- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner8 hrs ago
There are many ways to look at the NFL, but the easiest - and most tedious – method to figure out what is going on is by examining the numbers.
Here is a numerical look at the league heading into Week 16:
2 – Teams in league history have finished 11-5 and missed the playoffs (1985 Broncos and 2008 Patriots). Arizona (9-5) could become the third, according to AZCentral.com.
4 – Loses by the Detroit Lions in their past five games. Detroit was previously 6-3 and atop the NFC North, but are now 7-7 and in third place.
6 – Wins by the Cincinnati Bengals at home and no loses. Cincinnati will host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. New Orleans (7-0), New England (7-0) and Seattle (6-0) are also undefeated at home.
11 - Straight seasons without a winning record by the Oakland Raiders. Oakland’s last winning season occurred during its 2002 Super Bowl year.
13 – Victories by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in December and January. Including the postseason, Romo also has 21 loses.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
Here's an early look at some of the key storylines in Week 16's biggest games:
South showdown highlights Saints road struggles
The NFC South comes down to Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium: It’s the rare situation where both teams control their own destinies for the division title, and the winner will have an excellent shot at the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
And it’s clear heading into Sunday’s game against the Panthers that they need to buck some serious road trends to feel good about their situation. Drew Brees doesn’t play as well away from home, the offensive line is far less sturdy and the defense can’t create pressure without blitzing. They make far fewer big plays on offense away from home, and they give up more big plays on the road.
The Panthers, meanwhile, are far stronger in their home digs. They are 6-1, with the one loss a Week 1 setback to the Seattle Seahawks by only five points. The Panthers have outscored opponents 190-83 at home and haven't allowed more than 20 points in a game. The Saints are 3-4 away from home and have been outscored 162-112.
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner13 hrs ago
Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly is concerned about your fantasy football team.
Okay, Kelly really is not. But if your squad is fortunate enough to still be alive in the playoffs, there is good news.
Kelly said he does not intend to rest his starters against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. It seems odd to be talking about resting starters in Week 16, but there is a reason why this subject is relevant.
Philadelphia leads Dallas by one game in the NFC East with two games to play. The two teams will meet on the final day of the regular season.
On Sunday, Dallas will play against Washington at 1 p.m. ET, while Philadelphia will face Chicago at 8:30 p.m. ET. If the Cowboys beat the Redskins, then the Eagles-Bears game has no affect on Philadelphia's ability to win the NFC East.
If Dallas beats Washington on Sunday, the Week 17 game between the Cowboys and Eagles will be for the NFC East title and automatic playoff berth.
Kelly told reporters on Monday he intends to play his starters, regardless of the outcome between Dallas and Washington on Sunday.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner14 hrs ago
Let's get this on the table prior to negotiations: The Detroit Lions did not deserve to win the football game Monday night against the Baltimore Ravens.
They were afforded chance after chance, and they responded with a smorgasbord of pre-snap penalties, mental mistakes, dropped passes, Matthew Stafford interceptions and unused timeouts (seriously, Jim Schwartz, what's the deal?).
But they also were shafted by a bad non-call on pass interference. As many teams seem to be this season, of all seasons. Monday's crew, headed by Carl Cheffers, seemed to indiscriminately throw yellow hankies on long passes based purely on whimsy.
And yet none was thrown on this clear violation by Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb against Lions receiver Kris Durham in the end zone. It was a well-thrown ball by Stafford, Durham beat Webb to the spot, and yet his left arm was clearly held back as the ball arrived. It was clear as day, and the back judge should have had a direct sight line at the play (unless the Ravens safety somehow obstructed him).
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner15 hrs ago
The folks over at Sports on Earth performed an exhaustive and extensive study on NFL announcers and came to this conclusion: Fox's Joe Buck is the best of the lot.
First, a little on how they arrived at that conclusion ...
Their study involved tape work of two games apiece for each of the 16 NFL announcing crews, and really, their criteria was more geared toward finding the least-bad announcer. They counted the number of fouls by each play-by-play man and color analyst for the following six categories during their broadcasts: clichés, factual errors, nonsense, self-references, plays off and off topic.
Buck scored the least bad among the play-by-play guys. The least-bad color commentator was NFL Network's Mike Mayock (who also works for NBC).
As for the worst individuals, those honors went to Fox's Chris Myers (play by play) and CBS's Dan Dierdorf (color), who has decided to retire following the end of the season. (Nothing like going out with some fresh hardware for the mantle.)
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner15 hrs ago
There are plenty of great things that can occur when a person decides to attend a football game. Heavy drinking can easily negate a great time.
That brings us to Shane Martin, a 24-year-old man who attending the Pittsburgh's home game against Cincinnati on Sunday.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,Martin was arrested during the game after he allegedly assaulted a high school football player. Here is Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Molly Born’s description of what seemingly occurred, and alcohol appears to be the catalyst (shocker):
“Shane Martin, 24, has been released after posting $5,000 bond, according to online court records. He is charged with two counts of aggravated assault, a charge of defiant trespass and a summary public drunkenness offense.
“Mr. Martin was drunk at the game and had been given a notice to leave Heinz Field on Pittsburgh's North Shore about 10:20 p.m., according to Pittsburgh police criminal complaint.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner17 hrs ago
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is in prison, awaiting trial for murder, but another person associated with him has turned up dead.
Tabitha Perry, a 27-year-old woman with ties to Hernandez, was found dead at a residence in Southington, Conn., with the cause of death still pending, according to the Hartford Courant.
This is the third known person with ties to Hernandez who has died recently.
Perry survived the car crash that killed Thaddeus Singleton III less than six months ago. Singleton had a child with Perry, but he was married to Tanya Singleton, a cousin of Hernandez who faces an accessory charge in the death of Odin Lloyd, the man whom Hernandez is accused of killing. In addition to Singleton and Perry, Hernandez's uncle, Robert Valentine, died in an August moped crash.
The cause of Perry's death is being investigated but is not considered suspicious.
- Anwar S Richardson at Shutdown Corner18 hrs ago
Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz has spent the past five years leading his team.
Schwartz is currently proving he does not deserve a sixth season.
Detroit hasn't won important games consistently under Schwartz, and his team’s 18-16 loss against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday is a prime example.
It appeared as if the NFC North gods were trying to give Schwartz’s team the division a few weeks ago. Detroit was 6-3 after a second win against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 10. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler sustained a high ankle sprain during that game. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a collarbone injury on Nov. 4. Considering Minnesota had quarterback issues, Detroit should have moon walked into the playoffs.
Instead, Schwartz’s team has stumbled.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
This is how fast the NFL can change: When Joseph Fauria scored for the Lions with 2:21 left on Monday night, the Lions were winning 16-15 and in first place in the NFC North.
By the time that 2:21 was over, the Lions were in third place in the NFC North and in danger of being eliminated from the playoffs next week.
If Green Bay and Chicago both win next week, the Lions are eliminated. Chicago and Green Bay are both ahead of Detroit, and one of them has to win a Week 17 showdown. Detroit can't get a wild-card spot either. That's how quickly Ravens kicker Justin Tucker's 61-yard kick changed the Lions' outlook.
That was just one of many really bad losses in the NFL in Week 15. The Saints lost control of the NFC South by dropping a game at St. Louis. Denver blew a chance to keep the lead in the race for the No. 1 seed, then New England blew a chance to take over the No. 1 seed from Denver, then Cincinnati blew a chance to take over the No. 2 seed from New England. And we don't even need to mention what happened to Dallas.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Monday night's win summed up the Baltimore Ravens perfectly.
Baltimore's offense did not score a touchdown. But Justin Tucker hit six field goals, including one of the best clutch kicks you'll ever see, quarterback Joe Flacco brushed off a banged-up knee to complete a huge third-down pass to Jacoby Jones on the game-winning drive, and the defense was magnificent. Then safety Matt Elam, the rookie probably best known for trash talking Calvin Johnson in the lead up to the game, picked off Matthew Stafford to win it.
The Super Bowl champions refuse to die. Their tough, ugly 18-16 win, on Tucker's 61-yard field goal with 38 seconds left, improved their record to 8-6. That keeps them in the final wild-card spot in the AFC, and now they're only a game back of the Bengals in the AFC North race. If the Ravens win out, including a win at Cincinnati in Week 17, they'll win the division. Not bad for a team that was once 3-5 this season.
The Ravens didn't win it in pretty fashion, but they rarely do.