Bob Kemp’s Bottom Line

THURSDAY, JANUARY 21, 2021

A SIX PACK OF KNOWLEDGE

        *AROUND THE NFL: The Texans are highly unlikely to trade Deshaun Watson, according to Hall of Famer John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Also, the Texans are reportedly $19 million over the projected 2021 salary cap of $175. They can clear $17 million if they cut J.J. Watt, seldom product the past two seasons.
        Urban Meyer talked to the Chargers and Lions which likely helped him drive up the closing price from the Jaguars.
        *AROUND THE NFL/CFB: The NFL coaching carousel, considered to be a weak group, has one final opening (Texans). It is surprising the current college ranks has not been included, specifically Florida’s Dan Mullin, Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald and Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck.
        *AROUND MLB: The J.T, Realmuto sweepstakes appears to be between the Braves and Phillies.
        *AROUND CBK: Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky are not in this week’s top 25 for the first time simultaneously since 1961.
        Four teams remain unbeaten with at least four games played – Baylor, Drake, Gonzaga and Winthrop.
NEXT BOTTOM LINE – NFL CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY PREDICTIONS AND ANALYSIS
**********

IN THE PREDICTION FRIDAY SPORTS ZONE

(THIS PLAN IS TENTATIVE AND SOMEWHAT SUBJECT  TO CHANGE)
        *AT THE TOP OF THE SHOW,  THE INTRODUCTION OF THE PIPELINE    
        *AT 10:15, THE LOCAL ROUNDUP: topped by an ASU-UA rewind 
        *AT 10:30, AROUND THE NFL: including Championship Sunday Predictions and new head coaching analysis with Eric Edholm of Yahoo
        *AND, IN THE FINAL SEGMENT OF THE FIRST HOUR, THE NATIONAL ROUNDUP: starting with The Latest Line 
        *AT THE TOP OF THE 11:00 HOUR, LAST CALL + THE BOTTOM LINE  
        *AT 11:15, AN NFL CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY PREVIEW: the latest of the Chiefs with Matt Derrick of ChiefsDigest
        *AT 11:30, INTERACTIVE ACTION AT 602-260-1060 AND THE DAILY EDITION OF CAUGHT MY EYE 
        *AND IN THE FINAL SEGMENT, TODAY IN ROCK HISTORY
        *FROM NOON-1:00 (MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY): THE EXTRA POINT, HOSTED BY KAYLA 
*********

BOTTOM LINE ACHIEVE

TUESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2021

NFL DIVISIONAL ROUND HEROES AND ZEROES

        *HEROES (TEAM) – GREEN BAY: The Packers are an NFL-best 9-0 at home this season and the defense has allowed just 14.9 points over the last seven games home and away.
         *HERO (PLAYER) – ANTOINE WINFIELD JR.: The Buccaneers rookie safety, with his team on the ropes and trailing 20-13, stripped Saints Jared Cook to start a comeback that ended with his team scoring the final 17 points.
        *HERO (COACH) – LESLIE FRAZIER: The Bills defensive coordinator surprised the Ravens with a variety of blitzes and his defense scored more points (7) than it allowed (3).
        *ZEROES (UNIT) – THE RAMS DEFENSE: Granted Aaron Donald was ailing, but the defense that allowed the fewest points and yards in the NFL during the regular season, surrendered 32 points, 188 rushing yards and 484 total yards on 28 first downs at Green Bay.
        *ZERO (PLAYER) – DREW BREES: Three interceptions and just 134 yards on 34 pass attempts is awful. His career concludes a surprisingly average 9-8 all-time in the post-season with consecutive wins just once (the Super Bowl run to conclude the 2009 season).
         *ZERO (COACH) – GREG ROMAN: The Ravens offensive coordinator was a star after Lamar Jackson’s breakout 2019 season. Now Roman might be on the hot seat following another Ravens playoff loss that concluded with just three points.  

SUNDAY, JANUARY 17, 2021

NFL DIVISIONAL ROUND

        *CHIEFS 22 BROWNS 17: The Chiefs were fortunate to escape after Patrick Mahomes (concussion) was injured and sidelined the rest of game with the Chiefs leading 19-10. In a post-season filled with questionable coaching decisions, Andy Reid calling the Mahomes read-option while already hobbling on a gimpy toe, might have been the dumbest. Also, in this game, Kevin Stefanski’s poor time-out management significantly reduced his team’s chance to rally … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – The Chiefs shocking red zone issues of the last two seasons continued. On Sunday, they scored two touchdowns in five red zone trips … THE BOTTOM LINE – The CBS studio team spent the entire post-game praising Reid for the final 4th down call, but the truth is several of his baffling decisions were the reason the Chiefs were in danger … And, not surprisingly, Tony Romo, the most overrated NFL analyst in television history, failed to question Reid calling the read option play when Mahomes was concussed … NEVADA LINE – Chiefs 9½ (57) … PREDICTION – Chiefs 41, Browns 27  
        *BUCCANEERS 30, SAINTS 20: A feeble-looking Drew Brees tossed three interceptions and confirmed that he hung around at least one season too long with the Saints blowing a 20-13 second-half lead and losing at home in the post-season for a third consecutive year … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – Brees finished 19 of 34 for a pathetic 134 yards. Michael Thomas had zero receptions on just four targets … Tom Brady completed 18 of 33 for 199 yards with two touchdowns and no picks. Brady was fortunate not to throw multiple picks with two drops and another errant pass accurately ruled with the Saints defender having just one foot inbounds … THE BOTTOM LINE – The Buccaneers scored 21 points off the first three turnovers, two Brees interceptions and a Jared Cook fumble, all on short fields … CLOSING LINE – Saints 3 (53) … PREDICTION – Saints 24, Buccaneers 20
NEXT UPDATE TUESDAY – NFL DIVISIONAL ROUND HEROES AND ZEROES

SATURDAY, JANUARY 16, 2021

NFL DIVISIONAL ROUND

        *PACKERS 32, RAMS 18: The top-ranked Packers offense dominated against a top-ranked Rams defense lessoned by some extend with Aaron Donald (ribs) obviously ailing and playing less than half the snaps … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – The Packers three-headed running back monster of Aaron Jones, A.J. Dillon and Jamaal Williams combined for 191 yards rushing on 32 carries … Rams quarterback Jared Goff was surprisingly efficient, completing 21 of 27 for 187 yards, but limited to short throws, likely because of his ailing thumb … THE BOTTOM LINE – The Packers will host the NFC Championship Game for the first time with Aaron Rodgers the starting quarterback. The extended forecast for Sunday, January 24th is 20 degrees with snow showers … CLOSING LINE – Green Bay 7 (45) – the point spread moved from 6 1/2 to 7 while the total moved from 45 1/2 to 45 after Cooper Kupp officially announced inactive … Prediction –Green Bay 24, LA Rams 16   
        *BILLS 17, RAVENS 3: In one of the most disappointing playoff games in years, the Bills surprisingly dominated physically which allowed them to overcome an inaccurate night from Josh Allen who still outplayed Lamar Jackson whose inexplicable decision with the game still 10-3 became a 101-yard pick six …     STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – The Ravens won the statistical game – 340=220 yards, 73-55 plays and 35:33-24:27 time of possession, but Jackson left points on the field before he left with a concussion on the final play of the third quarter … THE BOTTOM LINE – The Ravens won last week at Tennessee with physicality and energy. They left the physicality and energy in Tennessee … CLOSING LINE – Buffalo 2½ (50) … PREDICTION – Buffalo 26, Baltimore 20  

FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2021

A SIX PACK OF NFL DIVISION ROUND KNOWLEDGE

        *THE SAINTS HAVE RECENT EDGES OVER THE BUCCANEERS: The Saints and Sean Payton are 4-0 the last two seasons over the Buccaneers and Bruce Arians. Also, Drew Brees is 5-2 in his career against the Tom Brady, including the 2-0 mark this season.
        *ANDY REID IS THE KING OF BYE WEEKS: He is 25-5 SU all-time the game following a bye, including 6-2 in the post-season.
        *THE CHIEFS ARE 23-1 IN THEIR LAST 24 GAMES GOING BACK TO LAST SEASON: However, the Chiefs last seven wins have all been by margins of six points or fewer.
        *THE BILLS AND RAVENS HAVE PLAYMAKING QUARTERBACKS: However, the Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson directed offenses are in no hurry ranking second and fifth SLOWEST in tempo during the regular season.
        *JOSH ALLEN DESTROYS BLITZING OPPONENTS: He has a league most 19 touchdown passes against the blitz. The Ravens, Allen’s opponent this week, had the highest blitz rate in the league during the regular season.
        *THE RAMS FORMULA TO WIN HAS BECOME OBVIOUS: Sean McVay’s team has won the time of possession in 13 of 17 games. However, the Rams need to start faster. They have totaled six points during the first quarter of their last four games.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13, 2021

NFL SUPER WILD CARD ROUND HEROES AND ZEROES

        *HEROES (TEAM) – BROWNS: Cleveland’s shorthanded 48-37 win at Pittsburgh was its first win in the post-season since 1994 when Bill Belichick was the head coach.
         *HERO (PLAYER) – CAM AKERS: The Rams running back rushed 28 times for 131 yards and one touchdown and caught two passes for another 47 yards in the at Seattle.
        *HERO (COACH) – SEAN MCDERMOTT: The Bills won for the first time in the post-season since 1995 with the head coach clearly holding an edge over the Colts Frank Reich.
        *ZEROES (TEAM) – TITANS: After mounting a 10-0 lead, they scored just once the rest of the way while being dominated at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
        *ZERO (PLAYER) – RUSSELL WILSON: He was one of many Seahawks playing the blame game after the loss to the Rams, but he should look in the mirror after completing just 11 of 27 passes, including at least five misses to open receivers.
         *ZERO (COACH) – MIKETOMLIN: The Steelers were clearly unprepared and trailed 28-0 in the first quarter against Cleveland.

MONDAY, JANUARY 11, 2021

CFP CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

      *ALABAMA 52, OHIO STATE 24: Alabama won its third College Football Playoff Championship and Nick Saban his national title against an Ohio State team that would not have had a chance even it had been at full strength … CLOSING NEVADA LINE – Alabama 9 1/2 (76) … ORIGINAL PREDICTION – Alabama 41, Ohio State 30 (subject to change if OSU COVID rumors are true) = MODIFIED PREDICTION AT 5:15 – Alabama 45, Ohio State 27 (OSU will be without 13 two-deep players including starting defensive linemen Tyreke Smith and Tommy Togiai (two stars versus Clemson) and the their first top two kickers.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 10, 2021

NFL SUPER WILD CARD ROUND

        *BALTIMORE 20, TENNESSEE 13: The Ravens rallied to win from 10 points behind for the first time with Lamar Jackson who ran for 136 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown, while the defense held 2,000 yard rusher Derrick Henry to 40 yards on 18 carries with a long of eight … THE BOTTOM LINE – The Ravens physically dominated on each side of the ball … CLOSING NEVADA LINE – Baltimore 3 1/2 (54) … PREDICTION – Baltimore 27, Tennessee 26 
        *NEW ORLEANS 21, CHICAGO 9: The Saints and Bears game was closer to a scrimmage than a playoff game which should be validation that the Bears should start over and move on from executive Ryan Pace, head coach Matt Nagy and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky … On the winning side, Drew Brees looked ancient … CLOSING NEVADA LINE – New Orleans 11 (48) … PREDICTION – New Orleans 26, Chicago 16
        *CLEVELAND 48, PITTSBURGH 37: The well-publicized, short-handed Browns established NFL post-season records for most first-quarter points (28) and most first half points on the road (35) against a Steelers team that appeared unprepared and looking ahead to next week’s divisional round … CLOSING NEVADA LINE – Pittsburgh 5 1/2 (47) … Prediction – Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 17

SATURDAY, JANUARY 9, 2021

NFL SUPER WILD CARD ROUND

        *BILLS 27, COLTS 24: The Bills survived porous middle of the field pass defense largely because of Colts analytics freak Frank Reich continual horrendous red zone decisions and inexplicable time out management. Also, the NFL is fortunate that Zach Pascal’s obvious fumble not being overturned did not decide the game … LOOKING AHEAD – Is Buffalo’s defense good enough to advance past this round? … CLOSING LINE – Buffalo 6½ (51) … PREDICTION – Buffalo 27, Indianapolis 20 (The Bills finished the regular season 5-2 against teams above .500 – The Colts five losses were by an average 12.6 points)
        *RAMS 30, SEAHAWKS 20: Russell Wilson’s inexplicable pick six throw on a wide receiver screen was the key play as the Rams were forced to go with Jared Goff after John Wolford suffered a neck injury on a cheap shot from Jamal Adams that sent Wolford to a local hospital … Sean McVay moved to 37-0 when leading at halftime while Pete Carroll lost a home playoff game as the Seahawks head coach after six wins … CLOSING LINE – Seattle 3 (42) … PREDICTION – LA Rams 20, Seattle 17 (The Rams allowed the league’s fewest points and yards during the regular season)
        *BUCCANEERS 31, WASHINGTON 23: The Buccaneers surprisingly were pushed for 58 minutes because of poor red zone efficiency and bad pass defense with Taylor Heinicke finishing  with 306 yards … Bruce Arians beat Ron Rivera for the first time in three playoff matchups, the first two when Arians’ Cardinals lost to Rivera’s Panthers … CLOSING LINE – Tampa Bay 10 (44½) … PREDICTION – Tampa Bay 23, Washington 13 (The WFT averaged just 15.6 points over its last six games)

 

   

 

 

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2020

A SIX PACK OF KNOWLEDGE

        *AROUND CFB: The Big Ten made a huge mistake NOT scheduling Michigan @ Ohio State in Week One and FOX would agree. FOX collected an estimated $18.5 in ad revenue for last season’s OSU-UM game, according to the Standard Media Index, a New York City-based ad spending tracking business.  
        *AROUND THE NBA: ASU alum James Harden was spotted partying in Las Vegas and Atlanta earlier this month before he reported late to Rockets training camp.
        *HEARD THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE: The Texans plan to have Deshaun Watson participate in the head coaching search and the word is Watson already wants Chiefs coordinator Eric Bienemy who has been strongly endorsed by Patrick Mahomes, a close friend of Watson
        Matthew Stafford to the Patriots in 2021 is a rumor gaining momentum
        Former Cardinal John Brown is not expected to re-sign with the Bills who like their young receivers.  
        *BY THE NUMBERS – 6: The number of rookie quarterbacks to start at least one game this season. It is the fifth consecutive season at least a half dozen rookie quarterbacks have started at least one game.
NEXT BOTTOM LINE ON SUNDAY – CARDINALS VS. EAGLES IN-GAME UPDATES
*****

IN THE THURSDAY SPORTS ZONE

(THIS PLAN IS TENTATIVE AND SOMEWHAT SUBJECT  TO CHANGE)
        *AT THE TOP OF THE SHOW,  THE INTRODUCTION OF THE PIPELINE    
        *AT 10:15, THE DAILY LOCAL FOOTBALL ROUNDUP: Kliff Kingsbury and Herm Edwards Meet The Press
        *AT 10:30, AN EAGLES-CARDINALS PREVIEW: with Dave Zangaro of NBCSports.com
        *AND, IN THE FINAL SEGMENT OF THE FIRST HOUR, THE NATIONAL ROUNDUP: topped by the Latest Line, Personnel Updates and From The Scoreboard
        *AT THE TOP OF THE 11:00 HOUR, LAST CALL + THE BOTTOM LINE  
        *AT 11:15, A COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK PREVIEW: with Bill Bender of The Sporting News 
        *AT 11:30, INTERACTIVE ACTION AT 602-260-1060 AND THE DAILY EDITION OF CAUGHT MY EYE 
        *AND IN THE FINAL SEGMENT, TODAY IN ROCK HISTORY
        *FROM NOON-1:00 (MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY): THE EXTRA POINT, HOSTED BY KAYLA 
*********

BOTTOM LINE ACHIEVE

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2020

NFL WEEK #14 HEROES AND ZEROES

        *HEROES (TEAM) – GREEN BAY: The Packers grabbed the top seed in the NFC and the path to the Super Bowl currently means somebody will have to beat them on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.
         *HERO (PLAYER) – DERRICK HENRY: The Titans running back is 468 yards short of 2,000 rushing which seems attainable because of his late season history of success.   
        *HERO (COACH) – RON RIVERA: The Washington Football Team has won four straight after scoring two defensive touchdowns last week to beat the 49ers in Glendale. Rookie Chase Young finished with six tackles, one sack, two quarterback hits, one tackle for loss, two passes defended, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
        *ZEROES (TEAM) – PITTSBURGH: The running game was bad at Buffalo (17 carries for 47 yards) and has been bad for weeks (54.3 yards per game over the last seven).
        *ZERO (PLAYER) – MATT RYAN: He average at best season continued with two bad picks during the final five minutes of the Falcons loss at Los Angeles to the Chargers. His cap hit next season is $40.9 million.
         *ZERO (COACH) – JON GRUDEN: The Raiders have lost three of four (the win hand delivered by Gregg Williams game). Gruden’s team also staggered to the finish line in 2019 with five losses in the last six games.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2020

CARDINALS 26. GIANTS 7    

       THE BOTTOM LINE (POST-GAME): The Cardinals moved back into the sixth seed in the NFC with an outstanding defensive performance topped by eight sacks, including a franchise record five by Hasson Reddick. The defensive heroics were needed because Kyler Murray was constantly baffled by the Giants changing defensive looks, but he did not turn the ball over > FOR MORE ANALYSIS ON THE CARDINALS WIN, CHECK OUT MONDAY’S SPORTS ZONE AND EXTRA POINT, INCLUDING KLIFF KINGSBURY, KYLER MURRAY AND HAASON REDDICK MEET THE PRESS 
GAME NOTES
        PRE-GAME: Cardinals are the early weather winner – on December 13 in THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY, it is 61 degrees with winds at 11 MPH) – 39 and snow three of the next four days beginning on Monday.
        Larry Fitzgerald (off COVID list) and Kenyan Drake (hip) are active … The Cardinals finally got smart – Andy Isabella appears to be a healthy scratch … Injured inactives are Jalen Thompson and Zane Gonzalez (Mike Nugent was activated from the practice squad and will kick) … Also inactive are offensive linemen Max Garcia and Josh Miles plus Brett Hundley and Eno Benjamin (both of whom have been inactive every game).
        For the Giants, Daniel Jones and Blake Martinez (from THEE Canyon del Oro High School, Harvard of the Southwest and Athlete Factory) are active but key nickel back Darnay Holmes are inactive.
        FIRST QUARTER: Cardinals won toss and deferred NYG 25 > Jones FDP +13 to 38 – Gallman FDR +4 to 50 > 2+10. 50 Golden (who started season with Giants) unblocked. forced fumble from Jones, covered fumble and returned to 9 … 12:56, AZ @ NYG 9 > 3+1,1, three TEs, Drake zero chance, Humphries blown up into backfield = 4+1, 1, Murray play-action, roll out, couldn’t elude defender, include pass in end zone to Johnson (active instead of Isabella) – questionable personnel and play call = Cardinals rare red zone miss (# NFL red zone TD  percenage) … 10:42, NYG 1 > 3+out, Peterson PBU – Kirk +24 punt return … 9:19, AZ @ NYG 35 > Murray to Hopkins FD +15 to 18 – 3+14. 23. Murray forced to scramble against Giants zone +9 – Nugent 35 field goal = AZ 3-0 6:30Cardinals three points on two possessions inside 20 to begin game … 6:24, NYG 21 > Jones FD +8 to 31 > 3=5, 36, Cardinals man coverage sack – Cardinals penalty on punt return Murphy … 3:15, AZ 8 > Murray to Hopkins FD +17, FD > Murray FD +10 to 38 much more aggressive running than last three weeks) > 3+7, 41, Murray’s arm strength still shaky on hanging deep out to Hopkins who saved interception – also Murray misread two-deep coverage … :13, NYG, 10 – one play and end  of quarter 
        SECOND QUARTER: 3+7, 13, Jones awful decision, Kirkpatrick break up = 3+out … 14:11, AZ 47 (Cardinals great field position third time in four possessions) > Hopkins lready complaining to Kliff – every week) > 3+9, 47, Murray to Edmonds +8 = 4+1, NY 44, Drake +3 FD > 3+3, 34, Murray to Arnold +21 to NYG 13 > Beachum bad recent game stretch continues = 1+15, 18 > Murray bailed backward on blitz (Murray wasn’t hit but grabbed left leg – had to call TO to keep Murray in game > 3+16, 20, Murray screen to Hopkins NO CHANCE (conservative call to protect Murray’s leg – Murray slightly limps to sidelineCardinals 6 points three red zone tripsAZ 6-0, 8:24 – Nugent 2 of 2 kicking in his old home stadium … Cardinals force fumble on kickoff, literally kicked by Fitts, recovered by DThompson) … 8:17, AZ 21 > Cardinals forced to call time after turnover- fourth red zone possession – Drake +15 first play FD to six – Murray confused Giants coverage (like Wilson last week = 3+6. 6 after NYG time out, Murray sensational play against Giants blitz, backpedal that jump ball to Arnold who catches if around three Giants defenders – Arnold 3 TDC in two games) = AZ 13-0, 6:53 (AZ 10 points onturnovers) … 6:46, NYG 29 (Giants 36 yards) – Murphy rare good play in his career (PBU deep ball) > 3+4, 34 – Jones to Slaton FD to 46 +12 (on Kirkpatrick) > 3+7, 49, Jones awful throw – Cardinals zone effective … 4:10 AZ 20 > Cardinals good lay early hammer with score to end first half and get ball to start second half > Murray to Hopkins +14 FD to 34 > Murray to Hopkins FD +21 to NYG 41 > Murray fumbled rushed snap -4 before 2:00 = 3+6, 36, Murray back shoulder to Arnold to 10 almost great catch but incomplete = Kliff elects to punt but Lee unable to get touchback … 1:14, NYG 20 > Reddick sack of Jones who fumbled but Jones gets lucky bounce to get recover – Cardinals final time out (could have used blown time out from earlier) – Giants had punt blocked last week > Kirk punt return to NYG 43 > 2 plays and ball to NYG 37 – Nugent 55 yard field goal attempt short but false start = Hail Murray Time is not thrown when Murray forced to run (not sure he can throw it deep anyway based on last 3 1/2 games and his one deep throw this half should have been picked – Cardinals should have more points 
        THIRD QUARTERFitz no targets first half – Giants 58 yards on 25 plays … 14:54, AZ 23 > 3+2, 31, Murray to Hopkins +4 FD to 36 > Murray called runs this week (haven’t seen that since injury at Seattle) – 3+3, 43, Murray forced to scramble +4 FD to 47 > Drake broke tackle at line of scrimmage +39 to 16 > Cardinals time out when Murray seemed to be confused by Giants blitz look and was flirting with delay of game = 2+7, 13 – 3+3, 9, Murray rolling out again +8 = 1+1, 1, Drake over the top TD – GREAT DRIVE START HALF = AZ 20-0, 8:52 … 8:52, NYG 25 > Gallman +16 to AZ 46 (Golden and Baker badly missed tackles) – 3+4, 40, Jones +39 to Tate who ran right passed Murphy (not surprising) +39 – next play Lewis TD run = AZ 20-7, 5:10 … 5:10, AZ 25 > Murray to Drake FD pass to 39 > Murray confused by Giants changing defenses > Fitz first catch FD +NYG 44 > 3+7, NYG 42 Murray confused again and throwaway > Lee excellent punt inside 10 … 1:42 NYG 7 > 3+1, 16, Jones overthrow – Kirkpatrick good coverage … :30, AZ 50 > Murray forced to scramble FD to 40 to end quarter 
        FOURTH QUARTER: first play – Drake +7 fumble recovered by Beachum who was also injured = Jones RT > Drake +10 FD but fumbles against DeValve recovers > 3+10, 23, Murray short to Edmonds= AZ 23-7, 12:38 … 12:33, NYG 26 > Kennard TFL > 3+4, 32, Reddick easy sack helped by Golden = 3+out … 10:46, AZ 28, Murray +41 to Hopkins to NYG 30 > 3+13, 33, Murray awful sack out of FG range – he has been continually baffled by Giants coverage – Lee great punt to 7 … 8:00, NYG 7 > Cardinal 5th sack Reddick again – 3+15 Peterson beat in zone by Shepard +24 > Gardeck sack (2nd game, 4th in that stadium this season) > Daniel Jones limping significantly … Kirk excellent return day … 5:17 AZ @ NYG 33 (fourth drive starting into NYG territory) > 3+3, 26, after Cardinals TO (appeared to have 10 on field), Murray FD to Hopkins FD +12 to 14 > Edmonds got third down carry after Drake three fumbles today) = AZ 26-7, 2:41 (THEE Ohio State University product Mike Nugent 4 of 4 FG) … 2:34, NYG 23 > Reddick his fourth sack of game on first play, then fifth sack later in drive = franchise record fifth sack (had zero sacks since October) … Jonathan Vilma excellent first year in NFL booth 
       THE LATEST LINE: Las Vegas Super Book – Arizona 3 (47) … Prediction – Giants 23, Cardinals 20
NEXT BOTTOM LINE ON TUESDAY – NFL WEEK #14 HEROES AND ZEROES

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2020

ASU 70, UA 7   

        THE BOTTOM LINE: ASU should be 3-0, but its season was ruined when blowing leads in the final two minutes against USC and UCLA … On the other side, in a non-pandemic time, UA coach Kevin Sumlin would be unemployed soon. But, remember the university is already spending major money in an effort to prove Sean Miller’s basketball program is not corrupt – LATE ADDITION – THE UA FIRED SUMLIN ON SATURDAY > FOR MORE ANALYSIS ON THE SUN DEVILS ROUTE, CHECK OUT MONDAY’S SPORTS ZONE AND EXTRA POINT, INCLUDING HERM EDWARDS AND JAYDEN DANIELS MEET THE PRESS 
GAME NOTES
        FIRST QUARTER: Gunnell expected to start at QB for UA (point spread from 11 1/2 to 8 1/2 last hour) … ASU’s Taylor 107-yard kickoff return = ASU 7-0, 14:47 … 14:41, UA 8 penalty on kickoff – 2nd play, Brightwell muffs pitch and ASU recovery by Butler … 14:08, ASU at UA 5 – Trayanum easy walk-in TD up gut on first play = ASU 14-0, 14:04 = GAME OVER? … 14:04, UA 25 > one first down before Gunnell picked by Soelle at UA 43 … 12:24, ASU @ UA 43 > 3+6, 24, ASU chop block penalty second straight week – Zendejas missed 41 yard field goal … 9:38, UA 23 > UA awful start, KO return td, fumble, interception, three offensive penalties, stopped 4+1, own 41 … 5:20, ASU @ UA 41 > 3+9, 40, Daniels awful throw but Wilson great catch FD +13 to UA 27 – 3+3. 20, Daniels read option and relatively easy touchdown = ASU 21-0, 2:21 = GAME DEFINITELY OVER … 2:21, UA 25 > UA two first downs – ASU’s Davis dropped pick next to last play end of quarter – ASU 21 points, UA two snaps in ASU territory both at 49 
        SECOND QUARTER: 3+1, ASU 26, Brightwell +10 FB to 16 – Brightwell +13 (ASU tackling to 2) – UA fumble from 2 on Gunnell/Brightwell exchange recovered by ASU (Matus) … 12:15, ASU 6 > White fumble recovered by Daniels – two plays later, White 93 yard run untouched = ASU 28-0, 11:45 – one of the worst 18 minute stretches ever in the history of UA, which does not have a good history to begin with > on the other side, ASU has to be thinking what if they had blown the games against USC and UCLAWARNING – I MIGHT NOT BE WATCHING THIS GAME INTENTLY RATHER QUICKLY … 11:45, UA, 25 > Gunnell blindsided and fumbles caused by Lole and recovered by Johnson  11:30, ASU @ 26 > Daniels easy 19 yard TD to wide open Pearsall = ASU 35-0, 10:15DRIVE BY DRIVE ANALSYIS ABORTED – WILL BE BACK PERIODICALLY … UA defenders have quit = ASU 42-0, 5:25most embarrassing half in UA history …5:00 Gunnell pulled for Plummer – good move (no reason to get your starting QB killed) – UA five play TD against suddenly passive ASU defense = 3:30 ASU 42-7 (GAME OVER TOTAL) … 2:25 – who would have guessed ASU would punt first? … The team trailing 42-7 has a 252-241 total yards advantage
        THIRD QUARTER: My plan (for now) – I will leave ASU-UA on corner TV (and watch some) but likely will be watching Iowa-Iowa State and UCLA-Marquette basketball games more intently and listening to a couple of NFL podcasts – Also, FYI, Blue Bloods at 9:00 … AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, tomorrow Bruce Springsteen And The E Street on Saturday Night Live!
        FOURTH QUARTER:
       THE LATEST LINE: Las Vegas Super Book – ASU 10 (56) … Prediction – ASU 34, UA 16 (add 7 more from for UA if Grant Gunnell starts)

A SIX PACK OF KNOWLEDGE

        *THE LEAD: The ASU basketball team has zero chance of winning what appears to be a mediocre Pac 12 Conference if it doesn’t improve in protecting the rim and rebounding, things that were non-existent during last night’s beatdown by San Diego State.
        *HEARD THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE: If Bruce Arians does not return as the Buccaneers head coach (a rumor that is gaining momentum), Tom Brady will push hard for his former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who is not receiving favorable reviews around the league for his use of Cam Newton.
        Matthew Stafford is likely in his final days with the Lions. He is owed a $10 million bonus at the end of March 2021, not to mention his wife has been publicly critical of the organization.  
        The University of Tennessee is believed to be interested in Liberty’s Hugh Freeze if Jeremy Pruitt is fired.
        *AROUND CFB: Since the start of the season, more than 20 players have left Mike Leach’s Mississippi State program for a variety of reasons.
        *BY THE NUMBERS – $8 MILLION: The amount Michigan owes Jim Harbaugh in 2020 … 21-5: Bill Belichick’s record as the Patriots head coach against rookie quarterbacks after Sunday’s win over Justin Herbert.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2020

NFL WEEK #12 HEROES AND ZEROES

        *HEROES (TEAM) – CLEVELAND: There was no doubting the now 9-3 Browns who led 38-7 at halftime on the road against the Titans.
         *HERO (PLAYER) – AARON RODGERS: He become the fastest ever to reach 400 career touchdown passes doing it 12 games quicker than Drew Brees.
        *HERO (COACH) – JOE JUDGE: The Giants have won five straight, the latest 17-12 as 13-point underdogs at Seattle.
        *ZEROES (TEAM) – THE CHARGERS: It’s not often a two-point favorite loses 45-0, but that happened on Sunday against the Patriots.  
        *ZERO (PLAYER) – CARSON WENTZ: His third appearance in this category this season. He was six of 15 for 79 yards before getting benched in favor of Jalen Hurts.
         *ZERO (COACH) – GREGG WILLIAMS: The Jets defensive coordinator was fired hours after the now much-discussed zero coverage decision to prevent the team’s first win of the season.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2020

RAMS 38, CARDINALS 28  

       THE BOTTOM LINE: The Cardinals are 1-4 in their last five games with the lone win the HAIL MURRAY. Also, the Cardinals dropped to 0-7 against the Sean McVay Rams on a day in which Kyler Murray, Budda Baker and Patrick Peterson come up short in game turning plays and the now weekly poor body language of DeAndre Hopkins continued to escalate. 
GAME NOTES
        PRE-GAME: The Cardinals will once again be without starting safety Jalen Thompson (ankle). The Cardinals other inactives are Brett Hundley, Eno Benjamin, Josh Miles, Max Garcia and Rashard Lawrence … Larry Fitzgerald was NOT activated off the COVID list. 
        FIRST QUARTER: AZ 25 after Rams won toss and deferred > would have been 3+out but Rams face mask on Murray sack after Floyd ran past Beacham > Murray deep throw 59 yard TD to Arnold who was wide open after three Rams went with Hopkins = AZ 7-0, 13:25 … 13:20, LA 25 > Henderson +2 FDR to 36 > Goff to Cooks FD to 47 > Goff to Everett FD to AZ 41 > 3+6, 38, Goff misses open receiver > 4+6, 38 = Goff flushed left and throws well wide out of bounds to Woods – Cardinals defense gets fortunate stop … 9:29, AZ 38 > Darnold somehow matched up on Humphries run right past him for sack = 3+out … 7:54, LAR 10 after penalty on punt > 3+2, 18 > Kupp +3 FD (not surprisingly beat Murphy) > Cardinals 12 on field + Kirkpatrick hold FD to 32 > Cardinals blitzing on first down – 3+9, 33, Goff takes coverage sack (credited to Gardeck) … 4:04, AZ 29 > 3+4, 33, Murray to Isabella INC (questionable arm strength throw) = 3+out … 2:47, LA 15 > 3+3, 22, FD +4 – Cardinals lucky Goff didn’t see wideout Higbee down field > two plays later, Higbee (easily beat Hicks) FD +16 to LA 40 on final play of quarter 
        SECOND QUARTER: Goff to Woods FD +10 to AZ 46 w/Cardinals in zone > Kennard getting more time today after hardly playing sparingly last three games > 3+2, AZ 37, Goff +3 to Higbee (beat Banjo) > Cards excellent versus run thus far against Cardinals four LB set (Murphy like last week not on field often) > 3+4, AZ 29, Kupp FD +7 PLUS Blackson rough passer = 1+9, 9, Akers power TD run (dragged Reddick into end zone last few yards – 14 plays, 90 yards) = 7-7, 10:35 … 10:35, AZ 25 > ugly 3+out concluded with Edmonds choosing wrong blitzer – Lee 31 shank … 9:36, LA 44 > Kupp easy +15 to AZ 41 > Akers +4 FD to AZ 30 > Goff +21 to Reynolds who beat Hicks (Rams attacking him) to AZ 9 > 3+2, 2, Peterson and Baker stop +1 > 4+1, 1, Akers -2 (Blackson and Golden – Cardinals defense NOT fooled by hurry up) … 19:00, 15-2 LAR stat edge … 5:23, AZ 2 > 3+10, 2, false start Pugh = 3+11, 1, Murray deflected pass after line pushed back into end zone – awful possession … 4:35, LA 44 AZ, Goff +17 to Woods to AZ 27 > TFL Reddick = 3+10, 27,  WR screen to Woods +10 FD to 17 > Akers +5 FD to 6 > Akers +1 (Golden) = 3+1, 1, Goff easy TD throw to Higbee who beat Simmons who got picked = LA 14-7, :51Murray 1 of 8 thus far – only completion blown coverage TD to Arnold … :51, AZ 25 > Murray to Johnson +9 FD > Murray to Hopkins PI on Ramsey 25 yards to 30 > Murray +8 to Hopkins to 22 but correctly overturned when Hopkins didn’t get foot down = Gonzalez 48 yard field goal instead of 39 yards and Gonzalez misses wide left (yet another miss at end of half) – Hopkins third straight game showing selfish frustration … Cardinals one good play first half – very fortunate not much further behind – awful end to half (LA TD, AZ missed FG) and LA ball to start second half
        THIRD QUARTER: 15:00, LA, 25 > 1st play +18  pass to Henderson to LA 43 > 3+7, LA 46, Goff to Brown +30 with no Cardinal in sight (somebody vacated zone (I think Kirkpatrick) > 3+7, 20, Cardinals zero rush but bailed out by OFF PI = 3+17, 30, Kupp screen +10 means closer FGA – LAR 17-7, 10:32 (incredibly Cardinals are ONLY down 17-7 – they have been physically destroyed on both sides of ball – Rams four times inside 20 and just 17 points) … 10:32, AZ 25 > Hopkins first catch +8 FD to 37 > Murray to Hopkins +10 to 48 > Brockers injured > 3+2, Murray called keeper +3 to LA 38  > 3+12, LA 40, RamseY PBU on high throw to Hopkins = 4+12, 40, Rams TO with Cardinals offense still on field – Murray to Hopkins +10 FD > Edmonds +12 to 7  > 1+8, 8, Brockers returns = 3+3, 3, Hopkins TD great TD in tight window vs. LA zone (Cardinals first legitimate drive of game – Murray throw and run, almost like desperation mode, ailing shoulder or not = LAR 17-14, 4:03 … 4:03, LAR, 25 > 3+2, 33, LAR blew 2nd TO of quarter, Goff ZERO clock of play clock – Cardinals 8 at line, but Akers +29 on screen to AZ 39 (Baker guessed wrong) > Kupp FD to 25, Akers FD to 12 > Kupp catch to AZ 3 on final play of quarter   
        FOURTH QUARTER: first play LA 2+2, AZ 3 > Peterson totally fooled by Kupp and easy hold call in end zone = 3+1, 1, Goff sneak td = LA 24-14, 14:52 (Cardinals defense awful after offense had scored – Baker burned on +30 and Peterson hold in end zone) … 14:52, AZ 25 > Brockers back out of game – Hopkins +7 FD to 35 > 3+10, AZ 35, Murray no chance OL getting destroyed = one first down and punt … Cardinals force fumble on punt return (Washington forced, Sherfield recovered) > 13:46, AZ 14 > two Drake runs and TD, yet another example why Drake should get 75 percent of carries = 13:21, LA 24-21 … 13:21, LA 24 > Baker TFL first play -4 > 3+12, 23, Higbee soft zone (Hicks not close) FD +15 > Goff to Woods +11 FD to AZ 49 – Henderson TD 38 yard TD run – Baker guessed wrong again – two awful drives in a row Baker burned for big plays = also remember last week he blew 3rd down play on Cam – Cardinals defense can’t make a play again = LA 31-21, 10:07also Cardinals ZERO NFL starting caliber DL with Peters and Phillips out … 10:07, AZ 25 > 3+7, 28, Edmonds good catch +10 FD > 3+7, 40 Murray to Hopkins +9 FD to AZ 48 > Murray fumbles when rushed (Humphries forced rusher outside, Murray ran right into rusher) – Rams recovery at AZ 26 … 7:03, LA 26 > LAR hold = 2+14, 31 > Rams missed field goal have left MANY points off board (should be more than 31-21 … 5:14, AZ 26 > 3+9, 27, Murray awful telegraphed pick six – easy pitch and catch – not much zip on ball= have to wonder about Murray arm = LA 38-21, 4:33 … Hopkins body language becoming an issue … Edmonds +54 kickoff return to LAR 47 >  Drake +27 to one yard line > Cardinals can’t get in from 2 twice (OL getting destroyed) – 4th+2, 2 > Cardinals horrendous time out management and execution – Cardinals fortunate touchdown Murray desperation 4th down throw to Arnold = 38-28, 2:04 … Rams recover onside kick with 2:04 remaining … Rams run out clock

       THE LATEST LINE: Las Vegas Super Book – LA Rams 3 (48) … Prediction – Rams 27, Cardinals 20

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2020

GAMEDAY – UCLA 25, ASU 18  

       THE BOTTOM LINE (POST-GAME): ASU dropped to 0-2 with both losses to the LA schools similar with the offense wasting scoring opportunities and the defense unable to get off the field in the fourth quarter with the lead > FOR EXTENSIVE ANALYSIS AND HERM EDWARDS POST-GAME HIGHLIGHTS TUNE IN THE MONDAY SPORTS ZONE  
GAME NOTES
       FIRST QUARTER: ASU kickoff return to 21 > ASU to UCLA 40 before sack after blown blitz pick and incomplete pass – Turk touchback and not inside 20 … 11:00, UCLA 10 > Thompson-Robinson back at QB after missing last two games with COVID – UCLA stud RB Felton not starting after injured late last week after 200+ rushing vs. UA – ASU bad jump offside Phillips on 4+1, UCLA 29 > UCLA drive ends at ASU 45 when Johnson tackled scrambling DTR … 7:33, ASU 15 > Daniels 3rd+10 completion to Shelton > Daniels +35 to Johnson to UCLA 27 > 3+8, UCLA 25, WR screen Shelton +10 to UCLA 15 > Daniels takes sack (should have thrown it away) = 3+14, 19, sacked 2nd consecutive play (ASU offensive line confused – allowed three sacks first 2 possessions) – Zendejas missed 45 field goal (had made 13 straight) … 2;00, UCLA 27 > Pierce misplay ball in air +38 to ASU 35 
        SECOND QUARTER: UCLA 4+1, ASU 26 to start 2nd quarter – Felton now in game and easy first down to ASU 21 > 3+9, 20, +11 completion (Clark beat on slant) > Lucas lost WR on easy 9 yard TD pass = UCLA 7-0, 13:17 (9 plays, 73 yards) … 13:11, ASU 25 > Daniels +8 keeper on 3rd+ to ASU 39 > 3+1 ASU 12 on field = 3+6, ASU 44 Daniels behind Trayanum +5 and Herm opts to punt from own 47 … 9:11, UCLA, 8 > ASU awful tackling (two missed and another awful angle) on 64 yard run, Brown +15 on pass reception (Brown should have scored on both plays) – ASU sack (Tyler Johnson great pass rush thus far) = 3-8, 8, bad snap back to 27 = 44 yard field goal attempt = UCLA 10-0, 5:30 (ASU extremely fortunate not 14-0 – loo like a team that hasn’t played in four weeks facing an opponent that has played last four weeks) … 5:25 ASU 24 > ASU one first down and punt – ASU pass protection awful – ASU not enough men on field to punt – Turk punt rolls dead at UCA 9 … 2:57, UCLA 9 > ASU awful tackling (Fields this time +27 on first play) but Davidson sack next play (he was great in USC game) > 3+9, UCLA 36. DTR easy scramble +18 and ASU late hit on Davis to ASU 31 > ASU must hold UCLA to field goal before half > =DTR easy touchdown run (ASU awful defensive drive – 91 yards) = UCLA 17-0, :30 Taylor long kickoff return and tripped by kicker (would have been TD without trip = :26, ASU at UCLA 41 > Daniels missed wide open Wilson in end zone – Luckhurst tried 49 yard field goal (too long for Zendejas) good = UCLA 17-3, 0:00 
        THIRD QUARTER: UCLA 12 > ASU defense awful on first down – one first down and off field (Lucas coverage on third down … 12:56, ASU 32 > ASU big gain on trick play – WR to White, +52 to UCLA 11 (ASU recovered fumble at end of play) – Daniels easy 10 yard TD post to Darby = UCLA 17-10, 11:09 (four plays, 68 yards) … 11:09, UCLA 25 > Johnson another sack, helped by good coverage = 2+17, 17 > 3+out before roughing the punter but luckily UCLA illegal formation on a punt … 8:56, ASU 40 > ASU and Daniels were rolling but Daniels (under center and not under center) muffed snap and lost fumble – ASU also 39 yard TD from Daniels to Johnson nullified earlier on drive because of correctly called illegal man downfield … 5:22 UCLA 2 > ASU gets safety on intentional grounding from end zone – Matus caused safety = UCLA 17-12, 4;16ASU forced two punts and recorded a safety this half … 4:08, ASU 33 > Trayanum stud frosh RB – can get to edge and power impressive between tacklesASU to UCLA 32  – Daniels awful 1st+10 pick (terrible throw and bad decision) … :30 UCLA 21 one play and end of quarter
         FOURTH QUARTER: UCLA 3+13, UCLA 29, +16 FD vs. soft ASU zone – Davidson now down for ASU – 3+18, UCLA 40, ASU zone this time keeps in front – UCLA punt from UCLA 47 … 10:30, ASU, 18 >ASU needs Daniels fourth-quarter heroics that he delivered often last season > ASU needs to keep running with Trayanum (now over 100 yards) – ASU hold at UCLA 40 (LT Diesch having a rough night) > 3+4, UCLA 23, White +20 to 3 > Daniels TD run to pile-on = ASU 18-17, 4:26 (ASU had three chances to get two-point conversion – first time short but UCLA penalty, second time converted but Wilson lineup up incorrectly, third try Daniels and Darby not on same page and incomplete) … 4:26, UCLA 25 > Robertson and Davidson back in game after down earlier this half > ASU defense great half but now on its heels, four FDs and Davis face mask to ASU 6 with 1:30 remaining > ASU PI in end zone on Pierce = 1:18, UCLA 1+2, 2 > ASU allowed Pierce to score (he hesitated, before ASU pushed him into end zone) = UCLA 25-18, 1:09second straight game ASU defense unable to get off field (same deal at USC) … 1:09, ASU 26 > Daniels FD throws to Wilson and Darby, but took sack on corner blitz = ASU next to last time out at :39 at UCLA >Daniels badly missed Bunkley-Shelton > Daniels broke tackle on sure corner blitz but ANOTHER INELIGIBLE DOWNFIELD = 3+11, UCLA 43 – ASU sacked on corner blitz something ASU has not solved all night = :20, 4+19, ASU 49 > ball knocked down in end zone … ONE FINAL OBSERVATION – Brady Quinn is an excellent commentator  
       THE LATEST LINE: Las Vegas Super Book – ASU 3 (57 1/2) … Prediction – UCLA 28, ASU 27 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2020

NFL WEEK #12 HEROES AND ZEROES

        *HEROES (TEAM) – TENNESSEE: This could be a two-week award after consecutive road wins over the Ravens and Colts. The Titans lead the AFC South after racing off to a 35-14 halftime lead at Indianapolis.
         *HERO (PLAYER) – TYREEK HILL: With the help of his decent quarterback, Hill caught 13 of 15 targets for 269 yards and three touchdowns against stubborn Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles who continually played man defense against the fastest player in the league.
        *HERO (COACH) – RAHEEM MORRIS: The Falcons are 4-2 under interim coach Morris who deserves serious consideration to get the interim tag removed.      
        *ZEROES (TEAM) – LAS VEGAS: Five turnovers (four from Derrick Carr) and 243 yards from the offense and 143 penalty yards overall during the 43-6 loss at Atlanta.
        *ZERO (PLAYER) – TOM BRADY: Two more interceptions in the loss to the Chiefs and 11 picks for the season, just three less than his career high.
         *ZERO (COACH) – MATT PATRICIA: The Lions fired him after another Thanksgiving Day loss dropping Patricia’s career record to 13-29-1.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2020

PATRIOTS 20, CARDINALS 17  

       THE BOTTOM LINE: The Cardinals inability to convert in multiple short yardage situations, multiple dumb penalties and multiple horrific special teams plays resulted in a third loss in four games (the victory the Hail Murray against the Dolphins). In 11 days, the Cardinals have gone from the third seed to possibly not making the playoffs in the weak NFC. 
GAME NOTES
        PRE-GAME: CARDINALS ROSTER MOVES FROM FRIDAY – Kyler Murray (right shoulder) was not even included on the final pre-game update … The Cardinals activated Josh Allen from IR and he is expected to play today … They placed Larry Fitzgerald and Trent Sherfield on the COVID-19 list on Friday …– the Cardinals placed Da-rell Daniels (ankle) and Josh Mauro (hamstring) on IR meaning they must miss at least three games beginning today.  
       CARDINALS INACTIVES FOR TODAY – Brett Hundley, Eno Benjamin, Jalen Thompson, Josh Miles and Justin Murray … Thompson (ankle) is a significant loss, especially against the run-happy Patriots … Hundley and Benjamin have been inactive every game this season.
       ON THE PATRIOTS SIDE: ASU alum N’keal Harry and Sony Michel are active … Left tackle Isaiah Wynn (placed on IR), defensive tackles Carl Davis (placed on IR) and Byron Cowart are inactive, which should help the Cardinals run game … UA alum J.J. Taylor is a healthy scratch.
        FIRST QUARTER: Cardinals won toss and deferred NE 25 – Peko just signed this week, starts at DT – 3+6, 29, Newton hit by blitzing Hicks and Golden pick … 13:30, AZ 23 > first play Isabella +18 on reverse – 1+4, 4, Drake +3 to 1 (was in end zone) – 2+1, 1, Drake TD this time = AZ 7-0, 12:09 (Gonzales 38 yard extra point barely good after false start) … 12:03 NE 22 > 3+6, 26, Cam not close last two throws but Golden called for hold (would have been second straight 3+out) > Campbell -2 TFL on Harry reverse, then coverage sack by Campbell = 3+16, Newton WR screen +19 FD (Peterson missed tackle) – 3+5, NE 47, Newton awful start with throws way off target – punt downed at 3 … AZ 7:13, 3 > Drake first play +14 – Murray FD to Kirk to 28 – Pugh leaves game with injury replaced by Garcia – Edmonds FD to 41 – Murray FD to Hopkins +16 to NE 38 (Murray accurate 5 of 5 start) – Cardinals confusion and time out 2+8, NE 36 – Murray to Hopkins FD +8 to NE 28 – Murray called run – 3 = 2+13, 29, another Cardinals time out (second on this drive) – Murray hit on blitz = 3+13, 29, blitz not picked up = Murray goes backward and throws out of bounds – Gonzalez 47 FG = AZ 10-0, 1:49 (drive started at AZ 3) … Cardinals awful tackling (Fitts whiffed and Gonzalez awful angle) = NE at AZ 46 – Cam keep but Harry hold on Peterson = 2+7, AZ 43, +13 pass and Simmons lowers head for 15 more = 1+10, AZ 15 – quarter ends with ball at AZ 8 
        SECOND QUARTER: first play, 3+3. AZ 8, reverse Joseph great tackle > 4+1, 7, TD White on college option – Cardinals unprepared = AZ 10-7. 14:15 (after awful kickoff coverage) … 14:11, AZ 21 > Pugh returns – Murray to Drake +5 FD to 32 – Murray to Isabella +11 FD to 41 – 3+11, AZ 40,  Cardinals awful blitz pickup Murray throws quick and inaccurate with Edmonds preventing a pick … 10:17 NE 14 > Newton QB keep FD +3 to NE 26 > Cardinals fortunate Cam way off on targets to open receivers – 3+7, AZ 29, Cam coverage sack by Simmons – NE one of five third down … 6:57, AZ 28 after 58-yard punt > Murray inaccurate throw to Kirk out of bounds = 3+7, 32, Murray great backpedal throw against blitz to Arnold +15 to AZ 47 – 3+6, NE 48, Murray easy pitch and catch Hopkins +9 FD to NE 39 – Murray +13 to Hopkins to NE 23 – 2:00, 3+1, 13, Drake power +3 FD – Kirk drops TD on slant at goal line = 3+8,8, Murray to Johnson (finally active) who battled to inside one (originally called TD but correctly ruled down inside 1 = (15th play of drive) :02, 4+1 @ 1, 2 TE, Drake stopped  with OL stuffed moved back – AWFUL END TO HALF BY CARDINALS – IF MURRAY’S SHOULDER WAS HEALTHY, HAVE TO ASSUME HE CARRIES BAL 
        THIRD QUARTER: AZ 25 > 3=2, 33, Murray backwards again on blitz +7 FD to 40 – 3+11, 39, Murray slide too soon on scramble +9 = 4+2, 47 (he doesn’t want to get hit on shoulder, something we talked about in Sports Zone)Cardinals lucky 82 yard punt return td nullified but with  penalty back to NE 40 – 11:43, NE 2 AZ 39 > Cam +12 FD to AZ 28 – Harris +16 FD ran over Baker to AZ 4 – 3+4, 4, Newton overthrows ex-Cardinal Byrd against Murphy – Cam awful game – penalty call saves Cardinals = 10-10, 7:46 … 10:10 AZ 25 > 3+3, 32, Murray falling back again, this time he didn’t have to and ball deflected at line, intercepted @ AZ 31 … 6:21, NE @ AZ 31, Harris +17 to 14 – Allen just activated this week injured – Cam keep +5 FD to 1 – Cardinals stop Cam and Harris from 1 = 3+1, 1, after Cardinals use first time out second half, White beats Campbell to cone = NE 17-10, 3:30 … 3:30, AZ 25 > 3+7, 18, Murray no chance after Pugh and Cole confused = 3+out … 1:59, NE 44 > Golden TFL run = 3+14, NE 40, Cardinals 3 man rush – Cam totally baffled and awful (5-12, 55 yards and Patriots lead) … :21, AZ 20 – one play +5 and end of quarter 
        FOURTH QUARTER: Hopkins +8 FD to 32 – 3+3, 40, incomplete but both Hopkins+Gilmore called PI (gutless decision) – do over and Murray called run +4 FD – Murray next play +15 to NE 41 – Murray FD +5 FD to Drake to NE 31 – Cardinals more clock management issues and blow second time out – Drake great run, bounced to outside FD +13 to 18 – 3+5. 15, Murray to cone not close on pass to Hopkins – 10:00 4+5, 15, incomplete to Arnold but NE holding – interesting decision and clearly NE penalty = 1+7, 7 – Arnold false start = 2+10, 10, Williams +6 = 3+4, 4, NE another hold (this one on Gilmore on Hopkins) = 1+2, 2, Hopkins +1 = 2+1, 1, Drake TD = 8:02, 17-17 (16 plays, 80 yards, 7:00) … 8:02, NE 25 > Defense needs to get off field > 1st play +16 Myers – Peterson penalty on first down play FD to NE 47 – 3+1 AZ 43, Cam +2 FD – 2+14, AZ 47, Cam another awful throw Kirkpatrick pick … 4:27, AZ @ NE 47 > Murray another tip is complete to Isabella = 3+3, NE 40, Edmonds +5 FD – 2:00, 3+2, NE 28, Drake stopped minus one, NE final time out – one again Murray didn’t keep – Gonzalez misses wide right … 1:47, NE 35 – Cardinals defense must stop Cam who has been awful – Cam takes sack (either great coverage or afraid to throw) = 3+13, 33, Cam keeps for FD with Baker terrible non contain and Simmons another HELMET hit and personal foul = FD at AZ 39 – NE doesn’t trust Cam (last three plays were runs) = Folk 50 yards is good = NE 20-17
       THE LATEST LINE: Las Vegas Super Book – Arizona 1 (50½) … Prediction – Patriots 26, Cardinals 23 (changed from Cardinals 24-23 on Prediction Wednesday Sports Zone) 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2020

A SIX PACK OF KNOWLEDGE

        *THE LEAD: THEE Ohio State University has paused its football program and it’s highly likely COVID has all but eliminated its chances of reaching the College Football Playoff. Any players testing positive, by Big Ten rule, means no return before 21 days, and, if the team does not play next week against Michigan State, Ohio State would not have not have enough games to qualify for the Big Ten Championship Game.
        *NATIONAL ROUNDUP: ASU freshman Josh Christopher impressed NBA executives with his 28-point performance on Thanksgiving night against the skilled and experienced Villanova defense. Christopher is expected to be a one-and-done player at the collegiate level.
       Meanwhile, the UA’s individual skill level is its lowest since Sean Miller arrived in Tucson. The Wildcats were 30-point home favorites in Thursday’s opener against Grambling State, a game the Wildcats led by single digits during the second half before pulling away late.
        *HEARD THROUGH THE HOT STOVE GRAPEVINE: The Dodgers are interested in acquiring Nolan Arenado who will be traded by the Rockies before opening day.
       The Braves are one of several teams talking to free agent George Springer. Also, there is growing speculation that the Astros will deal Carlos Correa as he approaches the end of his contract.
       And, a Cubs-Nationals rumor involving Kris Bryant makes sense.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2020

NFL WEEK #10 HEROES AND ZEROES

        *HEROES (TEAM) – LA RAMS: Consecutive wins in eight days over the Seahawks and Buccaneers by seven and three points is good, but more impressive is they were clearly the better team in each game.
         *HERO (PLAYER) – PATRICK MAHOMES: The MVP race is over after his 34 of 45, 348-yard, two-touchdown performance, the latter the game-winner to prevent the Raiders from sweeping the Chiefs.  
        *HERO (COACH) – VIC FANGIO: Amid talk that he had lost his team, Fangio’s defense rallied and shut down Tua Tagovailoa (11 of 20 for a pathetic 83 yards) before the Dolphins opted for Ryan Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter.     
        *ZEROES (TEAM) – GREEN BAY: Aaron Rodgers missed big throws and played the clock incorrectly down the stretch in regulation, the defense made Phillip Rivers look good and the Packers were outscored 20-3 after halftime in the 34-31 overtime loss to the Colts.   
        *ZERO (PLAYER) – CARSON WENTZ: His awful season continued in the loss at Cleveland. He leads the league in interceptions, fumbles and most sacks plus now has the worst on-target percentage. Yet Eagles coach Doug Pederson said benching Wentz for Jalen Hurt “would be sending the wrong message.”
         *ZERO (COACH) – MATT PATRICIA: The Lions were shutout for the first time during Matthew Stafford’s career against a Panthers defense that had forced two punts over the previous four games.