New England Patriots Game-By-Game Predictions 2017

 

Welcome to my first NFL prediction article of 2017.  Today I’ll be taking a look at the Pats schedule and predict how each game will turn out.  The Pats may have gotten lucky with their early season schedule, but a three-game road trip to Buffalo, Miami and Pittsburgh could end their typical December dominance.  However, I still think the Pats will end up with the best record in the AFC.  Here’s how they’ll get there.

Week 1: Thursday 9/7 @8:25 PM, CBS vs. kansas-city-chiefs-logo

The NFL season opens with this tight AFC rivalry.  The Chiefs have been a challenge for the Pats in recent years.  They’re never easy to beat.  But this year, the Pats look to have the best roster in football.  Tom Brady has so many weapons this year, and this will overwhelm Kansas City.  Their 2014 team did lose to the Chiefs, but that was in Kansas City.  At Gillette, against this roster, there’s no way Alex Smith will lead his team to victory, although Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will be tough to cover.

Prediction: W, 1-0

 

Week 2: Sunday 9/17 @1:00 PM, CBS @ nosaints

The Saints offense is just getting better.  Michael Thomas emerged last season, Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson will make for a dynamic RB duo, and Drew Brees is still an elite quarterback.  However, the Pats gave up their first round pick for Saints receiver Brandin Cooks, and Cooks will be hungry for revenge against his former team.  Add that to a healthy Gronk, and the Pats are looking like they can kick some serious butt against New Orleans.

Prediction: W, 2-0

 

Week 3: Sunday 9/24 @1:00 PM, CBS vs. hou-texans

I’m calling it right now that the Texans will fall in 2017.  Unless Deshaun Watson or Tom Savage emerges as a quality starter, the Texans don’t have a good QB, and I see their offense taking a downfall.  They have some weapons, but they just don’t look like a playoff team without a good QB.  The defense could be tough for the Pats, but Brady will outscore the Houston offense by a mile.  We could see Brady have the kind of lights out performance we saw Jacoby Brissett put up against this team last year.  If Brissett can do it, Brady definitely can.

Prediction: W, 3-0

 

Week 4: Sunday 10/1 @1:00 PM EST, FOX vs. carolina-panthers-logo

The Pats begin October against a team that surprisingly struggled in 2016, the Carolina Panthers.  In 2017, I see the Panthers bouncing back.  The Patriots are lucky that they face Carolina and Atlanta at home.  The Bucs have also improved though, and the Pats visit them.  Carolina will use Christian McCaffrey to bring back the running game.  The defense is better and with the rushing game intact, Carolina looks like a playoff team.  However, they have not improved enough to beat the Pats at Gillette.  The Panthers will become overwhelmed by this stacked Patriots team and will look like the 2016 Panthers for a week.

Prediction: W, 4-0

 

Week 5: Thursday 10/5 @8:25 PM EST, CBS @ tampabaybuccaneers

The Buccaneers have gotten better.  Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson will make a great receiver duo, Jackson acting as a mentor for Mike Evans, and a moderate contributor himself.  This offense has been good for a couple years now.  The defense has also slowly improved.  But I don’t think this intriguing team will put up enough points to beat the Pats.  The Buccaneers have some young defense that will be under serious pressure against Tom Brady.  TB12 will come out on top here.

Prediction: W, 5-0

 

Week 6: Sunday 10/15 @1:00 PM, CBS @ Jets-Logo

The Jets may very well be the worst team in football this year.  The offense is old and is crumbling, and the defense isn’t anything special yet but has budding young talent.  There is no way that the Jets will get a W on the Pats this season, even the Pats backups in Week 17 if it even comes to that.  The Patriots are just the far more talented team.

Prediction: W, 6-0

 

Week 7: Sunday 10/22 @8:30 PM, NBC vs. atlfalcons

This Super Bowl rematch could be close.  The Falcons still have a powerful offense, led by the trio of Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, and Julio Jones.  But the Falcons still have issues despite a good offensive core and strong front seven.  The depleted secondary is a concern for them, and our receivers will be all over them.  They also don’t have enough sophisticated weapons on offense.  The Patriots have at least 8 good receiving targets for TB12.  Despite more superstars on Atlanta’s offense, New England’s balanced superteam will come out victorious at home.

Prediction: W, 7-0

 

Week 8: Sunday 10/29 @1:00 PM, CBS vs. IMG_0727

The Chargers have really polished their offense.  If healthy, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin will make a great WR trio, but that’s a big if.  However, if all fails, they also have Melvin Gordon, Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates to target.  However, this offense does not match up to the Pats’, and the defense is not up to par yet in LA.  The Patriots should be all over the Chargers defense and overwhelm them big time.

Prediction: W, 8-0

 

Week 9: BYE

 

Week 10: Sunday 11/12 @8:30 PM EST, NBC @ denver-broncos-logo

Denver does not have the kind of team they had with Peyton Manning.  They got their butts kicked the last time the Pats flew into Denver.  The Broncos are now a mediocre team with a struggling offense, despite a strong defensive core.  The Pats defense will target Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch (whoever starts) and the Broncos will struggle to score.

Prediction: W, 9-0

 

Week 11: Sunday 11/19 @4:25 PM EST, CBS vs. oakland-raiders in Mexico

Technically, this isn’t a home game for Oakland but the Raiders are considered Mexico’s home team right now, and I think they will have a home field advantage.  Marshawn Lynch will be difficult for the Pats to cover, and the Raiders have an evolving QB and a strong receiving game.  They have one of the best offenses in football, and the Pats defense will have trouble with them.  The Raiders also have a decent defense so this could be a very close game.

Prediction: L, 9-1

 

Week 12: Sunday 11/26 @1:00 PM EST, CBS vs. Dolphins-logo

Miami could be New England’s closest competitor in the AFC East, but they don’t have a chance at the division win, or a win at Gillette during Week 12.  The Pats’ have an all-around powerful team that will overpower the Dolphins, especially at Gillette.  Miami has a weak secondary like the Falcons, and that will cost them this game as Brandin Cooks has a 100+ yard game.  Pats beat their division rival at home.

Prediction: W, 10-1

 

Week 13: Sunday 12/3 @1:00 PM EST, CBS @ Buffalo_Bills

LeSean McCoy might be more of a challenge to cover than Marshawn Lynch, the Bills have no receiving game, especially if Jeremy Maclin signs somewhere else.  It might be different if Maclin is here, but Buffalo would still not match-up to the Pats with him on the team.  The Bills defense is no match for Brady and his receivers, and the Patriots should blow out this team, even on the road.

Prediction: W, 11-1

 

Week 14: Monday 12/11 @8:30 PM EST, ESPN @ Dolphins-logo

I know I have the Pats overwhelming the Dolphins at Gillette, but the dynamic will be different in Miami.  I think Tannehill will bounce back from a rough game in Foxboro, and the Dolphins offense will score at least 4 TDs on the Patriots.  The defense will struggle as Miami’s offense has a better game.  The Patriots will make it close and overwhelm the Dolphins D, but it may not be enough to beat the Dolphins.

Prediction: L, 11-2

 

Week 15: Sunday 12/17 @4:25 PM EST, CBS @ pittsburgh-steelers

This classic AFC rivalry should result in a close game.  The Steelers have the best Big 3 in football, with Big Ben, Bell, and Brown.  Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster should also boost the offense after the release of injury prone tight end Ladarius Green.  The Patriots offense will be tough to outscore, but this powerful Pittsburgh offense might find a way to do it.  This will be another offensive shootout that will come down to the final minutes.

Prediction: L, 11-3

 

Week 16: Sunday 12/24 @1:00 PM EST on CBS vs. Buffalo_Bills

At Gillette, it will be even easier for the Pats to beat the Bills.  Chris Hogan should break out for a 100-yard game, and the Bills receiving game will be outdone by the Pats’ strong secondary.  LeSean McCoy will have a big game but the Tyrod Taylor and his receivers will struggle.  The Pats will grab a big win in this division rivalry.

Prediction: W, 12-3

 

Week 17: Sunday 12/31 @1:00 PM EST, CBS vs. Jets-Logo

I bet the Pats backups could beat this Jets team!  It would be different if they played the Dolphins in Week 17, but they’re going to win their final game this year, starters or no starters.  Either way, they will humiliate the Jets once again.

Prediction: W, 13-3

 

 

Is this Patriots team a Super Bowl team?  They have some tough competition this year so it might be tough, but they won last year, and they’ve gotten even better.  By far, this is the best team in football, and I think they can win for the second straight year.

 

Best Super Bowl Ever: Pats Win 5th Ring in OT Miracle

Image result for tom brady super bowl li trophy

Best, Super Bowl, ever.  It’s a miracle.  I’m still in disbelief.  This was the greatest comeback ever.  The first Super Bowl overtime ever.  The Pats had comeback all the way.  They had scored on two flawless drives in a row, now it was 28-28.  The first Super Bowl overtime ever had begun.

The toss was about to happen.  The Pats called their usual heads, and won the toss.  They marched down the field, treated it like their regular, weekly business.  It was great pass after great pass.  The Pats had made it to the 15 yard line.  They threw to Bennett.  It looked like a touchdown.  It was incomplete, but a flag was down.  It was pass interference!  The Pats got the ball at the 2.The Pats tried to find Bennett again.  The Falcons almost intercepted it, and ended their game like the Pats did to Seattle.  But it was an incomplete pass.  The Pats didn’t make the same mistake twice though.  White ran it, and it was a touchdown!  James White just made it in!  The Pats had won their 5th Super Bowl!!!

The Pats had made a 25 point comeback to win the game.  I thought it was all over when Atlanta scored their fourth TD.  The Pats were down by 25, and they won!!  The next biggest comeback in the Super Bowl was a 10 point comeback.  The Patriots have shattered records, and made history.   Brady leads all QBs in Super Bowl wins, and will forever be regarded as the G.O.A.T.  Belichick will be regarded as the best coach ever.  The Patriots have the best sports dynasty ever.

To begin the game, the Pats didn’t win the opening toss, and the Falcons deferred.  The Patriots were hoping for a good drive, but instead went 3 and out.  The Falcons got the ball and on their first play, Devonta Freeman ran it for 37 yards.  The defense was fooled by the play!  They just couldn’t keep up.  However, the Pats were able to stuff Matt Ryan and end the drive.  Things went like that throughout the 1st quarter.  There was a lot of sloppy play by both teams early.  To start the 2nd quarter, The Pats even got to the opposing 40 to start one drive with an Edelman catch, but lost their drive on a fumble by Blount.  It was still 0-0.  But after the fumble recovery, the Falcons went wild.  Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman led an amazing drive, and Freeman went on to score the first Falcons TD.  The next drive was very similar, and they quickly scored another touchdown.

Image result for julio jones and devonta freeman

It was now 14-0 Falcons.  Many people were already starting to lose hope in the Pats, but I still believed they could win.  The Pats struggled to move down the field on their next drive, in attempt to respond.  They managed to get to the 23, but Robert Alford intercepted it, and went all the way to the end zone.

Image result for robert alford sbli pick six

By the time he was at the 50, he was long gone.  The odds were looking pretty slim for the Pats.  The Patriots went on a decent drive before the half, but were held to a field goal.  They needed a touchdown, and without that, things weren’t looking good when it was 21-3 Falcons at halftime.

After a strong defensive start to the 3rd quarter, I was starting to regain hope, but the great Falcons offense marched down the field for another touchdown on their next drive.  It was 28-3.  There was only a quarter and a half left.  Even I knew the game was probably over.  But shortly after, the comeback began. The Pats didn’t look great yet.  They almost lost the chance to score.  But the Pats managed to get to the end zone.  It was their first touchdown of the game, to James White.  But Stephen Gostkowski missed the PAT and there was only about two minutes left in the 3rd quarter.  It didn’t look good.

Image result for stephen gostkowski

The Pats quickly got the ball back, and managed to get a field goal.  They needed a touchdown, but couldn’t quite get it.  It was 28-12, and the odds were still heavily against the Patriots with only 9 1/2 minutes left.  But the Pats began to make miracles happen.  When Atlanta got the ball back, Dont’a Hightower strip sacked Matt Ryan and the Pats got the ball at the Falcons 25, with a little over half the quarter left!  They quickly got to the red zone, and Amendola caught the TD.  The Pats went for 2 with no doubt, and James White ran it in on a direct snap!  It was 28-20.  The Pats had a chance!

Image result for danny amendola super bowl li td

However, the Falcons were quickly marching down the field.  Devonta Freeman nearly took it to the 50, and Julio Jones caught a 27 yard pass at the sidelines that few players could catch, as he barely got both feet in.  However, Matt Ryan got stuffed and knocked out of field goal range on the next play!!  They should’ve just ran the ball and went for the field goal.  The Pats might have lost if that happened.  Instead, on the next play, with the Patriots pass rush pressuring Matt Ryan, they were called for holding and pushed out of field goal range.

The Pats had one more chance to tie it, but they would have to go 91 yards with just 3.5 minutes left.  But these situations are what makes Brady the G.O.A.T.  In the playoffs Brady had fourth quarter comeback drives 9 times before and he was going for his 10th.  The Pats quickly got into a rhythm, with quick passes to Hogan and Mitchell.  Then, a miracle happened.  It looked like Atlanta was going to intercept the pass and end the game.  But Edelman managed to catch the ball with 3 Falcons players fighting for the ball. After it bounced around several times, he saved the ball just before it hit the ground after bouncing off a Falcon leg!!  It was the best catch I have ever seen!!

Image result for julian edelman super bowl li catch

Amendola followed it up with another great catch!!  Pretty soon, the Patriots were in the red zone, and the Falcons red zone defense that actually looked good early in the game failed again.  White ran in the TD.

It looked like the Pats made the 2-point conversion to Danny Amendola. But there was a flag. For a moment, I was nearly heartbroken.  But it turned out it was on the Falcons and the 2-point conversion was good!!!  The Pats had miraculously tied it up!!  The Pats defense actually shut down the Falcons so quickly on Atlanta’s final drive that they got the ball back in the final seconds.  Lewis ran it on a fake in the hopes of catching Atlanta off guard but Lewis tweaked his knee as he headed toward the sidelines at the 48 with the Atlanta defense in pursuit.  This game was going to overtime. It was the first overtime in Super Bowl history.

 

The Pats won the toss, and did their thing, treating it like a regular drive.  White just made it in, and it was a game!!!  The Pats won 34-28.  Brady won his 5th ring!!  The last 12 minutes of this game was some of the best football ever seen.  DeflateGate will no longer be a topic of conversation. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, the Patriots dynasty and this game will be the topic of conversation in the coming years.  They broke some other records too.  They broke the record for most passing yards in a Super Bowl, and running back James White broke the record for most receptions in Super Bowl history!!  Yes, a running back now holds that record and also the record for most receiving yards by a RB in a Super Bowl!!

Image result for tom brady super bowl li trophy

Bill Belichick also smiled, for real!!!  He has a reason to.  He and Brady each broke or tied a Super Bowl win record, Brady winning the most of any QB, and Belichick passed Chuck Noll for most Super Bowl wins as a head coach.

Tom Brady was the clear MVP, and receivers like Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman impacted the game big time, but Super Bowls are won as a team.  On the Patriots, there is one guy that isn’t getting the credit he deserves for this win.

Unsung Hero

James White

Image result for james white

James White led the Pats with 110 receiving yards and a receiving TD. He broke the record most points scored by any player in the Super Bowl, with 20. He also had 29 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs.  That’s 3 TDs!!  He additionally ran in a 2 point conversion.  Although Brady had 466 yards (almost 2 times more than Matt Ryan), White was a Top 2 contributor in both rushing and receiving, and scored as more touchdowns than Tom Brady threw.

The dynasty lives on and Tom will likely start his preparations for the next Super Bowl after the parade as the team is already favored to repeat next year.  

Ultimate Super Bowl LI Preview: Video, Prediction and More

The Super Bowl is almost here.  The snacks are ready and the Pats and Falcons are about to face off in a great game.  So, it’s time to look a little bit deeper.  Who will win the big game on Sunday?  Keep reading to find out what I think!

Here’s my video preview for the big game:

 

 

I also have an iMovie trailer, check it out!

 

Okay, that gave you a brief preview, but it’s time to go deeper.  This may be one of the greatest Super Bowls ever.  Either team has a shot to win.  

The Case for the Pats

The Patriots are four time champions looking for a fifth.  One thing that will come to their advantage is their depth.  They have so many options on offense, and rotate the defense very frequently.  Tom Brady is on fire, and the defense is first in scoring defense and has the power to slow down and overwhelm Matt Ryan.

If the Pats win, Brady will be known as the G.O.A.T, and Bill Belichick will be known as the greatest head coach ever.  I think things are looking good for the Pats.  I really think that the Patriots were meant to win this season.  

The Case For The Falcons

Matt Ryan is trying to win the Falcons their first Super Bowl, and I think he has a good chance. The Falcons have an awesome QB-RB-WR combo.  The Falcons don’t have the best defense, but Matt Ryan and his offense have had an MVP caliber season.  The Falcons may not have the awesome past of the Patriots, but they can overwhelm a defense, and they actually looked really good this season.  I think they have a legitimate chance.  

Super Bowl Fast Facts

  • The Patriots have not lost a Super Bowl when they’ve had a Top 10 defense, they are first this year.  
  • However, the Pats have not faced a Top 10 passing QB this season, Matt Ryan is number 1.
  • Matt Ryan has won against 5 of 6 winning QBs in 2016.  
  • However, the Falcons have scored 540 points this season.  No team to score 540 points or more in a season has ever won the Super Bowl.  
  • The Patriots are 17-0 when Dion Lewis plays.  Lewis will play in Super Bowl LI.
  • The Patriots have only thrown 2 turnovers, fewest in the NFL
  • Despite ranking 25th in offensive yards per carry, they only allow 3.85 to opponents.  
  • The last 7 MVP winners to make the Super Bowl have lost

The Final Pick

Typically, I just predict the score. But it’s the Super Bowl, so I went a little deeper.  I simulated the entire game based on my basic score prediction.  Below are the final score and stat predictions I came up with.  

Patriots, 30, Falcons, 23

I think the Patriots will win by a touchdown.  The Falcons just don’t have the depth to cover the Pats offense.  Their defense is terrible in the red zone and will let the Pats score on them.  Although Brady will do strongly and throw for 2 TDs, I think we will also see a Patriots rushing touchdown.  Both these teams went from having a desperate running game to an amazing backfield.  The Falcons will also score at least 1 rushing TD.  

However, this is number one offense (Falcons) against number one defense (Patriots).  Who won the last match-up like that?  The Broncos did, they had the number one defense.  Defense wins games, and the Pats defense will pressure Matt Ryan well, and the whole Falcons offense will be messed up by it.  The Falcons have only faced three really good defenses this year, the Seahawks (twice), Broncos and Chiefs.  They went 2-2 in those match-ups, one of their wins at home.  In the Super Bowl, it’s a neutral match-up, and unlike those other teams, the Patriots have amazing offense.  They also have depth that Atlanta lacks.  So, after a grand effort by both teams, I see the Patriots edging this one out.

Stat Projections (Passing, Rushing and Receiving)

Patriots

Passing

Tom Brady, 34/54, 348 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 2 sacks

 

Rushing

LeGarrette Blount, 17 rush, 76 yards, TD

Dion Lewis, 6 rush, 28 yards

James White: 7 rush, 24 yards

 

Receiving

Julian Edelman, 8/11, 96 yards

Malcolm Mitchell, 6/14, 68 yards, TD

Martellus Bennett, 8/8, 66 yards, TD

Chris Hogan, 6/10, 65 yards

Danny Amendola, 3 /4, 30 yards

Michael Floyd, 2/ 3, 19 yards

Dion Lewis, 1/1, 4 yards

Matt Lengel, 0/1, 0 yards

 

Falcons

 

Passing

Matt Ryan, 31/50, 314 yards, TD, 1 INT, 4 sacks

 

Rushing

Devonta Freeman, 23 rush, 113 yards, TD

Tevin Coleman, 10 rush, 41 yards

Patrick DiMarco, 1 rush, 2 yards

 

Receiving

Julio Jones, 13/22, 139 yards

Mohamed Sanu, 8/11, 68 yards, TD

Austin Hooper, 6/6, 62 yards

Taylor Gabriel, 4/10, 45 yards

Levine Toilolo, 0/1, 0 yards

 

The Super Bowl is almost here.  The food is ready (hopefully).  The game is recorded, and my Super Bowl Sunday is planned.  All that’s left is the wait.  Are you ready for the Big Game?

NFL Three Quarter Report: Patriots Current State and My Playoff Machine Scenario

The Patriots have continued to thrive since the second half began.  Sure, they’ve had some flaws.  The defense has been worrying me lately.  They dropped a home game to Seattle because of it.  Their offense had looked a little bit different, more under pressure than usual.  They haven’t been throwing to guys like Martellus Bennett.  Most of the passes are now going to Julian Edelman and emerging receiver Malcolm Mitchell.  Mitchell has been a main factor in the Pats receiving game since the bye.  Dion Lewis is now back, creating some depth in the run game, which they’re using to their advantage.

In Week 10 however, Gronk took a serious hit in the head.  We later found out that he also took a hit to the lung.  He was looking ready to go in Week 13, but doctors found that he had a herniated disc, and needed back surgery. He was out for the season, placed on IR.  Last week against the Rams, the Patriots showed that their new offense was still a scoring offense, and that their run game could help contribute to that.  The Patriots won the game 26-10.  It was a clinic.  The Pats shut them out 17-0 in the 1st half, and continued a long streak of wins in a row at home when leading at halftime, despite being outscored in the 2nd half as the Rams attempted at a comeback.  With Tavon Austin, they might have had two TDs, but this was a good game.  It gives me higher hopes about this Monday night’s game.  It gives me higher hopes for the remainder of the year.  If the Pats want that home field advantage bad enough, they’ll go out there, win 3 or 4 games, and work hard and do their job through all 4.

Playing Around With The Playoff Machine

There are a lot of what if’s when it comes to the playoffs.  Lots of scenarios.  Well, by making my best predictions I could of the next 4 weeks, I simulated what in my opinion, is the most likely playoff scenario.  The question is, who’s in, and who’s out?



Who’s In

Denver Broncos; 8-4, Projection: 11-5

This Denver offense has been terrible.  But they’re 8-4 with one of the best defenses in the league.  Their remaining schedule is at the Titans, vs. the Patriots, at the Chiefs and vs. the Raiders.  Personally, I think those games are winnable, if they produce on offense.  They should win some, and lose some.  I think they should come out victorious in at least two.  Derek Carr usually struggles against Denver, and the Patriots haven’t won in Denver in a while.  They will probably beat two of the three match-ups besides the tough one in KC.  That looks like a one way ticket to playoff town.

Pittsburgh Steelers; 7-5; Projection: 9-7

Sure, the Steelers don’t have the greatest remaining schedule.  It is okay though, and their only division competitor, the Ravens, have a very tough remaining schedule, so it will be tough for them to match up to Pittsburgh in these last 4 weeks, as Pittsburgh should navigate their schedule decently.

Houston Texans; 6-6; Projection; 9-7

A friend of mine said that he thinks the Texans aren’t winning another game this year.  I don’t think so.  They are 6-6, but they have an easy remaining schedule.  The Colts, Jaguars, Bengals and Titans remain.  The Titans could pose a challenge, but I think the Texans will pull a big upset over the Colts this week.  Brock Osweiler will lead them to the top of their division, despite a potential loss in Tennessee to tighten the race.  By that point it will already be too late.  The Texans will have clinched their weak division.

Atlanta Falcons; 7-5; Projection: 10-6

I have been giving the Falcons hate all year, but honestly, let’s face the facts.  Their remaining schedule is against the Rams, Niners, Panthers and Saints, some of the worst NFC teams.  They should win at least two or three of those games.  That should be enough to get past Tampa Bay, who still has a game against Dallas, and can’t count on sweeping New Orleans or Carolina.  The Falcons have safer match-ups.  They play the 49ers, and the Rams!  So they’ve earned themselves a playoff spot, as long as they take advantage of these easily winnable games.

Washington Redskins; 6-5-1; Projection: 9-6-1

The Redskins have what would’ve looked like a tough schedule to end the year, if Carolina and Philly hadn’t completely flopped since.  The Giants could also lose to Washington at home.  The Redskins can produce on offense, and have a great defense now.  I could see them taking advantage of that and squeezing into the playoffs last-minute.

Detroit Lions; 8-4; Projection: 10-6

The Lions have themselves a secure spot as long as they win an easy match-up against the Bears this week, and can beat the Packers.  Beating the Packers doesn’t seem like as big a challenge to them as it would’ve in Week 1.  It’s a home game, and the Lions are 5-1 at home this year.  They also face a now problematic Packers team that isn’t going to be as tough to face.  The Lions should win the NFC North and grab their playoff spot.

Who’s Out

Buffalo Bills; 6-6; Projection: 10-6

The Bills are only 6-6 for a reason.  They have only played 5 home games so far.  The rest of their schedule looks somewhat easy.  The issue is, they’ve already gotten themselves out of contention by losing 6 games early on and they have tough competition for the wild card with in the AFC.  They aren’t beating the Pats out in the division, and they aren’t beating out Oakland and Denver in a tough wild card race.

Baltimore Ravens; 7-5; Projection: 8-8

Like I said before, the Ravens have a really tough schedule for the rest of this year, and with that, it will be hard to beat out a powerful Steelers offensive team for a division title.  Although the Bengals are out of it, they have been really good lately and could bring losses to Baltimore and Pittsburgh at home.  Baltimore also goes to Pittsburgh, so they’re at a disadvantage.

Green Bay Packers; 6-6; Projection: 9-7

Originally I thought the Packers could still have a shot at the playoffs, and I thought that these struggles were a fluke, but, boy, I was so wrong.  The Packers are at the point where they need to win all their remaining games to get to the playoffs.  It’s going to be tough for them to get in.  They’re not the same team.  I think if they can grab a win this week at home, all they need to get

Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 7-5; Projection: 9-7

The Buccaneers have been on fire since their bye, but the remaining schedule could be tough.  I’d be shocked if they can beat the Cowboys in Dallas, the team with an 11 game win streak.  They also have three divisional games left, one on the road in New Orleans.  It’s not just some tough games for them, as their schedule isn’t too bad overall, it’s that the Falcons have one of the easiest remaining schedules.

Minnesota Vikings; 6-6; Projection: 8-8

Minnesota now finds themselves in a tough division.  The Lions are flying, and the Packers are still decent, so it’ll be tough for them to get in, especially with the Giants feeling good in that 5th seed.  The mediocre schedule doesn’t help, all the teams they face aren’t terrible, and both their road games could go either way.  The way their offense has been doing isn’t promising, despite bad D.  I think that the Jaguars will even outscore them this week.

Miami Dolphins; 7-5; Projection: 8-8

The Dolphins did look impressive during their winning streak.  But that’s over.  They got annihilated last week, knocking them out of their system.  They now face a tough remaining schedule, with no current momentum.  They could continue to collapse and get annihilated, and after the loss, I don’t think the playoffs is happening for them.

Have different thoughts?  Comment your thoughts, or send me your Playoff Machine or Playoff Predictor simulations.

Don’t Make The Same Mistake Twice: Patriots-49ers Preview

Around this time last year, the Pats were just off their first loss of the season.  They lost to the Denver Broncos.  They thought the next game would be an easy win. but it wasn’t.  The Eagles were all over them. This year, they have a similar situation.  They just lost to Seattle.  Now the Pats are traveling to San Francisco, and it looks to be an easy match-up.  But don’t make the same mistake twice, for ll you confident Pats players and fans.  Treat this game like any other.  A crucial game that needs to be won, and will take a good effort to do so.  Will the Patriots underestimate San Francisco, or will they learn from their mistake and make things turn out differently this time?  You’re about to find out.

The Keys To The Game

Patriots

  1. This game is not just the matter of treating this game like any other.  This is a matter of not letting momentum get in the way of the Pats.  They need to gt their momentum going, play their hardest, and most importantly, do not underestimate the 49ers.
  2. The defense needs to improve.  The 49ers offense hasn’t been great this year, but has showed promise.  One bad defensive performance and that could be the game.  The Pats need to stop the run, prevent big plays, and win the turnover battle.
  3. The offense cannot be ticked off by what can be a decent Niners defense at times.  The offense needs to go wild if the defense breaks down and slips up, and being bothered by the defense won’t help.
  4. Remember to treat the game like any other.  Don’t just treat it like an automatic win.  Focus on the other game keys like usual.

49ers

  1. The defense can’t let the Pats offense score a crazy amount like some good offenses have done to this okay defense.  This defense is inconsistent.  In order to win, it starts with a top notch performance from them.  They also need to win the turnover battle.
  2. The offense needs to keep New England’s defense in control.  They can’t let them get in the way.  The offense needs to play this game like a regular game.  They can’t give up, and they can’t let New England;s D regain their momentum.
  3. The 49ers need to take advantage of the fact that Stephen Gostkowski hasn’t been the best kicker in the NFL as usual.  They need to ice the kicker, try and block field goals, and just mess him up in general, continuing an off season for him.  The Patriots also can’t let that happen.

Burning Questions

1. How will Stephen Gostkowski do, and will it impact the game?

Stephen Gostkowski should be fine.  I don’t think that the 49ers will mess him up, block him, anything like that.  Gostkowski was just going through a little phase of reality.  I think he may get his groove back on late in the season.  I don’t think he’ll have a problem today, and same goes for the remainder of this season.

2. 49ers in general: Studs or duds today?

I don’t think they’ll be studs or duds.  I think we could see a good, near stud-like offensive performance.  It will be stud-like for them, but not in general.  The defense however, could get wrecked.  I see the Pats offense having a big day today, so it will be tough.  However, this isn’t dud-like for them, this is just a little below expectations.  So, that question is hard to answer right now.

3. Will the Patriots defense collapse, or support a dominant offensive performance?

I don’t see a collapse happening for the defense.  It will be hard to gain much momentum back though.  I think the 49ers offense will score a decent amount on them, but the Pats won’t do much worse this time on defense.  In an easier match-up, the offense will back them up this time though.  Will it be enough?

 

 

What Do The Stats Say?

The Patriots defense has struggled lately.  They can’t let the 49ers offense take advantage of them.  But the 49ers defense is doing even worse.  They allowed 429.7 yards per game so far this season, and is on pace to allow 502 points this season, which would be the third most in the NFL since at least 1940.  They’ve allowed 30+ points in six games, and are giving 180.4 rush yards per game.  New England’s new backfield depth with Dion Lewis working his way back into the mix could help them in this game.  That’s the most since 1987!  Tom Brady also has over 1600 yards in just 5 games too.  That’s an average of over 325 yards per game.  He also has scored 2.4 TDs per game.  The stats point to the Pats winning.  The Niners have no reliable receivers, and their defense is in a big slump that’s costing them.

 

Bold Prediction of The Game

At least two Pats running backs will rush for 50 yards, and will combine for a TD.  Based on how bad the 49ers are at stopping the run, the Pats run game will be all over them.

The Pick

Patriots, 37, 49ers, 26

I think the Pats will win, but it might not be as easy as they think.  The defensive struggles could make this an offensive shootout.  However, I think Stephen Gostkowski should be back to business, and I think that the lack of receiver depth and a good quarterback in San Francisco is going to cost them offensively.  They will lose in the end, and the Pats will not make the same mistake twice.

Inactives

Patriots

CB Justin Coleman #22

RB D.J. Foster #27

TE Rob Gronkowski #87

DT Woodrow Hamilton #74

WR Chris Hogan #15

DE Jabaal Sheard #93

OT LaAdrian Waddle #68

49ers

QB Christian Ponder #15

RB Mike Davis #22

LB Aaron Lynch #59

OL John Theus #71

WR Torrey Smith #82

TE Je’Ron Hamm #85

DT Chris Jones #93

 

Brady vs. Manning: The End of an Era: AFC Championship (Patriots at Broncos) Preview

This is the 17th time Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will face off, possibly the last.  Between the Colts and the Broncos, Manning knows are team too well.  He knows Brady, he knows Belichick, so we have to play are game, but run a couple plays that we don’t normally do.  The New England Patriots take on the Denver Broncos at Mile High.  In November, we went to Denver and they came back to win 30-24, but it was Brock Osweiler under center last time, Manning was out with plantar fasciitis.

NFL Roundtable: The Best Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Game
Tom Brady face off for the 17th time in the AFC Championship but this might be the last if Manning retires.

My Prediction: Patriots, 27, Broncos, 23

So, who has the advantage in this game?  You saw in Week 12, it will be a close game, tough match-up and very physical game.  So, lets break it down.  Injuries had way more of an impact in Week 12 than now, Edelman was out, DeMarcus Ware was out, Gronk left, Hightower, Collins and Amendola sat too.  Now, we have a team at decent health, so does Denver.

Denver has a dominant front seven: Sylvester Williams, Malik Jackson, Derek Wolfe, DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller, Brandon Marshall, Danny Trevathan and Shane Ray.  That’s EIGHT GUYS, you can only start 7!!  Their secondary also includes star corners Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. plus T.J. Ward and Bradley Roby.  Steven Jackson, Brandon Bolden and James White better be ready to bull through the defense and find space between the stars, and I trust that they can.  I also think that the secondary isn’t strong enough to guard Gronk, Edelman, Amendola, Chandler, LaFell and Keshawn Martin.  I think 2 of these 8 will score: Jackson, Bolden, Edelman, LaFell, Amendola, Gronk, Chandler.  My original prediction was Gronk and Chandler but now I’m thinking maybe Jackson, Bolden or a receiver will score.

Now Denver’s offense.  The Broncos even without Peyton Manning would have an overpowered offense.  C.J. Anderson usually really shows up this time of year, while Ronnie Hillman continues to do his thing.  Plus the receiving game didn’t just use DeMaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders last time.  They used Vernon Davis, Owen Daniels, Cody Latimer and Andre Caldwell, who had a TD, too.  But the young Patriots secondary will have to try and stop Denver’s pass, they should be able to double cover Thomas, and contain Sanders and Daniels on one man coverage.  Vernon Davis, Virgil Green and those sleep receivers, may let loose.  They also need to do a better job containing the running game.  But in the end, despite facing to more overpowered defense, and being the road team, I think the Pats have the edge with their offense’s match-up and will win by a nose.

 

Keys To The Game

Patriots

  1. Even against a ferocious front seven, the Patriots run game needs to keep it up.  Tom Brady might not have the protection he needs, and he’ll have to depend on his backfield. They have the individual players to do it, the questions are: Do they work together enough to?,  Is the match-up against the defense in their favor?
  2. The Broncos run game is revamped too with CJ Anderson at his best.  The Patriots have struggled to stop the run all year.  This game, they need to excel at it.
  3. The young Patriots secondary needs to contain a large number of Broncos receivers that make up its offense’s core.  Last time, sleep receiver Andre Caldwell caught the TD that brought the game to overtime, where CJ Anderson had a long run for a touchdown.

Broncos

  1. The Patriots have just as good of receivers when healthy.  The Broncos secondary isn’t quite as good as their pass rush, and they might have trouble keeping the receivers from doing much.  Between Edelman, LaFell, Amendola, Keshawn Martin, Gronk and Chandler, there’s plenty of guys to cover.
  2. CJ Anderson needs to pick up the pace.  Between some big games, he’s still been somewhat consistent unlike late last year, even when Manning’s super bowl hopes got crushed in the Divisional Round last year Anderson made an impact.
  3. The Broncos need to use their receiving depth to their advantage.  Unleash all their sleep receivers and play like the Pats haven’t seen them play yet.

Injury Report

New England Patriots (13-4)

 

Out

​G Tre’ Jackson – Knee (LP)
OL LaAdrian Waddle – Shoulder (LP)

 

Doubtful

NONE

 

Questionable

WR Danny Amendola – Knee (LP)
TE Scott Chandler – Knee (LP)
LB Jamie Collins – Back (LP)
DB Nate Ebner – Hand (LP)
WR Julian Edelman – Foot (LP)
LB Darius Fleming – Back/Shin (LP)
LB Jonathan Freeny – Hand (LP)
TE Rob Gronkowski – Knee/Back (LP)
LB Dont’a Hightower – Knee (LP)
DE Chandler Jones – Abdomen/Toe (LP)
DE Rob Ninkovich – Shin (LP)
WR Matthew Slater – Shin (LP)
C Bryan Stork – Ankle (LP)
OT Sebastian Vollmer – Ankle (LP)

 

Probable

QB Tom Brady – Ankle (FP)
S Patrick Chung – Foot (FP)
OL Josh Kline – Shoulder (FP)
WR Brandon LaFell – Foot (FP)
S Devin McCourty – Ankle (FP)

 

Denver Broncos (13-4)

 

Out

NONE

 

Doubtful

NONE

 

Questionable 

NONE

 

Probable
S Josh Bush – Shoulder
TE Owen Daniels – Knees
ILB Todd Davis – Shoulder
G Max Garcia – Groin
CB Chris Harris Jr. – Shoulder
QB Peyton Manning – Foot
ILB Brandon Marshall – Ankle
QB Brock Osweiler – Knee
S Darian Steward – Hamstring
S T.J. Ward – Ankle
OLB DeMarcus Ware – Knee
CB Bradley Roby – Quadricep

Gronk and Edelman Rebound, Patriots Trump Chiefs

It has been a roller coaster ride, this week, this season, and this 2015 for the Patriots.  From DeflateGate, to the Super Bowl.  From the suspension to the banners revealing.  From a crazy week to an awesome win in the Divisional Round.  The Pats outscored the Chiefs 27-20.  The game broke many records.  Gronk now leads all tight ends in playoff touchdowns, and all Pats players in playoff receptions.  He has never been on a team that has not advanced to the AFC Championship.  It’s also Tom Brady’s 30th playoff game, the most by any NFL player in history!!  This is also only the 2nd time a team has gone to 5 straight conference championships, tying the record set by a 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers squad.

 

Now let’s talk about the exciting ending first.  The Pats led 27-13 after 2 30-40 yard field goals by Stephen Gostkowski.  The Chiefs had difficulty managing the clock.  They blew about 5 minutes.  They were hesitating, taking their time on play after play.  They had blown it with 1 minute to goal on 3rd and goal when there was a flag.  Pass interference on the Pats.  It reset to 1st and goal.  On 2nd down, they scored.  It was now 27-20.  The Pats just needed one first down.  2nd and 12.  Brady threw.  The ball bounces of a defender’s hip.  Tamba Hali misses it and Edelman makes the first down catch!!!!  All TB12 had to do was take a knee 3 times and it was over!  Well, how did we get there.  It all started opening drive.

It was 3rd down.  Brady had struggled on 3rd down conversions ever since Edelman got hurt.  But he was back.  He proved it.  Brady threw to his favorite receiver, and Edelman, he caught it, for a first down!  Next play went to Edelman for 13 yards again!!!!  Then 16 yards to Amendola the very next play!!!   They were doing hurry-up offense, just pass after pass after pass to Brady’s best slot receivers.  Healthy and dominant as they could be.   Then he got to third down again, and got to Gronk for 32 yards!!!   He jumped over defenders and broke tackles, but he got there.  Two plays later, touchdown Gronk!!!  That was all on the 1st drive.  5 minutes, 11 plays, 80 yards and a touchdown!!!!

The following drive ate up 8 minutes of clock, and ended with a 34 yard field goal.  7-3 Pats.  It ended the 1st quarter at that score.  The 2nd quarter started with 3 short drives, ending in punts.  After a quick first down to Edelman, then a 5 yard penalty.  Brady threw an amazing pass, Edelman bobbled it, but lost it!!!  But Keshawn Martin was wide open right in front of him and he caught it!!!!  A 42 yard pass!!!  The offense was booming!!!  They slowly got through to the red zone from the 50, and it was first and goal.  Tom Brady ran it in for 10 yards and thought it was a touchdown but it was called out of bounds at the 1!!!  Belichick challenged, but lost as the call stood.  No worries, he had a QB sneak up the middle for a TD!!!  14-3. The following drive was a field goal again.  14-6 Pats.  The pattern was, touchdown Pats, and the next drive, the Chiefs would score a field goal.  “If they keep scoring touchdowns, and the Chiefs keep scoring field goals, you know who will win”, I said to my dad right then.

“I can live with that”, he said.  The half ended soon after.  The Chiefs got the ball, they had won the toss and deferred.  They were marching down the field, but on 2nd and 8, Knile Davis fumbled and Dont’ a  Hightower got it!!!  The offense did its thing.  Gronk for 18 yards.  Edelman runs for as many yards as his own jersey number!!!  14 yard pass to Edelman!  10 yards to James White.  Then Gronk scrambled for his second TD of the night, this time for 16 yards, double the yards of #1.  That’s when he broke the record.  He didn’t spike it, he was so happy, he just danced.  But next drive, things changed.

The Chiefs went to Jason Avant for 26 yards!!!  This is a former Eagles second-string who is now and old and washed up Chiefs sleep receiver.  He had 2 receptions for 69 yards.  Then 13 yards to Kelce.  They were slowly marching down the field, Alex Smith doing his usual thing of lots of short plays for big total yardage.  He went for it to Chris Conley, but was incomplete.  But after a 5 yard penalty on the Pats, they easily went to Albert Wilson for a touchdown.  They had broke the pattern.  It was now 21-13 Pats.  Next drive though, James White caught a 29 yard pass.  Then he went to Edelman for 14.

The quarter ended, and they lost their momentum but managed a 40 yard field goal, a solid one.  24-13.  After a quick Chandler Jones sack, the Pats got the ball back at like the 30.  On 4th down, Duron Harmon’s so-called interception was called back for an incomplete pass and turnover on downs, but thankfully it saved us 30 yards.  Keshawn Martin got a 15 yarder, but they had to settle for a 32 yard field goal.  27-13.  We led by two touchdowns.  Then the Chiefs scored their TD after horrible clock management, and Brady finished the game.

Tomorrow the Broncos and Steelers play.  The winner plays us.  What do you think.  Will we host a banged up Steelers team or go to Denver against the dominant Broncos, where we lost in Week 12?  Comment what you think.  Whoever we play, “We’re on to the AFC Championship.”

Star Of The Game: Rob Gronkowski

Gronkowski scoring his 2nd TD in a nice win over the Chiefs.

Of course Gronk earned this.  Two touchdowns, eight total in the playoffs any year, most by a tight end in playoff history.  Also, Gronk leads the Pats in playoff receptions ever.  Gronk had several deep passes, which he is not known for and despite back trouble and knee troubled, he also caused Chiefs trouble.  He also had some good blocks to help Edelman star in his return.  He led the Pats to revenge for an ugly game.