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Scott Taylor

Wild Better Get Going…

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 Scott Taylor

By Scott Taylor

January 26, 2018
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

After the Minnesota Wild were whipped 6-3 in Pittsburgh on Thursday night, Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t hide his frustration.

Boudreau was clearly disappointed in his team and during his televised post-game news conference, he made no excuses for a game in which his Wild fell behind 6-0 and scored three late goals to make the score look closer than it was.

In fact, the Wild was outshot 39-23 by the defending Stanley Cup champions and at no time was actually in the game.

Boudreau knew it, too.

“We got killed,” the coach said bluntly. “We got outplayed in every facet of the game. When you score three goals late it makes it look a little bit better. They stopped playing a little and we got some breaks and scored three goals, but when they turned it on, we had no answer for them.”

With Thursday night’s loss, the Wild fell to 26-18-5 this season. Minnesota has 33 games remaining on the schedule and, obviously, they still have a chance to make the playoffs. They are currently 10th in the West, but have the same number of points as eighth-place Colorado, although the Avs have one game in hand.

But that was hardly the point for Boudreau on Thursday night. This Minnesota team that plays so well at Xcel Energy Center (17-4-4) is not very good on the road and Boudreau is worried about it.

He’s also worried about the fact his team was horrendous on Thursday night in one of the toughest NHL buildings in which to play. 

“It was obvious that we didn’t bring our work boots,” said Boudreau with a glare. “I was hoping to get out of the (first) period 1-0 and was happy to get out of the period 2-0 quite frankly. But it didn’t manifest into anything because they got four and then six.”

So what was the problem? And what did he tell his team between periods?

“You gotta have some pride in this game,” he said. “No matter what.

“That’s the same thing I said in between periods. We might not win this game, but you gotta get back to the way you’re supposed to play. The basics. They (Pittsburgh) were having odd-man rushes of four-on-two, three-on-two almost every shift. When you get into those bad habits it’s really difficult to get out of them and we haven’t had those bad habits in a while. But I said to them, ‘Just play with pride. It’s 6-0 now, but just start doing things right and it might work out that it makes it better for the next game.’”

Someone in the scrum asked the coach about “bad bounces.” It was cringe worthy question, but to Boudreau’s credit, he answered forthrightly and without taking offense.

“Good bounces come to teams that outwork other teams,” he said calmly. “In reality it’s all about work. If you really outwork the other team you’ll get good bounces. If you don’t work, it’s “Oh, crap we got bad bounces.’ Then it’s ‘Woe is me. We got bad bounces,’ We got ‘em because we weren’t outworking them.”

With 33 games to play, the Wild play 16 games at home and 17 on the road. The Wild is 9-14-1 on the road, one of the worst road records in the NHL. Especially among teams that still have a shot at the playoffs. Boudreau knows that the remainder of the season is no walk in the park.

“Considering we got more road games than home games we better turn it around quickly,” he said. “We better find the reason it’s not happening or we’ll be on the outside looking in. We’re one of the best teams at home and we’re one of the worst teams on the road. We want to keep the home thing what it is, but we’ve gotta get the road thing turned around. We’ve got some tough road buildings to go to and we can’t afford to play like this.”

The Wild were awful on Thursday. As Boudreau pointed out, there are no excuses for that type of play.

The All-Star break starts today. The Wild don’t play again until next Tuesday night when they face the Blue Jackets in Columbus. It’s another road game. Another important road game.

The Wild will have four days to think about how stinky they were heading into the break. Bruce Boudreau hopes that loss to Pittsburgh will register. If it doesn’t, the final 10 weeks of hockey in St. Paul won’t be a lot of fun.

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Scott Taylor

NFL Picks Championship Week

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Ready for a Vikings-Pats Super Bowl?

Scott Taylor

“The Coach”

Dr. Football

“Dr. Football”

 

By

The Coach and Dr. Football
January 20, 2018
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

 

OK, Minnesota Vikings fans, have you seen the replay enough? Have you witnessed the Minnesota Miracle more than a dozen times yet (we have)? Has it sunk in?

The most incredible 10 seconds in the history of the National Football League is now behind us, and its time… today, to move forward. Fans have jumped on the added flights and are in Philadelphia, set to take their lives into their own hands in the City of Brotherly Love, (where a guy beat up a police horse last week) as the Vikings face the Eagles in the NFC Championship game. It will be Nick Foles vs. Case Keenum in the battle of two reborn backup quarterbacks… Should be interesting.

Meanwhile, over in the AFC, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have reached the championship for the seventh straight year. That’s a remarkable feat and proves that, yes, dynasties still exist in sport and the most impressive is the one in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

We’re told Tom Brady has an injured hand but you can pretty much bet that he’ll still start at quarterback on Sunday, even if the Pats have to wheel him out onto the field on a hospital gurney. Frankly, the Pats can pretty much call their own score. I think the Jacksonville Jaguars story is a nice one, but it ends on Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, it’s amazing how tough it gets to pick winners when teams have actually real starting quarterbacks on the field. The boys have struggled in the past two weeks thanks to the fact that the teams are much more evenly matched than they have been all season. The dogs are gone. The contenders are left. And that’s why you’ll not see a better day of football than the one we watched last Sunday. Unless, of course, it’s the one we watch this Sunday.

Last week, our fearless prognosticators were no better than average. Dr. Football went 2-2 (183-81) on the money line and 2-2 (149-115) against the spread while The Coach went 2-2 (185-79) on the money line and 2-2 (149-115) against the spread.

Time now to take a close look at Championship Sunday in the National Football League:

 

SUNDAY

Jacksonville Jaguars (12-6) at New England Patriots (14-3)
Line: Patriots by 9

Blake Bortles has been steady all through the playoffs, but playing against and in New England will be a whole different story as the Pats defense will rattle him all game. Oh yea, and then there’s this guy named Tom Brady…

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

The Coach: Take the Patriots to win and cover.

 

Minnesota Vikings (14-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)
Line: Vikings by 3

Drew Brees seemed to figure out the Vikings defense in the second half last week, but Nick Foles and the Eagles offense will not; the Vikings won’t make the same mistakes, either. SKOL!

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

The Coach: Take the Vikings because The Coach is on the bandwagon.

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Scott Taylor

NFL Picks Playoffs Week 2

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Big Sunday in Downtown Minneapolis

Scott Taylor

“The Coach”

Dr. Football

“Dr. Football”

 

By

The Coach and Dr. Football
January 13, 2018
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

It’s the biggest Sunday of the 2017-18 season in downtown Minneapolis. At 3:40 CST at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings will play host to the New Orleans Saints in the 2018 Conference Championship semifinal.

The 13-3 Vikings worked hard all season – especially on defense – to put themselves in this situation and while it’s hard to imagine they could lose at home, the Saints provide a particularly difficult challenge. With the Super Bowl in this same stadium in three weeks, a defeat at the hands of the Saints would be devastating for the coaching staff, the players and the fans, a hearty bunch that have filled the big land crawler in downtown Minneapolis all season.

The Saints are tough. They just completed a three-game season sweep of the talented Carolina Panthers and they haven’t forgotten how the Vikings took them apart in Week 1. Of course, when these two teams met in September, Adrian Peterson was the Saints runningback. Since then, Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have become a gifted one-two running punch to go along with Drew Brees’s dangerous passing game. This isn’t the same Saints team that the Vikings took apart four months ago.

However, while the Vikings offense has improved under the surprisingly talented Case Keenum, the defense is still the straw that stirs this drink. Featuring established stars such as Harrison (Harry the Hitman) Smith, Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph and emerging future stars such as Anthony Barr, Trae Waynes and Eric Kendricks, the Vikings defense is the best in the NFL.

It’s going to be loud inside that big downtown boat this weekend and the Vikings are nearly unbeatable inside its large, friendly confines. Minnesota is favored by five, but the Saints won’t roll over.

This could be the game of the year.

Meanwhile, our fearless prognosticators have been on a planet of their own this year. The money keeps rolling in just as it did in the opening round of the playoffs last week. Dr. Football went 3-1 (181-79) on the money line and 1-3 (147-113) against the spread while The Coach went 2-2 (183-77) on the money line and 1-3 (147-113) against the spread.

It should be dandy weekend of football in this, the second week of the playoffs. Let’s take a closer look:

 

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Atlanta Falcons (11-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)
Line: Falcons by 3

Let’s face it, Nick Foles just doesn’t have the skill set needed for the Eagles to move on. Atlanta, despite not having a home playoff game, wants to get back to the show.

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

The Coach: Take the Falcons to win and cover.

 

SATURDAY NIGHT

Tennessee Titans (10-7) at New England Patriots (13-3)
Line: Patriots by 13

The one thing that Tom Brady loves is proving the critics and gossipers wrong. The Titans are just lucky to still be playing. There will be peace in New England after this one.

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

The Coach: Take the Patriots to win and cover.

 

EARLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Jacksonville Jaguars (11-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)
Line: Steelers by 7

Jacksonville’s defense is tough, and they did beat the Steelers in Week 5, but that was a long time ago, and Big Ben and company are playing at a much higher level.

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

The Coach: Take the Steelers to win and cover.

 

LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON

New Orleans Saints (12-5) at Minnesota Vikings (13-3)
Line: Vikings by 5

Minnesota can taste it, but it won’t be easy. New Orleans is much better team than they were in Week 1, but so are the Vikings. Count on a great game from Case Keenum, the Rodney Dangerfield of pro football.

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

The Coach: Take the Vikings to win and cover.

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Scott Taylor

NFL Playoff Picks

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It’s Playoff Time: Where Dreams Can Come True

Scott Taylor

“The Coach”

Dr. Football

“Dr. Football”

 

By

The Coach and Dr. Football
January 5, 2018
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

 

 

 

It’s playoff time in the NFL. That time of year when good teams all have a chance to win a championship and teams with bad quarterbacks – and there are a lot of them – are only a distant memory.

It’s been a pretty horrible year for the NFL. The president of the United States isn’t happy that African-American players protested police brutality by kneeling during various National Anthems. TV ratings dropped across the board, not because of the protests but because the football was, generally, terrible (ratings in New England, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Los Angeles, Buffalo and yes, even San Francisco were way up while ratings in New York, Houston, Chicago, Cleveland, Arizona, Cincinnati, Denver, San Diego, St. Louis and Oakland were way, way down). And the play was terrible because (a) there aren’t enough quarterbacks to go around, and (b) the one quarterback that could have helped some of these horrendous teams wasn’t signed because owners would rather lose by three touchdowns than even attempt to win games because of their personal political views.

The NFL is a mess. But it’s not so big a mess that Jon Gruden can’t come out of the broadcast booth and get a coaching job that provides him with a 10-year contract worth $100 million. The NFL’s problems are at the executive level. The players are playing as hard as they can. They’re desperately trying to win, but ownership is much more concerned about the questions they might be asked at a cocktail party, than they are about providing their coaches, players and fans with the proper tools to win football games.

How else do you explain Cleveland (0-16), Houston (4-12), Indianapolis (4-12), the Giants (3-13), Chicago (5-11), Tampa (5-11), Denver (5-11) and the Jets (5-11)? So much for parity.

But that was then, this is now. It’s going to be tougher for our fearless prognosticators now that all those dreadful football teams have been eliminated. And let’s be completely honest. During the regular season, it was easy to pick winners.

Last week, in the final week of the regular season, Dr. Football went 10-6 (178-78) straight up and 9-7 (146-110) against the spread while The Coach went 11-5 (181-75) straight up and 11-5 (146-110) against the spread. These guys get richer and richer and richer. It was the best season for each prognosticator since 2007.

Then again, with so few good quarterbacks in the NFL, picking winners has never been easier.

Let’s take a close look at the first round of the playoffs. Remember Philadelphia and Minnesota in the NFC and New England and Pittsburgh in the AFC have the byes.

 

LATE SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Tennessee Titans (9-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
Line: Chiefs by 9

Despite the Titans winning the last two at Arrowhead, the Chiefs are the team that beat the Patriots in Week 1. They will want another shot in New England.

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

The Coach: Take the Chiefs to win and cover.

 

SATURDAY NIGHT

Atlanta Falcons (10-6) at Los Angeles Rams (11-5)

Line: Rams by 6.5

The Rams just aren’t ready to take the next step against last year’s Super Bowl losers…Matt Ryan’s experience will be the difference.

Dr. Football: Take the Falcons in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Rams to win and cover.

 

EARLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Buffalo Bills (9-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)

Line: Jaguars by 9

The only reason the Bills are playing on Sunday is because Baltimore imploded against Cincinnati.

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

The Coach: Take the Jaguars to win and cover.

 

LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Carolina Panthers (11-5) at New Orleans Saints (11-5)

Line: Saints by 7

New Orleans dominated Carolina during the regular season, and will once again win at home in a shootout.

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

The Coach: Take the Saints to win and cover.

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Scott Taylor

Wild Still in the Hunt to Start 2018

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 Scott Taylor

By Scott Taylor

Photos by James Carey Lauder

January 3, 2018
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

Don’t worry, be happy. That should probably be the motto of the Minnesota Wild as they head into the 2018 portion of the 2017-18 National Hockey League schedule.

On Tuesday night, the Wild got two goals from Eric Staal and two more from Matt Cullen, three assists from Jared Spurgeon and 25 saves from Devan Dubnyk as they whipped the visiting Florida Panthers 5-1.

It left the Wild with a record of 21-16-3, eight points behind first-place Winnipeg in the Central Division and one point behind the Anaheim Ducks for the final Wild Card spot in the West.

It’s not a terrible place to be with 42 games remaining. It’s not great, by any stretch, but the Wild are certainly in the hunt.

But at some point, the Wild have to turn a win like Tuesday’s into a streak. One win here or there won’t be the answer to the big playoff question. If the Wild intend to be playing in late April, the time has come to string a few wins together.

To be fair, the Wild are now 10-1-1 in their last 12 home games and that’s quite impressive. Considering that the Wild play six of their next eight at home including a match up against the struggling Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night, the Wild could get right back into the Central Division hunt during the next two weeks. With Zach Parise back in the lineup and Dubnyk playing with more confidence, the Wild are in a good position to make some noise.

Eric Staal certainly isn’t concerned. On Tuesday, the 33-year-old veteran scored his 16th and 17th goals of the season against the Panthers and with 35 points is on the first page of scoring leaders in the NHL (32nd).

Minnesota Wild forward Eric Staal gathers his momentum to go toward the puck

Eric Staal leads the Wild in the scoring.

“It’s been fun since the moment I signed here,” said Staal on Tuesday night. “It’s a really good group of guys. We’re also a confident group right now. We just have to keep this confidence going as long as we can.”

And really, that’s what it’s about at this stage. The NHL’s December dog days (deep freeze if you prefer) are now over, and hockey old-timers will tell you that now is the time when good teams start to get their game faces on. The playoff run becomes urgent. Half the season is over, and now the contenders must show that they aren’t pretenders.

That means Dubnyk has to play like he did against Florida on Tuesday for most of the rest of the season. The defensive group has to carry on the way Suter, (often-healthy-scratch) Olofsson, Dumba, Brodin, Prosser and Spurgeon did against the Panthers. Up front, Parise is back, Staal is the team’s leading scorer and Jason Zucker is a star. No question the Wild need to get more out of Nino Neiderreiter (when he’s healthy), Mikko Koivu, and Charlie Coyle down the stretch, but then again, now is the time for all hands to be on deck every single night.

This is a different Wild club than the one that made the playoffs last year – for the fifth straight year – but it’s still a team that has shown, thus far, that it can compete with teams like Winnipeg, Nashville, St. Louis and the upstart Vegas Golden Knights. With Parise back, the Wild looked as good as they have all season on Tuesday night.

“I thought Zach was good for his first game,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau after Tuesday’s win. “He did all the right things and played within himself and could have had a couple, too. That’s the way we were last year when Zach was in the lineup. He was good and we were pretty good.”

It’s not the best Wild team ever, but if it can build on its confidence with Parise back, who knows what could happen? After all, love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Wild are certainly still in the hunt.

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Scott Taylor

NFL Picks Week 17

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It’s Been a Money-Making Year

Scott Taylor

“The Coach”

Dr. Football

“Dr. Football”

 

By

The Coach and Dr. Football
December 30, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

 

It’s the final week of the 2017-18 National Football League season, and this is what could happen:

The Minnesota Vikings face the Chicago Bears at the Big Bank Stadium on Sunday at Noon, and according to that silly new stat from ESPN (the Football Power Index, LOL), the Vikes have a 99.6 percent chance of clinching the final first-round bye.

They will clinch it with a home victory over the Bears — which they should probably do, one would think – or, if necessary, with help from one of three other teams – Atlanta, New Orleans or the Rams. The Rams have claimed they will rest their top players while the other two teams have at least suggested they’ll try to be competitive. The Vikings shouldn’t need the help, but if they absolutely have to have it, expect one of those three teams to win on Sunday.

So we can pretty much go to Vegas and book the Vikings through to the second week of the post-season.

We can also book a winning season for our fearless prognosticators. Fact is, these guys just keep on winning.

Last week Dr. Football went 12-4 (168-72) straight up and 10-6 (137-107) against the spread while The Coach went 13-3 (170-70) straight up and 8-8 (135-105) against the spread. These guys get richer every week and with just four wins, they are guaranteed their best seasons in almost a decade.

With so few good quarterbacks in the NFL, picking winners has never been easier.

Let’s take a close look at Week 17 and dream about the playoffs. 

 

EARLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Green Bay Packers (7-8) at Detroit Lions (8-7)
Line: Lions by 7.5

The Packers are fully on “next year” mode and won’t put up any kind of a fight in the Motor City. The Coach says: Neither one of these teams have the heart for this one.

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

The Coach: Take the Lions and hold your nose.

New York Jets (5-10) at New England Patriots (12-3)
Line: Patriots by 15.5

Tom Brady and company have been on a mission all year and won’t let up on the way to the playoffs. The Coach says: The only reason the Patriots won’t cover is because Brady will be sitting quietly out of harm’s way by the midway point of the third quarter.

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

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

Houston Texans (4-11) at Indianapolis Colts (3-12)
Line: Colts by 4

Two disappointing teams playing a nothing game. Indy wins one for Chuck Pagano. The Coach says: Two franchises (not players, but executives and coaches) that barely even tried to win this season. Both a disgrace to sport.

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

The Coach: Take the Colts to win and cover.

Cleveland Browns (0-15) at Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)
Line: Steelers by 13.5

0-16 has never been so painful; Pittsburgh will blow them out of Heinz Field by half time. The Coach says: Wonder why attendance and TV ratings are down in the NFL? The Cleveland Browns are the poster child.

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

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

Washington Redskins (7-8) at New York Giants (2-13)
Line: Redskins by 3

Another two disappointing teams just hoping not to get injured. Giants haven’t looked anything like a winner this season, so why start now.

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

The Coach: Take the Washingtons to win and cover.

Chicago Bears (5-10) at Minnesota Vikings (12-3)
Line: Vikings by 12.

Minnesota will build on last week’s big win in Green Bay on their way to a playoff bye.

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

The Coach: Take the Vikings to win and cover.

Dallas Cowboys (8-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (13-2)
Line: Cowboys by 2.5

This game means nothing to the Eagles so they’ll rest a bunch of starters. The Coach says: They’d better not rest Foles, ‘cause he’s awful and he has to get ready for the post-season.

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

The Coach: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.

 

LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) at Baltimore Ravens (9-6)
Line: Ravens by 10

If the Ravens win, they are in the playoffs. But the Bengals may try and win one for Marvin Lewis.

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

The Coach: Rake the Ravens to win but not cover.

Buffalo Bills (8-7) at Miami Dolphins (6-9)
Line: Bills by 3

Buffalo needs this more than Miami, but something tells me the Dolphins will play “party pooper” in this one.

Dr. Football: Take the Dolphins in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Bills to win and cover.

Carolina Panthers (11-4) at Atlanta Falcons (9-6)
Line: Falcons by 4

Atlanta at home, with their season on the line, will find a way to win.

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

The Coach: Take the Falcons to win and cover.

New Orleans Saints (11-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11)
Line: Saints by 7

New Orleans will win the NFC South with a victory here.

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

The Coach: Take the Saints to win and cover.

Jacksonville Jaguars (10-5) at Tennessee Titans (8-7)
Line: Titans by 6

The Titans beat up on the Jaguars earlier in the season, so Jacksonville will want to knock them right out of the playoff picture.

Dr. Football: Take the Jaguars in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Titans to win and cover.

Oakland Raiders (6-9) at Los Angeles Chargers (8-7)
Line: Chargers by 8

The Raiders are playing consecutive road games for nothing, look for the Chargers to keep sharp for the post season.

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

The Coach: Take the Chargers to win and cover.

Arizona Cardinals (7-8) at Seattle Seahawks (9-6)
Line: Seahawks by 8

Seattle will win the sixth seed if they beat the Cardinals and the Falcons lose to the Panthers. That’s good motivation.

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

The Coach: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.

Kansas City Chiefs (10-5) at Denver Broncos (5-10)
Line: Broncos by 3.5

I don’t think K.C. will rest as some think, I believe they will keep playing hard as a tune up for the playoffs. The Coach says: Denver is awful, but the Chiefs might rest, still…

Dr. Football: Take the Chiefs in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Chiefs.

San Francisco 49ers (5-10) at Los Angeles Rams (11-4)
Line: Rams by 4

The 49ers have won four straight games with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback, and with the Rams resting players for the playoffs, he’ll get his fifth.

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

The Coach: Take the Niners for giggles.

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Scott Taylor

NFL Picks Week 16

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The Playoff Race: It’s Getting Down the Final Truth

Scott Taylor

“The Coach”

Dr. Football

“Dr. Football”

 

By

The Coach and Dr. Football
December 21, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

 

 

 

This is how the NFL playoffs look heading into Week 16. It is still a jumble of potentials and various crazy scenarios, but a few things have come into focus:

 

AFC Clinched

New England – AFC East division title
Pittsburgh – AFC North division title
Jacksonville – Playoff berth
New England will clinch home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with a win combined with a Pittsburgh loss and a Jacksonville loss or tie. If a whole load of crazy things happens this Sunday (and New England wins), New England will clinch a bye in the first round.

Pittsburgh will clinch a first round bye with a win and a Jacksonville loss. Jacksonville clinches the AFC South with a win or a tie or with simply a Tennessee loss. Kansas City clinches the AFC West with a win or a Chargers loss. Tennessee clinches a playoff berth with a win, a Buffalo loss and a Baltimore loss.

 

NFC Clinched

Philadelphia – NFC East division title and first-round bye
Minnesota – NFC North division title
Philadelphia will clinch home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with a win or a Minnesota loss. Minnesota will clinch a first-round bye with a win and a Carolina loss. The Rams will clinch the NFC West with a win or a Seattle loss. The Rams clinch a playoff berth with a Detroit loss, a Carolina loss and an Atlanta loss.

New Orleans will clinch the AFC South with a win and a Carolina loss. New Orleans will clinch a playoff berth with a win or, get this, a Dallas-Seattle tie. Carolina clinches a playoff berth with a win or a Dallas-Seattle tie. Atlanta clinches a playoff berth with a win.

It’s really not all that complicated. If the top teams win, most of them are in with a week left to play. If they lose, some dog-ass clubs will have undeserved life. Regardless, The Coach and Dr. Football will pick winners.

Last week Dr. Football went 12-4 (156-68) straight and 10-6 (127-97) against the spread while The Coach went 13-3 (157-67) straight up and 10-6 (127-97) against the spread. These guys get richer every week.

Let’s take a close look at Week 16, the second-last week of the season.

 

LATE SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Indianapolis Colts (3-11) at Baltimore Ravens (8-6)

Line: Ravens by 13.5

With four wins out of their last five games, Baltimore still can grab a wild card spot while Indianapolis just wants the season to end.

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

The Coach: Take the Ravens to win and cover.

 

SATURDAY NIGHT

Minnesota Vikings (11-3) at Green Bay Packers (7-7)

Line: Vikings by 9

The NFC North Champs will put a stamp on their season with a big win against the Rodgers-less Packers at Lambeau.

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

The Coach: Take the Vikings to win and cover.

 

EARLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Detroit Lions (8-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-9)
Line: Lions by 4.5

Detroit shouldn’t have any trouble against a Bengals team that has checked out after last week’s Marvin Lewis announcement.

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

The Coach: Take the Lions to win and cover.


Los Angeles Chargers (7-7) at New York Jets (5-9)

Line: Chargers by 6.5

Phillip Rivers struggled last week vs. the Chiefs, but the Jets won’t put up any kind of a fight. L.A. rebounds big.

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

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

Los Angeles Rams (10-4) at Tennessee Titans (8-6)
Line: Rams by 6.5

The Rams clinched the division title last week after mauling Seattle will keep the fun going against the disappointing Titans.

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

The Coach: Take the Rams to win and cover.

Cleveland Browns (0-13) at Chicago Bears (4-9)
Line: Bears by 6.5

Two teams playing for nothing. If this game was in Cleveland I would pick the Browns, but Chicago won’t disappoint their fans at Christmas time.

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

The Coach: Take the Bears to win and cover.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10) at Carolina Panthers (10-4)

Line: Panthers by 10

Tampa’s playing on a short week after a tough home loss against Atlanta. Cam Newton has the Panthers rolling.

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

The Coach: Take the Panthers to win and cover.


Atlanta Falcons (9-5) at New Orleans Saints (10-4)

Line: Saints by 5.5

Two very good teams in a big game for both. Atlanta is on the short week, but I think their momentum carries into this week’s game.

Dr. Football: Take the Falcons in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Saints to win and cover.


Denver Broncos (5-9) at Washington Redskins (6-8)

Line: Redskins by 3.5

Even though the Broncos have picked things up over the last couple of weeks, they’re not a good team. Neither is Washington, but go with the home team.

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

The Coach: Take the Washingtons to win and cover.

Miami Dolphins (6-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-6)
Line: Chiefs by 10.5

Kansas City can still win their division and play against a weary Dolphins team that are playing their second consecutive road game.

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

The Coach: Take the Chiefs to win and cover.

Buffalo Bills (8-6) at New England Patriots (11-3)
Line: Patriots by 11.5

It’s like Santa gave the Patriots an early present with a date against the Bills at home. Won’t be close.

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

The Coach: Take the Patriots to win and cover.

 

LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4) at San Francisco 49ers (4-10)
Line: Jaguars by 4

Jimmy Garoppolo has been outstanding since taking over the team, and this feels like a game the Jaguars might take too lightly.

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

The Coach: Take Jags to win and cover.


New York Giants (2-12) at Arizona Cardinals (6-8)

Line: Cardinals by 3.5

The Cardinals are going back to Drew Stanton while Eli Manning is thinking about taking his act somewhere else next season. I think Manning will add to his ‘hi-light real” for his resume.

Dr. Football: Take the Giants in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Cardinals to win and cover.

Seattle Seahawks (8-6) at Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
Line: Cowboys by 5

Dallas gets Ezekiel Elliot back and he should provide a huge offensive lift, not like the Seahawks will put up any kind of a fight.

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

The Coach: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.

 

MONDAY AFTERNOON
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) at Houston Texans (4-10)
Line: Steelers by 10

Pittsburgh should rebound after last week’s debacle with a game against a Texans squad that’s missing its four best defensive players, down to its third-string quarterback and has no running game.

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

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

 

MONDAY NIGHT

Oakland Raiders (6-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (12-2)
Line: Eagles by 9

Philadelphia still has hopes for the top seed in the NFC and ven though they’re not as powerful with Nick Foles, they’ll get the home win.

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

The Coach: Take the Eagles to win and cover.

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Scott Taylor

NFL Picks Week 15

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Biggest Week of the Season?

Scott Taylor

“The Coach”

Dr. Football

“Dr. Football”

 

By

The Coach and Dr. Football
December 15, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

 

 

 

Hey kids, it’s getting exciting now.

The Green Bay Packers held their ground with the starting QB out of the lineup, are now 7-6 and Aaron Rodgers is back this week.

The Philadelphia Eagles are 11-2, but Carson Wentz is out for the season (ACL) and Nick Foles is now the quarterback. Good luck with that.

And the Minnesota Vikings still have Case Keenum at QB and all they need to do this week is beat the awful Cincinnati Bengals – at the big bank stadium — to clinch The NFC North title.

It will be an exciting Week 15 in the NFL with two Saturday games along with 10-3 New England at 11-2 Pittsburgh and with 9-4 L.A. at 8-5 Seattle.

Last week was not an easy week to pick winners, but Dr. Football was terrific. He went 10-6 (144-64) straight up and 10-6 (117-91) against the spread. The Coach, meanwhile, has to suck it up and gut it out and leave it all on the field this week after going 7-9 (143-65) and 7-9 (123-85) against the spread.

This is a huge week for The Coach so let’s get right at it. Here’s a close look at Week 15.

 

THURSDAY NIGHT

Denver Broncos (4-9) at Indianapolis Colts (3-10)
Line: Broncos by 2.5

Egad…these two teams on Prime Time on a Thursday? At least Denver showed signs of life last week.

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

The Coach: Take the Broncos to win and cover.

 

LATE SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Chicago Bears (4-9) at Detroit Lions (7-6)
Line: Lions by 6

Detroit still has a playoff shot so I expect them to play like it. The Bears have improved as of late, but they won’t control Matt Stafford.

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

The Coach: Take the Lions to win and cover.

 

SATURDAY NIGHT

Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-6)
Line: Chargers by 1.5

With potentially the AFC West title on the line, I expect the Chargers defense to control Alex Smith and help seal the victory here.

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

The Coach: Take the Chiefs

 

EARLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Philadelphia Eagles (11-2) at New York Giants (2-11)

Line: Eagles by 7.5

Relax Eagles fans. You have a very good football team with a better than average backup quarterback…things aren’t that bleak.

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

The Coach: Take the Eagles to win and cover.

Green Bay Packers (7-6) at Carolina Panthers (9-4)
Line: Panthers by 2.5

Aaron Rodgers return won’t be enough against a tough Carolina defense.

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

The Coach: Take the Panthers to win and cover.

Cincinnati Bengals (5-8) at Minnesota Vikings (11-2)
Line: Vikings by 11

Minnesota returns home for the first time in almost a month. With last week’s loss behind them, look for them to answer back big against the clawless Bengals.

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

The Coach: Take the Vikings to win and cover.

Miami Dolphins (6-7) at Buffalo Bills (7-6)
Line:

Jay Cutler surprised everyone on Monday in the win over the Patriots. Can lighting strike twice? Games between these two teams are usually entertaining.

Dr. Football: Take the Dolphins to win.

The Coach: Take the Bills.

Houston Texans (4-9) at Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4)
Line: Jaguars by 11.5

Jacksonville shouldn’t have much trouble against a team that lost to San Francisco at home last week.

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

The Coach: take the Jaguars to win and cover

New York Jets (5-8) at New Orleans Saints (9-4)
Line: Saints by 16

The Jets will be starting Bryce Petty in this, their second consecutive road game, against a well-rested New Orleans team.

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

The Coach: Take the Saints to win and cover.

Arizona Cardinals (6-7) at Washington Redskins (5-8)
Line: Redskins by 4.5

Look for Kirk Cousins to have a big rebound game against after last week’s dismal performance.

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

The Coach: Take the Washingtons to win and cover.

Baltimore Ravens (7-6) at Cleveland Browns (0-13)
Line: Ravens by 7

I still think Cleveland will win one game this year…but not this week. The Coach says: I no longer believe the Browns will win a game.

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

The Coach: Rake the Ravens to win and cover.

 

LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Los Angeles Rams (9-4) at Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
Line: Seahawks by 1.5

I expect with the division title a stake, the same Seattle team that stopped the Eagles two weeks ago to show up here.

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

The Coach: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.

New England Patriots (10-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2)
Line: Patriots by 3

After Monday’s loss in Miami, look for Tom Brady to take advantage of the Steelers weak defense and put up a lot of points. The Coach says: Tom Brady was beyond awful last week. I don’t see that improving unless Gronk catches 20 passes. This is, however, the Game of the Week.

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

The Coach: Take the Steelers.

Tennessee Titans (8-5) at San Francisco 49ers (3-10)
Line: 49ers by 2

Jimmy Garoppolo is 2-0 as a starter for San Francisco, expect him to go to 3-0 against a regressing Titans squad.

Dr. Football: Take the 49ers to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Niners to win and cover.

 

SUNDAY NIGHT

Dallas Cowboys (7-6) at Oakland Raiders (6-7)
Line: Cowboys by 3

Derek Carr didn’t play well last week in K.C., but look for the entire Raiders team to bounce back at home.

Dr. Football: Take the Raiders in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Raiders at home.

 

MONDAY NIGHT

Atlanta Falcons (8-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9)
Line: Falcons by 6

Expect the Falcons to clinch the division as Matt Ryan will tear up the Buc’s defense.

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

The Coach: Take the Falcons to win and cover.

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