NFL Week 8 Picks

Welcome to my NFL Week 8 Picks.  Last week was my best yet.  I went 12-3, placing my overall record at 53-53.  How will I do in this week’s slate of games?  Read below and comment with your thoughts.

Teams on Bye: Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans

Note: In the images, the team on the top is the road team, and the team on the bottom is the home team.

Lock of the Week

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Expect the Saints to continue their momentum and dominate offensively in this game.  I know wide receivers Michael Thomas and Willie Snead are banged-up, but that actually opens up opportunities for the offense.  WRs Brandon Coleman and Ted Ginn Jr. could step up with big games if Snead and Thomas aren’t at full health.  Both have had big games this year.

In addition, the pass should set up the run RB Alvin Kamara breaking out for 100 yards and a TD.  The Bears will have to abandon the run to try and keep up with a huge offensive showing by the Saints and it won’t be enough.

Upset of the Week (SNF)

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With WR Martavis Bryant out, the Steelers offense may struggle.  The Lions defense will have a strong game, pressuring QB Ben Roethlisberger giving him little time to find open receivers.  Even with WR Kenny Golladay banged up, the well-rested Lions should have a strong offensive game at home against a young Steelers secondary in this primetime match-up.

TNF (Posted to Twitter on Thursday Night before the game)


Miami’s success has been tied to their running game.  The Dolphins have leaned on RB Jay Ajayi all season to take pressure off the passing game sorely missing QB Ryan Tannehill.  In this game, I expect the passing offense to step up as Ajayi will struggle against a dominant Ravens defensive front.  QB Matt Moore and the Dolphins receivers will help carry the Dolphins in this game.  Moore shined in his season debut last week after QB Jay Cutler left with a rib injury.  The Dolphins offense will have plenty of opportunities as the Ravens offense will struggle to stay on the field.

The Dolphins defense will shut down RB Alex Collins and the Ravens’ young run game.  Baltimore’s banged up receivers will fail to produce, even against a weak Dolphins secondary, and Miami will pull the upset.

London Game (Posted to Twitter this morning before the game)

I don’t care if the Vikings have WR Stefon Diggs or not.  The Browns secondary has some serious holes and the Vikings receivers will dominate against them, no matter who is under center for Minnesota.  The Vikings receiving game has really stepped it up since RB Dalvin Cook tore his ACL and that has kept Minnesota in the running for playoff contention.

The Vikings D should dominate and shut down RB Isaiah Crowell and the Browns run game.  The Browns may find a way to score but their revolving door at QB keep them from having a chance as the Vikings cruise to victory.

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The Pats secondary has done surprisingly well of late even without big free agent signing CB Stephon Gilmore.  They will have to succeed without him for the 3rd straight game and I expect Belichick to come up with a good game plan to contain the Chargers’ TE duo of Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry.  Brady, Gronk and the rest of the Pats offense will keep the Chargers offense on the bench.  Expect them to control the time of possession with a 4-headed RB attack against a weak Chargers run defense.  Pats should score at least 4 TD on home turf making the Chargers wish they did not have to fly from coast to coast.

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The Bills have been on a surprisingly good run this season.  Their defense has played will despite losing star CB Gilmore.  But I think the Raiders can be the team to shut the Bills down.  Their versatile receivers will score multiple touchdowns and challenge the Bills secondary all day.  In addition, the Raiders defense will shut down Buffalo’s star RB LeSean McCoy forcing the Bills to rely on their young receivers.  They will come up short as the Raiders come up big in Buffalo.

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The Jets’ offense will be overmatched by the Falcons D the will bounce back after a tough loss to the Super Bowl champs.  The Falcons QB-RB-WR trio will find a way to regain some of last year’s high scoring success and playing against the young Jets defense should give them the confidence to succeed.

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The Bengals will thrive against one of the weakest defenses in the league.  The Colts offense is still without their star QB Andrew Luck will struggle to stay on the field.  I think star receiver A.J. Green will have plenty of chances to dominate against Indy’s secondary, even in double coverage.  The Bengals RB duo will have a big game against the Colts depleted front seven and set-up good play-action pass opportunities to Green.  The Bengals defense will slow down veteran RB Frank Gore forcing them to the air with young QB Brissett.  The Colts won’t score enough especially away from their friendly dome stadium.

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Eagles QB Carson Wentz and his versatile receivers will dominate against the weak 49ers secondary.  They will put up their sixth game in a row where they’ve scored 25+ points and they will continue to lead the league in PPG this season.  The Eagles defense should also have a big game by pressuring young QB C.J. Beathard and forcing him to make bad throws.  The Eagles’ will cruise to a league-leading season record of 7-1 as San Francisco remains winless with their 8th straight loss.

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The Bucs have blown leads in two straight games but I expect them to bounce back here against their divisional rival.  Their receivers will dominate against the struggling Carolina secondary.  The Panthers will continue to struggle offensively as QB Cam Newton has been off his game without his star TE Greg Olsen.  The Bucs defense will keep him under pressure forcing him to scramble and make bad throws.  Bucs win by at least a TD in this key division matchup.

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The Seahawks offense will have a better game against the depleted Texans defensive front.  The Texans lost DE J.J. Watt (injury), LB Brian Cushing (suspension), and LB Whitney Mercilus (injury) so expect the Seahawks offense to have success.   The Texans offense led by young QB will struggle against the Seahawks defense that always plays tough at home.  The Seahawks hold on in a close one as their defense gives their offense enough opportunities to outscore the Texans who have shown they can have big offensive games.

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The Redskins will win in another high scoring divisional game.  The Cowboys offense will continue to thrive after a huge week last week.  However, the Redskins will also get into a good offensive rhythm, dominating against a weak Cowboys defense.  Look for WR Jamison Crowder and TE Vernon Davis to lead the Redskins in this shootout.

MNF

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The Broncos will lose their third straight here as they have struggled on the road.  The Chiefs offense has been the reason Kansas City has won most of their games, but it’s their defense that will shine in this game.  Expect the Chiefs to hold Denver to 10 points o less as the Broncos have averaged just 10.5 PPG in their last four games.  QB Trevor Siemian will continue to struggle away from the comforts of home field.  The Broncos defense will not be enough to slow down the Chiefs at home.

That’s all for my picks this week.  Comment with your thoughts, and stay tuned for more NFL articles including my midseason report.

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NFL Week 7 Picks

Here are my NFL Week 7 Picks.  Last week I went 5-9, placing my overall record at 41-50.  How will I do in this week’s slate of games?  Read below and comment with your thoughts.

Teams on Bye: Detroit Lions, Houston Texans

Note: In the images, the team on the top is the road team, and the team on the bottom is the home team.

Lock of the Week

Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi had another 100-yard game last week and he led Miami to victory.  Expect that to happen again against the Jets.  The Jets have allowed the 5th most rush yards per game this year (138.8), and Ajayi should be the next to dominate against them.  I also think Miami QB Jay Cutler will find an offensive rhythm against the young Jets D, as a good run game should set up the play action passing game.  The tough Dolphins front seven will pressure Jets QB Josh McCown and hold the Jets to field goals.  Dolphins win with ease.

 

Upset of the Week

Just because QB Aaron Rodgers is hurt, it doesn’t mean the Packers won’t win any games, especially at home.  I like Packers new QB Brett Hundley and he will get the chance to prove himself in this game.  The Saints will fail to pressure him and he’ll thrive in this game by spreading the ball around to top GB receivers Jordy Nelson and DaVante Adams.  Even without Rodgers, this will still be an offensive shootout as both teams have struggled defensively especially against strong passing offenses.  The Saints will fall short of the 52 they put up last week without the benefit of the home dome.  Packers pull the upset on the not yet frozen tundra.
TNF (Posted to Twitter on Thursday before the game)

I thought Kansas City would come into this game undefeated after winning their first 5 games but the Steelers had their number.  The Raiders will be able to do the same.  Oakland has struggled over the last couple weeks but at full health I expect them to rebound on Thursday Night.

Chiefs corner Marcus Peters will limit Oakland WR Amari Cooper but Raiders WR Michael Crabtree will have a huge game.  Raiders QB Derek Carr, Crabtree, and Raiders TE Jared Cook will dominate against a Chiefs secondary that lost playmaking safety, Eric Berry.  The Chiefs offense will make it close as QB Alex Smith finds a rhythm with his star tight end Travis Kelce but the rest of the offense will continue to look off their game against the tough Raiders D.  Raiders win in a close one.

 

Sunday’s Games


The Rams offense may have had an off week against Seattle last week, but I expect them to rebound this week and find ways to score against the tough Arizona secondary.  Defensively, the Rams will slow down RB Adrian Peterson after his big debut in Arizona.  However, Cardinals QB Carson Palmer and his receivers will find a rhythm and thrive.  But in the end, I have the Rams winning in a close one as London will feel like home for them after playing there many times before.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston was injured in last week’s game but he’s expected to return this week.  I see him returning strong with 2 TDs as Bucs WRs Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson will challenge the Bills secondary and keep breakout star S Micah Hyde without an interception in this game.  Hyde may lead the league in interceptions but he won’t have one this week.  The Bucs defense will shut down the Bills offense that’s without top TE Charles Clay.

The Vikings will find an offensive rhythm in this game even without WR Stefon Diggs.  WR Laquon Treadwell will continue to make an impact in Diggs’ absence and I also expect WR Adam Thielen to keep making plays for Minnesota.  However, they will struggle in the run game without RB Dalvin Cook, especially against the Ravens’ tough run defense.

Even with TE Kyle Rudolph matched up against Baltimore’s star safety Eric Weddle, the Vikings should be successful on offense.  Defensively, the Vikings will do a good job pressuring and shutting down Ravens QB Joe Flacco and give the Vikings offense plenty of opportunities.

The Titans offense will continue to look strong against a young Browns D that is still finding its way.  QB Marcus Mariota will play like he did on Monday Night against the Colts and should have another 300-yard game.  Defensively, I think the Titans will struggle to stop RB Isaiah Crowell and the Browns run game, but without a strong passing offense, the Browns won’t have enough to keep up with the Titans.  Cleveland QB Hogan will struggle and the Browns will fail to challenge the Titans in this game.

The Jaguars run game will dominate against the Colts this week.  The Colts weak defensive front will not be able to stop the Jaguars running game even with RB Leonard Fournette out with an injury.  Fournette was injured late in last week’s game and while his injury was not deemed serious, he has been ruled out for this game.  The Colts, however, will still be without star QB Andrew Luck.  Backup QB Jacoby Brissett will make some plays but the Jaguars versatile defense will limit him enough as Ivory carries the Jags to victory.

The Panthers will dominate offensively in this game as I expect RB Christian McCaffrey to make an impact in both as a runner and as a receiver.  In addition, QB Cam Newton will have a big day against a weak Bears defense.  Expect RBs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen to struggle against a tough Carolina defensive front and force Bears QB Mitch Trubisky to carry the Bears offense.  It won’t be enough and the Panthers will win this one on the road.

The Cowboys will have a huge offensive day in San Francisco.  The run game will do especially well against the young 49ers defensive front.  The Cowboys’ dominant o-line will create running lanes for RB Ezekiel Elliott (still active thanks to winning another legal battle) as well as other Cowboys backs.  The 49ers may have some success offensively with rookie C.J. Beathard at QB facing a weak Cowboys secondary but they will be outscored by a large margin.

After seeing what the Steelers did to the Chiefs last week, I’m taking the Steelers.  They proved that they can win a big game against a tough AFC opponent.  Their defense will continue to step it up and they will shut down QB Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense.  I don’t see this being very high scoring as both defenses slow down their opponent.  In addition, neither Steelers star receiver Antonio Brown nor Bengals star receiver A.J. Green will have good games against these tough defenses.  I have the Steelers winning it at home by a touchdown.  

I think this week could be a turning point in the AFC West.  With this win for LA, the Chargers and Raiders will continue to gain on the Broncos and Chiefs.  By the end of the year, I still think the Raiders will take the division lead in the AFC West, as the Chiefs and Broncos falter down the stretch.  

In this game, the Broncos may limit RB Melvin Gordon but they won’t stop QB Rivers who will find enough time to connect with his receivers despite pressure from the Broncos front seven.  Siemian and the Broncos offense will continue to struggle as they did last week to become the only team to lose to the 1-5 Giants last week.  Even against a subpar Chargers defense, the Broncos will fail to find their offensive rhythm, especially without top WR Emmanuel Sanders.


Seattle has one of the top defenses and with the Giants top 2 WRs out for the season, I’m predicting my first shutout game this year.  The Seahawks defense will hold the depleted Giants offense scoreless.  QB Eli Manning will struggle without his star receivers especially because I see the Seahawks pressing him all day.  The Seattle offense will struggle as it has but will score enough to win in this defensive battle. 


Expect a Sunday Night thriller in this Super Bowl LI rematch.  I think Pats QB Tom Brady will thrive against the Falcons D like he did in the 2nd half of the Super Bowl, especially with star LB Vic Beasley banged up.  However, it won’t be easy for the Pats.  Falcons WR Julio Jones will dominate against a banged-up Pats secondary, and RBs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman will have good days against a struggling Pats defensive front.  But in the end, Brady and the Pats offense will find a way just as they did in the Super Bowl.

This one should be fun to watch.  I expect the Eagles offense to explode for 5 TDs as the Redskins defense looks off their game.  The Redskins offense will also thrive, continuing their momentum from last week.  Washington will come close but the Eagles will come out on top in this Monday Night Football division showdown.  

Please comment with your thoughts.

NBA 2017-18 Predictions: More of the Same Despite Exciting Season

Welcome to my NBA 2017-18 Predictions.  Each of the last three years, the Cavs and Warriors have faced off in the NBA Finals, and Golden State won 2 out of 3 times.  This year, I’d expect a similar result.  I have the Warriors beating the Celtics in the NBA Finals.  That would mean the Warriors will have won 3 out of the last 4 NBA titles.  The Warriors dynasty is not even close to over yet.  However, this season will be different than the last three.  I think that there will be a shift of power between the other 29 teams in the NBA.  Young teams will emerge, and older teams will fall.  This year will start a new era in the NBA.  Who will contend, and who will fall to the bottom?  Keep reading to find out.

 

Eastern Conference

  1.  Image result for celtics logo Boston Celtics  (59-23)
  2.  Related image Cleveland Cavaliers (59-23)
  3. Image result for bucks logo Milwaukee Bucks (54-28)
  4. Image result for wizards logo Washington Wizards (53-29)
  5.  Image result for charlotte hornets logo Charlotte Hornets (52-30)
  6. Image result for raptors logo Toronto Raptors (50-32)
  7. Image result for bulls logo Chicago Bulls (42-40)
  8. Image result for heat logo Miami Heat (40-42)
  9. Image result for atlanta hawks logo Atlanta Hawks (37-45)
  10. Image result for pistons logo Detroit Pistons (28-54)
  11. Image result for philadelphia 76ers logo wallpaper Philadelphia 76ers (22-60)
  12. Image result for knicks logo New York Knicks (22-60)
  13. Image result for orlando magic logo Orlando Magic (21-61)
  14. Image result for pacers logo Indiana Pacers (13-69)
  15. Related image Brooklyn Nets (12-70)

The tables have turned in the East.  The Celtics acquired both Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving this off-season.  The Cavs gave up Irving after he demanded to be traded, and the Cavs received Isaiah Thomas in return.  So, the Celtics have improved while the Cavaliers look to be about the same.  A third team to watch out for is the Milwaukee Bucks.  Watch out for some of their younger players to break out like Giannis Antetokounmpo did last season.  The Greek Freak will continue to lead a young Bucks team.

The Wizards, Hornets, and Raptors could also chase the Eastern Conference title.  Washington had a strong season last year, and I expect a similar result this year.  The Hornets are another team to watch, they have the perfect mix of young talent and veterans after acquiring Dwight Howard and drafting college superstar Malik Monk.  The Raptors are led by older veterans who are still elite, but they’ll be passed this year by some younger teams.

The Bulls and Heat will claim the final two playoff spots, but they have little to no chance of winning the east, let alone making it out of the 1st round.  The Bulls are kicking in to rebuild mode, and it will take a couple years for them to contend again.  The Heat have some young talent developing but they’re not quite there yet.  The Hawks will miss the playoffs as they begin a rebuild of their own.

The Pistons, Sixers, and Magic will remain towards the basement of the East.  The Pistons just need a few years to get good, they have a talented roster, but they need to get better as a team.  The 76ers look to finally improve, led by young talent.  They could be in the contention conversation a year or two down the road, but not yet.  It’s the same situation in Orlando.

In the meantime, the Knicks will need to shift their focus to rebuilding.  I don’t know why they went out and got Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose last off-season.  Neither has much left in the tank.  The Pacers will fall towards the bottom as well.  They are in desperate need of a rebuild just like the Knicks.  But the Nets are going nowhere, and they stay in the basement of the East again this season.

 

West

  1. Related image Golden State Warriors (67-15)
  2. Image result for spurs logo San Antonio Spurs (66-16)
  3. Related image Houston Rockets (62-20)
  4. Image result for timberwolves new logo Minnesota Timberwolves (60-22)
  5. Image result for clippers logo Los Angeles Clippers (57-25)
  6. Related image Utah Jazz (54-28)
  7. Image result for lakers logo Los Angeles Lakers (54-28)
  8. Image result for grizzlies logo Memphis Grizzlies (46-36)
  9. Image result for thunder logo Oklahoma City Thunder (42-40)
  10. Image result for kings logo Sacramento Kings (37-45)
  11. Image result for portland trail blazers 2018 logo Portland Trail Blazers (35-47)
  12. Related image New Orleans Pelicans (29-53)
  13. Related image Dallas Mavericks (21-61)
  14. Image result for phoenix suns new logo 2017 Phoenix Suns (20-62)
  15. Image result for nuggets logo Denver Nuggets (16-66)

Golden State will definitely remain on top of the division.  They have a dynasty going here, and it’s not over yet.  The Spurs will come very close though.  Many are saying their dynasty is over, but their roster is stacked with talent.  Superstar Kawhi Leonard will be supported by Pau Gasol, Tony Parker, and LaMarcus Aldridge among others.  The Rockets could be the third 60-win team in the Western Conference.  They have everyone they did last year as well as Chris Paul.

Some other teams to keep an eye on are the T-Wolves, Clippers, Jazz, and Lakers.  The  Timberwolves really boosted their roster with the signings of Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague.  They will support the younger talent.  The Clippers will still contend, but they’ll begin to fall out of it without CP3.  Expect the same situation for the Jazz without Gordon Hayward.  The Lakers could also emerge as a playoff team this season.  They’ll be led by lots of young talent, and I think both Julius Randle and Lonzo Ball will breakout this year.  The veterans they acquired will also support them.

The Grizzlies will grab the last playoff spot, just barely beating out the Thunder.  The Grizzlies have a lot of elite veterans, but not enough young guns to contend much longer.  The Thunder did acquire Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, but those guys aren’t in their prime anymore, and that will hurt the Thunder this year.   On the other hand, the Kings’ young roster will put them back in contention down the road.  This year we will see an improvement led by multiple former college stars, including Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox, and Justin Jackson.  The Trail Blazers will also be led by their rookies as well as veteran Damian Lillard to a decent season, but they won’t be contending.  However, watch out for Caleb Swanigan.  He was a beast in college who I think will make a big impact at the professional level.

The Pelicans may have the dynamic duo of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, but they made a huge mistake trading away Buddy Hield.  Now they have no young talent.  The Mavericks and Nuggets will also need to find some younger talent before they leave the basement of the West.  Meanwhile, the Suns are in rebuild mode, and they won’t do great this year, but look out for them next year.

Now for my playoff predictions.

I know this bracket has no upsets, but the NBA Playoffs are so predictable that it’s hard to predict an upset with confidence.  It still could be a very exciting postseason though as the younger teams start to emerge as legitimate contenders.  Two young teams that will have deep runs are the Timberwolves and the Bucks.  Both will be led by a young player having a breakout season.  

But in the end, we will end up with the same final four teams, although the Wizards, Bucks, T-Wolves and Rockets will come very close to the Conference Finals, challenging their opponents in the Semifinals.  At the very least, I think there’s a chance we finally have a different NBA Finals.  I have the Boston Celtics winning the East, beating the Cavs out after acquiring Kyrie Irving from them.  However, I still have the Warriors winning the West and the NBA Finals.  

That’s all for my predictions today.  Feel free to comment with your thoughts.  Stay tuned for more NBA articles, including rankings, predictions and game recaps.  
 

 

NFL Week 6 Picks: Contenders and Pretenders

Welcome to my NFL Week 6 Picks.  Last week I went 6-8, placing my overall record at 36-41.  How will I do in this week’s slate of games?  Read below and comment with your thoughts.  This week is when the contenders start to separate themselves from the pretenders.  Who will come out on top?

Teams on Bye: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks

Note: In the images, the team on the top is the road team, and the team on the bottom is the home team.  

Lock of the Week

The Jets have been on a pretty good run but all will come to an end against the Patriots.  I think the Patriots defense will continue to see improvement in this game.  Their secondary will shut down the depleted Jets receiving corps, even without CBs Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe.  Expect the Pats defense to force lots of turnovers as well, giving the potent New England offense more scoring chances.  In addition, I think Pats TE Rob Gronkowski will have a strong return from a leg injury that held him out last week.  He will dominate against the Jets D in this game.  Pats win with ease.

Upset of the Week 

The Lions have had a surprisingly strong start to the season.  I expect that to continue against an aging Saints team.  Lions QB Matthew Stafford will have a huge game as the Saints defense struggles to put pressure on him, giving the strong Lions receivers more time to get open.

Expect the Saints offense to struggle to run the ball effectively against the Lions D, especially after trading away RB Adrian Peterson.  Peterson was not making the biggest impact in New Orleans, but he provided the Saints with options in the run game.  If Saints RB Mark Ingram starts to look off his game, who do they turn to?   Lions pull off the upset.

 

TNF (Posted to Twitter on Thursday before the game)

After last week’s big victory, the Eagles offense is beginning to gain some momentum.  Expect that to continue against the Panthers as they put up 30+ points.  I also think the Eagles receivers will have another huge day against a rebuilding Carolina secondary.  Even though Panthers QB Cam Newton has gotten back in the swing of things, I think Newton will be the next victim of the Eagles defense.  Newton will be hammered in this prime time match-up.

Sunday’s Games

The Falcons are well rested coming off their bye week and their dominant offense should shine in this match-up.  Falcons WR Julio Jones will not be stopped by CB Byron Maxwell and the rest of the Dolphins secondary.  On defense, LB Vic Beasley and the Atlanta pass rush will not allow Jay Cutler to get into a rhythm.  Jay Ajayi could also have another rough day against a tough Atlanta run defense.  Atlanta will win easily at home.

The Ravens will win but it won’t be easy.  After facing two tough defensive fronts in Weeks 4 & 5, Ravens QB Joe Flacco should have an easier time this week against a weak Bears secondary.  I also expect Ravens WR Mike Wallace to lead the Ravens to victory with another 100 yeard game like last week (133-yard).

However, the Bears will also look a little better offensively with rookie QB Mitch Trubisky under center.  In addition, WR Kendall Wright will be targetted more with injured receiver Kevin White out again.   But things won’t be easy against a tough Ravens defense.  It will be close but I have the Ravens holding on in a tight one.

The Texans front seven will be challenged this week after losing defensive stars DE J.J. Watt and LB Whitney Mercilus for the season.  Expect Browns RB Isaiah Crowell to have a strong game.

On offense, the Texans will continue to do well with rising star rookie QB Watson.  They’ve put up a total of 91 points over the last two weeks (45.5 PPG)!  The Browns had the chance to draft Watson and after this game may wish they did.  Texans offense will deliver again at home.

This will be a blowout because other than Niners WR Pierre Garcon, I don’t believe there’s anyone else that could step it up for San Francisco offensively.  Redskins QB Kirk Cousins and his receivers will thrive against the rebuilding Niners secondary.  They will lead the Redskins to an easy win.

Over the last three weeks, the Packers have averaged 32.3 PPG.  Expect their offensive success to continue, even against a tough Vikings defense.  The Vikings secondary will fail to hold back a stacked group of talented Packers receivers.  Packers receivers Nelson, Cobb, and Adams are all at full health this week so expect the Vikes D to have a rough day.  I think the Vikings run game could struggle without starting RB Dalvin Cook.  They’ll also be without WR Stefon Diggs.  Packers win as the Vikings struggle to get into an offensive rhythm.

The Rams have gained some momentum over the last few weeks but it’s never easy to win on the road.  The Jags have been off to a pretty strong start as well and their defense could put a stop to Ram’s run.  They will contain LA’s playmakers, making it tough for QB Jared Goff to play like he has for most of this season.

However, this win won’t be easy for the Jags.  Blake Bortles will be under pressure but I see him having enough success to lead the Jags to a win.  He will have to because I believe the Rams will slow down Jas star running back Leonard Fournette.  In the end, the Rams won’t produce enough offensively and they’ll fall short against the Jags.

As the Bucs defense finally starts to make its way back to full health, I think they’ll lead Tampa Bay to bounce back win after a tough Thursday night loss to the Pats at home.  I expect Cards QB Carson Palmer to take a lot of hits like Tom Brady did last week against an aggressive Bucs defensive front.  I don’t think Palmer has much left in the tank as he has struggled this season to help AZ put points on the board.  However, young Bucs QB Jameis Winston will thrive in this game, rebounding from a rough game last week against the Pats.  His receiving corps will create match-up problems against the strong Arizona secondary as Winston will buy his receivers more time with his elusiveness.  The Bucs will win the game with strong performances on both sides of the ball.

The Chiefs are the only remaining undefeated team and the Steelers have been inconsistent losing 2 of their last 3 games to teams they should have beaten, the Bears and the Jags.  Before I pick the Steelers to win again, they need to play more consistently.

Steelers QB Big Ben and RB Le’Veon Bell will struggle against the tough KC front seven that has shut down some top RBs and QBs during their 5-0 start.  The Steelers will also struggle defensively against speedster WR Tyreek Hill and one of the leagues best TE, Travis Kelce.  Big games from both Hill and Kelce will be just enough for KC to win by a Field Goal.

The Raiders offense should be back to full strength this week with star QB Derek Carr, WR Amari Cooper, and WR Michael Crabtree all healthy.  I think they’ll put up 30+ points against a weak Chargers defense.  The Chargers defense has cost LA many of their games as Chargers have averaged 19.8 PPG but are only 1-4.  The Chargers offensive success will bring them close but the Raiders offense will be too much in this shootout.

SNF

The Giants lost their top three receivers to serious injuries last week.  None of them will play in this game and the Giants will likely struggle offensively especially since RB Paul Perkins will also be out with an injury.  The Broncos arguably have the best defense in the league and will pressure Giants QB, Eli Manning all day.  Denver will pull away with the win even with their own offensive struggles.  The Broncos defense will carry them to a victory in a low scoring Sunday Night game at Mile High.    

MNF

This game will be a thrilling high scoring game that will be much more fun to watch than the Sunday Night defensive battle between the Broncos and Giants.  The Titans offense should score with ease against the struggling Colts defense, scoring 5+ TDs.  But this isn’t going to be a blowout.  Jacoby Brissett has led the Colts offense to win two of their last four games as they have scored over 22 points a game in the last 4.  Brissett will hit his star receiver T.Y. Hilton often as he will have a big game against the Titans secondary.  But in the end, the Titans’ offensive dominance will be too much for the Colts on the road and carry them to victory on Monday Night.  

That’s all for this week.  What do you think will happen this Sunday?  Feel free to comment with your thoughts.  This season has been full of surprises so you should expect more.

NFL Week 5 Picks: Several Games Will Come Down to Final Seconds

Welcome to my picks for Week 5 of the NFL season.  Last week I went 8-8, making my overall record 30-33.  This week I’m hoping to get myself above .500.  How do you think I’ll do?  Read below and chime in with your thought.

Note: In the pictures, the team on the top is the road team and the team on the bottom is the home team.  

Lock of the Week


Jags QB Blake Bortles was really off his game last week, and it will be hard for him to improve.  Bortles was picked off once and only had 1 TD.  The Steelers defensive front dominated against Ravens QB Joe Flacco.  Expect them to do the same up against Bortles and the Jags.

In addition, the Jaguars offense will still be short on passing options with WR Allen Robinson out for the season and the Steelers D will overwhelm their other receivers.  In addition, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and the Steelers offense will dominate against the young Jags defense.  Pittsburgh should win with ease.

Upset of the Week


This will be a very competitive match-up between 2 teams doing whatever they can to get their first win of the season.  The Giants receivers will create match-up problems for the Chargers secondary as I expect Giants QB Eli Manning to have the time to hit deep threats WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard.

The Chargers tight end duo of Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry will have success against the Giants D which has underperformed this season.  The Giants have a good pass rush and will pressure Bolts QB Philip Rivers but not enough to keep him from having a lot of success through the air because the rest of the Giants defense needs work.  In the end, I have the Chargers pulling off the upset in this offensive shootout.

TNF (Posted to Twitter on Thursday Night before the game)


It could be very tough for the Pats with Gronk out, but the Buccaneers defense is depleted by injuries, and that will make it easier for the Pats offense to get into a groove.   The Bucs front seven will struggle to pressure and hit Pats QB Tom Brady without LBs Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David.

The Pats defense will also continue to struggle, but I think with Hightower back, the Pats will do a decent job keeping young QB Jameis Winston off his game.  The Pats secondary will also turn it around after struggling with communication last week.  This will be an extremely high scoring prime time game with both defenses struggling.  I think the Pats come out on top in a shootout.

Sunday’s Games


Titans QB Marcus Mariota is unlikely to play, but I still see the Titans winning this one.  Their receiving game will be their strong suit.  The Dolphins secondary will fail to keep up with TE Delanie Walker and WR Corey Davis among others.  Both Mariota and backup QB Matt Cassel have the experience with this versatile passing offense.

However, Titans running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry will struggle against a tough Miami run defense.  But whoever’s at QB for Tennessee should stay out of trouble thanks to an o-line that has done a good job protecting Mariota.  In addition, the Dolphins will continue to look off their game offensively without starting QB Ryan Tannehill.  Their offensive struggles will cause them to fall short against Tennessee.

Bengals WR A.J. Green should make a big impact offensively.  I also expect RB Giovani Bernard to be a dangerous weapon in the run game and the receiving game.  But the Bills have put up strong offensive and defensive showings over the last few weeks and arguably are the biggest surprise team of the season so far.  The Bills defense is second in the league in forcing turnovers with 7 over their first four games.  The offense has picked it up as well of late, scoring 20+ points in each of the last two weeks.  Expect the Bills to keep their momentum going this week with a win.  

These may be the two worst teams in football, so don’t expect the most exciting game.  What I would expect is a lot of sloppy football and a rough game on both sides of the ball.  I think it will be tough for the Jets to win for the third week in a row.  

RB Bilal Powell is emerging as a star running back but the Jets need to establish a passing rhythm in order to win more games.  In the end, I think Kizer and the Browns will be able to find a little bit of an offensive rhythm and edge out the win.  

This could be another sloppy game, especially without Colts QB Andrew Luck.  Colts RB Frank Gore won’t be as sharp either.  The 49ers are very familiar with his running style since he played in San Francisco for 10 years.  But the 49ers have really struggled offensively; they haven’t scored a TD in 3 of their 4 games this season.  For the Colts, backup QB Jacoby Brissett hasn’t been all that bad.  He led the Colts to victory against Cleveland at home.  I think he’ll be successful again on home turf. 

Even with RB Wendell Smallwood banged up, I think the Eagles will have success on the ground against the underperforming Arizona defense.  On the other side of the ball, the Philly secondary will be challenged to stop WR Larry Fitzgerald from having a big game.  However, even without star pass rusher Fletcher Cox look for the strong Eagles defensive front to pressure the Cardinals QB Carson Palmer just enough to help the Eagles to their 4th win. 


Carolina may have upset the Pats last week but this week they face a Lions team that could be 4-0 if not for a last-second TD that was reversed by instant replay.  Even with WR Kenny Golladay hurt, the Lions receivers will thrive against a Carolina secondary that’s in a rebuilding year.  The dominant Carolina pass rush will not be enough to stop Lions QB Matthew Stafford.

The Panthers offense will struggle against the Lions defensive stars, DE Ziggy Ansah, CB Darius Slay and S Glover Quin.  With Lions offensive star Golladay out, the Lions defense will step up and hold the explosive Panthers offense to under 20 points and carry the Lions to the win.

Even with Oakland QB Derek Carr out, the Raiders will still win this game.  After two rough weeks, it will be hard for Ravens QB Joe Flacco and his offense to get back into the swing of things against DE Khalil Mack who leads the tough Raiders pass rush.  The Baltimore offense has averaged just 8 points per game over the last two weeks and just 15 PPG this season.

It will be tough for 2nd-string QB E.J. Manuel to lead the Oakland offense and develop a connection with them, but the return of versatile receiver Michael Crabtree will help him.  Crabtree and WR Amari Cooper should dominate against the Ravens secondary if Manuel connects with them.  Raiders win a close game at home, holding off a late-game comeback through the air by Baltimore.

These teams have had some pretty exciting games throughout the years.  This time around the Rams are favored at home.  They have looked like a whole new team this season, jumping out to a 3-1 start.  The Seahawks offense that has struggled at times will not be effective against the Rams defensive front.  DT Aaron Donald and the Rams front seven will keep Seattle QB Russell Wilson under pressure.  The Rams will win despite facing a tough Seahawks defense.

The Packers offense will continue its momentum from last week and overwhelm a so-so Cowboys defense.  QB Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense will be motivated after a high scoring affair last week.  But RB Ezekiel Elliott will be slowed down by the Packers defensive front.  I predict that the Cowboys key receiving weapon TE Jason Witten will struggle.  But the rest of the receiving threats will thrive, especially star WR Dez Bryant.  In the end, I think the Packers will come out on top in a shootout.

SNF

The Texans dominated on home turf last week, scoring 57 points.  They go into this week’s primetime home game with momentum and motivation facing the NFL’s only remaining undefeated team.  DE J.J. Watt and the Texans defense will really hold up the Chiefs’ offensive stars RB Kareem Hunt and WR Tyreek Hill.  The Chiefs will fall to a fired up Texans offense led by successful rookie QB Deshaun Watson.

Even with rookie RB Dalvin Cook out for the season, I think the Vikings will win this one.  RB Latavius Murray should be able to fill in for Cook as he was a starting RB just one year ago.  QB Sam Bradford and Murray will have a huge day as the Bears front seven struggle with LB Danny Trevathan serving a suspension.  On the other side of the ball, the Vikings defensive front will be able to slow down a strong Chicago run game.  Vikings win easily.

 

That’s all for my picks this week.  What do you think?  Please comment below.