NFL Week 7 Picks: Watchable Games Finally Arrive

 

According to NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison, it’s rivalry week. That means that for the first time in a while, there are some watchable games. There are also some games that I actually feel comfortable picking an upset in.  Last week was another good week for me. Hopefully this week will be the same for me. Who will win this week’s games? Comment your thoughts.

Lock Of The Week

Bengals, 24, Browns, 12

I know the Bengals aren’t doing great, but the Browns aren’t winning any games until they have a rare somewhat favorable match-up.  The Browns aren’t the kind of team that pulls many upsets.  With the Bengals at home, how can Cleveland win.  The defense will overwhelm the Browns, whether they play dirty or not, and the offense could do dangerously good against the Browns defense, especially with Tyler Eifert possibly coming back.  With a big lead, Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard could go wild.  The Browns defense can’t begin to cover to dominant Bengals offense.  The Browns cannot win on the road this season, especially without RG3, Corey Coleman, Josh Gordon and likely Josh McCown.  Even if the Bengals offense only does okay, the Browns’s inability to score against tough defenses is serious enough that it’s not the Bengals that will win the game, it will be the Browns that lose it.

Upset Of The Week

Texans, 33, Broncos, 23

Image result for texans-broncos

Okay, I know how well the Broncos have been, especially early in the season, but even with their defense at its best, they have two problems.  First of all, Trevor Siemian just didn’t look the same last week, returning from an injury.  Will he bounce back?  This comes as bad news for the Broncos if Siemian loses his stuff.  It’s good for the Pats though, as the likely result would be the Broncos falling to a wild card slot, and the Raiders scooping up the division title.  Against a mediocre defense, the Broncos offense may struggle.  The Texans do have a pretty good pass rush, even without J.J. Watt.  Second, the Texans revamped offense could strike, even against a tough Denver defense.  Lamar Miller and Will Fuller have both proven to be great additions, and Brock Osweiler is just making the entire offense better.  In the end, I think the Texans can win this game.  They have two advantages, even against the tough Broncos defense, they just have to use them the right way.

The Other Games

Giants, 27, Rams, 26

This game is in London, so it’s pretty neutral.  I know the Giants are on a decline, and have now lost Shane Vereen for the year, but can you realistically see a Case Keenum run Rams team beating the New York Giants in London?  The defense is now nearly as strong as the offense on this team, restoring their balance, and their playoff hopes.  I don’t think the Giants defense will make it easy for the Rams to score.  Todd Gurley hasn’t even quite been himself, and that hurts.  The Giants still have plenty of offense too.  Rashad Jennings is back, and with Vereen out, there’s more of a chance for Paul Perkins to show his skills as an RB2.  OBJ is joined by two more great receivers in Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz, who has finally reached the point where he’s healthy enough to play regularly.  So, Rams believers, watch out before you say that your team will win today.

Chiefs, 24, Saints, 20


The Saints don’t have many advantages in this game.  Their defense needs to be at its best against a strong Chiefs offense.  Jamaal Charles and Spencer Ware are now  sharing the backfield, and that could be dangerous for defenses.  Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce should also factor in.  It will be very hard for the Saints D to keep things under control.  In addition, even with the Saints offense doing well, Justin Houston or not, the Chiefs defense is unbelievably good, and their young stars are just getting better while their veterans are consistent.  They could really give Drew Brees and his offense a hard time.  The Saints don’t have a disadvantage here because of a usually dominant offense, but being evenly matched with the opposing defense while your own defense is terrible does not help you win games.  They need to put up a good amount of points on this defense, or they’re done for.

Jets, 20, Ravens, 19


If Flacco plays, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on him.  The Jets pass rush specializes in stuffing QBs.  The Ravens offense will be highly overwhelmed by this strong, growing defense.  The secondary is still very good, as well.  The Jets may have some problems with the Baltimore D, especially with Geno Smith back under center.  That’s right, Geno Smith.  Why, Jets, why.  Fitzpatrick was doing badly, but this guy has proven he’ll just do worse.  What, do they expect him to improve from 2014?!  No way is that going to happen!  If you want to replace Fitzy, give Bryce Petty a chance!  Or keep Christian Hackenberg as a backup plan and call on him.   No way in my book do you go to Geno Smith!  Biggest mistake this year by any team!  That doesn’t mean the Ravens will win, though.  They can give it to Matt Forte, and Bilal Powell.  When Smith does happen to be ready for a pass, he has Brandon Marshall now waiting for him.  The question is, will he develop good chemistry with these guys?  Maybe not, the offense was built off Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson, Eric Decker (who’s hurt, right now of all times), Percy Harvin and Jace Amaro.  This team is turning in to the 2014 Bears on offense, seriously.  But the better defense is going to help.  My ultimate prediction is that they won’t need to worry about a collapse on offense, the defense will be good enough to keep the Ravens down to less points than even the Jets get, against a mediocre Ravens defense.  The Ravens have no secondary though.

Jaguars, 30, Raiders, 19

So far, of these two teams expected to rise, the Raiders have done better than even expected and the Jags have failed. But today, in a home game for the Jags, I think they can win. The Raiders may be an easy target for Jacksonville, because these two teams are used to having easy match-ups against each other that mean nothing and either the home team or team that stinks up less wins.  This game does matter, and it won’t be unwatchable.  The Jags offense is getting really good, better than the Raiders, while the Raiders defense is slightly more star-studded.  This game for the first time, will be a good game.  Especially at home, I think it will be the Jaguars offense that shows up most, making the biggest difference in this game.  I don’t know why they haven’t really come through yet, but I think this match-up is somewhat favorable for them, and could be the time for the offense to really break through. This could be where a break through year that the Raiders already have going could also start for the Jags.  Even though the Raiders are losing, making them 4-3, it’s almost as if their sharing the power. The Jags have the power to be good, they just need the right conditions, and a lot of those fall in place for this match-up.

Lions, 30, Redskins, 27 OT


The Redskins have been very strong lately, but trust me on this one.  Between it’s ups and downs, this Lions offense has something in it that could be the deciding factor in Detroit’s playoff status.  Josh Norman may be good, but the rest of this Redskins defense isn’t so much, and Golden Tate is the kind of receiver to overcome big match-ups like this.  He was on the Seahawks for a while, where he faced tough match-ups.  So I think the Redskins offense will definitely put up a fight against the easy target Lions D, maybe even take the game to overtime, but against a defense at about the same level, despite being better in the pass rush, when the Lions were passing more. You saw what happened.  They fought and fought, and eventually got the win.  This week, even with a thin run game, they could run the ball, and try and work around defense.  They could pass, and try and work through the defense.  But mark my words, the Lions will come out winning this game, and Matthew Stafford will throw at least 3 TDs.  Stafford and his receiving game are boosting and changing this team, and if they do well as expected, the Lions can take a somewhat easy win.

Dolphins, 30, Bills, 26

This game could really depend on the health of LeSean McCoy and Arian Foster.  The Bills have done well, but on the road against a mediocre Dolphins offense, it would be tough to decide with all their players healthy.  But Sammy Watkins is on IR, which could be a setback for Buffalo.  Both teams also have an injured starting running back.  Arian Foster and LeSean McCoy are both questionable.  On Friday, reports said that McCoy is unlikely to play, but it hasn’t been decided yet.  Yesterday, it said it would be a game time decision.  Today, it said that he’s expected to play, but Mike Gillislee will make more of an impact and he will be limited, so don’t start him.  I’m depending on him playing, he’s one of my fantasy football team’s best players.  Arian Foster also showed up questionable on the injury report with his hamstring injury, even after being a full practice participant this week.  I actually think the Dolphins can still win this if McCoy is out or limited, but if Foster is ruled out, and McCoy is good to go, that is where the Bills could win.  I’m not counting on McCoy going wild today and Foster or no Foster, if McCoy isn’t at full health, with Sammy Watkins already out, the Bills will not win.
Vikings, 37, Eagles, 36

Image result for vikings defense vs. eagles

I know the Vikings defense has been amazing, but their offense will need to score a lot. Especially at home, at their best, this Eagles offense, surprisingly, has been so good, it’s scary.  I don’t know if the Vikings defense will hold up this week, and that will put the Vikings behind.  But Sam Bradford has brought something to this offense, and he’ll want revenge on his old team, in which he didn’t fit the system and they didn’t use him right.  i think he fits the Vikings scheme a lot better.  Even without Adrian Peterson, the Vikings can put up a lot of points.  They have two young receivers, a good tight end, and even some decent backup at running back in Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata.  If they want to thrive against tough offenses, their own offense has to do something without Peterson, and I think they’ll win, because Carson Wentz hasn’t looked extremely impressive lately, and I know the Vikings can do this.  They just need to execute.

Titans, 29, Colts, 23

Image result for marcus mariota vs colts

The Colts would typically win this game, but their defense is still not good enough, and the Titans are on the rise, especially on offense.  this will be a battle of which offense is more productive.  I think with Donte Moncrief out, and DeMarco Murray on top of the world right now, the Titans offense has more options that are reliable, and they will outplay the Colts offense.  Marcus Mariota is getting better, Tajae Sharpe and their other receivers are ready to break out, and Delanie Walker is consistent as usual.  With how open this division is, and how well the Titans have done, something tells me the Titans will win and jump into playoff contention for the first time in years.  I think they finally have the skills to rise to a decent record, and this game is winnable.

Falcons, 26, Chargers, 24

Image result for matt ryan vs chargers

The Falcons have been very good this year, and I usually like to pick against them, but honestly, the Panthers kind of suck this year, and the Falcons have good, revamped offense and defense.  This match-up is favorable for them.  Matt Ryan should thrive against easy Chargers defense, and San Diego’s banged up offense won’t score easy against Vic Beasley and Desmond Trufaunt.  It will be close, and the Chargers will definitely be in it the whole time, but the Falcons should keep the lead the whole time, making things look easy and take the win.  Is this finally Matt Ryan’s year?  Maybe.  He has plenty of receiving weapons breaking out, and what Devonta Freeman is failing to do this year, Tevin Coleman is filling in for.  Freeman and Coleman actually make a good backfield as co-starters.  This Falcons team is finally getting good again, and for the first time since the eras of Steven Jackson and Tony Gonzalez.

Buccaneers, 13, 49ers, 12

Even after what has happened so far this year, I still think the Bucs defense has the power to take it to the next level.  Against an inconsistent 49ers offense with Colin Kaepernick at starting QB, it should be easy.  Also, even without Doug Martin, I think the match-up is favorable for Jameis Winston’s revamped offense.  In a low scoring game, I think the Buccaneers will take the win.  There won’t be too much offense, as both defense step up.  But the 49ers will be held to not a single TD scored, while the Bucs score a decent amount, at least enough to beat the Bucs defense annihilated 49ers.

Patriots, 37, Steelers, 30

Image result for pats offense vs steelers

I like the match-up for the Pats.  With no reliable QB in Pittsburgh, the entire offense declines, and the Pats defense would already be tough on them with Big Ben healthy.  Meanwhile, Brady has dominated his first two games, and that should continue.  He will be extra-motivated because of the rivalry, because of the fact that they have an easier win with Roethlisberger out, and because Blount is seeking revenge on his team for the start of  the 2014 season that cut him after half the year.  He was determined to get back to New England anyways, because that is where he truly fit best.  He’s stayed there since.  I think the Steelers defense is a little overrated too, so Gronk, Bennett and Edelman may have it easier than you think as well.  The Pats should definitely win this game.  If Big Ben was active, they would admittedly just barely lost to the Steelers, but they’re highly favored right now.

Cardinals, 23, Seahawks, 17

Image result for CARDINALS VS SEAHAWKS

Carson Palmer isn’t at full health, I know, but either way, even against a tough defense, this offense is really good.  The Seahawks offense isn’t actually that good, so the Cardinals defense shouldbe able to take advantage of them more.  The Cardinals do have no reliable tight ends, but the Seahawks’ core offense isn’t great.  They have problems in the running game with Lynch retired and Rawls hurt, and not much receiving depth beyond Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett.  I don’t see Jermaine Kearse as a receiver who does much.  Baldwin should also be outplayed by star corner Patrick Peterson.  So, at home, with better offense in a battle of two tough defenses, the Cardinals should win this game.

Thursday Night’s Game
Packers, 34, Bears, 13

Image result for aaron rodgers vs bears

I’m not surprised by the outcome of this game.  Aaron Rodgers began to come out of his “slump”, and the Bears offense couldn’t do much about it.  One thing I didn’t see coming was Hoyer’s injury, and that’s not good for them.  Who needs another injuryt filled season in this league?  At least it’s not as bad as last year, when practically everyone was injured at some point.  Jordy Nelson missed the whole season, which put a strain on the Packers’ performance.  Now Nelson’s back, and against easy defenses like the Bears, they should dominate.  They did come close to that, it’s tough with Eddie Lacy and James Starks now headed for the IR.  The Packers can’t afford another injury to their Big 3 that ends thjat player’s season.  For now, they have to pray for Lacy and Starks, and the also injured Don Jackson, and do what they can with newly acquired Knile Davis.

 

This week finally has some watchable games.  It’s a big week full of rivalry games.  Will I be right, or will I fail to pick these tough games?

Advertisements

NFL Week 6 Picks

NFL Week 6 Picks

Last week was my best one yet. After the terrible start I had, I began to lose hope about my record this season, but last week proved otherwise with a 9-5 finish. How will I fare in this crazy week? 

Before we get started, I’d like to make a point. I’m actually struggling to find good upsets to put on my site. I’m not going to get rid of upset picks, because the picks would be boring without them, but it’s not my problem. It’s the NFL’s problem. Some local radio stations were ranting yesterday about how the NFL’s ratings have gone down because of the lack of competition. They think the NFL is now focusing more on fantasy football than they are on real games, and nobody, except Pats diehards like me, want to sit around for 3-4 hours and watch a single football game. People spend they’re Sundays watching all the best stuff on NFL RedZone or NFL Sunday Ticket instead. I agree with this point. When you think about it, really, how many relevant match-ups are there this week? They didn’t think there are many. My thoughts on that for the games is definitely something I will mention throughout the article.  

Lock Of The Week

Seahawks, 13, Falcons, 9

I’m sorry Falcons believers, but especially against a tough Seahawks team that’s offense is now up and running, I just can’t see the Falcons winning this game. The Falcons have been really good, 4-1 to start the season. The defense has been great and the offense has done it’s job. But the Seahawks are division leaders, with an unstoppable defense, and a pretty good offense as well. They are not going to lose at home against a team that I originally though would go 3-13. I do not know what they did that has made them play so well, but a part of me thinks that their record is a fluke. If it’s not a fluke, than the dominance will not continue. Remember what happened last year? They started off undefeated and ended up going 8-8. The same thing will probably happen again, and in my opinion, the Falcons definitely won’t win this week.  

Upset Of The Week

Jaguars, 30, Bears, 16

I know this is kind of a lame upset, more of a close game, but remember what I said about the lack of competition? The Bears aren’t very good overall despite being favored. The Jags have had some tough match-ups against rising teams, and haven’t done great so far, but they have a lot of potential. I think if they take advantage of that, they should be able to beat the Bears. The offense showed a lot of promise last year, but it didn’t come through. Fans expect it to come through this year, and it’s only Week 6, fresh off a bye, so I’m still a believer. The Bears have nothing to stop them. They’re defense is terrible and their offense lacks the ability to counter-attack. The Jags should make this look easy and take the easy W.  

The Other Games

Patriots, 37, Bengals, 30


Tom Brady looked awesome last week on the road in Cleveland, so he should at least be able to lead the Pats to victory at home against the Bengals the way he’s playing. With Brady in the game, the offense is unbelievable, always able to find a way to score and dominate. Even against a good team with Tyler Eifert returning, the Pats will find a way to win. Even though they’re facing a tough defense and don’t have great defense themselves, the offense is great, Nink is back, and without Eifert, the Bengals still had serious depth issues at receiver. This is Brady and the Pats’ to win. Now they just have to do their job.  

Steelers, 27, Dolphins, 23

Pittsburgh has been unstoppable with Le’Veon Bell back, and the Dolphins aren’t going to be the first team to stop them. The Dolphins do have a decent defense and an okay offense, but it’s just not enough. The Steelers will give up some points, but this offense is not going down. The Steelers should get the win here, despite some minor Steelers insecurities and some decent Miami forces. It may be closer since Miami is at home but still, this is Pittsburgh’s to win.  

Bills, 10, 49ers, 9


The Bills have been on the rise, and despite some promise, the Niners have struggled lately. The Bills have better momentum going in to this game, and their defense has been pretty good, and should really be effective against the 49ers. The Niners meanwhile have shown some decent offense and defense, but so far this season, the defense hasn’t gone too far above and beyond. However, the Bills offense is without Sammy Watkins, so expect a low scoring game that the Bills just barely pull off after the Niners fail to produce enough points against the Bills strong secondary.  

Giants, 27, Ravens, 23

I know, Kenneth Dixon is back, but Justin Forsett is also on the outs. Steve Smith Sr. is also sitting this one out. The Giants may also be without Rashad Jennings again, and Shane Vereen is done for the year, but the Giants have some good defense. An improved secondary, and some decent (old and new) front seven attackers. The Ravens meanwhile, don’t have passable corners, and a lot of the pass rush is getting old and washed up, while C.J. Mosley, Timmy Jernigan and other young stars try to take it to the next level. The Giants are at home, and I think they already have a slight advantage over the Ravens, so they should take the win in a game with a little bit of everything from both teams.  

Titans, 31, Browns, 26

Seriously, the Browns are terrible. They have no offense after some injuries at QB and receiver. Even with a good running game, they cannot produce without a stable QB. The Browns are now in the same turmoil the Patriots were. The defense is not passable as usual, and they shouldn’t be able to win against a revamped Titans team that’s playing in an open division. The Titans offense will tear apart the Browns defense, and the Titans may let the Browns answer, but the Titans are at home, and they should score more, so since both defenses aren’t great, the Titans should take the win. 

Eagles, 29, Redskins, 23

The Eagles have been very impressive this season. Carson Wentz has surprised the whole league this year, and the revamped Redskins defense is already dinged up. I don’t know what sort of magic Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman are working up, but whatever it is, it’s effective. Expect the Redskins offense to do alright, but struggle against an underrated Eagles defense. The Redskins defense should also give up a lot of points, however, and the Eagles could take the win, even on the road. They have more momentum going in to the game, and the Redskins haven’t looked that great. I guess it’s so long to a decent Redskins team.  

Lions, 24, Rams, 20

The Lions are looking good going into this match-up. They beat the Eagles last week, they signed Justin Forsett, and Matthew Stafford and his receivers are ready to get to the Rams’ weak spot on defense, the secondary. Forsett will start at RB as well, hoping to disturb a tough pass rush. The Rams cannot compete with the offense the Lions have. The Rams can’t have much of an offense beyond Todd Gurley with no good QB, and Jared Goff, their best option, sitting out. Even against an easy defense like the Lions, the Rams will not be able to outscore Stafford’s offense. That will cost them, especially in a road game.  

Panthers, 34, Saints, 31

I know, the Panthers haven’t been great. The defense has really struggled, and the team just isn’t the same. But the Saints haven’t been any better. Not only has the defense been bad as usual, but the usually good offense has failed to produce. Even at home, against another struggling team, the Saints have had a pathetic season, and if they win this game of all games, one I originally saw as a lock, I would be shocked. Expect the Panthers to look like it’s 2015 again and cream the Saints. The Panthers still have some dominance in them. I’m starting to wonder if the Saints still do though. Two years ago, this would be a watchable game. Now, this game is worth throwing down the garbage shoot, and it’s all because competition is down in the NFL and the league is focusing too much on fantasy football.  

Raiders, 23, Chiefs, 19


The Chiefs defense is good, but the Raiders have been really good. Derek Carr and Amari Cooper are breaking out, the defense is better, and the Raiders have themselves a favorable home match-up. The Chiefs offense has struggled a little bit without Jamaal Charles. They’ve only been an okay team. That’s going to bite them in the back. The Raiders are in line to win this game. They just have to make sure not to blow a good opportunity to grab a 5th win. This is one of the few match-ups that has some competition, but is there really that much.  

Packers, 23, Cowboys, 19


Dak Prescott has been really good, in fact the entire Cowboys offense has. But Dallas has no defense to guard an even better offense, the Packers. Green Bay has some defense too. It may not be the best, but it’s better than the Cowboys’. Defense can win games, and the Packers have a better defense, and better overall team. They should be able to win this one over a Cowboys team that still has it’s weaknesses despite their glory and their division lead.  

Texans, 30, Colts, 26

The Texans are definitely highly favored in this match-up. The Colts defense isn’t that good, and I’m liking the new Texans offense, especially at home. The Colts are without Donte Moncrief, and their offense is definitely not favored against a Texans defense that’s still good, even without JJ Watt. So the Texans have a home match-up, they’re highly favored against the Colts, and they should definitely win this game over them.  

Cardinals, 23, Jets, 20

Carson Palmer is back this week, and that should make the Cardinals offense in for a big game. They will take care of the Jets D, and without Eric Decker, it’s hard for the Jets to counter-attack, especially against a tough Cardinals defense. The Jets don’t have a chance, and with Palmer back, this is another match-up without much competition. The Cardinals will rout the Jets. Even if the score doesn’t show it, the Cards will have control throughout the game.

Thursday Night’s Game

Broncos, 20, Chargers, 6

I’m pretty surprised that San Diego won after the roll that Denver was on, but since I’m a Pats diehard, I was pretty happy. Could this be the end of the Broncos’ reign? I sure hope so, because the Pats have a tough match-up in Denver late in the season. San Diego actually has a decent offense going, despite being without Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen, plus having no good defense. I thought Denver might just keep things up, be same old Denver. A great defense, and a decent offense, even with Trevor Siemian instead of Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler. But no. The Chargers are doing well too, they’re taking some control in this division. 

Patriots Late Quarter Season Report: Brady’s Back, What’s Next?

For most of the first four weeks, the Patriots really impressed me. I was actually a little worried about Jimmy Garoppolo after some rough preseason performances. He had a tough match-up in Week 1. They didn’t have to change the game plan much, as Garoppolo is similar to Brady in play style, but did he have the talent to beat a tough Cardinals team? What happened was a pleasant surprise. He handled it like he had been the Pats quarterback as long as Brady has. The Cardinals, on the other hand, have had a rough start, and we’ll get to that and more surprise teams of the early season later.  

On to the Dolphins. This was clearly an easier match-up, and for most of the first half, Garoppolo took advantage of it. He threw for 3 TDs, until in the 2nd quarter, Garoppolo took a big hit, falling on his shoulder. He was in a lot of pain, enough that they had to pause the game. He was hurt, darn it. Jacoby Brissett came in. They only scored one TD, a Blount rushing TD, and the Pats scored a field goal. The Dolphins scored 24 points with Garoppolo out. 


Garoppolo was ruled out for Week 3, and Jacoby Brissett was in the spotlight. Either Brock Osweiler failed and the Texans defense struggled with J.J. Watt still potentially hurt, but Brissett and the Pats shut out the Texans on Thursday Night, 27-0. He looked like a different guy! The Patriots now had three great QBs! Or maybe just one awesome coach! The Pats were 3-0, and hoping for the best case scenario by winning in Week 4 against the Bills.  

Instead, Garoppolo was ruled out again, and Brissett’s Week 3 dominance proved to be a fluke. They were shut out 16-0. They didn’t even have a sense of urgency late in the game, when they needed to come back! Still, this is the Bills team that shocked the Cardinals, but the Cards are doing terrible, and the Bills went 0-2 in the first 2 weeks. This was simply the Patriots playing poorly.  

Thankfully, a new chapter began this week as Tom Brady returned. He annihilated the now Josh Gordon-less Browns. Rob Ninkovich was back, and Rob Gronkowski was back to full speed at tight end. Martellus Bennett looked great too. The Patriots were 3-1 without Brady, and they looked even better today. They could end up being as good as 13-3, 14-2, even 15-1 with him now back. The Patriots went through a lot without him. Look at how well they’ve done without that controversy. That is how they should do for the rest of the year. You’ll see more passing, more scoring and a secure QB position, especially now that Garoppolo’s proved he’s a reliable backup if Brady happens to fall later this season. Basically, expect more of the same in the near future.  


The Pats take on the Bengals this week. Will Tom Brady continue to thrive?

Now, going back to the past five weeks, let’s look at some good surprise teams and bad surprise teams of the first quarter of the season.  
Pleasant Surprises

Broncos (4-2)


This one is more unpleasant for Pats fans, but still, Trevor Siemian meant a lot more to this team than I thought. Siemian kept the offense going while the defense did its thing. The Broncos were going back to the playoffs the way he was playing. But then he got hurt. Paxton Lynch has just not been the same for the Broncos. I like Lynch, and I think he can do well enough to keep the starting job until Siemian is 100%, but not enough to keep the job (probably), or lead Denver to the playoffs. This is where I see Denver falling. If Gary Kubiak makes the wrong decision and give Lynch a chance to lead the team, Denver will fall out of contention. If Siemian’s not playing at his best anymore after he returns, Denver falls out of contention. It’s a very risky choice either way. Kubiak’s just going to have to make what he thinks will lead them to a better record. The defense will also continue to do well either way, but no offense means no wins, and the Raiders now could easily take over the division. Anyone could, it’s a tight division.

Raiders (4-1)

I was kind of expecting this one, but I’ve been especially impressed by their 4-1 record, and I thought the Jags and Bills would do the same thing. No, just Oakland, and maybe the Ravens. Derek Carr’s been awesome, Amari Cooper’s taking off, and the defense isn’t too shabby. The Raiders need to win this division. I don’t want the Broncos in the playoffs under any circumstances. Can the Raiders do it for us Pats fans? 

Eagles (3-1)

Going into the season, I thought the Eagles would be terrible. The offense didn’t look great, and the defense looked terrible. This season, the defense has been much better than expected, and Carson Wentz has led this team back to contention. Chip Kelly has not been missed. The Eagles made the right moves, now they’re on track to just keep winning. They have an easy match-up this week, and the only reason they lost last week was that Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense made magic again. They are such a sleeper team. Before this week, they had underperformed. But I’m very surprised to see the Eagles thrive so easily. 

Rams (3-2)

I expected the Rams to be terrible, especially with no Jared Goff. They’ve still looked pretty bad, but their record so far says otherwise. However, I think their wins were easier than you might think. The beat the Bucs, a Seahawks team that couldn’t start to their offense yet, and a washed up Cardinals team. Okay, the Seahawks and Cardinals may have been good wins, but beating the Bucs is an overrated win, and they would’ve lost if it weren’t for the severe weather. That’s just pathetic. Come on. Just how I expected the Rams to be by how they played, but not by their record. 

Falcons (4-1)

I am in shock with how well the Falcons have done. Sure, they started amazing last year and flopped, and they could still go 4-12, around what I had originally predicted for them, but a part of me now thinks the Falcons could be for real. The Panthers have not done as well as expected, and the Bucs and Saints aren’t great as usual. The Falcons have a good, secure division lead. I know things can change and it’s only Week 5, but I’m curious to see just how much these Falcons have in them.  

Unpleasant Surprises

Jaguars (1-3)

The Jags had a bye last week. They spent that bye feeling ashamed of themselves for failing to play well for 3 weeks in a row. It’s time to get to business. Seriously, this was supposed to be Jacksonville’s break through season. So far, they’re on pace to do worse than last year. The Jags need to step it up, and fast. If they take advantage this week, they could have a winnable match-up. Otherwise, we’ll see the same old Jags from 2015, even the dreaded 2014 and 2013 seasons. Will the Jags ever rise to playoff contention again?

Cardinals (2-3)


I’m pretty surprised that the Cardinals have done so badly. After a great season, you’d expect them to pick up where they left off, but no. Instead, they’ve looked like it’s 2014 all over again. Carson Palmer has struggled to find his groove, and the defense is a little out of shape. Is this the end of the Palmer-Fitzgerald era of this team? Even the Palmer-Floyd era, or Stanton-Fitzgerald era? Both Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald are looking out of shape, and the rest of this team currently depends on them. That won’t last much longer.  

Lions (2-3)


Matthew Stafford and Marvin Jones have looked impressive with Calvin Johnson gone, but overall, I thought this team would be a sleeper team, I still do. I’m just a little disappointed that they started the season 2-3. Golden Tate is doing nothing for the team, Ameer Abdullah is out, and the defense have been terrible. This team cannot be run without Abdullah and state around or at their best forever. For now, they have to try and do their best with what they have. The question is, will they?

Panthers (1-4)


I thought the Panthers were going to make another run at the Super Bowl. Did the loss of Josh Norman mean this much to them? The offense was also good last year without Kelvin Benjamin, and he’s back! What is up with this team? Was last year all just luck, a total fluke? So far this year, that’s what it looks like. It’s just not the same anymore to watch the Panthers. They don’t have it in them anymore, that’s what it seems like at least. Will they prove this season that these first few weeks are a fluke, or will they fall and let the Falcons take the torch in the NFC South.  

Buccaneers (2-3)

The Bucs we’re going to be bad anyways. I just thought otherwise. They almost beat the Rams, and they beat Carolina, which is an accomplishment despite Carolina’s terrible start. They are the reason for the Falcons only loss too. I think Jameis Winston and his offense are better this year, and the Bucs will finish with a decent record, better than in the recent past. But the defense has not bounced back like I expected. The defense needs to step it up or the Bucs won’t be any more than average this year. Nothing special, just slightly improved. I see more than that in this team. 

Baseball Bits #3: Could Red Sox have 3rd MVP/Cy Young Pair?

FullSizeRender (16)

The regular season is over and it’s the perfect time to consider the MVP and Cy Young winners.  The Red Sox have some good candidates.  The Red Sox have several MVP candidates starting with Mookie Betts who showed he is an all around 5-tool player.  David Ortiz in his final season performed better than any player in his final season is also considered a frontrunner for the AL MVP.  Rick Porcello is my top choice to win the Cy Young.  He’s 22-4 with a 3.11 ERA!

 

The Sox have a good chance to have both the AL MVP and AL Cy Young winners this year, I decided to do some research on the MVP and Cy Young award winners.  How many teams had both the MVP and Cy Young award winners and what happened to their teams?  Read on to find out.  

 

The Research

mvp-cy-young-winners

The “Baseball Bits”

 

  • Since 1956 when the Cy Young award began (it was split into 2 awards (AL and NL) in 1967), 28 teams have had an MVP and Cy Young winner in the same year (MVP/Cy Young pair)

 

  • From 1956 to 1966, there were 7 teams that had MVP/Cy Young pair in the same year

 

  • The last team to do it was the 2014 Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw won both awards)

 

  • 8 of the teams who had MVP/Cy Young pair in the same year had pitchers who won both

 

  • The last team to have different players who won MVP/Cy Young in the same year was the 2013 Tigers

 

  • 15 of the 28 Cy Young/MVP pairs came from the AL

 

  • The Red Sox only had a Cy Young and MVP Winner twice: in 1967 (Carl Yastrzemski & Jim Lonborg) and 1986 (Roger Clemens won both awards).  The Sox lost the World Series in both of those years

 

  • The Indians and Blue Jays, who could also achieve this in 2016, have never done it before

 

  • The Cubs, who are also candidates have done it once (1984, Ryne Sandberg & Rick Sutcliffe).  They lost in the NLCS.

 

  • Only one team who had an MVP/Cy Young pair in the same year missed the playoffs (the 1962 Dodgers)

 

  • 16 of the 27 (59%) who made the playoffs made the World Series, and 8 of the 16 teams won the World Series

 

  • 23 of the 27 teams (85%) made it past the ALDS/NLDS

 

The Verdict

 

One thing that this research proved is that MVP and Cy Young voters place value on players from playoff teams.  It’s not common (especially since 1968) for a team to have an MVP/Cy Young pair but it’s even less common to have that team not make the playoffs.  This year the Sox made the playoffs by winning the division so I think it increases the Red Sox’s chances to have their third MVP/Cy Young pair, especially since they dominated down the stretch to pull away from the pack.  

Below are my picks for who wins the AL and NL MVP and Cy Young:  

 

AL MVP Prediction: Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts has been on fire this year and the fact that he’s a 5 tool player just makes him more worthy of the award.  Betts and the Red Sox lineup have just been really impressive this year.  I also think even though guys like Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera would be good candidates, that the MVP and Cy Young should come from a playoff team and my research shows that voters do as well.  Betts is one of the best of this great Red Sox lineup and the Red Sox have been one of the best offensive teams in the league.  Betts has not only been a top offensive player but his defensive statistics show he’s a top gold glove candidate as well.  Big Papi may be a candidate too since it’s his last season but if voters focus purely on overall numbers, their vote will be for Betts.  

AL Cy Young Prediction: Rick Porcello

I really don’t think there are many good options besides Rick Porcello.  Corey Kluber could compete with him but I’m giving Porcello the edge.  Kluber has won before and was expected to do well this year.  He just won in 2014!  On the other hand, Rick Porcello was not expected to that well this year.  Instead, he’s top 5 in every key pitching category and first in wins so I don’t know how he does not win.  The fact that Porcello along with Hanley Ramirez, have had such great second seasons unexpectedly, vindicates Ben Cherington a bit.

NL MVP Prediction: Anthony Rizzo

Nolan Arenado would be a better candidate if team performance did not matter.  But have the Rockies done anything this season?  I was thinking of making an exception to picking MVPs and Cy Youngs from just playoff teams but there are other candidates that come from the 102-58 Chicago Cubs.  Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant would also make good candidates.  I picked Rizzo because he had a better average and more RBIs despite less home runs.

 

NL Cy Young Prediction: Max Scherzer

There are a lot of good NL pitchers that are worthy of this award.  But if anyone has proven all around excellence in pitching, it’s Max Scherzer.  Scherzer was a candidate last year but didn’t quite make it to the final 3 despite 2 no-hitters (1 that was almost a perfect game).  This year his ERA is good again (2.82) and he has a huge lead in strikeouts (277).  He also has an unbelieveable WHIP (0.94), and leads the NL in wins tied with Jon Lester.  All of those stats are Cy Young worthy.  

 

The Red Sox actually have a pretty good chance of an MVP/Cy Young pair.  I don’t see many players who can beat out Rick Porcello and the Sox have such a good lineup that I’m more than 50% sure a Red Sox player will win the MVP.  The chances are looking good but the winners would need to be really good because this has only happened 28 times.  Are the Red Sox a realistic candidate?  We’ll find out soon and hopefully that means they also have a good chance to win it all.

 

NFL Week 4 Picks

 

 

BYE: Eagles, Packers

My Record: 27-21 (28-21 w/TNF)

Week 1: 9-7

Week 2: 9-7

Week 3: 9-7

 

I may have not had the greatest start, but looking on the bright side, I’m 1-0 this week, better than Pete Prisco on the season, and my picks for Week 4 are here.  Who do you have winning?

 

Lock Of The Week

 

Cardinals, 26, Rams, 23

Image result for david johnson vs. rams

 

Look, the Rams are 2-1, but first of all, the Rams would be 1-2 if it wasn’t for the nasty storm that hit Tampa Bay, and Case Keenum should not be their starting QB.  The Rams only beat the Seahawks because their offense wasn’t doing anything against a tough Rams defense.  That was in LA, against an offense that sometimes has to be saved by the overpowered defense in order for the team to win games.  This is in Arizona, a great all-around team.  The offense will be tough on the Rams D, and the Rams offense will be under as much pressure as they were against Seattle.  But this time, the Cardinals offense will actually take advantage of that fact, and top a good, but not great Rams defense.

 

Upset Of The Week

 

Buccaneers, 25, Broncos, 23

Image result for broncos vs. bucs

I know, Trevor Siemian has maintained the Broncos good offensive status, and the Broncos defense may be unstoppable.  Especially for Jameis Winston and the young Bucs offense, who can get pressured easily.  But there’s one underrated force that you probably aren’t paying attention to.  The Bucs defense.  The Bucs defense could actually surprise the Broncos.  I think that Denver could come up short, if this Bucs D wakes up and strikes.  I know how good the Broncos have been, but at home, this is winnable for Tampa Bay, and it’s a big upset, but the Buccaneers are a big sleeper team, and I thought going into the season the Broncos were overrated and will lose some games most people don’t think they will.  Those predictions is probably wrong, but these teams will show signs of those potentials.

 

The Other Games

 

Jaguars, 24, Colts, 23

Image result for blake bortles vs. colts

With no true home team, this game is an interesting one.  I think there is a chance that the Jags eventually move to London, so they may have slight advantage because they don’t have as many fans when they play at home, but they won’t need it.  Even though the Jaguars are 0-3, they just barely lost to the Ravens, and the Chargers are just on fire, so they were though, and the Packers are a good team that beat them.  The Colts lost to the Lions, and even though they tried to come back, they were losing during the whole game.  They also lost to the Broncos, who are good, and somehow they beat the Chargers.  Doesn’t make sense.  The point is the Colts are unpredictable, but haven’t actually done that great even at a better record.  If they have a match-up that works for them, they win.  Otherwise, they lose.  The Jaguars are ready to strike, and they won’t let the Colts work their inconsistent, but strong magic.

 

Redskins, 31, Browns, 23

 

Look, even with Terrelle Pryor shining at WR/QB, the Browns aren’t going to win with a 3rd and 4th string quarterback.  Corey Coleman is also hurt and Josh Gordon may never be back.  The Redskins haven’t been great yet, but they’ve had very tough match-ups.  This week should be a lot easier, and Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense will lash out and annihilate the Browns.  The defense has nothing to stop them, and the offense shouldn’t score enough to challenge them, even though the Redskins defense is only mediocre.  This should be a win for Washington, especially on their own turf.

 

Patriots, 35, Bills, 23

Image result for pats-bills garoppolo

I don’t know what the Patriots are doing at QB, but I know the Pats, they will not start Edelman at QB.  They will refuse to and avoid playing him at QB when possible.  I’m suspecting Jimmy Garoppolo gets the start since he’s had longer to recover, but you never know.  Assuming he starts, he means real business, and will make sure to put up plenty of points to prevent the Bills, who actually might’ve been a decent team if Watkins wasn’t hurt and the defense doesn’t get embarrassed by this, to challenge.  The Bills will score a good amount, but Garoppolo and the Pats will find a way to be better.  I really like them for that.

 

Seahawks, 27, Jets, 23

Image result for seahawks vs jets

The Seahawks were in some turmoil when the offense couldn’t get going, but they got some momentum last week, until Russell Wilson sprained his MCL.  Luckily, he’s healed quickly and will likely play, but will he be himself?  Doesn’t matter.  Especially against the Seahawks, who also have a very tough defense, I do not see the Jets coming back from last week in any sense.  Eric Decker is now out, and the Jets still don’t have a good tight end.  Their only good weapon, Brandon Marshall has Richard Sherman to deal with!  He won’t be going anywhere.  The Jets defense is all right, but look, the Seahawks defense is a lot better, and like I said, the Jets will not bounce back from last week in any sense.

 

Panthers, 37, Falcons, 30

Image result for Cam Newton vs. falcons

The Falcons have been good the last two weeks, especially offensively, and even with a big weak spot at corner that could fail to cover Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, the rest of the Carolina defense is good.  The Falcons defense isn’t that good, actually, even if they look good, and they could give up a lot of points to Carolina.  This is going to be a high scoring game, and both teams will make an effort to win, but in the end, I just don’t see the Falcons scoring quite enough on the Panthers defense to top them.  Besides, I think Cam Newton and his offense will really excel in this game, so the Falcons will have tough competition.

 

Lions, 27, Bears, 26

Image result for matthew stafford vs. bears

The Bears have already struggled this season.  Now they’re without Jay Cutler and Jeremy Langford.  I never really thought the Bears would do that good anyways.  Even though they do now have Brian Hoyer and former Lions running back Joique Bell, who might actually be more developed than Langford, the Lions have a pretty good offense that will take advantage of the weak Bears defense.  This will be another offensive battle, and the Lions in this case have a better offense than the Bears.  They may be without Ameer Abdullah, but Matthew Stafford has a great connection with Marvin Jones, and also has strong weapons in Golden Tate, Anquan Boldin and Eric Ebron.  Even pass-catching running back Theo Riddick is getting some good receiving yards in. So I think the Lions are capable of beating the Bears on the road.  This game is slightly in their favor, and they have a good offense to prove themselves.

 

Texans, 34, Titans, 29

Image result for texans-titans

Even with J.J. Watt out for the season, I still think the Texans are the favorite to win the AFC South.  This match-up is crucial, and I still think the Texans can win it at home, even in a now tough AFC South that anyone could win.  This is another great game for Lamar Miller, like Week 1’s lock over the Bears was.  He will wreck the Titans defense.  The entire offense is in good hands against the undeveloped Titans defense.  The Texans defense may have its issues without J.J. Watt, but look, the Texans defense still isn’t bad.  They have Vince Wilfork, Jadeveon Clowney, Johnathan Joseph and maybe Brian Cushing.  They’re definitely better than the Titans defense.  The Titans offense is good, but will come up short against the Texans D.  It could be a close one though.

 

Ravens, 26, Raiders, 24

Image result for derek carr vs. ravens

When these two played last year it was in Oakland, and Seth Roberts just barely got the Raiders the win.  But things are different now.  The Raiders are getting good and the Ravens have improved from last season.  The Ravens are 3-0, but beat the Bills, Jaguars and Browns.  Not so tough competition.  The Raiders beat the Saints and Titans, and lost to the Falcons.  It was tough to beat the Saints and Falcons.  The Falcons offense lashed out in Week 2, and the Saints are just a high scoring team.  The Falcons won in an offensive shootout when they were featured against the Saints on Monday Night Football.  Back to this game though, the Ravens and Raiders are now at about equal level. The Ravens have slightly better offensive depth, while the Raiders have more defensive stars.  I think in a home match-up, the Ravens will score slightly more, and pick up the wins.  I used to always say, two even teams, home team wins, and pick home teams even more than I do now, but now I make some exceptions if injuries, momentum and pressure are involved.  This is no exception.

 

Cowboys, 38, 49ers, 23

 

The Cowboys are without Dez Bryant and Tony Romo, so this could actually be a tough match-up, but against the 49ers, a 4-12 team last year, Dak Prescott’s revised offense should be able to win it, even on the road.  Despite seeing the 49ers as a team who could produce offensively in the first two weeks, in Week 3, they looked like the same old, terrible Niners.  Which Niners will they be this week?  Honestly, I think they will produce something on offense against a below average Cowboys defense.  Now that you think about it, how the 49ers do on offense really depends on how good the defense is that they’re facing.  Maybe they just had some tough defensive match-ups last year and Blaine Gabbert, even Colin Kaepernick could lead the 49ers to a decent record.  Maybe 8-8.  But this week, the 49ers defense, even being mediocre, will be overwhelmed by Dak Prescott’s tricks.  So I see scoring for San Francisco, but not a win in the end.

 

Chargers, 33, Saints, 27 OT

Image result for chargers vs. saints

The Saints have a good, consistent offense, but the Chargers offense has really fired up this season.  Look at what Melvin Gordon has done after a bust season last year.  Even with Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead leaving for the season with torn ACLs, this offense has produced week after week.  The defense lew an overtime game and a game with 2 minutes left against the Colts, but the Chargers haven’t failed to score and stay in it.  Philip Rivers, Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams have really stepped up for this offense, with Antonio Gates (for now), Allen and Woodhead out.  The Saints will score a lot, but it won’t be enough to match Chargers.  This game will be a close offensive shootout that could go to overtime.  Both defenses will be annihilated, and both offenses will thrive.  But in the end, the Chargers haven’t lost at home, and they won’t end that.  With home field advantage, the Chargers do have a slight advantage over the Saints.  They could have a pretty good season, but the problem is, so will everyone in their division.

 

Steelers, 40, Chiefs, 37

 

I just can’t see the Chiefs offense thriving in Pittsburgh, and I can’t see the Steelers being annihilated two weeks straight, especially at home this week.  The Chiefs defense did annihilate the Jets last week, but Le’Veon Bell is back, and this Steelers offense will start to get really good.  Even though the Steelers defense isn’t great, with a home field advantage, I think the Steelers can win this tough Sunday Night match-up.   In a neutral match-up, I think the Chiefs would win.  But the Steelers have home field advantage.  Their defensive weaknesses won’t show, and the Chiefs’ mild offensive depth problems will.  Home field advantage sure can mean a lot in a tough Sunday Night game.  

 

Vikings, 20, Giants, 16

Image result for vikings defense vs. giants

You’ve seen what the Vikings defense can do.  They’ve kept the Vikings undefeated with Teddy Bridgewater out.  The Giants don’t have Rashad Jennings or Shane Vereen.  The Vikings defense will ruin them.  The Giants offense isn’t prepared for what’s coming at them.  The Giants defense is good too, but they have weaknesses, The Vikings will take advantage of those.  Look, this will be a defensive game, a low scoring match-up that comes really close.  But in the end, especially with home field advantage, the Vikings will take advantage of what they can do, and take the win.  The Giants can’t do much about it.  I’m praying for this Vikings defense to do well, because they’re on my fantasy team.  But the Vikings can win this thing, I believe in them, and their defense.

 

Thursday Night’s Game

 

Bengals, 20, Dolphins, 19

 

I knew the Bengals could pull this one off and they did.  The defense was clutch as expected, and the offense thrived, even without Tyler Eifert or many receiving weapons at all.  They relied mainly on their rushing game, and annoyed the Dolphins pass rush, who was having trouble handling too much at once. A.J. Green had an awesome game too.  I knew this game would be a low scorer, somewhat close, where the Bengals defense was the main force in their win, and dominated.  I knew the offense wouldn’t score much but would do its job and not blow the game.  I knew the Dolphins offense wouldn’t do enough to prevent the Bengals from winning, and I had a feeling the defense wouldn’t be able to save them. I’m not surprised the Bengals got the win here.