Tag Archives: Geno Smith

NFL 2015: AFC East Preview

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

By: Elias McMillan

AFC EAST

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

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

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

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

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NFL 2014: Week 13 Predictions!

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If the Dallas pass rush can’t get to Eagles QB Mark Sanchez, he could have a Thanksgiving to remember.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 12-3

Season: 111-64-1

Big Five Games of the Week

Chicago @ Detroit – The Lions have a real chance at winning consecutive Thanksgiving Day games for the first time in a long time. But both teams enter this matchup in an offensive rut. Detroit has lost two straight games where they could not find the end zone. Chicago has dealt with offensive issues the entire season, which is why they are 5-6 entering this game. Unlike Detroit, Chicago also has mayor defensive issues due to injuries and just an overall lack of effort. Despite losing two straight, I believe that the Lions defense can have a bounce back performance on Thursday. The Lions front four should be able to affect Jay Cutler and the Bears offense at the line of scrimmage. Chicago will have a chance in this game but only if the offense can find major success. The Bears defense will be out-manned on Thursday as they will continue to struggle against the run and WR Calvin Johnson should be able to make an difference in the game lining up opposite of Chicago’s inexperienced secondary. Detroit needs this game to try to keep pace with Green Bay in the NFC North. I think they will be able to wrap this one up at home. Prediction: Lions 31 – Bears 22

Philadelphia @ Dallas – This game wont determined the NFC East winner but it could go along way in deciding the division. The Eagles and the Cowboys have been impressive this season but they do have their weaknesses. For the Eagles, they still have a great collection of skill players on offense. The bad news is that starting QB Nick Foles is still out via injury and backup QB Mark Sanchez might not be as sharp. The good news for Sanchez and the Eagles offense is that the Cowboys defense cannot amount any type of a pass rush this season. Philadelphia has had a lot of mid season changes to the offensive line but I don’t think that will matter against the Dallas front four. With no pressure, Sanchez and his weapons will be able to get behind the defense and cause some serious damage. On defense, the Eagles will need to focus on stopping the run. Philadelphia’s strength of defense is the pass rush but Dallas will be able to almost take that factor out of the game with their running attack. The Dallas offensive line is still playing outstanding football so Philly might already have their hands full with trying to pressure Tony Romo. I’ll admit that safety Malcolm Jenkins has been better than I expected this season for the Eagles but that secondary has mostly been bad and WR Dez Bryant should be able to have his way with them. Despite of what the Dallas offense can do, I think this game will be about the Dallas defense and their lack of defensive stops. This should be a close exciting contest that will leave a perfect build up leading to the rematch in Philly in about 2 weeks. Prediction: Eagles 29 – Cowboys 27

Seattle @ San Francisco – The Seahawks and 49ers round off a great rivalry, Thanksgiving Day triple-header in the NFL on Thursday. Both teams have had issues this season but both are still in position to make a push towards the post season. Seattle is almost the same team from last season but the lack of talent is starting to become an issue. Seattle still has a power running game led by RB Marshawn Lynch and QB Russell Wilson is still the unquestioned leader of the offense. On defense, the “Legion of Boom” is still a feared secondary but unlike last season, Seattle’s front seven has had problems this season with creating pressure and stopping the run. This serves well for the 49ers offense. QB Colin Kaepernick has had his struggles this season but he will be able to use the running game to set the tone in this matchup. The 49ers defense is slowly starting to regain health and the form that we are more accustomed to seeing them in. The return of OLB Aldon Smith has already started to make a difference for the defense and the emergence of rookie ILB Chris Borland has help the 49ers with defending the run. Seattle will have their hands full in this divisional matchup especially because they still are known for their woes on the road. This should be a low scoring affair that might come down to field goals in the 4th quarter. Prediction: 49ers 23 – Seahawks 20

New England @ Green Bay – I don’t think this is a Super Bowl preview but this game features two of the best teams and QBs in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were going through a pretty impressive stretch of games recently that saw them put up a lot of points. Last week in Minnesota, Green Bay had to grit out a tough victory. Though it was impressive to see them win ugly for once, I think that game did show that it is possible to slow down that offense. New England doesn’t have a top defensive unit statistically but they are a tough group that might be getting healthier this week. New England has been getting strong play from their secondary and from the run defense. OLB Chandler Jones might be ready to return from injury this week and if he does, New England will have a legit pass rusher to help them get after Rodgers. Green Bay’s defense has had their good moments this year but they still have exploitable weaknesses. They struggle to stop the run and the pass rush has been a disappointment this year. I think New England will be able to control the line of scrimmage in this game. Tom Brady will be able to dial up the correct plays in the run game and in the pass game. Rookie safety HaHa Clinton-Dix will have his hands full contending with New England’s TE’s, Rob Gronkowski and Tim Wright. I still thank Rodgers and the Packers offense will be able to keep this game competitive. It will help that they’ll have that great home field advantage but I don’t see New England being phased. Brady has been in a zone recently. Prediction: Patriots 33 – Packers 28

Denver @ Kansas City – I’m not ready to write off the Chiefs after they were embarrassed and some what robbed of a victory last week in Oakland. I actually think that they matchup well against Denver and they’ll have a legit shot at an upset at home this week. Denver was able to overcome a slow start at home last week and still get the victory over a defensively tough Miami team. Judging from the last two games, it seems like Denver is starting to lose some of that steam they had earlier in the season. Kansas City matchups up well against them on both sides of the ball and that great home field advantage on Sunday night will create a hostile environment for Peyton Manning. Kansas City has the front seven on defense that can pressure the QB and stuff the run. The Chiefs secondary will greatly miss safety Eric Berry but considering the situation with him, maybe that unit will be able to play inspired football that night. Denver still will be tough to stop on offense but if Kansas City can create enough stops, that might be able to be the difference in the ballgame. Denver’s defense has started to show weakness against the run and the pass. RB Jamaal Charles is basically the Chiefs offense so Denver will have to especially key on him. QB Alex Smith is not playing his best right now but maybe he can seem more comfortable playing at home. Despite the defense and the home field advantage, I’m picking this game based on the fact that I don’t trust Alex Smith to be able to score enough points in this game in order to outscore Peyton Manning. Prediction: Broncos 35 – Chiefs 27

The Rest of Week 13

Bills over Browns – Returning to Ralph Wilson Stadium this week will create a crazy scene and a great advantage for the Bills. Cleveland has proven this year before that they cant handle their own success.

Colts over Redskins – So much for the Luck-RG3 matchup. Let the Colt McCoy era in Washington begin!

Rams over Raiders – Oakland deserves to lose forever for the stunt they pulled off last week vs. the Chiefs.

Panthers over Vikings – The NFC South is still awful but Carolina is healthy coming off the bye.

Steelers over Saints – Things in New Orleans wouldn’t be as bad if Drew Brees was still playing like Drew Brees. Something is just off about him this season. Pittsburgh has been great at home recently and that defense will be really healthy coming off the bye week.

Bengals over Buccaneers – Don’t look now but Cincinnati is starting to play really well. I’m excited for the backfield tandem of Jeremy Hill and the now healthy Giovanni Bernard.

Giants over Jaguars – I think that a loss here would all but seal Tom Coughlin’s fate in New York.

Ravens over Chargers – It’s been hard for me to get a read on Baltimore this season. San Diego will be desperate for a win this week as they are starting to become forgotten in the crowded AFC.

Texans over Titans – The QB change shouldn’t matter here. Tennessee is a bad football team.

Cardinals over Falcons – It is not time to panic in Arizona but a loss here against Atlanta might cause some concern.

Dolphins over Jets – Rex Ryan is starting Geno Smith at QB this week. So, that alone should tell you that the Jets Head Coach has checked out mentality.

Fantasy Football Players of the Week

QB: Tony Romo (Cowboys) – Romo’s track record on Thanksgiving has been well documented. Plus, Philly’s secondary isn’t good.

RB: Fred Jackson (Bills) – Here’s a name that you haven’t heard in awhile. Cleveland struggles against the run and Jackson will be extra motivated this week after already starting a war of words with the Browns defense.

WR: Calvin Johnson (Lions) – Johnson should have a big Turkey day against the Chicago secondary.

TE: Larry Donnell (Giants) – With the extra attention on Odell Beckham Jr., Eli Manning might be able to exploit the middle of the Jaguars defense with Larry Donnell.

DEF: Miami – I have no reason to believe that Geno Smith will have a big day offensively on Monday night. Miami’s defense should be able to feast.

NFL 2014: AFC East Preview

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With a healthy Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady is looking forward to another AFC East title.

By: Elias McMillan

New England Patriots – The Patriots are coming off an offseason where they did lose a couple of pieces but despite that, chances are pretty good that they will win their 12th division title in 14 seasons. They will be lead on offense once again by QB Tom Brady who is getting up there in age but is still one of the top passers in the league. Brady had a pretty decent season year despite all of the turn around seen at the receiver position. He’ll have returning younger targets like Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins and veterans like Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman. Last season, Edelman became the target that Brady really started to lean on. But the real impact player in the passing game for New England is TE Rob Gronkowski who is looking forward to an injury-free 2014. If Gronkowski can stay on the field this season, him and Brady can once again put up great numbers and give defenses nightmares. I think the running game for New England will be hurt by the departure of RB LaGarrett Blount but Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen are serviceable RBs for what the Patriots do on offense. New England will also be looking for a better season from their offensive lineman. The one sure way to beat this Patriots offense is to get to Brady and that wont be any different this season. On defense, the Pats will benefit from having DT Vince Wilfork back from injury. On the outside, DE’s Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones do a pretty decent job at rushing the QB. The LB core might be hurt by the departure of Brandon Spikes but they still have serviceable guys in that unit like Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower. They also lost CB Aqib Talib in the secondary but they were a lot more aggressive in the efforts to replace him. I really like the addtions of CB Darrelle Revis and CB Brandon Browner. Those are two veterans that can still play at a very high level and set an example to the younger defensive backs. The one thing that the Pats really have in their favor this season is that they shouldn’t see too much competition from inside their division. I would say that they are definitely good enough to win another AFC East title but I don’t know if they have improved enough to make it to their third straight AFC Championship game. Prediction: 11-5 (AFC East Champs)

New York Jets – Last year around this time, just about everyone was expecting for the Jets to stink. Instead, Rex Ryan turned around and did a great coaching job getting them to 8-8. Now, the Jets have some confidence going into this season and they also made some improvement with some additions in the offseason. I think the Jets can be successful this season because they are going to simplify things for 2nd year QB Geno Smith. When I say “simplify things”, I mean to say that they are going to try to run the ball more and more effectively. And I believe they can with the backfield of RB’s Chris Ivory and free agent signee, Chris Johnson. The Jets might still be questionable upfront with their interior linemen but I expect them to be a strong team running the football on the strength of those two backs. I think we are still a ways away from seeing Geno Smith as a good passer, which is why bringing in Mike Vick was a great idea. I expect Smith to start out as the starter but if he doesn’t show improvement passing the ball, Ryan will be ready to make the switch to Vick. For the second straight season, their isnt a real stand out in the Jets receiving core. They brought in WR Eric Decker from Denver and he is coming off of a productive season catching passes from Peyton Manning. I think he can give the QB’s here a decent target to go to but I don’t see him as being a huge difference maker. Hopefully, rookie TE Jace Amaro can develop into a reliable target because I can see him getting plenty of run in his first year. The strength of the Jets defense is the defensive line that is built around Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson. Those two are huge studs that play with a non-stop motor. They have the ability to stop the run and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. The Jets can also get a decent outside rush from Calvin Pace. On the opposite side of him, Quinton Couples is on his way to becoming a bust. It’s a good thing they brought in a proven pass rusher in Jason Babin right before camp. In the middle of the defense, the Jets are still getting great play out from MLB David Harris. In the secondary, the Jets really need CB’s Kyle Wilson and Dee Milliner to play at a high level. I’m excited about 1st round draft pick safety Calvin Pryor who is a speedy ball hawk. If Pryor can stay on the field, he’s a guy you can count on always being around the football. I think that the Jets upgraded enough talent wise to at least compete for a playoff spot this year. I don’t see them being in New England’s class but I’ll get them a shot at surprising people this year. The keys will be if they can fully commit to running the football and if they can get enough big plays from the QB position. Having impact players at the line of scrimmage will give them a lot of chances to win but once again, they need to have the QB situation figured out early this season. Prediction: 9-7

Buffalo Bills – Considering the death of owner Ralph Wilson, the selling of the franchise on going, and Jim Kelly’s brave fight against cancer, the Bills are the sentimental favorites in the AFC East this season. Unfortunately, they have already suffered some set backs even before the season started and they though have enough talent to get out of the basement of this division. Second year QB E.J. Manuel showed some flashes last season but he wasn’t consistent enough. Obviously, he must show some improvement in year two. Manuel does have a great supporting cast around him. The RB position is absolutely stacked with standouts, CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson, and proven vets, Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon. WR Sammy Watkins might be a future star in this league but Buffalo might have given up too much for him. And I’m not sure why they traded away WR Stevie Johnson. They must be counting on WR’s Mike Williams and Robert Woods to be consistent targets this season. The Bills will also have question marks up front on the offensive line where they might be counting on two rookie tackles, Seantrel Henderson & Cyrus Kouandjio. On defense, the Bills will be hurting after losing LB Kiko Alonso for the season to injury. They will be led once again on the defensive line by DE Mario Williams but they don’t really have another impact player on the opposite side. DT Marcell Dareus is great player but he is a question mark this season because of illegal troubles. At the LB position, they will be without Kiko Alonso but they brought it a couple of vets with some ability, Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers. In the secondary, they lost safety Jairus Byrd to free agency and that might created a major hole there. They do have a decent duo at CB with Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin. But mostly, this defense will greatly miss LB Kiko Alonso. Buffalo has plenty of young talent but injuries and inexperience might keep them from contending for a title in 2014. There will be high hopes surrounding WR Sammy Watkins. He will have to perform at a high level early in his career to make Bills fans forget that they don’t have a first round selection next April. Prediction: 5-11

Miami Dolphins – I don’t have high expectation for the Dolphins this season. In fact, I expect the wheels to completely fall off for head coach Joe Philbin. With every thing the team dealt with last season, it was amazing that they even got to 8-8. But they did suffer a late season collapse that might linger into this year. On the bright side, QB Ryan Tannehill is probably the best QB in the division not named Brady. That might not be saying much when you’re comparing him to Manuel and Smith but Tannehill showed a lot of promise last season. Tannehill leads an offense that includes some decent targets in Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline. Wallace had a down year based on his standards but he does have a lot to improve on going into 2014. TE Charles Clay developed into a reliable target for Tannehill last season and he wont be under the radar this season. Miami really lacks a stand out player at the RB position. RB’s Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas both have some ability but either are going to be stars in this league. They signed RB Knowshon Moreno in the offseason but he has been receiving the opposite of rave reviews so far in training camp. What really hurts the Miami offense is the offensive line, which is a complete mess. That unit will most likely see 5 new starters this season and it will probably continue to be a work in progress as the season goes on. On defense, they are led by supreme pass rusher, DE Cameron Wake. Last years first round pick, DE Dion Jordan, hasn’t lived up to expectations yet but he is still young enough to improve from a disappointing rookie year. Miami is pretty solid at LB. Dannell Ellerbe, Koa Misi, and Phillip Wheeler provide the defense with solid play last year and they’ll continue that this year. I don’t feel so good about Miami’s secondary. Safety Reshad Jones will miss some time because of a suspension. They signed Cortland Finnegan in the off-season but I’m not sure what he can offer to team because of his age. Miami did have a bright spot at CB last year with the play of veteran Brent Grimes. I think Miami is some years away from becoming a playoff team. It would really mean a lot for the future of this team if Ryan Tannehill builds upon what he did last year. Prediction: 4-12

NFL 2013: Week 7 Predictions!

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Andrew Luck and Colts will be trying to hand Denver their first loss of the season this Sunday night.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 9-6

Season: 53-39

Big Five Games of the Week

Cincinnati @ Detroit – The Bengals survived a tough game on the road last week. They’ll try to do so again this week against a decent Lions team. Detroit is in first place in the NFC North but they’ve been slowed by some injuries. Matt Stafford has had to rely on some different targets recently as his top two receivers are fighting injuries. The Lions are getting decent production from Reggie Bush right now. The Bengals have been able to put together on offense recently as well. The duo of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovanni Bernard has really helped QB Andy Dalton to open it up recently and cut down on the turnovers. The Bengals were in control of last week’s game then they obviously began to let up. They can’t let that happen again against a much better offensive team. I also think the Bengals have the better defense in this match-up. Prediction: Bengals 28 – Lions 26

Dallas @ Philadelphia – This NFC East match-up features two wildly inconsistent teams. The Eagles offense has been able to impress at times this season but the defense remains to be a problem. LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson are off to great starts this season and they will both need to have big games on Sunday. Nick Foles will get the start this Sunday after an impressive showing last week. Foles has a big arm but he’ll be facing a better defense on Sunday. The Cowboys safeties will have to stay deep in this game to defend the deep ball. The Dallas rush defense will have to have a bounce back week against an Eagles team that leads the league in rushing. Foles doesn’t use his legs much so Dallas must send the pressure against their weak offensive line. Not having DeMarcus Ware healthy could hurt Dallas on Sunday as someone else on that defensive line will have to step up. I think the problems on the Eagles defense could allow Dallas to win this game. Tony Romo should be able to find success with all the healthy targets he has at his disposal right now. The Eagles defense will have a better chance at success if the Cowboys abandon the run too early. And that’s something that could very well happen with DeMarco Murray out with an injury. Rookie RB Joseph Randle must get his touches if Dallas wants to keep a somewhat balanced attack. This seems like a game that Dallas should lose as they usually have letdown coming into games with momentum. I just don’t see Philly outscoring Dallas with Nick Foles at QB. I could be wrong but I’m going with the team with the better defense. Prediction: Cowboys 31 – Eagles 23

Chicago @ Washington – The Bears enter this game well rested but still bothered by some injuries. The middle of that Chicago defense has been gutted due to injuries and I don’t think that bodes well against a Washington team that loves to run the ball. QB Jay Cutler and the Bears offense have been playing well but they almost blew last week’s game against a winless Giants team. I do not doubt this team’s ability to put up points but I doubt how they can hold on to leads. Washington is running the ball well right now and I think they can be able to take over this match-up by using the running game and keeping the Bears offense off the field. Washington doesn’t have a strong defense but I’m taking them to score the upset at home this week. Prediction: Redskins 24 – Bears 17

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh – The Steelers finally got into the win column last week but they’ll face a much tougher opponent this week in rival Baltimore. The Ravens hasn’t exactly looked great this season but they do match-up well against the Steelers. They might continue to have a hard time on offense this week, as the Steelers are once again tough against the run and the pass. Some of those defensive stats are inflated because they faced Geno Smith last week but Joe Flacco has had his fare share of struggles this year as well. The Steeler defense hasn’t been great at creating turnovers this year so Flacco is gonna have to take advantage of the match-ups that work and get his team down the field. I think the Ravens defense can really tilt this game for the road team. Pittsburgh’s offensive line will have its hands full once again this week facing Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. It should be a long afternoon for Ben Roethlisberger if he can’t find the time in the pocket. If the Ravens offense lacks again this week, they’ll have to win this road game with their defense and their special teams. Prediction: Ravens 30 – Steelers 18

Denver @ Indianapolis – Plenty emotion in this game as Peyton Manning returns to Indy to face the Colts. Denver’s success on offense this season as been well documented. The real story is starting to become how as the season goes on, teams are getting closer and closer to outscoring Peyton Manning. How is this so? The Broncos pass defense has been giving up a lot of yards recently. This should bode well for Colts QB Andrew Luck who couldn’t do much last week as Indy completely lost the battle for ball control. For Luck to stay on the field, the Colts are gonna have to run the ball better or the defense is gonna have to produce more three & outs. With their struggles on defense, Denver will receive a huge boost with the return of pass rusher Von Miller. Despite Miller’s return, I think the Colts defense is better overall. They didn’t defend the run well last week so they’ll have to bounce back at home. The Broncos rushing game wont become a factor until they enter the red zone. So, the Colts will have to bring the pressure to Manning and defend those short passes. This is something I believe the Colts can do as they have the talent on that side of the ball. I think Denver is the better team but I don’t see them going 16-0 this year. They’re gonna have to lose at some point and I think Indy will play inspired football at home. Prediction: Colts 35 – Broncos 33

The Rest of Week 7

Cardinals over Seahawks – Here’s another upset. Weird things happen on these Thursday night games and Seattle isnt a great road team. The Arizona crowd and the defense will make the difference in this game.

Falcons over Buccaneers – Atlanta is going through a rough stretch. They have enough talent to get out of it. Tampa Bay is going through a tough season with still about 2 months left.

Dolphins over Bills – Miami’s defense should shine coming off a bye. Who’s starting QB for Buffalo this week?

Patriots over Jets – New England is starting to play better football despite the injuries on the defensive side of the ball. Last week, Geno Smith revealed himself to be Geno Smith.

Rams over Panthers – Carolina has been wildly inconsistent this season. St. Louis started the season badly but they’re starting to come around.

Chargers over Jaguars – San Diego has been a real surprise this season. Jacksonville has not been.

49ers over Titans – San Fran is starting to put together a couple of great games. Tennessee is hanging tough but they’re not getting enough from their offense right now.

Packers over Browns – Cleveland would have been a great story this year. Too bad it was the Hoyer injury and NOT the Richardson trade that has wrecked this team. Green Bay should be able to roll at home.

Chiefs over Texans – Houston will be limping into the bye week, as they will be sending out a rookie to face a great Kansas City defense.

Giants over Vikings – It would be pretty sad if Josh Freeman learns the Minnesota playbook and beats the Giants all in one week.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Matt Ryan (Falcons) – If Atlanta wants to get back on track, Ryan is gonna have to have a big game against a Tampa Bay defense that gave up a lot of yards last week.

RB: Frank Gore (49ers) – Tennessee isnt great against the run. One of the main reasons why San Fran is rolling right now is because of the running game. Gore must get his touches.

WR: Kennan Allen (Chargers) – Allen has turned into a top target for Phillip Rivers. I expect that to continue against Jacksonville.

TE: Jason Witten (Cowboys) – Witten has a great history at the Linc. Plus, the Eagles don’t have a safety that can cover him.

DEF: San Francisco – The 49ers are tough against the run and Ryan Fitzpatrick will be passing a lot. San Fran should be able to capitalize on that and create some turnovers.