2019 NFL Week 11 Picks & Previews: Who Will Come up Big when it Matters?

Welcome to my Week 11 NFL Picks.  Last week, I went 7-6, putting my overall record at 85-61-1 (85-62-1 with Week 11 TNF).  This week, many marquee match-ups will take place. The Patriots and Eagles have a Super Bowl LII rematch.  The next two best AFC teams in the Ravens and Texans face off. AFC South rivals in the Colts and Jaguars will battle it out in an important game for the Wild Card race.  On Monday Night Football, the underperforming Chiefs and Chargers will play an important AFC West game in Mexico. Which teams will emerge as contenders this week, and which teams will fall behind or fall flat?  Keep reading to find out what I think, and as always, feel free to comment with your thoughts.

Lock of the Week

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The Dolphins have won two in a row, and the Bills are a bit overrated.  But QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and his depleted offense are no match for a rising young Bills D.  Without CBs Xavien Howard and Aqib Talib, the Dolphins will also struggle to contain WRs John Brown and Cole Beasley.  The Dolphins run defense isn’t in much better shape against the RB duo of Devin Singletary and Frank Gore. The Bills will be at their best in this game, and that will make things too difficult for Miami to pull off another upset.

Upset of the Week

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I’m a believer in QB Derek Carr and the Raiders offense.  But without S LaMarcus Joyner (injured) and CB gareon Conley (traded), I’m worried that the Raiders will have trouble containing WR Tyler Boyd and the rest of Cincy’s receivers.  The young Oakland front seven has improved, but they may also struggle since they’re facing 2018’s AFC leading rusher in Joe Mixon. With help from Mixon, Boyd, and a banged-up but underrated defense, the Bengals will come out on top here and pull off a huge upset, exposing the Raiders and winning their first game of 2019.

The Other Games

Posted to Twitter Thursday

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Expect WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and TE Vance McDonald to outmatch Cleveland’s young secondary, helping QB Mason Rudolph lead Pittsburgh to an upset victory.  With ex-Browns and current Steelers CB Joe Haden out, the Steelers secondary will also be a bit shorthanded, making things easier for QB Baker Mayfield. I do expect Cleveland to turn their season around, and this game will help build momentum.  But I think they’ll need TE David Njoku back on the field to give them the boost they need for wins and contention.
img_6209 I don’t expect much more from Washington this year, but QB Dwayne Haskins, RB Derrius Guice, and WR Terry McLaurin will thrive against a depleted Jets defense, showing promise for the future.  QB Sam Darnold will connect with WR Jamison Crowder here as usual, but he’ll have trouble connecting with his other receivers against an underrated Redskins D, causing the Jets to fall short.
img_6210 I had originally said Houston would pull off an upset here coming off the bye.  But with WR Will Fuller V and CB Bradley Roby still sidelined, I don’t think the Texans have enough in the tank for a victory here.  They should come pretty close, as the run game thrives and WR DeAndre Hopkins outmatches a strong Ravens secondary. However, QB Lamar Jackson will rely on his usual tactics as he leads the Ravens in a close one.
img_6211 Many people have said the Colts’ fate this week depends on QB Jacoby Brissett’s health.  But even with Brissett playing, I don’t think the Colts will be able to take down Jacksonville.  The Jaguars will have QB Nick Foles back to lead them. Meanwhile, the Colts will still be without WRs T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell, leaving Brissett with minimal options as Indy falls short.
img_6212 This will not be as easy for Minnesota as people think.  The Vikes are still without WR Adam Thielen, and CB Chris Harris Jr. will have WR Stefon Diggs in tight coverage throughout the game.  The Broncos run defense should be able to slow down RB Dalvin Cook as well. That will leave QB Kirk Cousins with less options, but with a lot of help from the defense, I still expect the Vikes to come out on top here.  
img_6213 The Lions run game is running out of options, as RB Kerryon Johnson is done for the year now.  Though QB Jeff Driskel will put up a slightly better game against an inexperienced Cowboys secondary, the Lions will fall short at home.  Expect Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott to be able to run all over Detroit’s weak front seven, and the rest of the offense should do alright as well.
img_6214 Tampa’s offense will put up another strong game here, especially against a Saints secondary that’s missing CB Marshon Lattimore.  But QB Drew Brees and his receivers will put up a field day against a crumbling Buccaneers secondary. Tampa’s run defense has been pretty good, but it’s their secondary that will cost them here, as WR Michael Thomas dominates.
img_6215 This Falcons offense just keeps losing weapons.  WR Mohamed Sanu was traded. TE Austin Hooper and RB Devonta Freeman are hurt.  But I think Atlanta will take one last victory lap against a weak Carolina secondary before struggling down the stretch.  The WR duo of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley will thrive, and RB Christian McCaffrey will have another strong game as well.  But McCaffrey can’t lead the Panthers alone.
img_6216 I’m a little concerned about the 49ers right now with WR Emmanuel Sanders, WR Dante Pettis, and TE George Kittle banged up.  This game will definitely be close, as QB Kyler Murray and his offense continue to succeed, even against a strong 49ers D. But San Fran will still edge out a home victory.
img_6220 The Eagles secondary has improved, but it is still no match for QB Tom Brady and his receivers.  Especially in a favorable match-up, Brady can make any receiver look like a star. The Eagles will put up a good fight, as their backfield will improve with RB Jay Ajayi in the mix and QB Carson Wentz will have a strong game.  But without WRs Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson, the Eagles will fall behind.
img_6218 This will be a very defense-heavy game.  The Rams offense has struggled more and more as the season progresses, and they are no match for an elite Chicago defense.  However, QB Mitch Trubisky and his offense have been even worse, and I don’t expect anything special for them in LA either. In the end, I have the Rams winning in overtime, but this will be an ugly game.
img_6219 QB Philip Rivers has declined significantly this year.  But with help of RBs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, I think he can lead LA past the Chiefs.  The Chiefs run game will struggle against DE Joey Bosa and a strong Chargers front seven. QB Patrick Mahomes and his receivers will thrive as usual, but if the Chargers offense puts up a strong game all around against a flawed Kansas City defense, the Chiefs might not have enough in the tank.

That’s all for my picks this week.  Stay tuned for more posts soon.

In addition, as many of my readers are football fans living in the Boston area, I wanted to mention that I’m putting on a charity event at APEX Entertainment, where you can bowl, eat, and watch Monday Night Football as well as Gonk Knocks, my series about how my high school’s football team prepares for the season.

Go to https://www.accelevents.com/e/GonkKnocksFootballNight to buy event tickets, buy raffle tickets, bid in the silent auction, or make a straight donation.  The event will benefit the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism and The Algonquin Football Boosters.

You can also text “Auction” to 201.241.4608.

 

2019 NFL Week 10 Picks & Previews: Elite Defenses Emerge Despite Multiple Shootouts

Welcome to my Week 10 NFL picks & previews.  Last week, I went 8-6, putting my overall record at 78-55-1 (78-56-1 with Week 10 TNF).  This week, the Patriots are on bye, and without the league’s top defense in action, there will be many high scoring games.  But I expect a few more elite defenses to emerge this week, launching a couple teams on a late playoff run and giving a couple more teams in the playoff picture already a boost.  Which teams will emerge? Keep reading to find out what I think, and as always, feel free to comment with your thoughts.

Lock of the Week

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Without QB Matthew Stafford, the Lions offense has nothing on Chicago’s elite defense.  Chicago will assert themselves as one of the best defensive teams in the league. Meanwhile, QB Mitch Trubisky will step it up against a Lions secondary that has significant depth problems.  This will allow the Bears to win in a blowout. I don’t expect the Lions to score much at all, but if they are going to score a TD on this Bears defense, TE T.J. Hockenson might be the person to rely on, as Chicago has struggled a bit against tight ends.

Upset of the Week

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The Vikings will be without WR Adam Thielen.  But regardless, I see them as the stronger team here, even though Dallas is favored by 3.  Minnesota’s defense may not be the league-dominating defense we expected, but they should be able to limit flawed QB Dak Prescott and his receivers.  RB Ezekiel Elliott will still have a strong game, but that won’t be enough. With Thielen out, QB Kirk Cousins and WR Stefon Diggs will connect frequently for a big game against an inexperienced Cowboys defense.

The Other Games

Posted to Twitter earlier on:

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QB Philip Rivers has struggled a lot this season.  But he should be able to rely on his backfield and WR Keenan Allen to take down the Raiders with ease.  Allen significantly out-matches Raiders #1 CB Daryl Worley. Meanwhile, the Raiders backfield will be shut down against a very strong front seven.  That should be enough to stop Oakland’s offense at home.
img_6169 With no real road team here, this will be very close.  But the Jets will edge out a victory, as QB Sam Darnold finds a good amount of receiving options against a young Giants secondary.  RB Saquon Barkley will put up a huge game against a banged-up Jets defense, and QB Daniel Jones will continue to rely on WR Darius Slayton in the red zone.  But with WR Sterling Shepard and TE Evan Engram out, the Giants offense just won’t have enough in the tank for victory.
img_6170 QB Baker Mayfield and WR Odell Beckham Jr. may be overrated, and that has caused Cleveland to underperform.  But they’ve also lacked depth with RB Kareem Hunt and TE David Njoku out. Now, Hunt’s return from an 8-game suspension should give the Browns a boost.  Hunt won’t be the starter, and he won’t be quite himself right away. But it doesn’t mean he can’t make a difference. This week will mark the beginning of a turnaround for Cleveland, as they take down an overrated Bills team.  Improved defense for Cleveland will play a big part in that upset victory.
img_6171 This will be closer than some expect, but the Ravens should still win comfortably.  Though QB Ryan Finley will struggle in Game 1 for Cincy against an elite Ravens secondary, he will rely on RB Joe Mixon to keep up with the Ravens.  QB Lamar Jackson will continue to run the ball frequently, but he’ll also have his fair share of big passes here against a flawed Bengals DB corps.
img_6172 QB Patrick Mahomes is back, and he’ll lead the Chiefs to an easy victory here.  Without TE Delanie Walker and WR Corey Davis, QB Ryan Tannehill won’t have enough passing options.  Expect a strong game from RB Derrick Henry, but it won’t be nearly enough to outdo a healthy Chiefs offense.
img_6173 QB Matt Ryan and his receivers will put up a fight here.  But Atlanta’s defense will fail to stop a Saints offense that’s back to full health with RB Alvin Kamara and TE Jared Cook returning.  Kamara and WR Michael Thomas will help QB Drew Brees lead the Saints to a fairly easy win. 
img_6174 QB Jameis Winston and his strong group of receivers and tight ends will just be too much for a young Arizona secondary to contain.  This will lead to an easy Tampa victory. QB Kyler Murray has shown promise, but an improving Bucs defense will limit his abilities and stop RB David Johnson in his return.
img_6175 Despite a win last week, the Dolphins will be back to their former ways this week, as they fail to keep up with a strong Colts offense.  Even without QB Jacoby Brissett, the Colts will dominate against a banged-up Miami defense. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will toss a couple TDs against an inexperienced Colts secondary, but it won’t nearly be enough.
img_6176 WR Brandin Cooks is out.  But it’s hard for any secondary to even stop 2 elite WRs, but this fact will cost Pittsburgh the game, as they struggle against a well-rounded Rams defense without RB James Conner.  TE Gerald Everett will also help QB Jared Goff in an easy victory, but the run game will struggle against a strong Pittsburgh front seven.
img_6177 Expect a close game here. QB Aaron Rodgers will rely on his receivers against an inexperienced Carolina secondary.  Meanwhile, RB Christian McCaffrey will lead the way for Carolina’s offense, but QB Kyle Allen will still toss a couple TDs. Despite a strong game all around for the Panthers offense, Rodgers’ receivers will outdo the Panthers secondary and allow the Packers to win in a close one.
img_6178 QB Russell Wilson may have one of the best groups of WRs in the league now, and he will utilize that in this game.  But CB Richard Sherman will limit these receivers, and the run game will struggle against a strong 49ers front seven.  Meanwhile, QB Jimmy Garoppolo will have a huge game against a young Seattle secondary, leading the Niners to a comfortable home victory.

That’s all for my NFL picks this week.  Stay tuned for more NFL coverage soon.

2019 NFL Week 9 Picks & Previews: Contenders Emerge

Welcome to my Week 9 NFL Picks.  Last week, I went 11-4, putting my overall record at 70-49-1 (71-49-1 with Week 9 TNF).  We’re a little less than halfway into the season, and we’re starting to see which teams and going to contend and which teams won’t.  In this second half of the season, we’ll see middle of the pack teams battle it out for the final playoff slots, and these battles could begin as early as this week.  Which teams will pull ahead in the playoff picture this week, and which teams will fall behind? Keep reading to find out what I think.

Lock of the Week

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The Jets have underperformed for much of the season, even with QB Sam Darnold back in the lineup.  But expect a big game against a depleted Dolphins defense. RB Le’Veon Bell will have the big game we’ve been expecting all year.  Darnold will rely on WR Jamison Crowder to lead the receiving game. Overall, the Jets will thrive in this easy match-up. They’ll also hold an anemic Miami offense from scoring a TD.  

Upset of the Week

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QB Daniel Jones has had success against other below average teams.  But on Monday Night, he’ll prove himself capable of more, and expose the Cowboys as overrated in the process.  This will definitely be a close game. RB Ezekiel Elliott will be hard to stop, and QB Dak Prescott has more reliable WRs this year than he has in the past.  But Jones will rely on his star RB, Saquon Barkley, and should enough receivers healthy to lead the Giants to victory.  

The Other Games

Posted to Twitter on Thursday
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RB Tevin Coleman led the way for the Niners last week.  This week, expect QB Jimmy Garoppolo to throw the ball more in a close one.  The Cardinals will struggle without RB David Johnson, but QB Kyler Murray will benefit significantly from WR Christian Kirk’s return.  He will utilize Kirk as the Cardinals put up a good fight despite falling just short.
Posted to Twitter today

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Against a strong Houston secondary, QB Gardner Minshew will need to spread the ball out more, as WRs Dede Westbrook and D.J. Chark could be outmatched by Houston corners.  The Texans will put up a decent game, and WR DeAndre Hopkins will just be too much for a Jaguars secondary that’s without CB Jalen Ramsey. But Minshew will find a way to London victory.
img_6132 The Bills offense was exposed last week as they scored just 1 TD against a tough Eagles defense.  The underrated Redskins defense will hold them back as well. But Washington will fail to score a TD against an even tougher Bills D.  Their QB problems will define them here.
img_6133 The Colts will be without WR T.Y. Hilton here, so QB Jacoby Brissett will be short on capable receivers in Pittsburgh against an underrated Steelers D.  This will allow QB Mason Rudolph and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster to lead the Steelers to home victory against an inexperienced Colts secondary.
img_6143 This will be very close.  But the Panthers will have to rely heavily on RB Christian McCaffrey in order to make this close, and he can only do so much in one day.  QB Ryan Tannehill doesn’t have a clear #1 target, but there’s a lot of capable receivers in Tennessee that will keep the Titans alive and lead them to a road overtime victory.
img_6135 The Chiefs may be without QB Patrick Mahomes for the second straight week.  But his backup Matt Moore has enough talent surrounding him to lead the Chiefs to victory, even against a tough Vikings D.  QB Kirk Cousins will continue to shine against an inconsistent Kansas City defense though, throwing at least 2 TD and making this very close.
img_6136 This will be another defense-heavy game.  Last week, we saw what this Eagles D is capable of.  Even the secondary looked alright last week, and they should be fine again against struggling QB Mitch Trubisky and his receivers.  But the Bears have one of the best defenses in this league, and they won’t let Philly score much here despite an Eagles victory.  
img_6137 Everything I thought Oakland’s offense would be last year, it is now.  QB Derek Carr has found a way to put up a good number of points in almost every game.  Against a flawed Detroit front seven, things should be even easier than usual. QB Matthew Stafford will have a big game as well.  But in Oakland, the Raiders offense will dominate and lead the team to top Detroit.
img_6138 This one will also be very close.  But on home turf, I feel that QB Russell Wilson will throw the ball very well and lead his team to victory.  QB Jameis Winston will also have a big game, relying heavily on WR Mike Evans and also on WR Chris Godwin. But it won’t be enough for Wilson and his deep WR corps.
img_6140 With QB Joe Flacco on IR, the Broncos will fail to do much of anything against a rising Browns defense.  QB Baker Mayfield won’t look much better, but his WR duo of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry will help the Browns edge out a victory at Mile High.
img_6139 Expect the RB duo of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler to thrive in this game.  They have struggled since Gordon’s return as they battle it out for carries. But I think they will both be used frequently and effectively here.  QB Philip Rivers has looked off his game so far this year, but with WRs Keenan Allen and Mike Williams as well as TE Hunter Henry healthy, he has plenty of reliable guys to help him out.  QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will make this close, boosted by the likely return of WR Davante Adams. But it won’t quite be enough in LA.
img_6141 This Sunday Night game makes for New England’s toughest match-up yet.  But Baltimore’s front seven has weakened, and it will open the door for big games from RBs Sony Michel and James White.  QB Tom Brady will be held back with his receivers out-matched by a strong Baltimore secondary. But the Ravens will be just as limited by a legendary New England defense, and the Pats should win this game without a problem.

That’s all for my Week 9 NFL Picks.  Stay tuned for more NFL coverage soon.

2019 NFL Week 8 Picks & Previews: Which teams can turn their year around?

Welcome to my Week 8 NFL Picks.  Last week, I went 8-6, putting my overall record at 60-45-1 (61-45-1 after Week 8 TNF).  It’s right around the middle of NFL season, and this is the time of year when teams have the chance to turn around their season.  This will come in the form of many upsets. Which upsets am I picking? Keep reading to find out what I think.

Lock of the Week

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This won’t even be close.  The Bengals are 0-7, and with WRs A.J. Green and John Ross out, the Bengals have been even worse these last few weeks.  Look for QB Jared Goff and his receivers to turn it around in this one, making the Rams look like one of the best teams in the NFC.  The Rams D will outmatch Cincy in every aspect, leading to a blowout.

Upset of the Week

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WR Sterling Shepard is back in the concussion protocol and will miss this game, but RB Saquon Barkley and TE Evan Engram will be at full health this week, giving QB Daniel Jones all the weapons he needs against an imbalanced Lions D.  The Lions run defense will struggle to contain Barkley, allowing him to have his best game yet. Engram will also thrive as CB Darius Clay closes in on WR Golden Tate. The Lions will put up a fight, but without RB Kerryon Johnson, their offense won’t have enough to take down New York.

The Other Games

TNF (Posted to Twitter)

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The Redskins don’t have much on the Vikings D.  WR Terry McLaurin is no match for CB Xavier Rhodes, and the rest of the offense has been terribly inconsistent.  I don’t expect a blowout here, but in a low scoring game, the Vikings will still win with ease.
img_6087 Look for the mortal opposite of TNF here.  In this game, young QBs Gardner Minshew and Sam Darnold will prove themselves as some of the best QBs their age.  The Jags will rely on RB Leonard Fournette, but Minshew will throw the ball plenty as well against a shallow Jets secondary.  The Jets will see a similar situation, as RB Le’Veon Bell anchors the offense, but Darnold’s receivers thrive against a Jags secondary that lost CB Jalen Ramsey.
img_6088 WR DeSean Jackson is still missing, and with QB Carson Wentz lacking weapons, he will be held back a bit against a tough Bills D.  But I expect the Eagles defense to step it up here, holding Buffalo to just 13 points as S Malcolm Jenkins makes a big impact for the secondary.
img_6089 With Titans star TE Delanie Walker out, I expect the Bucs to pull the upset here.  QB Jameis Winston will rely on his elite WR duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Meanwhile, the Bucs front seven will step it up, causing QB Ryan Tannehill to struggle under pressure.
img_6090 This game will be closer than people expect.  But the loss of WR Emmanuel Sanders is a huge one for Denver.  QB Joe Flacco won’t do as well without Sanders, even though his receivers have easy match-ups against a young Colts secondary.  Meanwhile, QB Jacoby Brissett will step it up again, finding a way to win comfortably as he leans on his TE duo.
img_6091 The loss of WR Keenan Allen hurts, but I think the Chargers can handle this Bears defense.  Not many teams have beat the Bears this season, but look for QB Philip Rivers and TE Hunter Henry to step it up in Chicago and help LA begin to turn their season around.  Meanwhile, QB Mitch Trubisky will struggle against an improved, balanced Chargers D.
img_6092 Even without RB Alvin Kamara, the Saints have a huge edge here with QB Drew Brees returning.  Brees will rely on his receivers as well as RB Latavius Murray against a weak Arizona D. Meanwhile, QB Kyler Murray will make rookie mistakes in New Orleans as he takes on an elite Saints squad.
img_6093 Even with QB Matt Ryan out, I expect the Falcons to pull the upset here.  With WR Mohamed Sanu out of Atlanta, WRs Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley will have more opportunities, especially against weak secondaries like Seattle’s.  QB Russell Wilson will find a way to put up points, but it won’t be easy against an Atlanta D that will step it up on home turf.
img_6094 WR Emmanuel Sanders might be the last thing the Niners needed to become legitimate contenders.  With Sanders on board, their undefeated status could last longer. QB Jimmy Garoppolo will throw the ball frequently now that he has more reliable weapons in the lineup.  Carolina will put up a fight as always, with RB Christian McCaffrey putting up a huge game. But it won’t be enough for San Fran regardless of who plays QB.
img_6095 WR Josh Gordon’s days in New England are over, so we won’t see his revenge game against Cleveland.  Regardless, the Patriots will win as QB Tom Brady relies on his favorite targets, WRs Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett.  Cleveland will put up a fight, led by RB Nick Chubb. But it won’t be enough as the elite Pats defense gets to QB Baker Mayfield’s head.
img_6096 Houston was once defined by their elite defense.  Now they might have the best offense in the league, and everyone will put up a big game against the Raiders D, even though QB Deshaun Watson is without WR Will Fuller V.  WRs DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills will continue to make up for the loss of Fuller in an easy Texans victory. The Raiders will score a couple TDs as well, but it won’t be enough, as Houston still has something good going on defense.
img_6097 This would’ve been a battle between the two best QBs right now, Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers.  But Mahomes is injured, and so is Green Bay’s #1 receiver Davante Adams. Both offenses will find a way to put up a good number of points, as RB Aaron Jones leads Green Bay and QB Matt Moore utilizes his elite receivers.  But the Chiefs will come out on top at home, led by WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce.
img_6098 This will be closer than people expect.  The Dolphins may be tanking, but without QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh isn’t on top of their game either.  RB James Conner will be the one who leads the Steelers offense. But this will be a defense heavy game, as Pittsburgh holds Miami to just 1 TD.

 

That’s all for my picks this week.  Stay tuned for more NFL articles soon.

2019 NFL Week 7 Picks & Previews: Rise of the Road Teams

Welcome to my Week 7 NFL Picks.  Just 4 CBS Sports and ESPN experts are ahead of my current record of 52-39-1 (53-39-1 including Week 7 TNF).  This week, I expect the trend of road teams winning to continue.  Home field advantage has not had as big an impact this year, and a lot of this week’s road teams outmatch their home opponents.  Which teams will hold on for home victory, and which road teams will prove themselves? Keep reading to find out what I think, and as always, feel free to comment with your thoughts.

Lock of the Week

The Lions have been fairly competitive so far this season, but expect a rude awakening against the elite Vikings defense.  QB Matthew Stafford has some nice assets around him, but the Lions offense is far from elite.  Meanwhile, Minnesota will make the most of a favorable match-up against Detroit’s defense, allowing RB Dalvin Cook to lead the way to a big Vikings victory.

Upset of the Week

The Titans made a switch to Ryan Tannehill at QB, but it won’t be enough for victory, even as they host a banged-up Chargers offense. QB Philip Rivers will rely on the WR duo of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, as S Kevin Byard contains TE Hunter Henry and the Titans run defense thrives. But LA’s defense will look pretty good themselves, causing the run game to continue to struggle and holding QB Ryan Tannehill and his offense to just 17 points. This will allow the Chargers offense to lead the team to an upset victory.

TNF (Posted Thursday Night, Actual Score: 30-6 Chiefs)

Expect a close game. QB Patrick Mahomes and his receivers will dominate against a declining Broncos secondary. But QB Joe Flacco will step it up and make it a close game at Mile High. Utilizing second year breakout WR Courtland Sutton, the Broncos will come within 1 TD of a victory. But it won’t be enough to outplay Mahomes.

The Other Games

Expect another easy victory over Miami here.  The Bills have been one of the AFC’s best teams so the Dolphins will not slow them down much offensively.  Meanwhile, an underrated, rising Bills defense will shut down QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in his return to the starting lineup after.

QB Gardner Minshew has not let Jacksonville down yet. I couldn’t see QB Nick Foles doing any better than Minshew has so far this year. So right now, the Jaguars have a decision looming with Nick Foles practicing again. That decision will get tougher as Minshew and his receivers thrive against a banged-up Bengals secondary. QB Andy Dalton will lean on his RBs and help Cincy put up a fight, but Jacksonville will pull ahead early and hold on.

This will be a very close game, as QB Deshaun Watson is dominant as usual and QB Jacoby Brissett makes it competitive in a surprisingly strong game against a weakening Texans defense.  Brissett put up 27 points in his debut with the Patriots when Houston had one of the best defenses in the league.  He can definitely put up a fight against the Texans but Watson will lead the Texans to victory in overtime. 

The Raiders have really surprised on offense this season, and I expect them to put up a fight here.  But despite a lack of depth and no shortage of injuries among QB Aaron Rodgers’ receivers, Rodgers has continued to find ways to lead Green Bay to victory.  At Lambeau field, that should be easy as he relies on his RBs against a weak Oakland front seven that’s without LB Vontaze Burfict. 

Look for QB Daniel Jones and the Giants to edge out a victory against a weak Cardinals defense, as Jones relies on RB Saquon Barkley and TE Evan Engram who are returning from injuries.  QB Kyler Murray will fail to put up much of a fight, but WR Christian Kirk’s return will significantly benefit the Cardinals and help make this close as Murray utilizes multiple reliable weapons.

San Francisco should win with ease here, as their young, underrated defense shuts down Washington.  But it will be closer than people think, as CB Josh Norman, edge rusher Ryan Kerrigan, and S Landon Collins step up to lead the Redskins defense to a successful day. They will hold the Niners to just 13 points (1 TD), significantly limiting TE George Kittle, WR Dante Pettis, and RB Tevin Coleman.

This will  be an exciting game, as two high-powered offenses face off.  Atlanta’s defense will struggle to contain QB Jared Goff and his elite group of WRs.  Atlanta will have a pretty strong game themselves against a banged up Rams defense.  But the Falcons will still struggle to keep up as LA’s defense limits RB Devonta Freeman and WR Julio Jones successfully.

This will be a very close game. The Seahawks will rely on RB Chris Carson and the rest of the run game. Meanwhile, QB Lamar Jackson will be forced to throw in order to make this close, as LB Bobby Wagner, edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, and others stuff the run successfully. Jackson will have some success throwing the ball, but it won’t be enough to beat the Seahawks at CenturyLink. However, Baltimore will make it close, and I could even see this going to overtime.

Look for the Bears to win with ease here. QB Mitch Trubisky isn’t the best of the best, but he’ll find a way to put up some points, even against a pretty good Saints defense. At Soldier Field, Trubisky will put up enough points to allow the defense to do its thing and lead Chicago to victory. Despite a very strong season so far filling in for QB Drew Brees, QB Teddy Bridgewater will struggle to break single digits against an elite Bears defense. The absences of RB Alvin Kamara and TE Jared Cook just makes things harder.

SNF

This will be one of the most exciting prime time games all season. Both these teams are contenders, but both have struggled of late. QBs Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott will make it a neck and neck battle, as Wentz is too much for a young Dallas defense and Prescott utilizes whatever receivers get has healthy to lead the Cowboys against a weak Philly secondary. Expect this to go to overtime and even potentially come close to a tie, but I think the Eagles will edge out a victory in the final minutes.

MNF

Without WR Josh Gordon, QB Tom Brady will not be able to lead the Patriots to victory alone. He’ll need the Patriots defense to shut down QB Sam Darnold and the Jets, which I think they are definitely capable of, even without DE Michael Bennett. Darnold will make this close, relaying heavily on RB Le’Veon Bell, but it won’t be enough against one of the best defenses in the NFL.

That’s all for my NFL Picks. Stay tuned for more NFL coverage and NBA coverage soon, including my Week 8 Picks and my NBA season predictions.

2019 NFL Week 6 Picks & Previews: Who Will Turn Things Around?

Welcome to my Week 6 NFL Picks.  Last week, I went 7-8, putting my overall record at 44-33-1 (45-33-1 including Week 6 TNF).  However, I’m still beating 3 of 20 (tied with another 2) experts from CBS Sports and ESPN. A lot of teams have struggled to a surprising extent so far this year.  But this week, I feel like some of these teams will turn it around. Keep reading to find out which teams I have proving themselves competitive, and which teams I have asserting themselves as the league’s best.  As always, feel free to comment with your thoughts.

Lock of the Week

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QB Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense have struggled this season.  Both Ryan and RB Devonta Freeman have shown signs of regression. But against a weak Arizona defense, expect the Falcons to look like their old selves, as Ryan leans on his elite trio of wide receivers.  The Cardinals will struggle significantly against a mediocre Atlanta defense, exposing them as one of the league’s worst teams.

Upset of the Week

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QB Sam Darnold is back, and I have him coming back with a bang.  He will utilize slot WR Jamison Crowder, who has emerged as Darnold’s favorite target, though WR Robby Anderson and TE Chris Herndon will also look strong in this game against a young, inexperienced Dallas defense.  RB Le’Veon Bell will be held back a bit by DE DeMarcus Lawrence and the rest of the Cowboys run defense, but in this game, stopping Bell won’t be enough to stop the Jets. Dallas will put up a good fight in this close one, as RB Ezekiel Elliott leads the offense and QB Dak Prescott works more with his other receivers as opposed to just WR Amari Cooper.  But the Jets will still come out on top, led by a healthy Darnold.

The Other Games

TNF (Posted before the game; Actual Score: 35-14 Patriots)

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Led by their run game, look for New England to easily contain a banged-up Giants squad.  Aside from QB Daniel Jones and WR Golden Tate, this Giants offense doesn’t have much going for them.  The Patriots defense will shut them down and hold them TD-less. Meanwhile, the duo of RBs Sony Michel and James White will shine against a weak New York front seven, leading the way for New England.
Sunday, 9:30 AM EST (Posted before the game)

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Expect an OT thriller here as QB Jameis Winston utilizes the great WR duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to lead the Bucs to last minute victory against an unbalanced Carolina defense.  QB Kyle Allen will make it competitive, relying on RB Christian McCaffrey once again. But Allen will face defeat for the first time as he fails to keep up with a strong Tampa offense.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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In a battle of two 0-5 teams, the Redskins will reign superior.  Washington has had a QB crisis this year without Alex Smith, but there’s bound to be 1 of the 3 QB’s on their roster that can handle the weak Miami defense.  Expect CB Xavien Howard to shut down WR Terry McLaurin, but the Redskins will still come out on top, as they lean on the RB duo of Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson.  QB Josh Rosen and the Dolphins will show signs of improvement, but it won’t be nearly enough for Miami to win.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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Cleveland’s offense is extremely overrated and they have really underperformed.  This will continue as the Browns host Seattle, but watch out for Cleveland’s D who will hold a shallow Seahawks offense to single digits.  Even QB Russell Wilson’s strong game won’t be enough to take down the Browns on their home turf.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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Look for QB Lamar Jackson to rebound to an extent as he leads Baltimore past the Bengals.  The Bengals will make it close. QB Andy Dalton will struggle and throw a couple picks against a strong Ravens secondary.  However, RBs Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard will anchor the Bengals offense here. It still won’t be enough for Jackson and his large group of reliable receivers.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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If you think last week’s Texans game was high scoring, just wait for this week.  We’re about to have Chiefs-Rams 2.0 on our hands. Expect QB Patrick Mahomes to dominate with all his receivers healthy.  QB Deshaun Watson will also put up another huge game, this time utilizing both WR DeAndre Hopkins and WR Will Fuller V. This will be a back and forth shootout, as each QB throws for over 400 yards and at least 4-5 TDs.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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QB Gardner Minshew will run out of magic here as the Saints defense steps it up and shuts his resources down.  This will allow QB Teddy Bridgewater to look like a capable starting QB and lead the Saints to a big victory in Jacksonville.  Teddy B. will utilize RB Alvin Kamara, WR Michael Thomas, and the rest of his dominant offensive surroundings.  
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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QB Kirk Cousins utilized the WR duo of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs in Minnesota’s last game, and it paid off.  If he can do the same under the pressure of the tough Eagles defense, that would be huge for him and huge for Minnesota’s season.  I have confidence in Cousins to perform well in this game as QB Carson Wentz and his receivers fall short up against one of the best defenses in the league.
Sunday, 4:05 PM EST

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Even with RB Todd Gurley banged-up, I expect the Rams to handle the 49ers easily in LA.  The LA defense will step it up and hold QB Jimmy Garoppolo and his offense to just 1 TD and 10 points.  Meanwhile, the Rams WR trio will just be too much for the 49ers to contain. The Niners will definitely limit the Rams and LA’s offense will not quite look like their dominant selves against San Fran.  But it won’t be enough to prevent the Rams from an easy victory.
Sunday, 4:25 PM EST

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With the Broncos D banged up, look for Tennessee to put up a big game, as QB Marcus Mariota utilizes his wide variety of receivers.  Denver’s offense will fail to compete or look like themselves as the Titans defense shuts them down, allowing the Titans to win with ease.  
Sunday, 8:20 PM EST

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With RB Melvin Gordon and TE Hunter Henry active tonight, the Chargers should easily take down Pittsburgh.  They will be limited by a decent Steelers defense. But with QB Mason Rudolph out, the Steelers offense will fail to do much of anything against a strong, balanced Chargers defense.  
Monday, 8:15 PM EST

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This one will come down to the wire as two surprisingly good offenses duke it out.  The Packers will rely on RB Aaron Jones and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling with WR Davante Adams out, which will be enough for QB Aaron Rodgers to lead Green Bay to victory.  But the Lions will make this a close shootout, as they do surprisingly well on offense once again. The NFC North might be the most competitive division in this league, as two of the teams have the best defenses and the other two have an unbelievable offensive core.  This game will prove that.

That’s all for my picks this week.  Stay tuned for more NFL coverage in the coming weeks.

2019 NFL Week 5 Picks & Previews: The Best of the Best Prove Themselves

Welcome to my NFL Week 5 Picks.  Last week, I went 7-8, putting my overall record at 37-25-1 (37-26-1 with Week 5 TNF).  This week, I cannot see many upsets happening. This will be a week where the elite teams in the league continue to prove themselves as they put up big games and win with ease.  Which underdogs will put up the biggest fight, and what upsets will happen? Keep reading to find out what I think, and feel free to comment with your thoughts.

Lock of the Week

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QB Chase Daniel did an even better job than QB Mitch Trubisky at leading this Bears offense.  Expect it to really show this week.  The Raiders snagged a victory in Indy against a weak Colts defense, but they’ll experience a rude awakening against Chicago in London as the Bears shut them out.

Upset of the Week 

(TNF, posted to Twitter Thursday night, Actual Score: 30-29 Seahawks)

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The Seahawks are only favored by a hair here, and I can’t see them succeeding against a strong Rams team.  QB Jared Goff and his receivers will put up a clinic against the inexperienced Seattle secondary.  QB Russell Wilson will put up a decent game, but the Rams defense will severely limit the Seahawks and come up clutch in preventing them from scoring multiple TDs.

The Other Games

Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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With TEs Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis hurt and concerns arising at QB, the Redskins offense won’t have much up their sleeve against an unstoppable Patriots defense.  The Pats offense will look a little better in Washington, but they won’t need to score too much to win here.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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The Jets are still without QB Sam Darnold, and they won’t be able to do much at all in Philly.  QB Luke Falk will rely on slot WR Jamison Crowder as Darnold has, but it won’t be enough as QB Carson Wentz and the Eagles utilize WR DeSean Jackson in his return and rely on star TE Zach Ertz.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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I don’t know why so many people are calling a Bills upset here.  The Bills offense really struggled against New England last week, and the Tennessee defense is capable of shutting them down in a similar fashion.  I also believe QB Marcus Mariota will step up against the Bills D.  I feel that Mariota is a good QB when healthy, and this game will prove it. 
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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Look for Pittsburgh to put up a fight on their own turf, but I can’t see QB Lamar Jackson falling in this one.  He looked great in the first couple games of the season.  He’s faced some tough opponents and been outmatched in the last couple games, but QB Mason Rudolph and the washed-up Pittsburgh offense is no longer good enough to outmatch Jackson in the same way.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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Cincinnati started off the season 0-4, but their schedule only gets easier from here.  Against Arizona, QB Andy Dalton will turn it around and prove himself capable as he utilizes WR Tyler Boyd.  If he struggles against Arizona, they should consider Ryan Finley at QB.  But I can’t see that happening, as QB Kyler Murray will struggle against the underrated Cincy defense.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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The Texans were always a defense-first team in the past.  Now, the defense has lost some key pieces, but QB Deshaun Watson has stepped up big time.  It will show in this offensive shootout against Atlanta, one of the most offense-heavy teams in the league.  QB Matt Ryan will throw several TDs like Watson, but Watson will out-match Ryan in a battle of two elite QBs.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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QB Gardner Minshew and his receivers will have a decent game against a young Carolina secondary.  But the Panthers secondary has gotten better this year, and they will step it up.  Meanwhile, expect QB Kyle Allen to throw multiple TDs and lead Carolina to victory.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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WR Stefon Diggs may want out, but he’s still here now, and he will be utilized as QB Kirk Cousins steps it up at MetLife.  QB Daniel Jones is a great QB, but he’ll experience a rude awakening and make some rookie mistakes against an elite Vikes D.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

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This will be the biggest shootout of the week, as QB Teddy Bridgewater steps up to lead New Orleans’ offense, but fails to outscore QB Jameis Winston and his receivers in regulation.  I see this game going to overtime, where Bridgewater will utilize his amazing surroundings to lead the Saints.
Sunday, 4:05 PM EST

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The Chargers are missing some key pieces on offense, but they still have enough in them to take down Denver in LA, especially with edge rusher Bradley Chubb out for the year.  The Broncos are 0-4 so far, and their offense will continue to struggle as they face an elite defense on their home turf.
Sunday, 4:25 PM EST

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Look for Green Bay to struggle without WR Davante Adams.  This will allow then Cowboys to rebound on their home turf as they face the weakened Packers squad.  They will also benefit from the return of their WR2, Michael Gallup.
Sunday, 8:20 PM EST

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QB Patrick Mahomes will work his magic again as they host Indy.  Against a weak but underrated Colts defense, Mahomes will lean on the young duo of WRs Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman.  TE Travis Kelce will put up an especially strong game as well.  QB Jacoby Brissett and the Colts will make this the best Sunday Night game all year as they put up a fight in a strong offensive performance, but they’ll be outdone by Mahomes.
Monday, 8:15 PM EST

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This prime time match-up will be a close one too.  But I think this will be a defense-heavy game.  Both of these defenses improved significantly this off-season, and it will show here.  But the Niners will edge out the victory as they ride their momemntum coming out of the bye, boosted by the return of RB Tevin Coleman.

That’s all for this week’s games.  Stay tuned for more NFL coverage soon.