Last week, Slippery Mike came into The Shop and brought up that there was a big storm coming to Buffalo. He said he has family in Buffalo, but given Slippery Mike’s history, we tend not to trust anything he says.
He claimed that there was going to be a snow-pocalypse coming to Buffalo. It was easy not to believe him because he was claiming his relatives were telling him they were going to get four feet of snow. I’ve lived through my share of blizzards over the years, but four feet! And that was just the first round.
As it turned out, he was telling the truth. There was so much snow that the game couldn’t be played. It got a lot of us thinking that the chance for weather being an issue during the fantasy playoffs is always a possibility, especially for those teams that play in the north. We’ve already seen monsoon like rains in Oakland and snow in several locations already this season. As games become of the one-and-done variety as the playoffs come, it got us wondering about which of our key fantasy players might end up in potentially brutal matchups.
Buffalo’s super storm was a reminder that the best teams can potentially get grounded in games with intense wind or strong storms – be them rain or snow. As usual, Fat G came up with exhaustive list of every team’s final four games (Week 14-17). Seeing as some fantasy leagues have an important Week 17, whether it’s for a championship or for a free-for-all for transaction cash like we do, he printed out sheets for all of us and gave many of the fellas a chance to see what they might be up against.
Here is the list for all teams and what the general scuttlebutt around The Shop was. Home games are listed in capitals in case you can’t figure that out.
Buffalo – at Denver, GREEN BAY, at Oakland, at New England
Miami – BALTIMORE, at New England, MINNESOTA, NEW YORK JETS
New England – at San Diego, MIAMI, at New York Jets, BUFFALO
New York Jets – at Minnesota, at Tennessee, NEW ENGLAND, at Miami
The only team that comes out potential unscathed is Miami. Buffalo has a killer schedule coming out with the Broncos and Packers in the first two weeks of the playoffs and the same goes for Miami. New England has been dominant against the division and they close out with three games against AFC East opponents. If you’re playing Jets, you don’t belong in the playoffs.
Baltimore – at Miami, JACKSONVILLE, at Houston, CLEVELAND
Cincinnati – PITTSBURGH, at Cleveland, DENVER, at Pittsburgh
Cleveland – INDIANAPOLIS, CINCINNATI, at Carolina, at Baltimore
Pittsburgh – at Cincinnati, at Atlanta, KANSAS CITY, CINCINNATI
The craziest division in the league gets even more nuts down the stretch. Baltimore has just one game left against the division while getting warm weather throughout the playoffs. The division title could come down to the two meetings in the final four between the Bengals and Steelers and Cleveland will have to earn its spot with three games against teams with playoff aspirations (four if you count Carolina). This one could come down to math to determine who’s in and who’s out.
Houston – at Jacksonville, at Indianapolis, BALTIMORE, JACKSONVILLE
Indianapolis – at Cleveland, HOUSTON, at Dallas, at Tennessee
Jacksonville – HOUSTON, at Baltimore, TENNESSEE, at Houston
Tennessee – N.Y GIANTS, N.Y JETS, at Jacksonville, INDIANAPOLIS
The Colts are the one dome team in the division and they’re playing three games on the road. In the real NFL, the other three teams are out of contention, but Houston drawing Jacksonville twice could be huge. Tennessee gets three homes games and the Jags, so things could get interesting there. If you’re playing Jacksonville players, just leave your money on the table and go home.
Denver – BUFFALO, at San Diego, at Cincinnati, OAKLAND
Kansas City – at Arizona, OAKLAND, at Pittsburgh, SAN DIEGO
Oakland – SAN FRANCISCO, at Kansas City, BUFFALO, at Denver
San Diego – NEW ENGLAND, DENVER, at San Francisco, at Kansas City
The last thing the rest of the division wants to see is Denver having the easiest schedule, but road games in San Diego and Cincinnati are far from locks for big points. Kansas City playing road games in Arizona and Pittsburgh isn’t cool. San Diego may have the most difficult closing schedule of any team in the league with the Patriots, Broncos, Niners and Chiefs to close out the season. If you’re playing Raiders, you won’t have playoff plans in Week 14.
Dallas – at Chicago, at Philadelphia, INDIANAPOLIS, at Washington
New York Giants – at Tennessee, WASHINGTON, at St. Louis, PHILADELPHIA
Philadelphia – SEATTLE, DALLAS, at Washington, at New York Giants
Washington – ST. LOUIS, at New York Giants, PHILADELPHIA, DALLAS
The Cowboys are going to have to earn their way to a division title if they win it. They have a sweet indoor palace, yet it will lay dormant three of the final four weeks as they go to Chitown, South Philly and D.C. on the road. The Eagles get two home games to start the playoffs, but Seattle and Dallas is no picnic. Washington gets three home games, but, aside for Alfie Mo, there aren’t many Redskins that will be on playoff rosters. The Giants are dead, but may have the best schedule of anyone – division games at home and a couple of also-rans on the road.
Chicago – DALLAS, NEW ORLEANS, DETROIT, at Minnesota
Detroit – TAMPA BAY, MINNESOTA, at Chicago, at Green Bay
Green Bay – ATLANTA, at Buffalo, at Tampa Bay, DETROIT
Minnesota – NEW YORK JETS, at Detroit, at Miami, CHICAGO
The Bears are dead, but they could have a big impact. In most leagues, the playoffs run from Weeks 14-16 and they’re all at home. Detroit sings with home games against Tampa Bay and Minnesota to start the playoffs. After that, it may not be so easy at Chicago and Green Bay. The Packers, get Atlanta, Buffalo and Tampa – sounds good. Minnesota is basically fantasy irrelevant.
Atlanta – at Green Bay, PITTSBURGH, at New Orleans, CAROLINA
Carolina – at New Orleans, TAMPA BAY, CLEVELAND, at Atlanta
New Orleans – CAROLINA, at Chicago, ATLANTA, at Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay – at Detroit, at Carolina, GREEN BAY, NEW ORLEANS
Who loses the fewest games? Atlanta hasn’t lost a division game yet, but at Green Bay and at home against the Steelers could two more L’s. The only weather game Carolina has to likely contend with is Cleveland. The Saints at Chicago will be interesting, but they will control their own destiny by facing all three division teams in the final four games. Tampa is irrelevant and the Packers and Lions will likely prove that point.
Arizona – KANSAS CITY, at St. Louis, SEATTLE, at San Francisco.
St. Louis – at Washington, ARIZONA, NEW YORK GIANTS, at Seattle
San Francisco – at Oakland, at Seattle, SAN DIEGO, ARIZONA
Seattle – at Philadelphia, SAN FRANCISCO, at Arizona, ST. LOUIS
Arizona can earn its way to the top by being in playoff games prior to the playoffs beginning, playing the Chiefs, Seahawks and 49ers in the final four games. The Niners have to go on the road (if you call Oakland a road game you can drive to) but, if they’re technically alive in Week 16, they get their last two at home. Still, it’s a brutal run. Seattle doesn’t put up big numbers offensively and their playoff slate looks rough. Play Rams at your own risk.
There is a lot of football left to be played and, for fantasy owners, it’s crunch time. At least you’ve been warned who your Regulators are going up against. For a lot of teams, it will be their defining moment – good or bad.
- You have to give the woman credit who kept asking Marshawn Lynch questions even at it became obvious he was going to answer questions by simply saying “Yes” regardless of what was being asked. A good thing I wasn’t there. After five “yes” answers, I would have asked, “Have you ever worn women’s clothes?”
- Let’s hear for ODB. Odell Beckham Jr. arguably made the greatest catch any of us in The Shop has ever seen and between us we’ve seen a lot of games over the year. Well done, young man.
- Practice? We’re talkin’ about practice. The Bills may have come up with a point to be discussed in the next CBA talks. You don’t need practice to win…at least if you’re playing the Jets. Had the Bills been playing Uncle Bill and the Patriots, the score may have been reversed.
- Hail to the Chief! All of us at The Shop would like to express our condolences and send out our prayers to Eric Berry and his family. The Chiefs medical staff found a mass in his chest that is being initially diagnosed as potential lymphoma. As great a player as Berry is, he’s facing a long road ahead, but will get the best medical treatment possible and have a chance for a longer life post-football than he would have without early diagnosis. The Huddle family sends its collective prayers for Berry’s full recovery against his toughest opponent. 29 4 Life!
THE RAZOR’S EDGE
10. A Browns Stain In Georgia – As horrible as the Atlanta Falcons have played this season, at least they’re not as dismal in front of the home fans, where they have a .500 record. That was until Cleveland came to town. The Browns used to be like a hand-picked homecoming opponent, a mutt that could be easily kicked to the curb. Not anymore. Atlanta scored what they thought was the game-winning field goal with 44 seconds left to take a 24-23 lead, but, the Falcons defense allowed Brian Hoyer to run seven plays and never face a third down as Cleveland not only marched 61 yards in 39 seconds, but made the game-winning field goal from just 37 yards away. The NFC South has become a weekly embarrassment.
9. Turn Your Head, Coughlin and Think Happy Thoughts – How many times have we seen the Giants come back from the dead to pull out a Rasputin-style run to end the season. They looked to be playing arguably their best game of the season early on Sunday night against Dallas, only to allow the Cowboys to score 21 points in the second half, allowing Tony Romo to throw four touchdowns, DeMarco Murray to run for more than 100 yards and Dez Bryant to give Dallas the lead twice in the second half. This Giants team doesn’t have the talent to come back like it has in previous years and, once again they’re done…and so perhaps is Tom Coughlin coming off a nine-loss season last year and heading that way again.
8. Robert Griffin the Turd (Again) – When the Redskins brought Robert Griffin III back before their bye week, the Redskins were 3-5 and clinging to life in the NFC East. Three games later, Griffin has thrown two touchdowns, three interceptions, has lost two fumbles and his yardage per game passing has dropped each of them (251-207-106). Perhaps he hit bottom against San Francisco, throwing for just 106 yards and running four times for 11 yards. He’s still the starter, but you got to wonder for how much longer, especially with his first big contract looming on the horizon.
7. The “V” In Vick Is Silent – Just when you thought things couldn’t get much worse for the Jets, they got blown out by a team Monday night that didn’t even practice. Mike Vick was so hideous – completing just seven of 19 passes for 17 yards and an interception that was returned to the Jets 5-yard line and set up another touchdown – He came up what looked to be conveniently lame and he was pulled for proven bum Geno “Pizza Roll” Smith. Fortunately, it was a FRO game (For Relatives Only) game and the national public only saw a couple minutes of lowlights instead of a three-hour Suck-A-Palooza.
6. Houston, You Still Have a Problem – When the Texans lost 14 straight last year, it was clear they were a team capable of going into the tank. Fast talkin’ Ryan Mallett got his chance and is done. Nice run, kid. With Tennessee and Jacksonville coming in the next two weeks, Sunday was a chance for the Texans to make a big statement. They had four of their final six games at home and one of the roadies is against the Jags. They had so much to gain in a home. The Bengals proved they were better and the Texans may well be done.
5. It Smells Like Detroit – The Lions went from being a team in line for a first-round bye to a wild card team after being dismantled and outcoached by the Patriots Sunday. It seems like every time prosperity is close, the Lions drop a public deuce. If Chicago can muster up anything on Thursday, lock your doors. As hard as it to believe, there could be bad times in Detroit. Memo to the Lions: if a guy wears a number in 80s, he’s an eligible receiver and needs to be covered. Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tim Wright. Heard of me? You have now, playah.
4. Just Don’t Screw It Up, Baby – Only the Raiders can make this list on a win. When Oakland made Kansas City non-playoff relevant with their first win in more than a year, only a winner like Justin Tuck had the foresight to call time out to prevent an embarrassing sack celebration from becoming either a free play or a free five yards. Pretend you’ve sacked a guy before and expect it to happen.
3. Shuffling the Cards – Arizona had a chance to plant its flag in the NFC and put everyone on notice that, if you want to go to the Super Bowl in the NFC, you’re going to have to come the desert. With their humbling 19-3 loss to Seattle and Drew Stanton as the face of the franchise, break out the zit cream. Things could get ugly if you give Aaron Rodgers or Tony Romo a dry track to play on. Three points doesn’t get it done. Ever.
2. The Stars and Bars Gotta Go – The Carolina Panthers advanced in the standings of the woeful NFC South. Why? They didn’t play. It’s becoming a running joke. New Orleans took over first place in the division when Atlanta lost at home to Cleveland. They gave it back when the Saints lost at home to the Ravens. It’s brutal! Go back up and look at the closing schedules. They’ll win within their own ratty division. Try to find non-division games in which they’ll be favorites? Ouch, babe.
1. A Little R-n-R Coming – Word on the street is that Buddy Ryan is breaking out the XXL sized bunk beds because it looks like the boys will be unemployed. Sexy Rexy freely admitted that, for the next five weeks, he’s the head coach of the Jets. The Jets don’t fire in-season. That he’s confident about. December 29th? That’s another story. The Really Big Lebowski is on his way out in New Orleans. Who dat? You dat! It’s seems ironic that Drew Brees threw for 420, because The Dude didn’t abide.