Dec. 27, 2016
"The Stack" 12-26-16
The Stack is back on this Monday and we don’t have too many games to go over from yesterday since we did a post on Sunday reacting to all of Saturday’s NFL action. There are a couple to get to though. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the NBA Christmas Day action. No recap or reaction to that here though. Let’s get right to it and see what’s in “the stack” for today, Monday, December 26th:
Steelers 31 Ravens 27
Remember a few years back when these games were always low scoring? I kind of like the new rivalry more. What a game this was. The Ravens moved the ball up and down the field most of the game, but they had to settle for some field goals and botched the snap on another field goal attempt. The Steelers didn’t really do much after their first drive. Big Ben threw a couple of bad interceptions deep in his own territory that set up the Ravens in great position. Yet the Steelers battled their way back out of a ten point hole with back-to-back touchdowns to take the lead thanks to Le’Veon Bell. Joe Flacco then put together one of the more impressive drives I’ve seen this season chewing up a lot of the clock and getting the Ravens in the endzone to regain the lead with a minute and change to go. That would prove to be too much time though as the Steelers and Big Ben moved the ball down the field pretty easily and then Antonio Brown made the play of the game by fighting off two Ravens defenders and sticking the ball over the goal line with nine seconds left. Had he not gotten in, the Steelers maybe would have had one second left. What a game! The Steelers are back in the playoffs! Tough loss for the Ravens.
Chiefs 33 Broncos 10
This game was over fairly quickly. The Chiefs got a nice game rushing from do-it-all rookie Tyreek Hill including his 70-yard touchdown run to put the Chiefs up 14-0, but it was the Travis Kelce show Sunday night at Arrowhead. He lit up the Broncos secondary (and my fantasy league championship game) for 161 yards on ten receptions and took a short pass and turned it upfield for an 80-yard touchdown scamper. Horrible defense by the Broncos. They allowed 300 yards in the first half for the first time since 1981. Their offense isn’t good enough anymore this season to be able to match teams score for score if their defense isn’t playing lights out. Sound familiar Vikings fans? The Chiefs are now back in the playoffs.
Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys 8:30 PM ET ESPN MNF
The last Monday Night Football game of the year had so much intrigue early on, but now means fairly little in the grand scheme of things thanks to how things went down this weekend. Dallas has secured homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Even with a win, Detroit will still have to face off against Green Bay next week for the NFC North crown. However if the Lions win, they do secure a playoff spot. Come on Golden Tate, I need 32 yards receiving from you pal. That’s it. The starters will play most of the game though and I think Dallas is going to win this one in a very close game.
Prediction: Cowboys 23 Lions 20
College bowl games (Monday)
In case you have been paying any attention, my picks for these bowl games haven’t been exactly wonderful. Just look at what happened last week with picks that included Colorado State over Idaho and Middle Tennessee State over Hawaii. Yet, we must go on and there are a bevy of bowl games this week.
Miami (OH) vs. Mississippi State (St. Petersburg Bowl) 11 AM ET ESPN
Ben Roethlisberger’s alma mater should be proud. They have won six straight games after starting the season out 0-6 to make it to a bowl game. However going against Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and a team from the SEC is going to prove to be too much for Miami (OH).
Pick & confidence points: Mississippi State, all of the points (42)
Maryland vs. Boston College (Quick Lane Bowl) 2:30 PM ET ESPN
Only a bowl game featuring two average teams to below average teams would be fitting for a city like Detroit. May as well call this the “Toilet Bowl.” B.C. plays good defense, but Maryland’s offense is kind of good. Complete toss-up of a game. Big reason why I don’t have many points on this one.
Pick & confidence points: Maryland, low to mid single-digit points (4-7)
NC State vs. Vanderbilt (Camping World Independence Bowl) 5 PM ET ESPN2
Again, a bowl game with two teams who are somewhat average, but at times have shown that the future may be bright with their programs. Let’s all for a minute just take a look back and look at what Vanderbilt did. They throttled Ole Miss and Tennessee in route to a bowl eligible season. Vanderbilt isn’t known for their football, but I like what head coach Derek Mason is doing. Hope they win and they are playing good football right now, but I think NC State might be able to take them down.
Pick & confidence points: NC State, low double-digit points (10-12)
Coming up Tuesday: MNF reaction plus more bowl picks