Former Dallas Cowboys WR, Lucky Whitehead Might Be The Most Unlucky Guy In The NFL

The Dallas Cowboys cut third-year wide receiver Lucky Whitehead yesterday after news surfaced that he had missed a July court hearing after being arrested for shoplifting from a Virginia convenience store on June 22.  The big problem with this is that it wasn’t ACTUALLY him that was arrested.

Immediately, Whitehead’s agent called bullshit on the situation.  Citing that Whitehead was not in Virginia at the time of the crime, and that news of his arrest came down to a case of mistaken identity. Arrest records showed that whoever was booked in Prince William County for petit larceny on June 22nd gave Whitehead’s name, birthday and social security number to cops.

This morning, Prince William County Sgt. Jonathan Perok gave a statement admitting that Whitehead was in fact not ( a marine biologist) the man arrested on June 22nd.  The criminal genius who was arrested in the parking lot didn’t have an ID, so he gave cops Whitehead’s birthday and social security number.

Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017 arrest of an individual named “Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.”, the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys.

The man charged on the morning of June 22 was not in possession of identification at the time of the encounter; however, did verbally provide identifying information to officers, which included a name, date of birth, and social security number matching that of Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr. Officers then checked this information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database. The DMV photo on file was then used to compare to the man who was in custody. Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided.

At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identify was falsely provided to police during the investigation. The police department is currently seeking the identity of the man involved in the incident. Since the identifying information provided by the arrestee during the investigation was apparently false, the police department is working with the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to clear Mr. Whitehead from this investigation. The police department regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family.

Whitehead has probably had the worst, strangest, most random off-season of an NFL summer in recent memory.  First, he lost his dog in a bizarre ransom, dog stealing operation, then he was cut a week later by the Cowboys over this legal misunderstanding.  The Cowboys supposedly cut him because of the “totality of dumb stuff” that filled his offseason, a conclusion that I must remind you came from Whitehead getting a dog stolen/ransomed and also being the victim of identity theft.

Garrett’s statement after the release also stressed the moral standards the Cowboys aim to uphold:

“There’s a certain way that we want to handle ourselves on and off the field. There’s a standard that we have,” Garrett said. “We believe very strongly in adhering to those standards and trying to uphold them each and every day in everything that we do.

“When you have someone in your program, in this environment, in this structure, and they don’t grow and develop and they make the same mistakes over and over again, it’s time to move on.”

First thing f&^%kin last on this whole situation, Whitehead (seemingly) had NOTHING to do with either of these extremely random situations.  If the Cowboys are trying to make a statement to the rest of the team about “appropriate behavior”, then they failed miserably.  This would be like punishing your dog because your moron-entitled-bullshit cat took a dump on your pillow while you were at the dog park (with the dog).  To quote the great American philosopher, Biff Tannen:

“That makes about as much sense as a screen door on a battleship”

Meanwhile, the Cowboys organization is hiding behind “morally” cutting Whitehead for absolutely no reason at all instead of just being honest and saying that he’s the 4th receiver on the depth chart and more than likely will be replaced by week 2 anyway.  The real fact is that this remains an organization with a high tolerance for bullshit.  And Lucky Whitehead was unlucky enough to be the scapegoat.

Calvin Johnson Says What Everyone Already Knows

originally posted on deadspin.com


Calvin Johnson Says He Retired Because The Lions Weren’t Going Anywhere

Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images

In the year since Calvin Johnson unexpectedly retired from the NFL at age 30, the wide receiver has hinted at some displeasure with the Detroit Lions, mostly over the team’s attempt to recoup his signing bonus, but he’d never indicated that the Lions had anything to do with him walking away from the sport. Now he has, and it’s about what you’d think.

In Italy doing press ahead of the Italian Bowl, the championship game of American football in that country, Johnson said the Lions’ futility definitely played a part in his decision to quit, in addition to the toll football was taking on his body.

“I didn’t see a chance for them to win a Super Bowl at the time,” Johnson said.“For the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time, to keep on beating my head up against the wall, and not go anywhere.

“It’s the definition of insanity.”

“That’s everybody’s goal, when they come to the league, is to win a Super Bowl. That’s the ultimate goal. … I wanted to win it, and like I said, I just didn’t see that opportunity [with the Lions].”

Johnson implied he would still be in the NFL if the Lions had allowed him to go anywhere else. Detroit has historically denied players’ requests for trades (as Barry Sanders found out upon his early retirement), and the Lions apparently refused Johnson’s request to be released to go elsewhere.

“I mean, I thought about it,” Johnson said, when asked if he thought about changing teams. “Just like in basketball, you know, guys, they create these superteams. But it’s not quite like that in football where I had the freedom just to go. I was stuck in my contract with Detroit, and they told me, they would not release my contract, so I would have to come back to them.”

The asymmetry in football contracts is striking: Teams can end them at any time for any reason and just stop paying what they agreed to, but players are trapped in them. At the time Johnson retired, he still had four years left on his deal.

The management bootlickers are already out in force this morning, but some facts are unchangeable. Like that Megatron was the best and often only reason to watch the Lions for most of a decade. And that the NFL is a worse place without him. And that two of the most exciting skill position players ever to play the sport left it early because Detroit couldn’t build a real contender.

Around the NFL Offseason (there is no offseason)

Jordan Cameron Retires After Four Concussions In Four Years: “I Can’t Risk My Mental Health In The Future”

Miami Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron announced his retirement yesterday at the age of 28. After suffering four concussions in four years, he said that the possibility of long-term health risks was too much. As he told ESPN yesterday:

“I started thinking about concussions too much. You can’t play football like that…. If I didn’t get concussions, I’d probably keep playing. It’s one of those things. I can’t risk my mental health in the future. I don’t have any symptoms now. I’m perfectly fine. But they can’t tell me with 100 percent certainty that if I keep playing and I get more concussions, that I’m going to be okay. I’m not risking that at all. There’s nothing more important than your health. It’s just not worth it to me.”

The Dolphins had expressed concern about his long-term potential in the NFL back in October, a few weeks after his last concussion. He signed with Miami two years ago—then just a season removed from an 80-catch, 917-yard Pro Bowl season with the Browns. But he never reached those heights again and his concussions meant that he only played in three games last year.

 Though he has been cleared by a neurologist to return to play, he’s decided it isn’t worth it. When asked by ESPN if he felt the NFL had properly educated him on the danger of concussions before he was drafted in 2011, he said he personally believed that they’d done what they could at the time: “I want to say I hope they didn’t know the serious implications of these things. I feel like it was just starting, just on the brink of this coming to light and all the seriousness of these things. Now I feel like seven years later people know how serious this can be. Unfortunately it takes people dying to figure that out. That’s the saddest thing in the world to me.”

God Help Them, The Cleveland Browns Are Trying To Outsmart The NFL

Reaction to the Cleveland Browns’ surprising trade with the Houston Texans for Brock Osweiler Thursday ran the gamut from fulsome praise to “Bill Polian Yells At Cloud.” Cleveland indeed waded into new territory (for the NFL) by using its extraordinary surplus of salary cap space to essentially trade for a higher draft pick, with Osweiler serving as simply a means to an end. It’s the latest chip in the Browns’ protracted effort to amass draft capital, and while it’s certainly an innovative approach, it’s still just an early step.

First, a look at the terms:

  • Cleveland receives: Osweiler, 2017 sixth-round pick, 2018 second-round pick
  • Houston receives: 2017 fourth-round pick, $10 million in cap savings

Osweiler sucks and is due $16 million in guaranteed salary, for which the Browns are now on the hook. The trade gave the Texans an easy escape from the laughably bad contract they gave Osweiler last year while also providing them with the flexibility to pursue another experienced starter, most likely Tony Romo. It was quickly reported that Cleveland intended to release or trade Osweiler—moves that would require the Browns to eat all or a significant portion of his 2017 salary—but even that’s in keeping with the grander plan.

When chief operating officer Paul DePodesta and general manager Sashi Brown were hired in January 2016, they made no secret of their intention to take a quantitative approach to Cleveland’s rebuild. DePodesta and Brown began their project last year by letting several in-house free agents (offensive linemen Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz, wideout Travis Benjamin, free safety Tashaun Gipson) walk before twice trading down in the first round of the draft. The Browns were rewarded with four compensatory picks (a third-rounder, two fourths, and a fifth) to add to their boatload of draft choices.

 All told, Cleveland now has 11 picks each in this year’s and next year’s drafts. That haul includes five of the first 65 overall selections this year and four picks in the first two rounds next year. The Browns also maneuvered to set themselves up with a whopping $102 million in salary cap space this year, right when the timing was perfect. The league’s cash-spending rules require teams to spend 89 percent of the salary cap, but only in cumulative, four-year increments. And this is the first year of the latest increment, which runs from 2017 to 2020.

What the Browns did, insofar as Osweiler concerns them, is use some of that surplus cap room toward a sunk cost (Osweiler’s $16 million in guarantees) that allowed them to obtain Houston’s 2018 second-round pick in exchange for flipping late-round picks this year. It’s an NBA-style move that’s drawing comparisons to what Sam Hinkie did with The Process in Philadelphia. ESPN’S Bill Barnwell went deep to try to gauge the relative value of the assets the Browns swapped, in addition to the gray areas of whether a trade like this is even permitted by the NFL, which prohibits dealing players straight up for cash. But the larger question is this: What will Cleveland ultimately do with all these draft assets? They’re worthless unless some of them are used to obtain good football players.

 Stockpiling draft choices is not a novel strategy, even for the stodgy-ass NFL. As Barnwell noted, the Jimmy Johnson-era Cowboys of the late 1980s and early ‘90s did it by trading running back Herschel Walker. The Packers and Patriots have been doing it for years. And from 1996-2014, the Ravens hoarded 41 compensatory picks, more than any team in the league. As Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta told The MMQB’s Jenny Vrentas:

“We look at the draft as, in some respects, a luck-driven process. The more picks you have, the more chances you have to get a good player. When we look at teams that draft well, it’s not necessarily that they’re drafting better than anybody else. It seems to be that they have more picks. There’s definitely a correlation between the amount of picks and drafting good players.”

All of the above are success stories, but it doesn’t always work out that way. In 2014, then-Jets GM John Idzik wiped the team’s cap slate clean and entered the draft with 12 picks—a deliberate attempt to mimic the Ravens’ strategy. Idzik was canned at the end of that season in part because he and head coach Rex Ryan had been so horribly mismatched, but also because nearly every one of those 12 picks (Jace Amaro in the second round, Jalen Saunders and Shaq Evans in the fourth, to name a few) turned out to be a dud. The Browns have (in theory) set themselves up nicely with a fresh approach into an old system. Actually getting players is when the hard part begins.


Here Is A Thing That Happened In Tim Tebow’s Spring Training Debut

(just seeing if you’re paying attention)

At the start of the bottom of the third inning, New York Mets designated hitter Tim Tebow left the dugout to get some warm-up swings in before stepping into the box. But, strangely, he walked all the way around behind the plate—from the Mets dugout on the third-base side to the on-deck circle in front of the visitors’ dugout, on the first-base side.

Boston’s Rick Porcello, warming up on the mound, said he assumed it was a bat boy. After all, why would a Mets player be over there?

After a few swings, home plate umpire Ryan Additon noticed Tebow in the wrong on-deck circle, and told Tebow to get back to his side of the field. Tebow sheepishly complied.

Afterward Tebow explained his mistake, saying he had always thought that lefty batters warm up on that side of the field no matter which team they play for.

“I thought you walk around because you’re a left-hander. I found out you don’t do that.”

“It looked like he hadn’t played baseball in a while,” Mets hitting coach Kevin Long said.

“He’s so far behind on the nuances of the game,” Mets OF Jay Bruce said.

“Definitely there’s a lot of things I’m trying to play catch-up on,” Tebow said.

Tebow went 0-for-3, with two strikeouts and a grounder into a double play. He reached base when he was hit by a pitch; he was promptly doubled off on a soft liner when he strayed too far from first.

 Here are some highlights:

The Minnesota Vikings Hate Birds

As Expected, The New Vikings Stadium Is Killing A Record Number Of Birds

Jim Mone/AP Images

No one can say they didn’t see this coming. Well, the birds can.

The Audubon Society warned that U.S. Bank Stadium, huge and glassy and inviting, would prove a “death trap” for birds who smacked into its massive walls. Now they’ve got the data to prove it. It is, by far, the deadliest building in Minneapolis.

Over a span of 11 weeks, volunteers from three conservation groups undertook regular circuits of the stadium, which officially opened last year. They discovered 60 dead birds, and 14 more “stunned” birds which had flown into the glass and were injured or distressed. City Pages has a good write-up, but if you want to dive into the details, the full report is available here—complete with lots of photos of dead birds, and mortality charts by species.

Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis
Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis

That’s 60 deaths in a single migration period, and doesn’t count the birds that were disposed of when volunteers weren’t there. (Interviews with maintenance staff and security guards indicate they regularly remove bird bodies.) Over a three-year period that projects to about 500 bird deaths. The previous recorded high for a single building in Minneapolis over three years was 250.

“We knew that the glass would be highly confusing to the birds,” volunteer Jim Sharpsteen says. “They see a reflection of a blue sky in the glass, they think it’s a blue sky. They see reflections of trees, they think they can land in those reflections of trees. This confirmed what we already believed would be bad.”

There are relatively simple things the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority could do to severely reduce the mortality rates, including installing glass with a visible patten. That’s what they did at New York’s Javits Center, and immediately cut bird deaths by 90 percent.

Conservation groups, including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, were calling for the stadium to be made bird-safe for years before it opened (in line with Minnesota Department of Commerce guidelines, which would appear to require it for all publicly financed structures like), but the MSFA declined to take any steps. There’s no indication they intend to do anything about it even now. Enjoy your bird mass grave, Vikings fans.

Ranking The Remaining Playoff QBs

We’ve reached the NFL’s Final Four (all rights reserved by the NCAA), only the toughest, meanest and most photogenic teams are left.  Well, except for the Steelers, they re-define “ugly football”.

This weekend the REAL playoffs begin, let’s be honest no one out there really believed in Houston, Las Vegas (Oakland), Kansas City the ghost of Seattle and/or the Jerry Jones disciples in Dallas.  The cream of the crop and the superstars always show-out in the playoffs, I’m talking about players and coaches combined.  The Pats are a pillar of consistency for the AFC championship game, the Tim Allen of the NFL, if you will permit me to obscurely reference (doesn’t it seem like he’s ALWAYS working??).  New England is in their 6th straight AFC championship game; death, taxes and Patriots in the AFC Championship game are the only absolutes in this life.  Good luck to you Steeler fans, don’t forget your live-streaming devices.

Divisional Playoffs - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots

In the NFC, we’ve got two incredibly hot (so hot right now) teams in what will be the Mad Max of an NFC Championship game.  Absolute chaos lead by pass-crazy, do everything yourself, not following any of society’s rules, Quarterbacks both vying for the sweat cream of a trip to the Superbowl.   Aaron Rodgers has been borderline videogame satus, throwing darts and strikes like he was Michael van Gerwen or Ravichandran Ashwin.  Extra points if you can tell me who either of those guys are, without clicking the links.

With the remaining gunslingers left in the NFL-Koi pond, the question naturally arises:  Who’s the best QB left in the playoffs, RIGHT NOW?

Obviously, these four passers are among the league leaders in just about every category.  One of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Matt Ryan is likely to win the AP’s MVP award this season, while Ben Roethlisberger isn’t far off from their 2016 standard.  Roethlisberger comes in as the 10th-best passer in the league by opponent-adjusted Total QBR, while Ryan, Brady and Rodgers each rank in the top four. The only top-four passer missing is Dak Prescott, who’s soul was imploded by Rodgers on Sunday.

So who ya got?  RIGHT NOW, leading your team the rest of the way?

Tom Brady:

tombrady

He’s Tom Brady.  12-time Pro Bowler, 4-time Superbowl Champ, 2-time Superbowl MVP.  And just to re-iterate the point, he’s TOM BRADY.   Over the last 5 games (Houston, Miami, New York Jets, Denver and Baltimore) Mr. Bundchen has gone 101 out of 168 for 1,371 yds and 11 TDs.  He’s had a QBR of 74.96 and the golden locks of an angel high on heavenly opiates.  He’s gone 5-0 against 3 of the NFL’s top 10 defenses to round out his yellow-brick road travels to the AFC Championship game.

Ben Roethlisberger:

bigben

Big Ben, the 5-time Pro Bowler and 2-time Superbowl champ has been his normal, scrambly, impossible to freaking tackle, water-buffalo with a rocket for an arm-self in 2016.  When Ben is healthy, he’s a Top 5 QB in the league.  He’s gone 5-0 to lead his Steel-curtain boys through the end of the regular season and make this AFC Championship run, beating Buffalo, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Miami and Kansas City.  Over the last 5 games, Big Ben has gone 95 out of 149 for 1,206 yds and 6 TDs.  His QBR is only at 58.9, but it goes along with 2 broken ankles, 3 lacerated pelvises, 6 cracked vertebrae and a scorching case of herpes.  Big Ben is an animal, the guy only needs one leg and a half an arm to make a back-shoulder throw to Antonio Brown for a 70-yard touchdown.

Matt Ryan:

mattryan

Matt Ryan has been on a tear this season, posting career highs in basically every offensive category and making a very strong push for MVP of the league, not to mention being just a really, really nice guy.  I mean look at him , doesn’t he seem like the kind of guy that’d hold the door open for an old lady, or stop traffic for a family of ducks?  In his last 5 games, his overall QBR has been a staggering 86.68, which leads the remaining playoff QBs.  He’s thrown for 14 TDs (tied with Rodgers) and 1,469 yds in the last 5 games, taking the Falcons through LA, SF, Carolina, New Orleans and Seattle to finish the regular season strong and procure a spot in the NFC Championship.  If it wasn’t for Aaron Rodgers’ late game heroics and badly-acted but somehow still funny every time-State Farm commercials, EVERYONE would be talking about Matt Ryan’s MVP season in 2016.

Aaron Rodgers:

arodgers

Discount Double-Check has been damn near perfect over the last 5 games.  He’s raised his normal greatness to another level of ludicrous-greatness (we can’t stop, it’s too dangerous), and if he leads his injury-ridden Packers squad to the Superbowl then he’s solidified himself as the 2016 MVP and the biggest late-season hero in green since the Grinch gave the Whos from Whoville their presents back.  I’m not sure if it’s the luck of the Irish or if Aaron Rodgers has a deal with the devil, but he’s been on fire and seems unstoppable the rest of the way.   I’m not gonna give you any stats, cause Mr. Rodgers doesn’t need numbers to win games……nerd.

 

Football Fan Fights Of 2016

As the year ends and we all reflect upon the ups, the downs, the itches, the scratches, the zigs and the zags, and the many, many drunken decisions we may have botched during past 365 days, one fact remains true EVERY single year; drunk football fans love to throw bows and knuckle up when they feel they’re shitty team has been disrespected.

With the help of the world wide interwebs, I’ve collected a few of the highlighted fan-fights from the past year.  Enjoy.

JAGS vs. BEARS (combined 6-24 records)

DOLPHINS vs 49ERS (Niners fans are so cute)

CHIEFS vs RAIDERS (sons even a mother couldn’t love)

MIAMI vs WEST VIRGINIA (College’s equivalent of RAIDERS vs CHIEFS)

sidenote: so many good things in this video, the WVU fan had a prosthetic leg……and the Miami fan gave him the “club punch”, punch and run!  Do you see the irony?

CARDINALS vs 49ers (seeing a theme here with SF fans?)

GIANTS vs EAGLES (Giants fan gets knocked out in front of his GF)

RAIDERS vs RAIDERS (is there anything MORE Raiders than this?)

 

 

 

NFL Week 16: WTF Just Happened?

The NFL regular season is all but finished, with only the Wild Card spots left to be determined……..well, also seeding, general rankings, home field advantage and if Mike Tomlin will whoop Terrry Bradhsaw’s country-ass when he sees him this summer.  

The biggest news from the weekend:

  •  Buffalo said goodbye to the Rex Ryan Experiment, ending a reign of mediocre football sauteed in a Ryan Brothers whiskey sauce that even Patrick Hammer would be proud of.  (Now that’s what you call a sub-reference)
Rob & Rex Ryan at Easter

Rob & Rex Ryan at Easter

  • The Oakland Raiders woke up from the best dream any of them have had in 14 years, when Derek Carr broke in half.  There goes any Super Bowl hopes and dreams for 2016-17, Matt Mcgloin is NOT the guy, sorry to say.

 

  • The Playoff C.F. is C.F.-ed A.F. (so many teenager-abbreviations):

AFC

1. New England Patriots (13-2). The New York Jets weren’t even a speed bump on the Patriots’ road to the AFC playoffs. If they win or if the Raiders lose in Week 17, the Patriots will secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC field. The worst they can do is end up at No. 2.

2. Oakland Raiders (12-3). Oakland clinched its spot in Week 15. If the Raiders win at Denver or the Chiefs lose at San Diego in Week 17, the Raiders will be AFC West champions. Of course, the bigger issue right now for Oakland is that it is going to have to play its postseason games with Matt McGloin or Connor Cook at quarterback.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5). A brilliant Ben Roethlisberger comeback against the Ravens on Sunday night clinched the Steelers’ second division title in three years and eliminated Baltimore. Pittsburgh will host a playoff game on Jan. 7 or 8.

4. Houston Texans (9-6). When Cincinnati place-kicker Randy Bullock‘s attempt for a winning field goal sailed wide right on Saturday night, it made Houston champion of the AFC South for the second year in a row. The Texans’ Week 17 game in Nashville now has no relevance.

5. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4). The Chiefs can still claim the AFC West, but they need to beat San Diego in Week 17 and hope the Raiders lose in Denver.

6. Miami Dolphins (10-5). After a 1-4 start, the Dolphins have won nine of their past 10 games. And Miami clinched a playoff spot with Denver’s loss to Kansas City on Sunday night.

Surging: Miami’s regular-season finale on Sunday is at home against the Patriots. That meeting offers the Dolphins a chance to show themselves — and the Patriots — that they can play with New England. In Week 2 at Foxborough — before Miami’s offensive line came together and Jay Ajayi emerged — Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett and the Patriots built a 31-3 lead on the Dolphins and held on to win 31-24.

Slipping: Houston’s AFC South rivals had rough outings on Sunday. The Tennessee Titans lost their quarterback, lost a game to the 3-12 Jacksonville Jaguars and lost a potential playoff spot. The Indianapolis Colts were defeated in Oakland and eliminated from postseason contention even before Houston played. The Texans took care of their own business in an ugly game on Saturday night, but they already had received some help in the form of disappointing performances from the two teams behind them.

Worth noting: The Steelers are a perennial playoff team, but it hasn’t been easy. This is only the second time they’ve won their division since 2010. Their 2014 team was a division champion as well.

NFC

1. Dallas Cowboys (13-2). Dallas has everything wrapped up that can be wrapped up — a division title, a bye and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. When the Cowboys get back from Philadelphia on Sunday night, they won’t have to leave Texas again all season. (Super Bowl LI is in Houston.) The only question for the Cowboys is what to do about resting and/or protecting their players or keeping them fresh for January games.

2. Atlanta Falcons (10-5). With their win and the Buccaneers’ loss, the Falcons have clinched the NFC South. And thanks to Seattle’s loss, Atlanta has a chance to clinch the No. 2 seed in the conference and a first-round bye with a Week 17 home victory over the Saints.

3. Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1). They came all the way back and somehow still lost a home game to the Arizona Cardinals because of a missed extra point. Seattle is the NFC West champion, but it might have cost itself a chance at a first-round bye. As of now, the Seahawks would have to play three games (with at least one on the road) just to reach the Super Bowl.

4. Green Bay Packers (9-6). Green Bay is technically the NFC North leader at the moment. The Packers are tied with the Lions for first place but beat them head-to-head. The teams face off again in Week 17 at Detroit, and the winner will be division champ. The loser can still get in but would need help. Specifically, if the Packers lose, they would still be a wild-card team if Washington and the Buccaneers both lose. The Packers also could sneak in as a wild card if Washington loses and Green Bay clinches the strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Tampa. To do that, the Packers need any one of the following four teams to lose in Week 17: San Francisco, Tennessee, Indianapolis or Dallas. But the main point here is: win and the Packers are in as a division champ.

5. New York Giants (10-5). The Giants didn’t get it done on Thursday against the Eagles, but the Saints helped them out by beating the Buccaneers, which allowed the Giants to clinch a spot in the NFC field. The Giants are locked into the No. 5 seed no matter what. They cannot improve or weaken their seeding, and they will open the playoffs at the home field of whichever team finishes in the No. 4 spot.

6. Detroit Lions (9-6). This is the most fragile seeding in the whole picture. Having lost Monday night in Dallas, Detroit still has a chance to finish as NFC North champ and will do so if it beats Green Bay on Sunday night. If Detroit loses Sunday, the Lions would need a Washington loss to get them in as a wild card.

Surging: Washington might have cost itself a playoff berth with its home loss in Week 15 to the Carolina Panthers, but it rebounded nicely Saturday and still is in the race. If Washington beats the Giants on Sunday — assuming the Detroit-Green Bay tilt doesn’t end in a tie — Washington will get in as a wild-card team.

Slipping: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t eliminated, but a ton has to happen for them to get in. They need to win. They need Washington to tie. They need Green Bay to lose. And they need all four of the following teams to win their Week 17 games: San Francisco, Tennessee, Indianapolis and Dallas. Sounds like next year for Tampa.

Worth noting: The Minnesota Vikings (7-8) started the season 5-0 but were eliminated from playoff contention with Saturday’s loss in Green Bay. They traded their first-round pick to the Eagles for quarterback Sam Bradford after Teddy Bridgewater got hurt, and now they face an early and uncertain offseason.

  • The Cleveland Browns won a game, now they have to live up to expectations……hahahahahahah, wait, no.  A winning streak to end the season at 2-14 is the NFL equivalent of the “Tallest Midget” syndrome.

browns

 

NFL MVP Race is Under Way

-originally posted on ESPN-


Previous polls: Week 15 | Week 14 | Week 13


1. Tom Brady, QB | New England Patriots

Regular-season passing: 249-for-372 (66.9 percent); 3,064 yards; 22 TDS; 2 INTs; 80.6 Total QBR

Case for Brady: As long as you don’t mind the fact that he has played 10 games and the other candidates have played 14, Brady is your guy. His numbers projected over 16 games would end up at 4,902 yards, 35 touchdowns and three interceptions — and he’s 9-1.

Case against Brady: He has played only 10 games, and the other candidates have played 14.


T2. Derek Carr, QB | Oakland Raiders

Regular-season passing: 336-for-529 (63.5 percent); 3,705 yards; 25 TDs; 6 INTs; 60.8 Total QBR

Case for Carr: He is the quarterback of an 11-3 team that has made the playoffs for the first time in 14 years, and his fourth-quarter performances have been sterling. Carr fits what the Raiders seem to be: an upstart, gunslinger-type squad that’s fun to imagine as even better than it is right now.

Case against Carr: He’s middle-of-the pack in QBR and several other key stats, and he was 0-2 this year against the Chiefs, the Raiders’ closest AFC West competitors. Carr’s performance in those big games could end up costing him votes.


T2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB | Dallas Cowboys

Regular-season rushing: 310 carries; 1,551 yards; 13 TDs
Regular-season receiving: 31 receptions; 351 yards; 1 TD

Case for Elliott: The Cowboys’ offense is built around the run, and Elliott has 327 more rushing yards than any other player in the league. He just cut through one of the league’s hottest defenses to the tune of 159 rushing yards, and he stayed on the field for a few third downs and made a big catch or two in that game. To borrow a timely catchphrase, he’s the MVP candidate doing the most good.

Case against Elliott: Quarterbacks tend to win this award, so it’s an uphill battle for anyone who plays Elliott’s position, no matter how well he might be playing it. And there are some who feel (unjustifiably) that Elliott’s performance is more a reflection of his offensive line’s performance than of anything special about Elliott himself.


4. Matt Ryan, QB | Atlanta Falcons

Regular-season passing: 319-for-465 (68.6); 4,336 yards; 32 TDs; 7 INTs; 81.8 Total QBR

Case for Ryan: No one matches Ryan on the raw numbers. He leads in Total QBR, ranks second in yards, first in yards per attempt, second in touchdown passes and third in completion percentage. Counting only those who have played the whole season, Ryan has been the best quarterback in the league this year. And he has a team with a shaky defense sitting there at 9-5 and in first place.

Case against Ryan: That 9-5 record is nice, but it’s not the 12-2 or 11-3 that some of the other candidates are rocking. And in a race this good, that can be held against you. Ryan also has a star running back helping him out in Devonta Freeman, so maybe that’s it. But honestly, I can’t figure out why he’s so low on this list.


5. Aaron Rodgers, QB | Green Bay Packers

Regular-season passing: 346-for-533 (64.9); 3,781 yards; 32 TDs; 7 INTs; 75.5 Total QBR

Case for Rodgers: Even after his much-publicized rough start, Rodgers is fourth in the NFL in QBR for the season. He is completing 70.7 percent of his passes and averaging 8.29 yards per attempt, and he has seven touchdown passes and no interceptions during the Packers’ current four-game winning streak. He’s also working with a third-string running back and a shaky defense.

Case against Rodgers: The Packers are only 8-6, and while they’ll win the NFC North with wins in their final two games, it took them way too long to get into gear. Rodgers’ early-season performance drags down his overall numbers and, likely, his overall case in the eyes of voters.