Thursday, December 29, 2016

FOOTBALL NEWS AFTER NFL WEEK SIXTEEN


FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER -

Hello Football Fans,

The big-time bowl games are coming up this weekend, including the CFP semifinals on Saturday, New Year's Eve and also four games on Monday.


There is only one week remaining in the NFL regular season, and most (but not all) of the playoff teams have been determined.

Enjoy,

The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL


(Ed. note - Due to the hectic still-unfolding political scene, the mass reveal by the email dump, and the D.C. rush to war by the Obama-Clinton war-hawks, limited staff resources were used for deep cover. We now join our Football News cycle by The Fugitive Commissioner already in progress. Thank you.)


NFL

NFL PLAYOFF CONTENDERS
With only ONE game remaining in the regular season, all six AFC playoff teams have been determined, but not the order of the seedings. The only locked-in seedings are Pittsburgh at the #3 seed and Houston at the #4 seed; the PIT Steelers hold the strength-of-victory tiebreaker over the HOU Texans.
In the NFC, Dallas is locked into the #1 seed, meaning that the Cowboys will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs and will not have to leave the State of Texas even if they advance to the Super Bowl (to be held in Houston this year). The NY Giants are locked into the #5 seed. The Green Bay at Detroit winner in Week #17 will get one playoff spot, and the loser will be out of the playoffs if Washington wins at home in Week #17 over the Giants.
Following is a snapshot of how the playoff picture looks at this point:

NFC SEEDINGS PROJECTION
#1 Dallas (13-2)                             #1 seed locked in
#2 Atlanta (10-5)                            needs win in Week #17 to earn a “bye” week
#3 Seattle (9-5-1)                           Clinched division title and playoff spot
#4 Detroit/Green Bay winner (9-6)  Could still get #3 seed with Seattle loss
#5 NY Giants (10-5)                      a win at PHI on Thursday secures playoff spot
#6 GB/DET loser (9-6) or WSH     Both GB & DET make playoffs if they tie in Week #17

Lurking for the #6 Wild Card spot:
Washington (8-6-1)                        needs only a home win vs. NY Giants to get in,
                                                    unless Green Bay and Detroit TIE.
Tampa Bay (8-7)                           needs a lot of help (8-team money line parlay)

AFC SEEDINGS PROJECTION
#1 New England (13-2)                  Clinched 1st round bye in playoffs but not #1 seed yet

#2 Oakland (12-3)                         needs win at Denver or KC loss at SD to win AFC West
#3 Pittsburgh (9-5)                        won division title; locked into #3 seed
#4 Houston (8-6)                          won division title; locked into #4 seed
#5 Kansas City (10-4)                   clinched playoff spot; could still win AFC West
#6 Miami (9-5)                             needs KC loss and win vs. NE to get #5 seed

Lurking for the #6 wild card spot: NONE; all other teams have been eliminated

DIVISIONAL RACES
NFC EAST                                 CHAMPION: DALLAS
NFC SOUTH                             CHAMPION: ATLANTA


NFC WEST                                CHAMPION: SEATTLE
NFC NORTH
GREEN BAY at DETROIT in Week #17 to determine division winner

AFC EAST                                CHAMPION: NEW ENGLAND
AFC NORTH                            CHAMPION: PITTSBURGH
AFC SOUTH                            CHAMPION: HOUSTON
AFC WEST
OAKLAND is winner unless KC wins at SD and OAK loses at DEN in Week #17.

NFL UNDERDOG WINNERS in Week #16
There were FIVE underdogs that won outright in 16 NFL games (31%).

Miami (+3h) won in overtime at Buffalo, 34-31, to clinch a playoff berth. The BUF Bills trailed by 2 TD’s several times in the game, but took its first lead of the game on a TD with 1:20 remaining in the 4th quarter, 31-28. On the ensuing possession the MIA Dolphins drove into FG range and kicked a 55-yarder to tie the game at 31-31 on the final play of regulation. Buffalo got the ball first in OT, but missed a 45-yard FG. The teams exchanged punts and then the Bills decided to punt on 4th-and-2 from their own 41 with only 4 minutes remaining in the overtime period. Miami matriculated down the field for 77 yards on 7 plays and kicked the game-winning 27-yard FG with only 47 seconds remaining in OT.
The Dolphins won for the 9th time in their last 10 games after starting the season with a 1-4 record.

Jacksonville (+5) beat visiting Tennessee, 38-17, to eliminate the Titans from the playoff race.
The JAX Jaguars led 25-10 at the end of the third quarter when Tennessee QB Marcus Mariota got sacked and broke his leg, ending his season and his team’s hopes for an AFC South division title.

Cleveland (+6) beat visiting San Diego, 20-17, which gave the Browns their first win of the season to avoid the ugly “0-16” tag that the 2008 Detroit Lions own alone (the 1976 TB Buccaneers were 0-14, prior to expansion of regular season to sixteen games).
The SD Chargers had a FG attempt blocked with 3:45 remaining in the game that would have tied the score, and then the Bolts missed a 45-yard FG try on the last play of regulation to miss out on extending the game into overtime.

San Francisco (+3h) won at Los Angeles, 22-21, to get only its second win of the season, both against the LA Lambs. After a SF 49’ers fumble, the Rams scored a TD with 10½ minutes remaining in the game to take a 21-7 lead. But the Niners responded with two TD’s including the second one with only 31 seconds on the clock, trailing only 21-20. Instead of kicking the tying PAT, HC Chip Kelly decided to “go for 2” to win the game and the PAT 2-point conversion was successful.

Arizona (+8h) won at Seattle, 34-31. After kicking a FG with only 4:10 remaining in the game, the AZ Cardinals were ahead 31-18 but allowed the SEA Seahawks to score two unanswered TD’s including the game-tying TD with 1 minute to go, 31-31 tie. Seattle’s extra-point kick was “no good”, giving Arizona one last chance. The Cards marched 50 yards in 8 plays and kicked the game-winning FG from 43 yards on the last play of the game.

“NOT QUITE”:
Cincinnati (+1) scored the first TD of the game early in the 4th quarter to take a 10-6 lead, but on the ensuing possession the HOU Texans responded with a TD to retake the lead, 12-10. The extra point kick was blocked. After an exchange of punts, the CIN Bengals drove 60 yards on 13 plays to set up for a 43-yard FG to win the game with five seconds on the clock. The kick is up…wide right. Houston survives and wins the AFC South division title.

FINAL: HOU 12, CIN 10

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

BOWL RESULTS
FINISHING UP FFHL WEEK #15

Wednesday, December 21st
BYU -9 vs. Wyoming                              POINSETTIA BOWL                        San Diego, CA
The BYU Cougars led 24-7 after scoring on a TD early in the 4th quarter, but the WYO Cowboys responded with two unanswered TD’s -- the second TD with 2:11 remaining in the game to get the backdoor cover ATS in a losing effort.
FINAL: BYU 24, WYO 21

Thursday, December 22nd
Colorado State -13h vs. Idaho                 IDAHO POTATO BOWL                       Boise, ID
The ID Vandals jumped out to a huge lead and then hung on to outscore Colorado State, even though the CSU Rams scored 36 points in the 4th quarter. Idaho barely outgained CSU from scrimmage, 606-600, but the Rams lost the turnover battle, 3-0.
UPSET FINAL: ID 61, CSU 50

FFHL WEEK #16
Friday, December 23rd

Old Dominion -4 vs. E. Michigan              BAHAMAS BOWL                          Nassau, Bahamas
The ODU Monarchs got a win in their 1st-ever bowl appearance.
FINAL: ODU 24, EMU 20 and the game ended in a tie ATS.

Navy +6 vs. Louisiana Tech                    ARMED FORCES BOWL                 Fort Worth, TX
FINAL: LA.TK 48, NAVY 45 and the underdog Midshipmen covered ATS by 3 points

Troy -4 vs. Ohio U.                               DOLLAR GENERAL BOWL             Mobile, AL
Ohio lost the turnover battle 5-2 and it cost them the game.
FINAL: TROY 28, OU 23 and the favored Trojans covered ATS by 1 point.

Saturday, December 24th – Christmas Eve
Middle Tennessee (-5h) vs. Hawaii         HAWAI’I BOWL                                Honolulu, HI
The Rainbow Warriors pulled off the upset at home.
UPSET FINAL: HI 52, MdTEN 35

Monday, December 26th

Mississippi St. -14 vs. Miami.OH           ST. PETERSBURG BOWL                St. Petersburg, FL
The SEC’s Miss. State Bulldogs kicked a 4th quarter FG to barely win. Both teams finished the season with 6-7 records. Ugly.
FINAL: MSU 17, MIA.OH 16 but the MU Redhawks covered ATS easily by 13 points

Maryland -1 vs. Boston College            QUICK LANE BOWL                         Detroit, MI
The BC Eagles pulled off the mild upset over the Terrapins.
UPSET FINAL: BC 36, MARY 30

NC State -4 vs. Vanderbilt                    INDEPENDENCE BOWL                   Shreveport, LA
FINAL: NC.ST 41, VAND 17

Tuesday, December 27th

Army -10 vs. North Texas                  HEART OF DALLAS BOWL                 Dallas, TX
FINAL/OT: Army 38, North Texas 31

Temple -11h vs. Wake Forest             MILITARY BOWL                                 Annapolis, MD
UPSET FINAL: Wake Forest 34, Temple 26

WA State -10h vs. Minnesota             HOLIDAY BOWL                                  San Diego, CA
Ten MINN Golden Gophers are suspended for this game.
FINAL: MINN 17, WA State 12

Boise State -7h vs. Baylor                  CACTUS BOWL                                   Tempe, AZ
UPSET FINAL: Baylor 31, B. State 12

Wednesday, December 28th

Pittsburgh -5h vs. Northwestern         PINSTRIPE BOWL                    Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
UPSET FINAL: N'Western 31, Pitt 24

West VA +2h vs. Miami of FL           RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL                Orlando, FL
UPSET FINAL: MofFL 31, W. VA 14

Utah -7 vs. Indiana                           FOSTER FARMS BOWL                       Santa Clara, CA
FINAL: Utah 26, Indiana 24


Texas A&M -2h vs. Kansas State      TEXAS BOWL                                      Houston, TX
UPSET FINAL: Kansas 33, Texas 28

Thursday, December 29th

South Florida -10h vs. S. Carolina     BIRMINGHAM BOWL                          Birmingham, AL
FINAL: SFL 46, SC 39

VA Tech -7 vs. Arkansas                  BELK BOWL                                        Charlotte, NC
FINAL: to be determined

Colorado -3 vs. Oklahoma State       ALAMO BOWL                                     San Antonio, TX
FINAL: to be determined

FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SUBDIVISION (FCS)

FCS TITLE GAME
The FCS Championship game will be held on Saturday, January 7, 2017 in Frisco, TX between James Madison (13-1) and Youngstown State (12-3).
Both teams have had some problems – off the field. Stay tuned.

FFHL RESULTS – WEEK FIFTEEN
Overall in Week #15, we FFHL’ers ended up posting a record of 43-33-8 ATS (56.0%).
In the NFL we had another excellent week, posting a record of 34-21-8 ATS (60.3%). With our early bowl season picks, we were only 9-12-0 ATS (42.9%). We selected 21 underdogs out of 84 total picks, posting a stellar ‘dog record of 15-6-0 ATS (71.4%). That means our “favorite” picks for the week were a monkey-like 28-27-8 ATS (50.8%).

FFHL RESULTS – WEEK SIXTEEN
In the NFL Week #16, we FFHL’ers had another excellent week, posting a record of 40-20-0 ATS (66.7%). We selected only 11 underdogs out of our 60 NFL picks, posting a mediocre ‘dog record of 5-6-0 ATS (45.5%). That means our “favorite” picks were superb at 35-14-0 ATS (71.4%).

FFHL LOP-SIDED and CONTESTED PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)
Listed below is a breakdown of some of our significant picks for FFHL WEEK #16.
There were a total of only 10 contrary picks, 9 NFL picks and 1 college pick.

                                   ATS Picks
Team                          For-Against              Result / Unsolicited comments
GB Packers -6h vs. MIN         9-0               WIN, Green Bay wins 38-25 to cover by 6½
OAK Raiders -3h vs. IND       6-0                WIN, Oakland wins 33-25 to cover by 4½
TEN Titans -5 at JAX             6-0                LOSS, Jacksonville wins outright, 38-17
KC Chiefs -3h vs. DEN          4-0                WIN, Kansas City wins easily, 33-10
ATL Falcons -3 at CAR          4-0                WIN, Atlanta wins 33-16 to easily cover ATS
DAL Cowboys -7 vs. DET     4-1                WIN, Dallas blows out Lions in 2nd half, 42-21
TB Bucs +3 at NOR              4-2                 LOSS, New Orleans wins 31-24 to cover by 4 points
PIT Steelers -5 vs. BAL         3-2                 LOSS, Pittsburgh wins only 31-27 to not cover by 1 


Utah -7 vs. Indiana                4-0                 LOSS, Utah 26 wins only by 2 points
WA State -10h vs. MINN       3-0                WIN, Minnesota wins by 5 points
NC State -4 vs. Vanderbilt      2-1                WIN, NCST Wolfpack wins handily, 41-17

OVERALL RECORDS AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)
NFL – the 16th week:

                                            ATS                         STRAIGHT-UP
                                          Record                             Record
         FAVORITES       10-6-0 (62.5%)                   11-5 (68.8%)
     HOME TEAMS      10-6-0 (62.5%)                   11-5 (68.8%)

NFL – CUMULATIVE results 2016:

                                            ATS                          STRAIGHT-UP
                                          Record                              Record
      FAVORITES       112-113-11 (49.8%)              150-84-2 (64.0%)
   HOME TEAMS     114-111-11 (50.6%)               135-99-2 (57.6%)

Cumulative records ATS are amazingly close to the 50% benchmark as we approach the end of the regular season.

OTHER FOOTBALL NEWS

NFL STADIUM UPDATES
San Diego Chargers
The City of San Diego made a “final” offer to the Chargers of a 99-year lease of Qualcomm Stadium at only $1 million per year, but the deal is not considered viable, as the NFL Chargers would be responsible for the necessary and expensive upgrades and repairs.
It appears the Chargers are heading to Los Angeles to share the new stadium in Inglewood, CA with the LA Rams. A final decision by the Chargers’ organization must be made by January 15, 2017. Stay tuned.

Los Angeles Rams
The new LA stadium construction began with ground-breaking on November 17, 2016. The anticipated cost of the spectacular facility: $2.5 billion. I’m told there is going to be a lot of dirt moved in digging the big hole where the stadium will be located, but at the same time all of that dirt will remain on site and redistributed instead of being hauled away.

Oakland Raiders
If the Chargers do not make a deal with owner Stan Kroenke of the LA Rams to share the new stadium, then the Raiders would be next in line to make a deal with Kroenke. But it appears that Raiders’ owner Mark Davis is more interested in moving to Las Vegas, if proper funding can be negotiated. There are already significant funds available from the State of Nevada, as they have OK’d an additional hotel tax. Davis will kick in some of his own money, but the sticking point right now seems to be the funding from private parties (Sheldon Adelson is front-runner; see next paragraph) and what rights and/or ownership they will get for ponying up the money.

Wikipedia excerpt (edited by me): Sheldon Adelson (age 83) is an American casino magnate. He is the founder, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, and is the parent company of Venetian Macao Limited, which operates The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center. As of August 2016, Adelson was listed by Forbes as having a fortune of over $32 billion. He was the largest donor to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.


NFL RECORDS
In Week #16 Kansas City Chiefs’ DT Dontari Poe became the heaviest human to throw a TD pass in an NFL game. He is officially listed at a svelte 346 pounds and he blew away the previous record held by draft-bust QB JaMarcus Russell (265 lbs.), followed by QB Daunte Culpepper (264 lbs.; 149 career TD passes), TE Bubba Franks (263 lbs.; only one career TD pass back in 2002).

UPDATE
Arizona Cardinals’ RB David Johnson just tied Barry Sanders’ all-time NFL record for consecutive games with 100+ total yards from scrimmage (rushing + receiving). Johnson had only 57 total yards heading into the 4th quarter at Seattle in Week #16, but he broke through and extended his current streak to 15 straight games.

NFL PLAYOFFS’ HISTORY
This year marks the first time in 13 years that both of the Super Bowl teams from the prior year failed to make the playoffs the next year. Both Denver (8-7) and Carolina (6-9) have been eliminated from the playoffs this year. Back in 2003, both Tampa Bay (7-9) and Oakland (4-12) missed the playoffs the year after facing each other in the Super Bowl. Before that, it happened in 2002 (NE, STL Rams) and 1999 (DEN, ATL) and 1988 (WSH, DEN). If you were counting,
that is three times for the Denver Broncos, the only team to repeat such a dubious accomplishment.

LOOKING AHEAD – BOWL GAMES
COLLEGE FOOTBALL

FFHL WEEK #17

FFHL picks are due Thursday, December 29th, by 9PM

Friday, December 30th

Georgia (PK) vs. TCU                     LIBERTY BOWL            Memphis, TN
Stanford -2h vs. North Carolina        SUN BOWL                    El Paso, TX
Air Force -13h vs. S. Alabama         ARIZONA BOWL            Tucson, AZ
Tennessee -6 vs. Nebraska              MUSIC CITY BOWL       Nashville, TN
Michigan -7 vs. Florida State           ORANGE BOWL             Miami Gardens, FL

Saturday, December 31st – NEW YEAR’S EVE

LSU -3h vs. Louisville                    CITRUS BOWL               Orlando, FL
Georgia Tech -3h vs. Kentucky       TAXSLAYER BOWL        Jacksonville, FL
Alabama -14 vs. Washington           PEACH BOWL (CFP)       Atlanta, GA
Ohio State -3 vs. Clemson              FIESTA BOWL (CFP)       Glendale, AZ

SUNDAY – NEW YEAR’S DAY – NO BOWL GAMES

Monday, January 2, 2017

Florida -3 vs. Iowa                        OUTBACK BOWL            Tampa, FL
Wisconsin -8 vs. W. Michigan        COTTON BOWL               Arlington, TX
Southern Cal -6h vs. Penn State     ROSE BOWL                    Pasadena, CA
Oklahoma -3 vs. Auburn               SUGAR BOWL                  New Orleans, LA

START OF FFHL WEEK #18
Saturday, January 7th and Sunday, January 8th
AFC and NFC Wild Card Games (four games total, two in each conference)
#3 seeds vs. #6 seeds and #4 seeds vs. #5 seeds

Monday, January 9, 2017
CFP National Championship Game

CFP HISTORY:                                  CFP Semifinals History
2015 Alabama 45, Clemson 40             CLEM 37, OKLA 17; ALA 38, Michigan St 0
2014 Ohio State 42, Oregon 20            OREG 59, FSU 20; Ohio State 42, ALA 35

NFL WEEK #17 – FULL SLATE OF GAMES

ALL GAMES ARE ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 1, 2017 – NEW YEAR’S DAY!!!

Sunday
Jan 1st                      Divisional Matchups:
                                New Orleans +7 at Atlanta
                                Baltimore +2h at Cincinnati
                                Green Bay -3 at Detroit
                                Jacksonville +4h at Indianapolis
                                New England -9h at Miami
                                Chicago +5h at Minnesota
                                Buffalo -6 at NY Jets


                                Dallas +6 at Philadelphia
                                Cleveland +7 at Pittsburgh
                                Carolina +6h at Tampa Bay
                                Houston +3 at Tennessee
                                NY Giants +8 at Washington
                                Oakland +2h at Denver
                                Arizona -6 at Los Angeles
                                Kansas City -4h at San Diego
                                Seattle -9h at San Francisco

                               The non-divisional games:
                               NONE

FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTION
QUESTION #1: Which of the forty-one 2016 season bowl games was played (will be played) at the highest elevation?
(See if you can two of the top five.)

HINT: There is no bowl game being played in the State of Colorado, nor in the Himalayans (Mount Everest 29,029 ft. elevation), although NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has probably contemplated having a game in that area (India, China, Nepal, Bhutan).



ANSWER #1:
New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, NM 5,100 feet above sea level
Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX 3,910
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, ID 2,695
Arizona Bowl in Tucson, AZ 2,430
Las Vegas Bowl in Whitney, NV (Las Vegas) 1,600

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