Scott Taylor

NFL Picks Week 10

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A Teddy Bridgewater Too Far

Scott Taylor

“The Coach”

Dr. Football

“Dr. Football”

 

By

The Coach and Dr. Football
November 16, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

 

 

 

Last Sunday, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum was on the verge of losing his job. The Vikings future franchise QB Teddy Bridgewater had been reactivated from Injured reserve after missing more than 400 days of football, and the second Keenum screwed up was the second he would become football’s answer to Wally Pipp.

But Keenum appeared to fool everybody. He completed 21-of-29 pass attempts for 304 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions and led the Vikings to a 38-30 road win over the Washingtons. He put up 406 net yards and earned the start this week against the Rams at US Bank Stadium.

There is certainly a feeling that Bridgewater will become the starter for the Vikings before the season ends, but right now, Keenum appears to have won the job and then kept it for an extra week.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said it wasn’t a difficult choice to stick with Keenum, “based on his performance last Sunday.” That means the one time backup to Sam Bradford is now the starter for at least one more week.

He’d better beat L.A., however. If he doesn’t keep up the pace, the hook could come out quickly.

In the meantime, both The Coach and Dr. Football have faith in Keenum. In a year in which the boys have done nothing but win (this is the earliest by two weeks in which they’ve reached the 100-win plateau), the Vikings have proven to be a solid weekly choice.

Last week Dr. Football went 12-2 (100-46) straight up and 7-7 (79-67) against the spread while The Coach went 11-3 (102-44) and 8-6 (86-60) against the spread. We’re making so much money, The Coach just bought a condo on the Riviera, a Bentley and a case of Dijon mustard.

The Jets, Panthers, Colts and 49ers have the byes this week, taking three bad teams out of the mix. Let’s take a close look at Week 11, get ourselves a Domino’s pizza and go make some money.

 

THURSDAY NIGHT

Tennessee Titans (6-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2)
Line: Steelers by 7

One four game winning streak is going to end in this one. Gotta go with Big Ben and Le’Veon Bell here.

Dr. Football: Take the Steelers to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Steelers to win and cover.

 

EARLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Detroit Lions (5-4) at Chicago Bears (3-6)
Line: Lions by 3

Detroit wasn’t that impressive last week, but neither were the Bears. Matthew Stafford will be the difference.

Dr. Football: Take the Lions to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Lions to win and cover.

Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) at New York Giants (1-8)
Line: Chiefs by 10.5

Kansas City wasn’t playing great before their bye, but a game against the Giants should fix that.

Dr. Football: Take the Chiefs to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Chiefs to win and not cover.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) at Miami Dolphins (4-5)
Line: Dolphins by 1.5

Despite being in the middle of a three game losing streak, Miami showed signs of life on Monday against the Panthers.

Dr. Football: Take the Dolphins to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Buccaneers.

Baltimore Ravens (4-5) at Green Bay Packers (5-4)
Line: Ravens by 2

The Packers looked better with Brett Hundley at QB last week in beating the Bears, but Baltimore’s defense is a lot tougher.

Dr. Football: Take the Ravens to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Ravens to win and cover.

Los Angeles Rams (7-2) at Minnesota Vikings (7-2)
Line: Vikings by 2.5

Both team’s quarterbacks have solid receivers to throw to with solid offensive lines, but Minnesota will win with its defense.

Dr. Football: Take the Vikings to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Vikings to win and cover.

Arizona Cardinals (4-5) at Houston Texans (3-6)
Line: Cardinals by 1

Arizona should win despite using their third string QB as the Texans are too banged up.

Dr. Football: Take the Cardinals to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Cardinals to win and cover.

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) at Cleveland Browns (0-9)
Line: Jaguars by 7.5

The only thing that could beat the Jags is themselves, so they need to be focused.

Dr. Football: Take the Jaguars to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Jaguars to win and cover.

Washington Redskins (4-5) at New Orleans Saints (7-2)
Line: Saints by 8

New Orleans has won seven straight games behind their running game and their defense. And the Dome will make a difference.

Dr. Football: Take the Saints to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Saints to win and cover.

 

LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Buffalo Bills (5-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (3-6)
Line: Chargers by 4

The Bills now travel after being laughed out of Buffalo by the Saints. Look for the Chargers to take advantage of the inexperienced Bills QB Nathan Peterman with their pass rush.

Dr. Football: Take the Chargers to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Chargers to win and cover.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) at Denver Broncos (3-6)
Line: Broncos by 2.5

The Bengals are playing a third straight road game, and Denver ain’t the place to do it, even though they’re not beating anyone either. Go with the home team.

Dr. Football: Take the Broncos to win and cover.

The Coach: Hold your nose and take the Broncos to win and cover.

New England Patriots (7-2) vs. Oakland Raiders (4-5)
Line: Patriots by 6.5

New England has won their last five wins in a row with the last four coming by a touchdown or more. Even going cross-country in consecutive weeks shouldn’t be enough to slow down this team.

Dr. Football: Take the Patriots to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Patriots to win and cover.

 

SUNDAY NIGHT

Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) at Dallas Cowboys (5-4)
Line: Eagles by 3

Dallas didn’t look good last week in losing to the Falcons, and now with the Ezekiel Elliott thing put to rest, the Cowboys will fade into the sunset.

Dr. Football: Take the Eagles to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Eagles to win and cover.

 

MONDAY NIGHT

Atlanta Falcons (5-4) at Seattle Seahawks (6-3)
Line: Seahawks by 3

Atlanta seemed to find something last week on offense, and now that the Seahawks will be without Richard Sherman, the momentum will carry.

Dr. Football: Take the Falcons in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Jared Goff and Case Keenum have had bounce back seasons

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By Eric Nelson
November 15, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the Land of 10,000 Lakes…..

•Loss Loss Land: In 2016 Jared Goff and Case Keenum were part of a Hollywood horror show that had a disastrous ending. Goff and Keenum shared the quarterback duties with the LA Rams and both put up sub-par stats on a sub-par team that finished 4-12. Simply put, it was a debacle…

•QB Revival: In 2017 Goff and Keenum are now part of amazing comeback stories – with each guy playing a key role in their team’s success. The Rams are 7-2 and Goff has made major strides in his second season. The Minnesota Vikings are also 7-2 and Keenum has been steady and sometimes spectacular for the Purple in a back up role. …

•Collision Course: LA and Minnesota play Sunday at US Bank Stadium and both teams are heating up. The Rams have won four straight and the Vikings have a five game winning streak. The winner will garner plenty of accolades and boost their playoff hopes..

•Case Closed: There are plenty of people huffing and puffing about who should be the Vikings starting signal caller, but this one is easy. Keenum is the guy and should play until he proves he can’t. Teddy Bridgewater’s day will come soon enough, but no sense tinkering with something that isn’t broken…

•Video Game Offense: The Rams are putting up cartoon-like numbers this season. LA has scored 296 points – the most in the NFL. The Rams have erupted for 51 against the NY Giants, rung up 46 on Indianapolis, 41 on San Francisco, 35 on Dallas, and scored 33 against Arizona and Houston…

•Coaching Contrasts: The Rams bounce back season has raised the profile of 31-year old Sean McVay, who is the youngest HC in NFL history. McVay comes from a football family and has a reputation for developing quarterbacks. Goff’s success is more proof of that. Meanwhile, LA’s DC is 70-year old Wade Phillips, who knows how to coach up a defense…

•Powerhouses: LA and Minnesota both have lofty spots in this weeks NFL Power Rankings. The Rams are number 2 and the Vikings are ranked 6th. Philadelphia is the top team…

•Deserving Honor: Congrats to Paul Molitor, who was named American League Manager of the Year after leading Minnesota to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. The Twins are the first team in MLB history to make the postseason after losing 100-plus games the previous year…

•Zero Hero: Minnesota G Devan Dubnyk is pitching shutouts at a rate that would make Clayton Kershaw envious. Dubnyk has three straight blankings after the Wild’s 3-0 win against Philadelphia on Tuesday night in St. Paul. Dubnyk has a team record scoreless streak of 195:05 and has stopped 103 shots on goal in the three wins…

•Breaking Up: After 18 highly successful years at ESPN2 and ESPN Radio, Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg’s run is over on Friday. Mike and Mike are moving onto supposedly greener pastures, but we will see how things play out…

•On-Air Chemistry: Mike and Mike worked because they clicked – which is a rare combination in the egotistical world of broadcasting. It’s too bad Mike and Mike are going away, because their product is still very good. ESPN should not be breaking up this tandem…

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Vikings win fifth straight

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By Larry Fitzgerald
November 15, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@FitzBeatSr

This is getting better every week. We are less than 100 days from Super Bowl Sunday and the opportunity of a lifetime to host the Super Bowl and actually play in it.

Quarterback Case Keenum threw for 304 yards and four touchdown passes in the Vikings’ 38-30 win Sunday over Washington. Receiver Adam Thielen had eight catches for 166 yards. Thielen is peaking and has 793 yards this year, including two games over 150 yards.

Just like that, the Vikings have reeled off five wins in a row. Remember, I must caution you, the cliché is “It’s not how you start but how you finish.” The Vikings had to play Sunday without Everson Griffen, NFC defensive player of the year, in the first half of the season with 10 sacks. He has a foot injury.

The Vikings have never won the big one — no championship banners since arriving in Bloomington, Minnesota in 1961. Four Super Bowl appearances became four painful reminders. That’s why, since I started covering this team in 1978, it’s been a goal of mine, not to mention a goal of you fans, to cover a Super Bowl from which the Vikings emerge as champions.

Philadelphia is 8-1; they are in the catbird seat with the best record in the NFL. Then comes New Orleans, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and the Vikings all at 7-2.

Now we have a long way to go with seven games left, but remember, the Vikings have not been in this position since 1998. They were 15-1 with Dennis Green, and in 2009 Brad Childress and the Vikings were 12-4. Both lost the NFC Championship games both years in overtime. OUCH!

Los Angeles is here Sunday, and they are rolling along also at 7-2. They are the highest scoring team in the NFL, averaging 32 points a game, and their points-a-game margin scoring and allowing is number one in the league at +134. So the Vikings can’t blink now, because they will be tested big-time Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. These Rams are rugged.

Four of the next six games are on the road, including three in a row… at Detroit on Thanksgiving, at Atlanta, and at Carolina.

Congratulations

Congrats to Bill Belichick, head coach of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Sunday’s 41-16 win at Denver was his career win number 270, and he ties with Hall of Famer Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys for number three on the all-time NFL coaches win list.

And congrats to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady who, since serving his four-game suspension at the beginning of last season, has thrown 47 touchdown passes and just two interceptions.

Congrats as well to Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. He grabbed 10 passes for 113 yards in Thursday’s 22-16 loss to Seattle. Fitzgerald, 34, became the second-youngest ever and only the sixth player in NFL history with over 15,000 career yards.

Arizona Cardinal wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. breaks into action

Larry Fitzgerald Jr.

Fitzgerald has 15,066 career yards. Jerry Rice is number one with 22,825, Terrell Owens number two with15,934, Randy Moss number three with 15,292, Isaac Bruce number four with 15,208, and Tony Gonzalez number five with 15,127.

 

 

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.

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Thomas U. Tuttle

Arizona Fall League

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by Thomas U. Tuttle

 

Scottsdale, Arizona

The sun has been shining daily out here in Phoenix, Arizona as yours truly enjoys high quality fall baseball courtesy of the remarkable Arizona Fall League, where Major League Baseball’s top prospects gather every year – since 1992.

Yes, that’s the year that legendary baseball man and long-term top executive Roland Hemond was able to convince baseball front-offices across the land that a developmental “short-season” from October into November would be of exceptional value to every franchise in MLB.

And boy was he right!

Out of the roughly 4,000 players who have played for one of the six PHX area squads (located in Mesa, Scottsdale, Peoria, Surprise, Glendale and “Salt River”) over 2,000 have seen time in the Major Leagues. That’s more than 50% of some of the best prospects in the game!

A number of the players baseball fans are given the opportunity to watch are going to be outstanding MLB’ers, too. How about Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, who I watched crush one out of the park at the All-Star game in 2015? Or LA Dodger rookie sensation Cody Bellinger, who was tending first base for Glendale in the fall of 2016? The scouts (who attend games by the dozen and occasionally outnumber the fans) were in hog-heaven watching the former can’t-miss prospect.

Hey, 39 homers in his first Dodger season? Not too bad. In an interview after a Scottsdale game, the soft-spoken, powerful slugger revealed that he was originally from the area and had watched a lot of games in his youth out in Glendale – where he was part of a team that went to the Little League World Series in 2007. (He grew up watching and admiring Larry Fitzgerald Jr, wide-receiver son of GDG top-shelfer Larry Sr.)

A few other luminaries?

How about Mike Piazza (the first AFL’er in the Hall-of-Fame) or future HOF’ers Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols? The list goes on and on…
Max Scherzer, Kris Bryant, Mike Trout, Corey Seager and Aaron Judge, just to name a few of the young guys.

And all players you could watch for six bucks, in the AZ sunshine, munching popcorn, down at the local ballpark. Best deal in sports for my money – or my press pass!

How does it work? Well, without getting into TOO much detail, the AFL is a showcase league, kind of a “graduate school” for top prospects. So the players know what they are getting into, their performance becomes meaningful, with 50 or 60 (or more) MLB scouts watching their every move – and sharing evaluations with each other.

Think about it – you gather 200 high quality players in one negotiable city (Phoenix) and just about every day there are three games going on around town with top-notch ballplayers who are wise to show good energy and hustle. That adds up to quality observation, the very essence of scouting.

For the weathered baseball scout, there is no driving all over creation to file a report on Suspect A or Prospect B. Just drive around beautiful central Arizona in the fall, hanging out with other baseball men (General Managers, top brass and coaches, too) – not a bad gig if you can get it!

It’s efficient and provides consistent insight – as one MLB scout told me; “Once I’ve seen a guy six or seven times, it’s up to me to really know that player. That’s the advantage of seeing them on a regular schedule.”

And as former Phillies great Del Unser (head of their scouting system for years, World Series champ in 1980) told me, “you can’t scout a player when he’s riding on the bus. I’ve done a lot of runs from Little Rock to Midland (Texas League) and this really is efficient.”

Unser, by the way, one of the true gentlemen in the game, retired this week.

So, hats off to future Hall-of-Famer Roland Hemond, one of the greatest people to ever help run the Grand Old Game. The Arizona Fall League was a genius call, and not his only one. As GM of the White Sox, I saw his handiwork in person as a boy. Fellow GDG’er and Chicagoan Larry Fitzgerald (whose son is absolutely the #1 hero out here) remembers when Roland went and picked up Dick (don’t call me Richie) Allen after his run in Philadelphia. What a player and what an entertainer! The Go-Go Sox were awesome, and should have won it all!

Well, at least that’s the view from Scottsdale, in the warm and bright sunshine, where maybe the sun is getting to me…

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Scott Taylor

NFL Picks Week 10

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Quarterbacks Mean Everything

Scott Taylor

“The Coach”

Dr. Football

“Dr. Football”

 

By

The Coach and Dr. Football
November 9, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

 

 

 

A note crossed my desk this week that ended up on more than one place on Twitter.

“If Colin Kaepernick’s lawyers want to prove that the NFL colluded against their client, all they need to do is show the video from Brett Hundley’s performance against Detroit on Monday night. Don’t even have to say a word.”

The collusion is obvious. By keeping Kaepernick out of the NFL, it drives down the talent level in the league and keeps at least 10 teams in the league from filling their buildings and becoming even a remote threat to make the playoffs. The league’s owners are keeping Kaeprenick out of the league because he kneeled during the anthem. By doing so, they make their league a joke and then wonder (although they make enough excuses that ignore a problem with the league’s competitive level) why their ratings and attendance slips.

As we start Week 10, Cleveland, Miami, Houston, Indianapolis, Denver, Green Bay, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Arizona and San Francisco are done while even teams with decent quarterbacks – the Giants, Washington, the Chargers, Oakland and Cincinnati – will need a miracle to make the playoffs. 

Last week Dr. Football went 8-5 (88-44) straight up and 7-6 (72-60) against the spread while The Coach went 10-3 (91-41) and 9-4 (78-54) against the spread. We’re making so much money, The Coach just quit his day job. As we said last week: hey NFL, don’t sign Colin Kaepernick. Don’t sign any quarterback who might win a game or two. Help us and our readers get richer thanks to your horrible offenses and inability to understand your own stupid problems.

The Ravens, Chiefs, Raiders and Eagles have the byes this week. Let’s take a close look at Week 10, get ourselves a Little Caesar’s pizza and go make money.

THURSDAY NIGHT

Seattle Seahawks (5-3) at Arizona Cardinals (4-4)
Line: Seahawks by 5.5

The Cardinals won with Drew Stanton last Sunday, but that was against the winless 49ers. Seattle makes a statement this week.

Dr. Football: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.

 

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Minnesota Vikings (6-2) at Washington Redskins (4-4)
Line: Vikings by 1

The Redskins won last week in Seattle, and they return home to face a rested Minnesota squad who have a lot of weapons.

Dr. Football: Take the Vikings to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Vikings to win and cover.

Green Bay Packers (4-4) at Chicago Bears (3-5)
Line: Bears by 5.5

We saw what the Packers could do on Monday without Aaron Rodgers…nothing, and at home!

Dr. Football: Take the Bears to win and cover.

The Coach: Hold your nose and take the Bears to win and cover.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) at Indianapolis Colts (3-6)
Line: Steelers by 10

Back to Earth for Indy, as they face a well-rested Big Ben and the rest of the Steelers.

Dr. Football: Take the Steelers to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Steelers to win and cover.

Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3)
Line: Jaguars by 4

Jacksonville have allowed just seven points over their last two games, and in their five wins this season they have not allowed more than nine points. Won’t be close.

Dr. Football: Take the Jaguars to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Jaguars to win and cover.

New Orleans Saints (6-2) at Buffalo Bills (5-3)
Line: Saints by 3

New Orleans have won six straight games because of their defense, while the Bills looked dreadful in that loss to the Jets.

Dr. Football: Take the Saints to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Saints to win and cover.

Cleveland Browns (0-8) at Detroit Lions (4-4)
Line: Lions by 12.5

Detroit’s defense was the story in Green Bay, but their offense will be the story against the bumbling Browns.

Dr. Football: Take the Lions to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Lions to win and cover.

New York Jets (4-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)
Line: Jets by 2.5

The Jets are one of the surprises of the league and already have exceeded many peoples’ expectations. The Bucs will be without Jameis Winston and receiver Mike Evans, so they should be easy prey.

Dr. Football: Take the Jets to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Jets to win and cover.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) at Tennessee Titans (5-3)
Line: Titans by 4.5

The Bengals are playing consecutive road games, which is tough, and their offense is horrible. The Titans didn’t look that great beating Baltimore, but their defense wasn’t too bad. I think they take it.

Dr. Football: Take the Titans to win and cover

The Coach: Take the Titans to win and cover.

 

LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Houston Texans (3-5) at Los Angeles Rams (6-2)

Line: Rams by 11.5

Well, that was fun while it lasted wasn’t it Houston fans? No Deshaun Watson, no hope.

Dr. Football: Take the Rams to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Rams to win and cover.

Dallas Cowboys (5-3) at Atlanta Falcons (4-4)
Line: Falcons by 3

Dallas has three straight victories, but Atlanta needs this one more for any hope of making the playoffs. The Coach says: Both teams have a good quarterback, making this a tough game to call.

Dr. Football: Take the Falcons to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Falcons to win and cover.

New York Giants (1-7) at San Francisco 49ers (0-9)
Line: Giants by 2.5

Someone’s gotta win right? I can’t see the 49ers going 0-16 this year, so it’s their turn to win this week. The Coach says: Even if Jimmy Garoppolo starts, the Niners win. But it looks like it will be C.J. Beathard, so forget that.

Dr. Football: Take the 49ers in an upset.

The Coach: Take the banged up Giants.

 

SUNDAY NIGHT

New England Patriots (6-2) at Denver Broncos (3-5)
Line: Patriots by 7.5

What’s sad about Denver is the fact they have a great defense and good receivers, but lack talent at QB. New England coming off the bye will still win, but will once again have trouble scoring. The Coach says: A quarterback (Brady) vs. No quarterback.

Dr. Football: Take the Patriots to win but not cover.

The Coach: Take the Patriots to win and cover.

 

MONDAY NIGHT

Miami Dolphins (4-4) at Carolina Panthers (6-3)
Line: Panthers by 9

Carolina handled Atlanta quite easily, but in my mind they are inconsistent in their effort. However, they are the better team than Miami.

Dr. Football: Take the Panthers to win but not cover.

The Coach: Take the Panthers to win and cover.

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: It’s All Eyes North thanks to the Minnesota Timberwolves fast start

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By Eric Nelson
November 8, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the capital of Timberwolves Nation…..

•All Eyes North: The Minnesota Timberwolves have played only 10 games this season, but already look like a completely different team compared to the inept squads who have struggled since 2004. Minnesota (7-3) has won five straight games for the first time in eight years and is four games north of .500 for the first time since 2007. The additions of Jimmy Butler, Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague have taken the T’Wolves to another level…

•Instant Impact: With Butler in the lineup Minnesota is 7-1. Butler doesn’t have spectacular stats (15.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game), but he elevates his teammates. Butler also plays lock down defense and is a winner. Butler could become a rock star in Minnesota…

•Sports Riddle: What do the Timberwolves and LA Rams have in common? Both are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004…

•Giant Rout: The Rams crushed the NY Giants 51-17 on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. According to the LA Times it is the most points the Giants have allowed at home since 1964. With QB Jared Goff getting better, RB Todd Gurley bulldozing opponents, and a solid defense, the Rams are trending up…

•No Boos Allowed: The 8-1 Eagles have the NFL’s best record and are playing so well that normally cynical Philadelphia fans have nothing to boo about. In Philly quarterback Carson Wentz is now as popular as Rocky Balboa – except that Wentz is actually a real character…

•Carson by the Numbers: In just his second season Wentz has blossomed into a top-notch gunslinger. The North Dakota State product leads the NFL with 23 touchdown passes and has thrown just five interceptions…

•Moving Up: Despite a bye last week, Minnesota has gone from number 7 to number 6 in this week’s NFL Power rankings. Philadelphia is number 1 followed by the LA Rams, Pittsburgh, New England and New Orleans…

•Husker Invasion: The Cobheads are coming. Even though Nebraska has a sub-par 4-5 record, don’t be surprised if Cornhusker fans stage a coup d’état and take over TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday. Minnesota is also 4-5 and a good chunk of Gopher backers have already given up on the team. Husker Nation always travels well, which means they will flock to Minneapolis for some football and partying…

•Mission Miami: Minnesota Vikings legend Chuck Foreman is going to Saturday’s game in South Florida between number 3 Notre Dame and 7th ranked Miami. Foreman played college football for the Hurricanes…

•Just Asking: Have Hawkeye fans stopped celebrating yet? Iowa’s 55-24 battering of Ohio State last week in Iowa City was clear cut Hawkeye domination and one of the most convincing wins in school history…

•Gold Rush: Congrats to Minnesota CF Byron Buxton and 2B Brian Dozier for winning their first AL gold gloves. Buxton has a knack for making highlight plays and covers more ground than a tarp. Dozier is steady and sometimes spectacular in gobbling up ground balls, and makes turning a double play look easy…

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Scott Taylor

Could Wild Already Be Behind the Eight Ball?

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Scott Taylor

By Scott Taylor

November 7, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

 

Those of us old enough to remember the winter of 2015 when Devan Dubnyk arrived in St. Paul, understand that the Minnesota Wild is never out of it.

After all, when the desperate Wild traded with Arizona to acquire the journeyman net-minder, they were pretty much “out of it.” They were 19-19-6 and battling to keep up with Dallas, Colorado, Los Angeles and San Jose in the West. They weren’t doing well. When you consider that L.A. finished 13 games above .500 and still missed the playoffs, the Wild were definitely “out of it.”

But then, Chuck Fletcher dealt a third round pick to the really, really, really out of it Coyotes, and he got a guy who has been the backbone of the team for the past three seasons. Dubnyk got the Wild into the playoffs almost single-handedly in 2014-15 and has played a major role on playoff teams in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Now, however, things are not so rosy for the Wild.

Monday night, they were outshot 34-27 by a banged-up Boston Bruins team at TD Garden in Boston and were beaten 5-3. Dubnyk started and gave up four goals on 24 shots and was replaced by Alex Stalock, who stopped all nine shots he faced (the Bruins fifth goal went into an empty net). Last year, Dubnyk went 40-19-6 with a 2.25 goals against average and a .923 save percentage and led the Wild into the post-season. This year, he’s 4-5-1 with a 3.03 GAA and a .907 save percentage, and that’s not good.

Worse yet, he just doesn’t look comfortable.

Minnesota Wild Goalie Devan Dubnyk

Devan Dubnyk and the Wild are off to a less than stellar start in 2017.

In a recent game in Winnipeg, he gave up four goals on 30 shots and was flopping all over the ice. A tall goaltender who can look awkward at times, he looked like a fish out of water — in front of his family from Regina – that night in the ‘Peg. Slow to react… clumsy. He was down too much and out of position too often. His defensemen have bailed him out more than once, and as Wild fans have witnessed this season, the defense hasn’t been great shakes either.

Now to be fair, the Wild are 5-6-2, have lost two in a row and are 4-5-1 in their last 10. This could simply be an early November slump. Dubnyk could very well light it up in January and February again, and all could be right with the world.

Trouble is, October and November is a good time to pick up wins that will be important in April. NHL observers have long claimed that the best teams in the league don’t start turning it on until the New Year. If you’re ever going to beat Boston in Boston, beat them in early November when they have half a dozen starters out of the lineup.

It simply didn’t work out that way.

“It’s like the Keystone Kops out there,” Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau said, candidly. “Guys that know how to play hockey aren’t playing very well. We just weren’t very competitive the first two periods. That was probably the most embarrassing two periods I’ve been involved with on a lot of teams.”

“They (Boston) were doing nothing in the first 10 minutes, and then we give them two goals, and we give them life. And then, all of a sudden we sit back and don’t do anything. It’s embarrassing.”

Granted, the Wild is still without offensive leader Zach Parise, but scoring goals doesn’t seem to be a pressing issue. They’ve scored 40 times which is better than three teams with playoff records in the West. Trouble is, they’ve given up 40.  That’s more than three a game, and that’s not good.

Despite all the problems that their coach sees, it’s apparent that with better goaltending – one extra save every two games, the Wild would be in the early season hunt. If the goaltending doesn’t get better, the Keystone Kops will be playing golf in mid-April.

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Is it time for Teddy?

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By Larry Fitzgerald
November 7, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@FitzBeatSr

Let me start a quarterback controversy. After all, does it really matter what I think anyway?

Sam Bradford is hurt. His left knee apparently has bothered him to the point that you feel like a fool asking questions of Mike Zimmer about his knee.

Since playing like the best quarterback in the NFL Monday night on opening weekend vs. the New Orleans Saints (29-19 Vikings), Bradford has been a mystery, throwing for 346 yards, three TDs, and completing 27-32. He’s started one game since that Monday night, played the first half against the Chicago Bears on October 9, again on Monday night, and did not play well. He looked stiff but helped the Vikings lead 3-2 at half.

Backup QB Case Keenum has guided this offense since taking over as Bradford’s replacement. The Vikings are 6-2, the second-best record in the NFL. They just had a week off with no game after traveling to London and beating the Cleveland Browns 36-16.

Teddy Bridgewater last played in January 2015 in the playoffs, lost to Seattle, and after nearly14 months came off the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list this week. The Vikings have until November 8 to use a roster spot and activate Bridgewater.

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater looks to be back on the Vikings active roster this week…

It’s not an easy decision for Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman, because the team is winning with Keenum and he’s playing so well. Team chemistry and all that goes with it is why the quarterback position is the hardest position to play in the NFL.

However, I don’t trust Bradford at this point. He was brought in to replace Bridgewater last year when he went down and has played well, but this year his knee injury tells me you can’t assume he will be back healthy playing this season.

On the other hand, Bridgewater is your guy. He’s healthy again. He can do all that needs to be done. He can throw, his mobility is good, he’s fresh, and he believes he can play now.

I love what Keenum is doing, and he should just keep playing. But if you believe Bridgewater is the best player for this team, I would play him now, because he gives the Vikings the best chance to continue what he started in 2015.

Sunday the Vikings travel to Washington. They beat Seattle 17-14. Blair Walsh — remember him? He missed three field goals in that loss.

The schedule is rugged with high-scoring 6-2 physical Los Angeles and playoff-tested teams like Carolina, Atlanta, Green Bay and Detroit ahead. I would roll the dice now. If Bridgewater is ready physically, he should play. I believe he is and should get his job back.

Stay tuned. We’ll soon see.

 

 

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.

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Scott Taylor

NFL Picks Week 9

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The Owners Have Made it Easy to Pick Winners

Scott Taylor

“The Coach”

Dr. Football

“Dr. Football”

 

By

The Coach and Dr. Football
November 2, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

 

 

 

The Tweet of the NFL season was sent out by Sports Illustrated last week.

On Friday, after the Miami Dolphins were embarrassed on international TV in the NFL’s Thursday Night game, SI Tweeted:

Me: Would you sign Kaepernick?

Stephen M. Ross (Dolphins owner): No, getting roasted on national television is closer to my personal values.

I would say SI nailed the Dolphins owner and the owners of most NFL teams. As we’re learning this year, NFL owners are more interested in what the sidelines look like during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner than they are in winning football games.

The Miami Dolphins were a disgrace to football last Thursday. The reason was simple. The quarterbacking was as embarrassing as it gets. Matt Moore went 25-for-44 for 176 yards, no touchdowns and two pick-sixes. He scored more Baltimore points than Miami points. The Dolphins had 196 yards of total net offense. That’s just horrendous.

There are so many teams with either bad or not even passable quarterbacks that picking winners has been easier than shooting fish in a barrel. The boys have never won as many football games both straight up and against the spread like they have this season because only rarely do two teams with good quarterbacks face each other. The only really tough choices we have are games like Baltimore and Tennessee this week or Arizona and San Francisco. There are so many bad quarterbacks in the NFL that having to choose which one is the worst is our only test.

Last week Dr. Football went 11-2 (80-39) straight up and 10-3 (65-54) against the spread while The Coach went 11-2 (81-38) and 9-4 (69-50) against the spread. We’re making so much money, we just might quit our day jobs. Come on NFL, don’t sign Colin Kaepernick. Don’t sign any quarterback who might win a game or two. Help us and our readers get richer thanks to your horrible offenses.

This week, we’ll take a close look at Week 9 in the NFL. The Bears, Browns, Chargers, Vikings, Patriots and Steelers all have the byes this week. That’s two good quarterbacks, one mediocre quarterback and three bad quarterbacks on the sidelines. Might make our job tougher.

 

THURSDAY NIGHT

Buffalo Bills (5-2) at New York Jets (3-5)

Line: Bills by 3

The Bills have surprised most this season, but I think the bubble will burst as they won’t figure out their division rivals.

Dr. Football: Take the Jets in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Bills to win and cover.

 

EARLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Denver Broncos (3-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-1)
Line: Eagles by 8

Carson Wentz is the real deal, and Philly’s defense has been fantastic, especially against the run. Denver has no chance.

Dr. Football: Take the Eagles to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Eagles to win and cover.

Los Angeles Rams (5-2) at New York Giants (1-6)
Line: Rams by 3.5

Both teams will be well rested coming off their bye weeks. The Giants defense is awful, and they haven’t done anything to fix it.

Dr. Football: Take the Rams to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Rams to win and cover.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5) at New Orleans Saints (5-2)
Line: Saints by 7

New Orleans have won five straight, and it’s because of the defense. Coupled with the fact they are in the Dome. This should be easy.

Dr. Football: Take the Saints to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Saints to win and cover.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3)
Line: Jaguars by 4.5

Both teams are good on defense, which should make this a low-scoring game. Jacksonville will be well rested coming off the bye and should take this one at home.

Dr. Football: Take the Jaguars to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Jaguars to win and cover.

Atlanta Falcons (4-3) at Carolina Panthers (5-3)
Line: Panthers by 1

The Panthers get the Falcons road weary, playing a third straight road game, but Carolina has had trouble scoring. I think Atlanta is ready to make statement before next week’s game against Dallas.

Dr. Football: Take the Falcons in an upset.

The Coach: Take The Panthers to win and cover.

Indianapolis Colts (2-6) at Houston Texans (4-3)
Line: Texans by 12.5

The Colts are next-to-last in overall defense, allowing 407 yards per game. Deshaun Watson will throw for at least that.

Dr. Football: Take the Texans to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Texans to win but not cover.

Baltimore Ravens (4-4) at Tennessee Titans (4-3)
Line: Titans by 4.5

With no Joe Flacco and being on the road, the Ravens have no chance.

Dr. Football: Take the Titans to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Titans to win and cover.

 

LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Arizona Cardinals (3-4) at San Francisco 49ers (0-8)
Line: Cardinals by 2

Even without Carson Palmer, Arizona should be able to send the 49ers to 0-9.

Dr. Football: Take the Cardinals to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Cardinals to win and cover.

Washington Redskins (3-4) at Seattle Seahawks (5-2)
Line: Seahawks by 7

The Redskins are banged up and have to travel across the country to play against a Seattle team that’s really starting to roll.

Dr. Football: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.

Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) at Dallas Cowboys (4-3)
Line: Pick ‘Em

The Chiefs are playing on a short week on the road and have trouble against the run. Ezekiel Elliott will likely be out, but Dallas has a lot of other weapons.

Dr. Football: Take the Cowboys to win

The Coach: Take the Cowboys.

 

SUNDAY NIGHT

Oakland Raiders (3-5) at Miami Dolphins (4-3)
Line: Raiders by 3

Miami was horrible against Baltimore, and will have Jay Cutler back. The Raiders haven’t been home all week, choosing to stay in the east to prepare, but they still are the league’s biggest disappointment this season.

Dr. Football: Take the Dolphins in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Raiders

 

MONDAY NIGHT

Detroit Lions (3-4) at Green Bay Packers (4-3)
Line: Lions by 2.5

The Lions have dropped four out of their last five and face a Packers team who are well rested and have given Brett Hundley some time to figure out the playbook.

Dr. Football: Take the Packers in an upset.

The Coach: Hold your nose and take the Lions to win and cover.

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Eric Nelson

After eight games the Minnesota Vikings are NFC North Stars

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By Eric Nelson
November 1, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the North Star State…..

•Trending Up: The Minnesota Vikings are a solid 6-2 at the halfway point of their season. The Purple have won four straight games, are on top of the NFC North and have a top-flight defense that keeps them in every game. Minnesota could win the division because Green Bay (4-3) is mediocre without all-galaxy QB Aaron Rodgers, Detroit (3-4) has been inconsistent and Chicago (3-5) is struggling…

•UK Success: The Vikings are now 2-0 when they play regular season games in London. Minnesota knocked off Cleveland last Sunday in the UK and won across the pond in 2013 against Pittsburgh…

•Power Ball: For the second straight week Minnesota is ranked seventh in the NFL power rankings. Philadelphia is number 1, followed by the LA Rams, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and New England…

•Miami Not So Nice: Just a hunch but I am guessing that Miami HC Adam Gase and Pro Bowl RB Jay Ajayi won’t be exchanging Christmas cards this year…

•Philly-Bound: On Tuesday Miami dealt Ajayi to Philadelphia for a fourth round pick. After a 40-0 loss to Baltimore Gase publicly ripped the Dolphins offense. Even though Gase did not single out a specific player, it’s as clear as the Key West sky that he was not happy with Ajayi…

•Trophy Envy: The U of M trophy case needs some hardware. Minnesota failed to bring home the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy on Saturday, losing 17-10 at Iowa. This week the Gophers get a chance to win the Little Brown Jug as they play Michigan at the Big House. But history says that is unlikely. The Wolverines lead the series 74-25-3 and have won 55 of the last 67 games, including 23 of the past 25…

•Politically Incorrect: Robert McNair and Yulie Gurriel – must be a Houston thing…

•Lucky Sevens: MLB is on a roll. For the second straight season and third time in four years, the World Series has gone seven games. In 2014 Kansas City and San Francisco went the distance, in 2016 the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland played a seven game series, and it will take seven games to crown a champ in this year’s Houston-LA Dodgers WS…

•Diamond Duo: If they stay together in Houston, the Astros middle infield tandem of SS Carlos Correa and 2B Jose Altuve has a chance to be one of the greatest in MLB history…

•School Pride: A pair of classmates from Highland Park HS in Dallas were competing for television ratings on
Sunday night. On FOX, LA Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw was on the mound at Minute Maid Park pitching against Houston in the WS. Meanwhile on NBC, QB Matthew Stafford and Detroit were playing Pittsburgh. Unfortunately for Kershaw and Stafford, both their teams lost…

•Star Power: In the sports saturated Twin Cities it is easy to get spoiled. Fans have plenty of chances to see super teams and super star athletes. For instance, last Friday NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder played the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Then on Saturday, Sidney Crosby and the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins skated at the Xcel Energy Center against the Minnesota Wild…

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