Tag Archives: Geno Atkins

NFL 2016: Week 10 Predictions!

gettyimages-621448542

The Ezekiel Elliott express will be rolling into Pittsburgh this Sunday.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 10-3

Season: 80-51-2

Big Five Games of the Week

Green Bay @ Tennessee – Green Bay’s loss last week at home to the Colts was eye opening. The Packers could be in a position to take control of the NFC North because of the sliding Vikings but they failed last week. Maybe this Packers team just isn’t that good. I’ve believed for a while now that Tennessee could emerge as a front-runner in the AFC South but they have failed in big spots this season. I think Sunday will be one of those other times for the Titans where they will squander a big opportunity. Green Bay struggled defensively last week and Tennessee has the weapons to give them more problems this week. QB Marcus Maroita is playing well. DeMarco Murray has the run game going. And Tennessee’s defense is under rated. But against better competition, the Titans just seem to fold under pressure. Aaron Rodgers will put on the pressure early in this one and the Titans will offer little resistance. It will be up to Tennessee offense if they want to secure the upset. Prediction: Packers 32 – Titans 26

Kansas City @ Carolina – The Panthers feel like they can really make a run and get back into the playoff discussion. They will have a tough time this week against a Chiefs team that is rolling again much like last year. Kansas City is able to get it done on both sides of the ball and they are getting stronger. The offense without Jamaal Charles is carrying on just fine. They even lost Alex Smith for a while but that didn’t stop them from winning either. Smith returns this week, by the way. Kansas City remains to be very good defensively and they are about to be even better in that area. DE Dee Ford is among the league leaders in sacks this season. They already have a great veteran in Tamba Hali. And they are getting back Justin Houston this week. With this defense at full strength, the Chiefs will be a tough one for the Panthers. I think Carolina is going to have problems protecting Cam Newton this week and the Chiefs offense will take advantage of a Carolina defense that has under performed all season. I’m taking the Chiefs on the road. Prediction: Chiefs 27 – Panthers 20

Dallas @ Pittsburgh – It’s that time again. My own personal Super Bowl that comes around every four years. And of course, I’m not talking about the election. The Steelers enter Sunday’s game against Dallas reeling. But despite that, they are still favored by 2.5 in Vegas. How? Well, Pittsburgh has a reputation in this sort of situation. The Steelers are 4-4 at the half way point of the season but they’ve been in this situation before and in the past they have responded strongly. Everyone knows how tough the Steelers can be during the second half of the season especially with all the talent they have. Everyone knows that the Steelers have a good record at home against NFC opponents. Despite those two points, in this game we’ll be looking at one team that has under performed and the other team that has over achieved. And the over achieving team has put forth a consistent effort each week. Dallas is having a great season but they do have weaknesses that serve as an advantage to Pittsburgh. Dallas can pressure the QB and Ben Roethlisberger loves to throw deep when he has time. Dallas hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher this season but on Sunday they’ll face Le’Veon Bell. Bell will probably be the best RB that Dallas will face all season. Dallas also has a banged up secondary while Pittsburgh has a wealth of talent at the WR position. Well, let me retract that statement because outside of Antonio Brown, that group has struggled recently. Despite that, I think Pittsburgh could be in a situation where they could score a lot of points. Ben Roethlisberger played like crap last week. He has to be back to his old self if hopes to lead this Steelers team to a win this week. Dallas has been so steady and consistent and that will serve them while this week. This Dallas team is very similar to the team we saw in 2014 and in 2014 that team was excellent on the road. The Cowboys rushing attack has taken on all challenges so far this season. I think Pittsburgh will try to key on the run but I think Ezekiel Elliott will still be successful. The QB isn’t an issue in Dallas and they’ll be facing a poor Steelers secondary. I’ve had a feeling that Tony Romo will start this week but even if he doesn’t, Dak Prescott should be able to continue to be the guy the make the smart decisions in passing situations. What is also going to help Prescott (Or Romo) is that Pittsburgh doesn’t have a great pass rush like they’ve had in the past. With time in the pocket, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, or Cole Beasley will have a significant impact in this game. I’m very worried about the Cowboys defense in terms of stopping the Steelers but also I’m not sure if the Steelers are ready or if Roethlisberger is fully healthy and ready to get this offense to finally live up to its potential. These games are always close and gut wrenching. The Steelers seem confident that they can bounce back from that embarrassing display last week in Baltimore. But I think this is the same team that played last week and played poorly against Philly and Miami. Slow and steady wins the race and that is Dallas right now. I’m taking my Boys. Prediction: Cowboys 28 – Steelers 27

Seattle @ New England – Here is a possible Super Bowl preview. This is also a Super Bowl rematch and some of the feelings from that game two years ago are still raw. I also think that this Seattle team isn’t nearly as good as it was two years ago. Seattle got a much-needed win last week at home but Buffalo still took them to their limits. The main thing that the Seahawks can take away from last week is that they need to include TE Jimmy Graham more often in the passing game. Without Jimmy Graham, Buffalo might have won last week. Seattle’s defense is also still very good. But Seattle has the same issue that it always had; they are a poor road team. I don’t think that the Patriots are world-beaters but they could appear that way playing at home. Tom Brady has had success picking at the weaknesses in the Seattle secondary. New England’s ground game will be a good test for Seattle’s front four. New England’s defense is still a mystery to me because they keep losing pieces but are still surviving and not losing games for the offense. I think this game will come down to the QB’s and I’ll take Tom Brady in that contest every time. The chippiness in this one will make it very entertaining to watch. I’m taking Gronk and the bros at home. Prediction: Patriots 33 – Seahawks 21

Cincinnati @ New York Giants – The Giants received a key victory last week against the Eagles but they were none too impressive. The Bengals are coming off of a long lay off and are sitting at 3-4-1. I’m sure they believe in that locker room that they are not ready to pack it up and call it a season. I think Cincinnati will be looking to prove themselves on the road on Monday night. I know the stories about “primetime Andy Dalton” but I think the Bengals will be able to find success against this Giants defense. The key will be if the Bengals defense can slow down Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr and the Giants passing attack. Watching Beckham Jr and AJ Green try to one up each other each possession should be entertaining and worth the price of admission. The Giants are coming off a victory, which I think will lead to a classic letdown on national TV. I’m taking the Bengals in an upset. Prediction: Bengals 35 – Giants 30

The Rest of Week 10

Browns over Ravens – Cleveland’s gotta win one. Why not tonight?

Broncos over Saints – Can Drew Brees carry the Saints again against Denver’s defense? I don’t think so.

Jets over Rams – Rams games are the toughest to prediction. You never know which Jeff Fisher team you will get.

Falcons over Eagles – Atlanta can score a lot of points. Philly can not.

Buccaneers over Bears – Lovie Smith revenge game? Maybe if he was coaching Chicago. Tampa has more talent.

Washington over Vikings – The Minnesota slide continues? Even against Washington? It should be close.

Texans over Jaguars – Will Gus Bradley get fired after losing this one at home? Maybe.

Chargers over Dolphins – The loser has to go back home to their awesome weather.

Cardinals over 49ers – Arizona needs to start their playoff push right now.

Week 10 Fantasy Football Picks

QB: Trevor Siemian (Broncos) – The Saints allow the most yards through the air. So, why not for Trevor?

RB: Melvin Gordon (Chargers) – Gordon is having a amazing season and on Sunday, he’ll face the third worst run defense in the league.

WR: Dez Bryant (Cowboys) – Bryant has been patient while allowing opportunities for his teammates. On Sunday, he’ll make a big play when called upon.

TE: Zach Miller (Bears) – Chicago will be facing Tampa defense which doesn’t defend the pass well.

DEF: Arizona – The Cardinals defense will be looking to make big plays against Colin Kaepernick.

Advertisements

NFL 2016: Week 6 Predictions!

NFL: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

Green Bay’s defensive front seven has been impressive so far this season. They’ll see their toughest test this weekend when Dallas comes to town.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 7-7

Season: 43-34

Big Five Games of the Week

Cincinnati @ New England – I don’t know what’s wrong with Cincinnati but they better get it figured out real fast. Last week in Dallas, they found themselves down 28 nothing in a game that ended up not being close at all. The Bengals seem to have major problems defensively and they are struggling up front offensively, which is affecting the run and pass game. Cincinnati took their lumps last week and that will probably continue on the road this week against New England. The Patriots got their leader back last week in Tom Brady. They also received reinforcements on the defensive line. New England is stronger on both sides of the ball now compared to earlier in the season and they are going to play at a high level for the foreseeable future. Cincinnati has most of the same talent they got them into the playoffs for the last couple of years but they are currently trending down. I don’t see them competing with the Patriots on Sunday in Tom Brady’s homecoming at Gillette Stadium. Prediction: Patriots 35 – Bengals 20

Baltimore @ New York Giants – The Giants struggled on offense again this past week but it was against a pretty good defense in Minnesota. This week, the Giants offense will look to get back on track against a Ravens defense at home. Baltimore is still an inconsistent team and you really can’t get a good read on them. The Ravens are usually a tough defensive team but their offense cant get on track or score enough points to put opponents away. Joe Flacco and company will probably find it tough this week against New York’s defense on the road. Baltimore’s weakness on defense is in the secondary and that should serve Eli Manning and the Giants passing attack well. Without Steve Smith in the lineup, Flacco will be looking for his younger receivers to step up this week but they will struggle to go blow for blow against Manning’s passing attack. Eli Manning has been heavily criticized this season but I believe that he will be able to look like his old self this week. Prediction: Giants 33 – Ravens 23

Kansas City @ Oakland – The Raiders are a fun team to watch each week. This is mainly because their defense can’t put away opponents, which leads to late game heroics by David Carr and the offense. This week, the Raiders are at home against a Kansas City team that is coming off the bye week and is looking to play much better than they showed so far this season. Kansas City will receive full contributions this week from Jamaal Charles who is finally really to take the reins of the KC backfield. Kansas City usually runs the ball well but they will be tested by a very good Raiders front seven on defense. Oakland struggles mightily against the pass, which is good news for Alex Smith. If the Raiders can’t pressure Smith, he’ll be able to go throw for throw against Oakland’s offensive attack. Kansas City’s defense took some serious beatings early this season but coming off the bye, that unit will be looking prove themselves this week on the road. The matchup between Marcus Peters and Amari Cooper should be an interesting one. It seems like the Raiders are a different team at home compared to on the road so, I expect them to take a step back this week. I think Kansas City will prove this week that they are still a contender in this division. Prediction: Chiefs 24 – Raiders 21

Dallas @ Green Bay – In this old school NFC matchup, we will see strength vs. strength. The Packers have the top ranked run defense in the league. The Cowboys have the league’s best rushing attack. The team that controls the line of scrimmage will win this game. Green Bay defensive line is good but I don’t think they have faced an offensive line as good as the one in Dallas or a running back running as well as rookie Ezekiel Elliott. But on the other hand, Dallas hasn’t played against a run strong run defense this season unless you count how the Giants played in Week 1. Green Bay’s defense is impressive with the way they can stop the run and pressure the QB but they are beatable in the passing game. Rookie Dak Prescott has gotten better week after week at going down the field and I think he will get his chances this week. QB Aaron Rodgers is playing at a high level again and that is probably bad news for the Cowboys defense. That Cowboys defense is coming off two very strong performances though. CB Morris Claiborne is playing like a legit shutdown corner and the defensive line received a huge boost last week with the return of DE DeMarcus Lawrence. I think the Packers will have opportunities to soften up the Dallas defense with Eddie Lacy and the run game. With that, Rodgers will have his opportunities down the field as well. But Green Bay’s offensive line is a weakness in pass projection and I think the Cowboys pass rush will have a presence in this game. Dallas is the hot team right now and I’ve picked against them for 4 weeks now. I think the rookies will keep this thing rolling into the bye week. Prediction: Cowboys 28 – Packers 24

Atlanta @ Seattle – It’s starting to look like the Falcons will be the front-runners in the NFC South this season. Usually, it would be too soon for me to make such a statement but the rest of the division looks like such a mess. The Falcons looked mighty impressive last week on the road at Denver. This week, they’ll be looking for another big road victory in Seattle. The Seahawks are a tough team at home and they are coming off the bye week. Russell Wilson was dealing with some injuries but you couldn’t tell with the way he was playing before the bye week. Now that he is rested up, I expect him to be as effective as usual on Sunday. I’m not sure how improved the Falcons defense is yet but Wilson and the Seahawks offense will test them often through the air and on the ground. Seattle has the top ranked defense in football and their secondary will be taking on the top ranked passing attack in football. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have been on a roll recently but Sunday will be their biggest task of the season. In terms of these “top offense vs. top defense” matchups, it is usually wise to go with the defense. Especially in this case with Seattle being so good at home. An Atlanta win here would be most impressive but I’m sticking with my guns here and going with the home Seahawks. Prediction: Seahawks 31 – Falcons 23

The Rest of Week 6

Chargers over Broncos – Here’s a Thursday night upset. San Diego’s pass rush looked like a monster last week with the addition of rookie Joey Bosa. They will get after Trevor Siemian tonight and San Diego will score the upset at home.

Bills over 49ers – The talk before the game will be about the return of Colin Kaepernick. The talk after the game will be about how Buffalo hasn’t lost since firing their offensive coordinator.

Jaguars over Bears – Jacksonville is coming off the bye. Chicago isn’t that good. C’mon Jaguars. Do something for once.

Lions over Rams – This is a toss up.

Titans over Browns – Tennessee needs to start stacking up wins if they want to contend for the AFC South title.

Steelers over Dolphins – Trap game for Pittsburgh. Miami stinks and Ryan Tannehill is starting to run out of chances at being the guy in South Florida.

Saints over Panthers – Here’s another small upset. Carolina’s downward spiral continues. What’s wrong with their defense?

Eagles over Washington – Without Jordan Reed, Washington’s offense will not be able to go toe to toe against Philadelphia’s offense. Carson Wentz will bounce back this week.

Colts over Texans – Houston has some serious offensive issues. Indy will play them tough on the road.

Cardinals over Jets – Both pass defenses will keep this interesting. I trust Arizona’s offense a lot more than New York’s right now.

Week 6 Fantasy Football Picks

QB: Carson Palmer (Cardinals) – The Jets have serious issues in the secondary. Palmer will have his pick of receivers on Monday night.

RB: LeSean McCoy (Bills) – Shady has been tearing it up recently. San Fran run defense hasn’t been the same since the NaVarro Bowman injury.

WR: DeAndre Hopkins (Texans) – Houston will need some one on offense to step up on Sunday night. Hopkins will have to be that guy against a weak Colts secondary.

TE: Rob Gronkowski (Patriots) – Marty B has taken up some attention in New England. Gronk is starting to look like his old self though and he’ll probably break out any game now. Why not this week against a struggling Bengals defense?

DEF: Buffalo – The Bills defense is slowly starting to improve. If Kaepernick tries to hard to show that he is back to his old self, this Bills defense will take advantage.

NFL 2016: Week 3 Predictions!

 

sdut-file-in-this-aug-26-2016-f-20160909

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: AFC North Preview

leveon-bell

The Steelers will be contenders in 2016 even without Le’Veon Bell for the first 3 games. Right?

By: Elias McMillan

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers – Last year, the talk was that the Steelers were going to have to score 35 plus a game because the defense was suppose to be so bad. As the season when on, we saw what the offense could do despite all of the injuries and the defense kind of over achieved. Pittsburgh ran into so many problems last season when it comes to injuries but they still were so close to beating the eventually champion Broncos in the playoffs. That should serve as motivation going into 2016 as the Steelers will return a great offensive attack again along with a defense that will need to play better than what they look like on paper. On offense, everyone will talk about the QB and the skill players but if you watched last season, you saw that the offensive line was really the unsung heroes on that side of the ball. In 2016, the offensive will receive a couple of key guys back from injury and they acquired a new tackle from the Super Bowl Champion Broncos team. I expect the offensive line to be great again this season. I would expect Ben Roethlisberger to be the same tough player that he has always been in his career in 2016. RB Le’Veon Bell will miss the first 3 games of 2016 but I think the blow of not having him early on won’t be as big. Bell is a top back in the league but he has had issues with staying healthy. The time off might help him remain fresher through the season. Also, RB DeAngelo Williams played surprisingly well last season in the back up role and he’ll carry that confidence into 2016. Bell is in his contract year and with his suspension history, it is likely that 2016 will be his last in the black and gold. I bring this up because once Bell gets back on the field he will be extra motivated to show his worth to the Steelers and the other 31 teams in preparation for 2017. Bell might only play in 13-16 games but he is too talented to not be a factor in Pittsburgh’s offense. The real star on offense for the Steelers is at WR. Antonio Brown can do it all for this offense and he is primed for another great campaign. The depth at receiver this year could be a bit shaky with the suspension of Martavis Bryant but I think Markus Wheaton, Sammie Coates, and Darrius Heyward-Bey are capable to be big targets when called upon. TE Heath Miller retired but the Steelers quickly moved in free agency and signed Ladarius Green from San Diego. Green can be a valuable receiver and Ben likes to use the TE a lot. But Green’s status is already up in the air because of injury concerns. Because of injuries and suspensions, you can see the floor for the Pittsburgh offense this season but the veteran pieces at key position should be able to hold everything together. On defense, the worries don’t come from the front seven. Pittsburgh had a top 5 run defense a season ago and the defensive line returns the same leaders from a season ago. At the outside linebacker rush positions, Bud Dupree merely scratched the surface in his rookie season and I think he can improve in 2016. James Harrison has yet to be replaced because he is defying the aging process. At 38, he is still probably the Steelers best disruptor off the edge. The Steelers also return the duo of inside LB’s Ryan Shazier and Lawrence Timmons. The weakness of the defense will be in the secondary again. Safety Mike Mitchell offers a lot as a physical tackler but not much as a pass defender. Is Robert Golden ready to be the starter opposite of Mitchell? William Gay can make big plays at times but no one really sees him as a number 1 corner in this league. I like the draft picks of Artie Burns and Sean Davis. Those two rookies might be called upon earlier that expected in this defense. There might be a few wrinkles but I think this Steelers team will be similar or even better than the one from last year. If the Steelers can survive their division and if you look at how the other top teams in the AFC have done in the offseason, you’ll see why I think this Steelers team will have a shot at being the top team in the AFC in 2016. Prediction: 12-4 (AFC North Champs)

Cincinnati Bengals – With the way Cincinnati’s season ended, you would think some of that would carry over into 2016. That maybe true but the Bengals still return a talented roster into this season and they will be Pittsburgh’s main rival for the division crown. Cincinnati had an epic meltdown in the playoff game against the Steelers but many people have already forgot that they almost pulled off with the victory while having to start their backup at QB. Andy Dalton was playing well before getting hurt right before the playoff game. Seeing how close his team got without him should prove to be a huge motivation for Dalton this season. The Bengals have lost some talent at the WR position but they have also gained some as well. All-pro, AJ Green is still the leader of the group along with veterans Brandon Tate and Brandon LaFell. But I expect rookie WR Tyler Boyd to eventually become the breakout target in this offense in 2016. The RB duo of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard still looks good on paper but they both kind of underperformed last season. I don’t now if the Bengals need better blocking upfront but Hill and Bernard need to become bigger factors in this offense. On defense, the Bengals return many of the familiar characters that have been apart of the unit for years now. Cincinnati’s defense has plenty of experience but I’m worried because experience is really just code for “old”. Cincy’s front four was a top 10 run defending unit in 2015 and they’ll be lead once again by DT Geno Atkins. The starting linebackers are pretty much the same aside from they replaced an aging vet with another aging vet. A.J. Hawk only lasted one year and Karlos Dansby will replace him. Dansby was only let go from Cleveland because of his age but he definitely has a lot left in the tank. Cincinnati has always spent a wealth of draft picks on the secondary but that group was a weak point last season. I liked the first round selection of William Jackson from Houston but an injury will keep him on the bench for at least the first half of the season. CB Adam Jones returns as the veteran leader, which is crazy by itself. This defense is still waiting on Darqueze Dennard and Dre Kirkpatrick to play like the first rounders that they are. The secondary will really be hurt by the departure of safety Reggie Nelson. This Bengals team will probably have the same issues as it did a season ago but I think the individual talent from a few will be able to carry this team for at least one more trip to the postseason. Hopefully, they can be healthier than last year. But even if then, this team just seems allergic to winning big time ball games. With a few downgrades on the roster, can Marvin Lewis survive yet another disappointing ending? Prediction: 10-6 (Wildcard)

Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens had a worst-case scenario type of season in 2015. And they were still able to beat the rival Steelers twice. With all the injuries they had a season ago, Baltimore fans can enter 2016 with a sense of optimism. QB Joe Flacco is back, the offensive line is retooled, and the talent at the skill positions seems solid. At RB, Justin Forsett will be looking to bounce back from an injury and depth behind him at the position is pretty good with Javorius Allen and Terrance West. The WR position looks bleaker than I originally thought. I’m excited to see the return of Steve Smith in his final season but I’m disappointed that last year’s first rounder, Breshad Perriman, is still fighting to get on the field because of injuries. Kamar Aiken and Chris Matthews are decent receivers but they are not gonna demand the ball or take away attention from the defense like top receivers do. But Flacco does like going to the TE’s a lot and the Ravens have a wealth of talent at that postion. Dennis Pitta is ready to return from a season long injury, Crockett Gilmore and Maxx Williams have plenty of ability, and they signed Benjamin Watson who is one of the most respected players in the league. I don’t know what Perriman will bring to the table once healthy but until then, Flacco will be sorely missing a deep threat on this offense. Baltimore is really going to have to do well upfront at run blocking and keeping Flacco healthy. On defense, Baltimore isn’t the elite unit that it once was but they are a veteran laden group. On the defensive line, they have a group that is still relatively young and average. The strength of this defense comes from the group of linebackers. The outside pass rushing roles will be held down again by veterans Elvis Dumervil and appearing in perhaps his last season, Terrell Suggs. The real star is in the middle of the defense where CJ Mosley plays. Mosley is probably among the best LB’s in the league and he is just entering his third season. Baltimore’s secondary will receiver a boost this season as they brought in veteran safety Eric Weddle. Paired up with Lardarius Webb, they will form one of the better safety combos in the league. At corner, the Ravens don’t have a lot of depth, as Jimmy Smith is the only standout player. Baltimore will be hungry this year to bounce back after that disaster that was 2015. But they are a little “long in the tooth” when it comes to age and their overall talent just isn’t where it was year’s ago when they where mainstays in the playoffs. I think the Ravens will improve and compete for a playoff spot but I don’t see them playing past December. Prediction: 9-7

Cleveland Browns – Going into 2016, it is the same old sad story for the Browns. The prior plan at leadership didn’t work. Management has brought in the next head coach. Sweeping changes are on the way. Etc. Etc. Etc. Why will this time be any different? Hue Jackson is coming off some successful seasons coaching behind Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati and Jackson wasn’t awful in his last head gig in Oakland. Jackson is a good offensive coach and his players usually like him a lot. I would trust Jackson to build this team in his image but we have to consider that he is now in Cleveland, which has always been an impossible situation. I’m rooting for Jackson and I really hope that the Cleveland brass give him the time that Oakland didn’t give him. Cleveland really needs to solidify the QB position in 2016. Robert Griffin III was brought in from Washington and he enters a great situation with Jackson who has a rep for getting the most out of his QB’s. I think Griffin can show flashes of his former self in Cleveland this season. The issue will be keeping him healthy for 16 games. Cleveland also needs to build up that offensive line. Joe Thomas and Cameron Erving maybe be solid pieces but that unit, as a whole needs to be great if they hope to have RG3 for most of the season. It would be nice if Griffin had a running game to lean on. RB’s Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson have plenty of ability but they are both very inconsistent. I’m really excited at what the Browns could have at the WR position in 2016. First round pick, Corey Coleman, is drawing comparisons to a young Steve Smith. QB turned WR, Terrelle Pryor, is already turning heads in the preseason. And WR Josh Gordon is scheduled to return from suspension in Week 5. If Gordon can reinvent himself while being the player that he once was and if Pryor can carry over his play from the preseason, the Browns could have one of the most talented WR cores in the league. The real key will be if Griffin can return to form under the tutelage of coach Jackson. Almost forgot to mention that the Browns also have a great TE in Gary Barnidge. They just happen to have a lot to offer at the receiving positions in 2016. On defense, the Browns have some promising youngsters but overall they need a lot of help. On the defensive line, last year’s first round pick Danny Shelton will be looking forward to being the leader they drafted him to be. The young movement upfront will be fully in place this season with Xavier Cooper and rookie Carl Nassib likely playing aside Shelton. Cleveland has suffered for years at pressuring the opponent’s QB. Paul Kruger is a player that can rush the passer but he is getting up there in age and the Browns don’t have another guy like him starting on the other side. Cleveland will be hoping for LB Nate Orchard to step it up in his second year but also look out for touted rookie Emmanuel Ogbah. The Browns let Karlos Dansby go so, younger veterans, Demario Davis and Christian Kirksey, will lead the middle of the defense in 2016. Cleveland’s secondary will be a problem area again especially after they loss starting safety Tashaun Gibson in free agency. CB Joe Haden is one of the best corners in the league but fellow first rounder, Justin Gilbert, has been a massive disappointment. Its going to be interesting to see what Hue Jackson can do with the pieces they have on offense but Cleveland will be seriously short staffed defensively in 2016. Again, the Browns are years away from contending and the real question will be if Jackson will be around long enough to help build up the rest of the roster. Prediction: 4-12

NFL 2015: Week 14 Predictions!

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

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

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 8-8

Season: 122-70

Big Five Games of the Week

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

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

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

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

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

The Rest of Week 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

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

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

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

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

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

NFL 2015: Week 8 Predictions!

dan-campbell-nfl-miami-dolphins-tennessee-titans6-850x560

Miami is trying to climb back into the AFC East picture behind new head coach Dan Campbell.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 9-5

Season: 69-36

Big Five Games of the Week

Miami @ New England – The Dolphins have been on a roll since Dan Campbell has taken over head coaching duties. His hard-nosed, no nonsense approach has this Dolphins team believing that they can turn this season around. Miami should actually match up well tonight against the undefeated Patriots. Miami’s defense has really improved in the last couple of the weeks and they have the defensive line and the secondary to slow New England’s offensive attack. New England has also been average defensively and Miami’s offense has also begun to flourish under Dan Campbell. It’s hard to say which team has the most momentum going into tonight’s game. Miami has recently improved but New England still hasn’t tasted defeat this season yet. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have a ridiculous record at home against AFC East opponents. Sometimes weird thing happen in these Thursday night matchups. But I’m going to go with the safe pick, New England. Prediction: Patriots 26 – Dolphins 20

New York Giants @ New Orleans – A few weeks ago, the Saints looked awful and Drew Brees’ arm health was in question. Now, Brees appears to be back to playing at his best and the Saints defense is starting to over achieve. The NFC East is awful and I’m not buying that the Giants are poised to create any real separation in that division. They are dealing with some injury issues on defense and the offense hasn’t been real consistent this season. The Saints have been playing strong at home lately and I feel that they could surprise this confident Giants team at home. I’m taking Brees and the Saints. Prediction: Saints 34 – Giants 27

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh – This is a huge matchup in the AFC North. But, it really isn’t that huge because it is still just Week 8. The AFC North will ultimately come down to these two teams but even after this game, there will be still plenty of football left to be played. If you look at this matchup on paper, you might think that the Bengals should be able to steamroll this Steelers team on the road. The Steelers defense has been over achieving lately but they are coming off a bad performance in Kansas City and this week, I don’t see them having an answer for Bengals WR A.J. Green. The Steelers are getting great play right now from their defensive line and they’ll face a great test in Cincy’s running attack. The Bengals have the third ranked offense in the league right now. Cincinnati’s defense has its weak points too but I like their chances at the line of scrimmage. The Bengals defensive line is getting great pressure right now and Pittsburgh’s offensive line is having a rough time dealing with injuries. Pittsburgh will receive a great boost on Sunday with the return of QB Ben Roethlisberger and I would expect the passing game will be in full attack mode against this under achieving Bengals secondary. Cincinnati has fell short in so many big games in Pittsburgh and I just don’t trust them this week though it looks like they should win. I’m taking the home underdog. Prediction: Steelers 33 – Bengals 27

Green Bay @ Denver – Huge Sunday night matchup between undefeated squads. I feel that the Packers have yet to face any true adversity this season. San Diego gave them a scare two weeks ago but they were mainly in control for most of that game. I’m a big fan of what Denver is doing this season despite all the talk about Peyton Manning’s struggles. Denver has the best defense in football right now and Aaron Rodgers will face his toughest test of the season thus far on Sunday night. Denver has the pass rush to get after Rodgers and the secondary that can stick with Denver’s receivers. Denver is also tough against the run but Green Bay will getting a healthy Eddie Lacy back on Sunday. The matchup between the Packers offense and the Broncos defense will pretty much tell the story of this game. Green Bay doesn’t have a great defense and with two weeks to prepare, maybe Peyton Manning can exploit its holes. I’m taking the home team with the tough defense. Prediction: Broncos 28 – Packers 24

Indianapolis @ Carolina – The wheels have completely fallen off for the Colts. The defense can’t stop anyone. The offense is under performing. And now, head coach Chuck Pagano is on the hot seat. Meanwhile in Carolina, the running game is working, the defense is dominating, and Cam Newton is doing enough with limited weapons to win ball games. In this matchup, I can see Andrew Luck having another rough outing against this Carolina defense. The Panthers have a dominating defensive line, their linebackers fly all over the field and the secondary is playing great while being led by new star, CB Josh Norman. Indy’s defense has been so bad recently, I can see Newton being able to play mistake free football on Monday night. Prediction: Panthers 29 – Colts 17

The Rest of Week 8

Lions over Chiefs – I know that Kansas City is coming off a home victory but Detroit has experience in these overseas games. Look for Calvin Johnson to dominate.

Falcons over Buccaneers – Atlanta won ugly last week. Tampa blew a 24-point lead. That’s uglier.

Vikings over Bears – Minnesota needs to prove that they are for real. They should be able to take care of this bad Chicago team even on the road.

Cardinals over Browns – Cleveland should be completely outmatched in every way in this matchup against Arizona.

Rams over 49ers – St. Louis’ defense will be able to control the outcome of this game.

Chargers over Ravens – San Diego needs to get last week’s taste out of their mouth. Phillip Rivers should be able to out gun sling Joe Flacco.

Titans over Texans – Houston is a mess right now. It looks like Tennessee has more hope for the future recently.

Raiders over Jets – Oakland played great at home last week. Maybe they can take advantage of a Jets team that is traveling across the country.

Seahawks over Cowboys – Dez Bryant might return on Sunday. But without a QB, it won’t matter. Seattle isnt great right now but Dallas is totally inept on offense right now. They need Tony Romo to return soon.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Drew Brees (Saints) – The Giants pass defense is ranked in the bottom five of the league. Brees’ arm is healthy and he’ll continue to prove so on Sunday.

RB: Chris Johnson (Cardinals) – CJ2K has been one of the better stories of this season. Johnson is among the leading rushers in the NFL right now and Cleveland is last at defending the run.

WR: A.J. Green (Bengals) – Andy Dalton will have to lean of Green if he hope to leave Pittsburgh with a win on Sunday.

TE: Delanie Walker (Titans) – Houston’s secondary has a bad matchup this week against Tennessee’s passing attack.

DEF: Carolina – The Panthers should have a huge game defensively against a struggling Colts offense.

NFL 2015: Week 6 Predictions!

11431536

Arizona comes into Pittsburgh this Sunday playing as well as anyone right now.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 13-1

Season: 52-25

Big Five Games of the Week

Cincinnati @ Buffalo – In last week’s game vs. Seattle, it began to look like the old Bengal team that would falter in big games was back. But despite being down in the second half of that game, the Bengals stormed back and was able to come up with a big home victory against the defending NFC champs. It’s still early in this season but maybe this is a sign that this years Bengals team is ready to shed the label of being habitual folders. But once again, there’s still a lot of season left. Cincinnati will travel to Buffalo this weekend where the Bills will be looking forward to getting some key guys back from injury. QB Tyrod Taylor is coming off a gutsy performance on the road last week where he got pretty banged up. Taylor will be looking to still play this weekend but hopefully, he’ll be able to get help from a couple of RB’s returning from injuries. RB LeSean McCoy is still limited in practice due to his hamstring injury and RB Karlos Williams hasn’t been cleared since suffering a concussion so, both players’ statuses for Sunday are still up in the air. Cincinnati comes into Sunday with the 2nd ranked offense in the league. Buffalo has a great defensive line and they defend the run really well. The Bengals might have a tough time getting Giovanni Bernard or Jeremy Hill going on Sunday. Good news for Cincy is that Andy Dalton is still playing some of his best football right now despite still making mistakes from time to time. The Bengals will definitely have an advantage in the passing game as Buffalo wont have an answer for both A.J. Green and the emerging Tyler Eifert. Buffalo is a tough place to win but I think the Bengals will stay undefeated this weekend. Prediction: Bengals 28 – Bills 20

Arizona @ Pittsburgh – Arizona isn’t undefeated but you could argue that they have been the most impressive team in the NFC so far this season. Keys to their success would be a healthy Carson Palmer, a talented RB core by committee, and an attacking defense. Arizona is playing as well as anyone going into this big road game in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Pittsburgh isn’t getting enough out of their offense since the Ben Roethlisberger injury but they just got enough last Monday night in San Diego for the victory. With Mike Vick starting again this week, the Steelers would be better served by getting Le’Veon Bell as many touches as possible on Sunday. Vick’s inaccurate passing will spell trouble for Pittsburgh on Sunday as Arizona is really good at turning bad passes into turnovers going the other way. Arizona is pretty stingy against the run so, I think Pittsburgh will struggle to score points this week. You will also have to wonder how Pittsburgh will be affected from by playing on the west coast after a short week. Star WR Antonio Brown has been vocal this week about the lack of offensive production coming his way but it looks like that will continue to be the case until Ben returns. Pittsburgh’s defense has overachieved recently and they actually deserve a lot of credit. But I believe Bruce Arians will really test that unit this week and expose their weaknesses. Arizona is built to go into tough environments on the road and win games and I think they’ll prove that this week. Prediction: Cardinals 35 – Steelers 21

Carolina @ Seattle – The undefeated Panthers are coming off the bye week, as they will travel to Seattle for a tough road game. Carolina’s early success this season is amazing considering the lack of depth at receiver and playing without their best defensive player, LB Luke Kuechly. Kuechly will be ready to return this week and he’ll be returning right on time for this Carolina defense that will be facing the best running attack in football. Veterans Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson have been slowed by injuries but the Seattle running game has still been able to take off behind rookie Thomas Rawls. Carolina’s run defense should be even better than it already is with Kuechly returning so this will be a matchup to watch in this game. Russell Wilson is still a consistent playmaker for Seattle but with the protection issues on the offensive line, he has been prone to some mistakes this season. Carolina will be able to pressure him again this week and he’ll also have to look out for CB Josh Norman who may be the league’s next “Richard Sherman” as far as shutdown corners may go. Cam Newton has been carrying the Panthers offense this season but I think Seattle’s defense will put too much on his plate this week. I don’t see Carolina being able to be successful on the ground this week and Seattle’s secondary won’t respect any of Carolina’s receivers. With constantly seeing eight in the box on Sunday and without a reliable deep threat, Newton is line for his toughest start on the season on Sunday. Prediction: Seahawks 26 – Panthers 13

New England @ Indianapolis – Let me first say this: the media’s angle on this game is all wrong. Every journalist or talking head on TV is saying that this is a revenge game for the Patriots because the Colts “snitched” to the NFL about the “Deflate-gate”. But the Patriots destroyed the Colts in that AFC Championship game a season ago. So, shouldn’t the Colts be the ones looking for revenge this Sunday night in their home stadium. But either way you look at it, this game will end badly for the home team. The Colts have been an early disappointment this season. QB Andrew Luck is returning from injury in this game but even he hasn’t been as sharp as expected this season. The Patriots don’t have a great defense but the Colts have struggled to get any consistent play through the air and on the ground. Indy’s defense was also supposed to be improved this season but we have yet to see evidence of that. Tom Brady will be in attack mode in this game and the Colts wont have an answer. Prediction: Patriots 40 – Colts 28

New York Giants @ Philadelphia – The Eagles enter this huge early season NFC East showdown vs. the Giants with as much confidence as they’ve had this season thus far. The Eagles killed the Saints at home last week and it was the best their offense has looked all season. Of course, I must point out that the subplot of that game was that the New Orleans Saints absolutely suck. The Giants also had a triumphant moment last week as they defeated the 49ers with a late touchdown pass in the 4th quarter. I must also point out that the 49ers are not very good. My point is that this game will be an absolute NFC East garbage fest. Philly is favored in this matchup for reasons that actually make a lot of sense. The Giants don’t have the defense to slow down Philly’s many offensive weapons and the Eagles front seven has had a knack for giving Eli Manning a hard time. But I don’t think Sam Bradford will be able to have the success down the field that he had last week. New York doesn’t have a great secondary especially with Prince Amukamara out with an injury but that secondary isnt as bad as New Orleans’. Also, the Giants offensive line is under appreciated and if Manning has time, he’ll attack Philly’s awful secondary. Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz are both banged up but I don’t think it will matter. This game with be an ugly slop fest that will serve one purpose: ratings for ESPN because of the markets involved. Can you tell that a Cowboys fan wrote this? Prediction: Giants 24 – Eagles 21

The Rest of Week 6

Falcons over Saints – Atlanta looks vulnerable but New Orleans has the worst defense in the league.

Broncos over Browns – Great job by me for picking the Cleveland upset last week. By the way Cleveland, your 7 game losing streak begins now. Enjoy.

Bears over Lions – Remember when Chicago was tanking and trading all of their players away? Detroit’s nightmare season will continue at home on Sunday.

Titans over Dolphins – I love new interim head coach Dan Campbell. I feel like after Miami loses this game, he’ll challenge Tennessee head coach Ken Whisenhunt to a fistfight at the 50-yard line.

Vikings over Chiefs – Should have been a matchup between two of the best RB’s in football. Jamaal Charles’ season is over and so is Kansas City’s.

Jets over Washington – The surprising Jets will be well rested going into this game coming off the bye.

Texans over Jaguars – Houston isn’t any good. Gus Bradley’s seat will be pretty hot if the Jags lose this one.

Packers over Chargers – San Diego doesn’t have the defense to slow Aaron Rodgers and this Green Bay offense.

49ers over Ravens – Its hard to explain whats wrong with Baltimore this season. They just loss too many key pieces. Kind of like the team they’ll face on Sunday.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Tom Brady (Patriots) – Brady will go HAM this weekend in Indy. He’ll embrace the boos. He’ll silence the crowd too.

RB: Devonta Freeman (Falcons) – New Orleans has one of the worst run defenses in football. Freeman runs as hard as anyone in football right now. He’s having a breakout season this year.

WR: Anquan Boldin (49ers) – I know that the Niners don’t have a great passing offense but Boldin will demand the football this week against his former team.

TE: Larry Donnell (Giants) – With the uncertainty surrounding the availability of Beckham and Cruz, look for Eli Manning to target his TE against Philly’s sorry secondary.

DEF: Seattle – The Seahawks will be able to stack the box and eliminate the passing game this week against Cam Newton and his limited offensive teammates.