2015 NFL playoff-clinching scenarios

Here are your 2015 NFL playoff-clinching scenarios heading in to week 17:

AFC:

SEED                 TEAM                                DIVISION        RECORD
1.                        New England                        East                 12-3
2.                        Denver                                 West                11-4
3.                        Cincinnati                             North                11-4
4.                        Houston                               South                8-7
5.                        Kansas City                         West                 10-5
6.                        N.Y. Jets                             East                   10-5

STILL ALIVE:
7.                      Pittsburgh                             North                 9-6
10.                    Indianapolis                          South                7-8

ELIMINATED:
8.                     Oakland                                West                 7-8
9.                     Buffalo                                   East                  7-8
11.                  Jacksonville                           South                5-10
12.                  Miami                                      East                  5-10
13.                  Baltimore                                North                5-10
14.                 San Diego                             West                 4-11
15.                  Cleveland                              North                3-12
16.                  Tennessee                           South                 3-12

CLINCHED:

New England Patriots: AFC East + first-round bye
Cincinnati Bengals: AFC North
Denver Broncos: Playoff berth
Kansas City: Playoff berth

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1. NE win or tie OR
2. DEN loss or tie

Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers

Denver clinches AFC West division with:

1. DEN win or tie OR
2. KC loss or tie

Denver clinches a first-round bye with:

1. CIN win OR
2. DEN tie + CIN loss or tie OR
3. KC loss or tie + CIN loss

Denver clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1. DEN win + NE loss

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati clinches a first-round bye with:

1. CIN win + DEN loss or tie OR
2. CIN tie + DEN loss OR
3. DEN loss + KC win

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders

Kansas City clinches AFC West division with:

1. KC win + DEN loss

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills

New York Jets clinch a playoff berth with:

1. NYJ win or tie OR
2. PIT loss or tie

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns

Pittsburgh clinches a playoff berth with:

1. PIT win + NYJ loss

Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Houston clinches AFC South division with:

1. HOU win or tie OR
2. IND loss or tie OR
3. HOU clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over IND or clinches strength of schedule tiebreaker over IND

Houston clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over IND if one of the following teams wins or ties: CIN, NE, NO, NYJ, SD.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans

Indianapolis clinches AFC South division with:

1. IND win + HOU loss + IND ties HOU in strength of victory tiebreaker and clinches strength of schedule tiebreaker over HOU.

IND ties HOU in strength of victory tiebreaker and clinches strength of schedule tiebreaker over HOU if BOTH of the following occurs:

1. All of the following teams win: ATL, BAL, BUF, DEN, MIA
2. OAK win or tie + PIT win or tie as long as both teams don’t tie

NFC

SEED                 TEAM                                DIVISION        RECORD
1.                         Carolina                            South                   14-1
2.                         Arizona                             West                    13-2
3.                         Green Bay                        North                    10-5
4.                         Washington                      East                      8-7
5.                         Minnesota                        North                     10-5
6.                         Seattle                             West                      9-6

ELIMINATED:
7.                        Atlanta                         South                      8-7  
8.                        St. Louis                       West                      7-8
9.                        Detroit                           North                      6-9
10.                      Tampa Bay                   South                      6-9
11.                      New Orleans               South                       6-9
12.                      Chicago                      North                        6-9
13.                      Philadelphia                East                          6-9
14.                      N.Y. Giants                 East                         6-9
15.                     San Francisco             West                        4-11
16.                     Dallas                          East                          4-11

CLINCHED:

Carolina Panthers: NFC South + first-round bye
Arizona Cardinals: NFC West + first-round bye
Green Bay: playoff berth
Seattle: playoff berth
Minnesota: playoff berth

Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Bucs

Carolina clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with

1. CAR win or tie OR
2. ARI loss or tie

Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks

Arizona clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:

1. ARI win + CAR loss

Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings

Green Bay clinches NFC North division with:

1. GB win or tie

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

Minnesota clinches NFC North division with:

1. MIN win

*information obtained from ESPN and CBS Sports

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ROOT SPORTS announces expansion to broadcast Rockets games

On Wednesday, Houston Rockets fans residing across Central and Southwest Texas regions received exciting news as ROOT SPORTS announced a 200,000 household expansion, which are now in the Houston Rockets TV Broadcast Territory and will be able to receive Rockets coverage.

With permission from the NBA, ROOT SPORTS will now be able to make Rockets games available to 400 additional ZIP codes in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Rockets fans in the Austin, San Antonio, Laredo, Waco-Temple-Bryan, Shreveport, Corpus Christi, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and San Angelo areas will now be able to watch the games.

Northern areas that will now be able to broadcast games include Austin suburbs, Round Rock, Georgetown, Pflugerville, Temple, Belton, Killeen, Manor, Bastrop, Leander, Del Rio, Gatesville, Copperas Cove, Lampasas, Salado, Lorena, McGregor, Marlin, Taylor, Mason, Jarrell and San Saba.

For a complete list of ZIP codes that now have Rockets coverage available through ROOT SPORTS, visit http://www.rootsports.com/RocketsTerritory/

ROOT SPORTS is currently available on DIRECTV, AT&T U-Verse, XFINITY and other cable providers. For complete channel listings, visit http://southwest.rootsports.com/alternate-channel-listings/.

On this date: the deadliest sports catastrophe in U.S. history occured

On this date 45 years ago, the deadliest sports catastrophe in U.S. history occurred when Southern Airways Flight 932 crashed in Huntington, West Virginia.

The flight was chartering the 1970 Marshall Football team, which included 37 players, eight coaches, 25 boosters and five flight crew members. All 75 passengers were killed in the crash.

If you have never watched the movie “We Are Marshall” starring Matthew McConaughey, I highly recommend it.

Here’s a archived video of the crash:

Visiting universities is one of my hobbies and visiting Marshall University is definitely on the bucket list.

 

Portland Timbers vs Sporting KC Penalty Shootout

In case you missed the Portland Timbers defeat Sporting KC in the Western Conference MLS Playoffs, do yourself a favor and watch the penalty shootout then thank me later. This was one of the most intense PK shootouts I’ve ever watched.

If you’re any sort of soccer fan, you won’t regret watching this.

 

 

Houston Rockets primed for pursuit of the 2015-2016 NBA Championship

Going into the off-season after having a magical postseason run, yet falling short in the Western Conference Finals to the Golden State Warriors in five games, the Houston Rockets front office had one goal in mind: to bring every member of that squad back for another run at the championship.

Re-signing unrestricted free agents Patrick Beverley, Corey Brewer, K.J. McDaniels and Jason Terry was the Rockets’ top priority, and while they locked each up to multi-year contracts, they also filled a void they were desperately searching for: a point guard.

Daryl Morey, the Rockets’ GM known as the mastermind behind the NBA analytics movement as well as the co-founder of MIT’s annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference held in Boston, pulled off another improbable trade in the off-season.

Ty Lawson

The Rockets traded away Kostas Papanikolaou, Joey Dorsey, Nick Johnson, Pablo Prigioni and a lottery-protected 2016 first-round draft pick to Denver for PG Ty Lawson.

Putting Lawson’s off-court issues in the rear view mirror, he is not only a top 10 point guard who fits perfectly in Kevin McHale’s offense, but he is the point guard James Harden needs.

Last season, Lawson was the seventh best point producer in the league, which combines points and points generated by assist. He is a top 10 shot-creator, he ranked second in team points per game off of drives with 13.9. Who lead that category? James Harden. Lawson also has a incredible basketball IQ, which gives the Rockets arguably the most brilliant backcourt in the NBA this season.

Lawson also fits McHale’s philosophy of going “downhill” and ball movement on the perimeter as he shot 61 percent from the rim last season and most of his assists were dished to three-point shooters.

Lawson comes to a winning Rockets environment that has welcomed him with open arms and has taken care of him after spending the past six seasons with the Denver Nuggets, which the last couple being catastrophic because of coaching changes, missing the postseason and off-court alcohol abuse.

With the Rockets tipping off their 49th season on Oct. 28th at Toyota Center vs. Lawson’s former team the Denver Nuggets, neither talent, athleticism, psychological mindset, free throw shooting, or offense and defense will be the biggest key to the Rockets’ success this season.

Health

Just as any team in the association, health will be the most pivotal deciding factor on how far the Rockets go in the playoffs this season. Last season, the Rockets missed 182 games to injury, which was the highest total for any playoff team in the Western Conference. They still managed to pull off 56 wins and earned the second seed in the conference all while losing starting Center Dwight Howard for 41 games, Forward Terrance Jones for 49 games, starting Guard Patrick Beverley for 26 games and Forward Donatas Motiejunas for 11 games.

If the Rockets can figure out how to defeat their biggest kryptonite for 82 games, and that’s a MASSIVE IF, which is the injury bug, the sky is the limit for this group, because everyone on this team has the correct mentality and one goal in mind.

Pursuit

The term “Pursuit” has a much larger definition for this team than your simple synonyms of quest or chase. The Rockets adapted “Pursuit” as their official marketing campaign and slogan last season, but it’s more than a slogan, it’s a mindset that each player on this roster has stuck to: Pursuit of the championship. Everywhere you look inside Toyota Center, the arena is decked out in “#Pursuit”, fans are wearing shirts that say “#Pursuit”, it has even become its own hashtag on social media for the Rockets and its fans. Every guy in the locker room has strong belief and a great feeling knowing they can accomplish something special.

Each player on this roster knows they will have to give their 110 percent every night and do what they do best individually so everyone can come together as a team and have a shot at winning every game in a brutal Western Conference to accomplish that Pursuit when they hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.

JJ Watt surprises kids at Texas Children’s Hospital dressed up as Batman

Everyone knows Houston Texans Defensive End JJ Watt for his athletic abilities and the impact he makes on the football field, but what a lot of people don’t know is that his biggest muscle is his heart.

From making a six-year-old girl’s wish come true by marrying her for a day to recording a a video on Instagram proving to non-believers he’s friends with a young fan to paying a surprise visit to a 12-year-old Leukemia patient who named his VGo telepresence learning system “Watt”,  you’ve read and heard about the countless emotionally chilling stories about how Watt goes out of his way to impact either an individual or a group of people.

Well, Watt has done it again.

This time, Watt dressed up as Batman and visited Texas Children’s Hospital.

Visiting children in hospitals is a normal routine for Watt, but this visit was rather special because it was for Texas Children’s Hospital’s annual Spirit of Children Halloween party sponsored by Spirit Halloween. Not only was Watt dressed up in costume as Batman, but he also spoke in a deep scratchy Batman voice as he mingled with the children and adults.

Rikki Ragland, owner of Rikki Ragland Media Group and spokesperson for Spirit Halloween, stated on Twitter that her and Watt’s manager worked for a year to make this event happen.

NBC’s “The Today Show” will air a feature on Watt’s visit on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 7 am C.T., so don’t forget to set your DVRs! Check out www.houstontexans.com for a sneak peak of the episode.

Once again another unforgettable gesture by the two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and personally my favorite out of the endless acts he’s done.

Most of you know Watt is one of my biggest role models along with Michael Jordan because of his motivational mindset and work ethic, but also because he uses his fame and fortune to his advantage by collaborating it with his fun loving personality and giving it all back to the community, whether it be visiting sick kids or surprising young fans or taking care of firefighters, JJ is the one person you can look up to even though he’s an athlete/celebrity.

So when you mix Watt and Texans Children’s Hospital, a place I called home for the first half of my life, there’s no better feeling in the world. Seeing smiles on those kids is priceless, especially having been in their shoes and understanding the joy and happiness of meeting an athlete.

Check out the full feature on www.today.com

Also check out the full interview off Watt with NBC Today Show’s Janet Shamlian on www.today.com

 

 

Houston Rockets unveil new alternate jerseys

Houston Rockets fans have been patiently waiting for new jerseys for a long time and their wish finally came true.

The Rockets unveiled three new alternate jerseys on Tuesday, September 15 at a private season ticket holder event at the House of Blues in Downtown Houston. Lights shined bright on stage and cameras flashed at Dwight Howard, Donatas Motiejunas and Sam Dekker as they modeled the new alternates.

image: Pictured L-R: Sam Dekker, Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas stand and model the Houston Rockets’ three new alternate jerseys. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

Pictured L-R: Sam Dekker, Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas stand and model the Houston Rockets’ three new alternate jerseys. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

The sickest jersey of the three was rocked by Sam Dekker, which was an all black jersey with red trim around the shoulder, that says “HOUSTON” on the front. THAT is the road alternate jersey for the 2016-2017 season. Yes, unfortunately fans will have to wait one more year to see the incredibly cool black jerseys.

image: Sam Dekker stands and models the new 2016-2017 Houston Rockets road alternate jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

Sam Dekker stands and models the new 2016-2017 Houston Rockets road alternate jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

But, don’t worry because my personal favorite new alternate jersey was worn by Donatas Motiejunas: a “CLUTCH CITY” jersey! The shirts debuted last season versus the Oklahoma City Thunder; now we get actual ketchup and mustard jerseys that say “CLUTCH CITY” on the front. The only downside about those jerseys is they’re the sleeved jerseys, which in my opinion, look extremely ugly but just because they’re ketchup and mustard and say “CLUTCH CITY” on the front. I’m definitely buying one. Fans won’t have to wait long to see the Rockets wear the “CLUTCH CITY” jerseys as they will debut on Nov. 14 at home versus the Dallas Mavericks.

image: Donatas Motiejunas stands and models the Houston Rockets’ alternate pride “CLUTCH CITY” jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

Donatas Motiejunas stands and models the Houston Rockets’ alternate pride “CLUTCH CITY” jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

The last, and my least favorite jersey of the three is the new home alternate jersey, displayed by Dwight Howard, a sleeved all silver with black trim jersey. When you mix a sleeved jersey with the color silver, that spells disaster. That jersey is so ugly I wish they didn’t even unveil it. But, unfortunately we have to live with it because the jersey will make its debut on Nov. 25 at home versus the Memphis Grizzlies and will be worn six times during the season.

image: Dwight Howard flexes and models the Houston Rockets’ new home alternate jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

Dwight Howard flexes and models the Houston Rockets’ new home alternate jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

A downer in the jersey unveilings is that with the three new jerseys, one jersey has been eliminated from the jersey rotation, and that jersey was not only my favorite but a fan favorite as well: the ketchup and mustard alternate jersey that said “HOUSTON” on the front. So go ahead and wear those jerseys for the last time because the Rockets will not be wearing them anymore.

With the jerseys unveiled, which one is your favorite? Which one will you purchase and add to your jersey collection?

image: From L-R: Sam Dekker, Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas pose for a picture as they model the new Rockets alternate jerseys. Photo courtesy of rockets.com

From L-R: Sam Dekker, Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas pose for a picture as they model the new Rockets alternate jerseys. Photo courtesy of rockets.com