Tag Archives: Jay Cutler

NFL 2017: Week 9 Predictions!

867851304.0

David Carr and the Raiders need to rebound after an unfavorable start to this season.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 12-1

Season: 71-48

Big Five Games of the Week

Buffalo @ New York Jets – The Jets are cranking out great efforts week after week. That’s a good sign for head coach Todd Bowles. The Jets will attempt to empty the tank on a short week against a red hot Buffalo Bills team at home. The Bills were thought to be tanking in September but now they are thinking about how they can keep this going and end one of the longer playoff droughts going in the league. New York will play tough at home and their defense will keep them in it. But the Bills seem to have a lot going for them right now. They have the better QB in Tyrod Taylor and they’ll take the extra rest after this win to accumulate newly acquired WR Kelvin Benjamin. Prediction: Bills 27 – Jets 13

Denver @ Philadelphia – Philadelphia’s remaining schedule isn’t very strong. They just have to keep the wins rolling and stay healthy going into the post season at this point. I think Denver’s defense will provide a good test for the Eagles offense. Von Miller and the Broncos defensive line could provide problems for Philly’s offensive line and their top running attack. Even if Denver is able to limit what Philadelphia can do on offense, I do not trust the Denver offense amounting to much especially since they are turning the offense over to Brock Osweiler. Prediction: Eagles 22 – Broncos 10

Atlanta @ Carolina – The Falcons are continuing to under perform this season. Atlanta still has the ability to put up points with that offense, forcing the opposing team to attempt to outscore them. Atlanta can’t afford to sleep walk this week in Carolina. The Panthers offense is in disarray and things won’t be getting better as they just traded away Cam Newton’s number one receiver. Carolina is still playing well defensively but their offense is missing the spark that rookie RB Christian McCaffrey was suppose to provide. This one will be a heated NFC South contest and I don’t see Carolina amounting enough offensively to beat Atlanta. Carolina may waste another good effort from their defense. Prediction: Falcons 24 – Panthers 19

Kansas City @ Dallas – The Ezekiel Elliott suspension has finally gone through and that is bad news for the Cowboys. Zeke has clearly been the Cowboys best player the last two week and now they will go without him for 6 weeks. I think Alfred Morris and a fresh (but old) Darren McFadden could prove to serve the Dallas rushing game well but it shouldn’t be enough to make up what Zeke can do for the offense when he is in the lineup. Kansas City is really good this year so Dallas will have to play their best game at home to beat them. The Cowboys defense is very beatable so, I can see them having a tough time with WR Tyreke Hill, RB Kareem Hunt and TE Travis Kelce. Kansas City’s defense can give up big plays on occasion as well. QB Dak Prescott has to figure a way to attack the Chiefs defense with confidence in this one. Without Zeke to lean on, Prescott will have to make the Chiefs defense respect the passing game and with the weapons he has, I believe that he can. The Chiefs will be strong upfront defensively with Justin Houston and the return of Tamba Hali. I think the first one without Elliott will prove to be a tough one for Dallas. Prediction: Chiefs 35 – Cowboys 29

Oakland @ Miami – The Raiders are in a rut. They were suppose to be a Super Bowl contender but now it is looking like they may miss the playoffs al together if they don’t get things turned around in a hurry. Miami might be a great place for that turn around to begin. The Dolphins have been wildly inconsistent this season and their head coach is fed up. Case in point, they traded away under performing star RB (from last year) Jay Ajayi. For whatever reason, Miami hasn’t been able to get their running game going and that was such a key to their playoff run a season ago. QB Jay Cutler will return for this game but I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. I mean, the Raiders do have a weak secondary but they should be able to get after Cutler with Khalil Mack and their pass rush. Miami’s defensive front seven is tough but they also struggle in the secondary. I think David Carr and the passing game will be able to make some big plays down the field for Oakland. This game could provide the Raiders with some confidence going forward as Miami begins their journey to the bottom of the AFC East. Prediction: Raiders 30 – Dolphins 21

The Rest of Week 9

Ravens over Titans – I know Tennessee is coming off the bye but Baltimore’s defense played really good last week.

Saints over Buccaneers – New Orleans is the sleeper team in the NFC that many thought Tampa would be at the beginning of this season.

Rams over Giants – New York is coming off another week of locker room drama. LA can’t blink as they are chasing a realistic playoff berth.

Jaguars over Bengals – The Jacksonville pass rush will be all over Andy Dalton in this game. Many are excited about the return of the teal jerseys for the Jags. They really just need to go back to having one helmet color.

Texans over Colts – Houston lost last week but they have to be feeling pretty confident about their rookie at QB.

Cardinals over 49ers – This one is truly a toss-up. San Fran is winless and they might have a good chance if they can close out in the 4th quarter.

Seahawks over Washington – It is too bad that the Washington defense and offensive line has suffered so many injuries.

Lions over Packers – Detroit was pathetic at home last week. I don’t think much of the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers but they actually have a great chance of winning with their home field advantage.

 

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Deshaun Watson (Texans) – After ripping the Seahawks secondary, going up against the Colts could be a walk in the park.

RB: Adrian Peterson (Cardinals) – The 49ers can’t stop the run and Arizona will have to lean on the run game with Carson Palmer out for the season.

WR: Mike Evans (Buccaneers) – Tampa will attack the Saints secondary in an attempt to out score Drew Brees and company.

TE: Jason Witten (Cowboys) – With no Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott will turn to one of the most reliable players in the league.

DEF: Jacksonville – Cincinnati doesn’t have an offensive line. Another 10 sack day on the horizon?

Advertisements

NFL 2017: AFC Preview (Condensed)

image1

Tom Brady and the Patriots reloaded in the offseason. Does the rest of the AFC stand a chance?

By: Elias McMillan

 

AFC East

New England Patriots – The Patriots won another title last season with a roster that wasn’t supremely talented. During this offseason, New England added significant upgrades on offense at RB and WR and on defense at DE and CB. Also, TE Rob Gronkowski returns after missing much of last year due to injury. It looks like the Brady-Belicheck combo will be the cream of the crop once again in the AFC. Although, it seems when the Patriots reload like this, they find a way to disappoint in the post season. We’ll see if this season will be different. Prediction: 15-1 (AFC East Champs)

Miami Dolphins – Miami made the playoffs somehow last season. But they don’t have much momentum going into 2017. It doesn’t help that they lost Ryan Tannehill to injury in training camp and had to replace him with a Jay Cutler they had to drag out from the announcer’s booth (Why didn’t they sign Kaepernick?). Positives: they found an answer a RB last season (Jay Ajayi) and they are pretty solid at the receiver positions. On defense, they have a tough front four and I like the offseason addition of Lawrence Timmons. Negatives: Miami secondary may be the down fall for this defense, yet again. And you’ll never know which Jay Cutler that you’re going to get. Prediction: 8-8

Buffalo Bills – Buffalo did Rex Ryan wrong and now they seem to be tanking. They traded their best WR and CB for draft picks. The Bills made a smart trade on draft day in April. Buffalo is stockpiling draft picks. It’s good idea but its not going to help them win 2017. I feel bad for LeSean McCoy who is wasting his talents up there. I’m interested in seeing how QB Tyrod Taylor will fair with limited weapons in the passing game. Buffalo has young talent on defense. I really liked Shaq Lawson from the 2016 draft. If he’s healthy, he’ll be impact player. Regardless, I don’t see many wins in Buffalo this year. Prediction: 5-11

New York Jets – The Jets are tanking. I hope it doesn’t cost head coach Todd Bowles who won 10 games in New York just two seasons ago. The Jets literally got rid of every veteran on the team except RB Matt Forte. The QB position is a disaster. What is josh McCown doing to keep finding work in this league? WR core? Garbage. They do have some promising talent on defense. It’s going to be an ugly year for the Jets. Prediction: 2-14

 

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers return with supreme talent on the offense between the QB (Roethlisberger), RB (Bell), and the WR (Brown). That, along with that over achieving offensive line, Pittsburgh should be able to rule the North again. What will stop them in the playoffs? If it isn’t the inability to stay healthy, it will be the lack of big plays from their defense. Losing and not replacing Lawrence Timmons at middle linebacker will prove to be a mistake. Pittsburgh is solid on the defensive line but they lack players in the secondary that can make big plays. But what they are really missing is an impact pass rusher. Can rookie T.J. Watt be that guy? Despite the questions, Pittsburgh should be New England’s main rival for the AFC crown. Prediction: 11-5 (AFC North Champs)

Baltimore Ravens – Baltimore quietly made some improvements this offseason especially on defense. I like the addition of S Tony Jefferson. They have solid veteran leadership in the secondary between him and Eric Weddle. Terrell Suggs returns for what maybe his final season. Look out for rookie Tyus Bowser to become a difference maker off the edge on this defense. Baltimore’s defense will keep the Ravens in a lot of games but they have serious questions on offense. It feels like everyone has been waiting for 2012 Joe Flacco to return and it just hasn’t happened yet. It would help if he could get some consistency from his supporting cast. Maybe WR Jeremy Maclin can help. The success of this season for the Ravens will be up to if the offense can finally figure itself out. Prediction: 8-8

Cincinnati Bengals – Cincinnati again brings a talented roster to the table but their undisciplined nature seems to be their undoing. I like Marvin Lewis but how does he still have a job as he continues to vouch for Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict? On offense, the Bengals need Andy Dalton to stay healthy because he has a great collection of skill players around him, highlighted by WR A.J. Green. The Bengals have a talented defense led by DT Geno Atkins. But I think their immaturity will hold them back. They might push Baltimore for second place in the division. Prediction: 8-8

Cleveland Browns – Same as it ever was for the Browns. QB questions. Young talent on both sides of the ball. Seasoned veterans. Cleveland just can’t seem to put it all together. But this season could set the table for some success down the road. The Browns will see what they have in rookie QB DeShone Kizer right out of the gate. First round pick Myles Garrett will receive tons of playing time as well and he has impressed in the pre-season. I will be interested in seeing how Cleveland does with this current crop of young talent. I’m a believer in Hue Jackson. Prediction: 6-10

 

AFC South

Tennessee Titans – I’m buying into the Titans this season. They impressed a season ago and they may have made the post season if QB Marcus Mariota doesn’t get hurt late in the season. Tennessee has a good mix a RB with DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, a great offensive line, and they added weapons in the passing game. Once the defense figures itself out, they could become a contender in the AFC. But for now, I think they’ll be good enough to win the AFC South. Prediction: 10-6 (AFC South Champs)

Houston Texans – Houston has made the playoffs in two straight seasons. I would say this is mainly because of their defense. In 2015, in was all about J.J. Watt. In 2016, while Watt was injured, it was all about Jadeveon Clowney. Who knows what this defense will be capable of with both Watt and Clowney in the line-up. Houston has a legit starter at RB (Lamar Miller) and a legit number one receiver (DeAndre Hopkins). What they don’t have is a legit starting QB. Could it be the returning backup Tom Savage or the rookie who just won a national championship, Deshaun Watson? Either way, I’m expecting more big things from the defense in Houston. Prediction: 9-7 (Wild-card)

Indianapolis Colts – I feel like the majority is expecting nothing from this Colts team, which makes them kind of underrated. But they still have plenty of issues. Issues number one: the health of Andrew Luck. I expect Luck to start out on the PUP list (6 Games) so they are going to have to roll with Scott Tolzien. Good thing for Tolzien, the best player on the team is a WR (T.Y. Hilton). The defense is full of cast offs from another teams. I think a lot of teams will sleep on Indy and for good reason. But I don’t think they’ll completely stink. Prediction: 7-9

Jacksonville Jaguars – Jacksonville should have been the team that brought in Colin Kaepernick. The jig up for Blake Bortles. The Jaguars actually have promising talent on both sides of the ball. It is clear that the QB position is holding them back. It’s too bad, I guess. I really like what they have on defense. But it wont be enough to make up for the shortcomings offensively. Jacksonville will likely be drafting a new QB early in the draft next April. Prediction: 4-12

 

AFC West

Oakland Raiders – The Raiders had a great 2016 season that was derailed by Derek Carr’s injury before the playoffs. Now, Carr returns to a team that is ready to take the next step and win the AFC West. Oakland is set up pretty well offensively. I think Marshawn Lynch’s return to the NFL wont have as much as an impact as some people may want to but at the least, he’ll serve well as a weapon in the red zone. Outside of their front four, I’m still worried about the defense especially in the secondary. Prediction: 12-4 (AFC West Champs)

Denver Broncos – Denver suffered through a Super Bowl hangover last year but I think they can rebound in 2017. I still like what their defense brings to the table. Von Miller is one of the best players in the league. I’m not sure how far this offense will be able to take them under the command of QB Trevor Siemian. But the Broncos have plenty of weapons at the skills positions on offense. They still have a stacked WR group led by Demaryius Thomas. Also, remember this name from out of the backfield: sixth round pick RB DeAngelo Henderson. Prediction: 9-7 (Wild-card)

Kansas City Chiefs – Andy Reid has won 10+ games in Kansas City 3 out of the 4 seasons as head coach. And in the one season he didn’t, the team still finished over .500. I think that impressive streak will come to an end this season. The Chiefs are in the process of pushing out many veterans on the roster and that turnover will affect their chances to compete in the AFC West. Alex Smith will be feeling the heat all season from the first round QB they selected in April, Patrick Mahomes. The offense will feature TE Travis Kelce and WR Tyreke Hill but Jamaal Charles and Jeremy Maclin are both gone. They do have a great defense to lean on but that group is starting to age. This will be a down year for the Chiefs. Prediction: 7-9

Los Angeles Chargers – I absolutely hate the Chargers move to LA. It stinks to the high heavens. It stinks for the NFL. As for the team, they could be a sleeper in the AFC West if they can stay healthy. I feel like you could say that every year about this team though. Phillip Rivers returns for yet another season where he will see his WR core suffer through many injuries. At least he still has an aging TE Antonio Gates to go to. It would be nice if RB Melvin Gordon can continue the success he had a season ago. I think the story from this team this year will be the emergence of DE Joey Bosa as he will become a defensive star in this league. Between Melvin Ingram and Bosa, the Chargers could have the best pass-rushing duo in the division. It would be cool to see this team grab some success while they still have Phillip Rivers but I don’t see it happening. Prediction: 6-10

 

AFC Playoff Picture Prediction

  1. New England Patriots – 15-1 (AFC East)
  2. Oakland Raiders – 12-4 (AFC West)
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers – 11-5 (AFC North)
  4. Tennessee Titans – 10-6 (AFC South)
  5. Houston Texans – 9-7 (Wild-card)
  6. Denver Broncos – 9-7 (Wild-card)

NFL 2016: NFC North Preview

jea 1816 vikings chargers.JPG

The Vikings have a shiny new stadium and great expectations in 2016.

By: Elias McMillan

NFC NorthWritten August 30, 2016 (Before Bridgewater injury)

Minnesota Vikings – Last season, the Vikings had a small taste of success. This season, the Vikings are opening up a new stadium and they are hoping to have bigger moments in their new home this season. I think one of the reasons for Minnesota’s success a season ago is that they are one of the league’s youngest teams. They have a lot of young talent but the veteran leadership they have at key positions is valuable as well. QB Teddy Bridgewater is coming off his best season as a pro and I think this year, we’ll see him do little bit more with his passing. Everyone is aware of Bridgewater’s athletic ability outside the pocket but he doesn’t really take many chances down the field. I think we will see this change in 2016. Last season, they found out that their fifth round pick, Stefon Diggs, actually has a future in this offense as Bridgewater’s number one target as a WR. Diggs is a good player and I liked him a lot coming out of Maryland but I think this year’s first round pick will really emerge as a down the field target for Bridgewater. Rookie WR Laquon Treadwell looks the part as a prototypical “#1” receiver and his ability will allow the Vikings passing offense to stretch the field in 2016. As always, the backbone of this offense will be RB Adrian Peterson and the running. Peterson is showing no signs of slowing down as he seems to get better year after year. Minnesota also beefed up their offensive line in the offseason so I feel even better about their ability to run the ball and protecting their future star QB. Looking at the defensive front four on paper and you’ll see a group that underperformed in 2015. DE Everson Griffin seems to be the lone standout as the team’s best pass rusher. Bottom line is that the Vikings need to do better at stopping the run this season. Minnesota has one of the better LB groups in the league with Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, and veteran Chad Greenway. I really like Minnesota’s secondary as well. CB Terrance Newman continues to have a career renaissance in this secondary but the Vikings have plenty of younger guys that can play too. More responsibility will be put on CB’s Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes this season. At safety, they get great play out of Harrison Smith and they brought over veteran Michael Griffin who will be trying to prove that he has more left in the tank after a mainly success career as a Titan. I don’t know if this team is ready to become one of the best teams in the conference but I think head coach Mike Zimmer will have this team ready to repeat as division champions. If Teddy Bridgewater improves like many thinks he will, Minnesota will definitely be a tough out in the post season. Prediction: 11-5

Green Bay Packers – The Packers weren’t as sharp as usually in 2015. And there was plenty of blame to go around. Mainly, there were health problems and the defense struggled mightily. I think this team is too dependent of their star QB, Aaron Rodgers. It’s either that or Rodgers just wasn’t that good last season. Either way, optimism is high in Packer land going into 2016. The offense is healthy and ready to go after a tough 2015. Aaron Rodgers is expected to be his regular self this season and it will really help that WR Jordy Nelson is back after missing last season. Many people believed that the Packers passing offense would be ok without Nelson but that wasn’t the case. WR. Devante Adams and even Randall Cobb underperformed last season. But with Nelson back in the fold, maybe the Packers passing attack can be as overwhelming as before. Green Bay also hopes to be a better running team in 2016. RB Eddie Lacy worked extremely hard in the offseason to drop weight and we’ll see soon if that will pay off this season. Green Bay also brought back James Starks who will continue to be a valuable third down option as a receiver coming out from the backfield. On defense, the Packers will be looking to improve a defensive line that ranked near the bottom in the league at defending the run. First round pick Kenny Clark will hopefully help with the youth movement up front defensively. Green Bay will return both of their star pass rushers, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers. Inside at LB, the Packers are very young and don’t have much depth at the position either. Green Bay’s secondary is decent, as they will return all of their starters from a season ago. CB’s Sam Shields and Damarious Randall do a good job and HaHa Clinton-Dix is one of the better, young safeties in the league. I think this Packers team will be relying on the offense more again this season but I think Rodgers and the passing attack will be up to task on improving from a season ago. Prediction: 10-6 (Wildcard)

Detroit Lions – The Lions had a disastrous start to their season last year but they finished off very strong and they’ll hope to bring over some of that momentum in 2016. Their offseason was headlined by the shocking retirement of WR Calvin Johnson but I actually think that the Lions will be better off after moving on from that situation. I’m not saying that the Lions are going to be able to replace him easily but I think the team will be better as whole as group that is fully motivated on being its best. QB Matt Stafford was probably pleased to see that the Lions spent multiple draft picks on their offensive line. Better play up front will put Stafford and the running game in much better situations. I expect Detroit to have a really good running duo this season with Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick. If those two guys can stay healthy for the season, they’ll help take some of the pressure off the QB. I really like Stafford’s receiving core going into this season. WR Golden Tate proved last season that he can be a number one option in the passing game. Detroit also brought over Marvin Jones from Cincinnati who has plenty of ability. But I really liked the signing of WR Anquan Boldin. Boldin is an absolute gamer and he’ll fill the veteran role in the WR room left by the retirement of Johnson. During Detroit’s run near the end of last season, their defense really began to improve. Upfront, they have a beastly pass rusher in DE Ziggy Ansah and DT Haloti Ngata was brought back to prove that he is still one of the best run stoppers in the league. At LB, the Lions are very thin on depth but DeAndre Levy is one of the best tacklers in the league. I’m not sure how good the Lions’ secondary can be as they were pretty average a season ago. Darius Slay is the lone standout from the group of corners on this team. Safety Glover Quin will continue to be a veteran leader in the secondary. He is coming off his second Pro-Bowl season. The Lions have plenty of holes on defense but they are an overachieving group that will compete in every ball game. I think the Lions are a sleeper team in 2016. I don’t have them making the playoffs but they may make a push at the end of the season. Prediction: 9-7

Chicago Bears – The Bears didn’t really improve during the offseason and they’ll have plenty of question marks going into 2016. Last season, I think QB Jay Cutler earned my respect. I say this because he had every excuse to mail it in but you could tell that Cutler really made the most of his time on the field. Cutler has a great connection with WR Alshon Jeffery and he will hope to build the same relationship with WR Kevin White. White was the team’s first round pick a season ago but he missed his entire rookie season due to injury. If White can be the player that he was at West Virginia, he’ll form a great 1-2 punch in the passing game with Jeffery. TE Zach Miller had a very successful 2015 and he’ll enter this season as the starter at the position. The Bears will greatly miss Matt Forte at starting RB but they have been grooming Jeremy Langford for that position. Langford has showed promise last season and he’ll receiver plenty of more opportunities in 2016. The Bears have seen better days defensively but they are on the road to getting better. Chicago has struggled for years at stopping the run and they will need some of the young guys they drafted to step up this season. Outside at the pass rushing positions, they have veterans Lamarr Houston and Willie Young but look out for first round pick Leonard Floyd. Floyd looks like a wideout playing defensive end but his great speed will be a positive factor for this defense eventually. At inside LB, they brought in Danny Trevathan who is coming off a pretty success campaign with the Super Bowl champion Broncos. LB Jerrell Freeman racked up a lot of tackles last season for the Colts and he’ll help form a great tackling duo inside with Trevathan. The LB core on this defense will definitely be a strength this season. In the secondary, the Bears have two decent corners in the veteran Tracy Porter and the younger Kyle Fuller. The Bears will be relying on some unknowns at safety this season so, I view that position as a question mark going into 2016. Prediction: 6-10

NFL 2015: Week 11 Predictions!!!

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Oakland Raiders

Adrian Peterson and the Vikings are ready to stake their claim for the NFC North.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 7-7

Season: 93-53

Big Five Games of the Week

Indianapolis @ Atlanta – Coming off the bye week, Atlanta needs a win in the worst way. The Falcons started out this season as one of the most surprising teams in the league but in the weeks leading up to their bye, they have significantly cooled off. Atlanta still has one of the league’s most explosive offenses but I do question their ability to keep the other team off the scoreboard. Indy has also had a shaky season to say the least. Despite falling short of their high expectations and losing their starting QB to injury, Indy still has playoff hopes thanks to playing in the awful AFC South. Even before the injury, QB Andrew Luck wasn’t having a good season. QB Matt Hasselbeck will get the start for the next couple of weeks and he is probably one of the best if not the best QB you would want in this situation. I can really see Hasselbeck rallying the troops while Luck is out and get this Colts offense back to playing good football. I also think Indy’s defense is stingy enough to keep Atlanta from lighting up the scoreboard at home. I’m taking the road team in an upset. Prediction: Colts 34 – Falcons 28

Denver @ Chicago – Denver has been able to ride their top ranked defense for the majority of this season. The last two weeks have been tough as they lost their first game of the season and then last week when the offense completely imploded. Now, Peyton Manning is injured but having him on the bench might be a good thing. QB Brock Osweiler has been waiting for a while for this opportunity and he’ll finally get it this Sunday in Chicago. The Bears are quietly playing some good football right now. They still have serious defensive problems but the offense has been impressive lately. QB Jay Cutler is playing well right now and he is getting the most out of his TE’s Martellus Bennett and Zach Miller. Denver’s defense might still be good enough to limit the Bears on offense. But the big question this week will be how the Denver offense operate with a new untested QB? Bears head coach John Fox was in Denver for some years and he probably knows Osweiler better than any coach right now. Maybe that inside information will help the Bears defense to rattle and confuse Denver’s new starter. Going out on another limb here but I think Denver will lose their third straight game this Sunday in Chicago. Prediction: Bears 29 – Broncos 21

Green Bay @ Minnesota – What happened to the Packers? Well, when the offense isnt as sharp as it should be, the chain reaction from that affects the entire football team. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t look like Aaron Rodgers. Defenses are figuring out how to get after him and he is seriously lacking a go to receiver when under pressure. RB Eddie Lacy has been benched, as the Packers running game has been inconsistent this year. Green Bay also ranked near the bottom of the league defensively. With all of those problems, the Packers have a big game on Sunday against rival Minnesota. Minnesota only has two losses but is really not on the national radar. They can change that at home this Sunday. Head coach Mike Zimmer was an assistant in the league for a long time but now he can really put a stamp in this division on Sunday with a victory. Minnesota is on a roll right now and they being lead by the league’s top rushing attack and a defense that ranked in the top ten in the league. Adrian Peterson is in a grove right now and is showing no signs of slowing down. QB Teddy Bridgewater is an exciting playmaker that can make the big play happen when called upon. I don’t think Green Bay has the defense to stop Peterson on Sunday and their offense wont be able to match his production on the field right now. It’s been awhile since Green Bay has been realistic underdogs going into a game. Life comes at you fast. Prediction: Vikings 32 – Packers 24

Cincinnati @ Arizona – The Bengals displayed an ugly brand of football last Monday night. The offense couldn’t do anything and eventually the defense couldn’t continue to bail them out. Now, after their first loss of the season, the Bengals will be in serious trouble this Sunday night when they travel to the desert to take on the Cardinals. Arizona had a defining victory last week at Seattle. I know that Seattle isn’t the team from last season but they are still tough at home. Arizona dominated that game last week, let Seattle back in the game, and then dominated them again to close them out on Seattle’s our turf. That was impressive. Arizona’s confidence must be sky high right now and University of Phoenix stadium will be on fire for this home prime time game. Arizona has been inconsistent this season but I think they are ready to put that to past and make a huge push towards locking up the NFC West. QB Andy Dalton played his worst football last week and he’ll find it harder this week going up against the Cardinals defense. Arizona has one of the better run defenses in the league and Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard are already having a tough time recently at finding yardage. Dalton will not be able to carry this offense this week. When the Bengals are having a tough day on the offensive side of the ball, the defense isn’t able to get the stops they would usually get. Arizona will test that secondary as they have a top five passing attack. The Bengals are potentially walking into a buzz saw on Sunday night. Prediction: Cardinals 33 – Bengals 20

Buffalo @ New England – New England barely escaped the Giants last week but they are still undefeated. I have to wonder when they will slow down offensively because the injuries are starting to pile up. RB Dion Lewis is already out for the season and now Brady’s go-to receiver, Julian Edelman, will miss weeks due to a broken foot. Tom Brady prides himself at executing the offense no matter which receivers are in the lineup but that task might be tough this week as he will face a tough Buffalo defense on Monday night. In their week two meeting, Buffalo came in as loud as a lion but left the game as quiet as a mouse. New England completely punked Buffalo in that early season match up and now Rex Ryan will try to do the same this time around. The matchup of the game will be between Buffalo’s top ranked rushing attack against New England top ranked run defense. If Buffalo cant get the running game going, can they trust Tyrod Taylor to get them in the end zone? Buffalo should have an advantage in the passing game but New England’s secondary is under rated. The Bills will need to get Sammy Watkins involved often in this matchup. Without Edelman, the Bills will need to key on TE Rob Gronkowski as Brady will definitely look towards him more times than usual. I think Buffalo will play New England a lot more tougher than they did Week 2 but Brady usually is hard to beat at home. Prediction: Patriots 24 – Bills 17

The Rest of Week 11

Titans over Jaguars – I’m sorry but I wont be able to take Jacksonville seriously tonight with those all-gold uniforms. All they need is black spots to complete the “Jaguar” look.

Lions over Raiders – Detroit got a huge confidence boost with the victory last week at Green Bay. I don’t think Oakland has been as good on the road this season.

Dolphins over Cowboys – Finally, Tony Romo is back! Which means he will be able to get the defense to play better. And he will be able to get the coaching staff to call better plays. And all will be right in the world in Dallas! Yeah, I’m not buying it either. Miami will play them tough.

Eagles over Buccaneers – Tampa stinks and they tried their best to lose last week. Philadelphia might appear to be trying hard to lose this week now that Mark Sanchez is commanding the offense. Seriously, this game will be awful to watch. Much like Dallas/Tampa from last week.

Panthers over Washington – Washington’s passing attack is a serious threat. Carolina has the defense to match them. Plus, Washington’s defense wont be able to slow down Cam. More dabbin in the end zone, please.

Ravens over Rams – Baltimore stinks but St. Louis wont be able to score any points. Justin Tucker will single handedly win this for Baltimore. But, can he still win it “single handedly” while being a kicker? Hmmm.

Jets over Texans – I love T.J. Yates but Houston will find it hard to score points. The matchup between DeAndre Hopkins and Darrelle Revis should be a good one.

Chiefs over Chargers – Kansas City can still play great defense. Phillip Rivers needs a second bye week.

Seahawks over 49ers – No way Seattle loses two straight at home.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Matt Stafford (Lions) – Stafford will be facing one of the worst pass defenses in the league at home on Sunday.

RB: Adrian Peterson (Vikings) – Green Bay’s run defense ranks in the bottom ten in the league. They wont have an answer for Peterson.

WR: Julio Jones (Falcons) – Coming off the bye week, Jones still leads the league in catches.

TE: Jimmy Graham (Seahawks) – Jimmy Graham has had some of his best games against the 49ers. Seattle needs to feature him on Sunday.

DEF: Arizona – With the way Andy Dalton has been playing recently, Arizona’s defense might be a safe bet on Sunday night. Arizona leads the league in returning interceptions for touchdowns.

NFL 2015: Week 5 Predictions!

APTOPIX-Vikings-Bronc_NH

Denver’s defense has been the key to their success so far in 2015.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 9-6

Season: 39-24

Big Five Games of the Week

Seattle @ Cincinnati – The Bengals are playing well on both sides of the ball right now. Andy Dalton is leading this Bengals offense in the right direction through the air and the running game is closing out ballgames. Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard are both playing well right now. The Bengals offense will face a tough test at home on Sunday in the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle is slumping right now but their defense is playing well right now with S Kam Chancellor back in the lineup. Cincinnati has a lot of offensive weapons but Seattle is equipped to stop the run and defend the pass well. It should be an interesting chess match between those two units. Seattle’s offense is sloppy right now without RB Marshawn Lynch. Lynch’s status for Sunday is unclear and they’ll probably also be without veteran backup Fred Jackson. Besides of the health problems, Seattle has bigger issues with their offensive line right now. With the running game struggling, QB Russell Wilson is going to have to do more than usual while running for his live. Wilson can make some amazing plays outside the pocket but when pressured enough, he will make some mistakes. Cincinnati has been tough defensively so far this season and I think they’ll do well at limiting Seattle’s production on Sunday. Cincy will do enough to put this team away at home. Prediction: Bengals 25 – Seahawks 17

Chicago @ Kansas City – I’ll give the Bears credit for coming back and beating Oakland last week. But I still don’t have much confidence in them going forward. Kansas City needs a win in a bad way and they are at home this weekend. The Chiefs matchup well against Chicago on both sides of the ball. The Bears still have issues with stopping the run and the Chiefs offense goes through RB Jamaal Charles. QB Jay Cutler struggles under pressure and the Chiefs have two the best pass rushers in the game in Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Kansas City gives up a lot of yards through the air but Cutler is lacking the weapons to really expose the Chiefs secondary. Kansas City should be able to take care of business on Sunday as long as Alex Smith doesn’t give the game away. Prediction: Chiefs 27 – Bears 14

Cleveland @ Baltimore – I saw nothing great about this Ravens team last Thursday night. Joe Flacco is playing poor football right now and he wont get better with all the injuries at the WR position. Baltimore’s saving grace on offense right now is Justin Forsett and the running game. On defense, Baltimore can’t stop the pass or pressure the QB. Cleveland has lost two straight since committing to QB Josh McCown but the losses really haven’t been the offense’s fault. Cleveland needs a better effort from the defensive side of the ball and I think they’ll get it on Sunday on the road. With the state of the Ravens passing game, Cleveland will make a greater effort at stopping the run this week. Cleveland’s passing game has been surprisingly efficient recently and WR Travis Benjamin has proven to be a reliable target. I’m going out on a limb here but I like the Browns to score an upset victory inside of the division on the road. Prediction: Browns 21 – Ravens 20

Denver @ Oakland – This game would be a lot more interesting if Oakland was 3-1. But still, the 2-2 Raiders are looking a lot better than recent past Raider teams. This will be a huge test at home this week against Denver. Denver isnt lighting up the score board this season but they are boasting the league’s best defense right now. The offense isnt playing too bad either and they are doing enough to allow the defense to close out victories. Oakland will have a chance in this game by keeping Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense off the scoreboard. Oakland is getting great play in the secondary from veteran Charles Woodson and they have an impressive pass-rushing duo in Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith. I think Oakland’s defense will be able to keep this game close. I’m not sure how the Raiders offense will be able to score enough points though. Denver has been fairly decent at stopping the run and preventing big passing plays. Derek Carr and rookie Amari Cooper have been impressive so far this season but they’re going to have to play their best games on Sunday to get the victory. I’m taking the road team in this game but don’t be surprised if Oakland has a chance to steal a victory at the end. It’s a shame that most of the country will miss this game. Should be a good one. Prediction: Broncos 23 – Raiders 17

Pittsburgh @ San Diego – The Steelers have the weapons on offense to keep winning games while Ben Roethlisberger is out from his injury. Mike Vick is an obvious drop off at the QB position but he can still do some things to help this Steelers teams and he showed that last week. Vick and the offense kind of over complicated things at times last week and that really cost them the game. That and they had a kicker who couldn’t make a field goal. I think Pittsburgh will work this week to make sure that they wont have to kick field goals at all on Monday night in San Diego. Martavis Bryant returns from his suspension this week and he’ll give Vick another deep target to go to along with Antonio Brown and Heath Miller. I think the Steelers should really focus less on the passing game as long as Ben is out. Especially when you have a guy like Le’Veon Bell in your backfield. Bell needs to get Adrian Peterson like carries in this offense, especially in short yardages situations. Bell has the potential to have some monster games on the stat sheet. He just needs to demand the ball. San Diego doesn’t have a great run defense so I can see Bell getting a heavy workload on Monday night. San Diego does a great job attacking defenses through the air with QB Phillip Rivers and Rivers will be receiving one of his favorite targets back this week in TE Antonio Gates. I think this should be a high scoring game between the Chargers and the Steelers and that might favor the home team. But even without Ben, the Steelers have the greater offensive weapons and they’ll be ready to take a positive step this week after a disappointing ending last week. Prediction: Steelers 35 – Chargers 28

The Rest of the Week 5

Colts over Texans – Andrew Luck isn’t healthy. Matt Hasselbeck has been in a hospital all week. But those two options at QB are still better than what Houston has.

Falcons over Washington – Atlanta is not going to be derailed at home.

Packers over Rams – After a great victory in the division last week, the Rams will under perform on the road this week.

Bills over Titans – Buffalo’s performance last week was embarrassing. Tennessee’s defense will be a sight for Tyrod Taylor’s sore eyes.

Eagles over Saints – I’m not sure how long Drew Brees can go without throwing deep passes. Philly has a great front seven and they’ll have a favorable matchup against this short passing attack. Sam Bradford discovered his arm last week and he’ll be in attack mode against the New Orleans defense.

Buccaneers over Jaguars – Jacksonville’s defense is horrid but Jameis Winston really needs to make an effort at cutting down on the turnovers.

Cardinals over Lions – Detroit is desperate and winless but I can’t see this Arizona squad losing two straight.

Patriots over Cowboys – Most of the nation will see this game and it’s really a shame. Without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, this game will be one sided offensively. Dallas will be receiving defensive help this week but I’m not betting on Tom Brady coming off a bye.

Giants over 49ers – After this game, the New York Giants future NFC East Champion hype train will be in full swing.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Eli Manning (Giants) – San Francisco doesn’t have the defense to slow down the Giants passing attack.

RB: Jamaal Charles (Chiefs) – Charles usually has his best games at home and that might especially be the case against Chicago’s run defense.

WR: Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals) – Fitzgerald is having a surprising start to his season.

TE: Martellus Bennett (Bears) – Bennett is basically is the only healthy, reliable target left for Cutler and the Bears passing offense.

DEF: New York Giants – San Francisco has been seriously limited on offense this season. The Giants have the best run defense in football right now.

NFL 2015: NFC North Preview

adrian-peterson-teddy-bridgewater-nfl-minnesota-vikings-training-camp

After only playing in one game a season ago, Adrian Peterson is back in 2015 to lead Minnesota to the postseason.

By: Elias McMillan

NFC North

Green Bay Packers – Green Bay solidified themselves as a serious contender for Seattle’s top spot in the NFC last season. It is especially painful for the Packers and their fans once they look back and realize how close they were from making it to the Super Bowl last January. But that should serve for some motivation going into the 2015 season. Green Bay returns with arguably the best QB in the league in Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers fought through injuries a season ago and was still able to win his second MVP award. If Rodgers can get better protection from his offensive line, he will definitely be in line for another MVP type season. Rodgers will need some of the younger WR’s to step up this season as the team has already lost WR Jordy Nelson for the season due to injury. WR Randall Cobb will be ready for the opportunity to be the number one receiving option in this offense as he was the skill set but Cobb is already going to have to shake off a preseason injury. A lot will be expected of second year WR Davante Adams who showed some promise in his rookie season. Adams has great size and underrated speed so, he could have a breakout 2015 season. On the ground, the Packers will have a solid one-two punch at running back with the star Eddie Lacy and the tough running James Starks. On defense, Green Bay has trouble with stopping the run and that might continue in 2015. Green Bay’s secondary is underrated but they’ll need some younger guys to step in and play valuable snaps right away. On the defensive line, they have a big difference maker in DE Mike Daniels who is starting to make a name for himself after a solid 2014 campaign. In terms of pass rushers, the Packers have a pair of great ones in Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers. Peppers is an ageless wonder and still a pretty versatile athlete. You could say that same for Matthews as he is good enough of a player to play multiple linebacker positions on this defense. Matthews might have to move around this season if Green Bay struggles against the run and if they’ve failed to replace A.J. Hawk who left in the offseason.  Green Bay has a couple of nice, young pieces in the secondary but I think they’ll miss CB Tramon Williams who had a knack for creating big plays. The Packers took two CB’s in the first two rounds of this pass draft, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins. Green Bay does have a decent pair of safeties in HaHa Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett. Green Bay will still have its weaknesses on defense but once again we can count on Aaron Rodgers carrying this team into title contention. Prediction: 13-3 (NFC North Champs)

Minnesota Vikings – There are multiple reasons for fans in Minnesota to be optimistic about this upcoming Vikings season. Minnesota has enough young talent to compete and an experienced coaching staff will lead them. But the real reason to be excited for the Vikings this season will be the return of RB Adrian Peterson who should be fresh after missing 15 games last season. Peterson will have a big chip on his shoulder and that will probably mean a huge season for him on the ground. With the return of Minnesota’s running game that should take the pressure off second year QB, Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater had a decent rookie season but he left plenty of room to improve going into this season. Having Peterson around will change everything about this offense from a season ago so, I expect Bridgewater to improve from his rookie season. At receiver, Minnesota brought in Mike Wallace who will be looking to prove that he is much more than just a speedster. WR Cordarrelle Patterson suffered through a sophomore slump last year and he’ll be also looking to prove that he can be an effective receiver in this league and not just a great return man. I am concerned about the offensive line and they already lost a starting tackle to injury. Rooke T.J. Clemmings will hope to become the long-term answer at right tackle in this first season. Minnesota’s defense has a lot of young talent mixed with some experience. DE Everson Griffin is the lone proven pass rusher on the defensive line but also look out for DT Sharrif Floyd who is starting to make some strides in his game play. Veteran Chad Greenway leads the linebacker group. LB Anthony Barr had a strong rookie season and he’ll be joined this year by rookie LB Eric Kendricks who should fit perfectly in this 4-3 defense. The youth movement continues in the secondary with CB’s Xavier Rhodes and this year’s first round pick Trae Waynes. They brought in CB Terrance Newman in free agency and he should serve a good mentor for the younger players in this secondary as he has years of experience playing in Mike Zimmer’s defense. The secondary is also rounded out nicely by play making safety Harrison Smith who is truly one of the league’s most underrated players. Minnesota might be a candidate to be a surprise playoff team this season. If the defense can perform up to its expectations and Peterson can continue where he left of in 2013, Minnesota could compete for a playoff spot. Prediction: 9-7 (Wildcard)

Detroit Lions – The Lions made a surprise run at the division last season and lost a nail biter in the playoffs. The main reason for this success last season was the improved defense, I thought. I think this year’s Lions team will find it tougher as they lost some good pieces on both sides of the ball. The Lions could be improved on offense though. I say this because I really like the effort they made in the offseason to improve the offensive line. They signed free agents, traded for veterans, and spent their top draft pick on that unit. That should prove to be great news for QB Matthew Stafford. Stafford will be in a great position for success again this season with all the talent he has around him. Calvin Johnson will be looking to bounce back for an injury filled season and he’ll be looking to prove that he is still one of the league’s best wide outs. WR Golden Tate definitely proved his worth last season, as he is especially tough after the catch as a ball carrier. At TE, Detroit will be counting on Eric Ebron to have a breakout second season, as he was an afterthought in his first year. Detroit might be better at the RB position even with the loss of Reggie Bush. Joique Bell will be the starter and the tough runner between the tackles but there is a lot of hype surrounding rookie RB Ameer Abdullah. Abdullah is a small, shifty back with blazing speed and he’ll definitely get touches this season as an option on third downs. The main reason why I think Detroit will take a step back this season is because of the losses on the defensive side of the ball. They will greatly miss DT’s Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. They swung a trade for DT Haloti Ngata and he can definitely still be a great player on the defensive line. But Hgata is starting to get up there in age and has already started to become a weekly fixture on the injury report. But with Suh and Fairley gone, I think DE Ziggy Ansah will really begin to flourish as a leader and lead playmaker on the defensive line. In the middle of the defense, LB DeAndre Levy is the lone stand out and he is coming off his best season. Also coming of his best year as a pro is safety Glover Quin. Levy and Quin were both great last season but I wonder how well they will be and the defense as a whole will be without those monsters on the defensive line. Uncertainly on the defensive side of the ball will keep Detroit from the playoffs in 2015. Prediction: 7-9

Chicago Bears – The Bears don’t have a lot of buzz surrounding them going into this season. They lost some talent in the offseason and I don’t see how they’ll be able to improve going into this season. It’s hard to think that QB Jay Cutler can provide stability at his position for this team. Cutler has been able to play well when surrounded by great talent. WR Brandon Marshall is gone and he replacement, rookie WR Kevin White, has already been lost for the season due to injury. WR Alshon Jeffery could be on his way towards a breakout season as one of Cutler main returning targets. Cutler also has a great relationship with veteran WR Eddie Royal so he should be a great help to Chicago’s depleted WR core. It will also help to have a proven talent in TE Martellus Bennett who is coming off a pretty productive 2014. The Bears also have one of the league’s best RB in Matt Forte. Forte gets over looked in this division with Peterson and Lacy but he is one of the better runners and receivers at the RB position in the league. Chicago’s run defense was a disgrace last season and this year they’ll have to depend on some unproven players to improve those numbers. Rookie DT Eddie Goldman will be a day one starter on this defense and second year player, Will Sutton, will be looking to make the jump to be a main contributor on the defensive line. At outside linebacker, the Bears have a decent group of veteran pass rushers led by Jared Allen. The Bears also have a nice young nucleus at inside linebacker with Shea McClellin, Jon Bostic, and Christian Jones. Outside of second year player, Kyle Fuller, I don’t like anything about the Bears secondary. That unit is filled with veteran castoffs from around the league. I think the Bears made a great decision hiring John Fox as head coach in the offseason. Unfortunately for Fox, this team will fall into the basement of the division in 2015 and he’ll be tasked with the duty to build up the roster to get them back into contention. Prediction: 6-10

NFL 2014: Week 14 Predictions!

141201_StevenJackson_RF_CP

Getting a win at Green Bay might be too tall of a task for the NFC South leading Atlanta Falcons.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 9-7

Season: 120-71-1

Big Five Games of the Week

Dallas @ Chicago – This is a must win for the Cowboys tonight. A win here will help the team regain confidence going into another huge matchup next week in Philly. A loss tonight and the “Cowboys/Tony Romo in December” narrative will be as loud as it ever been. Dallas has a lot to still figure out but they still have a lot going for them entering this game in Chicago. Tony Romo has to continue to be the most important player on the field for the Cowboys. This means that the offense has to be a sharp, well oiled machine tonight and going forward. The offense will be key going into this last four games of the season because the Dallas defense is bad and is showing no signs of getting better. This defense isn’t as bad as it was last season but the same problems (pass rush, lack of turnovers) are still present. The Bears are not a good football team but this is a game that they can most definitely win. Chicago has the offensive talent to overwhelm the Dallas defense early in this ball game. If Cutler isn’t pressured enough from the Cowboys defense tonight, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, and Alshon Jeffries could win this game for Chicago. The Bears also have a poor defense, which is why it will be key for that Dallas offense to have its stuff together tonight. Last week at home vs. Philly, the defense got overwhelmed quickly and it caused the entire team to play panicked. The same thing could happen tonight but the Dallas offense must be the ones to keep the team’s “cool” and keep the team in this ballgame. It’s crazy to think how good Dallas has been on the road this year. I see this as a “prove it” game for Dallas. I cant ignore the team’s recent history even though I believe that this year’s team is different. They will have to prove that tonight. But until they do….. Prediction: Bears 32 – Cowboys 27

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati – The Bengals won ugly last week, which is a good thing. Because it’s still better than losing. Cincy is still in the driver’s seat in the crowded AFC North. For a while now, I’ve liked the idea that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be able to separate from the pack in this division. After a disappointing home loss last week, I’m starting to back away from those thoughts. Drew Brees didn’t have to do much to beat this Steelers defense last week and that greatly concerns me. Ike Taylor’s return from injury last week proved to be a bad thing. Plus, the defensive line suffered another terrible injury. The Steelers defense need LB’s Ryan Shazier and Jarvis Jones to return from injury this week and make an immediate impact in this key divisional game. The Bengals might of played poorly last week but Pittsburgh cant take them lightly. Cincinnati still has a pretty stout defense and good things usually happen offensively when Andy Dalton isn’t playing poorly. I think Dalton will have some favorable matchups this week against a poor Steelers secondary. Cincy will also need to feed their RB’s Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill to the Pittsburgh front seven that has been weaken by injuries. It’s not out of the question that Ben Roethlisberger can have a bounce back performance after a bad one last week but I’m questioning the health of that wrist on the throwing hand. The team and the player have all but denied the injury but you could tell that something was wrong when you looked at Ben’s throws last week. Le’Veon Bell is a really good RB but the Bengals are really good defensively at the line of scrimmage. Healthy or not, the Steelers might have to lean on Roethlisberger this week if they cant get Bell going. Ben has a great history playing in Ohio but I think the Bengals defense will flourish with him not playing at 100%. This would be a huge home victory for Cincy. Prediction: Bengals 26 – Steelers 21

Seattle @ Philadelphia – These two teams meet in Philly this Sunday after triumphant beat downs of their division rivals. This could very well be a preview for the playoffs. Seattle has had its ups and downs this season but they are now looking like a very dangerous football team. The difference recently has been the play of the defense. Seattle is getting after the QB more often and the secondary is back to playing with supreme confidence. In my mind, Seattle still has to get rid of that stigma of under achieving on the road. This Sunday would be a perfect opportunity for that as they’ll be playing a red hot Eagles team. Philadelphia’s offense might steal all of the headlines but recently, its been the defense who has been performing well. The Eagles are getting great play up front and they’ll receive a great challenge this week in RB Marshawn Lynch. I don’t like Philly’s secondary that much but the matchup with the Seahawks receivers should cancel both sides out, as Seattle doesn’t have a receiver that can truly impact the game. Russell Wilson is as steady as any player in the league right now but the Eagles pass rush will get after him on Sunday. The real story in this game will be the Eagles offense vs. the Seahawks defense. I wonder if Philadelphia can stay with their attacking offensive style of football against a tough Seattle defense. But I don’t think Russell Wilson will be able to put out enough offensive production. The Eagles will work to move the chains and keep Wilson on the bench. Seattle’s road woes will continue this week. Prediction: Eagles 29 – Seahawks 20

New England @ San Diego – It seems like every one was ready to write off San Diego this season. The Chargers proved with a gutsy road victory last week that they are ready to make a push towards the playoffs. New England suffered a tough road loss last week that isnt sitting well in the locker room. The Pats are eager to get back on track this week but they will be traveling a long ways to Southern California. San Diego is starting to get back to an balanced offensive attack but Phillip Rivers and the passing game is still ones setting the tone for this team. The New England will have their hands full stopping the run and the pass this weak. New England has a strong secondary but Aaron Rodgers kinda exposed them last week. Bad news for San Diego, that defense is still giving up a lot of points. New England’s offense kind of stalled last week but they might be able to be more productive this week in San Diego. Recent history shows that San Diego has a knack for getting real hot towards the end of the season so I like them to score the upset this week. Plus, Rob Gronkowski was spotted hanging out with Justin Beiber this week. The Beiber curse is real. Prediction: Chargers 31 – Patriots 27

Atlanta @ Green Bay – The Falcons have been a great story in perseverance this season. So far, at least. It’s amazing but Atlanta finds themselves in first place in the horrible NFC South. Atlanta has done great work inside the division and they are starting to rely more on their offense. Last week, they faced a decent Arizona defense but they were able to put up great offensive numbers. WR Julio Jones seems to be forgotten but his is still a legit threat on every play. Atlanta is also showing ability to run the football with a healthy Steven Jackson. Look for Atlanta to really use the running game this week at Green Bay as it will be key for them to slowly move the chains and keep Aaron Rodgers on the bench. Green Bay’s defense struggles with stopping the run but they do excel at rushing the passer. Atlanta’s protection problems have been well documented this season with all the injuries on that offensive line. Matt Ryan might have a hard time this week at finding open receivers while on the run. I really like nothing about the Falcons defense. They were able to take advantage of a banged up Cardinals team last week and they wont find it as easy this week on the road vs. the Packers. I can see Aaron Rodgers having a big day in the air on Monday night. Prediction: Packers 39 – Falcons 28

The Rest of Week 14

Colts over Browns – Even though I love Johnny Football, starting Brian Hoyer is the right choice for Cleveland. When you’re in the middle of a playoff race, its better to trust your offense to a vet than a rookie. The time to give Manziel the starting job was earlier in the season. That time has passed. Oh yea, there’s no way they are beating Indy.

Lions over Buccaneers – Detroit cant take Tampa Bay lightly in the role of a spoiler.

Giants over Titans – I know that New York is bad right now but Tennessee cant produce enough points to win.

Ravens over Dolphins – You have to wonder how the Haloti Ngata suspension will affect the defense but Miami didn’t look like a playoff contender last week.

Vikings over Jets – Minnesota is quietly playing well near the end of the season.

Saints over Panthers – Carolina’s defense has disappeared again.

Rams over Redskins – So, I guess St. Louis won that RG3 trade, huh? In an ironic twist, Griffin could start for St. Louis next season. That dome turf must be great for the joints, right?

Texans over Jaguars – J.J. Watt. A legit league MVP candidate. Enough said.

Broncos over Bills – No way Orton out scores Peyton Manning in his return to Denver.

Chiefs over Cardinals – It might officially be panic time in the desert.

49ers over Raiders – The real game will be in the stands, bathrooms, and parking lots. And when I mean “game” I mean “Southern California Sports Fan Fights”. Go ahead and check Youtube on Monday morning. On a serious note, good luck to the police force in that area.

Fantasy Football Players of the Week

QB: Aaron Rodgers (Packers) – Green Bay will face Atlanta’s league worst pass defense. Easy choice here.

RB: Andre Williams (Giants) – How about a rookie going off on the league worst run defense this week?

WR: Dez Bryant (Cowboys) – Bryant has been queit since the game in New York but Chicago has one of the worst secondarys in football. Romo must exploit that.

TE: Greg Olsen (Panthers) – New Orleans has issues with covering Tight Ends. Newton must look for Olsen this week.

DEF: Houston – J.J. Watt should give you enough points alone this week in Jacksonville.