Saturday, October 1, 2016

2016 NFL Week 4 power rankings


By Rick Morris


NOTE: Rankings from start of season are in parentheses.


TOP TIER

1 New England (1-2)

2 Denver (8-5)

3 Minnesota (12-6)

4 Green Bay (2-7)

5 Philadelphia (29-17)

6 Pittsburgh (3-1)

7 Seattle (4-10)

8 Carolina (5-4)

9 Cincinnati (6-8)

10 Arizona (7-3)

11 Baltimore (13-11)

12 Kansas City (9-12)

13 New York Giants (16-13)

SECOND TIER

14 Oakland (11-15)

15 Dallas (23-19)

16 Atlanta (25-20)

17 Houston (10-9)

THIRD TIER

18 New York Jets (20-16)

19 Washington (18-25)

20 Los Angeles (31-30)

21 Indianapolis (21-27)

22 Buffalo (22-29)

23 San Diego (24-14)

24 Tampa Bay (15-18)

25 Tennessee (28-23)

26 Detroit (19-22)

FOURTH TIER

27 Jacksonville (14-21)

28 New Orleans (27-26)

29 Chicago (17-28)

30 Miami (26-24)

31 San Francisco (30-31)

32 Cleveland (32-32)


BIGGEST RISERS: Philadelphia (12 spots), Los Angeles (10 spots), Buffalo (7 spots), Indianapolis and Washington (6 spots), Atlanta and Dallas (4 spots), Denver, Green Bay, Minnesota and Seattle (3 spots)


BIGGEST FALLERS: San Diego (9 spots), Houston (8 spots), Arizona (7 spots), Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa Bay (6 spots), Pittsburgh (5 spots), Carolina and Detroit (4 spots)


RANKINGS BY DIVISION – 1 POINT PER RANKING SPOT FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL TEAM, LOWEST SCORE IS BEST

1 AFC West 51

2 NFC East 52

3 AFC North 58

4 NFC North 62

5 NFC West 68

6 AFC East 71

7 NFC South 76

8 AFC South 90


RANKINGS BY CONFERENCE

1 NFC 261

2 AFC 270

NCAA Week 5 Top 4 teams for College Football Playoff


By Rick Morris


1 Alabama

2 Ohio State

3 Louisville

4 Michigan


Next 4 in:

5 Houston

6 Clemson

7 Washington

8 Wisconsin

NCAA football picks Week 5


By Rick Morris


NOTE: 3-2 record last week, 9-6 for the season


Ohio State -38 over Rutgers

Ohio -3 over Miami of Ohio

Michigan -11 over Wisconsin

Clemson +1 ½ over Louisville

Tennessee -4 over Georgia

Thursday, September 22, 2016

NCAA football picks Week 4


By Rick Morris


NOTE: 2-3 record last week, 6-4 for the season


Wisconsin +5 over Michigan State

Tennessee -6 ½ over Florida

LSU -3 ½ over Auburn

Georgia +7 over Mississippi

Texas A&M -5 ½ over Arkansas

2016 NFL Week 3 power rankings


By Rick Morris


NOTE: Rankings from start of season are in parentheses.


TOP TIER

1 Pittsburgh (3)

2 New England (1)

3 Arizona (7)

4 Carolina (5)

5 Denver (8)

6 Minnesota (12)

7 Green Bay (2)

8 Cincinnati (6)

9 Houston (10)

10 Seattle (4)

SECOND TIER

11 Baltimore (13)

12 Kansas City (9)

13 New York Giants (16)

THIRD TIER

14 San Diego (24)

15 Oakland (11)

16 New York Jets (20)

17 Philadelphia (29)

18 Tampa Bay (15)

19 Dallas (23)

20 Atlanta (25)

21 Jacksonville (14)

22 Detroit (19)

23 Tennessee (28)

24 Miami (26)

25 Washington (18)

26 New Orleans (27)

27 Indianapolis (21)

28 Chicago (17)

FOURTH TIER

29 Buffalo (22)

30 Los Angeles (31)

31 San Francisco (30)

32 Cleveland (32)


RANKINGS BY DIVISION – 1 POINT PER RANKING SPOT FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL TEAM, LOWEST SCORE IS BEST

1 AFC West 46

2 AFC North 52

3 NFC North 63

4 NFC South 68

5 AFC East 71

6T NFC East 74

6T NFC West 74

8 AFC South 80


RANKINGS BY CONFERENCE

1 AFC 249

2 NFC 279

NCAA Week 4 Top 4 teams for College Football Playoff


By Rick Morris


1 Alabama

2 Ohio State

3 Louisville

4 Michigan


Next 4 in:

5 Houston

6 Clemson

7 Stanford

8 Michigan State

Sunday, September 18, 2016

NFL Week 1 MVP: Dante Scarnecchia of the Patriots


By Steve Kallas (posted by Rick Morris)


Who?  Well, if you are a real football fan and/or follow the New England Patriots closely, you know the answer to the question, who is Dante Scarnecchia?  He’s a Patriots legend who has been a coach with the Patriots since 1982 (except for the last two years in “retirement” and for two other years (1989-90) as the Colts offensive line coach). Scarnecchia made the “tough decision” (his words) to come out of retirement to coach the Patriots offensive line this season (he was also named assistant head coach).


Virtually all attention was on the fact that there would be no Brady, no Gronk and no Ninkovich against Arizona. The important fact that the Patriots were starting (to be kind) a mix-and-match offensive line was overlooked by most “experts.”


Enter (or re-enter) Dante Scarnecchia.  With the Arizona Cardinals rising to a 7-point favorite at home, and with even most Patriot fans putting this one in the loss column against a well-rounded (both sides of the ball), potential Super Bowl team (you know, maybe we can go 2-2 or, after the loss to the Cardinals, 3-1), it seemed bleak against Arizona. Yet, somehow, the Patriots got the unlikely week 1 win.


Let’s look at the line by positions:


THE TACKLES


Well, the Patriots are actually set at tackle with Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer.  Wait, Solder’s hurt and Vollmer will miss at least six games, maybe more?  Uh-oh.  So the Patriots had to start Cameron Fleming at left tackle and Marcus Cannon at right tackle.


Cameron Fleming, having the important role to protect the blind side of first-time starter Jimmy Garoppolo, is a third-year player out of Stanford.  In 2015, he was actually cut before the season started, signed to the practice squad after he cleared waivers and wound up playing a lot the second half of the season due to injuries.


When NBC showed the starting line-ups, they included the (pretty well-respected) Pro Football Focus rankings for each player.  The PFF ranking for Fleming from last year was 29th (i.e., awful).


Marcus Cannon has been a Patriots enigma.  The Patriots obviously believe he has a lot of ability and gave him a two-year, $9 million contract extension in December 2014.  Yet, he hasn’t really played very well.  His PFF ranking from last year was 27th (also pretty bad).


THE GUARDS


Well, the Patriots should be able to start a couple of guards with NFL experience.  Wait, they are starting two rookies?  The Patriots started right guard Joe Thuney and left guard Ted Karras.


Thuney was a third-round pick this year (78th overall) out of North Carolina State.  His 2015 PFF ranking was an excellent fourth in the country.  Of course, that was a college guard ranking.  He did, by virtually all accounts, have an excellent training camp.


Karras was a sixth-round pick this year (221st overall) out of Illinois.  His 2015 PFF ranking was 25th.  But, again, that was a college ranking.


THE CENTER


Well, the Patriots should be OK at center with Bryan Stork, who was given his job back last year by former offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo after then-rookie David Andrews had filled in admirably as the Patriots started 10-0.  Wait, the Patriots released Stork in late August, paving the way for hard-working Andrews to be the starting center?


Andrews was an undrafted free agent signee last season who worked incredibly hard in the off-season and is getting in-season coaching for the first-time from the one and only Dante Scarnecchia.


His 2015 PFF ranking was 20th, and that would be one I would quibble with.


Scarnecchia molded this line into a unit that played well enough to give the Patriots a chance to win.  (For an excellent article (especially if you like line play) on the differences between Scarnecchia and last year’s offensive line coach, read Rich Hill’s article from May 19, 2016 at patspulpit.com).


CONCLUSIONS


With a better than average line performance (no, they weren’t great), along with Garoppolo’s coolness under pressure (no matter what Merrill Hoge’s negative comments were about his pre-season play), the Patriots won what was viewed by most to be a sure loss.


Yes, the Patriots rushing game will have to improve (106 yards against the Arizona defense isn’t bad) and allowing two sacks with a mobile QB is OK, but the defense is more than legit (although one can argue that the best defensive player on the field was Chandler Jones) and, when Tom Brady gets back, he’ll be able to make all those short but incredible timing throws that can replace a running game if it’s not working.


So, is Dante Scarnecchia the NFL MVP for week 1?  It says here yes, he is.


And, is the return of Dante Scarnecchia a possible key factor in the Patriots getting back to, and winning, the Super Bowl, especially when one or maybe both tackles return?


Absolutely, positively, yes.

Lounge on YouTube: 2016 Fantasy Football Week 2 preview


By Rick Morris

THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER is Mini-Episode #758 of THE FDH LOUNGE, providing the 2016 Week 2 Fantasy Football preview.


       


       


       


       


Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #757 – 2016 NFL Week 2 preview


By Rick Morris                                          

As we referenced previously, our pals at Sportsology are hooking us up for live segments that we’re doing with guests and remote FDH Lounge Dignitaries these days.  We’re happy to report that we’ve been able to produce many segments on our own, but we’re thrilled for the help on some of these with guests and the thanks all go to our great friend Russ Cohen.

Mini-Episode #757 features our 2016 NFL Week 2 preview with FDH Lounge Dignitary and Vegas handicapping veteran Kyle Ross.


       


       


       


       


MLB power rankings for mid-September


By Rick Morris


NOTE: Rankings in parentheses are from the start of the season.


TOP TIER

1 Chicago Cubs (1-1-4-6-1-1)

SECOND TIER
2 Washington (5-3-5-2-4-4)

3 Texas (10-12-3-7-2-2)

4 Boston (4-2-10-5-5-7)

5 Los Angeles Dodgers (3-10-7-9-9-9)

6 Toronto (11-14-12-8-6-5)

7 Cleveland (15-16-1-1-3-3)

8 Baltimore (22-6-6-4-8-8)

9 Seattle (12-5-14-18-11-17)

10 Detroit (14-23-8-10-15-6)

11 San Francisco (8-11-2-3-7-14)

12 Houston (2-22-16-16-17-11)

13 St. Louis (7-9-11-13-10-12)

14 New York Mets (13-7-9-12-18-13)

15 New York Yankees (17-21-19-15-12-10)

16 Miami (23-15-15-11-16-19)

17 Pittsburgh (9-18-17-14-13-18)

18 Chicago White Sox (19-4-18-19-20-20)

19 Kansas City (16-17-13-17-14-15)

20 Colorado (26-13-21-22-19-16)

THIRD TIER

21 Tampa Bay (20-20-26-30-25-25)

22 Philadelphia (30-8-20-24-21-26)

23 Milwaukee (29-28-22-25-29-28)

24 Oakland (25-26-25-21-23-23)

25 San Diego (24-25-24-23-24-24)

26 Los Angeles Angels (6-27-27-20-28-21)

27 Cincinnati (27-24-28-28-22-29)

28 Arizona (18-19-23-26-26-22)

29 Minnesota (21-30-30-27-27-30)

30 Atlanta (28-29-29-29-30-27)


BIGGEST GAINERS: Seattle (8 spots), Milwaukee (5 spots), Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay (4 spots), Boston, Miami and San Francisco (3 spots)


BIGGEST FALLERS: Arizona (6 spots), Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees (5 spots), Cleveland, Colorado, Detroit and Kansas City (4 spots), Atlanta (3 spots)


1 AL EAST 54

2 AL WEST 74

3 NL CENTRAL 81

4 AL CENTRAL 83

5 NL WEST 84

6 NL EAST 89


AL 211

NL 254

Thursday, September 15, 2016

2016 NFL Week 2 power rankings


By Rick Morris


TOP TIER

1 New England

2 Green Bay

3 Pittsburgh

4 Seattle

5 Carolina

6 Cincinnati

7 Arizona

8 Denver

SECOND TIER

9 Kansas City

10 Houston

11 Oakland

12 Minnesota

13 Baltimore

THIRD TIER

14 Jacksonville

15 Tampa Bay

16 New York Giants

17 Chicago

18 Washington

19 Detroit

20 New York Jets

21 Indianapolis

22 Buffalo

23 Dallas

24 San Diego

25 Atlanta

26 Miami

27 New Orleans

28 Tennessee

FOURTH TIER

29 Philadelphia

30 San Francisco

31 Los Angeles

32 Cleveland


RANKINGS BY DIVISION – 1 POINT PER RANKING SPOT FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL TEAM, LOWEST SCORE IS BEST

1 NFC North 50

2 AFC West 52

3 AFC North 54

4 AFC South 68

5 AFC East 69

6T NFC West 72

6T NFC South 72

8 NFC East 86


RANKINGS BY CONFERENCE

1 AFC 243

2 NFC 280