NFL Week 17 Tidbits and Predictions
NFL Week 17
The calendar is about to turn to 2013. The 2012 NFL schedule is in week 17 which means for many teams this is it, but for many teams this is their final tune-up before they enter the playoffs.
This slideshow article is a look at tidbits and picks for all 16 games. All 16 games are division rival vs division rival.
The NFC East is still looking for its champion as the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins do battle in the nation's capital.
The NFC North games have massive importance this weekend. The Minnesota Vikings need to win in order to secure the #6 seed in the NFC and they host the Green Bay Packers who need to win in order to secure the #2 seed in the NFC. The Chicago Bears are at the Detroit Lions and they need to win to have a chance at the playoffs (they would need to win, plus have the Vikings lose).
The NFC West is likely going to be won by the San Francisco 49ers, but they have to beat the Arizona Cardinals in week 17 to secure the division. The NFC's biggest fear has to be that the 49ers lose and the Seattle Seahawks beat the St. Louis Rams because that would mean the Seahawks will have a playoff game(s) in Seattle where they are absolutely awesome.
The AFC playoff picture is set as far as who is in, but the Houston Texans (current #1 seed) the Denver Broncos (#2) New England Patriots (#3) Baltimore Ravens (#4) Indianapolis Colts (#5) and Cincinnati Bengals (#6 currently) could all change seeds depending on the week 17 results.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (five straight losses) and the Detroit Lions (seven straight losses) will try to end their massive slides and be able to end 2012 on a positive note.
Andy Reid, Norv Turner, Ron Rivera, Jim Schwartz, Ken Whisenhunt, Chan Gailey, and Romeo Crennel are all likely coaching thier final game with their current teams this week (perhaps Dennis Allen, Mike Mularkey, and Mike Munchak too).
Buccaneers at Falcons
(6-9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (13-2)
The Buccs are 3-4 on the road, while the Falcons are 7-0 at home.
Matt Ryan has been decent-at-best vs the Buccs in his career, but his team does a great job around him and the Falcons beat the Buccs regularly. Despite just nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions Ryan has a 7-2 record vs TB. In their week 12 match-up (24-23 Falcons victory) Ryan was impressive. He has 26 for 32 for 353 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Josh Freeman hates the Falcons. He has just eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions vs ATL. Including the week 12 loss to the Falcons Freeman is 1-6 vs them.
Atlanta cannot be caught for the top seed in the NFC so we will see if they rest anyone in this game. One thing I would anticipate is that we will see Michael Turner rest and Jacquizz Rodgers play. Rodgers actually led the Falcons in rushing in that week 12 game with 49 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.
Doug Martin has had a monster rookie season. He has an excellent chance to finish the season in the top-5 for rushing yards, and he has 10 rushing touchdowns in 2012 (and counting?). Six of those touchdowns have come on the road where is averaging 5.0 yards per carry. The Falcons allow a whopping 4.8 yards per carry (only three teams are worse) so we should see a productive game from Martin in this one.
The Buccs rush defense yields a measly 3.5 yards per carry (best in the NFL).
Tampa Bay has seen 6-4 plummet allll the way down to 6-9 thanks to their current five game losing streak.
Atlanta is the least penalized team in the NFL.
Atlanta converts a gaudy 47% of their 3rd downs (impressive).
If this was not a meaningless game for the Falcons I would take them, big-time, but I am taking Tampa Bay to win this game.
Bears at Lions
(9-6) Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (4-11)
The Bears are 4-3 on the road, while the Lions are 2-5 at home.
The Bears have won eight of the last nine games between these two teams.
Week 7 the Bears beat the Lions 13-7. The difference in that game was the Bears forced four turnovers, the Lions forced none.
Jay Cutler is 6-2 in his career vs the Lions. He has 11 touchdowns and just one interception vs them. In that week 7 game Cutler was 16 for 31 for just 150 yards plus a touchdown.
Matt Forte needs just nine yards to get 1,000 rushing yards for the third time in his career (in the two seasons where Forte did not go over 1,000 he was shy of 1,000 by a total of 74 yards so this guy is consistently around 1,000+ yards). In that week 7 game Forte had 96 yards on 22 carries (4.4 yards per carry average).
Matt Stafford is just 1-4 vs the Bears in his career. He has five touchdowns and seven interceptions vs them.
Calvin Johnson will look to add to his record breaking season (for article on Megatron's record season vs previous 1995 Jerry Rice record CLICK HERE)
The Bears require this win to give them a chance at the playoffs. If they win and the Green Bay Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings then the Bears would be the #6 seed in the NFC playoffs.
In the last seven weeks the Bears are just 2-5, but in that same span the Lions are 0-7. Both teams are struggling, but I will take the Bears to win this game.
Packers at Vikings
(11-4) Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (9-6)
The Packers are 4-3 on the road, while the Vikings are 6-1 at home.
Big ol' game here. Mega NFC playoff implications. With a victory the Packers will go from the #3 seed to the #2 seed which means a wild-card weekend bye. With a victory the Vikes would secure the #6 seed and surprise everyone by qualifying for the playoffs.
The Packers have won five straight vs the Vikings, including a 23-14 week 13 win. That game was 14-10 for Minny at the half, but the second half was all Green Bay. The Packers rushed for 152 yards in that game. Anytime the Pack can pair a legit run attack to their amazing passing game they are not going to be defeated.
Adrian Peterson is having an outstanding 2012 season. In his career he averages 113 rushing yards per game vs the Packers. In that week 13 game he went off for 210 yards on 21 carries (10 yards per carry...wow).
Aaron Rodgers has been awesome vs the Vikings. He is 7-3 with 20 touchdowns and just four interceptions vs them.
Christian Ponder is not a legit NFL quarterback. The Packers will need to focus on tight end Kyle Rudolph who has nine touchdown catches this season (with Percy Harvin OUT the next highest Vikes touchdown catcher has one...yikes).
The Vikes are short on talent, but they do not beat themselves with penalty mistakes.
Minny has been awesome at home, but last weeks Seahawks victory over the 49ers made it possible for the Packers to earn the #2 seed in the NFC. I am taking the Packers to win this game.
Panthers at Saints
(6-9) Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (7-8)
The Panthers are 3-4 on the road, while the Saints are 4-3 at home.
The Panthers are hot. They came into 2012 as a team that was seemingly on the rise, but they were terrible for most of the season. Lately they have been very good as they are on a 4-1 run.
Cam Newton has been awesome lately. In his last six games he has 15 touchdowns (11 passing and four rushing) and just one interception. On the road Newton has 15 touchdowns (11 passing and four rushing) with just four interceptions. In a week 2 Panthers victory over the Saints (35-27) Newton was 14 for 20 for 253 passing yards and a touchdown, plus he rushed for 71 yards and another touchdown.
Drew Brees is just 7-6 in his career vs the Panthers. He has 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions vs them. In that week 2 game Brees was 31 for 49 for 325 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
On defense the Saints will have a lot to contend with with this suddenly hot Panthers offense, but the Panthers defense will surely have their hands full vs this Saints offense. A key player here is Darren Sproles. He did whatever he wanted in that week 2 match-up. Brees threw to him 14 times in that game and they were successful 13 times for 128 yards. The Saints will be looking to end their nightmare 2012 season with a victory and we can expect Brees to throw a ton, and Sproles will surely be the target many times.
I like the way the Panthers are playing for their coach as he is seemingly on a very hot seat, but I think the Saints will be ready/motivated to give their home fans a good home victory to end their 2012 season. Saints win.
Eagles at Giants
(4-11) Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (8-7)
The Eagles are 2-5 on the road, while the Giants are 5-2 at home.
This is surely the final game as Eagles for Andy Reid and Mike Vick. This is also surely the final game of both teams 2012 season.
In week 4 the Eagles beat the Giants 19-17. Since then Philly is a putrid 1-10 (yikes). The Giants have won just two of their past seven games so we have two teams playing very poor football these days. Two teams with high hopes for the season, but the Eagles are long eliminated and the Giants need things to break in their favor to make the playoffs (very unlikely).
In his career Vick is 6-2 vs the Giants. Vick has not played a full game since early November, but Nick Foles is OUT with a hand issue.
Eli Manning has 29 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in his career vs Philly, but his record is just 7-10 vs them.
In that week 4 game Domenick Hixon had 114 receiving yards. He has not been near that production in any other 2012 game. Victor Cruz had 109 in that game, and has over 1,000 yards on the season, but in his last two games he has a combined 36 receiving yards (yikes).
DeSean Jackson had 99 yards in that week 4 game, but we know he is OUT. Jeremy Maclin is sure to be the top target for Vick in this game.
Bryce Brown exploded on the scene, but his last three weeks have been bad. He has a combined 58 yards and zero touchdowns in the last three games. LeSean McCoy is back and we can expect he will be the main running back for Philly in this game. Only six teams allow more yards per carry than the Giants.
The Eagles own this match-up. It is very difficult to take the Eagles these days, but I will take them to win this game.
Cowboys at Redskins
(8-7) Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (9-6)
The Cowboys are 4-3 on the road, and the Redskins are 4-3 at home
The Giants spent the majority of 2012 as the lead dogs in the NFC East, yet the final NFL game of 2012 between the Cowboys and Redskins will determine the division winner. The winner will host the #6 seed in the wild-card round, while the loser will be done.
These two teams had a great Thanksgiving day game with the 'Skins winning 38-31. That was the second win in the Redskins current six game winning streak. The Cowboys are 3-1 since that game.
The Cowboys will be looking to DeMarco Murray to provide some balance for their offense. In that Thanksgiving game the Cowboys were without Murray and their leading rusher was Felix Jones who had a horrid 14 yards (yikes).
Dez Bryant has been awesome at home where he averages over 100 receiving yards and one touchdown per game. His road production is half of his home production (52 yards per game on the road with one touchdown every two road games). He will need to have a massive day in this one for the Cowboys to win.
The Redskins running game is awesome with Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris. In that Thanksgiving game Morris went over 100+ yards, and on the season Morris is averaging a whopping 4.7 yards per carry. He has taken one to the house five times in his last five games.
RG III was 19 for 27 for 304 yards with one interceptions and a whopping four touchdowns vs the Cowboys. Tony Romo is just 7-7 vs Washington with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Both quarterbacks are h-o-t. Romo is on a run of 17 touchdowns vs just three interceptions.
These are two of the most penalized teams in the NFL. Washington was better than Dallas in this area in that Thanksgiving game and I would think which ever team has the fewest penalties in this game will win too.
I will take the Redskins to win this game.
Cardinals at 49ers
(5-10) Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1)
The Cardinals are 1-6 on the road, while the 49ers are 5-1-1 at home.
The 49ers have won six of the last seven meetings between these two teams including a week 8 win (24-3).
In that game Alex Smith was 18 for 19 with three touchdowns, but we know Colin Kaepernick will be under center for the Niners.
The Cardinals are horrid. Any stat you covet/have in high regard you will see the Cards are at the bottom of the page. Worth saying again, the Cardinals are horrid.
The 49ers were routed by the Seahawks last week and that dropped them from the #2 seed in the NFC to the #3 seed. That is a massive difference as the #2 is off for wild-card weekend while the #3 has to play that weekend which of course risks a first round upset exit from the playoffs.
A San Fran victory would mean they host at least one playoff game, but a loss combined with a Seattle win over the St. Louis Rams would demote the 49ers to a wild-card spot which would mean their playoff game(s) would be on the road.
The Niners need to win, and they need the Vikings to beat the Packers in order to get back to the #2 seed. I would think that is unlikely (the part about the Packers losing I mean).
Aldon Smith has a whopping 19.5 sacks this season, but he has zero the past two games. Arizona has allowed (by far) the most sacks in the NFL so we should see a big game from Smith and the 49ers defense.
I think this will be the last game as a head coach for Ken Whisenhunt, and it will be his teams 11th loss of the season which would be a 1-11 finish to their season (yikes). 49ers win.
Rams at Seahawks
(7-7-1) St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks (10-5)
The Rams are 3-3-1 on the road, while the Seahawks are an awesome 7-0 at home.
These two played in week 4 and the Rams won 19-13. Russell Wilson was just 17 for 25 in that game for 160 yards. He had zero touchdowns and a whopping three interceptions. The Wilson we have seen lately is clearly much better than that.
Wilson has been phenominal at home where he has 16 touchdowns and just two interceptions. His quarterback rating at home is 121.5 (wow).
The past three weeks the Seahawks are averaging a 50-10 victory. What? WOW. I have never seen numbers like that.
A 'Hawks win combined with a 49ers loss to the Cardinals would mean Seattle vaults from the #5 seed to the #3 seed in the NFC. That is dangerous for the NFC as no team wants to play at Seattle these days.
Marshawn Lynch has seven of his 11 touchdowns at home, and he averages 4.8 yards per carry there. Lynch has gone north of 100 yards in his last four home games, and in that week 4 game Lynch had 118 and a touchdown.
Seattle took an early 7-0 lead in that game, but they were pedestrian the rest of that game. The Rams are scoring just 1.9 points per 1st quarter (worst in NFL). In this game I think Seattle will once again get off to a quick start, but they will use their running game/defense/hot play of Wilson to build the lead and coast to their 11th victory (their most since their 2005 Super Bowl runner-up season).
Jets at Bills
(6-9) New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (5-10)
The Jets are 3-4 on the road, while the Bills are 3-4 at home.
The Jets have won six straight vs the Bills, including week 1 this season (48-28).
In that game Mark Sanchez was 19 for 27 and he had three touchdowns (season-high) and one interception. We know this game will see Sanchez backing up Greg McElroy who has as many passes thrown on the road as you or I have, which is to say zero.
Shonn Greene had 94 rushing yards and a touchdown in that game. For the rest of the season Greene averaged just 64 yards per game. On the road Greene has just two touchdowns, and he averages just 3.4 yards per carry.
The Bills need to win to get to 4-4 at home. The 90's saw home win after home win for this franchise, but the 2000's have seen the Bills lose more games in Buffalo than they have won.
When Ryan Fitzpatrick does not turn the ball over the Bills win. In their five wins Fitz has seven touchdown passes and just one interception. Both teams only have 11 interceptions this season so neither quarterback should be in danger in this game of throwing the game away.
In his career Fitzpatrick is 1-6 vs the J-E-T-S JetsJetsJets. He has 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. In that week 1 game Fitz had three touchdowns and three interceptions.
C.J. Spiller has gone over 100+ the last two weeks, and in week 1 vs the Jets he had 169 yards with a whopping 12.1 yards per carry (plus a touchdown).
The Jets are horrid, but the Bills are almost just as bad. In a battle of two terrible teams I will take the Bills to win this game.
Ravens at Bengals
(10-5) Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)
The Ravens are 4-3 on the road, while the Bengals are 3-4 at home.
The Ravens have won four in a row over the Bengals. That includes a week 1 beat-down (44-13 Ravens).
Joe Flacco is 6-3 vs Cincy with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Andy Dalton has yet to beat the Ravens (0-3) and has yet to throw a touchdown pass vs the Ravens (zero touchdowns, four interceptions). Flacco has been wonderful at home (15 touchdowns and just five interceptions) while Dalton has been better at home than on the road so we see this is advantage - Ravens.
The Ravens are the #4 seed in the AFC. Currently they are slated to host the Indianapolis Colts in week one of the playoffs. If they win this game and the New England Patriots lose their game (Pats are home vs the Miami Dolphins) then the Ravens would be the #3 seed based on their week 3 victory over the Pats. That would mean the Bengals/Ravens would play (at Baltimore) in the first round of the playoffs.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a nightmare game last week vs the Steelers (15 carries - 14 yards...that is a 0.9 yards per carry average...yikes) but he has been very hot other than that. 2012 has been a career year for BJGE for rushing yards.
Ray Rice had seven of his nine touchdowns at home.
On the surface it would appear that the banged up Ravens would be looking to rest this week, but this is a team that is in just week three of their new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell so I think they will be focused and looking to play well in order to create positive momentum going into the playoffs.
Ravens win this game.
Jaguars at Titans
(2-13) Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (5-10)
The Jags are 1-6 on the road, while the Titans are 3-4 at home.
7-27 combined records here. Yikes.
In week 12 the Jags won 24-19. In that game Chad Henne was 17 for 26 for 261 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Jake Locker also had 261 yards on 23 for 40. Locker had one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Titans offense is poor. Chris Johnson will need to carry the load in this game. Only the Saints have allowed more yards in 2012 than the Jaguars, but this is not a Titans offense capable of taking advantage of that. Johnson averages 88 yards per game in his career vs the Jaguars, but in nine games he has just three touchdowns. As bad as the Jags are, the Titans will still need a good day from CJ2K to win this game.
The Jags average 1.5 touchdowns per game. The Titans are just slightly better at 2 touchdowns per game.
These are two coaches on the hot seat, and two quarterbacks looking to show that they can be the guy for their teams in 2013.
Both teams are in the bottom-third of just about every stat there is. Both teams are impossible to bet on, but I have to take one. The Jaguars are likely going to have the #2 pick in the 2013 NFL draft. If they lose this game they would still need the Kansas City Chiefs win at Denver in a game that the Broncos need to win to secure their #2 seed and a week off in the playoffs. We see it is likely that the Jags will remain the 2nd worst team.
If the Jags could benefit from winning this game I would take them in the upset, but they cannot so I will take the Johnson to be the best player in this game and the Titans will win.
Texans at Colts
(12-3) Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (10-5)
The Texans are 6-1 on the road, and the Colts are 6-1 at home.
The Texans laid an egg vs the Vikings last week which puts their #1 seed in the AFC in harms way. A Broncos victory coupled with a Texans loss would drop Houston to #2.
The Colts are the #5 seed and are likely to remain there. Currently they are slated to travel to Baltimore for the wild-card round. There would have to be upsets in week 17 to change that.
These two met a few weeks ago with the Texans winning easily 29-17. In that game Vick Ballard (best last name in the NFL!) had a career-high 105 yards on 18 carries (5.8 yards per carry). Arian Foster had 165 yards in that game on 27 carries (6.1 yards per carry). Foster has just five games this season where he did not score a rushing touchdown, but he has been scoreless in two straight games.
The Colts have Chuck Pagano back, and they have been wonderful at home this season. Andrew Luck has been much better at home than on the road. Luck has 10 touchdowns and five interceptions at Lucas Oil Stadium. I anticipate a charged up stadium who will be welcoming Pagano back, and this will be the fans chance to send their team into the playoffs with their support. Even if the Colts are the top wild-card seed they would still be massively unlikely to be able to host a playoff game.
The Texans have won the AFC South for the second straight season, and they already have their most wins ever but there is still work to do to lock up the #1 seed. They will be off week one of the playoffs and then host week two. If they win week two then they will host the AFC Title game, unless they do slip to the #2 seed which could mean travelling to New England or Denver for the AFC Title game.
The Colts will be amped in this game, but the Texans have too much at stake. The Texans have won big the previous two times they were coming of a loss. Texans win.
Dolphins at Patriots
(7-8) Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (11-4)
The Dolphins are 2-5 on the road, while the Patriots are 5-2 at home.
The Patriots have won five straight games vs the Dolphins.
Tom Brady is 15-6 in his career vs Miami. He has a whopping 37 touchdowns vs 18 interceptions.
This game is a major mismatch on paper. The Patriots are the NFL's best scoring team, while the Dolphins are just 25th for points scored.
A Patriots win in this game would secure their #3 seed, and if the Broncos get upset by the Chiefs then the Patriots would be the #2 seed. The difference between #2 and #3 is massive as it means a week off, but the Broncos are unlikely to lose to the lowly Chiefs.
Bill Belichick is not a guy who will rest many guys in this game. He always has his foot on the gas, and the Pats understand that they are facing a Dolphins team motivated to win this game as that would be an eight win 2012 for Miami which exceeds all preseason expectations.
Reggie Bush needs just 40 rushing yards to eclipse 1,000 for the second straight season. He is about to hit the free-agent market and back-to-back good seasons is huge for his next contract. One more touchdown will be a career-high, and one more rushing 1st down will also be a career-high.
Ryan Tannehill has just a dozen touchdowns and a dozen interceptions in 2012, and on the road he has been poor with just four touchdowns and seven interceptions. One sure positive that Tanny can continue is he has zero December interceptions. If he can have a good game here it would surely be a nice finish to his rookie campaign and it would provide something to build on for 2013.
I think the Dolphins will provide the Patriots more competition than it would appear on paper, but the Pats will win this game.
Browns at Steelers
(5-10) Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)
The Browns are 1-6 on the road, while the Steelers are 4-3 at home.
The Steelers came into 2012 having won 20 of their last 22 games vs the Browns, but Cleveland won their week 12 match-up 20-14.
Under Mike Tomlin the Steelers average record was 11-5. This is the second season under Tomlin that they have failed to make the playoffs, and a loss in this game would be their first losing season since 2003.
A major issue for the Steelers has been their defense. This unit used to create turnovers on a regular basis. In Tomlin's first four seasons at the helm Pitt averaged 28 takeaways, but last season just 16 and this season they are at just 15.
Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy are both banged up. We could see Thaddeus Lewis and newly signed Josh Johnson as the quarterbacks in this game for the Browns (yikes). Lewis has never thrown an NFL pass and Johnson last threw a pass in December of 2011.
Trent Richardson has been able to punch the football into the end-zone, but his play outside of the red-zone has struggled. He was a sure-fire 1,000+ yard rusher, but his play in December has been poor. He needs 50 yards to get to 1,000. In his four December games he is averaging just 49 yards per game.
The Browns quarterback situation is too ugly right now to take them on the road. In the past four seasons the Browns are a horrid 6-25 on the road. Steelers win.
Chiefs at Broncos
(2-13) Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (12-3)
The Chiefs are 1-6 on the road, while the Broncos are 6-1 at home
A Broncos victory secures their week one bye for the playoffs. If they win and the Texans lose then the Broncos will improve from the #2 seed to the #1 seed in the AFC.
Peyton Manning has been awesome, especially at home where he has 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions. The lowest point total the Broncos have had at Mile High this season was 25 (loss to the Texans). They have scored 30+ in all six other home games (all wins).
The Chiefs are #9 overall vs the pass, but they have just 10 sacks on the road and they are unlikely going to be able to pester Manning in this game.
Brady Quinn reeks. In 2012 he has four interceptions and zero touchdowns on the road. His 51.3 quarterback rating on the road is putrid.
Jamaal Charles went off for 226 yards last week, and he is averaging 5.2 yards per carry on the road. For the Chiefs to even remain close in this game they will need multiple touchdowns from Charles.
The Chiefs won once on the road in 2012. Their other games were a 28-10 loss on average.
In their last 10 games the Broncos are 10-0, while the Chiefs are 1-9.
The Broncos need to win this game to guarantee a top-2 seed. The Broncos will win this game, easily too.
Raiders at Chargers
(4-11) Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers (6-9)
The Raiders are 1-6 on the road, while the Chargers are 2-5 at home.
Last and pretty much least is this AFC West "tilt".
Carson Palmer is OUT. Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor will be the Raiders quarterbacks (good luck with that).
This should be the last game for Dennis Allen at the helm for Oakland. He is not a NFL head coach, but the Raiders organization is such a punchline so who knows what (wrong) decisions they will make this off-season.
This is surely the last game for Norv Turner at the Chargers helm. In 2009 he led the team to a 13-3 record and a division title. Since he has gone 9-7, 8-8, and this season he is at 6-9. Three straight seasons of no playoffs and declining records are sure to equal his firing.
Neither of these teams are worthy of analysis. This game will be ugly as these teams are ugly. We are in Bowl season and this is the Brutal Bowl.
Thank you for reading my work! That is very much appreciated, and I hope I gave you some tidbits and some food for thought (and some winners!).