- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner5 mins ago
Maybe home-field advantage in the NFL isn't the incredible force it once was, but it still matters.
There are only two teams in the NFL whose road record is a full game or more better than its home record. Jacksonville is 3-4 on the road and 1-5 at home, and Philadelphia is 3-4 at home and 5-1 on the road. Everyone else is either better or roughly the same at home. That's not too surprising.
That's also why this weekend could be very interesting.
There are nine home underdogs in the remaining 15 games this week, and the Browns at home are a pick 'em against Chicago. We know that just about every team in the NFL plays better at home, so it could get a little wild on Sunday.
We've already seen perhaps the biggest upset in the NFL this season on Thursday night, when the Chargers won as double-digit underdogs at Denver. Are we in for one of those NFL weeks? We'll see how crazy the playoff picture looks by Tuesday morning.
Here are this week's picks:
Denver (-10.5) over San Diego (picked yesterday): Shocker. And get ready for a full week of "the sky is falling in Denver!"
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner9 hrs ago
It seemed, in this year's draft, that Keenan Allen might be a steal for the San Diego Chargers in the third round.
Almost eight months later, there's no question about it. He might be one of the best picks of the entire 2013 draft. If nothing else, he is probably the offensive rookie of the year.
Allen's signature play of a very good rookie season probably came on "Thursday Night Football." After catching a crossing route from Philip Rivers, Allen soared over Broncos defensive back Kayvon Webster into the end zone. Even on a field with some truly remarkable athletes, Allen's vertical leap was jaw-dropping.
Then, as a bonus, Allen made a tremendous catch in the end zone for his second touchdown in San Diego's 27-20 upset of the Broncos.
Allen's rookie year is even more impressive when his first three games are factored in. He wasn't a big part of the Chargers' plans initially, and had three catches for 30 yards after three games. He now has 63 catches for 931 yards and seven touchdowns. There's no reason to believe he can't be the Chargers' No. 1 receiver for many, many years to come.Thu, Dec 12San Diego27 - 20DenverGame Recap
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner10 hrs ago
DENVER – Peyton Manning was good on Thursday night.
He was 27-of-41 for 289 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception on a play in which a San Diego Charger hit his arm as he threw. The Denver Broncos gained 5.6 yards per play. Manning had a 92.4 rating. Prorate those numbers over a full season and compare them to the rest of the league. You'll find that they're just fine.
That's the problem. The Broncos aren't going to win a title with Manning being good. He needs to be great every single week for the Broncos to win.
He wasn't great on Thursday and neither were the Broncos. The defense couldn't get off the field, allowing the Chargers to hold the ball for 38:49. The running game gave no help. Denver's backs averaged 1.6 yards per carry. The Broncos still had a chance, down seven points with the ball in the fourth quarter, but Manning's interception with 5:07 left practically sealed the 27-20 loss.
With Manning not playing at his normal record pace, the Broncos lost at home to a team that was 6-7 coming in. They have no room for error.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner11 hrs ago
Four people were stabbed outside of Sports Authority Field following the Denver Broncos' loss to the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night, according to the Denver Post.
One of the stabbing victims was in critical condition, the Post said.
“Stadium Management Company is aware of an incident that occurred in a parking lot adjacent to Sports Authority Field at Mile High. We are currently working with authorities to gather more information," the Broncos' stadium management company said in a statement.
The Denver Police Department announced it had suspects in custody:
#BREAKING: Officers have parties in custody and are not currently looking for any other suspects at this time.
— Denver Police Dept (@DenverPolice) December 13, 2013
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
DENVER – People in New England and Kansas City perked up on Thursday night. Fans in Baltimore and Miami got a little more nervous.
The folks in Denver left Sports Authority Field feeling downright sick.
Thursday night wasn't supposed to go this way. San Diego was 10.5-point underdogs, already lost to Denver at home this year, and at 6-7 were on the verge of falling out of the playoff race. Denver was going to take a big step toward locking up the AFC's top seed with its eighth home win this season.
Everything is changed now after the Chargers' 27-20 upset win. The Broncos don't control the top seed in the AFC anymore. That would be New England, which can get the top seed by winning out because it already beat the Broncos this year and own the tiebreaker. And now the Broncos and Chiefs both have three losses in the AFC West race, although Denver owns that tiebreaker.
And suddenly the Chargers are 7-7, very much in the AFC playoff race, right behind 7-6 Miami and Baltimore for the sixth seed.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Dr. Dre apparently didn't remember that people in Seattle buy headphones, too.
The "Beats by Dre" line of headphones added 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as an endorser. Finding an athlete to endorse the high-end headphones can't be tough, considering they seem to be a part of every league's dress code at this point.
Kaepernick's ad shows him on the team bus headed to a stadium, obviously supposed to be in Seattle. The ad shows the Seattle skyline and the fans are wearing Seahawks colors, so it's not hard to figure out. And the fans scream at him, throw things at the bus, and seem to be ready to assault him when he walks off. There's a few middle fingers thrown his way in the extended version, which you can check out here. Kaepernick puts on his headphones and totally drowns out the unruly mob.
The commercial is obviously way over the top, but you can see why Seattle fans would be mad at Dr. Dre, who was once one of the top names in hip hop before becoming a headphones mogul.
Sales in Seattle might not do so well after this.
Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has a few verbal crutches. You cover a man for six years, you get to know them well.
"Setback" is a favorite of his. "Anytime" prefaces a lot of his sentences. He did it five times on Wednesday. One of his other favorites that amused the Broncos media corps for a long time when he was coaching in Denver was when he'd start an answer with "to be honest with you."
"To be honest with you," Shanahan said on Wednesday, discussing benching quarterback Robert Griffin III for Kirk Cousins, "as I’ve stated before, I wanted to give Robert as many reps as he possibly could have."
That was always a humorous one, because what did it mean the rest of the time when he didn't say it?
On Wednesday he had a good punch line when answering one of many questions on the Redskins' quarterback situation.Sun, Dec 1510:00 AM PSTWashington at AtlantaPreview Game
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
After Week 9, the Detroit Lions were in great shape to win the NFC North crown.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone that week. The 5-3 Lions were on a bye, then went and beat the Chicago Bears a week later.
After Week 9, the Baltimore Ravens were 3-5 following a loss to the Cleveland Browns. The offense was an absolute mess. The Super Bowl champs were struggling badly, and seemed irrelevant to the 2013 season.
It's Week 15 and both teams are in the middle of a tight playoff race. That's a positive for one of them.
The Lions have lost three of four since that win against the Bears seemed to put them on a fast track to the North title. They're 7-6, tied with the Bears and just a half game clear of the Packers, with the possibility of Rodgers' return hanging over the division race. Detroit isn't a franchise known for success, and they seem insistent on making the road to the division title much tougher than it should be. Now they have to deal with a tough Ravens team and don't know yet if running back Reggie Bush, who injured himself in snowy pregame warm-ups last week, will be available.
Packers fans, fantasy football playoff survivors and anyone who loves high quality NFL football are looking for any smoke signal from Lambeau Field regarding Aaron Rodgers' health.
He's practicing last week? Good sign, especially with the Packers staying in the playoff hunt. He said Tuesday he was experiencing pain in his broken collarbone? Well, that's bad.
But Packers tight end Andrew Quarless has brought a glimmer of hope to all, even though he's likely to get chewed out by the tight-lipped coaching staff for it.
Quarless let it slip that Rodgers took some snaps with the starting offense in Wednesday's practice.
"Oh man, 12 looked real good today," Quarless said after practice, according to ESPN.com. "It was good to see him out there really working with the offense. He was out there before but wasn't working as much with the offense. But today he took some offensive reps, which is a great thing for the team, definitely."Sun, Dec 151:25 PM PSTGreen Bay at DallasPreview Game
Nobody should be surprised that the Miami Dolphins reportedly plan to trade offensive tackle Jonathan Martin this offseason.
It also would be no surprise if Richie Incognito never played for the Dolphins again.
Really, that's seems to be the only way this saga can play out. Even if you believe if Martin is the victim of constant harassment in the Dolphins' locker room, it would be uncomfortable and a major distraction if he returned next season. It would be an even bigger circus if Incognito returned to the Dolphins this season with the team in the playoff hunt.
The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero reported that both men won't play again for the Dolphins. On Martin, who is on the non-football injury list and not eligible to return this season, Salguero reported he'll be traded:Sun, Dec 1510:00 AM PSTNew England at MiamiPreview Game