New England Patriots Game-By-Game Predictions 2017

 

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

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

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

Prediction: W, 1-0

 

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

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

Prediction: W, 2-0

 

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

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

Prediction: W, 3-0

 

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

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

Prediction: W, 4-0

 

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

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

Prediction: W, 5-0

 

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

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

Prediction: W, 6-0

 

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

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

Prediction: W, 7-0

 

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

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

Prediction: W, 8-0

 

Week 9: BYE

 

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

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

Prediction: W, 9-0

 

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

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

Prediction: L, 9-1

 

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

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

Prediction: W, 10-1

 

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

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

Prediction: W, 11-1

 

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

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

Prediction: L, 11-2

 

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

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

Prediction: L, 11-3

 

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

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

Prediction: W, 12-3

 

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

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

Prediction: W, 13-3

 

 

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

 

2017 NFL Mock Draft: Trubisky to Niners, Tight Ends Go Early

  1. PICK NO.
    1
    CLE
    DE
    TEXAS A&M

    The Browns will be tempted to take a QB, but this guy is the best player in the draft.  The Browns need a defensive end anyways.  Garrett is the easy choice with this pick.  They have another first round pick that they can use on a QB.  The Browns aren’t going to turn down the opportunity to draft Garrett.  If the Browns don’t pick him, they will regret it.

  2. PICK NO.
    2
    SF
    MITCHELL TRUBISKY
    QB
    NORTH CAROLINA

    A lot of people are saying another defensive end will go here but that’s not what the Niners need.  They need a QB or a wide receiver.  Those are urgent needs.  Trubisky is a good fit in San Francisco and he is the best option at QB this early.  The 49ers need to draft a QB in the first round or the options for them will be slim.  They have nobody who’s a plausible starting option at QB right now.  Nobody.  They can’t pass on this opportunity.

  3. PICK NO.
    3
    CHI
    REUBEN FOSTER
    ILB
    ALABAMA
    The Bears have a boatload of holes and problems right now.  But their biggest gaping hole is at linebacker.  They don’t have a starter for one of their ILB slots.  Picking Foster makes sense for Chicago right now.  They need a QB but when you have defensive needs in this year’s draft, they come first.  The defensive class this year is so deep.  If you don’t draft someone from this class in the first couple rounds, you will miss out on the best.  
  4. PICK NO.
    4
    JAX
    O.J. HOWARD
    TE
    ALABAMA
    The Jags defense is going to be fine.  They could really surprise us this year, and I think the defense is finally up to par.  Now time to focus on offense.  The loss of Julius Thomas is huge, and another tight end out of the draft would really help fill in for him.  
  5. PICK NO.
    5
    TEN
    SOLOMON THOMAS
    DE
    STANFORD
    The Titans have another first Round pick.  Their wide receiver needs take a back seat here because of this rich defensive draft class.  The Titans still haven’t fixed their defensive problems, and the defense is holding them back.  Thomas will definitely help their case.  
  6. PICK NO.
    6
    NYJ
    DAVID NJOKU
    TE
    MIAMI
    The Jets have a lot of offensive problems.  This is one case where drafting an offensive player is appropriate.  Their QB situation is pretty bad, but the gaping hole at TE is also holding the Jets back.  They need to draft one, even if the Jags happen to take Howard.  Njoku is their backup plan.  
  7. PICK NO.
    7
    LAC
    FS
    OHIO ST.
    Ever since Eric Weddle left, there has been a problem at safety on this team. Drafting a top safety is essential for this team right now.  It will give their defense a big boost, and they need it right now.  Hooker seems like the right fit for them.  
  8. PICK NO.
    8
    CAR
    LEONARD FOURNETTE
    RB
    LSU
    I was originally against Carolina drafting a running back, thinking they were alright with Stewart, but the Panthers could use another productive running back to split the carries with Stewart.  If Fournette is still available at this point, he is a must-draft for Carolina.  Forget the cornerback needs, and if you have any kind of RB need, Fournette is a definite must-draft with extremely high NFL potential, almost as high as Ezekiel Elliott’s was.  
  9. PICK NO.
    9
    CIN
    JAMAL ADAMS
    SS
    LSU
    Wow, two LSU picks in a row.  For a good reason though, a lot of LSU players have very high NFL potential.  The Bengals have had this hole since Reggie Nelson left.  Adams is a top prospect, and a good fit for the Bengals.  He is the long-awaited replacement for Nelson.  Adams has very high NFL potential as well as some other LSU players in this draft class.  
  10. PICK NO.
    10
    BUF
    MIKE WILLIAMS
    WR
    CLEMSON
    Another WR named Mike Williams on the Bills.  This guy should be a lot better and last a lot longer though.  This guy was Deshaun Watson’s main target, a superstar that helped Clemson win it all.  For a team like the Bills, they could always use another receiver, and despite the fact that Corey Davis is actually higher in most prospect Rankings, I see Williams as the best receiver in this draft class.  
  11. PICK NO.
    11
    NO
    DEREK BARNETT
    DE
    TENNESSEE
    The Saints need to go defense here.  They have plenty of defensive holes, but they do need a defensive end, and if a guy like Barnett or Solomon Thomas is still available, they should definitely be drafted here.  Drafting a corner is an option, but the defensive line class this year is much better.  
  12. PICK NO.
    12
    CLE
    DESHAUN WATSON
    QB
    CLEMSON
    With a defensive player already drafted #1 for the Browns, this is the time to take a QB.  Watson was one of the leaders in Clemson’s championship winning season.  He will either start all season in Cleveland or replace another starter at some point during the season.  You know Brock Osweiler is not satisfactory as a starter.  The Browns need a QB, either a free agent, a drafted player or someone they acquire.  I think drafting a QB is the smartest way to go.  Not many teams would give up a quality QB, but there’s a chance that the draft would give them one.  I see Watson as someone who could succeed in the NFL.  
  13. PICK NO.
    13
    ARI
    MARSHON LATTIMORE
    CB
    OHIO ST.
    The Cardinals need some other contributors in their secondary.  Honey Badger and Patrick Peterson are good, but they need some quality players around them.  Most of all, the Cardinals need a second cornerback.  Lattimore is one of the best corners in this draft, and if he’s available here, he’s not somebody you should pass on.  
  14. PICK NO.
    14
    PHI
    JABRILL PEPPERS
    SS 
    MICHIGAN
    The Eagles defense is good but it lacks depth, especially in the secondary.  Peppers could really boost the secondary, and I think he has been underrated in prospect rankings.  Peppers is more than just one of the best safeties in this draft.  He is the best safety in this draft class, at least in my opinion.   
  15. PICK NO.
    15
    IND
    DALVIN COOK
    RB
    FLORIDA STATE
    Frank Gore isn’t going to last forever, and eventually, probably in a few years, he’ll get too old to play in the NFL anymore and retire.  The Colts need a backup option who learns over the next few years and then takes over for Gore.  They should probably draft a running back at this point, a lot of the good free agent running backs already signed, and I feel like Cook is a good fit in Indy.  
  16. PICK NO.
    16
    BAL
    JONATHAN ALLEN
    DT
    ALABAMA
    The Ravens trading away Timmy Jernigan and Lawrence Guy says something.  It’s time to rebuild the defensive line.  The Ravens must bolster their line with this pick by drafting a top d-lineman available.  If Allen, Barnett, Thomas or Garrett are available here, the Ravens have to draft one of them.  With Barnett, Thomas and Garrett gone, Allen is a must-draft for Baltimore here.  The Ravens also need a defensive end, but should look for that in the second or third round.  
  17. PICK NO.
    17
    WAS
    OLB
    TEMPLE
    The Redskins did lose some offensive power, but the front seven needs an upgrade if the offense is going to go anywhere.  Reddick will help fill some of the holes in Washington’s defense and will be another strong pass rusher for them.  The Redskins have a lot of options here for their front seven, but Haason Reddick looks like a popular name lately, and that could turn into him being picked early because of it.  
  18. PICK NO.
    18
    TEN
    COREY DAVIS
    WR
    WESTERN MICHIGAN
    The Titans need a receiver with this pick.  Personally, I think one more receiver could really boost this offense.  If Davis is drafted, the Titans offense will thrive, as the defense improves and they’ll be on their way to win the AFC South and make the playoffs.  The Titans need a boost, especially because the AFC South is wide open . 
  19. PICK NO.
    19
    TB
    RYAN RAMCZYK
    OT
    WISCONSIN
    The Bucs really need another offensive tackle right now.  Their biggest offensive weakness is the offensive line.  They have other problems on defense, but the D is underrated and the OT need is urgent.  Winston will not continue to do what he’s done with insufficient protection. Marcus Mariota got better with protection from 2016 1st Round draft pick Jack Conklin.  Winston will benefit in the same way from a guy like Ramczyk.
  20. PICK NO.
    20
    DEN
    JOHN ROSS
    WR
    WASHINGTON
    For Denver, this is early for a wide receiver, but I still believe they need a third contributor behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.  Ross will give them the kind of impact they need, plus more.  They will have a great wide receiver trio.  Now they need a tight end and a quarterback to add to it.  Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch will not last forever as starting options.  They’re just not those kinds of players. 
  21. PICK NO.
    21
    DET
    TACO CHARLTON
    DE
    MICHIGAN
    The Lions need a booster in the front seven.  Charlton is yet another strong defensive end in this draft.  The Lions would gladly take him to provide a powerful player across from Ezekiel Ansah.  With that and last year’s addition of rookie A’Shawn Robinson, this defensive line could be great.  
  22. PICK NO.
    22
    MIA
    MALIK MCDOWELL
    DT
    MICHIGAN STATE
    The Dolphins still need defensive help, and McDowell should give some to their defensive line.  Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake are getting old.  They need to add some young talent to their defense.  Not necessarily a guy to contribute right away, more like a long term investment.  That’s just what McDowell serves as in this first round . 
  23. PICK NO.
    23
    NYG
    CAM ROBINSON
    OT
    ALABAMA
    The Giants are desperate for a tackle, especially with Marshall Newhouse on the outs.  Robinson is just the kind of powerful protection they need.  Their offensive line will be so much better with another young tackle to boost it.  Ereck Flowers did it on one side for the Giants.  Robinson can do it on the other.  
  24. PICK NO.
    24
    OAK
    CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY
    RB
    STANFORD
    Marshawn Lynch isn’t definitely coming to Oakland.  In the meantime, they need a young talent alongside DeAndre Washington.  McCaffrey would make for a great duo with Washington, and could work as a backup, third-down back or starter.  If Lynch comes in to the RB scheme, McCaffrey will still make contributions.  Lynch is old, old enough that he retired two years ago and is coming back.  He could get banged up, and that’s were McCaffrey and Washington would come in.  
  25. PICK NO.
    25
    HOU
    PATRICK MAHOMES
    QB
    TEXAS TECH
    A lot of people think that Mahomes is going to the Chiefs.  The Chiefs have interest in him, but I think he’ll go two picks earlier to Houston, and at that point the Chiefs will just give up on a QB until the later rounds.  Tom Savage will not be starting all year, and the Texans need a young, talented QB that can step in when he’s ready.  Savage will open the season as starter, but later he’ll pass on the torch to Mahomes.  
  26. PICK NO.
    26
    SEA
    FORREST LAMP
    OG
    WESTERN KENTUCKY
    The Seahawks need another offensive lineman, and Lamp is a good fit here.  The Seahawks could go tackle or guard with this pick, but in a thin offensive line class, Lamp is the best available, and that’s who you take in this kind of class at the position.  The Seahawks could upgrade their great defense, or chase another RB option, but with Lynch coming back (not neccesarily to Oakland) and Sherman possibly staying, the Seahawks need to take a lineman now or they’ll lose the chance to get anyone good.  
  27. PICK NO.
    27
    KC
    MARLON HUMPHREY
    CB
    ALABAMA
    With the hope of drafting a QB in the first round gone, I think it’s about time the Chiefs fill one of their secondary holes.  Eric Berry and Marcus Peters won’t do the whole job.  They need people around them.  Humphrey isn’t just a compliment to Marcus Peters.  If he comes through, he could be a companion to Marcus Peters, what Peters is but on the other side.  They need someone like that across from Peters, and I think Humphrey could be the guy.  
  28. PICK NO.
    28
    DAL
    ZACH CUNNINGHAM
    OLB
    VANDERBILT
    The Cowboys have a decent secondary, so they can wait on a corner.  The front seven is full of urgent needs for them, so their first round pick needs to be a front seven investment.  Cunningham seems like a good fit for them and he’s a top front seven player so I’d go with it.   
  29. PICK NO.
    29
    GB
    TAKKARIST MCKINLEY
    OLB
    UCLA
    The Packers are another team that need front seven players early.  McKinley would fill their hole at outside linebacker.  They need some linebackers because they do lack depth at the position.  If they don’t go linebacker early, they won’t be able to get a quality starter at linebacker in this thin linebacker draft class.  
  30. PICK NO.
    30
    PIT
    TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE
    CB
    LSU
    The Steelers need front seven players as well, but that can wait with the cornerback and safety needs they have.  White is a fitting first Round pick for them, it helps begin to fill the many secondary holes to fill.  White is a quality propsect that should really do his job and make a mark at cornerback.  
  31. PICK NO.
    31
    ATL
    TYUS BOWSER
    OLB
    HOUSTON
    The Falcons have needs at linebacker and now in the d-line.  Bowser would be a good fit for them and would help their weakness of strong pass rushing.  They have one guy right now, Vic Beasley.  Bowser is a quality pass rusher who should be NFL ready.  The Falcons could use a linebacker, and they may have found their match.  
  32. PICK NO.
    32
    NO
    GAREON CONLEY
    CB
    OHIO ST.
    The Saints need a corner, and fast.  Sure, they have defensive line needs and practically every defensive position needs, but they can take care of those with their 11th overall pick.  The next biggest need is at cornerback.  When Delvin Breaux is your #1 corner, you know you have a problem.  Conley will help finally start to fix the secondary needs the Saints have.  They have more than enough safeties, but they lack cornerbacks. 
    That’s all for my Mock Draft.  Watch the NFL Draft on Thursday, April 27 to see if I’m right.  If you want to make your own NFL Mock Draft and compete with other mocks on Draft Day, try the app MockOut.  I am competing against hundreds of other mocks with this one and you can make your own to compete with too.  
     

Ultimate Super Bowl LI Preview: Video, Prediction and More

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

Here’s my video preview for the big game:

 

 

I also have an iMovie trailer, check it out!

 

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

The Case for the Pats

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

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

The Case For The Falcons

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

Super Bowl Fast Facts

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

The Final Pick

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

Patriots, 30, Falcons, 23

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

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

Stat Projections (Passing, Rushing and Receiving)

Patriots

Passing

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

 

Rushing

LeGarrette Blount, 17 rush, 76 yards, TD

Dion Lewis, 6 rush, 28 yards

James White: 7 rush, 24 yards

 

Receiving

Julian Edelman, 8/11, 96 yards

Malcolm Mitchell, 6/14, 68 yards, TD

Martellus Bennett, 8/8, 66 yards, TD

Chris Hogan, 6/10, 65 yards

Danny Amendola, 3 /4, 30 yards

Michael Floyd, 2/ 3, 19 yards

Dion Lewis, 1/1, 4 yards

Matt Lengel, 0/1, 0 yards

 

Falcons

 

Passing

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

 

Rushing

Devonta Freeman, 23 rush, 113 yards, TD

Tevin Coleman, 10 rush, 41 yards

Patrick DiMarco, 1 rush, 2 yards

 

Receiving

Julio Jones, 13/22, 139 yards

Mohamed Sanu, 8/11, 68 yards, TD

Austin Hooper, 6/6, 62 yards

Taylor Gabriel, 4/10, 45 yards

Levine Toilolo, 0/1, 0 yards

 

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

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

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

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

Playing Around With The Playoff Machine

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



Who’s In

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who’s Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NFL Week 13 Match-Up Preview

The playoffs are almost here.  Fantasy season’s almost over, and teams are starting to punch their tickets to playoff town.  But unless you’re a fantasy football fanatic like me (and a lot of you) watching NFL RedZone from 1-8 each week, or are a diehard fan of one team that plays at 1pm, the one thing you may not know is which games to watch, especially if fantasy season is over for you or you don’t get NFL RedZone or even NFL Sunday Ticket.   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.  Today, I will go over five of my favorite match-ups, that mean something in the big picture.  I will have detail about each match-up so you know which game is for you.  It’s an extended preview beyond my NFL Week 13 Picks for my five favorite games.  Who’s ready to dig in?

 

The Chiefs had an amazing win on Sunday Night over Denver.  Now it looks like it’ll be the Chiefs or Raiders winning the AFC West and making the playoffs.  But the Falcons will be tough for them to beat out.  They have a good QB/RB/WR duo and have proven to be just as good as teams like the Steelers, maybe even the Cowboys on offense.  Will the Chiefs take it to the next level in their division, or will the Falcons make sure they can’t, and keep their own division lead.

 

Playoff Scenarios

Falcons: If they win and Carolina loses, then they significantly lower Carolina’s playoff odds

Chiefs: With a win, a Dolphins and Raiders win and Chargers loss, they leave San Diego hanging by a thread and likely out of the division.  A Broncos win would also impact this.

 

The Keys To The Game

Chiefs

  1. The Chiefs need to find people to throw to.  Especially with a strong Atlanta pass rush, KC cannot just rely on a good running game to grab them a win.  If Alex Smith can stay out of the pocket and be the mobile QB he usually his, he can throw the ball, but only if he has receivers open
  2. Alex Smith cannot let the Falcons pass rush get to him.  This shouldn’t be a problem for him, but there will be no chances for open receivers if Alex Smith can’t be ready to pass.
  3. Matt Ryan and his offense has had a really good season.  But the Chiefs defense cannot give up big plays, or they could see a lot of points scored on them.  I think this game will be low scoring, but if the Chiefs D isn’t at its best, things could get ugly very quickly.

Falcons

  1. The Falcons offense can’t be affected by the Chiefs D if they have a chance at winning.  Without their scoring offense doing its job, there’s no way to win.
  2. The Falcons D needs to contain Alex Smith.  This will prevent the Chiefs from scoring on them so that scoring enough to win is easier for them.
  3. The Chiefs do have problems at receiver, but don’t forget about tight end Travis Kelce.  The Falcons secondary cannot let him get open in Red Zone situations, and need to have their best players covering him.

 

What Do The Stats Say?  (Analyzing NFL.com stats)

The Chiefs do have good defense, but their defense has some flaws.  Marcus Peters has not been able to shadow, or directly cover a receiver, Justin Houston’s absences have been a problem, and at the other corner position, they’ve allowed a 95.4 passer rating. The Falcons also have the #1 scoring offense of the season.  But the Chiefs have done well lately on defense, probably because of Justin Houston’s return.  Since Week 6, they have been 1st in scoring defense.  Matt Ryan leads the league in passer rating though. He also has 3,516 passing yards this year, plus 26 TDs. Julio Jones has an impressive 1140 yards receiving too. All season, despite a bad record, the Falcons have put up impressive stats to prove themselves, and consistently.  However, their defense has allowed the most TDs ad 5th most yards when a QB releases quickly.  Will Alex Smith do that  That could be a statistic difference in this game.  Jeremy Maclin being out has not helped Smith, but the Falcons pass defense has allowed 282 yards per game, worst in the NFL.  Meanwhile, Marcus Peters has allowed just one TD to 6 top 10 or 20 receivers combined.  He covers Julio Jones today, hoping for more of the same.  I think that the stats point to the Cheifs.  They may have problems on offense, but Atlanta’s pass defense is pathetic, and could give up a win, blow a game.

A Fantasy Spin

Start

Travis Kelce: He definitely has the advantage over a weak Falcons secondary today,  He will be hard to cover, and it will shine through in fantasy

Alex Smith: He could see a lot of passing yards today if it will be tougher to run the ball.

Tyreek Hill: Hill is a sneaky sleeper at receiver.  He has shocked several teams, and he could shock Atlanta just the same

Flex

Mohamed Sanu: Julio Jones will get all the defensive attention, so he could get away with some big time yardage.

Sit

Matt Ryan: I wouldn’t go around saying to sit Julio Jones, but Ryan’s fantasy stats will be affected by the Chiefs D, and could be sat if you have another good QB.

Devonta Freeman: More like a bust for this game, the Chiefs won’t let him get away with much in this game.

Spencer Ware: The Falcons rush D is actually decent, and the Chiefs will win, but it won’r be easy.  They’ll need to score fast, and Ware is not a guy to do that when you have Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.

 

Bold Prediction: Julio Jones will score a TD, but will be held to under 90 yards in this game.  Matt Ryan will struggle throwing in Marcus Peters’ direction, and I do feel that Peters could intercept him at an inconvenient time for the Atlanta offense.

My Pick

UPSET ALERT

kansas-city-chiefs-logo

 

 

I know that Green Bay has been slumping lately, but if you haven’t noticed, so is Houston. They still should win their weak division, but on the road, they may lose this game.  The Packers have almost as strong a defense as Houston’s without J.J. Watt too.  This looks like a pretty evenly matched game, so the home team should win.  But will that actually be the case.

Playoff Scenarios

Texans: With a loss, the Texans no longer hold possesion of the AFC South alone.  The Titans would get a shot.  A win and a Jaguars loss eliminates Jacksonville mathematically.

Packers: With a win, they increase their shot at the NFC North.  A loss and a Seattle/Giants win would make it nearly impossible to grab a first wild card or first round bye.

 

The Keys To The Game

Texans

  1. Brock Osweiler must be mobile, and well protected.  He is definitely sack prone against Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and the rest of the Packers pass rush.
  2. The Texans have to knock the Texans offense out of their momentum.  If not, we could see some of the old Packers.
  3. The Texans offense needs to find new ways to score.  They are currently pretty predictable, and that’s not good if the Packers figure it out and guard the few Red Zone threats they have.

Packers

  1. The defense needs to take advantages of the Texans’ struggles.  They can probbaly keep the Texans under 20 points at their best.
  2. The Packers cannot let the Texans come close to knocking the offense out of their momentum.  If they do, they could be in some big trouble.
  3. Aaron Rodgers needs to be careful not to re-aggravate his hamstring, and he needs to have receivers open at all times to he doesn’t take too big of hits.

 

What Do The Stats Say?

The Texans are leading the AFC South with a -42 point differential.  Are they contenders or pretenders?  I think contenders, as the Packers did the same in 2013, but this game may be tough for them, as the Packers have improved since then.  Since week 7, Rodgers leads the league in completions, passing yards and TDs.  The Packers are belwo .500 through 11 games for the first time, but they’ve had a t ough schedule, their stats are trending up, and so can their record.  Davante Adams also has 43 receptions since Week 7, leading the NFL.  However, their pass defense has allowed a 102.5 passer rating, lower than usual.  I think this is a slump they can break out of at home, not B.J. Raji’s absence.  Besides, Brock Osweiler’s passer rating is 72.2, worst in the NFL, and is also in last in yards per attempt.  Lamar Miller has been gppd at least, but will he shine through in a tough match-up against a rebound hungry Packers D.  The Texans defense isn’t much better anyways, allowing 20+ points in 7 of 8 games with no J.J. Watt.  at least the Texans’ pass defense is still good, but with a good Packers receiving game and QB, the stats point more towards the Pack in this game.

A Fantasy Spin

Start

DeAndre Hopkins: even if the Texans lose, D-Hop will be a big part in their attempt to bounce back.

Aaron Rodgers: Could get some legitimate yards up, and score some TDs on a Watt-less Texans D.

Packers D/ST: They could easily rebound, taking advantage of a slumping Brock Osweiler

 

Flex

Davante Adams: Him and Jordy Nelson could try and take advantage of a Texans secondary  that lacks big name players.

 

Sit

Brock Osweiler: Looking like a bust against a Packers pass rush with Clay Matthews and many other contributors

Lamar Miller: Won’t get as big a workload against the Packers, but could be flexed.

Randall Cobb: Cobb just hasn’t gotten as much reps lately with a great season by Davante Adams and a great return by Jordy Nelson.

 

Bold Prediction

The Texans offense will be severely impacted by the Psckers defense/  Lamar Miller will be held under 50 yards, and Clay Matthews will practically reenact his NFL Mobile ad in the game.

The Pick

green-bay-packers-logo

 

These are two AFC teams fighting for playoff spots.  The Raiders need the win to keep up with the Chiefs in the division.  The Bills need to keep winning if they want a chance.  Will the Bills continue to surge and go for a wild card, or will the Raiders continue to dominate and stay tied for the AFC West?

Playoff Scenarios

Bills: With a loss and a Pats win, the Bills join the Jets as out of the AFC East.  A win and a Denver, Pittsburgh and Miami loss could get them into the playoff picture

Raiders: A win and a San Diego loss would eliminate San Diego from the AFC West, leaving it to Denver, Oakland and KC.

 

Keys To The Game

Bills

  1. The Bills need to improve their pass defense, and keep Derek Carr under pressure.  Carr has developed into a great QB, and he needs to be stopped.
  2. With Sammy Watkins back, the Bills need to take advantage of his return.  They cannot let the Raiders D get in their way of making big, scoring plays
  3. The defense can’t give up big plays at the same time.  That could really cost them.

Raiders

  1. The defense has to be on its best.  They can’t let Sammy Watkins or LeSean McCoy get to them.
  2. Derek Carr cannot be under pressure against this Bills D.  That would ruin his game.

 

What Do The Stats Say?

Sammy Watkins came back strong last week.  He averaged 26.7 yards per catch on three catches last week.  The Raiders however, have allowed the fewest sacks this season.  Stats point to a high scoring game, Derek Carr thriving over Buffalo’s D, and the Bills sneaking some big plays on the Raiders D.  Oakland has scored 30+ points in six games as well.  Derek Carr’s 4th quarter passer rating has gone from 67.5 (2015, last among starters), to 122.5 (2016, best in NFL), so we could even see that 30 point win come from a comeback.  The defense is getting better as well, which could make it even tougher for the Bills if they are aiming for scoring a lot.  The issue with the Bills is that they don’t pass enough against a tough Raiders pass rush.  It will be hard to run the ball.  The stats point to Oakland.

 

A Fantasy Spin

Start

Derek Carr – Expect a big game from Carr as he faces an easy Buffalo defense.

Sammy Watkins – The Bills will need to pass in this game, so his work will increase

 

Sebastian Janikowski – Lots of scoring is good for kickers, so Seabass is a must-start

 

Flex

Michael Crabtree: Him and Amari Cooper should get a lot of Carr’s passes

 

Sit

Latavius Murray – I don’t think the Raiders will be running the ball much with the Bills right on their tail

Tyrod Taylor – He’s not a reliable QB, and the only reason he’s starting for the Bills is his mobility

Charles Clay – His workload may decrease with Watkins back, Taylor doesn’t even pass to him much anyways

 

Bold Prediction

Derek Carr will throw for 3 TDs, and get 350 passing yards, giving him a whopping 34 fantasy points.  Carr is a must-start fantasy option, and with a good o-line and good opportunity for passing

My Pick

oakland-raiders

 

 

This is a very big game for both of these teams.  These teams are on the verge of potential playoff contention, and they each need a win to move forward.  Will the Steelers win and take back the AFC North, or will the Giants defend their wild card and upset the Steelers?

 

Playoff Scenarios

Giants: A win and an Eagles loss can potentially eliminate the Eagles from the division and maybe even the playoffs.

Steelers: With a win, they take the AFC North lead.  A loss leaves the Ravens in irst by themselves.

 

Keys To The Game

Giants

  1. The Giants defense needs to make sure that the Steelers Big 3 is covered well, or they can get away with big plays.
  2.  The Giants cannot let the Steelers defense get to them.  Both these teams have good offenses, but a good defense can affect a team.

Steelers

  1. The Steelers need to find new weapons to surprise the Giants and score.  They need to outsmart the Giants defense if they can’t outplay them.
  2. The Steelers D cannot let OBJ go wild.  They don’t have a star corner anymore, which is typically needed for that, but they need to find another way to control him.
  3. Pressuring Eli Manning well would really help the Steelers thrive.  It will lower Giants’ scores, and make a Steelers win easier.

 

What Do The Stats Say?

This should be a high scoring game, but defenses can make it tough.  The Giants have the most and fewest allowed sacks since Week 9.  The Giants defense has also allowed the fewest points and lowest passer rating since Week 7.  Big Ben however has the highest home passer rating this season (123.8). Antonio Brown leads this season in receptions and TDs caught.   The Steelers secondary has allowed 263.5 yards per game through the air though.  This is a close one through stats, and it’s hard to say, so this pick is really more personal opinion, despite the Steelers -6 point spread.

A Fantasy Spin

Start

Eli Manning: Could be good since he’s under no means sack prone and OBJ could be open for a good portion of the game

Sterling Shepard: All of the Steelers’ weak secondary will be on OBJ, so Shepard and other receivers could get some yards.

Ben Roethlisberger: In this high scoring game, him and Manning should be started in majority of leagues.

 

Flex

Ladarius Green/Jesse James: Could be sneaky sleepers if the Giants secondary pays to much attention to Antonio Brown.

 

Sit

Steelers D/ST: Definitely not a defense to start in a high scoring game when the don’t have much turnover ability.

Rashad Jennings: The Giants will need to pass in this likely offensive shootout.  Jennings’ workload along with other running backs’ will be lower.

Chris Boswell: Even in a high scoring game, Boswell’s injury could keep him out, as the Steelers have signed Randy Bullock.

 

This is actually a good game for fantasy in general.

 

Bold Prediction

OBJ will have over 100 reception yards and between 1 and 3 TDs, giving him 1000 recption yards on the season and at least 20 fantasy points today.  OBJ should not have a problem getting open against the corners that Pittsburgh has.

The Pick

UPSET ALERT

new-york-giants-logo

 

[gallery ids=”2264,8992″ type=”square” columns=”2″

The Panthers aren’t so good this year, but this is a big game for two reasons.  First of all, the Seahawks need to prove they’re serious contenders.  Second of all, the Panthers can prove they still have a shot with a win?  Will the Panthers prove people wrong, or will the Seahawks thrive at home and defend their good hold of the first round bye slot.  
Playoff Scenarios
Panthers: With a loss, the Panthers come one game away from mathematical elimination.  

Seahawks: A win eliminates the Rams from the NFC West, leaving to just Seattle and Arizona (by a thread)

Keys To The Game

Panthers

  1. The secondary cannot struggle against an easier receiving game to cover.  The Seahawks don’t have a star receiver like other teams the Panthers have played.  The Panthers must take advantage of that fact.  
  2. The offense needs to put up points, even against the ever tough Seahawks D.  They need to find ways to get open and score, despite a lot of good team players on the Seattle defense.  
  3. Cam Newton’s mobility cannot be stopped by the Seahawks pass rush.  He needs to be able to rush for significant yardage and TDs like he typically does.  

Seahawks

  1. The Seahawks need to find a run game.  Even against easy pass rushes, the run game has struggled.  They need to find the right RB and execute.  
  2. The Seahawks cannot let the Panthers offense get to them.  They have to just to the same as always on D.  

What Do The Stats Say?

NFL Week 13 Picks

 

The fantasy regular season is almost over, but now, it’s time to focus on the real games. Who will grab a playoff spot? Who will be knocked out. Who will win and who will lose? Well, my weekly picks are back with playoff scenarios for many of the games. I had a great week last week, putting me at 12-4 for last week and 107-68-2 overall in straight up picks. Now, let’s get started.

Lock Of The Week

Patriots 30, Rams, 16

I’m sorry, but there’s no way on Earth that Jared Goff and his banged up Rams offense that lacks big name players. Even without Gronk. The Pats will have some problems without him, in tight end depth and lack of receivers, but Martellus Bennett should be able to fill in at tight end, for now. They at least need a good blocker though. The thing is, even if the Rams D pressures Brady, Brady knows how to quickly get rid of the ball. He should take advantage of the weak Rams secondary and have some passing success, scoring enough to beat LA’s weak offense. The Pats pass rush has been a problem, but the Rams o-line has problems too, and the Pats secondary should take care of a group of below mediocre Rams receivers easily.

Upset Of The Week

Giants, 30, Steelers, 26

Image result for eli manning and obj vs big ben and ab

I had many upsets, but I think this one stands out the most. The Steelers are fighting for an AFC North division win. The Giants are a top wild card contender that needs some more wins to lock up their spot. The Steelers offense really isn’t overly good. They have depth problems that have really hurt them this season, and the defense has not lived up to it’s expectations. The Giants on the other hand, have a strong offense led by star receiver OBJ and his QB, Eli Manning, and assisted by rookies Sterling Shepard and Paul Perkins. Rashad Jennings, Victor Cruz, Will Tye and Larry Donnell have also done their part to help the Giants succeed. The defensive moves this offseason turned out to be a big success. I think even on the road, this team has the capacity to beat a team like the Steelers. This win will really help them, and with a predicted win by me this week, maybe the Ravens can grab a playoff spot as well.

The Other Games

Chiefs, 16, Falcons, 13

49ers, 28, Bears, 20

Bengals, 37, Eagles, 36

Packers, 30, Texans, 27

Ravens, 30, Dolphins, 17

Jaguars, 29, Broncos, 19

Lions, 41, Saints, 26

Raiders, 33, Bills, 23

Cardinals, 34, Redskins, 30

Buccaneers, 17, Chargers, 16

Seahawks, 27, Panthers, 26

Colts, 26, Jets, 22

Thursday Night’s Game
Cowboys, 33, Vikings, 19

Want more analysis on games that have a meaning in how the season ends?  My match-up preview is back this week for you to take a look at.  Disagree with my picks?  Comment your picks below.  I will also be answering Start/Sit questions on my Twitter, @AndrewRoberts1.  

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

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

The Keys To The Game

Patriots

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

49ers

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

Burning Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

What Do The Stats Say?

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

 

Bold Prediction of The Game

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

The Pick

Patriots, 37, 49ers, 26

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

Inactives

Patriots

CB Justin Coleman #22

RB D.J. Foster #27

TE Rob Gronkowski #87

DT Woodrow Hamilton #74

WR Chris Hogan #15

DE Jabaal Sheard #93

OT LaAdrian Waddle #68

49ers

QB Christian Ponder #15

RB Mike Davis #22

LB Aaron Lynch #59

OL John Theus #71

WR Torrey Smith #82

TE Je’Ron Hamm #85

DT Chris Jones #93