Tag Archives: 2015

NFL 2015: Week 16 Predictions! (Condensed Version)

20151223_041031_aj-mccarron

The Bengals will have to depend on their backup at QB again this week at Denver.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 14-2

Season: 144-80

I had a strong Week 15 for my picks. This week because of all the holiday craziness and my work schedule, this post will be shorter than usual. So, here is my condensed version of my Week 16 predictions.

Week 16 Picks (Condensed Version)

San Diego @ Oakland – The Chargers had a great victory last week and a touching moment with those fans in San Diego for maybe the last time. This week, they wont be able to carry over that emotion into Oakland who might also be playing in their last game in Oakland. Let me just say this: the NFL’s process of moving a team to LA stinks to high heaven. Prediction: Raiders

Washington @ Philadelphia – Remember last season around this time? When Washington, who was awful, beat Philly in a Saturday night game and helped Dallas wrap up the NFC East? Those were good times. Anyways. Now, it looks like Washington should be able to wrap up the division for them selves this Saturday but I don’t think that happens. Washington has been inconsistent at times this season, they will be playing a desperate team on the road, and Washington hasn’t won three straight all season. If the Eagles do lose this game, look for Chip Kelly to get a head start at cleaning out his office. Prediction: Eagles

Carolina @ Atlanta – Two weeks ago, Carolina completely outclassed Atlanta at home. The Falcons might show some more fight in their home stadium this time around. But the Panthers will be better in everyway. Prediction: Panthers

Dallas @ Buffalo – What happened to Buffalo? Ending the season in this fashion is not a good look for Rex Ryan. It’s going to be interesting to see what changes Ryan makes in the offseason. Meanwhile in Dallas, they are still fighting hard week after week but they are still letting the lack of a QB define their season. The offense will continue to be punch-less on the road in Buffalo. Prediction: Bills

San Francisco @ Detroit – I think Jim Caldwell has done enough to save his job after a disastrous start to this season. The Lions are playing well on both sides of the football and they’ll be able to over power the 49ers on Sunday. Prediction: Lions

Houston @ Tennessee – Man. I thought T.J. Yates was going to be the one to save Houston’s offense and lead them into the playoffs. Instead, it will be Brandon Weeden?! Ugh. Good thing that Tennessee is awful. Prediction: Texans

Cleveland @ Kansas City – Kansas City’s cupcake tour continues. Prediction: Chiefs

Indianapolis @ Miami – The Colts are another team having serious QB problems. But Miami stinks and the Colts still have a lot to be playing for. Prediction: Colts

New England @ New York Jets – The Jets didn’t really look like a playoff contender last week in Dallas. And to think, they won that game. New England is banged up but they need this one to wrap up home field advantage. Tom Brady and the Belichick boys will bring the killer instinct on Sunday. Prediction: Patriots

Chicago @ Tampa Bay – I think Tampa is better than what they showed last week in St. Louis. I think Jameis Winston and Jay Cutler will both have impressive stat lines at the end of this one. Prediction: Buccaneers

Pittsburgh @ Baltimore – They might say that you can “throw out the record book” when it comes to this matchup. But Baltimore is having a nightmare season while Pittsburgh is one of the hottest teams racing towards the post season. Prediction: Steelers

Jacksonville @ New Orleans – No one is ever sure of how injured Drew Brees is. One thing for sure is that Brees has been able in the past to gut out some tough performances at home in his career. I think Brees will have a big day passing the ball even with noticeable limping. Prediction: Saints

Green Bay @ Arizona – The Packers responded greatly on the road last week. They’ll find it much tougher this week in Arizona. Prediction: Cardinals

St. Louis @ Seattle – Russell Wilson is on a tear right now. I think the St. Louis defense will play him tough. They usually do. But I don’t think St. Louis will be able to score the points necessary on offense to upset Seattle at home. Prediction: Seahawks

New York Giants @ Minnesota – I think the Giants passing attack will miss Odell Beckham Jr. greatly. Plus, the Giants can’t stop the run and Minnesota has a guy named Adrian Peterson. Thanks for playing, Tom Coughlin. Prediction: Vikings

Cincinnati @ Denver – I think Denver will learn from last week’s second half collapse. Mainly that, they’ll probably need Peyton Manning back if they hope to do anything in the playoffs. Cincy was able to beat San Fran last week without A.J. Green. They can afford too many games like that. They wont be able to just skate along with that offense this week in Denver. Prediction: Broncos

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Teddy Bridgewater (Vikings) – The Giants have the worst pass defense in football. You might not what to place all your faith into Bridgewater this week but in his defense, he is coming off a strong performance at home.

RB: Doug Martin (Buccaneers) – Martin will have a strong performance at home against the Bears run defense.

WR: Allen Robinson (Jaguars) – Robinson was a noticeable snub from the Pro Bowl voting results this past week. He’ll take it out on that awful Saints secondary.

TE: Gary Barnidge (Browns) – With the injuries at the WR postion, Johnny Manziel is running out of options. Barnidge has been reliable for Cleveland this season.

DEF: Detroit – The Lions defense should be able to completely shut down the 49ers.

Advertisements

2015 College Football Holiday Bowl Picks!

ncaa-football-michigan-state-michigan8-850x560

By: Elias McMillan

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to fill out one of these bowl pick ‘em sheets and I finally found time to do so this year. So, here is how I see the college bowl season finishing out.

Dec. 19

Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl – Alcorn State vs. North Carolina A&T: This inaugural bowl game features two HBCUs as a throwback to when the MEAC and SWAC champions would meet back in the day in the Pelican Bowl in the 70’s and then in the Heritage Bowl in the 90’s. This is an awesome opportunity for HBCU’s who are trying to rebound and gain exposure after a rough recent history. My take: I know Steve McNair went to Alcorn State. I also know that A&T is the rival school to NC Central. This is relevant because growing up in NC, I use to go to a summer camp at NCCU. Therefore I should be rooting against the Aggies. But I don’t even know where Alcorn St is location. I’m going A&T. Also, the halftime show should be ridiculously good considering the bands involved. Pick: North Carolina A&T

Gildan New Mexico Bowl – Arizona vs. New Mexico: The Lobos will be playing in an unofficial home game in this bowl as they are coming off a huge upset at Boise State on the blue turf. Arizona hasn’t been the same since losing star LB Scooby Wright to injury. At least Wright returns in this game. My take: I say the Lobos have the advantage playing at home plus I still cant stand Rich Rod. Pick: New Mexico

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl – BYU vs. Utah: An in-state rivalry highlights this year’s Las Vegas Bowl. Utah was highly ranked during the first month of this season. BYU got off to a good start this season as well until they faced Michigan in the Big House. What in the hell is “Royal Purple”? My take: I love rivalries in bowl games. I want to see a fight. And considering the teams, we will probably see one. The trash talk has already begun between the two teams and BYU has a rep as a chippy team. BYU’s coach is leaving after this game and that usually isn’t a good sign when the focus may appear to be elsewhere. I’m taking the Utes but once again, the focus should be on the fight that will happen and how many players will get ejected. Top-notch entertainment. Pick: Utah

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl – Ohio vs. Appalachian State: Growing up in the south watching ACC games, I remember Raycom Media very well. As for the teams, I don’t know much about either one. Ohio scores a lot of points and this is Appalachian’s first bowl game since making the jump from FCS to FBS. My take: The Mountianeers would take the “I’m just happy to be here” approach. Pick: Appalachian State

Cure Bowl – San Jose State vs. Georgia State: Seriously, who is gonna watch this game? Two no name schools in a bowl that you never heard of. The Cure Bowl? Oh. Actually the bowl is sponsored by a hospital trying to raise Breast Cancer Awareness. At least it is not Susan B. Komen. My take: Once again, Georgia State is playing in its first bowl game as a FBS school and they have a QB that throws for a bunch of yards. The game is in Orlando so San Jose State is traveling the furthest distance. Maybe the Spartans will suffer from jet lag. Pick: Georgia State

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech: The first day of college bowl games wraps up with two schools that I don’t know much about. My take: The Bulldogs are lead by Jeff Driskel who is a transfer from Florida. Pick: Louisiana Tech

Dec. 21

Miami Beach Bowl – Western Kentucky vs. South Florida: I hate this bowl because the site is the former Orange Bowl that no one in Miami wanted. South Florida hasn’t won a bowl game in six years. Western Kentucky won 11 games this season. My take: South Florida flirted with being a legit program many years ago but its been downhill ever since then. Pick: Western Kentucky

Dec. 22

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Akron vs. Utah State: Out of all the obscure bowl names with silly corporate sponsorship, this one has the best name. The Zips have one of the top defenses in the MAC while Utah State has quietly been a regular in bowl season in recent years. My take: I’m a big fan of the often-injured QB Chuckie Keeton. Keeton will be playing in his last game and I’m sure that his teammates want to win this one for him. Pick: Utah State

112415_matakevich_1200

Marmot Boca Raton Bowl – Toledo vs. Temple: Temple has some time in the national spotlight this season for the first time in awhile. Toledo had an impressive 9-2 season including a road win at Arkansas. My take: Temple has one of the better defensive players in the nation in LB Tyler Matakevich. Temple will be playing for its first 11-win season in school history. Pick: Temple

Dec. 23

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – Boise State vs. Northern Illinois – Without head coach Steve Peterson, you could tell that the edge was off this season in Boise, Id. The Broncos do boast one of the nations top rushing attacks. Northern Illinois came real, real close to shocking Ohio State earlier this season. My take: Boise State needs something positive going into the offseason. NIU struggles with keeping late leads. Plus, December 23 is my birthday. Boise State wears blue and orange. My favorite NBA team wears blue and orange. Pick: Boise State

GoDaddy Bowl – Georgia Southern vs. Bowling Green: The biggest question surrounding this game: will we get one of those racy GoDaddy commercials that will make things uncomfortable if your watching this game with your mom? My take: I don’t know much about Georgia Southern but Bowling Green wears Orange and Brown. The same colors as my high school. Did I mention that it’s my birthday? Pick: Bowling Green

Dec. 24

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl – Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan: The Blue Raiders are riding a nice winning streak after a rough start to the season. Western Michigan ended a losing streak at the end of the season by defeating a ranked Toledo team. My take: Why does “Popeyes” have a bowl? When it comes to national chicken joints, its Bojangles or nothing. Must be awesome to earn a bowl trip to the Bahamas. Let alone one sponsored by a national chicken joint. Western Michigan has the worst color scheme in college sports. Pick: Middle Tennessee

Hawai’i Bowl – San Diego State vs. Cincinnati: San Diego State should be the favorites in this one as Cincinnati had a disappointing season. My take: It’s a long way to travel for Cincy. But I guess I’m taking the Bearcats only because SDSU alum Marshall Faulk is such an annoying hater as an analyst on the NFL Network. Pick: Cincinnati

Dec. 26

St. Petersburg Bowl – Connecticut vs. Marshall: The Huskies were barely average this season and their record shows that. Marshall had a strong season and a win in this game would mean three straight ten win seasons for the school. My take: UConn isnt really good and “The Thundering Herd” is just an awesome team name. Pick: Marshall

Hyundai Sun Bowl – Miami vs. Washington State: How did Miami make a bowl game? Their season has been a disaster outside of that miracle win vs. Duke. Remember that game? With all those crazy laterals? It should not have counted but it was hilarious. Washington State hasn’t won a bowl game since 2003. My take: Remember when the Big East would send a school to the Sun Bowl and it would usually end in disaster from them? Those were fun times. But seriously, Miami was awful this season. How did they get 8 wins? Pick: Washington State

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl – Washington vs. Southern Miss: Washington barely made it to bowl season with 6 wins on the season. Southern Miss has a really good offense. My take: I don’t know what Zaxby’s is. Heart of Dallas Bowl? Who has the heart of Dallas? Tony Romo? Or Dirk Nowitzki? Washington has the top defense in the Pac-12. Why cant defense matter in a bowl game for once? Pick: Washington

New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Indiana vs. Duke: This would make a better college basketball game. Indiana looked good at times this season while Duke feel apart after losing in hilarious fashion to Miami. My take: If you know me, you know there was no way I was picking Dook to win anything. I would pick Dook to win only if they were playing against ISIS. Pick: Indiana

Camping World Independence Bowl – Tulsa vs. Virginia Tech: With this being Frank Beamer’s last game with the Hokies, this game will have a lot of significance for VT. Last time I checked, Tulsa doesn’t make it to many bowl games. My take: I wonder what the Camping World gift basket will look like. Beamer will probably score some nice gear just in time for those retirement hobbies. Pick: Virginia Tech

Foster Farms Bowl UCLA vs. Nebraska: Nebraska and UCLA both had disappointing seasons. UCLA has the home field and the overall talent advantage. My take: The way Nebraska beat Michigan State this season doesn’t sit right with me. Pick: UCLA

Dec. 28

reynolds_usna1

Military Bowl – Pittsburgh vs. Navy: This is an unofficial home game for Navy. Both Pitt and Navy had surprising success in 2015. Navy is lead by a senior QB, Keenan Reynolds, who set all types of rushing marks in his final season. Pitt has a nasty defense. My take: Navy loves to run the ball. But Pitt has the beef up front to slow them down. WR Tyler Boyd will have a chance to show off for the pro scouts one last time in game action. Pick: Pittsburgh

Quick Lane Bowl – Central Michigan vs. Minnesota: Both of these teams have gone through a lot this season with both head coaches battling with cancer. My take: Minnesota has 5 wins. What are they doing in this game? I can’t look past that. Pick: Central Michigan

Dec. 29

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl – California vs. Air Force: California has a QB that the pro scouts are trying to hype up. Air Force will be motivated after being so close to winning their conference in the last game of the regular season. My take: Air Force has lost in each of their road games this season, I think. Playing in the Armed Forces Bowl is like a home game, right? If Navy can’t win the Military Bowl, the pressure will be on Air Force. Pick: Air Force

Russell Athletic Bowl – North Carolina vs. Baylor: This should be a fun game to watch featuring to teams with high-powered offenses. UNC probably has the better defense while Baylor will be starting its third string QB. My take: Russell Athletic products are mostly found in Wal-Mart. What’s more “North Carolina” than Wal-Mart? But seriously, Carolina’s season deserves a happy ending after getting robbed at a chance to tie number one Clemson. Pick: North Carolina

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl – Nevada vs. Colorado State: I’ll probably skip this one. Or at least use this game for naptime. My take: The Rams had tough losses in two non-conference games vs. Power Five schools. I dunno. Does that mean anything? Pick: Colorado State

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl – LSU vs. Texas Tech: After an emotional end to the season, Les Miles can finally focus on his team moving forward. Texas Tech gain some serious momentum this season and could be a sleeper team going into next season. My take: LSU’s Leonard Fournette is probably still upset about not getting invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony. Give him the ball 30 times and let him take it out on a Big-12 defense. Pick: LSU

Dec. 30

Birmingham Bowl – Auburn vs. Memphis: Memphis had a great season led by QB Paxton Lynch. Auburn greatly under performed in 2015. My take: The hype surrounding Lynch will grow even larger after this game. Auburn has been awful this season. Pick: Memphis

Belk Bowl – NC State vs. Mississippi State: The Wolfpack will have the home crowd on their side. The Bulldogs have talent but they probably should have won more than 8 games. My take: Dak Prescott is Mississippi State’s Tim Tebow. He plays similar to Tebow but even I can admit that Tebow looked like the better passer at Florida. Prescott sucks at the throwing the football, period. This will probably be the last time he’ll take snaps from behind the center in his career unless he goes to the CFL. NC State can score one here for the ACC. Pick: NC State

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl – Texas A&M vs. Louisville: Both of these schools under performed this season. My take: With all the transfers happening at the QB position, Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin is starting to take some heat. But I think his players will rally around him and get a big victory in this game. Pick: Texas A&M

National Funding Holiday Bowl – USC vs. Wisconsin: Wisconsin left a lot of plays on the field this season. USC dealt with some controversies but they’ve quietly rebounded and finished respectfully. My take: I think USC will be able to score points and the Badgers wont be able to go blow for blow with them. Pick: USC

Dec. 31

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – Houston vs. Florida State: Florida State had some disappointing moments this season but they are still loaded with talent. Houston is a great story and they have an entertaining offense. My take: Both teams will win because I’m guessing that Chick-fil-A will provide both teams with some chicken sandwiches. I don’t care about Chick-fil-A’s political affiliations. As long as they keep slinging out them sandwiches, they are cool with me. Florida State QB Everett Golson is from Myrtle Beach and I have a lot of family there. I also read that Houston coach, Tom Herman, got fitted for a “grill” by rapper Paul Wall. Pick: Florida State

Capital One Orange Bowl (College Football Playoff Semifinal) – Oklahoma vs. Clemson: Besides a lapse vs. rival Texas, Oklahoma has been as impressive this season as any team in the nation. Clemson finished an undefeated regular season where they were barely challenged. My take: I’m salty still because those ACC refs were determined to get Clemson into the CFB Playoff. North Carolina was onsides, damn it! Anyways, Clemson hasn’t faced anything like Oklahoma this season in the ACC. Trust. Pick: Oklahoma

110715-CFB-alabama-Derrick-Henry-pis-sm.vresize.1200.675.high.4

Goodyear Cotton Bowl (College Football Playoff Semifinal) – Michigan State vs. Alabama: Alabama is dominant as always but their dominance has started to really bore me. They have a Heisman winning RB. They have a defense full of future NFL players. Nick Saban. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Michigan State made it through a tough Big 10 schedule and their only loss came via an awful call on the road. Yea, they got lucky against Michigan but still. That was probably the best ending out of any game this season. My take: I love Michigan State because they have been apart of some of the most exciting endings in ballgames in recent history. Alabama may dominate them and that would be so boring. This Michigan State teams fight until the last whistle. They wont go down easy and they’ll be rewarded by their efforts. You know, the usual with this team. Pick: Michigan State

Jan. 1 (Happy New Year)

Outback Bowl – Northwestern vs. Tennessee: The Wildcats are battle tested and had a decent 2015 campaign. Tennessee started slow out the gate but finished the regular season with some momentum. My take: Has anyone even been to an Outback Steakhouse. I see the commercials all the time and the food looks good. But for some reason, I’ve never been. I’ve never had a Blooming Onion. Anyways, its New Years Day, I’m hungover, I’m lying on the couch, and the Outback Bowl is on. Its an awesome feeling I look forward to each year because I know that I’m not moving from the couch and that more games are on the horizon. Tennessee’s bright orange might help me wake up and Tennessee has the best fight song in college sports. “Rocky Toooooooop! You’ll always be home sweet home to meeeeeeeeeee!!! Good ole’ Rocky Top! Wooo! Rocky Top Tennessee! Pick: Tennessee

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl – Michigan vs. Florida: Two household names in this bowl game. Michigan had a strong season under first year coach Jim Harbaugh. My take: I’ve only been to Buffalo Wild Wings a couple times. The food smells excellent but it really isnt that great. Buffalo Wild Wings is like if Taco Bell had a bar inside. The food may be awesome at the time but after you stuffed your face, your stomach will remind you that you made a grave mistake. Florida can’t score points. Michigan should kill them. Pick: Michigan

BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl – Notre Dame vs. Ohio State: I don’t like Notre Dame but I can’t knock them this season. They were oh so close to being very deserving for a spot in the playoffs. Ohio State can say the same though. They had some rocky times this season but they still have top-notch talent across the board. My take: Ohio State will probably be the best team Notre Dame has faced all season. DE Joey Bosa is such a beast. Oh, before I forget, anyone figure out what the hell a “BattleFrog” is? Isn’t that an old video game or something? Pick: Ohio State

Rose Bowl – Stanford vs. Iowa: This should be a nice hard fought matchup between tow traditional Big Ten and Pac-12 teams. Iowa is coming off an undefeated regular season and only faced defeat in the conference championship game. Stanford rebounded from an early loss to Northwestern and had a nice season led by Heisman candidate Christian McCaffrey. My take: I like Iowa because everyone was waiting for them to lose every week and they strived on disappointing everyone. But I don’t think Iowa will be able to slow down McCaffrey and the Stanford offense. Pick: Stanford

Allstate Sugar Bowl – Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss: Ole Miss beat Alabama for its signature win of the season. Oklahoma State looked like they were ready for the big time until they ran into the Sooners. My take: I like Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell. The Cowboys have a decent defense but they wont be able to slow him down. Pick: Ole Miss

Jan. 2

TaxSlayer Bowl – Penn State vs. Georgia: Is Christian Hackenberg going pro after this game? Penn State has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. They should’ve done better this season. My take: Georgia lost to Florida so I don’t really tink much of them. Plus, they fired their coach for no reason. Also, forget what the announcers say during the game. It’s the Gator Bowl. Not TaxSlayer. Gator Bowl. Pick: Penn State

AutoZone Liberty Bowl – Kansas State vs. Arkansas: I don’t think much of any Big-12 North teams. Arkansas had a fun victory in overtime this season against Ole Miss. My take: Kansas State is a boring team to watch. Pick: Arkansas

Valero Alamo Bowl – Oregon vs. TCU: TCU is pretty much a carbon copy of Oregon so this should be a fun game to watch. Lots of scoring. My take: I don’t think TCU QB Trevone Boykin will be playing QB in the pros but he is a fun player to watch. He’ll have a chance at a nice Texas farewell in this game. Oregon doesn’t play defense. Pick: TCU

Motel 6 Cactus Bowl – West Virginia vs. Arizona State: Pitt fans will hate watch this, which is awesome. Two high scoring offenses in this one much like TCU/Oregon. My take: This game is just full of trashy references. It’s ridiculous. First off, Arizona State is basically the West Virginia of the West. A trashy, redneck, party school. I hope that both fan bases can pack Chase Field for this one. ESPN should cover the drinking games during the tailgate in the parking lots for this one. Beerpong, Flipcup, Quarters. All of it. It will be like a Kenny Chesney concert at Heinz Field. Plus, its sponsored by Motel 6 and one of the teams is coached by Todd Graham. You can’t get anymore trashier than that. Pick: West Virginia

0x600

College Football Playoff National Championship – Oklahoma vs. Michigan State: I picked both upsets in the College Football Playoff Semifinals. The more unlikely of the two is probably Michigan State but I wouldn’t complain about a Bama/OU final either. My take: Who said Bob Stoops can win big games anymore? Oklahoma will stop the Big Ten from going back-to-back in the first two years of the playoff system. Pick: Oklahoma

NFL 2015: Week 15 Predictions!

usa-today-8981912.0

Indy’s Chuck Pagano could really be on the hot seat if his Colts drop a 2nd straight divisional game.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 8-8

Season: 130-78

Big Five Games of the Week

Houston @ Indianapolis – The Colts built up their roster in the offseason in order to make a strong run to the Super Bowl. Instead, they have been a massive disappointment and deserving so or not, head coach Chuck Pagano is on the hot seat. That seat might get even hotter this week if they drop another divisional game against Houston. The Colts have a decent record inside their division especially at home. But Indy is hurting on the offensive side of the ball and they are struggling to put up points. Matt Hasselbeck is injured but he still might play. It isn’t a good sign to send out your 40-year-old starting QB with a playoff spot on the line especially when that QB isn’t at 100%. If Indy cant get their passing game going, Houston has the beef up front to stuff the run and really limited them offensively. Houston is having its own problems with keeping their QB’s healthy. Brian Hoyer will miss another game due to concussions and T.J. Yates will get the start. If memory serves me correctly, this isn’t the first time that the Texans called on Yates while in contention for a playoff spot. Yates has already shown that he can get the ball to star receiver DeAndre Hopkins and he’ll have the confidence that most backups don’t have. If Houston’s defense can continue to play hard, they’ll be able to keep the Colts from off the scoreboard and score a huge road victory in the AFC South. Prediction: Texans 21 – Colts 13

Carolina @ New York Giants – The Panthers are still undefeated and they are showing no signs of slowing down. The Giants and limping along in the woeful NFC East but they could present Carolina with some problems. The Giants also gave an undefeated New England squad a tough game at home this season. New York has been so inconsistent this season and they can’t hold on to leads. The Giants cant stop the run, they struggle with covering deep passes, and they are one dimensional on offense. Carolina’s defense should be able to have a strong showing against Eli Manning. The matchup between CB Josh Norman and all-world WR Odell Beckham Jr. will be one to watch. But I do see the Giants slowing down Cam Newton and his offensive attack or Eli Manning being able to put up enough yards against this Carolina defense. Prediction: Panthers 32 – Giants 16

Green Bay @ Oakland – Much is being made out of the play calling duties in Green Bay. But in reality it isn’t rocket science. Aaron Rodgers and the passing offense isn’t the same from years past. Is it because Rodgers is injured? Is it because the offense is missing big play receiver Jordy Nelson? Who knows? They figured it out last week by just feeding RB Eddie Lacy a bunch of times. But can the Packers rushing attack really be the long-term solution going forward this season? I don’t think so. But the Packers do play another team this week that struggles with stopping the run, the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders won a ugly road game last week but they should still be feeling pretty awesome going into this home game. Oakland’s defense played inspired and I think that will carry over into this week. Khalil Mack had a ridiculous game rushing the passer last week with 5 sacks. I think Mack will be able to find similar success against Green Bay’s offensive line. QB Derek Carr was able to do enough to win that game even without finding top rookie target Amari Cooper. I think a lot of the “experts” are starting to feel Green Bay alittle too hard after last week’s home victory but I still think that team has plenty of issues. I taking the upset as Oakland will take care of business as home underdogs. Prediction: Raiders 26 – Packers 23

Denver @ Pittsburgh – Denver is going through an identity crisis at QB. Earlier in the season, Peyton Manning struggled and many wanted him benched. Manning then, had a great game against Green Bay in primetime and everyone loved him again. Then, he got injured and everyone was ready to crown Brock Osweiler and send Manning into retirement after Denver knocked off undefeated New England. Now, coming off of a bad performance at home and Manning working himself back into health, Osweiler must get ready to face Pittsburgh on Sunday. My point is that if you look at the numbers, Osweiler really hasn’t been that much better than Manning since his injury and Denver will probably be better served once Manning is healthy. Good news for Denver is that their defense is still pretty good. Denver hasn’t allowed more than 30 points in a game this season. That stat will be relevant on Sunday as Pittsburgh has strived this season when scoring a lot of points. Pittsburgh’s passing game is as explosive as they come. But I think Denver is well equipped to slow them down. Denver is tough to run on and they have multiple pass rushers to get after Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh has many weapons at receiver but Denver has an athletic group of defensive backs and linebackers that can make things tougher for that group. I don’t think Denver will be able to fix their offensive troubles this week though. Denver’s offensive line has struggled in pass protection this entire season especially last week. I think that the old man, James Harrison, will have a big game this week and he’ll be able to cause some turnovers. Pittsburgh is tough against the run but I feel like it’s been awhile since they’ve truly been tested through out a ball game. I think Denver should make a great effort at pounding the rock this week as that could really help protect their young QB. I don’t think Pittsburgh’s offense will have a monster game but I think the defense will be able to win it this week for Pittsburgh. Prediction: Steelers 20 – Broncos 17

Arizona @ Philadelphia – I keep picking against the Eagles and they keep winning. I didn’t think they would be New England or Buffalo but here they are and they look like they could win the NFC East. Arizona is the better football team at all phases of the game. But Arizona has had some lapses this season. They can’t afford to have that this week as they are fighting for a first round bye in the playoffs. Arizona should be able to overpower Philly through the air on offense. Arizona should have the advantage on defense as well. Philly’s running game has been inconsistent all season and Arizona’s front seven on defense is tough. Philly’s dink and dunk passing game probably shouldn’t be that effective against a Cardinals secondary that excels in zone coverage and creating turnovers. I don’t know why the Eagles keep winning but I’ll be shocked if they are able to score a third straight upset victory. Prediction: Cardinals 31 – Eagles 23

The Rest of Week 15

Rams over Buccaneers – This will be the best looking game out of all the “Color Rush” games this season. Jameis Winston is having a fine rookie season but Tampa’s defense is starting to fade away. Will the Rams play hard in front of those St. Louis fans one last time? It could be a farewell party for that fan base.

Jets over Cowboys – Matt Cassel is Matt Cassel. Chris Ivory will be busy as Dallas struggled mightily against the run last week.

Vikings over Bears – Minnesota seems to be a lock for the playoffs no matter what happens the rest of the way. But they got to beat Chicago this week if they want a chance at the division.

Patriots over Titans – Tom Brady has historically torched Tennessee in his career.

Washington over Bills – It’s sad to say but maybe Tyrod Taylor is holding this Buffalo team back.

Jaguars over Falcons – Atlanta has completely fell apart. Jacksonville has confidence and a “legit” shot at the division? Maybe? We’ll see.

Chiefs over Ravens – Once again, Kansas City’s remaining schedule: ridiculously easy. Looks like another playoff berth for Andy Reid.

Seahawks over Browns – Manziel was great last week. Expect him to be less than great this week in Seattle.

Chargers over Dolphins – My heart goes out for those San Diego fans. This game will be notable just for the emotional scene after the game.

Bengals over 49ers – Life changed fast for Cincinnati last week. They just have to limp along to finish out the regular season. San Fran’s defense is tough but Cleveland outmatched them last week. Cincinnati must take care of business on the road.

Lions over Saints – It looks like New Orleans isn’t done competing and Detroit is. But if Matt Stafford can’t take advantage of this Saints secondary, he probably should be benched.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Russell Wilson (Seahawks) – Wilson is on a crazy roll right now. Cleveland doesn’t have the defense to slow him down.

RB: Adrian Peterson (Vikings) – Peterson has had some big games against Chicago in his career.

WR: DeAndre Hopkins (Texans) – Hopkins showed that he has chemistry with T.J. Yates earlier this season. He’ll get more looks this week with the division potentially on the line.

TE: Greg Olsen (Panthers) – The Giants give up the most yards through the air in football. If Newton is passing a lot, more than likely that will mean a big day for his TE.

DEF: Kansas City – Baltimore’s offense can’t move the ball. This is a trend that should continue this week against the tough Chiefs defense.

NFL 2015: Week 14 Predictions!

deandre-hopkins-cecil-shorts-nfl-houston-texans-buffalo-bills-850x560

DeAndre Hopkins is having a strong season in Houston this year.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 8-8

Season: 122-70

Big Five Games of the Week

Minnesota @ Arizona – A couple of weeks ago, Minnesota looked like they were ready to go on a run towards the NFC North title. Instead, they have seriously regressed against tougher opponents. Tonight, they’ll visit Arizona who looks like the most complete team in the NFC. Arizona has a top ranked offense and a stingy defense to match. Last week, the Vikings offense didn’t score a single point and RB Adrian Peterson received less than ten carries. Peterson definitely needs to get more touches than that if Minnesota stands a chance in this road game. Along with Minnesota’s offensive woes, their defense is starting to underperform as well. This will be coming at a bad time for Minnesota as I believe that they wont be able to slow down the Cardinals offense. QB Carson Palmer is having a great season, he has great receivers to throw to, and rookie RB David Johnson is stepping in quite nicely for the other injured veterans at RB. Arizona is also a tough draw when playing at home. Prediction: Cardinals 35 – Vikings 14

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati – Remember in Pittsburgh’s first meeting this season against Cincinnati, it was a wonder how the Steelers lost that game. I would think that the Steelers would take lessons from that game into this one coming up on Sunday. The Bengals are playing at home, they are coming off a lopsided victory, and they are favored in this game. But Cincinnati still has a complex when it comes to big games. They usually play better at home but I still don’t trust them. I think Cincinnati will continue to put more faith into Andy Dalton and the passing game. I mean, the Bengals do have a lot of receiving weapons and the Steelers secondary is a weakness for Pittsburgh. But Dalton played so badly in that first matchup until late in the game. Cincy’s running game has underperformed this season and Pittsburgh is a tough team to run against. But I think the Bengals should try to work in Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard as much as possible to help set up the big passing plays. Instead, I think the Bengals will continue to use the pass to set up the run, just like in the first meeting, and the results will not be ideal. On the other hand, Pittsburgh’s offense looks like a well-oiled machine right now and I don’t think the Bengals secondary will be able to contain all of Pittsburgh’s weapons. Ben Roethlisberger appears to be healthy and he is making every throw out there. Antonio Brown is unstoppable right now, Markus Wheaton is starting to come along, and Martavis Bryant is showing plenty of big play ability. The Bengals wont be able to contain the Steelers air attack. Cincinnati does have a tough front four and they will have to get after Ben in order to limit Pittsburgh’s scoring chances. These divisional games are usually close but I’m not trusting Andy Dalton to out gun Roethlisberger, even at home. Prediction: Steelers 27 – Bengals 20

Buffalo @ Philadelphia – I love this revenge games. Especially this one because there is plenty of bad blood. The Eagles caught New England on a bad day last week but I have to imagine that they feel great after knocking off one of the best teams in the league. Buffalo is starting to put things together on both sides of the ball as they gear up for a playoff run in these last four weeks. QB Tyrod Taylor is back to playing efficient football. If his offensive line can give him time, he’ll be able to hit his receivers for big plays against this Eagles secondary. Philadelphia does have an active, tough front seven but they’ll be challenged greatly by Buffalo’s rushing attack. LeSean McCoy will be looking to score on every play but he’ll need to keep his emotions in check to avoid trying to do too much. I hope Philly doesn’t forget about rookie RB Karlos Williams who will present his own style of running to this Eagles defense. Philadelphia’s offense is in a mess right now. They lack an identity even with QB Sam Bradford back in the lineup. Buffalo’s front four will present to them plenty of problems. I don’t think its great sign that Kenjon Barner is getting more carries than the big free agent acquisition, DeMarco Murray. There is unrest in Philadelphia right now even though they are coming off their best win of the season. I think the Bills will outclass the Eagles in everyway and Shady McCoy will get his revenge. I even think the Eagles fans will cheer for McCoy. Prediction: Bills 26 – Eagles 17

Dallas @ Green Bay – Dallas finally scored a victory without Tony Romo last week. They have a slim chance at still winning the horrible NFC East but they are still a bad football team. They’ll face a big challenge this week against the Packers. The Cowboys defense had a strong performance last week and they could continue that success this week on the road. Green Bay has plenty of offensive issues going into this game. The Packers don’t have a strong offensive line, the receiver play has been inconsistent, and Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been the same sharp QB that he has been in the past. Dallas got really good play from their defensive line last week and I think they’ll be able to pressure Rodgers. If not, Rodgers will be able to expose Dallas’ secondary. Green Bay has also been inconsistent defensively. But I don’t see the Cowboys offense taking advantage. The Cowboys offense still has the same problem without Romo: they can’t score touchdowns. I think Green Bay will be able to do enough offensively while the Dallas offense will continue to settle for field goals and not score touchdowns. The Packers are usually a much tougher team at home. Prediction: Packers 28 – Cowboys 21 (Seven Dan Bailey Field Goals)

New England @ Houston – Houston is hanging on to slim playoff hopes as the slumping Patriots come to town. New England is coming off a bad lost at home to Philly as they have dropped their last two games. I don’t think Brady and Belichick have lost three straight ever but if they have, its been a long time ago. I think New England will be able to bounce back this week as long as they stay away from the turnovers. New England’s offensive line is coming off a poor performance and that isnt good news with J.J. Watt on the horizon. Brady and the passing game will have to be sharp with the quick throws especially with the pressure brought on by Watt. New England’s defense has been underrated all season and they’ll face favorable matchups this week against the Texans offense. Bill Belichick should know Bill O’Brien’s offense as well as anyone and that will give the Patriots defense an advantage. Prediction: Patriots 29 – Texans 17

The Rest of Week 14

Bears over Washington – Chicago will play tough at home again this week. Washington is a team that I’m not taking seriously as a playoff contender.

49ers over Browns – Manziel will finally get the start to finish out the season behind a shotty offensive line and a depleted receiving core. The moment for his in Cleveland has passed. San Fran’s defense will have its way.

Chiefs over Chargers – Kansas City has a clear path to the playoffs with their favorable schedule.

Lions over Rams – Detroit should be angry over how they lost last week. St. Louis will be ready to mail it in as they are a banged up team right now.

Jets over Titans – Expect plenty of yards in the air in this one. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a great story this season.

Buccaneers over Saints – Tampa Bay is slowly becoming a playoff contender. New Orleans is a contender for worst defensive secondary ever.

Panthers over Falcons – I think Carolina will lose in the regular season eventually. It wont be this week.

Colts over Jaguars – Indy cant take Jacksonville lightly. But Matt Hasselbeck should have a strong game through the air against that secondary.

Seahawks over Ravens – Seattle is starting to look like a serious contender. Baltimore will not present a challenge for them with the way they’ve been playing recently.

Broncos over Raiders – I don’t know if I’m buying that this is the end for Peyton Manning but with the most victories under the belt of Brock Osweiler, the more likely that seems to be true.

Dolphins over Giants – The New York Giants cant get right and Miami will be wearing some sweet throwback uniforms on Monday night.

 

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Jameis Winston (Buccaneers) – Winston has been finishing some impressive games recently and that should continue against the Saints secondary.

RB: LeSean McCoy (Bills) – I’m worried about McCoy trying to do too much against his former team but his emotions will be high and he’ll receive plenty of touches.

WR: DeVante Parker (Dolphins) – Parker made his mark last week and he’ll get more opportunities this Monday night against the Giants who give up the most yards through the air.

TE: Julius Thomas (Jaguars) – Thomas is starting to receive more targets in this offense as the season goes along.

DEF: Detroit – The Lions defense has been playing decent football since the midseason mark. St. Louis is pretty one dimensional on offense right now.

NFL 2015: Week 13 Predictions!

20151129pdSteelersSports07-2

The Steelers will need a strong performance from their offense this Sunday night.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 13-3

Season: 114-62

Big Five Games of the Week

Green Bay @ Detroit – A couple weeks ago when the Packers crushed Minnesota on the road, it seemed like Green Bay was ready to make another strong run at the NFC North. But the Packers had an absolutely deflating lost at home last week vs. Chicago and now there are more questions than answers in Green Bay. Tonight, the Packers visit a suddenly hot Detroit team that looks like they’ve completely rebounded from a disastrous start to this season. The Lions are playing inspired on defense and on offense, Matt Stafford is rediscovering his franchise receiver, Calvin Johnson. Green Bay didn’t really get dominated offensively vs. Chicago last week but Detroit will issue some challenges that Green Bay didn’t face last week. Aaron Rodgers play has been shaky for most of the season and Detroit’s defense has been coming on strong as of late. The Lions look like they could be the team ready to go on a run in this division and sweep for the Packers for the first time in forever. Prediction: Lions 31 – Packers 21

Houston @ Buffalo – Houston is playing well going into this week’s game in Buffalo, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Last week, Houston completely shut down Drew Brees and the Saints offense while keeping them out of the end zone. Also with QB Brian Hoyer back in the line up, the Texans offense is looking more efficient each series. Buffalo has been inconsistent this season but they usually play stronger at home. Houston will be challenged greatly by Buffalo’s rushing attack. Houston’s secondary has been playing better lately but they will have their hands full with WR Sammy Watkins who is starting to demand the ball from Tyrod Taylor. Buffalo’s defense gave up too many yards last week in Kansas City and I think they’ll be up to the challenge to rebound from that performance this week at home. Buffalo has the front seven to stuff Houston’s run game and that will allow them to focus their attention on WR DeAndre Hopkins who is playing out of his mind right now. I’m going out on a limb on this one but I’m picking the home team. Prediction: Bills 22 – Texans 16

Seattle @ Minnesota – Russell Wilson had far and away his best passing game of the season last week at home vs. a weak Steelers secondary. I think Seattle’s offense is getting too much credit for last week. I mean, I don’t mean to take anything away from Wilson and the Seahawks passing game but Pittsburgh’s secondary was horrible last week. This week in Minnesota, Seattle will face a much tougher secondary and overall defense in the Vikings. Seattle’s defense also gave up a lot of yards through the air last week and their pass rush didn’t have an affect on the game until the second half. I think Minnesota will be able to play ball control football by feeding their beast, Adrian Peterson, and giving QB Teddy Bridgewater time to execute big plays through the air. Prediction: Vikings 27 – Seahawks 20

New York Jets @ New York Giants – This edition of the battle for New York is especially important because both teams are competing for a playoff spot in their respected conferences. The Giants laid an absolute egg last week on the road at Washington. Meanwhile, the Jets were dominant against a weak Miami team. The Giants are trending down going into this week but they matchup well against the Jets. The Giants have issues with running the football and that should continue this week as the Jets have a strong defensive front seven. However for the Jets defense, they might be without CB Darrelle Revis again which would spell bad news for this secondary going up against WR Odell Beckham Jr. Eli Manning struggled for most of last weeks game and the Giants will need him to be sharp this week against a shorthanded Jets secondary. The Giants defense underperformed last week and they’ll be challenged again this week against the Jets. The Jets offense had a strong performance last week as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for multiple touchdowns, Brandon Marshall continued to be a reliable target, and RB Chris Ivory was able to get the tough yards for this offense. I believe that the Jets will be able to get their offense going this week but the Giants are in “must win” mode and are the most desperate team in this contest. I think Eli Manning will be able to rebound and play great for all 4 quarters this week. Prediction: Giants 25 – Jets 24

Indianapolis @ Pittsburgh – Indy’s victory over Tampa Bay last week was closer than what the scoreboard read. I remember last season when the Colts played in Pittsburgh in an absolute shootout. With the current state of the Colts passing game, I don’t see that happening this time around. Or maybe not because the Pittsburgh secondary is coming off its worst performance of the season. Last week, Jameis Winston left a lot of yards on the table against this Colts defense. That wont be the case for Ben Roethlisberger and the many weapons at the receiver position. Roethlisberger is coming off a concussion injury so we do have to wonder if he will be still feeling effects from that injury on Sunday night. If Ben is not 100%, Pittsburgh may have to lean on its running game this week. That might not be a bad thing, as Indy doesn’t really have a tough run defense. The Colts defense has been playing better recently but they still have been an underachieving unit for most of the season. With all the injuries Pittsburgh has had to deal with, I think they are still head and shoulders the better team on the field this week. If Pittsburgh drops this one at home, their playoff chances will be in serious jeopardy. Prediction: Steelers 28 – Colts 20

The Rest of Week 13

Bears over 49ers – This Chicago squad is playing hard for head coach John Fox.

Bengals over Browns – Cleveland is starting Austin Davis at QB this week. What kind of message do you think that sends to the Browns locker room? Does Davis, who has only been in Cleveland for weeks now, truly give Cleveland its best chance to win on Sunday? Does Mike Pettine believe that his locker room will rally around Davis? Cleveland is a mess. This should be an easy week for the Bengals. #FreeJohnnyFootball

Titans over Jaguars – Tennessee lost a close one last week. Their efforts will be awarded this week vs. Jacksonville.

Cardinals over Rams – Arizona must keep their current momentum to fend off Seattle for the division.

Ravens over Dolphins – Miami is playing awful right now. Ryan Tannehill may have hit his ceiling.

Falcons over Buccaneers – Atlanta must win this one to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Chiefs over Raiders – Kansas City is getting the most out of their offense while the defense is playing at a high level.

Broncos over Chargers – The Brock Osweiler hype train in gaining stream but everyone needs to relax. Then again, he’ll probably play good again this week at San Diego.

Patriots over Eagles – No Gronk, no problem? I don’t know about that. I do know that the Eagles secondary can’t stop anyone.

Panthers over Saints – After that horrible offensive performance, New Orleans will face a tough, undefeated Carolina defense. Bad news for the Saints.

Washington over Cowboys – I’m not sure if I’m buying Washington has the best team in the NFC Least. Who knows what Dallas can offer with the type of season they are having. They could easily regroup and win this game on the road or continue to disappoint. Who knows.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Cam Newton (Panthers) – Newton isn’t leading in any passing category but he will look sharp against this New Orleans secondary.

RB: C.J. Anderson (Broncos) – After ending New England’s undefeated season last week, Anderson may have another big day against San Diego’s run defense.

WR: Brandon Marshall (Jets) – Marshall is quietly having a nice season and that should continue against the Giants secondary.

TE: Travis Kelce (Chiefs) – Kelce has been a reliable target for Alex Smith this season.

DEF: Chicago – The Bears defense did a great job last week limiting Aaron Rodgers. Hopefully they can continue that success against San Francisco’s woeful offense.

NFL 2015: Week 10 Predictions!

GettyImages-496328232.0

New England’s defense will be aiming to slow down New York’s Odell Beckham Jr. on Sunday.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 8-5

Season: 86-46

Big Five Games of the Week

Buffalo @ New York Jets – Big game tonight in the AFC East. The Jets are looking to keep their momentum after defeating Jacksonville last week. The Jets are currently in second place in the division and they have a favorable schedule leading up into December. Buffalo has had their issues this season but now they appear to be healthy and ready to make a push towards the post season. This matchup will feature two tough defenses but I’ll give the edge to Buffalo because New York’s secondary is rather weak sans Darrelle Revis. WR Sammy Watkins finally had a big game last week but he’ll face a huge test in Revis tonight. Opposite of Revis is where the Jets defense will be in trouble. The Jets offense is able to be successful because of RB Chris Ivory and the running game but Buffalo has one of the best defensive lines in football. The same can be said when the other team has the ball. Buffalo has had success running ball with rookie Karlos Williams and the now healthy LeSean McCoy but the Jets also are a tough team to run against. Because this is Rex Ryan’s homecoming game, I’m expecting Buffalo to come out with a little extra edge tonight. I’m taking the road team in the bright red unis. It will go down to the wire though. Prediction: Bills 24 – Jets 21

Minnesota @ Oakland – Minnesota has an impressive 6-2 record but no one is really talking about them. This Sunday, they’ll travel to Oakland to face a Raiders team that took its lumps last week in Pittsburgh. Minnesota has the tools to attack this Raiders defense on the ground and through the air. RB Adrian Peterson is looking like his old self again and the Vikings will continue to feed him on Sunday. QB Teddy Bridgewater took a big hit last week but he will start this Sunday. Oakland’s secondary is pretty suspect so I would expect Bridgewater to get his hook on with his new favorite target, rookie WR Stefon Diggs. Oakland has a decent balanced attack on offense as well but Minnesota is a lot better defensively. The Raiders usually play better at home but I think this Vikings team is tough enough to get a big road victory. Prediction: Vikings 35 – Raiders 27

Kansas City @ Denver – Denver had a poor showing last week in Indy. They were in a close game but then they completely lost their cool. Divisional matchups are always tough but I would expect the Broncos to bounce back at home this week against the Chiefs. The Chiefs are short handed on offense and they will find it tough to score points against Denver’s top ranked defense. Kansas City will have a chance if Peyton Manning is pressured and he turns over the ball. I think Denver learned from last week and they’ll be able to take care of business on Sunday. Prediction: Broncos 22 – Chiefs 10

New England @ New York Giants – New England is on a roll once again going into the second half of a season. Tom Brady is doing it all for the offense and the defense is under rated and not getting enough press. There will be plenty of press this week as the Pats will travel to New Jersey to take on the rival Giants. Now, I know that the Patriots and the Giants aren’t really rivals but because of the fan bases and because of the recent history in the post season, this is a rivalry game. Like the other NFC East teams, the Giants really stink this year but it appears that they can do enough to win their division. Eli Manning isn’t turning over the ball as much and he is getting the ball to his talented receivers, led by WR Odell Beckham Jr. The Patriots will have its hands full with trying to slow down Beckham Jr. as they don’t have a strong presence in the secondary. New England’s strength on defense comes from their defensive line, where they are tough against the run and have the league’s leader in sacks, Chandler Jones. We all know how Manning can play when under pressure so I would expect that the Patriots defense will make it a point to get after him on Sunday. Brady has been playing well on the other side of the ball but the Giants will up their efforts at pressuring him on Sunday as well. DE Jason Pierre-Paul is back and it may other have 8.5 fingers but he still have plenty of ability as a pass rusher. The Giants are poor at stopping the run but New England will be shorthanded without Dion Lewis. RB LeGarrette Blount has been playing well as of late though so I would expect plenty of touches for him on Sunday. The Giants usually have New England’s number in the post season but Sunday’s game is taking place in the regular season. I expect New England to stay undefeated. Prediction: Patriots 31 – Giants 21

Arizona @ Seattle – This is a big game for Seattle coming off the bye. They should be all rested up and ready to stake their claim for the NFC West against the rival Cardinals. Arizona has looked good this season but much like last season, they have faltered against better opponents. Arizona will be in this game on Sunday because of their defense. Seattle has issues on the offensive side of the ball. RB Marshawn Lynch will continue to be the heartbeat of the offense for Seattle. But when Seattle is passing the ball, they cant protect QB Russell Wilson and they still don’t have a big time play maker at receiver. This serves well for the Cardinals as they have a good secondary lead by CB Patrick Peterson. Seattle does have a big play target in the passing game in TE Jimmy Graham but they haven’t been consistent at feeding him the football. Hopefully, this was something that they worked on during the bye week. Arizona’s offense will find it hard in this matchup as well. Seattle is still a tough team to run against and their pass rush will be able to get after Carson Palmer. If Palmer does have time to throw, Seattle’s secondary will have its hands full with Arizona’s talented receivers. This should be a close game but I expect Seattle to continue the tradition of playing better than what they really are at home. Prediction: Seahawks 30 – Cardinals 24

The Rest of Week 10

Packers over Lions – It has literally been forever since Detroit has won in Green Bay.

Panthers over Titans – Carolina handled Green Bay pretty well last week and the score of that game didn’t really tell the story of that game. I think Carolina stays undefeated this week in Nashville.

Bears over Rams – Chicago is quietly still breathing this season. St. Louis has a lot of talent but they are easily unlikable because of that coaching staff.

Eagles over Dolphins – Philadelphia’s offensive line deserves a lot of credit. Their running game has successfully bounced back from how bad it looked earlier in the season. Miami is starting to lose the momentum they created by firing their coach.

Steelers over Browns – Pittsburgh will be without its starting QB but it wont matter. It’s Cleveland. Cleveland.

Buccaneers over Cowboys – This is a must win for Dallas. The pipe dream of Tony Romo returning and saving this season hinges on this game. Tampa is beatable but they have a tough defense and their offense is getting better. I have no reason to believe in this Dallas team right now.

Saints over Washington – Rob Ryan’s bad defense made an appearance last week. Lets see if that unit can bounce back on the road against Kirk Cousins.

Ravens over Jaguars – I thought Jacksonville was really to make their move last week. I was wrong. Baltimore is awful but is coming off the bye and is playing at home.

Bengals over Texans – Houston wont be able to score enough points on the road. Cincinnati completes what I think will be a clean sweep for the undefeated teams in the league on Monday night.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Tom Brady (Patriots) – Brady will be facing the second worst pass defense in the league on Sunday.

RB: DeAngelo Williams (Steelers) – Williams was decent last week against Oakland and without Roethlisberger, he’ll get extra carries against Cleveland’s pitiful run defense.

WR: Allen Robinson (Jaguars) – Baltimore’s secondary isnt very good. Robinson is putting up consistent numbers and he might get extra targets this week as his teammate, Allen Hurns, is fighting a foot injury.

TE: Jordan Reed (Washington) – New Orleans’ secondary is a joke. Cousins loves going to his TE. He is one of the few Washington receivers that can stay healthy.

DEF: Carolina – The Panthers are the easy choice here and they’ll be facing an usually poor Titans offense.

NFL 2015: Mid-Season Report

panthers_01

At the mid-season mark, what’s not to like about this Carolina Panthers squad?

By: Elias McMillan

Now that every team has played at least 8 games, here are my top 5 surprises and disappointments in this 2015 NFL Season. Also, I have mid-season awards and a REVISED prediction for Super Bowl 50.

Top Five Surprising Teams

  1. Carolina Panthers (8-0) – Before the season started, I believed that the Panthers could still repeat as NFC South champions this season. But I couldn’t imagine them being without a loss at the half point of the season. I had no doubts that the defense in Carolina would be very good but I thought that the lack of offensive weapons would have kept them from being serious title contenders this year. But the offense, led by Cam Newton, has done just enough to win games and beat some of the better teams in the NFC. Carolina looks like they’ll have a clear path to home field advantage in this season’s playoffs.
  2. Cincinnati Bengals (8-0) – I thought that the Bengals would take a serious step back before the season started. Cincinnati has a lot of talent but I thought because of past failures, they wouldn’t be able to put it all together for one more playoff run. Instead, Cincy has improved play on their defensive line and the offense is still able to strike quickly and often. The Bengals look to be a lock to make the playoffs again but time will tell if they will actually be able to advance pass the first round this time around.
  3. New York Jets (5-3) – The Jets were supposed to stink this year. Instead, new head coach Todd Bowles has reenergized the team and they are now sitting in second place in the AFC East. There was a lot of hype surrounding Buffalo and Miami before the season started but the Jets have successfully risen up from behind the radar. The strength behind this Jets team has been the defensive front seven and the return of their power running game behind RB Chris Ivory. The Jets will have a tough road in the second half of the season but they might actually have a good chance at returning to the playoffs.
  4. Atlanta Falcons (6-3) – Atlanta was an early season surprise before they started to cool down significantly recently. Atlanta’s defense was playing way above expectations and RB Devonta Freeman was the breakout star on this offense. Atlanta has started to fall back to earth but they still might be able to ride their big play offense into the playoffs. They still have two games left on the schedule against the division leading Panthers.
  5. New England Patriots (8-0) – Yea, I know that the undefeated Patriots aren’t that big of a surprise but I didn’t think they would be this good of a team because of all their losses on the defensive side of the ball. Tom Brady hasn’t missed a game this season and the Patriots offense is the usual machine that it has always been. But for whatever reason, the defense hasn’t let down like I thought they would. The Patriots actually rank third in the league in rush defense.

Top Five Disappointing Teams

  1. Baltimore Ravens (2-6) – I had the Ravens competing for the AFC North title this season. A lot of people have been saying that the turning point of this season for the Ravens was when Terrell Suggs was lost due to injury. I think the bigger loss happened before the season when Baltimore traded away Haloti Ngata. Baltimore’s defense has regressed this season and the offense hasn’t been able to put it together. Joe Flacco has regressed and his receivers have been dropping like flies. This has been a truly lost season for John Harbaugh.
  2. Indianapolis Colts (4-5) – I realize that the Colts will still probably win the AFC South but there are an under .500 team and I had them winning it all before the season started. The Colts have severely under performed this season from the head coach, to the QB, and to the defense. The Colts are fortunate to be in the AFC South but they wont be the title contenders that I thought they would be at the start of the season.
  3. Miami Dolphins (3-5) – At the start of the season, I said that the Dolphins had “underachiever” written all over them. And for the most part, I was right. The defense has really let the entire team down and Ryan Tannehill isnt having the breakout season that we all thought he would be having. Good news is that they at least fired that stiff of a head coach. I hope Dan Campbell can turn it around and the Dolphins can finish off the season respectfully.
  4. Dallas Cowboys (2-6) – The Cowboys season has been completely wreck due to injuries but they still belong on this list. When Tony Romo went down, the belief was there that they had the talent to at least tread water until he returns. Instead, the Cowboys have lost 6 straight without Romo. The plan at backup QB has been a disaster, as well as the plan to replace DeMarco Murray. Whats even more disappointing is that the defense is even under performing. Because the NFC East stinks, Dallas literally has one more chance to maybe save the season this Sunday in Tampa. It’s a slim chance but a chance nonetheless.
  5. Detroit Lions (1-7) – With all the losses on the defensive line, I knew that Detroit would take a step back in 2015. But I didn’t think it would be this bad. Despite all of the talent of the offensive side of the ball and the additions to the offensive line, Detroit has completely flew off the handle and now, wholesale changes are on the horizon.

Mid-Season Awards

MVP: Tom Brady (QB – Patriots) – New England is probably the best team in the AFC and it’s because of the play of their QB. Brady has returned with a vengeance and is showing no signs of slowing down. I don’t think of his play as much as a “revenge tour” though that is a cool idea. But Brady has been what he has always been, a future Hall of Famer with a killer instinct. In the offseason, the AFC East teams stacked their defensive lines in order to stop Brady. Nothing has worked as of yet.

Offensive MVP: Antonio Brown (WR – Steelers) – I’m still kind of in awe of the game that Brown had a couple days ago. With Le’Veon Bell out, Brown will be the engine that will keep the Pittsburgh offense going into the post-season. No one on the league works harder than Brown and his numbers reflect that.

Defensive MVP: Charles Woodson (S – Raiders) – Woodson is having a renaissance of a season in 2015. He leads the league in interceptions and is a reason for Oakland’s recent turn around.

My REVISED Prediction for Super Bowl 50

In the NFC, I don’t see my preseason pick, Seattle, making it out. They might still eventually win the NFC West but they don’t look like the same team they were last season. The offensive line play and the unpredictability of Russell Wilson will probably cost them in the playoffs. Green Bay is a contender but I don’t trust their defense or their offensive line. Carolina maybe beatable because of their inexperience but they are clearly the lone stand out in the conference. In the AFC, I had the Colts coming out of the conference and winning it all. They probably wont happen though the Colts will win their division. Pittsburgh has so much freaking talent. I mean, how else are they still winning ball games with all the injuries they have. Pittsburgh’s defense isn’t getting enough credit but they still have significant weaknesses in the secondary. Roethlisberger may get healthy again but I’m not sure if I can trust them in playoffs especially if they cant catch the Bengals. Thinking of the Bengals, they might be sitting pretty in the AFC when its all set and done. I think it will come down to Cincinnati and New England in the AFC. And Cincy might stand a good chance if their defensive line and bother Tom Brady. The closer will be the fact that I don’t trust Andy Dalton at all in the post season. Remember the run that Joe Flacco had in his Super Bowl season? Do you think Dalton has that in him? I don’t. You can’t also forget about the Broncos. Denver has the best defense in football but the inconsistencies of offense might keep them from making the Super Bowl. New England is beatable, much like last season. But if they can overcome the defenses of Cincinnati and Denver, they will back their way into yet another Super Bowl appearance. REVISED Super Bowl 50 Prediction: Panthers over Patriots