Since 1990, NFL teams that start 4-0 make the playoffs 83 percent of the time.
So the teams that have made it through the first quarter of the season without a loss are in great shape. It also means that one of every six 4-0 teams does not make the playoffs. There are six undefeated teams in the NFL right now (we'll use the 3-0 New England Patriots in the 4-0 group as well, for fun).
So if, by history, one of the six is going to miss the playoffs, which team is most likely to miss the party?
We can probably cross the Patriots and Green Bay Packers off the list quickly. Only a quarterback injury is keeping them out, and even then they might have a shot at sneaking in.
The Denver Broncos? It seems impossible that they'll go on a long losing streak with that defense. Even if their wins have all been relatively close, I don't see them losing seven games.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3, Last week: 30)
Just a few feet from the exact spot as the Fail Mary gift the Seattle Seahawks got from the officials on "Monday Night Football" a few years ago, the officials seemingly blew another call on Monday night that helped give the Seahawks a win.
Just before Calvin Johnson crossed the goal line, which would have given the Detroit Lions the lead with less than two minutes left, Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor punched the ball out. As the fumble was bouncing through the end zone, linebacker K.J. Wright batted the ball out of bounds. The back judge was right there looking down the line when it happened.
A penalty likely should have been called, and the Lions should have had the ball inside the 1-yard line with a chance to win. Instead, Detroit lost 13-10.
"On replay, it looks like a bat," Blandino said on NFL Network.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that Wright did bat it out, and admitted the Seahawks got away with one.
The play was not reviewable because it was a judgment call, Blandino said.
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Imagine if Kam Chancellor wasn't in just the right spot to make the biggest play of the Seattle Seahawks' season to date. Imagine if the great Calvin Johnson had secured the ball better, or been a few feet further along and crossed the plane of the goal line. Or imagine if the officals had called K.J. Wright for illegally batting Johnson's fumble out of bounds, giving the ball back to the Lions.
The hypotheticals don't matter in the standings. Chancellor punched the ball out just before Johnson crossed the goal line, which would have given the Detroit Lions the lead with less than two minutes left, and Seattle took possession. Wright knocked the ball out of the end zone, which is illegal, former NFL official Gerry Austin said on ESPN's postgame report. No penalty was called.
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Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross seemed to be the only person who didn’t see the relationship with coach Joe Philbin ending poorly. Or maybe Ross had another agenda and didn’t want to see it coming.
It was a surprise when Ross declared before last season even ended that Philbin would be back, much more of a surprise than his inevitable firing on Monday. Why was he so excited to bring Philbin back? Philbin seemingly barely survived a messy 2013 that included the locker room bullying controversy. Then in 2014 he was 8-7 with a game to go when Ross announced Philbin would return in 2015. Ross did so the same day the Dolphins were eliminated from the playoffs. The Dolphins promptly got beat in Week 17 at home by the New York Jets, and then started this season with four unimpressive performances.
Why did Ross declare Philbin was coming back after another playoff-less season, right after the Dolphins were eliminated from the playoffs? It’s worth asking how Ross’ love for the University of Michigan played into this mess.
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They love their football in Texas and they take it seriously, all the way up to the guy in charge of the state.
Gov. Greg Abbott, from his verified personal Twitter feed, sent an angry tweet immediately after the Dallas Cowboys lost their second straight game by allowing a long New Orleans Saints touchdown in overtime.
*#%>¥! @Cowboy defense. More porous than the Texas border.
Abbott is clearly a big sports fan, as he was congratulating the Houston Astros for making the Major League Baseball playoffs and Texas Rangers for winning the AL West on Sunday. But Abbott's good mood didn't last through the night. Not when the Cowboys lose, especially the way they lost in overtime.
Others around the state were probably peeved too, they just aren't big-name politicians who would think to compare Dallas' defense to the state's border on Twitter.
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This is why it makes sense to take a look at the past schedule in the NFL, and not just the standings.
A lot of people were anointing the Arizona Cardinals as one of the best teams in football after three weeks. They had defeated the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers, arguably the three worst teams in the NFL.
The Cardinals don’t look like one of the best teams in the NFL anymore. The St. Louis Rams came into Arizona and won 24-22. The Rams never trailed. The Cardinals weren’t blown out or anything — they out-gained the Rams 447-328 and had a chance to win in the last two minutes but turned it over on downs — but they also didn’t look all that dominant either.
The Cardinals aren’t a bad team, but are they one of the absolute best? Maybe not. The Rams’ offensive line hasn’t been able to block well all season, but it helped rookie Todd Gurley gain 144 yards in the second half. Nick Foles isn’t a great quarterback, but he completed 16-of-24 passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions against Arizona. The offense that everyone was so excited about didn’t score a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter, when the Rams were up 24-15.
When you draft a player in the top 10, he needs to be a big impact guy.
Did the St. Louis Rams discover a pair of them on Sunday, in a 24-22 upset over the previously undefeated Arizona Cardinals?
We all figured running back Todd Gurley would emerge as one when he was healthy, and that day was Sunday. Gurley had 2 yards on four carries in the first half, then ended up with his first career 100-yard game in the second half alone. His two first-down runs in the final two minutes sealed the victory. The Rams didn't rush Gurley back from an ACL injury suffered last season at Georgia. Gurley was still the 10th pick of the draft despite the injury because of the talent he flashed against the Cardinals. He ended up with 146 rushing yards. No need to worry any more about how many carries Gurley might get; on Sunday he showed he's ready to be the Rams' featured back. Probably for many years to come.
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Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett is a character. He once compared himself to a "black unicorn."
So of all the people in the NFL, the best quote of the season was going to come from either Martellus or his brother Michael, the gregarious defensive end with the Seattle Seahawks. Martellus delivered after the Bears' comeback victory against the Oakland Raiders, which was led by oft-criticized Jay Cutler.
The quote, in all its glory, comes from Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times:
is Jay Cutler too often criticized? Martellus: "They threw rocks at Jesus, & Jesus was an excellent guy who did a lot of awesome stuff."
You trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit an out route?
Cutler did fine in his return to the lineup, playing through a hamstring injury and leading the game-winning drive that ended in a Robbie Gould field goal. Divine intervention?
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Too bad there won't be anything to talk about on the Philadelphia airwaves this week.
The Philadelphia Eagles, who were in the bright offseason glare after a ton of controversial moves by coach Chip Kelly, aren't a good football team. Against the Washington Redskins, who might not be too great themselves, quarterback Kirk Cousins — who isn't very good either — drove downfield and broke the Eagles' hearts with less than a minute to go on a pretty 4-yard touchdown catch by Pierre Garcon.
And when the Eagles got the ball back for one last chance, Sam Bradford threw a checkdown, got sacked, got sacked again, and then the Eagles ran a ridiculous multiple-lateral play and the Redskins picked off a lateral to end the game. Washington won 23-20. The Eagles are in sole possession of last place in the NFC East.
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Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 4 days ago
We’ve seen Andrew Luck take dozens of huge hits, but we’ve always seen him get up. So we think of him as indestructible.
Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano apparently thinks that too. Despite Luck not practicing in full all week due to a shoulder injury, Pagano said he “a bsolutely” was confident Luck would play on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Colts. Luck is listed as questionable on the injury report, which generally means a player will go, but not necessarily.
Luck wasn’t present at the media portion of Friday’s practice, which raised some red flags. But Pagano said he was limited at practice. The team signed quarterback Josh Johnson, but Pagano said that was just to keep all bases covered. Still, all of it makes you wonder what Luck's status really is.
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