NFL Picks Week 13: A Week for Separation or Desperation

By The Coach and Dr. Football

The Detroit Lions should beat the Chicago Bears. The Minnesota Vikings should beat the Carolina Panthers. The Green Bay Packers are in tough, albeit at home, against the New England Patriots.

By the end of Week 13, we could have a runaway winner or a battle for top spot. We could also have a Vikings organization either feeling good about its future or devastated at 4-8.

Matthew Stafford NFL Picks Week 13: A Week for Separation or Desperation

It’s a big week fir Matthew Stafford and the Lions.

This isn’t the week that separates the NFL’s contenders but it will be close. In the NFL North, a Packers’ win and a Lions’ loss could all but give Green Bay the title with only four games left. In the AFC West, the Cardinals will be in the driver’s seat with a win, but in trouble with a loss because the Seahawks play the 49ers and one of those two teams could be hot on Arizona’s tail. Philadelphia and Dallas could be the Game of the Week and in the NFC South, the entire crew could be 4-8 or worse. That’s sad.

In the AFC, New England could lock up the East with a win at Green Bay and a Miami loss to the Jets (that won’t happen). Cincinnati, Baltimore. Cleveland and Pittsburgh will still be in a battle in the North no matter what happens. Indy could run away from the field if Houston loses to Tennessee (not likely) and if Denver buries Kansas City, they’ll own the West.

It’s a week that could result in big moves or bigger deadlocks. Regardless, it should be fun.

Our fearless prognosticators have been having a good time.

Dr Football went 12-3 (115-60-1) straight up and 8-7 (82-94) against the spread while The Coach went 10-5 (111-64-1) straight up and 6-9 (87-89) against the spread. It has not been an easy season.

But we never quit (despite our critics, and there are many). This week, the Doctor writes brilliantly while The Coach actually takes some of this seriously. Remember, this is for recreational use only. Please, no wagering.

Let’s look closely at the 16 games that make up Week 13 starting with a little Thanksgiving football on Thursday afternoon:

Thursday Afternoon

Jay+Cutler+Chicago+Bears+v+New+Orleans+Saints+ty8YNsD4CDal NFL Picks Week 13: A Week for Separation or Desperation

Jay Cutler

Chicago Bears (5-6) at Detroit Lions (7-4) 
Line: Lions by 7.

Over the past two weeks the Bears have been hot while the Lions have not. But the Bears defense is the perfect cure for Matt Stafford. The Coach says: As the weeks go by, one gets the sense that Matthew Stafford isn’t as good as he’d made out to be. Still, it’s the stinkin’ Bears.

Dr. Football: Take the Lions to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Lions to win and cover.

Philadelphia Eagles (8-3) at Dallas Cowboys (8-3) 
Line: Cowboys by 3.

It’s almost December and you know what that means for Tony Romo. Will be a turkey of a game for the Cowboys. The Coach says: Game of the Week on Turkey Day.

Dr. Football: Take the Eagles in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.

Thursday Night 

Seattle Seahawks (7-4) at San Francisco 49ers (7-4) 
Line: 49ers by 1.

The 49ers have got their act together over the past few weeks, while the Seahawks have only managed to cover the spread on the road only once this season. The Coach says: Home team.

Dr. Football: Take the 49ers to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the 49ers to win and cover.

Sunday Afternoon

Washington Redskins (3-8) at Indianapolis Colts (7-4) 
Line: Colts by 10.

Colt McCoy vs. Andrew Luck? In Indianapolis? Won’t be pretty. The Coach says: The NFL has an imaginary list of quarterback whose mere presence on the roster will make your team successful – Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck are on that list. Colt McKoy is not.

Dr. Football: Take the Colts to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Colts to win and cover.

hi res 182388341 watt of the houston texans leaves the field after crop north NFL Picks Week 13: A Week for Separation or Desperation

J.J. Watt. This is greatness.

Tennessee Titans (2-9) at Houston Texans (5-6) 
Line: Texans by 6.

This one will be won on the ground as both starting QBs are…are…are…what’s the word? Oh yeah…talentless. Houston has the run game. The Coach says: Good thing Tennessee is really lousy because the Texans are not as good they thought they were.

Dr. Football: Take the Texans to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Texans to win and cover.

Cleveland Browns (7-4) at Buffalo Bills (6-5) 
Line: Bills by 2.5.

The Bills return home after destroying the Jets in Detroit and will have some solid momentum on their side. Their defense should be able to handle Brian Hoyer with ease. The Coach says: I really like Brian Hoyer. I like Kyle Orton better. Never thought I’d ever say that.

Dr. Football: Take the Bills to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Bills to win and cover.

San Diego Chargers (7-4) at Baltimore Ravens (7-4) 
Line: Ravens by 5.5.

The Raven return home after a big win in New Orleans while the Chargers travel across the country and probably will face some non-California type weather. The customary Chargers December collapse will start a bit early. The Coach says: Both teams are 7-4: One is a fraud, one is legit. You pick.

Dr. Football: Take the Ravens to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Ravens to win and cover.

New York Giants (3-8) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10) 
Line: Giants by 3.

Both teams are terrible, but Eli Manning should be able to rally the G-Men for a win. The Coach says: Wow! This should have been played on turkey day.

Dr. Football: Take the Giants to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Jaguars.

Cincinnati Bengals (7-3-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9) 
Line: Bengals by 3.5.

The Bengals are playing their third consecutive road game, having won their first two. The Bucs D is horrible, and Cincy should be able to close out this road stretch with another win. The Coach says: Just when it looks like Cincinnati might not keep Andy Dalton, he forces their hand.

Dr. Football: Take the Bengals to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Bengals to win and cover.

Derek+Carr+Detroit+Lions+v+Oakland+Raiders+4bEl1Z4T qIl NFL Picks Week 13: A Week for Separation or Desperation

Derek Carr.

Oakland Raiders (1-10) at St. Louis Rams (4-7) 
Line: Rams by 7.

The Raiders won their obligatory one game. Now it’s back to more of the same. The Coach says: I’ve been told it will be difficult to tune into this game if you live more than 20 miles away from the stadium. Broadcasters are currently asking the NFL if they can just ignore this one altogether. Ah, c’mon, just kidding.

Dr. Football: Take the Rams to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Rams to win and cover.

Carolina Panthers (3-7-1) at Minnesota Vikings (4-7) 
Line: Vikings by 2.5.

The Panthers are coming off their bye week, but before that they were struggling on both sides of the ball. Minnesota played tough against Green Bay, and should be able to keep the momentum going at home. The Coach says: If the Vikes don’t win this one, they might not win again this season.

Dr. Football: Take the Vikings to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Vikings to win and cover.

Arizona Cardinals (9-2) at Atlanta Falcons (4-7) 
Line: Cardinals by 2.5.

Last week Matt Ryan had a tough time against the Browns secondary, and this Sunday will be even tougher as the Cards pass rush will force mistakes. The Coach says: I just love that Cardinals defense.

Dr. Football: Take the Cardinals to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Cardinals to win and cover.

New England Patriots (9-2) at Green Bay Packers (8-3) 
Line: Packers by 3.5

A fantasy football lover’s dream; Brady vs. Rodgers. But tough times lie ahead for the Patriots; Green Bay has scored 50 or more the past two times they’ve taken the field at Lambeau. They won’t do 50 this week, but they’ll do enough to win. The Coach says: I usually love Green bay at home, but this time they’re playing a team that feels right at home in snow and ice. The Pats are even hotter than the Packers. I’ll take Brady for giggles. Who thought this wouldn’t make for a GREAT Monday Nighter?

Dr. Football: Take the Packers to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Patriots to win.

Sunday Night

Denver Broncos (8-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) 
Line: Broncos by 2.

Were the Chiefs looking ahead to this match up before they were embarrassed in Oakland?  Their run defense was exposed last week, and look for Mr. Manning to exploit that as well as passing for 400 or so yards. The Coach says: Oakland? You were beaten by Oakland?

Dr. Football: Take the Broncos to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Broncos to win and cover.

Monday Night: 

Ryan+Tannehill+Miami+Dolphins+Minicamp+KZ HVxO0Dmrl NFL Picks Week 13: A Week for Separation or Desperation

Ryan Tannehill

Miami Dolphins (6-5) at New York Jets (2-9) 
Line: Dolphins by 6.5.

The Jets usually play this rivalry game pretty tough, but how do you recover after playing so poorly against your other rivals? Miami still has something to play for, and they’ll win big. The Coach says: Geno Smith is back at QB for the Jets. This will be ugly.

Dr. Football: Take the Dolphins to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Dolphins to win and cover.

logo sn9601 NFL Picks Week 13: A Week for Separation or DesperationListen to The Coach Scott Taylor every Thursday at 10:05 a.m. CT with Dean (Boomer) Molberg on SportsNet 960 The FAN in Calgary with Boomers Pools and Props as two razor sharp NFL minds pick the Pools and Props for Sport Select and Western Canada Lotteries. You can listen live at: http://www.sportsnet.ca/960/



Frolik Scores Big Goal and Jets Win Another Road Game

The Winnipeg Jets should just stay on the road.

Wednesday night in Buffalo, the Jets won a rare Game 2 in a back-to-back series beating the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 at First Niagara Centre in snowy Buffalo, N.Y.

With the win, the Jets won their second straight game (the Jets beat Columbus 4-2 on Tuesday), both on the road, and are now 12-9-3 on the season – 8-4-2 on the road and 4-5-1 at home. With Wednesday night’s win, the Jets have already had a successful three-game road trip no matter what happens in Boston on Friday night.

459625692 slide Frolik Scores Big Goal and Jets Win Another Road Game

Bryan Little had another solid game.

For the second straight night, Bryan Little, who has scored in three consecutive games, got the Jets on the board early (3:41 in the first period) and then Winnipeg went on to play a sound defensive game.

Then, inadvertently – with a horrible bodycheck from behind on Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta – Adam Lowry changed the outcome of the game.

At 14:06, Lowry drilled Kaleta into the boards. Lowry was handed a five-minute major and game misconduct and will likely face further discipline. However, with a five-minute man advantage, the Sabres gave the game away.

Buffalo’s Andre Benoit, inexplicably, handed the puck to Michael Frolik behind the Sabres net. OK, he might have muffed a clearing pass, but he certainly mishandled the puck and Frolik took full advantage. He scooped up the puck jumped in front of the net and flipped a backhander over the shoulder of Sabres netminder Jhonas Enroth.

At that point, the Sabres were done. Once Buffalo trailed 2-0, they were finished. They are, after all, a team that just doesn’t score three goals in a game very often. In fact, in 22 games this season, the 6-14-2 Sabres have a grand total of 37 goals.

459625350 slide Frolik Scores Big Goal and Jets Win Another Road Game

The Jets do get back, don’t they?

Sure Chris Stewart beat Ondrej Pavelec in the third period, but at every other turn, Pavelec was equal to the task. In the end, the Jets No. 1 goaltender had to make only 19 saves to get the win. He had to make a couple of tough saves, but for the most part, he had an easy night.

It was a rather rare offensive evening for the Jets. Both Winnipeg goals were scored on special teams – Little’s was a power-play goal, Frolik’s was shorthanded. Little, the game’s first star, had five shots on goal as Winnipeg outshot Buffalo, 26-20.

No, it wasn’t a Rembrandt, and yes, it came against the worst team in the NHL, albeit a “worst” team that had won three straight games. Still, it was (a) a road victory, (b) a second game of a back-to-back series victory and (c) another potential Bozo Game that the Jets avoided.

459627432 slide Frolik Scores Big Goal and Jets Win Another Road Game

Ouch. Adam Lowry drills Patrick Kaleta from behind.

After a day off on Thursday, the Jets will get a real test on Friday night when the Jets face the Boston Bruins at TD Center in Boston. It starts at 6 p.m. and it’s on TSN3 and there is a possibility, slim though it may be, that the Jets could be fifth in the West by Saturday morning.

Now that would be a successful road trip.



Jets Avoid a Trap in Columbus

When Bryan Little scored, just nine seconds into the game, it was obvious the Winnipeg Jets weren’t going to be trapped.

Heading in to Tuesday night’s NHL game in Columbus, the Jets were a 10-9-3 team battling for a playoff spot facing a 6-12-2 Columbus Blue Jackets outfit that was just trying to get its head above water.

940 little bryan Jets Avoid a Trap in Columbus

Bryan Little got the Jets off to a great start.

To the Jets credit, they didn’t come in overconfident, cocky or even disengaged. Instead, the Jets took it to Columbus early scored a couple of quick ones in the second period and put it away with an empty netter. The Jets even scored two power play goals en route to a 4-2 win over the Blue Jackets to improve their road record to 7-4-1 this season.

This could have been one of those Bozo Games. You know, the ones where the better team gets off the plane and isn’t ready to play. It could have been one of those games in which the better team chokes on its pre-game meal. It could have been one of those games, in which the team that should win, plays down to its opposition’s level and coughs one up. Well, sports fans, there would be no coughing or choking on Tuesday night.

Sure, the Jets weren’t perfect, but even during those times when the visitors were in trouble, young Michael Hutchinson shut down the Blue Jackets. Hutchinson made 32 saves to get another win and was named the game’s second star. He was also exceptional when Columbus had the man-advantage. In fact, the Jackets went a measly one-for-five on the power play despite 11 shots on goal.

Little was the first star, scoring just nine seconds into the action off a perfect pass from Andrew Ladd. It was a picture goal, one for the season ending highlight reel. The Jets also got a pair of goals from Evander Kane – welcome back, Mr. Kane – who scored his third and fourth of the season. It’s nice to see a guy who is paid big money to score goals actually score goals, although the first one came off a perfect pass from Dustin Byfuglien and the second was into an empty net.

But hey, I’m just picking nits here. Kane scored twice. The Jets scored twice on the power play. The Jets scored two goals within 31 seconds in the second period. The Jets scored nine seconds into the game. Michael Hutchinson was solid. No Jets fan has the right to complain.

After all the Jets had lost two in a row at home to superior teams while the Blue Jackets had lost three in a row (now four) and were getting desperate. Even bad teams can be good when they’re desperate.

Andrew Ladd 1 Jets Avoid a Trap in Columbus

Andrew Ladd

But the Jets avoided all the excuses that could affect a team that’s starting a three-game road swing after losing two in a row in front of the hometown fans. Granted, the Jets didn’t beat a great team – heading in, the Blue Jackets were deadlocked with Edmonton and Buffalo for last in the NHL — but they won a game on the road that they should have won and they didn’t pull a “Bozo.” As a result, they should be in great spirits for the second game of a back-to-back on Wednesday in Buffalo.

Listen, the Jets were outhit (36-26), beaten in the faceoff circle (52 per cent to 48) and outshot 34-32. This was not a game that will start a conversation about the route for a Stanley Cup parade. But it was a win, on the road, coming off two losses and it kept the Jets right near that magical playoff line.

You don’t get style points in the NHL. A win is a win is win. And at 11-9-3, the Jets avoided an embarrassment on Tuesday night. With all those home games coming up in December, it was as important as any victory this season.



The Minnesota Vikings: Not Good, But There is Hope

When the Minnesota Vikings went into Chicago and lost 21-13 to the Chicago Bears, the season was over. The Vikes had fallen to 4-6 and they were out of tricks.

There was no possible way the young Vikings would win their final six games to finish at 10-6 and have a shot at the playoffs. That simply wasn’t going to happen. But the team did have six games remaining and could certainly figure out what’s going to happen in 2015.

teddy bridgewater2 The Minnesota Vikings: Not Good, But There is Hope

Teddy Bridgewater

On Sunday afternoon, the Vikings took a step toward the future and while they were beaten 24-21 by the Green Bay Packers, they weren’t embarrassed and they weren’t terrible and that future got a little brighter. Sure they’re 4-7 this season and a spot in the playoffs is an impossibility, but they’re making progress without one of their franchise players and that says something good about the progress of the team (not exactly sure what that is, but it’s something).

There is nothing wrong with head coach/defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer’s defense. On Sunday, the Vikings were not ripped apart by the hottest quarterback in the NFC.

In fact, after the game, Rodgers Tweeted some praise in Zimmer’s direction: “It was different playing against a Mike Zimmer team. Mike is a great football mind, and he had a great plan for us again.” Well, like the Dalai Lama’s caddy, Carl Spackler, ol’ Coach Zimmer has that going for him.

I’m not trying to be facetious here. The Vikings defense kept Rodgers off-balance right from the start. They played solid football for most of the game and held a QB who had just beaten Philadelphia 53-20 and Chicago 55-14, to a per-pass average of just 7.21 yards. Only Seattle, Miami and Detroit have held Rodgers to less.

The problem in Minnesota is not defense. Period. The Vikings bend, but they don’t often break. Against Chicago last week, Minnesota’s tiny DBs had a real problem with the Bears two big receivers – Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery – but they only allowed 21 points and if the offence has any jam at all, it should score more than that.

Meanwhile, this past week, the Vikes DBs (the corners, especially) did a great job against Green Bay’s gifted receiving corps. Granted, they couldn’t stop RB Eddie Lacy who carried 25 times for 125 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a pass for a touchdown and was tremendous late in the game.

“Eddie Lacy had a very productive day,” said Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy. “So he was obviously a focus coming into this game and he delivered.”

aaron rodgers championship belt The Minnesota Vikings: Not Good, But There is Hope

Aaron Rodgers, discount d-a-a-a-ble-check

Granted, the Packers shot themselves in the foot a number of times by taking dumb penalties on big plays, but you can say that about any team in the NFL. It just seems, whenever there is a big play in the NFL, there is a flag. It’s making the game dreadfully dull and remarkably frustrating.

But I digress. The Vikings defense was fine. The offence wasn’t very good. Again. Teddy Bridgewater went 21-for-37 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Jerick McKinnon carried 15 times for 54 yards and once again the Vikings had no ground game – three backs, 25 carries, 108 yards. The longest was 11 yards by the No. 2 back, Teddy Bridgewater (five carries for 32 yards).

Cordarelle Patterson got open for two catches. Kyle Rudolph looked like a world-beater on the first play from scrimmage and then disappeared. Six of Bridgewater’s 21 completions went to his backs.

“I was proud the way the guys fought today,” said Bridgewater. “We fell short. We didn’t make enough plays to win this game. But the effort was there and we just have to continue to get better each week and just be a consistent football team.

“For about the first 10 minutes of the game we were trying to feel our way through, getting a feel for the Green Bay Packers. But we just have to come out and play fast right away. In the second half, we were able to make adjustments and start faster. I was trying to get a feel for this rivalry and now I think I know what it’s all about.”

Well, that’s good.

Defensively, the Minnesota Vikings are a decent football team. On offence, they still aren’t very good at all.

And isn’t it interesting that nobody, and I mean nobody, talks about “the genius Norv Turner” anymore? Losing Adrian Peterson for a season will do that to a guy’s reputation.



Winnipeg’s Reaves Scores Winner Against Jets

Ryan Reaves didn’t log a lot of ice time on Sunday afternoon. He just played long enough to score the winning goal.

Reaves snap shot under Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec at 2:25 of the third period, held up as the winner as the St. Louis Blues beat the Jets 4-2.

JTM Jets Blues Nov23 Reaves 2 Winnipeg’s Reaves Scores Winner Against Jets

Ryan Reaves from Winnipeg scored the winner (Photo by Jeff Miller).

Reaves, whose father, Willard Reaves, played running back for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for five CFL seasons (1983-1987), starred with the Brandon Wheat Kings before being selected by the Blues in the fifth round of the 2005 NHL entry draft (156th overall). The 6-foot-1, 225-pound, 27-year-old played three full seasons of minor pro hockey with Peoria in the AHL and Alaska in the ECHL before finding a home in St. Louis. Now he’s an integral part of the first place team in the NHL’s Central Division.

On Sunday, he didn’t log six minutes of ice time but he was in the right place when the puck squirted loose in front of Pavelec. Reaves turned a drilled a low shot under the Jets netminder to score the eventual winner.

“That was a big goal for me,” said Reaves, who had 65 members of his family and friends at the game. “I’ve never scored one in front of my family before. It’s nice to be able to score one for them. And hey, it was a winner.”

While Reaves was playing hero, it was another tough outing for the Jets who fell to 10-9-3 on the season and lost their second straight game at home. The Jets are now 1-3-1 in their last five and will head out onto the road for a brief three-game journey to Columbus, Buffalo and Boston.

We let in two power-play goals, you know that stung a little bit because we take a lot of pride in our PK,” said Jets centre Jim Slater, who was on the ice when Reaves scored the winner at even strength. “But you know, they’re a four line team, they roll them pretty good, and we knew we’d have to get in there and play, and we felt good out there. It’s just, you know, it’s tough being on the ice for the game-winner, but I thought overall we played pretty well.”

Bryan Little opened the scoring with his sixth of the year at 9:04 of the first period to give the Jets a 1-0 lead, but Jaden Schwartz scored a power play goal at 5:14 of the second to tie it. Jim Slater scored his first of the year at 9:53 of the second to make it 2-1 Winnipeg, but David Backes, with another power-play goal tied it at 17:57 of the second period and the teams went to the second intermission deadlocked at 2-2.

JTM Jets Blues Nov23 Reaves 5 Winnipeg’s Reaves Scores Winner Against Jets

It’s the first time Reaves (75) had scored at MTS Centre in six tries (Photo by Jeff Miller)

That left the door open for Reaves to score the winner. Paul Stastny added an empty netter with 39 seconds left to play.

Once again, the Jets played pretty well against a better hockey team. The Blues came to town with a record of 13-6-1, second in the Central Division, just a point back of first-place Nashville. With Sunday’s win, the Blues have pulled into a first-place tie in the Western Conference with Anaheim.

Many thought the Blues might be tired. After all, it was the final game of a four-game road trip for St. Louis. However, despite the fact they won 3-2 in Ottawa last night, they were anything but tired. Granted, the Jets got off to a great start as the sellout crowd of 15,016 at MTS Centre screamed loudly, but as the game went on, the bigger, stronger Blues wore down the Jets.

Winnipeg was game, however. The Jets outshot St. Louis 31-29, but once again the power play was shut out. The Jets are now 0-for-25 on the powerplay since Toby Enstrom scored in Ottawa on Nov. 8.

Special teams killed the Jets on Sunday. Recently, however, lots of different things have been killing the Jets. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

The local side must be better on the road this week. Columbus and Buffalo are traps and Boston is Boston. The trip starts Tuesday night against the Jackets.



Late Fumble Costs Bisons a Shot at Vanier Cup

The heavily-favored Universite de Montreal Carabins are off to the Vanier Cup. But they didn’t qualify to go anywhere without a damn good argument from the unranked University of Manitoba Bisons.

Jordan Yantz 1 199x300 Late Fumble Costs Bisons a Shot at Vanier Cup

Jordan Yantz (Photo by Jeff Miller)

In fact, with less than a minute to play, and trailing 29-24, Bisons quarterback Jordan Yantz, playing in his final CIS game, drove his team to the Montreal 11 before Anothony Coady blitzed, stripped the football from Yantz and watched as teammate Byron Archambault recovered the fumble to seal the Montreal victory.

This Bisons were th-a-a-a-a-a-t close to staying in Montreal for another week, losing 29-26 to the home team on a chilly Saturday afternoon. The 50th Vanier Cup will be played next Saturday at 12 Noon CST at Montreal’s Molson Stadium.

Saturday afternoon’s game was appropriately close. In fact, this was a remarkable Canadian football story for both teams.

Manitoba, the last Canada West team to win the Vanier Cup, back in 2007, put a halt to Calgary’s six-year reign as conference champions last week. Meanwhile, Montreal stopped two-time defending Vanier Cup champion Laval’s run of 11 conference titles and, even m,ore impressively, ended its 70-game home win streak.

The Bisons didn’t win a road game during the regular season and then went on the road and beat Saskatchewan and Calgary to win the West. They almost made it three straight, losing 29-26 in Montreal on Saturday afternoon.

The University of Montreal, meanwhile, didn’t even have a football program until 2002, but behind former Grey Cup champion, head coach Danny Maciocia, the Carabins knocked off heavily-favored Laval in Quebec City last week and then hung on to beat the 6-5 and unranked Bisons on Saturday.

In front of a loud, partisan, sold out crowd at le Stade du CEPSUM on the University of Montreal campus, the (10-1) Carabins jumped out to a 27-14 lead late in the second quarter, but Yantz, who proved he was good enough to compete for a CFL job next season, drove the Bisons 87 yards on six plays and wrapped it up wit a 10-yard run to make it 27-21 at halftime.

In the second half, the Bisons defense adjusted and held Montreal to just a safety, but the Bisons couldn’t muster much on offense and scored only five points – a 40-yard Ryan Jones field goal and a last play of the game safety.

JCL BisonsFootball JordanYantz11 950 Late Fumble Costs Bisons a Shot at Vanier Cup

Jordan Yantz played his last CIS game (Photo by James Carey lauder)

However, the Bisons got pretty close down the stretch. Yantz started on his own 14-yard line and with four completions, three to Dustin Pedersen, and drove the Bisons down to the Montreal 11. But on second and 10, the Carabins sent the house as Coady sacked and stripped Yantz. Archambault, the best defensive player in the country dove on the loose ball and the Carabins were off to the Vanier Cup.

“I don’t think it was a surprise that we got here,” said Bisons head coach Brian Dobie. “It was the goal. We went into this season confident we could win Canada West. We knew there was a monster at the University of Calgary that we had to displace. That was part of our mission and we accomplished it.”

Manitoba played extremely well. They had 25 first downs to Montreal’s 21, they had 4-6 yards to Montreal’s 455 and they ran 63 plays to Montreal’s 61. But a late turnover ended the dream and isn’t that the way these things go?

Yantz finished the game by completing 22-of-35 passes for 320 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also carried six times for 61 yards and a touchdown. Montreal quarterback Gabriel Cousineau completed 24-of-35 passes for 421 yards (most of them in the first half) with two touchdowns and three interceptions as Manitoba’s defense tightened in the second half.

Yantz had three favorite targets: Zach Regert caught five passes for 88 yards, Pedersen caught five passes for 87 yards and Yantz’s high school teammate, Matt Sawyer, caught five passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. In all, Yantz completed 22 passes to six different receivers.

In the end, it was an amazing season for the Bisons. Trouble is, close only counts in horseshoes. Dobie’s team was good enough to win and every one of them knew it. One break here, one call there… if only…



Jets in an Early Must-Win Against Blues

As well as the Winnipeg Jets have played of late, they’ve still lost three of their last four (1-2-1 officially). That makes Sunday’s intra-divisional matchup with the St. Louis Blues just a tad more important than most Game 22s of an 82-game schedule would usually be.

After all, the Blues are a Central Division opponent that beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Saturday afternoon to improve to 13-6-1. Most would expect them to be a tired hockey club, playing an afternoon game in Ottawa on a Saturday and then an afternoon game in Winnipeg on Sunday (3:30 p.m. CST start), but as Jets head coach Paul Maurice pointed out on Saturday, they roll four lines and play consistently from game to game.

JM Jets Flames Lowry 1 Jets in an Early Must Win Against Blues

This is a bigger game than one might expect (Photo by Jeff Miller).

“They’re one of those teams that is well along in its program and style of game,” Maurice told the local media in his televised news conference.

“You get a lot of the same thing shift after shift. Probably on paper what was their third line going into the start of the season has become an exciting No. 1 line. That’s another challenge. They’re deep. You know, they’re deep at all positions. They can roll that bench and play a very, very consistent game. It’s a great test a real good test for us to continue playing our game. There are no off-shifts against a team that deep.”

With yesterday’s win over Ottawa, the Blues moved back into first place in the Central Division (second in the West) with a record of 13-6-1. The Blues have played 20 games, one fewer than the Jets and they lead 10-8-3 Winnipeg by four points. The Jets were eighth in the West heading into last night’s action. Every team chasing the Jets was in action last night and Winnipeg’s hockey team could awake on Sunday morning in 10th-place in the Conference. A win is relatively important on Sunday against a very good team.

The Jets went 1-3-1 against St. Louis last season. Winnipeg’s only win against the Blues was at the MTS Centre on Oct. 18, 2013.

The big concern for the Jets heading into Sunday’s game is the power play. Winnipeg is 0-for-21 in its last six games and that lack of confidence with a man advantage could become a systemic issue if it isn’t addressed soon.

JCL Jets Wings Pardy 11 Jets in an Early Must Win Against Blues

Jets need to get the power play going (Photo by Jeff Miller).

On the upside for the Jets, all three members of the recently assembled line of Adam Lowry, Mark Scheifele, and Michael Frolik has scored during the last two games. Frolik, the veteran in the group, is riding a three-game points streak (two goals and two assists). He had a goal and an assist against New Jersey last Tuesday night. The 21-year-old centre on that line, Scheifele, had the game-winning goal against the Devils. Then on Thursday night, in a 4-3 loss to Detroit, rookie leftwinger Lowry scored the Jets’ second goal of the game. It was also the second goal of his NHL career.

The Jets-Blues matchup on Sunday will bring a brief three-game homestand to an end for Winnipeg. The Jets will head out for three in a row on the road. They’ll play in Columbus on Tuesday, Buffalo on Wednesday and Boston on Friday before heading home to start another three-game homestand against Edmonton on Dec. 3.

Game time Sunday is 3:30 p.m. CST. There are a small number of single tickets and obstructed view seats available from Ticketmaster



Wings Fly Past Jets in Third

The Detroit Red Wings had more in the tank than the Winnipeg Jets.

Thursday night in front of another sellout at MTS Centre, the Jets scored three times in the second period to take a 3-2 lead into the final period against the Wings. However, a National Hockey League game is 60 minutes in length.

JCL Jets Wings WingsJubo Wings Fly Past Jets in Third

Thomas Tatar celebrates the winner. (Photo by Jeff Miller).

Justin Abdelkader scored at 13:00 of the third period to tie the game at 3-3 and then Thomas Tatar, with his second of the night, made it 4-3 Wings at 15:10 and that was it for the Jets.

After 40 minutes, however, the Jets looked like the better team.

After a scoreless first period, Dustin Byfuglien scored his third of the season – he hadn’t scored a goal in 14 games — and then Adam Lowry notched his second of the season to make it 2-0 before the 10 minutes mark of the second frame.

However, Detroit jumped back into it with a goal from Thomas Tatar 30 seconds after Lowry’s (10:02) tally and then two minutes and 50 seconds later Johan Franzen put a move on Jets defenseman Mark Stuart that left Stuart flat out on the ice. Franzen went in and easily beat Ondrej Pavelec to tie the game at 2-2.

But less than four minutes later, Mathieu Perreault scored his second of the season (and his second in three games) to give the Jets a 3-2 lead, but that was all the Jets would muster.

JCL Jets Wings Pavelec 1 Wings Fly Past Jets in Third

Not a great night for Ondrej Pavelec (Photo by Jeff Miller)

“It was a pretty hard-fought game,” said Jets winger Adam Lowry. “We controlled large portions of the game as they did. We were just caught a little flat-footed in the third period. They’re a very talented team and they work pretty hard, too.

“In the third period, they started to make some plays and we couldn’t keep them off the board. They’re a highly-skilled team, but they also battle extremely hard. It’s hard to get good players off the puck who work as hard as they do.”

The Jets came out with some jump and outshot Detroit 8-7 in the first period and 14-6 in the second, but as Lowry pointed out, the Wings controlled much of the game just as the Jets did. In the third period, the Red Wings dominated, outshot Winnipeg 14-9 and scored two unanswered to come back and win.

In fairness, the Jets had plenty of chances, outshot Detroit 31-27 and even hit a couple of posts. However, in the third period, the Red Wings were clearly the better team. Wings goalie Peter Mrazek got a win in his first start of the season.

With the win, the Red Wings improved to 10-4-5 on the season while the Jets fell to 10-8-3.

Justin Abdelkader and Thomas Tatar were the best players on the ice. Tatar, the Slovakian Olympic star, logged only 13 minutes of ice time but had three shots on goal and had two goals and an assist. He now has a four-game point streak. Abdelkader, a great skater, had a goal and an assist and three shots on goal. He was always around the puck and had a lot to do with Tatar’s three-point night.

JCL Jets Wings Actions 1 Wings Fly Past Jets in Third

Johan Franzen scores in the second period. (Photo by Jeff Miller)

Tatar’s first goal came after he picked off a terrible clearing pass by the Jets Toby Enstrom. It was a rare mistake by Enstrom, but it did get the Wings on the board and probably changed the game.

St. Andrews, Manitoba’s Darren Helm came to town and while he didn’t get on the scoreboard, he logged 14 minutes of icetime, had three hits and won 13 of 14 faceoffs.

The Jets return to action on Sunday afternoon. It’s a 3:30 p.m. start at MTS Centre as the St. Louis Blues come to town.

The Jets will have to be better than they were on Thursday night if they intend to beat the Blues, an intra-divisional rival. One suspects head coach Paul Maurice will remind the Jets that an NHL game is three periods in length.



NFL Picks Week 12: The Vikings Offence is Too Anemic to Win

By The Coach and Dr. Football

Remember when everyone in the Twin Cities was calling new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, “an offensive genius?” I’m sure Norv is a good football coach – heck, after 15 years as a marginal head coach he keeps finding work – but he ain’t no genius.

Before the 2014 season began, we were told that Turner’s offenses had “ranked in the NFL’s top five in offensive points three times and his system had produced the NFL’s leading rusher on five different occasions.”

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Norv and Teddy. Norv would be smarter if Teddy were better — and had more time to throw.

We were also told there are five things you can expect from a Norv Turner offense: 1. High yards per passing attempt, 2. Big wide receivers. 3. “A field stretching tight end.” 4. A physical rushing attack. And 5. “A shifty scat back.”

Well let’s go!

Not so fast, drinkers of the Purple Kool-Aid.

After going 4-6 in his first 10 games as the Vikings OC, this is what Norv’s offense has produced: a team that is 30th in the NFL in total yards (309.1 per game), a team that is 28th in total points (181) and points per game, a team that is 24th in plays from scrimmage and a team that is 29th in passing yards (one of only four teams with fewer than 2,000 passing yards).

That’s not very good. In fact, heading into a Week 12 game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay, the anemic Vikings offense is so bad, many experts are predicting a shut out.

Now, you can’t blame the genius Norv Turner for all of the Vikings offensive problems. In the season opener, with Matt Cassel at quarterback and Adrian Peterson at runningback, the Vikings demolished the St. Louis Rams, on the road, 34-6. Since then, Cassel has been injured, Peterson has been suspended and the offensive line has stopped blocking people. Rookie Teddy Bridgewater will be a good quarterback someday, but he isn’t right now; Norv allowed rookie tailback Jerick McKinnon to handle the ball only eight times against the Bears last week (only one carry in the second half); and “field stretching tight end” Kyle Rudolph is injured more often than he isn’t.

Fact is, Norv Turner isn’t a genius, he’s a professional football coach who, like every other football coach, needs good players around him to make him look like a genius. This year, poor Norv doesn’t have enough good players. As a result, all the bull-pucky you heard at the start of the season was just cheerleading.

Jerick+McKinnon+Arizona+Cardinals+v+Minnesota+Ov97lCJkU9Gl NFL Picks Week 12: The Vikings Offence is Too Anemic to Win

Jerick McKinnon.

Speaking of cheerleaders, our boys were pretty mediocre at cheering their teams on to victory last week.

Dr Football went 8-6 (103-57-1) straight up and 7-7 (74-87) against the spread while The Coach went 8-6 (101-59-1) straight up and 7-7 (81-80) against the spread. Meh.

This week, as always Dr. Football designs our offense (just like Norv), while The Coach complains about it (just like The Coach).

The Panthers and Steelers have the bye this week. Let’s take a close look at Week 12 in the NFL:

Thursday Night 

alex smith NFL Picks Week 12: The Vikings Offence is Too Anemic to Win

Alex Smith.

Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) at Oakland Raiders (0-10) 
Line: Chiefs by 7.

I’m a “they gotta win sometime” kind of guy…but not with this sad sack embarrassment to the city of Oakland. Still, I can’t see K.C. practicing too hard this week, which may cause them a little gas. The Coach says: As a lifelong fan of the Detroit Lions, I don’t ever want to see anyone tie my team record of 0-16. However, there is a very good chance that’s going to happen this season.

Dr. Football: Take the Chiefs to win but not cover.

The Coach: Take the Chiefs to win and cover.

Sunday Afternoon

Cleveland Browns (6-4) at Atlanta Falcons (4-6) 
Line: Falcons by 3.

Falcons got back on track last week while the Browns were brought back to reality. Atlanta is tough to beat at home. The Coach says: And Johnny Football gets ever so close to actually playing in an NFL game.

Dr. Football: Take the Falcons to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Falcons to win and cover.

Tennessee Titans (2-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-3) 
Line: Eagles by 11.

Even though Mark Sanchez and the Eagles got “schooled” last week, the fact remains that they are a playoff team. The Titans are not. The Coach says: The Eagles, even with Mark Sanchez, are better than the Titans with Zach Mettenberger at quarterback.

Dr. Football: Take the Eagles to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Eagles to win and cover.

Matthew Stafford smiling NFL Picks Week 12: The Vikings Offence is Too Anemic to Win

Lions QB Matt Stafford won’t likely be smiling.

Detroit Lions (7-3) at New England Patriots (8-2) 
Line: Patriots by 7.

The Patriots are playing great football on both sides of the ball. The Lions might have the league’s top-rated defense, but Tom Brady won’t notice. The Coach says: I offer this wager: New England vs. Green Bay in the Super Bowl in Phoenix. Any takers?

Dr. Football: Take the Patriots to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Patriots to win and cover.

Green Bay Packers (7-3) at Minnesota Vikings (4-6) 
Line: Packers by 10.

The Gophers would have a better chance at TCF Bank Stadium than the Vikings. The Coach says: The Vikings do not have a defensive back who can cover Jordy Nelson. This could get ugly.

Dr. Football: Take the Packers to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Packers to win and cover.

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) at Indianapolis Colts (7-3) 
Line: Colts by 14.

Tough spot for the lowly Jags as Andrew Luck will be out to avenge last week’s beat down at the hands of the Patriots. The Coach says: It must make the Colts feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know they get Jacksonville on the schedule twice a year.

Dr. Football: Take the Colts to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Colts to win and cover.

J.J. Watt NFL Picks Week 12: The Vikings Offence is Too Anemic to Win

Houston’s J.J. Watt: best defensive player in the NFL.

Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1) at Houston Texans (5-5) 
Line: Texans by 1.5.

After beating the Saints at the Superdome, the Bengals stay on the road and face the mediocre Texans with a healthy A.J. Green. The Coach says: I don’t particularly like the Texans, but I sure like J.J. Watt.

Dr. Football: Take the Bengals in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Texans to win and cover.

New York Jets (2-8) at Buffalo Bills (5-5) 
Line: Bills by 4.5.

This sounds like an episode of “Where Are They Now” as Kyle Orton battles Michael Vick. Rex Ryan may be fired at half time. The Coach says: If the snow stops, the Bills should have an easy time.

Dr. Football: Take the Bills to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Bills to win and cover.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) at Chicago Bears (4-6) 
Line: Bears by 5.5.

“Cry baby” Jay Cutler was able to pull it together last week against the Vikings, and now faces another bad team playing their second consecutive road game. The Coach says: I love it. Jay Cutler finally shows a little human emotion and he gets called a “cry baby.” That guy can’t win. Except, he’ll win this week.

Dr. Football: Take the Bears to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Bears to win and cover.

Arizona Cardinals (9-1) at Seattle Seahawks (7-3) 
Line: Seahawks by 6.5.

Definitely a must win for the Seahawks against a team that has proved it can win in Seattle. Drew Stanton hasn’t missed a beat for the Cardinals, but will come up short here in a close one. The Coach says: The Seahawks don’t win by much, but they do win at home.

Dr. Football: Take the Seahawks to win but not cover.

The Coach: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.

Philip+Rivers+San+Diego+Chargers+v+Pittsburgh+ 2nKTCkbZ93l NFL Picks Week 12: The Vikings Offence is Too Anemic to Win

Philip Rivers

St. Louis Rams (4-6) at San Diego Chargers (6-4) 
Line: Chargers by 4.5.

Is there anything left in the Rams tank after beating the Broncos last week? The Chargers have some tough games ahead, and must win this one to stay in the playoff hunt. The Coach says: Upset of the week.

Dr. Football: Take the Chargers to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Rams in an upset.

Miami Dolphins (6-4) at Denver Broncos (7-3) 
Line: Broncos by 7.

I don’t expect Payton to be as sloppy as he was last week, in fact he’ll be out to shake off the stench of that game at home. The Coach says: Peyton isn’t perfect but he’s close to perfect at home.

Dr. Football: Take the Broncos to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Broncos to win and cover.

Washington Redskins (3-7) at San Francisco 49ers (6-4) 
Line: 49ers by 9.

The Redskins are horrible, and internally are a mess as well. The 49ers return home after a couple of road wins, and will have an easy time in this one. The Coach says: Hey Snyder, change the mascot. Maybe it will help your team’s record. Couldn’t hurt. Your team’s play is almost as offensive as your team’s nickname.

Dr. Football: Take the 49ers to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the 49ers to win and cover.

Sunday Night

Dallas Cowboys (7-3) at New York Giants (3-7) 
Line: Cowboys by 3.5.

No one needed a bye week more than Tony Romo and despite being away from the comfy confines of Dallas, should have a big day against a terrible team. The Coach says: I just don’t see any way that the Giants win this. Do you?

Dr. Football: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.

Monday Night

Drew+Brees+New+Orleans+Saints+v+Jacksonville+hxPJD1GoFIyl NFL Picks Week 12: The Vikings Offence is Too Anemic to Win

Drew Brees

Baltimore Ravens (6-4) at New Orleans Saints (4-6) 
Line: Saints by 3.5.

Home field advantage ain’t what it used to be in New Orleans. They haven’t dropped three straight at home since 2005 when the Superdome (and the whole town) was being rebuilt. I think they get their act together on offense in this one, but it will be a fight. The Coach says: This is the last gasp for the Saints. A loss at home on Monday Night and they are done.

Dr. Football: Take the Saints to win but not cover.

The Coach: Take the Saints to win and cover.

logo sn9601 NFL Picks Week 12: The Vikings Offence is Too Anemic to WinListen to The Coach Scott Taylor every Thursday at 10:05 a.m. CT with Dean (Boomer) Molberg on SportsNet 960 The FAN in Calgary with Boomers Pools and Props as two razor sharp NFL minds pick the Pools and Props for Sport Select and Western Canada Lotteries. You can listen live at: http://www.sportsnet.ca/960/



Jets Beat Sleepy Devils 3-1

The Winnipeg Jets are living proof that you don’t have to score very often. Just score enough to check the opposition into the ice and let your goalie win games for you.

Tuesday night, as the Jets celebrated the 10th anniversary of MTS Centre, Mathieu Perreault and Mark Scheifele each scored in the second period (just 1:44 apart) and Michael Frolik added a goal late in the third period as the Jets defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-1.

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Michael Hutchinson was solid in the Jets net again (Photo by Jeff Miller)

Michael Hutchinson had to make only 21 saves to get the victory as the Jets dominated the Devils from start to finish. Winnipeg outshot New Jersey 34-21.

It was the 20th game of the season for the Jets. The team has gone a rock solid 10-7-3 in the first 20 – 6-2-2 in the last 10. The Jets still haven’t lost in regulation to the Metropolitan Division, compiling a 5-0-2 record this season.

And still, they don’t score very much. By playing responsible hockey in their own end and by keeping the neutral zone turnovers to a minimum, the Jets have been able to win 10 games despite the fact they have scored only 40 goals in 20 games, the fewest in the Western Conference.

With 10 wins in 20 games, the Jets are right in the thick of the playoff hunt after the first quarter of a season.

“I thought we played really well in the first two periods,” said Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson. “We were able to take the game to them in the first two periods. We got some push back early in the third period but that third goal at the end of the game was nice for us to get a two-goal lead. We were able to hold them for the rest of the game.

“They (the Devils) didn’t throw a lot of shots on net, especially shots from strange angles. I mishandled a few pucks tonight and I’d like to have them back, but I was able to block the rebounds and we were able to win.”

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The Jets buzzed Cory Schneider all night (Photo by Jeff Miller)

The Jets were obviously better in this one. In fact, the Devils barely looked interested in the second period. Playing in front of the home crowd for the first time in six games, the Jets seemed to relish the fact that head coach Paul Maurice changed the lines.

Blake Wheeler moved back onto a line with Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little while Mathieu Perreault moved back to centre with Michael Frolik and Adam Lowry and looking a lot more comfortable in the middle, Perreault drilled a backhander past former Manitoba Moose netminder Cory Schneider for his first goal of the season.

“I got a great pass from Mark Stuart,” said Perreault modestly. “I was able to get a backhand past their goalie.”

After losing two straight on the road, the Jets came home and beat a team that had already beaten them, 2-1 in a shootout, in Newark earlier this month. Granted, the Devils looked stoned for most of this one, but that might have had something to do with the Jets ability to check the opposition right out of the rink.

This was a game Winnipeg needs to bottle up and keep on the shelf in order to use again. They out-skated Jersey, out-checked them, out-hit them and out-scored them. Against an veteran club starting a road trip, it was a perfect approach.

The Jets play again at MTS Centre on Thursday night when St. Andrews’ Darren Helm and the Detroit Red Wings. Winnipeg’s record against the Eastern Conference this season is now 6-2-2, but Detroit whipped Columbus 5-0 on Tuesday night so this one won’t be easy.

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Travis Zajac returned to Winnipeg and like the rest of his teammates, didn’t do much (Photo by Jeff Miller).