Tag:Pete Carroll
Posted on: January 2, 2013 10:18 am

NFL '13 Wild Card Picks

The Whole Nine Yards

That’s what stood between Adrian Peterson and sport immortality in Sunday’s contest vs Green Bay (MIN 37-34). Nine yards and Adrian owns the single-season rush-record (ED / 2105) and goes to head of the MVP line, besting Peyton and a closing fast Rodgers. As it stands, Pey-dirt will win his fifth AP award because voters love QBs and his team’s spiffy W-L record (13-3). Aaron may be NFL’s best, surviving a leaky O-line (51S) and gamey run fare (20), but key loses throughout ‘12 will keep AR from winning this MVP race.

As for Adrian coming up short, Eric wants the record for the son. That’s nice…and near 90% hogwash. Packers taking pride in ‘holding’ All-Day to 199 is like saving your favorite golf club from a tornado that just took your house, or like Jake LaMotta chiding Sugar Ray for not putting him down while the raging bull’s eye hangs out of its socket. Sure Jake, whatever.

“Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand ("Luke"),” Mr. Peterson. You da’ man.

Rainy Days & Mondays

Keenest coach cut: Bears’ Lovie Smith. Leaving Jay Cutler in after the wicked, violative hit he suffered vs Houston (Wk10 / Dobbins) showed this soft-spoken man had his priorities skewed.

Golden Rule coach cut: Cards’ Ken Whisenhunt. KW broke #1 rule in QB league when he failed to protect his signal-callers (58S), then had the back-up blues (Skelton / Lindley).

Best coach keeper: Rex Ryan. Unless Jets, who appear ready to move Sanchez, somehow land top-quality QB in off-season, things probably won’t improve much in NYJ come 2013. But Rex provides continuity and keeps things light. Besides, the Tebow fiasco (Tim deserved better) has Jets’ owner Woody Johnson’s finger prints all over it.

Cheese-flavored Karma

While it won’t make-up for getting the “fuzzy end of the lolly-pop (Marilyn)” in Wk-3 vs Seattle (“simultaneous catch”), the football fairies were keeping watch over GB in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Rather than having an automatic review quashed for a challenge-flag faux pas after a 3Q scoring play, a fate which befell Detroit in their T-Day loss to Houston, the Packers profit from the resulting rule change and suffer only an unsportsmanlike penalty. Feel better now, Packerland? Dumb question.

Applying for Membership

It just might be the most exclusive club in America, harder to get into than even Skull & Bones, that secret fraternity W. and John Kerry are reportedly members in. Good god.

Money, fine credit rating, great wardrobe, huge Facebook following, even a call from Tony Soprano won’t cut you a key for this guild. You can only get in the “old-fashioned way, you eaaaaaarn it (Houseman).”

The heading above the door reads, ‘Elite Quarterback Club.’

You needn’t win a Super Bowl to be elite, which explains why Mr. Marino, Tarkenton, Moon and Jim Kelly have all been seen frequenting the premises. Fran practically lives there, still bending anyone’s ear who’ll listen to his rants on Brett Favre going purple.

But then triumphs like taking a title or getting a bronze bust are no golden-ticket for EQC membership, either. Super Bowls are won largely in the trenches and HOFs have become feel-good facilitators, Halls of Good n’ Plenty and no longer repositories of only the great.

So, what is the standard for an elite QB? Who can really say. Plenty try, but suffice to say, when the elite quarterback’s name is spoken, you’ll know it.

Today’s active membership includes Tom Brady, Peyton and Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers. McNabb & Matt Hasselbeck came close.

Three quarterbacks in this year’s NFL playoff field have applications pending: FalconsMatt Ryan, TexansMatt Schaub and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco (half the field is too wet-behind-the-ears to be applying for EQC just yet). All three have shown enough to get their application fast-tracked if any of ’em happens to grab hold of that brass-ring this playoff run.

Wild Card Picks

Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) @ Houston Texans (12-4) (1-5 / NBC 4:30)

Two lackluster acts to end the season (PIT / BAL), even in victory, is poor sign for Cincy who looked to be rising, while Texans are 1-3 last four. The Yawner Bowl? Nyet. Try Balance Bowl as both squads usually play both sides like it matters. TFD, TOP and sack ratios (44+ / 28-) favor Texans, and then there’s Foster, Johnson, Watt & Schaub. Houston wins.

Minnesota Vikings (10-6) @ Green Bay Packers (11-5) (NBC 8:00)

Next to health nothing matters more than momentum entering PS. Minnesota has it with 4-0 closing argument and then the whole record / MVP thing has ‘em energized. If Vikes want cake they must rock Aaron’s world in pressure (Allen), cover scheme and get clean-play from Ponder. GB won’t scare like years past but will control air space over low flying MIN (O31 / D24) and Cobb / Woodson suit up. Vikings have AP & Walsh (K), Packers have AR & Jennings. Green Bay wins.

Indianapolis Colts (11-5) @ Baltimore Ravens (10-6) (1-6 / CBS 1:00)

If you believe in momentum & karma, this one’s clear. Indy takes M&T field the winners in 5 of last 6 while BAL is 1-4. That’s the energy. The bad karma, that’s John Harbaugh sitting starters in finale vs Bengals. Two schools: one likes the risk-reduction & rest (JH & McCarthy), the other likes the rhythm, practice and fans. Flacco has the experience but Luck is riding high, especially now that his alma mater (Stanford) has won the amateur college FBS D1 title, edging out Northwestern. Colts win.

Seattle Seahawks (11-5) @ Washington Redskins (10-6) (Fox 4:30)

Next week AFC stars come out, this weekend the NFC has showcase match-ups with this one big on curiosity-factor. Misters Griffin & Wilson have the kids all in a tizzy with late season surges. Both QBs distribute well while Russ a bit less likely to rabbit, giving SEA more options. Stars Morris & Lynch cancel each other out, both teams field top tackle-corps but Hawks get edge in pass-D (30 vs 6) and crafty Carroll. Seattle plays into Rd-2.

Steven Keys
NFL Hunch Line
Posted on: December 26, 2012 12:15 am

NFL '12 Cherry Picks Wk-17

Teaching Collegians How

It’s called ‘piling-on.’ Not that celebratory heap o’ fun in the end-zone that befalls the poor guy who’s just scored a TD. No, I’m talking about a coaching strategy where, when having your opponent beat late in the contest, rather than letting up on the gas, choosing instead to continue the onslaught because “winning isn’t everything, it’s (just one small part of a massive ego trip).”

Defenders of the practice play dumb to the fact they’d be first in line at the complaint department if their guys got salted. And besides, they say, defenders are suppose to defend, it’s why they get paid. True enough, but when your offense is clueless even a top-D gets gassed by Q4 and that’s when the ‘good judgment’ is suppose to kick in.

Packers were up on Tennessee 34-0 entering the 4th last Sunday at Lambeau Field and proceed to tack-on three more 7s. Looks bad, right?  A closer examination shows Mike McCarthy made the right calls. True, Titans were no threat up to then (0) and sitting Rodgers would’ve made sense, but coaches want to watch being too respectful for that’s when disaster strikes. Then GB’s final TDs were hard to avoid, coming off a nice return (Ross) and COP (@ TN 32).

Back in Wk-11 New England put up 59 vs. the Colts (24) but Indy’s offense proved capable into the 4th quarter, making the Patriots point pile-up pragmatic & defensible.

Some accused Seattle’s Pete Carroll of ‘running-it-up’ in recent wins over ARI (58-0) & BUF (50-17), but Hawks’ minimal 4Q scoring doesn’t support the claim.

The NFL and its fans take pride in distinguishing their sport from the college variety where loyalties shift to wherever the money blows and running up the score to boost poll position is SOP for most coaching regimes. On campus, putting up 70 on a badly beaten foe is the prevailing scum-line for many a BCS aspirant. Higher education? Sure, whatever.

So the next time you feel like verbally bashing Roger Goodell & friends, think again and be glad you follow a sport that still encourages on-field sportmanship.

Quote of the Week

Deion Sanders on NFL Network Sunday night after watching a 4th quarter Tony Romo TD pass against the Saints: “Can anybody cover?” Not since you & yours retired, Sir.

Charles in Charge

Good news hearing Colts’ Head Coach Chuck Pagano was given the okay last week by medical care-givers to resume his NFL duties after receiving treatment for leukemia. ‘If it works don’t fix it’ is usually sound advice but in this case, successful back-up coach Bruce Arians should be more than happy to hand-back the reigns to the team’s spiritual leader and get “Charles (back) in Charge.”

Pink Eye

They are sacred cows in America: the Chiefs of Staff, higher education, the business of medicine, NASA, religious entities and many not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charities. Always aim above the belt when challenging these heavyweights.

It’s a lonely, frightening feeling that grips one tightly when suffering a serious health malady. So the NFL’s effort to bring awareness to breast cancer would seem beyond reproach. That is until you sift through all that pink game-wear put up for sale and get to the bottom-line.

The Huffington Post and Business Insider report that just 5% of sale-proceeds reaches American Cancer Society coffers of which just over two-thirds of their donations will go to research and patients services (70.8%) (“Breast Cancer” / Huffingtonpost.com / 10-12).

Unless the pink parade is designed largely to indoctrinate female consumers into buying the NFL product under the guise of empathy and better health, this well-intended campaign cannot be considered a success.

Here’s a New Year’s resolution for NFL brass. Retire & replace in-game pink-wear and its cost of operations with an off-field advertising campaign that brings awareness to all forms of cancer and seeks to allot 1.5% of yearly NFL, TV network game broadcast, merchandizing (Nike) and stadium vending net-revenues to a variety of cancer-related NFPs that includes ACS but with an emphasis on research-focused foundations.

Cherry Picks Week 17

Baltimore Ravens (10-5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (9-6) (12-30 / CBS 1:00)

Steelers tout #1 defense, so a win @ Pitt should be sweet, right? Wrong. Had Bengals pounced and dictated terms last Sunday they’d inspire confidence, instead they eke out a W on late gifting by Ben (2 INT). Ravens find groove vs NYG, learning life w/out Ray and look to close out RS play on a divisional high note. BAL goes 2-0 v CIN in 2012.

Houston Texans (12-3) @ Indianapolis Colts (10-5) (CBS 1:00)

Texans sheepish after another home beating by fickle NFCN (MIN), but as Miss Scarlett said, “Tomorrow’s another day.” Foster (heart tests OK), Schaub, Johnson and Watt will finish RS having earned paychecks. Another motivation-game as Texans look to bounce-back for PS and Pagano returns to Colts’ sideline but Houston won’t oblige and wins series.

Green Bay Packers (11-4) @ Minnesota Vikings (9-6) (Fox 4:25)

Packers v Bears is more historical, Dallas v DC more lucrative, Cincy v Pitt more Eastern, Oakland v KC more AFL cool and Peyton (DEN) v Tom (NE) more high-falutin but none is more visceral than this one. These fans hate each other so much they’re happier seeing enemy lose than their own guys win. Not really, but it‘s close. Though Rodgers respite in ’11 backfired, MM might hold-out Nelson, Woodson & Cobb per PS. WTW: QB-security (GB gives (46S) & gets (46)) and kickers (GB’s Crosby (1-8 / 50+) vs MIN Walsh (9-9)). Peterson averaging 150+ @ home last-4 and wants record vs GB who dread the thought. Vikings’ win feeds me crow and punches ticket to PS.

Dallas Cowboys (8-7) @ Washington Redskins (9-6) (NBC 8:20)

Four weeks back and both squads looked headed for early golf. Is club-man Tony sad? If yes, he’s not showing it as his QB game’s picked-up while RG3 & sub KC have DC fans believing again. If brace keeps Rob in pocket (2 @ PHI), all the better as it’s only way to titletown. If Dallas had rush-more (31O / 33S), they’d be 11-4. Though DC has terrific tackle-trio in Fletcher, Riley & Hall, pass-D poor (29 / Foles 345) and expect Romo to matriculate. So too expect Morris to motor but at-risk Rob gives Cowboys edge & win.

Steven Keys
NFL Hunch Line
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com