NFL Week 6 Predictions

After a shaky 9-6 week last week, let’s see if I can get back on track in Week 6 after Week 5 left us with much more questions than answers. Let’s make some predictions!

Eagles (2-3) at Giants (1-4) TNF

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Photo Cred: gamblingsites.com

Thursday Night Football presents with an extremely intriguing NFC East matchup as the Giants will host the rival Eagles. It’s essentially a must-win game for both teams, as a loss for either team would sink them farther away from the playoff picture. It is a relatively wide-open NFC East though, so both teams still have a legitimate chance at winning the division and it can be argued that this game could wind up dictating the division. The Giants offense improved significantly last week and dropped 31 points in Carolina, while the Eagles are coming off of two straight losses, look out of sync, and just lost running back Jay Ajayi for the year. However, that doesn’t mean the Giants will win this game. New York may have dropped 31 points on Carolina, but there’s a reason they still lost. That defense has struggled mightily, especially against the run. Philadelphia may not have Ajayi, but Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood are still a serviceable running back tandem for the time being. With a lack of a pass rush, New York also won’t be able to disturb Carson Wentz’s rhythm, so the 25-year-old signal caller may finally have the breakout game we’ve been waiting for since he returned from his knee injury. On the other side of the ball, the Giants still can’t run the ball, and won’t be able to against a stout Philadelphia rush defense. The Eagles defense is vulnerable to big plays, but captain check-down Eli Manning won’t be able to take advantage of that. This should be a close game between two desperate division rivals, but I expect the Eagles to find a way to come out victorious. Prediction: Eagles 24 Giants 20

Buccaneers (2-2) at Falcons (1-4)

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Photo Cred: falconswire.usatoday.com

In an NFC South matchup between two teams trending down, the Bucs and Falcons will meet up in Atlanta in a must-win game for both teams. After a hot 2-0 start with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, the Bucs have lost two straight, including a 48-10 blowout loss at the Bears, and now will turn things over to former first overall pick Jameis Winston. The Falcons defense has been absolutely decimated with injuries and has given up at least 37 points in each of their last three games, which has led to a 1-4 start. Even with the injuries, more was expected from a team who came into the season with Super Bowl aspirations. Luckily for the Falcons, Tampa Bay’s defense is as bad, if not worse, while the Falcons have the clear advantage at quarterback with Matt Ryan. Winston is also turnover prone, while Atlanta has a positive turnover differential. At home and desperate against a team dealing with even more change and chaos than them, the Falcons should finally be able to close out a game and will get back in the win column. Prediction: Bucs 24 Falcons 30

Steelers (2-2-1) at Bengals (4-1)

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Photo Cred: wpco.com

Have the tides finally turned? The Bengals come into this game 1.5 games ahead of the Steelers in the division and as -2.5 favorites. With a win, they could put serious ground between them and the rest of the division and could make a major statement they are true playoff contenders. Or Andy Dalton could fade in the spotlight, leading to a Steelers win that puts them right back in the playoff picture and in great position in the AFC North. The latter seems to be more likely. Pittsburgh has won six straight games against the Bengals and hasn’t lost in Cincinnati since 2013. They also seemed to finally break out last week in an impressive 41-17 win versus the Falcons. The Bengals, on the other hand, needed two defensive touchdowns in order to get past the Dolphins at home. The Bengals rank in the bottom half in passing yards allowed and rushing yards allowed, which won’t fly against an explosive Steelers offense. Now, the Steelers defense has also struggled this season, but are we really about to trust Andy Dalton to outplay Ben Roethlisberger? I don’t think so. Prediction: Steelers 27 Bengals 24

Chargers (3-2) at Browns (2-2-1)

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Photo Cred: clesportstalk.com

Can the Browns finally have a winning record? With a victory at home against the Chargers, Cleveland can get over .500 for the first time since Week 14 of the 2014 season. Ironically enough, they try to accomplish this against the Chargers, who Cleveland beat to avoid a winless record in 2016. This time, things should be different. The Chargers were very efficient in every aspect last week in a 26-10 win against Raiders. They match up well against the Browns, as Phillip Rivers should have a big day against a pass defense that ranks just 27th in the NFL. Cleveland’s defense feeds off a pass rush and forcing turnovers, but Los Angeles gives up very few sacks and is also near the top in turnover differential. Because it’s in Cleveland, where the Browns are 2-0-1 this year, this game should be close, but if so I’ll take a quarterback in his 15th season in Rivers over a rookie quarterback in Baker Mayfield. Prediction: Chargers 28 Browns 27

Bills (2-3) at Texans (2-3)

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Photo Cred: gamblingsites.com

Despite the fact that both teams have a 2-3 record in this matchup, the Texans are favored over the Bills by double digits (-10). That may not make a lot of sense, but the Texans are undoubtedly the more talented team. Houston has the offensive firepower that the Bills simply do not, and were considered a Super Bowl contender coming into this season. Buffalo’s defense has been better than Houston’s this season, but the huge talent difference between the two offenses make this game an easy pick in Houston’s favor. However, I don’t believe this game will be a blowout. Houston has only won by three against the Colts and Cowboys, so why should they be expected to so against Buffalo’s talented defense. The Texans aren’t the team they were hyped up to be, but they’ll win another ugly game and actually will be in good position despite a 0-3 start. Prediction: Bills 19 Texans 24

Bears (3-1) at Dolphins (3-2)

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Photo Cred: nfl.com

The Bears are finally back. Chicago has gotten off to a very impressive 3-1 start and would have been 4-0 if Aaron Rodgers didn’t come up with his usual heroics in Week 1. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky finally had the breakout game Bears fans have been waiting for in a 48-10 blowout Week 4 win against the Bucs. He’s in good position to have another solid outing, as Miami ranks just 21st against the pass. The Dolphins have also struggled to defend inside runs, and Jordan Howard is one of the premier downhill running backs in the NFL. The Bears are also coming off of their bye, and are simply better in all aspects than Miami. Expect them to win by at least two scores.      Prediction: Bears 26 Dolphins 17

Cardinals (1-4) at Vikings (2-2-1)

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Photo Cred: vikings.com

After a big road win in Philadelphia, the Vikings have a chance to get back over .500 with a win at home against the inferior Cardinals. That seems like an easy task, but the last time the Vikings were at home, they got blown out by the Bills despite being 17 point favorites. Assuming they’ve learned their lesson, Minnesota should be able to take care of business and play an all-around efficient game. The Vikings have struggled to run the ball this season, but expect that to change against Arizona’s weak rush defense. Their secondary should finally get back in sync against the Cardinals’ struggling pass offense led by rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. At home against an inferior team led by a rookie making just his 3rd NFL start, Minnesota should win this game with ease.                              Prediction: Cardinals 10 Vikings 23

Colts (1-4) at Jets (2-3)

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Photo Cred: jetswire.usatoday.com

This matchup between the Colts and Jets is a tricky game to pick, as you never know what you’ll get from either team. The Colts looked to finally have a formidable defense, but have given up an average of 37.5 points per game in their last two games against the Texans and Patriots. The Jets, on the other hand, dominated in Week 1, looked awful the next three weeks, and then blew out the Broncos last week. With so much uncertainty, the best bet is always to go with the more experienced and reliable quarterback, which in this case is Andrew Luck. Luck and the Colts have the best third-down offense in the league, so they should be able to maintain long drives and thus control the time of possession. In contrast, the Jets have the league’s worst Red Zone offense, which may prove to be costly once again. New York may be able to cover up that issue when their defense can force a lot of turnovers like it did last week against Case Keenum, but Luck’s on a whole different level. The Colts may be decimated with injuries, but New York has been too inconsistent to gain any sort of trust, so it makes sense to take the more efficient Colts in what should be a very close game. Prediction: Colts 24 Jets 23

Seahawks (2-3) at Raiders (1-4) In London

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Photo Cred: visitlondon.com

In the first of three games in London this season, the Seahawks and Raiders will matchup in a do or die game for both teams. Since it’s a neutral environment, this game will come down to who’s the better team, and that’s the Seahawks. Seattle seems to have finally found their identity on offense as a run-first team with two straight games with over 100 rushing yards and should continue to do so efficiently against Oakland’s defense, which ranks 28th against the run. They also match up well against the Raiders offense, as their top ten pass defense should be able to limit Oakland’s strong passing attack. In other words, the Seahawks match up perfectly with the Raiders on both offense and defense. Add in the fact that the Seahawks own one of the best turnover differentials while Oakland has own of the worst, and Seattle has everything on their side. Expect the Seahawks to control this game, even if this final score prediction indicates that it will be closer than it actually will be.                                              Prediction: Seahawks 27 Raiders 20

Panthers (3-1) at Redskins (2-2)

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Photo Cred: sportsbookadvisor.com

This game between the Panthers and Redskins is easily the hardest game to pick. Both teams need to win this game equally and are evenly matched. Both are run first teams with solid defenses that are at their best when they can control the time of possession. So who will come out on top? The Redskins are dealing with injuries to several of their key players, including running back Adrian Peterson and their three starting receivers. (all are questionable for this game). Alex Smith’s success feeds off of his supporting cast, so with them all banged up, the Redskins offense may struggle. By default, Carolina should win this game, but it will still most likely come down to the wire.                                              Prediction: Panthers 23 Redskins 21

Rams (5-0) at Broncos (2-3)

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Photo Cred: milehighsports.com

The Rams were able to remain undefeated last week in an extremely close game on the road against a mediocre Seahawks team. This week, Los Angeles will likely have to do the same against the Broncos. Even though they both will most likely play, both Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp are banged up, and the Rams are relatively thin at receiver besides those two and Robert Woods, who will need to step up this week. The Broncos also have the third-ranked rushing offense, which gives them a chance to control the time of possession and keep the Rams’ high powered offense off the field. However, the Rams are still the better team and will find a way to win this game. Los Angeles may not have the same success as usual in the passing game, but they still are able to rely on the best running back in football in Todd Gurley. They also should dominate the turnover battle, and coach Sean McVay will still find a way to scheme out a win despite the injuries. For a good team to become great, they need to prove that they can win under adversity. Los Angeles has all the makings of a great team and will prove that with a win at Denver this week. Prediction: Rams 26 Broncos 20

Jaguars (3-2) at Cowboys (2-3)

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Photo Cred: The Athletic

Can Jalen Ramsey get his revenge on the Cowboys for taking Ezekial Elliot instead of him in the 2016 NFL Draft? The Jaguars’ star cornerback voiced his displeasure for Dallas during the offseason, and now he’ll have a chance to back it up this week. This isn’t exactly a tough test for him and the Jags’ secondary, as the Cowboys pass offense has been close to not existent. That will allow them to stack the box, which could help them contain Elliot and Dallas’ top five rushing attack. Since the Jags’ defense should be able to easily contain the Cowboys’ offense, they won’t be asking a lot from Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville offense. That tends to be a formula for success for the Jags, who are a defensive first team and are at their best when there is no pressure on the offense. Prediction: Jags 23 Cowboys 17

Ravens (3-2) at Titans (3-2)

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Photo Cred: titansonline.com

Another extremely tough game to pick is this important matchup between the Ravens and Titans in Tennesee. Baltimore has slightly more talent, but Tennesee has found ways to win this season and has won 7 of their last 8 at home. This has the makings of a low scoring game won in the trenches, which favors the Titans. Tennesee is more built to win close games, as they’ve won all three of their games decided by three points or less against high caliber teams. They also have the best Red Zone defense, which could pay dividends in a close game. The Ravens have also been much better at home than on the road this season and they’re more built to negate high powered offenses  (week 4 versus the Steelers) or win by a considerable margin than to win a close low scoring game on the road. Expect the Titans to win in classic Titans fashion.                                      Prediction: Ravens 16 Titans 17

Chiefs (5-0) at Patriots (3-2) SNF

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Photo Cred: NBC SPorts

This week’s game of the week will feature the undefeated Chiefs and their high powered offense against the two time defending AFC Champion Patriots in New England. Quarterbacks 25 years or younger are 1-41 in Gillette Stadium and don’t expect that to change with Patrick Mahomes this week. Mahomes has been borderline perfect this season, but if there is a team that can figure out a way to stop him, it’ s New England. The Pats are on ten days rest and finally look in sync on offense. This is generally the time where they take off, while the Chiefs tend to sink. The Chiefs defense is awful and should get exposed against Tom Brady and all the weapons he has. Kansas City will have no answer for the Pats offense, so if Mahomes looks human in just the slightest, this could be a long game for the Chiefs, who are not built to win on the road.                                          Prediction: Chiefs 28 Patriots 38

49ers (1-4) at Packers (2-2-1)

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Photo Cred: gamblingsites.com

Before the season, this looked like a very intriguing prime-time matchup. Now, it looks like this game will be an absolute blow out. The 49ers have been absolutely decimated with injuries and ranked dead last in my weekly power rankings this week. They have a tough task this week on the road against a Packers team that is going to be angry after losing a winnable game at Detroit last week. With CJ Beathard under center, San Francisco will struggle to pass the ball against Green Bay’s pass defense that ranks second in the NFL, which will cause their offense to become one-dimensional. That won’t work when trying to beat a good team on the road. All I really have to say about this game is: who would you rather have, CJ Beathard or Aaron Rodgers? That’s all you really need to know about this game. Prediction: 49ers 14 Packers 27

 

 

 

 

*The Rest Will Be Updated Shortly

 

Winners and Losers From NFL Week 5

After several weeks of chaos, Week 5 saw a lot of blowouts and expected outcomes. There were still some teams who exceeded expectations or disappointed, however, so let’s take a look at them.

Winner: Kansas City Chiefs (Won 30-14 vs JAX)

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Photo Cred: Yahoo Sports

Throughout the first four weeks, the Chiefs were seen as a team with a great offense, but with a defense that couldn’t stop anyone and would prevent Kansas City from getting to the promise land. Patrick Mahomes wasn’t very sharp against Jacksonville, throwing two interceptions. However, the depth of the offense showed once again as Kansas City ran the ball efficiently, had ten players record a reception, and didn’t rely on one guy to take over against a vaunted Jags defense. The big storyline of this game was the defense though, as Kansas City forced five turnovers and shut out the Jags in the first half. They employed a bend but don’t break style of defense – they allowed 524 total yards- but it worked out for them and some of those yards came in garbage time. This was a dominant performance all around, and the Chiefs can now prove they are the undisputed best team in the AFC with a road win at New England next week. Boy, will that be a fun game to watch.

Loser: Washington Redskins (Lost 43-19 at NO)

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Photo Cred: Washington Post

Coming into Monday Night Football, the Redskins had a chance to prove that they were the team to beat in the NFC East. Instead, they got absolutely destroyed by the Saints in every phase of the game and trailed by 30 points at one point. Washington’s defense was horrendous. Drew Brees threw for 363 yards due in large part to several blown coverages, while the Redskins allowed three rushing touchdowns. They allowed New Orleans to convert on 55% of their third downs, which is unheard of and committing several costly penalties that kept the Saints on the field. It wasn’t any better on offense, as Alex Smith looked out of sync with his receivers, having to resort back to his old check-down self that we all know and love. They also rushed for just 39 yards and had no sort of rhythm offensively. This is a bad loss for Washington, and they look like more than a pretender than a contender. A home win over the 3-1 Panthers may change that opinion, however. That’s a tough task, though, and Washington blew an opportunity to gain control of the division.

Winner: Cleveland Browns (Won 12-9 OT vs BAL)

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Photo Cred: vindy.com

The Browns suffered a tough overtime loss to the Raiders last week, and expectations were low coming into a tough divisional matchup against the Ravens. Cleveland put together a tough, spirited performance, however, and are making noise as a potential contender in the AFC. Despite only scoring 12 points, the offense wasn’t horrible. Baker Mayfield threw for 343 yards and a touchdown, while Cleveland ran for 112 yards. The Ravens have arguably the best defense so far this season, so only scoring 12 points with a rookie quarterback is justified. The Browns defense came to play in this game, as they held Joe Flacco to a 52% completion percentage, forced two turnovers, and held the Ravens to a 25% third down conversion percentage. It wasn’t flashy, but it was a gritty win, a type of win Cleveland has struggled to get over the last few years. They have a chance to make a statement next week at home against the Chargers. (More on them in a moment)

Loser: Green Bay Packers (Lost 31-23 at DET)

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Photo Cred: twincities.com

At halftime, the Packers trailed the Lions 24-0. That is inexcusable for a team with playoff aspirations, and it may be time to panic in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers may have thrown for 442 yards, but most of that was done in garbage time. It became evident that this offense is still one dimensional, as Green Bay wouldn’t commit to the run. The offensive line made matters worse, as Rodgers was sacked four times, including two strip-sack fumbles. The defense wasn’t awful, but Kerryon Johnson averaged 5.8 yards per carry and the Packers couldn’t stop Detroit in the red zone. This looks like a team that has relied on Rodgers too much, and with his knee injury, he simply isn’t up to the task. Green Bay is luck, as they play the depleted 49ers next week on Monday Night Football, but they don’t look like a team that will be able to compete with the Rams and Patriots, which just happen to be their next two matchups after Week 6.

Winner: Los Angeles Chargers (Won 26-10)

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Photo Cred: sfgate.com

Make no mistake, the Chargers were expected to beat the awful Raiders. However, Los Angeles did something it hasn’t done in a while. The Chargers were able to play a high level of football despite playing inferior competition and looked more like the powerhouse many expected them to be. Phillip Rivers was brilliant, completing 81% of his passes for 339 yards and two touchdowns. The running game struggled, but Austin Ekeler’s 44-yard touchdown reception made up for it and they were still able to control the time of possession. The defense finally lived up to his potential, as they held a Raider offense that was one of the top units in yards to just 289 total yards. It was a complete effort for the Chargers, and they’ll need to continue to play like that as they head to Cleveland.

Loser: Tennesee Titans (Lost 13-12 at BUF)

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Photo Cred: buffalonews.com

With the Jags’ loss to the Chiefs, the Titans had a chance to take control of the AFC South. Instead, they lost in typical Titans fashion. Tennesee had just 221 yards of total offense, and couldn’t pass nor run the football. They also had multiple drops and missed opportunities on offense, and still should have had more than 12 points despite the limited amount of yards. The defense held Buffalo to just 223 total yards and Josh Allen to 80 passing yards, but they surrendered the lead late to the Bills and allowed them to kick a game-winning field goal. The Titans were the biggest disappointment of the week and may have blown their chance to contend, as they now have to take on the Ravens in a must-win game next week.

NFL Week 5 Predictions

We are at the quarter part of the season! This season has been filled with so many great storylines and we look like we’re in the middle of a historic season. Let’s look at Week 5 and make some predictions.

Colts (1-3) at Patriots (2-2)

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Photo Cred: bostonherald.com

Colts General Manager said in the offseason that “the rivalry was back on” between the Colts and Patriots, but is it really? The talent gap between this two teams is still large, and the Colts don’t seem to stand much of a chance in New England. Indianapolis is without star receiver TY Hilton, which means New England can focus on stopping some of the Colts’ other weapons, such as Eric Ebron and Ryan Grant. The Colts are practically one dimensional towards the pass with an awful rushing attack, which means New England should control the time of possession. With control over the time of possession, home field advantage, and the huge gap between the two teams, the Patriots should have complete control of this game. Prediction: Colts 10 Patriots 24

Titans (3-1) at Bills (1-3)

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Photo Cred: titansonline.com

Despite having only a plus two-point differential, the Titans are 3-1 and in first place of the AFC South. They’ll look to win their fourth straight as they match up with the Bills, who on the contrary have a negative 56 point differential. Buffalo’s defense should match up fine against an average Titans offense, so it comes down to the Bills offense versus Tennesee’s defense. The Titans have a huge advantage there, as their pass rush should dominate against the league’s worst offensive line, their secondary should shut down Buffalo’s weak passing game, and Tennesee should win the turnover battle. With all that going for them, they should be able to pull out a road victory to move to 4-1.           Prediction: Titans 22 Bills 16

Giants (1-3) at Panthers (2-1)

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Photo Cred: catcrave.com

These two teams are going in completely different trajectories. The Giants made a lot of offseason splashes in an attempt to build a high powered offense, but have been a major disappointment and have scored just 18.3 points per game. The Panthers, on the other hand, didn’t make any major offseason splashes and are a team built to win in the trenches, and have looked like a playoff caliber team so far. Carolina should have no problem winning this game. Their rush offense that ranks first in the leagues is a major advantage of New York’s 29th ranked rush defense. They also have the potential to dominate the turnover battle and are the better-coached team at home, so this is a no-brainer. Prediction: Giants 19 Panthers 31

Dolphins (3-1) at Bengals (3-1)

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Photo Cred: newsday.com

In a matchup between two teams that most didn’t expect to be 3-1, the Dolphins and Bengals will face off in an attempt to get to 4-1. This is a big game for both sides, as Miami needs to win to remain in first place while Cincinnati needs to do so as well for the same reason and to continue to put as much distance as possible between them and the high powered Steelers. Expect the latter to happen, as the Bengals are the more complete team. They are better on offense, defense, and practically everything but turnover differential. Miami is in the bottom of the league in every statistical category and regression showed last week in their blowout loss to the Patriots. This game should remain somewhat close, but expect the Bengals to have control throughout.                          Prediction: Dolphins 21 Bengals 27

Ravens (3-1) at Browns (1-2-1)

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Photo Cred: NBC Sports

This year’s version of the Ravens-Browns rivalry has a chance to be a lot closer. The Browns have played well in all four games, and are a capable kicker and referee from being 4-0. However, the Ravens have also improved, and their once bland offense is averaging 30.8 points through the first four games. Baltimore’s 2nd ranked defense has a chance to overwhelm rookie Baker Mayfield in his first home start, while Joe Flacco should continue his stellar performance with another solid outing, this time against a lackluster Browns secondary. Cleveland should keep it close till the end, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Baltimore will pull out with the victory.                               Prediction: Ravens 28 Browns 22

Packers (2-1-1) at Lions (1-3)

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Photo Cred: packerswire.usatoday.com

The Packers and Lions will face off in a divisional matchup with a lot on the line. A win for Green Bay would put them in a great position at 3-1-1, while a loss for the Lions would put a major dent in their playoff aspirations. This has the makings of an excellent game, as Lions-Packers games are usually close and these teams are more evenly matched than people realize. Neither team will be able to control the time of possession with their lackluster rushing attacks so it will come down to which quarterback can make the most of his opportunities. That quarterback would be Aaron Rodgers, who is still the more efficient quarterback compared to Matthew Stafford despite dealing with a knee injury. Expect Rodgers to lead a game-winning drive to win it for the Packers, similar to how Dak Prescott and the Cowboys were able to defeat Detroit a week ago.         Prediction: Packers 24 Lions 23

Jaguars (3-1) at Chiefs (4-0)

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Photo Cred: ESPN

This week’s most intriguing game is a matchup between the league’s best defense in the Jags versus the league’s best offense in the Chiefs. It should be a very hard fought close game where Patrick Mahomes will be tested like never before. However, I expect Mahomes to pass yet another test and do just enough to defeat the scary Jacksonville defense. The Jaguars defense tends to feed off of their pass rush, but Kansas City’s online has been stellar, allowing the fewest sacks in the NFL. The Chiefs offense is also so deep that it won’t matter if Ramsey and co. are able to shut down a couple of Kansas City’s defense. The Chiefs defense is arguably the worst in the NFL, but Blake Bortles has been inconsistent this year and I trust Mahomes much more than I do Bortles. In a game that should come down to the wire, Mahomes and the Chiefs should be able to feed off the energy at Arrowhead and do just enough to win and move to 5-0.                                             Prediction: Jaguars 21 Chiefs 26

Broncos (2-2) at Jets (1-3)

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Photo Cred: nydailynews.com

Both the Broncos and Jets are playing for their season in this matchup, as Denver could fall to three games back in the division with a loss and a Chiefs win and have a much tougher slate of games coming up soon while the Jets’ playoff hopes are practically dead if they fall to 1-4. While the Jets have looked awful as of late, Denver is coming off a short week and has to make the dreaded west coast to east coast trip to play a 10:00 AM Pacific Time game. That may turn out to be too much for them, especially since Case Keenum has been turnover prone to start the year. You can’t win games on the road when you commit too many turnovers and that likely will end up being the case in this one. Expect the Broncos to come out flat before making it close, but the Jets will still prevail.                  Prediction: Broncos 21 Jets 22

Falcons (1-3) at Steelers (1-2-1)

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Photo Cred: wpxi.com

 

This Falcons-Steelers matchup is easily the most important game of the week. Both teams came into the season with Super Bowl aspirations, but the loser of this game most likely won’t be able to even make the playoffs. These two teams are also practically identical, as both have lethal passing attacks, but are struggling to run the ball without their starting running back and haven’t played a lick of defense this season. It’s a toss-up, so even though their 0-2 at home this season, I’ll take the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Their defense tends to feed off their offense; if the offense starts out strong, they’ll do the same. I expect the Pittsburgh offense to come out firing early after being embarrassed against the Ravens on Sunday Night Football. Atlanta couldn’t stop Andy Dalton, so why should we think that they can stop Ben Roethlisberger? Pittsburgh is built to win shootouts, while Atlanta has lost two straight high scoring games. This seems self-explanatory.                     Prediction: Falcons 30 Steelers 31

Raiders (1-3) at Chargers (2-2)

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Photo Cred: NBC Sports

There may be no game that comes with more uncertainty than this divisional matchup between the Raiders and the Chargers. The Raiders are coming off of their first win, but it was against the Browns in overtime where they needed multiple missed calls by the officiating crew to win. On the other hand, the Chargers defense looks like a mess without Joey Bosa and are notorious for playing down to their competition. In what will practically be a home game for the Raiders, Oakland should come out firing on all cylinders and take the early lead. However, in the heat, their roster that is composed of players past their prime will struggle to finish out the game, and I expect Phillip Rivers to lead a comeback victory. It won’t be pretty, but the Chargers should barely escape in a game where they will once again struggle to defeat inferior competition.                               Prediction: Raiders 27 Chargers 31

Vikings (1-2-1) at Eagles (2-2)

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Photo Cred: NBC Sports

In a rematch of the NFC Championship Game from last year, the Vikings and Eagles will match up in a game that both teams need to win. These two teams are the definition of evenly-matched, but Philadelphia should pull out with a victory for a couple of reasons. Minnesota’s rushing attack ranks 32nd in the league while the Eagles’ rush defense ranks first in the NFL. Therefore, it’s safe to make the assumption that Minnesota’s offense will become one dimensional towards the pass, which isn’t a good formula to win on the road in Philadelphia, where it is tough to win. Carson Wentz also looked better last week, and as he continues to shake off the rust, this offense should once again become as explosive as it was last year before Wentz got hurt. This one should be a nail-biter, and I trust the Eagles more at home than I do a Vikings team that has been unimpressive to start the season. Prediction: Vikings 21 Eagles 23

Cardinals (0-4) at 49ers (1-3)

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Photo Cred: NBC Sports

In a game that affects draft position more than playoff position, the Cardinals will try to get their first win of the season against the decimated 49ers. This game is tough to pick as both teams on paper come into this game as two of their worst teams in the league. That makes it a coin flip, and I’ll reluctantly take the 49ers at home to win. They played the Chargers tough last week and their rush defense has been much better since getting linebacker Rueben Foster back. It should be a very close game that could come down to a last-second field goal, but San Francisco will be able to get a meaningless win in this one.  Prediction: Cardinals 17 49ers 19

Rams (4-0) at Seahawks (2-2)

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Photo Cred: heraldnet.com

In a week that should have a lot of close games, this matchup between the Rams and Seahawks in one of the most lopsided from a talent perspective. The Rams and their potent offense have a plus 73 point differential, while the Seahawks have just a plus 4 point differential despite the Rams arguably having a tougher schedule. Todd Gurley should run all over one of the league’s worst rush defenses, while their pass rush should finally break through against one of the league’s offensive lines. It’s still important to count for Seattle’s home field advantage at Century Link Field, but the Rams should still win coming off of a 10-day break between games. Prediction: Rams 27 Seahawks 19

Cowboys (2-2) at Texans (1-3) SNF

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Photo Cred: chron.com

In a Texas showdown, the Cowboys and Texans will face off in a critical game for both teams. These teams match up so evenly against each other than this was the hardest game to pick. Since it’s a coin flip, I’ll take the better quarterback in Deshaun Watson and the Texans at home. Dallas gave up several big plays to Golden Tate last week, and the same may happen this week with DeAndre Hopkins. Dak Prescott may have put together a solid showing at home, but can he do the same on the road? I’m not sure what I’m getting with Prescott, but I do know that Watson has been progressing each week and looks much more like the player he was before getting hurt last year than he did the first couple of weeks. Texans win in a thriller. Prediction: Cowboys 20 Texans 21

Redskins (2-1) at Saints (3-1) MNF

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Photo Cred: NBC Sports

The main story in this Monday Night Football matchup is Drew Brees being 201 passing yards away from being the all-time leading passer, as well as running back Mark Ingram returning to the Saints after his four-game suspension. However, I believe the Redskins will steal the show and defeat the Saints in the Superdome. New Orleans will be without Ginn Jr., may be too focused on Bress’s milestone at home, and also will need Ingram to shake off the rust. That creates offensive instability, which can’t happen considering the Redskins are top ten in passing yards allowed per game and rushing yards allowed per game. The Saints defense may have looked better last week, but they still are atrocious defending the pass and are vulnerable to big plays. Washington looks to be the real deal and they’ll win this to go to 3-1 and remain in first place in the NFC East, a division that they may end up winning. Prediction: Redskins 24 Saints 19

 

*rest will be updated

MLB Postseason Predictions

Here are my MLB Postseason predictions with a brief summary

Wild Card Games:

AL: Yankees 6 A’s 4

NL: Rockies 4 Cubs 0

ALDS: Yankees over Red Sox (4 Games) and Indians over Astros (5 Games)

NLDS: Brewers over Rockies (5 Games) and Dodgers over Braves (3 Games)

ALCS: Indians over Yankees (7 Games)

ALCS MVP: Francisco Lindor

NLCS: Dodgers over Brewers (5 Games)

NLCS MVP: Manny Machado

World Series: Dodgers over Indians (5 Games)

MVP: Justin Turner

Why Cleveland will make the World Series: Cleveland has the best starting rotation in the MLB, an improved bullpen, and has a top part of the lineup that can match any team with Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez.

Why the Dodgers will win the World Series: The Dodgers have a very long World Series drought, but that’s bound to end. There is an incredible amount of depth in the lineup, as Los Angeles has about 11-12 guys who are huge threats at the plate. That’s practically all of their position players. Their rotation is so strong with Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler that they were able to move Alex Wood and Kenta Maeda to their bullpen, which is much better than last season.

 

Winners and Losers From NFL Week 4

You know the drill by now. Let’s look at the biggest winners and losers from Week 4.

Winner: Chicago Bears (Won 48-10 vs TB)

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ftw.usatoday.com

Coming into this week, the Bears were seen by many as a team with a great defense, but a lackluster offense. However, some, including myself, knew that the offense was due to breakout under new head coach Matt Nagy at some points. Boy did it ever. The Bears offense scored 38 first-half points en route to a 48-10 win. It was a flawless effort, to say the least. After being the target of heavy criticism through the first three weeks, second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw for 354 yards, 6 touchdowns, and completed 73% of his passes. It’s no surprise that the rest of the offense flourished around him; running back Tarik Cohen had 174 combined yards and a touchdown, receiver Taylor Gabriel had 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns, while tight end Trey Burton and receivers Allen Robinson and Josh Bellamy each had a touchdown as well. What makes it even more impressive is that arguably their best player on offense in running back Jordan Howard was limited to 25 rushing yards on 11 carries. Yes, the Bucs defense is awful, but if the Bears put up just half of those points, that’ll be more than enough to win given the talent they have on defense. Speaking of the defense, it dominated again as they forced three turnovers and held the Bucs to a 25% third down conversion rate. The Bears are in first place in the NFC North, and there isn’t a doubt in my mind they’re the best team in that stacked division.

Loser: New York Giants (Lost 33-18vs NO)

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Photo Cred: nytimes.com

After a promising win at Houston last week, the Giants took a step back this week with a tough loss at home against the Saints. The seemingly explosive Giants offense looked lost against an awful Saints defense, as Eli Manning constantly refused to throw the ball down the field, despite the Saints being notoriously bad at stopping big plays. They also ran the ball just ten times with Saquon Barkley, who was subbed out on numerous occasions. That proved costly for the Giants, as backup Wayne Gallman fumbled when subbed in for Barkley, which led to the Saints taking the lead in the second quarter- a lead they would never surrender. The defense tried to play a bend, but don’t break approach against the Saints offense all game long. It worked in the first half- the Saints were held to four field goals despite being in the Red Zone- but it didn’t last as New Orleans scored three Alvin Kamara second-half touchdowns. The injury-riddled Giants defense needs the offense to live up expectations for them to succeed. However, due to Eli Manning’s conservative approach and mismanagement of personnel, it’s unlikely that happens. It looks like another season of mediocrity for the Giants.

Winner: Tennessee Titans (Won 26-23 OT vs PHI)

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Photo Cred: pennlive.com

Look out, here come the Titans. After an awful week one loss to the Dolphins in which the Titans saw four offensive starters get injured, it was fair to wonder if the Titans would live up to the preseason hype as a contender in the AFC South. It hasn’t been pretty, but the Titans are 26-23 after squeaking out three close wins and have now defeated the defending division champion Jaguars and the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles. This game against the Eagles wasn’t a flashy win, but like all Titans wins this season, it got the job done. Marcus Mariota finally looked healthy after suffering an elbow injury, throwing for 344 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 46 yards and a touchdown. 2017 5th overall pick Corey Davis finally broke out as the number one receiver on this team, as he had 9 catches for 161 yards and the game-winning touchdown in overtime.  The defense gave up 432 yards of total offense, but they had four sacks and a Harold Landry strip sack led to them coming back from a fourteen point deficit in the second half. This looks like a very well coached team under first-year head coach Mike Vrabel, and with a winnable game coming up at Buffalo, the Titans sure look like a playoff team.

Loser: Pittsburgh Steelers (Lost 26-14 vs BAL SNF)

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Photo Cred: hearldmailmedia.com

The Steelers seemed to be on the come up after finally getting in the win column last week. Instead, they came out flat in a 26-14 loss to the division rival Ravens and are in a rough position. The defense got gashed for 451 total yards, couldn’t stop Baltimore on third down, and had no answer for any play the Ravens ran. Outside of a couple second-quarter touchdown drives, the offense did close to nothing and looks completely out of sync without Le’Veon Bell, who is going to end his holdout during their Week 7 bye. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, they have two tough games coming up at home against the Falcons and a road game at the Bengals before that, and there’s a good chance they will be 1-4-1 when he comes back. We may seeing the end of Roethlisberger’s run with the Steelers unless something changes dramatically in a hurry.

Winner: Green Bay Packers (Won 22-0 vs BUF)

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Photo Cred: Packers.com

The Packers have been known to rely on quarterback Aaron Rodgers, healthy or not, to carry them into the playoffs. However in this game, it was quite the opposite. Rodgers wasn’t horrible- he threw for 298 yards and a touchdown- but he completed just 55% of his passes. Meanwhile, the running game was finally a plus for them, as Green Bay running backs rushed for 110 yards while Aaron Jones rushed for 5.9 yards a carry. The defense also finally showed up, with six sacks, three forced turnovers, while shutting out the Bills. They allowed just 145 total yards and held Buffalo to a 18% third down conversion rate. The Bills may be one of the league’s worst teams, but considering division rival Minnesota just lost by 21 points to them at home, this win is impressive and proves they may be capable of winning when Rodgers isn’t 100% perfect.

Loser: Miami Dolphins (Lost 38-7 at NE)

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Photo Cred: thephinsider.com

At 3-0 and two games up in the division, the Dolphins had a chance to make a statement in New England on Sunday. They didn’t even need to win the game (they were 6.5 point underdogs), but they were expected to keep the game close. Instead, they reminded the whole world that this is the Pats’ division to win, and no one will interfere with that. Miami’s offense mustered just 172 total yards, Ryan Tannehill threw for 100 yards and an interception, Miami had 56 rushing yards, and the Dolphins even fumbled a snap. If not for a garbage-time touchdown, they would’ve been shut out. It didn’t get much better on defense, as the Dolphins let New England run for 175 yards, while also allowing Tom Brady to have 274 passing yards and three touchdowns. They also allowed running back James White to have 8 catches for 68 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield, so it’s safe to say their weak linebacking core in getting exposed. The Dolphins are in first place still, but with two tough games (at CIN, vs CHI) coming up, that won’t last. This game proved what many suspected- that the Dolphins were more of a product of other team’s misfortunes than a legitimate playoff contender capable of competing with the “big dogs” in the AFC.

NFL Week 4 Predictions

Week 3 was filled with lots of upsets and crazy games. Let’s look ahead to Week 4 by predicting the outcome of each game.

Vikings at Rams TNF

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Photo Cred: turfshowtimes.com

On Thursday Night Football, the Vikings and Rams will face off in a matchup between two of the NFC’s elite teams. The Vikings are coming of off a dreadful 27-6 loss at home against the Bills last week, while the Rams absolutely dominated the Chargers en route to a 35-23 win. However, they will be without their top two corners Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, so Kirk Cousins and the Vikings pass offense should take advantage. The problem with the Vikings is two things. For starters, they haven’t been able to establish a running game with Dalvin Cook dealing with a hamstring injury. Most importantly, their offensive line has been awful and it showed last week when the Bills forced two strip-sack fumbles. These two teams are extremely similar, but the Vikings are slightly more flawed while the Rams are rolling, so it makes sense to take the Rams to win this game and move to 4-0. Prediction: Vikings 24 Rams 28

Bengals (2-1) at Falcons (1-2)

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Photo Cred: WLWT-TV

The Bengals and Falcons are as identical as it gets, just take a look at these stats:

 CIN Offense: 12th Pass, 22nd Run, 29.7 PPG                                                                         ATL Offense: 11th Pass, 21st Run, 26.7 PPG
 CIN Defense: 24th Pass, 26th Run, 25.7 PPG
 ATL Defense: 26th Pass, 28th Run, 28.3 PPG

Both teams are also extremely banged up; both teams are without their running back and the Falcons are without several key defensive starters. This should become a shootout quickly, and the Falcons will have the advantage. Atlanta has the more explosive offense with three big-play receivers in Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Calvin Ridley. They’re also at home and have to win this game following an overtime loss to the Saints at home. They’re arguably playing for their season, so expect them to come out with a vengeance and win a high scoring affair against Cincinnati.                        Prediction: Bengals 30 Falcons 43

Buccaneers (2-1) at Bears (2-1)

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Photo Cred: Bearswire.USAToday.com

Could Fitzmagic be coming to an end? Despite throwing for 411 yards, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three first-half interceptions and looked overwhelmed during that time. Of course, he was able to lead the Bucs to two late touchdowns to make that game much closer than it was, so he’ll remain the starter despite Jameis Winston’s three-game suspension being over. Fitzpatrick will have a major test this weekend, facing off against the ferocious Bears defense. Chicago’s defense will completely shut down Tampa Bay’s weak running game. They also are amongst the league’s best in forcing turnovers, so they should be able to take advantage of Fitzpatrick’s mistakes. On the other side of the ball, the Bears pass offense should be much better this weekend against Tampa’s weak secondary. Expect Chicago to get out to an early lead, which will mean Tampa will be forced to play catch up. Unfortunately for them, that doesn’t work against the Bears, unless your name is Aaron Rodgers. Prediction: Bucs 13 Bears 24

Lions (1-2) at Cowboys (1-2)

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Photo Cred: dallasmorningnews.com

Arguably the toughest game to pick this weekend, the Lions and Cowboys will match up in Dallas in a game between two teams that have been extremely inconsistent this season. The Lions looked awful against the subpar Jets and Lions, but then all of a sudden beat the defending champ Patriots 26-10 on Sunday Night Football. The Cowboys, on the other hand, look like a shell of their former selves, but at times their defense looks good enough to carry them. These teams are pretty much even and the Cowboys have struggled at him recently, so who has the advantage. One stat signals it could be Dallas: opposing yards per play. Dallas is second in the league in opposing yards per play and fifth in opposing points per play. In other words, they give up very few big plays. Considering that the Lions offense is known to be a vertical offense that uses Matt Stafford’s incredible arm strength to produce big plays, they may have a tough time scoring against the Cowboys defense. Detroit’s rush defense is also amongst the league’s worst; Ezekial Elliot may have a big game as a result. Prediction: Lions 20 Cowboys 21

Bills (1-2) at Packers (1-1-1)

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Photo Cred: IGN.com

The Bills beat a legitimate Super Bowl Contender in the Vikings by a whopping 21 points in Minnesota after being 17 point underdogs. They’re once again double-digit underdogs, as the Packers are favored by 10 points in this matchup in Green Bay. The Bills have a great chance to beat that spread, as they should be able to stuff the Packers’ rushing attack, force pressure on Aaron Rodgers, and should have running back LeSean McCoy back this weekend. However, they won’t be able to win this game for two reasons: Aaron Rodgers and the fact that Green Bay will be at home and desperate for a win. Green Bay has the clear quarterback advantage with arguably the best quarterback in the NFL in Rodgers against a rookie quarterback in Josh Allen. Buffalo may have pulled off a shocker against the Vikings, and they’ll keep it close against the Packers. At the end of the day, however, it won’t be enough and the Packers will get a much-needed win to put them over .500. Prediction: Bills 20 Packers 26

Texans (0-3) at Colts (1-2)

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Photo Cred: indystar.com

No team has disappointed more to start the season than the Texans. Houston was picked by many to win the AFC South, but instead, they’re 0-3 in three winnable games. They’ll face a Colts team that despite being nearly the unanimous pick to finish last in the division, has been competitive in all three games. The Texans on paper look like the much better team, but that may not better. Indianapolis is well coached, are slightly better in the trenches, and the more efficient quarterback. Houston also seems to simply not know how to win; it’s hard to trust them to win a divisional game on the road. It’s tough to pick a winner in this game, so it makes sense to go with the home team that has looked much better to start the season. Prediction: Texans 20 Colts 23

Jets (1-2) at Jaguars (2-1)

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Photo Cred: saturdaydownsouth.com

The Jets looked like a legitimate playoff team after their 48-17 Week 1 win at the Lions on Monday Night Football. Since then, they’ve lost ugly games to the Dolphins and Browns and the hype has simmered down tremendously.  A big reason for that has been their turnover issues, as Sam Darnold has thrown five interceptions, while the Jets have fumbled three times. This may continue to get worse for them, as they face against exceptional Jaguars defense. Jacksonville’s defensive line should cause havoc against New York’s weak offensive line, while their ball-hawking secondary will take advantage of Darnold’s turnover woes. On the other side of the ball, Jacksonville may struggle to move the ball against a solid Jets defense, but they’ll likely be put in great field position with Darnold turnovers. This may not be a pretty win for the Jags, but they’re built to win games like these and will be playing into their strengths this game.                                  Prediction: Jets 9 Jaguars 20

Dolphins (3-0) at Patriots (1-2)

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Photo Cred: boston.cbslocal.com

The Dolphins are two games ahead of the Patriots in the AFC East after three games. How would have guessed that? After back to back losses, New England is in a tough position and has many analysts wondering if their dynasty in now over. Sure, they’ve looked awful this season, but are we really doing to say with a straight face that the Dolphins are the better team and will go into Foxborough and win this game? New England still has the better quarterback and are more disciplined. Miami may hit a decline soon, as they’ve relied on big plays and turnovers and are in the bottom half in passing yards per game, rushing yards per game, opposing passing yards per play, and sacks. New England has struggled also, but there is a reason that they were almost unanimously picked to win this division while Miami was viewed as one of the worst teams in football; the Pats are the superior team. Expect them to play with a vengeance and win this game that may be for their season. Prediction: Dolphins 25 Patriots 33

Eagles (2-1) at Titans (2-1)

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Photo Cred: nbcsports.com

The Eagles and Titans have been absolutely decimated with injuries, but both seem to be getting healthier. Philadelphia was without quarterback Carson Wentz for the first two weeks, and will likely have running back Jay Ajayi and wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey. The Titans, on the other hand, should have tackle Jack Conklin back and quarterback Marcus Mariota’s elbow seems to be progressing week by week. The Eagles have more talent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll win this game. The Titans have been a turnover machine on defense and have had a solid pass rush. Philadelphia meanwhile is has a -3 turnover differential and has allowed the ninth most sacks. The Titans have also been exceptional at home in recent years and have won games against the Texans and Jaguars- two teams with more talent- despite being banged up. Now that they’re healthier, they should find a way to win this game against the Eagles. In a game that may be won in the trenches, the Titans have a slight advantage. It’s time to start giving them the recognition they deserve. Prediction: Eagles 16 Titans 17

Seahawks (1-2) at Cardinals (0-3)

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Photo Cred: seattletimes.com

In what was a big-time divisional rivalry a couple years ago, the Seahawks and Cardinals will face off in Arizona in what is now a matchup between two lower level teams. The big storyline in this game is rookie quarterback Josh Rosen starting in his first game for the Cardinals. The 21-year-old has drawn praise for his accuracy and poise; he’s as ready to start in the NFL as it gets. The big factor in this game may come from the other side of the ball, however. Seattle is tied for the most sacks allowed and now will have to face off against a solid pass led by one of the game’s premier pass rushers in Chandler Jones. The Cardinals were extremely competitive last week against the Bears and the insertion of Rosen into the starting lineup may give them the spark they need to finally get going. It should be close, but Arizona should be able to win this game.                                                     Prediction: Seahawks 23 Cardinals 24

Browns (1-1-1) at Raiders (0-3)

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Photo Cred: nbcbayarea.com

Baker Mayfield will make his first NFL start as the Browns will head to Oakland to take on the winless Raiders. This game is absolutely crucial for Cleveland, as a win on the road would prove that they could be a potential playoff team. On the other hand, the Raiders have lost three games in which they had the lead at halftime, and need to put together a complete performance to finally get a win. So what’s more likely to happen? Let’s go with the latter, not because of overall talent, because of a couple important stats. Number one overall picks since 2003 are 0-10 with a 59.9 passer rating in their first start. Sure, Mayfield has a calm demeanor that few rookies have, but it still will be a challenge for him to win in the black hole in his first NFL start. The Raiders also are back at home, and with the energy of their fans, should be able to finally put together a four-quarter performance that nets them a win. It should be a very close game, so let’s go with the more experienced quarterback in Derek Carr and take the Raiders to win their first game. Prediction: Browns 17 Raiders 19

49ers (1-2) at Chargers (1-2)

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Photo Cred: ocregister.com

Every year there is one team that seems to get decimated by injuries more than any other team. This year it appears to be the 49ers. San Francisco had already lost highly paid running back Jerrick McKinnon for the year with a torn ACL, and now they’ll be without highly paid quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with the same exact injury. That’s $47 million in cap hits out for the season. The 49ers will turn things over to CJ Beathard under center; his 4-6 touchdown to interception ratio and 54.9 completion percentage should tell you all you need to know about him. It is simply impossible for the 49ers to keep up with Phillip Rivers and the high powered Chargers offense, especially considering their defense is 27th against the Pass. This could be a long day for San Francisco, as the Chargers should have complete control of this game.                                     Prediction: 49ers 17 Chargers 28

Saints (2-1) at Giants (1-2)

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Photo Cred: msgnetwork.com

In what has the makings of a shootout, the Saints and Giants will meet up at Met Life Stadium in an interesting matchup. Both teams possess high powered offenses that are capable of taking the game over at any level. So who will come out on top? The Giants have the better defense, run game, and are at home. The Saints aren’t a traditionally good road team outdoors, and still have easily the league’s worst defense. That defense should get absolutely exposed against the Giants explosive offense with elite playmakers in running back Saquon Barkley, and receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. Once again, that unit will let Brees and the offense down against while the Giants will continue to build off of last week’s win. Prediction: Saints 27 Giants 38

Ravens (2-1) at Steelers (1-1-1) SNF

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Photo Cred: nytimes.com

Sunday Night Football renews one of the greatest rivalries in football, as the Ravens and Steelers will face in Pittsburgh in a heated divisional match. The Ravens have looked much better through their first three weeks, but Pittsburgh still arguably has more talent. The Steelers need this game badly, and I expect the offense to come out firing. Sure, Baltimore’s defense ranks first in total yardage, but they’ve played the Bills, Bengals, and Broncos. The only legitimate offense of those three is the Bengals, and Baltimore gave up 34 points to them. Now, the Steelers defense has played terrible, so Joe Flacco should be able to answer Ben Roethlisberger’s passing attack with big plays of his own. It will likely come down to the play of the two quarterbacks, and how can you not side with a still elite Roethlisberger over the example of mediocrity in Flacco? Baltimore also hasn’t won a regular season game in Pittsburgh in which Roethlisberger has started since 2012, and most have those games have been close. They clearly have trouble closing games against Big Ben at home, and that should carry over into this game.               Prediction: Ravens 30 Steelers 31

Chiefs (3-0) at Broncos (2-1) MNF

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Photo Cred: broncoswire.usatoday.com

At 3-0, the Chiefs are in a great position thanks to a prolific offense that is scoring 39.3 points per game. Their next test will go up against a Denver defense that is ranked 21st in the pass and made Derek Carr look like an MVP candidate. Oh boy. Patrick Mahomes is an actual MVP candidate and could be in line for a big game. He may struggle at first in his first prime-time game, but once he gets going, the Chiefs offense will be good to go. There is concern with their defense that is giving up 30.3 points per game, but they’re in luck as they’ll face Case Keenum, who is a game manager at best. At home and on Monday Night, I expect the Broncos to keep it very close, but I trust Mahomes a lot more than I do Keenum to win a close game, which is why I’ll take the Chiefs in a nail-biter.        Prediction: Chiefs 27 Broncos 26

 

 

 

Winners and Losers From NFL Week 3

In what was an absolutely hectic week, let’s go over the winners and losers from NFL Week 3.

Winner: Philadelphia Eagles (Won 20-16 vs IND)

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Photo Cred: phillyvoice.com

From the final score, it may seem like the Eagles’ win over the Colts at home was by too close of a margin. However, the reality is that the Eagles are without several of their key players, including running back Jay Ajayi and Alshon Jeffrey, while quarterback Carson Wentz was playing in his first game since injuring his knee in Week 14 of last year. It may have not been pretty, but Philadelphia’s ability to pull through with a victory over an understated Indianapolis team showed that they can fight through adversity and win ugly games. Wentz was impressive in his return, as he threw for 255 yards and a touchdown while completing 67.5% of his passes. Without Ajayi or Darren Sproles, the Eagles were still able to run for 152 yards behind a brilliant performance by Wendell Smallwood. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert also combined for 12 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown, as the two of them form a lethal duo. On defense, Philadelphia’s defense held Andrew Luck to just 164 passing yards, sacked him four times, and held the Colts to 68 total rushing yards, It was a team effort, and the Eagles were rewarded with a big victory and look like they still belong among the NFL’s elite teams.

Loser: New England Patriots (Lost 26-10 at DET)

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Photo Cred: lastwordonprofootball.com

In last night’s 26-10 loss against a subpar Lions team, the Patriots looked like something we haven’t seen in a very long time. They looked weak, fragile, and most importantly, beatable. They looked completely outclassed by a team that lost by 31 to the Jets in their last home game. The defense was awful, as it allowed Detroit to have its first 100-yard rusher in four and a half years, and had no answer against Matt Stafford and the passing game. The offense was arguably worse, as Tom Brady was held to 133 passing yards. It wasn’t just his fault – New England struggled to run the ball and receivers couldn’t get open- but this was one of his worst performances of recent memory. New England doesn’t look like the star-studded team it once was, and now they face a major hole; they’re already two games out of the division with the Dolphins soaring at 3-0.

Winner: Los Angeles Rams (Won 35-23 vs LAC)

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Photo Cred: yardbarker.com

Some expected the Rams super team to do what most so-called “super teams” do: fail to meet expectations and struggled early. Instead, the Rams are 3-0 and have won by double digits in each game. They faced their first test Sunday against the Chargers, and they aced it by playing a complete game. Jared Goff threw for 354 yards and completed 80.5% of his passes. Meanwhile, the Rams rushed for 171 yards and receiver Robert Woods had 10 catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns. The offense also controlled the time of possession and converted 72% of its third downs. On defense, the Rams weren’t perfect – they allowed the Chargers to rush for 141 yards- but they forced two turnovers. The special teams unit also excelled, blocking a punt for a touchdown. With this impressive win over the extremely talented Chargers, the Rams look like best team in the NFL, and it’s not even close.

Loser: Minnesota Vikings (Lost 27-6 vs BUF)

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Photo Cred: democratandchronicle.com

The Vikings were 17 point favorites coming into their Week 3 matchup against the 0-2 Bills and were supposed to blow them out. Instead, the roles were reversed, as the Bills dominated in every facet of the game and won 27-6. Had it not been for the Bills playing conservative in the second half and a garbage time Vikings touchdown, it would’ve been even more of a blowout. The Vikings offense had to be extremely one dimensional towards the pass after falling behind early, as they rushed for a whopping total of 14 yards. The pass protection was awful, as the Bills forced two strip-sack fumbles while Kirk Cousins added in an interception. Rookie quarterback Josh Allen was supposed to be terrorized by the Minnesota defense, but instead he looked like a mix of Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger, throwing for 196 yards and a touchdown (would’ve been more had it not been for it being a blow out), while also running for 39 yards and two touchdowns. They even let running back Chris Ivory have over 100 yards from scrimmage. This was a pathetic performance by the Vikings, and now they have to face the Rams on Thursday Night Football in a game that they now desperately have to win.

Winner: Cleveland Browns (Won 21-17 vs NYJ)

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Photo Cred: awfulannouncing.com

There you have it. After 635 long days, the Cleveland Browns have finally won a football game. It wasn’t pretty early- Cleveland fell behind 14-0 early as Tyrod Taylor completed just 4 of 14 passes for 19 yards- but as soon as Taylor left the game with a concussion, the game completely changed. Number one overall pick Baker Mayfield was magnificent in replacing Taylor, completing 74% of his passes for 201 yards. Carlos Hyde also averaged 4.3 yards a carry and two touchdowns, as the Browns rushed for 133 total yards. Receiver Jarvis Landry also broke out with 8 catches for 103 yards and built a strong connection with Mayfield. The defense was also great, holding the Jets to three second-half points, intercepting Sam Darnold twice in crunch time, while also forcing a crucial Robby Anderson fumbled that ultimately led to points. If the Browns can continue to force turnovers and Mayfield continues to be as efficient, they could make things interesting in a wide-open AFC. It probably won’t happen, but Cleveland would be 3-0 if they had a capable kicker in their first two games, so who knows what could happen.

Loser: Dallas Cowboys (Lost 24-13 at SEA)

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Photo Cred: star-telegram.com

Rather than worrying about trading for Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, the Cowboys should be focused on getting more production from the passing game in a hurry. For the third straight game, Dak Prescott struggled, throwing for 168 yards and two interceptions while completing just 55% of his passes. No receiver had over 50 yards and Prescott was sacked five times. That’s unacceptable when trying to be a playoff contender. Besides that, Dallas was fine. Ezekial Elliot ran for 127 yards and 7.9 yards per carry, while the defense held Seattle’s defense in check for the most part. However, Russell Wilson was able to make a couple huge plays for the Seahawks, and the Cowboys couldn’t overcome it. Why? Because they have the worst passing attack in the league. If something doesn’t change in a hurry, Prescott’s future with the team may be in jeopardy.