Having won five of their last six, the Chargers need to beat the Raiders, have the Titans lose and then watch either the Bills lose or the Ravens win to earn a playoff spot.
It would be much easier for everyone in the AFC if the Chargers just lost, but they are playing a hapless Raiders team entering the week just 2-5 on the road this season.
The Chargers have nine games with multiple takeaways this season, tied for the most in the NFL and the most for the team since tying the franchise record with 14 such games in 2007. They have a great chance to win this week and potentially sneak into the playoffs
After losing to the Patriots last week, Tyrod Taylor and the Bills are in a world of trouble to save their season. The Bills’ quarterback experiments during the middle of the season could come back to haunt them because they need some help from other teams this week.
But for every Kirby Smart, there’s a Jeremy Pruitt, the Alabama defensive coordinator who held that same job at Georgia in 2014 and 2015. Asked after the game Monday night how many Bulldogs players he had a hand in recruiting, Pruitt said, All of ’em.
To recap, the Georgia head coach recruited the Alabama players to Alabama, and the Alabama defensive coordinator recruited the Georgia players to Georgia. Take the case of Alabama sophomore linebacker Terrell Lewis, who came off the bench to make two tackles against Clemson.
Coach Smart recruited me at first when I was coming to Bama, Lewis said. And then when he left, he was trying to get me to come to Georgia. … I knew of Pruitt and he was recruiting me to Georgia, so once he finally got to Bama, he was recruiting me, too. They went from telling to come here for this reason to [telling me to] come there for this reason.
Because this is the College Football Playoff National Championship, it is difficult to imagine that Smart will fare as badly as the five former assistants who have coached against Saban. Only one, former Florida head coach Jim McElwain, came within 14 points of beating his former boss. The average margin among McElwain, former Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley, South Carolina’s Will Muschamp (0-2 while at Florida) and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio is nearly 29 points.
Saquon Barkley is a no-doubt first-round pick for Penn State this year, but as good as he may be, the argument can be made that quarterback Trace McSorley was the most important part of the Nittany Lions’ offense.
But McSorley will not be found high on many NFL prospects lists this year despite the fact he has back-to-back 3,000-yard seasons, has thrown for 55 touchdowns and accounted for 73 in the last two years, and he has gone 22-5 as Penn State’s starter over their last 27 games.
For one, he is small. While he is listed at 6-foot, 195-pounds, many would say he is smaller. In fact, anyone who knows McSorley would probably be surprised that is what he is listed at.
He also plays in an offense with talent all over the place as well as one that is pretty QB-friendly. In addition, he makes some bad mistakes and doesn’t have a great arm.
McSorley, though, may have an argument as a good NFL prospect. For one, he is an accurate passer completing 63.7 percent of his throws this year, he has a quick release, he has good timing on deep throws that makes him a dangerous guy throwing down the field, and he had possibly one of the most impressive lines of the year in the Fiesta Bowl Saturday.
Biyombo (available in 83.5 percent of leagues) turned in his fourth straight game with double-figure rebounds and his third straight double-double on Monday. All told, he is averaging 9.5 points, 13 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in those four games and has the game to maintain those numbers for as long as Nikola Vucevic is sidelined.
Caris LeVert (available in 65 percent of leagues) scored 15 points with 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and a 3-pointer on Monday. This is right in line with his recent play, as over his last five games, he is averaging 16.6 points (49.2 FG%, 72.2 FT%), 7.6 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.6 3-pointers in 28 minutes off the bench.
Thon Maker popped for 16 points (4-8 FG, 5-5 FT), 4 rebounds, 3 3-pointers, an assist, a block and a steal in 18 minutes off the bench. The scoring came from nowhere, as he had combined for only 12 points in his four previous games combined, but the peripheral numbers are becoming more of a norm, as the Bucks continue to give him a consistent 15-20 minutes a night of action.
Andrew Wiggins turned in one of his best all-around performances of the season on Monday, posting a season-high nine rebounds to go with his 21 points, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and 1 3-pointer against the Lakers. Butler still had a bigger line, but if Wiggins can find some consistency on the glass, he could start to move back up in my rest-of-season rankings.