr. Jones. Oh yes and the Big Apple Giants are back in the rankings too. Here is this week’s Top 10!
1. New England (7-1) – New England is well rested and now entertain the team they beat in the Super Bowl two years ago. Look for Tom to set the table and then the Hooded One will give the Seahawks a big dose of Blount! LeGarrette Blount dat is! Another preview of this year’s Super Bowl? Maybe! This week vs Seattle
2. Dallas (7-1) – How bout dem? Well I’ll spare all you Silver Star haters out there. Hate them or not Dallas is a damn good team. When will the rest of the NFL learn that if you build a good offensive line, you will win and win big? The last time Dallas had a line this good they won three Super Bowls. I think this team will win at least two over the course of the next several seasons. Hey I’m just saying, you know! This week @ Pittsburgh.
3. Oakland (7-2) – Say what you want, but when you own the 2nd best record in the NFL, you are 5-0 on the road. And you are in first place in your division then it is not fake. The Raiders are for real. Now can they keep it up? We shall see. This team is locked and loaded to be in the mix for a very long time! You know to me, the NFL is better when the Raiders are good. Hell it’s been 15 years since they were. This week BYE.
4. Seattle (5-2-1) – Two close and questionable calls at home saw the Seabirds edge the Falcons and Bills in two games that many feel the home team was aided by some home cooking. What do they cook out there in Seattle? I’ll eat it! This week @ New England.
5. Atlanta (6-3) – The Dirty Birds are downright doing it on offense. Matt and Julio are lighting it up down by the school yard. And the Birds O-Line, which was once a weakness, has become one of the elite groups in the NFL, led by center Alex Mack. This week @ Philadelphia.
6. Kansas City (6-2) – Even though they have played one less game than the Raiders, the Chiefs can lay claim to being the best team in the AFC West right now. A long road trip this week will be very difficult taking on the somewhat surging Carolina Panthers. This week @ Carolina.
7. Denver (6-3) – This team of White Horses is all beat up, their O-Line is not playing well, and their new young QB is running for his life. Denver better tighten up quickly cause the Silver and Black are back! This week @ New Orleans
8. New York Giants (5-3) – After a hot 2-0 start the G-Men faded some, losing three straight. But now the Giants have quietly won three in a row. New York is in good position in the East and the playoff picture through the first half of the season. This week vs Cincinnati
9. Minnesota (5-4) – This team is fading and fading fast. After a 5-0 start the Vikings have lost three straight, said goodbye to the Offensive Coordinator and look like a team that is falling down instead of getting better. Better stop the bleeding fast! Because the Detroit Lions are lurking! Damn did I just say Detroit is lurking? I sho did! This week @ Washington.
10. Houston (5-3) – The Texans are still in first place in the AFC South but the Titans are hanging around and every other week it looks like the Colts are getting their act together. If Houston is going to repeat as divisional champs they need to win games like this week against the Jags! This week @ Jacksonville
It looks like a two team state of Alabama Iron Bowl race in the SEC West, the Vols have backed their way into the East title chase and the rest of the SEC is trying to position themselves for bowl season. So here’s this week’s SEC Rankings.
Alabama (9-0) – If you can’t score you can’t win. The Tide know that. Their opponents know that. And no one can do anything to stop them. Well no one has yet! This week vs Mississippi State.
Auburn (7-2) – In Gus they trust! These Tigers are playing sound football right now and they are two wins away from setting up another huge Iron Bowl! This week @ Georgia.
Texas A&M (7-2) – Ooowee! Man a bad loss to a Mississippi State team that barely beat Samford the week before! I said SAMford. Not Stanford! This week vs Ole Miss.
LSU (5-3) – Good defense, not much offense. Another disappointing season down in the boot! Speaking of the boot, can the Tigers win it back for the first time in three years? This week @ Arkansas.
Arkansas (6-3) – Suddenly the Hogs look like a team that can win 10 games this season. We shall see if Arkansas can keep their magic touch over the Tigers! This week vs LSU.
Florida (6-2) – Blow out at Arkansas means now that the Gators are not quite set to take another trip to the ATL. In fact another loss and things get real sticky in the East. This week vs South Carolina.
Tennessee (6-3) – Boy how things change from week to week. A week ago the job status of Butch Jones was in question. And now if the Vols win out and the Gators lose once more the boys from Rocky Top are off to Atlanta! This week vs Kentucky.
Of the below seven SEC Teams only one (Missouri) has been eliminated from bowl contention. The SEC should get I think between 11-13 teams into a bowl.
Missouri, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State & South Carolina