Wednesday’s 6-pack, Quote and Quiz of the Day

NHL information every day on NHL page……college/pro basketball every day on Hoops page

Wednesday’s six-pack
— Baylor hired Temple’s football coach Matt Rhule; good move.
— Duke 84, Florida 74— Gators’ coach Mike White is the son of Duke’s AD; tough couple hours for Mrs White the wife/mom.
— San Antonio 105, Minnesota 91— Spurs are unbeaten on road.
— Florida Atlantic 79, Ohio State 77 (OT)— FAU came in 1-5 vs D-I teams, with one top 200 game (L 88-80 to Hofstra). Owls were a 20-point underdog.
— Magic 124, Wizards 116— John Wall scored 52 in a losing cause.
— Red Sox traded for Chris Sale, giving up four prospects. Most of what I read on the Interweb said Chicago got best of the deal. Boston ate the rest of Yoan Moncada’s contract since Sale’s deal is so team-friendly.


Quote of the Day
“We’ll always get support for Dallas at the wagering window, but if this Super Bowl matchup happens, you’re looking at a squad with two rookies determining what Dallas produces offensively and Tom Brady and Bill Belichick on the other side. My guess is you’d have a lot of smart bettors lining up to take the Pats at anything less than 4 points.”
BookMaker.eu spokesman Scott Cooley, to CBSSports.com


Wednesday’s coach
Everyone knows Alaska is the 49th state and Hawai’i the 50th state, but what was the 48th state?

Tuesday’s quiz
Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey was once fired as an assistant coach at Kentucky when an express-mail envelope from him with $1,000 in it mysteriously opened in a public place.

Monday’s quiz
In the movie The Rookie, a true story about a 30-ish science teacher who became a major league pitcher, Jim Morris pitched for Tampa Bay.


Super Bowl records- most passing yards in a Super Bowl: keep in mind there have now been 50 Super Bowls (100 QBs).
3) 365 yards, Kurt Warner, Rams vs NE– Super Bowl XXXVI
2) 377 yards, Kurt Warner, Cardinals vs Pitt– Super Bowl XLI
1) 414 yards, Kurt Warner, Rams vs Tenn– Super Bowl XXXIV
Like donuts? Try Cider Belle donuts on North Pearl Street in Albany……

Wednesday’s List of 13: Random bowl game observations

13)  Bowl rematch: North Texas went to West Point in October and beat the Cadets 35-18 as a 17-point underdog, Mean Green was +6 in turnovers that day; they were 1-11 last year, are in a bowl for only second time in last 12 years. Army is in its first bowl since 2010. These teams meet in the Dallas Bowl, played in the iconic Cotton Bowl.

12) South Florida is fun to watch; QB Flowers is a dynamic playmaker, especially on scramble plays, but against an SEC defense (lot faster than the typical AAC defense), he could be negated some. USF lost 55-35 to Florida State in September, a team with SEC-like speed. South Carolina won its last four bowl games, but that was with coach Spurrier.

11) Miami Ohio was 0-6, finished 6-6; Baylor was 6-0, finished 6-6. Too bad the powers-that-be couldn’t have hooked them up in a bowl.

Miami will play 5-7 Mississippi State (the 5-7 teams won their bowls LY); Baylor will be playing Boise State in its bowl, with a lame duck coaching staff- Bears hired Temple coach Rhule on Tuesday.

10) South Alabama is playing Air Force in its bowl game; Jaguars beat San Diego State and Mississippi State, but also lost to UL-Monroe and Georgia Southern, so you never know what you’re getting with USA. South Alabama lost 33-28 in its only other bowl game, couple years ago against Bowling Green.

9) New Mexico and Hawaii are playing bowl games on their home fields; is that fun? Would kids rather go somewhere else for a bowl? Lobos’ last four bowls have all been in Albuquerque- they’re 1-4 in their last five bowls.

8) Speaking of bowl travel, was is the worst place to go for a bowl? Anywhere with a beach can’t be considered, so that leaves Boise, Detroit, New York City. In Detroit/NYC, kids probably go to an NBA or NHL game as entertainment, but what do you do in Idaho for fun in December?

7) Idaho is dropping back to I-AA in 2018, so this bowl game has special meaning for them and they won’t mind playing in Boise. Vandals’ QB is Matt Linehan, son of the Dallas Cowboys’ OC. Idaho won five of its last six games (6-0 vs spread).

6) Old Dominion is playing in its first bowl game; Eastern Michigan’s last bowl was in 1987; the Bahamas Bowl is going to be fun. ODU scored 45.8 pts/game in its last four games. EMU covered eight of its last ten games. Both teams will be very happy to be there.

5) BYU-Wyoming used to be conference rivals; other than Utah, no one despises the Cougars more than Wyoming fans. BYU is 8-4, with four losses by a total of 8 points. This should be one of the better bowl games.

4) Indiana fired Kevin Wilson, but not because of their win-loss record; apparently he isn’t a nice guy and some of the players complained, so he is gone and the OC was promoted. Awkward.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is 8-1 in bowl games, the best bowl record since Boston College strung together eight straight bowl wins when Tom O’Brien was coach there.

3) TCU has only eight scholarship seniors, so the practices they get before the bowl and then the game itself serve as an early start for next season. Horned Frogs won four of last five bowls, scoring 89 points in last two- they beat Oregon in OT in Alamo Bowl LY.

2) Underdogs covered last four Holiday Bowls, winning three of the four SU; there was a time when Holiday Bowl was famous for high scoring games, so fitting that Mike Leach’s Washington State team will be there. This is third bowl in four years for Coogs, after they went ten years in between bowl appearances. Leach has done a great job reviving the Wazzu program.

1— Florida State-Michigan and USC-Penn State are terrific bowl matchups between traditional powers.

After watching the Showtime reality show on the Seminoles this fall, am curious how they do in this bowl, given a chance to get healthier and then there was the war of words between the two coaches about the satellite camps Harbaugh runs in Florida.

If you’re Penn State coach Franklin, missing out on the playoff is disappointing, but isn’t playing in the Rose Bowl really good and in the long run, couldn’t that help PSU’s recruiting more than a loss to Alabama in the national semifinal?

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……..

13) No one seems to know the whole story but it is difficult to fathom that Cam Newton was suspended for the first series of a game just because he didn’t have a tie on when he was supposed to— there almost has to be more to the story than that, as in the QB challenging the coach’s authority (more than once), and Sunday night, the coach showed who was boss in a very public way.

12) If you care about such things, so far this season, NBA teams playing the second night of a back/back are 39-46 vs spread when facing a team that didn’t play the night before.

11) Until Donald Trump gets sworn into office, the three wealthiest Presidents were: 1) George Washington 2) John Kennedy 3) Andrew Jackson.

10) Seattle Seahawks had 25 undrafted players on their roster Sunday night and only two #1 draft picks- next week it’ll probably be 26 undrafted players, with safety Earl Thomas done for the year with a broken leg.

9) Average clubhead speed for a PGA touring pro golfer: 109 mph. Average clubhead speed for an amateur golfer: 81 mph

8) You could have a bought a ticket to the Colts-Jets game Monday night for as little as $6 online. Parking probably cost five times that.

7) In 1972, Lafayette College had a freshman QB who was pretty good, but quit football to concentrate on his baseball career. You may have heard of him; Joe Maddon, now the world champion Cubs’ manager.

6) Players in the All-Star Game will be playing the game for $20,000 per man to the winning side, zero to the losing side. Will that be enough to make all of ‘em stick around to the end?

5) Eastern Washington’s basketball team is 6-2 with five straight wins; three of their last four wins came in overtime, with two of those three in double OT.

4) Purdue hired Western Kentucky football coach Jeff Brohm, who favors a wide-open offense. Purdue is a tough place to win in football; maybe he should’ve waited for a better job (Oregon)?

3) This is what college basketball was like before the shot clock; on December 22, 1969, Pete Maravich was 30-31 from the foul line. In one game. With no shot clock, great ball handlers dominated the game as soon as their team got the lead in the second half.

There was a Duke-North Carolina game a few years before the shot clock came in that was 7-0 at halftime. A basketball game was 7-0 at halftime. No bueno.

2) Letting quarterbacks sit and watch ain’t all bad; in his rookie year in the NFL, Tom Brady threw three passes. Three.

1— Two quick Los Angeles Ram notes:

a) When Case Keenum was QB this season, they converted 37.6% of their third down plays, not bad; in three games with Jared Goff under center, LA is 5-35 (14.3%) on third down. Of course, it would be nice if Goff’s receivers would catch the ball now and then; his first INT in Foxboro was a perfect pass that hit Lance Kendricks right in the hands but was tipped to a Patriot defender.

b) Rams’ senior executive Kevin Demoff is the son of agent Marvin Demoff. One of Marvin Demoff’s clients is Jeff Fisher. Oy.

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday…….

Broncos 20, Jaguars 10— Jaguars have now lost seven games in a row; QB Bortles threw his 11th career pick-6 in this game- he has 10 career wins. Jags are -16 in turnovers their last eight games. First career win for rookie QB Paxton Lynch. AFC South underdogs are 7-13 vs spread, 2-6 at home.

Chiefs 29, Falcons 28— Eric Berry scored 8 points; he had a pick-6 in last 1:00 of first half when score was tied, then scored game-winning two points on a pick-2 in 4th quarter, after Falcons had taken a 28-27 lead. Atlanta also gave up a TD on a 55-yard fake punt. Over is 10-2 in Falcon games this season. Not a good day at all for the Atlanta coaches.

Packers 21, Texas 13— You say Texans should struggle in cold weather, being a dome team and all, but QB Osweiler grew up in Montana; shouldn’t he be used to it? Houston is 1-5 on road, 1-4 as road underdogs, losing away games by 27-18-18-7-8 points- its not the cold, they’re just bad on the road.

Bengals 32, Eagles 14— Philly has now lost seven of last nine games after its 3-0 start; Eagles lost last six road games, are 1-4 as road underdogs this year, losing away games by 1-7-6-5-11-18 points.

As far as rookie QB’s go, here are some W-L records of rookie QB’s:
John Elway 4-6, Troy Aikman 0-11, Eli Manning 1-6, Peyton Manning 3-13, Dan Marino 7-2. Oddly enough, Marino is only one of those five who never won a Super Bowl.

Lions 28, Saints 13— Didn’t see Sean Payton celebrating much on the sidelines today. Detroit is now 8-4, atop NFC North; this was first game all year they didn’t trail in 4th quarter. Lions are 4-1 as road underdogs this year. Last six Detroit games stayed under total.

Bears 26, 49ers 6— On a snowy day in Windy City, 49ers completed 5 of 15 passes for a net of six yards. Bears had six sacks in a game where neither side completed a pass in first quarter, but Chicago wound up 11-18/184 passing. Under is 4-1-1 in Chicago home games.

Patriots 26, Rams 10— My three favorite football movies:
1) Any Given Sunday 2) Invincible 3) Friday Night Lights

Some Christmas trivia: the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City is 94 feet tall and weighs over 30,000 pounds.

It is accurate to say that Sunday afternoon wasn’t a happy one in my living room.

Ravens 38, Dolphins 6— Miami’s 6-game win streak was put to an emphatic end- this game was 24-0 at half; Ravens have won four of last five games- they’ve allowed 11.4 pts/game in last five home games.

Raiders 38, Bills 24— Buffalo led 24-9 halfway thru third quarter but got outscored 29-0 from that point on. On their last six drives, Oakland ran 34 plays for 230 yards and four TD’s, with two short TD drives of 38-16 yards. Over is 10-2 in Raider games this season.

Buffalo was -2 in turnovers; teams that were -2 or worse in turnovers are 7-64 in the NFL this season.

Buccaneers 28, Chargers 21— Tampa Bay has won four straight road games for first time ever; they’re 5-1 on road this year, NFC South non-divisional road underdogs are 12-2 vs spread this season, 9-1 on road.

Bucs are tied with Atlanta atop NFC South and would be the #2 Wild Card now; as for San Diego, sounds like they’re moving to the new stadium in LA, which opens in 2019. They need to draft a QB in April, someone who will be in place as a starter when they try to sell tickets in their new location.

Cardinals 31, Redskins 23— Washington’s loss drops them out of the playoff picture, for now; they’re half-game behind the Wild Cards. Arizona was 10-16 on third down, and didn’t turn the ball over; they had turned it over nine times in previous four games. Over is 10-2 in Redskin games this season.

Steelers 24, Giants 14— Pittsburgh won its third straight game, allowing total of 30 points- they’re 4-1 as home favorites this year. Giants had 6-game win streak snapped, in game where Victor Cruz had zero targets. Under is 7-2 in Giants’ last nine games.

Seahawks 40, Panthers 7– Carolina benched QB Cam Newton for first series of this game, a HUGE red flag; chances are it was for more than one offense. First series lasted one play, an INT on a tipped ball, and game went downhill from there. Your QB is one of the team’s leaders, for better or worse- this isn’t a good sign.

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday……

13) UCLA 97, Kentucky 92— Wildly entertaining, 83-possession game where Bruins showed they’re a legit top-10 team this year. Six of seven Bruins who played double figure minutes scored double figure points.

Both teams basically played seven guys, which is typical of modern college hoops; teams have very little quality depth, so injuries have a lot more impact now.

12) Alabama 54, Florida 16— Crimson Tide is so much better than anyone else this season, it isn’t funny. Doesn’t guarantee they’ll win the 4-team playoff, but it does guarantee they’ll be a heavy favorite in the national semifinal.

11) Life comes full circle: Yesterday was Verne Lundquist’s last SEC title game broadcast; the first football game he ever worked on network TV was a 1974 game involving Kent State, who at the time had a graduate assistant coach named Nick Saban.

10) Brown University has a basketball player named Steven Spieth who went over the 1,000-career point mark earlier this week. He is Jordan Spieth’s younger brother and he lists golf as one of his hobbies. On Brown’s sports website, his older brother is barely mentioned.

9) Maryland 71, Oklahoma State 70— Terrapins are now 26-5 in Melo Trimble era in games decided by six or less points. Maryland ended this game on a 23-10 run.

8) Because there are 40 bowl teams and only 128 I-A college football teams, there have to be some under-.500 teams playing in bowls. There will be three such teams this year:

Mississippi State and North Texas are 5-7, Hawai’i is 6-7- they’ll go bowling.

7) Northwestern 80, DePaul 64— This game was 54-18 at halftime, Fifty-four to eighteen.

If you’re a Big East team and you’re down 36 at the half to Northwestern, there are major issues. Why can’t a Big East team in Chicago win? The Big East team in Omaha wins; the team in Indianapolis wins; the team in Cincinnati wins; why not DePaul?

DePaul hasn’t been good for years; last time they were in NCAA tournament was 2004.

6) West Virginia 66, Virginia 57— Excellent road win for the Mountaineers, who got whacked by the Cavaliers 70-54 on a neutral floor LY.

5) Baylor 76, Xavier 61— Why shouldn’t the Bears be #1 in the country this week? They’re 8-0, have wins over Oregon-VCU-Louisville-Xavier. Real good team.

4) Seattle Mariners signed lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski to a 2-year, $11M contract. Here is how Mr Rzepczynski fared LY:

He appeared in 70 games, faced 215 batters, so he faced three hitters a game and appeared in less than half his teams’ games. 47.4% of the hitters he faced were right-handed- they had an on-base % of .422 against him- not good. He was tougher on lefties (.265 BA, .322 OB%), but he is making $5.5M a year and is basically an average situational lefty.

Moral of the Story: If you have a little son who likes baseball, teach him to throw lefty.

3) Omaha 98, Iowa 89— Big 14 teams aren’t supposed to lose at home to Summit League teams; at least Indiana’s loss to Fort Wayne was a road game.

2) Temple 34, Navy 10— Matt Rhule is 28-23 as coach of Temple, 20-7 the last two years. Temple, the team that went 24-100 from 1996-2006. Rhule is 28-23.

How does this guy not have a better, higher-paying job by now?

1— Jeff Walz is the women’s basketball coach at Louisville; at a news conference earlier this week, he launched into an extended monologue about players working hard and other players who think they’re entitled to play, just because they’re…….there. It was good stuff, biting without sounding bitter.

Sports is supposed to prepare young people for real life; in real life people who work harder are generally the ones who succeed more, and the sooner young people learn that, the better off they’ll be.

Unless they inherit a fortune, then forget everything I just wrote.

With December here, some college hoop knowledge……

13) ACC is currently ranked #1 in conference strength; last time they finished a season #1 was ten years ago. Last time they finished #2 was 2010.

12) Virginia Tech hasn’t made the NCAAs since 2007; they’re currently #32, with wins over Nebraska-Michigan. Buzz Williams has the Hokies headed towards the NCAA’s.

11) Eight of ten Big East teams are ranked in top 60; St John’s/DePaul are dragging the league’s rating down. It is amazing to me that schools in NYC/Chicago aren’t good and haven’t been good for a decent amount of time.

10) Teams who play the fastest tempo:
1) Citadel 3) BYU 5) Washington 6) Cal-Northridge

Teams who play the slowest tempo:
351) Virginia 350) St Mary’s 349) Wisconsin 348) Charleston

9) Teams making highest %age of 3-pointers:
Creighton 46.5%, UCLA 45.6%, Air Force 43.7%

8) Big West is getting pounded like a piñata this fall; their teams are 24-41 SU, 16-34 vs spread. Their conference rank has slipped from 13th to 21st- who is their best team? Hard to tell.

7) Big X ranked #1 the last three years; they’re ranked #2 right now. Texas at 4-3 has hurt the league so far- they’ve made only 26.2% of their 3’s, are playing pace #217. What happened to the entertaining, pressing style that Shaka Smart’s teams played at VCU?

6) St Mary’s hasn’t made NCAAs since 2013; last four years they made it, they went a combined 51-9 in conference play. Gaels are 6-0 this year with wins at Dayton/Stanford, they’ve got a great start towards making the NCAAs, with an experienced roster.

5) Last four years, Sun Belt was ranked 20-20-20-18th; they’re up to #14 this year. Tex-Arlington and Georgia State could have a great conference tournament final, with the one NCAA slot on the line. Those are two good teams that can win a game or two in March.

4) Iowa finished the last four years in the top 30; they’re #75 now with no wins against any team ranked above #318. Hawkeyes went 3-7 in their last ten games LY with the #55 experience team. Now that they’re inexperienced, it could be a long winter.

3) UCLA is off to a great start but they’re last in bench minutes, so they can’t afford injuries- their schedule is ranked #271. Bruins are playing at Kentucky Saturday- they’ve finished lower than 40th in five of last six years, but this year looks like it’ll be a big jump up for UCLA.

2) Teams that’ve played the hardest schedule, thru Thursday’s games:
1) Long Beach State 5) Michigan State 8) Cal-Riverside 10) Northern Iowa

1) Teams that’ve played the easiest schedules, thru Thursday’s games:
351) East Carolina 350) Miami OH 349) Memphis 347) Hawai’i 346) UNLV

Friday’s List of 13: Random thoughts with the weekend here…….

13) Cowboys 17, Vikings 15— Minnesota is 6-6 after starting season 5-0; they scored TD with 0:25 left, but failed on 2-point conversion and lost again. Dallas has now won 11 games in a row but if you bet the Cowboys (-3) this was a discouraging bad beat.

12) Rockets 132, Warriors 127— Excellent NBA game. Golden State’s 12-game win streak ends as both teams take 44 3-pointers. Fun to watch teams pass and shoot and COMPETE.

11) Couple interesting parts of baseball’s new labor agreement:

  1. 15-day disabled list is now the 10-day disabled list.
  2. World Series team with best record gets home field edge in Series, instead of the winner of the All-Star Game, which goes back to being a meaningless exhibition, as it should be.

10) NFL referee Gene Steratore worked the Indiana-North Carolina hoop game Wednesday; Bill Vinovich is also an NFL ref who works big time college hoop games. .

9) Philadelphia 76ers raised Joel Embiid’s minutes limit from 24:00 to 28:00 per game, a good sign for the young man who has been injury prone for most of his career.

8) A further sign of the softening of our society; Indiana parted ways with football coach Kevin Wilson (they said he “resigned” which means, “we fired him but he’s doing a good job so we’ll let him say he quit.”) Wilson was 26-47 at Indiana, but 12-13 the last two years, as Hoosiers were becoming a more competitive team.

Apparently Wilson was occasionally stern with his players, maybe forcefully stern, and some of them objected to the AD. I’ll guarantee you, on any 85-person football team, you can find five people who don’t like the coach. If the AD listens to those five, the coach better win a lot.

7) Sunday the Rams play in Foxboro; Jared Goff obviously is 0-2 as an NFL starter. In his head coaching career, Bill Belichick is 21-1 in games against a starting QB with zero career wins.

The lone loss? Andre Ware and the Lions beat Belichick’s Cleveland Browns 24-14 in 1992.

6) Indiana and North Carolina both have five national titles in college basketball. Hoosiers have been in Final Four eight times, but UNC has been there 19 times.

5) On Showtime’s reality show about Florida State football, FSU coaches approached the rivalry game with Florida by telling players “it is about history, about those players who came before you here.” It is an effective approach that works with current players.

The reality is this: these rivalry games are about RECRUITING. Signing Day is only four or five weeks away- these rivalry games can turn a key recruit or two in your favor. It is about future players, future wins, future job security. That is the reality of it.

4) Lonzo Ball is a freshman PG at UCLA, a very, very good player; ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt and Jay Bilas were discussing this Monday night and agreed that Ball reminds them of Jason Kidd at the same age, a huge compliment.

Ball’s brother plays at Chino Hills HS in California; the kid scored 72 points in a recent game, a game his team won 128-108. Who coaches these teams that a 32:00 HS game winds up with a 128-108 final score?

If you’re the losing coach and your team is good enough to score 108 points, then chances are you have a couple players capable of playing defense. You’d think.

3) Best NFL teams in turnover margin this year: Chiefs +14, Vikings +13, Raiders +10

Worst teams in turnover margin: Jaguars -15, Jets -13, Browns/Texans -9

2) NFL teams with most 20+-yard plays this season: Falcons 56, Redskins 55.

Teams with the least 20+-yard plays: Texans 28, Panthers 31

1) Clippers lost in double OT to the Nets Tuesday; Doc Rivers wound up getting tossed at the end of this game, because he was barking at female ref Lauren Holtkamp (who is not good) and another ref stepped in and T’d Rivers up, which enraged the Clippers’ coach.

On the first possession of this game, 0:12 into the game, a Nets player had the ball at the top of the key, dribbled twice, picked up his dribble, looked to pass, couldn’t find anyone, so he dribbled again and nothing was called. Nothing. Bupkus. A 5th-grade CYO ref would’ve called the double dribble, it was that obvious.

Say what you want; college refs are better than NBA refs.

Thursday’s List of 13: Our bottom 3, top 10 in NFL

32) Browns— On their bye this week; get RGIII back from injury next week against the Bengals.

31) 49ers- Oregon job is open; Chip Kelly says he isn’t interested.

30) Jaguars— Supposedly playing Ravens in London next year. Baltimore is one of eight NFL teams that hasn’t played an international game.

10) Lions— Have trailed all 11 games in 4th quarter, meaning this 7-4 team could realistically be 0-11. Weird that they’ll play only three outdoor games in regular season.

9) Redskins— Play three of next four games on the road; their last road win was October 9.

8) Chiefs— Last four games were all decided by 5 or less points.

7) Falcons— Over is 9-2 in their games this year; fun team to watch.

6) Dolphins— Won last six games (5-1 vs spread); they’re +10 in turnovers in those games.

5) Giants— Won their last six games. Under is 6-2 in their last eight games.

4) Seahawks— 7-1 this season when they score 12+ points; they’ve been held to 3-5-6 points by three teams who probably won’t make the playoffs.

3) Raiders— David Carr dislocated pinky on his throwing hand LW; played 4th quarter with glove on his hand. Will he wear the glove this week?

2) Patriots— Won six of their last seven games- they’re a 13-point favorite this week.

1) Cowboys— Won ten games in row (9-1 vs spread); good ballgame Thursday in Minnesota.

Wednesday’s Den: No list, I just research/rant about the Rams

While you were asleep late Sunday night, I was sitting here, doing some research. December 1 is this week (Thursday) and another football season is flying by. As a Rams fan (since 1966, the year of the first Super Bowl), this has been another dismal season.

I like Jeff Fisher well enough as a coach, but he is finishing his 5th season with the Rams and has yet to have a .500 season. Was trying to think of anyone else in the NFL who lasted this long with one team without a winning season. So I decided to research the topic. Here is some of what I learned:

— Here is Fisher’s resume with the Rams: 7-8-1/7-9/6-10/7-9/4-7.

Fisher inherited a dumpster fire from his predecessor, Steve Spagnuolo (10-38 in three years) and he has made the Rams competitive again. He gets credit for that.

When Spags was coaching the Rams, I knew when I got out of bed on Sunday morning that we were getting whupped that day. Now I am pretty sure the Rams will have a chance to win, but because the offense sucks, they probably won’t.

— I limited my search to the Super Bowl era, starting in 1966. During that time, only five NFL head coaches started their tenure in a city with four consecutive losing seasons. The rest either all got fired before that or had at least one .500 season or at least one winning season. Here are the five coaches:

  1. Dan Hennng (Falcons) 1983-86: 7-9/4-12/4-12/7-8-1.
  2. Sam Wyche (Bucs) 1992-95: 5-11/5-11/6-10/7-9
  3. Joe Bugel (Cardinals) 1990-93: 5-11/4-12/4-12/7-9
  4. Lou Saban (Broncos) 1967-71: 3-11/5-9/5-8-1/5-8-1 (fired in ’71, during a 4-9-1 year)
  5. Jeff Fisher (Rams) 2012-16: 7-8-1/7-9/6-10/7-9/4-7

— The thing is, Fisher may already have a contract extension with the Rams, no one knows. He would be the only NFL coach in the last 50 years to start off with five consecutive losing seasons with a team and be offered a sixth year with the same team.

Coach Fisher has been an NFL head coach for 22 years, has been in the playoffs exactly six times. The ultimate irony is that his best year with the Tennessee Titans ended with a Super Bowl loss……to the Rams.

— Then there is this: I go back a little further, to 1960 and do the search again. Look for a coach who started his tenure with five consecutive losing seasons, was retained and wound up doing really well. It actually has happened……once and yes, you’ve heard of the guy.

Ever hear of Tom Landry?

Here are the Cowboys’ records their first five years as an NFL team:
0-11-1/4-9-1/5-8-1/4-10/5-8-1.

Despite five straight losing years, Landry was not fired, he was retained; Dallas went 7-7 in 1965 and in the seven years after that, they went 83-27-2 and split two Super Bowl appearances.

I know what you’re thinking: Dallas was an expansion team, but in a lot of ways, it is easier to build from scratch than it is to clean up a mess and then build a winner.

— Am I comparing Landry and Jeff Fisher? Not really, but I am saying that the only time in modern NFL history this scenario has played out, it worked out very well for the team that didn’t fire the coach. Stability has its advantages.

Rams just moved to a new city; they have a young QB who they finally let on the field and the kid looks like he can play a little. They have a really good defense and decent special teams.

I’d check with Norv Turner to see if he was interested in being OC and helping Goff turn into a quality QB, the way he did with Troy Aikman.

— I think way too much about this and still I don’t have a concrete opinion on what owner Stan Kroenke should do, but I do firmly believe he should keep GM Les Snead, who drafted Goff, Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley the last three years. Do not fire Les Snead.

This is a billion dollar franchise with a beautiful new stadium being built for the 2019 season; lot of money hangs in the balance. I hope the hell they make the right decision, whatever it is.

No matter what, I’ll still sit there on Sundays and root like hell for the Rams; if that makes me a damn fool, then so be it.

Tuesday’s List of 13: nobody asked me, but………

13) Cleveland Browns are 0-12 as they head into their bye week; 18 of their 53 players Sunday were rookies. They’ve used six different QB’s in 12 games. In a league where close games are the norm, Browns have lost eight games by 11+ points.

A young man named Taylor Gabriel scored four TD’s in his last four games for the Falcons, who are a playoff-bound team. How did Atlanta get him?

Cleveland cut him in September, after he caught 64 passes for 862 yards for them in 2014-15. They cut a guy who is a productive player for a playoff team, and who was also productive for them. Oy.

This is why the Browns are 0-12; they cut productive players.

12) Nebraska basketball coach Tim Miles has been in all 50 states; I’ve only been in 27, which is fine. No desire to see Alaska or the Dakotas. No offense, just not interested. Hawai’i could be a different story.

11) So the dust settles and Tom Herman is the football coach at Texas, while the team he coached this year gets ready for a bowl game with an interim coach and a depleted staff. Herman’s agent is former NFL lineman Trace Armstrong, who played 15 years in the NFL.

Herman’s first job in football was as a grad assistant at Texas Lutheran; his salary was $5,000 and a meal card, so he has earned his way to the top.

10) San Diego State-Wyoming play for the Mountain West title this weekend; problem is, they lost their games last weekend by a combined score of 119-66. Hard to get fired up about a championship game in a bad league where the teams that are playing aren’t much better than average.

9) Evidence of that: Mountain West rivals San Jose State/Nevada already fired their football coaches this week, as coaching carousel begins to spin, slowly.

8) In its last four games with rival Florida State, Florida Gators have had the ball 50 times and scored two touchdowns. Thats 2 out of 50. No bueno.

7) Wasn’t happy to hear CBS Sports Network TV guys infer that the Alaskan Shootout may be in danger of not continuing. Reading between the lines of what they said this weekend, and looking at who plays in the event, the main leagues commit teams to the tournaments ESPN run and the Shootout isn’t one of them.

Too bad; Alaska used to be a great event but now they have events in all these tropical places that obviously are more fun to visit than frigid Alaska, plus their TV exposure is better, but it is still too bad, if true.

6) Smart move by NFL this week, with Minnesota-Dallas the Thursday game. Both teams played on Thanksgiving last week, so they’ll be playing with a full week’s rest and chances are you’ll see a higher quality game.

5) Bengals kicker Mike Nugent is the first NFL kicker since 1986 to miss three PATs in a row.

4) In four games in November, Navy’s football team punted TWICE; they scored 66-75 points in their last two games. Thats what happens when you run the ball in a league where no one else cares about anything but throwing the ball. AAC teams mostly suck on defense.

3) Northwestern has a better basketball team under Chris Collins; they’ve lost tough games to Butler/Notre Dame already, as they try and build a resume that will get them into March Madness. They’re going to be a bubble team, unless they get hot in conference.

It is a little heart-wrenching when the Wildcats play on TV; at some point during the game, they usually cut to a shot of Doug Collins sitting by himself somewhere in the arena, agonizing over his son’s team. It is cool that he cares so much, but you feel for him.

If Northwestern makes the NCAA’s, they’ll be one of the main stories on Selection Sunday, seeing how they’re one of five original college teams that has never made the tournament.

Who are the other four, you ask? Wm & Mary, Army, Citadel, St Francis NY

2) Good trivia; the longest overtime field goal in NFL history: 57 yards by Sebastian Janikowski of the Raiders.

1— Tulsa’s kicker made a field goal Friday that actually hit both uprights; you don’t see that every day. Not sure I’ve ever seen it before.

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday

Chargers 21, Texans 13— First home loss for Texans; Chargers are now 2-4 on road. Houston turned ball over four times (-3); teams who were -2 or worse in turnovers this week are 0-5 this week, 7-59 for the season.

Titans 27, Bears 21— Tennessee is 6-6 and heads into its bye week half a game behind the Texans in a lame AFC South. Barkley threw for 316 yards in his first NFL start, converted 9-17 on third down, but also threw two picks and Bears fell to 2-9. Over is 8-1 in Titans’ last nine games.

Bills 28, Jaguars 21— Jax has now lost six games in a row, last four all by 7 or less points. Bills are 6-5 but winning a Wild Card in AFC is an uphill climb. Over is 8-2 in last ten Buffalo games. I’m guessing Jaguars are changing coaches after the season; curious to see if they hire Tom Coughlin, who is approaching 70 but would be better than some guys who have HC jobs.

Ravens 19, Bengals 14— Justin Tucker nailed three 50+-yard FG’s, all in the first half. Cincy is 1-5-1 in its last seven games, losing last five true road games; I am not a fan of promoting from within when hiring coordinators, which Cincinnati has done a lot recently, losing three coordinators to HC jobs the last three years. Go out and find new blood, new ideas. Bengals’ last four games (0-3-1) were decided by a total of 7 points. Under is 6-1 in last seven Baltimore games.

Falcons 38, Cardinals 19— Hope coach Arians is alright after a medical scare earlier in week; his team isn’t alright, losing three of last four games. Arizona was outscored 41-16 in second half of last three games. Falcons scored five TDs on nine drives, with two TD drives of less than 50 yards. Over is 9-2 in Atlanta games this season.

Dolphins 31, 49ers 24— Miami won its sixth game in row, will be tied for second Wild Card with loser of KC-Denver game. Dolphins led 31-14 with 8:00 left but Kaepernick led comeback which fell a couple yards short as time expired. 49ers have lost ten games in a row, with over 7-3 in those games. Miami is +10 in turnovers during its winning streak.

Saints 49, Rams 21— This game was personal between Sean Payton/Gregg Williams, who won a Super Bowl together in New Orleans. Saints threw a pass with 2:30 left, up 49-21. They’ll be another day for that stuff. NFC West underdogs are 4-11 vs spread outside their division this season.

Jeff Fisher is in his fifth year coaching the Rams: he makes $7M a year. His teams have been 7-8-1/7-9/6-10/7-9 and now this 4-7 disaster (they still have games at both New England/Seattle). If I was paying someone $7M a year to coach, I’d expect better results and most of all, I wouldn’t be very freakin’ happy when my team quit on the field, the way the Rams did in this game.

Giants 27, Browns 13— Cleveland is now 1-4-1 as a home underdog; they’ve been outscored 83-24 in second half of their last five games. Giants won their last six games, getting a defensive TD from Pierre-Paul to put game out of reach. If season ended today, Giants would host Washington in NFC Wild Card game. Good news for Cleveland; next week is their bye.

Buccaneers 14, Seahawks 5— Just second 14-5 game in NFL history; 49ers-Falcons played one in 1984. Bucs had six sacks, held Seattle to 1-11 on third down- they’ve won three games in a row, allowing total of 32 points. This is same Tampa defense that gave up 37 points to the Rams in Week 3. Everyone in NFC West lost today.

Raiders 37, Panthers 32— Oakland has won/covered five games in a row; Derek Carr had a dislocated pinky in third quarter, when Carolina had ball four times, scored four TDs, but they also had PAT blocked and went 0-2 on 2-point conversions. Carr played 4th quarter with a glove on his right hand.

Only two defensive TDs of day were scored by Giants/Raiders. Newton was 3-12 passing for 18 yards in first half, 11-17 for 226 yards in second haldf, including an 88-yard TD pass to Ted Ginn Jr. Over is now 9-2 in Raider games this season.

Patriots 22, Jets 17— New England is 4-0 (3-1 vs spread) with Brady on road; Jets are now 1-4 at home. NFL-wide, home underdogs are 13-8 vs spread this season. Jets’ last four games were all decided by 5 or less points. under is 6-1 in New York’s last seven games.

Chiefs 30, Broncos 27 OT– Santos banked game-winning FG in off left upright to give Chiefs win after they blew lead late in regulation. Denver tried but missed a 62-yard FG to end game earlier in OT. Dolphins are glad game didn’t end in a tie; would’ve left them behind both teams in Wild Card race.

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday

13) Ohio State 30, Michigan 27 OT— Urban Meyer is a walking advertisement for hypertension. Please smile now and then; he was like that in his year on TV too, totally humorless. He made broadcast partner Chris Spielman sound like Carrot Top and Spielman is no barrel of laughs, either. Meyer must be a joy to be around every day. Great coach, wins a ton of games, but if you do not enjoy it, what good is it?

Wolverines fumbled in red zone, threw a pick-6, they’ll be sick about this game for months, maybe years. Not sure how Ohio State can make a 4-team national playoff if they couldn’t make a 2-team playoff in their own league, but I could be wrong about that.

12) Colorado 27, Utah 22— Last 8 years, Buffs were 11-58 in conference games; they are now in the Pac-12 title game against Washington next Friday.

11 and 58 for eight years. 8-1 this year. Tremendous coaching job by Mike MacIntyre.

11) LSU 54, Texas A&M 39— I’m trying to process this: LSU fired Les Miles and replaced him with freakin’ Ed Orgeron, who is beloved by people around him but went 10-25 in three years as head coach at Ole Miss (3-21 in SEC games!!!!). If you’re an LSU fan and read the book Meat Market, about Orgeron’s recruiting efforts at Ole Miss, you’re probably a little queasy today. Maybe a lot queasy.

10) Two scores from around the country Saturday:
Pittsburgh 76, Syracuse 61
South Carolina 64, Syracuse 50

One of these was a football game, one was a basketball game. Neither was good for the Orange.

When college football has its Signing Day in February, the first thing I’m going to look at is how any defensive players Dino Babers signs for Syracuse- they need a lot of them.

9) Kentucky 41, Louisville 38— Lamar Jackson fumbled on the Kentucky 10 with under 2:00 left in a tie game; Cardinals lost their last two games, allowing 77 points. This snaps a five-game winning streak against their in-state rivals.

8) Memphis 48, Houston 44— Coach Herman gets really rich in Austin, Cougars players get to go to the Boca Raton Bowl or the Bahamas Bowl, not exactly what they expected after starting this season with an upset of Oklahoma.

You can do worse than a few days in the Bahamas, but a New Year’s Day bowl was what they wanted.

7) TCU 31, Texas 9— Charlie Strong gets $10.5M to go away after Texas told him to take a hike with three straight losses to TCU and a 16-21 record in three years with the Longhorns.

6) USC 45, Notre Dame 27— Trojans scored two TD’s in 0:17 span of second quarter, one on a punt return, one on a pick-6. Adoree’ Jackson scored three TDs and he is mostly a DB. Late at night, while I’ve been typing this, there is stuff on TV about Brian Kelly looking for a new job.

I’m guessing the Notre Dame people will write him a very nice letter of recommendation if he wants to leave.

5) Navy 75, SMU 31— Middies ran for 496 yards, have now scored 141 points in their last two games, all while throwing 14 passes. Wouldn’t want to be the team Navy plays in a bowl; going to be a long afternoon for whoever that is.

4) California 36, UCLA 10— Vincent Rivera is a Cal WR and Ron Rivera’s nephew; Coach Rivera was on the field for Senior Day ceremonies. Ron Rivera’s Panthers play in nearby Oakland today; think Carolina requested to be in the Bay Area this weekend, or was this just a really fortunate coincidence?

3) Idaho 38, South Alabama 31– I’m pretty sure this is the Vandals’ last year of I-A football and they’re going to a bowl game; good for them. Idaho’s QB is Matt Linehan, whose dad Scott is OC for the Dallas Cowboys. Been a terrific year for both father and son.

2) Vanderbilt 45, Tennessee 34— Commodores become bowl eligible with this win; they actually won their last two bowls, by 14-17 points. Vandy is now 3-2 in its last five games vs Tennessee, after a 1-14 stretch against the Vols.

This is where I’m supposed to write something unkind about Vols’ coach Butch Jones, but I’ll politely decline. I’m guessing he’ll take enough grief on talk radio for the next nine months or so.

1— Florida State 31, Florida 13— Seminoles didn’t have Senior Night at their last home game, they had it when they played Boston College; Jimbo Fisher didn’t want any distractions for any of the real important games, like this one.

Florida State defense had allowed 450+ TY in five of last nine games before this one, but they held Florida to 191 yards and 0-12 on third down conversions. Great night for the Seminole defense.

Saturday’s List of 13: Midnight musings……..

13) Memphis 48, Houston 44— This coaching carousel stuff in college football is terribly unfair to the players playing now. Houston Cougars beat Oklahoma/Louisville this year, but every time they win a game, speculation starts about coach Herman’s next job.

Houston has now lost to Navy-Memphis-SMU; what should have been a great year will now be a very good one- they’re going to have a new coach next year. Such are the realities of major college football. Life changes quickly.; have to win as much as you can while you can

12) So the latest Herman update is that LSU will probably keep Ed Orgeron if Herman goes to Texas and Charlie Strong will keep his job if Herman goes to LSU. We forget that coaches have assistant coaches and everyone has families and a lot of people are affected by this stuff.

11) Miami Ohio’s football team started this season 0-6, obviously a disaster, but the Red Hawks recovered and finished the regular season at 6-6 and bowl eligible. Good for the kids and the coaches who didn’t quit on the season- you don’t see that very often.

10) Pirates signed utility guy Sean Rodriguez for two years, $11.5M. Versatile guy; seems like every team has a guy like him now.

9) I mentioned last week how Long Beach State hoop coach Dan Molson makes $600K a year; well the 49ers are now 1-6 this year and lost to Binghamton/Florida Gulf Coast the last two days. Not exactly $600K worth of coaching.

8) ESPN is televising the Wooden tournament from Cal State-Fullerton this weekend; during UCLA’s game Thursday night, they did something that bugged me. During the game, reporter Jeff Goodman interviews Lonzo Ball’s dad in the stands. Why?

Since when do kid’s parents get interviewed during the game? Why is this a good idea?

7) I’m convinced that NFL teams should throw more towards their sideline, especially on longer passes; you see lot of flags thrown when guys on the sideline scream for a call— you yell loud enough, long enough, you’re going to get one (or two) calls.

6) Long time ago, Ole Miss hoop coach Andy Kennedy was a good player; he took recruiting trips across the south, one of which was to Georgia Tech, where his player/host was Craig Neal, now the coach at New Mexico. Kennedy wound up playing for NC State and later UAB.

Apparently the two guys remained friends thru the years, so when Neal’s son Cullen transferred away from his dad’s team to a place where the home fans were less hostile (seriously) he went to play for his dad’s friend Kennedy at Ole Miss. Very good get for the Rebels.

5) James Madison fired coach Matt Brady LY, despite the Dukes going 40-25 the last two years; they made the NCAAs in 2013. No sure why he was fired but this year JMU is 0-5 and they’re looking stupid for firing Brady, a mostly successful coach. None of JMU’s losses are to a top 100 team, so it doesn’t bode well for their conference games, either.

4) Steve Levy/Brian Greise have been a very good announce combo on college football games this year and Justin Kutcher does well on FS1, mostly with Bill Raftery. Some people just have great chemistry together and the broadcast becomes us listening to two guys talking about ball, which is ideal and what we want. No shtick, just conversation.

3) Virginia Tech has a very good point guard (Justin Robinson) which is why the Hokies are 24-16 the last year-plus, a marked improvement. Robinson played 76 of a possible 80:00 in Tech’s first two games out at Fullerton. They’ll need to get him a little more rest in ACC play.

2) Texas Tech 54, Baylor 35— Wow the wheels really fell off for Baylor; they’re 6-5 and headed straight south, losing five in a row after a 6-0 start. Bears allowed 47.6 pts/game during the skid. You wonder if they’ll even bother going to a bowl game.

1— I was lucky enough to put myself thru college as a student manager of a small college hoop team; it was mostly great fun. One night we’re playing a local rival; one of their players dives for a loose ball and crashes into the scorer’s table, about ten feet from me on the bench. Great effort by the kid, but he didn’t save the ball. Looked like he could even be hurt.

His coach was a pretty intense guy; he comes over, I figure the coach is going to help the kid up, see if he is OK. He looks down at the kid, who is slowly getting up and screams “Next time, get it!!!!” and storms away.

Not a great moment, but it was part of why we almost always beat them. How about patting the kid on the back for a great try? No bueno.

Friday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……..

13) Coaching carousel in college football is about to get rolling; there were rumors Thursday night that LSU has a deal with Houston coach Tom Herman, but others are saying it is a ploy to get Texas to ante up some more cash as it pursues Herman to be its coach.

Once jobs start getting filled, there is usually a domino effect, with guys moving upward on the financial scale, but one effect of Herman going to LSU instead of Texas would be that Charlie Strong probably will not get fired unless the Longhorns can get Herman to replace him.

12) LSU 54, Texas A&M 39— Tigers gained 622 yards and Leonard Fournette stayed home. His replacement Derrius Guice ran for 285 yards, a new school record and four TDs.

11) Georgia’s basketball team was getting hammered by the Kansas Jayhawks earlier this week, so the Dawgs called a timeout; after the timeout as the team went back on the court, a mangled dry-erase board was seen on the floor in front of the Georgia bench.

Apparently coach Mark Fox tried to make a point by sacrificing the board, which looked like it had been run over by a Humvee. Coaches do strange things to try and motivate players. Jayhawks wound up winning by 11 on a friendly “neutral” court in Kansas City.

10) Former Jets’ DL Marty Lyons was a great player at Alabama under Bear Bryant, over 30 years ago. He once promised coach Bryant he would get his college degree and on December 10, he will fulfill his promise to a man who passed away almost 34 years ago.

9) UConn’s basketball season is in trouble; the Huskies are 1-4 vs D-I teams, their bench is already #340 (out of 351) in minutes played and now their second-best player (Terry Larrier) is out for the year with a torn ACL. UConn’s 8-man rotation has three freshman, two sophomores; they can’t afford any more injuries and the season is only two weeks old.

8) Herb Sendek got fired as basketball coach at Arizona State in large part because he couldn’t beat rival Arizona; now he is at Santa Clara but his Broncos gave Arizona a good run for their money at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas last night. Sendek is an excellent tactician, not that great a recruiter.

During a late-game timeout, the FS1 camera was right in Santa Clara’s huddle and it was great TV as Sendek was talking to his team. Then he looks up at the camera and says “Please get that out of here”. Dammit!!! Wanted to hear what he was going to say. Arizona won 69-61.

7) On Hard Knocks this summer, Rams coach Jeff Fisher referred to some of his players’ stupid behavior as “7-9 bullshit”, in other words, the stuff losing teams do.

Last Friday night, Rams’ starting CB Troy Hill got a DUI roughly 36 hours before LA lost a home game to the Dolphins. The ultimate “7-9 bullshit” move. Rams didn’t suit him up for the Miami game, released him Monday, then re-signed him to the practice squad, meaning he is probably getting a two-game suspension, in effect, for his stupidity.

Rams are 4-6; they’ll do fairly well to finish 7-9. Another cruddy season, in part because players do not know how to act off the field.

6) Morehead State suspended basketball coach Sean Woods indefinitely, apparently for mistreating one or more of his players. Morehead is 77-55 under Woods but hasn’t made the NCAA tournament; his predecessor made it twice in six years. Awful early in the season to be suspended; curious to see how this plays out.

5) Since the beginning of the 2015 season, Raiders’ QB Derek Carr has thrown 11 4th quarter TD passes that either put Oakland ahead or tied the score. During that time, no other NFL QB  has more than six of those.

4) Did Indiana hoop coach Tom Crean do the right thing scheduling a road game at Fort Wayne earlier this week? It is 175 miles from Bloomington to Fort Wayne, and there are a hell of a lot more Hoosier fans than Mastodon fans along those 175 miles, even as there were in Fort Wayne’s home arena Tuesday night.

But the Hoosiers played a true road game and lost; no Top 25 teams do that anymore. Jim Boeheim would rather smile than play a true road game and he ain’t much for smiling. You can bet all over America, coaches are taking note of Fort Wayne’s win and adding more home games or at best, neutral court games to their teams’ schedules.

3) I roll my eyes every time an NFL ref throws a flag in the defensive secondary, then immediate another flag (or 2) is thrown, like the foul is the most obvious call in football history. It happens all the time.

This is known as “selling the call” making it obvious to the crowd that the right call was made, even if it wasn’t. The NFL is terribly over-officiated and this is a small part of it.

2) Is this the best sports week of the year? It is probably the busiest if not the best. College football and basketball; NBA-NHL-NFL. Baseball hot stove stuff is starting, the NASCAR year ended Sunday. Lot of good entertainment.

1) Ralph Branca passed away this week at age 90; he is best-known for giving up the homer Bobby Thomson hit to win the 1951 NL pennant, but Branca was more than that.

A 3-time All-Star, Branca was 88-68 in 322 games (188 starts) in an era where no one counted pitches or cared if a pitcher’s arm was abused. He won 21 games in 1947. If he was on the mound at that critical time of a decisive game, you know he was a damn good pitcher.

His daughter is married to former Mets manager Bobby Valentine.

My dad grew up in New York City, was a huge Brooklyn Dodger fan; sometime in the early 90’s, I can’t remember exactly when, Branca did an appearance at Mohawk Mall about seven miles from my dad’s house. I picked him up but didn’t tell him where we were going.

Mr Branca was sitting at a card table, not many people there; I introduced the two of them and soon they were talking like long-lost friends from the neighbohood, reminiscing about Dodgers like Ernie Lombardi, Gene Hermanski, Roy Campanella. It was great fun to listen to.

RIP sir.

Thursday’s List of 13: NFL’s top 10, bottom three teams…….

32) Browns— Next weekend will be a little more fun for Cleveland fans; its the Browns’ bye week.

31) 49ers— Lost last nine games; play red-hot Dolphins in Miami this week. Chances are that’ll be ten losses in a row.

30) Jaguars— Lost last five games, last three by 7 or less points.

10) Dolphins— They’ve got lot of good receivers; was mystified why they had less than 100 yards of offense thru 53:00 in LA last week. Not a big Tannehill fan, but he’s on a roll right now.

9) Falcons— Someone is going to give Atlanta OC Kyle Shanahan a head coaching job next season; will his dad come along to help out?

8) Giants— Seven wins by a total of 27 points; expect to see them pummel Cleveland this week or I’ll list them as a suspect for a quick exit in January.

7) Broncos— 7-0 when they score 20+ points, 0-3 when they do not. Still think QB Siemian is a suspect, but as long as he doesn’t screw things up, he’s OK for now. Their defense is that good.

6) Redskins— Jay Gruden is an underrated coach; he’s helped make a dysfunctional franchise successful. Washington took lot of grief for drafting Cousins the same year they traded the farm to draft RGIII; seems like a good idea now.

5) Chiefs— 18-4 in last 22 games, but offense has struggled last three weeks. Big game in Denver Sunday; NBC chose that game instead of Patriots-Jets.

4) Seahawks— Drafting is such an inexact science; Russell Wilson, Joe Montana were 3rd round picks, Tom Brady a 6th round pick. Look at Dak Prescott; he was a 4th round pick after a DUI a month before the draft. Then look at some of the stiffs drafted first. Go figure.

3) Raiders— Jack Del Rio was once the catcher on USC’s baseball team, when one of the pitchers was a guy named Mark McGwire.

2) Patriots— Will Brady/Belichick retire at same time? Imagine the poor bastards who would have to step into those big shoes? When does Jimmy Garoppolo hit the free agent market?

1) Cowboys— Very seldom does a team win/cover nine games in a row, and never, ever with a rookie QB. Interesting game today with the Redskins.