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NFL 2016: Week 4 Predictions!

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Will the return of Le’Veon Bell lift the Steelers offense on Sunday night?

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 9-7

Season: 29-19

Big Five Games of the Week

Buffalo @ New England – The Bills looked really bad in Week 2. So last week against a much better Arizona team, they were able to pull out all the stops and score a big home victory. Buffalo will look to ride that momentum into New England on Sunday as they take on the Patriots. New England can do no wrong currently. Despite all of the personnel losses on both sides of the ball, they are 3-0. You have to be impressed to see their defense playing at the level that it is right now. But that defense really hasn’t been pressed by a good offense this season. Buffalo may not be a complete offense right now but they can do one thing very well: run the football. I think Buffalo will be successful in the run game on Sunday rather if it’s LeSean McCoy doing the damage or QB Tyrod Taylor. The starting QB for New England this week remains a mystery. Buffalo has plenty of defensive woes right now but no coach knows Bill Belichick’s offense better than Rex Ryan. I think the Ryan brothers are going to have a good game plan this week against a Patriots offense that can really only run the ball successfully. New England will be looking forward to the return of Tom Brady next week. This week, they will be shocked and upset at home to the underdog Bills. Prediction: Bills 32 – Patriots 21

Seattle @ New York Jets – Russell Wilson suffered a knee injury last week but he is planning to play through it. I think this will prove to be a bad decision going up against the Jets on the road this week. Wilson already is dealing with shaky offensive line play and his week, that line will face a powerful, disruptive Jets front four on defense. The Jets took their lumps last week on the road but this week they will be the ones handing out the lumps. Everyone was no hard on Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. And maybe for good reason. It’s never good to throw SIX interceptions in one game. But on the other hand, Kansas City’s defense is really good. Fitzpatrick will face another good defense this week in the Seahawks. I think Fitz will be helped out this week by his defense. The Jets will play ball control football with the defense getting stops and the offense taking advantage of the extra opportunities to score. New York will be without Eric Decker and that might hurt them in the passing game. But Seattle has a rep of being a weaker team on the road. I’m taking the Jets in an upset. Prediction: Jets 21 – Seahawks 20

Oakland @ Baltimore – The Ravens are the 3-0 team that no one is talking about. Probably because they haven’t beaten anyone of significance. But beating teams that you are suppose to beat will go a long ways in terms to getting into the post season. Baltimore just has to keep on trucking along until they face a great challenge. And then, we will see how good they really are. I also haven’t seen them play a lot this season so far. I know that it helps that Joe Flacco is back. Their running game is a mystery to me. Baltimore is getting decent play out of their receivers. And their defense is currently ranked 2nd in the league. The Raiders gutted out a tough victory last week on the road but they’ll have a harder time this week in Baltimore. Derek Carr and the Raiders offense will be a great test for Baltimore’s defense. Oakland’s defense played its best game last week but that unit has mostly been a disappointment in this season. There is a great chance that Flacco will have his best performance of the season this Sunday if he is able to stay away from the Raiders pass rush. Prediction: Ravens 26 – Raiders 17

Kansas City @ Pittsburgh – What happened to Pittsburgh last week, no one saw coming. Giving up 34 points to a rookie QB? Sure, I could see that. But only putting up 3 points on offense? I didn’t know that the Eagles defense was that good. Maybe they are not. Maybe the Steelers just had an off day offensively. But if Philadelphia’s defense was able to play that well, what will happen this Sunday night in Pittsburgh when the Chiefs come to town? As we saw last week, Kansas City’s defense is really good and they will force turnovers. They are tough to run on and they have a good secondary. Ben Roethlisberger is coming off of two straight weeks of lackluster performances. I know he will bounce back as he always does but it will be hard for him this week against the Chiefs defense. I think the return of Le’Veon Bell for the Steelers will greatly affect Pittsburgh’s chances on Sunday. Kansas City has a tough defensive line but Bell can be used it so many different ways on offense. It will be hard for the Chiefs to key on Bell and DeAngelo Williams. Pittsburgh’s defense takes a lot of heat but this week, I believe that match up well against Kansas City’s offense. Jamaal Charles might be making his season debut on Sunday night but Pittsburgh still has a highly ranked run defense. QB Alex Smith will be asked to do more that usual in this matchup but that may not be a bad thing for the Chiefs. I’ve said before that Smith is underrated and he’ll have a chance to look much better than what he really is against the Steelers secondary. Pittsburgh will be looking for the chance to rebound after a bad performance last week and they will really want this one at home. It will be close but I’m taking the home team. Le’Veon Bell will make the big play late in this game to clinch a victory for the home team. Prediction: Steelers 25 – Chiefs 23

New York Giants @ Minnesota – I love what Minnesota is doing right now. They lose their starting QB, RB and left tackle but they are still winning ball games. How? Look at their defense. Sacking the QB, creating pressure, causing turnovers. And they are doing it with talent that they drafted. Other teams in the league need to look at Minnesota as an example. Having a decent defense can overcome shortcomings on offense. Plus, you have to bring in high priced free agents to improve defensively. Minnesota drafted top talent on defense and it is starting to pay off. The Giants have been disappointing so far this season. Their defense is improved but the offense is struggling to put up the numbers that everyone thought they would. I think that offense will continue its struggles on the road in Minnesota this Monday night. The way Eli Manning threw that game away late last week was kind of embarrassing. Manning is going to have another tough go at it this week against the Vikings defense. I think the Giants defense will be able to keep New York in the game but they wont win it for them. It will be up to Eli Manning to solve the Vikings defense late in the game in front of a raucous Minnesota crowd. I like the home team. Prediction: Vikings 29 – Giants 24

The Rest of Week 4

Bengals over Dolphins – Miami tried their best to lose to Cleveland at home last week. They are having a tough go at it. Cincinnati better take care of business in this one.

Colts over Jaguars – I feel sorry for anyone who is planning to get up early to watch this one being played in London. Jacksonville was supposed to be everyone’s sleeper team. What happened?

Panthers over Falcons – Good news for Cam Newton: he won’t be facing the Minnesota defense this week. This will be a good game but Carolina’s defense will be the difference.

Lions over Bears – Chicago is sad. But at least their fans can troll Detroit fans about the MLB Playoffs?

Washington over Browns – Terrelle Pryor will have another strong performance but Cleveland will still lose. Expect that to be the theme in Cleveland for the rest of the season. If I were a Browns fan, I would be watching Louisville/Clemson very closely on Saturday night.

Texans over Titans – J.J. Watt is out for the season but Houston will rally and beat a tough Tennessee team at home.

Broncos over Buccaneers – Trevor Siemien is playing better each week. So much for a Super Bowl hangover. Denver is looking really good right now.

Cardinals over Rams – Arizona will be ready to rebound from a disastrous trip to Buffalo. If the Rams keep winning, we can make fun of their move to LA anymore. That’s no fun. C’mon Arizona!

Chargers over Saints – Drew Brees said that he was looking forward to playing his old team. Phillip Rivers will be looking forward to playing against the Saints defense.

49ers over Cowboys – Here’s an upset. San Francisco will give Dallas the tough game that Chicago didn’t give them last week. San Fran isn’t really good but the Cowboys defense will make Blaine Gabbert look much better than he really is.

Week 4 Fantasy Football Picks

QB: Joe Flacco (Ravens) – The Raiders give up the most yards in the air on defense. Flacco will air it out at home this week.

RB: Todd Gurley (Rams) – Arizona couldn’t stop the run last week. LA will use Gurley to their advantage this week.

WR: Marvin Jones (Lions) – Jones is turning into the breaking out player in the Lions offense so far this season.

TE: Dennis Pitta (Ravens) – Pitta is catching a lot of passes so far this season but he has yet to score a TD. Expect that to change this week.

DEF: New York Jets – I like the Jets defense this week against a banged up Russell Wilson.

 

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NFL 2016: Week 3 Predictions!

 

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Josh Norman may be looking forward to another shot at Odell Beckham Jr but his Washington team is still looking forward to their first victory in 2016.

 

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 11-5

Season: 20-12

Big Five Games of the Week

Houston @ New England – The Texans are 2-0 but in those two victories, they really haven’t been overly impressive. New England is dealing with some serious issues at the QB position going into tonight’s game. But New England has been missing some important pieces of that offense all season and it hasn’t stopped them from winning games. I don’t know how well Jacoby Brissett will perform tonight but I think we can count on this veteran Patriots team rallying behind him and doing what is necessary in order to be successful. Brissett will have a good running game to lean on tonight as LeGarrette Blount is running as well as anyone right now. Houston has a good defense and they’ll provide quite a test for the rookie QB taking his first professional snaps tonight. On paper, New England doesn’t have a strong defense but so far this season, they haven’t been exposed. That defensive unit will continue to do just enough to not lose games for the offense. I don’t see Brock Osweiler being the QB to really stretch out the New England secondary. The Patriots will have their hands full with DeAndre Hopkins though. Houston will need a strong game tonight from their defensive line. J.J. Watt is starting to get healthier and he needs to start producing at the high level that he is used to. I think Houston’s defense will be the tone setter tonight and they will give Osweiler the chance to win this game on the road. But it just seems that Bill Belichick can do no wrong this season no matter who is available to play. TE Rob Gronkowski might miss his third straight game this season but Martellus Bennett is coming off his most productive outing this season. I think the “no excuses” approach from the Patriots will continue to breed success tonight in front of a raucous home crowd. Prediction: Patriots 21 – Texans 20

Denver @ Cincinnati – The Bengals were underwhelming again against Pittsburgh last week and I think they’ll have a tougher time this week at home against the reigning Super Bowl Champion Broncos. Denver has been apart of a couple of interesting games to start the season. Each time, the offense has done enough to keep the team’s chances at victory afloat. And each time again, the defense has come up huge in the 4th quarter. Trevor Siemian isn’t lighting up the scoreboard but he is doing the little things right and he isn’t making big enough mistakes that could turn the game the other way. Siemian has a great support system around him with the skill players at RB and WR. That veteran presence is going along way in developing Siemian into a success in his young NFL career. But for Denver, it is more about the defense. Von Miller is playing out of his mind right now. DeMarcus Ware will miss about a month due to injury but this is why the Broncos took Shane Ray in the first round last season. Denver’s defense will continue its dominance on Sunday against the Bengals. Andy Dalton will find it hard to get into a rhythm against the Broncos defense. A.J. Green wasn’t targeted enough last week in Pittsburgh and he might find it tough again this week against the Denver secondary. Cincinnati’s defense is underrated in my mind but I don’t see them making enough big plays like they did in the past when they had Reggie Nelson. I’m taking the road team. Prediction: Broncos 23 – Bengals 17

Washington @ New York Giants – Washington was able to win the NFC East last year. Now, they are currently 0-2 and facing an improved, undefeated New York Giants team on the road this Sunday. The Giants are playing well to start the season and Washington will be desperately looking for their first victory of the season. But the real hype behind this game is the matchup between Odell Beckham Jr and Josh Norman. OBJ and Norman got into it multiple times when they faced each other last season. The officials will have a better look at that this time around so the fireworks will probably be at the minimal. Even without the extra stuff (fighting, punching, wrestling, etc.), the matchup between OBJ and Norman is exciting because we are seeing to players opposite each other playing at the top of their games. Norman may not shadow “Number one” receivers often but we saw last week against Dallas how he can affect games in multiple ways. Norman is a physical defender who doesn’t back down and he will be hard for any Giants receiver to deal with on Sunday. This is important because Washington will have to worry about multiple receivers on Sunday. Victor Cruz is healthy and looking like his old self. Rookie Sterling Shepard is coming off his best day as a pro. Eli Manning is playing with his deepest WR core in a while. Washington’s defense will have a long day if they cant rattle Manning. QB Kirk Cousins has been struggling this season so far and he’ll be facing a much-improved Giants defense. I don’t like Washington’s chances at all in this game. They will go to 0-3. Prediction: Giants 34 – Washington 21

New York Jets @ Kansas City – The Chiefs took their lumps on the road in Houston last week. I think they will be ready to get back on track this week at home against the Jets. New York is coming off a Thursday night victory so they will be rested. But despite that, they are pretty banged up at key positions. WR Brandon Marshall may not play. Last week, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick had a field day throwing the ball against the Bills secondary. Fitzpatrick will not have it so easy this week as Kansas City’s defense will be much harder to throw on. The Chiefs defense usually plays at a high level at home and they will limit New York’s chances at creating big plays. The Jets defense will create a tough challenge for Andy Reid’s offense as well. New York’s front seven is physical up front, they get after the QB, and they are tough to run against. RB Jamaal Charles might make his return this week but the Chiefs are going to have to find creative ways to get him involved. If they plan to run Charles right into the teeth of the Jets defensive line, he is going to have a long day. Last week, everyone was talking about how bad the Bills secondary was. But in that same game, the Jets secondary also looked mighty suspect. Many may sleep on QB Alex Smith, but I think he will be able to do things with his arm and legs this Sunday. This could be a close one and because of that, I’ll give the advantage to the home team. Arrowhead Stadium is just one of those unique home field advantages in this league. Prediction: Chiefs 25 – Jets 20

Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia – All aboard the Carson Wentz hype train! But seriously, everyone needs to calm down. Wentz has been apart of 2 victories so far in his NFL career but he plays in Philadelphia and he played last week in primetime. So, that explains most of the hype. I’ve watched highlights of Wentz and he isn’t exactly lighting up the league. Wentz has done the little things. He is making the right throws and the right decisions. He still has a ways to go. But Philadelphia is so thirsty for some football success that the fans are ready to crown him right now. Wentz and the Eagles need slapped back down to earth. Enter the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh doesn’t have the dominant defense like they’ve had in the past but they will create a better challenge for Wentz than Cleveland and Chicago. That’s for sure. One thing that has been an advantage for Wentz and the Eagles offense is that they haven’t been in a situation where they had to score a lot in order to win. Cleveland and Chicago definitely weren’t putting the pressure of Philly’s offense to produce big time numbers. The Steelers offense will do just that. Pittsburgh is able to control the game on offense with their passing game and running game. The Steelers are pretty good upfront and they’ll create a good challenge for Fletcher Cox and the Eagles defensive line. RB DeAngelo Williams is playing extremely well right now and the Eagles will have to key on what Pittsburgh can do as a running football team at the same time being aware of what they can do in the air. The Eagles secondary is still a weak spot on their defense and Ben Roethlisberger should be able to take advantage. If the Eagles cant get to Roethlisberger, there will be nothing stopping Antonio Brown from making the big, game defining plays. Wentz mania may be running wild in Philly right now but I expect the Steelers to put a stop to all of that at least for one week. Prediction: Steelers 29 – Eagles 17

The Rest of Week 3

Cardinals over Bills – Buffalo’s defense is shorthanded and they can’t stop anyone. I don’t see how Rex and his idiot brother will survive this season. It’s a shame because I really like Rex as a head coach. That defense needs to get better but it wont anytime soon.

Packers over Lions – Detroit fell apart late last week. They are banged up and they will be facing a Packers team at home looking to put their fans doubts to rest.

Titans over Raiders – I thought Oakland would have a strong defense this season. They are currently ranked dead last in the league in that department. I like the way Tennessee fought their way back into last week’s game.

Dolphins over Browns – We are still in September and Cleveland is already a dumpster fire. Miami has fought hard in their two losses to start the season. They’ll roll big time at home.

Panthers over Vikings – Minnesota is dealing with a lot of injuries but so is Carolina. Cam Newton will probably be the best running threat on the field on Sunday.

Ravens over Jaguars – What happened to Jacksonville being the sleeper team this season? Baltimore hasn’t been so impressive for a team that hasn’t lost yet. But the Jags have been so underwhelming so far this season. This one is a toss up.

Seahawks over 49ers – Losing to the Rams should be inexcusable for this Seattle team. If they lose this one at home to San Fran, it may be time for everyone to chill on the Russell Wilson bandwagon.

Buccaneers over Rams – The Rams play Seattle hard. I get it. This week, they’ll return to their regularly scheduled programming.

Chargers over Colts – San Diego can run the ball now. Indy is starting the drop like flies already. I’m taking the Bolts on the road for the small upset.

Cowboys over Bears – It’s been awhile since Dallas has won at home but against this wounded Chicago team, they should have no excuses.

Falcons over Saints – New Orleans usually shows up big in these prime time matchups but I’m taking Atlanta because their defense isn’t as bad as their opponent’s. RIP Shawty Lo.

Week 3 Fantasy Football Picks

QB: Marcus Mariota (Titans) – Oakland gives up the most in the air defensively so far this season. I think Mariota could have himself a big game.

RB: C.J. Anderson (Broncos) – Cincinnati has given up the most yards in the run game so far this season. Anderson has been an important piece for the Broncos offense.

WR: Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals) – Buffalo’s secondary has been so bad this season. Fitzgerald is making a big play for this Arizona offense each week so far. That will continue on the road this week.

TE: Jacob Tamme (Falcons) – Tamme has been consistent for the first two games of this season. Against the Saints secondary, Matt Ryan should be able to find him down the field for some huge gains.

DEF: Carolina – Minnesota might become one dimensional without Adrian Peterson. Even if they had Peterson, Carolina is tough against the run. If Bradford is forced to sling it while playing catch up, Carolina will rack up multiple turnovers.

NFL 2016: Week 1 Predictions!

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You may not know Broncos starting QB Trevor Siemian but the Panthers defense will get real comfortable with him on opening night.

By: Elias McMillan

First, here’s a look at how I’ve done picking regular season games in recent years:

2009 Regular Season Record: 169-87

2010 Regular Season Record: 157-99

2011 Regular Season Record: 162-94

2012 Regular Season Record: 163-92-1

2013 Regular Season Record: 158-97-1

2014 Regular Season Record: 158-97-1

2015 Regular Season Record: 163-93

Now, here’s my forecast for Week 1 of the 2016 Season.

Big Five Games of the Week

Carolina @ Denver – This Super Bowl rematch won’t have the same sizzle as the game in February did obviously. First, the stakes aren’t nearly as high and second, Denver is a different team since then. The most glaring difference will be that Denver did not return its starting QB or backup QB for 2016. Instead, Trevor Siemian will take his first snaps ever in the NFL game on opening night against the Carolina Panthers. Many are not expecting much from Siemian but I think that speaks more about how good Carolina’s defense is and less about how good of a QB Siemian is. Lets face it, no one knows how good or bad Siemian is as a QB. But I do know that the Panthers defense will work to get him to look bad on Thursday night. Denver could try to hide Siemian by slowing down the game by running the ball. But Carolina defends the run pretty well too. For Carolina, Cam Newton maybe taking the humble approach but he is definitely thinking of proving him self against this Denver defense that completely humiliated him in last season’s Super Bowl. I think Denver’s defense will still be a tough nut for Newton to crack in this game but Denver will be missing a few key pieces from that championship game that left in free agency. Both defenses will be good in this game but Carolina will be able to use their offensive weapons effectively because of the advantage at the QB position. I don’t think Newton will have a big game but he will do enough to make a big difference for the Panthers. Prediction: Panthers 21 – Broncos 13

Cincinnati @ New York Jets – Cincinnati had a very good team in the regular season in 2015. I think they can be the same in 2016 but they might have to deal through some things before they see consistent success. The Bengals will be missing a few key defenders because of suspension and injuries. But I realize that you could say the same about the Jets defense in this game. The Jets and Bengals offer big play offenses and defenses that are usually tough. I think that I like the home team’s chances in this game because the Jets are a bit tougher upfront defensively. I think it will be a long day for Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard. I also think Andy Dalton will be under a lot of pressure in this game. I don’t trust Cincy’s secondary very much and if Ryan Fitzpatrick stays on his feet, he’ll take advantage down the field by throwing to big targets, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. It will be close but I like the Jets in a slight upset. Prediction: Jets 26 – Bengals 23

New York Giants @ Dallas – Tony Romo or no Tony Romo, the Giants matchup very well with the Cowboys in this opening game. Once again, these teams meet to open up the season in what is almost always an ultra competitive game. The Giants enter this game looking to show off its shiny new defense that they spent a lot of money on in the offseason. The addition of DE Olivier Vernon will make this Giants defensive line a force in 2016 and they’ll face a great test on Sunday in the Cowboys offensive line. This game will basically be about those two units. The Giants also brought in new members in the secondary but I still think they’ll have problems containing the Cowboys receivers led by WR Dez Bryant. The Cowboys will be starting a rookie at QB and RB on Sunday. Dak Prescott will be in for the injured Tony Romo and Ezekiel Elliott will be starting a much hype rookie campaign. I think Dallas will be successful running the ball against a Giants defense that struggled at stopping the run last season but I don’t know how well Prescott will do as a passer in this first game. But this game will really be about the shortcomings of the Dallas defense. Eli Manning plays his best football when the defense cannot pressure him. With no heat on Eli, I fully expect him to out play Dak Prescott. Not to mention, the Giants also have a great receiving core led by WR Odell Beckham Jr. These games always manage to be gut wrenchingly close up until the end but I’m giving the advantage to the road team. Prediction: Giants 32 – Dallas 27

New England @ Arizona – Arizona will be fired up on Sunday to play against a team that has dominated the league for a while now. New England comes into this season shorthanded on both sides of the football. Everyone knows about the Tom Brady suspension but on defense, their top pass rusher, Rob Ninkovich is suspend and their other best pass rusher, Chandler Jones, is now a Cardinal. New England’s defense has been known for years as an overachieving group but I expect this Arizona offense to really take it to them in this contest. We will see plenty of RB David Johnson, which will allow a balanced passing attack led by QB Carson Palmer. We shouldn’t write off QB Jimmy Garoppolo as he will have a couple of recent weapons to go to as well. It is going to interesting to see how this Arizona defense decides to attack TE Rob Gronkowski and try to limit his impact on this game. But New England will be too shorthanded to give Arizona the proper challenge in this game. Prediction: Cardinals 31 – Patriots 20

Pittsburgh @ Washington – There is a lot of Super Bowl hype surrounding the Steelers entering this season. But first, they’ll have to beat a pretty good Washington team that is coming off a playoff berth. QB Kirk Cousins will be looking to prove that last season was no fluke against Pittsburgh’s defense. Cousins is going to have to be the driving force for Washington in this game. I feel that Washington’s offensive line will give Cousins the opportunities to go down field and make an impact in this game against a banged up and aging Steelers pass rush. Washington doesn’t have a great ground game and Pittsburgh usually plays the run well defensively. So, it will be all about Cousins for the Washington offense. Thinking of offense, the Steelers have a pretty good one. QB Ben Roethlisberger is primed to have a big season with the many weapons at his disposal. WR Antonio Brown is a player that was made for Monday Night Football. He will be the big play guy in this contest though Washington CB Josh Norman will give him quite the challenge. Washington’s defense is a lot better than advertised and they’ll be tested by the Steelers upfront and by their running game led by DeAngelo Williams. Washington has plenty of big play guys like DeSean Jackson and TE Jordan Reed but I think the Steelers playmakers will make more of an impact. This game will be closer than what the experts will think but I’m still taking the road team. Prediction: Steelers 33 – Washington 28

The Rest of Week 1

Falcons over Buccaneers – Atlanta is a tough out during their home opener. Though I like Tampa’s defense a little more than Atlanta’s. Can Matt Ryan make more big plays than Jameis Winston? Well, one of them has Julio Jones to throw to. The other does not.

Vikings over Titans – This one is another toss up. Minnesota’s QB situation has thrown their entire season into doubt already but I trust Mike Zimmer to have his team ready. Tennessee is improved but Minnesota’s defense is tough and will slow down Mariota and the new Titans running attack.

Chiefs over Chargers – Kansas City’s home field advantage is like none other. Even without Jamaal Charles, the San Diego defense wont slow down the Chiefs’ attack.

Saints over Raiders – I struggled picking this one too. I really like the Raiders this season but the Saints are a tough out in the Super Dome. If Oakland wins, I’ll kick myself.

Browns over Eagles – Cleveland hasn’t won a season opener since 2004. That streak ends on Sunday. I don’t know if Carson Wentz will be booed at the Linc but I do know that RG3 will outplay him.

Packers over Jaguars – Everyone is hyping the Jaguars. That hype machine would get even louder if they beat a team like the Packers at home on Sunday. Sounds too good to be true. I’m betting on Aaron Rodgers.

Ravens over Bills – Buffalo is dealing with too many things off the field. Baltimore will be looking to show their fans that this year will be different than last.

Texans over Bears – Chicago doesn’t have the defense to slow down this new Houston offense. Houston won’t even need J.J. Watt in this one.

Seahawks over Dolphins – Nightmare matchup for Miami. That inconsistent offense against that powerful defense on the road? Bad news for Ryan Tannehill. The L.O.B.’s will eat. The 12th man will be loud.

Lions over Colts – I think Indy’s slump from last season will continue into this one. Detroit’s defense is underrated and they’ll get after Andrew Luck. The Colts don’t have the defense to slow down Matt Stafford.

Rams over 49ers – This game is an absolute stinker. The team in LA has Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald. The end.

Week 1 Fantasy Football Picks

QB: Eli Manning (Giants) – With no pressure from the Dallas defense, the “not retired” Manning brother will put up big numbers in Jerry’s World.

RB: Lamar Miller (Texans) – Houston will be looking to show off its newest acquisition against a really bad Chicago run defense.

WR: Julio Jones (Falcons) – Jones will be the best player on the field in this game. So, why not?

TE: Jordan Reed (Washington) – Pittsburgh doesn’t have a great secondary so expect Cousins to find Reed plenty of times on Monday night.

DEF: Seattle – It’s simple really. Miami’s offense will be greatly outmatched on the road in Seattle. Expect multiple defensive touchdowns from the L.O.B.

NFL 2016: AFC East Preview

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Despite age and suspension, the Patriots train is on track once again in 2016.

By: Elias McMillan

 

AFC East

New England Patriots – Obviously, the headlining story with the Patriots this upcoming season will be the Tom Brady suspension. Brady will miss the first four games in the regular season this year and Jimmy Garoppolo will beging the season as the starting QB. Garoppolo has been in Brady’s shadow for years now and even though he doesn’t have a lot of regular season experience, I think he’ll be able to handle the situation well until Brady returns. It’s hard to tell if Garoppolo will light up the stat sheet in Brady’s absence but I think I can say that the offensive personnel that New England has will be a big help for him in those first four games. New England isn’t known for having a great running game but they struggled with running the ball when RB’s LaGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis both went down due to injuries. Having those two guys back and healthy will definitely help the running game especially if they can both last 16 games. When you’re a young QB that lacks experience, the TE usually becomes a safe bet when it comes to targets. If this is true about Garoppolo, he’s going to be in pretty good shape as he has the best TE in the league to throw to, Rob Gronkowski. Along with Gronkowski, the Patriots also brought in another huge TE to the passing game, Martellus Bennett. Between Gronk and Marty B, the Patriots will have probably the top TE duo in the league. Gronk is a threat as a big target in the open field no matter what the situation. Bennett isn’t the same but he’ll be a huge target as the Patriots march towards the end zone. Also with the wealth of talent at the TE position, the Patriots have an underrated veteran led receiving core. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are somewhat injury prone but when healthy they are as tough as they come. The way to stop the Patriots offense has always been through the offensive line and that won’t be any different in 2016. The Patriots will be looking to get better play from that unit this season but it’s unclear if that will come in fruition. New England made a trade for OG Jonathan Cooper but he is already facing injury problems much like he did in Arizona. Thinking of Arizona, it’s time to talk about that defense because the Patriots got Cooper by trading away their best defensive player. Even though the Patriots have been successful in recent years without having a top defense, they will greatly miss Chandler Jones on that defensive line. The Patriots do have a nice mix of young guys and veterans on the defensive line but no players on the level on a Jones. At defensive end, Rob Ninkovich returns and Jabaal Sheard will probably be the guy who will get the first crack at replacing Jones. The Pats also brought in veteran Chris Long from the Rams but his best days as a pro are probably behind him. New England had a top ten run defense in 2015 and they’ll look to continue that success in 2016. Malcolm Brown and Alan Branch will probably be the starters inside on the defensive line. I like the addition of DT Terrance Knighton who didn’t have a great season last year in Washington but he’ll be a key mentor and leader this season. At linebacker, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins are a decent duo. They brought in Shea McClellin from Chicago who didn’t fit over there in a 3-4 defense. If he can improve, he’ll add some flexibility as a guy who can play outside linebacker and can rush the passer on passing downs. New England’s secondary was a middle of the road unit last season and I don’t see how they improved in the offseason. CB Malcolm Butler is probably their best corner but I’m not sure if that’s really a good thing. Safety Devin McCourty is a leader in the secondary and probably the only consistent playmaker. Patrick Chung has had some rough recent season in New England but they have failed to replace him. I’m not sure how much of an impact a rookie can have but I really like 2nd round pick, Cyrus Jones out of Alabama. So basically, I think this Patriots team will be much like how they’ve been recently. The defense may overachieve but it will be Brady and the offense as the tone setters on this team. Despite being dominated in that AFC Championship game a season ago, it was amazing to see Brady and the offense rally and still almost pull off the comeback. That will serve as motivation going into this season. Again, they will not face much of a challenge in the AFC East but because of their losses on defense, I’m not sure if they’ll be able to match what they did a season ago in the playoffs. I think Brady will return ready and refreshed. But Father Time is still undefeated and you have to wonder if this will be the season where he starts to decline. I don’t think we’ll see that happen in 2016 but I don’t know how good New England will be in the post season this year because of the losses on defense. Prediction: 11-5 (AFC East Champs)

New York Jets – The Jets had surprise success in 2015 and even more surprising, they have IK Enemkpali to thank for that. But seriously, I don’t see the Jets having the success they had offensively with Geno Smith as the starting QB. Ryan Fitzpatrick may be a career journeyman but he was exactly what the Jets needed at QB last season. After a lengthy contract holdout, Fitzpatrick is back for 2016 looking forward to leading the Jets aerial attack once again. I don’t know if Fitzpatrick will be able to create the same success he had a season ago but the Jets will have the tools on offense once again to succeed. The offensive line may have gotten better as they traded for a new left tackle, Ryan Clady, who started for a Super Bowl champion a season ago. Fitzpatrick built a great relationship with the two, big outside receiving threats on this team, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Marshall is coming off one of his best seasons and Decker proved to be a valuable piece of the passing attack. The Jets need to develop more depth at that position though. I also think the Jets got better at RB. Chris Ivory left for Jacksonville but they signed Matt Forte. Forte isn’t a tough, between the tackles, runner that Ivory is but he is a lot more versatile as a receiver out of the backfield and he offers more speed once he gets to the second level. The Jets also have decent depth at the RB position with Bilal Powell and Bernard Pierce. There is a lot to be optimistic about for the Jets on offense this season. Going into the offseason, there were a lot of questions surrounding the strength of the Jets defense, the defensive line. Muhammad Wilkerson was in a contract dispute and Sheldon Richardson was rumored to be facing a lengthy suspension. Wilkerson got his long-term contract, Richardson will only miss one game, and they also have a young beast in 2nd year tackle Leonard Williams. The Jets will continue to be strong up front defensively in 2016. At outside linebacker, the Jets will be looking for some more growth from Lorenzo Mauldin who had a decent rookie season. The middle of the defense will continue to be anchored down but veteran LB David Harris. Also keep an eye out for rookie, first round pick, LB Darron Lee, who was among one of the quickest at the position in this past draft. CB Darrelle Revis returns once again as the leader of the secondary. Revis is still a top defensive player in this league but their really isnt much around him in this Jets secondary. Safeties Calvin Pryor and Marcus Gilchrist are average at best and the Jets really don’t have a solid starter opposite of Revis at CB. Outside of Revis, I don’t think the Jets secondary is that great but the strength of the defense comes from up front and that usually always helps out that unit. The Jets return a defense that was 2nd in the league at stopping the run last season. Head coach Todd Bowles surprised everyone with that success his Jets had a season ago and they will hope to build on that in 2016. The Jets actually look strong on paper but I think last year was a case where a lot of things went right. And even with that, the Jets still missed the playoffs. I think the Jets will be a tough football team again this year but I don’t see them overtaking New England in 2016. They will definitely compete for a playoff spot. Prediction: 8-8

Buffalo Bills – Rex Ryan arrived in Buffalo last year with so much noise and hype but it didn’t really materialize into anything last year. The Bills played some stretches of good football but by the end of the season, they fell apart. The Bills still have some good players going into 2016 but now they are completely rebuilding the defense and I don’t know if they’ll be able to resemble the team that Ryan wants so quickly. I’m confident that Rex Ryan can be successful in Buffalo but I’m worried about the Bills giving him enough time to build up his defensive scheme. On offense, Buffalo is pretty much set and they’ll be looking to continue the success they had a season ago especially on the ground. The Bills found their QB last season in Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is a great athlete and an average QB but he fits what the Bills want to do on offense. Buffalo had the best running attack in the league a season ago and Taylor is apart of that. Even a bigger part of the running game is all-pro LeSean McCoy. McCoy had a disappointing season by his standards and he’ll be looking forward to starting 2016 completely healthy and with a chip on his shoulder. Last year, RB Karlos Williams was a break out player and was a great compliment to McCoy. Williams is currently facing suspension and is dealing with some injury issues. So, Buffalo also brought in veteran Reggie Bush who might have a role early on this season while Williams is out. I’m not sure what Bush has left in the tank but at the least, Buffalo run blocks very well and Bush might have some left to offer in special teams. Buffalo’s passing attack could be better but lets face it: passing isn’t Tyrod Taylor’s strong suit. And its really a shame because WR Sammy Watkins is able to put up much better numbers than what he has shown but they need to find a way to get him more touches. QB’s like Taylor usually have a decent option at TE and that what he has in Charles Clay. In 2016, the running game will set the tempo for the Bills offense again. When pressed, Taylor can be a playmaker with this arm and his legs. But I don’t know if he can be good enough where the offense doesn’t have to lean on the running game so much. I don’t know what to expect from the Bills defense this season because Rex Ryan is in the process of completely rebuilding that unit in his 3-4 scheme. On the defensive line, DT Marcell Dareus will continue to be a disruptor but he will need more help around him. For a team making a transition from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4, the Bills actually have a decent group of LB’s. But they may be already hurt in that department due to injuries. First round pick, Shaq Lawson, will miss the beginning of the season and second round pick, Reggie Ragland, is going to miss his entire rookie season. Inside at linebacker, I think Preston Brown and Zach Brown (no relation) will do just fine. But the Rex Ryan defense needs pass rushers to excel. OLB Jerry Hughes can get the QB but Buffalo needs more than just him. In the secondary, Buffalo has a good pair of starting CB’s in Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby. Also, Ed Reed will coach the secondary, which is exciting. I like Buffalo’s core as a ground and pound team on offense and a tough run stuffing team on defense. But there aren’t enough pieces on both sides of the ball where I can see this team taking the next step. I sure hope that the Buffalo front office realizes that Ryan needs at least one more offseason to get the defense closer to what he had in New York. The blueprint for success is there in Buffalo. They are just going to have to give Rex a little more time. Prediction: 7-9

Miami Dolphins – A season ago, Miami made so much noise in the offseason with the moves they made in free agency. At the end, it proved to be a disaster and their head coach was fired. Going into 2016, I was hoping that Miami would hire a stronger personality to really grab ahold of this locker room instead of hiring “insert successful coordinator’s name here”. Instead we got the latter and I don’t sense much excitement surrounding this team going into this season. Everyone is still waiting for QB Ryan Tannehill to break out. I’m starting to think that this isn’t a good thing that we are still waiting. Either Tannehill is going to become this next great Dolphins QB or he is not. To Tannehill’s credit, he has done better statistically each season but he hasn’t done good enough where he can raise Miami out of mediocrity. Again to his credit, that task might be too tall for just for him. Miami’s supporting cast on offense didn’t get better in the offseason with the departure of starting RB Lamar Miller. Miller left for Houston and Miami really didn’t think much on the subject of replacing him. They have second year RB Jay Ajayi who is still struggling to stay healthy and they brought in Adrian Foster from Houston who is an aging veteran. Journeyman Isaiah Pead might end up being the Week 1 starter. At receiver, Tannehill has a good collection of talent to throw to. Jarvis Landry wont get the fame that fellow LSU Tiger Odell Beckham Jr receives in New York but he is probably just as good of a receiver. DeVante Parker merely scratched the surface in his rookie season and Miami will be looking for him to have a bigger role in the passing game in 2016. Tannehill also has a good target at TE in Jordan Cameron. Not having a running game will hurt this Miami offense but I think its time for Tannehill to go all-gunslinger this year and see if he can become an elite passer in this league. Miami’s defense was a massive disappointment last season. Ndamukong Suh got the big money deal from Miami but the team isn’t getting a fair return as Miami had one of the worst run defenses last season. Suh should be extra motivated to return to the form that made him one of the most feared defenders in football. DE Cameron Wake is still one of the best pass rushers in football. DE Mario Williams was brought in from Buffalo to replace Olivier Vernon. Wake is coming off from an injury and Williams is an aging vet at this point of his career. Miami’s defensive line was such a disappointment last season; I really don’t have any realistic expectations for them in 2016. But Miami is going to have to have that unit improve if they hope to amount to anything in 2016. Koa Misi and Jelani Jenkins are decent LB’s and Miami brought in Kiko Alonso who is coming off injury-plagued seasons in Buffalo and Philadelphia. If healthy, Alonso will improve the Miami LB core. Miami’s secondary is headlined by safety Reshad Jones who is coming off his best season as a pro. Miami brought in Byron Maxwell who found out last season that life outside of Seattle can be rough. I expect even more abuse for him in 2016 as he just wasn’t that good to begin with. Miami’s secondary was a weak point last season and that will probably be the same in 2016. With the hiring of Adam Gase at head coach, I really don’t know what is Miami’s long-term plan with this team. With so many high profiled veterans, this locker room is not the place for a rookie head coach. Miami is short on talent and leadership. Prediction: 5-11

NFL 2015: Week 13 Predictions!

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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!

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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 East Preview

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Miami has the talent assembled to overtake New England. Can head coach Joe Philbin lead them?

By: Elias McMillan

AFC EAST

New England Patriots – After the offseason that the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots just went through, the target on the entire organization’s back has never been larger. On top of that, they are also coming off an offseason that saw them lose some key talent especially on the defensive side of the ball. Despite that, everyone in the NFL knows by now that Bill Belichick strives on getting the most out of his football team and that might be the case once again in 2015. The biggest storyline is of course, Tom Brady and his suspension. It will most definitely hurt the Patriots offense to not have its leader for the first 4 weeks of the season. Can backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo do enough to keep the passing game afloat? I’m not sure but I think Belichick will have a plan in place where Garoppolo wont have to go beyond his means to win football games. Will that plan involve the running game? New England weren’t particularly great at running the ball last season. They lost two of their main contributors in the backfield in the offseason but replacement them shouldn’t be a big chore. RB LaGarrette Blount will be back though he will miss Week One. Behind him, New England has plenty of depth with Jonas Gray and Travaris Cadet just a name a few. The running back depth chart isn’t filled with names that will “wow” anyone but the Patriots have always figured out how to get enough production from who ever is lined up at the position. And you can say the same about the WR position. I think WR Julian Edelman has solidified himself as a legit threat with every touch and WR Danny Amendola has proven to be serviceable but outside of those two, this receiving core is pretty average. Which again has been proven to be good enough for Brady and the offense. The rock star of the passing game, figuratively and literally, is TE Rob Gronkowski and he will be ready for an injury-free campaign in 2015. I think when Tom Brady returns, the league will be in big trouble. After all he has gone through in the offseason, I think Brady will be looking to make a statement in 2015. I’m worried about the Patriots defense this year after losing Darrelle Revis, Vince Wilfork, and Brandon Browner. At defensive end, Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones return and I really liked the signing of Jabaal Sheard who showed some potential in his time in Cleveland. Inside at defensive tackle will be a question mark though. New England might have gotten a steal in the 1st round of the draft last April in DT Malcolm Brown and he may have to pay dividends early in his career. New England does return a solid group at LB lead by Don’t’a Hightower. But the secondary might be a weak link his season with safety Devin McCourty as its lone standout. New England didn’t really have a great defense last season and that didn’t stop them from winning it all. I expect the Pats to be contenders again this season unless they falter under the pressure of trying to answer their critics every week. As long as they follow the Belichick mantra of “Do Your Job” week in and week out, the Patriots will give the critics something to really hate on in 2015. Prediction: 11-5 (AFC East Champs)

Miami Dolphins – Miami kind of surprised me last season and they’ll definitely have something to build upon going into this season. And with the moves they’ve made in the offseason, the hot seat just got a bit hotter in Miami for head coach Joe Philbin. On offense, they’ll be lead by QB Ryan Tannehill who is coming off his best season yet. Tannehill has improved each season and Miami is counting on that trend to continue in 2015. Tannehill will have a young and talented receiving core in 2015. WR Greg Jennings will serve more as a mentor and he will mean a great deal to Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, and rookie DeVante Parker. I believe Miami also upgraded the TE position with the signing of Jordan Cameron. Cameron had a disastrous final season in Cleveland but he could rebound nicely with the talent he now has around him. At RB, Lamar Miller quietly had a nice season in 2014. He will hope to build upon that going into this season but also look out for rookie Jay Ajayi who was a great value pick for Miami in Round 5. On defense, everyone will be raving about this defensive line. Miami landed the big fish in free agency this offseason in DT Ndamukong Suh. Suh along with defensive ends, Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon, should form a monstrous force that will give opposing QB’s fits and stuff the run. Miami’s LB core is young is underrated. Jelani Jenkins led the team in tackles last season and Koa Misi is an active playmaker when healthy. Miami’s secondary was decent last season and they should be even better this season with the improvements made on the defensive line. Safeties Louis Delmas and Reshad Jones are one of the better safety combos in the league. CB Brent Grimes is a leader and a difference maker who will help bring along the younger corners on the team. I think Miami looks impressive on paper but something about them just screams “under achiever”. I’m not very confident that Philbin is the right coach to get this team over the hump and to over take New England for the division. The pressure will be on the coaches because they’ll have the talent on the field. I still expect Miami to at least contend to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Prediction: 9-7

Buffalo Bills – The Bills might already be my favorite team in the AFC this season. With Rex Ryan leading the way and the talent already on the defensive side of the ball, optimism is abounding in upstate NY. Rex Ryan has a rep of bringing intensity on defense and he won’t really have to build that up from scratch in his second head-coaching gig. Buffalo had a top five defensive unit in 2014 and they could be even better under Ryan. The defensive line they have in Buffalo is amazing. Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes are a top pass rushing duo and they are able to stuff the run with defensive tackles Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams. Not having LB Kiko Alonso might hurt but in his absence last season, LB Preston Brown led the team in tackles and he’ll probably continue to be a huge contributor this season. Buffalo also had one of the best secondarys in the league last season led by corners Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin. Buffalo’s defense is stacked which means, much like in New York, a Rex Ryan led team will need the offense to pick up the slack. Ryan loves to run the football and new offensive coordinator Greg Roman follows a similar philosophy. Buffalo made the deal of the offseason when they traded for star RB LeSean McCoy. It’s hard to think of McCoy as a veteran but he is one with plenty of football left in the tank. I think McCoy will be a great match with this offense and he’ll make Buffalo look like bank robbers by the end of the season with the totals he’ll put up. With the QB situation shaky, the Bills will probably run the ball a lot of offense this season which wont be problem as there’s plenty of depth behind McCoy with Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown, and impressive rookie Karlos Williams. Buffalo has decent talent at the WR position with Sammy Watkins as the obvious stand out. WR Robert Woods has shown some ability and veteran Percy Harvin will be looking to prove that he can still be a difference maker in this league. But again, the question marks at QB could single handily derail Rex Ryan’s first season in Buffalo. Here’s my theory on Buffalo’s QB situation: Matt Cassel stinks and I’m not sure why he keeps getting chances in this league. Greg Roman’s offense really excelled in San Francisco with Colin Kaepernick, who is a mobile QB. Cassel certainly isn’t mobile so that leaves EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor. Manuel isnt really getting votes of confidence so far in training camp and Taylor has yet to really get a shot at being a starter in this league. I think Taylor will end up winning the competition but how good he can be will still be a question mark until the season starts. If Taylor can ride the running game, the great defense, and do enough to get Sammy Watkins involved, Buffalo could be in better shape than Miami to challenge New England for the division crown. Buffalo would be a bold playoff pick right now but I need to see how the QB competition shapes out first. This team will definitely be fun to watch in 2015. Prediction: 8-8

New York Jets – I believe the dog days will be back for this franchise in 2015. The biggest problem on this team is that they just don’t have the enough talent yet. That’s pretty much the same story from last year. I really like new head Todd Bowles and he knows how to get the most out of players but he’s going to have a rough go of it in his first season. Bowles coached a pretty good, over achieving defense in Arizona last season and he should have another good defensive squad already in New York. On the defensive line, the standouts are Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson. Richardson will be suspended for the first four games of the season and they will affect the defense. But luckily, defensive star Leonard Williams was able to drop to NY in the draft last April. Williams will be able to help this team as a rookie and will provide depth once Richardson returns. The Jets did a decent job at sacking the QB last season but they still need more production from their outside linebackers, Calvin Pace and Quinton Coples. I do like the depth they have behind Pace and Coples with Jason Babin and rookie Lorenzo Mauldin. LB David Harris returns for another season as the Jets leading tackler and run stopper. Jets fans should be excited for the return of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie but in reality, they should only be excited for the return of Revis. Revis proved last season in New England that he can still be one of the top corners in the league. Cromartie proved last season to an opportunist who doesn’t give full effort when plays break down. The Jets secondary will still be improved regardless. At safety, Calvin Pryor must bounce back from a tough rookie season. On offense, the Jets still have a good offensive line and they acquired WR Brandon Marshall. That’s about the only good things I can come up with on that side of the ball. But seriously, Marshall should greatly improve the Jets receiving core that is rounded out nicely but vets Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley. Also keep an eye out for rookie Devin Smith who might develop into a great pro. The Jets running game is in great need of a home run hitter and I don’t think that guy in currently on their roster. Chris Ivory is a decent back and they also traded for Zac Stacy in the offseason. But I just don’t see this running game carrying this offense far. Now with a broken jaw, can this be the season where QB Geno Smith can turn it around and show that he has improved? Ryan Fitzpatrick’s best days maybe behind him but can he thrive under Chad Gailey’s offense? The defense in New York might be good enough to keep them in some games this season but I think the QB position will hold this team back again this season. Like I said earlier, I like Todd Bowles but this team is a few pieces away from competing in this division. The defense should provide a good foundation for Bowles to build upon though. Prediction: 4-12