Saturday, January 9, 2021

NFL: Final Poll

 Here is the AP's Final Top 10 of the NFL Season:

1.  Kansas City:  14-2
2.  Green Bay:  13-3
3.  Buffalo:  13-3
4.  New Orleans:  12-4
5.  Seattle:  12-4
6.  Pittsburgh:  12-4
7.  Baltimore:  11-5
8.  Tampa Bay:  11-5
9.  Tennessee:  11-5
10.  Indianapolis:  11-5

The Dolphins (10-6) finish at number 13.  The Football Team (7-9) finishes at number 16.

Here are this week's playoff matchups (all times Central) (home teams listed first):

Saturday, 12:05 P.M.:  (3) Buffalo v. (10) Indianapolis
Saturday, 3:40 P.M.:  (5) Seattle v. (11) Los Angeles
Saturday, 7:15 P.M.:  (16) Washington v. (8) Tampa Bay
Sunday, 12:05 P.M.:  (9) Tennessee v. (7) Baltimore
Sunday, 3:40 P.M.:  (14) Chicago v. (4) New Orleans
Sunday, 7:15 P.M.:  (6) Pittsburgh v. (12) Cleveland

79 comments:

  1. Buffalo beat Indy in a 27-24 thriller that was like an old AFC East game from back in the day. Possibly the last game ever for Phillip Rivers, whose career I never understood.

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  2. With 13:30 left in the 3d quarter, the Rams lead Seattle 20-13.

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    1. The difference in the game is a Pick-Six thrown by Russell Wilson in the second quarter.

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  3. The Kentucky Wildcats go to Gainesville at crush the Florida Gators, 76 to 58. I have no idea what happened, but my guess is that the return of Keion Brooks had something to do with it.

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    1. Cats now 3-0 in 2021, and 3-0 in the Southeastern Conference. K-Pom had them losing 73-68 today, and it will be interesting to see where they go on his ranking.

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    2. The Cats have gone from 52 to 43 on Ken Pom. Now projected to go 11-6 in the SEC. Huge game at home on Tuesday night against Alabama. The Tide is 4-0 in the SEC with wins at Tennessee and Auburn.

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    3. This game featured UK's biggest margin at Gainesville since 1998. I wonder what happened to that team?

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    4. UK was great. Everybody seemed to be moving all of the time and everything seemed purposeful on offense.

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  4. Rams lead 23-13 with 11:29 left in the game. Rams defense has been dominant so far.

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  5. Seattle fumbles a punt and the Rams take over at the Seattle 36 with 7 minutes left. This is a very poor performance from Seattle.

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  6. Meanwhile, LaTech leads Western 38-24 at the half. That's not good.

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  7. Rams go up 30-13 with 4:40 left and Seattle is going out.

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  8. Rams win 30-20. Now we get Tom Brady v. the Football Team.

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  9. Tampa Bay takes the opening kickoff, drives down the field, and kicks a field goal. Bucs lead 3-0.

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  10. Alex Smith apparently can't go tonight, so the Football Team is rolling with Taylor Heineke, their fourth QB of the year. They are 5-1 with Alex Smith as the starter, and 2-8 with everyone else.

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    1. That's Taylor Heinicke. If you're wondering what sort of team goes into the playoffs with a QB that has never started a game before, and wasn't even on the team until a few weeks ago -- well, that's the Football Team. That's how we roll in DC.

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  11. With 3:45 left, the Tops have almost caught LaTech. LaTech leads 59-55.

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  12. With 1:28 left, LaTech 59, WKU 58.

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  13. Football is really hard for most people. Heinicke has a pass that's tipped and intercepted on a spectacular diving catch. But it's not really hard for everyone. Tom Brady hurls a 36-yard touchdown pass. The Football Team blocks the kick, but TB leads 9-0.

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  14. 13 seconds left: LaTech 61, WKU 58. If you like close games, you should follow Western.

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  15. LaTech wins 63-58. WKU now 2-2 in C-USA.

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  16. I think I would understand the world better if I knew why anyone ever liked Pink Floyd.

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  17. Heinicke leads the Football Team down the field and they score a touchdown. Now TB leads 9-7 early in the second quarter.

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  18. Tom Brady is pretty good. He leads the Bucs to another quick touchdown, and he throws his second TD pass of the game. The Bucs go for two and don't make it, so they lead 15-7 with 10 minutes left in the second quarter.

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  19. OK, here's what happened.

    TB kicked a field goal to take an 18-7 lead at the half.

    In the third quarter, the Football Team kicked a field goal. 18-10.

    Then the Bucs fumbled the ball. And then TAYLOR HEINICKE led the Football Team to a touchdown, topped off by an incredible run where HEINICKE dived and HIT THE PYLON. The two-point conversion failed. 18-16 Bucs.

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  20. Now Brady is driving the Bucs, and they are down to the Washington 20 as the third quarter comes to an end.

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  21. The Football Team holds, creating a 4th and 7 at the Washington 20. Ryan Succop boots a 38-yd field goal. Bucs lead 21-16.

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  22. For the record, the Football Team hasn't scored more than 21 points in any game since December 13.

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  23. Tampa brings the heat and hits Heinicke on three consecutive plays. The Football Team goes three and out and Brady will start from his own 31.

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  24. Brady has no sympathy for the Football Team. He drives the Bucs straight down the field for another touchdown, and now the Bucs lead 28-16 with 9 minutes left. Meanwhile, Heinicke appears to be injured, and the Football Team hasn't scored 28 points in a game since Thanksgiving. So TB should be safe.

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    1. This is actually a very impressive performance by Tampa Bay. The Football Team hasn't given up this many points in a game since November 15.

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  25. But Taylor Heinicke is implacable. He storms out of the locker room, takes over the Football Team, and drives the length of the field for another touchdown on an 11-yard fade route, which usually doesn't work. Bucs lead 28-23 with 4:51 left. What a game!

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  26. Brady, who really is amazing, drives the Bucs down again. But they have to settle for their fourth field goal of the game. Bucs lead 31-23 with 2:49 left. Football Team has no time outs left.

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  27. Heinicke picks up two first downs, but Tampa Bay hurls the Football Team back with two incompletions and a sack. At the two minute warning, the Football Team faces a 4th and 21 on its own 40.

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  28. Heinicke drops back, hurls one more pass down the field -- and it is incomplete. Great defense by Tampa Bay, and now Brady and run out the clock and the Bucs will get a well-deserved win.

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  29. I was very impressed by Tampa Bay's offense -- no one has put up 31 points on the Football Team since the Ravens did it back on October 4.

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  30. Heinicke's final numbers: 26-44 for 306 yards. 1 TD. 1 INT. Rating of 78.4.

    Brady's final numbers: 22/40 for 381 yards. 2 TDs. 0 INTs. Rating of 104.3.

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  31. I've lived here since 1992, and this game is the best one I've ever seen the Football Team play. It actually felt like Washington was in the NFL.

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  32. Titans lead Baltimore 10-0 after one quarter. Titans eliminated Baltimore last year -- can they do so again?

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  33. But the Ravens get a field goal -- and then Lamar Jackson scrambles 50 yards through the Tennessee defense to tie the game! 10-10 with 2:32 left in the first half.

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  34. The Ravens radio network is in 14 cities other than Baltimore. Thirteen of those cities are located close to Baltimore. The other one is Louisville.

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    1. Friend of mine from WKU who went to Trinity and lives in Louisville gave up the Bengals to root for Lamar and the Ravens.

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  35. With 9 minutes left in the 3d quarter, Ravens score again to take a 17-10 lead. That's 17 points in a row. Titans offense really struggling.

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  36. Tennessee gets a field goal, Baltimore misses a 52-yard field goal. Titans trail 17-13 with 12:11 left in the game.

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  37. Baltimore's defense holds again, and Tennessee punts with 10 minutes left.

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    1. Derrick Henry: 16 carries for 37 yards.

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    2. The analytics crowd is crushing Tennessee for this punt. It was 4th and 2 at the Baltimore 40, they were down by 4, and they punted. They didn't get the ball back until Baltimore had used up almost 6 minutes of clock and added 3 points to its lead.

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  38. Baltimore uses almost six minutes of clock, and kicks a field goal to go up 20-13 with 4:19 left. Tennessee is about to run out of time.

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  39. With two minutes left, Ryan Tannehill throws an interception and the Titans are going out of the playoffs. It was a bad break for Tennessee to draw Baltimore -- the Ravens are all about revenge.

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    1. I'm really do believe that Ryan Tannehill, who started out as a wide receiver in college, is still improving as a quarterback. When he arrived with the Dolphins, he seemed to be doing about four of every 10 things a quarterback has to do correctly. By the time he left Miami, he was up to about six, and now it seems like he gets about seven. (Tom Brady seems to average somewhere between nine and 10.) One of the commentators on this game--I can't remember which one--pointed out on this play how Tannehill made a mistake in terms of understanding personnel matchups vs. the route opportunities. The pass was good (the receiver fell), but he failed to recognize an advantageous matchup on the other side of the field. It was really good commentary, and I felt sorry for Ryan Tannehill, whom I really like. I'm interested to watch how much better he can become before his body breaks down.

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  40. Ravens win 20-13. Next up: Saints at Bears.

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  41. I'm watching the Saints/Bears on Nickelodeon, but I have the sound down, so apart from an unusual scorebug the broadcast doesn't look all that different.

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    1. For the record, I know a lot about what it's like to be a 7-year-old football fan. When I watched football as a 7-year-old, I didn't feel 7 -- I felt like a football fan. I have exactly the same feelings today. If you want to appeal to young fans, you should act like the game is a Very Big Deal -- because that's how they feel about it.

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    2. Here's how the world has changed since I was a kid. We are generally better at dealing with questions that can be studied in an analytic manner. We are generally worse at dealing with questions that require a profound and sensitive understanding of human nature. So we have a lot more money, but are generally less happy.

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  42. Anyway, there's no chance that the 7-year-old version of me would watch this game on Nickolodeon, even with the sound turned down. I'd be trying to sync a radio broadcast to the CBS telecast, which is pretty much my approach as a 54-year-old. The child truly is father to the man.

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    1. On the morning of Sunday, Jan. 12, 1975, I attended Immanuel Baptist Church in Paducah with my mother. The pastor there made some mention that he thought the Vikings would win the Super Bowl that afternoon against Pittsburgh. I was sitting there, as I always sat there, using the pew pencil to draw football helmets on the bulletin, but that caught my attention. And I thought to myself that the Pittsburgh defense was just going to wear Fran Tarkenton out. So in the line on the way out of the narthex, I finally had something to say to the pastor. I suggested that he and I bet $1 on the outcome of the game. This embarrassed Mom something fierce, but I couldn't understand why because $1 was a very standard bet on football outcomes within my family. Anyway, the pastor laughed and suggested, instead, how about he'd buy me a Coke if the Steelers won?

      My point is, I was almost smack dab between my sixth and seventh birthdays on Jan. 12, 1975, and, so, yeah, there's zero possibility that kid me would've watched that Nickelodeon broadcast yesterday.

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  43. Mood: Listening to a lot of old Kansas songs, particularly "Song For America."

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  44. I can't believe there are too many kids still watching this game -- it is extremely dull. Saints lead 7-3 at the half.

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  45. I don't think I've ever seen Cleveland beat Pittsburgh in a game the Steelers really wanted.

    The Browns are currently up 21-0 with 4:40 left in the first quarter.

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  46. Roethlisberger throws an interception, and Cleveland runs the ball back to the Pittsburgh 15! Browns up 21-0 with 3 minutes left in the first quarter.

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  47. And there's another touchdown, and the Browns are up 28-0 with 1:56 left in the first quarter. Unbelievable. ESPN now gives Cleveland a 96.7 percent chance of victory.

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  48. At the half, Cleveland leads 35-10 behind four Pittsburgh turnovers -- a fumbled snap that was recovered in the end zone, and three interceptions. Cleveland has set the record for most points scored on the road in the first half of a playoff game.

    Pittsburgh has beaten Cleveland 17 times in a row at home, but the Steelers have picked a bad time to put that streak in so much danger.

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  49. Pittsburgh scores a touchdown, and then goes for two for reasons that I don't understand. They don't make it, and Cleveland leads 35-16 with 7:22 left in the third quarter.

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  50. Facing fourth and goal from the Cleveland 5, Pittsburgh eschews the field goal. Roethlisberger completes a huge touchdown pass, and Cleveland's lead is 35-23 with 2:57 left in the third quarter. ESPN gives Cleveland a 91.3 percent chance of victory.

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  51. Browns go three and out. They punt, and the Steelers will start from their own 37 with 1:08 left in the third quarter.

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  52. But Pittsburgh gets to a 4th and 1 at midfield and decides to punt. The ball goes into the end zone.

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    1. Cleveland starts from the 20 with 14:52 left. Still up 35-23

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  53. Pittsburgh has been good for pretty much my whole life. And since 1979, they have fewer Super Bowl titles than the Cowboys or Washington.

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  54. That punt was a mistake. Cleveland goes the length of the field, scoring on a 45-yard catch and run play. The score is 42-23, and Pittsburgh (which started the year 11-0) is going out.

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  55. Pittsburgh scores, goes for two again, doesn't make it, and trails 42-29 with 11:08 left. If Pittsburgh had kicked two extra points, the score would now be 42-31. I'm not sure that the analytics guys have an accurate figure for how often teams make two-point conversions.

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  56. Heartbreak for Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Tennessee, all of whom lost and home and all of whom had big hopes for this season.

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    1. But all three played really badly. Seattle and Tennessee couldn't do anything on offense, and Pittsburgh blew itself up with four disastrous turnovers in the first half.

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  57. Cleveland will be the lowest-ranked team to reach the quarterfinals. They will get the Chiefs. The Buffalo/Baltimore game should be one for the ages.

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  58. The Rams will ride their red-hot defense into Green Bay to take on Aaron Rodgers. I would be very excited about the Brees/Brady matchup between New Orleans and Tampa Bay, but the Saints have crushed Tampa Bay twice this year. On the other hand, NO is usually bad in the playoffs, and Brady is usually really good.

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  59. With Pittsburgh joining New England, San Francisco, and Dallas on the sidelines, the Packers (with four) have the most Super Bowl titles of the quarter-finalists. The Ravens and Chiefs have two each. The Rams, Saints, and Bucs have one each. The Browns and Bills have none.

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  60. I'm rooting for Chiefs vs. Packers in the Super Bowl.

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