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Archive for the ‘ NFL ’ Category

Judge: I’m Not Sure Goodell Understands There Is A CBA

The public mockery of the ineptness of the commissioner of the National Football League continued today – this time via a scathing comment from a United States federal judge.

Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson was, after being placed on double-secret probation for all but one game last season, ultimately suspended by Führer Goodell for the final six games of the year. The issue with that unpaid suspension was that it was retroactively enforced. The off-field incident took place many months prior to Goodell’s announcement that the personal conduct policy was being revamped, and such incidents would now result in a six-game suspension rather than two games. (This of course occurred after the Kommissar was excoriated in the court of public opinion after appearing to have lied about not seeing the Ray Rice knockout punch; i.e., business as usual for those collecting a paycheck at 345 Park Avenue.)

Back to today’s news… back in February Judge David Doty ordered that the Peterson suspension be sent back to arbitration. The league dragged its feet and the after NFL Players Association had seen enough – and rightfully so – filed a contempt of court motion in May. Considering the hubris of Goodell and the NFL league offices, it is no surprise that here we are six months later and still no attempt at the court-ordered arbitration. NFLPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler put on his Captain Obvious face and said the league has been stalling.

Judge Doty questioned NFL lawyer Dan Nash in regards to why the NFL was so hesitant to arbitrate. Doty quoted previous public comments by Goodell relative to his authority under the league’s collective bargaining agreement, and then hit Nash and the absent commissioner with a knee-buckling body blow.

“I’m not sure the commissioner understands there is a CBA.”

Ouch.

Despite that statement that should have been a wake up call to Nash, the chutzpah continued. He had the gall to say that the NFL had not violated the judge’s order and that the league was shocked by the filing of the contempt motion. The arrogance continued when Nash claimed that “we had every reason to believe there was no dispute”.

Huh?


I don’t believe this will affect the Tom Brady case at all. However, it is worth noting that a Unites States federal judge is openly questioning if the commissioner of a multi-billion dollar business does not understand what powers he does and does not have, per a collectively bargained agreement. No wonder he needed someone else (Robert Kraft) to take over negotiations and reach an accord! And through all of this the person who does not understand the CBA has the gall to cite the very same agreement, in terms of what he can do? It makes me wonder if Goodell even read the Wells report, rather than just the summary.

Goodell and the NFL keep saying ‘Article 46′, but there is much, much more to the CBA. Among other things he must draw his decisions “from the essence of the CBA” and cannot ignore the “law of the shop”. There is no penalty for ‘failure to cooperate’, and the league is ‘required to provide proper notice’.

The concept that Goodell can do anything he wants based on Article 46 is ludicrous, no matter how many times fans and media members repeat the league office’s lies.

Roger Goodell and the NFL’s Arrogance of Power

When the initial news of under inflated footballs broke last January, I will admit that as a fan of the Patriots I was very concerned. Based on the only information available at that time, it certainly looked as if there was foul play involved. In the seven months since then it has become very apparent that it is not only ‘more probable than not’ that the Patriots were not guilty of any nefarious actions, but it was the NFL itself that is culpable for conspiring to deceive the public.

That leads to the question: why?

Since it became obvious that the only scheme in this whole sordid affair originated from the offices at 345 Park Avenue, I kept thinking that this was all about deflecting attention away from other issues. The NFL was being hit hard from multiple sides, and constant battering was taking its toll. Concussion lawsuits, Ray Rice and domestic violence, Adrian Peterson beating his four-year old with a switch – and another domestic abuse case (Greg Hardy) was still looming. Avert the bright lights of those cases with a fall guy. History showed that the public ate up everything – regardless of how untrue many of the reports were proven to be – for ten months when the Patriots filmed from an unauthorized area. Since they were still portrayed as the evil villain, why not go to the well once more?

Although that rationale is quite plausible, I am now inclined to fully consider that there is much more to this sham. Michael C. Horowitz of the Washington Post postulates that the negative press towards Goodell due to the Rice, Peterson and Hardy incidents – as well as the ongoing concussion revelations – placed the commissioner in a precarious position. Many openly wondered if he could continue in his position, and if he should be replaced. Horowitz astutely compares Goodell to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Robert Kraft was becoming a powerful figure in the NFL while Goodell was losing his influence; this set-up put Kraft on the defensive and took away some of his credibility. Rather than forming an alliance to oust Goodell, now owners were picking sides against one another.

One other extremely relevant topic that Horowitz points out is the unholy alliance between the NFL and ESPN. The world wide leader has been a mouthpiece of the NFL’s from day one – from leaking the initial lie about football being more than two PSI below the minimum level, to never retracting that story, to their legal analyst giving outlandishly one-sided reports, and more. For the vast majority of NFL fans, they get almost all their information about the league from BSPN, with most of the remainder coming from the league-owned NFL Network. By controlling the information, Goodell controlled what most of the public thought about the incident. The boys at Park Avenue make the cold-war era Pravda appear to be moderately balanced in comparison.

Former NFL linebacker Dave Meggyesy sums it up well when he states that “Roger is a bumbler”.

“They’re in a box, and they’re the (expletive) league,” Meggyesy said with a chuckle. “They’re not going to back down. That kind of arrogance — where they’ll say, ‘We lost, but we didn’t lose’ — that’s the arrogance of power. They lose in court over and over and over, but to them, no, they never lose, and they’re not going to lose now.”

With the league year commencing Tuesday at 4:00 pm, here is a preliminary look at the 2015 calendar for the Patriots and the NFL. Hopefully some of you will find this to be a handy piece of reference over the course of the year. Dates with an ~ elliptical are best guesses based on recent history, while the rest of the dates should be accurate. Updates will be made periodically throughout the year as more information becomes available. All times designated are eastern time zone unless noted otherwise.

 

Mon Feb 2: Waiver system begins for 2015

Sat Feb 7: Regional Combine, Miami

Tue Feb 10:Beginning at Noon, NFL clubs may begin to sign players whose 2014 CFL contracts have expired. Players under contract to a CFL club for the 2015 season or who have an option for the 2015 season are not eligible to be signed.

Sat Feb 14: Regional Combine, Houston

Mon Feb 16: First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players

Feb 17-23: Scouting Combine, Indianapolis

Sat Feb 21: Regional Combine, Denver

Sat Feb 28: Regional Combine, Baltimore

Sat Feb 28: Patriots‘ Cheerleader open preliminary auditions, John J. Ahern Middle School in Foxborough; 10:00 am.

 

March 1-April 2: Colleges hold their Pro Days for NFL scouts.

Mon March 2: League announces official salary cap figures for 2015. This includes each team’s individual adjusted cap number, and how much was carried forward from the previous season. The 2015 salary cap is $143.28 million, an increase of about $10 million from 2014. The adjusted salary cap for the New England Patriots is $144,578,084; please visit Miguel’s PatsCap.com page for more details.

Mon March 2: With the 2015 salary cap officially announced, the league also sets franchise tag values, as they are based on a percentage of the salary cap.

Mon March 2: Teams are no longer required to grant permission to another team to discuss the position of head coach with an assistant coach.

Mon March 2: Deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players, 4:00 pm.

March 7-8: Regional Combine, Chicago

March 7-10: Free Agent Contact Commences Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2014 contracts at 4 p.m. ET on March 10. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until after 4 pm on March 10.

Tues March 10: Start of the 2015 League Year
The 2015 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4:00 pm. The first day of the 2015 League Year will end at 11:59:59 p.m. on March 10. Clubs will receive a Personnel Notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., on March 11.

Tues March 10: Prior to 4:00 pm clubs must exercise options for 2015 on all players who have option clauses in their 2014 contracts.

Tues March 10: Prior to 4:00 pm clubs must submit Qualifying Offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.

Tues March 10: Prior to 4:00 pm clubs must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2014 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.

Tues March 10: Top-51 Rule begins. All clubs must be under the 2015 Salary Cap prior to 4:00 pm.

Tues March 10: All 2014 player contracts expire at 4:00 pm.

Tues March 10: Trading period for 2015 begins at 4:00 pm, after expiration of all 2014 contracts.

Sat March 14: Patriots‘ Cheerleader final auditions, Dana Farber Field House at Gillette Stadium, 10:00 am.

March 19-21: NFL Career Development Symposium, Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix AZ

Sat March 21: Super Regional Combine, Phoenix

Sun March 22: Veteran Combine, Phoenix

Sun March 22- Wed Mar 25: Annual NFL Owner’s Meeting, Phoenix

Mon March 23: Compensatory Draft Picks Announced

Tue March 24: With compensatory picks announced, the full order of all draft picks will be finalized and announced.

Pats’ current draft picks:
1.32.32 (1st round, 32nd of round, 32nd overall)
2.32.64 (2nd round, 32nd of round, 64th overall)
3.32.96 (3rd round, 32nd of round, 96th overall)
3.xx.xxx (3rd round, compensatory – projected)
4.02.xxx (via Tampa Bay from trade of Logan Mankins)
4.32.xxx (4th round, own assigned draft pick)
6.02.xxx (via Tampa Bay, in trade for Jonathan Casillas)
7.02.xxx (via Tennessee, in trade for Akeem Ayers)

5.32.xxx dealt away to Tampa Bay in trade for Jonathan Casillas
6.32.xxx dealt away to Tennessee in trade for Akeem Ayers
7.32.xxx dealt away to Tampa Bay in trade for Greg Salas

 

~ Wed April 1: Patriots Hall of Fame Nomination Committee meets to select three finalists for this year’s fan election process.

Mon April 6: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2014 regular season may begin offseason workout programs. For this season that would be the Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, New York Jests, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers.

April 6-20: Per the CBA this is Phase One of off-season workout programs, and can last for two weeks.
– It is limited to just strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation.
– Only strength and conditioning coaches may be present; other coaches may not attend or observe in any way.
– Footballs cannot be used, with the exception of quarterbacks throwing to uncovered receivers, and no helmets may be worn.
– First day clubs with new head coaches can begin Phase One is April 7.
– First day clubs with returning head coaches can begin Phase One is April 21.

~ Wed April 9: NFL preseason schedule announced
– Preseason nationally televised games are announced with exact date and time.
– All other games are announced by week, with exact date and time released about a week later.

~ Sun April 12: 2015 Patriots NFL Draft Preview Party; Noon-4 pm, Putnam Club West, Gillette Stadium. Free event for season ticket holders, waiting list members and guests. Hosted by espnBoston; last year’s panel included Trey Wingo, Mike Reiss, Field Yates, Trevor Matich, Tedy Bruschi and special guest Chandler Jones.

~ Tue April 14: Patriots announce three finalists for the team’s Hall of Fame; fan voting commences, concluding on May 15. The winner will be announced about a week later and the induction ceremony will likely be held the day prior to the first preseason game, with a halftime ceremony at the home opener.

~ Thu April 16: Exact date and times for remaining NFL preseason games released.

Mon April 20: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin off-season workout programs.

April 20: Pats’ voluntary off-season strength and conditioning program begins, lasting two weeks; the entire off-season program concludes June 18.

April 20-May 25: Phase Two of off-season workout programs begins, which can last three weeks.
– All coaches are now permitted on the field.
– Workouts may include individual player instructions and drills, with offense or defense only, but no offense and defense at the same time.
– Phase two includes on-field workouts, drills, and team practice conducted on a “seperate” basis.
– Special-teams drills may also be conducted without opposing units on the field at the same time.
– There can be no live contact and no one-on-one competition, and no bump-and-run coverage of receivers by defensive backs.
– Helmets are still not permitted.
– First day clubs with new coaches can begin is April 20; May 4 for clubs with returning coaches.

~ Fri April 24: NFL regular season schedule announced, 8:00 pm (NFLN and ESPN).

Fri April 24: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.

Wed April 29: Deadline for old clubs to exercise right of first refusal and match offer sheets submitted by Restricted Free Agents.

April 30-May 2: 2015 NFL Draft, Chicago

Thu April 30: First round of the NFL Draft, Chicago, 8:00 pm (NFLN and ESPN)

 

Fri May 1: Second and third round of the NFL Draft, 7:00 PM (NFLN and ESPN)

Sat May 2: Rounds 4-7 of the NFL Draft, 12 Noon (NFLN and ESPN)

Sat May 2: Teams can sign undrafted free agents as soon as the draft is concluded.

May 8-11: First weekend after the NFL Draft: Clubs may elect to hold their three-day post-draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday. This year teams may also opt to have the rookie minicamp the following weekend.

~ May 8-10: Pats’ rookie mini-camp.

Mon May 11: Rookie Football Development Program begins.

~ May 15: Fan voting for the team Hall of Fame concludes.

May 15-18: Second weekend after the NFL Draft: Clubs may elect to hold their three- day post-draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.

Except for a three day minicamp that may be held within 15 days of the draft (aka rookie minicamp), this is the first day that players eligible for the 2014 Draft are permitted to participate in minicamps or meetings. If final examinations at a player’s school conclude after this date, the player is prohibited from participating in any activities until after the player’s final day of examinations. If the player has left or leaves school, he is prohibited from participating in any club activities until after the final day of examinations at his school.

~ May 18: Winner from fan voting for Patriots Hall of Fame announced.

May 18-20: NFL Spring League Meeting, San Francisco

~ May 19: Location of future Super Bowl(s) announced.

~ Tue May 19: Clubs with new head coaches may begin OTAs.

May 19-June 18: Phase Three of off-season workout programs, the Organized Team Activities or OTAs begins, which can last four weeks.
– A total of 10 days of Organized Team Activities may be conducted.
– A maximum of three OTA days may be conducted per week during the first two weeks of Phase Three, and four OTA days may be conducted in the third or fourth week, with the mandatory minicamp scheduled for the other week.
– In weeks with three OTA days, a Phase Two day may be conducted on the fourth day.
– Helmets may be worn, but no other pads.
– No live contact is permitted.
– No one-on-one offense vs. defense drills are permitted.
– Special teams drills are permitted, provided no live contact occurs.
– 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permissible.
– Participation is not mandatory.
– OTAs are closed to the public; media access is limited.
– First day clubs with new coaches can begin is May 20; May 27 for clubs with returning coaches.

Teams may have up to a maximum of ten Organized Team Activities (Phase 3 of off-season workout programs).

~ Tue May 26: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin OTAs.

~ Tue May 26: Patriots‘ first OTA.

~ Thu May 28: Pats OTA #2

~ Fri May 29: Pats OTA #3

 

June 1: A three day waiver claiming period goes into effect, and continues until the last business day before July 4.

June 1: For any player removed from the club’s roster or whose contract is assigned via waivers or trade on or after June 1, any unamortized signing bonus amounts for future years will be included fully in team salary at the start of the 2016 League Year.

June 1: Deadline for prior club to send “June 1 Tender” to its unsigned Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a contract with a club by July 22 or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later, he may negotiate or sign a contract from that date until the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, at 4 pm, only with his prior club.

June 1: Deadline for prior club to send “June 1 Tender” to its unsigned Restricted Free Agents who received a qualifying offer for a Right of First Refusal Only in order for such player to be subject to the CBA’s “June 15 Tender” provision.

~ June 1: Pats OTA #4

~ June 2: Pats OTA #5

~ June 4: Pats OTA #6

~ June 8: Pats OTA #7

~ June 9: Pats OTA #8

~ June 9: First day that NFL clubs with a new head coach can hold mandatory minicamp.
This cannot exceed three days, and is also known as Phase Four of off-season workout programs.

~ June 11: Pats OTA #9

~ June 12: Pats OTA #10

Mon June 15: Deadline for club to withdraw qualifying offer to restricted free agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting “June 15 Tender” of one-year contract at 110 percent of the player’s prior-year Paragraph 5 Salary (with all other terms of his prior-year contract carried forward unchanged).

Tue June 16: First day that NFL clubs with a returning head coach can hold mandatory minicamp.
This cannot exceed three days, and is also known as Phase Four of off-season workout programs.

~ June 16-18: Patriots full squad mandatory mini-camp.

June 21-27: NFL rookie symposium, Aurora OH

 

Tue July 6: A 24 hour waiver claiming period goes in to effect from the first business day after July 4, continuing until the Friday prior to the final regular season weekend.

July 8-20: Clubs are allowed to open preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for veterans.

Veteran players (defined as a player with at least one pension-credited season) other than quarterbacks or “injured players” (as defined in the CBA) may report to a club’s preseason training camp no earlier than 15 days prior to the club’s first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later.

Veteran quarterbacks and injured players may be required to report to the club’s preseason training camp no earlier than five days immediately prior to the mandatory reporting date for all other veteran players, provided the club has already opened (or simultaneously opens) its official preseason training camp for all rookies and first year players.

A three-day acclimation period will apply to players who are on a club’s roster up to and including the mandatory veteran reporting date. Players who join the roster after that date may practice (including wearing pads) and play immediately after passing a physical.

~ Wed July 8: Patriots send tickets out to season ticket holders.

~ Thur July 9: NFL Supplemental Draft

~ Tue July 14: Patriots put single game tickets on sale, 10:00 am

~ Wed July 15: Deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign that player to a multi-year contract or extension. After this date, the player can not be signed beyond that team’s last regular season game.

~ Tue July 21: Patriots rookies report to training camp in Foxboro. Teams are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players no earlier than 22 days prior to the club’s first preseason game.

Veteran players (defined as a player with at least one pension- credited season) other than quarterbacks or “injured players” (as defined in CBA Article 21, Section 6) may report to a club’s preseason training camp no earlier than 15 days prior to the club’s first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later.

Veteran quarterbacks and injured players may be required to report to the club’s preseason training camp no earlier than five days immediately prior to the mandatory reporting date for all other veteran players, provided the club has already opened (or simultaneously opens) its official preseason training camp for all rookies and first-year players.

A three-day acclimation period will apply to players who are on a club’s roster up to and including the mandatory veteran reporting date. Players who join the roster after that date may practice (including wearing pads) and play immediately after passing a physical.

Wed July 22*: End of signing period for Unrestricted Free Agents who received June 1 tender from their prior club; the old club now has exclusive negotiating rights to these players until the Tuesday after the 10th regular-season weekend.
* Note: July 22 or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later.

Wed July 22*: End of signing period for Transition Players with outstanding tenders. After this date and until the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, the prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
* Note: July 22 or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later.

~ Wed July 22: Patriots veterans report to training camp (teams can begin training camp 15 days prior to first preseason game); limited media availability, closed to public – camp day #1

~ Thu July 23: Training camp practice, 9:15-11:30 am (open to public, camp day #2)

~ Fri July 24: Training camp practice, 9:15-11:30 am (open to public, camp day #3)

~ Sat July 25: Training camp practice, 9:15-11:30 am (open to public, camp day #4)

~ Sun July 26: Training camp practice, 9:15-11:30 am (open to public, camp day #5)

~ Tue July 28: Training camp practice, 9:45-12:00 (open to public, camp day #6)

~ Wed July 29: Training camp practice, 9:45-12:00 (open to public, camp day #7)

~ Thur July 30: Training camp practice, 9:45-12:00 (open to public, camp day #8)

~ Fri July 31: Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony for 2015, 4:30 PM; free and open to public

~ Fri July 31: Annual free ticketed in-stadium practice for season ticket holders and residents of Foxboro; 6:30-9:00 pm (camp day #9)

 

Tue Aug 4: Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an accrued season.

Tue Aug 4: Deadline for teams to trade rights for unsigned drafted rookies.
If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2015, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the draft in the 2016 League Year.

Sat Aug 8: NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Canton OH, 7:00 PM (NFLN); 2015 inductees are running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver/returner Tim Brown, defensive end/linebacker Charles Haley, contributor Bill Polian, linebacker Junior Seau, guard Will Shields, center Mick Tingelhoff, and contributor Ron Wolf.

Sun Aug 9: Hall of Fame Game (first preseason game); Pittsburgh Steelers vs Minnesota Vikings; Canton OH, 8:00 PM (NBC)

~ Wed Aug 12: Final practice open to public

~ Aug 12-17: NFL preseason week one

~ Aug 19-24: NFL preseason week two

~ Aug 26-31: NFL preseason week three

~ Tues Sept 1: First roster cut down: clubs must reduce their rosters to a maximum of 75 players on the Active List by 4:00 PM.

~ Wed Sept 2: All tryouts on this date and for the remainder of the season must be reported to the league.

~ Thur Sept 3: NFL preseason week four

~ Sat Sept 5: Final roster cut down: clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List by 6:00 PM.

~ Sat Sept 5: Teams with players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options:
– (a) place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable;
– (b) request waivers;
– (c) terminate contract;
– (d) trade contract; or
– (e) continue to count the player on the Active List, as of 6:00 PM.

~ Sun Sept 6: Final day of preseason training camp for all clubs.

~ Sun Sept 6: Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction expires, 12 noon.

~ Sun Sept 6: Once players have cleared waivers, teams may establish a practice squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free agency credit or who were on the 46-player active list for less than nine regular-season games; a player cannot be on a practice squad for more than three seasons; 12 noon.

Mon Sept 7: Teams are now permitted to place one player on reserve/injured as “designated for return”, 4:00 pm.

Tue Sept 8: Deadline for all NFL player contracts, practice player contracts, tender offers and miscellaneous amounts to fit within each club’s 2014 salary cap in anticipation of the midnight expiration of the Top 51 Rule.

Wed Sept 9: Top 51 Rule expires for all teams at 12:00 am (midnight Wednesday night/Thursday morning); full salary cap is now enforced.

Thu Sept 10: NFL season kicks off; defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will host a team yet to be determined.

Sept 10-14: Week 1 of the 2015 NFL regular season

Sept 17-21: Week 2 of the 2015 NFL regular season

Sept 24-28: Week 3 of the 2015 NFL regular season

Tue Sept 29: Waiver change. Beginning on the Tuesday following the third weekend of regular season games, the claiming priority is based on the inverse order of the standing of clubs in the current season’s games.

 

Oct 1-5: Week 4 of the 2015 NFL regular season

Oct 8-12: Week 5 of the 2015 NFL regular season

Oct 15-19: Week 6 of the 2015 NFL regular season

Tue Oct 20: PUP return – beginning the day after the conclusion of the sixth regular season weekend and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the eleventh regular season weekend, clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform and Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness for a period not to exceed 21 days. Players may be activated during the 21-day practice period or prior to 4:00 on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period.

Oct 22-26: Week 7 of the 2015 NFL regular season

Oct 29-Nov 2: Week 8 of the 2015 NFL regular season

 

Tue Nov 3: Trade Deadline, 4:00 pm

Nov 5-9: Week 9 of the 2015 NFL regular season

Nov 12-16: Week 10 of the 2015 NFL regular season

Nov 19-23: Week 11 of the 2015 NFL regular season

Thur Nov 26: Thanksgiving Day games, commemorating the third anniversary of the Butt-Fumble

Nov 26-30: Week 12 of the 2015 NFL regular season

 

Dec 3-7: Week 13 of the 2015 NFL regular season

Dec 10-14: Week 14 of the 2015 NFL regular season

Dec 17-21: Week 15 of the 2015 NFL regular season

Dec 24-28: Week 16 of the 2015 NFL regular season

 

~ Sat Jan 2, 2016: Salary cap rollover – clubs must provide the Management Council with written notice, signed by the individual club’s owner, indicating the amount, if any, of the club’s 2015 league year salary cap room to be credited to the club’s 2016 team salary.

Sun Jan 3, 2016: All NFL week 17 games

Mon Jan 4, 2016: Futures/Reserves Contracts – teams whose seasons have ended can sign free agents to 2016 contracts (i.e., practice squad players)

Mon Jan 4, 2016: Fifth Year Option – Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Any permissible renegotiated or extended player contract will not be considered a rookie contract, and will not be subject to the rules that limit rookie contracts.

Mon Jan 4, 2016: Option exercise period begins for Fifth-Year Option for first-round selections from the 2012 NFL Draft. To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after December 29, 2015 but prior to May 3, 2016.

Jan 4-10, 2016: Assistant coaches that are under contract to playoff clubs that have byes in the Wild Card weekend may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of the Wild Card games.

Sat-Sun Jan 9-10, 2016: Wild Card Playoff Games

Jan 9-17, 2016: Assistant coaches that are under contract to playoff clubs that won their Wild Card games may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of Division Round Playoff games.

Sat-Sun Jan 16-17, 2016: Division Round Playoff Games

~ Sat Jan 16, 2016: East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Stadium, St. Petersburg FL

Sun Jan 24, 2016: AFC Championship Game, 3:00 PM (CBS)

Sun Jan 24, 2016: NFC Championship Game, 6:30 PM (FOX)

~ Sat Jan 30, 2016: Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile AL

Sun Jan 31, 2016: Pro Bowl (ESPN)

Sun Jan 31, 2016: An assistant coach whose team is participating in the Super Bowl, who has previously interviewed for another club’s head coaching job, may have a second interview with such club no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl.

 

Sun Feb 7, 2016: Super Bowl 50; Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA; 6:30 pm on CBS

Mon Feb 8, 2016: Waiver system begins for 2014. A 24-hour claiming period will be in effect through the Friday prior to the last regular season game (waivers requests made on Friday and Saturday of each week will expire at 4:00 p.m. on the following Monday.) Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons whom a club desires to terminate are not subject to the waiver system until after the trading deadline.

~ Feb 15 – March 1: Existing season ticket holders invoiced for 2016 season tickets, with full payment due around March 31.

 

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

 

 

The Baltimore Ravens travel to Foxboro to face the New England Patriots in the playoffs for the third time in four years, and the fourth time in the last six post seasons on Saturday. While the media has taken a 2-1 record and hyped that into the often repeated ‘Ravens have the Patriots number’ in an attempt to hype this game, the fact remains that the Patriots were the best team in the AFC this year and Baltimore backed into the playoffs thanks to a loss by the Chargers in week 17, as they stumbled down the stretch against lesser opponents.

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots (12-4) ★★★★★
Saturday, January 10 at 4:30 pm ET on NBC
Line: Patriots favored by seven, with an over/under of 48½
Announcing crew: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya
National Radio: Westwood One – Ian Eagle, Boomer Esiason, Tony Boselli
Local Radio: 98.5, The Sports Hub – Bob Socci, Scott Zolak

Pre-game Shows:
Chris Price’s Patriots 4th and Goal – YouTube video
Patriots 4th and Two – podcast available on demand
7:00-9:00: NFL AM – NFL Network
7:30-8:30: The Brady 6 – ESPN
8:30-9:00: NFL Matchup – ESPN2
9:00-10:00: Inside the NFL – NFL Network
9:00-10:00: NFL Live – ESPN
10:00-12:00: NFL Game Day First – NFLN
10:00-12:00: NFL Countdown – ESPN
11:30-12:30: Patriots Game Day – WBZ
12:00-4:30: NFL Game Day Morning – NFLN
1:00-3:00: NHL Hockey, Bruins at Flyers – NESN
2:00-2:30: New England Tailgate – Comcast Sports Net New England
2:30-4:30: Pre Game Live – CSNNE
2:30-4:30: Dunkin’ Donuts Patriots Pre-Game Social – Marc Bertrand, Paul Perillo, Andy Hart
3:30-4:30: Football Night In America – NBC

Post-game Shows:
Patriots Football Weekly Post-game Show – Marc Bertrand, Paul Perillo, Andy Hart
Real Postgame Show – WEEI

 

All week long the football media has pounded the drum about how the Ravens have the Pats number; you would think Baltimore has won ten straight playoff games against New England from the sounds of things, rather than being one game over .500. The reality is those teams have little to do with the current squads, and there were circumstances that are quit different from today. The 2009 New England team was the last vestige of the 2003-07 era and it was running on fumes. There were a lot of bad attitudes in the locker room that were gone as soon as the season was over, and that team had just lost a huge part of their offense (Wes Welker) the week before at Houston. The 2012 club was a team in transition; that was a rebuilding year in which the club vastly overacieved, and when they met the Ravens they were again suddenly, without time to adjust, without their top offensive playmaker (Rob Gronkowski). Besides the overtly small sample size of two games, today’s rosters for both teams – don’t forget the Ravens no longer have Ray Lewis or Ed Reed – are vastly different.

All that aside, this game really comes down to how well New England’s offensive line can perform against Baltimore’s front seven. Much has been written about the Patriots last few regular season games, where the offense did not play as well as they had earlier in the season. The absence of Dan Connolly cannot be minimized, not because he plays at an All Pro level, but because there is a huge drop off to replacements like Josh Kline. The way to disrupt a pure pocket passer like Tom Brady is with pressure on the interior of the line, collapsing the pocket and making it difficult to step into throws. Baltimore is very capable of doing just that with big, strong physical tackles Brandon Williams and Haloti Ngata, but don’t forget this: when the Patriots had their current five man OL in place, they were able to effectively neutralize some very good defensive lines such as Detroit’s and Buffalo’s.

This is not going to be anything at all like the 2012 game against Denver (when the Pats ran the ball 54 times) or the Colts game earlier this season (when Jonas Gray rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns); the Patriots won’t be able to push the opposing line out of the way like they did in those games. However, if the Pats can run the ball about 20-25 times for 75-80+ yards – very reachable numbers – that will be enough to keep them from being one dimensional, and preventing the Ravens from teeing off with their pass rush while disregarding the run.

Baltimore Ravens run defense statistics and rankings:
3.6 yards per carry – 3rd best in the NFL
88.3 yards per game – 4th best in the NFL
24.1 rush attempts/game – 5th best in the NFL
4.7 first downs per game – 5th best in the NFL
8 rushing touchdowns – tied for 5th best in the NFL
37% opponent rush play percentage – 3rd lowest in the NFL
24% opponent rushing 1st down % – 4th lowest in the NFL
25.6% opp rushing yards percentage – 2nd lowest in the NFL

Watching the Ravens on film makes me feel that their run defense is not quite as good as their stats would make you believe. I believe that is due to a combination of playing several teams with inferior lines and running backs, and bad teams falling behind and abandoning the run. In the final game of the regular season, the Cleveland Browns had third stringer Connor Shaw at quarterback, and no Josh Gordon at wide receiver against the Ravens. Even though it was obvious the Browns weren’t going to rely on their passing game, Cleveland’s Terrance West ran for 94 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. If the Browns – who had one of the worst running games in the NFL this year, averaging 3.6 yards per carry – could do that against Baltimore in that situation, then is the Ravens’ run D really all that it is being hyped up to be? On the other side of the ball, I think the Baltimore running game can be stopped. They did not look impressive against Jacksonville (Justin Forsett averaged 3.0 yards per carry for 48 yards), Houston (15 rushes for 28 yards, less than two yards per carry) or Pittsburgh (49 yards, less than two yards per carry).

One final note: Bill Belichick game plans to take away an opponent’s strength, and force that team to beat you elsewhere. With that in mind I would expect the Patriots to be focused on covering Steve Smith and Torrey Smith, with a pass rush designed to get to Joe Flacco before their long developing routes are complete. That could conceivably open things up for Forsett and Bernard Pierce in the running game. It could also lead to openings for the third and fourth receiving option; we have seen that multiple times with opposing tight ends (e.g., Coby Fleener against Indy). TE Owen Daniels and former Patriot Kamar Aiken in the slot could become key players if Flacco does not try to force the ball (that’s a big if right there) to the two Smiths.

 

The bottom line is that the Patriots are the better team, and should win. I don’t believe that Will Hill can contain Gronk, who was injured last time the Pats played the Ravens in the post season. The Baltimore front seven is strong enough to force the Pats off the field with a couple of three and outs, and will likely force at least one turnover. However, the Ravens have appeared vulnerable to a no-huddle offense against Cincinnati and San Diego this season; expect to see the Patriots bring the up-tempo hurry-up once again at some point, to their advantage. The Patriots are 7-1 in games with the combination of Nate Solder, Dan Connolly, Bryan Stork, Ryan Wendell and Sebastian Vollmer. In eight games with that offensive line Tom Brady completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,433 yards, 21 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, a passer rating of 103.6, and was sacked just four times. That unit is intact and healthy for this game, which should lead to distinctly better results than what we saw in the first four weeks of the season or week 16 and 17, when they were not together.

Pick • Patriots 23, Ravens 20
Ravens +7
under 48½

 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publisher of this website. Neither the author nor this website promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, please call 1-888-ADMIT-IT.

 

 

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2014 NFL Calendar and Key Dates for the New England Patriots

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NFL Playoffs: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys – odds, stats, preview and prediction

The final game of the NFL’s wild card weekend should be an entertaining event, as the Detroit Lions travel south to Jerry’s World to take on the Dallas Cowboys. The Lions have a great defense and Dallas possess one of the NFL’s most dynamic offenses, which makes for a very interesting matchup. In addition the game features two of the very best wide receivers in the league: Detroit’s Calvin Johnson and the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant.

#6 Detroit Lions (11-5) at #3 Dallas Cowboys (12-4) ★★★★★
Late Sunday game on FOX
Play-by-play: Joe Buck; Analyst: Troy Aikman; Sideline: Erin Andrews and Chris Myers
Final Line: Cowboys favored by 6½
Point Total: over/under 48
Money Line: Lions +220, Cowboys -260
Record Against The Spread: Lions 7-9, Cowboys 10-6
Over/Under: Lions 5 over, 11 under; Cowboys 9 over, 6 under, 1 push

Home/Away: Lions 4-4 on the road, Cowboys 4-4 at home
Turnover Differential: Lions plus-7 (T-6th), Cowboys plus-6 (T-9th)
Net Points Differential: Lions plus-39 (13th), Cowboys plus-115 (5th)

Points Scored: Lions 20.1 (22nd), Cowboys 29.2 (5th)
Yards per Game: Lions 341 (19th), Cowboys 384 (7th)
Giveaways: Lions 20 (T-6th), Cowboys 25 (20th)
Yards per Play: Lions 5.2 (21st), Cowboys 6.0 (3rd)
Third Down Conversion: Lions 38.6% (23rd), Cowboys 47.3% (2nd)
Yards per Point Efficiency: Lions 17.0 (25th), Cowboys 13.1 (3rd)
Red Zone TD Scoring: Lions 53.2% (17th), Cowboys 64.7% (2nd)

Points Allowed: Lions 17.6 (3rd), Cowboys 22.0 (15th)
Yards Allowed: Lions 301 (2nd), Cowboys 355 (19th)
Takeaways: Lions 27 (T-8th), Cowboys 31 (2nd)
Yards per Play: Lions 4.9 (4th), Cowboys 5.8 (26th)
Third Down Conversion: Lions 37.2% (9th), Cowboys 43.6% (27th)
Yards per Point Efficiency: Lions 17.1 (8th), Cowboys 16.1 (11th)
Red Zone TD Scoring: Lions 53.1% (17th), Cowboys 61.2% (27th)

 

Dallas has been one of the best in the NFL against the spread, perhaps a reflection that the betting public expected the Cowboys to stumble at some point like they have so many times in recent seasons. The Lions on the other hand appear to be overrated: they are the only playoff team with a losing record against the spread. Matt Stafford is a dismal 0-16 against teams with winning records on the road after losing a chance to get a first round bye in last week’s loss at Green Bay. As we saw in that game Detroit was definitely the better team on defense, but their inability to move the ball – against a so-so defense – was too much to overcome.

The Cowboys’ annual late season swoon is a thing of the past. Dallas scored 165 points in December, including three games with more than 40 points. The Dallas defense, though not great, is holding its own, allowing just 24 points in the last two games to cap off a four-game winning streak. Between Tony Romo (who is completing 70% of his passes), Dez Bryant (an NFL-best 16 receiving touchdowns) and DeMarco Murray (1,845 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns, 4.7 yards per carry), Dallas has more than enough weapons to counter the Detroit defense. The Cowboys are very strong with their interior offensive line – center Travis Frederick and RG Zack Martin were both Pro Bowlers – and they should be able to limit the effectiveness of foot stomper Ndamukong Suh. The Detroit defense should be able to keep the score low and close, but I fully expect Dallas to win this game and move on to play Green Bay next week.

Pick • Cowboys 24, Lions 20
Lions +7
under 48½

 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publisher of this website. Neither the author nor this website promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, please call 1-888-ADMIT-IT.

 

 

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2014 NFL Calendar and Key Dates for the New England Patriots

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In a matchup of a strong defense versus a potent offense, the Cincinnati Bengals travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts in this weekend’s third wild card round playoff game.

#5 Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) at #4 Indianapolis Colts (11-5) ★★★★★
Early Sunday game on CBS
Announcing crew: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson
Final Line: Colts favored by 3½
Point Total: over/under 47½
Money Line: Bengals +170; Colts -200
Home/Away: Bengals 5-3 on the road, Colts 6-2 at home
Points Scored: Bengals 22.8 (15th), Colts 28.6 (6th)
Yards per Game: Bengals 348 (15th), Colts 407 (3rd)
Giveaways: Bengals 26 (T-21st), Colts 31 (T-29th)
Points Allowed: Bengals 21.5 (12th), Colts 23.1 (19th)
Yards Allowed: Bengals 359 (22nd), Colts 343 (11th)
Takeaways: Both teams with 26 (T-10th)
Turnover Differential: Bengals even (T-16th), Colts minus-5 (T-22nd)

Cincinnati has a good offensive line and a strong running game. Jeremy Hill rushed for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards per carry, despite not becoming the club’s primary back until the eighth game of the season. His bruising style is a perfect compliment to the quick shifty style of Giovanni Bernard, who totaled 1,029 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns despite missing three games with hip and shoulder injuries. The lighter workload has been beneficial for the 5’9″ Bernard, and the thunder and lightning backfield can wear down and demoralize opposing defenses.

As we saw in week eleven when Jonas Gray rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns, the Indy defensive line can be pushed around by a strong offensive line. That is exactly what I expect to happen today, even if the Colts stack the line of scrimmage with safety help. The Bengals will be without WR A.J. Green, but Mohamed Sanu (56 receptions for 790 yards and five touchdowns) produced as the number one receiver earlier this year when Green missed some time. Cincinnati has held seven opponents to 16 or fewer points this year, which is the second best in the NFL. Indianapolis on the other hand has struggled offensively down the stretch; the Colts are averaging 23 points per game since their week 10 bye, despite scoring 49 in week 13 against Washington.

Earlier in the week I took the Bengals when they were getting 4½ points for four units, and two units on the under at 49. Even though those numbers have dropped, I would still side with the Bengals and the points as well as the under.
Pick • Bengals 24, Colts 20
Bengals +3½ (two units)
under 47½

 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publisher of this website. Neither the author nor this website promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, please call 1-888-ADMIT-IT.

 

 

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2014 NFL Calendar and Key Dates for the New England Patriots

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The Ravens and Steelers meet for the third time this season, this time with the season on the line in the wild card round of the playoffs. Since the Browns left Cleveland and became the Ravens the Steelers hold a 24-17 edge in this division rivalry. After five consecutive games that were decided by three or fewer points, this year’s results were not at all close. Baltimore won 26-6 on a Thursday night game in week two, but Pittsburgh turned the tables with a 20-point victory of their own at home in week nine as Ben Roethlisberger threw for 340 yards and six touchdowns.

 

Much has been made of the fact that Pittsburgh running back Steelers Le’Veon Bell has been ruled out. Bell led the AFC 2,315 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns this season, and accounted for 35% of Pittsburgh’s total yards this season. To me Bell’s absence is being overblown. In the 43-23 victory over the Ravens in November, Bell only had 58 yards from scrimmage. The biggest weakness for Baltimore is their secondary, especially ever since CB Jimmy Smith was placed on injured reserve in early November. Anthony Levine played his way out of a starting position, Danny Gorrer joined Smith on IR, and that has led to former practice squad member Rashaan Melvin and street free agent Antoine Cason being counted on far too heavily in the secondary opposite Lardarius Webb.

Baltimore does get DT Haloti Ngata back from a four-game PED supension, which should help their defense. On the other side of the ball LT Eugene Monroe returns from an ankle injury, but they at RT James Hurst has been a liability since Rick Wagner went out with a foot injury two weeks ago.

Earlier in the season Ben Roethlisberger and the Steeler offense got all the attention, as Pittsburgh scored 124 points in a three-game winning streak. However it has been better performances by the defense that has propelled the Steelers to the division title and a four-game winning streak to finish the season. Pittsburgh forced seven turnovers in the last four games after generating just 14 in the first twelve games. Their lack of ability to take the ball away has been a major factor in why they had missed the playoffs the last two years; if the Steelers can continue this trend they can be a major player in the post-season.

 

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) ★★★★★
Saturday night game on NBC
Announcing crew: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya

In crunch time at the end of the year the Ravens did not look good, and Joe Flacco in particular did not play well. Pittsburgh on the other hand was playing better and better at season’s end, but the absence of Le’Veon Bell cannot be completely discounted. Running backs Dri Archer and Josh Harris have combined for a mere 19 rushes this season. You have to wonder why Mike Tomlin didn’t give LeGarrette Blount some more touches to help keep Bell fresh for the playoffs, and it is mystifying why Tomlin did not give Archer and Harris more carries once Blount was waived. Despite that gaffe I just don’t see Flacco suddenly emerging from his funk against the Pittsburgh defense, or the Raven secondary being able to contain WR Antonio Brown.
Pick • Steelers 31, Ravens 24
Steelers -3
over 45½

 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publisher of this website. Neither the author nor this website promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, please call 1-888-ADMIT-IT.

 

 

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2014 NFL Calendar and Key Dates for the New England Patriots

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Two teams with vastly differing records that are heading in equally opposite directions meet in the first game of this season’s NFL playoffs. The Arizona Cardinals have won four more games than the Carolina Panthers did this year, yet find themselves listed as high as 6½-point underdogs in this wild card game.

Carolina becomes the second team in five years to win a division and make the playoffs despite having a losing record. The 7-8-1 Panthers went two full months without a victory, winless in seven games between October 5 and December 7. A week 14 41-10 thumping of the Saints kicked off a four-game winning streak while at the same time New Orleans spiraled out of control, opening the door for an improbable division run. With all those victories coming against teams that finished with losing records, questions still remain regarding the Panthers. Carolina defeated only one team with a winning record this season, and that was back in week two against Detroit. The Panthers barely beat Tampa Bay (19-17) and Cleveland (17-13), but on the other hand looked very impressive at New Orleans and Atlanta (34-3) in that four-game winning streak.

 

Arizona Offense vs Carolina Defense

The Panthers’ defense was among the NFL’s worst for most of the season, with the year-long loss of DE Greg Hardy causing a more than anticipated void. Carolina’s run defense has looked respectable over the last few games, and should have no problem containing Arizona running backs Stepfan Taylor and Kerwynn Williams. While the Cardinals have very capable receivers (Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown), they are nowhere near as effective as when Palmer is under center. The Cardinals’ offensive line can be pushed around, and Carolina’s defense has rediscovered their pass rush. DE Charles Johnson (8.5 sacks) has been playing very well of late, and Carolina has chalked up 14 sacks and nine takeaways over the last four games.

The 11-5 Cardinals lost four of their last six games, were only 5-5 in games without Carson Palmer, and now his backup, Drew Stanton is out as well. Third-stringer David Lindley struggled in two losses as the starting quarterback, completing less than 50% of his passes while throwing twice as many interceptions as touchdowns. Arizona scored an average of 11.5 points in those two games, and with RB Andre Ellington also on injured reserve an average offense has now become anemic.

 

Carolina Offense vs Arizona Defense

To make matters worse the injury bug has also hit the defense this year, with DT Darnell Dockett, DE Ed Stinson and LB John Abraham among eight players on IR; in addition ILB Daryl Washington was suspended for the full season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Somehow the Arizona D persevered with the next man up mantra, led by LB Alex Okafor (8 sacks), DE Calais Campbell (7 sacks), and clutch plays from DL Frostee Rucker (5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles). The pressure they and NT Dan Williams generate make things easier for corners Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie, and together they are capable of stifling any NFL offense. Carolina’s offensive line was a mess early in the year, but have improved since LG Andrew Norwell and RT Mike Remmers were inserted into the starting lineup. The Panthers like to run the ball (an average of 30 attempts per game) and Jonathan Stewart (4.6 yards per carry) has been quietly effective, with 486 yards rushing in the last five games. If – and it is a big if – Carolina can get the running game open, that could open things up for TE Greg Olsen and rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin; those two had 1,008 yard receiving each, and combined for 15 touchdowns. Cam Newton has started to look like his old self since his car crash, rushing for a touchdown in three straight games. During that time Newton has accounted for eight scores and one just turnover; he has run for 246 yards in Carolina’s four-game streak.

Early in the season Arizona was winning games by forcing turnovers on defense while protecting the ball on offense, and that will be key for them Saturday to have any chance of winning. The Cardinals finished the season with a plus-eight turnover differential, which was fifth best in the NFL. That helped mask some serious deficiencies with the offense. Arizona ranked 24th in scoring (19.4 points per game), 24th in yardage (320 ypg), 31st in rushing yards (82 ypg) and 32nd in yards per carry (3.3). The bend-don’t-break defense ranked fifth in scoring (18.7 ppg) despite allowing 368 yards per game (24th) thanks in large part to those turnovers, but by season’s end the team had scored just 11 more points than they had allowed. In reality the Cardinals probably should have been 8-8, and with the current lineup they’re in the running for a top ten, if not top five draft pick.

 

#5 Arizona Cardinals (11-5) at #4 Carolina Panthers ★★★
NFC Wild Card Game
Saturday January 3 at 4:30 pm ET on ESPN
Announcing crew: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters

While Carolina’s defense has been stepping up in the last month, Arizona’s has been breaking down and falling apart at the seams. The Cardinals’ D can’t get off the field, while at the same time their offense goes three-and-out. Arizona has allowed a colossal 473 yards rushing in the last two games; if they don’t get it in gear Williams and Newton could both have huge games while keeping Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona offense on the sidelines. However, I think the Cardinals have enough talent on defense to keep this game low scoring and relatively close – but it won’t be enough for a win. I’ll go with Carolina to win but take the Cardinals and the points, as well as the under despite the low point total being listed.
Pick • Panthers 20, Cardinals 16
Cardinals +6½
under 38½

On a side note, this game marks the first time in the history of the NFL that a playoff game will be televised by a cable company as opposed to an over-the-air broadcasting network. While it may not seem like a big deal today considering how minute the number of households is that rely on an antenna to receive local broadcasts, it wasn’t all that long ago that games being broadcast on cable was a big deal. While concerns that games on cable were the first step to the NFL becoming a pay-per-view have dissipated, it is still a noteworthy event.

 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publisher of this website. Neither the author nor this website promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, please call 1-888-ADMIT-IT.

 

 

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2014 NFL Calendar and Key Dates for the New England Patriots

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Week 17 NFL games – odds, tv info, previews and predictions

While the Patriots play in what amounts to an exhibition game thanks to having already wrapped up home field throughout the playoffs, there will be plenty of intriguing football elsewhere on Sunday. Four AFC teams head into week 17 battling for the final playoff spot, and in the NFC the Panthers are at Atlanta with the winner taking the NFC South division title and the fourth seed, with the season ending for the loser.

This is the only week of the regular season that all games will be played on Sunday. No Thursday Night Football, no Monday Night Football, and no Thursday Night Football on Saturday Night! (huh?) this week. This is also the only time CBS and FOX both have Sunday doubleheaders, and this year there’s a nice perk for NFL fans – no blackouts. Normally when a team is playing at home there can be no other game televised at the same time, an outdated in theory that was put in place to help that team with gate receipts and concessions. For example if you lived in Phoenix and the Cardinals were playing a home game on FOX at the same time the Patriots were playing the Broncos on CBS, there would be no New England-Denver game available where you lived.

The big early game on CBS is San Diego at Kansas City. If the Chargers win they are in, but if KC wins then that opens up the door for the Chiefs, Ravens and Texans for the sixth AFC playoff spot. At the same time on FOX the Panthers play the Falcons in what is essentially a playoff game; the winner continues to play again next week while the loser goes home.

The late game on FOX should be a great one as the Lions travel to Lambeau Field to play the Packers. The winner will most likely get a first round bye while the loser probably goes on the road to play Dallas. On CBS the late game is Oakland at Denver, with the Broncos needing a win to secure a first round bye. Things wrap up with an excellent AFC matchup on NBC Sunday night, with Cincinnati at Pittsburgh. The winner takes the AFC North tile and most likely the number three seed, while the loser drops to the number five seed and will have to go on the road, almost guaranteed to be at Indianapolis.

 

Buffalo Bills (8-7) at New England Patriots (12-3) ★★★
Early game on CBS
Announcing crew: Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots

The Patriots have nothing to play for having secured the number one seed, while Buffalo – though eliminated from the playoffs for the 15th consecutive season – could still claim their first winning season in a decade with a victory. The Pats will likely rest banged up starters (Julian Edelman, Dan Connolly, LaGarrette Blount, Kyle Arrington), and Jonas Gray and Alfonzo Dennard have already been ruled out. Most are expecting Jimmy Garoppolo to receive extended playing time in relief of Tom Brady at quarterback, and with this being a meaningless game the spread has dropped from eleven points to under four in many locations, with the point total dropping by over seven points as well. Last week Buffalo was stonewalling Oakland on the ground (six carries for five yards) until DT Marcel Dareus left with a knee injury. After that the Raiders had their way, rushing for 135 yards on 30 carries. Dareus has not practiced all week, so it is very doubtful that he will play. Even though the Pats are thin at running back, expect them to run the way they did in last year’s season finale, when the Patriots rushed for 267 yards against the Bills.
Pick • Patriots 20, Bills 17
Bills +5
under 44½ (one unit)

 

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12) at Houston Texans (8-7) ★★★
Early game on CBS
Announcing crew: Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale

Bill O’Brien has the Texans still in the hunt for a playoff spot heading into the final week of the season. If Houston wins this game they need the Chiefs to win at home against San Diego (very possible) and for the Browns to knock off Baltimore (less likely) to get into the post-season. The Texans have won three of their last four after last week’s victory over the Ravens, and the Jags have played better lately as well, winning two of their last four after losing ten of their first eleven games. Both teams have decent defenses but limited offenses, so expect a close, low scoring game.
Pick • Texans 20, Jaguars 13
Jags +10
under 40½ (one unit)

 

Indianapolis Colts (10-5) at Tennessee Titans (2-13) ★★
Early game on CBS
Announcing crew: Tom McCarthy, Adam Archuleta

The Colts could theoretically grab the number three seed, but for that to happen they would need a win and then have the Bengals-Steelers game to end in a tie. Since the latter is highly unlikely this game just becomes a glorified scrimmage, with Tennessee fans just hoping their team doesn’t screw up having the second overall pick in the draft by winning this game. Last week Indy had more turnovers than Tony Romo had incomplete passes in their blowout loss to Dallas. The Colts need to get their defense turned around quickly, and playing against a Tennessee team that is averaging 10.3 points over its last three games should help them get some practice with the basics. The Titans have lost nine straight and just want the season to end; the Colts want to head into the playoffs on a positive note. With that in mind I would expect the Colts to play inspired ball after last week’s debacle, even if this game means nothing and the backups receive plenty of snaps.
Pick • Colts 31, Titans 13
Colts -6½ (two units)
under 46½

 

Cleveland Browns (7-8) at Baltimore Ravens (9-6) ★★
Early game on CBS
Announcing crew: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Jamie Erdahl

The Ravens are going to be motivated, coming off a tough loss in a game they expected to win, while at the same time knowing they have to win in order to have any shot at the playoffs. Brian Hoyer is available for Cleveland but Mike Pettine announced the Browns will start undrafted rookie Connor Shaw at quarterback. With Hoyer likely departing in free agency and Manziel a big question mark, it makes sense for Cleveland to give Shaw some real game time experience for evaluation. Shaw will be without WR Josh Gordon, who was suspended by the Browns for a violation of team rules. Gordon (and Johnny Manziel) reportedly missed the final walk through before this game, which does not bode well for either player’s future. Missing this game means Gordon will have only five games on the 2014 season, and six games is the minimum to achieve an accrued season. That means Gordon will be a restricted free agent rather than an unrestricted free agent next spring, a distinction that could cost him millions. Cleveland has defended well against the pass but their run defense stinks, so Justin Forsett should have a big game for the Ravens. Baltimore’s defense should feast on a rookie quarterback on an already mediocre defense; this game shouldn’t be close at all.
Pick • Ravens 27, Browns 10
Ravens -13
under 39½

 

New York Jets (3-12) at Miami Dolphins (8-7)
Early game on CBS
Announcing crew: Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker, Steve Beuerlein

Which coach gets fired first, Rex Ryan or Joe Philbin? After a 5-3 start the Dolphins lost four of their next six games, and will miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season. A victory would give the Dolphins a winning record for the first time since 2008, but that may not be enough to save Philbin’s job. Meanwhile Rex Ryan has already cleaned out his office, a clear signal removing any doubt that may have remained that he will not return as head coach of the Jets. This is one of five games with zero possible playoff implications, and may be the worst game on the week 17 slate. This week Geno Smith publicly stated that a coaching change could be good for the team. Watching the interaction between Ryan and Smith may be the only thing that makes this game worth viewing. The Jets have won their last two games in Miami and for some reason do love their coach and play hard for him; I’ll take the Jets in an upset, with the defense carrying Ryan off the field at the end of the game.
Pick • Jets 19, Dolphins 16
Jets +6½ (two units)
under 42 (one unit)

 

San Diego Chargers (9-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (8-7) ★★★★★
Early game on CBS
Announcing crew: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Jenny Dell

For San Diego it is simple: a win and they’re in, a loss and the season’s over. For Kansas City it’s bit more complicated as they not only need the Chargers to lose, but the Chiefs also need Baltimore and Houston to lose as well. This will be the second year in a row that San Diego will be attempting to make the playoffs on the final game of the year against Kansas City, and their chances improved when it was announced that KC quarterback Alex Smith will not play due to a lacerated spleen. This is also the second year in a row that the Chiefs have stumbled down the stretch after a strong start; Kansas City has lost four out of five games since beating Seattle in week 11, and being talked up as a team that could knock Denver off as AFC West division champs. The public apparently has little faith in Chase Daniels as KC’s quarterback; since it was announced Smith would miss the game the line has shifted four points, with some venues now listing San Diego as the favorite.
Pick • Chargers 20, Chiefs 17
Chargers +1½
under 41½

 

Chicago Bears (5-10) at Minnesota Vikings (6-9) ★★
Early game on FOX
Announcing crew: Dick Stockton, Brady Quinn, Kristina Pink

Another Dead Man Walking game, as Marc Trestman is surely out as head coach of the dysfunctional Bears. Trestman won’t be alone, as GM Phil Emery – who opted for Trestman over Bruce Arians as Chicago’s head coach – will also be shown the door. QB Jay Cutler is in his final game with the Bears too, even though cutting him will create $19,500,00 in dead money; there’s no way the new regime will keep him, or pay him over $15 million next year. Cutler did throw for 330 yards and three touchdowns against Minnesota in November, but the Vikings have been playing much better since then. Minnesota’s defense took a step backward last week in Miami after holding opponents to an average of 17 points in the previous three games. Will Cutler be motivated to have a big game, or mail it in? It may not matter, with RB Matt Asiata, QB Teddy Bridgewater and his young receivers all having big games against a Chicago defense that is allowing an NFL-worst 28.6 points per game.
Pick • Vikings 31, Bears 27
Bears +6½
over 44 (two units)

 

Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) at New York Giants (6-9) ★★
Early game on FOX
Announcing crew: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa

Another game with no playoff implications for either team, which makes it difficult to handicap. Philly should be motivated after last week’s embarrassment at Washington, but having lost three in a row and being eliminated they may just go through the motions. Mark Sanchez has turned the ball over five times during this critical losing streak, making it difficult to back Philly. The Eagles have now turned the ball over a league-high 35 times, which will lead to more opportunities for New York’s offense. Odell Beckham has made Eli Manning look much better than he did a year ago. Since being inserted into the lineup Manning’s numbers have skyrocketed, with Beckham totaling 1,004 receiving yards over the last eight games and eight touchdowns in the last five games. The Giants get a bit of revenge from their week six 27-0 loss at Philadelphia.
Pick • Giants 34, Eagles 31
Giants -2½
over 52 (two units)

 

Dallas Cowboys (11-4) at Washington Redskins (4-11) ★★★
Early game on FOX
Announcing crew: Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver

Dallas still has a shot at a first round bye – they need a win plus losses by both the Seahawks and Cardinals for that to happen – so they probably won’t be resting starters and playing at half speed. With LT Trent Williams probably out with a shoulder injury, Washington’s offense is in trouble. The Skins rank 27th in scoring with 18.9 points per game and they just don’t have the firepower to keep up with Dallas, even if DeMarco Murray is limited or doesn’t play.
Pick • Cowboys 24, Redskins 20
Skins +4½
under 49½

 

New Orleans Saints (6-9) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-13) ★★
Early game on FOX
Announcing crew: Sam Rosen, Kirk Morrison, Peter Schrager

Tampa Bay can’t do much on offense (17.1 points per game, 28th), on defense (26th with 25.8 points per game), and can’t hold late leads. All they have to do to get the first overall pick in the 2015 draft is to lose this game, but that’s not a given. New Orleans has under achieved all season, losing seven games that they were favored to win. Opponents have completed an NFL-high 69% of their passes against the Bucs this year; that kind of pass defense will make Drew Brees look like his pre-2014 self.
Pick • Saints 31, Bucs 20
Saints -3½
over 46½

 

Detroit Lions (11-4) at Green Bay Packers (11-4) ★★★★★
Late game on FOX
Announcing crew: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews

In the day’s best game the winner takes the division and a first round bye while the loser goes on the road as a wild card. Detroit could actually get the number one seed, but it would take a win combined with losses by both Seattle and Arizona; Green Bay could do the same with a victory and a Seahawks loss. The Lions have beaten the Packers in both of their last two meetings, but Detroit has not won at Lambeau since 1991 when Barry Sanders was 23 years old and led the NFL with 16 rushing touchdowns. The Lions rank second with only 16.8 points allowed per game, but this will be a huge test for them. Green Bay is outscoring opponents by an average of 41-20 at Lambeau Field and they are undefeated at home this season. Both teams are deep on talent at receiver, so game planning to shut down a single pass catcher won’t work. One thing to watch for is Aaron Rodgers’ mobility, as he is still recovering from a calf injury and the flu. The bottom line is that I can’t see Detroit winning in Green Bay this year, but I can definitely see them keeping the game very close.
Pick • Packers 27, Lions 24
Lions +7½
over 47

 

Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) at Atlanta Falcons (6-9) ★★★★
Late game on FOX
Announcing crew: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson

Carolina was awful on defense early in the season, leading to a seven-game winless streak. They have now won three in a row, holding opponents to an average of 13.3 points per game. Still, this will be a very difficult test for the Panthers, facing an Atlanta offense with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White. I think a healthy Jones playing at home in the dome will be the difference.
Pick • Falcons 28, Panthers 20
Falcons -3
over 47½

 

St. Louis Rams (6-9) at Seattle Seahawks (11-4) ★★★
Late game on FOX
Announcing crew: Gus Johnson, Charles Davis, Molly McGrath

The Seahawks will clinch the number one seed with a victory plus a Cowboys loss at Washington, or with a victory and the Packers-Lions game simply not ending in a tie. While Seattle is getting hot at the right time and clearly more talented than St. Louis, I believe too many in the betting public are jumping on the Seahawk bandwagon and creating a line that is too high. Seattle wins the game, but the Rams defense is strong enough to keep it under two touchdowns.
Pick • Seahawks 24, Rams 13
Rams +13½
under 41½

 

Arizona Cardinals (11-4) at San Francisco 49ers (7-8) ★★★
Late game on FOX
Announcing crew: Thom Brennaman, David Diehl, Laura Okmin

Arizona’s 11-4 record is a facade, with the team posting a 5-4 record in games Carson Palmer was not the quarterback. Now the Cardinals are down to their third and fourth string quarterbacks, their starting running back is on IR, and even the defense is springing leaks after allowing 35 points last week. The 49ers get the home victory in what is probably Jim Harbaugh’s final game as head coach for San Francisco.
Pick • Niners 21, Cardinals 13
Cardinals +6½
over 36½

 

Oakland Raiders (3-12) at Denver Broncos (11-4) ★★★
Late game on CBS
Announcing crew: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Evan Washburn

Denver needs a win to make sure they get a first round bye, and besides, this is a good opportunity for Peyton Manning to rack up some stats. Oakland is allowing 27 points per game (30th) and have allowed 28 passing touchdowns while intercepting just nine passes.
Pick • Broncos 35, Raiders 24
Raiders +14½
over 48½ (two units)

 

Cincinnati Bengals (10-4-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) ★★★★★
Sunday night game on NBC
Announcing crew: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya

The final game of the 2014 regular season is a good one, as the Bengals and Steelers play for the division title. The Bengals are allowing 21.1 points per game and have won five of the last six games. They’ll need to slow down Pittsburgh RB Le’Veon Bell, who is a legitimate MVP candidate with 2,115 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns. The Steelers haven’t played well on defense this year, but have performed much better recently, allowing an average of 18 points in the last three games. Pittsburgh is averaging 32 points in home games, so Cincinnati has their work cut out for them. This is a tossup, but I’m going to lean to Jeremy Hill and the Cincy running game getting it done in a close game.
Pick • Bengals 24, Steelers 23
Bengals +3½
under 48½

 

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NFL Week 17 Playoff Picture

The New England Patriots wrapped up the number one seed in the AFC and with it home field throughout the playoffs, but there is still some intrigue left as six NFL teams still have a shot at the two final playoff slots.

In week 15 the Patriots, Colts and Broncos all clinched division titles, while Arizona clinched a playoff berth. Then in week 16 the Pats clinched a first round bye with their victory over the Jets, and when the Bengals beat Denver the Patriots claimed the number one seed in the AFC. Pittsburgh, Seattle, Green Bay and Detroit also clinched playoff spots in week 16, and Denver clinched the NFC East at the same time. The NFC has five 11-4 teams jockeying for position, with the winner of the Carolina-Atlanta game locked into the number four slot.

Buffalo (with their loss to Oakland) and Miami (with Pittsburgh’s win over the Chiefs) were among the teams to be eliminated last week. Philadelphia still had a remote chance to back in to the post-season after their loss at Washington on Saturday, but that ended when Dallas crushed Indy in the late game Sunday afternoon. The Saints could have clinched the NFC South with a win over Atlanta plus a loss by Carolina but the reverse happened, thus ending their playoff hopes. Last week Seattle jumped from number five to number one in the NFC, while Arizona dropped from the number one seed to number six.

To keep things simple and make a lot more sense I have refrained from posting scenarios that involve ties. The only exception I made was for Dallas counting on a Green Bay-Detroit tie since that is the only way they can end up as the number one seed.

 

AFC Playoff Picture

New England Patriots (12-3) – currently AFC #1 seed
Week 17: home vs Buffalo Bills
Clinched the number one seed in the AFC

Denver Broncos (11-4) – currently AFC #2 seed
Week 17: home vs Oakland Raiders
Clinched the AFC West division title
– Can clinch the number two seed with (a) a win, or (b) a Bengals loss
– Will be the #3 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) the Bengals win

Cincinnati Bengals (10-4-1) – currently AFC #3 seed
Week 17: away at Pittsburgh Steelers
Clinched a playoff berth
– Can clinch the #2 seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Broncos loss
– Can clinch the AFC North and no worse than the #3 seed with a win
– Will be the #4 seed with a tie
– Will be the #5 seed with a loss

Indianapolis Colts (10-5) – currently AFC #4 seed
Week 17: away at Tennessee Titans
Clinched the AFC South division title
– Can clinch the #3 seed with (a) a win, plus (b) the Steelers-Bengals tie
– Will be the #4 seed as long as the Steelers-Bengals don’t tie

Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) – currently 2nd in division, #5 in AFC
Week 17: home vs Cincinnati Bengals
Clinched a playoff berth
– Can clinch the AFC North and the #3 seed with a win
– Can only be the #3 or #5 seed

San Diego Chargers (9-6) – currently AFC #6 seed
Week 17: away at Kansas City Chiefs
Controls own destiny to make the playoffs
– Can clinch a playoff spot with a win
– Can do no better than the #6 seed
– Eliminated with a loss

Baltimore Ravens (9-6) – currently AFC #7 seed
Week 17: home vs Cleveland Browns
On the outside looking in
– Can clinch a playoff spot with (a) a win, plus (b) a Chargers loss
– Cannot win the division; can do no better than the #6 seed
– Eliminated with (a) a loss, or (b) a Chargers win over the Chiefs

Houston Texans (8-7) – currently AFC #8 seed
Week 17: home vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Need a lot of help to get in
– Can clinch a playoff spot with (a) a win, plus (b) a Ravens loss, plus (c) a Chargers loss
– Can do no better than the #6 seed
– Eliminated with either (a) a loss, or (b) a Chargers win, or (c) a Ravens win

Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) – currently AFC #9 seed
Week 17: home vs San Diego Chargers
Need a miracle to make the playoffs
– Can clinch a playoff spot with (a) a win, plus (b) a Ravens loss, plus (c) a Texans loss
– Can do no better than the #6 seed
– Eliminated with either (a) a loss, or (b) a Ravens win, or (c) a Texans win

 

NFC Playoff Picture

Seattle Seahawks (11-4) – currently 1st in division, #1 in NFC
Week 17: home vs St Louis Rams
Clinched a playoff berth
– Can clinch the number one seed with (a) a win, plus (b) Packers-Lions not ending in a tie; OR
– Can clinch the number one seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Cowboys loss
– Can clinch a first round bye with a win
– Can clinch the division with (a) a win, or (b) a Cardinals loss
– Could possibly be a #1, #2, #3, #5 or #6 seed
– Can be no worse than a #3 seed with a Cardinals loss
– Can be no worse than a #5 seed as long as the Packers-Lions don’t tie
– Eliminated from #1 seed with a tie, plus Packers-Lions don’t tie
– Eliminated from a first round bye with a loss
– Eliminated from #3 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) a Cardinals win
– Become the #6 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) a Cardinals win, plus (c) Packers-Lions tie

Detroit Lions (11-4) – currently 1st in division, #2 in NFC
Week 17: away at Green Bay Packers
Clinched a playoff berth
– Can clinch the number one seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Seahawks loss, plus (c) a Cardinals loss
– Can clinch a first round bye with a win
– Could possibly be the #1, #2, #3 or #6 seed
– To be the #3 seed the Lions-Packers game needs to end in a tie
– Become the #6 seed with a loss

Dallas Cowboys (11-4) – currently NFC #3 seed
Week 17: away at Washington Redskins
Clinched NFC East division title
– Can clinch the number one seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Cardinals loss, plus (c) a Packers-Lions tie; OR
– Can clinch the number one seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Seahawks win, plus (c) a Packers-Lions tie
– Can clinch a first round bye with (a) a win, plus (b) a Cardinals loss, plus (c) a Seahawks loss; OR
– Can clinch a first round bye with (a) a win, plus (b) a Packers-Lions tie; OR
– Can clinch a first round bye with (a) a Cardinals loss, plus (b) a Seahawks loss
– Can only be the #1, #2 or #3 seed
– Eliminated from #1 seed with (a) a loss, or (b) a Packers or Lions win, or (c) a Cardinals win and Seahawks loss
– Eliminated from #2 seed with (a) a loss and a Cardinals win, or (b) a loss and a Seahawks win, or (c) a Packers win and a Cardinals win, or (d) a Lions win and a Cardinals win, or (e) a Packers win and a Seahawks win, or (f) a Lions win and a Seahawks win

Green Bay Packers (11-4) – currently 2nd in division, #5 in NFC
Week 17: home vs Detroit Lions
Clinched a playoff berth
– Can clinch the number one seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Seahawks loss
– Can clinch a first round bye with a win
– Can be the #1, #2, #5 or #6 seed
– Can become the #5 seed with (a) a tie, plus (b) a loss by either the Cardinals or Seahawks
– Will become the #6 seed with a loss

Arizona Cardinals (11-4) – currently 2nd in division, #6 in NFC
Week 17: away at San Francisco 49ers
Clinched a playoff berth
– Can clinch the number one seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Seahawks loss, plus (c) a Packers loss
– Can clinch a first round bye with (a) a win, plus (b) a Seahawks loss
– Can be the #1, #2, #3, #5 or #6 seed
– Can become the #3 seed with (a) a tie, plus (b) a Seahawks loss
– Can be no worse than the #5 seed with a win
– Can do no better than the #5 seed if the Seahawks win
– Can become the #5 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) the Packers-Lions don’t tie
– Can become the #6 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) the Packers-Lions tie

Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) – currently 1st in division, #4 in NFC
Week 17: away at Atlanta Falcons
Win and they’re in
– Can clinch the division and the #4 seed with a win or a tie
– Eliminated with a loss

Atlanta Falcons (6-9) – currently 2nd in division, #9 in NFC
Week 17: home vs Carolina Panthers
Win and they’re in
– Can clinch the division and the #4 seed with a win
– Eliminated with a loss or a tie

 

Below is the current order for the 2015 NFL Draft. Strength of schedule (which is shown in parenthesis after the name of the team) is the tiebreaker for determining draft order. The Titans leapfrogged the Bucs for the number one spot with their loss to the Jaguars last Thursday. Tennessee’s SOS dropped from .503 to .487 after playing three-win Jacksonville, while Tampa Bay’s SOS shot up .024 after losing their eighth straight home game to Green Bay. Unfortunately the Jets moved up two spots to the number four slot, though given their history and ownership, it most likely won’t make any difference.

1. 2-13 Tennessee Titans (.487)
2. 2-13 Tampa Bay Bucs (.491)
3. 3-12 Jacksonville Jaguars (.513)
4. 3-12 New York Jets (.551)
5. 3-12 Oakland Raiders (.560)
6. 4-11 Washington Redskins (.476)
7. 5-10 Chicago Bears (.531)
8. 6-9 Atlanta Falcons (.484)
9. 6-9 Minnesota Vikings (.491)
10. 6-9 New York Giants (.507)
11. 6-9 New Orleans Saints (.509)
12. 6-9 St. Louis Rams (.516)
13. 6-8-1 Carolina Panthers (.496)
14. 7-8 Cleveland Browns (.464)
15. 7-8 San Francisco 49ers (.520)
16. 8-7 Houston Texans (.464)
17. 8-7 Browns (Buffalo Bills) (.502)
18. 8-7 Kansas City Chiefs (.511)
19. 8-7 Miami Dolphins (.529)
20. 9-6 Baltimore Ravens (.482)
21. 9-6 Philadelphia Eagles (.496)
22. 9-6 San Diego Chargers (.507)
23. 10-5 Pittsburgh Steelers (.431)
24. 10-5 Indianapolis Colts (.504)
25. 10-4-1 Cincinnati Bengals (.482)
26. 11-4 Detroit Lions (.451)
27. 11-4 Dallas Cowboys (.458)
28. 11-4 Green Bay Packers (.464)
29. 11-4 Arizona Cardinals (.529)
30. 11-4 Seattle Seahawks (.536)
31. 11-4 Denver Broncos (.549)
32. 12-3 New England Patriots (.509)

 

 

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2014 NFL Calendar and Key Dates for the New England Patriots

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