NFL 2022-2023 AFC Playoff Permutations and Combinations

January 5th, 2023

LOS ANGELES, January 4, 2023 — The first 17 weeks of the 2022 NFL regular season are in the history books. Week 18 is here. 

This week football jargon not used for 51 weeks is said over and over. We learn who controls their own destiny and who needs help making the playoffs. Some years it seems almost everybody has a shot at the playoffs. This year the AFC playoff picture has plenty of possibilities. 

That’s our assessment of the 2022-2023 AFC playoff permutations and combinations.

Only the top seed with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs gets the first-round bye.

The NFC playoff picture is fairly cut and dry. The AFC Playoff picture is a total mess due to reasons far bigger than football. Buffalo Bills defender Damar Hamlin had a heart attack this past Monday night when the Bills played the Cincinnati Bengals. He is in a hospital fighting for his life. We all pray Mr. Hamlin gets better quickly. He is still unable to speak and is still in critical condition. However, as of Thursday, doctors said his condition was improving. His first written question to doctors was “Did we win the game?” Unaware the game was canceled, the doctor smartly and beautifully replied, “You won the game of life.”

Mr. Hamlin had a GoFundMe page set up to raise funds to buy toys for underprivileged children. His goal was to raise $2,500. In the 3 days after his life-threatening injury, over $7 million was raised. 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/mxksc-the-chasing-ms-foundation-community-toy-drive

This staggering show of love was also in addition to a very classy display by the home fans in Cincinnati. Bengals fans joined with Bills fans outside the hospital to pray for him.

While nothing is more important than life and death, this is a column about football. The cancellation of the Bills-Bengals game has thrown the entire AFC playoffs into complete chaos and turmoil. Both teams along with the Kansas City Chiefs had a legitimate chance at home field throughout the playoffs. The Chiefs are 13-3. The Bills are 12-3. The Bengals are 11-4. Had the Bills won, they would be 13-3 and own the tie-breaker over the Chiefs. Had the Bengals won, they would be 12-4. If they won their last game and the Chiefs lost, the Bengals would have the tie-breaker over the Chiefs. Home field advantage throughout the playoffs means a first round bye. That is a big competitive advantage.

Additionally, The Bengals may by default win the AFC North Division over the Baltimore Ravens, who are 10-6. Had they Bengals lost on Monday night and dropped to 10-5, their showdown this coming week could have been for the division crown. Now it seems the Ravens will automatically be relegated to the Wildcard.

None of these teams will publicly complain about being “cheated” out of a division title or home playoff game for fear of being seen as a monster. Again, life and death is more important. Nevertheless, the NFL is looking at possible compromises, including moving the AFC Title Game to a neutral site. 

With all respect to Mr. Hamlin, this is a football column. The rest of this column will be devoted to the football games themselves. 


Seven of the eight AFC Week 17 games have playoff implications.

In the AFC, at least two of the four divisions have already been clinched. Assuming the league does not reverse itself, the cancellation of the Bills-Bengals game means a third AFC division is clinched. Yet the top seed is wide open. So is the final Wildcard spot.

The Cancellation of the Bills-Bengals game creates an unprecedented situation. Each of those teams will have played only 16 games while the Chiefs will have played 17 games. So the Chiefs may finish with the best record by 1/2 a game and still not automatically get the first round bye. The league will have to sort this out.

Now for the AFC Playoff picture.  

1.) Kansas City Chiefs (13-3):

The Chiefs clinched the AFC West and are currently the one seed by default.  If they win but Buffalo also wins, the Chiefs will still lead by 1/2 game. This is the league nightmare scenario where the If they win, the location of the AFC Title Game and first round bye will be a mess. If the Chief win and Buffalo loses, the issue is moot. The Chiefs undisputedly retain the top seed with home field throughout the playoffs. If the Chiefs lose, they can retain the top seed as long as Cincinnati, and Buffalo lose. 

If the Chiefs lose and Buffalo wins, then the Chiefs absolutely fall to the two seed. They would host a playoff game on Wildcard Weekend. If the Chiefs and Buffalo both lose and Cincinnati wins, Cincinnati would still be 1/2 game back. This could result in the neutral site location for the AFC Title Game. The Chiefs cannot fall below the two seed. 

2.) Buffalo Bills (12-3):

The Bills clinched the AFC East lead and right now are the two seed. They would host a game on Wildcard weekend. If the Bills win and Kansas City loses, the Bills are the undisputed top seed with home field advantage and a first round bye. If the Bills and Kansas City both win, the league will probably move the AFC Title Game to a neutral site. If the Bills and Kansas City both lose and Cincinnati wins, then things get really hairy. The Bills would probably at that point drop to the three seed. 

3.) Cincinnati Bengals (11-4): 

The Bengals clinched the AFC North by default and are currently the three seed. They would host a game on Wildcard weekend. If the Bengals win, and Buffalo loses, the Bengals move up to the two seed. If the Bengals win and Buffalo and Kansas City both lose, the Bengals would be 1/2 game back in the race for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The AFC Title Game could be held at a neutral site. If the Bengals lose, they are locked into the three seed. They cannot fall lower.

4.) Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8): The Jaguars have a one game lead in the AFC South but have not clinched anything. They control their own destiny. If they beat Tennessee in the regular season finale, they win their division. They would be the four seed and host a Wildcard Weekend playoff game. If they lose to Tennessee, they lose the division tie-breaker. They could still make the playoffs as the seven seed Wildcard but would need a ton of help. New England, Miami and Pittsburgh would all have to lose. If the Jaguars lose and any one of those three teams wins, the Jaguars are out.

5.) Los Angeles Chargers (10-6):

The Chargers have clinched a playoff Wildcard. They are currently the five seed. No matter what, they will be on the road for their Wildcard Weekend playoff game. If they win next week or if Baltimore loses, the Chargers retain the five seed. They cannot go higher than the five seed. If the Chargers lose and Baltimore wins, the Chargers drop to the six seed. They cannot fall lower than the six seed.

6.) Baltimore Ravens (10-6):

The Ravens have clinched a playoff Wildcard. They are currently the six seed. No matter what, they will be on the road for their Wildcard Weekend playoff game. If they win next week and the Chargers lose, the Ravens move up to the five seed. They cannot go higher than the five seed. If the Chargers win or the Ravens lose, the Ravens remain the six seed. They cannot fall lower than the six seed.

7.) New England Patriots (8-8): 

The Patriots have not clinched anything but they control their own destiny. If they win their regular season finale, they clinch the seven seed Wildcard and play a road playoff game on Wildcard Weekend. They can finish no higher than the seven seed. The Patriots can lose their finale and still make the playoffs as the seven seed, but would need a miracle. Miami, Pittsburgh and Tennessee would all have to lose. If the Patriots lose and any one of those teams win, the Patriots are out. 

Outside looking in: 

Tennessee Titans (7-9):

The Titans are one game back in the AFC South. They control their own destiny, and their situation is cut and dry. If they win their regular season finale, they win the AFC South and the four seed. They would host a playoff game on Wildcard Weekend. If the Titan lose their finale, they are out. 

Miami Dolphins (8-8) — The Dolphins can only make the playoffs as the seven seed Wildcard if they win their regular season finale and New England loses. If the Dolphins lose or New England wins, the Dolphins are out.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) — The Steelers have the longest shot. They can make the playoffs as the seven seed Wildcard if they win their regular season finale and Miami and New England both lose. If the Steelers lose or either Miami or New England wins, the Steelers are out.

Here are the seven AFC games with playoff implications:

Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) at Las Vegas Raiders (6-10)

Cleveland Browns (7-9) at Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) 

Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)

New York Jets (7-9) at Miami Dolphins (8-8)

Tennessee Titans (7-9) at Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8) 

New England Patriots (8-8) at Buffalo Bills (12-3)

Los Angeles Chargers (10-6) at Las Vegas Raiders (4-12)

Predictions:

1.) Chiefs 14-3

2.) Bills 13-3

3.) Bengals 12-4

4.) Jaguars 9-8

5.) Chargers 11-6

6.) Ravens 10-7

7.) Dolphins 9-8

Out — Pittsburgh 9-8, New England 8-9, Tennessee 7-10

Wildcard Round:

7.) Dolphins at 2.) Bills

6.) Ravens at 3.) Bengals

5.) Chargers at 4.) Jaguars

Divisional Round:

4.) Jaguars at 1.) Chiefs

3.) Bengals at 2.) Bills 

AFC Title Game: 2.) Bills vs 1.) Chiefs

QUESTION: Where the heck is the AFC Title Game being played?

The home field will matter. 

Patrick Mahomes is still the best player in the NFL, certainly in the AFC. Walrus Andy Reid has too many weapons on offense and a much improved defense. The Bills and Bengals both have great defenses and great quarterbacks. They both have a defense better than that of the Chiefs. The Bills and Bengals both beat Kansas City in the regular season. The Bengals did so at home while the Bills went into Arrowhead and won. 

On a neutral field, the Bills and Bengals can beat the Chiefs. The Bengals shocked the Chiefs last year in Arrowhead in the AFC Title Game. The Bills were 13 seconds away from shocking the Chiefs last year in Arrowhead in the Divisional round.

Yet this Chiefs team has so much speed and so much playoff experience. If they get the AFC Title Game at home for the fifth straight year, they will not be denied this time. The Bills and Bengals might be so emotionally drained from the Damar Hamlin tragedy and a playoff rematch that leaves the winner bloodied before facing Kansas City.

Unless they have to go on the road to face Buffalo or Cincinnati, the Chiefs will again win the Lamar Hunt Trophy known for their late owner and founder.

Additional prediction: The Chiefs will win it all in a rematch of the Super Bowl they won three years ago.

eric

NFL 2022 Black Monday Coach Firing Predictions

January 5th, 2023

NFL 2022 Black Monday Coach Firing Predictions

Happy New Year. You’re history. Happy Hanukkah. Clean out your desk. Merry Christmas. You’re fired. The NFL coaching carousel is about to spin like a dreidel. The NFL is a cold place in losing environments. The annual ritual of firing coaches on Black Monday is a long-established NFL tradition. As retired coach Jerry Glanville used to say, the NFL stands for “Not For Long.”

Thankfully, Black Monday now comes past the holiday season, allowing coaches to enjoy time with their families. The pink-slips come afterward.

This season’s NFL 2022 Black Monday Coach Firing Carousel

The 2022 regular season coaching carousel saw three coaches fired during the season. The Carolina Panthers fired Matt Rhule after he started his third year 1-4. Steve Wilks is the interim coach. The Denver Broncos fired Nathaniel Hackett after less than one season. He was dismissed after Week 16 with the team 4-11. Jerry Rosburg is the interim coach. Frank Reich in his fourth year was fired at the midpoint with his team 3-4-1. Jeff Saturday is the interim coach. 

More changes will come Black Monday. 

A time to fire: Rules of the Black Monday coach firing ritual

Owners can fire any employee they want whenever they want, but that does not mean they should. There are certain unwritten rules that owners should consider before firing (or not) NFL coaches on Black Monday.

  • Never fire a coach after a winning season. No matter how badly the team underachieves, some teams would kill to go 9-8.
  • Do not fire a coach unless it is absolutely definite that a better replacement option exists.
  • Do not fire a coach after one season unless there is zero hope for improvement. Bill Parcells won only three games in his first season as an NFL head coach. Jimmy Johnson won one game. Tom Landry won zero games and tied one.
  • Do not fire a coach after two losing seasons if they had four or five winning seasons prior. Allow two or even three bad seasons if the coach has the ability to turn things around.
  • If a coach has won a Super Bowl for you, leave him alone for a few years.
  • If he has won two Super Bowls for you in non-consecutive years, give him a lifetime contract.
  • Lastly, if it is a close call, give the coach one more year.

With that, here are the NFL 2022 Black Monday Coach Firing predictions.

Black Monday firings that are necessary:

Denver Broncos: 

What should happen:

Jerry Rosburg is just a placeholder. The Broncos new ownership is the Walmart family with more money than they could spend in one lifetime. The Broncos already have a very good defense. They need someone to salvage Russell Wilson. They will spend into the stratosphere on a big name hire to excite the fan base.  

What will happen:

Rosburg is gone through no fault of his own. 

Las Vegas Raiders: 

What should happen:

Josh McDaniels is an unmitigated disaster. The Raiders set an NFL record by blowing five double digit leads. The defense is a mess. The secondary cannot stop anyone. That has been a problem long before McDaniels, but he has not fixed the problem. The real problem with McDaniels is that he has learned nothing from 12 years ago when he flamed out in Denver. He destroyed Derek Carr and then blamed Carr for the offensive woes. McDaniel refuses to run the ball in obvious running situations, such as in the fourth quarter with a lead. He prefers finesse to smash mouth and he is failing. He is prepared to gut the team when he is the problem. 

What will happen:

McDaniels has owner Mark Davis wrapped around his finger. McDaniels is only one year into a four year contract, and Davis does not want to eat three years worth of salary given that Davis is already on the hook for some of Jon Gruden’s money. Unlike Denver’s ownership group, Davis does not have money to burn. His father Al Davis was enamored with players but not coaches. Mark Davis is the reverse. McDaniels is staying.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

What should happen:

Todd Bowles is a very good defensive coordinator. He is not a good head coach. He had a losing record in four years with the Jets. He took a playoff team under Bruce Arians and saw the offense regress badly even with Tom Brady. It took a couple of Brady miracles to will this team to an 8-8 record, the worst in Brady’s 23 seasons. Brady remarkably has not regressed. The problem is Bowles does not know offense. Also, firing him would be a powder keg given the NFL’s struggle to hire minority coaches. Bowles is an admirable man. He has refused to make his race an issue. The problem is that he was selected for the job by Arians because of his race. Arians was determined to hire a minority head coach. The goal is admirable but Bowles is not the best minority candidate. Tom Brady may want out of Tampa, which would have the entire organization starting over.

What will happen:

Bowles stays. The Buccaneers did eke into the playoffs. This will earn Bowles one more year, with or without Brady. He will probably be gone next year unless he can finally make a deep playoff run with a talented roster. 

Los Angeles Chargers 

What should happen:

Some would say it is crazy to fire Brandon Staley after not one but two winning seasons. One of the rules is not to fire a coach after a winning season. Last year the Chargers finished 9-8 and this year they are 10-6 and playoff-bound. Yet unless the Chargers make a deep playoff run, firing Staley would not be crazy. He takes too many ridiculous chances on 4th down deep in his own territory. It’s one thing to be bold. It’s another to be foolhardy. The Chargers also have very high expectations. They have a phenomenal quarterback and some play-makers on defense. An early playoff exit could expose him.

What will happen:

Staley stays. He will be on the hot seat unless the Chargers make a deep playoff run next year. Yet firing him at this stage with the team winning 10 games would be risky. 

Indianapolis Colts:

What should happen:

Saturday was a shocking interim hire given that he had never coached a pro or college game before. He was a studio analyst after his playing career ended. He described himself as a “leader of men.” After an emotional win in his debut, the Colts have lost 7 straight. They even sent an NFL record by blowing a 33-0 third quarter lead. 

What will happen:

Saturday is gone. The Rooney Rule requires minority candidates to be interviewed, and Saturday has just not shown that his tremendous skills as a center translate into the ability to coach. 

New Orleans Saints:

What should happen:

Dennis Allen is a terrific defensive coordinator who is not a head coach. He had a terrible record coaching the Raiders, although to be fair that roster was being deconstructed and reconstructed. Yet Jack Del Rio came in the next year and turned things around. Allen has been devastated by injuries to his quarterbacks.  

What will happen:

Allen will be given another year to see what he can do with a healthy Jameis Winston. If the team is healthy next year, Allen will be out of excuses. His coaching seat will be white hot.

Deserve to stay but will be fired: 

None.

Deserve to stay and will stay:

Carolina Panthers: Steve Wilks:

The players fight hard for him. The Panthers rebounded from a terrible start to the season under Matt Rhule to the brink of the playoffs. Wilks only went 2-14 in his lone season with the Cardinals, but he deserves in Carolina what he never got in Arizona: A chance to turn things around. The trends are positive. The Panthers have a good defense. Sam Darnold might be salvageable. Either way, Wilks deserves a chance to turn the Panthers into his team. His expertise is defense, so he needs to show he can build an offense. 

Closest of calls:

Arizona Cardinals: Kliff Kingsbury: 

The Cardinals began 10-2 last year before stumbling down the stretch and flaming out in the playoffs. This year they dropped from 11-6 to 4-12. Kyler Murray has been injured for parts of the year and has serious maturity issues. Yet Murray also has a fat guaranteed contract. If they cannot coexist, Kingsbury is gone. It is quite possible that NFL defenses have figured out Kingsbury’s offensive system. That frequently happens to college coaches unable to make the leap. Yet The 10-2 start in 2021 should be worth something. Give Kingsbury one more year to see if he can turn it around. The Cardinals were way too hasty in firing Steve Wilks and need to have some stability. If the Cardinals do not rebound next year, Kingsbury will be gone. He deserves to stay one more year.

Houston Texans: Lovie Smith:

The Texans last year won only 4 games. This year they are the worst team in the league and won only two games.  Yet the Texans just stunned Tennessee on the road and gave two of the toughest teams in the league in Dallas and Kansas City a real fight. Lovie Smith took the Bears to the Super Bowl. He was not given nearly enough time to turn the Buccaneers around, which was a mistake. The team fired David Culley last year after one season. Firing Smith after one season would be another dumb move. His defense fights hard. He does not have a top level quarterback. He deserves time to build an offense. This is a close call only because the Texans have made impetuous moves in recent years.

Washington Commanders: Ron Rivera:

This should not be a close call at all. Rivera is a very good coach and a fine leader of men. He is well respected in the community. He represents everything that is right about football. He even led the team last year while battling cancer. He does have to figure out the quarterback situation. Turning from Taylor Heinecke to Carson Wentz was a gamble that backfired on Riverboat Ron. The Commanders were 7-5-1 and in the playoff race before three straight losses knocked them out. The only reason he could be out is because the Commanders are dysfunctional front office mess. Owner Dan Snyder is finally selling the team, and a new owner might want a new coach. Rivera is the only thing respectable about management in DC. If he gets thrown under the bus, he will have other teams immediately trying to snap him up.  

Eating our words:

Cincinnati Bengals: Zac Taylor

In his first year, Taylor was 2-14. In his second year the Bengals improved to 4-11-1. Taylor was put in the category of “deserves to be fired but will stay.” Last year, with a healthy Joe Burrow, the Bengals were 10-6 and AFC North champions. They went to the Super Bowl and almost won it all. This year they have a very good shot at repeating as AFC North champs. They even have an outside shot at home field advantage throughout the entire playoffs. The critics (myself included) were wrong. Taylor can coach. This is old news from last year, but the error was so great it deserves to be repeated one more time. 

Lifetime contract to silence the critics:

Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Tomlin

Tomlin is not on any list of coaches being fired. However, in the past, he has been. That speculation needs to end permanently. In 15 years, Tomlin never had a losing season. This year the Steelers are 8-8. Their last game will tell if that streak continues. Yet with Ben Roethlisberger retired and Kenny Pickett a rookie, the Steelers started 2-6 and 3-7. Again, Tomlin turned them around. He wins with hard-nosed running and defense. The Rooney family should let him stay as long as he wants. At this point, they probably will. They are smart, patient owners, and their loyalty has been rewarded. Tomlin is as good as they get on and off the field. He is another guy who represents the best of football.

eric

NFC 2022-2023 Playoff Permutations and Combinations

January 5th, 2023

LOS ANGELES, January 4, 2023 — The first 17 weeks of the 2022 NFL regular season are in the history books. Week 18 is here. 

This week football jargon not used for 51 weeks is said over and over. We learn who controls their own destiny and who needs help making the playoffs. Some years it seems almost everybody has a shot at the playoffs. This year the NFC playoff picture has very few possibilities. Only one playoff spot remains for three teams. Everything else is a fight for seeding among teams that have already clinched playoff berths.

This brings my assessment of the 2022-2023 NFC playoff permutations and combinations.

Only the top seed with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs gets the first-round bye.

The AFC Playoff picture is a total mess due to reasons far bigger than football. Buffalo Bills defender Damar Hamlin had a heart attack this past Monday night when the Bills played the Cincinnati Bengals. He is in a hospital fighting for his life. More details about his situation will be dealt with in the AFC Playoff column. For now, this column only deals with the NFC. We all pray Mr. Hamlin gets better quickly. 

Now on to football itself, which can be a respite from the pain the real world brings. 

Six of the eight NFC Week 18 games have playoff implications.

In the NFC, three of the four divisions have already been clinched. Yet plenty is is up for grabs. The top seed is open. So is the final Wildcard, where three teams are fighting for the last spot.

Now for the NFC Playoff picture. 

1.) Philadelphia Eagles (13-3):

The Eagles currently have the best record in the conference and are the top seed. They have clinched a playoff spot but nothing else. They control their own destiny. If they win next week, they clinch the NFC East, the top seed, and home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a bye week. If they lose and Dallas wins, the Eagles lose the tie-breaker and fall all the way to the five seed. They would play a road game on Wildcard Weekend. If the Eagles and Dallas both lose, the Eagles still clinch the NFC East. If the Eagles, Dallas and San Francisco all lose, the Eagles still win the top seed. If the Eagles and Dallas both lose but San Francisco wins, the Eagles would fall to the two seed and play a home game on Wildcard Weekend. 

2.) San Francisco 49ers (12-4):

The 49ers have clinched the NFC West and are currently the two seed. If they win next week and Philadelphia loses, the 49ers move into the top spot with home field advantage throughout the playoffs. If the 49ers lose and Minnesota wins, the 49ers fall to the three seed. They cannot fall lower than the three seed.

3.) Minnesota Vikings (12-4):

The Vikings have clinched the NFC North and home field throughout the playoffs. Right now they are the three seed. They can finish no lower than the three seed. If they win next week, San Francisco loses, and Philadelphia wins the NFC East, the Vikings can move up to the two seed but no higher. If the Vikings win next week, San Francisco loses, but Dallas wins the NFC East, the Vikings stay at the three seed. The Vikings lose tie-breakers to both NFC East teams, so the top seed is out of reach. The Vikings will be hosting a game on Wildcard Weekend. 

4.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8):

The Buccaneers have clinched the NFC South and are locked into the four seed. The only reason they might not rest their starters is to avoid the ignominy of Tom Brady having his first ever losing season. 

5.) Dallas Cowboys (12-4):

The Cowboys are one game back in the NFC East and are currently the five seed. They cannot finish lower than that. If they win next week and Philadelphia loses, the Cowboys win the tie-breaker and clinch the NFC East to move up to the two seed. If the Cowboys win and Philadelphia and San Francisco both lose, the Cowboys move all the way up to the top seed and home field throughout the playoffs with a first round bye. 

6.) New York Giants (9-6-1):

The Buccaneers have clinched a Wildcard and are locked into the six seed. They might rest their starters in the regular season finale.  

7.) Green Bay Packers (8-8):

The Packers have not clinched anything. They can only make the playoffs as a Wildcard. Yet they control their own destiny. If they win next week, they clinch the seven seed. They can be no higher. Any Wildcard game they play would be on the road. If they lose, the Packers are out.

On the outside looking in:

8:) Seattle Seahawks (8-8):

The Seahawks are on the outside looking in. They can only make the playoffs as a Wildcard. Their only hope is to win next week and have Green Bay lose. If that happens, the Seahawks clinch the seven seed. They can be no higher. Any Wildcard game they play would be on the road. If they lose, the Seahawks are out.

9.) Detroit Lions (8-8)

The Lions are on the outside looking in. They can only make the playoffs as a Wildcard. Their only hope is to win next week and have Seattle lose. If that happens, the Lions clinch the seven seed. They can be no higher. Any Wildcard game they play would be on the road. If they lose, the Lions are out.

Here are the NFC games with playoff implications:

Minnesota Vikings (12-4) at Chicago Bears (3-13)

Dallas Cowboys (12-4) at Washington Commanders (7-8-1)

Arizona Cardinals (4-12) at San Francisco 49ers (12-4) 

Los Angeles Rams (5-11) at Seattle Seahawks (8-8) 

New York Giants (9-6-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

Detroit Lions (8-8) at Green Bay Packers (8-8) 

Predictions:

1.) Eagles 14-3 (The Giants may the rest their starters)

2.) 49ers 13-4 

3.) Vikings 13-4

4.) Buccaneers 9-8 (assuming they play their starters)

5.) Cowboys 13-4

6.) Giants 9-7-1 

7.) Packers 9-8 

Out: Seahawks 9-8, Lions 8-9

Wildcard Round: 

7.) Packers at 2.) 49ers

6.) Giants at 3.) Vikings

5.) Cowboys at 4.) Buccaneers

Divisional Round:

5.) Cowboys at 1.) Eagles

3.) Vikings at 2.) 49ers

NFC Title Game: 2.) 49ers at 1.) Eagles

The Eagles are a very shaky top seed, especially if Jalen Hurts cannot come back from injury. They are very beatable and could flame out in the Divisional Round. The 49ers have the most complete team in the NFC because of their nasty defense. The Cowboys have an explosive offense but at Philadelphia in the cold weather, the Eagles with Hurts would have the advantage. The Buccaneers and Packers barely made it, but do you want to bet against Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers?  The Packers are red hot but the one team that has tormented them the last few years is the 49ers, especially because of their defense. 

Because of that defense the 49ers will host the George Halas NFC Championship Trophy and reach the Super Bowl. Bringing home the Vince Lombardi Trophy will be very tough. The top AFC teams all match up well with them.

eric

NFL 2022 Week 17 Recap

January 1st, 2023

NFL 2022 Week 17 Recap

Dallas Cowboys at Tennessee Titans was the Thursday night game. The 11-4 Cowboys got a big emotional win over top seeded Philadelphia last week. The Titans started 7-3 but have since lost 5 straight. Ryan Tannehill is on injured reserve now and the Titans started 3rd string quarterback Joshua Dobbs. This was his first NFL start. The Cowboys took over at their own 45. Dak Prescott went to Dalton Schultz for 13. On 3rd and 5 from the Tennessee 37, Prescott went to TY Hilton for 7. Defensive pass interference added 14 more. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 4, one, and then the one yard touchdown to cap the 10 play, 60 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive and make it 7-0 Cowboys. The Cowboys moved from their own 35 to a 3rd and 1 at the Titans 15. Elliott got the carry but lost 3 yards. On the first play of the second quarter, Brett Maher hit a 36 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Cowboys.

The rest of the half was ugly as a pair of Prescott interceptions led to a pair Randy Bullock field goals from 37 and 29 to get the Titans within 10-6. In the third quarter the Cowboys faced 3rd and 4 at their own 17. Prescott hit Michael Gallup for 13. Defensive pass interference aded 9. On 3rd and 2 from their own 48, Elliott gained 4. On 3rd and 19 from their own 43, Prescott went bombs away incomplete but drew a 51 yard defensive pass interference call. On the next play Prescott went to Schultz to cap the 10 play, 89 yard drive and make it 17-6 Cowboys. The Titans soon faced 3rd and 6 from their own 33. Dobbs went to Burks for 21. Haskins ran for 12. On 4th and 2 from the Dallas 26, Mike Vrabel went for it and Haskins got just enough. On 3rd and 5 from the Dallas 20, Dobbs hit Robert Woods for 9. On 3rd and 6 from the Dallas 7, Dobbs hit Woods for the touchdown. The 14 play, 71 yard, 7 minute drive had the Titans right back in it only down 17-13 after three quarters.

The Cowboys soon faced 3rd and 10 from their own 25. Prescott went to Hilton for 28. A roughing the passer call to start the fourth quarter added 15 more. On 3rd and 2 from the Titans 18, Prescott hit Davis for 5. Prescott went to Schultz for a 10 yard touchdown to culminate the 10 play, 75 yard, 5 minute drive and make it 24-13 Cowboys with 12 minutes left in regulation. After that the Dallas defense clamped down. Maher tacked on a 45 yard field goal for the Cowboys with 6 1/2 minutes left. Dobbs was then intercepted. The Titans got it back and with 3:45 left faced 4th and 15 at the Dallas 47. Dobbs threw incomplete and the Titans lost their 6th straight to drop to 7-9. They still have a shot at winning their division, but they will need help. They even have a very outside sot at home field advantage. The Cowboys at 12-4 are in playoff mode.

Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons — A pair of bad teams played. After a touchback, the Cardinals moved to a 2nd and 1 at the Atlanta 10. James Conner gained 7, but offensive holding nullified the gain and killed the drive. The 14 play, 55 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive was capped by a 38 yard Matt Prater field goal to make it 3-0 Cardinals. The Falcons soon faced 3rd and 4 from their own 31. JJ Watt, who announced his retirement after the end of this season, jumped into the neutral zone. On 3rd and 1 from their own 45, Tyler Allgeier gained 5. On 3rd and 7 from the Arizona 37, Allgeier gained 9. On 4th and 1 from the Arizona 19, Arthur Smith went for it. Allgeier gained 14 and then ran for the 5 yard touchdown. The staggering 16 play, 75 yard drive took nearly 10 minutes off the clock and put the Falcons up 7-3 early in the second quarter.

The Falcons got it back at their own 11 and immediately fumbled the ball away. The Cardinals took over at the Atlanta 8. Two plays later Blough hit McBride for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 10-7 Cardinals. The Falcons after a touchback moved 66 yards in 12 plays and 7 minutes. Yet on 4th and 2 from the Arizona 9, this time Arthur Smith’s gamble saw Ridder throw incomplete. The Cardinals punted on 4th and 6 from their own 14. The Falcons blocked the punt and took over at the Arizona 5. One play later, Cordarelle Patterson got in to make it 14-10 Cardinals with 1:47 left in the half. The Cardinals moved from their own 20 to the Atlanta 18. Only 2 seconds remained, Prater hit from 36 to end the half with the Cardinals within 14-13. In the third quarter a punt pined the Cardinals at their own one yard line. They moved 81 yards in 11 plays. On 2nd and 8 from the Atlanta 18, Blough threw incomplete twice. Prater hit again from 36 to make it 16-14 Cardinals.

The Cardinals got it back at their own 15 and moved to a 4th and 1 at the Atlanta 44 early in the fourth quarter. Kliff Kingsbury went for it and Clement got stopped for not gain. The Falcons from that spot moved to a 3rd and 5 at the Arizona 9. Ridder threw incomplete. Younghoe Koo hit the 27 yard field goal to put the Falcons up 17-16 with 9 1/2 minutes left. After a touchback, the Cardinals moved to a 1st and 10 at the Atlanta 32. Consecutive offensive penalties killed the drive. Kliff Kingsbury gambled on a 57 yard field goal try. Prater delivered to put the Cardinals up 19-17 with 5 minutes left. After a touchback, Patterson ran for gains of 7 and 22. Ridder hit London for 10. On 3rd and 7 from the Arizona 27, Ridder hit Pruitt for 14. With one minute left, the Falcons fced 3rd and 2 at the Arizona 5. If the Cardinals got a top, they could get the ball back with maybe enough time for one or two plays. Instead, Allgeier gained 3. The Falcons took the clock down to 2 seconds. Koo’s field goal try from 21 yards out was good. 20-19 Falcons

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions — The 7-8 Lions stumbled last week but needed only a win over the lowly Bears to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Bears began with 3rd and 9 from their own 26Justin Fields ran for 8 with defensive holding adding 5 more. On 3rd and 1 from their own 48, Cole Kmet took the direct snap and handed it to Fields, who got around the end for a 31 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the Detroit 13, Fields went to Kmet for the touchdown to make it 7-0 Bears. The Lions soon faced 3rd and 4 from their own 31. Jared Goff went to Amra St. Brown for 28. Dan Campbell went for it on 4th and 4 at the Chicago 35. Goff went deep incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 34 yard gain down to the one. Goff hit Wright for a 2 yard touchdown and a 7-7 game. The Bears soon faced 3rd and 4 from their own 31. Fields broke free for a 60 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 2, Fields was sacked. Cairo Santos hit a 23 yard field goal to make it 10-7 Bears after the first quarter. After that, the Lions took over.

After a touchback Williams gained 14. Goff went deep to DJ Chark for 28. The second quarter began with Deandre Swift running for a 17 yard touchdown to make it 14-10 Lions. The Lions got it back at their own 37. Williams ripped off a pair of 7 yard gains. Goff hit Williams for 13. On 3rd and 1 from the Chicago 27, Goff gained 2. Goff went to raymond for 9 and to Wright for the 9 yard touchdown to make it 21-10 Lions. After a touchback, he Bears took over at their own 48. Fields was hit and fumbled. The Lions recovered at midfield. With 17 seconds left in the half the Lions faced 4th and 1 at the Chicago 4. This time Dan Gamble decided no to gamble. mike Badgley hit a 23 yard field goal to make it 24-10 Lions. The Lions began the third quarter facing 3rd and 18 from their own 17. Swift ran for a 35 yard gain and Williams ran for 40 more. Williams ran for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 31-10 Lions. The Lions got it back at their own 8. Goff went to Chark for 28 and St.. Brown for 11. Swift gained 9. Goff went to Raymond for 16 and to Swift for a 21 yard touchdown. The 92 yard drive meant a 38-10 Lions lead after three quarters. The Lions added a fourth quarter field goal as 34 unanswered points kept the Lions alive in the playoff race. 41-10 Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans — The 7-8 Jaguars fought back to tie reeling Tennessee atop the AFC South. With Tennessee having lost on Thursday, the Jaguars with a win would take a lead in the AFC South. The Texans only won twice all year, but one of those wins was last week at Tennessee. The Texans moved from their own 26 to a 4th and 1 at their own 45. Despite failing to convert on 3rd and 1, Lovie Smith gambled in his own territory. Despite Davis Mills starting, Jeff Driskel came in for this play and got stopped cold. With a short field, Trevor Lawrence went to Christian Kirk for 13. Travis Etienne gained 9 and 4. Lawrence hit Jones for 14. Hasty ran for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Jaguars. In the second quarter the Jaguars took over at their own 38. Etienne immediately ripped off a 62 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Jaguars. Two plays later, Mills was sacked and fumbled. Campbell recovered it and returned it 12 yards for a defensive touchdown and a 21-0 Jaguars lead. In the third quarter the Jaguars faced 2nd and 13 at their own 22. Lawrence threw incomplete but defensive holding meant an automatic first down. Lawrence hit Evan Engram for 16 and Jones for 17. On 3rd and 7 from the Houston 36, Lawrence hit Hasty for 11. Lawrence went Jones for 15. Conner ran for the 3 yard touchdown as the 11 play, 75 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive made it 28-0 Jaguars. Each team added a field goal to complete the scoring. Up by 28, Doug Pederson benched Lawrence to keep him healthy for a big game next week. If the 8-8 Jaguars beat Tennessee next week, the Jaguars win the AFC South. 31-3 Jaguars

 

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs — The 12-3 Chiefs are tied with Buffalo for the conference lead but do not hold the tie-breaker. To keep pace, they needed only to beat a terrible Broncos team that lost by 37 last week and finally put Nathaniel Hackett out of his misery. The Chiefs began facing 3rd and 2 a their own 43. Patrick Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for 4. Walrus Andy Reid went for it on 4th and 1 from the Denver 44. Mahomes hit Kelce for 10, McKinnon for 11, and Moore for 18. Pacheco ran for a 5 yard touchdown. Andy Reid for some reason tried a fake 2 point conversion try that failed as the Chiefs led 6-0.The Broncos moved from their own 21 on a 14 play, 49 yard, 7 minute drive. On 2nd and 6 from the Chiefs 30, Russell Wilson threw incomplete twice. Brandon McManus hit a 49 yard field goal to get the Broncos within 6-3 in the second quarter. With 5 minutes left in the half, the Chiefs fumbled a punt and the Broncos recovered at the Chiefs 16. One play and 5 seconds later, Wilson got around the end for the touchdown and the 10-6 Broncos lead.

After a touchback, Mahomes went to Toney for 27. Mahomes then went to McKinnon for 28. On 3rd and 7 from the Denver 15, Mahomes threw incomplete but defensive holding meant an automatic first down. Mahomes hit McKinnon for 4 and again for a 6 yard touchdown to make it 13-10 Chiefs. The Chiefs recovered a fumble late in the half but missed a field goal to end the half. In the third quarter the Broncos took over at their own 37. Latavius Murray gained 5, 7, 19 and 5. Wilson went to Okwuegbunam for a 25 yard touchdown. With 6 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, the Broncos led 17-13 and were smelling upset.

The Chiefs took over at their own 35. From midfield, Mahomes hit Juju Smith-schuster for 11 and Marques Valdes-Scantling for 22. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Mahomes went to Bell for a 17 yard touchdown to make it 20-17 Chiefs. One play after a touchback, Wilson was intercepted by Sneed, who returned the pick 25 yards to the Denver 17. Mahomes went to Pacheco for 9 and to McKinnon for a 3 yard touchdown. The Chiefs led 27-17 with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation. After a touchback, Murray gained 11. On 3rd and 6 from their own 40, Wilson threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 7 more yards. On 4th and 7 from the Chiefs 40 midway through the fourth quarter, the Broncos were down to their last gasp. Under heavy pressure Wilson was intercepted, but defensive illegal use of hands meant 1st and 10 for the offense. Wilson went to Jeudy for 7, Saubert for 8 and Okwuegbnuam for 16. Wilson ran for a 4 yard touchdown to get the Broncos within 3 with 6:14 to play. The Broncos got it back at their own 26 and moved to a 4th and 2 at their own 45 with 1:20 to play needing only a field goal to tie the game. Wilson was sacked. The 13-3 Chiefs with a win next week will have a shot at home field advantage throughout the playoffs, making Andy Reid a most happy Walrus indeed. 27-24 Chiefs

 

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots — The Dolphins were cruising toward the playoffs at 8-3 before collapsing and losing 4 straight to fall to 8-7. The would still make the playoffs by winning their last 2 games. Yet with Tua Tagovailoa injured, Teddy Bridgewater got the start. The 7-8 Patriots with a loss would be out but with a win this and next week would be in the playoffs. The Patriots faced 3rd and 5 from their own 24. Mac Jones threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 9 yard gain. Jones went deep to Thornton for 24. and Jakobi Meyers for 17. On 3rd and 2 from the Miami 16, Jones threw incomplete but defense holding meant another first down. On 3rd and 6 from the Miami 7, Jones went to Thornton for the touchdown. The 10 play, 81 yard drive made it 7-0 Patriots.

The Dolphins soon faced 4th and 1 from their own 34. Mike McDaniel lined up to go for it but a false start killed the try. Yet on 4th and 6, the Patriots ran into the punter. That made it 4th and 1. McDaniel attempted to gamble again and this time Wilson gained 2. On 3rd and 6 from their own 40, Bridgewater hit Wilson for 13. Bridgewater went to Tyreek Hill for 19 and Mike Gesicki for 14. On the first play of the second quarter Hill ran for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 7-7. The Dolphins missed a chance to take the lead when a 51 yard field goal try by Jason Sanders was no good. A field position game in the third quarter gave the Dolphins a short field at the New England 41. Bridgewater went to Jalen Waddle for 23. Wilson ran for 9. Bridgewater hit Raheem Moster for a 2 yard touchdown as the Dolphins led 14-7 on the road.

The Patriots moved from their own 18 to a 3rd and 6 at the Miami 32. A false start killed the drive. Nick Folk hit a 49 yard field goal to get the Patriots within 14-10. The Dolphins soon faced 3rd and 15 from their own 24. Bridgewater was intercepted by Kyle Duggar, who returned the pick 39 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Patriots led 16-14 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter. Bridgewater was injured on the play. 3rd string quarterback Skylar Thompson played the rest of the game. The Patriots took over at their own 11 with 9 1/2 minutes left. Jones hit Kendrick Bourne for 16, to Rhamondre Stevenson for 5, and Jakobi Meyers for 25. Stevenson gained 8. On 3rd and 5 from the Miami 27, Jones threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 22 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the one, Jones went to Meyers for the touchdown. The 11 play, 89 yard, 5 minute drive had the Patriots up 23-14 with 4 1/2 minutes left. The Dolphins turned it over on downs, but then the Patriots did as well. The Dolphins took over at their own 39 with 2 1/2 minutes left. Thompson hit Gesicki for a 4 yard touchdown to cap the 61 yard drive to get the Dolphins within 2 with one minute left. Yet the onside kick failed. Both teams are 8-8. The Dolphins 5th straight loss means they need to win and get help to make the playoffs. The Patriots control their own destiny. Win next week and they are in. 23-21 Patriots

Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants — The Giants at 8-6-1 would make the playoffs with a win at home over the lowly Colts. The Colts moved from their own 20 to a 4th and 1 at the Giants 5. Jeff Saturday decided not to gamble. Chase McLaughlin hit the 23 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Colts. In the second quarter the Giants exploded. From their own 29, Saquon Barkley ran for 5, Matt Breida added 8, Barkley gained 5 more, and Jones added 5. The Giants kept running to start the second quarter as Barkley gained 7 and 19. After 7 straight runs, Jones hit Isaiah Hodgins for 12. On 3rd and goal at the 6, Jones hit Richie James for the touchdown to make it 7-3 Giants. The Giants got it back at their own 36. On 3rd and 6 from their own 45, Jones went to Bellinger for 10. Jones ran for 13. Jones went back to Bellinger for 24. Jones went to Hodgins for a 6 yard touchdown. After a touchback the Colts soon faced 3rd and 11 at their own 46. Nick Foles was intercepted by Landon Collins, who returned it 52 yards to pay dirt and a 21-3 Giants lead.

The Giants got it back at their own 39 with 46 seconds left in the half. They moved to a 1st and 10 at the Indianapolis 18 with 14 seconds left. Jones threw incomplete twice. Graham Gano hit a 36 yard field goal to make it 24–3 Giants at the half. The Giants immediately fumbled in the third quarter, but the Colts went nowhere and missed a field goal. The Giants took over at their own 38. Jones went to James for 28 and Bellinger for 8. Jones ran for an 18 yard touchdown. 31 unanswered points had the Giants cruising up 31-3. The Colts managed a 16 play, 68 yard, 8 1/2 minute touchdown drive, but ball control power football is not helpful when you’re down by 28. The Giants moved 70 yards and Jones ran for a 10 yard touchdown with 12 minutes left in regulation to complete the scoring. The 9-6-1 Giants under 1st year head coach Brian Daboll are in the playoffs for the first time since 2016. 38-10 Giants

New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles — The 13-1 Eagles were cruising toward home field advantage throughout the playoffs before stumbling last week at Dallas. Jalen Hurts was out for the second straight week. Gardner Minshew played well in that losing effort and got the start again. They needed to beat a 6-9 Saints team on life support. After a touchback, Red Rifle Andy Dalton went right to work, hit Chris Olave for 16. On 3rd and 4 from their own 47, Dalton went to Johnson for 10. On 3rd and 3 from the Philadelphia 36, Dalton went to Olave for 8. On 3rd and 1 from the Philly 19, Prentice gained 2. On 3rd and 3 from the Philly 10, Taysom Hill only gained one. Dennis Allen gambled on 4th and 2. Hill gained 8. Hill got the last yard as the 15 play, 75 yard, 9 minute drive made it 7-0 Saints. Dennis Allen’s defense was suffocating. In the second quarter Wil Lutz hit a 54 yard field goal. The Saints got it back at their own 30 and moved to a 3rd and goal at the one. Hill lost a yard. Lutz hit from 20 as the Saints took a 13-0 lead to the locker rooms in front of a stunned home Philadelphia crowd.

In the third quarter the Eagles moved from their own 9 to a 2nd and 2 at the Saints 26. A run lost a yard. On 3rd and 4, Kenneth Gainwell ran for a 28 yard touchdown. Yet offensive holding nullified the score and killed the drive. Jake Elliott drilled a 56 yard field goal to get the Eagles within 13-3. The Eagles got it back at their own 4 yard line. Minshew hit Smith for 12 and 6. Minshew then went deep to AJ Brown for a 78 yard touchdown. Just like that, the Eagles were within 13-10 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter the defenses dug in. The Eagles faced 4th and 1 at midfield with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Kevin Sirianni went for it. Minshew kept it and got stopped for no gain. The Eagles got it back at their own 9. From his own 11, Minshew’s swing pass was intercepted by Marshon Lattimore, who strolled 12 yards into the end zone for the touchdown dagger with 5 1/2 minutes left. Despite the win, the Saints were eliminated from the playoffs due to other results on the day. Despite 2 straight losses, the 13-3 Eagles still win the NFC East and clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win next week. A loss could send them all the way down to the Wildcard spot. 20-10 Eagles

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — The 7-8 Buccaneers took on the 6-9 Panthers. A Buccaneers win would give them the NFC South crown. A Panthers win and a win next week would make the Panthers NFC South champs. In 23 years, Tom Brady has never had a losing season. After a touchback, Sam Darnold on the first play fro scrimmage went deep to DJ Moore for 26 yards. Darnold went to Smith for 11. On 2nd and 5 from the Tampa 23, Darnold threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 6 yards. Darnold went to Tommy Tremble for a 17 yard touchdown for a 7-0 Panthers lead. The Buccaneers wasted a 14 play drive when Ryan Succop missed a 53 yard field goal in the second quarter. The Panthers took over at their own 43. Darnold hit Marshall for 14. On 4th and 3 from the Tampa 36, Steve Wilks went for it. Darnold hit Moore for 7. On 3rd and 5 from the Tampa 24, Darnold went to Moore for the touchdown. Midway through the second quarter, the Panthers led 14-0.

The Buccaneers would face 3rd and 5 from their own 25. Brady went to Chris Godwin for 12. The Panthers defense had been suffocating for 27 minutes, but one big play turned the game around. Brady went bombs away to Mike Evans for a 63 yard touchdown as the Buccaneers were within 14-7 with 2:10 left in the half. The Buccaneers took over at the Carolina 13. On 3rd and 1 from the Carolina 4, Brady threw incomplete. Succop hit from 22 to get the Buccaneers within 14-10 at the half. In the third quarter the Buccaneers from their own 2 yard line moved 90 yards in 15 plays and 7 over minutes. On 2nd and goal at the 8, Brady threw incomplete twice. Succop’s 26 yard field goal try was blocked as the Buccaneers again came up empty. The Panthers took over at their own 9. Donta Foreman ran for 6 and 7. Darnold went deep to Moore for 47. On 1st and 20 from the Tampa 41 after offensive holding, defensive holding meant a new set of downs. Darnold went to Moore for 14. The first three quarters were quiet. The fourth quarter was wild and began with Darnld hitting Smith for a 19 yard touchdown and a 21-10 Panthers lead.

After a touchback, the Buccaneers struck quickly. Defensive pass interference meant 14 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from their own 43 Brady went deep again to Evans for a 57 yard touchdown. The 2 point conversion try failed but the Patriots were within 21-16. The Buccaneers got it back at their own 8. Brady went to Godwin for 11 and 8 and to Leonard Fournette for 11. Brady went to Russell Gage for 21, to Cade Otton for 12, and to Evans yet again for a 30 yard touchdown. This time Brady hit Godwin for the 2 point conversion to make it 24-21 Buccaneers. With 2 1/2 minutes left in regulation the Panthers faced 1st and 10 from their own 13. Darnold was sacked and fumbled. The Buccaneers recovered at the Carolina 6. Two plays later Brady ran for a one yard touchdown. The extra point failed but 20 unanswered points made it 30-21 Buccaneers with 1:58 left. After a touchback, the Panthers quickly moved to a 2nd and 15 at the Tampa 31. Needing 2 scores with one minute left, Steve Wilks went with the field goal. Eddie Pineiro hit from 49, but the onside kick failed. The Panthers are out of the playoffs. The 8-8 Buccaneers clinched the NFC South. Brady is playoff bound again even if he ends up with a loss next week and a losing season. Darnold was 23 of 37 for 341 yards,3 touchdowns and one interception, but Brady was 34 of 45 for 432 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. 30-24 Buccaneers

Cleveland Browns at Washington Commanders — The 7-7-1 Commanders came in having lost 2 straight and barely alive in the playoff race. All they needed to do was at home beat the lowly Browns. After benching Taylor Heinecke last week, Ron Rivera decided to start Carson Wentz this week. A first quarter interception of Wentz gave the Browns the ball at the Washington 36. On 3rd and 5 from the Washington 19, Deshaun Watson threw incomplete. Cade York hit the 37 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Browns. Commanders moved from their own 22 to a 4th and 1 at the Cleveland 40. Riverboat Ron went for it and Williams got stopped for a one yard loss. Wentz threw another interception but the Commanders got the ball back in the second quarter at their own 4 yard line. On 3rd and 1 from their own 13, Robinson gained 5. On 3rd and 2 from his own 26, Williams gained 12. On 3rd and 17 from their own 31, Went hit Jahan Dotson for 20. Robinson gained 9 and 4. On 3rd and 5 from the Cleveland 32, Wentz hit Logan Thomas for 15. On 3rd and 4 from the Cleveland 11, Wentz hit Thomas for 6. On 3rd and goal at the one, Robinson got stopped. Riverboat Ron went for it again with 21 seconds.left in the half. Wentz got in. This was drive of the year. 21…yes, 21…plays. 96 yards. 11 1/2 minutes. The Commanders led 7-3 at the intermission.

In the third quarter the Browns took over at their own 37. Watson hit Bryant for 7 and ran for gains of 4 and 5. On 3rd and 5 from the Washington 46, Watson went to Amari Cooper for the touchdown and the 10-7 Commanders lead. The Browns got it back at their own 16. Nick Chubb gained 9, 7 and 6. Ford gained 9. On 3rd and 9 from their own 48, Watson hit Cooper for 26. On 2nd and 19 from the Washington 35, Watson went to David Njoku for 21. On 3rd and 9 from the Washington 13, Watson went to Donovan Peoples-Jones for the touchdown as the Browns led 17-7 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter the Commanders after a touchback moved to a 3rd and 5 at the Cleveland 24. A completion by Wentz lost a yard. Joey Slye hit a 43 yard field goal to get the Commanders within 17-10. After a touchback, Watson ran for 21. On 4th and 1 from the Washington 45, Kevin Stefanski went for it Jacoby Brissett gained 2. Chubb gained 8 and 2. Watson went to Cooper for a 33 yard touchdown with 5 1/2 minutes left to ice the game. Wentz added another interception as both teams were eliminated from contention. 24-10 Browns

 

San Francisco 49ers at Las Vegas Raiders — All the 11-4 49ers needed to do to keep cruising toward the playoffs was beat a 6-9 Raiders team that was setting itself on fire. The Raiders have blown multiple fourth quarter leads this year The Raiders under 1st year head coach and perpetual egomaniac Josh McDaniels have set an NFL record by blowing 4 double digit leads in one season. McDaniels’s stubborn refusal to run the ball to close out games is why the Raiders keep losing. Despite having the league leading rusher in Josh Jacobs, McDaniels fails to pound the rock. He wears out his own defense instead of the opposing defense. McDaniels decided to blame his own failures on quarterback Derek Carr. McDaniels threw Carr under the bus and benched him for the final 2 games. Carr left team headquarters and will most likely never play for the silver and black again. Carr has bailed out the Raiders many times over his 9 years with the team while the Raiders have had the NFL’s worst defense. Carr holds the franchise records in team history yet somehow McDaniels decided to replace Carr with Jarrett Stidham, who has never started an NFL game before. 

The 49ers somehow managed to be offside on the opening kickoff as the Raiders began at their own 30. Jarrett Stidham on his first play found Foster Moreau for a 20 yard gain. Stidham then went to Jacobs for 14. On 3rd and 2 from the San Francisco 24, Stidham went deep to Darren Waller for the touchdown. The Riders had the quick 7-0 lead. The 49ers took over at their own 33. Christian McCaffrey gained 11 and 5. On 3rd and 3 from the Raiders 37, McCaffrey ripped off a 37 yard gain. Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy hit Brandon Aiyuk for a 2 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7. After a touchback, the Raiders moved 74 yard in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Yet on 3rd and goal at the one, rather than ru the ball, Josh McDaniels insisted on throwing. Stidham threw incomplete. Then on 4th and goal at the one, McDaniels surrendered. Daniel Carlson hit the 20 yard field goal for the 10-7 Raiders lead.

The 49ers soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. McCaffrey gained 2. The second quarter began with the 49ers facing 3rd and 6 at their own 40. Purdy threw incomplete, but defensive pass interference meant a 13 yard gain. Defensive pass interference on the very next play added 12 more yards. On 3rd and 5 from the Raiders 30, Purdy hit McCaffrey for 6. Purdy hit George Kittle for 9. Kyle Juszczyk for 9. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Purdy hit Kittle for the touchdown. The 13 play, 75 yard, 7 minute drive made it 14-10 49ers. After a touchback, the Raiders moved 73 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. This time on 4th and 1 from the San Francisco 2 yard line, Josh McDaniels did gamble. Giving the ball to Jacobs up the middle was the right call, but Jacobs got stopped cold for no gain. 

The Raiders defense forced a 3 and out and the Raiders got the ball back with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half with a short field at the San Francisco 44. Stidham hot Jacobs for 7 and Hunter Renfrow for 12. On 3rd and 2 from the San Francisco 8, Stidham gained 4. With 10 seconds left in the half, stidham threw a fade to the end zone for Davante Adams. The best receiver in the league out-jumped the defender and somehow got both feet down inbounds. The touchdown gave the Raiders the 17-14 halftime lead. The third quarter began with the Raiders forcing another 3 and out. The Raiders took over at their own 16. Stidham immediately fumbled the snap but fell on it. On 3rd and 11, Stidham hit Renfrow for only 4 yards, but a defensive facemask penalty on Fred Warner gifted the Raiders 15 yards and kept the drive going. On 3rd and 4 from their own 40, Stidham rolled all the way to his left. The defense broke contain and Adams got behind the defense. Adams immediately put his hand in the air and Stidham unleashed a bomb just before getting belted. Adams hauled it in for a 60 yard touchdown. After 35 minutes of football, the Raiders had a 24-14 lead. They had out-played the best defense in the NFL. Now the question would be if they could finish a game or if this was more of the same.

After a touchback, Purdy hit McCaffrey for 7, Aiyuk for 5, and McCaffrey again for 15. After offensive holding meant 1st and 20, Purdy hit Jennings for 18. Aiyuk gained 16. McCaffrey ran for a 4 yard touchdown. The 75 yard, 5 minute drive had the 49ers within 24-21. Rather than try and run the ball, Josh McDaniels insisted on throwing.. Stidham threw incomplete and the Raiders were on their way to a 3 and out. The 49ers moved from their own 14 to midfield. Purdy went deep and was intercepted by Amik Robertson. The Raiders took over at their own 18. Stidham went deep to Waller for 24. Jacobs gained 4 and 5. On 3rd and 1 just past midfield, Stidham gained 3. The Raiders began the fourth quarter with 1st and 10 at the San Francisco 46. The running game was working. Yet for the billionth time this season, McDaniels abandoned the run. Stidham threw deep incomplete. On the next play Stidham went over the middle was intercepted as the Raiders gave the ball right back. 

The 49ers took over with a short field at the Raiders 42. On 2n and 7 from the Raiders 25, Purdy threw incomplete twice. Kyle Shanahan also has a bad habit of abandoning the run with a lead in the fourth quarter, and it has cost him on the biggest stage on multiple occasions. Robbie Gould hit a 43 yard field goal to tie the game 24-24 with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The Raiders after a touchback managed one first down but then suffered a delay of game penalty for having 12 men in the offensive huddle. 1st and 15 put the Raiders behind the 8 ball and they punted again. The 49ers moved from their own 35 to a 3rd and 4 at the Raiders 6 yard line. Purdy threw incomplete. The Raiders needed a big stop and got it. Yet Gould hit a 24 yard field goal. With 6:44 left, the 49ers led 27-24. Again, the Raiders had blown a fourth quarter lead. Again, the Raiders had blown a double digit lead. 

After a touchback, Stidham went to Moreau for 21 and again for 14. Yet on 1st and 10 from the San Francisco 39, Josh McDaniels again refused to run the ball. Stidham threw incomplete followed by a false start. With 4 minutes left, Carlson came in for a 57 yard field goal try to tie the game. One of the best kickers in the league drilled it for a 27-27 tie. Now it was up to the Raiders defense to get a stop. They could not. After a touchback, Purdy went to Aiyuk for 23 and McCaffrey for a 38 yard gain. With 2 1/2 minutes left the 49ers had 1st and 10 at the Raiders 14. If the 49ers got one more first down, they could take the clock down to near zero and kick a chip shot field goal for a 30-27 win at the gun. It did not come down to that. Jordan Mason got the ball and ran all the way for the touchdown. The 49ers led 34-27, but the Raiders still had 2:17 left to try and tie the game. This was not a brilliant defensive strategy. The Raiders defense is just that awful. Now it was up to a quarterback starting his very first game.

After a touchback, Stidham went to Mack Hollins for 21 as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. Offensive holding had the Raiders facing 1st and 20 from their own 36. Stidham under heavy pressure then went bombs away just before getting belted. The ball was underthrown but Adams made an acrobatic diving one-handed catch going to the ground. Now the Raiders had 1st and 10 at the Frisco 19. Stidham went to the end zone incomplete but defensive pass interference on Warner meant 1st and goal at the one. This time Josh McDaniels kept it basic. Jacobs banged into the end zone standing up. McDaniels also decided not to go crazy with a 2 point conversion try. Carlson nailed the extra point. The game was tied 34-34. Yet the Raiders left 1:11, way too much time on the clock. 

As expected, the Raiders defense melted down. After a touchback, Purdy went to Aiyuk for gains of 12, 18 and 11. With 26 seconds left, the 49ers were looking at a 52 yard field goal try. They still had one timeout left, which meant a safe run with a few more yards would be the smart call. Yet Kyle Shanahan refuses to run when he should run. Purdy rolled out to pass and got belted just as he threw. A wounded duck flew in the air and would have been intercepted had any of the Raiders defenders been looking for the ball. Instead, Aiyuk caught it for 11 more yards. The 49ers let the clock tick down to 2 seconds left. Gould came in for a 41 yard field goal try to win it. The Raiders needed an absolute miracle. 

They got one. Gould was wide, no good. This game was going to overtime, where the Raiders were 3-0 on the season. The Raiders won the coin toss. After a touchback, Jacobs ripped off gains of 9 and 6. The Raiders were at their own 40. Jacobs got a third straight carry and got stopped. Yet on 2nd and 10 it would have been perfectly reasonable to give him a fourth straight carry. Yet Josh McDaniels will abandon the run every single time at the slightest hint of adversity. Stidham went back to pass and got hit as soon as he threw the ball. This time it was his wounded duck floating helplessly in the year. The 49ers got a miracle catch on their own. The Raiders did not. Gipson intercepted the ball and returned it 56 yards to the Raiders 3 yard line. At this point Kyle Shanahan took no chances. He had Purdy take a knee just to center the ball. Gould came in for the 23 yard field goal try to redeem himself. Gould was good. The Raiders were out of miracles, out of luck, and out of the playoffs at 6-10. The 12-4 49ers won their 9th straight game and have an outside shot at home field throughout the playoffs.

The Raiders might be blown to pieces in the offseason. Carr is likely gone. Jacobs is an unrestricted free agent because Josh McDaniels foolishly declined his 5th year option before the season started. Adams may want out because he only came to the Raiders to play with his best friend Carr. Stidham had a good game for three quarters and threw for 365 yards and 3 touchdown passes. Yet when it mattered, Stidham had 2 killer interceptions, one or two other balls that should have been intercepted, and a fumbled snap. The defense is as awful as ever. The team that made the playoffs last year is dead in the water, going from winning 10 games to losing at least 10. The cause of this destruction is McDaniels, but he seems to be the only one who is safe. He is only one year into a 4 year contract. He will convince Mark Davis that he needs better players, especially at quarterback. Yet Jack Del Rio, Jon Gruden and Rich Bisaccia all won with Carr. McDaniels has never had a winning season as a head coach. Although this loss was on the first day of 2023, the Raiders are expected to be a mess until McDaniels is fired. The Raiders lost their 5th game when leading by double digits. They lost their 6th fourth quarter lead. McDaniels is all talk, but Al Davis’s motto is “Just win, baby.” McDaniels loses and blames the quarterback. The Raider Nation needs to keep Carr and get rid of McDaniels. If they get this backward, they will remain a backward franchise. 37-34 49ers, OT  

 

New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks — Both teams came in 7-8 and knowing a loss would eliminate them playoff contention. Geno Smith and Pete Carroll got to face off against their old team. The Seahawks began at their own 27. On the first play of th game, Kenneth Walker ran for a 60 yard gain. On the 3rd play, Smith hit Colby Parkinson for a 12 yard touchdown. Just like that, the Seahawks led 7–0. An interception of Mike White was returned by Diggs 27 yards to the Seattle 37. The Seahawks moved to a 2nd and goal at the 4. A run lost 2 yards and Smith then threw incomplete. Jason Myers hit a 25 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Seahawks. The Jets managed a 44 yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein, but the Seahawks took control in the second quarter. On 3rd and 3 from their own 32, Smith threw incomplete but the defense jumped offside fr a key first down. Smith went to Tyler Lockett for 8. Smith went deep to Dallas for a 41 yard gain. The second quarter began with Smith hitting Tyler Mabry for a 7 yard touchdown and a 17-3 Seahawks lead. The Jets managed another 44 yard field goal midway through the second quarter, but nothing else. In the third quarter Zuerlein missed from 57. The Seahawks defense clamped down. Myers hit from 31 in the third quarter, missed from 41 in the fourth quarter, and hit from 31 again in the fourth quarter. The 8-8 Seahawks can make the playoffs next week with a win and some help. The 7-9 Jets are out. The Jets once fired Carroll and got rid of Smith. 23-6 Seahawks

 

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers — The 12-3 Vikings have been cruising toward the playoffs. The Packers were left for dead at 4-8 but then won 3 straight. At 7-8, the Packers were very much alive but would be knocked out with a loss. 3 minutes into the game the Packers suffered a blocked punt. The Vikings had 1st and goal at the one. Kirk Cousins threw incomplete. Dalvin Cook got stopped for no gain and then lost a yard. On 4th and goal at the 2, Kevin O’Connell had seen enough. Greg Joseph hit the 21 yard field goal. The Vikings led 3-0, but this was a victory for the Packers. 13 seconds later the Packers had another special teams situation, but with much better results. Keisean Nixon returned the ensuing kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown. The Packers led 7-3 and spent the rest of the game carpet-bombing the Vikings into submission. After the Packers gave it up on downs at their own 45, the Vikings faced 4th and 2 at the Green Bay 37. This time O’Connell gambled, with disastrous results. Cousins was intercepted by Darnell Savage, who returned the interception 76 yards for a touchdown. Without any offensive points, the Packers led 14-3 after the first quarter.

Things got worse for the Vikings. Jospeh missed a 46 yard field goal. The Packers from their own 36 moved 56 yards in 14 plays and 7 minutes. On 4th and goal at the 3 in the second quarter, Matt LaFleur lined up to go for it. A delay of game ended the chance. Mason Crosby hit the 26 yard field goal to make it 17-3 Packers. The Vikings moved from their own 29 to the Green Bay 31. Cousins was intercepted by Amos, who returned the pick 26 yards to his own 40. On 3rd and 1, Aaron Jones got around the end for a 31 yard gain. On 2nd and 11 from the Minnesota 21, Rodgers went to Robert Tonyan for the touchdown to make it 24-3 Packers. With 41 seconds left in the half, more misery for the Vikings saw Joseph miss again from 50. It was Crosby who hit from 56 as the Packers led 27-3 at the half. In the third quarter the Vikings moved from their own 16 to the Green Bay 15. Cousins was sacked and fumbled. The Packers moved 76 yards and Dillon ran for a 2 yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 34-3 Packers. One play after a touchback, Cousins was intercepted. A short field at the Minnesota 45 led to 3rd and goal at the 2. Rodgers ran it in to make it 41-3 Packers. A few weeks ago the Vikings made NFL history by coming back from 33 points down. This week down 38, they did manage 2 touchdowns but nothing more. At 12-4 the Vikings are in the playoffs but looking vulnerable. The 8-8 Packers now control their own destiny. If they win, they are in the playoffs. 41-17 Packers

 

Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Chargers — The 9-6 Chargers are in the playoffs and the Rams are out. The Rams from their own 14 moved to a 2nd and goal at the 4. Yet a run lost a yard and Baker mayfield threw incomplete. Matt Gay hit the 23 yard field goal. The 13 play, 81 yard, 8 minute drive made it 3-0 Rams. After a touchback, Justin Herbert hit Mike Williams for 26. Kelley ran for 12. The second quarter began with Austin Ekeler running for 8. Herbert hit Williams for 19. Ekeler ran for a 10 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Chargers. The Chargers got it back and faced 3rd and 7 from their own 13. Herbert hit Keenan Allen for 10. Ekeler then broke free for a 72 yard touchdown run and a 14-3 Chargers lead. After a touchback, Mayfield went to Van Jefferson for 16. On 3rd and 3 from their own 48, Mayfield went to Jefferson for 22. On 3r and 3 from the Chargers 23, Brown ran for the touchdown. With 4 minutes left in the half, the Rams were only down 14-10. Yet the rest of the game belonged to the Chargers defense.

After a touchback, the Chargers moved to a 1st and 10 at the Rams 22 with 32 seconds left. Herbert threw 3 incompletions. Dicker hit a 40 yard field goal to make it 17-10 Chargers at the intermission. After a third quarter touchback, Herbert hit Ekeler for 17 and Wiliams for 14. Kelley gained 17 and Ekeler added 10. On 3rd and 1 from the Rams 15, Herbert gained 2. On 3rd and 3 from the Rams 6, Herbert went to Gerald Everett for the 6 yard touchdown to make it 24-10 Chargers. The Chargers in the fourth quarter took over at their own 30. Herbert went to Allen for 28. Herbert hit Ekeler for 14 and Allen for 8. Kelley added 8. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Herbert hit Donald Parham for the touchdown with 12 minutes left in regulation to complete the scoring. The 10-6 Chargers are in playoff form. 31-10 Chargers

 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens was the Sunday night game. The 7-8 Steelers needed to win this week and next week and get help to make the playoffs and avoid Mike Tomlin’s first losing season. The 10-5 Ravens are in the playoffs but have lost 2 straight without Lamar Jackson. Whenever these teams play, the results are the same: A defensive head-knocker that goes down to the wire, with home field rarely ever mattering. After an opening touchback, the Steelers moved to a 3rd and goal at the 2. Kenny Pickett threw incomplete. The 15 play, 73 yard, 8 minute drive had the Steelers settling for a 21 yard Chris Boswell field goal and a 3-0 lead. The Ravens from their own 27 responded with 15 play, 61 yard, 8 minute drive of their own. On 3rd and 5 from the Pittsburgh 12 to start the second quarter, Tyler Huntley threw incomplete. Justin Tucker hit from 30 for a 3-3 game. With 3 1/2 minutes left in a bone-crushing first half, a 48 yard Boswell field goal try to give the Steelers the lead was no good. The Ravens after a false start faced 1st and 15 from their own 33. JK Dobbins ran for 17, 5 and 4. On 3rd and 1 from the Pittsburgh 41 at the 2 minute warning, Tyler Huntley gained 2. Dobbins gained 12. Huntley gained 9. On 3rd and 16 from the Pittsburgh 22, Dobbins gained 7. Yet defensive unnecessary roughness on the play was a killer. On the next play, with 7 seconds in the half, Huntley hit Likely for the touchdown and the 10-3 Ravens lead at the break. The second half was more defense. Tucker hit from 51 in the third quarter to give the Ravens a 13-3 lead.

Boswell connected from 51 and in the fourth quarter hit a 33 yarder to get the Steelers within 13-9 with 10 minutes left in regulation. The defenses dug in and the Steelers began their last drive of regulation with 4:16 left at their own 20. On 3rd and 1, Pickett got the yard. Pickett hit Pat Freiermuth for 20 and Steven Sims for 28. On 3rd and 1 from the Baltimore 13, Pickett kept it and with considerable help from his offensive lineman was carried to the first down after initially being stopped cold. On 3rd and 8 from the Baltimore 10, Pickett threw a perfect fade to Najee Harris for the touchdown. The Steelers led 16-13 with one minute left. After a touchback, the Ravens moved to their own 38 with 20 seconds left. Huntley went deep and was intercepted. The only turnover of the game denied Tucker a chance to tie it. The 10-6 Ravens are in the playoffs but have lost 3 straight. Their chance at winning the AFC North took a serious hit. The 8-8 Steelers are still clinging to playoff life. The last 2 weeks, Pickett overcame 10-point second half deficits without a touchdown to throw his only touchdown in the final minute. 16-13 Steelers

 

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals was the Monday night game. This game was supposed to be about football. The 12-3 Bills were at the 11-4 Bengals. The Bills with a win this and next week would wrap up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Bengals with a win would wrap up the AFC North and have an outside shot at home field advantage. Everything was on the line. Yet 9 minutes in, this game all of a sudden became about much more than football. Starting with football, the Bengals after a touchback made it look easy. Defensive pass interference on the first play meant 29 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the Buffalo 37, Joe Burrow gained 2.Burrow then went to Hurst for 21. Burrow hit Tyler Boyd for a 14 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Bengals lead. The Bills after a touchback moved 68 yards in 13 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. On 2nd and 3 from the Cincinnati 7, Allen threw incomplete twice. Tyler Bass hit a 25 yard field goal to get the Bills within 7-3. The Bengals took over at their own 32. A Joe Mixon run set the Bengals up with 2nd and 3 at their own 39. Although there were still 51 minutes left, the next play would be the final play of the game. Burrow hit Tee Higgins for 13 yards to the Buffalo 48. Burrow was tackled by Bills defender Damar Hamlin. After the tackle, both players got up. Then the nightmare unfolded.

A few seconds later out of nowhere, Hamlin collapsed to the ground. The collision between these two players looked routine. There was nothing illegal about the play, just a shoulder to the chest. Hamlin was not breathing. The medical personnel came out to try and get him into the ambulance but he was on the ground for several minutes. After 20 minutes of players praying and sobbing, he was finally put in the ambulance. Yet there was no thumbs up sign or anything encouraging to make the fans cheer. Players have seen brutal injuries. They have seen legs get broken. They have seen players get paralyzed. We all have. Yet here was a player at risk of dying on the football field. This has never happened before. A decade ago, Korey Stringer died in practice. In 1971, Chuck Hughes collapsed on the field and later died that afternoon at the hospital. Yet this was a player at risk of dying right on the spot at the field.

Players were crying and hugging each other. The Cincinnati crowd was stone cold silent. Bills Coach Sean McDermott and Bengals Coach Zach Taylor had serious conversations at midfield as dueling quarterbacks Allen and Burrow hugged each other. At first the game was suspended. The hope was that Hamlin would be ok. Unfortunately, the news was bad. He suffered a heart attack on the field and had to have his heart shocked back into rhythmic beating. He was alive but in critical condition at the Cincinnati Medical Center. He had a tube in his throat to help him breathe.

Both coaches consulted extensively with the players as players from the Bengals went into the Bills locker room to offer support. Meanwhile, the league office in New York was in constant contact with both coaches and the players’ union. The decision was made to postpone the rest of the game. No more football would be played that night. As for when or if the game would be finished, those questions would not be answered Monday night. This game has major ramifications for the playoffs and the inside track to the Super Bowl. Yet Monday night, the only thing that mattered was that Damar Hamlin was fighting for his life. This was not a safety issue. There was no concussion. There was no way to protect a player from this type of situation. It truly was an unprecedented situation. There was plenty of speculation on any other issues Hamlin may have had. Out of respect for his family, this football column will not surrender to the ghoulishness of wild speculation. What matters is that Hamlin lives.

On a positive note, Hamlin’s GoFundMe page exploded with donations and love. In 2020 he began raising money for young children. It was a toy drive. Before the game, he had raised about $2,500. By Wednesday night, donations reached 7 million dollars. Here is the link to that page.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/mxksc-the-chasing-ms-foundation-community-toy-drive

While many of the Bills players flew back to Buffalo Monday night, several players stayed in Cincinnati to visit Hamlin at the hospital. Some Bengals players joined them at the hospital. Fans of both teams gathered outside the hospital and prayed.

While the most important issue remained the health of this 24-year-old man, the NFL also had to figure out the logistics of resuming the game without appearing heartless. Because there is a 2-week gap between the Conference Title Games and the Super Bowl, the league had some wiggle room to postpone the entire Week 18 regular season finale schedule of all the games. The league announced on Tuesday that this game would not be continued this week. The league also announced on Wednesday that all Week 18 games would go on as scheduled, including games involving the Bills and Bengals separately. If both of these teams were out of the playoffs, canceling the game would be easy. Yet this is a key game that could determine home field advantage throughout the playoffs. It may be necessary to postpone the Wildcard round. There are no easy solutions. Again, Damar Hamlin’s situation is far more important. Nevertheless, an entire league with billions of dollars on the line needs to figure out how to try and make none of the playoff teams have a competitive disadvantage. By Wednesday night, Hamlin was still in critical condition and needing a ventilator to breathe. He was slightly improving from Monday night but far from out of the woods. The league said they would take care of him financially even though he has not played the required 3 years to vest for his NFL pension. Pray for him. 7-3 Bengals, game suspended, no winner.

eric

We…can…do…this…2023

January 1st, 2023

2023…We…can…do…this

What the heck is that beeping sound?

(Knocks the phone off the hook, keeps banging the snooze alarm)

A voice tells me it’s my pager. My pager is black, so finding it in the dark is the needle in the haystack equivalent. A lucky smack knocks it against the wall, where it may or may not have shattered. The beeping continues. Why does anyone need a pager anymore anyway?

Who the heck is texting me at this ungodly hour of…(either 7 a.m., 1 p.m., or 1 a.m. …it looks blurry)?

Oh, no. It is 5 a.m., and my first radio interview of the New Year is with the morning man of an East Coast station. Time to pretend to sound coherent and go back to sleep. Oh no, wait, that radio interview was several years ago.

Great, happy wishes for the new year. Thanks. Whoever you are, it is too early to talk to you.

One year the person on the telephone insisted it was 1 p.m. After explaining to them that they were on the East Coast, and that 1 p.m. EST is 10 a.m. in Los Angeles, they grew impatient. They knew how to tell time, and that it was 4 p.m. EST, hence 1 p.m. my time.

Sure, getting up and writing my column is an option. It’s a new year, and starting the year off with a flurry of brilliance might be helpful. Forget it. This column is recycled from years ago. It’s also hours late. That is what happens when people get no sleep because of stressful December football games followed by New Year’s Eve revelry.

Election 2024? The first person to talk politics gets blistered in my column … tomorrow.

Bowl games? There is DVR. Besides, does anybody care who wins the Poulan Weed Eater Bowl, the Lack of Insight.com Bowl, the Fishbowl, the RU486 Morning After Bowl, The California Metrosexual Pride Bowl, or any other game that may or may not be made up?

Speaking of the morning after, does anybody remember the David Byrne Talking Heads song from the movie “Less than Zero? (which the temperature feels like right now in some parts of the country. No wonder I live in this insane city of LA)” The song is called “Once In A Lifetime.”

“This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. What have I done? How did I get here?”

It then occurs to me that the beeping sounds are the voices in my head telling me I am too old, even at 46, to stay out this late. Even without alcohol, exhaustion has set in. 

Get out of bed? Work calls in (whenever) hours. Better rest up before my tyrant of a boss complains. Such is the life of the self-employed.

Get up now? Somehow stagger to the shower, get dressed, make it out of my condo to go … where?

The stores are closed. Maybe they are open. Too tired to find out.

My birthday is in just over a week. Time to pace myself.

Work on my website? All that takes is staggering to my couch. Oh, no. My IT guy has not finished it yet. Oh, wait, he did years ago. I clicked on the wrong site.

Go on Jdate and search for women? Not a bad idea, except it is too tiring to check their Adams Apples. This is not the year for a boyfriend, and am not sure that my eyes can tell the difference right now. Besides, Jdate is so 2014. Now it is Tinder, JSwipe and JCrush. Oh, wait. I’m married. No more Internet dating.

Shop on Ebay? No. bad idea. Buying stuff when not at full capacity is problematic. Who needs another mountain goat? Dang creature gets his horns in my hide. Not a comfy way to wake up. Calm down boy, you’ll get some straw to graze on upon my waking up.

Work on my record album? Although again, world, just because my hair is long, that does not mean my band exists. The best instrument is the triangle, because that tells me lunch is ready. Oh wait, my hair is not even that long anymore. I could work on that, although I didn’t do much. I sat. It grew.

Ahh, yes, lunch. Get up and eat something. My microwave is slow, and a five minute microwave dinner takes almost 15 minutes. Read the paper? It is cold outside my building where the stand is, and it only takes coins. Reading the paper online is tiring, and my printer is not working. At least the lifestyle section makes a great placemat for eating. Oh, wait. That stand does not exist anymore. Reading the paper online it is. 

Staying in bed for only a couple more hours until (whatever the big and little hands say) would allow me to stay up all night and be totally exhausted for work tomorrow. Again, my boss is a tyrant.

Running errands … not gonna happen.

Every morning, a four word prayer starts my day. My elbows are used to try and leverage them against my bed to prop me up. Placing my alarm clock on the other side of the room failed, since ripping the cord out of the wall solved that problem.

As for the Jewish brunette who stole the covers, her voice was not a problem last night, although if she opens her trap today she will receive a more caustic reception than usual.

Oh wait, she already left. Here is a note. “Tried to wake you, but that was a losing battle. By the way, you have nothing but soda in your fridge. Talk to you soon.” oh, wait, I think that happened over a decade ago. My wife stocked the fridge. 

There are also potato chips in my fridge as well. Why they are there remains a mystery, but it saves having to remember which cabinet they are in. One-stop shopping  is the way to go.

Besides, combing my hair for her was enough. Not doing it this morning, proud “retrosexual” that is me.

At least having the decency to say some morning prayers would be appropriate.

“Hey God…those people I pray for every night…yeah those people, the same ones…look after them again.”

Back to sleep, despite every attempt to wake up. The home phone is turned off, the cell is off as well, and the pager is still shattered, in addition to being disconnected years ago.

There may have been a car crash outside my building followed by 911 calls and sirens, but telling everybody to “keep it down,” solved that problem. A brief nightmare of me being late for work was averted when I realized my location to me was known if necessary.

Four televisions in the living room, and none in the bedroom. Who thought that up? Oh yeah, a television in the bedroom would promote laziness. Besides, trying to figure out which remote to use would cause me to break them all as if they were my pager.

Ok, here it is. Come on, elbows, do your stuff. Rise, young lad, rise! Awaken thy exhausted tired eyes!

Why is God shouting? Oh wait, that is my over-dramatization of God.

Time to set the alarm now to avoid missing work tomorrow. Where was it thrown? Threw it? Oh, screw it.

Ok, time for my four word prayer. It has gotten me this incredibly terribly far. Time to contemplate getting out of bed.

“We…can…do…this.”

Happy 2023 all. Except for the person who woke me up earlier. Whoever you are, I still can’t stand you, even though you are doing me a favor.

Ten hours and 16 bowl games later, there is only one thing left to do.

Time for a nap. Happy 2023.

Zzzzz.

eric

New Years Eve 2022 with Lil Jon and Senator Schatz

December 31st, 2022

LOS ANGELES:  New Year’s Eve is a truly magical night. On this one night, many of Earth’s seven billion inhabitants temporarily cast aside religion, politics, and even sports rivalries.

Peace on Earth briefly breaks out. We bid farewell to a tough year and in this case. We pray that the incoming new year will be better, perhaps even peaceful.

We pray for peace, love, and a better world.

After almost three years of parties being canceled, the parties in 2022 are back on like Donkey Kong!

On January 16, America will honor the late Martin Luther King Jr. We will vow to honor his legacy of peaceful non-violent civic activism. MLK is universally beloved because he believed in fighting for change peacefully.

New politicians will take office on Monday, January 3.

Yet the hours leading into January 1 are not about the Republican Party or the Democrat Party.

It is about house parties, club parties, rooftop parties, and the party for the sake of partying parties.

This is before getting to the after-party.

We eat and drink to excess, dance badly, and upload pictures to social media that should never be uploaded.

For one night, much of the entire civilized world is a happy, peaceful, global family united in sheer joy and revelry.

In Gotham City, 2023 commences, and peaceful behavior erodes.

All hell breaks loose with the dropping of the ball in Times Square. People kiss, sing, and then try to escape the freezing weather they have been standing in for the last ten hours.

Of all the global celebrations welcoming the end of 2022, nothing says New Year’s Eve like the convergence of a rap star and an unknown politico.

The rapper is a long-haired, gold-toothed entrepreneur and former Trump Celebrity Apprentice semi-finalist Lil Jon. Dave Chapelle lampooned him as the guy who only says “what” and “ok.”

Lil Jon brought the world one of the greatest party songs, “Shots.”

A celebration of alcohol and fun, plenty of shots will be consumed as 2022 ticks down.

While Lil Jon’s celebrity is established, the senior United States Senator from Hawaii is still barely known on the mainland.

The Senator’s name is spelled “Schatz,” although his last name is pronounced “shots.”

The U.S. Senate has long been about partying, alcohol, and law-breaking in between occasional bouts of governing.

Therefore, the upper chamber of Congress should treat Schatz as a celebrity.

Let Lil Jon do the swearing-in ceremony as the Republican Party and the Democrat Party continue to spend like drunken sailors

at a never-ending New Year’s Eve Party.

Happy New Year Schatzie! Party time!

“When I arrive on the Hill, all eyes on me.
Congressional bender, all drinks are free.
We’re drunken spenders, we’re so far gone.
It’s free money time, so come on down!
Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz Schatz,
Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz,
Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz,
Schatz, everybody!
Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz,
Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz Schatz,
Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz,
Schatz, everybody!
The ladies love us, when we give free stuff,
We spend your money, on needless fluff,
We’re drunk on power, how ‘bout you?
Bottoms up, let’s go round two!
Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz,
Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz Schatz,
Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz,
Schatz, everybody!
Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz,
Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz Schatz,
Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz,
Schatz, everybody!
If you ain’t drunk on power, get out of Congress now!
If you ain’t drunk on power, get out of the White House now!
If you ain’t drunk on power, get out of government now!
Now where are my spendaholics? Printing presses go!
Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz,
Schatz, everybody!”

Party hearty, Senator Schatz! Greece, California, and Detroit are only a few trillion wasted dollars away!

To everyone else, may 2022 be a year of peace, love, and most importantly for revelers, fun!

Also, in honor of the junior Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono, do not hit on strangers after getting drunk. Friends don’t let friends beer-goggle. This is the Hirono rule, when a guy wakes up the next day, realizes what he has done, and yells, “Her? Oh, no!”

Let’s party! What??????

Happy 2023! Ok!!!!!!!!

eric

The Top 10 Powerful Bald White Guys (PBWGs) of 2022

December 30th, 2022

The Top 10 Powerful Bald White Guys (PBWGs) of 2022

This list is dedicated to the late radio host Austin Hill. He was a great guy who left us far too soon. He loved this list and gave it more attention than it ever deserved. May he never be forgotten.

This list was inspired by Dann Florek, who played Police Captain Donald Cragen on the “Law & Order” franchises for a couple decades.

A lot of people did not make the list. Joe Biden is ineligible until he admits his baldness and stops hiding behind hair plugs. Vladimir Putin is ineligible because he is a ruthless killer and I do not wish to die. If he asks, I think he has lovely hair. Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world, but he is no longer the CEO of Amazon. Being rich is not the same as being powerful. Bring powerful requires doing things. He seems either bored or retired. 

Many PBWGs are just retiring, from outgoing Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to outgoing Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. Even the chairman of the federal reserve is now a guy with good hair. 

With that, here are the Top 10 Powerful Bald White Guys (PBWGs) of 2022.

10.) Sam Brinton — He is either transgender, gender fluid, or some other description of himself. He wears lipstick and attempts to look female. Because he lacked useful job skills and filled a token liberal quota, the Biden administration hired him to oversee America’s nuclear program. Brinton supporters are part of an unhealthy group of people who believe a person’s sexuality is an accomplishment rather than a state of being. The rainbow-colored halo around Brinton’s head faded when he was caught stealing airport luggage from other passengers. This is not a gay or straight thing. It’s a criminal thing. He may go to jail. He may ask to be placed in a women’s prison. One look at his mugshot shows an angry bald white male. Brinton would rank higher but he has left the Biden administration. 

10.) Noah Oppenheim — The push for diversity and equity has allowed talentless PBWGs to be replaced with equally talentless minorities. Wokeness is in direct conflict with competence and qualifications. ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC all replaced their PBWGs. Even at the competent Fox News, there is no PBWG in charge. Only one major news network keeps preaching diversity for others but not themselves. NBC News President Noah Oppenheim is a relic of a bygone era. He may deeply believe in social justice as long as he can still reign supreme over others. He has no intention of stepping down and giving an oppressed minority a chance. He is the last PBWG news honcho holdout.

9.) Rupert Murdoch — He is the chairman of News Corp.,, which owns Fox News, the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal. Yet he installed a woman as President of Fox News. The reason he Unlike Oppenheim, Murdoch has actually tried to step down. The problem is the younger generation of Murdochs lack their father’s talents. Son James in particular is a black sheep of the family, which does not count as diversity. At age 92, Murdoch knows his career in its twilight. Yet he is still the longest lasting PWBG in the history of media. 

8.) Joe Rogan — He was once a part of an ensemble sitcom called “Newsradio.” Now he is the king of the news on the radio. He has the top podcast. Although many people still do not know or care what a podcast is, many people do. Rogan is not political, but he asks serious questions of political figures that the mainstream media refuses to ask. He is a professional comedian, yet his program can be very serious. Most importantly, he frequently turns out to be right by proving the experts wrong. He has become a champion for free speech and giving a voice to the voiceless. The cancel culture failed to cancel him. Society at large is better for this. 

7.) David M. Solomon — Normally the Head Sled at Golden Sachs is the top PBWG because Goldman Sachs runs the world. Goldman Sachs has a history of flitting in between corporate power and government power. Jon Corzine, Hank Paulson, and Lloyd Blankfein are all former Goldman Sachs  PBWG top dogs. Solomon may own the top spot in future years, but it’s tough to win out in tough economic times and war raging across the world. Goldman Sachs is laying off thousands of workers. The company will be fine, but the anti-Wall Street climate makes it tough for Goldman Sachs to have its usual level of undue influence over the government. 

6.) Bernie Sanders — Democrats have gone out of their way to deny the Vermont Senator the Democrat presidential nomination. Yet as the Biden administration flails, fails and flounders, the Bernie supporters are as emboldened as ever. There is simply nobody else to replace him as the leader of his movement. Liz Warren is angry, repulsive and frumpy. The Bernie bots talk about AOC, but they know that is unrealistic. While critics dismiss the idea of a third Bernie presidential run, he has repeatedly confounded expectations. The one advantage Bernie has over Biden is the ability to speak English in full sentences. 

4.) Mark Kelly — The Arizona Senator got elected due to a wellspring of sympathy in the wake of his wife being shot. His record is one of uselessness, yet he keeps winning by hiding his beliefs. He is for everything that is popular until the political winds change. He is actually a hardcore leftist, but he has to pretend to be against open borders. He has mastered the art of asking for help securing the border and then not following up. He hopes that in good time Americans will forget about the pesky border problem and all the fentanyl deaths. He has perfected the art of middle management. Say nothing, have nobody realize you’re in charge, and collect a paycheck. This is much easier than being an astronaut.  

John Fetterman — This rich white leftist spent his entire life doing hard drugs and leeching off of his parents. Like most failures, he became a hardcore leftist virtue-signaler. After a failed stint as a small-town mayor, he decided to fail upward by having his family buy him a Senate seat. Despite suffering a stroke that rendered him incoherent, he insisted on staying in the race. His wife seemed to care more about power than his health. While the Pennsylvania Democrat running for Governor coasted to a 17 point win, Fetterman eked out a one point win over a Republican celebrity with few known core beliefs. Fetterman won by refusing to campaign. He adopted the Joe Biden strategy of hiding in his basement. Now he has six years to get paid without doing any real work. He shows up everywhere in t-shirts and shorts, because rich white leftists believe looking like a bum is the same thing as identifying with people who are struggling. This lazy man of zero accomplishments moralizes to everyone else. Yet despite having no skills, he will have plenty of power in the coming years. 

Rachel Levine — The United States Assistant Secretary of Health keeps insisting that she is female. She has never been singer Adam Levine, but she was born Richard Levine. Richard Levine married a woman and had children, but became a female in 2011. Nevertheless, Levine has won award in multiple genders. USA named her a woman of the year, but the Babylon Bee satire site named her man of the year. Levine’s power goes beyond people not knowing what he or she is. It comes from people not knowing from what Levine does. Her job involves health, but there is nothing about Levine that screams health from a physical or emotional standpoint. She is a token diversity hire in keeping with the Biden tradition of hiring the 1st diverse unqualified incompetent person they can find. PBWGs are boring. Making her a woman is supposed to make her fascinating, but her speeches are quite dull. He and she have both come under fire for publicly recommending that children be encouraged to transition without parental consent. She is against the term “groomer” despite the shoe fitting perfectly for any person of any gender harming children in this manner. This is what happens when political ideology is put above basic human sanity and decency. Unlike Sam Brinton, Levine has managed to avoid committing fireable offenses. 

Yet if there is confusion for the PBWG award because of Levine’s gender, our top spot offers confusion based on race. 

Alejandro Mayorkas _ The Secretary of Homeland Security is deeply committed to an open border. If you like fentanyl killing Americans, thank Mayorkas. He knows what gender he is, but some claim he is ineligible to be a PBWG. He is Hispanic, not Caucasian. He was born in Havana, Cuba, and seems to lie the Fidel Castro authoritarian system. Yet thanks to the Goerge Zimmerman trial, a new category of people was invented by the liberal media called “white Hispanic.” Nobody knows what this means. It is as useless outside woke leftists circles as LatinX (no relation to Malcolm X). Mayorkas is one of the most powerful officials in all of government. He receives huge sums of money to defy congressional orders implementing his boss’s illegal open border agenda. In the spirit of diversity and multiculturalism, it seems unfair to deny this gleaming cueball his due. He has earned the top spot through a hard lack of real work. By being good at nothing, bad at everything, and highly compensated, the over-powerful anti-border Mayorkas is living the American dream. Only in America can someone who hates America conquer it from within without facing consequences. 

For being above the law and flouting that power every single day, Alejandro Mayorkas is the Top Powerful Bald White Guy of 2022

eric

Top 10 Bimbos of 2022

December 29th, 2022

The Top 10 Bimbos of 2022

As 2022 prepares to enter the history books, it is time to take a look at the most shallow, vapid people of the year. This list of the Top 10 Bimbos of 2022 has always been controversial because angry leftist feminists (redundant) are incapable of reading the disclaimer. The term “bimbo” is gender neutral. Gender neutral is not the same thing as gender fluid, which is what one puts in their automobile if they self-identify as a car. Gender neutral means bimbos can be male or female. The only qualification is that the person must coast on their style while having zero substance. For years these awards were dedicated to the ultimate bimbos: Former President Barack Obama and singer Katy Perry. Ms. Perry has been less obnoxious in recent years, so she has been replaced in the ultimate bimbo category by her rival Taylor Swift.

Many of you will be surprised that Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg all failed to make the list. They have not stopped being bimbos, but selecting the same people every year makes things boring. Also, there are so many bimbos of their il that I felt it necessary to replace them in the interest of their cherished diversity. Neither Prince Harry or Meghan Markle made the list. They have not stopped being insufferable pompous @sses, but there is plenty of time in the future for them to return to this list. I tried to select people that would probably not make the list again. This is their only chance.

Taylor Swift and Kanye West just barely missed the list. These two became joined at the hip years ago when west crashed swift’s acceptance speech. These people are both narcissists. Swift has a carefully crafted reputation for being a sweetheart. Her facade belies a cold, indifferent woman who spends her life complaining that her relationships keeps failing. Her music is about settling scores, failing to realize that maybe she is the problem. While she was not responsible for the Ticketmaster fiasco, she stayed silent as her fans burned. As for West, he suffers from mental illness. Normally that would get him sympathy points, but his constant rants against Jews is over the line. So is his hanging out with actual Neo-Nazis. Swift and West deserve each other. They could be a self-absorbed super-couple. West would finally have a man and Kanye would have a new marriage to wreck. Yet there were actually 10 people even worse than them.

With that, here are the Top 10 Bimbos of 2022.

 

10.) Jada Pinkett Smith — Some of you may wonder why her husband Will Smith is not on this list for slapping Chris Rock. What Will did was wrong, but Jada set the whole thing in motion. Rock made a joke, because that is what comedians do. He made fun of her for being bald. Will initially laughed at the joke until he saw that his wife was angry and humorless. Will harmed his career and his reputation to pacify his wife. This is after she spent their entire marriage humiliating him by declaring herself in an open marriage. For using and abusing a good guy and letting him take the fall, she is awful even by low Hollywood standards. She would rank higher on this list except that people in Hollywood are the least important people on earth.

9.) Josh McDaniels — The former Patriots offensive coordinator is considered a genius because he won Super Bowls with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. He took over a decent Denver Broncos team and drove them into the ground in less than two years. He flaked on taking the Indianapolis Colts job after accepting it. He might be the most hated man in football not named Lane Kiffin. He parlayed his last failure as a head coach into the head coaching job with the Raiders. He took a playoff team and turned it into a losing team. He took a Pro Bowl quarterback in Derek Carr, wrecked his game, and then benched Carr. McDaniels is very good at blaming everyone else, but the main reason his teams fail is because of him. Now he has all but blown up the franchise, knowing that he cannot be fired with three years remaining on his contract. He is that rare combination of arrogance without the achievements to back it up.

8.) Paul Pelosi — In late 2022, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was bludgeoned in his home by a mentally ill leftist political activist ranting and raving about his wife. Mr. Pelosi became a sympathetic figure, but the truth of what happened has been suppressed by the media. Rumors abound that he was attacked by someone he knew and invited over to his home. Whether this was a gay romance gone bad or a legitimate robbery turned violent, the media needs to stop hiding the video footage. The real issue is that Paul Pelosi has been protected his entire life. Earlier in 2022, he caused a drunk driving accident that left him injured and two cars smashed. Again, getting a video of the crime scene has proved impossible. The leftist prosecutors did everything they could to tank the case. This is odd given that Paul Pelosi as a teenager was responsible for a driving crash that killed someone. His rich white liberal privilege prevents him from facing charges for any of these situations or for his years of insider trading. His stock trades would be illegal if done by someone not married to one of the most powerful Democrats in America.

7.) John Fetterman — This rich white leftist spent his entire life doing hard drugs and leeching off of his parents. Like most failures, he became a hardcore leftist virtue-signaler. After a failed stint as a small-town mayor, he decided to fail upward by having his family buy him a Senate seat. Despite suffering a stroke that rendered him incoherent, he insisted on staying in the race. His wife seemed to care more about power than his health. While the Pennsylvania Democrat running for Governor coasted to a 17 point win, Fetterman eked out a one point win over a Republican celebrity with few known core beliefs. Fetterman won by refusing to campaign. He adopted the Joe Biden strategy of hiding in his basement. Now he has six years to get paid without doing any real work. He shows up everywhere in t-shirts and shorts, because rich white leftists believe looking like a bum is the same thing as identifying with people who are struggling. This lazy man of zero accomplishments moralizes to everyone else.

6.) Disney executives — There have been many legitimate reasons to hate Disney over the years. Nevertheless, it is hard to believe the company is worse than when Michael Eisner was around. He only wasted money and created a fraudulent image of Mickey Mouse. A Disney vacation has long been unaffordable, but in 2022 the company began committing corporate suicide by embracing woke leftist politics. Every character had to appeal to transgender people and Black Lives Matter activists or be shut down. When leftists demanded that Disney speak out against a Florida “Don’t say gay” bill that had nothing to do with gay people, Disney buckled to pressure. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had finally had enough of Disney’s virtue-signaling. He threatened to remove Disney’s special tax exemption. The mice behind the mouse got the message. The CEO was ousted and Bob Iger returned. He is a liberal virtue-signaler himself, but a raging capitalist first. He will replace wokeism with Disney’s true goal, jacking up the stock price.

5.) Sam Brinton — The Biden is famous for hiring tokens. Someone can be completely unqualified to do any real work as long as they belong to a real or invented minority group. Sam Brinton is unsure about his own gender. In Biden’s eyes, this made him qualified to handle nuclear waste material for the government. Brinton spent more time talking about his sexuality than in doing his job. Like most leftists, he labeled anyone questioning his job performance as homophobic. Yet even Brinton found out that a person’s sexuality is not an excuse for being a common criminal thief. After being repeatedly caught on airport cameras stealing other people’s luggage, Brinton was arrested. As flamboyant as he looked while on the job, this person claiming to be a female looked like a standard bald white male in his mugshot. Brinton was hired because he was of an indeterminate gender. He was fired for being a criminal.

4.) Nina Jankowicz — This unbelievably annoying virtue-signaling leftist was selected by Joe Biden to head up his “Disinformation Governance Board.” The real shock is that such a position could even exist in America. Like most leftists, Jankowicz was eager to censor conservatives under the cover of disinformation. Even by normal liberal smugness standards, her chirping altered lyrics to “SuperCalifragiliciousexpialadocious” was insufferable. Outrage against her led to a backlash against this new board. She denied the board and met, got caught lying about this, and resigned under pressure. The board was disbanded. Now this zealot is taking her “talents” to the private sector, where she gets paid to scream “disinformation” at people she hates. Despite her horrible existence in government, her very brief tenure prevented her from being destructive enough to rank higher.

3.) Former Twitter executives — When Elon Musk purchased Twitter, he discovered a cesspool of corruption and censorship. Twitter’s executive team of hardcore leftists took glee in censoring and banning conservatives. Many of the bans were arbitrary under the phony guise of “misinformation.” From Covid to climate change to transgenderism, misinformation was simply anything powerful liberals disagreed with. The main censorship culprits Vijaya Gadde, Yoel Roth, Parag Agrawal. Agrawal was the CEO and Censor-in-Chief who proudly declared that censoring opposing views was acceptable. Roth was the Head of Trust and Safety, a laughable title. Gadde had the even more fraudulent title of Head of Legal, Policy and Trust. The people in charge of “trust” repeatedly got lying about their intentions, methods and practices. As the worst of the bunch, Gadde was naturally hired by the Biden administration to help censorship efforts there. People who can defend their ideas and beliefs do so.People with indefensible ideas and beliefs try to prevent opposing views from being uttered. Normally these wretched would top the list of bimbos, but their influence has been reduced thanks to Musk cleaning house.

2.) Sam Bankman-Fried — Based on his style of dress, this young virtue-signaler might be the love child of John Fetterman and Don King. Sam Bankman-Fried was a 30 year old billionaire who ran a cryptocurrency firm. He showed up to meetings in short and a t-shirt and became a member of the protected class due to his progressive politics. He donated millions of dollars to Democrats. He was the second biggest Democrat donor behind George Soros. Yet behind all of his billions of dollars was not business acumen but outright criminal fraud. Crypto may be complex, but what SBF did was very simple. He commingled customer funds with company funds, illegally withdrew customer funds, and used those customer funds to fund his lavish lifestyle. SBF got away with it for so long for the same reason most of his ilk do. He spouted progressive politics and gave heavily to Democrats. He is a vegan. He supports climate change action and gay rights. He virtue-signals. Democrats in return protected him. He bought their silence with illegally donated stolen campaign cash. Yet the bigger story is that every link in his business chain is fraud. The input is crypto, which is in itself a fraudulent “currency” built on nothing and used to finance drug and sex trafficking. The output is climate change action, which is based on fraudulent pseudo-science and lies meant to manipulate people. SBF was the fraudulent middle man connecting a fraudulent product with fraudulent purposes. The case against him is strong, but powerful people do not want him to testify. Chances are, the prosecutors against him will tank the case.

The only reason SBF is not number one is because he is a private citizen. He is connected on high to powerful people in government, but the guy ahead of him is in charge of a major part of our government.

1.) Merrick Garland — He pretended to be a moderate Democrat so that he could lie his way onto the United States Supreme Court. Republicans smartly figured out that Barack Obama nominated leftists, not moderates. Obama likes people who use their government position to seek revenge on political opponents. Upon becoming Joe Biden’s Attorney General, Garland went into vengeance mode. Under pressure from his fellow angry leftists, Garland became obsessed with imprisoning Donald Trump ahead of the 2024 election. If Donald Trump were truly irrelevant, the Biden administration would ignore him. If Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election over Trump honestly, Biden would delight in a rematch. At the very least his supporters would not live in fear of this rematch. Democrats are determined to ban Trump from running again, which is what dictators in third world banana republics do to their political opposition.

Under orders from the boss and heavy pressure from the left, Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered a raid on Trump’s Mar-A-Lago mansion. The same FBI agents who perpetrated the 2016 Russia collusion hoax were involved in this raid. Trump was accused of stealing classified documents. This lacks common sense. Any United States President can declare any document unclassified. The double standard was astounding given the kid glove treatment Hillary Clinton received for actually illegally possessing classified documents. Her home was never raided. The raid backfired. Even those who had become weary of Trump’s behavior were outraged at the abuse of government power. In an even more bizarre turn of events, FBI agents felt compelled in the name of “national security” to rifle through Melania Trump’s underwear. Perhaps Garland has weird sexual proclivities akin to Biden or J. Edgar Hoover. He turned a document raid into a panty raid. Garland’s worst quality is his stubborn insistence that he is apolitical and runs the Department of Justice in an apolitical manner. This is nonsense. He kicks in doors with guns drawn and arrests 70 and 80 year old Republicans. He places them in solitary confinement. Democrats get the kid glove treatment. For being more obsessed with Americans who disagree with him politically than with actual global terrorists, Merrick Garland is the top bimbo of 2022.

eric

Top 10 News Stories of 2022

December 29th, 2022

Top 10 News Stories of 2022

As another year prepares to enter the history books, let us look back on the Top 10 News Stories of 2022. These are not necessarily the stories the media covered. They are the stories the media should have covered that matter most. In fact, the stubborn refusal of the media to cover certain stories is in itself a story. Before getting to the list, here are a couple of items that did not make the list.

The fall of Donald Trump. Normally this would be a major story. Former President Trump’s candidates performed badly in the midterms. The Trump Organization was convicted of financial improprieties. After announcing his 2024 presidential run, Trump has not held any campaign events. His tax returns are about to be released. He teased a big announcement that turned out to be himself selling digital merchandise of himself. He is on the verge of political irrelevance. Yet this is not a story because of the key words “on the verge.” He has been counted out so many times, and he keeps confounding those who bet against him. Until his political career is officially over, he is very much still a relevant political player. His political death at this point is premature.

The midterm elections. Normally an election is a big deal. Yet this one offered much more confusion than clarity. Republicans were supposed to win big. In Florida, they did. In New York, they made significant gains. Yet in other parts of the country, Democrats defied expectations. Yet Republicans did capture the House. They barely control it, but Democrats barely controlled it before. No incumbent Senator lost. Only one incumbent governor lost. Americans say they are angry at their leaders but for the most part reelected them. This election offers no clues about the present or the future, and therefore is not a relevant event.

Illegal immigration and Fentanyl deaths. Yes, the Southern border is out of control. Yes, our open border is precisely why drug smugglers are able to succeed. Yes, the drugs now are more powerful and dangerous than ever before. Yes, Fentanyl manufactured in China and distributed through Mexico is killing Americans. This is not a story because nothing will be done about it. Democrats want illegal immigration because illegals vote Democrats. If Americans have to die, so be it. Democrats can just keep importing new illegals and have an endless supply of illegal Democrat voters. Democrats willing to try and rule in perpetuity is not news. The left has always believed the ends justify the means. That is the furthest thing from news. Nothing will be done about it. Until and unless Republicans can somehow win a national election, the illegals will keep coming, the drugs will keep flowing, and Americans will keep dying. The liberal media will make sure this vicious cycle is treated as a right-wing talking point rather than a heartbreaking deadly truth.

With that, here are the Top 10 News Stories of 2022.

10.) Paul Pelosi’s sordid escapades — In late 2022, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was bludgeoned in his home by a mentally ill leftist political activist ranting and raving about his wife. He became a sympathetic figure, but the truth of what happened that has been suppressed by the media. Rumors abound that he was attacked by someone he knew and invited over to his home. Whether this was a gay romance gone bad or a legitimate robbery turned violent, the media needs to stop hiding the video footage. Paul Pelosi has been protected his entire life. Earlier in 2022, he caused a drunk driving accident that left him injured and two cars smashed. Again, getting a video of the crime scene has proved impossible. The leftist prosecutors did everything they could to tank the case. This is odd given that Paul Pelosi as a teenager was responsible for a driving crash that killed someone. His rich white liberal privilege prevents him from facing charges for any of these situations or for his years of insider trading. His stock trades would be illegal if done by someone not married to one of the most powerful Democrats in America.

9.) Nancy Pelosi ousted — She was the first woman elected speaker. She was even elected to that position twice. The liberal media fawns all over her, but the truth is not so simple. She was also fired as Speaker twice. She raises a ton of money for Democrats, but she raises just as much if not more for Republicans by being a lightning rod. The liberal media crows that the red wave failed to materialize. The real story is that Pelosi was fired. The entire progressive agenda risks being stopped, but for Pelosi, her power has been taken away. While Republican voters were the ones who took away her majority, it was actually leftist Squad members who schemed to take her out since their 2018 arrival. Pelosi caved to the mob, and the mob devoured her.

8.) CNN meltdown — It has been so long that most people have forgotten what CNN used to be. With solid anchors including Bernard Shaw, CNN was a real news network. During the Trump presidency, CNN decided to reinvent itself as a leftist grievance network. This strategy failed because leftist basket cases already had MSNBC. They were crazy but entertaining. CNN tried to combine crazy and boring, which does not work. Then came Chris Licht. He is determined to turn CNN back into a real news network anchored by normal human beings. He has fired the worst of the leftist hacks. He has demoted others. CNN’s ratings keep crashing because they betrayed their original mission, replaced it with garbage, and now have no idea who or what they are. It is impossible to win over everyone, but quite easy to lose everyone. This…is CNN.

7.) Roe vs Wade overturned — The Dobbs case achieved the dream of conservatives and the nightmare of liberals. After nearly five years, Roe vs. Wade is no longer the Supreme law of the land. On the surface, abortion should not be a major issue. Out of 370 million Americans, around 150,000 abortions happen per year. Most Americans are never directly affected. Yet emotionally, millions of Americans on both sides of the issue care deeply. Despite leftist hysterics, abortion was not made illegal. It was simply returned to the states, a principle of federalism. Yet the left was able to channel their rage in many races during the midterms. This story would rank higher except that 100 years from now, the fight will still continue. The differences are irreconcilable and the sides are relatively evenly divided.

6.) The Rise of Ron DeSantis — Ron DeSantis was an afterthought in the 2018 Florida gubernatorial primary. Then Donald Trump endorsed him, and DeSantis rocketed past the establishment GOP candidate. DeSantis barely won the 2018 general election 50% to 49%. Four years later, DeSantis won a landslide 20 point victory. He turned blue areas of Florida including Miami rock ribbed Republican red. DeSantis has governed as a real conservative. He has Trump’s pugilistic style but with far more discipline and zero personal drama. Trump was never a culture warrior. DeSantis has launched a full-throttled assault on woke leftism and won. When Disney tried muscling DeSantis, he threatened to remove their tax exemption. They caved. Yet the biggest reason DeSantis won so handily is because he does his job well. His leadership is pure competence. During various hurricanes, he has shown steely-eyed resolve and a laser-like focus. He keeps his political fights related to policy. He is a top tier 2024 presidential contender.

5.) The Fall of Anthony Fauci — For years, Anthony Fauci has been the highest paid federal employee overseeing a budget of billions of dollars. When the Covid pandemic hit in 2020, Fauci became the face of the fight against Covid. Liberals elevated the 78 year old Fauci to godlike status. The liberal media gave him glowing magazine covers declaring him one of the sexiest men alive. Somewhere along the line, the fame got to Fauci. He kept changing his positions with the political winds. He demanded masks and then was caught maskless. He recommended authoritarian measures that stripped Americans of their constitutional freedoms. He encouraged censorship of anyone disagreeing with his arbitrary diagnoses. Fauci was protected as long as Democrats controlled everything. With the Republicans set to take over the House, Fauci knew his protection was gone. New information has come to light showing that Fauci was instrumental in performing barbaric gain of function research. Fauci played a leading role in causing the global pandemic. He has covered for China to protect his own financial interests. He will not go to jail, but his decades of absolute power are gone. Sadly, so are the millions who died from a disease he helped create.

4.) Raid on Mar-A-Lago — If Donald Trump were truly irrelevant, the Biden administration would ignore him. If Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election over Trump honestly, Biden would delight in a rematch. At the very least his supporters would not live in fear of this rematch. Democrats are determined to ban Trump from running again, which is what dictators in third world banana republics do to their political opposition. Under orders from the boss and heavy pressure from the left, attorney General Merrick Garland ordered a raid on Trump’s Mar-A-Lago mansion. The same FBI agents who perpetrated the 2016 Russia collusion hoax were involved in this raid. Trump was accused of stealing classified documents. This lacks common sense. Any United States President can declare any document unclassified. The double standard was astounding given the kid glove treatment Hillary Clinton received for actually illegally possessing classified documents. Her home was never raided. The raid backfired. Even those who had become weary of Trump’s behavior were outraged at the abuse of government power. This would be the top story except for the fact that nothing will come of it. Trump will not be indicted and nobody in the Biden administration will face consequences.

3.) FTX Collapse — Sam Bankman-Fried was a 30 year old billionaire who ran a cryptocurrency firm. He showed up to meetings in short and a t-shirt and became a member of the protected class due to his progressive politics. He donated millions of dollars to Democrats. He was the second biggest Democrat donor behind George Soros. Yet behind all of his billions of dollars was not business acumen but outright criminal fraud. Crypto may be complex, but what SBF did was very simple. He commingled customer funds with company funds, illegally withdrew customer funds, and used those customer funds to fund his lavish lifestyle. SBF got away with it for so long for the same reason most of his ilk do. He spouted progressive politics and gave heavily to Democrats. He is a vegan. He supports climate change action and gay rights. He virtue-signals. Democrats in return protected him. He bought their silence with illegally donated stolen campaign cash. Yet the bigger story is that every link in his business chain is fraud. The input is crypto, which is in itself a fraudulent “currency” built on nothing and used to finance drug and sex trafficking. The output is climate change action, which is based on fraudulent pseudo-science and lies meant to manipulate people. SBX was the fraudulent middle man connecting a fraudulent product with fraudulent purposes. The case against him is strong, but powerful people do not want him to testify. Chances are, the prosecutors against him will tank the case.

2.) Elon Musk and the Twitter Files — Elon Musk purchasing Twitter in itself was amusing. While Musk is politically liberal, he is not a raving leftist. He is a free speech absolutist, not a pro-censorship zealot. He concluded that Twitter’s leadership was censoring people and news that contradicted the left. It was an anti-conservative platform. Upon completing the purchase, Musk immediately fired the leftists uncharge of the censorship, although they still insist they resigned. The main censors were former CEO Parag Agrawal, head of legal Vijaya Gadde, and head fo safety Yoel Roth. Upon taking over the company, Musk faced boycott threats from woke leftists and legal threats from Joe Biden, Merrick Garland, and others. Rather than back down, Musk doubled down. He released company emails and documents that proved massive corrupt ties between the FBI, the liberal media, and social media companies. There was direct coordination to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story before the 2020 election. There was direct coordination and coercion to suppress any Covid narrative that contradicted Fauci and his fellow Democrats. Anyone questioning masks, vaccines, or government-approved drugs risked being banned from Twitter. Millions of people died because of the suppression of honest science in favor of junk science. Again, liberal privilege prevents any of the bad actors from facing consequences. The liberal media will continue to suppress this bombshell news story through a print and television blackout. Nevertheless, the truth has finally come out. This elaborate attempt to censor half of Americans would be the top story except for one issue. Most of the blood and carnage happened out of sight.

A once in a century global pandemic is bad. A government attempt to suppress the killing of people based on junk science and lies is worse. Yet even those events pale in comparison to genocide with the potential for World War III and Armageddon.

1.) Russia invades Ukraine — On February 24th, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine with the full intent of taking it over. Vladimir Putin’s timing was not coincidental. The days when both political parties were willing to protect the American way of life are long gone. Democrats are now a full-blown anti-war party suffering from Vietnam syndrome. Even the Republican Party has gone from a Bush-Cheney Neocon Party to a Trump populist anti-war party. In 1990, George Herbert Walker Bush responded to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invasion of Kuwait with the declaration that “This will not stand.” The principle was a noble one. No nation has the right to gobble up another nation. George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks routed the Taliban in Afghanistan and removed Saddam Hussein from earth. Yet Americans allowed war weariness to usher in an era of dangerous isolationism. Russia’s Vladimir Putin exploited this. In 2014, Russia took over Crimea. Barack Obama responded by doing nothing, exactly as Putin predicted. Putin stayed quiet during the Trump years due to Trump’s unpredictability. With Biden in charge, Putin knows he can act without consequences from the West.

Putin made one major miscalculation. He underestimated the will of the Ukranian people and Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky. Once a Jewish comedian, Zelensky has become one of the toughest historical leaders along with Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, John Howard and George W. Bush. Zelensky is willing to fight to the very last man, and his people have responded with surprising resolve. The West has been sending weapons and money to Ukraine, but Zelensky knows he is alone. The same Western nations that did nothing to stop the Holocaust would happily let Ukraine die to keep Russian oil flowing. Putin has threatened to use nuclear weapons. World War III and Armageddon are not impossible. The world is watching the West’s meekness and taking one. China is preparing to try and finally seize Taiwan. Iran is getting closer to a nuclear bomb that they wish to use on Israel. North Korea is increasing their aggressiveness toward South Korea. The world is a mess because the leader of the free world refuses to lead. If Putin loses this war, it will be because of Zelensky. If Putin wins, it is because the help Zelensky received was the bare minimum. The Neocons were right. The paleocons and anti-war left were always wrong. Meanwhile, Ukraine is soaked in blood because the cowards refuse to stop the evildoers. America’s military leaders are more interested in woke indoctrination than defense. Putin knows this. The decline of American military might has led to Russia potentially obliterating Ukraine from the map. That is the lead news story of 2022.

With God’s help, may 2023 be peaceful. This would be bad for the news industry but great for the civilized world.

eric

NFL 2022 Week 17 Prequel

December 28th, 2022

NFL 2022 Week 17 Prequel

Thursday, December 29, 2022, 8pm

Dallas Cowboys (-10) at Tennessee Titans — The 7-8 Titans have lost five straight, including last week at home to previously one—win Houston. They are tied atop the woeful AFC South bu do not hold the tie-breaker. The 11-4 Cowboys are coming off an emotional win over Philadelphia. The chance for a hangover is great and the spread is high given that Tennessee has a defense. Cowboys win but fail to cover

Sunday, January 1, 2023, 1pm

Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons (-3 1/2) — Both teams are done for the year and down to a backup and third string quarterbacks. Cordarelle Patterson is still a game-breaker. Go with the home field. Falcons win but fail to cover.

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (-5 1/2) — The 7-8 Lions still have faint playoff hopes. The Bears are long done. Inside the dome at home, go with the fast-paced Detroit offense. Lions cover

Jacksonville Jaguars (-4) at Houston Texans — The 7-8 Jaguars are tied atop the horrible AFC South and hold the tie-breaker. The Texans have only won twice, including last week at Tennessee. The Texans lose close games. Trevor Lawrence is on a mission and Doug Pederson has them ahead of schedule. Jaguars win but fail to cover

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-13 1/2) — Forget the high spread. The 12-3 Chiefs are tied for the conference lead but do not hold the tie-breaker. The Broncos were obliterated last week by 37 points, getting Nathaniel Hackett and a pair of assistants fired. The Broncos defense normally fights hard, but the Chiefs are on a mission and Patrick Mahomes is playing lights out. Chiefs cover

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-2 1/2) — The Dolphins have lost four straight to fall to 8-7. They still make the playoffs if they win out. The Patriots have lost consecutive games to drop to 7-8 and the brink of playoff elimination. The home team usually wins this game. The Patriots win with defense and running the ball. Go with the home field and the cold weather. Patriots cover

Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants (-5) — The 8-6-1 Giants are in the playoff picture. The Colts are not. The Giants never win easily. Saquon Barkley runs well but Daniel Jones does not engineer blowouts. The Colts lose close games. Giants win but fail to cover

New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles (-7) — The Saints at 6-9 are only one game back in the lowly NFC South. The 13-2 Eagles have the best record in football but have not locked up their division. They lead the conference by one game and are closing non home field advantage. The Eagles will be angry after losing at archival Dallas last week. Gardner Minshew is not Jalen Hurts, but he is good enough. With Hurts or Minshew, this is a mismatch. Eagles cover

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) — The 6-9 Panthers trail the 7-8 Buccaneers in the bad NFC South. Tom Brady has never had a losing season. The Panthers have a decent defense. The Buccaneers barely survived lowly Arizona. Rooting against Brady could be a fool’s errand, but with weather not being a factor, go with the Carolina defense. Upset special, Panthers win outright

Cleveland Browns at Washington Commanders (-2 1/2) — The Browns are done. The Commanders at 7-7-1 are desperate. Last week Taylor Heinecke was benched in favor of Carson Wentz. With nothing to play for but pride, the Browns will not pose a threat. The Commanders have everything to play for and will. Commanders cover

4pm

San Francisco 49ers (-5 1/2) at Las Vegas Raiders — The 49ers have a suffocating defense and Brock Purdy is the best Mr. Irrelevant in NFL history. Josh McDaniels needed two years to destroy Denver, but he has taken a wrecking ball to the Raiders in one season. Now McDaniels is announcing the official destruction of the team by benching Derek Carr. Jarrett Stidham will get the nod despite never starting an NFL game. The Carr benching will upset Davante Adams. Josh Jacobs already wants out. Al Davis is rolling over in his grave. McDaniels is as McDaniels does. 49ers cover

New York Jets (-2 1/2) at Seattle Seahawks — Both teams are on life support. Zach Wilson has been benched, most likely for good. Mike White returns rom injury. The Jets have the better defense. Geno Smith would love to beat the team that gave up on him. Pete Carroll would love to get revenge on the team that fired him. Go with the vengeance motive and the 12th man home crowd. Seahawks cover

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-3) — The 12-3 Vikings are one game back in the conference race for home field advantage. The Packers have won three straight and at 7-8 have slim playoff hopes. The Vikings are the better team with explosive offensive weapons, but Aaron Rodgers is on a mission. The Packers are desperate and at home. Packers cover

Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Chargers (-6 1/2) — The Rams get a de facto extra home game. The Rams obliterated Denver by 37 points last week in an otherwise forgettable season. The 9-6 Chargers clinched a playoff birth. Justin Herbert has too many weapons and the Rams are injury-riddled. Yet the spread is too high for a team that wins ugly. There might be more Rams fans in the stands. Chargers win but fail to cover

8pm

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-3) — The 7-8 Steelers survived their Immaculate Reception rematch and now face a 10-5 Ravens team that has struggled in recent weeks without Lamar Jackson. With these teams, throw out the records. Home field does not matter. The Raiders are in the playoffs but hurting. The Steelers have won four of five as Mike Tomlin seeks to avoid his first losing season. Go with the healthier team unafraid of a hostile environment. The Steelers are built for running the football in cold weather. Upset special, Steelers win outright

January 2, 2023, 8pm

Buffalo Bills (-1) at Cincinnati Bengals — This is the biggest match between these teams since 1988. The 12-3 Bills are tied atop the AFC and own the tie-breaker in the race for home field advantage. The 11-4 Bengals are one game back. This is a heavyweight prize fight. Josh Allen and Joe Burrow are both for real. Both teams have a good defense. In cold weather, expect a hard-nosed fight. These teams are dead even, so go with the home field. Upset special, Bengals win outright

 

eric