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Joe Nelson - Blogs

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BETWEEN THE LINES - NOV. 12

By Joe Nelson
Posted 11/12/2012 at 06:32 PM

The NFL had the type of worst case scenario week that it fears with three prominent starting quarterbacks knocked out of games with concussions last week. It is very tough to tell the impact of a concussion, some players are back the next week, others like Jahvid Best seem like they may never play again. While the Michael Vick concussion might help to speed up the inevitable transition to another quarterback, playoff bound teams Chicago and San Francisco could be in trouble if Jay Cutler and Alex Smith miss significant time. Colin Kaepernick and Jason Campbell are two of the more promising back-ups but both failed to make plays late last week as the Bears lost and San Francisco ended up in a tie. The Packers and Seahawks are both right behind in the standings and could capitalize on the opportunity. The concussion issue is not going away and there really are not any great solutions even with the emphasis on player protection now.

               

There was the first NFL tie last week since 2008 as the Rams and 49ers both botched late opportunities. As noted in our system of the week, teams off a tie often do poorly the next week. It makes sense as having to play a full extra quarter takes a physical toll and a tie is also a very unsettling result to deal with throughout the week. Since 1988, teams playing the following week after a tie have gone just 3-9 S/U and 4-8 ATS.

               

Comebacks stories lead the NFL this season as Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson would rank highly as MVP candidates this season coming off severe injuries to deliver remarkable results.

               

The college football picture is getting clearer as the top team fell with Texas A&M upsetting Alabama. The Crimson Tide fell to #4 in the rankings and while the SEC champion will get a boost, Alabama and Georgia will hurt their schedules with FCS tilts this week. While teams 4-9 in the BCS standings are all from the SEC, if at least two of the three remaining unbeaten teams survive, the SEC will surely be shut out of the title game picture, ending the six-year streak of titles. Many will make the case for Alabama as a one-loss contender should they get to that point but consider that of the five other teams in the top nine of the BCS rankings from the SEC, Alabama has only currently defeated one of them, making moot the argument of the much harder slate in the SEC as Alabama faced a very weak conference schedule this year. Florida and LSU are the only teams that have beaten two of the teams in that group of six teams in the top nine of the rankings.

               

Oregon will almost certainly pass Kansas State if they win out, beating Stanford, Oregon State, and either USC or UCLA in the Pac-12 title game, three quality wins that will boost the computer numbers significantly. Notre Dame probably can’t pass Kansas State as Wake Forest is going to drag on the rankings this week while Kansas State finishes with two more credible opponents and the Big XII rates as a strong conference. Don’t rule out chaos just yet however as all three unbeaten teams will face challenging games and the SEC champion may still have a shot to get into the mix. Kansas State is not used to playing with the type of attention and pressure now on them and Notre Dame has certainly shown some vulnerability with several narrow escapes this season. Oregon is the one team that has not been truly tested but they will face the best two defenses they have seen the next two weeks. Best of Luck, on to this week’s slate…

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