The Spotlight On Today’s Sports- 11/23/2015

Hello everyone and happy Monday! I’ve gotten a good amount of feedback from folks who have mentioned that they enjoyed the old Spotlight on Daily Sports Posts that I used t do when I first started the site so.  Well, I like to consider myself a man of the people and so your wish is my command!  I can’t promise the sports update will be every single day but let’s say most days for now and we’ll see where we go from there.  Today’s update is going to focus entirely on Week 11 in the NFL and what we learned from the week.  Let’s get right into it…

The New York Jets…Not a Playoff Team-  I’ve showed a lot of faith in the Jets throughout the season and I have predicted that they were going to be one of the teams representing the weak AFC as a wildcard and while I can’t tell you which one of these mediocre tems in the AFC will make the playoffs, I can tell you it won’t be the Jets. If the Jets are going to make the playoffs they need to get to 9-7 which mean they have to go 4-2 over the final six games and I just don’t see it.  This week’s brutal loss to the Texans was a real setback for the Jets because now they don’t get to face a FREAKIN WIDE RECEIVER AT QUARTERBACK anymore but instead get Tony Romo, Eli Manning and Tom Brady, the rest of the way..  Do you see this Jets defense stopping any of those three?  I don’t either but let’s say you’re optimistic and say they can beat Eli, fine then do you see the Jets going into Buffalo week 17 and beating the Bills because that’s the other option.  As much as it pains me to say it, I’d be much more willing to believe that the Jets will finish 7-9 then 9-7.

Fraud, Fraud, Fraud-  The only good news as a Jets fan is that at least my team didn’t have the biggest collapse since the beginning of a promising 4-1 season.  No way, that distinct honor goes to the Atlanta Falcons.  The Falcons have suddenly gone from 5-0 to 6-4 and they’ve done so in the ugliest of ways.  It’s bad enough that you let Blaine Gabbert come into your building and beat you before your bye but now yesterday the Falcons allow 106 year old Matt Hasslebeck to beat them in their building as well.  To make matters worse, the Falcons were up  by two touchdowns and let the piss poor Colts defense hold them to a scoreless second half at the Georgia Dome! I really hope someone rises to the occasion and knocks the Falcons out of the playoffs because they are as fraudulent a winning team as can be.  Too much talent to keep losing games the way they are.

The worst thing that could’ve happened to Peyton Manning-  is that the Broncos went into Chicago with Brock Osweiler and left the windy city with a victory.  The league was already ready to bury Peyton Manning and label him as washed up.  Everyone has seemingly forgotten about how good of a career Peyton has had and instead all you keeep hearing was that he was done, that the Broncos playmakers and defense have been carrying him all season.  Well, the fact that these same Broncos were able to go into Chicago with Brock Osweiler, making his first career start, and beat a Bears team that was playing good football, won’t stop any of that chatter.  Now the question turns to if Peyton is able to return at some point this season, do the Denver Broncos even want him back?  You would think the Broncos were 2-8 as opposed to 8-2.

The Cowboys Are Alive- Truth be told, the New York Giants are still the favorites to win the NFC East but the Cowboys now sit two games back and they have their Quarterback back!  Even though Tony Romo looked a little rusty in Miami, the Cowboys were able to pick up their first win in 8 tries.  Darren McFadden, of all people, rushed for 131 yards and you have to figure that if Matt Cassel was in at QB, he may not have even had 30 yards. Just the threat of having Romo back, opens up the Cowboys running attack because you expect them to pass every down.  Just look at Demarco Murray last season as compared to how he’s looked without Tony Romo.  The further good news for the Cowboys is that the Eagles were crushed by the Bucs at home and look lost with Mark Sanchez under center and the Redskins were embarrassed by the 10-0 Panthers.  The bad news for the Cowboys is that now they welcome those same undefeated Panthers into their building in just four days in a must-see Thanksgiving matchup. Put the turkey on the snack tables because that is a game you won’t want to miss.

A Win’s A Win…But At What Cost?-  This just isn’t the year for the Baltimore Ravens.  Just two weeks after losing Steve Smith for the season, the Ravens lost both Justin Forsett for the season due to a broken arm and Joe Flacco for the season due to a torn ACL.  That pretty much completes the laundry list of injuries to the Ravens this season and ends their disappointing year.  The cherry on top?  Matt Schaub will now be starting for them for the rest of the year.

Sweet Revenge- Just when it looked like the Bengals were going to push their matchup with the Cardinals to overtime, Carson Palmer drove his team right down the field in just a minute and three seconds to put them in position to seal the game with a field goal.  It was an elite level performance by Palmer who sent his team to the number 2 seed in the NFC and sent his former team into a virtual tie with the Denver Broncos.  How sweet it is!

And Then There Were Four?!?!-  I know I know, there are only two undefeated teams left the 10-0 Panthers and 9-0 Patriots but there are actually 4 undefeated (with at least two starts) quarterbacks this season.  Those four quarterbacks are Tom Brady, Cam Newtown, Tony Romo (3-0) and Matt Hasslebeck (3-0). Obviously the shocker of the bunch is Hasslebeck who has really turned back the clock off the bench for the Colts.  Whether he’ll be able to do it for the next 5 weeks, while Andrew Luck is out injured, remains to be seen but he goes to show the importance of having a cagey veteran on the bench.

Well that’s going to do it for today but I’ll be back tomorrow with another sports update where we’ll have no choice but to turn our attention to a team streaking in the NBA and bringing back interest in the NBA altogether at the same time.  Until then, what were your biggest takeaways from Week 11 in the National Football League.  Let me know in the comment section below or on twitter @Daily_Spotlight

The Spotlight NFL Week 10 picks against the spread

Hello everyone and happy football Sunday!  Last week we came awfully close to losing our first week after we went 5-3 (with Monday night) but so this week we’re going to be taking a look at 7 games in the NFL but I will again warn that this is a tough week.  There are a lot of games this week where teams are so close and/ or Vegas has set the line exactly where it should be.  Let’s see what we can do here to navigate you through the week.

1) Dallas Cowboys (+2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Hold your breath here but I’m taking the Cowboys on the road, no less, to their first game of the year without Tony Romo.  I like some of things that Tampa Bay has done this season and I think that in a year or two they’re going to push for a playoff spot with Famous Jameis under center.  That said, they can’t win at home and they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot a evidenced by last week’s game at Metlife where I really felt that they had the game except for a few dropped passes.  On the other side of dime here, the Cowboys have kept it close every single week and against pretty good teams (at least in Seattle and Philly).  If they can find a way to win this week, it won’t put Romo in the unenviable task of having to win every game in order for his team to have a chance to make the postseason and I think they know that too.

2) Chicago Bears (+9) at St. Louis Rams

I’m going back to the Bears this week after picking them to win the game outright in San Diego.  I’m actually starting to have a little bit of faith in Jay Cutler who seems to find a way to keep his team in games every week.  The Rams are probably the better team here but the’ve been under fire all week after the hit to Teddy Bridgewater and Vikings Head Coach, Mike Zimmer coming at the Rams personnel hard.  I also think the Rams were exposed last week in Minnesota and you know I don’t pick underdogs unless I feel there is a chance they can win outright.  I liked them at 7.5, love them 9, Da Bears with pick number two.

3) New York Giants (+7.5) over New England Patriots 

Perhaps underdogs are a theme this week with me but I love the Giants here.  Tom Coughlin is 5-1 lifetime against Bill Belichick which includes two Superbowl wins, one of which, the Patriots entered that game undefeated! I know you’re probably going to be quick to point out that those were different teams and while you’d be right, realize that those Giants teams weren’t that good back then, they were mediocre teams that went on historic runs. Eli Manning has been really good this season and I feel like he always plays to his competition.  I also look for the injury to Dion Lewis to be a tough one for the Patriots who now become a bit more one dimensional.  The Giants are also home and you know Metlife will be rockin!

4) Carolina Panthers (-3) over Tennessee Titans 

I’ll tell ya when the line was 5.5, I really liked the Titans in this one.  A really stout defense (especially against the run) coupled with a team feeling really good about their new coach and their rookie Quarterback who just got a win at New Orleans and their is reason to think the Titans may end the Panthers undefeated run.  That said, getting the Panthers by a field goal?  I’m willing to bite on this sucker bet.  The Panthers haven’t only been on such a good run but they’ve done it against some really good teams.  In the last four weeks, they beat the Colts, the Eagles, at Seattle and just last week they beat Aaron Rodgers.  Sorry but I’m not willing to count this team out against the Tennessee Titans especially when they haven’t won a game at home.

5) Minnesota Vikings (+3) over Oakland Raiders

Real good one here at the 6-2 Vikings head to Oakland to take on the 4-4 Raiders who came about as close as you could last week to really taking control of their destiny in the AFC playoff race.  A lot of people like the Raiders but I’m actually going the other way, especially after hearing that Teddy Bridgewater is a go.  The Vikings have to be feeling good about themselves and know that if they can find a way to win in Oakland, they will be really pushing the Packers in that division race.  I like the Raiders but they haven’t beaten a winning team yet besides the Jets and they were without their quarterback that week.  That won’t change this week as the Vikings will win this one outright.

6) IF YOUR DESPERATE: Kansas City Chiefs (+6) at Denver Broncos

Do you see the big caps letter up above?  Proceed with caution here as this pick is more a product of feeling a bit uneasy about picking the other games and wanting to give the Sunday Night game it’s own post.  This one is more of a product f how unhealthy the Broncos are as opposed to how much i believe in the Chiefs.  The Broncos will be without Aqib Talib and Demarcus Ware and may be without Emmanuel Sanders (who is a game time decision).  Peyton Manning will break some records this week but will do so with a bad rib cage injury and if he gets hit, the Broncos may be in more trouble.  The Chiefs will be without Jamaal Charles but at this point they know that and have had time to adjust.  They’re also coming off of a bye and are bad team doing so, this means they’ve been preparing and practicing that whole time for this game.  KC also knows that if they someone can find a way to steal one in Denver (which won’t be easy), they’re right back in a mediocre wildcard race in the AFC. The Chiefs had the Broncos beat the last time and can compete with them.

7) LOCK OF THE Week : New Orleans Saints (pk) over Washington Redskins

The Redskins get their play maker back this week in Desean Jackson and they’re back hoe where they are 3-1 so this one wont; be a slam dunk but if I’m getting the Saints in a pickem, I have to go with them, even on the road where they are 1-3.  The Saints are coming off of a brutal loss at home to a rookie quarterback but this is a chance for Drew Brees and Sean Payton to right the ship and I don’t think they’ll fall in Washington.  I always say that when I get a choice to go against Kirk Cousins in a close game, I’ll do it every time and this week is no exception.  The Saints defense is awful but if it’s up to Cousins to take advantage of that defense, I say no thanks.  The Saints are the Lock of the week and I haven’t lost one of those all season.

That’s going to do it for me but follow along with me on twitter @TommyOnTheSpot as I’ll be live tweeting throughout the day, despite attending an engagement party.  I’ll also be back with my Sunday Night Football pick a little later on, until then have fun and go make some money!

The Spotlight Picks Against The Spread- Thursday Night Football- Broncos At Chiefs

Week 2 in the NFL season will kick off in a bit over an hour with a clash of AFC West teams as Peyton Manning will lead the Denver Broncos into Arrowhead to take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

This reads like a tale of two teams who fans feel completely different about this season.  Everywhere you look you see people jumping on the Chiefs bandwagon.  It seems like the only thing that Andy Reid’s team was missing last season was a wide receiver.  They have an elite running back in Jamaal Charles, a quarterback who has won in the playoffs, a rising tight end in Travis Kelce and a stud defense.  Well enter Jeremy Maclin and the Chiefs came out firing in Houston with seemingly all pieces in place.

On the other side of the dime you have the Denver Broncos, the four time division champions are seemingly finished accoridngly to the public.  Peyton Manning hasn’t looked good since last season and last week he averaged under 5 yards per pass.  Denver also got destroyed in the process…what’s that?  Denver won last week?  They beat the Baltimore Ravens?!?! You’d never that the Denver Broncos are currently 1-0 based on everything you’ve heard all week.

So what do we do tonight?   I’ll admit it, I cringe every time I see Peyton Manning go down and go down hard. It’s hard to watch knowing his injuries and, let’s face it, his age.  The Chiefs will be coming at him all night long but this year it’s a different Denver Bronco team.  After three years of the Broncos being carried by Peyton Manning, he is now being carried by them.  The Broncos have a great defense and have a good running game now that the Montee Ball experience is over.  I know Arrowhead will be loud tonight and I know the Chiefs are the consensus pick but I’m not willing to give up on Peyton Manning just yet.  This game reads more like a pickem and if I’m getting points with Peyton Manning I’ll take them gladly.

The Pick:  Broncos (+3, if you can wait it should drop to +3.5,  though don’t be too surprised if the Broncos win outright)