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Ahead of the Curve

Ahead of the Curve is a syndicated football column by Frank Coyle that covers NFL and College football year round. It appears in different national publications and on web sites throughout the season and postseason each year.

NFL Power Poll - Patriots, Giants & Chiefs Move Into Top 5

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NFL Power Poll - Week 15

Patriots, Giants & Chiefs Move Into Top 5 Rankings

Team of the Week - New York Giants

Offensive Player of Week RB Le’Veon Bell - Steelers
Defensive Player of Week CB Janoris Jenkins - Giants

Rookie of Week - QB Carson Wentz - Eagles

Photo - RB Le’Veon Bell - Steelers

Game of Week #15 - New England Patriots (11-2) at Denver Broncos (8-5)

Ranking/Record/Team
#1 - 11-2 - PATRIOTS

Patriots established AFC supremacy again with strong victory over Ravens.

#2 - 11-2 - COWBOYS
The Cowboys’ lost again to the GMen that puts their East title on hold with huge matchup with Bucs Sunday night on the agenda.

#3 - 9-4 - GIANTS
GMen won a gutty game vs Cowboys that made a statement in the NFC. They face the tough Lions at home this week that shapes two divisional races.

#4 - 10-3 - CHIEFS
The Chiefs are undefeated in the AFC West after beating Raiders in critical matchup for divisional leadership.

#5 - 10-3 - RAIDERS
The Raiders have to recover quickly from their Thursday night loss to the Chiefs with trip to San Diego up next.

#6 - 8-5 - BRONCOS
Broncos lost a heartbreaker to Titans and host a vital game with the Patriots for their playoff hopes.

#7 - 8-5 - FALCONS
Falcons stay atop the NFC South after a strong game vs the struggling Rams.

#8 - 9-4 - LIONS
The Lions’ just got by the Bears and QB Matthew Stafford injured his throwing hands. Travel to Met Life for matchup with the Giants that has a huge impact on both divisional races.

#9 - 8-4-1 - SEAHAWKS
Seahawks are struggling and Russell Wilson was horrible with five picks in Packer loss.

#10 - 8-5 - STEELERS
The Steelers won their fourth straight behind a huge performance by back Le’Veon Bell vs the Bills.

#11 - 8-5 - BUCCANEERS
The Bucs are hot with their fifth straight win vs the Saints to tie with the Falcons for NFC South leadership. They travel to Dallas for the acid test in critical Sunday night clash.

#12 - 7-5-1 - REDSKINS
Redskins beat the Eagles to end their two game losing streak. They host the Panthers on Monday night in a must win situation for any postseason hopes.

#13 - 7-6 - TEXANS
The Texans ended a three game losing streak and won a divisional road game vs the Colts to stay atop the close AFC South race.

#14 - 7-6 - VIKINGS
Vikes beat the lowly Jaguars to stay alive in the NFC playoff race. They host the Colts this Sunday where the loser is virtually out of any postseason hopes.

#15 - 7-6 - PACKERS
Packers' won their third straight game with a beat down of the Seahawks that keeps them in the NFC North mix with three weeks left.

#16 - 8-5 - DOLPHINS
The Dolphins have made a fine comeback vs Cardinals and won on a last second FG to overcome a knee injury to QB Ryan Tannehill that keeps him out for at least a few weeks.

#17 - 7-6 - RAVENS
Ravens were beaten by the Patriots and face the Eagles this week at home in vital game to stay alive for their matchup with Steelers on Christmas day.

#18 - 7-6 - TITANS
The Titans went over .500 with big victory over the Broncos that has them tied for first place in the AFC South.

#19 - 6-7 - COLTS
The Colts’ lost a slug out with the Texans that leaves them in tough spot with road games at Minnesota and Oakland up next.

#20 - 5-7-1 - BENGALS
Bengals beat the winless Browns to keep their slim playoff chances alive. Host the Steelers this Sunday that decides their 2016 fate.

#21 - 6-7 - BILLS
Bills lost to the Steelers that all but eliminates them from the postseason, unless they run the table and get a lot of help.

#22 - 5-8 - SAINTS
QB Drew Brees leads the league with 4170 yards passing while the Saints defense has allowed a whopping 351 points.

#23 - 5-7-1 - CARDINALS
The Cardinals lost again this time to the Dolphins, giving up a last second FG on a drive directed by backup QB Matt Moore.

#24 - 5-8 - PANTHERS
Panthers beat the lowly Chargers to keep their slim chances alive with NFC games vs the Redskins and Falcons up next.

#25 - 5-8 - EAGLES
Eagles lost their fourth in a row to the Redskins. They have lost 8 of their last 10 contests making their 3-0 start a distant memory.

#26 - 5-8 - CHARGERS
The Chargers were slammed by the Panthers behind five Philip Rivers turnovers and five sacks.

#27 - 4-9 - JETS
Jets came back and beat the pathetic 49ers behind young QB Bryce Petty. They face three AFC East rivals to finish a terrible season.

#28 - 4-9 - RAMS
The Rams’ were embarrassed by the Falcons that cost HC Jeff Fisher his job this week.

#29 - 3-10 - BEARS
Bears are still fighting but also still losing close games that may once again force big offseason changes.

#30 - 2-11 - JAGUARS
The Jags' lost their eighth straight this time to the Vikings that guarantees another five win or less season and probably a top three selection in April.

#31 - 1-12 - 49ers
The 49ers lost their 12th game in a row to set a new franchise record.

#32 - 0-13 - BROWNS
The Browns lost their 16th straight game and will challenge the Lions winless season.

Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year-round basis related to NFL and College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites

NFL Power Poll - Cowboys, Patriots & Raiders Top Rankings

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NFL Power Poll - Cowboys, Patriots & Raiders Top Rankings

Raiders vs Chiefs Highlight Week 14 Games

Team of the Week - Pittsburgh Steelers

Offensive Player of Week RB Le’Veon Bell - Steelers
Defensive Player of Week Safety Eric Berry - Chiefs

Rookie of Week - RB Jordan Howard - Bears

Photo - Safety Eric Berry - Chiefs

Game of Week #14 – Oakland Raiders (10-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-3)

NFL Ranking /Record /Team
#1 - 11-1 COWBOYS
#2 - 10-2 PATRIOTS
#3 - 10-2 RAIDERS
#4 - 9-3 CHIEFS
#5 - 8-4 BRONCOS
#6 - 8-3-1 SEAHAWKS
#7 - 8-4 LIONS
#8 - 7-5 STEELERS
#9 - 8-4 GIANTS
#10 - 7-5 FALCONS
#11 - 7-5 RAVENS
#12 - 6-6 VIKINGS
#13 - 6-6 PACKERS
#14 - 6-5-1 REDSKINS
#15 - 6-6 TEXANS
#16 - 6-6 COLTS
#17 - 7-5 BUCCANEERS
#18 - 7-5 DOLPHINS
#19 - 5-6-1 CARDINALS
#20 - 6-6 TITANS
#21 - 6-6 BILLS
#22 - 5-7 SAINTS
#23- 5-7 EAGLES
#24 - 5-7 CHARGERS
#25 - 4-7-1 BENGALS
#26 - 4-8 RAMS
#27 - 4-8 PANTHERS
#28 - 3-9 BEARS
#29 - 3-9 JETS
#30 - 2-10 JAGUARS
#31 - 1-11 49ers
#32 - 0-12 BROWNS

NFL Divisional Races Peaking for December Playoff Run

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NFL Power Poll - Week 13

NFL Divisional Races Peaking for December Playoff Run

Team of the Week - Kansas City Chiefs

Offensive Player of Week - WR Odell Beckham - Giants
Defensive Player of Week - DE Khalil Mack - Raiders

Rookie of Week - WR Michael Thomas - Saints

Photo - WR Odell Beckham - Giants

Game of Week #13 - Miami Dolphins (7-4) at Baltimore Ravens (6-5)

NFL Ranking /Record /Team
#1 - 9-2 - PATRIOTS

Patriots know how to win and beat a poor Jets club that finds ways to lose weekly.

#2 - 10-1 - COWBOYS
The Cowboys’ won their 10th in a row on Thanksgiving and return to Thursday night this week vs the Vikings in a key NFC matchup.

#3 - 8-2 - RAIDERS
The Raiders claim their first winning season since 2002 behind another Derek Carr 4th quarter comeback in win over the Panthers.

#4 - 8-3 - GIANTS
GMen extend winning streak to six games vs Browns and head into the teeth of their schedule starting with Steelers this week.

#5 - 8-3 - CHIEFS
The Chiefs came back to beat the Broncos to create a longjam atop the tough AFC West.

#6 - 7-3-1 - SEAHAWKS
Seahawks lost to an emerging Bucs’ club that held the Seahawks without a TD in a 14-5 loss.

#7 - 7-4 - BRONCOS
Broncos lost a heartbreaker to Chiefs and hit the road for games vs Jaguars and Titans next two week.

#8 - 7-4 - FALCONS
Falcons put an ass whippin on the Cardinals and host the stubborn Chiefs in key matchup with postseason implications.

#9 - 7-4 - LIONS
The Lions’ ate the Vikings turkey on Thanksgiving to gain first place in the NFC North.

#10 - 6-4-1 - REDSKINS
Redskins pushed the Cowboys the limit, but came up short. On the road to Arizona and Philly next two weeks in must win situations.

#11 - 6-5 - TEXANS
The Texans lost at home for the first time this season vs the Chargers. Travel to Green Bay and Indy in tough road matchups. They need to rebound to stay atop close AFC South race.

#12 - 6-5 - VIKINGS
Vikes need to regroup quickly after loss to the Lions with Cowboys coming in for vital matchup for any postseason hopes.

#13 - 7-4 - DOLPHINS
The Dolphins have made a fine comeback and did again with last second defensive stand vs the 49ers. Travel to Ravens in a game that may determine both clubs’ 2016 fate.

#14 - 6-5 - RAVENS
Ravens won key AFC North contest with the Bengals and host the resurging Dolphins in key AFC battle.

#15 - 6-5 - STEELERS
The Steelers won their second in a row vs the Colts and host the Giants in a crucial game for postseason hopes.

#16 - 5-6 - PACKERS
Packers' drilled the Eagles to stay alive for playoffs. Host the Texans and Seahawks next two weeks in major contests for each club.

#17 - 6-5 - BILLS
Bills beat the Jaguars for two in a row. Face AFC playoff clubs the Raiders and Steelers the next wo weeks.

#18 - 6-5 - BUCCANEERS
The Bucs won a major challenge vs the Seahawks that have them dreaming postseason for the first time in a decade. Travel to San Diego for dangerous trap game.

#19 - 5-6 - COLTS
The Colts’ get Andrew Luck back for Monday night affair with Jets at MetLife in a vital game for their postseason hopes.

#20 - 5-6 - EAGLES
Eagles were hammered again this time by the Packers and face must win situations vs Bengals and Redskins over next two games.

#21 - 6-6 - TITANS
The Titans won last the Bears and get a late bye week before a final run at the playoffs.

#22 - 5-6 - CHARGERS
The Chargers won a major matchup vs the Texans, but play in the best division in football that may keep them at .500 for the season.

#23 - 5-6 - SAINTS
QB Drew Brees toasted the Rams last week and the Saints host the Lions in a major NFC matchup that can shape two divisions.

#24 - 4-6-1 - CARDINALS
The Cardinals lost again this time to the Falcons and host the Redskins in a must win situation for even a shot for the postseason.

#25 - 4-7 - RAMS
The Ram’s handed the ball to top pick QB Jared Goff and he had some good moments, but the defense collapsed in big spots again.

#26 - 3-7-1 - BENGALS
Bengals fell to the Ravens and probably would have to run the table to challenge for a playoff spot.

#27 - 4-7 - PANTHERS
Panthers lost late to the Raiders that puts them in a desperate situation vs the Seahawks and Chargers up the next two weeks.

#28 - 3-8 - JETS
Jets played the Pats tough, but don’t know how to win close games and appear headed for another top 5-8 draft position.

#29 - 2-9 - JAGUARS
The Jags' lost their sixth straight to the Bills and host the hungry Broncos this Sunday.

#30 - 2-9 - BEARS
Bears came up just short vs the Titans. Host the 49ers this week with loser the NFC basement champ.

#31 - 1-10 - 49ers
The 49ers lost their 10th in a row to the Dolphins. QB Colin Kaepernick actually played well for the first time in three years.

#32 - 0-12 - BROWNS
The Browns were whipped by the GMen, but can’t lose this Sunday with their bye week mercifully here.

Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year-round basis related to NFL and College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites

NFL Power Poll - Cowboys & Seahawks Head NFC Races

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NFL Power Poll - Week 12

Cowboys Win 9th Straight vs Ravens - Host Redskins for Thanksgiving Clash

Team of the Week - Oakland Raiders

Offensive Player of the Week - QB Derek Carr - Raiders
Defensive Player of the Week - DE Jason Pierre Paul - Giants

Rookie of Week - QB Dak Prescott - Cowboys

Photo - QB Derek Carr - Raiders

Game of Week #12 - Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) at Denver Broncos (7-3)

NFL Ranking /Record /Team
#1 - 8-2 - PATRIOTS

Patriots beat a poor 49er club and are again walking to the best record in the AFC for home postseason games.

#2 - 9-1 - COWBOYS
The Cowboys’ are riding rookie back Ezekiel Elliott back to the top of the NFC East.

#3 - 7-2-1 - SEAHAWKS
Seahawks are gaining momentum with winning QB and tough defense.

#4 - 7-2 - RAIDERS
The Raiders continue to deliver in crunch time with big victory Monday night vs Texans.

#5 - 7-3 - BRONCOS
Broncos rested after their bye week and host the Chiefs in key AFC West contest on Sunday night.

#6 - 7-3 - GIANTS
GMen face the winless Browns in hopes to extend winning streak to six games.

#7 - 7-3 - CHIEFS
The Chiefs loss to the Bucs ended their five game streak. Travel to Denver for major AFC West matchup.

#8 - 6-4 - FALCONS
Falcons coming off their bye week and host the Cardinals holding a 1 game lead in NFC South.

#9 - 6-3-1 - REDSKINS
Redskins took it to the Packers and prepare to face the Cowboys in Big D on Thanksgiving.

#10 - 6-4 - TEXANS
The Texans lost a close game to the Raiders on Monday night, but their still the head dog in the AFC South.

#11 - 6-4 - LIONS
The Lions’ won their fifth game in last six, trailing in 4th quarter in every game.

#12 - 6-4 - VIKINGS
Vikes broke their four game losing streak with win over Cardinals and travel to Detroit for critical Turkey day matchup with Lions.

#13 - 5-5 - RAVENS
Ravens lost to the Cowboys and host the Bengals in key AFC North matchup with divisional lead in the balance.

#14 - 5-5 - EAGLES
Eagles were hammered by the Seahawks and have a key NFC matchup with the Packers on Monday night.

#15 - 6-4 - DOLPHINS
The Dolphins offense came to life late in the Rams game for their 5th win in a row.

#16 - 5-5 - COLTS
The Colts’ won back to back games for the first time this year and host the Steelers in Thanksgiving matchup critical for both teams’ postseason hopes.

#17 - 5-5 - STEELERS
The Steelers ended their four game losing streak with victory over the pathetic Browns. Road matchup with Colts becomes almost a must win situation for any postseason hopes.

#18 - 4-5-1 - CARDINALS
The Cardinals lost a tough game vs the Vikings and face the Falcons and Redskins in key NFC games that will decide any postseason aspirations.

#19 - 5-5 - BILLS
Bills held on vs the Bengals to end their three game losing streak and keep their playoff hopes alive.

#20 - 5-5 - BUCCANEERS
The Bucs ended the Chiefs five game winning streak. Host the Seahawks in key matchup that may determine their playoff reality.

#21 - 5-6 - TITANS
The Titans lost their 11th straight game vs divisional rival, the Colts. They travel to Chicago to keep their playoff hopes alive.

#22 - 4-6 - PACKERS
Packers' were drilled by Washington that puts them two games under .500 heading to Philadelphia for critical Monday night matchup.

#23 - 4-6 - CHARGERS
The Chargers are rested from their bye week and face a key stretch where they must start a run for any chances for the postseason. Travel to Houston for huge AFC matchup.

#24 - 4-6 - RAMS
The Ram’s offensive problems persist under top pick Jared Goff, but they edged out a victory vs the inept Jets.

#25 - 3-6-1 - BENGALS
Bengals were shut out in the 2nd half by the Bills that turned into their next defeat and that leaves the postseason hopes fading quickly.

#26 - 4-6 - SAINTS
Lost tight game vs the Panthers and face must win situation for their playoff hopes vs the Rams this week.

#27 - 4-6 - PANTHERS
Panthers beat the Saints on Thursday night and have had 10 days to prepare for trip to Oakland that may be their last chance to start a run.

#28 - 3-7 - JETS
Jets come off their bye week after another weak offensive showing vs the Rams. They host the hated Patriots which may be their only highlight of the season if they pull off the upset.

#29 - 2-8 - JAGUARS
The Jags' headed for another sub five win season and possible #1 overall selection in April.

#30 - 2-8 - BEARS
Bears host Titans and 49ers over the next two weeks and possible only winnable contests left on schedule. QB Jake Cutler may be done for the season and possibly in Chi town.

#31 - 1-9 - 49ers
The 49ers have not won since opening weekend. They travel to Miami and Chicago in their next games.

#32 - 0-11 - BROWNS
The Browns find new ways to lose weekly with mistake prone defeat to the Steelers. They host the GMen before a merciful bye week.

Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year-round basis related to NFL and College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites

College Bowl Games - Schedule 20016-2017

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College Bowl Games - Schedule 20016-2017
all times Eastern

Photo - Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban - 2016 National Champions

Bowl Game/Date/Time/Site
New Mexico - Dec. 17, 2 p.m. Albuquerque, N.M.
Las Vegas - Dec. 17, 3:30 p.m. Las Vegas, Nev.
Camellia - Dec. 17, 5:30 p.m. Montgomery, Ala.
New Orleans - Dec. 17, 9 p.m. New Orleans, La.
Miami Beach - Dec. 19, 2:30 p.m. Miami, Fla.
Boca Raton - Dec. 20, 7 p.m. Boca Raton, Fla.
Poinsettia - Dec. 21, 9 p.m. San Diego, Calif.
Potato - Dec. 22, 7 p.m. Boise, Idaho
Bahamas - Dec. 23, 1 p.m. Nassau, Bahamas
Armed Forces - Dec. 23, 4:30 p.m. Fort Worth, Tex.
Go Daddy - Dec. 23, 8 p.m. Mobile, Ala.
Hawaii - Dec. 24, 8 p.m. Honolulu, Hawaii
St. Petersburg - Dec. 26, 11 a.m. St. Petersburg, Fla.
Quick Lane - Dec. 26, 2:30 p.m. Detroit, Mich.
Independence - Dec. 26, 5 p.m. Shreveport, Louisiana
Heart of Dallas - Dec. 27, Noon Dallas, Texas
Military - Dec. 27, 3:30 p.m. Annapolis, Maryland
Holiday - Dec. 27, 7 p.m. San Diego, Calif.
Cactus - Dec. 27, 10:15 p.m. Phoenix, Ariz.
Pinstripe - Dec. 28, 2 p.m. New York, NY
Russell Athletic - Dec. 28, 5:30 p.m. Orlando, Fla.
Foster Farms - Dec. 28, 8:30 p.m. Santa Clara, Calif.
Texas - Dec. 28, 9 p.m. Houston, Texas
Birmingham - Dec. 29, 2 p.m. Birmingham, Ala.
Belk - Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m. Charlotte, N.C.
Alamo - Dec. 29, 9 p.m. San Antonio, Texas
Arizona - Dec. 30, TBD Tucson, Ariz.
Liberty - Dec. 30, Noon Memphis, Tenn.
Sun - Dec. 30, 2 p.m. El Paso, Texas
Music City - Dec. 30, 3:30 p.m. Nashville, Tenn.
Orange - Dec. 30, 8 p.m. Miami Gardens, Fla.

Peach Bowl - Dec. 31, TBD Atlanta, Ga. - CFP Semifinal
Fiesta Bowl - Dec. 31, TBD Glendale, Ariz. - CFP Semifinal

Taxslayer - Dec. 31, 11 a.m. Jacksonville, Fla.
Citrus - Dec. 31, 11 a.m. Orlando, Fla.
Outback - Jan. 2, 1 p.m. Tampa, Fla.
Cotton - Jan. 2, 1 p.m. Arlington, Texas
Rose - Jan. 2, 5 p.m. Pasadena, Calif.
Sugar - Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m. New Orleans, La.

CFP National Championship
Jan. 9 - TBD Tampa, Fla. - Peach Winner vs. Fiesta Winner

FBS College Football Playoff: Eligible Conferences
• FBS Independents - Army, BYU, Navy and Notre Dame are also eligible for the College Football Playoff.

Semifinals Host Rotation
Year - ROSE/ SUGAR/ ORANGE/COTTON/PEACH/ FIESTA CHAMPIONSHIP

2016-17 - Jan. 2 - Jan. 2 - Dec. 31 - Jan. 2 - * Dec. 31 /* Dec. 31 - Jan. 9
2017-18 - * Jan. 1 - *Jan. 1 - Dec. 30 - Dec. 30 - Jan. 1 - Dec. 30 - Jan. 8
* Denotes the bowl playing host to a national championship semifinal game

Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites

NFL Draft News - NFL-AFCA Reach Agreement Regarding Expanded Contact With Underclassmen

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NFL Draft News Update

NFL-AFCA Reach Agreement Regarding Expanded Contact With Underclassmen
Deal Provides Additional Evaluation of Underclassmen’ Draft Potential

The National Football League and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) have an agreement to provide NFL scouting personnel with greater access to underclassmen who may elect to apply for special eligibility for the NFL Draft.

The NFL is making it easier for underclassman football players to get a sense of their professional value and potential. Beginning this upcoming February, underclassmen who are considering leaving school for the NFL Draft in 2018 have an avenue to get as full an evaluation as possible from the league’s College Advisory Committee. That’s the industry panel of talent evaluators that offers feedback to college upperclassmen (or otherwise draft-eligible players) interested in leaving school early for the draft, usually after their junior seasons.

Starting this upcoming February, underclassmen who might want to leave school for the NFL Draft in 2018 have an avenue to get as full an evaluation as possible from the league’s College Advisory Committee. That’s the industry panel of talent evaluators that offers feedback to college upperclassmen (or otherwise draft-eligible players) interested in leaving school early for the draft, usually after their junior seasons.

Five underclassmen per program will be allowed to participate in their schools’ pro days next spring, where scores of NFL coaches and scouts come to watch. Then, NFL teams will continue to scout them through the fall as if they were already draft-eligible for their junior season. This gives NFL teams more knowledge into their evaluation and decision-making processes.

The goal of the agreement – which goes into effect in February of 2017 – is to enable NFL scouts to obtain additional background information for a limited number of underclassmen prior to and during their potential final college football season, ultimately helping enable the NFL College Advisory Committee to provide a more informed evaluation of the players’ draft potential.

“The more information our College Advisory Committee has, the better evaluations they can make for student-athletes who are at a critical juncture of their lives,” said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. “While there is no question that obtaining a college degree is a transformative experience for so many people in society and a goal to which we encourage everyone to aspire to, for those talented few individuals that have the ability to succeed in the NFL prior to exhausting their college football eligibility, this new agreement will ensure they have better information with which to make their decision. We appreciate the efforts of our partners at the AFCA in making this new agreement a reality.”

Beginning in February, each NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) school may designate a maximum of five underclassmen who may apply for special eligibility for the 2018 Draft to be permitted additional scouting. Those players may be timed, tested and interviewed prior to their 2017 college seasons at the school’s senior pro day for 2017 draft-eligible players. FBS schools may request the ability to designate more than five players, subject to the determination of the NFL that the players are legitimate draft prospects.

NFL clubs will also be permitted to inquire about and scout these players throughout the 2017 season as though they were seniors in their final season of college football eligibility. There is no limit to the number of underclassmen from an individual school that may petition for special eligibility for the draft.

The NFL College Advisory Committee was created in 1994 at the request of the AFCA. The committee serves in a limited advisory capacity for underclassmen who are seriously considering early entry into the NFL Draft. The committee is comprised of senior personnel evaluators from NFL clubs, along with directors from the league’s two sanctioned scouting organizations – National Football Scouting and BLESTO.

NFL 2016 Predictions - Cardinals-Chiefs - Super Bowl LI Matchup

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NFL 2016 Predictions - Cardinals-Chiefs - Super Bowl LI Matchup

DraftInsiders.com - NFL 2016 Predictions
Cardinals Picked as NFL Champion in Super Bowl LI

Photo - QB Brock Osweiler - Texans

Offensive Player of the Year
– QB Aaron Rodgers - Packers
Defensive Player of the Year
– Ndamukong Shu - Dolphins

Rookies of the Year
Offense - RB Ezekiel Elliott - Cowboys
Defense - LB Leonard Floyd - Bears

NFC
EAST
New York Giants - 11-5 –

Giants can play with anyone on the league, but must stay healthy and play more consistently. They have a potent attack that adds rookie Sterling Shepherd, in addition to a revamped defense that has a talented front four that can be a difference in big games.
Washington Redskins - 9-7 –
Skins return veteran QB Kirk Cousins who lead them to a divisional title in a weak division. They play a tougher schedule and their offense lacks many playmakers. Their defense needs to improve their pass rush with little talent other than Ryan Kerrigan. Their secondary improved with the addition of CB Josh Norman. Skins might struggle to make the playoffs in a wide open division.
Philadelphia Eagles - 8-8 –
Eagles made major changes with adding rookie top pick Carson Wentz who will start early after the trade of veteran QB Sam Bradford. They have questions along the line and at wideout that could create inconsistencies on offense. The defense is a playoff level, though marginal depth.
Dallas Cowboys - 6-10 –
QB Tony Romo is out until midseason and rookie QB Dak Prescott starts in the interim. Rookie back Ezekiel Elliot can provide major impact behind a talented line. Wideout Dez Bryant must return to Pro Bowl form to balance this attack. Their defense is average at best and they must prove they can contain playoff caliber offenses.

NORTH
Green Bay Packers -11-5 -

Aaron Rodgers is still the premier QB in the game and will benefit with the return of veteran wideout Jordy Nelson. They look to a revitalized Eddie Lacy to return this ground game to former levels. Their defense must prove it can win in big situations after recent collapses.
Minnesota Vikings - 8-8 -
Vikes moved quickly to replace injury starter Teddy Bridgewater with the trade for veteran Sam Bradford. They believe they are close to challenging for a title behind premier tailback Adrian Peterson and an improving defense. Defense has improved steadily over recent seasons.
Detroit Lions - 6- 10 –
Lions will miss Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson and leaves a hole for the potent attack directed by vet QB Matt Stafford. Their young improving defense is still not at playoff levels.
Chicago Bears - 6-10 -
Bears look to erratic veteran QB Jay Cutler to direct this average offense. The young defense was one of the worst in this league last season and look to new additions, top pick LB Leonard Floyd and DE Jon Bullard to step in and provide impact.

SOUTH
Carolina Panthers - 10-6 –

Panthers will ride QB Cam Newton to repeat as the divisional leader. He looks for the return of talented wideout Kelvin Benjamin who missed the clubs’ Super bowl run. Their talented front seven will hope to cover a young and suspect secondary that may struggle this fall. They face a very tough schedule and could go through some difficult periods to return to postseason.
New Orleans Saints - 10-6 –
The Saints resigned veteran QB Drew Brees who is the backbone of this franchise. The offense ranks with the best in the game. Their battered defense needs to step up and looks to young defenders, top pick DL Sheldon Rankins and veterans, LB Stephone Anthony and James Laurinaitis to provide stability.
Atlanta Falcons - 8-8 –
Falcons hope to continue their late season improvement in a division that is wide open. QB Matt Ryan looks to new vet wideout Mohamed Sanu to compliment playmaker Julio Jones. Their defense must improve especially the pass rush with young LB Vic Beasley vital for impact off the edge. They face a very tough schedule that might limit must progress.
Tampa Bay Bucs - 6-10 –
The Bucs began the Jameis Winston era with a 4000 yard passing effort, in addition to a strong ground game. Talented young offense should continue to improve. The defense needs to develop a strong rush to protect a secondary with a few key changes.

WEST
Arizona Cardinals – 11-5 –
Cards look to build off last years’ playoff run behind vet QB Carson Palmer and a strong group of playmakers. They look to a young emerging defense to improve further especially in big game situations.
Seattle Seahawks - 9-7 –
Seahawks may be hard pressed to win this divisional title after the retirement of runner Marshawn Lynch, the linchpin of their attack. QB Russell Wilson directs a strong run oriented offense that faces key changes. Their defense remains among the elite in the game.
Los Angeles Rams - 8-8 –
Rams look to build off an improved offense directed by rookie top pick QB Jared Goff who probably takes over early in the season. Runner Todd Gurley is the backbone of this attack and remains their indispensable performer. Their defense looks to a young front line that features two #1 picks, in Arik Armstead and DeForrest Buckner. Their young secondary may be vulnerable this season f them dangerous to make the playoffs.
San Francisco 49ers - 5-11 –
The 49ers sustained numerous key changes with young QB Blaine Gabbert taking over the starting job. Their defense looks to a young front line that features two #1 picks, in Arik Armstead and DeForrest Buckner. Their young secondary may be vulnerable this season with the 49ers most likely struggling to attain the .500 mark.

Divisional Champs
Giants, Packers, Panthers and Cardinals

Wild Card Clubs
Vikings & Saints

NFC Championship
Cardinal beat Packers in wild NFC title game.

For AFC Predictions – Go to next Page

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