Tag Archives: Andy Reid

NFL 2016: Wild-Card Playoff Round Predictions!

Kirk Cousins

“You like that?!” I can’t believe Washington might be the home underdog that might actually win this weekend.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 9-7

Final 2015 Regular Season: 163-93

NFL Wildcard Playoff Round

Kansas City @ Houston – On paper, this wildcard matchup doesn’t provide much flash but it could really turn into one of the better games this opening playoff weekend in the NFL. Kansas City may have benefited from a weak schedule but they are entering the playoffs on a great stretch that goes back to the middle of the regular season. Its amazing how the Chiefs were able to rebound and make a playoff run after losing its best player, Jamaal Charles, to injury. Houston was a pretty average team for most of the season and coach Bill O’Brien was largely rumored to be on the hot seat at one time. Houston got their act together in time to make the playoffs but they got a lot of help from the imploding Colts. This match up will be all about the defenses as both units rank in the top ten in the league. Houston does a great job up front at stopping the run and they are led up front by all-world DE J.J. Watt. Watt is going to automatically affect the way Kansas City runs their offense, which will give Houston an advantage. Kansas City has done a decent job at running the ball without their star this season though. QB Alex Smith has had a bounce back season in 2015 and you can charge that to the improvements at the receiver position. Smith has dynamic targets to go at WR (Jeremy Maclin) and at TE (Travis Kelce) but Houston usually doesn’t allow tons of yards through the air. Kansas City is pretty solid defensively as well. They have a pair of great pass rushers in Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, they are stout against the run, and safety Eric Berry leads a tough physical secondary. I really like rookie CB Marcus Peters but he will have his hands full on Saturday against WR DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is having a breakout season and has already seen success against this defense earlier this season. QB Brian Hoyer will be starting in his first ever playoff game and Houston really isn’t a strong running team so they will be counting on Hopkins to provide the big plays on offense. The Chiefs are favored in this game probably because they have more offensive weapons than the Texans. I think both defenses will play great in this game but I think I’ll trust the veteran Alex Smith to make more plays on offense than Hoyer. I don’t know if J.J. Watt can win this game for Houston by himself but he is capable. And if he is successful at doing so, ESPN will never shut up about it. I’m taking Andy Reid’s bunch. Prediction: Chiefs 22 – Texans 16

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati – With this being the lone divisional matchup this wildcard weekend, this game is easily the main event. The hatred between these two teams will make this an entertaining game but really, this rivalry lacks the heat that Pittsburgh had with Baltimore. About 5 years ago, Pittsburgh and Baltimore made a great rivalry because it wasn’t overly one-sided. The Pittsburgh-Cincinnati rivalry mainly exists because Cincinnati can’t win a big game to save its life. And that will be the case once again on Saturday night as the Bengals are playing for their season (life). If you look at how each team is trending going into this game, you would think that Cincinnati should be the home favorite. But they are not because you simply can’t trust this team in the post season. Even against an injured and currently playing below average Steelers team. After Pittsburgh had that big comeback at home against Denver, they kind of skated through the last two games of the regular season. They played awful at Baltimore, which ended in a loss and really should have kept them from making the playoffs. Last week, they were able to beat Cleveland but they didn’t look too impressive in that game either. To make matters even worst, RB DeAngelo Williams injured his ankle last week and will probably be unavailable on Saturday night. The Steeler running game will be led by a couple of no names and that might cause the offense to be one-dimensional. That might not be a bad thing because the Steelers passing game has been their bread and butter this season. With a QB like Roethlisberger and the wealth of talent at the receiver position, passing the ball 50 times might not be a bad thing. But I have to bring up that also since that Denver game, Roethlisberger has been noticeably not as sharp as he once was. I think Cincinnati has the defense to slow down the Pittsburgh offense but I also think they will lack the ability to really make a game changing turnover in this game. Cincinnati has a scrappy defense but they don’t have a player on that unit that could possibly change the outcome. Cincinnati will be without starting QB Andy Dalton and despite his record in the post season, this is a bad thing for the Bengals. The only good thing about starting A.J. McCarron is that no one will expect anything from him so he might actually surprise some folks. Everyone and their mother knows that the Steelers have a weak secondary. And despite starting a backup, the Bengals will attack the Steelers defense through the air. I know that the Steelers rank in the top five in run defense but I think Cincinnati needs to get more creative on offense when attacking this defense. We keep hearing about how great a coordinator Hue Jackson is but he needs to find a way to get RB’s Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard more involved in this offense. Both backs have been inconsistent this season but they both have the skill set to be valuable pieces for this offense especially with starting a backup QB. The rivalry, the trash talk, and the extra stuff aside, this game will probably go as expected because Cincinnati lacks the killer instinct to beat Pittsburgh in a big game. When Pittsburgh beat Denver two week ago, every talking head was talking about how dangerous they are and how no one wants to play them in January. Its funny how fast things can change in the NFL. The Steelers are not that dangerous team that no ones wants to play but they’ll still be better than Cincinnati on Saturday night. Pittsburgh will probably start out the gates hot, they’ll let Cincy back in the game in the 2nd half but then they will close them out in the 4th quarter. Prediction: Steelers 28 – Bengals 21

Seattle @ Minnesota – I was really happy for Mike Zimmer and his Vikings last Sunday night. They were able to beat a struggling Packers team and outright win the NFC North. Then, I learned their opponent for wildcard weekend and began to feel sorry for them. It’s been a long time coming for this Minnesota team. They’ve spend many mow draft picks, they have youthful talent of defense, and they’ve finally broken through to overtake Green Bay. Now, they have a very tall task at home Sunday in the 2-time defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. Not only is Seattle the better team but they also matchup so well against Minnesota. Minnesota’s offense is led by their rushing attack and Adrian Peterson. Seattle has the best run defense in the league according to the numbers and they shut down Peterson earlier this season. Young QB Teddy Bridgewater has been playing well as of late but he is going to have to have the game of his life against Seattle’s second ranked pass defense. The real story of this game will be the matchup between Seattle’s offense and Minnesota’s defense. Russell Wilson, except for the St. Louis game, has been on a roll recently and I don’t remember the last time Seattle’s passing game has looked this good. Seattle’s rushing attack has dealt with many injuries this season but they’ll receive a huge boost this Sunday when Marshawn Lynch returns to the lineup. Minnesota’s defense isn’t bad but they are quite average against the run. I like Minnesota’s secondary a lot. They have a good mix of veterans and young talent. The key for the Vikings defense on passing downs will be getting pressure on Wilson. If Wilson has time to run around and use his legs, he’ll provide the game with the big backbreaking play to Minnesota’s hopes. I think Seattle will be able to put up points in ways that Minnesota wont be able to. The freezing temps in Minnesota might have an affect on how this game is played but it wont decide the contest. A Minnesota victory would be one of the biggest upsets in wildcard weekend history. I don’t see that happening. Prediction: Seahawks 36 – Vikings 24

Green Bay @ Washington – I couldn’t foresee the Green Bay Packers backing into the playoffs like they did. But they have been struggling for the most part during the second half of the regular season. Green Bay has a lot of talent but a lot of things have been off for them this season. I guess you have to give Washington credit for winning the joke that was the NFC East this season. But they are on a roll right now and their chances to win on Sunday against the Packers are very realistic. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t looked like his usual self this season. It may be because he is missing his favorite target, Jordy Nelson. It may be because his offensive line has been horrible. Whatever the reason may be, Rodgers hasn’t been right and we saw proof of that as recently as last Sunday at home vs. Minnesota. Washington doesn’t have a dynamic pass rush but they’ll figure out a way to get after Rodgers. Washington isn’t strong against the run so Green Bay might have to find a way to get Eddie Lacy and James Starks going with the running game. Green Bay’s defense has been inconsistent at times this season and they’ll face a red hot QB on Sunday. QB Kirk Cousins may not be a sure thing for Washington in the future but he is playing well enough currently. Washington also has a lot of weapons at the skill positions that the Packers will have to contend with. Washington has dynamic pass catchers in DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and TE Jordan Reed. The Washington passing game has carried the offense this year as RB Alfred Morris and the running game had a lackluster season. This game will be weird because I feel like everyone will be waiting for the real Aaron Rodgers to show up but I feel like we’ll be waiting forever. The Packers are favored, barely, but they are easily the most vulnerable road team this wildcard weekend. I can’t believe it either but I’m taking Washington in a small upset. Prediction: Washington 24 – Packers 23

NFL 2015: Week 10 Predictions!

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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: AFC West Preview

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Peyton Manning’s Super Bowl window maybe closing sooner than later.

By: Elias McMillan

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos – At the end of last season, watching Denver was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. QB Peyton Manning got a little banged up and the entire football team lost its edge offensively and defensively. This cost head coach John Fox his job but Denver was able to bring in Gary Kubiak who is familiar with the Denver franchise. Kubiak might be the right coach for Denver right now offensively because he has the reputation for using the running game effectively. An effectively running game could mean less pressure on Manning and the passing game. There is a lot of preseason buzz surrounding RB C.J. Anderson, as he might be a breakout star in Kubiak’s offense. For this offense to work, they are gonna need to get the best out of an under achieving offensive line. They’ve recently signed veteran guard Evan Mathis who will be able to play right away and make the Broncos stronger up front. Peyton Manning may have one or two good seasons left but he is still in the position where he is the most important piece on this football team. Denver will return a deep receiving core led by WR Demaryius Thomas. WR Emmanuel Sanders was a breakout star last season and also look for Cody Latimer to have an increased role this season. They lost TE Julius Thomas in free agency but Kubiak was able to bring over veteran Owen Daniels from Baltimore. Last season, Denver loaded up on defense but ultimately they under performed as a unit. This season, they brought in new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and with him, I expect expectations will be raised. Phillips has a great rep as a great defensive coach who can get the most out of his players. Denver’s strength on defense comes from its linebackers. They have a great pass-rushing duo in DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller. Also, they drafted Shane Ray with their first round pick in the draft and he might develop into Ware’s replacement eventually. I like Denver’s middle linebackers as well, Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan. Denver will need more consistency from their secondary in 2015. CB Aqib Talib is the most talented player they have in the secondary but he needs to play smarter this year. I really like second year player Bradley Rody who showed a lot of promise in his rookie year. At safety, T.J. Ward should be able to continue to be a force in run support and as a tackler down the field. I think the defense should be improved under Wade Phillips but ultimately the success of this team will be determined on the offensive side of the ball. If the running game is improved and Manning can stay healthy, I don’t see why Denver wont be able to repeat as division champs again. Prediction: 11-5 (AFC West Champs)

Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs have two things that I’ve always liked on a football team: defense and a running game. But last season, the offense and the defense under achieved at times and it kept them from making the post season. I think the Chiefs can return to the playoffs this season but a lot of it is going to depend on what they can get out for the QB position. You’ll hear a million times this season about how QB Alex Smith didn’t throw a TD pass to a receiver all last season. Smith didn’t have a good 2014 season but I think he could bounce back. He pretty much has to because this season could be his last shot at being a starter in this league. To help Smith out, they brought in WR Jeremy Maclin from Philadelphia. Maclin is a speedster who will be featured as a legit number one option for Smith in this offense. Despite what happens with Smith and the passing game, RB Jamaal Charles will once again power this offense. Charles showed last season that he has the ability to put the offense on his back at times as a runner or as a receiver from the backfield. The more touches that Charles gets, the better for this offense. Kansas City has a decent defense but they lack consistency at times. The defensive line will be hurt at the beginning of the season, as DT Dontari Poe will miss some time due to injury. The stars of the defense are pass rushing super powers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. The combo of Hali and Houston are almost guaranteed to combine for 30 plus sacks this season. The Chiefs will also receive great play in the middle of the defense from LB Derrick Johnson. This year’s first round pick, CB Marcus Peters, might have been the best corner in this draft. If Peters can get over some maturity issues, he could become an instant factor in the secondary. The feel good story of the season for the Chiefs and the entire league will be safety Eric Berry and his return from his fight with cancer. No one knows what kind of player he can be but just being out there would be a victory for the defense. I think Andy Reid’s Chiefs will be tough again this season. The running game and the defense will be good but if Alex Smith can rebound from a rough 2014, they could return to the post season. Prediction: 9-7 (Wild-Card)

San Diego Chargers – San Diego just missed the post season last year and they’ll face an uphill battle to back in the playoffs this season. The Chargers are pretty stable on offensively but they maybe the opposite on defense. They’ll be led once again by QB Phillip Rivers who is established as one of the better QB’s in the league. San Diego also made an effort to improve the offensive line by signing guard Orlando Franklin away from division rival, Denver. San Diego will be real deep at RB this season and hopefully they’ll be able to find a clear-cut starter out of the group. Branden Oliver and Danny Woodhead have proven to be serviceable but they are really hoping for rookie Melvin Gordon to eventually be the star. Rivers will have decent targets in the passing game this season as Malcom Floyd and Keenan Allen return. I also liked they brought in Jacoby Jones to help on special teams as a returner but Jones also is a great down the field target. The offense will be hurt for the first four weeks of the season without Rivers favorite target, TE Antonio Gates. On defense, I don’t see where the Chargers really improved. The defense didn’t have a strong pass rush a season ago. Jeremiah Attaochu and Melvin Ingram are capable of bringing pressure to the QB but they both need to step up this season. The Chargers have a nice duo at inside linebacker in Donald Butler and Manti Te’o but I bet they are hoping that rookie Denzel Perryman can start paying dividends early in his career. Perryman had an impressive college career and he may be a future starter on this defense. San Diego has a decent secondary led by safety Eric Weddle who is playing in his final season for the Chargers. San Diego also has two legit starting corners in Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett. I think Phillip Rivers will continue to keep this team in games this season but I also think that the defense might keep them from competing for a playoff spot in 2015. Prediction: 8-8  

Oakland Raiders – For the first time in awhile, the optimism is Oakland is real. They’ll still be a few pieces away from keeping out of the basement in this division but they are starting the gather enough young players were they might be a force to deal with in a few seasons. I really like that they finally hired a head coach with prior experience at the job. Jack Del Rio is a tough coach with experience and he’ll be a perfect for this young roster. A lot will depend of the development of QB Derek Carr who showed some promise in his rookie season. The Raiders don’t have a star at RB right now but RB Latavius Murray had some decent games last season before his injury. Murray will return this season as the starter. Their top draft pick, WR Amari Cooper, is the future leader of this receiving core. Cooper is a quick and efficient route runner who is already earning the trust of Carr. Carr and Cooper might become a common connection for years to come for the Raiders. Oakland has a bright future on defense as well. Second year player, Khalil Mack, will be playing more in his natural position as a 4-3 pass rushing defensive end this season. Mack excels at bringing pressure so he should have a big sophomore season. I like the personnel on the Raiders defensive line. Veteran DT Dan Williams played great in Arizona a season ago and DE Justin Tuck is a guy that can still get after the quarterback. At linebacker, they have a pair of smart veteran is Malcolm Smith and Curtis Lofton. The ageless one in the secondary, Charles Woodson returns to continue to be a mentor for the younger corners and safeties. CB D.J. Hayden really started to play at a high level at the end of last season and the Raiders will be counting on him to continue that into 2015. If Del Rio can get this young team to over achieve, they could surprise some teams this season. But in reality that are some years away from making the post season. Oakland could be on the right track with Del Rio though. Prediction: 6-10