NFL Week 11 Picks

Welcome to my NFL Week 11 Picks.  I went 9-5 last week, placing my overall record at 78-68.  How will I do in this week’s slate of games?  Read below and comment with your thoughts.

Teams on Bye: Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers

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 Browns will receive a rude awakening against the strong Jaguars defense.  The Jaguars front seven will shut down RB Isaiah Crowell, and the Browns will fail to establish their passing game.  Offensively, QB Blake Bortles and RB Leonard Fournette will keep the Jags going, even without WR Allen Hurns.  Jags win easy.

Upset of the Week (TNF)

Against subpar teams like the Jags, Colts, and Bears, the Steelers don’t bring their A-game.  The Titans will surprise many as Pittsburgh continues their bad run against teams they should beat.  QB Ben Roethlisberger will struggle as he faces unexpected pressure from the strong Titans defensive front.  The Steelers defense won’t fare much better, failing to contain Titans young QB Marcus Mariota and his receiving corps.  Titans pull off the upset.

Sunday’s Games

With WR Mike Evans back, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick should be able to lead the Bucs to victory.  As we’ve seen over the last few weeks, the Dolphins receiving corps will not be able to do its thing with QB Jay Cutler under center.  Their offense can’t do too much without star RB Jay Ajayi.  The young Buccaneers defense will feed on Miami’s struggles.

The Packers may have beaten their division rival Chicago Bears last week, but the Ravens will be a tougher opponent for inexperienced QB Brett Hundley and the Packers offense.  The Ravens defense will flush Hundley out of the pocket and he will struggle to find his receivers.  Expect Ravens QB Joe Flacco to look strong coming off the bye, and his versatile receivers will get open more often than not against the stingy Green Bay secondary.  The well-rested Ravens will be too much for the Packers, even in Green Bay.

Even though both starting QBs are out, and the Texans D is depleted by injuries, this game will be more exciting than one would expect.  QB Drew Stanton and his receiving corps will breeze past a weak Texans secondary.  I also think the Texans offense will put up a big game, even against a strong Arizona secondary.  I expect a strong Texans running game to be the difference in this game.

The Chiefs D will shut down QB Eli Manning, and he will struggle to find the receivers that he’s only had a few weeks to develop a connection with.  The Giants defense will shut down RB Kareem Hunt and the Chiefs run game.  But the Giants will give up big plays to WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce, and that will cost the Giants in this low scoring game.

The Saints offense will dominate in this game, feeding on a Washington defense that has given up 25.8 PPG (7th worst in the NFL).  But it’s the Saints young defense will continue to surprise many as they again do enough to help the Saints win.  The Saints will continue to have a balanced attack, not relying on QB Drew Brees alone. The RB duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram should have big games.  For Washington, QB Kirk Cousins will have a big game, but it won’t be enough to keep up with the Saints.

The Vikings defense will dominate, slowing down RB Todd Gurley and the Rams’ powerful offense.  Meanwhile, the Rams will struggle to cover Minnesota’s versatile group of receivers as QB Case Keenum throws 4 TD.  Rams QB Jared Goff will just be under too much pressure to match Keenum’s stats against Minnesota’s tough front seven, and the Vikings will win.

The Bears will struggle to generate a passing rhythm, but their RB, Jordan Howard, will have a big game.  The Lions D will struggle to slow down Howard, but they will keep QB Mitch Trubisky under a lot of pressure throughout the game.  For the Lions, WR Kenny Golladay and TE Eric Ebron will come up big again, like they did last week against Cleveland.  The Lions will win after the Bears struggle offensively and allow the Lions offense to dominate.

Benching QB Tyrod Taylor for QB Nathan Peterman was a good move for Buffalo.  But it won’t be enough in LA against the Chargers’ electric offense.  In addition, Peterman will have a tough time against the Chargers young defensive front.  DE Joey Bosa and LB Melvin Ingram will flush him out of the pocket.  For LA, the receiving corps will thrive against the Bills strong secondary to lead the Chargers to victory.

The Pats are 12-0 on the road since the start of 2016.  In the high elevation of Mexico City, the Pats should be more prepared than Oakland, since they spent the last week practicing in the similarly high elevation of Colorado Springs.  Expect the Pats TE duo to dominate against the young Raiders secondary, the only secondary without an interception this season.

The Pats secondary will slow down the Raiders wide receivers enough.  QB Tom Brady will have a big game, and the Pats’ four-headed monster at RB will also make an impact as the Patriots outlast the Raiders in an offensive shootout.

The Broncos will win this game as their defense dominates.  The Bengals offense will play some pretty sloppy football against the Denver D, and the Broncos offense won’t do much better.  However, QB Brock Osweiler will have a slightly better game than Bengals QB Andy Dalton.  Osweiler will toss the only TD of the game to WR Emmanuel Sanders, as Bengals WR A.J. Green is shut down against the No Fly Zone.  Broncos win in a defensive battle.

SNF

With the addition of RB Jay Ajayi, expect the Eagles to have a dominant run game, especially with Cowboys LB Sean Lee out.  The Cowboys offense will have a strong game as well, but it won’t be the same without RB Ezekiel Elliott.  Led by their running success and another huge game out of QB Carson Wentz, the Eagles will win in a high scoring Sunday Night divisional showdown.

MNF

The Seahawks defense will slow down Atlanta’s high-powered offense.  The Falcons offense has been very inconsistent this year, unlike last year when WR Julio Jones and QB Matt Ryan led them to be one of the best offenses in the league.  With the help of star TE Jimmy Graham, QB Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense will begin to get into a rhythm.  But it’s the Seahawks defensive success that will lead Seattle to another big home victory.

That’s all for my Week 11 Picks.  Feel free to comment with your thoughts.

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NFL Midseason Report: 2017 Will Continue to Shock Us

This NFL season has been crazy.  There have been upsets that are unheard of.  Teams have made shocking last-minute comebacks, and almost every game is competitive.  Roger Goodell finally got his way there, almost every team is somewhere in the middle except the few dominant teams and the few terrible teams.  After such a crazy season, who will win it all?  Will the Pats do it two years in a row, or will a dark horse contender come from behind to win it?

Part I: Pats 1st Half Review and 2nd Half Outlook

The Pats were starting to scare me early in the season.  First, they blew it on Opening Night.  Then, they just didn’t look the same in Weeks 2 and 3 and blew it in Week 4.  They were 2-2 and almost went 1-3.  Even in wins against the Bucs and Jets, they didn’t look quite the same.  The defense was horrific early in the season.

But somewhere between their 6th and 7th games, something clicked with the defense.  They began to apply more pressure to the passer and the running back each week.  Even without Stephon Gilmore, the secondary was really containing their opponents, and even got 3 interceptions between Weeks 6 and 8.

The Pats go into the bye with a 6-2 record, and they remind me of the 2014 team that won Super Bowl XLIX.  They have been playing strong complementary football lately, as they’re famous for.  I could see them as the #1 seed, but they have to beat the Bills and Dolphins, and they can’t let the AFC West trip them up.  They are still my favorites to win it all, but it won’t be easy by any means.

 

Part II: Revised Season and Playoff Predictions

AFC East

  1. new_england_patriots New England Patriots 12-4
  2. Buffalo_Bills Buffalo Bills 10-6
  3. Dolphins-logo Miami Dolphins 6-10
  4. Jets-Logo New York Jets 3-13

Right now, this division is very tight.  But the results of the trade deadline will cause a split.  The Pats will continue in the same direction they’re headed right now.  Their defense has continued to improve, and their offense has been on top of things.  The Bills will continue to chase the Patriots.

The acquisition of Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin will boost the offense, and the defense will continue to thrive.  However, the Dolphins and Jets will fall out of it.  What are the Dolphins doing?  They traded away their star RB!  They will fall apart without him.  The Jets will fall to the bottom as their anemic offense burns out.

AFC North

  1. pittsburgh-steelers Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4
  2. Baltimore_Ravens_Logo Baltimore Ravens 9-7
  3. cincinnati-bengals Cincinnati Bengals 5-11
  4. cleveland-browns-brown Cleveland Browns 0-16

Unfortunately for Browns fans, the losing streak could continue.  They may be getting Josh Gordon back, but they have failed to produce offense and establish a starting QB.  Their defense has also struggled.  The Bengals will also continue to have problems, their defense has been strong but the offense will struggle without TE Tyler Eifert and WR John Ross.  The Ravens have a great defense as well, but QB Joe Flacco hasn’t developed a passing rhythm lately.  That means the Steelers will run away with the division.  They could be going places after the breakout of Juju Smith-Schuster.

AFC South

  1. tennessee-titans. Tennessee Titans 12-4
  2. jacksonvile-jaguars Jacksonville Jaguars 12-4
  3. hou-texans Houston Texans 7-9
  4. indianapolis-colts Indianapolis Colts 4-12

The Titans and Jaguars will continue to battle it out for the division.  The Jags have a great defense and their offense has been carried by RB Leonard Fournette.  The Titans have a dominant offense that will lead them to success and a strong young D.  The Texans and Colts will fall out of it, as the Texans’ isn’t enough to carry them with the defense depleted, and Indy will fail to win many games with QB Andrew Luck on IR.

AFC West

  1. kansas-city-chiefs-logo Kansas City Chiefs 12-4
  2. oakland-raiders Oakland Raiders 9-7
  3. San_Diego_Chargers Los Angeles Chargers 7-9
  4. denver-broncos-logo Denver Broncos 6-10

The Chiefs have been unbelievable this season, and expect that to continue.  Their offense can make plays sufficiently, and the defense is dominant at times.  I also think the Raiders and Chargers will be in the running for a playoff spot.  LA is finally starting to rebound from some tough times, and the Raiders just need to get the offense going at full speed.  On the other hand, the Broncos are headed downhill as they struggle to produce offensively.

NFC East

  1. philadelphia-eagles-logo Philadelphia Eagles 12-4
  2. dalcowboyslogonew Dallas Cowboys 10-6
  3. washingtonredskins2 Washington Redskins 7-9
  4. new-york-giants-logo New York Giants 2-14

The Giants are out of it at this point.  They are depleted at receiver, QB Eli Manning is struggling and they have no run game.  The Eagles should win this division with ease through offensive dominance and a strong defensive showing.  The Cowboys also have a chance if RB Ezekiel Elliott keeps playing.  They struggle severely on defense though.  The Redskins are in a similar situation, but their offense isn’t nearly as good as Dallas’.  Dallas also has a strong O-line to protect the offense.  This division is a battle of strong offenses, the Eagles should be heavy favorites.

NFC North

  1. min-vikings-logo2 Minnesota Vikings 11-5
  2. Image result for detroit lions logo Detroit Lions 9-7
  3. gbpackers2 Green Bay Packers 8-8
  4. chicago-bears-logo Chicago Bears 5-11

The Packers are without their star QB, and that’s a huge setback.  That opens up the NFC North.  The Lions are decent.  Decent defense, and a strong offense that just hasn’t gotten it together lately.  The Vikings are the new favorites.  Even without RB Dalvin Cook, they have several capable receivers and a strong RB in Latavius Murray.  The Bears will also look better but will remain in last with Green Bay, Detroit and Minnesota all off to strong starts.

NFC South

  1. atlfalcons Atlanta Falcons 10-6
  2. tampabaybuccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6
  3. nosaints New Orleans Saints 9-7
  4. carolina-panthers-logo Carolina Panthers 8-8

This division doesn’t look so great right now, but I still consider it one of the best divisions in the league.  Everyone in this division is projected as .500 or above.  I think the Falcons will win it, as the Saints begin to slow down and the Panthers fall apart without WR Kelvin Benjamin.  The Buccaneers will also be back in it.  I expect them to rebound both offensively and defensively.  Those efforts will grab them a wild card.

NFC West

  1. Image result for la rams logo Los Angeles Rams 12-4
  2. seattle-seahawks Seattle Seahawks 11-5
  3. az-cards Arizona Cardinals 5-11
  4. sf-49ers San Francisco 49ers 1-15

With QB Carson Palmer done for the year, the Cardinals are out of it and this is officially a 2-team battle.  The Seahawks have played great defensively, but the offense has struggled.  The Rams offense has kicked into gear but they need to establish a strong secondary.  Who will be atop the NFC West?  I think the Rams are the stronger team here as they have a front seven that’s almost as strong as Seattle’s.

Playoff Predictions


I still have the Pats winning it all in this exciting season that has continued to surprise us.  The Eagles won’t make it very easy though.  They have continued to put up a lot of points week to week and could be a difficult challenge for Matt Patricia’s defense.  The Chiefs will also cause them problems, similar to those presented on Opening Night.  However, the Pats offense will have more of a rhythm than it did in Week 1 and the defense will look much better, giving the Pats the victory this time around.

The Rams will be tough for the Eagles to beat, especially in LA.  I have the Rams beating Philly in LA in the regular season, but in the playoffs, Philly’s offense will just be too dominant to be stopped, even by the Rams D, and it will take another great offense to beat them out, which is why I have the Pats, not the Eagles, winning Super Bowl LII.  In the NFC, it’s hard for me to say any teams besides LA and the Eagles have a chance.  The Packers would if QB Aaron Rodgers came back for the playoffs, but backup QB Brett Hundley has to grab them the playoff spot first.

The Vikings have a great defense and improving offensive attack, but they’re not good enough to challenge the better teams in the NFC.  Every team in the NFC South has too big a weakness somewhere on their team to challenge.  For Carolina, it’s receiving weapons.  Atlanta lacks protection for QB Matt Ryan.  Tampa Bay and New Orleans lack consistency.  The Seahawks would also contend if they scored more points per game.  They are carried by an unbelievable defense, but in order to win playoff games, the offense needs to step it up.

In the AFC, the Steelers, Jaguars, and Titans may seem like contenders, but the Pats and Chiefs are by far the two best teams in the AFC.  Right now, there are no noticeable holes for either of them.  The Steelers may be good in the regular season, but they’ll go one and done in the playoffs if they can’t mentally prepare, which has caused them problems already this season.  The Titans and Jaguars’ young defenses will not be able to handle the dominant offenses of the Pats and Chiefs. So you can count those three teams out.   Even the Bills or Raiders might be in it if it weren’t for the big gap between the Pats and Chiefs and everyone else in the AFC.

That’s all for my midseason report.  Feel free to comment with your thoughts.

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.

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.

NFL Week 4 Picks: Many Close Games This Week

Last week was probably my worst week in picks yet.  I went 5-11, making my overall record just 22-25!  But this week, I have modified my picking method to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  Who will win this week’s slate of games?  Keep reading to find out.

Note: The teams on the top in the images are the road teams, and the teams on the bottom are the home teams.  

Lock of the Week (TNF) – Posted on Twitter before the game on Thursday


The Bears may have beaten the Steelers but that was last week.  It won’t happen two weeks in a row, especially since they’re on the road this week.  Chicago can’t continue to win games if they are completely reliant on their run game.  Their receiving game has struggled without White and Meredith.

With Chicago’s offense one-dimensional, expect the Packers defense to take advantage.  On offense, the Packers Jordy Nelson should have a huge week.  He and the other Packers receivers will overwhelm the Bears secondary.  This will all add up to a big win for the Packers.

Upset of the Week


I don’t know why the Dolphins are the underdogs.  It could be because they lost to the Jets last week in New York.  The Saints haven’t been much better so far which is why the spread is close to even.  The Saints may have shown us something last week in their first win but Carolina was not at full strength with Olsen and Benjamin (who was hurt early on) out.  I think the Dolphins will come away with a narrow victory.

One key factor in this game is Jay Ajayi.  Ajayi rushed for over 100 yards in Week 2’s win over the Chargers.  On the other hand, he was limited to just 16 yards against the Jets.  So far this year when Ajayi does well, the Dolphins win.  The Saints run defense has not done well this season (9th worst in the NFL) so expect Ajayi to dominate, especially at home.  The Saints offense will be tough to defend though especially with stud WR Willie Snead returning from a 3 game suspension.  Does the Miami secondary have what it takes to cover both Snead and Michael Thomas, or will they be too much for the Dolphins?  Thomas or Snead could have a huge game but I think if the Dolphins can get into a rhythm on offense and keep the Saints offense off the field, they will win this game.

Sunday’s Games

The Patriots are gaining some momentum after two big wins where they scored 36 points in each game.  They will come up big again against Carolina.  The Panthers are depleted by injuries right now with offensive stars Greg Olsen on IR and Kelvin Benjamin banged up with a knee problem.  The Panthers will have to depend on two up and coming rookies for offensive plays.  WR Curtis Samuel and RB Christian McCaffrey have helped lead the Panthers to their 2-1 start.  Expect the Patriots to game plan against McCaffrey and to try and bump Samuel at the line to throw off the timing of his routes.  Will they be ready for the unexpected that Belichick usually likes to have ready for rookies?

Cam Newton could be the x-factor for the Carolina offense as the Patriots just faced a QB very similar to Cam in Deshaun Watson.  If Cam can return to his pre-injury form, the Pats defense could be in for a long day.  For the Pats offense, both Gronk and Cooks could have big days against the young Panthers corners.  Even without Thomas Davis, the Panthers run defense could give Gillislee and White problems.  However, the Pats proved last week that a healthy Cooks, Hogan, and Gronk can do a lot to offset an inconsistent run game for the Pats.

This game will be closer than many may believe.  Atlanta’s offense dominated last year.  The offense led by studs WR Julio Jones and RB Devonta Freeman was strong enough to bring them to the brink of a Super Bowl victory.  This year, Atlanta’s offense is still on a roll butBuffalo’s offense has surprised many especially with an upset win against Denver last week to put them at the top of the AFC East for the first time in many years.

Atlanta will win this game but it won’t be easy.  Expect the Bills offense to be as physically and mentally prepared as Atlanta’s.  LeSean McCoy could be dominant with Atlanta’s star LB Vic Beasley out.  Tyrod Taylor has several receiving weapons that could give the Falcons secondary some problems.

But the Bills defense could blow the game for Buffalo.  Buffalo’s young secondary lost their top two corners to trades/free-agency this off-season.  I believe Atlanta’s versatile receivers will have big games and they will carry the Falcons to a big win at home. 

The Jaguars had an impressive win last week in London.  They have been inconsistent so far this season but a match-up against the Jets could have them at 3-1 atop the AFC South.  Can the Jaguars win two in a row and gain some momentum or will they continue as an up and down team?  The Jaguars have a strong young defense and have made big plays on offense and I don’t expect the lowly Jets to have a chance, even at home.

If Blake Bortles plays like he did last week and protects the football, it should be an easy game for the Jags.  I think the Jets secondary will be overmatched and Bortles will lead the Jags in a blowout.

The Ravens were blown out in London last week.  Many expected the Ravens to have one of the top defenses in the league but looked pretty bad last week.  This is the first division matchup between these two teams and both have extra motivation after bad losses last week.  This should be a very competitive game as these two teams have been the top teams in this division for the last several years.

The Ravens receivers will do well this week against a Steelers secondary that has struggled so far.  Safety Eric Weddle and the Ravens front seven will also do a good job containing a strong Steelers offense.  The Steelers should do a good job of pressuring Joe Flacco especially with the Ravens O-line depleted by injuries. Steelers win in a close one.

 

This could be yet another close game this week.  Both these teams are 0-3.  Who will get their first win?  I know it’s hard to believe but I think the Browns get the win here in the battle of the AFC North bottom feeders.  The Bengals some great offensive weapons but they have shown no rhythm.

This will be a low-scoring game as the Bengals defense will find a way to pressure rookieDeShone Kizer.

The Titans have looked better this season and with WR Corey Davis on his way back from an injury expect the offense to be even more dominant.  The Texans may have a good defensive front but their secondary isn’t as good this year.  Expect Delanie Walker and the Titans receivers to have a big game because the Titans offensive line should be able to give Mariotaenough time to make big plays.

The Texans offense is not good enough to give the Titans defense a serious challenge, so the Titans should be able to win this game with ease. 

This game will be high scoring.  The Cowboys will win in an offensive shootout that could potentially be close enough to go to overtime.  The odds have Dallas favored by 8 but the Rams should be able to take advantage of the Dallas secondary.  The Rams have the kind of receiving core that could dominate against the Cowboys especially receiving weapons Sammy Watkins and Derek Carrier. 

However, I still think the Cowboys will win the game.  First of all, the Cowboys offensive line is one of the best in the league and I expect them to give Prescott time to make big throws and also create good running lanes for Elliott.  Cowboys win in overtime.

This is going to be a close one.  WR Kenny Golladay has done well for the Lions and he’s been hard to shut down.  For the Lions to have a chance he will need to have a big game because the Vikings have a really good run defense.

With QB Sam Bradford out, I expect the Vikings to run more especially with Lions star defensive lineman Ziggy Ansah injured.  Vikings RB Dalvin Cook could have a huge game.  I believe the Lions lack a true #1 corner so WR Stefon Diggs could be another factor especially since he has performed well with both Bradford and backup QB Case Keenum.  The Vikings win in a close offensive shootout in front of the home crowd in an exciting division match-up.

Both of these teams have looked good so far this season in arguably the strongest division in the NFL.  This is going to be a very competitive AFC West where I think any of the four teams could win the division.  The Raiders are really good offensively but the Broncos has one of the toughest defenses, especially in Denver’s mile-high air.  The Raiders QB Derek Carr may struggle to connect with top receivers Crabtree and Cooper because Denver’s secondary led by Chris Harris and Aqib Talib will likely be very physical and throw off the timing of their routes.

Trevor Siemian could have a tough game against Khalil Mack and the Oakland defensive front but the Broncos will win a close one at home.


The Eagles have played well this season while the Chargers have struggled.  I think this pattern will continue as the Chargers secondary will struggle against a versatile group of receivers led by new Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery and WR Torrey Smith.

I expect Philip Rivers to struggle against a tough Eagles defense.  Eagles win on the road.

The Giants have started the season 0-3 but this one will be a close one.  I think the Giants offense will continue to improve as they did against the Eagles in a tough last-second loss last week. 

The Giants secondary is a little banged-up so I expect the Buccaneers to throw a lot and Jameis Winston will have a big game with multiple TDs.  The Buccaneers have shown improvement on both sides of the ball and I think they will have the edge at home in an offensive shootout.

The 49ers haven’t won a game this season and don’t expect them to even come close this Sunday versus Arizona.  Sure, they will do a decent job pressuring Carson Palmer who can’t move as well as he used to.  But Arizona will have a balanced attack with speedy running back Chris Johnson having a big game.

A big sleeper in this game is receiver is Cardinals WR J.J. Nelson.  He could have a big game if he’s healthy and put up a performance more like his first 2 games of the season.  Cardinals win easily at home.

SNF

The Seahawks offense has struggled all year but I don’t think the Colts can win this game without Andrew Luck especially in Seattle, home of the 12th man.  The Seattle defense is especially tough at home and inexperienced Jacoby Brissett will likely struggle.  The Colts will need a big game from WR T.Y. Hilton to win but CB Richard Sherman’s physical play may disrupt his routes.

Even if the Seahawks offense doesn’t score a single TD on Sunday, the Colts still won’t be able to win this game on the road without Luck because the Seahawks have one of the best defenses in the league.  I would be shocked if it happened.  Seattle wins in a low-scoring game.

MNF

The Redskins have been alright but there’s no way they’ll beat the Chiefs at home.  The Chiefs are 1 of 2 remaining undefeated teams and expect that to be the same after this game.  The Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt and WR Tyreek Hill have been unstoppable, and TE Travis Kelce has also been a good receiving weapon to KC’s offense.  Alex Smith is having a career year so far and the Chiefs defense has dominated despite losing star S Eric Berry in game 1 this year.

The Redskins’ receivers will challenge the depleted Chiefs secondary.  Redskins WR Jamison Crowder could have a big game and keep it close for this prime-time matchup.  It won’t be easy but the Chiefs will win in an MNF shootout.

NFL Week 3 Picks: More Upsets, Close Games Expected

Welcome to my picks for Week 3 of the NFL season.  Last week I went 8-8, and my total record is now 17-14.  This week is full of great match-ups and those match-ups could make for some close games.  Keep reading for my thoughts on this week’s slate of games.

Note: The teams on the top in the images are the road teams and the teams on the bottom are the home teams.  

Lock Of The Week

The Bears were annihilated by the Bucs last week.  I expect the same thing to happen against the Steelers this week.  Pittsburgh is 2-0 after crushing the Minnesota Vikings and the Cleveland Browns.  The Bears will be the dominant Pittsburgh offense’s next victim.   Chicago doesn’t have the best defense and their offense has been struggling without their top two receivers, Kevin White and Cameron Meredith.

The Steelers have the best running back and the best receiver in the league and Big Ben is at least a Top 10 QB.  I see a blowout, maybe even a shutout in this battle of a Top 5 offense and a Bottom 5 team.  Steelers win this one easily.

Upset Of The Week

Atlanta has done well so far this year but soon enough they might have a rude awakening.  They aren’t going to repeat last season’s Super Bowl appearance as I don’t know how they even were able to get through a very tough set of NFC playoff teams.  The young Lions offense is as good as Atlanta’s offense and they have more depth too.  Kenny Golladay has blossomed into a superstar.

This will be a very high scoring game but in the end I’m calling the upset here.  The Lions will surprise the Falcons for their third win in a row to start the season.  Detroit might not be the best team but they have the tools to get some impressive wins throughout the season, even if they don’t come through every game.

TNF


About 6 months ago, I would’ve called this a snooze-fest that goes to the home team.  But the Rams offense has really improved since acquiring Sammy Watkins and Derek Carrier as well as drafting Cooper Kupp and Gerald Everett.  Todd Gurley is looking as good as he did in his rookie year and Jared Goff has improved a great deal as QB.

The 49ers haven’t caught up to these Rams yet although it may happen soon.  The 49ers still lack the depth they need on offense and their defense doesn’t really match up to LA’s, especially with Aaron Donald back.  I’ve been impressed enough by the Rams that I would say this could be a dominant win.  The way the Rams have been playing, I see them scoring at least 3 times more than the Niners.  

Sunday’s Games

This should be a good match-up.  The Jaguars have been up and down so far getting blown out by the Titans following their big week 1 win in Houston.  The Jags proved that they can compete.  The Ravens have also surprised many so far and maychallenge the Steelers for the AFC North title.  Both the Ravens and Steelers are 2-0.  Baltimore has one of the best defenses in the NFL and that will be tricky for Jacksonville especially without Allen Robinson.

This will be close though.  The Jags defense is improving and you could say the Ravens offense needs work.  But the Ravens have more talent right now offensively and that will be the difference in this game.  I give the edge to the Ravens because the Jags ‘home field advantage’ won’t mean much as this game will be played in London.

The Pats rebounded on Sunday from a tough Week 1 loss to KC.  But the Pats offense took another big hit as Gronkowski hurt his groin in the 3rd quarter of last week’s game.  If he’s truly healthy and “good to go”, the Pats will dominate.  Otherwise, it could come down to the final minutes.  Luckily for the Pats, the Texans don’t have as good an offense as New England’s opponents from the last two weeks so it shouldn’t be as tough for the defense this week.  The Pats young defensive line could have a big day as Houston’s O-line has struggled mightily.  Look for Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia to confuse another rookie QB and force him into making bad decisions.

However, the Texans have one of the league’s top defenses.  Even with Brian Cushing out the Pats could have a tough time producing offensive plays especially without Edelman and a less than 100% Gronk.  Tom Brady will be under a lot of pressureand this front seven knows how to stop the run.  Even though Gronk is expected to play, the Pats could be in some trouble as Marcus Cannon will not play so Brady might not have the time to find his receivers.  Gronk has big financial incentives based on his performance and sure handed Amendola will be back as well so I think Brady and the Pats will find a way to beat the Houston defense especially at home on the newly laid turf.

The Jets will be lucky to win a single game this season and last week the Dolphins proved that they are as good as they were last year with Cutler performing just as well as Tannehill.  Some might even argue that their Defense has improved too.  They should be able to beat the Jets who lack weapons and depth both offensively and defensively.

With the Jets playing at home, I’m expecting a little more out of them than in the last two weeks but the improvement will not be significant enough to beat Jay Cutler and the Miami Dolphins.

The Broncos are coming off a huge home win against the Cowboys and surprised many including me who thought they were nowhere near as good as their Super Bowl team of 2015.  Even on the road the Broncos should be able to beat the Bills.  The Bills may have a strong offense but their defense is not even close to the big D Denver has shown in their first 2 weeks.

I believe the Broncos defense is good enough to hold the Bills offense under 20 points.  Buffalo doesn’t have that kind of D so even if Siemian has an average game, the Broncos should be able to grab the win with the receivers they have.

With Andrew Luck out, it’s clear that the Colts are going to lose at least a few games to begin the season.  Luck has already been ruled out for Week 3.  The Browns are actually a lot better than last year.  RB Isaiah Crowell has been really good and TEDavid Njoku could become a dangerous weapon that teams will have to game plan for.  In addition, the Browns have young rising stars at WR like Rashard Higgins.

Although the Colts have a good offense, it’s not the same without Luck.  Cleveland’s QB Kizer should be back this week butIndy will have to rely upon Brissett under center.  I know it’s hard to imagine the Browns winning on the road but Indy’s key injuries are just too much and I see the Browns winning by a touchdown.

The Lions stunned the Giants in New York on MNF and now the Giants must try and steal a win on the road against a tough division rival to avoid starting the season with 3 straight losses.  On the other hand, the Eagles had a strong Week 1 and nearly upset the Chiefs in Week 2.  The Eagles play the same kind of complementary football that the Lions do and right now I see them as frontrunners in the NFC East for that reason.

The Giants are strong on both sides of the ball as well but this year’s offense has struggled so far this year and the defense hasshown its problems as well.  This will be a hard fought battle but I give Philadelphia the edge at home.

The Buccaneers have looked like the best team in the NFC so far even though they have only played one game.  They have a great all-around team and the Vikings just don’t match up.  Offensively, the Vikings just don’t have the weapons to take on aBucs defense that held the Bears to 7 points.  The Vikings defense is good but they have their toughest match-up yet in the Buccaneers as QB Winston is growing into a legitimate super star.

The Bucs will win this one and continue to look really good in the process.  A 2-0 start should give the Bucs more confidenceto keep improving and become the 12 to 13 win team I project them to be.

Carolina looks like the dominant NFC South team after two weeks.  They did have it easy to start the season but the Saints aren’t going to be that much tougher.  This Saints offense has been pretty good even without Willie Snead but the Carolina D will be too much for them.

Cam Newton could wreak havoc on the Saints D that struggled against another high powered offense last week (the Pats).  The Panthers have a great front seven that should prevent the Saints versatile RB from getting into a rhythm.  Especially at home, the Panthers should win this game but it won’t be easy because these division rivals always find a way to keep their games competitive.  This game could be an shootout based on the fact that both these offenses are stacked.


The Seahawks nearly lost last week to the 49ers.  Leaving the comforts of home for a tough road game in Tennessee may leave the Seahawks at 1-2.

The Titans have a great offense that could challenge the Seattle D, and the Seahawks lack the depth on offense to score much on the Titans mediocre D.  The loss of RB Lynch is proving to be greater than many expected as Seattle’s offense has looked flat and only scored 1 TD so far.  I doubt Seattle will win this game but they could come close as coach Pete Carroll should have his team pumped and ready to avoid starting the season with 3 straight poor performances.

This will be a close game.  But in the end, I have the Chargers winning at home. LA did lose last week to Miami in a close one but I expect them to be ready at home for this tough division rival.  The Chiefs offense has rookie RB Hunt playing better than many expected when Ware went down for the season.  KC is also using return specialist Hill in the offense more and KC has started the season with 2 good win against the Pats and Eagles.  In order the win, the Chargers need their offense to be at full health and in full swing to beat a KC defense that has performed well with a healthy Justin Houston.

The Chargers also need to find a way to stop the Chiefs dangerous deep threat Tyreek Hill.  It won’t be easy but my gut tells me the Chargers find a way to win this big division matchup at home.


Green Bay lost both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb to injuries last week.  How are they supposed to win this week?  Well, Nelson does have a 50/50 shot of returning this week and Cobb is listed as day to day.  They’ll also be playing a washed-up Cincinnati offense so their defense may not be challenged as much this week.

The Bengals are also deprived defensively after Vontaze Burfict’s suspension.  With or without their top receivers, the Packers will find a way to win this game.  I think Nelson and Cobb could play and if they do it might be a blowout.  Either way, Packers win.

SNF

The Raiders have looked even better than their 2016 team.  The Redskins did beat the Rams last week but they have struggled at times in their first 2 games.  The lost 2 top WRs to free agency this past year in Garcon and Jackson.  Their defense has not performed as well as in recent years and may need more time to come together. 

The Raiders have looked like one of the best offenses in the league with their top 2 WRs playing like all-pros.  On defense their front seven has been dominant led by another great start by Khalil Mack.  The Raiders should win this game with easeeven on the road.

MNF

The Cardinals looked good after beating the Colts last week and Dallas looked lost against a tough Denver D last week.  Yet the Cowboys are favored by 3 on the road because this team has too much talent to put up 2 straight poor performances.  The Cards might be without David Johnson but Chris Johnson is doing a good job in his place.  Larry Fitzgerald is still an elite WR and even though Palmer’s been struggling, I expect him to play better at home.

Dallas can score but their secondary remains a big question mark.  While I see the Cardinals defense trying to replicate what Denver did to keep Dallas off balance.  This will be a very competitive Monday Night game where I see the Cardinals pulling off an upset at home.

That’s all for my picks this week.  Feel free to comment your thoughts on any of the games.