It was kind of a hectic week. Three games already took place on Thanksgiving, and the Lions-Vikings game went to Detroit as expected, but in a much different way then I would have thought. The week has some watchable games, and others not so much. But it’s time for Week 12 picks. Who will win? Who will not? Read the article and give me feedback in the comments.
Lock Of The Week
Texans, 24, Chargers, 23
I know the Texans defense has lost steam without J.J. Watt, but the Chargers offense is injury riddled and now struggling. In addition, the Texans offense has drastically improved with Lamar Miller on fire, and DeAndre Hopkins finding the end zone again. They may not have the best QB, or tight end, but their offense has the capacity to score 30 points a game. The Chargers defense isn’t so great either. I know this is a little close score-wise for a lock, but I’m telling you right now the Texans will hold the lead tight, regardless of how big a lead it is and what the score is. Expect Houston’s offense to overwhelm San Diego and the Chargers offense to struggle against a decent Texans D.
Upset Of The Week
Chiefs, 19, Broncos, 16
See the picture? What’s happening to Peyton Manning here will happen to Trevor Siemian tonight. The Chiefs defense is nearly as good as Denver’s. Even though the Chiefs offense will again be without Jeremy Maclin, the Broncos still have some problems at QB. Even though Trevor Siemian has done so well, he is sack prone and we could see Paxton Lynch replace him after this game. Alex Smith has a better running game, which will get them the slight offensive advantage they need to win. The Chiefs also have a reliable tight end in Travis Kelce. Denver’s receivers are better, but it’s hard to throw to them when worrying about being stuffed. Alex Smith isn’t as sack prone. He’s a very mobile QB. That will work highly in favor of the Chiefs, most likely securing them a win in a somewhat low scoring game. A little thing like that is enough of an offensive push for them to top the Broncos currently troubled offense.
The Other Scores
Cardinals, 34, Falcons, 27
Bills, 23, Jaguars, 22
Titans, 27, Bears, 13
Giants, 24, Browns, 19
Dolphins, 24, 49ers, 16
Saints, 30, Rams, 24
Ravens, 26, Bengals, 16
Seahawks, 19, Buccaneers, 13
Raiders, 27, Panthers, 23
Patriots, 30, Jets, 13
Eagles, 47, Packers, 37
Lions, 26, Vikings, 23
Cowboys, 33, Redskins, 32
Steelers, 30, Colts, 27
Comment your thoughts on my picks. Who do you have in this week’s games? Do you agree with my lock and upset?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s a little late, but my picks are back for Week 11. Today I’ll be discussing my lock and my upset and predicting the other scores. Comment your thoughts and tell me if you think I’m right or wrong. This week, playoff contention also starts. I may bring back my match-up preview next week, which breaks down major playoff scenarios.
Lock Of The Week
Steelers, 28, Browns, 23
I didn’t want to be biased and underestimate the 49ers, so I chose this game. The Pats did lose to a bad team after losing to a good one last year. The Browns are in big trouble. They could go 0-16. They would want to win a game like this, with the Steelers in the middle of struggles. But Ladarius Green is back, and this offense will be on fire. The Steelers will win simply because they will outscore the Browns. They will score what the Browns offense never could, regardless of their opponent. The Steelers have their Big 3, they have Ladarius Green, and they will win this one, even on the road.
Upset Of The Week
Packers, 33, Redskins, 23
For some reason, everyone’s saying the Redskins will win this. The Packers should not be doubted. They’ve had a rough few weeks, but you saw them in 2013. They came back from a brutal start. This is the time to take advantage of match-ups that could be favorable. The Redskins are doing well, but typically, they’re no match for Green Bay. They lost to Green Bay in the playoffs at home with no Jordy Nelson. surely the Packers will win with him, even without Eddie Lacy. Lacy barely made an impact last year. So this game is the Packers’ to win. I’m feeling it strongly, and I don’t no why nobody else is.
Bengals, 33, Bills, 26
Colts, 27, Titans, 26
Cowboys, 23, Ravens, 19
Lions, 26, Jaguars, 23
Vikings, 23, Cardinals, 20
Chiefs, 19, Buccaneers, 6
Giants, 34, Bears, 19
Patriots, 37, 49ers, 26
Rams, 24, Dolphins, 20
Raiders, 23, Texans, 13
Seahawks, 27, Eagles, 18
Thursday Night’s Game
Panthers, 45, Saints, 41
Okay, so that’s all for my picks. Comment your thoughts, and tell me if you think the games will change in my favor or not.
Remember this iconic play? The play that decided Super Bowl XLIX for the Pats? That was the last time Russell Wilson threw a pass against the Patriots. Almost two years later, this match-up serves two purposes. It serves as a tough game, that could decide some playoff fate and preview at a potential Super Bowl for this year. It also serves as a shot at revenge for the Seahawks. The Seahawks offense now has Jimmy Graham, who is on a hot streak, but they lost Marshawn Lynch, and are without Thomas Rawls, the supposed replacement for Lynch. Their defense is still strong as ever. Meanwhile, the Pats lost Brandon LaFell, Shane Vereen, Jerod Mayo, Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Jamie Collins and Stevan Ridley and Scott Chandler, who weren’t in the Super Bowl. But in return they added Dion Lewis, Chris Hogan and Martellus Bennett, along with Chris Long, Shea McClellin, Barkevious Mingo and Cyrus Jones on defense. Will the Seahawks get their revenge, or will the Pats keep the glory they’ve had since Brady’s return, and continue on their road to the playoffs? You’re about to find out what I think?
Both teams would just come a game closer to a playoff berth.
My Keys to the Game
The Pats need to overcome the Seahawks defense, and find a way to put up some points. For one thing, Tom Brady needs to stay out of pressure. The defense can’t do everything for the Pats. In order to win, they must at least dent the great Seattle defense
Meanwhile, the Pats need to stop the run, and prevent big plays for the Seahawks offense. The running game is not in a good position right now for Seattle, but the Pats defense can struggle against the rush. They also need to prevent players like Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham from making huge plays. The defense is good, even in the turnover battle, but they cannot let their guard down and let big plays go by. That could cost them TDs
The Pats need to find their own run game. I know Brady likes to pass. But he’s facing Richard Sherman. But late in the game, in the end zone, you can’t make the same mistake the Seahawks did in the Super Bowl. The issue is, whether it’s Blount, White or Dion Lewis they need a running back to step up to the plate to prevent that
Don’t make stupid illegal decisions, and don’t mess with the refs.
The Seahawks need to make the big plays on offense. They can’t let the Patriots’ goals get to them. They can’t just rely on Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham, either. They need to find their run game. With that, they should be able to make the big plays more easily.
They need to find a way to make up completely for the loss of Thomas Rawls. Christine Michael needs to continue to step up, even against the Pats defense. C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins need to have increased roles too. Prosise has started to get some work, but hasn’t gotten much yet. Collins has barely gotten any work.
The Seahawks defense is strong, but it’s hard for anyone to keep up with Gronk and Martellus Bennett. They need to keep them under control, and that’s a challenge regardless of the level of the defense.
1. Will the Seahawks look weaker on offense?
It’s hard for the Seahawks to do well against the Pats defense without Thomas Rawls and the now retired Marshawn Lynch. They also need to make smart coaching decisions, because it’s always a challenge playing the Patriots. It’s like a puzzle to be solved.
2. Which Pats running back will step up?
Dion Lewis has been ruled out, so I say Blount, who clearly fits well with the Pats, will continue to get the main running workload. The unanswered question is, will they use him to their advantage?
3. Will Gronk, Bennett and the Pats offense mess with Seattle’s D?
I actually think so. The fact that they’ll struggle to score early should motivate them to go wild later. Gronk and Bennett will be a big part. So, the answer is definitely yes here. I think this will be a big factor in who wins.
What Do the Stats say?
Brady works best on deep balls. He has one of the best results in the league on deep passes. However, they aren’t good against NFC teams typically. They also have problems stopping the run. They haven’t given up any big games, but they have given up 4.1 years per carry. That hurts. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have a defensive advantage. Brady has no TDs and 1 pick against Richard Sherman. Cliff Avril also has 9 sacks and 16 QB hits. But their offense could cost them. They have the worst run game in 40 years of Seahawks history. They need to up their run game. The Pats however, haven’t had a pick all year, 4 of their games were Brady-less. This is a close one, but the stats point to the Pats.
Bold Prediction of the Game
The Seahawks will continue to struggle in the running game. The Pats will allow just 30 rushing yards in the game.
Patriots, 32, Seahawks, 26
The Pats will be motivated to take advantage of the Seahawks defense after they get tired. Tom Brady should win it late in the game, and take the win. The Seahawks defense is good, but I don’t know if they can handle the Pats offense. Meanwhile, the Seahawks offense is lacking weapons, and the Pats defense should take advantage of that and win.
Woodrow Hamilton DE
Dion Lewis RB
LaAdrian Waddle T
Kyle Van Noy LB
D.J. Foster FB
Eric Rowe S
Matt Lengel TE
Michael Bennett DE
Tanner McEvoy WR
Thomas Rawls RB
Luke Willson TE
Rees Odhiambo G
Tyvis Powell FS
Bradley Sowell T
Hope you enjoy the game. Comment your thoughts and I may have a recap tomorrow.
Last week was amazing for me. I went 10-3. This week, I didn’t have time to give my analysis for all the games, but I still have all the scores, plus a lock and upset. I am now 78-53-2 overall. Will I keep things up or will I fall this week? Please comment your thoughts.
Lock Of The Week
Cardinals, 31, 49ers, 16
The Cardinals have struggled, but on the road, against what’s usually a tough team, it will be hard to win. Carlos Hyde is questionable, and he’s one of the best players on the Niners weak offense. The Cardinals meanwhile, are a very balanced, strong team, typically. So the 49ers could have it very tough. They will get annihilated. The Cardinals are at almost full health right now, and the 49ers have their few injuries affecting big name players. So that will make it even tougher for them to win. The Cardinals will prove themselves at least a decent team at home.
Upset Of The Week
Cowboys, 37, Steelers, 30
The Steelers are a good team with a strong offense, but the Cowboys have been really good, especially on offense. Even on the road, I do not see them losing just yet. Dak Presoctt is actually a reliable option at QB. Their offense is really good, and can dominate in the right conditions. I just don’t think this is the game for Pittsburgh. I can feel that Dallas will surprise us with this one.
The Other Games
Packers, 27, Titans, 23
Saints, 22, Broncos, 17
Jets, 23, Rams, 16
Eagles, 34, Falcons, 27
Buccaneers, 13, Bears, 9
Vikings, 41, Redskins, 37
Panthers, 41, Chiefs, 24
Texans, 37, Jaguars, 30
Chargers, 34, Dolphins, 28
Patriots, 32, Seahawks, 26
Giants, 34, Bengals, 33
Thursday Night’s Game
Ravens, 27, Browns, 23
Actual Score: Ravens, 28, Browns, 7
This week actually has some watchable games. Do you want more game input and some fantasy advice? Check out my first fantasy article of the year, must-starts and must-sits for Week 10. Comment your thoughts on my picks.
At this point in the season, from a fantasy point of view, things are getting harder to decide. So it’s about time I give you some advice to help sort out your starters from your bench players. First off, here are my rankings at the 4 major positions for this week. I have included ratings that I have found by combining the what the player’s rank would be if your draft was today, and some match-up analysis ratings.
Okay, so I’m going to go through each match-up, and for each match-up I will have a must-start or must-sit and the rating for that player. The ratings are from 0 to 60, 60 is absolutely insane, and 0 is terrible. Most players are somewhere in between. Anyone who I say has a must-start match-up should be started under all means. A must-sit should not be started under any conditions.
Randall Cobb, WR, GB (43.5, WR11)
The Titans defense doesn’t have much against the Packers. Their number 1 corner is Perrish Cox, and I think especially if the Titans offense presents a bit of a surprising challenge like they have several times this season, the Packers will rely on throwing to Nelson and Randall Cobb. Nelson always gets a lot of points, but there would be a significant increase this week for Cobb, especially with the backfield lacking depth.
DeVontae Booker, RB, DEN (40.5, RB13)
C.J. Anderson is likely out for the season, and despite being the underdog in this match-up, the Saints pass rush is pathetically bad, and it will cost them. The Broncos will take advantage of this, and it will be easier to get big time yardage from running the ball, possibly even more TDs. This will be good for Booker, as he should get most of this backfield work. So he should get you at least 10 points. Trust me on this.
Quincy Enunwa, WR, NYJ (34.5, WR26)
With Eric Decker on IR, Enunwa has gotten a lot more work. The Rams secondary isn’t great, so I would start both Enunwa and Brandon Marshall. Trumaine Johnson is really the only reliable corner for the Rams, and he’ll be covering Marshall, making things even easier for Enunwa. The Jets are in favor here, but they will have to pass. Things will be tough because both teams have their weaknesses. Enunwa will be a key factor in whether the Jets win or lose.
Carson Wentz, QB, PHI (36, QB12)
I know Wentz has struggled lately, but I just have a feeling that the Eagles will take advantage of the Falcons’ weaknesses at home, look like themselves from earlier this season, and take the win. Wentz should have it relatively easy as the Falcons do lack depth on defense, and there will be match-ups that other Eagles players take advantage of. Jordan Matthews will take advantage of the fact that the Falcons only have one strong corner. Zach Ertz will also take advantage of the defensive depth problems that could help Wentz. So, this is definitely a good match-up for Eagles offensive players. It’s all in the hands of Carson Wentz how well they do.
Jameis Winston, QB, TB (42.5, QB8)
This is like the ultimate must-start here. The offense should improve with Doug Martin back, and the Bears defense may not be able to handle the offense. Their pass rush is pathetic and the secondary is lacking depth and superstars. After what he did last week, Mike Evans should be a major target too, and this is a great match-up for him too, because it could be a close game that’s decided by big plays if the Bucs defense lets their guard down too. Either way, Winston should get involved in the action.
Kirk Cousins, QB, WSH (28.5, QB21)
This is really a tough match-up for Cousins. He will be under a lot of pressure against a defense that has scored multiple TDs this season, and is one of the fantasy leaders defensively. With that, it’s got to be hard for opposing QBs. This entire offense will have a challenge, and it’s not any easier without Matt Jones at his best and DeSean Jackson or Josh Doctson even playing. It’ll be hard or the Redskins to even win, even with a strong secondary of their own.
Spencer Ware, RB, KC (40, RB14)
Ware should come back strong this week, especially after what he’s done so far this year, most of it with Jamaal Charles active. Charcandrick West may still get some backfield work, but he was semi-bust material last week, and Ware’s been awesome all year. Ware might have earned the job for even when Charles is active. I know the Panthers pass rush is a lot tougher than the secondary, but the Chiefs are lacking receiver depth with Jeremy Maclin out, so the Chiefs may have to run the ball. Just the fact that he’s getting a heavier workload could be to his advantage.
Allen Robinson, WR, JAX
I actually just traded for Robinson, because somebody wanted to sell him high, and I needed an extra receiver. I have three other good receivers to start though, OBJ, Brandon Marshall and Jarvis Landry. Now that I did my research, I realized I need to take my own advice. This Texans defense is very good, Robinson hasn’t lived up to his expectations, and is only at about the level of Allen Hurns this year, and the Jags have had a tough time against tough defenses. The Texans have one of those defenses.
Antonio Gates, TE, SD (43, TE5)
There aren’t many must start tight ends, but Gates is in a pretty good match-up for this week. Gates should take advantage of a Dolphins defense that has it’s problems. Hunter Henry is questionable, and Gates is back to full health. I think the Chargers will win this game because they will tsake advantage of favorable positional match-ups, and Gates is favored in his match-up.
Carlos Hyde, RB, SF (27, RB35)
Hyde is already questionable, and may be limited if he’s active. The Cardinals defense is also very tough, so Hyde will have additional problems that the entire offense will face. Even with the Cardinals slumping, this is a tough, unfavorable match-up. Hyde is a bust for this week, whether he plays or not.
Jesse James, TE, PIT (27, TE20)
Jason Witten, TE, PIT & DAL (32, TE16)
Both of thse tight ends are in a bad position. James won’t get as heavy a workload with Ladarius Green returning, and the Cowboys have decent defense that can pressure him and his offense. Witten is facing a pretty tough linebacker corps, along with a strong week for a lot of tight ends. Witten’s value is going down solely because he’s not a Top 12 tight end. He’s also getting older, so he can only do so much for your fantasy team. Tight ends won’t be targeted much in this game, especially with Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant healthy for it.
Christine Michael, RB, SEA (28.5, RB32)
Michael has not been as good in the last couple of games, and the Patriots defense won’t let him bulldoze through. C.J. Prosise is cutting into his workload, and soon Thomas Rawls will too. He’s not the lock-in RB1 at this point. Michael has a very tough match-up, his workload is shrinking, and he’s not a reliable option this Sunday. Michael could soon become a drop candidate if he does not have another big game.
Sterling Shepard, NYG, WR (36.5, WR24)
Victor Cruz, NYG, WR (33, WR29)
OBJ has a good match-up, but he’s not the only Giants receiver that will get a fantasy workload. Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz could be deciding factors in whether the Giants win or lose. They have good match-ups has the secondary’s attention will be on OBJ, so all three receivers will put up a lot of points. If you have OBJ, Shepard or Cruz, start your Giants receiver this week.
Okay, so this week is going to be a week of close match-ups. But there shouldn’t be any tough decisions fantasy-wise if you start the must-starts, sit the must-sits, and go by my rating index at QB, RB, WR and TE.
Total through Week 8: 68-50-2
This year’s been a very confusing year, like 8 said in my midseason report. Sometimes, you get lucky and have a great week for fantasy or pick ’em. Other times, you have a nightmarish week. I’ve been very streaky in picks, but really, this has been the toughest season to pick in a while. But it’s also so confusing that if you’re lucky, you can match-up to experts. I match up to some, but some are also ahead of me, especially after last week. I went 6-6-1, and I’m hoping this week brings improvement. How do you think I’ll do. Comment your picks.
Lock Of The Week
Cowboys, 34, Browns, 15
Okay, like I said, I’ve been pretty impressed by the Cowboys offense. I think today, since the Cowboys have a spotty defense, there will be some moments when the Browns may take advantage of that, and Dak Prescott will throw to come back, and other times when the Browns are just being the Browns, and letting Dallas take a bit of a lead, and letting Ezekiel Elliott run wild, even with Jamie Collins in at linebacker. I think Collins just doesn’t fit the system in Cleveland. The Pats practically gave him away. I really didn’t like the trade. Back to the match-up, the Browns, like I said, are still the Browns, so the Cowboys should have an easy win all together. I don’t think the Browns have a chance in this game. There are only so many games left I can categorize as winnable for them. The Browns are in danger of going winless, unless they pull a major upset. That won’t happen this week, as a strong Dallas offense makes it look easy against the Browns D.
Upset Of The Week
49ers, 27, Saints, 20
I know people are saying the Saints are on to something, but the 49ers haven’t been terrible this season. They have shown the ability to score, surprisingly, and in a reasonable home match-up, I wouldn’t be surprised if they won. The Saints defense is just not acceptable, and is a defense for teams that need to put up points to take advantage of, even the teams that have offensive problems themselves. The Saints offense will put up a fight, but the Saints offense has began to slump a little bit, and the 49ers defense is really underrated. If they put up enough on offense, taking advantage of the bad defense, and their own defense comes through and prevents the Saints offense from breaking out of their slump, they can win this thing.
Dolphins, 27, Jets, 20
This may actually be an interesting match-up, a watchable game. But why? This is two mediocre to bad teams in an unpredictable but likely meaningless clash. Well for one thing, the modern NFL fan has a fantasy focus, and they’re intrigued by some of the fantasy match-ups in this game. The defenses are only okay for these two teams, not great, and these offenses have some intriguing players, especially for fantasy. There’s match-ups like Jarvis Landry trying to prove that Revis Island is no longer an island. It’ll be fun to watch Brandon Marshall go wild against an easy secondary. It’s also a grudge match. But I think at home, the Dolphins improved offense will show up, and the Jets offense may have a good fantasy performance, but in the end, the confidence they get from a home match-up should help them outscore the Jets. What I used to say is, two close teams, home team wins. Sometimes now, I feel that it’s stupid, but it still applies sometimes. This is one of those games.
Ravens, 26, Steelers, 24
A lot of people think the Steelers are taking this game. But the one thing that holds the Steelers up is when they’re healthy, their offense is dominant. But they’re not at full health. Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are back, but you can’t guarantee the usual performance in their first games back. Brown actually only missed part of a game and a bye, but still. The Ravens are pretty much healthy, and their offense may have an opportunity, especially at home. This is really a battle of who can score more. A healthy Ravens offense, in my opinion, tops a banged up Steelers offense, at home at least. I think the Ravens will win, but in a grudge match. I agree with NFL Network that they will beat each other up to try and get the win. But in the end, it goes back to who can score more and take advantage of a mediocre opposing defense.
Chiefs, 36, Jaguars, 29
Despite a good Chiefs defense, this will be an offensive shootout. The Chiefs have the offense to take advantage of a Jags defense that hasn’t been great. The Jaguars may be able to refurbish their offense with Greg Olson fired. They were supposed to be a bounce back offense. Maybe we’ll see that now. Maybe Greg Olson just didn’t fit in with the rebuilt, revamped offense. Finding a new offensive coordinator was a good move, and an interesting way to experiment with the offense. If something’s not working, something needs to change to make it better. Maybe that was what they needed. But in the end, the Chiefs should outscore them. Whatever their offense doesn’t score, their defense makes up. The Chiefs could become a dangerous team if they keep this up. The Jags would be doing the AFC West a favor by winning. But the odds are definitely against them.
Giants, 38, Eagles, 36
We have another offensive shootout right here. I think both of these defenses are overrated, and in the right conditions, these offenses can go wild. I think this is another battle of who scores more. The Giants may be a bit short at running back, but OBJ and the receivers should take advantage of cornerback problems for Philly. The Eagles offense will take advantage of the Giants’ weak spots too. They have a very balanced offense, but not as many stars at the positions they need them at in this match-up. That will cost them. The Giants have an offense like that, that fits to annihilate the Eagles defense. This just isn’t the match-up for the Eagles in the end, even if they do score a lot. Eli Manning and his offense will have control of the match-up.
Vikings, 24, Lions, 23
Especially at home, the Vikings will take advantage of the Lions weak defense. One thing they can do if they don’t score enough even after that, is release a rear defense of their own. This underrated Lions offense could surprise some teams, but is no match for the Vikings defense at home in their new stadium. The Lions will embarrass themselves against the Vikings. They will be under a lot of pressure in a stadium filled with big fans of the Vikings big D. The Vikings will score enough that even against the tough Lions offense, the Vikings defense will be able to contain their opponent to just a little bit less. It will be close to an upset, but an upset’s not happening.
Chargers, 27, Titans, 23
The Titans offense has improved greatly and the Chargers defense is an easy target, but the Chargers have shown that even with several setbacks, they are sleepers. They’re the fourth team in a tough division, but outside of the division, they may sometimes play like a pretty good team. They’re just nowhere near as good as the teams in their division. The AFC West this season is amazing, in my opinion. They will take advantage of an even easier target in the Titans defense, and grab the win at home.
Packers, 37, Colts, 30
Even with Randall Cobb out, I think the Packers take the win here. The Colts don’t have the greatest defense, and Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson will take advantage of it. This will be an offensive battle, but the Packers defense is tough, the Colts offense is struggling and the all the Packers offense was missing last season was Jordy Nelson. This year, there offense should be and has been on fire, despite the fact that Eddie Lacy got hurt and probably ruined his good days for good. They will overwhelm the Colts defense, and should definitely outscore their offense. This is Green Bay’s to win, especially at home with the Colts, who are struggling.
Panthers, 30, Rams, 17
I don’t think the Panthers are making the playoffs, but I do think they’ll win some more games in this second half. The Rams are going to start losing some games until they give Jared Goff a try too. Case Keenum will not last forever as the Rams’ starter. The Rams will look desperate in this game. Their passing game is their weak spot, so they can’t take advantage of the weak secondary. Todd Gurley meanwhile, will be annihilated by the mighty Carolina pass rush. The Rams do have a tough defense, but no matter how little the Panthers offense puts up, the Rams offense is the perfect fit for annihilation from the Carolina D, and they will hold the Rams to very minimal scoring.
Raiders, 19, Broncos, 16
This is one of the most watchable games of the week. This is a really intriguing grudge match between two of the strong AFC West teams. The Broncos defense is very tough, but the Raiders have a clutch offense to work past it. Their defense is also very underrated and should be able to hold a banged up Broncos offense to less than 20 points. Meanwhile, the Raiders should outscore the Broncos, just barely. It may take a miraculous comeback, but they’re good at that. They’ll use their late game strength to take care of a Broncos defense at will already be tired and ready to end the game by then. At home, I think the Raiders should be able to pull off something like that, based on the way Derek Carr has played lately.
Seahawks, 23, Bills, 9
The Bills offense has so many injuries, that especially against the tough Seahawks defense, they won’t be able to score much. The Seahawks don’t have a dominant offense, but this will be a game of defense. It doesn’t matter if the Seahawks don’t have great offense. They’ll hold the banged up Bills offense to under 20 points, and take advantage of the fact that the young Bills defense is only decent, and is still developing. Even with LeSean McCoy, the Seahawks defense is just too strong to be beaten at home, by a team without their best receiver, with their running back just coming back from injury, and with a QB who’s better at running than throwing. They just won’t let it happen.
Thursday Night’s Game
Falcons, 19, Buccaneers, 6
I originally would’ve picked the Bucs here, but I’m not surprised Atlanta won. I’m facing the facts here. The Falcons, at least through the regular season, are the real deal. Especially without practically all their RBs and Vincent Jackson, the Bucs offense will not score enough to even come close to what Atlanta’s now revamped offense can do. The defense is better too. I’m also realizing that the Bucs defense isn’t as underrated as I said they were. The one thing I am surprised by is the score. The Bucs scored 28 points, and the Falcons scored 43 points to still fend them off after that. I expected a game where the Bucs would fail to score, and the Falcons wouldn’t have to put in too much effort on offense to win.
So, that pretty much sums up my predictions for the week. Again, please comment your thoughts.
NFL Midseason Report: Modified Predictions, Pats Thoughts So Far
8 weeks are through, 9 weeks are left. The Pats are on a bye, and it’s a great time to reflect on the season so far for the Pats. It’s been a pretty crazy first half around the league too, and I think the second half will be just as crazy. I have modified standings and playoff predictions. How have the Patriots done and what can that tell people about their second half performance? How will the Patriots finish? How will Dion Lewis do when he gets back? Which teams are for real and which teams are flukes? Who will win Super Bowl LI? I have answers to all those questions plus more.
So, the Patriots overall, have had in impressive first half. We probably would be undefeated if it wasn’t for Roger Goodell suspending Brady again. Give it up already Goodell. It’s been two years. Jacoby Brissett just wasn’t quite the answer. Jimmy Garoppolo did show promise, however. Garoppolo looked like a developing Tom Brady through the first two games of the season. He helped the Pats beat the Cardinals, with no Brady or Gronk. Then he scored several touchdowns against the Dolphins before his injury.
The win in Week 3 with Jacoby Brissett occurred simply because Brock Osweiler struggles under pressure, and the rest of the offense was in great shape. The Bills came to New England ready to take advantage of their QB struggles. The pressure wasn’t as significant for the Bills, and the defense let Tyrod Taylor run. Taylor isn’t a great QB for passing, but he can run, and it showed when they beat the Pats without their best receiver. Brissett failed to play clutch football when forced to pass. Brissett’s like a Tyrod Taylor who’s even more run heavy. Taylor and running back LeSean McCoy beat the Pats. The Pats don’t have a running back like that, one that can win them games alone.
Since Brady’s returned though, the Pats have looked to be a clutch team that can grab wins when they need them. They get wins because they’re pumped up and motivated. When Brady’s feeling like that, he’s dominant. The win over the Browns was easy, with RG3, McCown and Corey Coleman out. Oh, and Josh Gordon, who was originally going to return in Week 5 but had to go to a rehab center. He may never play football again.
But then came the Bengals, a reunion with Brandon LaFell. Brady really showed he knew how to play clutch in that one. The Bengals may have been without Tyler Eifert, but the Patriots were losing that game, and they came back. They did the same thing against Blount’s former team, the Steelers. Without Big Ben, the Steelers were in trouble from the beginning, but against both of those good teams, even though they were weakened by injuries, the Pats played like they could beat any team. If they play like this when they face Pittsburgh in the playoffs, which may or may not happen, they’ll be on their way to Super Bowl LI. They also got their revenge on the Bills in Buffalo, even though McCoy and Watkins were out and Charles Clay and Mike Gillislee got hurt and were out for part of the game before returning later. Robert Woods wasn’t 100% either.
Based on this, I think the Patriots could dominate the second half. I don’t think they’ll lose more than 1 or 2 more games. Besides the Broncos and Seahawks, no team that we play for the rest of the season has a winning record. The Patriots have been pretty good lately health wise, and Dion Lewis won’t be in full swing when he gets back, but he will make an impact, fill in when Blount and/or James White aren’t getting it done. They have 2 Gronks practically, some reliable receivers, and defense that should stop most of the offenses they face. The two teams they face with a winning record are defense heavy teams. That will work in their favor. I don’t think they should have a problem winning the division and grabbing a high playoff seed. From there, home field advantage could play a big role. Okay, you’ve heard my thoughts on the Pats. Now, I have my modified standings for the entire league.
New England Patriots 14-2
Buffalo Bills 8-8
New York Jets 7-9
Miami Dolphins 6-10
Like I said, the Pats aren’t losing many more games, and they shouldn’t have a problem winning their division and getting a high playoff seed. I think the Bills will continue to have some games that work with Tyrod Taylor’s offensive scheme, and some that don’t, causing them to lose. These are the kind of teams Rex Ryan crafts. 8-8 teams that get trapped in the middle, don’t get a good draft pick, and don’t get a playoff spot. That’s the worst position you can be in in the long run. The Jets have a serious QB issue, but they have a decent offensive craft, and the defense hasn’t quite run out of steam. With one of the toughest schedules, it will be hard, but honestly I think the tough part of their schedule is done. They’re through with practically every good team except the Pats. The rest of their 2nd half schedule is actually reasonable. If they play it right, make that easy. The Dolphins have an easier schedule, but they have more tough games in the 2nd half, and they only have 4 more home games in 9 games total, and 2 of them are tough match-ups against the Pats and Cardinals.
Pittsburgh Steelers 10-6
Cincinnati Bengals 8-7-1
Baltimore Ravens 8-8
Cleveland Browns 0-16
I don’t see how the Browns are going to win another game. Their winnable games have already passed. They could’ve beaten the Chargers, but they’ve been at least watchable. The Bengals could be better with Tyler Eifert back, and beat the Browns of course. But they’re 3-4-1, and the Steelers and Ravens are going to keep the competition tight. The Steelers offense is ruthless when healthy. They aren’t going to be as dominant as some people anticipated after what’s happened, but they should still grab the division title and sneak into playoff contention at the last minute once again. The Ravens also look promising, but look, the schedule remains tough in the 2nd half, and so does the AFC competition. Even if they do go on a hot streak, it might not be enough to get them into the playoffs, based on their current record.
Houston Texans 10-6
Tennessee Titans 7-9
Jacksonville Jaguars 4-12
Indianapolis Colts 4-12
This division has definitely been affected by the lack of competition the last two years. The division winners are finishing at records like 9-7, 8-8. It’s really anybody’s division right now. The Texans are currently leading, but their record doesn’t show the almost blown games they’ve been in. They’ve had some really close calls, J.J. Watt is now out for the year, and the offense can score, but doesn’t have clutch abilities and needs some chemistry. This team needs to work together to win games. They are stronger as a team. The schedule in the 2nd half could be easy or impossible depending on how Houston plays it. The Titans are a sleeper team. Their offense is finally clicking, despite defensive struggles. If the Texans collapse, they could take the division. The Colts are just getting washed up a bit. All their offensive players are struggling, Andrew Luck can’t find his dominance, and the defense isn’t doing much about it. For the Jags, they were anticipated as a comeback team. Boy, were the analysts wrong. The defense is on and off, and the offense wasn’t finding its groove. Maybe a new offensive coordinator will change things. Unless the Texans collapse, it’s hard for much to change in this division before the playoffs.
Kansas City Chiefs 13-3
Oakland Raiders 12-4
Denver Broncos 11-5
San Diego Chargers 6-10
This is the best, toughest division I’ve seen in a while. Even the 4th place Chargers have a small chance and have shown promise. All three of the top teams are good enough to stay in it until the end. I will be shocked if there aren’t two wild cards from this division. This division has some of the biggest competitions in the NFL. When two of these top three teams play each other, it’s always the match-up of the week. The question is, who will win? Well, the Broncos are falling, and the Chiefs have dealt with injuries for most of the season, but will get players back in the 2nd half. The Raiders do play Denver twice, but I think especially with C.J. Anderson out for the season, the Broncos’ offense is going to begin to take some damage. The Raiders could outscore them at home if their defense doesn’t lose track of Denver’s offense. The Broncos have 4 more combined games against the Chiefs and Raiders, 2 at home. The Chiefs should win the division, with both Oakland and Denver snagging wild cards.
Dallas Cowboys 11-5
Philadelphia Eagles 10-6
New York Giants 10-6
Washington Redskins 8-7-1
This division is actually good and competitive. The only reason I have the Redskins in last is because Dak Prescott is leading the Cowboys to glory with the help of a great coach, Jason Garrett and great receiving weapons. Carson Wentz is revamping the Eagles offense too with the help of his head coach Doug Pederson. If it wasn’t for Prescott and Wentz, the Giants would be a 10-6 or 9-7 division winner in the playoffs. These two QBs are making the NFC East great. The competition is on in this division. The Cowboys should win it because of their clutch performance but the Giants and Eagles will fight for playoff spots, and there will be some opportunities for other teams to try and move up in the standings.
Minnesota Vikings 11-5
Green Bay Packers 11-5
Detroit Lions 9-7
Chicago Bears 3-13
The Bears are falling apart. Their running back corps are collapsing like I predicted, Jay Cutler is not a reliable QB, Alshon Jeffery is likely done in Chicago after the season, and Kevin White is on IR, again. The Lions would make the playoffs if it wasn’t for the tough competition in the division. Their offense is really good, but the defense can’t compete with the Vikings and Packers. I did have the Lions making the playoffs before, but that’s before I knew how good Minnesota’s defense would do and before I knew there was tough competition in the NFC East. I had the Cardinals, who are already lessening their playoff chances, and Detroit. The current situation leaves the Vikings and Packers to battle it out. The Packers offense is great, and so is the Vikings defense. Having home field advantage in their final duel in Week 16 will help Green Bay take the lead, but I think some upsets in Week 17 involving the Lions will tie things up, and the Vikings will win due to tiebreakers. The Lions may be out of the playoffs, but you can’t count them out when it comes to upsets.
Atlanta Falcons 10-6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-8
Carolina Panthers 6-10
New Orleans Saints 5-11
Despite the better records, this division is nearly as bad as in 2014. The only reason they were good last year was a magical season from the Panthers. In reality, the Panthers are mediocre at best, and they may have run out of steam lately, but the 2nd half will show them as a mediocre team with high upside, but very streaky. They have very strong areas and very weak areas. This team is unbalanced. Now originally I said the Bucs had the best chance of dethroning the Panthers, and they’ll be alright, but I was wrong about the Falcons. They posed as a sleeper team early on, and their off season craft is actually working out. I think they’ll take an easy division, and they may not be able to compete in the playoffs that long, but they will be a team to watch for in the future. The Saints have shown some promise on offense, but especially because the defensive attack is weak, I don’t think they have as much upside as these other teams.
Seattle Seahawks 10-5-1
Arizona Cardinals 8-7-1
Los Angeles Rams 4-12
San Francisco 49ers 3-13
Okay, first of all, I think slowly but surely, this division is weakening too. The Cardinals already pretty much blew it and need a miracle to make the playoffs. The 49ers need some offensive targets, and whatever happened to Colin Kaepernick being great? At least he’s the starter again now. The Rams won’t be going anywhere until they find a new quarterback, and get some better targets to throw to. The defense is promising, but this is another offense costing games. The Seahawks aren’t quite themselves on offense either, but they’ve began to get in a groove where they’re at least producing some points. The defense is also drastically better than the Rams and 49ers defense. All the defenses in this division are good, but the Seahawks have the best defense in the division, and that matters in a defense heavy division.
Okay, now that we’ve gone through the updated standings, it’s time to reveal my midseason playoff bracket.
As you can see, I didn’t make many changes in the AFC. I’m sticking with my predictions unless there’s something I have blatantly wrong, which happened several times as usual. One big thing I got wrong is the Broncos. I still have them in 3rd place, but at this rate, both wild cards are likely coming from the AFC West. In the NFC, I can defend myself for all the changes. The competition is down in the NFC. The Cowboys and Vikings have already taken such a big lead in the conference that I don’t think they’ll give up the top two seeds. The Seahawks and Falcons aren’t far behind by record, but they are logically. The lack of competition is making it tough for the dominant teams to be dethroned. The Seahawks and Falcons have plenty of problems, their schedules so far have just worked in their favor to get them wins. The Seahawks are slightly better due to some promising action, though. The league is getting tougher to interpret.
The Packers should still grab a wild card though, and the Eagles have looked impressive, and they’re convincing me. This season, some teams in my opinion have really seemed to click, others have been a little messed up, and some aren’t affected by this. Roger Goodell probably would be happy, if it wasn’t the Patriots that was one of the clicking teams. That’s even more noticeable for them, because they were already a super team.
But in the end, I think the teams that are typically good will show up advancing on this bracket. That’s why my predictions for the playoffs aren’t as different as everything else. But there are some teams that have just completely reassured me or completely lost my trust. That’s where a modified Super Bowl prediction comes in.
The Final Pick
Personally, I’ve found the Cowboys offense very impressive. Whoever’s at QB for Dallas, they will mean business in the playoffs. I think what they needed was a somewhat healthier year, and another top 10 RB. That’s what they got. But right now, with how the NFC competition is, the Patriots aren’t losing. Yes, the lack of competition will show up again, and decide the Cowboys’ fate, or whoever gets to the Super Bowl for the NFC. It may show even more if the Texans were the AFC representative, because they would actually be at home. But I think the Patriots in the Super Bowl, when it comes to predicting the future, just feels like the right prediction. I think their team this year, like I said is just clicking, and the Patriots, already a super team, will lead themselves to a Super Bowl win.
What do you think of my predictions? Comment your thoughts!