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NFL Playoffs: 2017 NFL Divisional Round Predictions!

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Atlanta hasn’t forgot about what happened when they faced Seattle earlier this season. They will be hoping for some revenge at home this weekend in the NFL Playoffs.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Wild-Card Round: 2-2

Playoffs: 2-2

Divisional Round

Seattle @ Atlanta – This first divisional playoff matchup this weekend is a rematch from a closely contested game earlier this season, which saw the Seahawks get the victory in a close one. Atlanta actually impressed many in that game as they were able to hang with Seattle on the road and how they might have won that game if not for a botch PI penalty that wasn’t called late in the 4th quarter. Both teams have changed since then but I think Atlanta will definitely have revenge on their minds this Saturday. Seattle was able to take care of Detroit last weekend but on Saturday they will face a much more talented and balanced offense in Atlanta. The Falcons are powered on offense by their dynamic passing game led by QB Matt Ryan and his lead target WR Julio Jones. But don’t sleep on the way Atlanta can run the ball. RB’s Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are as a dynamic running duo as any other one in the league. We all know about how good this Atlanta offense can be but history dictates that really good offenses usually fall to good defenses in the playoffs. I think Seattle’s defense will put up a great challenge for Atlanta but they are not at full strength with Earl Thomas out of the line up. Even with Thomas in the secondary, the Falcons were still able to put up production in that first meeting earlier this season. Seattle will have to fight hard on both sides of the ball to compete with Atlanta on Saturday. Last weekend, Seattle ran the ball very well behind RB Thomas Rawls and with that running game; they were able to control the tempo for most of the contest. Seattle might have to implement that game plan again on Saturday, as Atlanta is just an average defense at defending the run. They might help QB Russell Wilson in terms of protecting himself from Atlanta’s pass rush. Edge rusher Vic Beasley was the league leader in sack this season and with the state of Seattle’s offensive line, I think he will be in pursuit of Wilson for the majority of this Saturday afternoon. But if Wilson can find time, he will be throwing against a Falcons secondary that ranked near the bottom this season. I think Seattle will have a good shot at winning on the road this weekend but the Seahawks have historically had let down on the road in the regular season and in the playoffs. I think Atlanta will jump out on top early and they’ll be able to hold off a Seahawks comeback late. Much like the last time these teams played in the post season in Atlanta. Prediction: Falcons 28 – Seahawks 24

Houston @ New England – I guess we have to give Houston credit for beating up on an injured Oakland team last week. But on to this week where no one on earth is giving the Texans a chance at going up to Foxboro on Saturday night and leaving with a victory. I don’t know if Houston has a real chance or not but I’ll try my best to sell that to you. First, the Texans have the number one ranked defense in the NFL. DE Jadeveon Clowney was a real difference maker last week and he will be used in a similar way this week against a Patriots offensive line that can struggle against the premier pass rushers in this league. Houston also has a stingy secondary. They will get physical with New England’s smaller receivers and create tough passing windows for QB Tom Brady. And my third point: the Texans coaching staff is made up from Bill Belichick disciples. Bill O’Brien is the head coach and Romeo Crennel is the defensive coordinator. They know Belichick. They know their offense. Could this prove to be an advantage for Houston? I don’t know. Also, I’m not going to bet on it. I think New England will use this game to prove why they are favored by so much in this game. I think New England will be aggressive offensively and they will tire out the Texans up front with their running game. New England’s defense is also unheralded and they will have the opportunity to appear to be really good against Houston’s offense. I think Houston’s defense might be able to keep the Texans in this game but I have no faith in QB Brock Osweiler going toe to toe with Tom Brady in terms of offensive production. The Patriots will dominate in this one. Prediction: Patriots 35 – Texans 17

Green Bay @ Dallas – On Sunday, the marathon of rematches from the regular season will continue. Green Bay won last week at home convincingly against the Giants and they are feeling pretty good going into this matchup in Jerry’s World. They maybe feeling good about there chances but they may not be feeling so good health wise. Green Bay is banged up on both sides of the ball while the Cowboys are rested and are as healthy as they’ve been all season. A lot of people like the Packers right now because of the play of QB Aaron Rodgers and I can’t blame them. Rodgers is having one of those seasons that is proving that he is the best QB in football. Even with the Jordy Nelson injury, the Packers are well equipped at the WR position with players like DeVante Adams, Randall Cobb, and TE Jarred Cook. Adams had a big game against the Cowboys 2 years ago in the playoffs in memory serves me correctly. Green Bay isn’t going to beat anyone in the ground game but Ty Montgomery’s ability as a versatile runner and receiver from out of the backfield will make him into a player that the Cowboys defense will have to account for. Montgomery is a Dallas native and he will have the extra motivation to show out in front of his family. I don’t know how the Packers held the Giants to only 13 points last week. Green Bay has some talented players on defense like Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and safety HaHa Clinton-Dix. But as a unit, Green Bay isn’t very good defensively. That banged up secondary will mean that the Packers will have to lean on their front 7 to created stops and turnovers. The Cowboys offensive line handled the Packers front 7 quite easily in their matchup earlier this season. I don’t think the Packers will have an answer for rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas run game. In passing situations, I am scared to death of the matchup between Peppers and right tackle Doug Free. But rookie QB Dak Prescott had a decent day passing against the Packers earlier this season and he was able to play well even without WR Dez Bryant. With the current state of the Packers secondary, I fully expect Bryant to be a difference maker down the field in a way that Odell Beckham Jr wasn’t last week. The Cowboys have a highly ranked defense but really, those numbers aren’t as impressive if you’ve watched the Cowboys this season. Rodgers will have a chance at creating some big plays down the field against a defense that struggles to provide pressure or create turnovers. But the Dallas defense this season has been known for bending but not breaking. I think the Cowboys defense could be a weakness but it is a unit that is better than it was in 2014. The Cowboys had an impressive regular season but they are now approaching rare air for them. This is a franchise that hasn’t advanced to Conference Championship Sunday in 21 years. This is a huge game for the entire franchise and I believe that they will not let their inexperience of Aaron Rodgers squander their opportunity. Many of the talking heads like Green Bay on Sunday but I’m thinking that is just more wishful thinking than really believing that Dallas will lose this game. The opportunity will be too big for this team to miss. I like the Cowboys at home. Prediction: Cowboys 33 – Packers 24

Pittsburgh @ Kansas City – I’m glad that this game was pushed back into primetime for the safety of the fans traveling to Kansas City and also I can now sleep in on Sunday without fear of missing any of the NFL Playoff action. This matchup should be a good one in Kansas City in a great atmosphere like Arrowhead Stadium. That place will be packed and rocking. I also want to say this first: I think the winner of this game will end up advancing to the Super Bowl. That being said, it is going to be really hard for me to not pick the Steelers to win this game. Pittsburgh was a pre season favorite going into this season but they kind of lost their way and found themselves with a 4-5 record after 9 games. They may not have had a tough schedule to close out the season but that doesn’t matter really. We have to give them credit for the run they are currently on and they did have to overcome some adversity against division rivals Cincinnati and Baltimore. The reason why the Steelers were pre season Super Bowl favorites was because of the talent they have on the offensive side of the ball. And that talent was on full display last week against Miami. I know that Miami isnt a good team and they kind of backed into the playoffs but WR Antonio Brown and RB Le’Veon Bell looked unstoppable last week. QB Ben Roethlisberger also had an impressive outing. I guess we can talk about the defense starting to play better even though last week they were hardly tested against an one-dimensional offense led by a backup QB. But still, that defense improving will be key if the Steelers want to make it to the Super Bowl. And that unit is improving. But here comes the bad news Pittsburgh fans: Kansas City isn’t Miami. I liked Kansas City all season. I like their defense. I like their ball control offense. I like Andy Reid and his experience. Limiting the combo of Bell, Brown, and Big Ben maybe a huge chore for the Chiefs defense but I think they will at least be up to it. I like Kansas City up front on defense. They have three really good pass rushers in Tamba Hali, Dee Ford, and Justin Houston. I think they will be able to pressure Big Ben in a way that he hasn’t felt in a while. Though on the other hand, the Pittsburgh offensive line has been performing well this season and they do not get enough credit. Protecting Ben will be a huge part of this game especially when you figure in Ben’s ankle injury. The Chiefs suffered a tough injury near the end of the season to LB Derrick Johnson. Since then, the Chiefs have struggled at stopping the run. I think they better figure out a way to slow Bell and the Pittsburgh running attack. If Bell can get loose, he will control the tempo of this game. Antonio Brown is the best WR in the league but KC’s secondary is really good. CB Marcus Peters is a tough player who has the knack at creating big plays. Safety Eric Berry is probably the best at his position in the league and he will be an issue in the box defending the run and covering the deep ball. Many people are saying that they cannot count on QB Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense out scoring the Steelers with their many offensive weapons. Alex Smith has been forever slept on especially in the playoffs and I think he will prove on Sunday night to be better than what most people believe. Even without Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs have a decent run game. Plus, Smith has some pretty good receivers to go to as well. TE Travis Kelce is a difference maker down the field. WR Jeremy Maclin is good on his own right. And rookie WR Tyreek Hill is a speedster who can affect the game as a kick returner. I think the Chiefs offense is more capable than what people believe. It has been a long time since the Chiefs have won a home playoff game and Andy Reid as a coach has a great record when coming off of the bye week. Earlier this season, the Steelers squashed the Chiefs at home. KC then went on the bye week and returned to go on a great run which led them to the AFC West crown. I don’t think the Chiefs have forgot about that Sunday night beat down in Heinz Field. I think that the KC front seven on defense will find a way to bother Roethlisberger and they will come up with more stops than the Steelers defense will produce. It will be close but I’m taking the Chiefs at Arrowhead. Prediction: Chiefs 24 – Steelers 20

NFL 2016: Wild-Card Playoff Round Predictions!

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

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 9-7

Final 2015 Regular Season: 163-93

NFL Wildcard Playoff Round

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

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

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

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

NFL 2015: Week 15 Predictions!

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Indy’s Chuck Pagano could really be on the hot seat if his Colts drop a 2nd straight divisional game.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 8-8

Season: 130-78

Big Five Games of the Week

Houston @ Indianapolis – The Colts built up their roster in the offseason in order to make a strong run to the Super Bowl. Instead, they have been a massive disappointment and deserving so or not, head coach Chuck Pagano is on the hot seat. That seat might get even hotter this week if they drop another divisional game against Houston. The Colts have a decent record inside their division especially at home. But Indy is hurting on the offensive side of the ball and they are struggling to put up points. Matt Hasselbeck is injured but he still might play. It isn’t a good sign to send out your 40-year-old starting QB with a playoff spot on the line especially when that QB isn’t at 100%. If Indy cant get their passing game going, Houston has the beef up front to stuff the run and really limited them offensively. Houston is having its own problems with keeping their QB’s healthy. Brian Hoyer will miss another game due to concussions and T.J. Yates will get the start. If memory serves me correctly, this isn’t the first time that the Texans called on Yates while in contention for a playoff spot. Yates has already shown that he can get the ball to star receiver DeAndre Hopkins and he’ll have the confidence that most backups don’t have. If Houston’s defense can continue to play hard, they’ll be able to keep the Colts from off the scoreboard and score a huge road victory in the AFC South. Prediction: Texans 21 – Colts 13

Carolina @ New York Giants – The Panthers are still undefeated and they are showing no signs of slowing down. The Giants and limping along in the woeful NFC East but they could present Carolina with some problems. The Giants also gave an undefeated New England squad a tough game at home this season. New York has been so inconsistent this season and they can’t hold on to leads. The Giants cant stop the run, they struggle with covering deep passes, and they are one dimensional on offense. Carolina’s defense should be able to have a strong showing against Eli Manning. The matchup between CB Josh Norman and all-world WR Odell Beckham Jr. will be one to watch. But I do see the Giants slowing down Cam Newton and his offensive attack or Eli Manning being able to put up enough yards against this Carolina defense. Prediction: Panthers 32 – Giants 16

Green Bay @ Oakland – Much is being made out of the play calling duties in Green Bay. But in reality it isn’t rocket science. Aaron Rodgers and the passing offense isn’t the same from years past. Is it because Rodgers is injured? Is it because the offense is missing big play receiver Jordy Nelson? Who knows? They figured it out last week by just feeding RB Eddie Lacy a bunch of times. But can the Packers rushing attack really be the long-term solution going forward this season? I don’t think so. But the Packers do play another team this week that struggles with stopping the run, the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders won a ugly road game last week but they should still be feeling pretty awesome going into this home game. Oakland’s defense played inspired and I think that will carry over into this week. Khalil Mack had a ridiculous game rushing the passer last week with 5 sacks. I think Mack will be able to find similar success against Green Bay’s offensive line. QB Derek Carr was able to do enough to win that game even without finding top rookie target Amari Cooper. I think a lot of the “experts” are starting to feel Green Bay alittle too hard after last week’s home victory but I still think that team has plenty of issues. I taking the upset as Oakland will take care of business as home underdogs. Prediction: Raiders 26 – Packers 23

Denver @ Pittsburgh – Denver is going through an identity crisis at QB. Earlier in the season, Peyton Manning struggled and many wanted him benched. Manning then, had a great game against Green Bay in primetime and everyone loved him again. Then, he got injured and everyone was ready to crown Brock Osweiler and send Manning into retirement after Denver knocked off undefeated New England. Now, coming off of a bad performance at home and Manning working himself back into health, Osweiler must get ready to face Pittsburgh on Sunday. My point is that if you look at the numbers, Osweiler really hasn’t been that much better than Manning since his injury and Denver will probably be better served once Manning is healthy. Good news for Denver is that their defense is still pretty good. Denver hasn’t allowed more than 30 points in a game this season. That stat will be relevant on Sunday as Pittsburgh has strived this season when scoring a lot of points. Pittsburgh’s passing game is as explosive as they come. But I think Denver is well equipped to slow them down. Denver is tough to run on and they have multiple pass rushers to get after Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh has many weapons at receiver but Denver has an athletic group of defensive backs and linebackers that can make things tougher for that group. I don’t think Denver will be able to fix their offensive troubles this week though. Denver’s offensive line has struggled in pass protection this entire season especially last week. I think that the old man, James Harrison, will have a big game this week and he’ll be able to cause some turnovers. Pittsburgh is tough against the run but I feel like it’s been awhile since they’ve truly been tested through out a ball game. I think Denver should make a great effort at pounding the rock this week as that could really help protect their young QB. I don’t think Pittsburgh’s offense will have a monster game but I think the defense will be able to win it this week for Pittsburgh. Prediction: Steelers 20 – Broncos 17

Arizona @ Philadelphia – I keep picking against the Eagles and they keep winning. I didn’t think they would be New England or Buffalo but here they are and they look like they could win the NFC East. Arizona is the better football team at all phases of the game. But Arizona has had some lapses this season. They can’t afford to have that this week as they are fighting for a first round bye in the playoffs. Arizona should be able to overpower Philly through the air on offense. Arizona should have the advantage on defense as well. Philly’s running game has been inconsistent all season and Arizona’s front seven on defense is tough. Philly’s dink and dunk passing game probably shouldn’t be that effective against a Cardinals secondary that excels in zone coverage and creating turnovers. I don’t know why the Eagles keep winning but I’ll be shocked if they are able to score a third straight upset victory. Prediction: Cardinals 31 – Eagles 23

The Rest of Week 15

Rams over Buccaneers – This will be the best looking game out of all the “Color Rush” games this season. Jameis Winston is having a fine rookie season but Tampa’s defense is starting to fade away. Will the Rams play hard in front of those St. Louis fans one last time? It could be a farewell party for that fan base.

Jets over Cowboys – Matt Cassel is Matt Cassel. Chris Ivory will be busy as Dallas struggled mightily against the run last week.

Vikings over Bears – Minnesota seems to be a lock for the playoffs no matter what happens the rest of the way. But they got to beat Chicago this week if they want a chance at the division.

Patriots over Titans – Tom Brady has historically torched Tennessee in his career.

Washington over Bills – It’s sad to say but maybe Tyrod Taylor is holding this Buffalo team back.

Jaguars over Falcons – Atlanta has completely fell apart. Jacksonville has confidence and a “legit” shot at the division? Maybe? We’ll see.

Chiefs over Ravens – Once again, Kansas City’s remaining schedule: ridiculously easy. Looks like another playoff berth for Andy Reid.

Seahawks over Browns – Manziel was great last week. Expect him to be less than great this week in Seattle.

Chargers over Dolphins – My heart goes out for those San Diego fans. This game will be notable just for the emotional scene after the game.

Bengals over 49ers – Life changed fast for Cincinnati last week. They just have to limp along to finish out the regular season. San Fran’s defense is tough but Cleveland outmatched them last week. Cincinnati must take care of business on the road.

Lions over Saints – It looks like New Orleans isn’t done competing and Detroit is. But if Matt Stafford can’t take advantage of this Saints secondary, he probably should be benched.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Russell Wilson (Seahawks) – Wilson is on a crazy roll right now. Cleveland doesn’t have the defense to slow him down.

RB: Adrian Peterson (Vikings) – Peterson has had some big games against Chicago in his career.

WR: DeAndre Hopkins (Texans) – Hopkins showed that he has chemistry with T.J. Yates earlier this season. He’ll get more looks this week with the division potentially on the line.

TE: Greg Olsen (Panthers) – The Giants give up the most yards through the air in football. If Newton is passing a lot, more than likely that will mean a big day for his TE.

DEF: Kansas City – Baltimore’s offense can’t move the ball. This is a trend that should continue this week against the tough Chiefs defense.

NFL 2015: Week 14 Predictions!

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

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 8-8

Season: 122-70

Big Five Games of the Week

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

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

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

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

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

The Rest of Week 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

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

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

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

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

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

NFL 2015: Week 7 Predictions!

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Last Week, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers put the league on notice.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 8-6

Season: 60-31

Big Five Games of the Week

Seattle @ San Francisco – The Seahawks are reeling going into this rivalry game tonight in San Francisco. I think Seattle is right where they were last season around this time which means, I believe that there is still time for them to turn their season around. Seattle has issues right now with protecting their QB and with holding on to leads. But I think their power running game and defense can still help them stack some more wins this season. San Fran might have gained some confidence last week when they defeated a bad Baltimore team at home. But they are also a bad team that belongs in last place in this division. I don’t see the 49ers being able to run the ball tonight especially with RB Carlos Hyde coming off an injury. Colin Kaepernick will be forced to do too much tonight and that will eventually mean more chances for the Seattle defense to create turnovers. Prediction: Seahawks 21 – 49ers 14

Pittsburgh @ Kansas City – The hype over Landry Jones in Pittsburgh is in overdrive. But that will probably come to a complete halt on Sunday. The Steelers will be in Kansas City to take on a Chiefs team that will struggle to put up enough points to win without Jamaal Charles. Besides the point that the Chiefs offense is struggling without Charles, the Steelers defense has been a nice surprise this season especially since the Roethlisberger injury. The Steelers defense is over achieving each week and it seems not to matter if they are missing players because of injuries. Ryan Shazier and Jarvis Jones have been missing but it has yet to matter recently for this defense. They are receiving great play recently from Cameron Heyward and James Harrison. The Steelers do give up a lot of yardage through the air but I’m not expecting Alex Smith to exploit that. The Chiefs will have a great chance at winning this game because they have the tools to get after the QB. Pittsburgh suffered another injury to their offensive line, which will prove to be horrible news for Jones. With all the pressure around Jones, it’s going to be tough for Pittsburgh to get anything going through the air. Much like how it was for the majority of Mike Vick’s snaps. But with the way Pittsburgh’s defense is playing, I don’t think Kansas City will be able to take advantage of the lack of offensive production from their opponent. I’m taking the road team by the slimmest of margins. If the Steelers can go 3-1 without Ben, that would be a huge confidence builder going forward. Prediction: Steelers 17 – Chiefs 16

New York Jets @ New England – The Patriots are undefeated but I don’t see them as an unstoppable, juggernaut of a team. I actually think that the Jets matchup well against them this Sunday in Foxboro. I believe that the Jets have the defense to slow Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. I also believe that the Patriots don’t have a great defense so, I can see the Jets being successful on Sunday offensively on the ground and through the air. The Jets really haven’t been consistent on offense this season though. So, I don’t know if I can fully trust Ryan Fitzpatrick in this big game. I’m taking the home team but it will be closer than you think. Prediction: Patriots 29 – Jets 27

Dallas @ New York Giants – After an embarrassing loss last week on Monday night, the Giants will be looking for revenge this week against a Dallas team who is coming off the bye week. The NFC East is now wide open and it will likely stay this way until Week 17. The funny thing is that if Dez Bryant and Tony Romo were healthy, the NFC East race would already to over. Coming off the bye, the Dallas defense will finally be at full strength and we kind of saw a glimpse of that in their last game vs. New England. That Cowboys defense actually held Tom Brady in check but eventually, they got tired. Mainly because the offense couldn’t amount to anything with Brandon Weeden calling the shots. Matt Cassel will get the start for Dallas at QB but I don’t think it will really matter. Cassel will have to prove that Dallas can actually be a threat down the field in the passing game. Until then, defenses will continue the stack the box and the Cowboys running game will have a tough time getting going. I believe that the Cowboys defense will be great in this game against Eli Manning. Manning will face unbelievable pressure for most of the game. But if the Dallas offensive woes continue, their defense will get tired and Eli will take advantage. I would like to believe that things will be different with Cassel but I would rather see it happen first. Prediction: Giants 35 – Cowboys 21

Philadelphia @ Carolina – The Eagles now believe that they’re still alive in the NFC East race after beating New York last week. And for the most part, they are right. If the Eagles can get great play out of their defensive front seven and if the running game can start playing consistent football, they’ll be in a lot of games this season. But on Sunday, they’ll take on a Carolina team that is coming off a huge road victory in Seattle. Carolina is still undefeated this season mainly because their defense. Their defense is clicking on all cylinders right now and Philly will struggle to get anything going through the air or on the ground in this Sunday night matchup. Carolina’s offense has been successful this season so far because of their QB but also because of their offensive line. Carolina is strong up front and they have 3rd best running game in football right now. Cam Newton is such a playmaking wild-card and he will need to lean on his offensive line on Sunday against that active Philly front seven. The Eagles defense will look to rattle Cam in this game but it will be the Panthers defense that will keep Philly from winning this game. Prediction: Panthers 24 – Eagles 18

The Rest of Week 7

Bills over Jaguars – Without Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo will be vulnerable in this game against a Jacksonville team that is desperate for a win. Rex Ryan called out his defense this week and they’ll respond with a strong performance in London.

Vikings over Lions – Detroit discovered last week that they still have Calvin Johnson. If they can do the same this week, they may win their second straight. I’m not counting on that though.

Falcons over Titans – Hopefully, last weeks lost in New Orleans will serve as a wake up call for Atlanta.

Colts over Saints – Drew Brees seems to be back at 100%. I still don’t trust New Orleans’ defense. Indy needs to start stacking up some victories before they find themselves in a race in the AFC South.

Rams over Browns – This is a trap game for St. Louis who should win this game easily coming off the bye.

Dolphins over Texans – Can we get a second straight lights out performance from this Miami defense under new head coach Dan Campbell? I think so.

Buccaneers over Washington – Jameis Winston wont have to do too much to win this game, as Washington’s QB issues will once again rear its ugly head.

Chargers over Raiders – How many close games can the Chargers lose this season? Hopefully, a game against Oakland can stop their bleeding.

Cardinals over Ravens – Arizona blinked last week and didn’t play its best game. They will be antsy to right what was wrong last week against a bad Ravens team.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Phillip Rivers (Chargers) – Rivers threw for over 500 yards last week. San Diego’s running game has been inconsistent so they’ll lean on the pass again this week vs. Oakland.

RB: Todd Gurley (Rams) – Coming off the bye, Gurley will continue the nice streak of games he has been having against Cleveland run defense.

WR: T.Y. Hilton (Colts) – Hilton has been strangely quiet so far this season. I think he’ll be able to play great this week against the Saints secondary.

TE: Rob Gronkowski (Patriots) – Gronk probably feels like he isn’t getting the ball enough so far this season as he doesn’t rank in the top ten in catches at his position. The Jets don’t have anyone who can cover him.

DEF: Tampa Bay – Don’t look now but the Bucs have the 5th ranked defense in the league.