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NFL 2016: Week 7 Predictions!

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Tom Brady and friends should crush a shorthanded Steelers team this Sunday.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 12-3

Season: 55-37

Big Five Games of the Week

Indianapolis @ Tennessee – The Colts are trending downward right now. I think offensively, they can still score enough to be in games but their defense will continue to let them down like they did last week when they melted down in Houston. Tennessee is a talented football team who is looking for the chance to climb out of the AFC South basement and I think they’ll have a chance to do just that this season. Step one would be beating a Colts team that has owned them for a while now. I think I read that Andre Luck is 7-0 all time against the Titans. I think Tennessee will flip the script at home this Sunday. We’ll see a strong game from QB Marcus Mariota and he’ll receive great support from DeMarco Murray and the run game. Look for the Titans to finish the game strong in the four quarter while the Colts will fail once again at holding the lead. Prediction: Titans 27 – Colts 20

Minnesota @ Philadelphia – Sam Bradford returns to Philadelphia after being traded to Minnesota right before the season. That trade may have worked out for both teams as Philly was able to hand the keys to the offense to their top draft pick and Minnesota was able to keep their expectations afloat by having a capable QB under center after losing Teddy Bridgewater for the season. The Vikings enter this game undefeated and coming off the bye week. Philadelphia started the season hot and they had the entire league talking. But since then, they have cooled off significantly and if you look at their upcoming schedule, more pain in on the horizon. Carson Wentz was the media darling a couple weeks ago but he is starting to hit that rookie wall as we saw against Detroit and last week vs. Washington. Wentz is going to continue to have a bad time out there as he will be facing a really good Vikings defense on Sunday. Philadelphia’s defense isn’t playing at the level that it was a few weeks ago either. Minnesota isn’t going to overwhelm anyone offensively but with the way their defense is playing, the offense will not have to do very much on the stat sheet but still put away teams late. Bradford will really enjoy this one, as his Vikings will stay undefeated in Philly. Prediction: Vikings 33 – Eagles 21

New England @ Pittsburgh – The Steelers were my pick last week in my Survival Football league. That didn’t go well as they had their annual “play down to a crappy opponent” game last week in Miami. To make matters even worst in Steel town, Pittsburgh lost their starting QB, Ben Roethlisberger to injury. I remember last season when Ben went down due to injury and the Steelers were still able to win ball games with Landry Jones. Fast-forward to today and it sounds like many are not giving Jones a chance this weekend. Maybe it is because they know what they are losing in Roethlisberger. Maybe its because Landry Jones isn’t that good. Or maybe, it is because of who is coming to Heinz Field this weekend. Landry Jones is going to have to be better than good to beat Tom Brady and the Patriots this weekend. Pittsburgh really suffered last weekend defensively as the Dolphins ran all over them. They will receive some help this week as LB Ryan Shaizer will return from injury. But they will still be without DE Cameron Heyward who is a major difference maker on the Steelers’ defensive line. Also missing last week in Miami was the Steelers pass rush, which is currently non-existent. All of those things will equal into some bad news for the Steeler faithful at home this Sunday. With no pass rush, Tom Brady will tear this secondary apart. Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett should be able to have field days on Sunday. New England’s running game is underrated and the current state of the Pittsburgh run defense will give LaGarrette Blount chances to shine this week. All hope isn’t lost for Pittsburgh on offense though. No Roethlisberger will likely mean heavy doses of Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams who are both really good. We will see how well New England defends the run on Sunday. If Pittsburgh is successful in the run game, that will open up some things for Jones and the passing offense. Antonio Brown was almost a no show last week in Miami and the Steelers will have to find a way to get him involved even without the starting QB passing him the ball. I honestly think that the Steelers aren’t in that bad of shape without Roethlisberger but they will not even be close to being able to compete with New England on Sunday. Strange things can happen in Heinz Field, I guess. But I expect the Patriots to roll easily. Prediction: Patriots 42 – Steelers 28

Seattle @ Arizona – Don’t let last week’s home victory over the Jets fool you. Arizona has been disappointing to say the least so far this season. There is a narrative that says that Arizona is really good at home and Seattle is really bad on the road. I think you can throw that narrative out the window this Sunday night. Seattle is currently playing at a high level and Arizona is not. The Cardinals have been really disappointing on the defensive side of the ball. They have talented players in the secondary but as a unit, they are not creating enough stops. Arizona’s fall back has been their high scoring offense but even they have been inconsistent at times this season. RB David Johnson is having a strong season but on Sunday, he’ll face a tough Seattle front four. Arizona’s shortcomings on defense will serve Seattle’s offense well. Russell Wilson will be able to control the game with his legs and his arm. I’m taking the road team. Prediction: Seahawks 27 – Arizona 19

Houston @ Denver – I guess you have to give Houston credit for coming back like they did last week. They were pretty much dead in the water but they ended up finishing strong. They could be a confidence builder going into a big Monday night match up against the defending champion Broncos. Denver lost at home to Atlanta and had a short turn around where they lost at San Diego on a short week. After losing that tough one to Atlanta and then having to turnaround and play on the road on a short week, that is a tough sequence. Did I mention that I think season long Thursday night games are a stupid idea? But anyways, Denver should be pretty ticked off and ready get back to winning at home on national television. Brock Osweiler will be making his return to Denver and the Broncos defense is already chomping at the bit to get after him. Osweiler might have already proved to be a QB who really wasn’t deserving of all that money Houston gave him. I like the Denver defense in this matchup very much. They will get after the QB and Houston will have issues scoring points. Denver’s offense has been struggling a bit recently and Houston’s defense is actually much tougher than anyone gives credit to. I just think Houston will be struggling so much on offense that the defense will get tired late in this game and will be unable to come up with key stops in the 4th quarter. I see Denver getting back on track this week at home. Prediction: Broncos 21 – Texans 12

The Rest of Week 7

Packers over Bears – I know that Green Bay is struggling and that they just lost Eddie Lacy for the season. But Chicago is really bad and they let Jacksonville beat them on a complete accident.

Rams over Giants – The International Series is another thing in the NFL that I would like to see go away. How about the Rams in an upset? Their defense will keep LA in this game.

Bengals over Browns – Cincinnati showed signs of life last week. Cleveland is dead but the Indians are going to the World Series! They really need to get rid of that Chief Wahoo mascot though.

Washington over Lions – Washington is on a winning streak and no one is noticing. Detroit is a team that I can’t trust right now because of all of their injuries.

Chiefs over Saints – Drew Brees is playing at a high level. Kansas City’s defense will face a tall task on Sunday but I like the Chiefs at home.

Bills over Dolphins – Buffalo may be without LeSean McCoy but their defense is playing at a high level right now. A win in Miami would mean five straight for Rex Ryan’s bunch.

Ravens over Jets – This game might set QB play back a few years. It will be a field goal kicking contests. I like Justin Tucker. Hook ‘em.

Raiders over Jaguars – I can’t believe that the Raiders are really leaving California.

Falcons over Chargers – Atlanta fought tough on the road last week in Seattle. They won’t have a let down at home this week.

Buccaneers over 49ers – I don’t know. A complete toss up here.

Week 7 Fantasy Football Picks

QB: Tom Brady (Patriots) – Hard for me not to pick Tom. He is facing the third worst pass defense in the league on Sunday.

RB: Jamaal Charles (Chiefs) – This is a complete shot in the dark. Kansas City just traded one of their running backs. Maybe this will mean a bigger role for the now healthy Charles.

WR: A.J. Green (Bengals) – Green usually goes big against the Browns.

TE: Delanie Walker (Titans) – Tennessee passing offense has a favorable matchup this week against the Colts secondary. Walker has been quiet lately. Maybe he will break out this week.

DEF: Oakland – Jacksonville has been so bad on offense this season. Blake Bortles might make the Raiders secondary look better than it really is.

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NFL 2016: Week 5 Predictions!

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After a monster game in Week 4, Julio Jones will be a great challenge for Denver’s defense this week.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 7-8

Season: 36-27

Big Five Games of the Week

Philadelphia @ Detroit – The Eagles are coming off the bye and are still riding high on the Carson Wentz hype train. I don’t think I am fully on board on the idea that this Eagles team is good but they are 3-0 and their defense is playing at a high level right now. Detroit is a mess offensively right now and last week, their defense was missing its two best players. DE Ziggy Ansah and LB DeAndre Levy will probably be out again this week when the Eagles come to town. The Lions allowed Brian Hoyer to have a big game last week. The defense couldn’t get key stops and the offense struggled to score points. The Eagles are the hot team plus, they are rested from the bye week. I may have thought this would be a good game is Ansah and Levy were playing but since they are not, I fully expect Philadelphia to roll in this one on the road. Prediction: Eagles 25 – Lions 17

New York Jets @ Pittsburgh – After getting smacked by the Eagles, the Steelers went ahead and smacked Kansas City at home last week. That should prove to be a huge confidence boost going forward in this early part of the season. The Jets had some momentum to start this season but it is starting to fade away. Ryan Fitzpatrick is turning into a turnover machine and the defense is losing at the line of scrimmage. The Jets are supposed to be a strong defensive team up front with the talent they have. Playing against a banged up QB and a young offensive line last week, I thought the Jets defensive line would have a great chance at affecting the result of the game. Instead, Seattle’s offense rolled easily. This week, the Jets front seven on defense will face a decent Steelers offensive line and a more than capable QB in Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers received a boost in the running game last week with the return of Le’Veon Bell. Bell looked as better than ever last week and he’ll be just another weapon that this Jets defense will have to account for. Bottom line, if the Jets can’t win at the line of scrimmage on defense, they will lose this game. Prediction: Steelers 32 – Jets 20

Atlanta @ Denver – Julio Jones was ridiculous last week. Not too many receivers in this league currently can perform at a level as he did last week against Carolina. Atlanta’s offense is red hot going into their road matchup against the Denver Broncos. The Broncos defense will be a good test for Atlanta’s offense. The Falcons have the number one offense in the league right now while Denver’s defense ranks fourth. Atlanta has the weapons to beat you through the air and on the ground. Denver has a strong secondary, a tough run defense, and premiere pass rushers led by Von Miller. It’s going to be interesting to see that matchup play out. Trevor Siemian was a nice surprise this season for Denver but he got hurt last week and the Broncos may have to turn to rookie Paxton Lynch. The QB position has not been a great issue of importance for the Broncos this season. They have the right veterans at the skill positions where Lynch can be successful when he is called to make a play. Plus, Atlanta’s defense isn’t very good. If Atlanta’s offense can get the best of Denver’s defense, it won’t matter if they can’t stop Denver’s offense. For that reason, I like the home team to stay undefeated this weekend. Prediction: Broncos 29 – Falcons 24

Cincinnati @ Dallas – The Cowboys couldn’t of imagined being 3-1 to start the season without Tony Romo. And then, they were able to comeback after being down 14-0 last week on the road. Despite early success from rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the next two weeks before the bye will tell us a lot about this Cowboys team. Cincinnati isn’t a great team but they might be the best team this Cowboys team has played this season. Cincinnati is beatable and are greatly inconsistent on offense and defense. The one thing that is consistent is WR A.J. Green who will look to be the difference maker in this game. CB Morris Claiborne is having a heck of a comeback season so far but Green will be his biggest test yet. The Cowboys defense figured out a way to slow down the 49ers offense last week in the second half but they’ll have a much tougher time with Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense. Cincinnati’s defense is beatable and the Cowboys will have the same approach they have had all season. They will test Cincy’s defensive line with the run game and Prescott will take his shots down the field when necessary. Not having a big play receiver didn’t hurt the Cowboys passing game last week but with no Dez Bryant again this week, they will not have the weapons to go toe-to-toe with A.J. Green and the other Bengals receiving threats. I don’t think Cincinnati will be that tough of a game for Dallas and I expect them to be in it until the end. But I’m going to go with the team with the healthiest talent. Prediction: Bengals 27 – Cowboys 21

New York Giants @ Green Bay – Too much talk about Odell Beckham Jr and not enough talk about the shortcomings of the Giants offense so far this season. The Giants paid a lot of money in the offseason on their defense and they have done a decent job so far this season. But with the weapons the Giants have on offense and the QB they have, you would expect them to be able to put up the necessary points to win games. That unit has underperformed so far this season and I get why Beckham Jr is pissed. Green Bay is coming off the bye, they are rested, and they’ll probably play great at home. If the Giants offense doesn’t snap out of their funk, they wont score enough points to win, Beckham Jr will continue to struggle, and he will probably throw another tantrum. The Giants defense will be a good challenge for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense will eventually, they will get tired out and Rodgers will take full advantage in the 4th quarter. Prediction: Packers 30 – Giants 20

The Rest of Week 5

Cardinals over 49ers – Losing NaVarro Bowman will mean more than not having Carson Palmer. At least, I think so. These Thursday night games are weird.

Patriots over Browns – I don’t think Tom Brady will have a monster game in his return. This will be an overhyped preseason game if anything. Brady will just get his feet wet again in this one.

Bears over Colts – Chicago suddenly has momentum thanks to Brian Hoyer. Indianapolis might be in serious trouble if they drop this one.

Titans over Dolphins – Miami doesn’t have an identity. Tennessee might be able to compete for a division title this year.

Vikings over Texans – Minnesota will limited Houston’s scoring chances. Sam Bradford might have a rough game but not as bad as Brock Osweiler will.

Ravens over Washington – Baltimore will finish better than they did last week.

Raiders over Chargers – Oakland has had great success on the road. They need to do the same at home against a struggling San Diego team.

Rams over Bills – Look out, Los Angeles. The Rams have won three straight and their offense looks much better than it did a month ago.

Panthers over Buccaneers – Cam Newton may not play but even of greater concern, the Panthers need to figure out what’s wrong with the defense.

Week 5 Fantasy Football Picks

QB: Derek Carr (Raiders) – Carr was great late last week and San Diego’s secondary is banged up.

RB: David Johnson (Cardinals) – You saw what Ezekiel Elliott did last week when NaVarro Bowman left the game. Johnson will have his opportunities tonight against a shorthanded San Fran defense.

WR: A.J. Green (Bengals) – Green had a monster game last week against Miami. The Cowboys defense wont be able to pressure Dalton so he’ll have plenty of time to find Green down the field.

TE: Greg Olsen (Panthers) – Cam or no Cam. Olsen will make plays no matter who is the QB on Monday night for Carolina.

DEF: Arizona – If the Cardinals offense can score points, the 49ers will be force to play catch up which might turn into many opportunities for turnovers for the Arizona defense.

 

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 2 Predictions!

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After a successful visit in New York, A.J. Green will take his show to Pittsburgh this Sunday.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 9-7

Season: 9-7

Big Five Games of the Week

New Orleans @ New York Giants – This match up will feature two big time, scoring offenses and very little defense. The Giants offense did enough to win last week but they sort of underperformed and they know that they could have done better. I think the Giants offense will have more opportunities to produce big plays against a struggling Saints defense at home. The Saints lost a close one at home last week but their offense performed well. The Giants defense did a great job bottling up the Cowboys running game and keeping them out of the end zone on long drives. I think the Giants benefited from facing a rookie QB in his first professional start. Drew Brees will present a much greater challenge for them this Sunday. I think both passing games will light up the stat sheet but I am much more encouraged by New York’s defense than New Orleans’ right now. I’m taking the home team. Prediction: Giants 37 – Saints 28

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh – The Bengals really impressed me how they gutted out a road victory to start to the season. Now, they will face rival Pittsburgh in their home opener in a much anticipated game. This matchup will lose some of its steam without Vontaze Burfict and Le’Veon Bell but there will still be enough hatred to go around between these two rivals. Pittsburgh did pretty much what I expected them to do last week on Monday night. The Steelers look really good and they are one of the favorites in their conference. The offense is performing at a high level and the defense is over achieving. Pretty much the same story from a season ago though we have only played one game this season. I think Andy Dalton will fare better than Kirk Cousins did last week against the Steelers defense. WR A.J. Green had a monster game to start the season last week and he usually does a great job terrorizing the Pittsburgh secondary. The Bengals will do their best at controlling the clock in this game in order to limit Pittsburgh’s chances on offense. The Bengals may have a slightly above average defense but I don’t see them completely slowing down Pittsburgh offensively. Ben Roethlisberger will find Antonio Brown for some of the game’s biggest plays and DeAngelo Williams will continue his career renaissance. I think Cincy will be able to keep it close but I don’t see the Bengals offense out producing Pittsburgh’s on the road. Prediction: Steelers 29 – Bengals 23

Kansas City @ Houston – The Chiefs completed a crazy comeback last week at home. This week, they’ll go to Houston to take on the team that they easily beat in the playoffs a season ago. The Texans are retooled from a season ago and they’ll be looking to prove something at home this week. QB Brock Osweiler had a shaky start last week but he eventually got it together. I’m looking forward to the matchup between WR DeAndre Hopkins and Chiefs corner Marcus Peters. RB Lamar Miller had a successful debut for Houston last week and he’ll be facing a Chiefs run defense that was leaky at times in Week 1. Kansas City’s offense got it going just in time to force overtime and get the win last week. RB Jamaal Charles might have to miss another week due to injury but the Chiefs feel pretty confident about running the ball with their backups. Houston’s defense did a great job in the second half last week against Chicago and they could be able to carry that over in this matchup against Alex Smith. Houston will feel great about their offseason acquisitions after wrapping this one up at home. Prediction: Texans 26 – Chiefs 20

Atlanta @ Oakland – The Falcons looked like they would be able to go blow for blow against Tampa Bay at home in Week 1 but then, their defense completely fell apart. Atlanta’s defense continues to be an issue going into Week 2. Oakland is coming off a great emotional high last week after beating the Saints on a gusty, late 4th quarter call. The Raiders still have to figure out some things in the defensive secondary but their offense looked pretty good. QB David Carr played great down the stretch and he received great support from the running game. I think the Raiders will have their hands full in this matchup on defense. They will struggle to slow down WR Julio Jones and the other Falcons receivers. Atlanta will also try to get RB’s Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman to continue the success they had in Week 1. Oakland’s front seven looked very active last week and they will get after Matt Ryan in this game. Atlanta will have to use the running game to try to limit the pass rush’s affect on Ryan. But I don’t see Atlanta’s defense improving from a week ago. They need to find some consistency at pressuring the QB and making open field tackles. I think the Raiders will take advantage, the offense will make plays, and they’ll win in their home opener. Prediction: Raiders 24 – Falcons 21

Green Bay @ Minnesota – The Packers offense looked like its old self last week in Jacksonville. Aaron Rodgers played great and his receivers also brought their “A” game. Green Bay’s defense made the stop at the end of the game when it mattered but they were probably bailed out by some questionable play calling by the other team. The Packers will face a better opponent this week, as the Vikings will be making their debut in a brand new home stadium in primetime. US Bank Stadium will be loud and this Vikings team will be juiced up for this one. Minnesota was lucky to survive last week at Tennessee. The offense really struggled but their defense did a tremendous job bailing them out in the second half. Green Bay will have to know going into this one that they will be facing a much tougher defense this week. It’s going to be interesting to see if Aaron Rodgers will be able to look as spectacular as he did last week in Jacksonville. I think the Minnesota offense will fare better this week against Green Bay’s defense. Adrian Peterson had a tough day the office in Week 1 and he’ll be looking rebound in front a great crowd in the home opener. I’m getting the feeling that Sam Bradford will make his Vikings debut this week as well. That doesn’t sound very exciting but Bradford should be able to succeed in ways that Shaun Hill cannot. If Bradford can get the air attack going, that is going to open the door for more success in the running game. Green Bay will pack the box to prepare for Peterson so, I think Bradford will have the chances to find the passing windows. I think Green Bay will take a step back in this game, as Minnesota will be able to do enough offensively to win a close contest. Prediction: Vikings 30 – Packers 24

The Rest of Week 2

Jets over Bills – Buffalo beat New York twice last season so, the Jets will be out for revenge tonight. The Bills will be shorthanded offensively without Sammy Watkins. The Jets defensive line will fest tonight as Tyrod Taylor will struggle to get things going.

Ravens over Browns – Baltimore was so unbelievably under whelming last week in their victory. Cleveland really disappointed me as well in their loss. I don’t know. Both of these teams stink right now. Baltimore should be ashamed if they manage to lose this one.

Lions over Titans – I like Detroit’s defense to slow down Tennessee’s running attack. The Titans secondary will not have an answer for Matt Stafford.

Patriots over Dolphins – No Brady. No Gronk. No Problem. On the road against my Super Bowl favorite as well! Is Bill Belichick the greatest? Probably.

Washington over Cowboys – Washington looked really bad last week. Maybe Dallas has a better chance in this one than I think. I need to see it before I believe it. Kirk Cousins needs to rebound after his performance last week in primetime.

Panthers over 49ers – Cam Newton said this week that he doesn’t care about his health but only about winning. That’s kinda scary. Carolina should be able to handle San Fran at home either way.

Seahawks over Rams – The Rams have played Seattle tough in recent years but their morale has to be so low right now. Seattle should be able to roll in this one easily.

Cardinals over Buccaneers – This one should be close. Arizona’s secondary needs to improve in a hurry because Jameis Winston will air it out often as we saw last week. Expect plenty of scoring in this one.

Broncos over Colts – The Trevor Siemian hype is not real. However, Denver’s defense is very real. Andrew Luck will struggle to score late in this game and that will give Denver the home victory.

Jaguars over Chargers – Here’s an upset. After losing a heartbreaking one last week, San Diego will repeat that feat at home against a hungry Jacksonville team.

Eagles over Bears – Carson Wentz played much better than I expected last week even though it was just Cleveland. Chicago’s offense should be able to make this one interesting though.

Week 2 Fantasy Football Picks

QB: Drew Brees (Saints) – Brees will be able to test the Giants secondary in ways that Dak Prescott couldn’t in Week 1.

RB: Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys) – The rookie had a tough go of it last week. He could be able to rebound against Washington’s defense.

WR: A.J. Green (Bengals) – Green has a knack for getting the best out of Pittsburgh. After his Week 1 performance, he’ll look to keep his success going on the road.

TE: Julius Thomas (Jaguars) – Thomas played well last week and San Diego has a weak secondary. Blake Bortles should be able to find him in the end zone again this week.

DEF: New York Jets – The Jets racked up a bunch of sacks last week and they’ll be facing a wounded Buffalo offense tonight. They’ll get after Tyrod Taylor and bottle up the Bills rushing attack.

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 2015: Week 14 Predictions!

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

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 8-8

Season: 122-70

Big Five Games of the Week

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

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

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

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

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

The Rest of Week 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

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

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

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

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

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

NFL 2015: Week 9 Predictions!

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Is Derek Carr and the Raiders for real? Pittsburgh will be dying to find out on Sunday.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 9-5

Season: 78-41

Big Five Games of the Week

Miami @ Buffalo – Miami was starting to gain some serious momentum under new head coach Dan Campbell. That was until they ran into the Patriots last Thursday. Now, their confidence is shaken and they are suffering some losses due to injury on both sides of the ball. Buffalo is coming off of a horrible loss in London two weeks ago. But they are coming off the bye, they had time to regroup and get healthy, and their starting QB, Tyrod Taylor, returns this week. The race for second place in the AFC East is still wide open and this Sunday at home will be the perfect time for Rex Ryan’s team to stake their claim. Tyrod Taylor had a great game vs. the Dolphins earlier this season and without Cameron Wake chasing him around, I think his return to the lineup on Sunday will be a triumphant one. I’m taking the home team. Prediction: Bills 28 – Dolphins 14

St. Louis @ Minnesota – No seems to be noticing either of these teams in the NFC. St. Louis is over .500 and is currently in second place in the NFC West. Minnesota is playing great football right now and with the way the Lions and Bears season is going, they pretty much have a cakewalk to second place in the NFC North. I don’t take St. Louis seriously because they seem to always under perform in big games. They have the talent on paper, especially on the defensive side of the ball, to be a serious contender in the NFC West. Minnesota on the other hand has great young talent at the QB and WR position. Plus, Adrian Peterson is leading this offense with the top-5 rushing attack in the league. St. Louis has a tough defensive front four and they’ll present a great test for Peterson. I think this game will turn on how the Rams offense wont be able to amount to much against this Vikings defense that ranks in the top ten in the league right now. I think the QB position is really holding back St. Louis especially since the emergence of rookie RB Todd Gurley. It like Sam Bradford never left. Prediction: Vikings 19 – Rams 13

Oakland @ Pittsburgh – I’m still kind of shocked that the Steelers lost that game last week at home to Cincinnati. The Bengals are undefeated but they really showed nothing that told me that they were a serious title contender this season. But then again, Pittsburgh played them tough as usual especially on the defensive side of the ball. Going into the season, everyone was talking about how the Steelers defense was going to hold the team back all season. That has yet to come into fruition. As long as the Pittsburgh defense continues to overachieve, they are going to find themselves in a lot of ball games this season. This Sunday, they’ll have another big game against the upstart Oakland Raiders. Pittsburgh will be hurting the rest of the season without RB Le’Veon Bell. DeAngelo Williams is a veteran who definitely still has some ability and is primed to at least attempt to fill the gap left by Bell’s absence. Oakland has a pretty stout run defense and an active front seven so the running the ball might prove to an adventure this week for the Steelers. Pittsburgh lost last week mainly because Ben Roethlisberger threw some horrible interceptions. He might be getting a pass because he is getting over an injury but he knows that the way he played down the stretch in that game was unacceptable. Ben will have a great chance to bounce back this week as Oakland has one of the worst secondaries in the league. The Raiders give up a lot of yards through the air but you cant blame that on Charles Woodson who is leading the league in interceptions this season at the ripe age of 39. Ben must avoid Woodson at all costs on Sunday, as he has been an absolute ball hawk this year. Oakland is playing well on offense recently. They are running the ball well and the passing game has been a driving force all season behind QB Derek Carr and rookie WR Amari Cooper. Though the Steelers don’t have a strong secondary, Oakland need to attack their defense with a balanced attack. If Carr comes out throwing, Pittsburgh will be ready for it and that would increase their opportunity to create turnovers. Oakland will have the chance to take advantage offensively but they must be calculated in their attacks. Playing in Pittsburgh can make average teams play below average and I think that’s what we’ll see on Sunday. Oakland has had a strange but positive recent track record against the Steelers recently. But this year, the Raiders aren’t awful which means that they wont be Pittsburgh on Sunday. That makes sense, right? Kind of. Prediction: Steelers 27 – Raiders 24

Green Bay @ Carolina – The media can rave all they want about Aaron Rodgers and the Packers but if you follow the NFL, you know that the Packers are very beatable if you have a strong defense. Denver proved that last week and I believe Carolina can do so this week at home. Green Bay still has a really good offense but they are truly missing a big play WR (Jordy Nelson). Green Bay is pretty average defensively and for the most part, they count on Rodgers to carry them. Carolina isn’t perfect. They don’t win with style points. But they simply get the job done. The defense doesn’t let up for all 4th quarters and Cam Newton has been able to do enough to win ball games late. Unless Carolina’s defense has an off day, I can see Carolina using that same formula into another home victory on Sunday. Prediction: Panthers 25 – Packers 21

Philadelphia @ Dallas – The woeful NFC East is still wide open so this game could have huge consequences. The Eagles still stink in my eyes, even coming off the bye week, but they’ll have a pretty great chance at leaving Dallas with a victory on Sunday. Dallas is getting great play out of their offensive line. They are consistently winning the battles on the line of scrimmage each week. The Cowboys are playing pretty decent on defense too. They really haven’t been blown out in a game yet this season. People may say that there are other reason why Dallas is in the middle of a losing streak but I think there is only one reason: they are not scoring touchdowns because they are not getting enough from the QB position. The Cowboys have two more games before Tony Romo returns. They cannot lose these next two and expect Romo to single handily save the season. Dallas must win one of these two next game and preferably both of them if they hope to make a strong push for the division once Romo returns. I would prefer that they would win this game against division rival, Philadelphia. Going into this game, I can say that the Eagles have two things going for them. First, they have a great front seven that can stuff the run and pressure the QB. Second, they have gotten better at running the ball and Dallas’ run defense is a bit suspect. Other than those two things, the Eagles don’t really have much going for them. Sam Bradford is not going to win this game for them. I think Dallas has a great chance at ending their losing streak on Sunday but I don’t know if the offense will continue to not score touchdowns. Dan Bailey is a great kicker but sending him out more than three times usually isn’t a great sign. If Dallas can’t get into the end zone, they’ll lose again on Sunday. Prediction: Eagles 23 – Cowboys 20

The Rest of Week 9

Bengals over Browns – I’m a big fan of Johnny Manziel but I cant help to think about his start again Cincinnati last season. Maybe he remembers that too and he’ll have a revenge game tonight. I doubt it.

Patriots over Washington – Washington doesn’t have the defense to slow down New England’s offense. Might be interesting to see Kirk Cousins attempt to out gun Tom Brady.

Saints over Titans – New Orleans’ defense is terrible but Drew Brees is back to playing elite football. Tennessee is a mess and they just fired their head coach. Things will get worse their before they get better.

Jaguars over Jets – Break up the Jags! The Jets are regressing and Jacksonville has realistic hopes in the god awful AFC South.

Falcons over 49ers – Atlanta is starting to fall off but San Fran has serious issues. Colin Kaepernick is getting benched and receiving the blame. This might get ugly quick for the Niners.

Giants over Buccaneers – I might give Tampa a chance here but both of their big receivers are fighting injuries. The Giants are able to score a lot of points but nothing much else.

Broncos over Colts – Is Andrew Luck injured? No one knows for sure. But he’ll be hurting after facing this Denver defense. No one is talking about this being Peyton Manning’s last game in Indy.

Chargers over Bears – San Diego has reached its “close loss” quota this season I think. I mean, enough is enough.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Matt Ryan (Falcons) – San Fran has one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Atlanta has the weapons to take advantage. Big day for Matt Ryan.

RB: Jeremy Hill & Giovanni Bernard (Bengals) – The Bengals didn’t use their running backs nearly enough last week against Pittsburgh. Cleveland has the worst rush defense in the league. They should get plenty of carries tonight.

WR: Antonio Brown (Steelers) – Oakland has the second worst pass defense in football. Brown and Roethlisberger will be able to get into a groove at home this Sunday.

TE: Jacob Tamme (Falcons) – Here’s a sleeper pick for Sunday. Tamme had a strong showing last week and he’ll be facing a weak 49ers defense on Sunday.

DEF: Jacksonville – With the QB situation in doubt for the Jets, the Jaguars could have a big day this Sunday.