Tag:colts
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: 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

Posted on: December 31, 2010 1:16 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 1:21 pm
 

NFL Week 17 Playoff Predictions

Normally I make my picks against the spread at this time but i am going to forgo that option this week as their are so many games that are not going to be played with starters, etc.  What I am going to do this week is make my playoff predictions.  I will tell you what three teams will lock up playoff spots on Sunday and which teams will make it to the Superbowl.  At the beginning of the season, I predicted the Packers vs the Ravens in the Superbowl and it appears as though both of those teams will make the playoffs.  Lets see how far away from my beginning prediction I end up now.  Here we go...

NFC Playoff seeds

1.  Atlanta Falcons (bye)

2.  Chicago Bears (bye)

3.  Philadelphia Eagles

4.  St. Louis Rams

5.  New Orleans Saints

6.  Green Bay Packers

With the above seeds in place the wild card round of the playoffs will feature the Packers traveling to Philly and the Saints going into St. Louis.  I like one road team in these games and that would be the Saints.  

Divisional playoff weekend will feature the Eagles at the Bears and the Saints at the Falcons.  This would make for two great games and I believe we will see the home teams come out victorious in both situations setting up a Bears/Falcons NFL Conference Championship.

I like the way the Falcons are playing this year, they can run the ball effectively and Matt Ryan has progressed as a starting quarterback and is having the best year of his short career.  I believe he is ready to take the next step and lead his team to the Superbowl so I will take the Falcons to top the Bears in a close, hard fought game.

AFC Playoff seeds

1.  New England Patriots

2.  Pittsburgh Steelers

3.  Kansas City Chiefs

4.  Indianapolis Colts

5.  Baltimore Ravens

6.  New York Jets

With the above seeds, the wild card weekend in the AFC should feature some interesting games as the Jets will travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs and the Ravens will go into Indianapolis to face the Colts.  Again, I like one road team in this situation with the Ravens shutting down Peyton Manning and company.

Divisional playoff weekend would then feature the Ravens going into New England and the Chiefs traveling to Pittsburgh.  Tough to go against the home teams in either of these situations.

The AFC championship would then feature the Steelers traveling into New England to face the Patriots.  Tom Brady has owned the Steelers in his career and I am not sure how this game is going to end up differently.  I like New England to come out on top and return to the Superbowl.  

That would set up a Falcons/Patriots Superbowl which would be a great game featuring the two top teams from each conference.  I will not bet against Tom Brady to lose another Superbowl so I will take the Patriots and their high powered offense to win the game.

Do you have a different opinion?  Let me know by leaving comments...also don't forget to visit my website, www.moleandmeares.com, where we have a weekly NFL picks video that was featured on Showtime's Inside the NFL.  

Meares

Posted on: December 21, 2010 9:22 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Week 16

What an amazing week 15 in the NFL.  There were so many good games and so many surprises at the same time.  There have been some major shakeups in our week 16 power rankings and the playoff picture has become much clearer as we head into the final two games of the season.  We have two new teams in our top 5 although our top 2 spots remain the same for the fourth consecutive week.  Don't forget that my online NFL picks show, The Mole & Meares Show, will be featured in a segment about social media on Showtime's Inside the NFL on Wednesday night at 9 pm.  Here we go...

1.  New England Patriots (12-2) - Here is some scary news for the rest of the NFL, the Patriots played their worst game in a long time on Sunday night and still managed to beat a Packers team who was desperate for a win.  Yes, Matt Flynn was the quarterback and yes, the Packers have been decimated by injuries all year long, but the Packers showed heart and almost came away with a victory.  The Patriots are basically on cruise control for the last two games as one more victory will lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  This should be the week where they get that done as they will travel to Buffalo to face the AFC east basement dweller Bills.  Although the Bills have played a lot of teams tough this year with homefield advantage on the line, I like the Patriots to continue their winning ways.

2.  Atlanta Falcons (12-2) - The Falcons entered week 15 in the perfect spot for a trap game.  They had won 7 games in a row and have a huge game against the Saints on tap for Week 16.  They had to travel across the country to face a Seahawks team who is battling for their division in a stadium known for its 12th man.  With all of that said, the Falcons took care of business and easily defeated the Seahawks.  The Falcons look to be head and shoulders above the rest of the teams in the NFC as they just keep on winning.  They are undefeated at home this year and with one more win the ticket to the Superbowl for the NFC will have to be punched in Atlanta.  This week they have their toughest test yet as the Saints will come marching into Atlanta off of a tough loss to the Ravens.  This will be the best, and last, Monday night football game of the season.

3.  Baltimore Ravens (10-4) - The Ravens offense woke up on Sunday against the Saints and all but clinched a playoff berth in the AFC.  The Ravens still have to be worried about their supposed stingy defense allowing Drew Brees and company to put up 24 points against them.  With that said, this was a huge win for the Ravens who needed a victory to get back on track in the AFC North and although they have the same record as the Steelers, they are actually behind them with the tie breaker.  I believe the Ravens are the better team at this time with the awful loss the Steelers endured at home last week to the Jets.  The Ravens travel to Cleveland this week to face the Browns who always seem to give the Raven a tough game.  

4.  Chicago Bears (10-4) - The Bears join our top 5 for the first time in a long time this season.  I am starting to believe that they are a decent team.  They took care of business in Minnesota last night against a struggling Vikings team in the bitter cold.  I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop on Jay Cutler and for him to throw 3 picks in a game but it doesn't happen.  He is quietly playing the best football of his career and if he continues his consistent play there is no telling how far this team can go.  They have another huge game this week as they will play host to the NY Jets who are fighting for their playoff lives.  With the division wrapped up for Chicago will they play with the same intensity they have shown the past few weeks?

5.  Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) - In what is being called the game of the century (at least here in Philly), the Eagles came back from a 21 point deficit in the New Meadowlands stadium with less than 8 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.  The victory has all but clinched the NFC East for the Eagles and has definitely gone a long way to building this young teams confidence for January.  Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy make up the most dymanic four team offensive punch in the NFL.  This week the Eagles welcome in the Vikings to Lincoln Financial Field.  If the Eagles win they clinch the NFC east and move one step closer to perhaps a first round bye.  

Honorable Mentions:  New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts

There is the top 5 teams in the NFL after week 15. Thoughts or opinions?  Feel free to leave a comment!  Also don't forget to visit my site, www.moleandmeares.com, to watch our weekly picks video and submit your week 16 NFL picks for a chance to win a weekly prize.

Meares
Posted on: December 14, 2010 9:25 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Week 15

The playoff picture is starting to become clear and there is now a dominant team in the NFL emerging.  This is the first week in a while where there is no changes in our top five rankings.  The only changes occur in our honorable mentions.  There are at least 5 huge games this week that could definitely impact our rankings and have huge playoff implications.  On a side note, The Mole & Meares Show, our online NFL picks show, will be appearing on Inside the NFL on December 22nd on Showtime at 9pm.  Our video from last week featured Susannah Collins from Inside the NFL who made a special guest appearance.  Make sure to check it out at ww.moleandmeares.com.  Ok...Here we go...

1.  New England Patriots (11-2) - Last two weeks, Patriots 81, opponents 10.  Those two games were against division leaders, not the Panthers and the Bills.  The Patriots have now emerged as the dominant team in the NFL.  Tom Brady is the hands on favorite to win the MVP award.  Bill Belichick should win the coach of the year.  With all of that said, they actually have a very good game this week as they welcome in the desperate Green Bay Packers.  The Packers could be without Aaron Rodgers (concussion) and if that is true, the Packers have no chance to win.  Can anyone compete with the Patriots at this point?

2.  Atlanta Falcons (11-2) - The Falcons took care of business on Sunday in what could have been a trap game against the lowly Carolina Panthers.  The Falcons got out to an early lead and never looked back.  This week they travel across the country to face the Seahawks in one of the toughest stadiums to play in.  The Seahawks are coming off an embarrassing loss at the hands of the 49ers and will be desperate for a win to have any chance of making the playoffs this year.  I think the Falcons have progressed enough to take care of business but I wouldn't be completely surprised to see an upset.  The Falcons will face the Saints the week after so they need to take care of business or risk playing for the division the following week.

3.  Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) - The Steelers defense made the Bengals look awful on Sunday.  Not only did the Steelers hold the Bengals to 34 yards rushing but the only two touchdowns the Steelers scored came on the defensive side of the ball with two interceptions returned to the house.  The Steelers might be the only team that can compete with the Patriots in the AFC, the only problem is that Tom Brady is incredible against the Steelers.  This Sunday the Steelers will invite the reeling Jets into Heinz field.  The Jets have lost two games in a row and have looked pitiful doing it.  If the Steelers defense continues to play like they did this past Sunday, this game will be over early in the first quarter.

4.  New Orleans Saints (10-3) - Are the Saints the quietest defending Superbowl champions ever?  No one is talking about them yet they continue to improve each week. For the fifth consecutive week, the Saints put up at least 30 points.  Their offense is beginning to click on all cylinders especially with the return of Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush to full health.  There is a chance, albeit a small one, that if they win out they could get the number one seed in the NFC.  With that said, this Sunday will be a huge test for the Saints as they travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens.  If the Saints go into the Raven's house and win, I guarantee they will no longer be under the radar.

5.  Baltimore Ravens (9-4) -  The Ravens won last night against the Texans although it took them till overtime to get the job done.  I predicted the Ravens to win the Superbowl before the season and I am starting to lose faith.  They had a huge lead which they allowed the Texans to erase and could have easily lost this game.  They haven't been playing Ravens defense of recent and if they are going to emerge as the AFC representative in Dallas in February then they need to get back to Ravens football.  This week they face a very tough test when the Saints come marching into Baltimore.  The defense will need to find a way to stop the potent Saints offense in order to win this game.  

Honorable Mentions: Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers

There is the top 5 teams in the NFL after week 14. Thoughts or opinions?  Feel free to leave a comment!  Also don't forget to visit my site, www.moleandmeares.com, to watch our weekly picks video and submit your week 15 NFL picks for a chance to win a weekly prize.

Meares
Posted on: November 30, 2010 10:30 am
Edited on: November 30, 2010 10:31 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Week 13

With only 5 weeks left in the 2010 NFL season we are starting to get a clearer picture of who are the best teams in the league.  Week 13 will bring the picture even more clear, especially in the AFC as there are some matchups between top teams with the Jets traveling to New England and the Steelers heading to Baltimore.  We have a new number one team this week and one new addition to our top 5.  Here we go...

1.  Atlanta Falcons (9-2) - I hate the nickname "Matty Ice", mainly because he has yet to win an important game in January but I am starting to warm up to it after the Falcons defeat of the Packers last Sunday.  Matt Ryan is playing as efficiently as possible at the quarterback position and led the Falcons to another late victory.  The Falcons only two losses came against teams from Pennslyvania, so as long as they can stay away from one state in the union they should have a very good chance of making it to Texas in February.
 
2.  New England Patriots (9-2) - The Patriots played on Thanksgiving this past week in Detroit and for 40 minutes looked like they might have trouble with the Lions, but then they turned on the after burners and ended up beating the Lions by 21.  The Patriots defense is still a cause for concern and week to week you never know how they are going to perform.  They have their biggest game of the year on Monday night football this week as they welcome the Jets into Foxboro field for a match up of 2 of the 3 teams at 9-2.  This rivalry is good anytime they play, add in the division title to the mix and we are looking at the game of the year to date.  It all will come down to which Patriots defense shows up but a victory would go a long way to securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs. 

3.  New York Jets (9-2) - The Jets also played on Thanksgiving when they faced the Bengals in the new Meadowlands Stadium.  This game was basically over before it started as the Jets won ever facet of the game.  Terrell Owens called superstar corner for the Jets, Darrelle Revis, average prior to the game...that sort of backfired as Revis held TO to 3 catches for 14 yards and made TO look like an average receiver.  The Jets will have their game of the year this week as they travel to New England for a showdown with the Patriots which will go a long way to decide the AFC east and home field advantage in the AFC playoffs.  If the Jets can limit their turnovers and shutdown Brady and company they have a chance to move up in our rankings.

4.  Baltimore Ravens (8-3) - The Ravens took care of business against the much improved Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home on Sunday.  The final score was 17-10 but the game was never as close as the final score.  The Ravens defense looked really good, holding the Bucs to less than 250 yards of offense.  Josh Freeman looked confused at times and definitely did not play his best game of the season.  Joe Flacco had a very efficient game and Ray Rice pounded the ball 20 times down the throat of the Bucs defense.  Balitmore will play host to the Steelers on Sunday night football in a game that will go a long way to deciding the AFC north.  The Ravens already beat the Steelers once so a win would give them a game lead with the tiebreaker. 

5.  Chicago Bears (8-3) - Chicago has received no love all season in our rankings, mainly due to the lack of good wins so far this season.  They changed our thinking on Sunday as they laid a beat down against the Eagles.  The Chicago defense looked really good, limiting Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson from making any big plays.  They out-coached the Philadelphia Eagles and now stand alone on top of the NFC north.  They will travel to Detroit this week to face a Detroit team that doesn't quit.  Although on paper this looks like a game Chicago should win, they better take Detroit seriously because this would be a bad game for a let down.  

Honorable Mentions:  New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles

There is the top 5 teams in the NFL after week 12. Thoughts or opinions?  Feel free to leave a comment!  Also don't forget to visit my site, www.moleandmeares.com, to watch our weekly picks video and submit your week 13 NFL picks for a chance to win a weekly prize.

Meares
Posted on: November 23, 2010 9:26 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Week 12

For the first time in a long time the majority of our power rankings remain the same after week 11.  Only one team falls out of our top 5 with one new addition.  Our top teams took care of business and this NFL season is setting up to be one of the most exciting come the end of the year.  It is still a little early but it is hard to imagine right now any team being able to rest players come week 17.  I can imagine a lot of playoff scenarios in place during that final week of the season.  On to our top 5, here we go...

1.  New England Patriots (8-2) - The Patriots held on Sunday to defeat the Colts after Peyton Manning through a very untimely interception deep in New England territory.  They remain our number one team for a second week, tying the record for most weeks at the number 1 position, that is how unpredictable this season has been.  I am still not sure they are the best team in the league or if there is even a best team in the league right now, but they have beaten the Steelers and Colts in consecutive weeks.  They have a short week this week as they will travel to Detroit to face the Lions on Turkey Day.  After their last two games this one should be slightly easier but that is what we thought when they faced the Browns and look what happened then. 

2.  Atlanta Falcons (8-2) - The Falcons pulled away from the St. Louis Rams in the second half on Sunday and still have the best record in the NFC.  The Rams put up a valiant effort but it wasn't enough in the end and Matt Ryan continues to impress every week for the Falcons.  The Falcons will welcome the Packers into Atlanta on Sunday for what seems to be the game of the week in the NFL.  With only 3 games left on their schedule against teams with a winning record, this game could go a long way to helping them secure home field advantage in the playoffs.  A win against the Packers could vault Atlanta into the top spot on our power rankings.

3.  New York Jets (8-2) - Santonio Holmes might prove that he was the best pickup of the off season.  For the second time in as many weeks, Holmes scores the winning touchdown in the last possible second to give the Jets their third straight heart pounding victory.  The Jets continue to win games when you think their is little or no hope left.  They also have a short week this week as they will face the terrible Cincinnati Bengals on Thanksgiving night in Northern New Jersey.  Win or lose they will have 10 days to prepare for a showdown in week 13 on Monday night against the Patriots.  For the Jets sake, lets hope they don't overlook the Bengals on Thursday.

4.  Philadelphia Eagles (7-3) - The Eagles and Michael Vick continue their winning ways by taking care of business against the New York Giants on Sunday.  This game wasn't pretty with a ton of mistakes by both teams but in the end the Eagles found a way to win.  The Giants were able to contain Vick and perhaps give other teams a blue print to do the same thing.  This week the Eagles travel to Chicago to face the vaunted defense of the Bears.  This game features two teams that are leading their division at 7-3 and for Chicago, it would go a long way to proving they belong as an elite team in the NFC.  

5.  Green Bay Packers (7-3) - The Packers ended the Vikings season on Sunday and in the process sent Brad Childress packing as he was fired yesterday.  They destroyed the Vikings in every facet of the game and they seem to be overcoming some of the huge injuries they sustained earlier in the season.  Greg Jennings is showing that he is one of the top 5 receivers in the NFL today while Aaron Rodgers continues to impress.  They have their toughest game in a long time on Sunday as they will travel to Atlanta to face the best team in the NFC.  If they win this game they have a shot at obtaining home field advantage in the playoffs and no team wants the road to the Superbowl to go through Lambeau Field. 

Honorable Mentions:  Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There is the top 5 teams in the NFL after week 11. Thoughts or opinions?  Feel free to leave a comment!  Also don't forget to visit my site, www.moleandmeares.com, to watch our weekly picks video and submit your week 12 NFL picks for a chance to win a weekly prize.

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