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Path: /college-football/college-footballs-post-week-13-bowl-projections-2016
Body:

College football’s 2016 regular season is down to its final weekend of action. And with just one week remaining, the bowl picture for every game and teams involved is starting to clear. A majority of the matchups won’t be announced until Sunday, Dec. 4 but some clarity about teams and destinations could pop up throughout the week. With that in mind, Athlon Sports will update its bowl projections as needed before the final weekend of games. 

 

The bowl season features 41 matchups, with five games on Dec. 17 starting the 2016-17 slate. The postseason concludes on Jan. 9 with the national championship, while the playoff semifinals are on Dec. 31 this year.

 

The post-Week 13 bowl projections are a mixture between picks for the final week of the season and the results from the first 13 weeks of action. 

 

* Indicates conferences did not have enough projected teams to fill tie-ins.

 

Teams in bold have accepted a bid to that bowl game.

 

College Football's Post-Week 13 Bowl Projections
Bowl Date Matchup Projection
New Mexico Dec. 17

C-USA vs.

MW

 UTSA vs.

New Mexico 

Las Vegas Dec. 17

Pac-12 vs.

MW

San Diego State vs.

Mississippi State* 

AutoNation Cure Dec. 17

American vs.

Sun Belt

 Appalachian State vs.

UCF 

Camellia Dec. 17

MAC vs.

Sun Belt

 Miami (Ohio) vs.

Arkansas State 

New Orleans Dec. 17

C-USA vs.

Sun Belt

 Southern Miss vs.

UL Lafayette 

Miami Beach Dec. 19

American vs.

MAC

 Toledo vs.

Temple 

Boca Raton Dec. 20

American/MAC vs.

C-USA

 WKU vs.

Tulsa 

Poinsettia Dec. 21

BYU vs.

MW

 BYU vs.

Wyoming 

Famous Idaho Potato Dec. 22

MW vs.

MAC

Colorado State vs.

Central Michigan 

Bahamas Dec. 23

American/MAC vs.

C-USA

 Old Dominion vs.

Eastern Michigan 

Armed Forces Dec. 23

American vs.

Big 12

 Navy vs.

North Texas* 

Dollar General Dec. 23

Sun Belt vs.

MAC

 Ohio vs.

Troy 

Hawaii Dec. 24

MW vs.

C-USA

 Hawaii vs.

MTSU 

St. Petersburg Dec. 26

American vs.

ACC

 Memphis vs.

South Alabama* 

Quick Lane Dec. 26

ACC vs.

Big Ten

Northwestern vs.

Boston College 

Independence Dec. 26

ACC vs.

SEC

 South Carolina vs.

Wake Forest 

Heart of Dallas Dec. 27

Big Ten vs.

C-USA

 Louisiana Tech vs.

Army*  

Military Dec. 27

American vs.

ACC

 Houston vs.

NC State

Holiday Dec. 27

Big Ten vs.

Pac-12

 Washington State vs.

Iowa 

Cactus Dec. 27

Big 12 vs.

Pac-12

 Baylor vs.

Boise State* 

Pinstripe Dec. 28

ACC vs.

Big Ten

 Maryland vs.

North Carolina 

Russell Athletic Dec. 28

ACC vs.

Big 12

 West Virginia vs.

Pitt 

Foster Farms Dec. 28

Big Ten vs.

Pac-12

 Utah vs.

Minnesota 

Texas Dec. 28

Big 12 vs.

SEC

 Kansas State vs.

Texas A&M 

Birmingham Dec. 29

American vs.

SEC

Vanderbilt vs.

USF 

Belk Dec. 29

ACC vs.

SEC

 Arkansas vs.

Virginia Tech 

Alamo Dec. 29

Big 12 vs.

Pac-12

Oklahoma State vs.

USC 

Liberty Dec. 30

Big 12 vs.

SEC

 TCU vs.

Georgia 

Sun Dec. 30

ACC/ND vs.

Pac-12

 Stanford vs.

Georgia Tech 

Arizona Dec. 30

Sun Belt vs.

MW

 Idaho vs.

Air Force 

Music City Dec. 30

ACC/Big Ten vs.

SEC

 Tennessee vs.

Indiana  

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Dec. 31

Big Ten/ACC vs.

SEC

 Louisville vs.

LSU 

TaxSlayer Dec. 31

ACC/Big Ten vs.

SEC

 Kentucky vs.

Miami 

Outback Jan. 2

Big Ten vs.

SEC

 Florida vs.

Nebraska 

       
New Year's Six
   
Orange Dec. 30

ACC vs.

ND/SEC/Big Ten

Florida State vs.

Michigan 

Cotton Jan. 2

At-large vs.

At-large

 Western Michigan vs.

Penn State 

Rose Jan. 2

Big Ten vs.

Pac-12

 Colorado vs.

Wisconsin 

Sugar Jan. 2

Big 12 vs.

SEC

 Oklahoma vs.

Auburn 

       
CFB Playoff
   
Chick-fil-A Peach Dec. 31

Playoff

Semifinal

 Alabama vs.

Washington 

Fiesta Dec. 31

Playoff

Semifinal

 Clemson vs.

Ohio State 

       
National Title Jan. 9

Peach Winner vs.

Fiesta Winner

 Alabama vs.

Ohio State 

Teaser:
College Football's Post-Week 13 Bowl Projections 2016
Post date: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-podcast-week-13-recap
Body:

Athlon Sports breaks down Week 13 in college football. Don't forget to subscribe here and rate us if you like (or don't like) what you hear!

 

- Congrats are in order for Colorado, Washington, Penn State, Wisconsin and Virginia Tech for clinching spots in their respective conference championship games this weekend.

 

- Were the refs the reason Michigan lost to Ohio State? Is Jim Harbaugh right to be critical? Are Ohio State and Michigan two of the best four teams in the country?

 

- LSU promoted Coach O but did they settle? Texas landed Tom Herman but is he the home run everyone says he is?

 

- What about Lamar Jackson's Heisman campaign after back-to-back losses? Who else should be in New York as a Finalist?

 

- Is Colorado's Mike MacIntyre the National Coach of the Year?

 

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or @AthlonMitch or email [email protected]. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com/podcastiTunesStitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

Teaser:
College Football Podcast: The Week 13 Recap
Post date: Monday, November 28, 2016 - 12:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/week-14-college-football-picks-challenge-athlon-sports-experts-2016
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It's Championship Week, as playoff spots and bowl positions are decided along with conference titles.

 

The Athlon Sports College Football Experts Club gives you the chance to compete with your friends and our experts each week.

 

Think you’re up for taking on our experts every week? Think you can beat the writers and editors each week? Join our weekly pick 'em game and compete for tons of cool prizes.

 

Here are this week’s top picks from Athlon Sports senior editor Rob Doster:

 

Western Michigan vs. Ohio

It's been an amazing season for P.J. Fleck's Western Michigan Broncos, who became the first team ever to win all of its MAC games by 14-plus points. Look for that trend to continue against a well-coached but slightly outmanned Ohio team.

Doster's pick: Western Michigan 34–17

 

Colorado vs. Washington

Colorado's Mike MacIntyre is a solid contender for national Coach of the Year honors, and he could lock down the award with a win over Washington. But Chris Petersen's Huskies won't let a chance at the College Football Playoff slip through their fingers. 

Doster’s pick: Washington 31–24

 

Kansas State at TCU

Kansas State is a couple of close losses away from a spot in a New Year's Six bowl, while the Frogs are finishing up an inconsistent season. Go with the even-keeled Wildcats in this one. 

Doster’s pick: Kansas State 24–23

 

Louisiana Tech vs. Western Kentucky

These C-USA rivals played a wildly entertaining game earlier this season that ended with a 55–52 Tech win. Look for a similar game with a slightly different result. The surging Toppers have won six in a row, five of them in blowouts.

Doster’s pick: Western Kentucky 49–45

 

Temple vs. Navy

Navy's potent option offense reached a peak in a 75-point outburst against SMU that included nearly 500 yards rushing. Temple has won seven of eight, most of them in lopsided fashion. In other words, the American championship game could be a classic between two underrated teams.   

Doster's pick: Navy 34–31

 

Oklahoma State at Oklahoma

The Bedlam matchup doubles as a de facto Big 12 championship game, adding to the annual hysteria surrounding this rivalry game. Oklahoma is on the fringes of playoff contention; that extra motivation combined with homefield advantage should give the Sooners the edge.

Doster’s pick: Oklahoma 38–34

 

Baylor at West Virginia

It's been a resurgent season in Morgantown, and the Mountaineers should reach 10 wins against a Baylor team that has seen a promising season disintegrate into a five-game losing streak. 

Doster's pick: West Virginia 31–17

 

Alabama vs. Florida

There's a strong sense of deja vu associated with this year's SEC Championship game. Just like last year, a dominant Alabama team without a weakness faces a scrappy Florida team that relies on its defense. Expect a similar outcome to last year's 29–15 Bama win.  

Doster's pick: Alabama 31–14

 

San Diego State vs. Wyoming

San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey looks to close out his record-setting career in style, but he's facing a Cowboys defense that held him to 76 yards in a 34–33 Wyoming win a few weeks ago. The Aztecs should snap a two-game skid and get a little revenge in the process.

Doster's pick: San Diego State 35–31

 

Wisconsin vs. Penn State

It's been a remarkable season for the Big Ten's two division champions, who will meet in a Big Ten Championship game no one could have predicted. Wisconsin suffered its two losses by a touchdown apiece, while Penn State is riding a wholly unexpected eight-game winning streak. The Badgers can stay in the playoff picture with a win.  

Doster's pick: Wisconsin 24–17

 

Clemson vs. Virginia Tech

Clemson has bounced back nicely from its upset loss to Pitt and remains solidly in the playoff picture. Tech has enjoyed a nice season under first-year coach Justin Fuente, but the Hokies lack the firepower to deny Deshaun Watson a victorious ACC sendoff. 

Doster's pick: Clemson 45–24

 

Last Week: 11-9

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, November 28, 2016 - 11:09
Path: /college-football/being-michigan-fan-agony-unknown-mankind
Body:

I can still picture former Michigan quarterback Drew Henson as he scored the game-sealing touchdown the last time the Wolverines beat Ohio State in The Horseshoe in 2000.

 

It’s glorious.

 

That game took place two months into my freshman year at the University of Michigan after growing up in Columbus as an Ohio State fan who endured most of John Cooper’s infamous 2-10-1 record against That Team Up North. Words cannot describe how good it felt to finally experience winning The Game — if only because I switched sides. Whatever guilt I felt was drowned out by me and my best friend belting out “Hail to the Victors” as Buckeye fans streamed out of Ohio Stadium with an annual look of misery on their faces.

 

At the time, I thought I’d finally be able to experience college football from the winner’s circle. Instead, being a Michigan fan has been an agony unknown to mankind.

 

Since that beautiful day in Columbus, Michigan has now lost 14 of 16 to Ohio State. And if Braxton Miller had been able to hit a wide-open DeVier Posey in the closing moments of the 2011 game, it would be 15 of 16 and an ungodly 13 losses in a row to the Buckeyes.

 

During this stretch, Michigan has lost to Ohio State in pretty much every way imaginable.

 

There have been the ass kickings, like last year’s 42-13 loss in Ann Arbor or the Rich Rodriguez years in which OSU won the three matchups by a combined score of 100-24.

 

There have been the oh-so-close losses, like in 2013 when Michigan failed to convert a go-ahead two-point conversion with 32 seconds left and 2002 when Will Allen intercepted John Navarre at the goal line as time expired, propelling Ohio State to a national title.

 

And then there have been the “rip your heart out and hand it back to you in a doggy bag” defeats that are reserved for when everything is on the line for both teams. I’m still haunted by Shawn Crable’s late hit on Troy Smith that was the difference in the 2006 “Game of the Century” and left me (right) looking like this:

 

But nothing could compare to what I experienced on Saturday.

 

Michigan dominated The Game for three quarters yet found itself leading only 17-14 after a litany of errors including a pick-six, a second interception returned inside Michigan’s own red zone and an unforced fumble at Ohio State’s goal line. Add two crucial missed pass interference calls and a controversial fourth down spot in the second overtime to extend the game and you have all the pain and frustration of being a Michigan football fan over the last 15 years rolled up into one diabolical, double-overtime, four-hour football game (seriously, The Game had more commercials than the Super Bowl).

 

For inquiring minds: Yes, I have pondered all this being payback from the Football Gods for being a traitor and am not ruling that out.

 

Sadly, the purgatory of being a Michigan fan isn’t just limited to the Ohio State game. There was also the 2001 Michigan State game, better known as “Clockgate.” The 2005 Rose Bowl defeat on a Texas field goal as time expired. The 2007 season-opening loss to then-FCS member Appalachian State. The disastrous Rich Rodriguez Experiment that blew up in Michigan’s face. Brady Hoke’s headset-less buffoonery. And on and on.

 

That’s why Jim Harbaugh was treated like the Messiah when he returned home to coach Michigan two years ago.

 

But for as great of a coach as Harbaugh is, even his “enthusiasm unknown to mankind” can’t save Michigan fans from sadistic losses like Saturday’s death by 1,000 cuts or last year’s Michigan State game lost on a botched punt as time expired (just typing that made me throw up in my mouth).

 

I know we won’t get much sympathy from fans at places like Kansas but it’s one kind of pain to just be terrible; as a Cleveland Browns fan, I’ve just become numb to losing on Sundays. It’s a new form of agony to continually get your hopes up only for them to keep come crashing down in the end.

 

And yet we Michigan fans trudge on with Harbaugh as our beacon of light and our eternal hope that someday all this pain and suffering will be worth it and optimism that we’re just one win over Ohio State away from the tide of the entire series shifting back up north.

 

After all, there’s only 362 days left until Meyer-Harbaugh III.

 

See you in Ann Arbor.

 

— Written by Jim Weber, a veteran college sports journalist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. Weber has written for CBS Sports Network, NBCSports.com, ESPN the Magazine and the college sports website he founded and sold, LostLettermen.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JimMWeber.

Teaser:
Being a Michigan Fan is an Agony Unknown to Mankind
Post date: Monday, November 28, 2016 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/seven-step-drop-powerhouse-hires-big-ten-paying-sec-not-so-much
Body:

The timing in college football during the rivalry week/Thanksgiving combination in late November always tends to throw things off but there was a moment this year that was a little more jarring than most.

 

In the middle of the biggest edition of “The Game” between Ohio State and Michigan in decades — one that could very well wind up being between two College Football Playoff teams when all is said and done — there was LSU announcing its next head coach in a press conference most saw only in the brief few moments where halftime overlapped with it.

 

It was a perfectly fitting end to a bizarre process that led Ed Orgeron taking over full time in Baton Rouge. The school let Les Miles go a season too late and paid the price by having to let him go mid-year. What ensued was weeks upon weeks of speculation about Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Houston’s Tom Herman and half a dozen others who could take the job.

 

In the end it was Orgeron who was the choice through a strange combination of those two other big names saying no, and the eclectic head coach’s personality seemingly being a perfect fit for the flagship school of his native state. Who knows how the hire of Orgeron, who went 11-4 over two recent interim stints at LSU and USC, will ultimately be judged. That’s for another time with much more hindsight. After all, it would shock nobody if the relentless recruiter hires a top-notch offensive coordinator and turns into the Cajun version of Dabo Swinney.

 

What we do know now though, is one of the powerhouses in the SEC (and a top five or 10 job nationally) had months to conduct a national search but wound up with an interim coach who still has a 10-25 mark on his record from a disastrous stint at Ole Miss. Hiring Orgeron is by no means a bad decision but, when viewed in the context of Saturday’s games and a season of floundering results outside of Tuscaloosa, it begs the question if the most feared conference in all of college football is doing no more than just riding Nick Saban’s coat tails.

 

Because no matter how you slice it, the league has fallen behind. And while the dearth of good quarterbacks is undoubtedly playing a big role, so too has been the rather lackluster hiring practices from some of the SEC’s major powers.

 

Just think back four years ago to the 2012 season. Six SEC teams were in the top 10 of the final BCS standings, ranging from typical powers like Alabama, Georgia and LSU but also teams like newcomer Texas A&M and perennial underachiever South Carolina. Just three Big Ten teams even made the rankings, the highest being Nebraska at No. 16 (undefeated Ohio State was ineligible).

 

Flash forward to today and the script has been flipped. Saban and Alabama still lord over the sport like they did back in the day but the makeup of elite teams in college football has shifted considerably in recent years. The Big Ten has undergone the biggest metamorphosis and has four teams in the top 10 of the latest AP Poll, and six overall. The SEC? Just one in the top 10 and four overall.

 

How has the league once written off and laughed at by its southern counterparts done this? The B1G has out-hired the SEC and that is particularly true at the historical powers in the league.

 

Ohio State brought Urban Meyer home in 2012. He’s brought a national title and a 61-5 record since then. Michigan landed the biggest fish in the coaching pond back in 2015 with Jim Harbaugh and he’s turned the ship around in Ann Arbor quicker than imagined. The Wolverines doubled their win total in his first year and may have been inches away from a semifinal berth on Saturday at the Horseshoe.

 

But it’s not just the Big Ten’s traditional big two that have hired well. Many questioned James Franklin’s credentials after two lackluster years in Happy Valley, not realizing the toll scholarship reductions can have down the road. One doesn’t win nine games at Vanderbilt (twice) without being a good coach though, and that was evident this year as he has Penn State on the doorstep of a Big Ten title. His opponent on Saturday night, Paul Chryst, may not be the flashiest head coach in the country but the program’s native son is 20-5 leading Wisconsin.

 

Elsewhere around the league, there have been a number of good coaching jobs done by recent additions Tracy Claeys, Mike Riley (9-3 at Nebraska this year) and DJ Durkin. The jury will likely be out for some time on Lovie Smith’s tenure at Illinois but it should at least say something that the school moved quickly to hire a name of that caliber after being so dreadful the past few years.

 

The bottom line is those hires — especially at the blue bloods — have paid off for a league that has reinvented itself in a short time. This sport has certainly proven to be a cyclical one but helping move the process along like some of the athletic directors around the conference have done helps lead us to this point.

 

And what of the SEC, a group that could have an entire division full of five-loss teams? The conference’s past five hires alone include two interim coaches elevated to the full-time gig and three former Saban assistants. That’s not exactly living up to expectations when it comes to 14 choice jobs most in the coaching industry would kill for.

 

The SEC East in particular has had a fascination with replicating Saban’s “Process” at Alabama — only with less talent, sub-par facilities and without the key ingredient: Saban himself. The big-time anchor schools haven’t pulled their weight either if you look at the search processes at LSU and Georgia in particular.

 

Stretching back even further in time, only Bret Bielema at Arkansas has entered the league with previous head coaching experience at a Power Five school if you don’t count Will Muschamp’s re-entry at South Carolina. That’s not to say there aren’t good coaches (Jim McElwain getting to the SEC title game twice with tackling dummies for a quarterback is still impressive) but for all the high salaries and top recruiting classes that have become common place, the results have not come through between the lines in 2016.

 

After Saturday’s results and the realization that one of the best jobs in the country couldn’t land a big name, it’s become increasingly clear that hiring the right coach just means a little more north of the Mason-Dixon Line the past few seasons. That’s why there’s talk of two Big Ten teams in the playoff. That’s why there’s talk that the only team capable of knocking off the Tide resides in the North, not the South.

 

And that’s why, when all is said and done, Big Ten fans can head into the postseason this year far happier than their counterparts to the South.

 

Stat of the Week

In the month of November, Navy punted just twice and Alabama didn’t allow a single touchdown.

 

Tweet of the Week

 

 

Superlatives of the Week

Best player(s): Adoree’ Jackson (USC), Derrius Guice (LSU)

Heisman five: 1. Lamar Jackson (Louisville), 2. Dede Westbrook (Oklahoma), 3. Jake Browning (Washington), 4. D’Onta Foreman (Texas), 5. Adoree’ Jackson (USC)

Team of the week: Miami (Ohio)

Honorary Les Miles Goat of the week: Butch Jones, Tennessee

Quote of the week: Jim Harbaugh has professed his love of milk several times this season. After beating him, Urban Meyer picked up a call from his wife during his press conference and then deadpanned: "She said bring a gallon of milk home."

 

Play of the Week

 

And in the same game, the rarest of unicorns:

 

Super 16

I’m a voter in the FWAA/National Football Foundation Super 16 Poll and will be releasing my ballot here every week. Here’s my ballot heading into Week 14.

 

1. Alabama

2. Ohio State

3. Washington

4. Clemson

5. Michigan

6. USC

7. Penn State

8. Wisconsin

9. Colorado

10. Oklahoma

11. Florida State

12. Oklahoma State

13. West Virginia

14. Western Michigan

15. Navy

16. LSU

 

Best of the rest: Louisville, Virginia Tech, USF, Stanford, Auburn, Pitt, Temple, Houston, Iowa

 

Pre-snap Reads

 

Colorado vs. Washington (Santa Clara, Calif.)

I know a lot of folks wanted to see a rematch between the Huskies and USC in the Pac-12 title game but sign me up for this one between a pair of top-10 teams. If you can’t get excited about Colorado’s extremely stingy secondary trying to contain Jake Browning, John Ross and company, you’re not a real college football fan. Washington ends up winning on Friday night after a slow start to clinch a playoff berth however.

 

Oklahoma State at Oklahoma

Bedlam for all the marbles, just how the Big 12 drew things up even if a championship game is a year away for the league. Expect a shootout to develop given the offensive playmakers involved in this one, including two terrific quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph. Both defenses are a tad better than the numbers suggest and each team is playing really well right now. The Sooners are at home however and it’s tough to see them falling in Norman to their rivals up the road.

 

Wisconsin vs. Penn State (Indianapolis)

The Big Ten Championship Game has produced some classics over the years and there’s little reason to think that this matchup won’t give us another good one. Both squads have injury questions on offense that will be a key thing to pay attention to with Nittany Lions tailback Saquon Barkley (ankle) and Badgers quarterback Alex Hornibrook (chest) both banged up. Each should play but and whoever can have the better day against these defenses should come out with the trophy. We’ll lean Wisconsin by a field goal in a close game.

 

— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.

 

(Ed Orgeron photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Teaser:
Seven-Step Drop: Powerhouse Hires for Big Ten Paying Off, SEC Not So Much
Post date: Monday, November 28, 2016 - 09:30
Path: /nfl/green-bay-packers-vs-philadelphia-eagles-preview-and-prediction-2016
Body:

Monday night’s matchup between Green Bay and Philadelphia serves as a virtual playoff elimination game for the Packers. A loss leaves them three games out of the NFC North lead with five to play and 2.5 games behind the Redskins for the second wild card. Green Bay’s streak of seven consecutive postseason appearances is in jeopardy.

 

Who would have believed that heading into the season for a team once considered a Super Bowl favorite? Head coach Mike McCarthy is under fire for his coaching style; the team itself has taken criticism for lack of effort despite impassioned statements by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But what really matters is that the Packers find themselves trailing a team (Lions) that hasn’t won a division title since 1993.

 

The Eagles head into this game with a better record and arguably higher upside behind the development of a young offense and quarterback Carson Wentz. Sitting at 5-5 puts them last the competitive NFC East but still in the playoff hunt. Philadelphia also has been a different team at Lincoln Financial Field, just one of two undefeated at home this season (Seattle).

 

Series History: Packers lead 26-16-0

 

Green Bay at Philadelphia

 

Kickoff: Monday, Nov. 28 at 8:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Spread: Eagles -3.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Can the Packers step up against the Eagles run game?
Ryan Mathews, recovering from a sprained MCL will miss Monday night’s contest just two weeks after posting the Eagles’ only 100-yard rushing effort of the season. Darren Sproles and rookie Wendell Smallwood will share the backfield work in Mathews’ absence.

 

Sproles, an explosive playmaker in the passing game and on special teams, is not suited to serve as an every-down back. The 33-year-old veteran has more gotten more than five carries in just three of the Eagles’ 10 games. Sproles is most effective when he’s used as the change-of-pace option or in space as a receiver.

 

That leaves Smallwood, Philadelphia’s fifth-round pick this year, with the opportunity to prove his mettle against the NFL’s sixth-ranked rushing defense (91.1 ypg). Green Bay’s defense has shown a few more cracks against the run lately, and it can ill afford to let an unproven ball carrier like Smallwood come up with big gains on the ground. Smallwood’s best showing this is 79 rushing yards. If he tops that, chances are the Eagles will be in good shape.  And any production out of the ground game will make Carson Wentz that much more dangerous.

 

2. Rodgers vs. Wentz
After struggling, by his own lofty standards, earlier in the season, Aaron Rodgers has turned things around and he’s certainly not the reason the Packers have lost four in a row and five out of six. Take last week for example. He finished with a season-best 351 passing yards, three touchdowns and a 115.0 passer rating on the road against Washington. But Green Bay still lost 42-24 because it gave up 515 total yards (375 passing to Kirk Cousins) to the Redskins. Rodgers’ margin for error is slim because it seems like the Packers are struggling in every other area – running the ball, defense, special teams. Besides Rodgers, one other bright spot for Green Bay has been the resurgence of Jordy Nelson, who has caught a touchdown in four straight games.

 

The question for Wentz, then is not whether he can reach Rodgers’ elite status in his first season but if he can stay in the ballpark. The past three games have seen him make some typical rookie mistakes: four interceptions, two fumbles (one lost) and just two touchdown passes. The Eagles, as you might expect went 1-2 during that stretch.

 

Wentz got off to a strong start before encountering the obstacles that most rookies must deal with in their first season. Wentz certainly doesn’t have the same supporting cast at his disposal that Rodgers does, and that’s even if Mathews were healthy. But Wentz still has to find a way to make plays against a defense that hasn’t stopped anyone in a month. The No. 2 overall pick is still looking for his first three-touchdown performance and has yet to show that he can win a close game. Four of Philadelphia’s five losses have been by a touchdown or less. Wentz has plenty going in his favor tonight – matchup, at home, national spotlight – now it’s up to him to take advantage and show why the future is bright for the Eagles.

 

3. Which team will win the turnover battle and excel in special teams?
One reason the Packers’ defense has struggled is where it has to start defending. Opponents start drives from their own 29, the worst field position allowed in the league and it constantly puts Green’s Bay defense, well… on defense. That’s a bad stat to have against an Eagles special teams unit that leads the league in kickoff returns (33.7 ypr) and has taken two all the way back for touchdowns.

 

Those intangibles have really hurt the Packers. Their minus-6 turnover margin is tied for 26th in the NFL and they have as many giveaways (16) as the Eagles have takeaways. Holding onto the ball and keeping the game manageable is crucial for a team that’s spent a month making far too many mistakes.

 

Final Analysis

 

I once thought it impossible a team with Aaron Rodgers on its roster could miss the playoffs. But it’s important to realize, he’s only one person. Look at the Colts, suffering despite the success of Andrew Luck and the way Drew Brees can’t lift up the Saints. Both suffer from minimal defensive support and it’s the Packers’ “D” that will fall short once again. Carson Wentz has been looking for a moment to step up and the Monday night spotlight will provide it.

 

Prediction: Philadelphia 31, Green Bay 21

 

— Written by Tom Bowles, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @NASCARBowles.

 

(Carson Wentz photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Teaser:
Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles Preview and Prediction
Post date: Monday, November 28, 2016 - 09:00
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Path: /college-football/college-football-week-13-awards-2016
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Week 13 of the 2016 college football season produced several big performances and memorable moments. The Thanksgiving slate provided one of the best weeks of action of the year, starting with the Michigan-Ohio State showdown from Saturday. The Buckeyes edged the Wolverines in overtime to keep their playoff hopes alive and earn their fifth straight win in this rivalry. Alabama handled rival Auburn in the Iron Bowl, Washington and Colorado scored victories to clinch spots in the Pac-12 Championship Game, and Florida State knocked off Florida to maintain bragging rights in the Sunshine State.

 

With the last weekend of November games in the books, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor some of the top performances. Here’s a look at Athlon Sports’ picks for the offensive, defensive, coordinator, team, freshman and unsung hero from Week 13:

 

College Football Week 13 Awards

 

Offensive Player of the Week: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

Mahomes capped a prolific 2016 season by guiding Texas Tech to a win over Baylor on Friday afternoon. The junior completed 30 of 46 passes and torched the Bears for 586 passing yards and six scores. Mahomes finished his 2016 season ranked first nationally in total offense per game (444.8) and accounted for 53 overall scores.

 

Defensive Player of the Week: Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State

Ohio State’s defense came up big in Saturday’s win over Michigan. The Buckeyes held the Wolverines to just 91 rushing yards and delivered a handful of key plays to keep this team in the game until the offense was able to get on track. Baker finished with 15 tackles, recorded one sack and intercepted a pass in the third quarter that changed the momentum in the second half.

 

Best All-Around Player of the Week: Adoree’ Jackson, DB, USC

This category isn’t a weekly award, but Jackson’s unique performance was simply too good to ignore. The dynamic junior was a factor in all three phases of the game in USC’s 45-27 rout against Notre Dame. On offense, Jackson rushed for 12 yards and caught a pass for a 52-yard touchdown. He chipped in two tackles and two pass breakups on defense and accumulated 227 total return yards on special teams, including a 55-yard punt return for a score in the second and a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter.

 

Coordinator of the Week (Offense): Joe Moorhead, Penn State

The Nittany Lions clinched the Big Ten’s East Division with a 45-12 victory over Michigan State on Saturday afternoon. A big reason for Penn State’s trip to Indianapolis was the development of the offense under Moorhead in his first year in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions recorded 463 yards against the Spartans (8.1 ypp) and scored on seven of their last nine drives.

 

Coordinator of the Week (Defense): Pete Kwiatkowski, Washington

Containing Washington State’s high-powered offense is no easy task. However, for the third consecutive year, Kwiatkowski’s defense won the battle against the Cougars. In Friday’s 45-17 victory, the Huskies limited Washington State to just 17 points and 4.5 yards per play, while forcing four turnovers and generating six tackles for a loss. Washington also made two goal-line stands on fourth down to prevent the Cougars from reaching the end zone.

 

Freshman of the Week (Offense): Martell Pettaway, RB, West Virginia

Injuries in the West Virginia backfield forced the coaching staff to remove Pettaway’s redshirt in Saturday’s game against Iowa State. The freshman provided a much-needed boost to the backfield, recording 181 yards and one touchdown on 30 carries. He also caught one pass for 25 yards.

 

Freshman of the Week (Defense): Brian Burns, DL, Florida State

The Seminoles dominated the line of scrimmage in Saturday’s 31-12 victory over Florida. In addition to a standout performance from senior DeMarcus Walker, Burns wreaked havoc throughout the game in the Gator backfield. The freshman recorded four tackles (1.5 for a loss) and 1.5 sacks.

 

Team of the Week: Ohio State

The Game certainly lived up to the hype. And after two overtimes, Ohio State knocked off Michigan 30-27 to keep its playoff hopes alive and secure its fifth straight win in this series. The Buckeyes had trouble maintaining drives on offense, but the defense stepped up and delivered a couple of clutch plays. Safety Malik Hooker returned an interception for a score, linebacker Jerome Baker’s pick set up a touchdown in the third quarter, while Davon Hamilton recovered a fumble with Michigan poised to score from the one-yard line. In overtime, quarterback J.T. Barrett and receiver Curtis Samuel delivered a couple of clutch plays, including a fourth-down conversion from Barrett and Samuel’s 15-yard touchdown run to seal the victory.

 

Unsung Hero of the Week: Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado

Colorado’s win over Utah on Saturday night clinched the program’s first trip to the Pac-12 Championship. The Buffaloes have several standouts on this defense, but a tip of the cap goes to Thompson for his performance against Utah. He recorded four tackles (one for a loss), four pass breakups and two interceptions.

Teaser:
College Football Week 13 Awards 2016
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2016 - 13:01
Path: /college-football/sec-week-13-awards-2016
Body:

Week 13 of the 2016 college football season produced several big performances and memorable moments from the SEC. The weekend rivalry slate featured a win by LSU over Texas A&M on Thursday night, while Missouri upset Arkansas on Friday afternoon. The action picked up again on Saturday, as Georgia Tech and Kentucky scored upsets over their in-state rivals, Mississippi State reclaimed the Egg Bowl trophy with a victory over Ole Miss and Alabama remained undefeated after a 30-12 win over Auburn.

 

With the third weekend of November games in the books, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor some of the top performances from the SEC. Here’s a look at Athlon Sports’ picks for the offensive, defensive, coordinator, team, freshman and unsung hero from Week 13:

 

SEC Week 13 Awards

 

Offensive Player of the Week: Nick Fitzgerald, QB, Mississippi State

Thanks to a big performance from Fitzgerald, the Egg Bowl trophy is headed back to Starkville. The sophomore completed 8 of 17 throws for 109 yards and three scores and gashed the Ole Miss defense for 258 yards (a new school record) and two touchdowns on the ground.

 

Defensive Player of the Week: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt

Cunningham continued to bolster his case for SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors by helping Vanderbilt upset Tennessee on Saturday night. The junior linebacker tied for the team lead with 10 tackles, recorded one pass breakup and forced a fumble at the third of the third quarter that helped the Commodores gain control of the game.

 

Coordinator of the Week (Offense): Eddie Gran, Kentucky

Gran has been a key cog in Kentucky’s seven-win campaign, as the offense emerged as one of the SEC’s top ground attacks and adapted after an early injury to starting quarterback Drew Barker. The Wildcats recorded 581 yards in Saturday’s win over Louisville, with quarterback Stephen Johnson throwing for 338 and the ground game generating 229. Kentucky also went two-for-two in red zone trips and 10 of 18 on third-down attempts.

 

Coordinator of the Week (Defense): Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama

The Crimson Tide suffocated Auburn’s offense in Saturday’s 30-12 victory. The Tigers never reached the end zone and only one drive lasted more than 50 yards. Auburn’s ground attack entered Saturday’s game ranked No. 1 in the SEC but was held to just 66 yards on 26 attempts. Pruitt’s defense also limited the Tigers to just two third-down conversions on 12 attempts and generated seven tackles for a loss.

 

Freshman of the Week (Offense): Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama

Hurts led the way for Alabama’s offense in the Iron Bowl victory against Auburn. The true freshman completed 27 of 36 throws for 286 yards and two scores and rushed for 37 yards and one touchdown. Hurts also led the offense to points on four out of the final five drives.

 

Freshman of the Week (Defense): Cale Garrett, LB, Missouri

Garrett was instrumental in Missouri’s upset over Arkansas. The freshman tied for the team lead with 10 tackles and his interception in the third quarter prevented a score in the red zone by the Razorbacks.

 

Team of the Week: Vanderbilt

The Commodores secured bowl eligibility for the first time under coach Derek Mason and in-state bragging rights for a year with a 45-34 victory over Tennessee on Saturday night. Vanderbilt’s offense continued to show marked improvement, as this unit recorded 608 yards, 27 first downs, went 8 of 14 on third-down attempts and scored on all six red zone trips. The defense stepped up in the second half, holding Tennessee to just three points on five drives.

 

Unsung Hero of the Week: Stephen Johnson, QB, Kentucky

All of the attention on quarterback play in Saturday’s Kentucky-Louisville game was clearly focused on Lamar Jackson. However, it was the other quarterback – Kentucky’s Stephen Johnson – that quietly delivered a standout performance. Johnson completed 16 of 27 throws for 338 yards and three scores and rushed for 83 yards on eight attempts to help the Wildcats win 41-38.

Teaser:
SEC Week 13 Awards 2016
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2016 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football-top-25-rankings-2016
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Weekly rankings are a big part of every college football season, and Athlon Sports will update its top 25 following the games each weekend. The final weekend in November is always interesting due to rivalries, and the action on the field didn't disappoint. Ohio State edged Michigan in double overtime, likely securing the Buckeyes' playoff spot. Alabama dominated rival Auburn in the Iron Bowl, and Florida State knocked off Florida for the fourth consecutive season. Clemson, Washington, Wisconsin and USC also picked up key victories in rivalry matchups. Navy, USF, Iowa, Stanford and Pitt join the rankings after Week 13.

 

College Football Post-Week 13 Top 25 Rankings
 

1. Alabama (12-0)

Week 13 Result: Beat Auburn 30-12

Last Week: 1

Week 14 Opponent: SEC Championship vs. Florida

 

Crimson Tide defense did not allow a touchdown in November.

 

2. Ohio State (11-1)

Week 13 Result: Beat Michigan 30-27

Last Week: 2

Week 14 Opponent: Regular Season Over

 

The Game certainly lived up to the hype, as the Buckeyes steal a win over the Wolverines in overtime.

 

3. Clemson (11-1)

Week 13 Result: Beat South Carolina 56-7

Last Week: 3

Week 14 Opponent: ACC Championship vs. Virginia Tech

 

Deshaun Watson tosses six touchdown passes in dominant win over rival South Carolina.

 

4. Washington (11-1)

Week 13 Result: Beat Washington State 45-17

Last Week: 6

Week 14 Opponent: Pac-12 Championship vs. Colorado

 

Huskies claim Apple Cup thanks to strong performances by quarterback Jake Browning and the defense.

 

5. Michigan (10-2)

Week 13 Result: Lost to Ohio State 30-27

Last Week: 4

Week 14 Opponent: Regular Season Over

 

Missed opportunities will haunt Wolverines in double overtime loss at Ohio State.

 

6. Wisconsin (10-2)

Week 13 Result: Beat Minnesota 31-17

Last Week: 5

Week 14 Opponent: Big Ten Championship vs. Penn State

 

Badgers use big second half to continue domination of Minnesota.

 

7. Oklahoma (9-2)

Week 13 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 7

Week 14 Opponent: Oklahoma State

 

Bye week allows Sooners to prep for showdown against Oklahoma State to decide Big 12 title.

 

8. USC (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Beat Notre Dame 45-27

Last Week: 9

Week 14 Opponent: Regular Season Over

 

Adoree’ Jackson delivers one of the best all-around performances of 2016 in USC’s 45-27 win over Notre Dame.

 

9. Penn State (10-2)

Week 13 Result: Beat Michigan State 45-12

Last Week: 9

Week 14 Opponent: Big Ten Championship vs. Wisconsin

 

Saquon Barkley’s health will be a storyline to watch after Penn State clinches East Division with win over Michigan State and books trip to Indianapolis for Big Ten title game.

 

10. Colorado (10-2)

Week 13 Result: Beat Utah 27-22

Last Week: 10

Week 14 Opponent: Pac-12 Championship vs. Washington

 

Buffaloes clinch Pac-12 South with win over Utah – and Mike MacIntyre should be the national coach of the year.

 

11. Florida State (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Beat Florida 31-13

Last Week: 12

Week 14 Opponent: Regular Season Over

 

Seminoles’ senior class finishes 8-0 against Florida and Miami.

 

12. Oklahoma State (9-2)

Week 13 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 13

Week 14 Opponent: at Oklahoma

 

Cowboys have won only two out of the last 13 matchups against rival Oklahoma.

 

13. West Virginia (9-2)

Week 13 Result: Beat Iowa State 49-19

Last Week: 14

Week 14 Opponent: Baylor

 

Freshman running back Martell Pettaway gives injured backfield a boost, while quarterback Skyler Howard tosses five touchdowns in 49-19 win over Iowa State.

 

14. Louisville (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Lost to Kentucky 41-38

Last Week: 11

Week 14 Opponent: Regular Season

 

Late-season losses hurt Lamar Jackson’s Heisman candidacy, but the sophomore is still the favorite with one week of games left.

 

15. Western Michigan (12-0)

Week 13 Result: Beat Toledo 55-35

Last Week: 17

Week 14 Opponent: MAC Championship vs. Ohio

 

Broncos likely one win away from claiming the Group of 5 spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl.

 

16. Auburn (8-4)

Week 13 Result: Lost to Alabama 30-12

Last Week: 16

Week 14 Opponent: Regular Season Over

 

Despite Auburn’s November defeats against Alabama and Georgia, losses by Tennessee and Florida in Week 13 could help Auburn reach the Sugar Bowl.

 

17. Florida (8-3)

Week 13 Result: Lost to Florida State 31-13

Last Week: 18

Week 14 Opponent: SEC Championship vs. Florida

 

Gators have to find some offense to have any shot against Alabama.

 

18. LSU (7-4)

Week 13 Result: Beat Texas A&M 54-39

Last Week: 20

Week 14 Opponent: Regular Season Over

 

Derrius Guice sets a new LSU single-game record with 285 rushing yards in 54-39 win over Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night.

 

19. Virginia Tech (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Beat Virginia 52-10

Last Week: 22

Week 14 Opponent: ACC Championship vs. Clemson

 

Hokies continue successful first year under coach Justin Fuente with division title and a blowout win over rival Virginia.

 

20. Iowa (8-4)

Week 13 Result: Beat Nebraska 40-10

Last Week: NR

Week 14 Opponent: Regular Season Over

 

Hawkeyes continue late-season surge with 30-point win over Cornhuskers.  

 

21. Nebraska (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Lost to Iowa 40-10

Last Week: 15

Week 14 Opponent: Regular Season Over

 

Huskers thoroughly dominated at Iowa.

 

22. Stanford (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Beat Rice 41-17

Last Week: NR

Week 14 Opponent: Regular Season Over

 

Cardinal finish regular season by winning five in a row.

 

23. USF (10-2)

Week 13 Result: Beat UCF 48-31

Last Week: NR

Week 14 Opponent: Regular Season Over

 

Quarterback Quinton Flowers is quietly having an outstanding season.

 

24. Navy (9-2)

Week 13 Result: Beat SMU 75-31

Last Week: NR

Week 14 Opponent: AAC Championship vs. Temple

 

Midshipmen have scored at least 66 points in each of their last two games.

 

25. Pitt (8-4)

Week 13 Result: Beat Syracuse 76-61

Last Week: NR

Week 14 Opponent: Regular Season Over

 

Panthers gave up 61 points in win over Syracuse, but coach Pat Narduzzi’s team scored 76. That’s the highest combined total from two teams in a FBS game. 

 

College Football Post-Week 12 Top 25 Rankings

 

1. Alabama (11-0)

Week 12 Result: Beat Chattanooga 31-3

Last Week: 1

Week 13 Opponent: Auburn

 

Sluggish effort, but Crimson Tide still coast to 28-point win over Chattanooga.

 

2. Ohio State (10-1)

Week 12 Result: Beat Michigan State 17-16

Last Week: 2

Week 13 Opponent: Michigan

 

Buckeyes barely survive trip to East Lansing. However, playoff hopes remain intact as Michigan visits Columbus next Saturday.

 

3. Clemson (10-1)

Week 12 Result: Beat Wake Forest 35-13

Last Week: 3

Week 13 Opponent: South Carolina

 

Tigers dominate Wake Forest to clinch ACC Atlantic title.

 

4. Michigan (10-1)

Week 12 Result: Beat Indiana 20-10

Last Week: 4

Week 13 Opponent: Beat Indiana 20-10

 

Wolverines didn’t get much from quarterback John O’Korn in his first start, but coach Jim Harbaugh’s team used a strong effort by the defense and running back De’Veon Smith (158 yards) to end Indiana’s upset bid.

 

5. Wisconsin (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Beat Purdue 49-20

Last Week: 6

Week 13 Opponent: Minnesota

 

Badgers use 35-point second quarter to crush Boilermakers and move within one victory of clinching the Big Ten West Division title.

 

6. Washington (10-1)

Week 12 Result: Beat Arizona State 44-18

Last Week: 7

Week 13 Opponent: at Washington State

 

Huskies rebound from last week’s loss to USC and set the stage for a huge showdown against rival Washington State to decide the Pac-12 North title.

 

7. Oklahoma (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Beat West Virginia 56-28

Last Week: 8

Week 13 Opponent: Oklahoma State

 

Mayfield, Perine and Mixon come up big in 56-28 victory over West Virginia. For the second consecutive year, the Bedlam rivalry will decide the winner of the Big 12 title.

 

8. USC (8-3)

Week 12 Result: Beat UCLA 36-14

Last Week: 14

Week 13 Opponent: Notre Dame

 

Trojans hold bragging rights over crosstown rival UCLA for another year after 36-14 victory on Saturday night.

 

9. Penn State (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Beat Rutgers 39-0

Last Week: 9

Week 13 Opponent: Michigan State

 

Penn State is one win away from claiming the Big Ten East. However, as Michigan State showed against Ohio State, the Spartans won’t be a pushover next Saturday.

 

10. Colorado (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Beat Washington State 38-24

Last Week: 12

Week 13 Opponent: Utah

 

Quarterback Sefo Liufau and the defense lead Colorado to 38-24 win over Washington State. Buffaloes will clinch Pac-12 South next week with a win over Utah.

 

11. Louisville (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Lost to Houston 36-10

Last Week: 5

Week 13 Opponent: Kentucky

 

Penalties, turnovers and shaky offensive line play doom Cardinals’ playoff hopes in Thursday night defeat at Houston.

 

12. Florida State (8-3)

Week 12 Result: Beat Syracuse 45-14

Last Week: 11

Week 13 Opponent: Florida

 

Dalvin Cook rushes for 225 yards and four touchdowns and sets new school career rushing record in Florida State’s 45-14 win over Syracuse.

 

13. Oklahoma State (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Beat TCU 31-6

Last Week: 20

Week 13 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Mike Gundy’s team isn’t getting much national attention, but the Cowboys have quietly won seven in a row. The annual Bedlam matchup against Oklahoma will decide the Big 12 title in two weeks.

 

14. West Virginia (8-2)

Week 12 Result: Lost to Oklahoma 56-28

Last Week: 10

Week 13 Opponent: at Iowa State

 

Second-half rally helped make final score more respectable, but Mountaineers dug too big of an early hole against Oklahoma with turnovers and mistakes.

 

15. Nebraska (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Beat Maryland 28-7

Last Week: 15

Week 13 Opponent: at Iowa

 

No Tommy Armstrong? No problem for Nebraska. Ryker Fyfe completes 23 of 37 throws for 220 yards and one score in relief of an injured Armstrong in victory over Maryland.

 

16. Auburn (8-3)

Week 12 Result: Beat Alabama A&M 55-0

Last Week: 16

Week 13 Opponent: at Alabama

 

Matchup against Alabama A&M allows Tigers to rest a couple of key players with Iron Bowl looming next Saturday.

 

17. Western Michigan (11-0)

Week 12 Result: Beat Buffalo 38-0

Last Week: 18

Week 13 Opponent: Toledo

 

Wyoming’s win over San Diego State helps Western Michigan in its quest to be the top Group of 5 team for a New Year’s Six bowl bid.

 

18. Florida (8-2)

Week 12 Result: Beat LSU 16-10

Last Week: 22

Week 13 Opponent: at Florida State

 

Goal-line stand and timely offense help Gators stun LSU in Baton Rouge. Florida is headed to the SEC Championship for the second year in a row.

 

19. Utah (8-3)

Week 12 Result: Lost to Oregon 30-28

Last Week: 13

Week 13 Opponent: at Colorado

 

Surprising loss against Oregon ends Utah’s Pac-12 South title hopes.

 

20. LSU (6-4)

Week 12 Result: Lost to Florida 16-10

Last Week: 17

Week 13 Opponent: at Texas A&M

 

Ed Orgeron’s hopes (and LSU’s Sugar Bowl chances) of keeping the full-time job likely ended after LSU’s loss to Florida.

 

21. Texas A&M (8-3)

Week 12 Result: Beat UTSA 23-10

Last Week: 21

Week 13 Opponent: LSU

 

A healthy Myles Garrett on defense makes a big difference for the Aggies. Texas A&M’s two-game losing streak ends with 23-10 win over UTSA.

 

22. Virginia Tech (8-3)

Week 12 Result: Beat Notre Dame 34-31

Last Week: 23

Week 13 Opponent: Virginia

 

Hokies had to overcome two 17-point deficits in 34-31 win over Notre Dame in South Bend. Next week’s game against Virginia will decide whether or not Virginia Tech or North Carolina represents the Coastal in the ACC Championship.

 

23. Washington State (8-3)

Week 12 Result: Lost to Colorado 38-24

Last Week: 19

Week 13 Opponent: Washington

 

Eight-game winning streak ends in Boulder, but all is not lost for coach Mike Leach’s team. The Cougars can win the North Division with a victory over Washington next week.

 

24. Houston (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Beat Louisville 36-10

Last Week: NR

Week 13 Opponent: at Memphis

 

Cougars rejoin the top 25 after impressive win over Louisville on Thursday night.

 

25. Boise State (10-1)

Week 12 Result: Beat UNLV 42-25

Last Week: 25

Week 13 Opponent: at Air Force

 

Big night from running back Jeremy McNichols (206 yards) is more than enough in 42-25 win over UNLV.

 

College Football Post-Week 11 Top 25 Rankings
 

1. Alabama (10-0)

Week 11 Result: Beat Mississippi State 51-3

Last Week: 1

Week 12 Opponent: Chattanooga

 

No post-LSU hangover for Alabama in 51-3 victory over Mississippi State.

 

2. Ohio State (9-1)

Week 11 Result: Beat Maryland 62-3

Last Week: 5

Week 12 Opponent: at Michigan State

 

Buckeyes win 62-3 for the second week in a row and climb to No. 2 in the rankings after losses by Clemson, Michigan and Washington.

 

3. Clemson (9-1)

Week 11 Result: Lost to Pitt 43-42

Last Week: 2

Week 12 Opponent: at Wake Forest

 

Loss against Pitt is a setback, but Tigers still in good shape to make the CFB Playoff by winning out.

 

4. Michigan (9-1)

Week 11 Result: Lost to Iowa 14-13

Last Week: 3

Week 12 Opponent: Indiana

 

Offense struggles to get on track in stunning loss at Iowa.

 

5. Louisville (9-1)

Week 11 Result: Beat Wake Forest 44-12

Last Week: 5

Week 12 Opponent: at Houston

 

Louisville’s offense comes alive for 34 points in fourth quarter to pull away from Wake Forest.

 

6. Wisconsin (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Beat Illinois 48-3

Last Week: 7

Week 12 Opponent: at Purdue

 

Losses by three top-five teams on Saturday should help boost Wisconsin’s playoff chances – if it can beat Penn State, Ohio State or Michigan in the Big Ten title game.

 

7. Washington (9-1)

Week 11 Result: Lost to USC 26-13

Last Week: 4

Week 12 Opponent: Arizona State

 

Ground game and quarterback Jake Browning struggle mightily in loss to USC. However, Huskies aren’t out of the playoff picture.

 

8. Oklahoma (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Beat Baylor 45-24

Last Week: 9

Week 12 Opponent: at West Virginia

 

Sooners quietly moving back into the playoff discussion and have two opportunities to impress with games against ranked opponents (West Virginia and Oklahoma State).

 

9. Penn State (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Beat Indiana 45-31

Last Week: 11

Week 12 Opponent: at Rutgers

 

Thanks to Iowa’s win over Michigan, the Nittany Lions are now a legitimate playoff contender.

 

10. West Virginia (8-1)

Week 11 Result: Beat Texas 24-20

Last Week: 15

Week 12 Opponent: Oklahoma

 

Last-minute defensive stand preserves victory over the Longhorns. Mountaineers have a huge opportunity to take control of the Big 12 with a matchup against Oklahoma next Saturday.

 

11. Florida State (7-3)

Week 11 Result: Beat Boston College 45-7

Last Week: 13

Week 12 Opponent: at Syracuse

 

Seminoles’ defense limits Boston College to just eight first downs and 146 total yards in dominant 45-7 win on Friday night.

 

12. Colorado (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Beat Arizona 49-24

Last Week: 16

Week 12 Opponent: Washington State

 

Win over Arizona ensures Colorado will at least double last week’s year’s win total (four). Is next week’s game against Washington State a preview of the Pac-12 Championship Game?

 

13. Utah (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Beat Arizona State 49-26

Last Week: 17

Week 12 Opponent: Oregon

 

Utes turn in dominant effort on the line of scrimmage (22 tackles for a loss) in 49-26 win over Arizona State on Thursday night.

 

14. USC (7-3)

Week 11 Result: Beat Washington 26-13

Last Week: 23

Week 12 Opponent: at UCLA

 

Defense leads the way in USC’s 26-13 upset over Washington.

 

15. Nebraska (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Beat Minnesota 24-17

Last Week: 18

Week 12 Opponent: Maryland

 

Tommy Armstrong’s three touchdowns and a late interception by the defense helps Cornhuskers secure win over Minnesota.

 

16. Auburn (7-3)

Week 11 Result: Lost to Georgia 13-7

Last Week: 8

Week 12 Opponent: Alabama A&M

 

Absence of running back Kamryn Pettway and quarterback Sean White’s injured shoulder hinder offense in 13-7 loss at Georgia.

 

17. LSU (6-3)

Week 11 Result: Beat Arkansas 38-10

Last Week: 21

Week 12 Opponent: Florida

 

Tigers didn’t let Alabama beat them twice, as Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette help LSU reclaim the Golden Boot trophy.

 

18. Western Michigan (10-0)

Week 11 Result: Beat Kent State 37-21

Last Week: 19

Week 12 Opponent: Buffalo

 

Broncos overcome slow start to defeat Kent State and remain the top team from the Group of 5 ranks.

 

19. Washington State (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Beat California 56-21

Last Week: 20

Week 12 Opponent: at Colorado

 

Cougars win eighth game in a row after beating California 56-24. A tough two-game stretch awaits coach Mike Leach’s team to close out the regular season: at Colorado and Washington.

 

20. Oklahoma State (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Beat Texas Tech 45-44

Last Week: 22

Week 12 Opponent: at TCU

 

The Mason Rudolph to James Washington connection and a missed extra point by Texas Tech was just enough for Oklahoma State to win 45-44.

 

21. Texas A&M (7-3)

Week 11 Result: Lost to Ole Miss 29-28

Last Week: 10

Week 12 Opponent: UTSA

 

The Aggies missed quarterback Trevor Knight, but the real storyline in Saturday’s loss was the defensive performance against Ole Miss freshman quarterback Shea Patterson.

 

22. Florida (7-2)

Week 11 Result: Beat South Carolina 20-7

Last Week: 25

Week 12 Opponent: at LSU

 

Quarterback Austin Appleby and running back Jordan Scarlett help the offense find a spark against South Carolina. However, the Gators’ defense suffered another big setback with the loss of safety Marcus Maye to an arm injury.

 

23. Virginia Tech (7-3)

Week 11 Result: Lost to Georgia Tech 30-20

Last Week: 14

Week 12 Opponent: at Notre Dame

 

Hokies struggled to contain Georgia Tech’s option attack, but coach Justin Fuente’s team can win Coastal Division with a win over Virginia on Nov. 26.

 

24. North Carolina (7-3)

Week 11 Result: Lost to Duke 28-27

Last Week: 12

Week 12 Opponent: The Citadel

 

Loss to Duke damaged division title hopes, but Tar Heels remain alive for Coastal crown after Georgia Tech upset Virginia Tech.

 

25. Boise State (9-1)

Week 11 Result: Beat Hawaii 52-16

Last Week: NR

Week 12 Opponent: UNLV

 

Broncos aren’t out of the New Year’s Six bowl contention – especially after UNLV knocked off Wyoming and opened the door for the Broncos in the division once again.

 

College Football Post-Week 10 Top 25 Rankings
 

1. Alabama (9-0)

Week 10 Result: Beat LSU 10-0

Last Week: 1

Week 11 Opponent: Mississippi State

 

Defense and timely plays by quarterback Jalen Hurts helps Alabama dominate LSU in Baton Rouge.

 

2. Clemson (9-0)

Week 10 Result: Beat Syracuse 54-0

Last Week: 2

Week 11 Opponent: Pitt

 

No letdown for Tigers a week after victory over Florida State in easy win over Syracuse. Quarterback Deshaun Watson’s shoulder injury isn’t serious.

 

3. Michigan (9-0)

Week 10 Result: Beat Maryland 59-3

Last Week: 3

Week 11 Opponent: at Iowa

 

Wolverines continue to cruise to late November showdown against Ohio State. Only one team (Michigan State) has scored more than 10 points against Michigan’s defense over the last six games.

 

4. Washington (9-0)

Week 10 Result: Beat California 66-27

Last Week: 4

Week 11 Opponent: USC

 

As long as Washington keeps winning, the CFB Playoff rankings will get sorted out in its favor at the end of the year.

 

5. Ohio State (8-1)

Week 10 Result: Beat Nebraska 62-3

Last Week: 6

Week 11 Opponent: at Maryland

 

J.T. Barrett’s 290 passing yards against a good Nebraska secondary should ease some of the concerns about the passing game.

 

6. Louisville (8-1)

Week 10 Result: Beat Boston College 52-7

Last Week: 5

Week 11 Opponent: Wake Forest

 

Lamar Jackson’s big day (seven touchdowns) leads Louisville to easy win over Boston College.

 

7. Wisconsin (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Beat Northwestern 21-7

Last Week: 7

Week 11 Opponent: Illinois

 

Badgers regain control of Big Ten West thanks to win at Northwestern, along with a Nebraska loss at Ohio State.

 

8. Auburn (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Beat Vanderbilt 23-16

Last Week: 9

Week 11 Opponent: at Georgia

 

Quarterback Sean White wasn’t 100 percent healthy, but his return in the second half helped spark Auburn to a closer-than-expected win over Vanderbilt.

 

9. Oklahoma (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Beat Iowa State 34-24

Last Week: 10

Week 11 Opponent: Baylor

 

Sooners overcome tricky road environment and injuries to beat Iowa State 34-24.

 

10. Texas A&M (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Lost to Mississippi State 35-28

Last Week: 8

Week 11 Opponent: Ole Miss

 

Loss in Starkville was costly in many ways for the Aggies.

 

11. Penn State (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Beat Iowa 41-14

Last Week: 22

Week 11 Opponent: at Indiana

 

Is Penn State the nation’s most-improved team from Week 1 to Week 10? 

 

12. North Carolina (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Beat Georgia Tech 48-20

Last Week: 14

Week 11 Opponent: at Duke

 

Tar Heels use big performances from Mitch Trubisky and Elijah Hood to keep the pressure on Virginia Tech in the Coastal Division.

 

13. Florida State (6-3)

Week 10 Result: Beat NC State 24-20

Last Week: 15

Week 11 Opponent: Boston College

 

Late touchdown pass by quarterback Deondre Francois helps Florida State survive another tough trip to Raleigh.

 

14. Virginia Tech (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Beat Duke 24-21

Last Week: 17

Week 11 Opponent: Georgia Tech

 

Special teams and defense help Virginia Tech hold off Duke’s upset bid.

 

15. West Virginia (7-1)

Week 10 Result: Beat Kansas 48-21

Last Week: 18

Week 11 Opponent: at Texas


As expected, West Virginia has little trouble in easy win over Kansas.

 

16. Colorado (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Beat UCLA 20-10

Last Week: 20

Week 11 Opponent: at Arizona

 

Victory over UCLA wasn’t pretty, but Buffaloes find a way to win and stay in front of the Pac-12 South standings.

 

17. Utah (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 21

Week 11 Opponent: at Arizona State

 

Two of Utah’s final three games take place on the road, including a Nov. 26 showdown against Colorado.

 

18. Nebraska (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Lost to Ohio State 62-3

Last Week: 12

Week 11 Opponent: Minnesota

 

Cornhuskers dominated in Columbus, but the best sight of the evening was Tommy Armstrong’s return to the stadium after a scary injury in the first half.

 

19. Western Michigan (9-0)

Week 10 Result: Beat Ball State 52-20

Last Week: 19

Week 11 Opponent: at Kent State

 

Broncos in the driver’s seat to be the top Group of 5 team and earn a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl.

 

20. Washington State (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Beat Arizona 69-7

Last Week: 23

Week 11 Opponent: California

 

Washington State’s 69 points are the most scored in school history against a Pac-12 opponent.

 

21. LSU (5-3)

Week 10 Result: Lost to Alabama 10-0

Last Week: 16

Week 11 Opponent: at Arkansas

 

Offense falls short once again in loss to Alabama.

 

22. Oklahoma State (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Beat Kansas State 43-37

Last Week: 24

Week 11 Opponent: Texas Tech

 

Quarterback Mason Rudolph (457 yards) shines, while last-second defensive stand preserves victory for Cowboys.

 

23. USC (6-3)

Week 10 Result: Beat Oregon 45-20

Last Week: 25

Week 11 Opponent: at Washington

 

Trojans continue to click behind quarterback Sam Darnold.

 

24. Arkansas (6-3)

Week 10 Result: Beat Florida 31-10

Last Week: NR

Week 11 Opponent: LSU

 

Razorbacks rebound with dominant win over Florida after disappointing showing at Auburn in Week 8.

 

25. Florida (6-2)

Week 10 Result: Lost to Arkansas 31-10

Last Week: 11

Week 11 Opponent: South Carolina

 

Offensive woes beginning to catch up with Gators in tougher portion of the schedule.

 

 

College Football Post-Week 9 Top 25 Rankings
 

1. Alabama (8-0)

Week 9 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 1

Week 10 Opponent: at LSU

 

Crimson Tide defense against Leonard Fournette will be a must-see matchup next Saturday.

 

2. Clemson (8-0)

Week 9 Result: Beat Florida State

Last Week: 2

Week 10 Opponent: Syracuse

 

Deshaun Watson and standout defensive line deliver clutch plays late in the fourth to propel Clemson to first win in Tallahassee for the first time since 2006.
 

3. Michigan (8-0)

Week 9 Result: Beat Michigan State 32-23

Last Week: 3

Week 10 Opponent: Maryland

 

Wolverines get revenge for last year’s last-second loss to Michigan State. However, the Spartans made coach Jim Harbaugh’s team work more than most anticipated.

 

4. Washington (8-0)

Week 9 Result: Beat Utah 31-24

Last Week: 5

Week 10 Opponent: at California

 

Washington’s win over Utah moves the Huskies to 8-0 for the first time since 1992.

 

5. Louisville (7-1)

Week 9 Result: Beat Virginia 32-25

Last Week: 4

Week 10 Opponent: at Boston College

 

Lamar Jackson’s four touchdowns help Louisville dodge Virginia’s upset bid in final minute.

 

6. Ohio State (7-1)

Week 9 Result: Beat Northwestern 24-20

Last Week: 6

Week 10 Opponent: Nebraska

 

Win over Northwestern wasn’t pretty, but Buckeyes needed a rebound victory after last week’s loss at Penn State. In a surprise, the Wildcats generated 406 total yards against Ohio State’s defense. Is the defense showing a few chinks in the armor?

 

7. Wisconsin (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Beat Nebraska 23-17

Last Week: 7

Week 10 Opponent: at Northwestern

 

Turnovers, a sluggish passing game and special teams issues nearly cost Wisconsin win over Nebraska. However, coach Paul Chryst’s defense steps up once again to hold on in overtime.

 

8. Texas A&M (7-1)

Week 9 Result: Beat NMSU 52-10

Last Week: 8

Week 10 Opponent: at Mississippi State

 

Easy win over New Mexico State allowed coach Kevin Sumlin to rest a couple of key players dealing with injuries.

 

9. Auburn (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Beat Ole Miss 40-29

Last Week: 13

Week 10 Opponent: Vanderbilt

 

Tigers use another huge performance from Kamryn Pettway to win at Ole Miss and earn fifth victory in a row.

 

10. Oklahoma (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Beat Kansas 56-3

Last Week: 14

Week 10 Opponent: at Iowa State (Thursday)

 

Another week, another Saturday of big plays from quarterback Baker Mayfield and receiver Dede Westbrook.

 

11. Florida (6-1)

Week 9 Result: Beat Georgia 24-10

Last Week: 15

Week 10 Opponent: at Arkansas

 

Gators in firm control of SEC East after win over Georgia and Tennessee’s loss to South Carolina.

 

12. Nebraska (7-1)

Week 9 Result: Lost to Wisconsin 23-17

Last Week: 10

Week 10 Opponent: at Ohio State

 

Cornhuskers knocked from ranks of unbeaten in overtime loss at Wisconsin. Things won’t get any easier for Nebraska with a trip to Ohio State up next.

 

13. Baylor (6-1)

Week 9 Result: Lost to Texas 35-34

Last Week: 9

Week 10 Opponent: TCU

 

Seth Russell’s huge day not enough for Baylor to overcome struggles against the run and in pass protection in 35-34 defeat at Texas.

 

14. North Carolina (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 16

Week 10 Opponent: Georgia Tech

 

Three out of North Carolina’s four remaining games take place in Chapel Hill.

 

15. Florida State (5-3)

Week 9 Result: Lost to Clemson 37-34

Last Week: 17

Week 10 Opponent: at NC State

 

Upset bid falls just short for Florida State after Deshaun Watson’s fourth-quarter heroics keep Clemson unbeaten and in control of ACC Atlantic.

 

16. LSU (5-2)

Week 9 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 20

Week 10 Opponent: Alabama

 

Ed Orgeron looks for statement win as LSU’s interim coach next Saturday against Alabama.

 

17. Virginia Tech (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Beat Pitt 39-36

Last Week: 23

Week 10 Opponent: at Duke

 

Big night from quarterback Jerod Evans (406 yards) helps Virginia Tech edge Pitt 39-36 on Thursday night.

 

18. West Virginia (6-1)

Week 9 Result: Lost to Oklahoma State 37-20

Last Week: 12

Week 10 Opponent: Kansas

 

Three turnovers converted into 17 points for Oklahoma State prove costly for West Virginia.

 

19. Western Michigan (8-0)

Week 9 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 21

Week 10 Opponent: at Ball State (Tuesday)

 

Broncos hit the midweek portion of their schedule with a Tuesday night matchup at Ball State this week.

 

20. Colorado (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 22

Week 10 Opponent: UCLA

 

Path to win Pac-12’s South Division goes through Boulder with Colorado playing three of its final four games at home.

 

21. Utah (7-2)

Week 9 Result: Lost to Washington 31-24

Last Week: 19

Week 10 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Utah’s upset bid falls short against Washington, but Utes could get another shot at Huskies in Pac-12 title game.

 

22. Penn State (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Beat Purdue 62-24

Last Week: 25

Week 10 Opponent: Iowa

 

No letdown for the Nittany Lions after last week’s win over Ohio State. Running back Saquon Barkley totaled 277 total yards and two scores in the 62-24 victory over Purdue.

 

23. Washington State (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Beat Oregon State 35-31

Last Week: NR

Week 10 Opponent: Arizona

 

Trip to Corvallis provided a tougher matchup than most anticipated. However, coach Mike Leach’s team overcame the early deficit to match Washington’s 5-0 start in Pac-12 play.

 

24. Oklahoma State (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Beat West Virginia 37-20

Last Week: NR

Week 10 Opponent: at Kansas State

 

Win over West Virginia helps Oklahoma State climb back into the Big 12 title picture, but Cowboys play three out of last four games away from Stillwater.

 

25. USC (5-3)

Week 9 Result: Beat California 45-24

Last Week: NR

Week 10 Opponent: Oregon

 

Trojans continue to roll behind quarterback Sam Darnold with victory over California on Thursday night.

 

 

College Football Post-Week 8 Top 25 Rankings
 

1. Alabama (8-0)

Week 8 Result: Beat Texas A&M 33-14

Last Week: 1

Week 9 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Alabama turns in another dominant performance against a ranked team in 33-14 victory over Texas A&M. Trip to LSU on Nov. 5 will be interesting for coach Nick Saban’s team.

 

2. Clemson (7-0)

Week 8 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 3

Week 9 Opponent: at Florida State

 

Tigers looking for first win at Florida State since 2006 next Saturday night.

 

3. Michigan (7-0)

Week 8 Result: Beat Illinois 41-8

Last Week: 4

Week 9 Opponent: at Michigan State

 

Wolverines cruise to easy win over Illinois and benefit from Ohio State’s loss at Penn State.

 

4. Louisville (6-1)

Week 8 Result: Beat NC State 54-13

Last Week: 5

Week 9 Opponent: at Virginia

 

Lamar Jackson posts 431 overall yards and four total scores in Louisville’s easy 54-13 victory over NC State.

 

5. Washington (7-0)

Week 8 Result: Beat Oregon State 41-17

Last Week: 6

Week 9 Opponent: at Utah

 

Next Saturday’s showdown at Utah could be a preview of the Pac-12 Championship.

 

6. Ohio State (6-1)

Week 8 Result: Lost to Penn State 24-21

Last Week: 2

Week 9 Opponent: Northwestern

 

Errors on special teams and inconsistent passing attack doom Buckeyes in Happy Valley. However, Ohio State still controls its own destiny for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

 

7. Wisconsin (5-2)

Week 8 Result: Beat Iowa 17-9

Last Week: 8

Week 9 Opponent: Nebraska

 

Win over Hawkeyes is huge for West Division title hopes, but coach Paul Chryst’s team faces another tough opponent with Nebraska visiting Madison next week.

 

8. Texas A&M (6-1)

Week 8 Result: Lost to Alabama 33-14

Last Week: 7

Week 9 Opponent: New Mexico State

 

Alabama’s defense and ground attack simply too much for Texas A&M to overcome in Tuscaloosa. However, the season is far from over for the Aggies, as an 11-1 record and a New Year’s Six Bowl berth is within reach.

 

9. Baylor (6-0)

Week 8 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 9

Week 9 Opponent: at Texas

 

Bears have cruised to 6-0 record, but the schedule will get tougher over the next six games, starting with a trip to Austin against Texas in Week 9, followed by matchups against TCU and Oklahoma.

 

10. Nebraska (7-0)

Week 8 Result: Beat Purdue 27-14

Last Week: 10

Week 9 Opponent: at Wisconsin

 

Cornhuskers pull away from pesky Purdue in second half, setting up a huge showdown in Madison against Wisconsin next Saturday night.

 

11. Tennessee (5-2)

Week 8 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 11

Week 9 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Bye week was a needed break for a Tennessee team dealing with significant injuries on both sides of the ball.

 

12. West Virginia (6-0)

Week 8 Result: Beat TCU 34-10

Last Week: 17

Week 9 Opponent: at Oklahoma State

 

Dana Holgorsen’s team continues to impress with easy 34-10 victory over TCU.

 

13. Auburn (5-2)

Week 8 Result: Beat Arkansas 56-3

Last Week: 23

Week 9 Opponent: at Ole Miss

 

Tigers have made marked improvement over the last few weeks and dominated Arkansas 56-3 on Saturday night.

 

14. Oklahoma (5-2)

Week 8 Result: Beat Texas Tech 66-59

Last Week: 13

Week 9 Opponent: Kansas

 

Sooners survive crazy shootout in Lubbock thanks to big performances from quarterback Baker Mayfield, running back Joe Mixon and receiver Dede Westbrook.

 

15. Florida (5-1)

Week 8 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 14

Week 9 Opponent: Georgia (Jacksonville)

 

Gators control their own destiny in SEC East, but the schedule features road trips to LSU and Arkansas, as well as the neutral site battle with Georgia next Saturday.

 

16. North Carolina (6-2)

Week 8 Result: Beat Virginia 35-14

Last Week: 15

Week 9 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s big day leads Tar Heels to 35-14 win over Virginia.

 

17. Florida State (5-2)

Week 8 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 16

Week 9 Opponent: Clemson

 

Seminoles look to play spoiler with Clemson visiting Tallahassee next Saturday night.

 

18. Boise State (7-0)

Week 8 Result: Beat BYU 28-27

Last Week: 18

Week 9 Opponent: at Wyoming

 

Broncos overcome turnovers and last-second Hail Mary attempt to earn one-point win over BYU.

 

19. Utah (7-1)

Week 8 Result: Beat UCLA 52-45

Last Week: 22

Week 9 Opponent: Washington

 

Return of running back Joe Williams from retirement has been a huge boost for Utah’s offense.

 

20. LSU (5-2)

Week 8 Result: Beat Ole Miss 38-21

Last Week: NR

Week 9 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Leonard Fournette’s huge night and a standout effort on defense helps Tigers overwhelm Rebels in Death Valley.

 

21. Western Michigan (8-0)

Week 8 Result: Beat Eastern Michigan 45-31

Last Week: 21

Week 9 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Broncos should be 11-0 headed into Nov. 25 showdown against Toledo.

 

22. Colorado (6-2)

Week 8 Result: Beat Stanford 10-5

Last Week: 25

Week 9 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Buffaloes are headed to a bowl for the first time since 2007.

 

23. Virginia Tech (5-2)

Week 8 Result: Beat Miami 37-16

Last Week: NR

Week 9 Opponent: at Pitt

 

Jerod Evans and Bud Foster’s defense lead Hokies to convincing 37-16 win over Miami.

 

24. Navy (6-1)

Week 8 Result: Beat Memphis 42-28

Last Week: NR

Week 9 Opponent: at South Florida

 

Midshipmen increase lead in American Athletic West Division with victory over Memphis and Houston’s loss to SMU.

 

25. Penn State (5-2)

Week 8 Result: Beat Ohio State 24-21

Last Week: NR

Week 9 Opponent: Purdue

 

Nittany Lions score biggest win of James Franklin’s tenure with upset over Ohio State.

 

 

College Football Post-Week 7 Top 25 Rankings
 

1. Alabama (7-0)

Week 7 Result: Beat Tennessee 49-10

Last Week: 1

Week 8 Opponent: Texas A&M

 

Another week, another dominant performance from the Crimson Tide. Alabama now has a 10-game winning streak over the Volunteers.

 

2. Ohio State (6-0)

Week 7 Result: Beat Wisconsin 30-23

Last Week: 2

Week 8 Opponent: at Penn State

 

Goal-line stand in overtime preserves Ohio State’s unbeaten record and place as the Big Ten’s frontrunner at the midway point of the season.

 

3. Clemson (7-0)

Week 7 Result: Beat NC State 24-17

Last Week: 3

Week 8 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Tigers barely survive NC State’s upset bid to remain unbeaten. Will the bye week help this offense get back on track?

 

4. Michigan (6-0)

Week 7 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 4

Week 8 Opponent: Illinois

 

Wolverines have one more contest (Illinois) before a game against rival Michigan State.

 

5. Louisville (5-1)

Week 7 Result: Beat Duke 24-14

Last Week: 5

Week 8 Opponent: NC State

 

Cardinals overcome sluggish performance and utilize a late penalty against Duke to seal the 24-14 victory over the Blue Devils.

 

6. Washington (6-0)

Week 7 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 6

Week 8 Opponent: Oregon State

 

Huskies hope to keep their momentum rolling against Oregon State in Week 8, while a tough road trip to Utah looms in Week 9.

 

7. Texas A&M (6-0)

Week 7 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 7

Week 8 Opponent: at Alabama

 

Timely bye week should help Aggies return to full strength after key injuries hit this team over its last two games.

 

8. Wisconsin (4-2)

Week 7 Result: Lost to Ohio State 30-23

Last Week: 8

Week 8 Opponent: at Iowa

 

No shame in an overtime loss against Ohio State.

 

9. Baylor (6-0)

Week 7 Result: Beat Kansas 49-7

Last Week: 11

Week 8 Opponent: Bye Week

 

As expected, Baylor has no trouble in Saturday’s easy win over Kansas.

 

10. Nebraska (6-0)

Week 7 Result: Beat Indiana 27-22

Last Week: 12

Week 8 Opponent: Purdue

 

It wasn’t pretty, but the Cornhuskers are 6-0 for the first time since 2001.

 

11. Tennessee (5-2)

Week 7 Result: Lost to Alabama 49-10

Last Week: 9

Week 8 Opponent: Bye Week

 

No second-half rally was in the cards for Tennessee this week, as Alabama dominated from the opening snap and never took its foot off the pedal.

 

12. Houston (6-1)

Week 7 Result: Beat Tulsa 38-31

Last Week: 13

Week 8 Opponent: at SMU

 

Goal-line stand on final play against Tulsa saves Houston’s New Year’s Six bowl hopes.

 

13. Oklahoma (4-2)

Week 7 Result: Beat Kansas State 38-17

Last Week: 14

Week 8 Opponent: at Texas Tech

 

The Baker Mayfield to Dede Westbrook connection stays hot in 38-17 win over Kansas State.

 

14. Florida (5-1)

Week 7 Result: Beat Missouri 40-14

Last Week: 15

Week 8 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Gators averaged 6.8 yards per play against Missouri, but quarterback Luke Del Rio wasn’t sharp (three interceptions and 18 of 38) in his return to the starting lineup.

 

15. North Carolina (5-2)
Week 7 Result: Beat Miami 20-13

Last Week: 17

Week 8 Opponent: at Virginia

 

Tar Heels quickly erase last week’s disappointment with a crucial win at Miami.

 

16. Florida State (5-2)

Week 7 Result: Beat Wake Forest 17-6

Last Week: 18

Week 8 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Demon Deacons gave Florida State all it could handle, but Seminoles hold on to keep slim ACC Atlantic title hopes alive. Next up? A bye week before a date against Clemson on Oct. 29.

 

17. West Virginia (5-0)

Week 7 Result: Beat Texas Tech 48-17

Last Week: 21

Week 8 Opponent: TCU

 

The Mountaineers held Texas Tech’s high-powered offense to just 17 points in an easy 48-17 victory in Lubbock.

 

18. Boise State (6-0)

Week 7 Result: Beat Colorado State 28-23

Last Week: 19

Week 8 Opponent: BYU (Thursday night)

 

Broncos hold off late rally by Colorado State to improve to 6-0 overall. Boise State faces a short week and a tough opponent (BYU) for Week 8.

 

19. Arkansas (5-2)

Week 7 Result: Beat Ole Miss 34-30

Last Week: NR

Week 8 Opponent: at Auburn

 

Quarterback Austin Allen and a few timely stops on defense help Hogs rebound from 49-30 loss to Alabama.

 

20. Ole Miss (3-3)

Week 7 Result: Lost to Arkansas 34-30

Last Week: 10

Week 8 Opponent: at LSU

 

Rebels fall in heartbreaker at Arkansas. All three of Ole Miss’ losses came by seven points or less this season.

 

21. Western Michigan (7-0)

Week 7 Result: Beat Akron 41-0

Last Week: 22

Week 8 Opponent: Eastern Michigan

 

The Broncos have scored at least 41 points in each of their last four games. With games remaining against Eastern Michigan, Ball State, Kent State, Buffalo and Toledo, Western Michigan is on track for a perfect regular season record (12-0) before the MAC title game.

 

22. Utah (6-1)

Week 7 Result: Beat Oregon State 19-14

Last Week: 23

Week 8 Opponent: at UCLA

 

Weather conditions and injuries took a toll on Utah in Saturday’s 19-14 win over Oregon State.

 

23. Auburn (4-2)

Week 7 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 24

Week 8 Opponent: Arkansas

 

Tough two-game stretch – Arkansas and at Ole Miss – coming up for the Tigers.

 

24. USF (6-1)

Week 7 Result: Beat UConn 42-27

Last Week: 25

Week 8 Opponent: at Temple (Friday)

 

Strong performance from quarterback Quinton Flowers (5 overall TDs) helps Bulls pull away from UConn 42-27. Win over Temple on Friday night would give coach Willie Taggart’s team a commanding lead in the American Athletic Conference’s East Division.

 

25. Colorado (5-2)

Week 7 Result: Beat Arizona State 40-16

Last Week: NR

Week 8 Opponent: at Stanford

 

Buffaloes already have three Pac-12 victories after having just one from 2014-15.

 

College Football Post-Week 6 Top 25 Rankings

 

1. Alabama (6-0)

Week 6 Result: Beat Arkansas 49-30

Last Week: 1

Week 7 Opponent: at Tennessee

 

The Crimson Tide quickly ended any hopes Arkansas had of an upset win in Fayetteville.

 

2. Ohio State (5-0)

Week 6 Result: Beat Indiana 38-17

Last Week: 2

Week 7 Opponent: at Wisconsin

 

Indiana’s defense contained the Buckeye passing attack, but J.T. Barrett, Curtis Samuel and Mike Weber were too tough to stop on the ground.

 

3. Clemson (6-0)

Week 6 Result: Beat Boston College 56-10

Last Week: 3

Week 7 Opponent: NC State

 

No letdown for coach Dabo Swinney’s team after last week’s win at Louisville, as Clemson cruised to easy 56-10 win over Boston College on Friday night.

 

4. Michigan (6-0)

Week 6 Result: Beat Rutgers 78-0

Last Week: 4

Week 7 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Michigan’s statistical domination against Rutgers is one of the most staggering box scores to read in recent memory.

 

5. Louisville (4-1)

Week 6 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 6

Week 7 Opponent: Duke

 

Lamar Jackson’s Heisman campaign resumes with a Friday night matchup against Duke.

 

6. Washington (6-0)

Week 6 Result: Beat Oregon 70-21

Last Week: 7

Week 7 Opponent: Bye Week

 

A changing of the guard is underway in the Pac-12 North. The Huskies dominated Oregon to end a 12-game losing streak in this rivalry.

 

7. Texas A&M (6-0)

Week 6 Result: Beat Tennessee 45-38

Last Week: 8
Week 7 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Win over Tennessee sets up huge showdown against Alabama in two weeks. And the upcoming bye week is good news for coach Kevin Sumlin’s team after a physical battle against the Volunteers, as well as to heal injuries to a couple of key players.

 

8. Wisconsin (4-1)

Week 6 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 10

Week 7 Opponent: Ohio State

 

Wisconsin’s brutal schedule resumes after week off with No. 2 Ohio State visiting Madison.

 

9. Tennessee (5-1)

Week 6 Result: Lost to Texas A&M 45-38

Last Week: 9

Week 7 Opponent: Alabama

 

Volunteers nearly pulled off another second-half rally but ran out of magic in overtime against Texas A&M. 

 

10. Ole Miss (3-2)

Week 6 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 13

Week 7 Opponent: at Arkansas

 

Rebels return from bye week looking to end two-game losing streak to Arkansas.

 

11. Baylor (5-0)

Week 6 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 14

Week 7 Opponent: Kansas

 

The Bears have one more tune up (Kansas) before hitting the toughest portion of their 2016 slate.

 

12. Nebraska (5-0)

Week 6 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 15

Week 6 Opponent: at Indiana

 

The Week 6 bye came at a good time for the Cornhuskers. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong, tight end Cethan Carter and receiver Jordan Westerkamp are just a few key Cornhuskers nursing injuries from the first month of the season.

 

13. Houston (5-1)

Week 6 Result: Lost to Navy 46-40

Last Week: 5

Week 7 Opponent: Tulsa

 

Houston’s playoff hopes sink after loss to Navy. Coach Tom Herman’s team now needs a little help to win the American Athletic Conference’s West Division.

 

14. Oklahoma (3-2)

Week 6 Result: Beat Texas 45-40

Last Week: 21

Week 7 Opponent: Kansas State

 

Sooners use big performances by quarterback Baker Mayfield (390 passing yards), running back Samaje Perine (214 yards) and receiver Dede Westbrook (232 receiving yards) to hold off Texas 45-40 in the Red River Rivalry.

 

15. Florida (4-1)

Week 6 Result: Game Against LSU Postponed

Last Week: 20

Week 7 Opponent: Missouri

 

After Saturday’s game against LSU was postponed, Florida turns its attention to Missouri and an upcoming showdown against Georgia on Oct. 29. The additional time to heal should help quarterback Luke Del Rio and a couple of key defenders return to full strength for coach Jim McElwain.

 

16. Virginia Tech (4-1)

Week 6 Result: Beat North Carolina 34-3

Last Week: NR

Week 7 Opponent: at Syracuse

 

New coach Justin Fuente clearly has the Hokies trending in the right direction.

 

17. North Carolina (4-2)

Week 6 Result: Lost to Virginia Tech 34-3

Last Week: 17

Week 7 Opponent: at Miami

 

Loss to Virginia Tech hurts in Coastal race, but Tar Heels can quickly rebound with a trip to Miami ahead next Saturday.

 

18. Florida State (4-2)

Week 6 Result: Beat Miami 20-19

Last Week: 24

Week 7 Opponent: Wake Forest

 

Seminoles use blocked extra point to extend winning streak over Miami to seven.

 

19. Boise State (5-0)

Week 6 Result: Beat New Mexico 49-21

Last Week: 22

Week 7 Opponent: Colorado State

 

Quarterback Brett Rypien’s five first-half touchdown passes were more than enough for Boise State in Friday night’s 49-21 win over New Mexico.

 

20. Miami (4-1)

Week 6 Result: Lost to Florida State 20-19

Last Week: 11

Week 7 Opponent: North Carolina

 

Hurricanes lose in heartbreaking fashion to Florida State but need to quickly refocus with North Carolina visiting in Week 7.

 

21. West Virginia (4-0)

Week 6 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 23

Week 7 Opponent: at Texas Tech

 

Mountaineers use bye week to prepare for tough upcoming stretch: at Texas Tech, TCU and at Oklahoma State

 

22. Western Michigan (6-0)

Week 6 Result: Beat Northern Illinois 45-30

Last Week: 25

Week 7 Opponent: at Akron

 

Loss by Houston certainly helps Western Michigan’s case to be the top Group of 5 program this year.

 

23. Utah (5-1)

Week 6 Result: Beat Arizona 36-23

Last Week: NR

Week 7 Opponent: at Oregon State

 

Utes knock off Arizona, but injuries taking a toll on coach Kyle Whittingham’s offense.

 

24. Auburn (4-2)

Week 6 Result: Beat Mississippi State 38-14

Last Week: NR

Week 7 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Tigers quietly on the right track after 1-2 start.

 

25. USF (5-1)

Week 6 Result: Beat East Carolina 38-22

Last Week: NR

Week 7 Opponent: UConn

 

Bulls have scored at least 35 points in every game this season.

 

College Football Post-Week 5 Top 25 Rankings
 

1. Alabama (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Beat Kentucky 34-6

Last Week: 1

Week 6 Opponent: at Arkansas

 

Crimson Tide started slow but easily pulled away from Kentucky after the first quarter. Tough back-to-back road trips (Arkansas and Tennessee) are up next.

 

2. Ohio State (4-0)

Week 5 Result: Beat Rutgers 58-0

Last Week: 2

Week 6 Opponent: Indiana

 

Quarterback J.T. Barrett throws four touchdowns for the second week in a row, as Ohio State easily defeats Rutgers 58-0.

 

3. Clemson (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Beat Louisville 42-36

Last Week: 6

Week 6 Opponent: at Boston College

 

Tigers edge Louisville to emerge as the top team from the ACC in one of the best games so far in the 2016 college football season.

 

4. Michigan (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Beat Wisconsin 14-7

Last Week: 4

Week 6 Opponent: at Rutgers

 

Cornerback Jourdan Lewis’ nifty one-handed interception was just one highlight from a standout defensive effort in Saturday’s 14-7 win over Wisconsin.

 

5. Houston (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Beat UConn 42-14

Last Week: 5

Week 6 Opponent: at Navy

 

Big night from quarterback Greg Ward helps Houston cruise to easy win and get revenge against UConn from last season’s loss.

 

6. Louisville (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Lost to Clemson 42-36

Last Week: 3

Week 6 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Another huge effort from Lamar Jackson, but Cardinals fall short of win at Clemson. Despite the loss, Louisville is still one of the nation’s top teams and a threat to make the College Football Playoff (if the Cardinals win out).

 

7. Washington (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Beat Stanford 44-6

Last Week: 9

Week 6 Opponent: at Oregon

 

Convincing victory over Stanford should end any doubts on whether or not the Huskies were worthy of their preseason hype.

 

8. Texas A&M (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Beat South Carolina 24-13

Last Week: 10

Week 6 Opponent: Tennessee

 

Aggies were missing three key players but avoided post-Arkansas hangover with 24-13 win over South Carolina.

 

9. Tennessee (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Beat Georgia 34-31

Last Week: 11

Week 6 Opponent: at Texas A&M

 

More second-half heroics from quarterback Joshua Dobbs (this time on a Hail Mary completion as time expired) gives Tennessee a commanding lead in the SEC East.

 

10. Wisconsin (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Lost to Michigan 14-7

Last Week: 8

Week 6 Opponent: Bye Week

 

No shame in Wisconsin’s defensive effort against Michigan in Saturday’s 14-7 loss. Schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Badgers with Ohio State visiting Madison on Oct. 15.

 

11. Miami (4-0)

Week 5 Result: Beat Georgia Tech 35-21

Last Week: 17

Week 6 Opponent: Florida State

 

Steady play of quarterback Brad Kaaya and an opportunistic defense (three turnovers) led guided the Hurricanes to a 35-21 win over Georgia Tech. Miami will be looking to snap a six-game losing streak to Florida State in Week 6.

 

12. Stanford (3-1)

Week 5 Result: Lost to Washington 44-6

Last Week: 7

Week 6 Opponent: Washington State

 

Cardinal simply overwhelmed in Friday night loss at Washington.

 

13. Ole Miss (3-2)

Week 5 Result: Beat Memphis 48-28

Last Week: 14

Week 6 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Rebels head into bye week with momentum after getting revenge from last year’s loss against Memphis.

 

14. Baylor (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Beat Iowa State 45-42

Last Week: 15

Week 6 Opponent: Kansas

 

Bears pound away for 469 yards on the ground to escape Ames with a 45-42 victory over Iowa State. 

 

15. Nebraska (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Beat Illinois 31-16

Last Week: 16

Week 6 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Cornhuskers are the lone remaining unbeaten in the Big Ten’s West Division.

 

16. Colorado (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Beat Oregon State 47-6

Last Week: 21

Week 6 Opponent: at USC

 

Buffaloes get another strong start from redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Montez in relief of an injured Sefo Liufau in Saturday’s 47-6 win over Oregon State.

 

17. North Carolina (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Beat Florida State 37-35

Last Week: NR

Week 6 Opponent: Virginia Tech

 

Tar Heels rejoin Athlon’s top 25 rankings after last-second win over Florida State.

 

18. UCLA (3-2)

Week 5 Result: Beat Arizona 45-24

Last Week: 18

Week 6 Opponent: at Arizona State

 

Bruins showed no hangover effect from last week’s crushing loss to Stanford. Quarterback Josh Rosen threw for 350 yards and three scores in Saturday night’s 45-24 over Arizona.

 

19. Arkansas (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Beat Alcorn State

Last Week: Beat Alcorn State 52-10

Week 6 Opponent: Alabama

 

Razorbacks able to empty the bench and rest starters in easy win over Alcorn State. Next up? A home date against Alabama.

 

20. Florida (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Beat Vanderbilt 13-6

Last Week: 20

Week 6 Opponent: LSU

 

Win over Vanderbilt wasn’t pretty, but Gators leave Nashville with a victory. Will quarterback Luke Del Rio be healthy enough to return to the lineup for next week’s game against LSU?

 

21. Oklahoma (2-2)

Week 5 Result: Beat TCU 52-46

Last Week: NR

Week 6 Opponent: Texas

 

Sooners use 28-point second quarter and late stop on defense to defeat TCU 52-46 in Fort Worth. Despite early losses to Houston and Ohio State, Oklahoma is still alive in the Big 12 title picture.

 

22. Boise State (4-0)

Week 5 Result: Beat Utah State 21-10

Last Week: 24

Week 6 Opponent: at New Mexico

 

San Diego State’s loss to South Alabama moves Boise State into the No. 2 spot behind Houston for the top Group of 5 team in 2016.  

 

23. West Virginia (4-0)

Week 5 Result: Beat Kansas State 17-16

Last Week: 25

Week 6 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Narrow victory (17-16) over Kansas State in Week 5 was West Virginia’s first win over the Wildcats since joining the Big 12.

 

24. Florida State (3-2)

Week 5 Result: Lost to North Carolina 37-35

Last Week: 12

Week 6 Opponent: at Miami

 

Late pass interference penalty and three missed field goals loom large in Florida State’s two-point loss to North Carolina. The Seminoles were a popular pick to play for the national title this preseason.

 

25. Western Michigan (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Beat Central Michigan 49-10

Last Week: NR

Week 6 Opponent: Northern Illinois

 

Broncos crush rival Central Michigan  49-10 to join top 25 rankings for first time this year.

 

College Football Post-Week 4 Top 25 Rankings
 

1. Alabama (4-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat Kent State 48-0

Last Week: 1

Week 5 Opponent: Kentucky

 

As expected, Crimson Tide posted a dominant 48-0 victory over Kent State. Injuries to receiver Calvin Ridley, running back Damien Harris and cornerback Marlon Humphrey from the win over Kent State don’t appear to be serious.

 

2. Ohio State (3-0)

Week 4 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 2

Week 5 Opponent: Rutgers

 

Buckeyes will be heavy favorites in their next two games (Rutgers and Indiana). The Oct. 15 road date at Wisconsin looks a lot tougher than it did in the preseason.

 

3. Louisville (4-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat Marshall 59-28

Last Week: 3

Week 5 Opponent: at Clemson

 

Another huge performance from Lamar Jackson leads the Cardinals to easy road win over Marshall. Next up? A showdown against Clemson.

 

4. Michigan (4-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat Penn State 49-10

Last Week: 4

Week 5 Opponent: Wisconsin

 

Wolverines dominated the line of scrimmage (and the scoreboard) in Saturday’s 49-10 victory over Penn State.

 

5. Houston (4-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat Houston 64-3

Last Week: 5

Week 5 Opponent: UConn (Thursday)

 

Revenge is on Houston’s mind with UConn – the only team to beat the Cougars last year – visiting TDECU Stadium on Thursday night.

 

6. Clemson (4-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat Georgia Tech 26-7

Last Week: 6

Week 5 Opponent: Louisville

 

Clemson’s defense dominated the line of scrimmage and never allowed Georgia Tech’s option offense to get on track.

 

7. Stanford (3-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat UCLA 22-13

Last Week: 7

Week 5 Opponent: at Washington (Friday)

 

Last-minute heroics by quarterback Ryan Burns and receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside lift Stanford to its ninth consecutive win over UCLA.

 

8. Wisconsin (4-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat Michigan State 30-6

Last Week: 11

Week 5 Opponent: at Michigan

 

Badgers score another impressive win after a dominant 30-6 victory in East Lansing over Michigan State. However, the schedule doesn’t get any easier with a trip to Michigan next Saturday.

 

9. Washington (4-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat Arizona 35-28

Last Week: 8

Week 5 Opponent: Stanford (Friday)

 

Were the Huskies caught looking ahead to Stanford? Washington needed overtime to knock off Arizona on Saturday night.

 

10. Texas A&M (4-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat Arkansas 45-24

Last Week: 14

Week 5 Opponent: at South Carolina

 

Aggies had a complete team performance in the 45-24 win over Arkansas. End Myles Garrett and safety Armani Watts led the effort on defense, while quarterback Trevor Knight guided the offense to an average of 10 yards per play.

 

11. Tennessee (4-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat Florida 38-28

Last Week: 11

Week 5 Opponent: at Georgia

 

The streak is over. Tennessee uses strong second-half performance to end 11-game losing streak to Florida.

 

12. Florida State (3-1)

Week 4 Result: Beat USF 55-35

Last Week: 10

Week 5 Opponent: North Carolina

 

Dalvin Cook finally looked like the player we expected to see in 2016. However, Florida State still has a lot of question marks to address on defense.

 

13. Michigan State (2-1)

Week 4 Result: Loss to Wisconsin 30-6

Last Week: 9

Week 5 Opponent: at Indiana

 

Turnovers and a sputtering offense too much for Michigan State to overcome in 30-6 loss against Wisconsin.

 

14. Ole Miss (2-2)

Week 4 Result: Beat Georgia 45-14

Last Week: 18

Week 5 Opponent: Memphis

 

Dominant. That’s the easiest way to describe Ole Miss’ 45-14 victory on Saturday.

 

15. Baylor (4-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat Oklahoma State 35-24

Last Week: NR

Week 5 Opponent: at Iowa State

 

Quarterback Seth Russell throws for 387 yards and four scores to lead 35-24 win over Oklahoma State in Baylor’s Big 12 opener.

 

16. Nebraska (4-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat Northwestern

Last Week: NR

Week 5 Opponent: Illinois

 

After tossing 16 interceptions last season, quarterback Tommy Armstrong has only one interception through the first four games of 2016.

 

17. Miami (3-0)

Week 4 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 24

Week 5 Opponent: at Georgia Tech

 

Timely bye week helps Miami prepare for Georgia Tech’s option attack.

 

18. UCLA (2-2)

Week 4 Result: Lost to Stanford 22-13

Last Week: 16

Week 5 Opponent: Arizona

 

Bruins couldn’t hold onto late lead in 22-13 loss to Stanford. However, there’s no shame in losses to Stanford and Texas A&M.

 

19. Arkansas (3-1)

Week 4 Result: Lost to Texas A&M 45-24

Last Week: 15

Week 5 Opponent: Alcorn State

 

Missed opportunities in the red zone and turnovers marred Arkansas’ loss to Texas A&M.

 

20. Florida (3-1)

Week 4 Result: Loss to Tennessee 38-28

Last Week: 17

Week 5 Opponent: at Vanderbilt

 

The second half wasn’t kind to Florida in the 38-28 loss to Tennessee. The Gators couldn’t get anything going on offense, while the defense allowed the Volunteers to score touchdowns on five of the first seven drives in the final two quarters.

 

21. Colorado (3-1)

Week 4 Result: Beat Oregon 41-38

Last Week: NR

Week 5 Opponent: Oregon State

 

If there was any doubt regarding Mike MacIntyre’s coaching ability, Colorado’s start to the 2016 season should put those to rest.

 

22. San Diego State (3-0)

Week 4 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 20

Week 5 Opponent: at South Alabama

 

Aztecs have one more non-conference trip remaining before opening Mountain West play on Oct. 8 against UNLV.

 

23. Utah (4-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat USC 31-27

Last Week: NR

Week 5 Opponent: at California

 

Quarterback Troy Williams delivered in the clutch in Friday night’s win over USC.

 

24. Boise State (3-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat Oregon State 38-24

Last Week: 25

Week 5 Opponent: Utah State

 

Broncos go 2-0 against Pac-12 teams after 38-24 win over Oregon State.

 

25. West Virginia (3-0)

Week 4 Result: Beat BYU 35-32

Last Week: NR

Week 5 Opponent: Kansas State

 

Mountaineers quietly off to a solid 3-0 start after beating BYU at FedEx Field in Week 4.

 

College Football Post-Week 3 Top 25 Rankings
 

1. Alabama (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat Ole Miss 48-43

Last Week: 1

Week 4 Opponent: Kent State

 

Crimson Tide rushing attack comes alive, while defense scores twice to avoid a third consecutive loss to Ole Miss.

 

2. Ohio State (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat Oklahoma 45-24

Last Week: 4

Week 4 Opponent: Bye Week

 

The Buckeyes returned only six starters this season. However, after Saturday night’s dominant 45-24 victory over Oklahoma, Urban Meyer’s team looks better team than the one that went 12-1 last season.

 

3. Louisville (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat Florida State 63-20

Last Week: 13

Week 4 Opponent: at Marshall

 

Quarterback Lamar Jackson was terrific once again, but the Louisville defense was also instrumental in the blowout victory over Florida State.

 

4. Michigan (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat Colorado 45-28

Last Week: 5

Week 4 Opponent: Penn State

 

Michigan’s defense held Colorado to just 18 total yards over the last seven drives in Saturday’s 45-28 victory.

 

5. Houston (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat Cincinnati 40-16

Last Week: 5

Week 4 Opponent: at Texas State

 

Two interceptions returned for touchdowns and timely plays by quarterback Greg Ward propelled Houston to a big fourth quarter and a 40-16 victory over Cincinnati on Thursday night.

 

6. Clemson (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat South Carolina State 59-0

Last Week: 6

Week 4 Opponent: at Georgia Tech (Thursday)

 

Tigers cruised to an easy win over South Carolina State and may have worked out some of the kinks on offense (7.1 ypp).

 

7. Stanford (2-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat USC 27-10

Last Week: 8

Week 4 Opponent: at UCLA

 

Running back Christian McCaffrey delivers another big performance against USC to lead the Cardinal to their third win in a row over the Trojans.

 

8. Washington (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat Portland State 41-3

Last Week: 7

Week 4 Opponent: at Arizona

 

As expected, the Huskies dominated their non-conference slate. There’s a looming showdown against Stanford on Sept. 30.

 

9. Michigan State (2-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat Notre Dame 36-28

Last Week: 12

Week 4 Opponent: Wisconsin

 

Spartans take advantage of three Notre Dame turnovers and use 21-point effort in third quarter to earn a 36-28 victory over the Fighting Irish.

 

10. Florida State (2-1)

Week 3 Result: Lost to Louisville 63-20

Last Week: 2

Week 4 Opponent: at USF

 

The Seminoles have a lot of issues to address, but coach Jimbo Fisher’s team has plenty of time to play their way back into the playoff picture.

 

11. Wisconsin (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat Georgia State 23-17

Last Week: 10

Week 4 Opponent at Michigan State

 

It wasn’t pretty, but the Badgers held off upset-minded Georgia State on Saturday. The focus shifts to conference play with a trip to Michigan State next week, but who takes the majority of snaps at quarterback after Alex Hornibrook replaced Bart Houston late in the win on Saturday?

 

12. Tennessee (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat Ohio 28-19

Last Week: 14

Week 4 Opponent: Florida

 

Once again, the Volunteers weren’t impressive in a victory. However, the Volunteers are 3-0 and still in good shape to win the SEC East.

 

13. Georgia (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat Missouri 28-27

Last Week: 15

Week 4 Opponent: at Ole Miss

 

Jacob Eason’s clutch touchdown toss to Isaiah McKenzie with less than two minutes remaining propels Georgia to win over Missouri. Bulldogs have won last two games by a combined three points.

 

14. Texas A&M (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat Auburn 29-16

Last Week: 17

Week 4 Opponent: Arkansas (Arlington)

 

Balanced attack on offense (247 passing yards to 231 rushing) and stingy defense (4.5 yards per play allowed) guides Texas A&M to road win at Auburn.

 

15. Arkansas (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat Texas State 42-3

Last Week: 20

Week 4 Opponent: Texas A&M (Arlington)

 

Hogs cruised to easy win over Texas State to move to 3-0, but the focus shifts to SEC play and the neutral site matchup against Texas A&M next Saturday. Arkansas has lost by seven points in each of the last two years against the Aggies. 

 

16. UCLA (2-1)

Week 3 Result: Beat BYU 17-14

Last Week: 21

Week 4 Opponent: Stanford

 

Bruins will be looking to end eight-game losing streak against Stanford in Week 4.

 

17. Florida (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat North Texas 32-0

Last Week: 22

Week 4 Opponent: at Tennessee

 

Injury to quarterback Luke Del Rio puts a damper on Florida’s win over North Texas (and 3-0 start).

 

18. Ole Miss (1-2)

Week 3 Result: Lost to Alabama 48-43

Last Week: 16

Week 4 Opponent: Georgia

 

Rebels gave No. 1 Alabama all it could handle (and nearly made it three in a row over the Crimson Tide).

 

19. LSU (2-1)

Week 3 Result: Beat Mississippi State 23-20

Last Week: 23

Week 4 Opponent: at Auburn

 

Mississippi State made it interesting late, but quarterback Danny Etling (19 of 30 for 215 yards) was solid in his first start and running back Leonard Fournette (147 yards) was in midseason form.

 

20. San Diego State (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat NIU 42-28

Last Week: NR

Week 4 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Aztecs make their first appearance of the season in Athlon’s top 25.

 

21. California (2-1)

Week 3 Result: Beat Texas 50-43

Last Week: NR

Week 4 Opponent: at Arizona State

 

Davis Webb to Chad Hansen is becoming one of the nation’s top pass-catch combinations for 2016.

 

22. Texas (2-1)

Week 3 Result: Lost to California 50-43

Last Week: 9

Week 4 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Longhorns unable to contain California’s offense in a 50-43 loss at Berkeley.

 

23. Notre Dame (1-2)

Week 3 Result: Lost to Michigan State 36-28

Last Week: 11

Week 4 Opponent: Duke

 

Defense woes showed up once again in loss to Michigan State.  

 

24. Miami (3-0)

Week 3 Result: Beat Appalachian State 45-10

Last Week: NR

Week 4 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Hurricanes easily avoided Appalachian State’s upset bid with 45-10 victory in Boone.

 

25. Boise State (2-0)

Week 3 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 25

Week 4 Opponent: at Oregon State

 

Broncos look to go 2-0 against Pac-12 teams with a matchup against Oregon State this Saturday.

 

 

College Football Post-Week 2 Top 25 Rankings
 

1. Alabama (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat WKU 38-10

Last Week: 1

Week 3 Opponent: at Ole Miss

 

Nick Saban may not be happy, but the Crimson Tide still looks like the best team in the nation.

 

2. Florida State (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat Charleston Southern 52-8

Last Week: 2

Week 3 Opponent: at Louisville

 

Injury to safety Derwin James is something to monitor with huge matchup at Louisville ahead in Week 3.

 

3. Ohio State (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat Tulsa 48-3

Last Week: 4

Week 3 Opponent: at Oklahoma

 

The Buckeyes’ defense has yet to allow a touchdown through the first two games of the season. A better test awaits this unit on Saturday at Oklahoma.

 

4. Michigan (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat UCF 51-14

Last Week: 5

Week 3 Opponent: Colorado

 

Wolverines have dominated on defense through the first two games of 2016, but the pieces are also starting to fall into place on offense.

 

5. Houston (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat Lamar 42-0

Last Week: 6

Week 3 Opponent: at Cincinnati

 

No Greg Ward? No problem against Lamar. All signs point to Ward returning for Week 3.

 

6. Clemson (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat Troy 30-24

Last Week: 3

Week 3 Opponent: South Carolina State

 

The Tigers have not looked sharp through the first two games. Will Dabo Swinney’s team get on track against South Carolina State next week?

 

7. Washington (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat Idaho 59-14

Last Week: 7

Week 3 Opponent: Portland State

 

Huskies have one more tune-up opportunity in Week 3 (Portland State) before Pac-12 play opens on Sept. 24 at Arizona.

 

8. Stanford (1-0)

Week 2 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 8

Week 3 Opponent: USC

 

The Cardinal opens Pac-12 play next week with USC coming to town, with road dates also looming against UCLA (Sept. 24) and Washington (Sept. 30).

 

9. Texas (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat UTEP 41-7

Last Week: 9

Week 3 Opponent: at California

 

Are the Longhorns the Big 12’s best team and hope for a playoff contender?

 

10. Wisconsin (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat Akron 54-10

Last Week: 10

Week 3 Opponent: Georgia State

 

There was no hangover from the upset win over LSU for the Badgers in an easy win against Akron on Saturday. 

 

11. Notre Dame (1-1)

Week 2 Result: Beat Nevada 39-10

Last Week: 11

Week 3 Opponent: Michigan State

 

Fighting Irish cruised in win over Nevada but need a win over Michigan State to keep playoff hopes alive next week.

 

12. Michigan State (1-0)

Week 2 Result: Bye Week

Last Week: 13

Week 3 Opponent: at Notre Dame

 

Spartans use bye week to prep for road trip to Notre Dame.

 

13. Louisville (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat Syracuse 62-28

Last Week: 16

Week 3 Opponent: Florida State

 

Cardinals are averaging 66 points a game through the first two weeks of the season. Can that hold in Week 3 against Florida State?

 

14. Tennessee (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat Virginia Tech 45-24

Last Week: 14

Week 3 Opponent: Ohio

 

The Battle of Bristol was close for a half, but the Volunteers eventually played like a team that was picked as the SEC East favorite in 2016.

 

15. Georgia (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat Nicholls 26-24

Last Week: 14

Week 3 Opponent: at Missouri

 

Bulldogs were not impressive against Nicholls in Kirby Smart’s home opener.

 

16. Ole Miss (1-1)

Week 2 Result: Beat Wofford 38-13

Last Week: 15

Week 3 Opponent: Alabama

 

Can the Rebels make it three in a row over the Crimson Tide?

 

17. Texas A&M (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat Prairie View 67-0

Last Week: 17

Week 3 Opponent: at Auburn

 

No trouble in Week 2 for the Aggies with easy win over Prairie View.

 

18. Oklahoma (1-1)

Week 2 Result: Beat ULM 59-17

Last Week: 18

Week 3 Opponent: Ohio State

 

Next week’s matchup against Ohio State will make-or-break Oklahoma’s playoff hopes.

 

19. Iowa (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat Iowa State 42-3

Last Week: 19

Week 3 Opponent: North Dakota State

 

Hawkeyes’ 39-point win over in-state rival Iowa State is biggest over Cyclones since 1997.

 

20. Arkansas (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat TCU 41-38

Last Week: NR

Week 3 Opponent: Texas State

 

New quarterback Austin Allen and senior linebacker Brooks Ellis delivered clutch plays to beat TCU.

 

21. UCLA (1-1)

Week 2 Result: Beat UNLV 42-21

Last Week: 21

Week 3 Opponent: at BYU

 

UCLA’s defense is banged up headed into Week 3 showdown against BYU.

 

22. Florida (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat Kentucky 45-7

Last Week: 23

Week 3 Opponent: North Texas

 

Domination over Kentucky continued with 45-7 dismantling over Wildcats in Week 2.

 

23. LSU (1-1)

Week 2 Result: Beat Jacksonville State 34-13

Last Week: 20

Week 3 Opponent: Mississippi State

 

Is Danny Etling the spark LSU needs at quarterback?

 

24. Oregon (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat Virginia 44-26

Last Week: 25

Week 3 Opponent: at Nebraska

 

Dakota Prukop (21 of 31 for 331 yards and three scores) was impressive in win over Virginia.

 

25. Boise State (2-0)

Week 2 Result: Beat Washington State 31-28

Last Week: NR

Week 3 Opponent: at Oregon State (Sept. 24)

 

Broncos should be 2-0 over Pac-12 opponents after a Sept. 24 trip to Oregon State.

 

 

College Football Post-Week 1 Top 25 Rankings

 

1. Alabama (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat USC 52-6

Last Week: 1

Week 2 Opponent: WKU

 

The Crimson Tide dominated USC and found their quarterback in freshman Jalen Hurts.

 

2. Florida State (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat Ole Miss 45-34

Last Week: 2

Week 2 Opponent: Charleston Southern

 

Redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois and senior defensive end DeMarcus Walker were instrumental in the second-half rally to beat the Rebels.

 

3. Ohio State (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat Bowling Green 77-10

Last Week: 3

Week 2 Opponent: Tulsa

 

The Buckeyes have a wealth of promising playmakers, and J.T. Barrett looks a lot like the quarterback that accounted for 45 touchdowns in 2014.

 

4. Clemson (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat Auburn 19-13

Last Week: 4

Week 2 Opponent: Troy

 

Auburn’s defense gave Clemson’s offense all it could handle. Tigers’ offense should bounce back against Troy this Saturday.

 

5. Michigan (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat Hawaii 63-3

Last Week: 5

Week 2 Opponent: UCF

 

Easy win over Hawaii showcased Michigan’s dominant defense, while quarterback Wilton Speight (10 of 13) was steady in his debut.

 

6. Houston (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat Oklahoma 33-23

Last Week: 15

Week 2 Opponent: Lamar

 

It’s a long ways off, but Houston’s win over Oklahoma certainly helps the playoff hopes of Tom Herman’s team.

 

7. Washington (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat Rutgers 48-13

Last Week: 11

Week 2 Opponent: Idaho

 

Washington needed more from its passing game to win the Pac-12 this year. After one game, quarterback Jake Browning (287 yards against Rutgers) looks ready for a breakout year.

 

8. Stanford (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat Kansas State 26-13

Last Week: 12

Week 2 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Christian McCaffrey was impressive once again, and quarterback Ryan Burns was steady in his first start in Friday’s win over Kansas State.

 

9. Texas (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat Notre Dame 50-47

Last Week: 43

Week 2 Opponent: UTEP

 

New coordinator Sterlin Gilbert – along with the combination of Shane Buechele and Tyrone Swoopes at quarterback – is the right mix for Texas’ offense.

 

10. Wisconsin (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat LSU 16-14

Last Week: 33

Week 2 Opponent: Akron

 

Wisconsin’s win over LSU was one of Week 1’s biggest surprises.

 

11. Notre Dame (0-1)

Week 1 Result: Lost to Texas 50-47

Last Week: 8

Week 2 Opponent: Nevada

 

Loss at Texas hurts, but Fighting Irish can still climb into playoff contention with an 11-1 record.

 

12. Georgia (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat North Carolina 33-24

Last Week: 16

Week 2 Opponent: Nicholls

 

The Bulldogs looked like the SEC East’s best team in Week 1 in win over North Carolina.

 

13. Michigan State (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat Furman 28-13

Last Week: 13

Week 2 Opponent: Bye Week

 

Spartans sluggish in win over Furman, but a bigger test for coach Mark Dantonio’s team awaits on Sept. 17 at Notre Dame.

 

14. Tennessee (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat Appalachian State 20-13

Last Week: 7

Week 2 Opponent: Virginia Tech (Bristol)

 

Volunteers escaped on Thursday night with an overtime victory over Appalachian State. Butch Jones’ team has to play better to beat Virginia Tech.

 

15. Ole Miss (0-1)

Week 1 Result: Lost to Florida State 45-34

Last Week: 10

Week 2 Opponent: Wofford

 

Rebels were impressive for a half but were unable to hold on against Florida State. Monday night’s game showed this team still has plenty of returning talent to absorb the offseason losses at receiver and on the defensive line.

 

16. Louisville (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat Charlotte 70-14

Last Week: 18

Week 2 Opponent: at Syracuse (Friday)

 

Cardinals and quarterback Lamar Jackson were impressive in rout over Charlotte. The schedule gets a little tougher with a trip to Syracuse this Friday.

 

17. Texas A&M (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat UCLA 31-24

Last Week: 28

Week 2 Opponent: Prairie View

 

Aggies’ defense continues to improve under coordinator John Chavis, while the offense has the right fit at quarterback in Trevor Knight.

 

18. Oklahoma (0-1)

Week 1 Result: Lost to Houston 33-23

Last Week: 6

Week 2 Opponent: ULM

 

Week 2 opponent (ULM) allows the Sooners to sort out the issues on both sides of the ball before the showdown against Ohio State on Sept. 17.

 

19. Iowa (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat Miami, Ohio 45-21

Last Week: 19

Week 2 Opponent: Iowa State

 

Hawkeyes averaged 7.3 yards per rush in easy win over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday.

 

20. LSU (0-1)

Week 1 Result: Lost to Wisconsin 16-14

Last Week: 9

Week 2 Opponent: Jacksonville State

 

Offseason tweaks and improvement on offense? Still waiting.

 

21. UCLA (0-1)

Week 1 Result: Lost to Texas A&M 31-24

Last Week: 14

Week 2 Opponent: UNLV

 

Late rally came up short for the Bruins in College Station. Jim Mora’s team is still Athlon’s pick to win the South Division.

 

22. TCU (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat South Dakota State 59-41

Last Week: 17

Week 2 Opponent: Arkansas

 

Horned Frogs will have to play a lot better than they did against South Dakota State to beat Arkansas this Saturday.

 

23. Florida (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat UMass 24-7

Last Week: 20

Week 2 Opponent: Kentucky

 

New quarterback Luke Del Rio was steady, but Gators still have some issues to iron out on offense.

 

24. Oklahoma State (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat Southeastern Louisiana 61-7

Last Week: 24

Week 2 Opponent: Central Michigan

 

Cowboys cruised over Southeastern Louisiana, but the jury is out on whether or not the ground attack (3.8 yards per rush) is improved.

 

25. Oregon (1-0)

Week 1 Result: Beat UC Davis 53-28

Last Week: 23

Week 2 Opponent: Virginia

 

Dakota Prukop (21 of 30 for 271 yards and three scores) was steady in his first start for the Ducks.

Teaser:
College Football Top 25 Rankings
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2016 - 11:20
Path: /nfl/kansas-city-chiefs-vs-denver-broncos-preview-and-prediction-2016
Body:

When it comes to arguing over what the best division in the NFL in, there are only two that really have an argument heading into Week 12: the NFC East and the AFC West. Both have the No. 1 seed in the playoff picture at the moment and each has two wild card teams in the fold.

 

One pair of those contenders faces off on “Sunday Night Football” in one of the more anticipated matchups of the month (and the first flexed game of the year for NBC). The defending Super Bowl champions are off to a 7-3 start to the season and are coming off their bye week ready to make another big run at the division crown. They’ve beat the teams they are supposed to but still haven’t been convincing enough on offense for folks to fully buy in to a title defense. Von Miller and company have been playing at a high level but the national spotlight will be on quarterback Trevor Siemian and the team’s run game with rookie Devontae Booker.

 

After an uneven start to the season where talk of who wasn’t playing dominated the losses, Kansas City has run off five of their last six since their early bye week. While no game has been pretty, Andy Reid’s squad has alternated between being lucky and good during this run but has really found its stride lately. The defense is in the top third in the NFL in points allowed and lead the league in interceptions. While the run game hasn’t been what it once was with Jamaal Charles in the backfield (injured again), quarterback Alex Smith has been completing 67 percent of his passes this year and has a solid 9:4 touchdown-interception ratio.

 

It should all make for a must-see game on Sunday night with big-time playoff seeding implications a few months down the road, to say nothing of chasing down Oakland in the division. Kansas City leads the overall series by just two games over 112 meetings and won the last matchup between the two division rivals when the Chiefs snapped a Denver streak of seven in a row dating back to 2012.

 

Kansas City at Denver

 

Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 27 at 8:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC

Spread: Broncos -3.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Chiefs’ Secondary Handling Denver’s Wideouts

Injuries are a fact of life in the NFL at this time in the season and both squads have had to deal with their fair share of key players missing time. Marcus Peters has proven to be one of the best young cornerbacks in the game (five interceptions this season) but is questionable to play on Sunday as he deals with a sore hip. If he’s out, that’s a big blow to Kansas City’s secondary facing off against one of the more dangerous wide receiver corps in the game. Denver’s Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and others provide plenty of matchup nightmares with their speed so it will be key to the game for whatever team can get their downfield attack going.

 

2. Quarterbacks Breaking Out

When you’re talking about NFL storylines, quarterbacks like Kansas City’s Alex Smith and Denver’s Trevor Siemian won’t be mentioned in the same conversation with the Tom Bradys, Drew Brees and Russell Wilsons of the world. Neither has been bad overall this season but neither is exactly the type of signal-caller to game plan around. In such a close matchup between a pair of quality defenses and two offenses that have struggled to find the end zone, whichever quarterback is able to protect the ball and hit some big plays over the top will almost assuredly come out with a win. Both Smith and Siemian are not asked to do a ton in their offensive systems but they’ll be key to making enough plays on Sunday to capture a win.

 

3. Defensive Scoring

Chances seem pretty high that at least one of the two teams will be able to force a turnover in this one and there are enough athletes on defense that returning one to the house isn’t out of the question. Just ask Denver, which used a blocked extra point to get past a pesky Saints squad in one of the wildest endings of Week 10 and maybe the season as a whole. The Chiefs aren’t too shaby themselves, leading the league in takeaways having forced 10 fumbles to go along with a whopping 13 interceptions. This one figures to be played close to the vest given the offensive coaching staffs involved so a pick-six or a scoop-and-score could be the deciding points.

 

Final Analysis

 

With a resurgent Oakland Raiders, the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos and a red-hot Kansas City Chiefs, the AFC West race has been as good as it has been in years. Each team is still in the running to capture the division title and a first-round bye in the playoffs if they can pick things up and make a run in the second half of the season.

 

For two of those squads, Sunday represents an early make-or-break point in the year. Denver has not truly lost a beat with the retirement of Peyton Manning on offense but has struggled to run the ball with consistency given some of the injuries, as the Broncos have once again relied on their stingy defense to keep them in the running. The franchise is one of the best at winning games coming off a bye week and will be looking to make a statement with the national focus on Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday night.

 

Kansas City is looking to make a statement of its own and announce itself as a real contender just like the Chiefs did down the stretch last season. While the IR list for the Chiefs has had some big names on it, they’ve overcome a lot of injuries to remain competitive and are a hard out each game with the style they play. The defense is extremely feisty and the offense has a number of game-breakers who can turn short plays into big gains.

 

This has been one of the best rivalry games in the league the past few years and nothing suggests that won’t be the case when these two meet again in primetime. Denver is at home where the Broncos play extremely well and are just a tad healthier coming in. It should be a close AFC West battle but ultimately the defending champs come out on top.

 

Prediction: Broncos 20, Chiefs 17

 

— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.

Teaser:
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2016 - 08:45
Path: /nfl/carolina-panthers-vs-oakland-raiders-preview-and-prediction-2016
Body:

While the Oakland Raiders are having their best season since 2002, the Carolina Panthers are suffering from a bit of a Super Bowl hangover.

 

Carolina (4-6) did defeat New Orleans last week 23-20, but it didn’t come without a cost. The Panthers’ best player, linebacker Luke Kuechly, a three-time All-Pro and the 2013 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, was carted off of the field after suffering a concussion in the fourth quarter. He didn’t practice all week and will not play this afternoon.

 

This past Monday night In Mexico City, Oakland (8-2) was able to come away with a hard fought 27-20 victory over Houston. It took a little bit of the time for the Raiders to find their rhythm, but 14 straight points in the fourth quarter got the job done. Now on a short week, Oakland looks to maintain its lead not only in the AFC West, but also as the top seed in the conference overall with a fifth straight win..

 

This will be the sixth all-time meeting between the two teams with Carolina leading 3-2. In the last meeting in 2012, Cam Newton totaled 230 yards of offense and two touchdowns as the Panthers won in Charlotte, 17-6.

 

Carolina at Oakland

 

Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 27 at 4:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Oakland -3

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Cam Newton
The MVP in 2015, Newton has not been the same dominant player to this point this season. In nine games (missed one due to a concussion), he has 2,186 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions, along with 268 rushing yards and four more scores. Even though the numbers may not be as impressive, Newton still poses problems for Oakland’s defense.

 

The Raiders are giving up 115.7 rushing yards per game, which ranks them in the bottom third (24th) of the NFL. Carolina has always loved to run the ball under head coach Ron Rivera, so expect to see plenty of Jonathan Stewart and Newton, especially around the goal line.

 

Oakland has fared even worse, statistically, against the pass. The Raiders are 28th in the league at 277.9 passing yards per game. Whether it’s with his legs or his arm, Newton should have plenty of opportunities to make some plays against this defense, and it’s up to Oakland to limit the damage.

 

2. Khalil Mack
One of the players who will play a critical role in trying to slow down Newton and the Carolina offense is Oakland’s All-Pro linebacker/defensive end. After getting off to a slow start, Mack has been on a tear recently with a sack in six straight games. He has totaled seven alone in his last five contests, the third-most in the league in that span.

 

The Panthers have given up 25 sacks this season, which is the ninth most among teams. So expect Mack and the other Oakland pass rushers to try to add to that total this afternoon.

 

3. A.J. Klein
With Kuechly out because of a concussion, Klein will likely get the start at middle linebacker. He will have the tough task of trying to replace one of the league’s best players.

 

Klein has been with the Panthers for four seasons and has recorded 123 tackles, three sacks and three forced fumbles during his career. This opportunity to start could be extra beneficial for Klein, who will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. Even if he doesn’t re-sign with Carolina, the 25-year-old could show 31 other teams that he’s capable of starting for them.

 

Final Analysis

 

The loss of Luke Kuechly in the middle could leave a huge hole in the Carolina defense. Oakland may try to run the ball even more than usual to see if it can take advantage.

 

If the Panthers can block Khalil Mack and give Cam Newton time in the pocket, their offense should be able to make plays in the passing game. The Raiders’ cornerbacks are one of the weak spots on defense and tall targets like wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess (both 6-5) and tight end Greg Olsen (6-6) may give Carolina the edge.

 

But in the end, Oakland’s offense also should be able to make a fair amount of plays and score plenty of points against a questionable Panthers defense. Derek Carr should continue this MVP-worthy campaign with a helping hand from wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, as the Raiders outlast Carolina in a high-scoring affair.

 

Prediction: Raiders 34, Panthers 31

 

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.

Teaser:
Carolina Panthers vs. Oakland Raiders Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2016 - 08:30
Path: /nfl/new-england-patriots-vs-new-york-jets-preview-and-prediction-2016
Body:

When the NFL schedule was revealed, this was a primetime matchup: The Patriots, the long-standing kings of the AFC East, against the (apparently) rising Jets, who had just missed the playoffs last season despite winning 10 games.

 

Not even two-thirds of the way through the season, the matchup is no longer worthy of the coveted Sunday night time slot. With the Jets struggling along in last place at 3-7, the NFL bumped it in favor of an AFC West showdown between two 7-3 teams, the Chiefs and Broncos.

 

So what’s at stake here? Plenty for the Patriots, who are tied with the Raiders for the top seed in the AFC. If they want to make sure the road to the Super Bowl goes through Foxborough, they can’t slip up against a struggling division rival just looking to play spoiler.

 

The Jets should probably be looking to the future and giving Bryce Petty another start at quarterback. But the 2015 fourth-round pick struggled in a 9-6 loss to the Rams, and head coach Todd Bowles is going back to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is recovered from a sprained MCL.

 

New England at New York

 

Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 27 at 4:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Patriots -7.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Perhaps the last chance for some Fitz-magic

Todd Bowles decided to turn back to with Ryan Fitzpatrick because he says jobs are earned, not given, and Bryce Petty certainly didn’t earn it with his performance two weeks ago against the Rams (19-of-32, 163 yards and one touchdown on a trick play). But with Fitzpatrick a lame duck playing on a one-year deal and the season going nowhere, one would think that Bowles’ bosses will eventually want to see what they have in Petty or Christian Hackenberg. Fitzpatrick has had some big games against the Patriots, although they haven’t often translated into wins. Four of Fitzpatrick’s 13 career 300-yard games have come against New England, and he threw for 296 yards and three scores without an interception the last time they met in Week 16 last season. But that was just Fitzpatrick’s second win in nine career starts against Bill Belichick and company. While his 18 touchdowns against the Pats are a career high for any opponent, so too are his 17 interceptions.

 

2. A healthy Gronk matters

Rob Gronkowski missed last week’s game in San Francisco with a chest injury and was limited in practice this week. If he can’t play, it’s a blow to the Pats. Without Gronkowski, Tom Brady completes 66.1 percent of his passes and averages 6.8 yards per attempt. With Gronk, Brady hits 72.1 percent of his passes and averages a whopping 10.3 yards per attempt. When the Jets beat the Pats last season, they held Gronkowski to four catches and kept him out of the end zone. When the Patriots beat New York earlier in the season, Gronkowski caught 11 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. Even if Gronkowski is out, Martellus Bennett is still a receiving threat few teams possess at tight end. The only comparable tight end the Jets have faced this season, Seattle’s Jimmy Graham, caught six passes for 113 yards.

 

3. The Patriots’ sneaky-good running game

While Brady throwing the ball remains their bread and butter, the Patriots have quietly run the ball well this season. Granted, their high rankings (second in rush attempts, sixth in yards) are skewed a bit by Brady missing the season’s first four games. But even since his return, New England is averaging about 107 rushing yards per game, which would put it in the top half of the NFL. LeGarrette Blount ranks sixth in the NFL with 802 rushing yards, and he leads the NFL with 12 rushing touchdowns — eight of which have come since Brady returned. Blount may find the going tough against the Jets, however. New York ranks third in rushing yards allowed per game (85.4) and second in yards per carry against (3.5).

 

Final Analysis

 

If you look hard, you can find some reasons to consider the Jets in an upset: Ryan Fitzpatrick’s moderate success against the Patriots; Tom Brady's injury (questionable, knee); Rob Gronkowski’s injury; New York’s run defense forcing New England to be one-dimensional. But we had to look really hard. And even then we arrive at a game (most likely) on the shoulders of Brady against a team with an average pass defense (14th in the NFL) that doesn’t get much pressure on the quarterback (19 sacks, tied for 22nd). How many of those has Brady won in his career? So many that one more will be his 200th career win (including postseason) — tied for the most in history with Peyton Manning.

 

Prediction: Patriots 34, Jets 17

Teaser:
New England Patriots vs. New York Jets Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2016 - 08:15
Path: /nfl/seattle-seahawks-vs-tampa-bay-buccaneers-preview-and-prediction-2016
Body:

A sneaky-good matchup is on tap for late Sunday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium as the Seattle Seahawks will travel east to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Seahawks (7-2-1) came off of a very physical contest with the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday afternoon as several key players went down with a variety of injuries. However, Seattle was able to get the running game going with the return of Thomas Rawls and a big 72-yard touchdown scamper from C.J. Prosise (before he left the game with an injury). Russell Wilson even got in the act by catching a touchdown pass from Doug Baldwin. All of this balance offensively resulted in a 26-15 victory for the Seahawks and it extended their lead in the NFC West to three games over Arizona.

 

Tampa Bay (5-5) went on the road to Arrowhead Stadium last Sunday and upset the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 19-17 to get back to .500 on the season. Jameis Winston did an excellent job of attacking the Kansas City defense as he completed 24 of 39 passes for 331 yards with a touchdown and zero interceptions. Third down also was huge for the Buccaneers, as they converted 11 of 16 of their tries. The defense did its part by winning the turnover battle with two takeaways, including an interception from Chris Conte kept the Chiefs from taking the lead late in the fourth quarter.

 

Seattle at Tampa Bay

 

Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 27 at 4:05 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Seahawks -5.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Russell Wilson against a banged-up Tampa Bay secondary

Wilson is starting to find his groove in the passing game as he is becoming more mobile and is taking care of the football with just two interceptions on the season. This is a sign of trouble for the Buccaneers heading into this game as nickel corner Jude Adjei-Barimah begins a four-game suspension and cornerback Brent Grimes left the game last week with a quadriceps injury. That is why offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Wilson will look to go on the attack, throwing the football to Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham, Tyler Lockett and Jermaine Kearse early and often. If Wilson can get into a groove in the pocket early then it could lead to a very long afternoon for Tampa Bay’s defense.

 

2. Jameis Winston vs. Seahawks’ defense

Earl Thomas and Deshawn Shead both left last week’s game with the Eagles with the hamstring injuries that will most likely keep them out for this week’s game. Thus, it will lead to more playing time for Steven Terrell and Neiko Thorpe and opportunities to step up with a chance to make big plays against a very confident quarterback in Winston. It is going to be vital for head coach Dirk Koetter to get Winston into a nice rhythm early in the passing game by getting the ball to Mike Evans and let him go to work to set up the running game. Another key will be the offensive line, as the Seahawks will get after the quarterback behind the NFL’s most productive pass rush. Seattle is tied with Buffalo for the most sacks (31), led by Cliff Avril’s 10.0 (tied for first) and Frank Clark’s 7.5. If the Buccaneers’ offensive line struggles to protect Winston then the lack of depth in the secondary may not matter.

 

3. Seahawks’ red zone defense

This Seattle defense is going to defend every blade of grass on a football field as if their lives truly depended on it. Consequently, it is expected that Winston will get a fair amount of passing yards on Sunday, but will it amount to a lot of points? The Seahawks are limiting teams to just 2.16 yards per play inside the red zone. In addition, Seattle only allows red zone touchdowns just 42.1 percent of the time to opposing teams. Therefore, if the Seahawks can force Tampa Bay kicker Roberto Aguayo to beat them with field goals then they will be in a fantastic position to win the football game.

 

Final Analysis

 

Look for a game that should be nip and tuck well into the fourth quarter with the uncertainty that Seattle has on the injury front and the momentum that the Buccaneers have right now as a team. The Seahawks have the experience in big games like this, which will serve them well on Sunday. On the other hand, Tampa Bay is young, hungry and playing with a lot of confidence right now. In the end, Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense will find a way to make enough plays in the passing game to get out of Raymond James Stadium with a hard-fought victory.

 

Prediction: Seahawks 27, Buccaneers 23

 

— Written by Scott Whittum, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and also writes for College Sports Madness, covering college football, basketball, softball and baseball. Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottWhittum.

Teaser:
Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2016 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-week-12-2016-injury-updates-julian-edelman-jarvis-landry-michael-crabtree-torrey-smith
Body:

For Week 12, the biggest injury-related news as it relates to the wide receiver position and fantasy is already known – A.J. Green will not play. Green, Jeremy Maclin and Robert Woods have already been ruled out. But there are about a dozen other names on the injury report who are questionable and may or may not play.

 

The first batch of WRs you need to know can be found here. Also be sure to check out the QB/TE and RB updates before setting your lineup.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Note: All games are on Sunday, Nov. 27 and times are ET.

 

Jarvis Landry (shoulder), WR, Miami Dolphins vs. San Francisco 49ers, 1 p.m.

Landry and Kenny Stills are both listed as questionable, but both put in limited practices all week and both should play. However, Landry has shown that his production has been declining since dealing with this injury. He scored a touchdown late in Week 11, but that was his first since Week 3. He also hasn't been getting the receptions that PPR owners thought they'd get from him this year. Landry is a WR3 for Week 12.

 

Julian Edelman (foot), WR, New England Patriots at New York Jets, 4:25 p.m.

Every week, Edelman is on the injury report as questionable with a foot injury. And every week, Edelman suits up and plays. Expect Week 12 to be no exception. He has certainly gotten back on track after a slow start. In the past four weeks, he has 28 receptions for 273 yards and two touchdowns. He should be on track for those numbers again in Week 12, although Tom Brady’s status is something to keep an eye on too. Edelman is a relatively safe low WR1 in PPR formats and WR2 in standard.

 

Michael Crabtree (ankle), WR, Oakland Raiders vs. Carolina Panthers, 4:25 p.m.

After a disappointing Week 11, Crabtree showed up on the injury report with an ankle injury. He is fully expected to play in Week 12, but fantasy owners need to temper expectations. After Weeks 7 and 8 when he totaled 16 receptions for 204 yards and a touchdown, he's only had five receptions for 32 yards and no touchdowns in two games (was on bye in Week 10). Crabtree has proven to be a low WR3 with upside. He had chances to make big plays on Monday night, but didn't convert

 

Torrey Smith (shoulder), WR, San Francisco 49ers at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.

With only two touchdowns so far on the year and no games with more than three receptions, Smith is likely only starting in very deep leagues. No teams are on a bye this week, so he's not even a worthy fill-in. The shoulder injury won't prevent him from playing, but he is on a team that is struggling offensively, traveling across the country, playing a defense that has stepped up lately. Is it possible Smith surprises and puts up a start-worthy stat line? Absolutely, but it's a huge gamble.

 

Chris Hogan (back), WR, New England Patriots at New York Jets, 4:25 p.m.

After missing Week 11's game, Hogan put in limited practices all week and is on track to this afternoon. Fantasy owners are only looking at Hogan if they are desperate (he hasn't recorded a catch since Week 8), but if Hogan does play, Malcom Mitchell goes back to the bench. Mitchell was the Patriot that stepped up when Hogan and Rob Gronkowski were out last week, but he needs injuries to maintain his fantasy relevance. Hogan is only a WR4 if he’s active this week.

 

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 12 Injury Updates: Julian Edelman, Jarvis Landry, Michael Crabtree, Torrey Smith
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2016 - 06:30
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The fantasy running back injury report for the remainder of the Week 12 games isn’t that lengthy, but still worth paying attention to. Philadelphia’s Ryan Mathews (knee) has already been ruled out for the Monday night game against Green Bay. Darren Sproles looks to be fine and ready to go for the Eagles and this also presents an opportunity for rookie Wendell Smallwood to get a fair amount of touches.

 

You can find the rest of the running back injury updates below. Don’t forget to check the QB/TE and WR (part 1, part 2) rundowns before setting your lineup.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Note: All games are on Sunday, Nov. 27 and times are ET.

 

Mark Ingram (concussion), RB, New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Rams, 1 p.m.

Fantasy owners should be thankful that this game is in the early time slot, as this is going to be a case of paying attention to the inactive report. Ingram practiced all week after suffering a concussion in Week 11's Thursday night game. However, he has not yet cleared the NFL's concussion protocol. In short, he can't play unless he clears it and there is no timetable as to when that will occur. While it appears that he is on track to play, concussions can be tricky and it is no guarantee. Fantasy owners should have a backup plan, just in case.

 

LeSean McCoy (thumb), RB, Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.

After leaving last week’s game with a thumb injury, McCoy owners expected the worst especially after he had surgery to repair the damage. However, he was back on the practice field shortly after the procedure and it appears that he will play. How the injury/surgery will impact his ability to catch and hold on to the ball remains to be seen, but it’s a pleasant surprise that McCoy owners even have a decision to make regarding whether to start him or not. Mike Gillislee (hamstring) has already been ruled out so that leaves Reggie Bush (nine att., -2 yds.) as McCoy’s backup. Check his status prior to the game to be sure he’s active, but if he is you may as well start McCoy.

 

Latavius Murray (ankle), RB, Oakland Raiders vs. Carolina Panthers, 4:25 p.m.

Before Week 11, Murray was listed as questionable with an ankle injury. He played and totaled 92 yards from scrimmage. While that may have been a letdown from his three-touchdown game a week prior, he certainly looked healthy enough to play. He'll be fine for this afternoon’s game as well. He does have a tough matchup against the Carolina Panthers, however. They haven't allowed a running back to score a touchdown since Week 4. Murray is a RB2.

 

T.J. Yeldon (ankle), RB, Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.

When Yeldon was injured in Week 11, it didn’t get a lot of attention. Chris Ivory took over as the primary back and finished with 17 carries for 39 yards and six receptions for 75 yards. Yeldon didn't practice all week, which opens the door again for Ivory to see the majority of work today. With no practices all week, it is highly unlikely that Yeldon suits up on Sunday. He should be left on fantasy benches, while Ivory can be penciled in as a RB3.

 

Jacquizz Rodgers (foot), RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Seattle Seahawks, 4:05 p.m.

Fantasy owners that have hung on to Rodgers may have to wait another week before seeing him return to action. He's listed as questionable, but with Doug Martin healthy, he won't be rushed back. He hasn't played since Week 8, and he’s the clear-cut backup. The Bucs have a great fantasy playoff schedule (face the Saints twice), so Rodgers is worth grabbing if you have an extra bench spot, just in case something happens to Martin. Also don’t forget that Charles Sims (knee), who has been on injured reserve since Oct. 10, has returned to practice and is eligible to return in Week 14. Sims’ recovery and status also could impact Rodgers in a couple of weeks.

 

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 12 Injury Updates: LeSean McCoy, Mark Ingram, Latavius Murray, T.J. Yeldon
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2016 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/week-12-2016-fantasy-football-injury-updates-travis-benjamin-sammy-watkins-precy-harvin-michael-floyd
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There have already been three games played in Week 12 and the wide receiver injury report is still pretty lengthy, but it’s also something fantasy owners have probably gotten used to by now. A.J. Green, Jeremy Maclin and Robert Woods have already been ruled out, but that still leaves numerous guys who are questionable.

 

Below is the first part of the wide receiver injury updates. The second part can be found here. Don’t forget to check the QB/TE and RB injuries before setting your lineup.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Note: All games are on Sunday, Nov. 27 and times are ET.

 

Sammy Watkins (foot), WR, Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.

As this would be his first game back after spending eight weeks on injured reserve, Watkins will be eased in if he does play. Because of the lack of healthy wide receivers in Buffalo, it is likely that Watkins sees the field. However, he should not be trusted for fantasy purposes just yet. He is still available in a third of fantasy leagues, and he could have value before the end of the season, but don't start him in Week 12.

 

Travis Benjamin (knee), WR, San Diego Chargers at Houston Texans, 1 p.m.

Despite putting in full practices all week, Benjamin is still listed as questionable for Week 12. He missed one week, and then the Chargers were on a bye, so he should be healthy enough to play. He is merely a WR3 in a tough matchup however. With Tyrell Williams stepping up, Benjamin may see fewer targets than he did before the injury.

 

Michael Floyd (hamstring), WR, Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.

Added to the injury report after Wednesday's practice, Floyd hasn't practiced since. He tweaked the hamstring in practice and is considered a game-time decision. He will likely be out, but fantasy owners should know his status in more than enough time to make a decision because of the early start. If Floyd is active, he's clearly at risk for a setback or worse. The matchup with the Falcons is a good one, but Floyd should be left on the bench this week even if he is active.

 

Percy Harvin (illness), WR, Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.

While Harvin (above, right) may have already reclaimed his position as one of the Bills’ top WRs, he has missed practice this week with an illness, and was literally just sitting on his couch a month ago. He's had two receptions for six yards so far this season and is extremely hard to trust for fantasy purposes even with all of the injuries on his team. Leave Harvin on the waiver wire.

 

Eddie Royal (toe), WR, Chicago Bears vs. Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m.

Even though Royal appears on the injury report each week, he usually plays. However, it appears that he may miss this game. Although at this point, fantasy owners should be reluctant to start any Bears. With Jay Cutler doubtful (and likely out), Alshon Jeffery out, and Zach Miller done for the season, the offense is a mess. It's tough to project how Chicago will fare with Matt Barkley at quarterback, but there’s not a lot of reason to be too hopeful either. Between the toe injury and the state of the offense, Royal is best left on the waiver wire.

 

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Teaser:
Week 12 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Travis Benjamin, Sammy Watkins, Percy Harvin, Michael Floyd
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2016 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/week-12-2016-fantasy-football-injury-updates-tom-brady-rob-gronkowski-martellus-bennett-charles-clay
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Even with three games on Thanksgiving to start Week 12, there are still plenty of players fantasy owners need to pay attention to on the injury report. While some of the big names should be fine to play, some owners are going to have to make some tough decisions when it comes to putting together a lineup. At least every team is back in action this week so the player pool should be relatively stocked.

 

As it relates to quarterbacks and tight ends, Cody Kessler and Julius Thomas have already been ruled out, while Jay Cutler is doubtful, but not expected to play either. You will find the lowdown on the other quarterback (you may have heard of him) and a few tight ends that also are on the injury report. Be sure to check out the latest on the running back and wide receiver (part 1, part 2) front before setting your lineup. And as always, when in doubt, check the inactive report prior to the start of a particular game.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Note: All games are on Sunday, Nov. 27 and times are ET.

 

Rob Gronkowski (chest), TE, New England Patriots at New York Jets, 4:25 p.m.

The sense throughout the week was that Gronkowski probably should be listed as doubtful because he will likely be outn again on Sunday. However, on Saturday, the news changed to calling him a game-time decision. This is tough for fantasy owners because of the late start time. It's hard to bench Gronk, but fantasy owners had to go without him in Week 11 and they should have other plans in place for Week 12 as well. Gronkowski did practice this week, but in a non-contact jersey. He should be back for Week 13, but for Week 12, it's a gamble to count on him.

 

Tom Brady (knee), QB, New England Patriots at New York Jets, 4:25 p.m.

This is the brutal one for fantasy owners. Brady missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, which raised alarm bells. He did return for a limited practice on Friday, but earned the questionable tag for Sunday's late afternoon matchup. Brady’s owners understandably don’t want to sit him in what should be a great matchup. However, if Brady does miss the game and fantasy owners don't have a Plan B, they will be stuck with having to rely on Ryan Fitzpatrick (16 percent owned), Carson Wentz (37 percent owned), Alex Smith (25 percent owned), or Trevor Siemian (11 percent owned), assuming any of these guys are available in the first place. Another possible option could be Jimmy Garoppolo, who would start in Brady’s absence. The point is, Brady owners need to be prepared.

 

Martellus Bennett (ankle), TE, New England Patriots at New York Jets, 4:25 p.m.

With Rob Gronkowski out in Week 11, Bennett was expected to take on a bigger role. However, he managed one reception for 14 yards on two targets. With Gronk likely out again in Week 12, fantasy owners may be hesitant to take their chances with Bennett again, especially in DFS. However, he should bounce back, although his outlook is somewhat tied to Tom Brady’s status. As long as Gronk is out Bennett is a relatively safe TE2.

 

Charles Clay (knee), TE, Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.

Despite the questionable tag, Clay is expected to play on Sunday. The Bills are struggling in terms of finding pass catchers, with Robert Woods out, Percy Harvin and Sammy Watkins questionable and LeSean McCoy also questionable. Clay should see more targets in Week 12 after seeing seven in his last game (caught five for 23 yards). He is TE2 with some upside.

 

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

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Week 12 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett, Charles Clay
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2016 - 06:30
Path: /nfl/arizona-cardinals-vs-atlanta-falcons-preview-and-prediction-2016
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The Atlanta Falcons (6-4) will host the Arizona Cardinals (4-5-1) on Sunday in a crucial NFC showdown between two teams in desperate need of a win. The Falcons return from their bye week looking to regroup following a rough stretch that culminated in three losses over their last five contests, including a Week 10 loss to the Eagles in which they scored a season-low 15 points. Atlanta leads the NFC South by a game over Tampa Bay, but knows too well how a second-half slide can derail a season. The Falcons lost six in a row at one point season and ended up as the first team on the outside looking in of the playoffs.

 

The Cardinals find themselves in a much direr predicament following last Sunday’s 30-24 loss to the Vikings. Arizona has now lost two of its last three games and trails Seattle Seahawks by three games in the NFC West. While the division may already be out of reach, the Cardinals can still make a run at one of the wild card spots. To do that, however, they need to start winning games, like this one in Atlanta against a current division leader.

 

Arizona at Atlanta

 

Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 27 at 1 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Atlanta -5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Atlanta Passing Game vs. Arizona Pass Defense
It has been a banner year so far for the Falcons’ passing attack. Atlanta currently has the No. 3 passing offense in the NFL, averaging 309 yards per game. And Matt Ryan has been able to carve up pretty much every defense that has crossed his path to this point in the season. That task will be a little more difficult on Sunday against the NFL’s top-ranked pass defense.

 

The Cardinals have allowed a league-low seven touchdown passes in 10 games. In four of those games, Arizona did not allow a single touchdown pass, and only one quarterback (Case Keenum) has thrown more than one in a game. The Cardinals have been equally stingy in the yardage department, giving up just 190 passing yards per game. The offseason acquisition of Chandler Jones has certainly helped the pass rush, which is among the top 10 in the league with 26 sacks. Jones leads the way with eight sacks followed by Markus Golden’s six.

 

This is easily the best pass defense the Falcons have faced all season. Conversely, the Falcons present the Cardinals with their biggest challenge to date. Something will have to give when strength collides with strength on Sunday.

 

2. Julio Jones vs. Patrick Peterson
Jones and Peterson will provide one of the most intriguing matchups in this game. It’s not often when two of the best players at their respective positions go head-to-head. But that will be the case when Jones and Peterson face off on Sunday. Jones leads the NFL with 1,105 receiving yards, while Peterson is best cornerback in the league, giving up just 25 receptions to opposing receivers in 10 games. Peterson also has yet to allow more than 73 receiving yards in a game all season. Adding further intrigue to the matchup, Jones and Peterson have a storied history against one another that dates all the way back to their college days in the SEC (Alabama vs. LSU).

 

The last time the pair of elite playmakers squared off was in 2014. It was a game Patrick Peterson wishes he could forget. Julio Jones racked up 10 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown in a 29-18 Atlanta win. Peterson still claims it was the worst performance of his career and he will certainly use that as fuel for Sunday’s rematch. A rematch Peterson believes will have a much different outcome this time around. Both players are currently playing the best football of their careers, and this will definitely be the marquee matchup in Sunday’s game.

 

3. Can a Slumping Arizona Offense Find Success?
In recent years, terms such as high-powered and potent were often used to describe the Arizona offense under head coach Bruce Arians. So far this season, words like inconsistent and lackluster provide the best description for the Cardinals’ struggling attack. Carson Palmer is having one of his worst seasons statistically, and his offensive line also has been struggling with 31 sacks allowed (third most in the NFL). In fact, the only saving grace for the Arizona offense this season has been running back David Johnson. But even Johnson has had issues at times trying to contend with a poor complementary passing game.

 

The good news is that the Falcons could have the cure for what ails the Cardinals’ offense. Atlanta ranks near the bottom of the league in total defense (386 ypg), mainly due to the league-worst 283 passing yards per game allowed. The Falcons are also give up more than 28 points per game (29th), so if there ever was a matchup that presents an opportunity for an offensive turnaround by Arizona it would be this. If Palmer and the Cardinals aren’t able to take advantage of a young Falcons defense, there may be little hope for this group moving forward.

 

Final Analysis

 

The Cardinals have been a tough team to gauge so far this season. There have been weeks in which they have looked every bit the part of a possible Super Bowl contender. And there have been weeks in which they leave you scratching your head and trying to figure out exactly where things went wrong. The Atlanta offense will be a handful as usual, especially with the return of running back Tevin Coleman from a hamstring injury. However, the Arizona defense matches up particularly well against Atlanta’s strengths on that side of the football. In theory, the Cardinals should also be able to exploit a favorable matchup against a generous Falcons defense. While it’s difficult to know for sure which Cardinals team will show up on Sunday, it is even more difficult not to like their chances in this game (on paper at least). My best guess is that the “good version” of the Cardinals shows up to pull off the upset on the road.

 

Prediction: Cardinals 27, Falcons 24

 

— Written by Rob McVey, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @Rob_UTVOLS.

Teaser:
Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, November 25, 2016 - 12:10
Path: /nfl/cincinnati-bengals-vs-baltimore-ravens-preview-and-prediction-2016
Body:

An AFC North clash looks a bit different than it did earlier in the year as Cincinnati travels to Baltimore, hoping to salvage their season from completely spiraling out of control. Both teams are coming off tough losses on the field but are going in opposite directions in terms of their roster as the Ravens are finally starting to get healthier while the Bengals are very much a M.A.S.H. unit at the moment.

 

That’s one reason why there’s a ton of uncertainty for this matchup, especially when it comes to a three-win Cincinnati team that is remarkably just 1.5 games behind in the division. While Andy Dalton has been solid at quarterback, he will be without the best player on the team in A.J. Green (hamstring) and terrific tailback Giovani Bernard (ACL) after each left last week’s loss to Buffalo early. That will put a bunch of pressure on their replacements and shift even more of the load onto Dalton and the team’s disappointing defense.

 

At the same time, Baltimore looked competitive with the league-leading Dallas Cowboys on Sunday but didn’t quite have enough horses to close them out on the road. The Ravens hold a slim lead in the division thanks to their head-to-head win over Pittsburgh but are looking for more than their tenuous position in the standings. Quarterback Joe Flacco is opening things up a bit and has formed a potent combination with veteran Steve Smith Sr., who is having a banner year, including 99 yards and a touchdown last Sunday.

 

It should make for another great AFC North showdown as the two rivals get together for the first time this season. The overall series is tied at an even 20 games apiece but Cincinnati has won six of the past seven. The Bengals won their last meeting back in January while Green was the hero for the team in the last win in Baltimore, scoring the game-winning touchdown with a little more than two minutes to go as he piled up 227 yards as well.

 

Cincinnati at Baltimore

 

Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 27 at 1 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Ravens -4.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Dalton’s New Targets

While the team is optimistic that A.J. Green will return at some point this season, he will certainly be out on Sunday and that is a huge blow to the passing offense that was one of the few things worth tuning in for with the Bengals. His replacements will certainly have to step up and find a rhythm with Andy Dalton but the good news is that Brandon LaFell is coming on lately and has a touchdown catch in each of the past three road games. Add in tight end Tyler Eifert and things may not be too bad even if the aerial attack is going to take a hit with their top target out. Don’t discount the loss of Giovani Bernard either, so backup Rex Burkhead could get more of a run on third downs.

 

2. Kick-starting Baltimore’s Offense

Nobody is going to confuse the Ravens for jumping into some of the recent NFL trends when it comes to spreading folks out and getting into shootouts. The team’s offense has been relatively stagnant despite their wins and part of that comes down to the line being in flux and their inability to consistently run the football. It’s not like they don’t have weapons however, as big-armed signal-caller Joe Flacco is under center, Terrance West has flashed running the ball and the trio of Steve Smith Sr., Mike Wallace and Dennis Pitta provide matchup problems. The Bengals are 24th in the league defensively and are in the bottom quarter in stopping the run thanks to getting plowed over in Dallas. If there’s a game where Baltimore can get going offensively and use that to propel them on the stretch run, it’s this one.

 

3. State of the Defense

Remember when Cincinnati was using a bruising defense to win the AFC North on a regular basis? Neither do the Bengals, at least this season. The unit has been remarkably lackluster from the opening week on and a big reason why the team is at the bottom of the division. Injuries have played a factor and nearly the entire Cincy linebacker corps is questionable for Sunday to add to the woes. Baltimore also is dealing with injuries, especially as it relates to the secondary. They entered the Dallas game with the top defense in the NFL but were run off the field by a pair of rookies last week to the tune of more than 400 yards. Whichever unit regroups to show a bit of its former self on the defensive side of the ball will have a much better chance of winning this one.

 

Final Analysis

 

Just when you thought either Cincinnati or Baltimore have turned the corner in its quest for a playoff berth, each team has followed up with a letdown game. The Bengals have lost two straight and previously tied Washington in London before that to round out a lackluster three-game stretch the past month. While many expected the team to take advantage of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger getting injured, Marvin Lewis’ team has instead gone the opposite direction and are now dealing with enough major injuries that NFL Draft positioning might be a bigger topic to discuss around town than another playoff appearance.

 

The Ravens are one of the league’s most puzzling teams, putting together (when healthy) one of the better defenses in the AFC but without an offense that can take advantage. That makes the margin for error in games extremely thin and one reason why there has been only one game (against the Browns) that the team has played that hasn’t been decided by fewer than 10 points. The schedule only gets tougher as the weather gets colder and if Baltimore harbors any hopes of getting back to the playoffs, the Ravens will need to take advantage of games like this against a team whose record is reflective of how it has been playing.

 

Yet as iffy as John Harbaugh’s squad is right now, the Ravens are still in a lot better shape than their AFC North counterparts. The Bengals still have some talent but key injuries on offense like A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard mean the will need their best outing of the season from everybody to make up for their loss. Baltimore has to be upset over missed opportunities from last week’s trip to play the Cowboys and should be able to regroup at home against a familiar opponent.

 

The game will probably be close and feature plenty of long drives that lean heavily on the run but ultimately the Ravens will come out on top to stay atop the division.

 

Prediction: Ravens 21, Bengals 17

 

— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.

Teaser:
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens Preview and Prediction
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All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, syndicated, NFL, Fantasy
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Hopefully your fantasy teams got off to a good start for Week 12 with the Thanksgiving Day games, but if not, there’s still time and plenty of games to go.

 

This is the first week since Week 3 where all 32 teams are in action, which means that you there are still 13 games left and a full player pool at your disposal, with the exception of those who are injured, of course. And there are a lot of those.

 

But not having any teams on bye also can lead to some very tough roster decisions about who to start and who to sit.

Thankfully for you, you have come to the right place. This will be a shorter version of my usual start/sit columns because I’m going shopping.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Start These Guys

 

Quarterbacks

 

Eli Manning, NYG (at CLE)

Don't let Ben Roethlisberger's ugly performance in last week's windy conditions make you forget that the Browns’ defense is one of the most generous to opposing quarterbacks. They are still 29th in the league in yards per pass attempt allowed (8.0) and have given up multiple TD passes in nine of 11 games. Manning has quietly turned in three consecutive top-12 fantasy QB performances, and this is a good spot for him to continue that trend.

 

Marcus Mariota, TEN (at CHI)

I have been rolling with Mariota for weeks, and I'm not jumping off the bandwagon ahead of Sunday’s home matchup in Chicago. The Bears have held one quarterback (Sam Bradford) to fewer than 17 fantasy points in their last four games, and Mariota has scored fewer than 19 points once in his last seven games. I'd consider him a must-start.

 

Running Backs

 

Thomas Rawls, SEA (at TB)

Making his first appearance since Week 2, Rawls looked fully healthy against the Eagles, as he flashed glimpses of last year's violent, downhill runner on his way to 88 total yards (57 rushing, 31 receiving) on 17 touches (14 carries, three receptions). With C.J. Prosise (shoulder) out for the foreseeable future, the backfield now belongs to Rawls. Volume plus talent makes him a must-start player in every league, even against a Bucs defense that hasn't given up a rushing touchdown to an RB since Week 7.

 

Spencer Ware, KC (at DEN)

Ware didn't put up a great stat line in last week's loss to the Buccaneers, but he continued to dominate the backfield snaps (77 percent) and touches (19). He also has a nice matchup ahead against the Broncos, who have allowed an average of more than 20 fantasy points per game to visiting running backs this season.

 

Wide Receivers

 

Rishard Matthews, TEN (at CHI)

After pulling in nine catches for 122 yards in Week 11, Matthews has now finished as the WR No. 4, WR No. 19 and WR No. 11 in the last three weeks. He continues to thrive under the red-hot play of Marcus Mariota, and now he gets to go up against a Bears secondary that is giving up the most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Matthews looked like a bust at the start of the season, but he's a legitimate WR2, even during a full week.

 

Jarvis Landry, MIA (vs. SF)

It’s going to be dink-and-dunk city against the weak (and getting weaker after injuries) 49ers secondary. Landry scored a touchdown in Week 11, which offset his Bad Landry™ game (5 rec. 28 yds.), but he could see far more volume and way more YAC against San Francisco. To put it into PPR perspective, he should have a very Julian Edelman-esque game. Edelman just put up 8-77-1 (on 17 targets in the rain!) against the 49ers, so they can be passed on.

 

Tight Ends

 

Zach Ertz, PHI (vs. GB, Mon.)

Tight end has been so fickle and unforgiving this season. Take last week, Martellus Bennett, with no Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady coming off of a loss against the lowly 49ers, and he gets two targets? We get it, Bill. It was rainy and Bennett is a good blocker, but give us a taste. At least Ertz has officially become a thing after not being one for a long while. He has 26 targets over the last three weeks and has shown that he has Carson Wentz’s trust along with being healthy.

 

Dennis Pitta, BAL (vs. CIN)

So, Pitta has been a disappointment event though he’s been getting a decent amount of targets. The double-digit days are long gone, and he’s left with 11 targets over the last two weeks, but at least he’s caught nine of those passes. He has yet to catch a TD pass this season, so something has to give, and it might against Cincinnati, which is giving up the second-most fantasy points to TEs.

 

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

 

Buffalo Bills (vs. JAC)

The Bills DST put up its best stat line since Week 5 against the Bengals, and an upcoming matchup with the Jaguars makes this unit a solid option. Opposing DSTs have averaged 11.5 fantasy points per game against turnover-prone quarterback Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville offense over the last month, so Buffalo should feast.

 

Sit These Guys

 

Quarterbacks

 

Jameis Winston, TB (vs. SEA)

Winston's been pretty good for the last several weeks, and he's rewarded fantasy owners with some solid stat lines. Unfortunately, it's going to be tough to trust him against the Seahawks... even in a home contest. Seattle has allowed an average of just 13.1 fantasy points per game to home quarterbacks, so Winston could struggle.

 

Andy Dalton, CIN (at BAL)

Having lost one of the best wide receivers in the game, Dalton’s stock is in the red for the reminder of the season. Rookie Tyler Boyd is an enticing young talent, however, it’s unreasonable to expect him to produce half of what Green is capable of. The Bengals’ season is fading, and it won’t get any easier when they travel to Baltimore to face the seventh-best pass defense in the league.

 

Running Backs

 

Jeremy Hill, CIN (at BAL)

In their past four games, the Ravens have held Matt Forte to 3.3 yards per carry, Le'Veon Bell to 2.3 yards per carry, Isaiah Crowell to 2.6 yards per carry and Ezekiel Elliott to 3.9 yards per carry. Hill may be looking at an increased role with Giovani Bernard done for the season (ACL), but on the road (where's he averaging 2.9 ypc) against arguably the most stout run defense in the league kills his upside.

 

Latavius Murray, OAK (vs. CAR)

Since their Week 7 bye, the Panthers have been consistently slowing down talented running backs. David Johnson finished as the RB No. 21 in Week 8, Todd Gurley as the RB No. 19 in Week 9 and Spencer Ware as the RB No. 27 in Week 10. Tim Hightower turned in a top-10 effort last week, but this is still a stout run defense that is fourth in the league in yards per carry allowed (3.5). Considering they are near the opposite end of the spectrum against the pass (24th), this stands out as a game where the Raiders will attack heavily through the air.

 

Wide Receivers

 

Terrelle Pryor, CLE (vs. NYG)

Here are Pryor's weekly WR finishes over the last five games: 79th, 24th, 20th, 50th, 21st. He has certainly shown to have big-play upside, but over the last month-plus he's carrying a fairly underwhelming ceiling and pretty low floor. Moreover, he will have to deal with yet another quarterback change (Josh McCown is starting) in Week 12, while the Giants have been good at slowing down outside receivers.

 

Randall Cobb, GB (at PHI, Mon.)

Aaron Rodgers has been on fire, but it hasn't helped Cobb in the box score. In fact, he's failed to score more than 8.4 fantasy points in each of his last three games. Next up is a road matchup against the Eagles, who have allowed an average of just 21.1 fantasy points per game to wide receivers (and two touchdowns) on their home field.

 

Tight Ends

 

Travis Kelce, KC (at DEN)

It's difficult to sit a player like Kelce at a thin position, but his owners might want to temper expectations. He has yet to find the end zone in four career games against the Broncos, and averages just 5.2 fantasy points in those games. Denver has been tough on tight ends this season too, so Kelce could be in for a difficult Sunday night at the office.

 

Tyler Eifert, CIN (at BAL)

You may think that he’s about to become the No. 1 target in a decent offense, but his whole situation worries me. Can he carry this offense like an A.J. Green? Will defenses scheme to stop him and Jeremy Hill to let Boyd do his damage? What’s going to happen? Even with Green out at the beginning of the game, Eifert only saw six targets, catching three of them for 37 yards. He remains a red zone threat, but Baltimore this week and Philadelphia next week are not sexy matchups.

 

Defense/Special Teams (DST)

 

Carolina Panthers (at OAK)

Believe it or not, but the Panthers DST has scored more fantasy points (43) than every other NFL unit over the last four weeks. With that said, I still find it tough to trust them in a road matchup against Derek Carr and the Raiders. Defenses have put up an average of just two fantasy points per game against the Silver & Black. And don’t forget Carolina will likely be without All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly for this game (at minimum).

 

— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.

Teaser:
Why You Should Start Thomas Rawls and Other Start/Sit Fantasy Advice For Week 12
Post date: Friday, November 25, 2016 - 11:00
Path: /fantasy/week-12-2016-thanksgiving-fantasy-injury-updates-donte-moncrief-dez-bryant-desean-jackson-stefon-diggs-theo-riddick
Body:

With three games on Thanksgiving, fantasy owners may have to make some lineup decisions before stuffing themselves with food (and then football). The biggest injury question regarding the Turkey Day festivities has already been answered: Andrew Luck will not play against Pittsburgh.

 

But there are a few other notable names that are questionable. Here’s the latest on their situations and what you should do if they are on your roster.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Note: All times are ET.

 

Dez Bryant (back), WR, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins, 4:30 p.m.

Even though he is listed with a back injury, Bryant is in no danger of missing today’s game. He has looked more like his old self lately, posting 12 catches for 196 yards and three touchdowns over the past two games. He will likely see a lot of Josh Norman, but he also had 102 yards on seven grabs (12 targets) in the first game against the Redskins back in Week 2. Besides, you’re not going to bench Bryant on Thanksgiving are you? Start him with confidence as a low WR1.

 

Donte Moncrief (hamstring), WR, Indianapolis Colts vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:30 p.m.

Injury aside, Moncrief is just as impacted by the absence of Andrew Luck. If anything, the fact that Moncrief was added to the injury report on Wednesday could be a blessing in disguise as his fantasy owners now really have no reason to even take a chance on him. He’s been a touchdown-dependent fantasy option (has one in four of the five games he’s played) or otherwise his numbers (18 rec., 206 yds.) are barely worth WR4 consideration. As it is, Moncrief is banged up and Scott Tolzien will be the Colts’ quarterback. Case closed.

 

DeSean Jackson (shoulder), WR, Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys, 4:30 p.m.

Based on the practice reports, Jackson should be fine to play this afternoon. He was limited in practice on Monday and Tuesday, but was a full participant on Wednesday. In Week 11, he had four receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown, just his second of the year. He has a touch matchup against the Cowboys, which is why he’s WR3 for this week, but there is upside. However, when he doesn’t score, his fantasy production has been pedestrian.

 

Stefon Diggs (knee), WR, Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions, 12:30 p.m.

After missing practice on Tuesday, the thought is that Diggs will not play on Thursday. He injured his knee in Week 11, and with the short week, he hasn't been able to get back on the field. Even if he is ruled active, he will likely either be limited or a decoy. For fantasy purposes, it's a tough blow because the Lions just allowed two touchdowns to Jacksonville WRs in Week 11. Detroit has been solid against the pass, but can still be thrown on. In Diggs’ place, Adam Thielen will step in as the No. 1 WR for the Vikings, but he's merely a WR3 this week.

 

Theo Riddick (ankle), RB, Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings, 12:30 p.m.

Arguably the best receiver on the Lions, Riddick should be fine to play. Sure, he's a running back, but in Week 11, he had four carries for 13 yards compared to eight receptions for 70 yards and a team-high 10 targets. He tied Eric Ebron for the most receiving yards, and Riddick will continue to get plenty of looks in the passing game. The Vikings just allowed David Johnson to post seven receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown in Week 11. While Riddick is no Johnson, he has RB2 value in PPR formats and RB3 value in standard leagues.

 

— Rankings by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Teaser:
Week 12 Thanksgiving Games Fantasy Injury Updates: Donte Moncrief, Dez Bryant, DeSean Jackson, Stefon Diggs, Theo Riddick
Post date: Thursday, November 24, 2016 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, syndicated, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/why-you-should-sit-matthew-stafford-other-start-sit-fantasy-advice-week-12-2016-thanksgiving-games
Body:

Frank GoreIs there a better sports tradition out there than the three NFL games we are lucky enough to enjoy every Thanksgiving?

 

And with the fight for the fantasy playoffs coming down to the wire, we have some ever-so-tasty matchups.

 

When considering who to start and who to sit for the Thanksgiving games, some decisions are easy. Like start Le’Veon Bell against the Colts and start Ezekiel Elliot vs. the Redskins. But some decisions can be as tough as trying to decide if should you go back for more mashed potatoes or stuffing (or both)?

 

Like which Redskins wide receivers are worth starting? Are the Colts' receivers worth playing now that it's official Andrew Luck won't play? And what about Rob Kelley? He can’t score three touchdowns against Dallas, right?

 

So let me make some of these decisions easier for you, so you can concentrate on the more important things of life.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Start These Guys

 

Rob Kelley, RB, WAS (at DAL)

While Washington being on a short week as a road underdog against a good Cowboys defense is a little concerning, Kelley's role makes him a must-start option. He has racked up 20-plus carries in three straight games, piling up a whopping 321 rushing yards (4.8 ypc) and four touchdowns during that stretch. He has finished as the RB No. 11, RB No. 16 and RB No. 1 in his three starts, and with the kind of volume he's getting, it's fair to trust him as a top-15 option at a thin position.

 

Kyle Rudolph, TE, MIN (at DET)

Rudolph had a brutal Week 11 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals and totaled one fantasy point. The rough outing broke a streak of two games with a touchdown. Now Rudolph gets to go against the Detroit Lions, a team that entered Week 11 having coughed up the second-most points to tight ends. Disclaimer: Rudolph met the Lions in Week 9 and scored a touchdown — but that was the extent of his fantasy production. However, owners can't afford to ignore a top-10 scorer at the position in such a great matchup.

 

Frank Gore, IND (vs. PIT)

The future Hall of Famer had 18 carries for 50 yards (not great) and 4 catches for 71 yards (pretty great) against the Titans. He’s been ageless this season as the Colts’ workhorse, and he’s had more than 100 total yards or a TD in five of his last six games. With Andrew Luck officially out, Gore will be fed early and often. This is probably his last go-round, even if he looks like a spry 29-year-old, so use him. He’s going to get a lot of touches.

 

Sit These Guys

 

Matthew Stafford, DET (vs. MIN)

In the Week 9 matchup between these two teams, Stafford finished as the No. 15 overall QB (standard Yahoo! scoring) and would have been much lower had it not been for overtime, which allowed him the extra plays to add 63 yards and a touchdown to his final stat line. In fact, he has turned in a top-12 fantasy QB performance just one time in his last four games, and a short week against an extremely stingy pass defense isn't the cure for his recent struggles.

 

All Colts WRs (vs. PIT)

This is a no-brainer now that Andrew Luck has been officially ruled out beacuse of a concussion. In his place, the Colts will trot out Scott Tolzien, who last started a game four years ago. No offense to Tolzien or T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett, but I don’t want to risk haivng any of them in my lineup, even if the likelihood for garbage time is high. It’s just so upsetting as Luck vs. Roethlisberger had the potential to be amazing.

 

Stefon Diggs, MIN (at DET)

This pains me to say, but when Diggs gets shadowed by elite cornerbacks, they usually do their job well. The Vikings end up being a decent offense under Bradford (who's having a career year) despite this, and Cordarrelle Patterson's and Adam Thielen's recent success doesn't help Diggs owners. This week he was followed into the slot by Patrick Peterson, and on Thanksgiving, Darius Slay may have his eyes on Diggs.

 

— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.

Teaser:
Why You Should Sit Matthew Stafford and Other Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for the Week 12 Thanksgiving Games
Post date: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 16:00
Path: /nfl/pittsburgh-steelers-vs-indianapolis-colts-preview-and-prediction-2016
Body:

It’s a tradition that has become part of the American dichotomy over the course of the last six and a half decades — football on Thanksgiving. As soon as the table has been cleared of the turkey, dressing and sweet potato casserole, millions of Americans suffering from oversized bellies will plop down in front of the TV and tune in to the nation’s most popular television product, the NFL.

 

This year’s Thanksgiving schedule features three matchups that all have significant playoff implications — and yes, that includes the Detroit Lions. What should have been, and still potentially could be the game of the day, is the late night matchup between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, both sitting at 5-5 and in the thick of their respective divisional races. While Andrew Luck being ruled out because of a concussion has taken some of the luster off of this game, it still holds the utmost importance for both teams.

 

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis

 

Kickoff: Thursday, Nov. 24 at 8:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC
Spread: Steelers -9

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. No Luck, Big Problem

It couldn't have happened at a worse time, right when the offense was beginning to click and the Colts were showing signs of life, still very much in the AFC South race. But it did happen, and Wednesday afternoon the news everyone was expecting was confirmed: Andrew Luck will not play because of the concussion he sustained in last week’s win against Tennessee.

 

Scott Tolzien, the sixth-year man from Wisconsin who hasn’t made an NFL start in four seasons (on the nose in fact, last one on Nov. 24, 2013), will be called upon by head coach Chuck Pagano to lead the Colts’ offense against a Pittsburgh team that has hammered Indianapolis (combined score of 96-44) each of the past two seasons.

 

2. Steelers Need to Find Offensive Mojo
If there ever were a time for Pittsburgh’s offense to come alive, Thanksgiving night would be the perfect setting. Not because the Steelers are 0-4 on Turkey Day since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970,  but because they’ve only scored 30 points or more once in the last weeks, which is part of the reason they enter this game having lost three in a row.

 

A season ago, Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense couldn't be stopped, but in 2016 the black and gold have been flat-out inconsistent. Playing on just four days’ rest, against one the NFL’s worst defenses provides an interesting conundrum for head coach Mike Tomlin. Last week, Le’Veon Bell had 36 touches (28 carries, 8 receptions) against the Browns, totaling 201 yards and one score. How much does Bell’s use against Cleveland a handful of days ago limit him on such short rest? Or will we see Roethlisberger air it out downfield for Antonio Brown against a banged-up Colts secondary?

 

3. Short Week Blues
One of the many gripes against the NFL in recent seasons is the lackluster Thursday night games. Many times the teams that play in the Thursday night slot are coming off only four days of rest from their previous contest, not allowing teams to properly prepare for their opponent and not permitting players the necessary time to heal from the game before, hurting the on-field product.

 

The reception to the pre-weekend football fix has been less than ideal for the NFL, who will have to address this issue in the next collective bargaining agreement, mainly for player safety reasons. While TV ratings have been down across the board this season, Thursday night games have been hit the hardest, a 16 percent decline compared to 2015.

 

It’s no secret that the NFL brand has taken its lumps the last several seasons with domestic violence, player safety, and team relocation issues. To many, the Shield is as corrupt as our political system, another American entity with too much, overreaching power. As the NFL on-field product shows signs of wear, the league will have to take a long look at how it schedules its games going forward. Don’t be shocked to see in the next CBA the abolishment of the Thursday night game — leaving Thanksgiving as the only pre-weekend game of the NFL week — just as it should be.

 

Final Analysis

 

Somehow, Indianapolis is going to have to find a way to score points with Scott Tolzien at quarterback, a guy who's only thrown one NFL pass since 2013. While a Colts victory is a long shot, it can be done. For as suspect as Pittsburgh’s offense has been this season, the pass defense has been ever worse — ranking 26th in the league. While the spread would indicate the Steelers to be a heavy favorite, a short week with little time to prepare and heal, the Colts very well could keep this one close, even without Andrew Luck.

 

Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, Indianapolis 21

 

— Written by Jake Rose, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @JakeRose24.

Teaser:
Thanksgiving Day: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts Preview and Prediction
Post date: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 15:45
Path: /college-football/utah-state-aggies-vs-byu-cougars-preview-and-prediction-2016
Body:

The Battle for the Old Wagon Wheel renews Saturday night in Provo where BYU (7-4) and Utah State (3-8) square off against each other for the 76th time.

 

This series historically has been a game that has usually been early in the month of October, but a few years ago the Aggies agreed to play the Cougars in the final week of the season, allowing for BYU to have what looked at the time to be a quality opponent in the month of November.

 

Like many November opponents in the past since becoming an independent in 2011, the Aggies appear on paper to be a huge underdog to the Cougars, winners of their last three games, while Utah State enters Provo on a four-game losing streak.

 

BYU has already accepted a postseason invitation to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl while Utah State has suffered its first losing season under head coach Matt Wells, and their first year without a postseason bid since 2010.

 

Utah State at BYU

 

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 26 at 10:15 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPNU
Spread: BYU -18

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Rivalry game?
For Utah State, the series with BYU has always been a rivalry. The Cougars on the other hand view it as a good game against an in-state opponent, but the feelings aren’t mutual when it comes to this game being a huge rivalry.

 

This game means the world to Utah State who has only defeated BYU five times in the last 40 years, including the last visit to Provo in 2014 when the Cougars were undefeated and ranked 18th in the country.

 

Utah State doesn’t have a postseason bowl game to prepare for, so this is its bowl game and with the rivalry already meaning the world to the Aggies, they are going to try and play spoiler on BYU’s senior day.

 

2. BYU senior day
The Cougars will honor 21 seniors on Saturday night highlighted by quarterback Taysom Hill and running back Jamaal Williams. Williams, the school’s all-time leading rusher, has missed the past two games with an ankle injury but is expected to play in his final regular season game as a Cougar.

 

Both Williams and Hill sit in the top five in career rushing yards at BYU and Hill currently is 11th in career passing yards at a school that is known for slinging the rock over the years.

 

BYU fans have been upset at times this season with the play of Taysom Hill, but he is one of the all-time great quarterbacks BYU has ever had. How many quarterbacks can pick up a first down on third-and-eight with their legs? A lot of what has made Hill great at BYU isn’t measured in the box score and not to mention he’s defeated a list of quality Power Five programs as the QB in Provo. Just ask Charlie Strong while he’s still in Austin for another few days how good Hill has been over the years.

 

3. Forcing Turnovers
BYU is No. 1 nationally in turnovers gained this season with 27 (18 interceptions, 9 fumbles). The Cougars have recorded at least one interception in every game, highlighted by safety Kai Nacua, who has come up with big plays whenever the Cougars need a momentum swing.

 

Utah State is 25th in the FBS in turnovers lost. Quarterback Kent Myers will have to take care of the football if the Aggies have any hopes of pulling off the upset.

 

Final Analysis

 

This is always an interesting game when you think of how many connections there are between the two programs with players going up against each other in high school, coaches who have worked with one another, and the long-standing histories in the state. It all makes for an intriguing game, at least until kickoff.

 

Physically, BYU’s defense should have its way with a Utah State offensive line that has given up 2.5 sacks per game. The Cougars have had success this season stopping the run and that bodes well against an Aggie rushing attack that hasn’t had the production they’ve grown accustomed to ever since 2015’s leading rusher Devante Mays got hurt against USC back in week two. Mays has had just 11 carries since that game and his status against BYU is up in the air.

 

Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams will have a productive senior day offensively as the Cougars focus on controlling the clock and finish out the regular season with an 8-4 record.

 

Prediction: BYU 28, Utah State 10

 

— Written by Mitch Harper, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Harper is publisher of Rivals' BYU site, CougarNation.com, and also is the BYU reporter and insider for 1320 KFAN and co-host of "The Cougar Center" podcast. Follow him on Twitter @Mitch_Harper.

Teaser:
Utah State Aggies vs. BYU Cougars Preview and Prediction
Post date: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 15:40
Path: /college-football/tennessee-volunteers-vs-vanderbilt-commodores-preview-and-prediction-2016
Body:

The Vanderbilt Commodores (5-6, 2-5 SEC) came away with their second SEC victory of the season with an impressive 38-17 upset win over Ole Miss last week in Nashville. Vanderbilt is now in search of that all-important sixth win of the season to become bowl eligible. While there is a reasonable chance that the Commodores can still obtain a bowl bid with just five wins, they would much rather do it the old-fashioned way. And there would be no better way for Vandy to accomplish that goal than by knocking off hated rival Tennessee on their home field. A victory would provide Derek Mason with his first six-win season at Vanderbilt, as well as his first win against the Vols. More importantly, it would guarantee a Vanderbilt bowl appearance for the first time in the Mason era.

 

The No. 24 Tennessee Volunteers (8-3, 4-3 SEC) managed to do their part in their quest to play for an SEC championship. Unfortunately, a 63-37 win over Missouri in Knoxville wouldn’t be enough to give the Volunteers that opportunity. LSU came up short at the goal line against Florida, ultimately cancelling the Volunteers travel plans for Atlanta. Butch Jones must now find a way to move his team forward with a date set for Saturday night against in-state foe Vanderbilt. A Volunteer victory would go a long way in positioning them for a top-tier bowl game. And get them one step closer to their first 10-win season since 2007.

 

Tennessee at Vanderbilt

 

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

Spread: Tennessee -7.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. A Record-Setting Night for Ralph Webb

Vanderbilt junior running back Ralph Webb put in a masterful performance against Ole Miss last week rushing for 123 yards and three touchdowns. In the process, he managed to reach the vaunted 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second year in a row. Webb also eclipsed the 3,000-yard rushing mark for his career and now sits just 27 yards shy of becoming Vanderbilt’s all-time leading rusher. Webb needs just 135 ground yards to also become the Commodores all-time single season rushing leader.

 

There’s a very good chance that Webb could set multiple Vanderbilt rushing records on Saturday night. A depleted Tennessee defense that ranks 116th nationally against the run (253 ypg) has been trounced by opposing run games in recent weeks. The Volunteers gave up an astounding 420 rushing yards last week to Missouri and 443 ground yards to Kentucky the week prior. The Vols also have allowed 8 rushing touchdowns over their last two contests. Webb should have no trouble continuing the trend against a porous Tennessee run defense en route to a record setting night.

 

2. A Red-Hot Tennessee Offense

Webb probably won’t be the only player racking up the yards on Saturday night. The Volunteer offense has been on fire of late. Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs has accounted for 446 passing yards to go along with 337 rushing yards over his last two games. Dobbs also is responsible for 10 touchdowns during that stretch. Running backs Alvin Kamara and John Kelly have been producing at a high level as well. Kamara and Kelly have combined for 378 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns in their last two games. The Vols recent surge has helped produce an average of 560 yards of total offense and 56 points per game over their last three contests.

 

While Tennessee will be in for a slightly bigger test this week against the Vanderbilt defense, it is a matchup that still holds plenty of promise for the Volunteer offense. The Commodores enter Saturday night’s contest with the No. 76 passing defense in the nation (237 ypg) and the No. 80-ranked run defense in the nation (163 ypg). The Vandy defense also has produced the fewest sacks in the SEC so far this season with 13. A stat that bodes particularly well for Joshua Dobbs and the passing game. Vanderbilt will have its hands full trying to keep a red-hot Tennessee offense at bay.

 

3. A Red Zone Slugfest

One of the biggest areas of contention on Saturday night will likely come in the red zone. The Commodores rank No. 1 in the SEC in red zone offense, scoring on 94.7 percent of their trips inside the 20-yard line. The Volunteers have the No. 2 red zone offense in the conference. Tennessee has put points on the scoreboard at a 92.5 percent clip when inside the 20. The Vols have been the more proficient team in terms of red zone touchdowns, finding the end zone 31 times as opposed to 26 red zone touchdowns for the Dores. Tennessee has scored at a 100 percent rate inside the red zone in 10 of their 11 games so far this season as well.

 

Florida, who has the No. 1 red zone defense in the nation, was the only team to prevent Tennessee from scoring inside the 20 yard line this season. The No. 2 red zone defense in the country belongs to Vanderbilt. The Commodores have allowed opposing offenses to score on just 66.7 percent of their trips inside the 20. The Tennessee offense is capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. However, it could be a battle for the Vols inside the red zone against the Vandy defense.

 

Final Analysis

 

This will be a dangerous matchup for the Volunteers. The Vandy offense doesn’t do too many things extremely well, but running the football up the middle with Ralph Webb is one of them. It just so happens that Tennessee’s biggest weakness — and that may be an understatement — is stopping the run up the middle. A Commodores passing attack, led by sophomore quarterback Kyle Shurmur, appears to finally be gaining some traction as well. The question is, will that be enough to outscore a surging Tennessee offense for the upset? It’s certainly possible, but a blistering hot Joshua Dobbs should provide the Volunteers with the edge they need to overcome an anemic run defense and escape Nashville with their fourth consecutive victory.

 

Prediction: Tennessee 30, Vanderbilt 28

 

Written by Rob McVey, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @Rob_UTVOLS.

Teaser:
Tennessee Volunteers vs. Vanderbilt Commodores Preview and Prediction
Post date: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 15:30

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