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

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

 

Eastern Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

West

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

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

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

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

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

Now for my playoff predictions.

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

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

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

 

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NFL Week 6 Picks: Contenders and Pretenders

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

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

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

Lock of the Week

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

Upset of the Week 

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

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

 

TNF (Posted to Twitter on Thursday before the game)

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

Sunday’s Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SNF

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

MNF

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

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

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

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

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

Lock of the Week


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

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

Upset of the Week


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

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

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


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

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

Sunday’s Games


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

SNF

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

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

 

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

NFL Week 4 Picks: Many Close Games This Week

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

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

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


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

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

Upset of the Week


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

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

Sunday’s Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

SNF

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

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

MNF

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

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

NFL Week 3 Picks: More Upsets, Close Games Expected

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

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

Lock Of The Week

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

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

Upset Of The Week

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

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

TNF


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

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

Sunday’s Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

SNF

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

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

MNF

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

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

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

NFL Week 2 Match-Up Preview

Another week of exciting football is almost here!  But unless you’re a fantasy football fanatic like me, watching NFL RedZone from 1-8 each week, or are a diehard fan of one team that plays at an off time, the one thing you don’t know is which games to watch!  Even if you are a diehard fan or fantasy football fanatic, there will be extra time to watch another game during Football Sunday.  That is the purpose of this article.   Who’s ready to dig in?

Each week, I will go over five of my favorite matchups. I will provide detail about each matchup so you know which game is for you. It’s an extended preview beyond my NFL Picks for my five favorite games.

 Sunday, 9/17/2017, 1:00 PM, CBS

The Jaguars absolutely dominated the Texans last week and the Titans fell short at home against Oakland.  Week 1 showed the Titans aren’t necessarily up there with teams like Pittsburgh, Oakland, and Kansas City, and it also shows that the Jaguars are legit.  Will the Jaguars be a fluke as the Titans show what they can do, or will Jacksonville continue to thrive in the AFC South?

Keys to a Win

Titans

  1. The Titans can’t let the Jaguars defense control them.  They have a very good offense, led by QB Marcus Mariota and RB DeMarco Murray.  But they will continue to struggle if they let defenses contain them.
  2. They also need to take advantage of the fact that the Jags lack depth at receiver.  Allen Robinson is out for the season.  If nobody steps up in his place, the Jags will have an ugly season.

Jaguars

  1. The Jags need someone to step up at receiver.  They have no good tight ends, and right now Allen Hurns looks like their only viable option at receiver.  They need somebody to step up.  Maybe Marqise Lee will?  If he doesn’t, who will?  Dede Westbrook is on IR.
  2. They also need to stop the run.  Tennessee has a great run game.  But if the Jacksonville front seven can get in their heads, they will struggle.

3 Burning Questions

  1. With Dede Westbrook on IR, who will assist Allen Hurns at receiver for the Jaguars?
  2. What is the weak spot of Jacksonville’s D and will the Titans take advantage of it?
  3. The Titans have a lot of good players, but who will play like their superstar this week?

The Jags are running out of options here.  Could Max McCaffrey do big things?  If not, can Marqise Lee be their guy this season?  Hopefully, they can survive until Westbrook returns.  It’s hard to find a weak spot in this improving Jacksonville D, but the Titans should look to take advantage of the Jags d-line.  The Titans have plenty of budding stars on their team, but this week, I think veteran tight end Delanie Walker will be their go-to guy.

Key Injuries

Jaguars

  • Allen Robinson – WR (Knee) – IR
  • Calvin Pryor – SS (Ankle) – Out
  • Jalen Ramsey – CB (Ankle) – Questionable

Titans

  • Johnathan Cyprien – SS (Hamstring) – Out

Bold Prediction: With the receiving game lacking depth, the Jags score 2 rushing TDs as Fournette and Ivory will combine for 250 rushing yards

Leonard Fournette could be the Jags’ biggest weapon this week.  Chris Ivory will also continue to get touches.  I think both of them could be in for big games today.  It’s a pretty good match-up for them, the Titans lack a good front seven aside from defensive tackle Jurrell Casey.

The Pick

jacksonvile-jaguars

  Sunday, 9/17/2017, 1:00 PM EST, FOX

This could be a very good game.  The Eagles looked great after a blowout over the Redskins, and the Chiefs look like one of the best teams in the AFC after pulling an upset over the Pats.  Will Carson Wentz and his offense keep flying, or will the Chiefs bring them back down to earth?

Keys to a Win

Eagles

  1. Carson Wentz can’t let the Chiefs pressure him too much.  The Chiefs defense knows how to rush the passer.  If Wentz can’t overcome a pesky Chiefs defense, the whole Eagles offense could fall apart.
  2. The Eagles can’t allow any 75-yard TDs like the Pats did.  Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill can be very dangerous for defenses.  They are both very fast.  Fast enough that they can speed past the entire defense.

Chiefs

  1. Whatever Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill had going last week will need to continue this week.  The Chiefs may be lacking offensive depth, but they don’t need it as much if Hill and Hunt can supply them with all the offense they need.
  2. With Eric Berry hurt, the Chiefs need to find a new defensive leader.  Justin Houston is a sack machine, but will he thrive in a defensive leadership role?

3 Burning Questions

  1. Will the Chiefs miss Jeremy Maclin after this week?
  2. Who will emerge as Carson Wentz’ favorite target?
  3. Which defense will have the better game?

I think the Chiefs will miss Maclin pretty soon.  I don’t care if Hill and Hunt are superstars, they will burn out eventually.  I think new receiver Alshon Jeffery will have a big week and emerge as Wentz’ favorite target this season.  Lastly, I think the Eagles defense will have the better game.  The Chiefs defense need a new leader.  The Eagles have a dangerous front seven that could really make Kareem Hunt look like a fluke if they do well.

Key Injuries

Eagles

  • Ronald Darby – CB (Ankle) – Out
  • Corey Graham – FS (Hamstring) – Questionable

Chiefs

  • Eric Berry – FS (Achilles) – IR
  • Parker Ehringer – G (Knee) – Doubtful
  • Reggie Ragland – OLB (Knee) – Doubtful
  • Ron Parker – SS (Ankle) – Questionable
  • Kevin Pierre-Louis – OLB (Illness) – Questionable

Bold Prediction: Carson Wentz will throw for 350+ yards, 3 TDs

Wentz really looked like an elite QB last week, and I expect that to continue throughout the season.  I think he will really develop as a QB this season.

The Pick

UPSET ALERT

philadelphia-eagles-logo

  Sunday, 9/17/2017, 1:00 PM EST, CBS

This could actually be a close game.  Both these teams are coming off wins, but they were both against bad teams.  This game will really test if these teams are for real or not.  Who’s the contender in this match-up, or are both teams really pretenders?

Keys to a Win

Bills

  1. The Bills need to take advantage of the Panthers’ biggest weakness: their secondary, but do they have the receivers to do it?
  2. The Bills also need to keep Greg Olsen covered well.  His performance can really decide how the Panthers offense does.

Panthers

  1. The Panthers need to look out for LeSean McCoy.  They have a great front seven so it shouldn’t be too difficult.
  2. They also need Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel to be at their best.  The rookies on this offense could be the difference in who wins this game.

3 Burning Questions

  1. Who will lead the Panthers in receiving this week?  Will anyone have a 100-yard game?
  2. Will LeSean McCoy be able to score a TD against this Panthers defense?
  3. Will the Bills defense cost them the game if they can’t keep the Panthers offense under control?

Greg Olsen is going to have a big week for Carolina, I think he leads in receiving.  On the other hand, I don’t think LeSean McCoy will be able to score on Luke Kuechly and the Panthers front seven.  Lastly, I think there’s a chance the Buffalo offense will be able to save them in this case but it’s very unlikely.

Key Injuries

NONE

Bold Prediction: The Panthers will rush for 250+ yards 

Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey are both great running backs, but they’re not the only ones I see having big rushing games.  Curtis Samuel and Cam Newton can both run the ball so it won’t be as hard as it seems to rush for 250 yards.

The Pick

carolina-panthers-logo

 

 

 Sunday, 9/17/2017, 4:05 PM EST, CBS

The Dolphins will make their debut away from home as they visit the Chargers in LA.  With Tannehill out for the year, the Dolphins are not as sharp as they have been.  In the meantime, the Chargers could be in line to be better this season if they stay healthy.  In the end, these two things could combine to make this a very close game.  Who will come out on top?

Keys to a Win

Dolphins

  1. With Tannehill out, running back Jay Ajayi needs to step it up.  The Chargers defense isn’t that good so it might not be as hard as it usually is this week.
  2. The Dolphins need to rush the passer.  They have a great defense, and stopping Philip Rivers is the key to slowing down the LA offense.

Chargers

  1. The Chargers need to mix up who they throw it to.  They have so many good receivers and they can confuse the Dolphins secondary by doing this.
  2. They also need to contain Jay Ajayi.  Ajayi was a machine at times last season and he might be even more effective with Tannehill out.

3 Burning Questions

  1. Will Jay Cutler make a good connection with DeVante Parker like he did in the preseason?  If this happens, will Jarvis Landry struggle?
  2. Which third-year running back will have a better day, Jay Ajayi or Melvin Gordon?
  3. Do the Chargers have enough depth at receiver without Mike Williams?

I think Cutler will continue to connect with Parker, and Landry will not benefit from this.  In my opinion, Jay Ajayi will have the better day, but this is all about the match-up.  Melvin Gordon is facing one of the better run defenses in the league.  Lastly, between Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry, Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin, and Tyrell Williams, I think the Chargers have plenty of receiving options.  Mike Williams will just add to that when he returns.

Key Injuries

Dolphins

  • Rey Maualuga – ILB (Hamstring) – Out
  • Jarvis Landry – WR (Knee) – Questionable

Chargers

  • Jason Verrett – CB (Knee) – Out
  • Mike Williams – WR (Back) – Out
  • Jeremiah Attaochu – DE (Hamstring) – Questionable
  • Dontrelle Inman – WR (Groin) – Questionable

Bold Prediction: Philip Rivers throws for 400 yards and 4 TDs

I think Rivers is set up for success if he takes advantage of the Dolphins’ weak secondary and his great group of receivers and tight ends.

The Pick

San_Diego_Chargers

  Sunday, 9/17/2017, 8:30 PM EST, NBC

Sunday Night Football tonight could very well be the game of the week.  This is a clash of two great offenses that just faced off in the 2016 NFC Championship.  Each of the last two times these teams clashed, the Falcons won.  Will the Falcons make it a streak, or will the Packers give them a rude awakening?

Keys to a Win

Packers

  1. The Packers need to find their run game and avoid being stopped by Vic Beasley and the Falcons front seven.  Hopefully, they’ll still be able to score rushing TDs without Eddie Lacy, James Starks, and Christine Michael.
  2. They also need to pressure Matt Ryan.  Matt Ryan isn’t the same elite QB when he’s pressured well.  With how inconsistent he is, it’s doubtful he’ll win MVP for the second straight year or even come close.

Falcons

  1. Whatever the Falcons had going on offense last year needs to continue.  Last year’s Falcons offense was one of the best in the league.  Will that continue into this season?
  2. The Falcons secondary needs to keep Jordy Nelson and Martellus Bennett covered.  Aaron Rodgers has some great receivers that could score multiple times if they aren’t covered well.

3 Burning Questions

  1. In their first real challenging match-up, will the Falcons offense look better, worse, or the same as they did last season?
  2. Which receiver will make a big impact for the Pack in this game?
  3. How will the Green Bay run game look?

I think the Falcons offense will be about as good as they were last season, not much better, not much worse.  They should be good enough to get them into the playoffs but not as far as they did last season.  I think both Nelson and Bennett will make a big impact for the Packers in this game, especially if the Falcons fail to cover them.  I don’t think the Green Bay run game will look that bad, and I’ll explain why in my bold prediction.

Key Injuries

Packers

  • Jason Spriggs – T (Hamstring) – Out
  • Ahmad Brooks – OLB (Concussion) – Doubtful
  • David Bahktiari – T (Hamstring) – Questionable
  • Kentrell Brice – SS (Quadricep) – Questionable
  • Bryan Bulaga – T (Ankle) – Questionable
  • Mike Daniels – DT (Hip) – Questionable

Falcons

NONE

 

Bold Prediction: Jamaal Williams will break out for 150 yards and a TD

He’s the reason why the Packers run game won’t be all that bad.  I think he’s a very intriguing rookie RB, one of many in the league.  By the end of this game, he will have stolen the starting job instead of Ty Montgomery.

The Pick

atlfalcons

 

 

That’s all for this week.  Comment what your favorite match-up of the week is.  Stay tuned for more NFL and Pats articles, including a recap of today’s Patriots game.

 

NFL Week 2 Picks: Another Crazy Week Ahead

We are one week into the season, and it has already been crazy.  The Jags are legit.  The Patriots lost!  The Bears and Browns nearly won!  However, in the end, I came out with a 9-6 record, better than Pete Prisco of CBS Sports.  Today we will be looking at my picks for week 2.

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

Lock Of The Week

If I told you in 2015 that in a couple years, the Raiders would cream the Jets, you wouldn’t believe me.  The Raiders were terrible a few years back, and the Jets were turning it around with Todd Bowles taking over.  Now, the Jets offense is a complete mess and the Raiders offense is as good as ever.  What Oakland did last week shows that they’ve only gotten better.

The Jets don’t have a chance this week.  In my opinion, this will be one of the multiple blowouts this week.  The Raiders have a powerful offense and a pesky defense. The Jets entire team is falling apart as they have no QB, no receiving weapons, and no secondary.

Upset of the Week


Although the Chiefs looked good last week after schooling the Pats, I think it could be ugly this week.  They’re the kind of team that could suffer from inconsistency week to week.  The Eagles offense has definitely gotten tougher, so they should be a challenge for the Kansas City D that lost standout S Eric Berry.

In addition, Kansas City has even more of a depth problem on offense than they did last year, and that won’t help against a good Eagles defense.  The Chiefs look like the favorites at home but I believe the Eagles will surprise people this year starting with an upset against the Chiefs.
The Other Games

TNF

Both of these teams were equally bad last week.  Tom Savage looked lost and was ultimately replaced by Watson after being sacked 6 times.  The Bengals offense has not scored a point.  But this week I see Cincy winning the battle of two sub-par offenses. Without Brian Cushing and with JJ Watt a little banged up, the Houston D isn’t at full health right now.  While the Bengals defense hung in there only giving up 20 despite being on the field for 34 minutes.

The Texans offense lacks a true NFL starter so I expect Bengals D to confuse the rookie QB in his first NFL start.  Add the Bengals home crowd noise factor in prime time and I give the Bengals a slight edge.  Even though they fell flat against Baltimore, the Ravens are better than I originally predicted but the Texans might actually be worse than I originally predicted as they have already given up on “Tom’s our starter.”

Sunday’s Games

If you’re a Pats fan like me, last week was devastating to watch, especially the 21-0 4th quarter.  However, as many have noted, the Pats needed that embarrassment and better now than later in the season.  The game was a wake-up call and silenced all the talk about a 19-0 season.  As Super Bowl champs, they should expect everyone’s best and that wins will not come easy.  Pats fans take note that the team has won 3 Super Bowls in season’s in which they lost in Week 1 and have not been 0-2 since 2001.

I think this offense will be motivated to prove Pats haters wrong this week and Brady rarely has two bad performances in a row.  Brandin Cooks will also be motivated to show his former team they should not have traded him.  I don’t believe the Pats will lose 2 weeks in a row.  Although they’ve been hit hard by injuries, I think their active players are going into this game both physically and mentally prepared to play like defending champs.


The Panthers held on for a nice win last week and I think it will happen again.  The Bills do have a strong offense this season but the defense is a serious problem that the Panthers will take advantage of.

As for the Panthers D, the front seven is amazing and I don’t think LeSean McCoy will score a single TD.  However, the Panthers still need work on their secondary so the Bills will get some TDs through the air.  In the end, these two teams even out pretty closely.  I think the Panthers will win in OT.


The Browns didn’t win last week but they came close against the Steelers in Cleveland. They are definitely better this year and the Ravens aren’t as good as Pittsburgh.  But I don’t see the Browns winning a road game this season.  The Ravens looked good all-around last week and they should be able to beat Cleveland especially at home.

The Browns offense may be pesky but it’s not a problem at all for the Ravens’ strong defense.  The defense in Cleveland has many holes and lacks depth so I don’t see them having much success against the Ravens.  However, I don’t expect the Browns to go 0-16 but rather be more competitive and possibly win more than last year.  The only real candidate to go 0-16 this year is the Jets and few would argue with me on that, even Jets fans.


The Vikings have a great defense once again this year and their offense is really intriguing despite a lack of depth.  But they are no match for the Pittsburgh Steelers at home.  The Steelers have the Dream Team offense and a defense that at home can wear down almost any team.

The Steelers young secondary has begun to improve and their front seven has been great.  So I don’t expect the Minnesota Vikings to beat the Steelers, especially in Pittsburgh.  Steelers cruise to a win.


The Jags are legit.  I know they lost Allen Robinson but they have a great defense and they have depth on offense.  Look out for sleepers like Dede Westbrook to have a big game.  The Titans looked overmatched losing at home against Oakland last week.

I don’t see the Titans beating this Jaguars team in Jacksonville.   I wouldn’t be surprised if they crushed the Titans just as they did to the Texans.

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Andrew Luck has been ruled out again for Week 2 but I think any QB will be better than Scott Tolzien, even inexperienced Jacoby Brissett.  The Cots have some great receivers but they need a good or at least half decent QB in order to win games for the Colts.  They will have to find someone to fill in while Luck is out.  They need a QB who can utilize the great receivers the Colts have and Jacoby will get the chance this Sunday.

The Cardinals played well last week but the offense looks washed up and losing David Johnson won’t help.  I think the Colts defense should have it easier than last week and with anyone but Scott Tolzien as the starter, the Colts should be able to win this game at home.


Expect this game to be a blowout.  The Buccaneers will open their season in Tampa and they’ll be motivated to play well for their city that was impacted by Hurricane Irma.  The Bears are simply no match for them.

The Bears are thin at WR with the loss of Kevin White last week.  The Bears defense is still a work in progress and it may be viewed that way all season.  The Bucs meanwhile are well-built all around and I expect them to do well this season.  It will all start with an easy win at home.


The Dolphins will be almost as motivated as the Bucs opening their season but they are not playing the Bears.  Although LA might not feel like home for the Chargers, the Dolphins will be far from home and I expect a loud crowd for the Chargers first home game at LA.

The Dolphins will miss Ryan Tannehill and even if the Chargers D isn’t so great.  The Miami defense is pretty good but the Chargers have a great offense this year.  If they stay healthy, they could make things tough for their AFC West division foes. What happened each of the last two years for the Chargers will not be repeated.  Chargers win their first at home in a close one.

This Broncos team just is not as good as the recent Super Bowl winner.  Some might say the Cowboys have dropped off a bit too.  But Dallas still has a strong offense in the post-Tony Romo era as Dak Prescott has been just as good if not better than Romo.  Even though Denver was able to get Brock Osweiler back, their offense has continued to struggle after the retirement of Peyton Manning.

The Broncos defense is almost as good as they were back in 2015 but the Cowboys offense is stacked.  In the end, the Cowboys will grab the win.  I don’t think the Broncos will be able to stop Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliott, and the rest of the Cowboys offense.  Dak has so many weapons and will have the time to find them to lead his team to the win.

The Rams clobbered the Colts last week so they come into this game with some momentum.  On the other hand, the Redskins experienced a rude awakening last week as they lost to Philadelphia.  Washington just doesn’t have the same kind of all-around team they had last year.  I believe their offense and defense has dropped off versus last year’s team.  Meanwhile, the Rams definitely improved on offense and their defense is just as good as last year.

One year ago I would have easily picked the Redskins in this match-up.  But the Rams have gotten significantly better and the Redskins are going in the opposite direction.  So I think this year, the Rams are definitely the team to beat in this game.  In the end, LA will come out on top led by great games by Goff, Gurley, and Watkins.

This game is expected to be a blowout like the two others I predicted this week!  This Seahawks defense is just too good for the 49ers struggling offense.  I think the Niners lack the talent on offense and don’t have a single receiver that I would consider Top 50 in the NFL.

The Niners defense isn’t that great either but they’ll at least hold a mediocre Seahawks offense to under 30 points.  The Seahawks have good pieces on their offense but they just need a couple key additions to make the offense as strong as they’ve been in recent years.  However, I still see the Seahawks winning in the end despite some offensive holes.

SNF


This is going to be a great game.  Both these teams are still top tier after facing off in the NFC Championship.  The Falcons have the same great offense and the Packers still have a strong team all-around.  I think this will come down to the final seconds.

In the end, I have the Falcons winning.  The Packers will be under a lot of pressure on Sunday Night in Atlanta.  To add to it, this is Atlanta’s first game in a new stadium.  The Falcons offense will dominate in this game and it will just be too much for Green Bay to keep up with.  This monster offense could be a dangerous weapon for the Falcons and it will carry their less than stellar defense that blew a 25 point lead in the Super Bowl.

MNF


The Giants may have gotten crushed last week but I think they have the offense and the defense to beat the Lions.  The Lions put up 35 points offensively last week but the Giants defense has emerged as one of the better defenses in the league and should be able to hold them below 20 points.

Even without OBJ (who might not play this week), the Giants receivers are still dangerous.  Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard should be able to play well as the top 2 receivers until OBJ comes back.  The Lions lack a strong secondary so even though Marshall struggled last week, he and Shepard should both thrive this week.  The Giants will win because they play even better complementary football than the Lions do, and it took some good complementary football for the Lions to win last week.
So that’s all for my picks this week.  Stay tuned for more football articles coming soon. Feel free to comment with your thoughts on this week’s games.  It’s going to be a crazy week so get ready for it.