Good morning! Hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and gets another day off. If not, well, we will do our best to entertain you.
Quick programming note: No Blitz today or Tuesday. We will return on Wednesday live from Christian’s Tailgate downtown. Please come by and say hello. This is one of my go-to hangouts and always love doing shows at places I frequent. On with the show…
The NFL regular season comes to an end next week, and the matchups are all but set in the AFC. All six teams are locked in; the only thing left is seeding. Let’s take a look:
- New England, 13-2. Have locked up a first-round bye and will get homefield throughout with a win or Raiders loss. The road to the Super Bowl will go through New England, which means get ready to see the Patriots in Houston the first week of February.
- Oakland, 12-3. The Raiders could lose this spot with a loss in Denver and a KC win against San Diego. Both are legitimate possibilities. The Raiders will be without quarterback Derek Carr for the playoffs, and might be the team coming to NRG for round 1.
- Pittsburgh, 10-5. The Steelers are locked into the No. 3 seed (they would win a tiebreaker over the Texans) and will likely host Miami in round 1.
- Houston, 9-6. The Texans are locked into the No. 4 seed and will most likely host either Oakland or Kansas City after Saturday night’s win. They should rest all key players against Tennessee.
- Kansas City, 11-4. Still have a shot at the AFC West title and No. 2 seed with a win and an Oakland loss. Otherwise we will see a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff battle with the Texans. Remember how that one turned out? (30-0 Chiefs in case you forgot).
- Miami, 10-5. The Dolphins have a slim shot at being the 5 seed — all they have to do is beat the Patriots and have the Chiefs lose to San Diego — so we will just assume they play at Pittsburgh in Week 1 as the sixth seed.
The Texans’ best unrealistic hope would be to get Kansas City at home in the first round rather than having to go to Arrowhead in round 2, then hope Miami upsets Pittsburgh. That would send the Texans to Oakland after their glorious upset of KC. The Raiders without Carr are vulnerable. After the Texans surprise them…well, they would get mauled by the Patriots. But hey, one can dream, right?
OK, now let’s be realistic. The Texans will get KC or Oakland in Round 1. While they own a win over KC this year, the Chiefs are better than the Texans. Oakland without Carr is the best possible matchup. After that, there is not a team in the AFC field the Texans match up well with except Miami, which will be ousted early, too. The most likely second-round game should the Texans escape round 1 would be a trip to New England, and we all know how that story ends. So good for the Texans getting in. It will provide at least an extra week of excitement, maybe two.
The Texans are not a bad team. Their defense, in fact, is excellent. Offensively, they are dreadful. The end result is they are a slightly better than average team that beat up an average to below average division. Give them credit for winning a lot of close games. But a good team finds ways to win when they are not at their best, then crushes opponents when they are at their best. The Texans biggest margin of victory this year was nine points in the opener over Chicago. By contrast, possible first-round opponent Kansas City beat Denver by 23 points last night. The Texans do have some good wins — Chiefs, Lions, Titans and twice over the Colts — but the ugly, non-competitive losses to quality teams (and teams that turned on to be not so good) are a concern.
It is a good thing for Texans fans the team made the playoffs. Their ceiling in this group is probably second round. The reality is the pecking order is Patriots by far, with maybe the Steelers or Chiefs if New England falters. Hard to see anyone else getting out of the AFC.
We will look at the NFC tomorrow after Lions-Cowboys sorts some things out.
Gambling updates: Did not get around to a guide this past weekend. Sorry but needed some time off. Went 1-2 (was actually 2-1 on my plays — got Old Dominion at -3.5. Would have still played it at 5, which is what it was on Friday and what we posted. They won by 4). Was 5-3 overall on actual bets. Looking at Lions plus 7.5 tonight and Vanderbilt plus 5.5 as possible plays. Also don’t mind Miami covering against Miss St at plus 14.5. Also, for my horse friends, Santa Anita opens today and I will be tossing some money at it. If I see anything I like I will post the plays here later today and tweet out that it has been updated.
Bleep off already, 2016: The Year of the Celebrity Reaper claimed another one yesterday. George Michael is dead at 53. (And yes, I saw all of your “he’s never gonna dance again” tweets.
Speaking of deaths: Two of the better young QBs in the league, Carr and Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota, were carted off the field with bad leg injuries. Both are done for the season. The Raiders will go with Matt McGloin in the playoffs. The Titans will send out Matt Cassell for the now meaningless finale against the Texans…On an unrelated note, the Browns finally won a game! Give their fans credit for having a sense of humor. Oh, and if you also have a sense of humor and want a fun look at all the games, check out our friends at Holly.football. She is a very funny and knowledgeable young lady.
A public service: Some of the weirdest hangover cures from around the world. I know you guys can use this…or not.
And finally…This was a really, really good idea for how to hide your weed. It did not work, but have to admire the effort.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I LOVE winning, man. I f—ing LOVE winning. You hear what I am saying? It’s like, better than losing.”
— Nuke Laloosh, Bull Durham