Tag Archives: St. Louis Rams

Today in Pats History: Happy Birthday Chris Long

John Morgan
March 28, 2017 at 7:00 am ET

Happy Birthday to Chris Long, who headlines March 28 in New England Patriots’ history.


Chris Long, 32 (3/28/1985)
Patriot DE, 2016
Uniform #95

The Longs are one of the premier NFL football families. Chris’ father Howie is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and his brother Kyle is a starting RG for the Bears. At Virginia Chris Long was a unanimous All-American and first team All-ACC. He was also the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and won the Ted Hendricks Award for the nation’s best defensive end. The St. Louis Rams selected Long with the second overall pick of the 2008 draft.

Long was a steady starter on a solid Ram defense for several years. However he missed ten games in 2014 with an ankle injury and four more in 2015 due to a knee injury. Upon his return Jeff Fisher kept William Hayes as his starter, leaving Long as a situational reserve. The Rams had previously restructured Long’s contract which created a cap number of $14 million for 2016. Not surprisingly he was cut as one of several cap saving moves.

Long visited with Dallas, Washington and Atlanta, and then signed a one-year deal for $2 million with the Patriots on March 18, 2016. Having previously cashed in with two large contracts, Long was secure with leaving some money on the table in order to play for a Superbowl contender.

After eight years of wallowing in St. Louis Ram mediocrity, Long finally not only experienced a winning season but also the playoffs and a Superbowl victory. Though it did not show up in the stat sheet Long did have key plays in the improbable comeback victory over Atlanta. On one key play his bull rush over Jake Matthews applied pressure from the right, so Matt Ryan could not turn that way. This was on Dont’a Hightower’s oft-replayed strip sack and fumble recovered by Alan Branch. That play may have been a big reason why Long was able to draw Matthews into a holding penalty on the subsequent drive. That flag resulted in a loss of ten yards and kept Atlanta out of field goal range. It was one of several plays that was the difference between a Superbowl win or loss.

Long played in every Pats game in 2016, with seven starts. However his playing time decreased as the season progressed. In the first eight games Long was in for about 70% of the defensive plays, averaging 49 snaps per game. Down the stretch that dropped to just over 50%, averaging 34 snaps in the final six games of the regular season. In the playoffs Long had 27 snaps versus Houston, 20 plays (29%) against Pittsburgh and then only 15 snaps in the Superbowl. With that in mind it is understandable that he has elected to explore other options in free agency. Long finished the season with 35 combined tackles (22 solo), four sacks, three passes defensed and one forced fumble. Despite his short time in Foxboro all of Patriot Nation is grateful for his hard work and contribution.

Off the field the Chris Long Foundation’s signature project is The Waterboys. It unites NFL players and fans to raise awareness and funds with a goal to install 32 deep borehole wells in East Africa. Each well costs $45,000 and serves up to 7,500 people.

3/28 12:05 pm update: Long has reportedly signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.


Reche Caldwell – Patriot WR, 2006

Reche Caldwell, 38 (3/28/1979)
Uniform #87

Like many pro athletes, Caldwell excelled in multiple sports as a youth. In high school he threw 77 touchdown passes and also set several school records in baseball. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1998 but opted to play football instead. Caldwell stayed in state and went to the University of Florida. There he played for Steve Spurrier at the end of the Fun-n-Gun era. On offense he played alongside future NFL players such as Rex Grossman, Jabar Gaffney and Earnest Graham.

Caldwell finished his junior year with 65 receptions for 1,059 yards and ten touchdowns. San Diego then selected him in the second round of the 2002 draft, 48th overall. He spent four years with the Chargers, never quite living up to his draft status. Over that span Caldwell had 76 catches for 950 yards and seven touchdowns.

Following the 2005 season Patriot free agent David Givens signed with Tennessee. Troy Brown would soon turn 35. Depth at the wide receiver position needed to be replenished, and the Pats signed UFA Caldwell. At the same time Deion Branch was in the last year of his rookie contract. He held out and was eventually traded after lengthy and bitter negotiations. Rookie Chad Jackson injured his hamstring in training camp. Rather than being a third or fourth option at WR, Caldwell was suddenly by default forced to be the primary receiver.

In that 2006 season Caldwell had 61 receptions (on 101 targets) for 760 yards and four touchdowns. The playoffs started well as he caught 12 of the 15 passes thrown his way over two games, for 130 yards. That included a TD against his old team in a 24-21 victory at San Diego.

2006 AFCCG at Indianapolis

Reche Caldwell Eyes

Caldwell was targeted nine times against Indy, catching just four passes. At one point Caldwell muffed a perfectly thrown pass in the corner of the end zone. Then with under ten minutes to go and the score tied, Caldwell was left uncovered on a botched Colt defensive assignment. Brady threw to Caldwell for what should have been an easy catch and an 18 yard waltz into the end zone. Caldwell became overanxious and turned too soon – even though no defender was remotely close to him – and dropped the ball. Two plays later he was unable to catch another pass and the Patriots had to settle for a field goal. The Colts came back to win the AFCCG 38-34. The NFC was weak that year; the winner of that game was the defacto Superbowl champion. It was a huge missed opportunity for the Patriots.

Bill Belichick retooled his offense the following season with the additions of Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Caldwell was cut on September 3, 2007 and spent one final NFL season with Washington. His post-NFL career did not go well.

Caldwell returned to his old Tampa neighborhood and opened up a gambling parlor. His problem was that it was successful, and he never considered that perhaps he should keep a low profile. After the inevitable arrest for bookmaking and running a gambling house, Caldwell posted bond. He kept hanging out with his old crew and saw how popular Ecstasy was at the clubs. Caldwell made the absurdly foolish decision to buy some Molly over the internet as his next business venture. That resulted in a 27-month prison sentence.

How Reche Caldwell Googled his way from the Patriots to prison | ABC News


Greg ‘Truck’ Moore – Patriot LB, 1987

Greg Moore, 52 (3/28/1965)
Uniform #54

The 6’1, 240 lb linebacker went to college at Tennessee-Chattanooga. He was one of the replacement players in 1987 when the NFLPA went on strike. Moore started in all three of those replacement games, with one fumble recovery.

With his brief NFL career over, Moore returned to his native Georgia. He is the owner of Elite Realty Specialists.

Greg Moore


Bryan Wagner – Patriot P, 1991 and 1995

Bryan Wagner, 55 (3/28/1962)
Uniform #8 and #9

Wagner was with five different teams over nine season in the NFL. With the Browns in 1997 he led the league in number of punts with 97; the following season he led the NFL with four punts blocked. He signed with the Patriots in 1991 but was released after three games. Wagner was averaging a mere 29.1 net yards on his 14 punts.

The Patriots re-signed him in 1995. He punted 37 times over eight games, with a carer-high 42.1 yards per punt. He now teaches phys ed and is a high school football coach in Ohio.

1/12/1986: Bryan Wagner Is Alive and Hopes to Be Kicking in the NFL

1/25/1995: Super Bowl XXIX : Persistence Lands Him on His Feet

5/31/2005: Ex-punter lands coaching job


Steve Doig – Patriot LB, 1986-87

Steve Doig, 57 (3/28/1960)
Uniform #59

Doig is a New England native. He was born in Melrose, played hockey at North Reading High School and went to the University of New Hampshire. At UNH he was the ECAC player of the year. Detroit selected Doig in the third round of the 1982 draft, 69th overall. Over three seasons with the Lions he appeared in 34 games with four starts.

The Patriots signed Doig in 1986, after he had not played at all the previous season. He played in five games for the Pats in ’86, and one more in 1987. Doig also appeared in the playoff loss to Denver following the 1986 season. The Pats waived Doig on September 8, 1987.

Doig’s biggest highlight came in the last game played at the Orange Bowl. In the ’86 season finale Doig recovered a fumbled kickoff to give the Patriots the ball at the Miami 24. On the next play Craig James fumbled the ball away, and Tony Eason injured his shoulder making the tackle. Steve Grogan replaced Eason and later threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Stanley Morgan with 44 seconds remaining. That gave the Patriots a 34-27 victory, and the AFC East title.


Lonnie Farmer – Patriot LB, 1964-66

Lonnie Farmer, 77 (3/28/1940)
Uniform #55

Farmer played in 31 games over three seasons for the Pats, but his carer was cut short by a knee injury. This is from the 1966 Patriots Media Guide:

This rebel belter from Lookout Mountain, Tenn., enters his third pro season with best prospects ever … lost last season with a knee injury … otherwise would have been a regular … is one of the surest, toughest tacklers on Patriots team … is one of Coach Holovak’s best on the suicide squad … was brought to Boston’s pros by fellow Chattanooga alumnus Charley Long … was Williamson All-American and AP second team All-American in ’63 … has a real taste for action … intense competitor … injury free season could give Lonnie a shot at All-Star honors.

Lonnie Farmer
Left to right: defensive tackle Jim Lee Hunt, safety Ron Hall, and linebacker Lonnie Farmer.


Other NFL notables born on March 28 include:
Geno Atkins (29), five-time Pro Bowl DT for Cincinnati Bengals.
NaVorro Bowman (29), four-time All Pro LB for San Francisco 49ers.
Derek Carr (26), two-time Pro Bowl QB for the Oakland  Las Vegas Raiders.
Jim Turner (76), AFL-AFC kicker for the Jets and Broncos


There is only one March 29 Patriot birthday, so I will insert it here.

Chris Calloway – Patriot WR, 2000

Chris Calloway, 49 (3/29/1968)
Uniform #82

Calloway is most well known for seven years with the Giants. He was their leading receiver for four straight years. Calloway had receptions in a team record 47 straight games, and at the time he ranked third in franchise history with 334 receptions. He was originally drafted by Pittsburgh in 1990, but only spent two seasons with the Steelers.

In 1999 the Giants released Calloway, attempting to get younger and also save money. Calloway signed a $4 million contract with Atlanta, which was very big money at that time. He caught only 22 passes and the Falcons let him go after one season.

During training camp in 2000 Bill Belichick axed Vincent Brisby and signed Calloway. By that time though he was 32 and his best days were behind him. Calloway appeared in seven games with two starts for New England. He had only five receptions for 95 yards while with the Patriots. The Pats cut him on October 21, 2000. Calloway finished his NFL career with 386 receptions for 5497 yards and 30 touchdowns.

11/28/2009: Former New York Giants wide receiver Chris Calloway trying to hang on

Chris Calloway


Other NFL notables born on March 29 include:
Earl Campbell (62), Houston Oiler Hall of Fame running back.
Ryan Kalil (32), Carolina Panther five time Pro Bowl center.
Justin Tuck (34), two time Pro Bowl defensive end.


Five Patriots Players to Watch Against the Rams

Steve Balestrieri
December 3, 2016 at 8:37 am ET

The Patriots return home after successful road trip wins over San Francisco and the New York Jets. They’re facing the Los Angeles Rams at Gillette Stadium at 1:00 p.m.

The Rams are sitting at 4-7, which is about the norm for the team under Jeff Fisher. In his fifth year, the team has never been better than 7-8-1 and 2016 seems earmarked for another below .500 finish. They’ll be starting rookie QB Jared Goff in just his third NFL start. Goff was the #1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Patriots are 9-2 and are currently the top seed in the AFC. The win over the Jets was costly however, they lost TE Rob Gronkowski, possibly for the year with a back injury. Fellow TE Martellus Bennett suffered an ankle injury in the game as well and although hobbled was able to finish the game.

Here are our five players from a Patriots perspective to watch on Sunday:

QB Tom Brady: Brady missed practice again this week and there’s no doubt his knee is hurting. Just watch him try to kneel at the end of the game on Sunday. But this week is special. With a win on Sunday Brady will stand alone with 201 career wins as a starting QB passing his former rival Peyton Manning.

While Brady is always quick to point out the team aspect of the game, his place in history is further cemented here and the moment will not be lost on him. He’ll have a bit of extra fire in his gut this week.

DL Vincent Valentine: With the Alan Branch suspension still looming for this week’s game, the big rookie defensive tackle will play a key role in the Patriots interior defensive line especially on running downs. While the league continues to drag its feet and no appeal date has yet been set, Branch will continue to play, but with each day that drags on, the Patriots run the risk of losing Branch for a post-season game.

The Rams haven’t had a good running game all season and average just 83.1 yards per game, just 29th in the league. But they also have the talented 2nd year running back Todd Gurley. Their struggles have had more to do with the play of the offensive line than their backs.

The Patriots are going to have to mix Valentine into the rotation more with Branch and Malcom Brown to prepare him for perhaps a starting role once the Branch suspension appeal has been resolved. With big games against the Ravens, Broncos, Jets and Dolphins looming, they’ll need him to be ready to play a big role, both figuratively and literally on defense.

Wide Receiver Malcolm Mitchell: The rookie wide receiver is breaking the mold that the Patriots can’t develop wide receivers. After catching a huge 56-yard touchdown against the 49ers two weeks ago, Mitchell followed that up with a two-touchdown performance against the Jets including the game-winner with just under two minutes to go.

The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reported this week that both of Mitchell’s touchdowns were against Darrelle Revis on Sunday. The first time in his career that anyone has scored two touchdowns against the future Hall of Famer.

Mitchell is quickly becoming a trusted, valued target in the Patriots offense. And it couldn’t come at a better time. With Gronkowski lost, possibly for the duration of the year, the Patriots will utilize a lot more of the three and four wide receiver sets.

With Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola handling the duties down low in the short passing game, it will be tasked to Mitchell and Chris Hogan to pick up more of the slack in the middle to deep passing routes. Brady has shown the will and the ability to go deep when teams are intent on taking away the short areas in the middle of the field. Mitchell can be a weapon to use in this realm, his size and athleticism being a plus.

Cornerback Malcolm Butler: The Patriots corner will be going against the Rams talented Kenny Britt or their deep threat Brian Quick on Sunday. With the rookie Goff under center, he’ll be looking to hit his veteran, go-to receivers to move the ball.

If the Patriots get off to a quick start, then the Rams will be thrust into a situation that doesn’t bode well. Getting into a shootout with a rookie QB that has little experience. Then the patience of taking what the defense gives will be tested. Butler will probably see a lot of deep routes this week.

After his worst game of the season against the Jets, Butler will be looking to bounce back. He’s very competitive and you know the members of the secondary hear all of the barbs thrown their way by the fans and the press. Here’s a chance at a bit of redemption.

Center David Andrews: Much of this week has dealt with the talk of the Rams big disruptor on the interior of their defensive line Aaron Donald. And it is well deserved. Donald is incredibly strong and athletic and can blow up running plays in the backfield as well as push the pocket and get after the QB.

More than anything, interior quarterback pressure is the toughest for Brady to deal with. When he gets pressure from the edge, he has the innate ability to step up and slide in the pocket. With pressure up the middle and in his face, he loses that ability as well as the chance to step into his throws. It also makes him more susceptible to edge pressure.

As we pointed out in our pregame matchups, Andrews will be the key player on the offensive line to take on Donald, especially in the passing game. The Rams have an excellent front four and each will be a tough matchup. But their best player is Donald and if the Patriots can neutralize him, then that will go a long way in being a successful day for the offense.

Stay tuned to PatsFans.com as we’ll have up-to-the-minute breaking news as well as post-game analysis.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Patriots – Rams Keys, Who Has the Razor’s Edge?

Steve Balestrieri
December 2, 2016 at 6:00 am ET

The New England Patriots return home to Gillette Stadium for a game against the Los Angeles Rams. The kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

This week’s game will be televised by Fox Sports and can be seen locally on Fox 25 Channel 25 in Boston. Kevin Burkhardt will handle play-by-play duties with John Lynch as the color analyst. Pam Oliver will work the sidelines. The game will also be aired on the Patriots flagship radio station 98.5 The SportsHub with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak on the call, produced by Marc Cappello.

The Patriots (9-2) improved to 6-0 on the road this season with a 22-17 win over the New York Jets. Tom Brady led the game-winning drive with just over five minutes to go and tossed the winning touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell. The rookie WR had two touchdowns on the day. Brady passed the 60,000-yard plateau in his career and the comeback win was his 50th with career win #200 tying Peyton Manning for the all-time lead for quarterbacks.

The Rams (4-7) lost a blowout contest in New Orleans 49-21 to the Saints. The Rams defense which had allowed only 50 points in the previous four games allowed nearly that to Drew Brees and the Saints.  The good news was however that rookie QB Jared Goff in just his second NFL start tossed three touchdowns.

We here at PatsFans.com are continuing our “Razor’s Edge” column in 2016 to give some quick analysis on some of the key matchups of the game and what you can look for in how the game plays out.

Series History:
The Patriots and Rams are meeting for the just the 13th time as they are pretty unfamiliar with one another. The two teams did meet in Super Bowl XXXVI with the Pats upsetting the heavily favored Rams 20-17. Although the Patriots hold an overall 7-5 edge in the 12 contests dating back to 1974, they are just 2-3 at home.

The Pats have won the last four meetings with the last a 45-7 win in London back in 2012. Tom Brady threw for four touchdowns, two to Rob Gronkowski and two to WR Brandon Lloyd.

Here is a look at some of the key matchups and who holds the Razor’s Edge.

First up is the Patriots offense:

NFL Week 15 Playoff Picture and Scenarios

John Morgan
December 18, 2015 at 8:00 am ET

NFL Week 15 Playoff Picture and Scenarios

Last week the New England Patriots vaulted in to the number one seed in the AFC by virtue of the defensive mastery over the Houston Texans, coupled with losses by the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos. When the Miami Dolphins lost to the New York Giants Monday night the Pats also clinched their seventh straight AFC East title. Elsewhere the Arizona Cardinals also clinched a playoff spot and the Carolina Panthers clinched a first-round bye; on the other end of the spectrum six teams joined the Cleveland Browns as being officially eliminated from the playoffs.


In the AFC there are essentially three playoff races: the Patriots, Bengals and Broncos vying for home field advantage throughout the conference playoffs, or at least a first-round bye; the Colts and Texans (and to a lesser extent, the Jaguars as well) playing for the AFC South title and the number four seed; and the Steelers, Chiefs and Texans battling for the wild card spots.


Over in the NFC there are realistically only two playoff races remaining. For all intents and purposes the Panthers will be the number one seed, Arizona number two, and Seattle will claim the number five seed as the top wild card. One of Green Bay and Minnesota will win the NFC North and become the number three seed; they will play at home to the other club, who will become the number six seed. The other playoff race is of course that of the NFC East; one of the Redskins, Giants or Eagles will have to represent that division, even though nobody seems to want it or deserve it.


In both conferences the race for the number five seed is nearly as meaningful as getting a first round bye. Both of the number five seeds will most likely be playing against a team with a .500 (or losing record). On the other hand the number six seed will have to go on the road against a ten or eleven-win club.

Note: for the sake of clarity and to reduce the risk of headaches I have not included any scenarios involving ties.


AFC – #1 Seed and First Round Bye

1. New England Patriots
11-2 [4-0 division, 8-1 conference]
Clinched AFC East and at least #3 seed
vs Titans, at Jets, at Dolphins
79% chance for #1 seed; 98% chance for a bye
– Can clinch at least #2 seed and a first-round bye with a win over Titans, plus Broncos lose to Steelers

2. Cincinnati Bengals
10-3 [4-1 division, 8-2 conference]
2-game division lead over Pittsburgh with 3 to play
at 49ers, at Broncos, vs Ravens
3% chance for #1 seed; 40% for a bye; 98% for #3 or better
– Can clinch AFC North and at least #3 seed if Steelers lose to Broncos
– Can clinch at least #5 seed with win over 49ers, plus Chiefs lose to Ravens
– Can clinch playoff spot with win over 49ers, or Chiefs lose to Ravens, or Jets lose to Cowboys

3. Denver Broncos
10-3 [3-2 division, 6-3 conference]
2-game division lead over Kansas City with 3 to play
at Steelers, vs Bengals, at Chargers
18% chance for #1 seed; 61% for a bye; 88% for #3 or better
– Can clinch AFC West and at least #3 seed with win over Steelers, plus Chiefs lose to Ravens
– Can clinch at playoff spot and at least #5 seed with win over Steelers, plus Jets lose to Cowboys
– Can clinch playoff spot and at least #6 seed with with win over Steelers


AFC South – #4 Seed

4. Indianapolis Colts
6-7 [3-1 division, 4-5 conference]
Currently tied with Houston; wins tiebreaker based on head-to-head victory
vs Texans, at Dolphins, vs Titans
60% chance of winning AFCS and #4 seed; 40% chance of missing playoffs
– With a win over Texans, the only way Indy would miss the playoffs would be to lose their final two games while Houston wins their last two games

10. Houston Texans
6-7 [2-1 division, 4-5 conference]
Needs to win Sunday to avoid losing head-to-head tiebreaker with Colts
at Colts, at Titans, vs Jaguars
39% chance of winning AFCS and #4 seed; >1% chance of being wild card; 61% chance for no playoffs

11. Jacksonville Jaguars
5-8 [2-3 division, 5-6 conference]
Virtually no chance despite only being one game behind
vs Falcons, at Saints, at Texans
1% chance of winning AFCS and #4 seed; >99% chance for no playoffs
– Eliminated from playoffs with loss to Falcons, plus Colts beat Texans


AFC – Wild Cards

5. Kansas City Chiefs
8-5 [4-1 division, 7-2 conference]
Currently hold tiebreaker over Steelers and Jets based on conference record
at Ravens, vs Browns, vs Raiders
11% chance of winning AFCW and #3 seed; 63% chance of being #5 seed; 7% chance for no playoffs
– Eliminated from #1 seed if Patriots win, or if Broncos and Bengals both win
– Eliminated from #2 seed with loss to Ravens, or if Patriots and Broncos both win
– Eliminated from #3 seed with loss to Ravens, plus Broncos win

6. New York Jets
8-5 [2-2 division, 6-4 conference]
Hold tiebreaker over Steelers based on conference record
at Cowboys, vs Patriots, at Bills
7% chance for #5 seed, 25% for #6 seed, 61% for no playoffs
– Wins by Chiefs and Steelers last week dropped Jet playoff chances from 39% to 31%
– No clinching or elimination scenarios for Jets this week

7. Pittsburgh Steelers
8-5 [2-2 division, 5-4 conference]
Conference records: Chiefs 7-2; Jets 6-4; Steelers 5-4
vs Broncos, at Ravens, at Browns
2% chance of winning AFCN and #3 seed; 25% for #5 seed; 43% for #6; 30% for no playoffs
– Chance of missing playoffs dropped from 67% last week to 30% this week
– Eliminated from #3 seed with loss to Broncos, or if Bengals beat 49ers

8. Oakland Raiders
6-7 [2-2 division, 6-4 conference]
All but technically eliminated from playoffs
vs Packers, vs Chargers, at Chiefs
2% chance for wild card, 98% chance for no playoffs
– Eliminated from #5 seed with loss, plus a win by either Jets or Chiefs or Steelers
– Eliminated from playoffs with loss, plus wins by two of Jets/Chiefs/Steelers

9. Buffalo Bills
6-7 [3-2 division, 6-5 conference]
All but technically eliminated from playoffs
at Washington, vs Cowboys, vs Jets
5% chance for wild card, 95% chance for no playoffs
– Eliminated from #5 seed with loss, or win by Chiefs
– Eliminated from #6 seed with loss, plus win by either Steelers or Jets

AFC teams eliminated from playoffs:
5-8 Miami Dolphins – at Chargers, vs Colts, vs Patriots
4-9 Baltimore Ravens – vs Chiefs, vs Steelers, at Bengals
3-10 San Diego Chargers – vs Dolphins, at Raiders, at Broncos
3-10 Cleveland Browns – at Seahawks, at Chiefs, vs Steelers
3-10 Tennessee Titans – at Patriots, vs Texans, at Colts


NFC Contenders

1. Carolina Panthers
13-0 [4-0 division, 9-0 conference]
Clinched NFC South division title and first round bye
at Giants, at Falcons, vs Giants
98% chance for #1 seed; 2% chance of being #2 seed
– Clinch #1 seed with a win, plus loss by Cardinals

2. Arizona Cardinals
11-2 [4-1 division, 8-1 conference]
Clinched a playoff spot last week
Hold tiebreaker over Seahawks (39-32 victory at Seattle)
at Eagles, vs Packers, vs Seahawks
92% chance for a bye
– Clinch first round bye with win at Eagles, plus Packers lose to Raiders
– Clinch division and #3 seed with win, or a Seahawks loss
– Clinch at least #5 seed with a loss by either the Vikings or Packers
– Eliminated from #1 seed with loss, plus win by Panthers

3. Green Bay Packers
9-4 [3-2 division, 7-3 conference]
Hold tiebreaker over Vikings based on Week 11 win at Minnesota
at Raiders, at Cardinals, vs Vikings
8% chance for #2 seed; 58% for #3; 34% for wild card; >1% for no playoffs
– Clinch playoff spot and at least #5 seed with win, plus Seahawks loss
– Clinch playoff spot with either a win, or a Giants loss, or a Redskins loss
– Eliminated from #2 seed with loss, plus Cardinals win

5. Seattle Seahawks
8-5 [2-2 division, 6-4 conference]
Moved up to #5 seed with wins in last two weeks while Vikings lost twice
vs Browns, vs Rams, at Cardinals
>1% chance of winning NFCW; 69% for #5; 29% for #6; 2% for no playoffs
– Clinch playoff spot with win, plus a loss by either Giants or Redskins
– Clinch playoff spot with win, plus Packers win, plus Vikings and Falcons lose
– Eliminated from NFCW title and #2 seed if Packers win and Vikings lose
– Eliminated from NFCW title and #3 seed with a loss, or if Cardinals win

6. Minnesota Vikings
8-5 [3-1 division, 5-4 conference]
The Vikes have lost two in a row but are still in good shape to make the playoffs
vs Bears, vs Giants, at Packers
cannot get a bye; 34% chance for #3 seed; 60% for a wild card; 6% for no playoffs
– Clinch playoff spot with win, plus Falcons lose, plus either Giants or Redskins lose
– Clinch playoff spot with win, plus Seahawks lose, plus either Giants or Redskins lose


NFC East

4. Washington Redskins
5-6 [2-1 division, 5-3 conference]
Head-to-head: 1-0 vs Eagles, 1-1 vs Giants, 0-1 vs Cowboys
at Bears, vs Bills, at Eagles, at Cowboys
39% chance of winning NFCE; 60% chance of missing playoffs
– Eliminated from #3 seed with loss, or Packers win, or Vikings win

9. Philadelphia Eagles
6-7 [2-2 division, 3-6 conference]
Head-to-head: 0-1 vs Skins, 1-0 vs Giants, 1-1 vs Cowboys
vs Cardinals, vs Redskins, at Giants
44% chance of winning NFCE; 56% chance of missing playoffs
– Eliminated from #3 seed with loss, or Packers win, or Vikings win

10. New York Giants
6-7 [2-3 division, 4-5 conference]
Head-to-head: 1-1 vs Skins, 0-1 vs Eagles, 1-1 vs Cowboys
vs Panthers, at Vikings, vs Eagles
15% chance of winning NFCE; 83% chance of missing playoffs
– Eliminated from #3 seed with loss, or Packers win, or Vikings win

16. Dallas Cowboys
4-9 [3-2 division, 3-8 conference]
Head-to-head: 1-0 vs Skins, 1-1 vs Eagles, 1-1 vs Giants
vs Jets, at Bills, vs Redskins
2% chance of winning NFCE; 98% chance of missing playoffs
– Eliminated from #3 seed with loss, or two of Redskins/Eagles/Cowboys win


Rest of the NFC

7. Atlanta Falcons
6-7 [0-4 division, 4-6 conference]
Falcons could lose nine straight to end the season after a 5-0 start
at Jaguars, vs Panthers, vs Saints
99% chance of missing the playoffs
– Eliminated from #5 seed with a loss
– Eliminated from playoffs with loss, plus Vikings win

10. St. Louis Rams
6-8 [3-1 division, 5-5 conference]
The Rams have not had a winning season since 2003, and Jeff Fisher has not coached a winning team since 2008
won vs Bucs, at Seahawks, at Niners
99% chance of missing playoffs
– Eliminated from #5 seed if either Vikings or Seahawks win
– Eliminated from playoffs if both Vikings and Seahawks win

11. Tampa Bay Bucs
6-8 [3-2 division, 5-5 conference]
Hey, four more wins than last year was a decent start
lost at Rams, vs Bears, at Panthers
99% chance of missing playoffs
– Eliminated from #5 seed if either Vikings or Seahawks win
– Eliminated from playoffs if both Vikings and Seahawks win

12. New Orleans Saints
5-8 [2-3 division, 4-6 conference]
Off-season plan: defense, defense, and more defense
vs Lions, vs Jaguars, at Falcons
99% chance of missing playoffs
– Eliminated from #5 seed if either Vikings or Seahawks win
– Eliminated from playoffs with a loss, or if both Vikings and Seahawks win

13. Chicago Bears
5-8 [2-3 division, 4-6 conference]
A 1-6 record at home, including a loss to the Niners? Huh?
at Vikings, at Bucs, vs Lions
99% chance of missing playoffs
– Eliminated from #5 seed if Seahawks win
– Eliminated from playoffs with a loss to Vikings

14. Detroit Lions
4-9 [2-3 division, 3-6 conference]
Jim Caldwell is probably the next head coach to be fired
at Saints, vs Niners, at Bears
– Eliminated from playoffs last week

15. San Francisco 49ers
4-9 [0-5 division, 3-7 conference]
14.5 points per game – pathetic.
vs Bengals, at Lions, vs Rams
– Eliminated from playoffs last week