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Tag:Baltimore
Posted on: December 6, 2012 9:10 am
 

Top 6 NFL Franchise Moves of All Time

This week Mole and Meares relocated to a new studio.  Call it Mole and Meares studio 6.0.  I was reflecting on Mole and Meares’ nomadic nature and I got to thinking about NFL franchises that have migrated to new cities.  Out of curiosity I began to research and read about several NFL franchise moves.  Breaking up is hard to do and in honor of Mole and Meares studio 6.0 I decided to chronicle six instances of NFL Franchises divorcing their respective cities.

We woke up and you were gone…

Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis

March 28, 1984 - Baltimore Colts fans awoke to an empty bed with their beloved team having left in the middle of the night to leave for a new home.  The infamous images of snow covered Mayflower trucks leaving the Colts facility in the middle of the night would haunt Baltimore football fans until 1995 when the Ravens would come to town. 

Of all the relocations in the history of the NFL, the Baltimore to Indianapolis move has to be considered the craziest in circumstance. 

Stadium issues were the source of tension between the City of Baltimore and the Colts owner Robert Irsay.  Irsay was seeking $15 million in renovations to their home stadium for the football facilities.  In the spring after the Colts lease had expired; the Maryland General Assembly approved $15 million for renovation to Memorial Stadium but only half of that $15 million would go towards improvements for football.  The other half would be used to upgrade facilities for the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.  In the aftermath of these events, Irsay contended that his intent was to keep the Colts in Baltimore but at the same time he was secretly discussing a move with six major cities.  After it was leaked that Irsay was to meet with Arizona for a second time regarding a move to the Sun Devil state, Irsay cancelled the meeting.  At that point the Colts went into “secret secret” mode and made a deal to move to Indianapolis. 

March 27, 1984 - The Maryland legislature fearing a move by the Colts had one of its chambers pass legislation giving the city of Baltimore the right to seize ownership of the team by eminent domain.  In reaction Irsay closed a deal with the city of Indianpolis to move the Colts to Indiana and the city of Indianapolis dispatched 15 Mayflower trucks to the team’s facility in Maryland.  Irsay’s decision to move the Colts was made quickly and the decision to move overnight was due to a fear that the team would be seized by officials in the morning.  The 15 trucks all took different routes out of town in case there was an effort by local law enforcement to stop them. 

Despite the fact that the move was made without the NFL’s permission, the NFL did not contest the team’s relocation after losing in court to Al Davis on the same issue. (That case is noted below)  In March of 1986, representatives of Baltimore and the Colts signed a divorce decree under which all lawsuits regarding the relocation of the franchise would be dismissed and the Indianapolis Colts would endorse a new NFL team for Baltimore when the time came.

How could you do that to us?  Don’t ever show your face here again…

Cleveland Browns to Baltimore

Cleveland’s migration to Baltimore was very interesting for two reasons.  The settlement reached between Cleveland Brown Owner Art Modell and the City of Cleveland set a precedent in American Professional sports and the settlement also resulted in Modell not being welcome in the state of Ohio.

The legal settlement between the NFL, Cleveland, and Baltimore resulted in the Cleveland Browns franchise being ‘deactivated’ for three years.  Modell would retain the current contracts of players and personnel and be granted the 31<sup>st</sup> franchise in the NFL.  This settlement proved to be a precedent in major American sports as nothing the likes of it had been seen before.  In 1999 after a new stadium was built for the Cleveland Browns, the Cleveland Brown franchise would be reactivated with the same uniforms, records, and player history. 

As far as Art Modell, resentment towards him in the State of Ohio grew so intense that he was unable to attend a funeral of a friend in Northern Ohio out of fear for his safety. It is also believed by many that he has been left out of the NFL Hall of Fame due to it’s location in Canton Ohio. 

In the end however, the two broken hearted cities in Baltimore and Cleveland find themselves happily ever after with their new franchises.  Well Cleveland might need some marriage counseling but you know what I mean.

What a tangled web we weave…

Dallas Texans to Kansas City/Houston Oilers to Tennessee Titans/ making room for the Houston Texans

Ok, bear with me on this one…..In 1952 the NFL Team of the Dallas Texans spent one year in the league and won one game.  They were then dismantled.  In 1960 the AFL was created and within that League the Dallas Texans were revived.  After playing three seasons in Dallas and losing the 1962 AFL championship game to their in state rival, the Houston Oilers.  Not wanting to share the Dallas spotlight with the NFL expansion Cowboys, the Dallas Texans decided to move to Kansas City where they would become the Chiefs.  In their first season they would win the 1963 AFL championship game.

After 38 years in Houston, the Oiler decided that Nashville, Tennessee would be a better home in 1998.  As it has been with many franchise relocations, stadium issues were at the source of the decision.  After the Oilers move, the Great State of Texas was left with just one team, America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys.  A team that was at the beginning of a run of mediocre that is still going today. 

When all the dust was settled, the history of the Texans team name came full circle in 2002 when the NFL expanded back into Houston. The creation of the Houston Texans franchise brought back the name of a team that started in the NFL in 1952 and had a 1-11 record.  In the 2012 season after 12 weeks, the Houston Texans were 11-1.  A tangled web weaved has led to a happy ending to this love story.

Please come back, I’ll do anything…

Oakland Raiders to Los Angeles then back to Oakland

Al Davis was the waffle king of franchise migration.  In 1982 he decided that he would leave Oakland for a larger stadium (The Oakland Coliseum) and the number two television market in the country in Los Angeles.  The move was initially rejected by the NFL owners and when Davis decided to move the team anyway he was blocked by an injunction.  An ensuing lawsuit was ruled in favor of Davis and the Oakland Raiders became the Los Angeles Raiders. 

In 1994 Oakland basically bought the back the Raiders Oakland by spending $220 million on stadium renovations and giving the Raiders a dirt cheap fixed rent. The renovations included a new seating section of 10,000 seats that was named after Raider owner Al Davis.  The City of Oakland also built the team a training facility and paid all its moving costs. The Raiders pay just $525,000 a year in rent and do not pay maintenance or game-day operating costs.  As of today the Raiders are the only franchise in the NFL to return to a former lover.  It just goes to show that true love can be purchased at a price.

Everybody Leaves Us…

Raiders to Oakland, Rams to St. Louis, and Chargers to San Diego

Los Angeles is the city with abandonment issues with regard to NFL teams leaving.  In 1960 the AFL came to Los Angeles with the creation of the Los Angeles Chargers franchise.  It was a brief romance however as the Chargers would relocate to San Diego a year later. 

As noted above the Raiders came to the City of Angels and spent just 12 years in Los Angeles before going back to where they came from in Oakland.

In 1946 Cleveland Rams owner Dan Reeves fought the NFL and won approval to move his franchise to Los Angeles.  The Rams would remain in Los Angeles until 1980 when they moved to Anaheim in nearby Orange County.  The move was made by the Rams new owner of less than a year, Georgia Frontiere, for two reasons.  Their current stadium, the Coliseum seated over 100,000 and rarely sold out, leading to television blackouts.  Also there was a population trend in the direction of Anaheim.  Fourteen years later due to stadium issues in Anaheim, the Rams followed the Raiders out of town to find a new home in St. Louis leaving Los Angeles devoid of any NFL franchises.  If NFL.com had a section of their website for singles there would only be one member, the City of Los Angeles.

To have loved and lost, and loved and lost…

Chicago Cardinals to St. Louis, St. Louis Cardinals to Arizona

The Cardinals are the NFL’s oldest franchise and the only Charter member of the NFL still in existence.  Formed in 1898 in Chicago, the Cardinals became a Charter member of the NFL in 1922 and remained in Chicago until 1960.  In the 1950’s the Cardinals struggled greatly as a football team and their in town rival, the Chicago Bears completely overshadowed the franchise.  The Cardinal owners wanted to relocate the team but did not have the finances necessary to relocate under the rules of the NFL. Attempts were made by several individuals to buy the struggling Chicago franchise but no deal could be made.  The individuals attempting to buy the Cardinals reacted to their lack of success by starting a new league called the American Football League.  The NFL, realizing this new league was a serious rival, quickly made a deal with Cardinal ownership to relocate the team to St. Louis.  This revitalized the franchise and blocked the St. Louis market for the AFL.

The Cardinals would remain in St. Louis until 1988 when poor team performance, poor stadium conditions, and poor attendance led ownership to move the team to Arizona where they would become the Phoenix Cardinals.  In 1994 their name would be changed to the Arizona Cardinals.  The Cardinals are the only franchise in the NFL to have loved and lost, loved and lost, and yet still find love again in a third location.  Although after the way this season is going, they might be getting the silent treatment in Arizona.

Posted on: October 2, 2012 9:01 pm
 

2012/2013 NFL Week 5 Power Rankings

Yay! The real refs are back!!! You want to know why I am excited about the real refs? The games aren't lasting 4 hours anymore. This will be last time the referees are mentioned in this weekly post and I am so thankful for that point.

After four weeks in the NFL (the first quarter if you will) one thing is obvious, there are a lot of average football teams in the league. Two teams really stand tall above all others, one in the AFC and one in the NFC. If recent past seasons are any indication of what we are to expect out of our Super Bowl teams then neither the Texans or the Falcons will win this year's championship. Super Bowl talk is a little premature at this point so how about we just get into the rankings.

1. Houston Texans - (4-0)

The Houston Texans absolutely dominated the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in Houston. They ran the ball at will, passed at will and scored two touchdowns on defense. This team looks unbeatable at this point and will travel to New Jersey to face the NY Jets on Monday night. Houston's defense is as good, if not better than the 49ers defense who shutout the Jets last week so I have a pretty good feeling that the Texans will remain in our number one spot after week 5.

2. Atlanta Falcons - (4-0)

The Falcons looked poised to lose their first game this past Sunday when they faced the Panthers at home but a late game comeback sealed the victory and kept their record unblemished through 4 weeks. Matt Ryan is having his best season of his career averaging almost 300 yards a game with 11 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. The running game was also effective last week and Michael Turner is averaging a respective 4.7 yards a carry for the season. The Falcons will travel to our nation's captial on Sunday to face the inconsistent Washington Redskins. The Falcons had trouble containing Cam Newton on Sunday and now will face RGIII who is basically the same quarterback. This will be a good road test for the best team in the NFC.

3. Arizona Cardinals - (4-0)

The Atlanta Cardinals just continue to impress even though it took overtime to beat the young Miami Dolphins team. Kevin Kolb continues to play well after taking over for the injured John Skelton in week one and has secured his position as the team's starting QB. They have a short week as they will face their divisional opponent, the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night. Can they continue this surprising streak? Sam Bradford and company might have something to say about that and might bring the red birds back to Earth.

4. San Francisco 49ers - (3-1)

The San Francisco 49ers avenged their horrible outing against the Vikings last week and rebounded with an amazing defensive show against the New York Jets, holding them to less than 200 yards of offense and keeping them off the scoreboard. They ran the ball hard and often against the weak Jets rush defense and if they want to remain in our rankings they need to continue with that game plan. This Sunday they welcome the Buffalo Bills into Candlestick fresh off of their ass whipping by the New England Patriots who scored 45 second half points. I am not sure how the Bills are going to stop the 49ers from getting into the endzone or how they will score against that staunch defense so I see little doubt the 49ers will remain in our top 5.

5. Baltimore Ravens - (3-1)

The Ravens rebounced last week against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night and although they didn't look sharp, they were on 4 days rest. The defense for the Ravens doesn't seem as strong as years past and their offense is carrying them to victory. This week they go to Kansas City to face the Chiefs we really aren't a very good football team at this point. One thing the Ravens have been able to do over the last five season or so is beat the teams they are supposed to beat and this week won't be any different.

There you have it, the NFL power rankings for week 5 by Mole & Meares. Check back each week as we will update our top five teams weekly.

You can watch our weekly picks video where we pick the top four games in the NFL each week against the spread by going to our site, www.moleandmeares.com or our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/meares78.

You can also keep up with us on twitter, @moleandmeares, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moleandmeares.
Posted on: September 12, 2012 9:42 am
 

2012/2013 NFL Week 2 Power Rankings

What an opening weekend! As usual there were many surprises like the Packers, Giants, Steelers and Saints all losing their openers, three of them at home. Which of those teams will rebound and find their way back into our rankings and which ones will fade away this year? Only time will tell.

Now lets get into the power rankings...

1. New England Patriots - (1-0)

The New England Patriots move up one spot this week after their complete domination of the Tennesse Titans. The Patriots actually ran the ball successfully this past Sunday and their defense definitely seemed to improve over last year. If this team can continue to pound the ball on the ground they are going to be tough to beat. The welcome the Arizona Cardinals to Gillette Stadium on Sunday and all indications point towards a 2-0 start and a second straight week at the top spot.

2. Houston Texans - (1-0)

The Houston Texans played really good football last Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. I realize the Dolphins aren't the greatest team but Houston had their way with them on both sides of the ball. Matt Schaub and Arian Foster both looked good coming off injuries last season and their defense was stifling. Much like the Patriots, the Texans get a soft team in week 2 when they travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars. Look for the Texans to continue their winning ways and stay firmly positioned in our number 2 spot.

3. San Francisco 49ers - (1-0)

The San Francisco 49ers opened against the Packers in the premiere game of week 1 and it didn't disappoint. Alex Smith continues to play really good football in the face of his naysayers (including me) and has progressed beyond just a game manager. It is very hard to argue that the Niners aren't the best team in the NFC and this week they welcome the Detroit Lions into San Francisco. Everyone remembers what happened at the end of the game last year, right? Perhaps Harbaugh will be easier on Jim Schwartz this year after the 49ers hand the Lions their first loss of the season for the second consectutive year.

4. Baltimore Ravens - (1-0)

The Baltimore Ravens offense was much hyped this off season as vastly improved and it turned out not to be hype at all as they threw up 44 points against the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Flacco looked poised and confident behind center and Ray Rice continued to be Ray Rice. For the first time in possibly franchise history, the Ravens have an argument that perhaps their offense is better than their defense. They have a huge test this week as they will travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles in their home opener. A win against the Eagles could be an early season statement for the Ravens.

5. Dallas Cowboys - (1-0)

The Dallas Cowboys are a new addition to our power rankings for week 2 and they claim the fifth spot by virtue of taking out last year's Super Bowl Champions in New York to start the 2012 NFL season. A star emerged for the Cowboys in Kevin Ogletree as he slashed up the Giants secondary to the tune of 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. Can the Cowboys become a consistent team this year? It will be an interesting storyline and they have to travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks in week 2. If the Cowboys want to remain in our power rankings in the near future they need to prove they can beat the bad teams along with the good ones.

There you have it, the NFL power rankings for week 2 by Mole & Meares. Check back each week as we will update our top five teams weekly.

You can watch our weekly picks video where we pick the top four games in the NFL each week against the spread by going to our site, www.moleandmeares.com or our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/meares78.

You can also keep up with us on twitter, @moleandmeares, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moleandmeares.
Posted on: October 12, 2011 5:13 pm
 

2011 NFL Week 6 Power Rankings

Do you remember the last Thanksgiving day NFL game you watched that was interesting? I don't, but guess what, if the Packers and the Lions can find a way to win all their games between now and Thanksgiving we will have one for the ages. That is right folks, the Packers travel to the Lions on Thanksgiving day and we could have a battle of unbeatens. Now I know this is a long way off and is definitely a long shot, but with my Eagles basically crapping the bed it is all I have left to look forward to this season.

Not much movement in this weeks rankings although we do have one new returning team. Think differently? Leave me a comment below and let me know.

Now lets get into the power rankings...

1. Green Bay Packers - (5-0)

The Packers went into Atlanta, spotted the Falcons 14 points and still won the game. It appears they may have found something on the defensive side of the ball and just shut down the Falcons in the second half. That is very scary for the rest of the league because if the Packers defense starts playing well I am not sure how you beat this team. This week they welcome the winless St. Louis Rams into Lambeau field. I am going to go out on a limb and say the Packers will still be our number one team heading into week 7.

2. Detroit Lions - (5-0)

The Lions played host to the Bears on Monday night football last week and showed the entire nation why they are now a team to be reckoned with this season. Their defense had Jay Cutler playing hop scotch behind the line of scrimmage all night long. Calvin Johnson only had one touchdown catch in the game after having two in each of the previous 4 and became the first NFL wide receiver to catch 9 TD passes in the first 5 games of a season. Oh, and the Lions are at 5-0 for the first time since the 50s. This week they play host to the surprisingly good San Francisco 49ers. Will Detroit keep their "dream season" going or will the 49ers prove they are for real?

3. Baltimore Ravens - (3-1)

The Ravens had a bye last week and I thought about dropping them down the rankings but realized that just wouldn't be fair. I mean, they didn't get any worse during the bye, right? So here they sit at number 3 getting ready to host the Houston Texans in an AFC showdown this Sunday. The Texans will be without their star wide receiver, Andre Johnson, and for that reason I give them a 0 percent chance of winning this game. The Ravens defense is just too good and the Houston defense isn't. I expect to see the Ravens back in our top five next week.

4. New Orleans Saints - (4-1)

The Saints pulled out a victory in Carolina last week but again their defense left something to be desired. No one can argue their offense isn't one of the best in the NFL and rookie running back Mark Ingram is really performing well but can they continue to outscore their opponents week in and week out? The will travel to Tampa Bay this weekend to face the Buccaneers who were embarrassed by the 49ers last week in the worst defeat in the NFL in a long time. I think the Bucs will be ready for the Saints and this could be an upset in the making. Will the Saints find a way to stop the Buccaneers and remain in our top 5?

5. Buffalo Bills - (4-1)

The Bills jump back into the top 5 of the Mole & Meares power rankings after beating up on the "Dream Team" last week and this time they didn't have to come from behind. I really like the way this team is playing as a team and not relying too heavily on any one player. The Bills have the most heart of any team right now in the NFL but will that be enough to continue their winning ways? This week they travel down state and into New Jersey to face the NY Giants. In my opinion, the Bills are the better team and if they continue their streak of returning an interception for a touchdown in every game they should walk out of New York/New Jersey with a W.

There you have it, the NFL power rankings after week 5 by Mole & Meares. Check back each week as we will update our top five teams weekly.

Make sure to visit us at www.moleandmeares.com to see all of our picks each week and enter your picks for a chance to win our weekly prize!
Posted on: October 5, 2011 10:49 am
 

2011 NFL Week 5 Power Rankings

After four weeks in the NFL we are down to two unbeaten teams and they are both in the same division! If the Lions and the Packers can find a way to win all of their games leading up to Thanksgiving then we would have the best Thanksgiving football game in recent memory as they would face each other in a battle of the undefeateds.

For those of you that watch our weekly picks show, The Mole & Meares Show, you are in for a special treat this week. Playboy model, EaglesGirl, is featured on our show and makes her picks for the top four games of the week. Make sure to visit us at www.moleandmeares.com to see this week's episode.

Now lets get into the power rankings...

1. Green Bay Packers - (4-0)

The Packers had a dominate victory this week over the Denver Broncos. The offense on this team is incredible, they are scoring the most points per game in the league and have the 5th best offense in yards per game. Aaron Rodgers is just on fire, there is no other way to describe it. The defense is still missing something, perhaps Cullen Jenkins? This week they travel to Atlanta to face the sometimes good, sometimes bad, Falcons. Green Bay isn't going undefeated this season but this won't be their first loss.

2. Detroit Lions - (4-0)

Two weeks in a row the Lions come back from more than 20 points down? Are you kidding me? Calvin Johnson is just a freak of nature and continued his record setting pace of touchdown recpetions with 2 more against the Cowboys. Eventually, falling behind by too many points is going to catch up with this team but at the same time their confidence level has to be at an all time high. They welcome in the Bears to Ford Field this week and believe it or not, could be poised to start out the season at 5-0.

3. Baltimore Ravens - (3-1)

The Ravens defense is just good, just plain good. They had three defensive touchdowns on Sunday night against the Jets. Right now they are the best team in the AFC despite their week 2 loss to the Titans, who actually look like they might have a decent squad. If the Ravens can continue to pound the ball with Ray Rice and Flacco can make better decisions at times, this team could be ready to make a run come January. The first week of byes is here and the Ravens will sit on the sidelines this week and rest up for their week 6 matchup with the Houston Texans.

4. New Orleans Saints - (3-1)

The Saints offense continued its dominant ways last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. What was even more impressive, though, was their defense who held the Jags to only 10 points and under 300 yards of total offense. The Saints are second in the league in offensive yards per game and seem to be able to score at will on most opponents. This week they will travel to Carolina to face Cam Newton and the Panthers. It will be interesting to see if the Saints defense can continue its solid play and find a way to shutdown Cam Newton.

5. Houston Texans - (3-1)

The Texans break into our top 5 power rankings for the first time this season. When Peyton Manning went down, everyone assumed that Houston would be the team to represent the AFC South in the playoffs this season and they are trying to prove everyone right. The played a great game last week against the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers. If Arian Foster and Andre Johnson are healthy, this team will be tough to beat, but with their status uncertain moving forward they will have to keep a close eye on the improving Tennessee Titans. This week they host a hungry Oakland Raiders team fresh off a home loss to the Patriots. Houston better be prepared or this could be a short stint in our top 5.

There you have it, the NFL power rankings after week 5 by Mole & Meares. Check back each week as we will update our top five teams weekly.

Make sure to visit us at www.moleandmeares.com to see all of our picks each week and enter your picks for a chance to win our weekly prize!
Posted on: September 27, 2011 11:28 am
 

2011 NFL Week 4 Power Rankings

After three weeks in the NFL we are down to only three unbeaten teams and if anyone out there would have thought that two of those teams would be from Buffalo or Detroit then they should start their own NFL blog.

If you didn't catch our show last week, Meares correctly predicted the Bills would upset the Patriots at home. Make sure to check out all of our week 4 picks this week at www.moleandmeares.com and watch our weekly NFL picks video that will be live on Wednesday 9/28.

Now lets get into the power rankings...

1. Green Bay Packers - (3-0)

For the third straight week the Packers found a way to win and this time it was on the road against a fierce division rival. I am still not impressed with their defense, out of the three remaining undefeated teams the Packers have allowed the most points. They need to find a way to shut down the other team's offense if they are going to want to play in Indianapolis in February. They get an easy game this week as they will play host to the offensively incompetent Denver Broncos.

2. Detroit Lions - (3-0)

And the Lions continue to impress. This team is young, hungry and wants to win, now. Calvin Johnson, or as most people know him, MegaTron, is on pace for 36 receiving touchdowns. They have scored the second most points in the NFC and what is more impressive, have given up the least amount of points. They came back from a 20-0 deficit against the Vikings last week and this week will face off against the 2-1 Cowboys in Dallas. This will be a good test to see exactly how good this 2011 Lions team really can be.

3. Buffalo Bills - (3-0)

Most improbably victory of the year, the Bills coming back from 21 points down to the team of the millenium, the New England Patriots. The Bills are the first team ever to come back from more than 18 points in two consecutive weeks. This team is for real and Ryan Fitzpatrick is as cool as a cucumber. This week should be interesting as they have to travel to Cincinnati to play a dangerous Bengals team in what could possibly be a letdown game. With their recent string of comebacks I wouldn't ever count the Bills out of a game though.

4. Baltimore Ravens - (2-1)

The Ravens have managed to claw their way back into our top 5 this week after an absolute demolishing of the St. Louis Rams. Surprise, surprise, the Ravens have allowed the least amount of points in the NFL through three weeks and their offense is looking solid. Welcome to the NFL Torrey Smith, whose first three NFL catches were for touchdowns, I have a feeling he might get the starting job this week against the New York Jets. The Jets are coming off a bad loss on the road to the Raiders and will be looking to exact some revenge, just not sure if Baltimore is the best team to be playing for that reason.

5. New Orleans Saints - (2-1)

The Saints are rounding out our top 5 this week and are appearing for the first time this year. Their offense is looking very explosive and they have the most points scored in the NFC. On the other hand, like the Packers, their defense has left much to be desired. If Sean Payton can find a way to turn this defense around, the Saints could be a team to keep an eye on come playoff time. This week they will travel to Jacksonville to face the struggling Jaguars. I have a feeling that after week 4 the Saints are going to be 3-1.

There you have it, the NFL power rankings after week 4 by Mole & Meares. Check back each week as we will update our top five teams weekly.

Make sure to visit us at www.moleandmeares.com to see all of our picks each week and enter your picks for a chance to win our weekly prize!
Posted on: January 6, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: January 7, 2011 4:02 pm
 

NFL Wildcard Playoff Picks

The playoffs are finally here!  This is my favorite time of the year, there is nothing like playoff NFL football.  Wildcard weekend will feature 4 games, 3 of which have a spread of 3 or less points.  The home teams are favored in all but one of the close spread games and normally Vegas gives the home team three points so Vegas is basically saying those two games are pick'ems.  I finished the season above .500 against the spread but barely.  This is my time to shine and I am predicting I will have a better than .800 record during the playoffs.  Let's get down to business...here we go...

Saturday, January 8th - 4:30 PM - New Orleans Saints (-10.5) at Seattle Seahawks - Mole & Meares Show Pick - Seattle Seahawks

At first blush this line seems really big, especially considering both Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory are done for the season.  The Saints running game will have to rely heavily on Julius Jones and Reggie Bush to step up or they will become one dimensional for the entire playoffs.  The Saints will win this game, especially considering the quarterback situation with the Seahawks.  Both Hasselbeck and Whitehurst have been sharing reps in practice this week meaning they have yet to decide on who will start the game.  I am not confident that the Saints will cover the spread though, mainly due to Seattle being at home and the Saints having to rely heavily on the pass.  I will take the points and take the Seahawks to cover.

Saturday, January 8th - 8:20 PM - New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) - Mole & Meares Show Pick  - New York Jets

This game is a rematch of last year's AFC Championship game where the Colts came out on top.  This is a completely different Colts team who, although they have won four straight games, is no where near the caliber of team they were last year.  Injuries have taken their toll on both sides of the ball and if it wasn't for Peyton Manning the Colts would have been 4-12 this year.  I like the matchup of the Jets defense against a depleted Colts offense and although I don't think the Jets will put up many points I believe they will put up enough to win this game outright.  I will take the two and a half points and take the Jets to win on the road.

Sunday, January 9th - 1:00 PM - Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Kansas City Chiefs - Mole & Meares Show Pick - Baltimore Ravens

There are a lot of factors going in the Chiefs favor in this game.  First they are 7-1 at Arrowhead stadium this year which is a very difficult place for opposing teams to play.  Second, they are basically playing with house money as no one expected them to be in the playoffs this year let alone host a first round game.  Third, they have the leading rusher in the NFL this season in Jamal Charles.  With all of that said I believe experience is going to play a huge role in this game.  The Ravens have been here before and they know how to win a road playoff game in a hostile environment.  The Ravens offense is much improved from a year ago with new weapons at the wide receiver position and Ray Rice can bruise opposing defenses with the run.   The Ravens defense will need to find away to shut down Charles and force Cassel to beat them through the air which I don't believe he can do.  I will give the three points and take the Ravens on the road.

Sunday, January 9th - 4:30 PM - Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5) - Mole & Meares Show Pick - Philadelphia Eagles

This is the marquee game of the weekend.  The Green Bay Packers were a lot of people's preseason pick to represent the NFC in the Superbowl.  Since then they have been decimated with injuries but have found a way to make it to the playoffs.  Aaron Rodgers is having a great season when he is able to stay healthy and on the field.  The Packers have absolutely no running game and are basically a one dimensional team.  The Philadelphia Eagles, on the other hand, were not on anyone's radar before the start of the season, they were supposed to be in a rebuilding year.  But Michael Vick has proven he can still play quarterback and is perhaps playing better than when he was in Atlanta.  Even though the Eagles defense has been brutal this year I believe they can game plan accordingly for a team that is only going to throw the ball.  The x factor in this game is Vick, can the Packers contain him and keep him bottled up?  I like the Eagles to pull this one out at home so I will give the two and a half points and take Philadelphia.

There you have it, my wildcard playoff game picks against the spread.  I have a good feeling that I am going to get off to a great start in this year's playoffs.  Do you see the games going differently?  Let me know by leaving a comment below.  Also, on my site, www.moleandmeares.com, we are running a playoff contest for a chance to win a great prize.  You have to pick the participants in both the AFC and NFC championship games, the teams in the Superbowl and the eventual Superbowl winner.  Make sure to sign up before Saturday and Good Luck!

Mole & Meares
Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:26 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Post Season

The NFL regular season is now officially over and it is on to the playoffs.  That means it is time to rank the 12 playoff teams in our post season version of the NFL power rankings.  Can anyone beat the Patriots this winter?  Are the Falcons the team to beat in the NFC?  Both of these are good questions and below you will find my attempt at answering them.  Here we go...

1.  New England Patriots - The Patriots have won 8 games in a row and all but two haven't even been close.  They are the only team in the NFL to score over 500 points this season and the only team that has outscored its opponents by over 200 points for the season.  They are also the only team to be undefeated at home and one of two teams (Chiefs) to not lose a game to the NFC.  Did I also mention that Tom Brady is probably the runaway MVP this year?  He has a 65.9 completion percentage, has thrown 36 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions and has a passer rating of 111.0.  Someone tell me how this team doesn't win the Superbowl?

2.  Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons are definitely the best team in the NFC at this time but they aren't the Patriots.  They showed two weeks ago against the Saints they can be beat and be beat at home.  With that said they are the most likely candidate to face the Patriots in the Superbowl but they are far from a lock.  Matt Ryan is unproven in the post season and althought Matty "Ice" has had a very good season, we all know that the post season separates the men from the boys.  If Ryan continues his stellar play they should have a chance to play in February.

3.  Pittsburgh Steelers - The Steelers have the best defense in the league again this year, only allowing 232 points against for the season.  Their offense, on the other hand, shows up only from time to time.  They have probably the best chance of any other AFC team to take down the Patriots this year except for the fact that Tom Brady owns them.  If their defense can play at the same level they have all season and they find a way to put the ball in the end zone instead of through the uprights they might have a chance.

4.  Chicago Bears - The Bears have a first round bye but at the same time they do have some cause for concern.  I know they didn't have anything to play for in the final week of the season but they still lined up their first stringers against the Packers and only managed 3 points.  What is more concerning is that Cutler looked shaky and so did their offensive line giving up 6 sacks.  This team is still good though and their defense in probably the best in the NFC.  If Cutler can hold onto the ball and not turn it over than the Bears have what it takes to play for a chance to go to the Superbowl but I am not sure if they can go further.

5.  Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens are almost the exact clone of the Pittsburgh Steelers, they play the same type of football.  Their defense has shown at times that they can give up points but their offense is more consistent than the Steelers.  Other than the Steelers, the Ravens match up best against the Patriots and I believe it will be either the Ravens or the Steelers playing the Patriots for the right to go to Dallas.  If the Ravens can ratchet up their defense for the playoffs and they can continue to run the ball down the throat of their opponents then this team has a chance.

6.  Green Bay Packers - The Packers are the most dangerous 6 seed I have ever seen.  They are coming into the playoffs on a two game win streak where both games were basically playoff games for them.  Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFC when he is healthy and that will be the goal of the offensive line of the Packers, keep Rodgers off the ground.  It is truly amazing what this team has accomplished with the amount of injuries they have sustained this season.  I like the Packers to win this week and go into Atlanta next week with a chance to shock the world.

7.  New Orleans Saints - The Saints are not quite the same team they were last year but they are back in the playoffs with a chance to defend their Superbowl crown.  They won the lottery and get to face the first sub 500 team to ever make the playoffs this year when they travel to Seattle on Saturday.  Stranger things have happened, but I would be surprised not to see New Orleans make it to the divisional weekend of the playoffs.  From there, who knows what happens, they proved a couple of weeks ago they can go into Atlanta and win so maybe they can do it again?

8.  Kansas City Chiefs - The Chiefs are an interesting team.  They, perhaps, run the ball better than any other team in the playoffs and they are very quick on the defensive side of the ball.  They have a tough first round game against the Ravens but they will get to play in the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium.  No one expected this team to be in this position and that is sometimes the most dangerous team out there.  They are playing on house money so they could be looser than everyone else because they know they have nothing to lose.  

9.  Indianapolis Colts - The Colts managed to find a way into the post season again and this time with a JV team around Peyton Manning.  On one hand, it is hard to imagine this Colts team making any noise in the post season but on the other hand it is never a good idea to bet against Manning.  The Colts are riding a 4 game win streak but two of those games were against the awful Tennessee Titans.  I think that the injuries have taken their toll on this team and I can't imagine them being able to beat the elite teams in the AFC this year, could be a one and done this post season.

10.  New York Jets - The Jets are a hard team to get a read on.  Their defense is no where near as good as it was last year when they made the run to the AFC championship game and their offense has been hit or miss.  With all of the off the field distractions, StergerGate, TrippingGate, FootGate and now FavreTextingGate I am not sure if there is any time left to focus on football.  This team has all the tools to be a Superbowl contender, but they can't seem to get out of their own way.  Mark Sanchez needs a year or two more to mature into a better quarterback and Rex Ryan needs to learn how to close his mouth from time to time.  This is not the Jets year.

11.  Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles are limping into the post season after two consecutive losses.  Now granted, the loss on Sunday was because of the Eagles resting most of their starters but it is a loss nonetheless.  Michael Vick hasn't been as electric recently as he was in the middle of the season, perhaps all of the hits he has been taking are finally taking a toll on him.  Their defense has more holes in it than a piece of swiss cheese.  Eagles fans should take solace in the fact that after week one they would never have thought they would be in the playoffs.  This is going to be a very short post season for the Eagles. 

12.  Seattle Seahawks - 7-9.  First team EVER to make the playoffs with a losing record.  They don't even deserve to be in these rankings.  Enjoy your home playoff game because that is where your season ends.

There you have it, the power rankings for the 2010-2011 NFL playoff teams.  Do you see them ranked differently?  Let me know by leaving comments below.  Also, don't forget to check out my online NFL picks show, The Mole & Meares show, at www.moleandmeares.com.  We will be picking all of the playoff games this post season.

Meares

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com