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Path: /college-football/25-must-see-moments-college-footballs-week-12-games
Body:

Week 12 of the college football season is officially in the books. With the playoff and bowl picture coming into focus, there were no shortage of critical games or must-see matchups on Saturday. And the weekend slate produced its share of crazy moments, wild finishes and big plays.  

 

Miss anything from Week 12? Here are 25 must-see plays, moments or post-game celebrations from the weekend of action:

 

25 Must-See Moments from College Football's Week 12 Games

 

1. Michigan State knocks Ohio State from the ranks of the unbeaten with last-second field goal:

 

 

2. Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott was unhappy with the play-calling in the loss to Michigan State:

 

Teammate Darron Lee had a different take than most on Elliott's comments:

Quarterback Cardale Jones also indicated he's leaving for the NFL at the end of the season:

 

3. Virginia Tech honors Frank Beamer in final home game:

 

4. An emotional day at Missouri in Gary Pinkel's last home game:

 

5. A bad week for LSU coach Les Miles continues. The Tigers lose big at Ole Miss, and Miles took a shot from one of his players on this play:

 

6. Great news from Central Michigan coach John Bonamego:

 

7. North Carolina clinches ACC Coastal title on this touchdown pass in overtime:

 

North Carolina coach Larry Fedora did a little celebrating after the big win:

8. Virginia Tech defensive end Dadi Nicolas was very unhappy with a penalty and took his frustration out on the referee:

9. The Citadel scores huge upset over South Carolina:

 

10. Oklahoma survives TCU's upset bid after Steven Parker deflects two-point conversion pass:

 

11. Mississippi State and Arkansas combined for 12 touchdown passes. Bulldogs escaped with a 51-50 victory after blocking a Razorbacks' field goal with less than a minute remaining:

Mississippi State receiver Fred Ross made this nifty one-handed grab during Saturday night's win:

A fight broke out in the stands with less than a minute to go:

 

12. Baylor ends Oklahoma State's unbeaten season thanks to third-string quarterback Chris Johnson:

 

13. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh goes crazy during Saturday's game against Penn State:

14. What is a catch these days? No one knows. Wisconsin lost to Northwestern after this pass was ruled incomplete:

 

Wisconsin fans expressed their anger with the referees by throwing snowballs at them:

 

Earlier in the game, Wisconsin cheerleaders left the field after being hit with snowballs:

 

15. Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams becomes first player to throw six touchdown passes against USC:

 

16. Georgia ends Georgia Southern's upset bid with this touchdown in overtime:

 

17. Snow covers Iowa's Kinnick Stadium on Friday night/Saturday morning:

 

18. The banners are back at Miami:

 

19. This awesome photo was taken at Fenway Park on Saturday morning well before Notre Dame-Boston College kicked off:

 

20. Clemson offensive lineman Daniel Stone proposes on Senior Day (she said yes):

21. Mark Mangino was let go by Iowa State as the team's offensive coordinator earlier this season. On Saturday, he took to Twitter to get a jab in at the Cyclones after their last-second loss to Kansas State:

 

22. Bowling Green receiver Gehrig Dieter makes an awesome one-handed touchdown catch against Toledo on Tuesday night:

 

23. UConn fans stormed the field after upset victory against Houston:

 

24. Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville shows his disappointment with his team in a 65-27 loss at USF:

25. Iowa clinched the Big Ten West Division title with win over Purdue. Snoop Dogg was very excited about this development:

 

Teaser:
25 Must-See Moments from College Football's Week 12 Games
Post date: Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, NFL
Path: /nfl/cincinnati-bengals-vs-arizona-cardinals-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

The Cincinnati Bengals (8-1) were just knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten and now get an even tougher test on the road, facing an Arizona Cardinals (7-2) team coming off its biggest win of the season in Seattle. Yes, after last week both teams seem to be in opposite places, but this potential Super Bowl preview will cement one team's status as a favorite.

 

The Bengals' offense was stymied last week by the Texans, putting up a mere six points, including none in the second half. Still the Bengals enter this game ranked fifth in the league in scoring offense and first in scoring defense. Did the Texans expose the "blueprint" for beating Cincinnati? Or was it just one of those off games that regularly occur in the NFL? Clearly the Bengals are still a very good team, but they'll need to bounce back and put forth their best effort to win in Arizona.

 

The Cardinals meanwhile didn't play their best game of the season against their divisional rival Seahawks, but they did recover from back-to-back Seahawk touchdowns in the fourth quarter to retake the lead and seal the win with two clutch touchdowns of their own. After losing two of their first three games to open October, the Cardinals have now won three in a row. A win over the Bengals on national TV might just cement the Cardinals' place atop the NFC as Super Bowl favorites.

 

Cincinnati at Arizona

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBC

Spread: Cardinals -4

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Bengals offense bounce-back?

The Bengals had just 256 yards of offense against the Texans, easily a season low, and things don't get any easier with a tough Cardinal defense playing at home. Patrick Peterson on A.J. Green is the marquee matchup to watch, as Green was held to just five catches for 67 yards last week. But the bigger question mark is Tyler Eifert, whose three catches for 26 yards really embodied why the Bengals struggled. Eifert was off his game against the Texans and the effect was clear. They'll need to get Green and Eifert going early to get their offense back on track.

 

2. Cardinals best offense in the NFL?

The Cardinals have only been held under 400 yards of offense twice this season. Larry Fitzgerald (65 catches, 836 yards, seven touchdowns) and Chris Johnson (166 carries, 734 yards, three touchdowns) have been rejuvenated and Carson Palmer is just 10 touchdown passes away from breaking his career high of 32, which was set in 2005. But as the season wears on, can these veteran players maintain this level of play? Or will they start to break down? The Bengal defense, which should be hungry and looking to bounce back, should give the Cardinals a great test.

 

3. Bright lights for Bengals

This will be the third game in a row the Bengals will be on national television. Their first was an easy beatdown of the Browns, the second they sputtered at home against the Texans, and now they must go on the road to face one of the best teams in the NFL. The football world has been waiting for a signature win from Andy Dalton and this Bengals team, and this could be it. 

 

Final Analysis

 

These are two of the best teams in the NFL right now and this is the time of year when the real contenders start to play their best football. Both teams sputtered at times last week, but only the Cardinals were able to overcome their mistakes to pull out the win. A loss like the one the Bengals had at the hands of the Texans can often derail teams, so they have a lot to prove against the Cardinals. The problem is that the Cardinals have only one two-point loss at home this year and have arguably the best offense in the NFL. The Bengals' holes will continue to be exposed, but they'll put up a good fight.

 

Prediction: Cardinals 31, Bengals 24

 

— Written by Mike Dussault, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and writer/editor of PatsPropaganda.com (@PatsPropaganda), a comprehensive blog covering the New England Patriots.

Teaser:
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Arizona Cardinals Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 08:45
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/san-francisco-49ers-vs-seattle-seahawks-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

It's do or die time for the Seattle Seahawks (4-5) after losing a critical NFC West Showdown last Sunday 39-32 to the Arizona Cardinals. Following last week's defeat, the Seahawks fell to three games behind Arizona in the NFC West race and two games out in the NFC Wild Card race. The cure for Seattle is a visit from the San Francisco 49ers and Blaine Gabbert, who are coming off a bye week and will be looking to pull off the upset. This will be the second meeting between these two teams this season as Seattle won the Week 7 matchup at Levi’s Stadium by a score of 20-3.

 

Prior to its bye week, San Francisco (3-6) showed a little bit of a pulse in a 17-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers still were pedestrian at best offensively against the Falcons with 318 yards of offense, but they were able to grind out just enough rushing offense on the ground to keep Atlanta at bay defensively. Also, Blaine Gabbert did what he needs to do in order for San Francisco to win games down the stretch. Gabbert, completed 15 of 25 passes for 185 yards with two touchdowns passes but he had two interceptions. It is going to be beyond critical for Gabbert to not throw interceptions against the Seahawks' defense on Sunday.


San Francisco at Seattle
 

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET (Sunday)
TV Channel: Fox
Spread: Seahawks -13.5


Three Things to Watch

 

1. Where is Russell Wilson at mentally?

Wilson has not lived up to being the second-highest paid quarterback in the NFL in 2015. There have been too many times this season when Wilson has been off target with passes that he normally would complete. That begs the question where his focus truly is. It's one thing to take some time off during a bye week to rest and recover, but Wilson’s vacation to Mexico with girlfriend Ciara was highly publicized and a really bad look considering how poor the offense played as a whole in the first half on Sunday night. It's on Wilson to step up his leadership and produce like the second-highest paid quarterback in the NFL.

 

2. What about Marshawn Lynch’s Health and Lack of Production? 

Despite the rash of nagging injuries, Lynch has not produced at a level worthy of his $8.5-million-dollar salary cap hit this year. Lynch has only rushed for 417 yards in the season with 122 of those against San Francisco in Week 7. This is a fork in the road moment for Lynch. If he does find a way to play despite being questionable with an abdominal injury - he needs to produce. If Lynch can't go, Thomas Rawls will be counted on step in and take care of business with the running game as the season is slipping away too quickly for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks for them to keep waiting on Lynch to get right physically.

 

3. Will the Seahawks Defense Bounce Back?

Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals pretty much had their way with the Seattle defense, as Palmer threw for 363 yards with relative ease. The Seahawks as a whole have been playing pretty well since the return of Kam Chancellor. However, the ridiculous inconsistency of the Seahawks' offense is going to wear even the most talented of defenses like Seattle has. The 49ers are not elite whatsoever offensively, so it will be incumbent upon the Seahawks to set the tone early by forcing turnovers and not allowing big plays. Seattle has already allowed 30 plays in the passing game of over 20 yards or more in comparison to the 32 they allowed during the entire 2014 season. Another glaring issue as Earl Thomas pointed out earlier in the week is that the overall chemistry of the defense - especially in the secondary - is not the same this season. The Legion of Boom has yet to display anywhere near the level of intimidation this unit showed against the opposition from previous seasons. 

 

Final Analysis

 

If there ever was a Sunday for the Seahawks to get right, it's this Sunday against the 49ers. Blaine Gabbert at quarterback for San Francisco should deliver multiple turnovers for the Seahawks, and without running back Carlos Hyde, Seattle should be able to force the 49ers to be one dimensional all afternoon long. Offensively, for the Seahawks it simply comes down to executing better and actually playing with discipline in the trenches. Will Seattle put it together offensively for four quarters and put up 30 points on the San Francisco defense? The odds are the offense will make enough big plays to score about 24 points and seal a comfortable win for the Seahawks on Sunday. However, with two tough games on deck - Pittsburgh visits Century Link Field next Sunday and a road trip to Minnesota awaits the following week - it is going to take significant improvement in order for Seattle to go on a run towards the playoffs.

 

Prediction: Seahawks 27, 49ers 9

 

— 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 him on Twitter @smwhittum

Teaser:
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks Preview and Prediction 2015
Post date: Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 08:30
Path: /nfl/green-bay-packers-vs-minnesota-vikings-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

Three short weeks ago, it appeared as if Green Bay was headed for a Super Bowl collision with New England. The mighty Packers were stout on defense and were receiving tremendous performances from QB Aaron Rodgers. Sunday, the Pack staggers into Minneapolis searching for answers and wondering if it’s possible to regain the momentum it had generated during the season’s first six weeks.

 

If you think Green Bay’s stumble is surprising, consider the success of the Vikings, whose five-game winning streak is the third longest in the NFL, and whose first-place status in the NFC North is one of the season’s biggest shocks. Minnesota hasn’t been overpowering, but it has a solid balance on offense and has been playing sticky D that doesn’t allow rivals to get too comfortable. It may be premature to anoint the Vikes one of the NFC favorites, but a win over Green Bay will certainly make more people believe in the Purple.

 

Green Bay at Minnesota

 

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET (Sunday)

TV: Fox

Spread: Pick 'em

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Purely Offensive

Through six games, Rodgers appeared to be on his way to an MVP award and one of the best seasons in his impressive career. Since then, he has lost some of his trademark accuracy and has been under siege behind a shaky offensive line. Rodgers completed just 57.4 percent of his 61 passes in last week’s embarrassing home loss to the Lions — Green Bay’s first at Lambeau to Detroit in 24 years — and appeared to have timing issues with his wideouts. The Packers’ three-game losing streak isn’t all Rodgers’ problem. The Green Bay ground game has been abysmal, and James Starks managed just 42 yards on 15 carries against Detroit. The receivers aren’t getting much separation from defensive backs, and the offensive line is struggling with pass and run blocking.

 

2. On a Roll

These aren’t the Bud Grant Vikings of the late ‘60s and ’70s, but Minnesota is playing the kind of steady, winning football its fans used to enjoy when Fran Tarkenton was under center, and the Purple People Eaters were terrorizing enemy attacks. The Vikes are playing ball control with Adrian Peterson, who leads the league in rushing by a wide margin, and backing up his efforts with steady play (64.2 percent completion rate, six interceptions) by QB Teddy Bridgewater. Peterson ran for 203 yards in last week’s 30-14 win at Oakland, his fourth consecutive 100-yard-plus game and the sixth 200-yard game of his career, which ties O.J. Simpson for most all-time. Minnesota isn’t overwhelming, but it is in first place, and that’s a big deal in an NFC that lacks an abundance of standout teams.

 

3. In No Rush

Through the first six games of the season, Green Bay had sacked enemy passers 23 times. Over the past three, no Packer has brought an opposing quarterback to the ground. Even though the Pack brought more pressure last week against Detroit, it still couldn’t register a sack of Matthew Stafford. That’s remarkable, given the fact that Stafford had been dumped 22 times in the first eight games. The Packers still have plenty of pop in the pass-rush department, thanks to Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews, but they must get more pressure on Bridgewater Sunday to have a chance.

 

Final Analysis

 

It’s tempting to think that there is no way the Packers can lose a fourth straight game, not with Rodgers at the helm. But this is a team that has looked lethargic the past three weeks and simply doesn’t seem to have enough playmakers to win a big one on the road. If the line doesn’t get more productive, the Green Bay offense will have to rely solely on Rodgers, and he doesn’t have the weapons outside to carve up defenses that are no longer respecting his receivers’ ability to get deep.

 

The Vikings play old-fashioned football, with frequent doses of Peterson that help minimize the difficult situations in which Bridgewater finds himself. This is not a team with great weapons on the outside — Minnesota has just seven TD catches — but with Peterson able to gain yards on first and second downs, it doesn’t have to go downfield too often. Minnesota wants to control the clock and play solid defense. Expect to see plenty of that this Sunday.

 

Prediction: Packers 23, Vikings 20

 

— Written by Michael Bradley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Bradley is a writer and broadcaster based in suburban Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @DailyHombre.

Teaser:
Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 08:15
Path: /nfl/kansas-city-chiefs-vs-san-diego-chargers-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

The upstart Kansas City Chiefs head to San Diego to take on the Chargers this Sunday in an AFC West contest that could put the Chiefs into the wild card conversation in the conference.

 

Kansas City (4-5) is coming off a big win in Denver where Peyton Manning handed them more interceptions than made completions. Since losing five in a row, the Chiefs have now won three straight and are in eighth place in the conference, but if the Broncos fade without Manning, the Chiefs could make a push for the division crown. With two games each against the Raiders and Chargers still left, Kansas City's fate is still very much in their own hands.

 

Few teams have been hit harder with injuries than the San Diego Chargers and their 2-7 record reflects that, but they have still managed to throw for more passing yards than anyone else in the NFL. Four of their seven losses have been by four points or less, a testament to Philip Rivers, who's gotten by with a makeshift offensive line and without his two best receivers. It is likely too late to save the season now, but the Chargers are not afraid to throw the ball and will put up yards on anyone.

 

Kansas City at San Diego

 

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET (Sunday)

TV: CBS

Spread: Chiefs -3

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Charcandrick West Ascending

With the loss of Jamaal Charles for the season, West has emerged as the top weapon in the Chiefs' offense, putting up 417 total yards and four touchdowns in the last three games, all Chiefs wins. With an anemic passing offense (25th overall), most of the Chargers' focus will go on West and the Chiefs' ground game. The Chargers are 27th overall in rushing yards allowed per game so this is likely where the game will be won or lost.

 

2. Stop Danny Woodhead 

With the injuries to Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates, the Chargers have been left with Danny Woodhead as their primary weapon and he led the team in both rushing and receiving in their last game two weeks ago against the Bears. Just as the Chargers will be focusing on dual threat West, the Chiefs will center their gameplan around containing Woodhead. Yes, that's what it has come to for the Chargers, who will need Stevie Johnson to resurface to attack a stout Chiefs' defense.

 

3. Perhaps KC Will Pass?

With two of the Chargers' top three corners questionable, the time could be right for the Chiefs to get their passing game on track. And really, if they're to make any noise in the playoffs they won't be able to do it on the road with just West. Jason Verrett and Patrick Robinson still could dress, but will they be full strength? The Chiefs have broken 300 yards passing just once this season in a loss to the Bengals, and have only broken 200 yards a total of three times. It might be too much to expect them to suddenly start clicking through the air now, but an undermanned Chargers' secondary could set the stage.

 

Final Analysis

 

Despite these two teams appearing to be heading in two different directions, this divisional contest is pretty evenly matched. Both teams have been hit hard by injuries and are shadows of what they hoped to put on the field coming into the season. The Chiefs have some momentum, but the Chargers have only been a play or two away from wins in quite a few of their games. When you add it all up it looks like a close contest that will come down to the end.

 

Prediction: Chargers 17, Chiefs 16

 

— Written by Mike Dussault, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and writer/editor of PatsPropaganda.com (@PatsPropaganda), a comprehensive blog covering the New England Patriots.

Teaser:
Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-week-10-injury-updates-matt-forte-darren-mcfadden-marshawn-lynch-adrian
Body:

Welcome to the Week 11 running back injury report. With four teams on a bye (Pittsburgh, New York Giants, Cleveland and New Orleans), the list is shorter than weeks past, but some big names have made the list. Also, keep in mind that running backs that are on the injury report but are listed as probable and have gotten in a full practice (Ronnie Hillman, Joique Bell, Eddie Lacy, Alfred Morris) are not on this report as they will suit up on Sunday. Don't forget to check out the quarterback/tight end injury report and the wide receiver injury report. Please note all games are at 1 p.m. EST unless otherwise noted.

 

Matt Forte injury update (will Matt Forte play?)Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears vs Denver Broncos

Out - knee

With Jeremy Langford playing as well as he has been, the Bears have no reason to rush Matt Forte back on the field. Forte put in limited practices Wednesday and Friday after sitting out on Thursday. He will likely sit another week and return on Thursday when the Bears play the Packers on Thanksgiving night. Even if Forte is active, expect him to only be involved in a limited fashion. While Langford and Forte may share carries going forward, this isn't the week to trust that it will be an equal split. As hard as it may be, leave Forte on your bench, even if he is active. (UPDATE: Inactive)

 

Darren McFadden, RB, Dallas Cowboys at Miami Dolphins

Questionable - groin

McFadden was added to the injury report on Thursday with a groin injury, but it appears that it was minor and he is expected to play on Sunday. He put in a limited practice on Friday as well and is a RB1 on Sunday. With Tony Romo back, defenses have to spread out, which should give McFadden room to run. Miami's run defense isn't very good, and as long as McFadden can stay on the field, he is in line for a good day.

 

Ryan Mathews, RB, Philadelphia Eagles vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Out - concussion

It's not a surprise that Mathews has been ruled out. He hasn't been able to practice (or even attend practice) for the past week. He will have to pass the league's concussion protocol before being cleared to play. With a short week, it is unclear if he will be available for the Eagles Thanksgiving day matchup against the Lions.

 

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m.)

Probable - hamstring

Fantasy owners fear not: Peterson will play on Sunday. The Packers give up the 10th fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, so it's not a great matchup, but after putting up 203 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 10, he probably is a little sore. He's had over 100 total yards in the past four games. Look for him to continue the streak in Week 11.

 

Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (Sunday, 4:25 p.m.)

Out - foot

It's still unclear what exactly Hyde's injury is. If it is a stress fracture, as he's said, only rest will heal it (although surgery may still be required). Hyde hasn't played since October 22, and he was banged up at the time. At this point, even though he is considered day-to-day, he needs to at least be able to practice before fantasy owners can consider starting him. The 49ers face Arizona in Week 12, in the late afternoon games. Fantasy owners should already have other plans in place for that game as well.

 

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks vs San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m.)

Questionable - abdomen

Another week of Lynch being questionable and a game-time decision. And yes, another week of the Seahawks playing in the late afternoon games. Last week, when Lynch looked like he might sit out, he was active. He only had eight carries, but he turned that into 42 yards and a touchdown (on many fantasy benches). It looks like he will be active in Week 11,and the 49ers give up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. He's a RB1 if active, and this week, pencil him in.

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-week-11-injury-updates-antonio-gates-ladarius-green-sam-bradford
Body:

The Week 11 quarterback injury report is short and easy: four quarterbacks and all are ruled out. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Teddy Bridgewater and Aaron Rodgers are both on the injury report as probable, but both practiced in full and are on track to play. For tight ends, Owen Daniels was able to practice in full on Friday (and is listed as probable), so if you were planning on starting him, you can continue to do so. Please also check out the running back and wide receiver injury report. Note that all games are at 1 p.m. EST unless otherwise noted.

 

Peyton Manning is out with a foot injuryPeyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears

Out - foot

After awarding his fantasy owners with negative points in Week 10, he will be sitting in Week 11. Suffering from plantar fasciitis, Manning reportedly won't be back on the field until he his healthy, and then he will be the starter. Brock Osweiler will fill in. In less than a half in Week 10, Osweiler threw for 146 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He's worth a flyer in two-quarterback leagues.

 

Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts at Atlanta Falcons

Out - abdomen

After suffering a lacerated kidney, Luck has been ruled out for not only Week 11, but probably an additional month as well. Matt Hasselbeck will take over as quarterback in his absence. When Hasselbeck played earlier this season, he put up decent numbers: 282 and 213 yards in two games with three total touchdowns and no interceptions. He's worth starting in two-quarterback leagues.

 

Brian Hoyer, QB, Houston Texans vs New York Jets

Out - concussion

After suffering a concussion in Week 10, Hoyer has been ruled out for Week 11. He hasn't passed the league's concussion protocol yet, and the hope of the Texans is that he'll be ready for when they face the Saints next Sunday in Week 12. T.J. Yates will step in for Houston and shouldn't be started in fantasy leagues. The Texans pass-catchers (namely DeAndre Hopkins) take a hit in value as well.

 

Sam Bradford, QB, Philadelphia Eagles vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Out - concussion

Welcome, Mark Sanchez. After suffering a concussion and a sprained AC joint in his non-throwing shoulder in Week 10, Bradford will miss Week 11. Sanchez will fill in for Bradford. In his only game action of the year (taking over in Week 10), Sanchez threw for 156 yards and an interception. Hopefully for Jordan Matthews owners, the pair will rekindle the magic they had in 2014. Sanchez is a QB2 this week.

 

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles

Questionable - shoulder

For some reason the Bucs keep listing Seferian-Jenkins as questionable, although he has yet to play. Every week it seems he might be close, but every week, he is deemed inactive. This week should be no exception. He's remained limited in practice and the word out of Tampa Bay is that he's not going to play in Week 11.

 

Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers vs Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, 4:05 p.m.)

Questionable - ankle

Both tight ends for San Diego are on the injury report, but it appears that Green is truly more questionable than Gates. In a tough matchup against Kansas City (who gives up the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends), Green is not a recommended start. He's banged up (just practicing for the first time on Friday) and Gates will likely be playing. Even in an offense that is losing players left and right, Green needs to get through a game before fantasy owners should think about starting him.

 

Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers vs Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, 4:05 p.m.)

Probable - knee

Gates has the probable tag, while Green is questionable. Expect to see Gates on Sunday, although if you have better options at tight end, use them. Gates has a knee issue, which is causing a hip problem. He had two touchdowns in his first game back, but in the past two games he's played, he has 10 receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs haven't allowed a tight end to get more than four receptions yet this season. Gates is a good player, and because of position scarcity, is still a TE1 this week, but barely.

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-week-11-injury-updates-john-brown-alshon-jeffery-emmanuel-sanders
Body:

Per usual, the wide receiver injury report is the longest out of the group. The quarterback/tight end injury report and the running back injury report don't have nearly the list of players as the wide receivers. Also, the wide receivers contain more game-time decisions. Players that practiced in full and are listed as probable are not on here, as they are expected to play on Sunday. Those wide receivers include: Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall, Nate Washington, James Jones and Larry Fitzgerald. Note that all games are at 1 p.m. EST unless otherwise noted.

 

Emmanuel Sanders (Will he play?)Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears

Questionable - ankle

After being on the injury report last week, being a game-time decision, and eventually being active, Sanders rewarded fantasy owners that took a risk on him with a big zero for the day. Sanders now has a finger injury in addition to the ankle injury, but is expected to play on Sunday. While it is a risk to start him, it is a good matchup with Chicago. Brock Osweiler will need to throw the ball, and Sanders is the guy that will catch the short passes and try to make plays. He has more value in PPR leagues than standard leagues, but is a solid WR2 in both formats.

 

Eddie Royal, WR, Chicago Bears vs Denver Broncos

Out - knee

Royal hurt his knee in Week 8 (November 1) and hasn't played or practiced since. He has been ruled out for Week 11, and will likely be out for the Bears matchup on Thanksgiving night as well because of the short week. Alshon Jeffery is also banged up, which puts the Bears receiving corps in a tough spot. For now, continue to hold Royal in case he does come back as he could have value down the stretch.

 

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears vs Denver Broncos

Questionable - groin

Eddie Royal has already been ruled out, and Jeffery missed practice both Thursday and Friday. Typically that would be a sure sign that the player will be out for the game on Sunday, but the Bears are arguably the worst team in the league about their injury reports. Jeffery was questionable heading into Week 10 and he played (although he only had three receptions for 23 yards in a tough matchup against St. Louis). This week's matchup isn't any easier, and Jeffery is a WR3, if active. Between the matchup and the injury, it's tough to trust him. We don't expect him to be on the field. 

 

Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions vs Minnesota Vikings

Probable - ankle

After missing practice on Wednesday, Johnson practiced on Thursday and Friday. The matchup against the Vikings is a good one and he seems to be past the worst of the ankle injury. In Week 10 (with the injury), he still managed six receptions for 81 yards. While he hasn't found the end zone since Week 7, this may be the week that changes. Start Megatron as a WR1.

 

Leonard Hankerson, WR, Atlanta Falcons vs Indianapolis Colts

Probable - hamstring

Hankerson will likely be active on Sunday, but fantasy owners have to be desperate to consider starting him. He hasn't had a good game since Week 4. Since then, he's had five receptions for 50 yards in three games. Granted, he's left those games with injuries, but until he can get through a full game, he should remain on fantasy benches. While the Colts have let up 16 touchdowns to wide receivers, and Julio Jones may see a lot of Vontae Davis, it is a risk to start Hankerson. He's a WR4 (although not a terrible contrarian play in DFS).

 

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans vs New York Jets

Probable - knee

After giving fantasy owners a scare earlier this week, Hopkins said his knee was fine. After getting in practice on Friday and earning a probable tag, fantasy owners should expect to see him on Sunday. He's scored four touchdowns in the past four weeks, but T.J. Yates at quarterback caps his upside. In addition, Darrelle Revis will be covering him, and Hopkins hasn't yet proven that he's elite enough to be matchup-proof. He's still a WR1, but temper expectations.

 

Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles

Questionable - knee

Vincent Jackson hasn't played since Week 7, and he's only had one good game all season: week 4 (10/147/1). Eliminate that game, and he has 11 receptions for 172 yards and a touchdown in five games. Reports came out Wednesday that V-Jax would miss Week 11. Then he returned to practice on Thursday and has earned the questionable tag. It's likely, however, that he does sit out this week and returns in Week 10 vs. the Colts.

 

Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys at Miami Dolphins

Probable - foot

Bryant will be on the injury report with his foot injury every week, and unless he suffers a setback of some kind, he will play. Finally getting Tony Romo back only helps Bryant. He did only have a 5/48/0 stat line in Week 1, but he should improve upon that for Week 11. Miami is middle-of-the-road in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers, and Bryant should regain his clear-cut WR1 status.

 

John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals vs Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday, 8:30 p.m.)

Questionable - hamstring

After being active in Week 10, Brown gave fantasy owners a zero. (At least he was targeted three times, as opposed to when he was active and didn't play a snap in Week 8 before the bye. Knowing that Brown is still struggling with the hamstring injury and seeing how he's performed with this injury over the past two games, it's hard to start him. Add in that it's a late game, that the Bengals are actually a tough defense against opposing wide receivers, and try to keep Brown on your bench for another week.

 

Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals vs Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday, 8:30 p.m.)

Questionable - hamstring

After not practicing all week, Floyd is listed as questionable and a game-time decision. He pulled his hamstring during the Week 10 game and clearly is still hampered by it. Don't count on Floyd playing this week. With two of the big three wide receivers out or limited for Arizona, it's going to be a big game for Larry Fitzgerald (and likely the running backs).

 

Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (Sunday, 4:25 p.m.)

Questionable - hamstring

While it appears that Boldin will be active on Sunday, it is a tough matchup for a player that is still banged up and has Blaine Gabbert throwing to him. The Seahawks defense has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. When the 49ers played the Seahawks in Week 7, Boldin had three receptions for 39 yards. He only has two 100-yard games and two touchdowns on the year. He's a WR4 this week.

 

Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks vs San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m.)

Probable - toe

Baldwin may be on the fantasy radar because of his Week 10 stat line of 7/134/1. However, remove that game, and on the season, he has 31 receptions for 345 yards and two touchdowns on the year (as in, over the course of eight games). That's less than four receptions and 45 yards a game, on average. While the 49ers do give up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, Baldwin is a WR4 this week. The toe injury isn't a concern, but the lack of consistency is.

 

Malcom Floyd, WR, San Diego Chargers vs Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, 4:05 p.m.)

Out - shoulder

After injuring his shoulder in Week 9, Floyd was a long shot to play this week. He wasn't able to practice and has already been ruled out. While he does insist he will be back on the field this season, if fantasy owners need the roster spot, feel free to cut bait. Shoulder injuries are hard for wide receivers to overcome (look at Randall Cobb) and with the fantasy playoffs just around the corner, it's going to be hard to trust Floyd.

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, November 22, 2015 - 06:30
Path: /college-football/ohio-state-rb-ezekiel-elliott-unhappy-play-calling-following-loss-michigan-state
Body:

Ohio State’s unbeaten season ended with a surprising 17-14 loss to Michigan State on Saturday. Despite the Spartans missing starting quarterback Connor Cook, coach Mark Dantonio’s team found a way to win and altered the outlook of the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff picture.

 

The primary culprit in Saturday’s loss for the Buckeyes was an offense that generated just 132 yards.

 

After the loss, running back Ezekiel Elliott sounded off on the team’s play-calling. Elliott had only 33 yards on 12 carries against the Spartans. Needless to say, the junior isn’t happy:  

Teaser:
Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott Unhappy With Play-Calling Following Loss to Michigan State
Post date: Saturday, November 21, 2015 - 19:54
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/clemson-offensive-lineman-proposes-senior-day-daniel-stone
Body:

Clemson's Senior Day will always be one to remember for Daniel Stone.

 

The senior offensive tackle ran out during the player introductions and couldn't wait a minute longer to propose to his girlfriend. Great scene for all Tiger fans in attendance. 

Luckily she said yes. It could've really put a damper on the whole game if she didn't.

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, November 21, 2015 - 17:20
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/katy-perry-trolls-lsu-ole-miss-oxford-corndog
Body:

Katy Perry is back in Oxford... somewhat.

 

The pop singer got the crowd hype for the game against LSU and gave a subtle hat tip to Les Miles & Co. with a corndog. Perry said while on College GameDay last year that LSU fans smell like them.  

 

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, November 21, 2015 - 16:23
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/virginia-tech-fans-chant-thank-you-frank-beamer-he-takes-field
Body:

Frank Beamer made Blacksburg, VA what it is. The legendary coach made his mark on every Hokies fan in the past couple decades.

 

The fans at Lane Stadium gave the Virginia Tech coach the proper welcome for his final home game after 29 seasons.

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, November 21, 2015 - 12:56
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/5-times-things-schmoney-ruined-sports-bryce-harper-cassidy-hubbarth-cris-carter-cam-newton-dab
Body:

Trends come and go. The important thing is to know when it's time to fade them out.

 

Bryce Harper's butchering of the word "meme" got me thinking of some other times that things should not have been done or said in the sports realm. From Harper to Cris Carter, some just aren't meant to keep up with the times. It's not for everyone.

 

1. Harper is a 23-year-old man. There is no reason he shouldn't know how to pronounce "meme." Obviously the word "meme" isn't going away anytime soon, but Harper has permanently changed the way everyone hears it. 

 

2. That time the NBA Tonight crew tried to rap. No. Just no. Cassidy Hubbarth and Chris Broussard in particular need to never rap again. I'm not even sure I want them listening to it. We don't need them getting any more ideas like this.

 

3. Remember the schmoney dance? People were glad to see that go after catching these golfers doing it on television. It was pretty much lame to do after this aired.

 

4. Carter thinks dabbing, what Cam Newton caused a stir doing during the Panthers-Titans game, is called "bapping." It's ok to say you don't know, Cris. This just reeks of someone's dad trying to keep up with the times.

 

5. Russell Wilson doing the whip and nae nae on the Kids' Choice Awards. I get that it was for the children, but maybe Riley Curry would've been a better candidate to do it. In all fairness, Wilson's dance could've been a lot worse. 

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 13:32
All taxonomy terms: Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, NFL
Path: /nfl/denver-broncos-vs-chicago-bears-game-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

A month ago, had you said the Chicago Bears would have won two games in a row and could make it three against the then-undefeated Denver Broncos, you would've been laughed out of whatever establishment you found yourself in. 

 

Well, here we are, just days away from Week 11 kickoff, and the Broncos have lost two straight games and now must go forward without the all-time leading passer in NFL history. The panic button hasn't been pressed in Denver yet, but there's serious cause for concern inside a Broncos' locker room that once stood 7-0 atop the football world, now licking their wounds heading into Soldier Field.

 

The Bears on the other hand are in the midst of playing their best football of the season, standing at 4-5 after two consecutive victories on the road. Quarterback Jay Cutler is playing the best football of his career, and the once-putrid defense has found it's niche, ranking sixth overall in the league against the run. 

 

With the third-easiest remaining schedule in the league, the Bears have a chance to turn their season into a playoff chase with a home win against the Broncos, a team head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase know very well, both coached in Denver together from 2011-14. If anyone knows how to stop this Broncos team, with or without Peyton Manning, it's Fox, but can it be done? 

 

Denver at Chicago

 

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (Sunday)
TV: FOX
Spread: Chicago -1

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Bears Running Back Jeremy Langford

In Langford's two games as the Bears' starting running back, he's tallied 384 all-purpose yards, providing great insurance during Matt Forte's absence. Langford, the former fourth-round pick, has proven capable during his short stint as the starter, and surely will be utilized more once Forte returns. Langford is a true threat out of the backfield as a receiver, and has great north-south vision as a runner. The Broncos' defense is expected to focus heavily on Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett, but now have to account for Langford everytime he's on the field. 

 

2. Broncos Injuries

Outside of Peyton Manning's absence, DeMarcus Ware and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders aren't expected to play, leaving two gaping holes on both sides of the ball for the Broncos. Rookie edge rusher Shaq Barrett has stepped in quite nicely during Ware's absence, piling up 31 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles in spot duty. Third-year quarterback Brock Osweiler is slated to start under center in Manning's absence, the quarterback John Fox drafted during his tenure with the Broncos. The passing game takes a relatively large hit with the absence of Sanders, who's responsible for 46 catches for 639 yards and four touchdowns. Expect the Bears to exploit the weakness in the passing game, with an unproven and inexperienced quarterback without one of his leading receivers, and a seemingly anemic running game. 

 

3. Jay Cutler

Cutler is on pace to have his best season as a professional, but the Broncos could be the one team to derail his recent success, considering they're ranked first in the league in nearly ever defensive statistical category, including giving up a stingy 18.7 points per game. Cutler has yet to have a multiple-interception game in 2015, but knowing he'll be facing arugably the league's best cornerback tandem in Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. could get inside of his head. Cutler has weapons all around him on offense; Langford, Jeffery, Bennett, and the surging Zach Miller, so as long as he remains patient and confident with the ball in his hands, he could be in for a big day at home.

 

Final Analysis

 

As mentioned before, this game a month ago was an etched-in-stone Broncos victory, considering where they and the Bears were respectively at that point in the season. However, the tide has turned in tremendous fashion, and now the Bears head into this matchup as one-point favorites at home. The Bears are in a position to turn their season around, and the Broncos are a reeling, injured team on the road without their anchor in Peyton Manning. Some could perceive a victory as a steal by Chicago, but at this point in the season it's only fair to call it what it is - a hard-fought, deserved win.

 

Prediction: Bears 24, Broncos 19

 

— Written by Chris Dougherty, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Dougherty also serves as a National Recruiting Analyst for 247Sports.com and has written for other sites, including FanSided.com and Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @warontheweekend.

Teaser:
Denver Broncos vs. Chicago Bears Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 13:30
All taxonomy terms: Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, NFL
Path: /nfl/dallas-cowboys-vs-miami-dolphins-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

After being away from home for nearly a month, the Miami Dolphins (4-5) return to Sun Life Stadium to play the Dallas Cowboys (2-7) on Sunday. Trailing 16-3 after the first quarter in their last game against Philadelphia, the Dolphins outscored the Eagles 17-3 to pull out a 20-19 win at Lincoln Financial Field.

 

Meanwhile the Cowboys are hoping the return of quarterback Tony Romo will help end their seven-game losing streak. Romo suffered a broken clavicle in the Cowboys’ 20-10 Week 2 victory over the Eagles and haven’t won since.

 

The last time the Cowboys and Dolphins played each other, Dallas defeated Miami 20-19 at Cowboys Stadium on Nov. 24, 2011, which was Thanksgiving Day. Miami holds a 7-6 series advantage in the series, which includes Dallas’ 24-3 Super Bowl VI triumph.

 

Dallas at Miami

 

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (Sunday)

TV: FOX

Spread: Miami -1

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Tony Romo

During Romo’s absence, not only did the team struggle to a 0-7 record, but not surprisingly, the offense did as well. The Cowboys have averaged 14.2 points in their last five games, which is the second-worst production in the NFL during that span. The team also has not scored a touchdown in three separate games.

 

With Romo under center, the Cowboys are 14-2 in his last 16 starts. In the first two games this season, Romo was 61-of-79 for 623 yards and four touchdowns.

Romo could be the spark the Cowboys and in particular, wide receiver Dez Bryant, need. Bryant also returned from injury, a broken bone in his foot, just a few weeks ago. In the three games since his return, Bryant has 12 catches for 161 yards and a touchdown.

 

2. Dolphins’ linebackers

Miami's defense is dealing with some injuries, in particular to their linebacker corps. Koa Misi (abdomen) and Jelani Jenkins (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday and both are likely to be designated Questionable for Sunday’s game.

 

“That’s a day-by-day deal for us and we’ll see how it goes," Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell said earlier this week. "Today they didn’t go out there, both of them it will probably be a game-time decision to be honest with you. I would say Koa is probably a little bit better at this point, but we’re optimistic about both.”

 

Campbell suggested that Neville Hewitt would likely start if Jenkins cannot play. Spencer Paysinger, who has been out with a neck injury, returned to practice on Wednesday and could be available for Sunday’s game.

 

3. Home-field Advantage

The Dolphins have been the definition of road warriors when it comes to their first nine games of the season. Miami is the first team since the 1970 merger to have just two games scheduled in its stadium in the first 10 weeks. The Dolphins were the designated home team at Wembley Stadium when they lost to the New York Jets 27-14 in London on Oct. 4.

 

"You know get back in a rhythm with that where you’re not traveling and you get your home crowd and you’re just traveling down the road," Campbell said. "You’re not flying out to go play another game, so there again I’ve said it before - I don’t want to put a lot of stock into it. Of course we’re happy to be home and I think our crowd is going to be into it. They’re going to be ready to go, which always you can use to your advantage. But bottom line we got another game and whether it’s there or it’s here or it’s in the parking lot, we got to go win.”

 

While returning home will be nice for the players, Miami hasn’t had that much of home-field advantage lately, as the team has gone 19-23 at Sun Life Stadium since 2010. The Dolphins did however, play their best game of the season at home when they destroyed the Houston Texans 44-26 in Week 7.

 

Final Analysis

 

Dallas will certainly be a different team with the return of Tony Romo. While the offense should receive a lift from the quarterback, Romo certainly won’t solve all of the Cowboys’ problems.

 

The Cowboys’ defense is ranked 17th in yards allowed and this unit gives up an average of 23.8 points per game, which is 18th in the NFL.

 

The biggest key for the Dolphins will be the play of their offensive line. Not only do they have to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but the front five also need to open up lanes for running backs Lamar Miller and backup Jay Ajayi.

 

If Tannehill has time to throw the football, the Dolphins should be able to expose the Cowboys’ secondary.

 

Prediction: Dolphins 27, Cowboys 24

 

— 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, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.

Teaser:
Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 13:15
All taxonomy terms: Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, NFL
Path: /nfl/indianapolis-colts-vs-atlanta-falcons-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

The Atlanta Falcons (6-3) are hoping that a much-needed bye week will be the key to getting their season back on track. After a 5-0 start, Atlanta’s high-octane offense suddenly hit a wall, resulting in losses in three of its past four contests. Even in the Falcons lone victory during that stretch, they only managed to score 10 points against the Titans. The well-rested Falcons will attempt to return to early season form in Week 11 as they play host to the Colts.

 

Like Atlanta, the Indianapolis Colts (4-5) were also on a hiatus in Week 10. Unlike the Falcons, Indianapolis entered its bye week with a shot of momentum following a big victory over previously unbeaten Denver. Unfortunately, the celebration would be short lived as the Colts discovered that they would be without quarterback Andrew Luck for the next few weeks due to a lacerated kidney. Indianapolis also lost impressive rookie DE Henry Anderson for the season with an ACL tear. The Colts will look to carry whatever momentum remains into a tough matchup in Atlanta.

 

This will be the 16th meeting all-time between the Colts and the Falcons dating back to 1966. Indianapolis holds a commanding 13-2 lead in the series. The two teams last played in 2011 with the Falcons dominating the Colts by a score of 31-7 in Indianapolis.

 

Indianapolis at Atlanta

 

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (Sunday)

TV: CBS

Spread: Atlanta -6

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Which Falcons Offense Shows Up?

Much of the Falcons successful start to the season can be attributed to their offense. During that stretch, the Falcons averaged 32 points per game, converted on 74 percent of their trips to the red zone, and committed just five turnovers, resulting in a 5-0 record.

 

The Falcons' offense can also take credit for the team’s demise in the last four contests. In those four games, Atlanta averaged just 16 points per game, converted on 43 percent of its trips to the red zone, and committed nine turnovers en route to a 1-3 record.

 

Needless to say, the Falcons' bye week could not have come at a better time, providing for some much-needed rest and healing. More importantly, the bye provided an opportunity to get the Atlanta offense back on the right track. The return of wide receiver Leonard Hankerson from injury should provide a spark. Atlanta also is expected to turn to a no-huddle attack this week to help jumpstart the offense. There is no guarantee that the Falcons' offense can return to early-season form, but if it can, it is guaranteed to be a long day for the Colts' defense.

 

2. Matt Hasselbeck

While the Colts 40-year-old backup quarterback no longer has the cannon arm and big-play potential that an Andrew Luck brings to the table, Hasselbeck has proven that he still has the tools to win football games in the NFL. In fact, Hasselbeck is a perfect 2-0 this season while filling in for Luck, throwing for 495 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

 

Hasselbeck can best be described as a proficient “game manager” at this point in his career. He rarely makes mistakes, he can keep the chains moving, and most importantly, he can keep a vulnerable Colts defense off the field for long stretches. In that respect, Hasselbeck could be exactly what the Colts' offense needs at the moment, and his track record speaks for itself.

 

On the flip side, both of Hasselbeck’s victories this season came against struggling teams with losing records. He also must contend with the fact that he will be facing one of his former coaches that knows his tendencies all too well. First-year Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn spent time with Hasselbeck when he served as a defensive assistant in Seattle. Hasselbeck is not the huge downgrade from Luck that some people make him out to be, but he will struggle if he gets taken out of his comfort zone. Hasselbeck's slow and steady pace may not be enough against a Falcons team capable of putting up a lot of points in a hurry.

 

3. Julio Jones vs. Vontae Davis

Colts head coach Chuck Pagano suggested earlier in the week that Davis, his Pro Bowl cornerback, would play one-one-one coverage against Jones in Week 11. It stands to reason that Pagano would want his top cornerback to shadow Jones in Sunday’s game, especially considering the Colts other options in the secondary. It is the “one-on-one” aspect that gets called into question.

 

Davis is one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL when fully healthy, and he should provide Jones with one of his bigger challenges of the season, making for an entertaining matchup on Sunday. That being said, Davis stands little chance of containing Jones completely on his own, and virtually no chance if Davis’ lingering foot injury should flare up.

 

At the very least, Davis will require some safety help over the top to limit the risk of big plays. The one-on-one aspect may be a little exaggerated as well. It’s not a knock on Davis to say that he will have difficulty containing Jones one-on-one. After all, there may not be a defensive back on the planet capable of completely shutting down a receiver with Jones’ physical attributes and elite skill set.

 

Final Analysis

 

The Colts enter this matchup slightly handicapped without Andrew Luck, but Matt Hasselbeck should not be underestimated. To be successful, Hasselbeck will need plenty of help from Frank Gore and Ahmad Bradshaw in the run game. At a minimum, the Colts' defense, which is prone to struggle, must limit the Falcons' big-play ability on offense.

 

For the Falcons, moving the football should not be a major issue against a Colts defense that has a tendency to be somewhat generous at times. However, empty trips to the red zone and turnovers remain obvious areas of concern. It is also of paramount importance to get Devonta Freeman back on track after he rushed for just 12 yards against San Francisco in the Atlanta's last game (Week 9).

 

This matchup primarily hinges on the Falcons' offense. The bye week, the return of complementary wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, and the potential to go no-huddle could all serve as catalysts that help revive the Atlanta offense. However, if that should fail to happen, Indianapolis has more than enough to earn the victory even with a backup QB as its starter.

 

Prediction: Falcons 28, Colts 20

 

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

Teaser:
Indianapolis Colts vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/bryce-harper-has-no-idea-how-pronounce-memes-sportscenter
Body:

When people think of Bryce Harper sometimes the words cool, amazing, etc. come to mind. Not anymore.

 

During a SportsCenter segment, we learn just how un-cool Harper really is when he tries to pronounce the word "meme." In case you're wondering, it's all one syllable. 

 

In the age of the internet, this will be a difficult one to live down.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 12:39
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-five-up-five-down-tony-romo-frank-gore-antonio-gates-giovani-bernard-week-11
Body:

As we enter the last week of the NFL and fantasy season with any teams on bye (Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers), we look at players who have tough matchups in Week 11. Some guys have higher upside this week because of injuries to players on their team.

 

Do not treat this as a start/sit column, but rather guys who are either ranked higher because of matchup or may exceed (or fall below) their ranking.

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh

 

Five Up

 

Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys

Romo's sample size for this season is small: he's played in just two games this season. In Week 1, he threw the ball 45 times. He completed 36 passes for 356 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. In Week 11, he is expected to return to face Miami's 20th-ranked defense. Miami gives up the 10th-most points to opposing quarterbacks, and while Romo may be a little rusty, he's the eighth-ranked quarterback this week. Romo and Dez Bryant are reunited and the Cowboys' offense should be rejuvenated.

 

DeMarco Murray, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Murray has been putting up solid fantasy numbers lately. In the last five games, he's been had at least 18 carries. He has three touchdowns in that span and no game with less than 70 total yards. It appears that Ryan Mathews will miss the game on Sunday, which means more carries for Murray and more work on passing downs. Mark Sanchez will likely be the quarterback and although the Eagles may attempt to get Darren Sproles a little more involved, this will be Murray's game. Tampa Bay's run defense has been better lately, but Murray is a solid RB1 for Week 11.

 

Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts

With Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback, Atlanta giving up the second-most points to opposing running backs and the Colts saying they are no longer going to limit Gore's carries, Gore is a RB1 for Week 11. In the two games he played with Hasselbeck in Weeks 4 and 5, Gore had a total of 39 carries for 151 yards, a touchdown and five receptions for 34 yards. The Colts are going to know that Atlanta's weakness is trying to stop the run and they are going to attack that. Look for Gore to have a big week.

 

Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins

While Crowder is the third wide receiver on the depth chart, he has been lining up in the slot. Carolina's cornerbacks defend the wideouts well, but have struggled against the slot (Randall Cobb had a 4-99-1 stat line in Week 9). Look for DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to be covered and Kirk Cousins to be desperate to throw the ball to anyone that he can. Tight end Jordan Reed and Crowder will be those guys. Crowder is the 52nd-ranked wide receiver this week, but don't be surprised if he finishes the week in the top 30.

 

Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions

While Oakland has gotten slightly better against tight ends, they still allow the third-most fantasy points to the position. Ebron has averaged about four receptions per game and has three touchdowns on the year. While the Lions' offense has struggled lately, Ebron was a red zone target for Matthew Stafford in the first two weeks of the season. He was injured for a few weeks, but is a low-end TE1 for Week 11. He's the 10th-ranked tight end this week.

 

Five Down

 

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

You're likely not sitting Rodgers if you have him. He is ranked as the fourth-highest quarterback this week. However, fantasy owners know that he's been struggling recently. Normally he's lights-out at home, but in the past three games at Lambeau Field, he hasn't had more than two touchdown passes. He did throw four at Carolina in Week 9 and the game is at Minnesota this week. The Vikings' defense hasn’t allowed an opposing quarterback to throw more than two touchdowns and they've allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to the position. Rodgers should be OK for fantasy purposes, but not great. Factor in the banged-up shoulder and it's not the best week for him.

 

Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Coming off a short week, playing a team in the top third in terms of run defenses, Bernard is a RB3 for Week 11. Jeremy Hill is still in the picture, although Bernard has looked like the better running back. He's also the back that is involved more in the passing game. However, he only has two touchdowns on the year and his involvement as pass catcher has been hit or miss. He has three games with five or more receptions and six games with three or less (including one game with zero and two with one catch). Between the timeshare and the matchup, Bernard, as the 24th-ranked running back this week, isn't a great option for Week 11.

 

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

After Darrelle Revis shut down Sammy Watkins in Week 10, he gets Hopkins in Week 11. After missing practice this week with a knee issue, Hopkins likely isn't at 100 percent. He did have a four-game streak of 100-yard games, but that ended in Week 6. He has a touchdown in each of the last two games, but that's been what has saved his fantasy day. The other thing to keep in mind is who is going to be at quarterback. Brian Hoyer (concussion) is still not cleared to play. If he is out, T.J. Yates will be throwing Hopkins the ball. If you own Hopkins, you're playing him. However, he's not someone that you should target in daily play.

 

Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers

Gates is coming off the bye week, but is still dealing with a knee injury. He reportedly also has a hip injury on top of the knee issue. Since suffering the knee injury in Week 7, Gates has played two games and has 10 receptions for 125 yards and no touchdowns. Kansas City actually allows the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. The Chiefs haven't allowed a tight end to have more than four receptions (Martellus Bennett, on 11 targets) and they've only allowed two touchdowns to opposing tight ends. It's a tough matchup for a banged-up tight end this week.

 

Jacob Tamme, TE, Atlanta Falcons

Tamme's success has come when Leonard Hankerson has been out. While Indianapolis has given up the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, Matt Ryan prefers his wide receivers to his tight end when available. Look for running back Devonta Freeman to carry the load as much as possible as well, leaving Tamme back in the three catches-for-30 yards range. If Hankerson is inactive, Tamme has high TE2 value; if Hankerson plays, he's a low TE2.

 

— 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 Five Up, Five Down: Tony Romo, Frank Gore Up; Antonio Gates, Giovani Bernard Down for Week 11
Post date: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/bold-fantasy-predicitions-week-11-nfl
Body:

It’s Week 11 of the NFL season, also known as the last week with any teams on bye. Fantasy-wise this means this is the last week owners should have to worry about anything other than injuries (and there are a LOT) preventing them from fielding their best lineup.


However, that doesn’t mean your best players will always play their best games for you, as we have all certainly observed and in most cases, paid the price for on at least one occasion this season. So what does Week 11 have in store for us? It’s really anyone’s best guess, but I’m willing to go out on a limb with a few BOLD prediction of my own.

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh

 

Kirk Cousins Out-Duels Cam Newton

No, that’s not a mistake. You actually read that right. Yes, I know that the Panthers are undefeated and that Newton really is playing like Superman right now. I also know that while Cousins had a career game last week (which I called I might add), completing 20-of-24 passes for 324 yards and four touchdowns, that game was against New Orleans and right now a high school quarterback might be able to hang numbers like those on the Saints. Anyways, the Redskins are in a dogfight not only for the NFC East, but also to stay in the wild card hunt. With the emergence of versatile running back Matt Jones and a presumably healthy Jordan Reed at tight end, Cousins actually now has decent weapons at his disposal. If Newton doesn’t rush for a touchdown, he won’t score more than 16 fantasy points this week against the Redskins while Cousins will score more than 20, thanks in large part to Jones’ contributions as a pass catcher.

 

No Big Deal, Adrian Peterson Runs for Another 200 Yards

It looks like Peterson is going to take the entire Minnesota Vikings team on his back and run them into the playoffs. Whether or not that means an NFC North crown or not is still up for discussion. The Vikings currently sit atop their division for two reasons – Peterson and a stout defense. All-Day as his nickname goes, is currently leading the NFL in rushing with 961 yards and he has five TDs. This week the Vikings play host to the Packers and a win over the four-time defending division champions would really put Minnesota in the driver’s seat to end that reign. Peterson has hit 98 yards rushing or more in four straight games and faces a Green Bay defense that is allowing 116.2 yards per game and giving up the 12th-most fantasy points to RBs. If the Vikings are going to win this game it won’t be on the arm of Teddy Bridgewater, it will be on the legs of Peterson. And he will do just that, eclipsing the 200-yard mark for the second straight game and finding the end zone twice.

 

Mike Evans Finishes the Week as Fantasy’s No. 1 WR

After a very rough start to the season that saw Evans struggle through the first five weeks thanks to a hamstring injury, the explosive WR that we all thought we drafted has finally started to emerge. Evans now has 100-plus yards in three of his past four games and this week is going up against an Eagles defense that has allowed six WRs to break the 100-yard mark thus far. Throw in that the Eagles have allowed the third-most fantasy points to WRs on the season and that Jameis Winston really has no one else to throw the ball too and you’ve got a recipe where Evans should see 12-plus targets and easily be able to approach 150 yards receiving with at least one touchdown.

 

Danny Amendola Makes Everyone Forget About Julian Edelman

We’ve seen this happen before in New England. Remember when Wes Welker got hurt and Edelman stepped in to take his place? The same thing is happening to Edelman, at least for the rest of the season. There’s no doubt that Edelman is the better player, but Amendola does have real talent, which is showcased in the fact that he’s caught 40 of his 48 targets or 83.3 pecent. That’s outstanding. When Edelman went down last week, we saw what Amendola can do, as he caught 10 of 11 targets for 79 yards, that’s 17.9 points in a PPR league. Tom Brady is going to throw the ball all over the field this week against the Buffalo Bills, who are allowing 252 passing yards per game and giving up the 11th-most fantasy points to WRs. Look for Amendola to catch at least eight passes for 100-plus and a touchdown this week.

 

Darren McFadden Finishes as Fantasy’s No. 1 RB

Yes, I know that Devonta Freeman is back this week and playing against the Indianapolis Colts who are starting Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback. But it wouldn’t be a bold prediction to say that Freeman was going to finish the week as the No. 1 running back in fantasy. So I’m going with a guy who many thought would either be cut or injured by now in McFadden. He is basically this year’s C.J. Anderson, where around midseason he takes his team’s starting RB job and carries your fantasy team to the playoffs. McFadden has been outstanding since taking over the No. 1 role with the Dallas Cowboys (other than last week’s clunker where he only scored 5.8 fantasy points), and he’s only going to get better with Tony Romo back under center. It also helps that this week McFadden gets to go up against a Dolphins defense that is terrible against the run and is currently allowing the second-most fantasy points to RBs. Look for McFadden to surpass 150 total yards and score two touchdowns in this one.

 

Antonio Gates Has the Best Game of His Career

When Gates was healthy this year, which were his first two games back after serving a four-game suspension to start the season, he was the best tight end in football. Yes, even better than Rob Gronkowski. Then he suffered a MCL injury to his knee and hasn’t been the same since. Well after some much-needed rest thanks to his bye week, Gates is ready to hit the field and show that he still has some serious fantasy production left in the tank. Philip Rivers is playing some of the best football of his career and since the Chargers’ defense can’t stop anyone from scoring, they are constantly passing the ball to try to stay in games. With the wide receiver corps decimated by injury, Gates is clearly the No. 1 option in the passing game. It doesn’t matter that this week’s matchup is a terrible one against the Kansas City Chiefs. Rivers and Gates have chemistry that you can’t find anywhere else and the QB will look to get the ball to his TE no matter what. Gates is in store for a 10-plus catch, 150-yard, two-touchdown game. Yes, that is crazy.

 

— 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:
Bold Fantasy Predictions for Week 11 in the NFL
Post date: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 10:20
Path: /college-football/alabama-sending-strong-message-dominating-defense-still-alive-college-football
Body:

Defense was supposed to be dead in college football. Killed by the likes of these new-fangled, up-tempo, no-huddle, spread-em-out, pass-happy offenses that pile up the yardage. And the points. Touch football with helmets and shoulder pads. It seemed to originate with the Big 12 Conference a few years ago and over time infiltrated into all of college football.

 

Defense wins championships. Yeah, that was the old saying. Today championships come to those who can outscore others. So they say. Then the 2015 Alabama defense arrived on the scene.

 

Um, maybe defense isn't dead after all. And, maybe, just maybe, defense can still deliver championships. Hey, if anybody in college football is gonna resurrect the idea of swarming, suffocating, sock-you-in-the-mouth, relentless defense, who better to do it than Alabama, right?

 

One of the hallmarks of Nick Saban's Alabama teams during this eight-year dynasty run — a run that's been punctuated by three national titles — has been stingy defense. Alabama finished in the top five in total defense in the nation from 2008-13, finishing No. 1 in both 2011 and '12. The Crimson Tide slipped to No. 12 last season.

 

This season? After a bit of a slow start — exhibit A being the Ole Miss loss in mid-September when the Bama D yielded 433 yards to Chad Kelly & Co. — Alabama has rounded into form reminiscent of past Alabama defenses. The Tide currently ranks fourth in the nation in total defense (278.1 ypg). Back in familiar territory rankings-wise.

 

The run defense (77.1 ypg) is right on par with the Alabama run defenses of 2012 (76.4 ypg), '11 (72.2 ypg), '09 (79.4 ypg) and '08 (74.1 ypg). Oh, and, yeah, Alabama won national titles in three of those four seasons and came within a Tim Tebow eyelash of playing for a national title in '08.

 

Saban said this week he really hasn't been surprised by the success this season of Alabama's defense, particularly the front seven.

 

"I thought that was gonna be the strength of our team going in," he said. "Every one of those guys has gotten better which I think is a tribute to their work ethic, but also (DL) coach Bo Davis has done a nice job with them. Some of the guys have gotten lighter and are quicker and some of the guys have developed and been able to play more significant roles. And I think the diversity that we have in players is very helpful, and the fact that we have really good depth is really a luxury to be able to roll in as many players as we roll in and not really lose a lot."

 

But there's a facet to this year's defense that sets it apart from the championship-caliber units of the past. A facet that makes it even more imposing, more intimidating, more fear-invoking.

 

This Alabama defense can flat-out harass and punish opposing quarterbacks, unlike any other Bama D in the Saban era. Alabama ranks second in the country in sacks with 38. Yeah, second. In all of college football. Alabama. Go figure.

 

Only Penn State with 42 has more. Under Saban, Alabama has never finished in the top 15 in sacks nationally. Its best season prior to this year came in 2012 when it finished tied for 16th in the country with 35 sacks. Alabama has never had a double-digit sack leader under Saban (Xzavier Dickson finished with nine in 2014 and Courtney Upshaw finished with 9.5 in '11) and with one more sack this season defensive lineman Jonathan Allen will have 10.

 

"Each year he's been here he's gotten a little bigger and a little stronger," Saban said this week of the 6-foot-3, 283-pound junior. "He's always been very athletic and had great first-step quickness. He does a great job of using his hands and moving his feet which is really critical in being a good pass rusher. He's got enough pop now to turn speed to power on people as well as enough quickness to get by them. That usually is the combination that makes a really good pass rusher."

 

Three of Allen's and nine of the Tide's 38 sacks this season came last Saturday when Alabama made arguably the conference's best quarterback, Mississippi State's Dak Prescott, probably wish he was the Bulldogs' kicker or punter or water boy for those three hours at Davis Wade Stadium.

 

The grass-planting of Prescott came one week after Alabama shut down another of the SEC's big-name offensive stars — LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Pretty sure everyone remembers what the Alabama defense did to the then-Heisman front-runner, bottling him up for a measly 31 yards rushing.

 

"I'm pleased with way the guys have played — and they've played pretty well against whatever we've faced, whether it was a running team like LSU or Arkansas or passing teams like (Texas) A&M and what we saw last week," Saban said of his defense.

 

Yes, Alabama has been really, really good on defense before. But this time Alabama is doing it with the added weapon of a pass rush with some bite to it. And, perhaps more significantly, it's doing it in an age now where points, passing, pace and giant posterboard cards with cartoon pictures are supposed to rule the day.

 

Yeah, it's taken Nick Saban & Co. a season or two to figure out how to combat these new style offenses. It's involved some tweaks in recruiting, tweaks in substitution methods, tweaks in formation alignments and tweaks in game-planning and in-game calls.

 

So far, at least to this point in the season, it's mission accomplished. More tests remain however. And the question as to whether this defense will deliver a national crown like the defenses in 2012, '11 and '09 did has yet to be answered.

 

For now, though, it's clear defense is not dead in college football. It just took the guy viewed today as the best coach in the game a little while to figure out how bring it back.

 

— Written by Erik Stinnett, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Stinnett is an experienced college football beat writer who has been covering Alabama since 2009.

Teaser:
Alabama Sending Strong Message That Dominating Defense Still Alive In College Football
Post date: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 10:15
Path: /college-football/iowa-hawkeyes-vs-nebraska-cornhuskers-2015-statistically-speaking
Body:

While statistics aren’t always the be-all and end-all when trying to foretell the outcome in sports, we can often gather tidbits of knowledge from these seemingly trivial tea leaves. Considering what Nebraska and No. 5 Iowa have to lose in next Friday's tilt, let’s look at some major categories and see how these two teams match up, statistically speaking in this case.

 

We’re going to have a look at these numbers from two vantage points: the entire season and over the month of November considering Turkey Month has been where the Huskers’ momentum has shifted the most.

 

First, Iowa’s strength of schedule is ranked No. 55 by Jeff Sagarin while Nebraska checks in at No. 51. This makes sense considering both are Big Ten West members and Iowa didn’t have any “name” out-of-conference opponents except for 7-3 Pittsburgh while Nebraska faced BYU (7-3) and the Miami Hurricanes (6-4).

 

Third down conversions are vital. Not only do they extend drives, but they make the opposing defense have to run around some more, which usually leads to points on the board.

 

Iowa does very well in this area, converting 47 percent of the time while Nebraska does so at a 44 percent clip. That’s an impressive average for the Cornhuskers considering the trouble they had converting on third-and-short scenarios earlier in the year.

 

This month, Iowa put up a 50 percent success rate in a 35-27 win over Indiana and converted 67 percent of its third down attempts in a recent 40-35 victory over Minnesota.

 

Nebraska hit 50 percent in its upset over then-No. 7 Michigan State. However, it only managed 45 percent versus Rutgers, which heavily contributed to the Big Red’s offensive struggles in the middle of the contest.

 

 

One of the biggest impacts on a game is turnovers and Iowa’s done very well with a plus-11 (+11) margin. Nebraska, on the other hand, currently sits at minus-10 (-10). The Hawkeyes ended ahead by one against both the Hoosiers and Gophers while the Huskers trailed by one against the Spartans and Scarlet Knights.

 

If a turnover or two is a problem, penalties (or more specifically lack thereof) may save a team’s collective butts. Nebraska had a tough going during its non-conference schedule, which is especially understandable with a new head coach. The Huskers’ average sits at seven flags per game for 63 yards as a result.

 

The team east of the Missouri has played tight games but efficient football as the Hawkeyes are averaging five penalties for 51 yards on average.

 

Nebraska was flagged five times for 55 yards against Michigan State, but only twice for 15 yards versus Rutgers. Iowa has played effectively this month, but has been a little more careless with five flags for 55 yards against Indiana and four for 50 against Minnesota.

 

Finally, let’s have a look at what happens once these teams enter the red zone. Iowa is tied for No. 41 in FBS, managing to score in some fashion 87 percent on average. The Hawkeyes were a perfect 9-for-9 in their past two scraps.

 

 

Danny Langsdorf’s Cornhusker offense ranks No. 16 with a conversion rate of 91 percent. Nebraska converted three of four attempts versus Michigan State and both against Rutgers.

 

What have we learned? If the numbers tell us anything, it’s that these are two very evenly-matched teams on paper. Nebraska’s going to have to play with the same focus it did versus the Spartans to claim victory. Fortunately, they’ll have the same tens of thousands of Husker fans backing them up.

 

— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow Brandon on Twitter @eightlaces and like his Facebook page.

Teaser:
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers 2015: Statistically Speaking
Post date: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 10:10
Path: /college-football/california-golden-bears-vs-stanford-cardinal-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

The California Golden Bears will travel 38 miles south along San Francisco Bay to face their archrivals. They have two goals to accomplish by winning the Big Game. First of all, they can secure their first winning season since 2011. Secondly, they can ruin their neighbors' chance of clinching the Pac-12 North Division on the field.

 

Stanford's loss to Oregon appears to have killed any chance of reaching the College Football Playoff. However, the Cardinal still control their own path to win the Pac-12 North. A loss to Cal means relying on the Trojans or Beavers to pin a third conference loss on Oregon. 

 

The Big Game has been played every season starting in 1946. Stanford holds an overall advantage in this series, 48-40-6. As for games in Palo Alto, the Cardinal lead 26-19-1.

 

College Football Podcast: Week 12 Preview



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

California at Stanford

 

Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Stanford -11

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Crush the Rush versus Rush to Crush

A key to victories for Stanford this season has been suppressing the running game of its foes. When the Cardinal have held opponents to fewer than 200 yards gained on the ground, they have won all eight times. They lost both games when allowing more than 200 yards on the ground.

 

The amount of yards gained on the ground has factored into most of Cal's victories. The key number is 139. The Bears have lost four out of the five contests in which have gained fewer than that. In contrast, when equaling or exceeding that, they have won all five times.

 

2. Protect the Ball

It is a cardinal rule (pardon the pun) yet true nonetheless: teams that do not turn over the ball greater improve their chances to win. Stanford turned over the ball twice or more in four games; half of those resulted in their two losses.

 

Cal has forced 24 turnovers through ten games. In the seven games in which the Bears took away the ball from the opposition at least twice, they won five of those. The Bears need to pick off some passes or recover some fumbles to keep the score close in Palo Alto.

 

3. 30-Point Barrier

Over the course of the season, 30 points has served as the threshold of victory for the Bears. Cal's record when scoring at least that many is 6-0. The Bears lost all four games when the opposition held them below 30 points.

 

Stanford has allowed opponents to score 30 or more only three times. One of those was a loss.

 

Final Analysis

 

Stanford has to rebound after losing a heart-breaker at home. The Cardinal need to tune out what they cannot control, namely, the fleeting possibility of advancing to the College Football Playoff. They must focus on what they can accomplish on their own: grabbing the Pac-12 South title. If the playoffs are out of reach, at least a Pac-12 conference crown and a trip to the Rose Bowl would serve as nice consolation prizes.

 

Cal will have no sympathy for the Cardinal. In fact, the Bears are dying to guarantee themselves a wining season while snapping the five-game losing streak to their cross-bay foes. The game will be a nail-biter but Stanford's edge in talent will prove to be the difference.

 

Prediction: Stanford 38, California 33

 

— Written by John La Fleur, a contributor to AthlonSports.com, who focuses on the New Orleans Saints and Michigan State Spartans. Follow him on Twitter @FBConnoisseur.

Teaser:
California Golden Bears vs. Stanford Cardinal Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 10:05
Path: /college-football/boston-college-eagles-vs-notre-dame-fighting-irish-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

The Shamrock Series — Notre Dame's home game-away-from-home series — will take place for the seventh consecutive year on Saturday. The Irish will host the Boston College Eagles at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. It'll be the first football game at Fenway since 1968, when the then-Boston Patriots hosted the Cincinnati Bengals.

 

From a fan's point of view, it'll be a "bucket-list" event. Seeing one of college football's iconic programs play a game in one of America's iconic sports venues will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many, and the secondary market ticket prices are a reflection of that.

 

Be that as it may, this is a business trip for Brian Kelly and his Fighting Irish. Notre Dame is right in the thick of the College Football Playoff hunt. They cannot afford to be consumed and distracted by the unique atmosphere. Distractions aside, Boston College is simply too good of a football team — despite its record — for Notre Dame to look past as the Irish set their sights on postseason glory.

 

The rivalry between these two programs has historically had national championship implications, but the backdrop on Saturday ups the ante and make this one must-see TV.

 

College Football Podcast: Week 12 Preview



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

Boston College vs. Notre Dame (Fenway Park)

 

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

Channel: NBCSN

Spread: Notre Dame -16.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. How will the Irish attack the Boston College defense?

The Irish bring a bevy of offensive playmakers to Fenway and will look to jump out early. That'll be easier said than done, as the Eagles field what is statistically the best defense in the land. It will be interesting to see whether or not Brian Kelly tries to establish the run early on, risking putting his offense into 3rd-and-long situations right away. If he decides to come out throwing, the Irish offensive line will be trying to protect quarterback DeShone Kizer from a Boston College front seven that leads the ACC in sacks with 31. The Eagles won't be intimidated on defense. As a result, don't be shocked to see Kelly try and fluster them with a trick play early.

 

2. How does Boston College move the ball?

In his two starts so far, freshmen quarterback John Fadule has completed just over 54 percent of his passes for 400 yards, with only a single touchdown to four interceptions. That's not going to do much in the way of keeping Notre Dame honest on defense. The Irish will likely load the box and challenge Fadule to beat them. Boston College offensive coordinator Todd Fitch may need to get creative with screens and underneath routes in order to back off Notre Dame's front seven and give Tyler Rouse and the rest of the Eagle running backs some breathing room. That might be easier than it normally would have been this week, as Notre Dame linebacker James Onwulalu is out with an MCL sprain. He's accounted for 36 tackles on the season, including five for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble.

 

3. Kelly's mercifulness

This will be a special event for Notre Dame, Boston College and the city of Boston as a whole. It will be a spectacle and a celebration of both a great sport and city. That said — and as I mentioned before — Notre Dame is very much in the College Football Playoff mix, and this game has the potential to get out of hand. Despite what anyone says, the name of the game is impressing the committee by any means necessary. Will Kelly be happy to simply control the game and get out of Beantown with a win to stay in the hunt? Or will he drop the hammer if given the opportunity in order to make an eye-popping statement nationally?

 

Final Analysis

 

Boston College has the talent on defense to give Notre Dame trouble early. The problem the Eagles will have is sustaining enough drive to give their defense a rest against a Notre Dame offense that is a nightmare to defend. At some point, expect Notre Dame's talent and depth to wear down the Eagles on both sides of the ball. DeShone Kizer's mobility will be the difference in this one, as he'll roll out of the pocket and make big plays early with both his arm and his legs. Once that happens, the Eagles will have no other choice but to throw the ball to keep pace. That's going to make BC quarterback John Fadule a sitting duck all night, likely leading to multiple turnovers that transform this game from sound win to blowout rather quickly.

 

Prediction: Notre Dame 41, Boston College 6

 

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Scott is the editor-in-chief of KnowItAllFootball.com, a Big Ten site for Big Ten fans. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.

 

(Top photo courtesy of @fenwaypark)

Teaser:
Boston College Eagles vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/washington-huskies-vs-oregon-state-beavers-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

Bowl eligibility is on the line for Washington when it travels to Oregon State on Saturday. The Huskies need to win both of their final two games to qualify for a bowl game for a sixth consecutive season. Head coach Chris Petersen's team has lost four of its last five games, so completing that task might be easier said than done.

 

The Beavers, on the other hand, are desperate to get a positive result over the next two weeks to avoid going without a Pac-12 victory in a season for the first time since 1997. It won't be easy. Oregon State has lost three straight to Washington and four of five to the Huskies.

 

This marks the 100th meeting between the two rivals. Washington leads 61-34-4 in the series dating back to 1897.

 

Washington at Oregon State

 

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV: Pac 12 Networks

Spread: Washington -16 

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Triple threat

One of the brightest spots for first-year head coach Gary Andersen and the Oregon State offense this season is junior receiver Victor Bolden. He has set himself apart as a threat to do everything from catching deep passes to breaking off long distance returns. Bolden leads the Beavers in all-purpose yardage with 928 yards through 10 games. He is the co-leader in receptions (38) with sophomore receiver Jordan Villamin and is second in receiving yardage (366 yards). Bolden has also totaled 392 yards and a touchdown on 14 kickoff returns in the last five games.

 

2. Records within reach

Myles Gaskin has had one of the best ever freshman seasons of any Washington player. It can get a little more special for the running back over the team's final two regular season games. Gaskin needs just 144 yards to reach 1,000 rushing yards this season. He is just 258 yards away from eclipsing the freshman rushing record of 1,113 yards held by former Huskies RB Chris Polk. Gaskin notched his fifth 100-yard game of the season last week, piling up 108 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries against Arizona State.

 

3. Statistical mismatch

Facing a tough defense like Washington is not good news for a struggling Oregon State offense. The Huskies lead the Pac-12 in scoring defense (19.6 ppg) and red zone defense (79.4 percent). Washington is also second in total defense, allowing 362.3 yards per contest. The Beavers are last in the Pac-12 in many key offensive categories, including scoring offense (17.9 ppg), total offense (335.8 ypg), passing offense (160.2 ypg) and passing efficiency (97.1).

 

Final Analysis

 

Washington desperately needs a victory to avoid missing a bowl game for the first time since 2009. The Huskies have the right opponent to help them get back on a winning track. Oregon State has struggled on both sides of the ball because of inexperience and injuries. The Beavers will struggle to move the ball against Washington and the Huskies will get new life going into the Apple Cup next week.

 

Prediction: Washington 35, Oregon State 10

 

— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.

Teaser:
Washington Huskies vs. Oregon State Beavers Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 09:55
All taxonomy terms: College Football, UCLA Bruins, Utah Utes, Pac 12
Path: /college-football/ucla-bruins-vs-utah-utes-preview-and-prediction-2015
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Three teams are still in the mix for the Pac-12 South divisional title. That number can be trimmed to two after this weekend when UCLA travels to face Utah.

 

Even after losing to Washington State last weekend, the Jim Mora and the Bruins still control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South. If UCLA beats Utah and USC on the road the next two weeks, the Bruins will clinch a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Recent history suggests UCLA can get the job done. The Bruins have won eight of their last nine conference road games and 13 of their last 14 contests played away from the Rose Bowl.

 

Kyle Whittingham and Utah need a little help to clinch the division title after losing to Arizona last weekend. The Utes need to win out against UCLA and Colorado over the next two weeks. They also need USC to lose to either Oregon or the Bruins. Utah has been tough at Rice-Eccles Stadium this season. The Utes are 5-0 on their home turf, with wins over Michigan, Utah State, California, Arizona State and Oregon State.

 

UCLA leads the all-time series 10-3 between the two teams. Utah is 2-4 against the Bruins in Salt Lake City, winning games in 2007 and '11.

 

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UCLA at Utah

 

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV: FOX

Spread: Utah -2

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Booker sidelined

Utah running back Devontae Booker tied a school record against Arizona when he rushed for 145 yards to notch his 14th career 100-yard game. It came at a big cost to the senior. Booker suffered a knee injury in the second half against the Wildcats and underwent surgery to repair torn meniscus on Thursday. It means he will miss the rest of the regular season and is a long shot to return for Utah’s bowl game. Joe Williams will get the start in Booker’s place. Williams, a junior, has played sparingly in seven games and has tallied just 78 yards on 19 carries this season. Losing Booker is a huge blow to Utah's offense. He has averaged 130.9 yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry against Pac-12 opponents this season.

 

2. Moving down the field

UCLA will definitely find ways to test Utah's defense. The Bruins have totaled more than 500 yards on offense in six games this season — a new school record. UCLA has eclipsed the 500-yard mark four times in the last five games and tallied 554 yards against Washington State last week. Paul Perkins became UCLA's all-time reception leader for running backs (71 catches) during the game. Perkins also rushed for 121 yards to notch his 11th career 100-yard game. Jordan Payton tied another school record with 14 catches. Payton has moved into second on school receptions list (187 catches) and is the 11th UCLA receiver to 2,000 receiving yards.

 

3. Kicking it in style

One of the more interesting battles between UCLA and Utah will be on special teams. Utes kicker Andy Phillips and Bruins kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn are two of the best in the nation. Phillips set a school record for career field goals with 58 against Arizona. The junior was three for three on his attempts against the Wildcats. He is 18-of-22 on field goals this season and 10-of-10 inside the 40-yard line. Fairbairn became the Pac-12’s all-time leading scorer after making a first quarter field goal against Washington State. He has made 19 of 20 field goals this season and have converted 18 straight. Fairbairn is the first player in Pac-12 history to score more than 400 career points (402).

 

Final Analysis

 

The stakes have never been higher in this series. Utah and UCLA both need a victory to keep their Pac-12 South title hopes alive. The Bruins have a definite edge coming into this game. Utah has lost its top offensive playmaker to a knee injury and UCLA's offensive engine is running at full speed. The Utes have a good enough defense to slow the Bruins down, but not enough offense without Booker to make it count.

 

Prediction: UCLA 24, Utah 17

 

— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.

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UCLA Bruins vs. Utah Utes Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 09:50

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