Tag Archives: Jimmy Garoppolo

Super Bowl LIV Prediction

mahomes2020

This could be the beginning of something special for Kansas City on Super Sunday unless San Francisco has something to say about it.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Conference Championships: 1-1

Playoffs: 5-5

Super Bowl LIV from Miami, Florida

San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

I’ve gone back and forth on this one in terms of who I think is going to win vs. who is actually going to win. Really, I just don’t want the snooze fest that was last year’s Super Bowl. And I don’t think we will get that. Super Bowl LIV will feature an old time theme in football: a really good offense vs. a really good defense. The question here is if that explosive offense will be too much for even a good-to-great defense to handle. For the Chiefs, QB Patrick Mahomes has drawn rave reviews and all is there left for him to do is to deliver Kansas City its first championship in over 40 years. Mahomes has the weapons to get it done in the passing game. The Chiefs offer multiple speedsters at the WR position and TE Travis Kelce can also provide big plays. In their way is a talented 49ers defense led by a young and active defensive line. Probable Defensive Rookie of the Year, Nick Bosa, leads this unit that includes former Chief Dee Ford and two 6”7 defensive tackles that wreck havoc in the middle. San Fran’s defense also gets outstanding play at LB with Fred Warner and Kwon Alexander and in the secondary with CB Richard Sherman. Kansas City doesn’t have a bad defense either. They shut down the league’s leading rusher two weeks ago and safety Tyrann Mathieu is currently playing his best ball of his career. The matchup between the Chiefs offense and the 49ers defense will take center stage on Sunday but another big question will be how QB Jimmy Garoppolo will affect the game. San Francisco ran the ball well two weeks ago with Raheem Mostert carrying the load but I think they will not be able to depend on him against the Chiefs front four. So, when called upon, can Garoppolo provide big plays down the field? Many are not expecting much from the 49ers passing game but I think that might serve as an advantage. WR Emmanuel Sanders and rookie Deebo Samuel should not be slept on by the Chiefs secondary. For entertainment purposes, I think that many including myself will be looking for the Chiefs to use that explosive offense, light up the scoreboard, and keep San Francisco from striking distance. Kansas City is the favorite in this game for a reason but some of it maybe sentimental. The Chiefs have the aging coach (Andy Reid), aging veterans on their last championship run (Terrell Suggs and Shady McCoy), and the new superstar who is ready to take over the league (Mahomes). I think it is possible that the Chiefs will be able to get up big in this game and not look back but something tells me that we’ll see something different. Maybe the 49ers defense will be able to win the battles up front and make it really tough on Mahomes. Maybe the 49ers will be able to keep Mahomes on the bench and control the clock with Mostert and a now healthy RB Tevin Coleman. I feel better saying that the Chiefs will win on Sunday but I have a strange feeling. It wouldn’t be the first time a star QB’s first championship appearance ended on a sour note. Prediction: 49ers 34 – Chiefs 31

NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship Sunday Predictions

49ERS VS. VIKINGS NFC DIV PLAYOFF GAME

The table is set for the 49ers defense to lead San Francisco to the Super Bowl.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Divisional Round: 2-2

Playoffs: 4-4

Conference Championship Sunday

AFC Championship Game

Tennessee @ Kansas City – The Titans are taking all challengers this post season. RB Derrick Henry is leading the way on the ground, punishing defenses. And QB Ryan Tannehill is making big plays when called upon. On defense, Tennessee’s secondary has also been impressive. That unit will be tested often on Sunday with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Kansas City was down early, big last week at home but that explosive offense was able to pull them out of the fire real quick. Houston didn’t do any favors for themselves either, as they made some mistakes down the stretch. I don’t think the Chiefs will be able to afford another slow start this Sunday. Tennessee has done a great job with ball control and staying away from game altering mistakes. I think Tennessee’s run game will do its job and keep KC’s offense on the bench, which could take the home crowd out of the game. If the Chiefs are able to bottle up Henry, Tennessee’s defense will be in serious trouble. They’ve done a good job so far in the playoffs but Kansas City is able to challenge them vertically unlike any other they have faced. I think the extra attention on the Titans backfield could open things for Tannehill and his young receivers. The Titans brand of football isn’t as fun and exciting as what Kansas City or what Baltimore was offering but it is working. It would just stink if it just came to a complete halt on Sunday. I’m rooting for the upset. Not sure it will happen but its what I’m wishing for. Another conference championship heartbreak for Andy Reid. Prediction: Titans over Chiefs

NFC Championship Game

Green Bay @ San Francisco – This 49ers team has been built for moments like this. San Fran is physical, they can run the ball and they have one of the league’s top defenses. That formula usually works in January. Green Bay will be the road underdogs in this NFC Championship game and it is easy to see why. I don’t think Green Bay’s offense is dynamic enough to get through the 49ers defense for 4 quarters. QB Aaron Rodgers played great against Seattle last week, finding WR Davante Adams for multiple big gains. I think that 49ers defensive front four will be able to limit the Rodgers-Adams connection. San Fran also defended the run pretty well last week, too. We might see quite a few screen plays from the Packers offense on Sunday to counter the 49ers’ aggressiveness. For the 49ers on offense, they just have to continue to keep things simple and stick to what works. QB Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t have a great game statistically but he stayed away from mistakes for the most parts. The big thing for him is that when he does screw up, he knows he has a great running game that he can lean on. I think the result of this game will be the least shocking one of the weekend. Prediction:  49ers over Packers

NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round Predictions

Wild Card Round - Buffalo Bills v Houston Texans

The Texans won in Kansas City earlier this season. Can they do it again in the playoffs?

 

By: Elias McMillan

Wild-Card: 2-2

Playoffs: 2-2

Divisional Round

Minnesota @ San Francisco – I was really impressed with the Vikings’ defensive line in their upset victory over New Orleans last weekend. In fact, this divisional round game between the Vikings and 49ers will be heavily influenced by the play at the line of scrimmage. San Francisco has bolstered a pretty dominant unit up front all season and they’ll have a chance to really exert their power in this game. QB Kirk Cousins avoided mistakes last weeks and made some pretty big throws. He will be under pressure again this week but I think past experiences will help him. I think Minnesota’s experiences in the post season will help them on Saturday. Many players on San Francisco will be making their playoff debuts. Everyone usually puts a spotlight on Cousins but I think Jimmy Garoppolo is the QB under the most pressure this weekend. Minnesota’s defense has been inconsistent but if they play like they did in New Orleans, the Vikings will be in this one. RB Dalvin Cook could see plenty of opportunities in this game, which will help Cousins against a top ranked pass defense. The 49ers have taken on all challengers this season but recently, they’ve been able to escape in some close games by the skin of their teeth. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said something this week about the last time they defeated New Orleans in the playoffs and came back the next week and laid a total egg in Philadelphia. That message will be hammered into his team this week and I think it will pay off as they will score the upset and advance to the NFC Championship Game. Prediction: Vikings over 49ers

Tennessee @ Baltimore – Tennessee didn’t have to do much to end the Patriots reign last week. But getting the job done in Foxboro shouldn’t be scoffed at. The Titans have a good thing going right now with the way they can control the clock with RB Derrick Henry which in return sets up the league’s highest rated passer, Ryan Tannehill. That formula will have to work overtime this week, as the Titans will face the league’s top offense in the Baltimore Ravens. League MVP Lamar Jackson should be fresh coming off the bye and his offense will be able to attack the Titans defense in a way that New England couldn’t do last week.  This game will be all about which offense can control the clock as both teams feature highly successful running games. I think the difference will be which offense can produce more big plays down the field. The Titans cannot sleep on what Lamar Jackson’s arm can do. Also, you have to consider that Jackson has a talent group of skill players on offense to go to. I have a feeling that Tennessee might be able to keep this one close to start but eventually Jackson and Ravens will overwhelm them. Prediction: Ravens over Titans

Houston @ Kansas City – The Texans pulled off a great comeback in the Wild Card round against Buffalo. I don’t think they can afford another slow start this weekend, as they’ll visit the Chiefs in Kansas City. Houston showed against Buffalo that when pressed, their biggest stars can make game altering plays. On offense, QB Deshaun Watson proved his worth during crunch time and on defense, it was J.J. Watt who provided the spark. The Chiefs are a team that can apply pressure for all 4 quarters, offensively and defensively. QB Patrick Mahomes and his fast break offense should be able to stretch the field against the Texans defense. Kansas City isn’t a great defensive team but they do have an active front four along with a tough secondary. The Chiefs have had problems with injuries this season and it is something that they will have to continue to avoid during this post season run. If the offensive weapons are rested and healthy, Houston is going to have a tough time keeping them off the scoreboard. Houston defeated KC earlier this season and I’m sure the home team hasn’t forgotten about that. Unlike that game in Week 6, the Chiefs will need to get off on a fast start and keep the Texans offense on the bench. Prediction: Chiefs over Texans

Seattle @ Green Bay – This game will be pretty to look at. A cold and snowy Lambeau Field will set the scene for two teams that are usually mainstays in the NFC playoffs. Seattle was able to get by a wounded Eagles team last week and they didn’t earn any style points with that victory. With better QB play, Philadelphia might have been able to pull that one out. Seattle is currently having issues with scoring touchdowns, which may have to do with their injury situation. It’s cool that RB Marshawn Lynch is back but even he admits that he is not in game shape. QB Russell Wilson will have to do the heavy lifting for this Seahawks offense but how is that different from any other season? Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is used to putting the team on his back as well but this season, his supporting cast isn’t that bad. In this cold weather game, I’m expecting big things out of RB’s Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. I think the Packers running game will have a huge affect on the outcome in this one and it will allow Aaron Rodgers to control the clock and take some big shots down the field. Seattle’s defense is talented but they really got off easy last week. If their front four can’t get in the face of Rodgers, it could be a long, cold night for that unit. I’ve been mostly unimpressed with the Packers this season but I think they matchup well against Seattle. Russell Wilson has never won in Green Bay and on Sunday, the Packers will set the scene for a NFC North Championship game for the conference title and a Super Bowl berth. Prediction: Packers over Seahawks

 

 

NFL 2019: Week 17 Predictions (Condensed Version)

Steelers Bengals Football

Can the “Duck Man” lead Pittsburgh past Baltimore this weekend and into the playoffs? Somehow, I doubt it.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 12-4

Season: 147-92-1

Week 17 Picks

Jets over Bills – Buffalo has already clinched their playoff spot and will be better off resting starters. The Jets could have a 7-win season after starting off 1-7. Not bad.

Browns over Bengals – Cincy is committed to the tank. The Browns could finish with seven wins. I said this about Cleveland back in August, “You have to crawl before you can walk.”

Packers over Lions – I see Detroit playing them tough but Green Bay could be in line for a first round bye in the post season.

Chiefs over Chargers – Kansas City has slim chances to improve their playoff position. But they have also had some bad luck this year when it comes to injuries. They could also rest their regulars.

Bears over Vikings – Minnesota is locked in at the 6 spot in the NFC and they’ve already announced that they will rest key starters.

Patriots over Dolphins – New England, with a win here, would clinch the number two seed in the AFC.

Falcons over Buccaneers – After a bad start, Atlanta has rebounded and saved the jobs of their head coach and general manager. That’s something to be proud of.

Saints over Panthers – New Orleans will need to win this one to avoid playing during Wild-Card Weekend. And what is this I’m hearing about Antonio Brown? Sean Payton, don’t do this. It could be fun. But, just say no.

Giants over Eagles – Philadelphia stinks. I’ll applaud their defense for last week, at least. But still. Not a very good team. Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley will look dynamic.

Washington over Cowboys – The Dallas Cowboys are a complete waste of time. It would be so “on brand” for the Eagles to lose but then Dallas fails to take advantage. I’m looking forward to the “Dallas fires Head Coach Jason Garrett” update scrolling across my screen. Having to watch this team for another week is punishment enough.

Raiders over Broncos – Oakland, despite the injuries, got the win last week and has a chance to sneak into the post season this weekend. Jon Gruden is quietly doing an okay job in Oakland.

Rams over Cardinals – Two teams with nothing to play for. For those watching this one, count how many times the announcers mention the ages of the head coaches.

Colts over Jaguars – Jacksonville is going to have an interesting offseason coming up in 2020.

Ravens over Steelers – Baltimore has the #1 seed locked up in the AFC and will rest their starters. But even with a playoff spot on the line, I don’t see Pittsburgh being successful with their current situation at the QB position.

Titans over Texans – Houston is going about business as usual this week but I’m not falling for it. If Coach Bill O’Brien has a brain, he will undoubtedly rest his starters this week ahead of Wild-Card weekend. Tennessee will be ready to take advantage.

49ers over Seahawks – San Fran has grown since losing to Seattle just weeks ago. Plus, the Seahawks are a bit dinged up. It is a big spot to win on the road in Seattle but I think the 49ers can do it and clinch home field advantage for themselves in the NFC.

NFL 2019: Week 13 Predictions (Condensed Version)

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The Buffalo Bills will be looking to stay in the AFC playoff conversation by making a statement in Dallas on Thanksgiving.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 9-5

Season: 103-72-1

Week 13 Picks

Bears over Lions – Detroit losing on Thanksgiving is a tradition. Chicago’s defense should be able to take care of Jeff Driskel.

Bills over Cowboys – Dallas didn’t get hammered physically last week in New England. It was mentally which could be even worst. If they don’t recover and focus up on a short week, this Bills team could shock them. Buffalo needs this to stay the AFC wildcard race.

Saints over Falcons – Atlanta embarrassed New Orleans in their first meeting. The Saints haven’t forgot and they’ll be looking for revenge in the Super Dome.

Jets over Bengals – Cincy blew their chance at getting a victory last week. Now, they come crawling back to Andy Dalton. Not a good look.

Titans over Colts – Indy is banged up. Tennessee is beginning to look like a team that could sneak their way into the playoff conversation.

Eagles over Dolphins – Philly is such a mess currently. It wouldn’t surprise me if Miami gave them trouble on the road.

Packers over Giants – Green Bay got taken back to the woodshed last week. Hopefully, this road trip to the Big Apple will be more successful for them.

Steelers over Browns – Cleveland is the much more talented team even without Myles Garrett. But the wounded Steelers will have blood in their eyes still from what happened at the end of the last meeting just two weeks ago. When was the last time Cleveland swept the season series with Pittsburgh?

Panthers over Washington – Kyle Allen has to make the offseason decision at QB hard for Carolina. A loss here would really hurt his cause.

Buccaneers over Jaguars – Not saying that the two are linked but it seems that Jacksonville lost its juice when Nick Foles returned. Hmmm.

Ravens over 49ers – Here’s a possible Super Bowl preview. Shame that most of the country won’t be able to see it. It will be strength vs. strength when you talk about the Ravens offense and the 49ers defense. Maybe the long road trip for the Niners will play a factor. I have too much trust in Lamar Jackson to pick against him right now.

Rams over Cardinals – LA needs a pick me up victory in the worst way.

Chargers over Broncos – I’m excited to see the return of Chargers safety Derwin James. If not injured, I think LA’s season might be going differently.

Chiefs over Raiders – I’m not sure why everyone was shocked about Oakland’s loss to the Jets last week. The Raiders have a history struggling with long road trips. However, they’ll take their lumps again this Sunday against the Chiefs.

Patriots over Texans – Stephon Gilmore vs. DeAndre Hopkins will be must see TV. Let’s see if the New England offense can respond against an offense that maybe able to score more than 9 points.

Seahawks over Vikings – In what should be a close matchup, I’ll go with Russell Wilson as Kirk Cousins usually falters under the primetime lights.

NFL 2019: Week 12 Predictions

rodgera

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers visit another top NFC team this Sunday night.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 12-2

Season: 94-67-1

Top Five Games of the Week

Indianapolis @ Houston – The Colts proved last week that they are still very much in conversation for the AFC South title. They’ve been inconsistent at times this season but they are going to receive a boost offensively at least with the return of T.Y. Hilton. The Texans didn’t show much last week against Baltimore as they were blown out. Seems like Houston’s defense hasn’t been the same since the J.J. Watt injury. I feel like we can count on Indy being a tough team defensively. And now that their offense is getting healthy, they maybe able to create some space in the race for the division. Prediction: Colts over Texans

Seattle @ Philadelphia – The Eagles need to start stringing together some wins to stay in the playoff conversation. After losing to the Patriots last week, that task will not seem easier this week, as they’ll welcome the visiting Seahawks who are coming off a bye. Seattle used to be a team that looked stronger at home than when on the road. Now, they seem to play tough no matter the venue. I think the Eagles actually matchup well against Seattle but they are currently dealing with some issues offensively. The running game has improved as the season progresses but you can say the same for Carson Wentz and the passing game. Philly will not be able to defeat Seattle on Sunday if they don’t get enough big plays from Wentz and his receivers. On the other side, I think Russell Wilson will be able to create big plays against an constantly overachieving Eagles secondary. I say overachieving because that unit played well last week but in reality, they are average at best. Prediction: Seahawks over Eagles

Dallas @ New England – Tom Brady and the Patriots were able to get the win last week against Philly but their offense continued to struggle. Brady acknowledged that fact this week during his weekly radio show ahead of this weekend’s game against Dallas. I think Brady maybe able to find more opportunities in the passing game this week but that will be all depending on how well he is protected. The Cowboys do offer a decent pass rush despite having a secondary that gives up big plays. On defense, the Patriots boost the league’s top unit and they are especially good at defending the pass. Enter Dak Prescott this Sunday who is currently playing his best football of his career and is also the league leader in passing. The Cowboys are facing a big test this week with the Patriots defense on the road. But they know that the key for them is to get big performances from Prescott and the offense as a whole. The Patriots maybe struggling on offense right now but they know that they could be able to out scheme and out execute the Cowboys from a coaching standpoint. If it comes down the players on paper, the Cowboys might have an edge but I think there’s a reason why the Belichick/Brady regime has never lost to Dallas. Prediction: Patriots over Cowboys

Green Bay @ San Francisco – The Packers will be fresh this week coming off the bye but they have a big test waiting for them on Sunday night as they travel to face the 49ers. San Fran has cooled off a bit losing to Seattle and almost losing last week to Arizona. Despite that, their formula for success is still intact. I think that defense they have can give Aaron Rodgers plenty of problems. Green Bay’s rushing attack will also have tough sledding ahead of them against the Niners front four. On offense, the 49ers must continue to use their top ranked rushing attack while Jimmy G stays away from mistakes. Prediction: 49ers over Packers

Baltimore @ LA Rams – The Rams haven’t looked the same to me since their loss at Pittsburgh a few weeks ago. In order for the Rams to play winning football again, they have to be point offensively. It doesn’t matter how dominant Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and the rest of the Rams defense is playing. As a team, their success is about being able to score points. Thinking of points, Baltimore has the second best scoring offense in football right. Lamar Jackson is proving week after week that he can get the job done with his feet and his arm. The Rams have the potential to really challenge the Ravens this week but the road team is playing its best ball at the moment. LA better be careful because they are starting to fade away from the playoff conversation. Prediction: Ravens over Rams

The Rest of Week 12

Falcons over Buccaneers – Atlanta’s defense is playing well right now. That’s not good news for the turnover prone Buccaneers.

Bills over Broncos – Buffalo still has realistic playoff goals. They just have to start stacking victories.

Bears over Giants – This game will be decided by Khalil Mack or Daniel Jones.

Bengals over Steelers – No one should go winless. Pittsburgh’s offense is too banged up. I think Cincy is a terrible team but this week presents a good opportunity for them.

Browns over Dolphins – Cleveland should be okay if they stay away from the “beating the opponent over the head with their own helmet” strategy.

Saints over Panthers – Looks like the Kyle Allen era for Carolina maybe over before it starts.

Raiders over Jets – This current winning streak is going to propel this young overachieving Oakland team into the post season.

Lions over Washington – I think it will be Washington ending their season with the league’s worst overall record.

Titans over Jaguars – Jacksonville has their QB back but Tennessee has had their number recently.

NFL 2019: Week 10 Predictions

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Seattle Seahawks

Can Russell Wilson and the Seahawks give the 49ers their first loss of 2019?

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 9-5

Season: 78-56-1

Top Five Games of the Week

Los Angeles Chargers @ Oakland – I’m kind of surprised to see the Raiders with a 4-4 record. Right now they have the inside track on finishing second in the AFC West and maybe competing for a Wild-Card playoff spot. Tonight’s game against the Chargers will be key for them going forward. A win tonight and then upcoming games against the Bengals and Jets could mean that Oakland could be sitting pretty with a 7-4 record. But first things first, they have to defeat a Chargers team who is coming off their best win of the season over Green Bay. The Chargers have been the picture of inconsistency in the AFC over the last few years. Tonight, I think they’ll have to lean on a strong defensive performance. Edge rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will have to impact what David Carr and the Raiders offense can produce. I’m looking for Oakland to challenge LA’s run defense tonight with rookie Josh Jacobs who is having a good first season. My heart goes out to those fans in Oakland who will not be able to see their team at home for not much longer. I think the Raiders will send those fans home happy tonight. Prediction: Raiders over Chargers

Carolina @ Green Bay – I’m not sure what happened to the Packers last week in LA. Maybe they were enjoying the SoCal nightlife before Sunday’s game. Aaron Rodgers assured everyone after the loss last week that there’s no need to worry and they’ll get back on track. Easier said than done, as Green Bay will welcome a pretty good Carolina team this Sunday. Carolina’s defense should serve as a good test for Rodgers. The Panthers hoist a top pass defense in the league. Green Bay may find success in the run game with Jamal Williams and Aaron Jones as Carolina’s run defense ranks near the bottom. On offense, the Panthers will continue to feed their MVP candidate RB Christian McCaffrey and will hope to keep the Packers pass rush away from QB Kyle Allen. Carolina is going to need points to win this one on the road. I don’t think Allen will be able to out-produce Rodgers offensively. Prediction: Packers over Panthers

Los Angeles Rams @ Pittsburgh – Even though the Colts weren’t healthy last Sunday and their QB was knocked out of the game, that was still an impressive victory for the almost equally wounded Steelers. Currently, the Steelers are playing at a high level defensively especially when you look at edge rushers, T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree. That defense will have its hands full this Sunday with the LA Rams coming into town. The Rams are among the top teams in the NFC and should be well-rested coming off the bye. QB Jared Goff is a guy that can be rattled when pressured but he has the pleasure of being surrounded with a great supporting cast when you talk about RB Todd Gurley, and wide outs Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Pittsburgh’s offensive line also faces a tall task with LA’s defensive front led by Aaron Donald who will have his own cheering section in the stadium. If the Steelers could gut out another victory this week, that would be an eye-opener. But I just don’t see it. Prediction: Rams over Steelers

Minnesota @ Dallas – The Cowboys victory over the Giants last Monday night did not inspire any confidence from me, at least. Dallas overcame a sloppy start a finished the contest in style but they still have a ways to go if they want to be a contender in the NFC. I see Minnesota as a team that was in a similar rut earlier this season. But recently, QB Kirk Cousins has turned it on and the Vikings offense is flourishing. On Sunday night, I’m expecting to see a really good contest featuring two similar but talented teams. Minnesota and Dallas have great rushing offense led by Dalvin Cook and Ezekiel Elliott. The Dallas run defense was up to the task last week slowing down Saquon Barkley and they’ll have to repeat that performance in this game. Minnesota could be shorthanded offensively if WR Adam Thielen is unable to play. The Vikings offensive line could have their hands full as the Cowboys offer a pretty good pass rush with Demarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn and recently acquired Michael Bennett. Minnesota’s defense isn’t bad either as they rank in the top ten against the run and the pass. This should be a close game and the winner will be the team that wins the turnover battle. Dak Prescott and Cousins must protect the football as the QB with the last possession could decide this one. I’m not confident but I’m going with the home team. Prediction: Cowboys over Vikings

Seattle @ San Francisco – It goes without saying that this is the biggest game of Week 10. San Francisco is still sporting an undefeated record but they’ll welcome a great challenge on Monday night with the Seattle Seahawks coming to town. I feel that San Fran’s success is sustainable because of two reasons: the running game and the pass rush. On offense, the 49ers have been getting it done on the ground with Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. They could play a huge factor in this game as Seattle struggles against the run. The Seahawks will have to answer that with the way they can get after the QB. Thinking of getting after the QB, the Niners are pretty good at that too. Russell Wilson is normally calm and collected but Dee Ford and Nick Bosa will be looking to make sure that he is not comfortable on Monday night. It would take a great effort from Wilson for Seattle to give the 49ers their first loss. I expect to see the home team to stay the course and score a big divisional victory. Prediction: 49ers over Seahawks

The Rest of Week 10

Lions over Bears – It would be nice to see Mitch Trubisky turn it around but I just don’t see it.

Ravens over Bengals – Baltimore can’t afford a let down after their huge victory at home last week.

Bills over Browns – Cleveland is an absolute joke. That coaching staff should be ashamed. The players should be ashamed. The fans are ashamed. The organization should also be ashamed.

Chiefs over Titans – Kansas City is just counting the days until Patrick Mahomes returns.

Saints over Falcons – Not sure why Atlanta hasn’t fired Dan O’Quinn yet.

Giants over Jets – Both of these franchises have seen better days but right now, the Giants at least appear to have more hope.

Buccaneers over Cardinals – Tampa has lost a couple of close ones recently. Something will go right for them eventually.

Colts over Dolphins – Indy is very healthy right now but the Dolphins are still the Dolphins.

NFL 2019: Week 8 Predictions

Carolina is fresh off the bye week and winners of 4 straight. They’ll meet undefeated San Francisco this weekend.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 7-7

Season: 58-47-1

Top Five Games of the Week

Philadelphia @ Buffalo – It shouldn’t be that big of a mystery of why Buffalo is sitting firmly in 2nd place in the AFC East. The Bills are getting it done defensively especially on the road. They will be at home this Sunday against a Eagles team who were embarrassed last week in Dallas. Philadelphia’s issues on defense have been persistent this season. The Eagles have also been a victim to their own sloppy play on offense. Buffalo’s offensive isn’t what I would call “explosive” but they are efficient. If Buffalo can stay the course offensively, control the clock, and stay away from turnover, their defense can usually take care of the rest. QB Carson Wentz needs to get back on track but he’ll face a highly ranked Bills secondary on Sunday. Prediction: Bills over Eagles

Carolina @ San Francisco – Carolina should be fresh coming off the bye but they’ll still be without QB Cam Newton. Without Newton, Carolina has caught fire offensively and are currently sporting a 4 game winning streak. On Sunday, they travel to San Francisco who still hasn’t lost this season. I think this game will come down to play at the line of scrimmage. San Fran’s defense has been getting it done upfront with an elite pass rush and a top ranked secondary. Carolina’s defense is improved this season and their secondary ranks not too far behind the Niners’. QB Jimmy Garoppolo will be eager to get newly acquired WR Emmanuel Sanders involved in his offense. Carolina will also have to deal with the 49ers rushing attack. Panthers RB Christian McCaffery is currently playing like a MVP candidate and the 49ers defense will have to key on him on every possession. This will probably be one of the best matchups of the weekend. It’s a shame that not many in the country will be able to see it. Prediction: 49ers over Panthers

Arizona @ New Orleans – I’m not sure how but the Arizona Cardinals have won three straight after starting the season 0-3-1. They’ll easily face their toughest test of the season on Sunday when they face the Saints. The Saints haven’t missed a beat since losing QB Drew Brees to injury. You have to give credit to QB Teddy Bridgewater for keeping this offense afloat in his absence. I think the Cardinals are in big trouble this weekend because of two things: The New Orleans defense and the crowd noise inside the Super Dome. Arizona’s defense is going to have to come up with some big plays in order to keep this one close. If their pass rush and disrupt Bridgewater, they could have a chance. Prediction: Saints over Cardinals

Cleveland @ New England – This might have seemed to be a good matchup on paper when the NFL schedule was released last spring. The Browns do have two wins on this season but they have been the complete opposite of New England. They are sloppy, undisciplined, and wilt when under the microscope. Talent wise, Cleveland is on par with many top teams in the league. I think, at least. Odell Beckham Jr has been a disappointment but he is still usually really good. Same can be said for WR Jarvius Landry. QB Baker Mayfield takes a lot of heat but I think he is better than what he has shown this season. Cleveland’s offensive line has been a huge issue and each week I wonder why they haven’t offered the farm to Washington for LT Trent Williams. That move could potentially save their season. But now, lets go back to reality: New England is going kick Cleveland’s butt on Sunday. New England’s defense will be a nightmare for Mayfield and Beckham will throw many sideline tantrums. If Tom Brady can steer clear of Browns DE Myles Garrett, he’ll have an easy day at the office. Prediction: Patriots over Browns

Green Bay @ Kansas City – NBC Executives must have been screaming bloody murder over the news of the Patrick Mahomes injury. The possible matchup of Aaron Rodgers and Mahomes would have been must see TV. Despite Mahomes’ injury, I still think we’ll see a good game on Sunday night. Matt Moore is…well…Matt Moore. But he knows the offense and the Chiefs still have plenty of offensive weapons. Rodgers had a classic game last week completely dominating Oakland. He’ll have a much tougher go at it on Sunday. I think Kansas City’s defense is underrated. They struggle against the run but they do have a legit pass rush. Outside of the Smith bros on defense, Green Bay is pretty average defensively. I think Moore will play safe, mistake free football at home and score a slight upset over the overrated Packers. Prediction: Chiefs over Packers

The Rest of Week 8

Vikings over Washington – The last time these two teams played, Case Keenum was starting for Minnesota and Kirk Cousins was in Washington. Just one of those weird stats.

Seahawks over Falcons – Atlanta is phoning it in. The Falcons’ faithful will be booing a lot.

Bears over Chargers – LA just keeps finding interesting way to lose.

Lions over Giants – Detroit needs this one to stay on track in the NFC North.

Buccaneers over Titans – We know that Tampa can score and they’ll be fresh coming off their bye week.

Colts over Broncos – Indy firmly took control of the AFC South last week. They can afford a let down at home.

Rams over Bengals – The fire sale in Cincinnati will be starting real soon. How much for one Geno Atkins? Just asking for a friend.

Jaguars over Jets – Who should be more embarrassed: the Jets for how they looked last week or Dallas who lost to them two weeks ago?

Texans over Raiders – Deshaun Watson must shake off last week and attack Oakland’s secondary that gave up gazillion yards through the air last Sunday.

Steelers over Dolphins – Pittsburgh can’t overlook winless Miami. A win here would give the Steelers some hope going forward.

NFL 2019: Random Divisional Thoughts & a Pre-Season Super Bowl Prediction

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Can Drew Brees and the Saints finally make a return to the Super Bowl this season?

By: Elias McMillan

Before we start the season this weekend, here are some of my random thoughts about the goings on in each division. Plus, I’ll include my always-wrong pre-season Super Bowl prediction.

NFC East

The biggest topic in Dallas this offseason has been the contract situations for the team’s youngest stars. As a Cowboys fan, my attitude about this has remained unchanged: I don’t care. Lets just win a championship. Jerry Jones has handed out extensions to a couple of guys already but as I type this, the Ezekiel Elliott deal hasn’t been completed yet. I’ve never been too worried about this situation and I’ve always been sure that Elliott would not sit out the season. Elliott is the most important player on the roster and he deserves the money. But as Mr. Jones said earlier this offseason, you do not need a rushing champion to win a championship. And he’s absolutely right. But if that’s the case, why draft a guy like Elliott 4thoverall? Why then proceed to build the entire offense around that position? The bottom line is that for Dallas to compete for a championship this year, they are going to need the defense to repeat what they did last season and for Dak Prescott to play above average football. Now, Zeke can win you ballgames but for Dallas to go far, I believe both of those things will play a factor. And no matter what fans or analysts say, this division will be a dogfight. It always is. Philly probably has the best roster in the division from top to bottom. No one is expecting much from Wash or NYG but that could potentially make them dangerous. I believe it will come down to Philly and Dallas but this division will definitely will not be a cakewalk.

NFC North

It’s going to be interesting to see how Chicago deals with success. The target in this division is now on their back. I just don’t think Green Bay or Detroit has enough to compete with them this year. That leaves Minnesota who returns with a talented roster and a chip on their shoulder after disappointing last year. Chicago’s defense will be elite again with LB Khalil Mack but the difference maker on this team will have to come from their offense. QB Mitch Trubisky must continue to progress. Minnesota has the talent on both sides of the ball to over take Chicago this year. They just have to stay healthy and QB Kirk Cousins has to perform well in big spots.

NFC South

Despite all of their recent failures in the playoffs, the championship window is still open in New Orleans. The Saints are deep with talent and experience and they are my favorite in the conference. I think Carolina will be improved this season and they will make the playoffs. Though, I’m already concerned with the health of Cam Newton. I don’t think Newton knows how to play differently in terms of body conservation. We all know he can do amazing things on the run but recently, they has placed his health at risk. I hope Newton’s shoulder is healed from a season ago and he can show once again what he can do with his arm. I’m rooting for Bruce Arians in Tampa. He’s a good coach and he’s surrounded himself with a good staff. It’s going to take some time for him to right the ship in Tampa and I hope the organization gives him that time.

NFC West

I don’t think the Jadaveon Clowney trade changes much in this division but it definitely makes Seattle a better football team. The Seahawks might have a defense now as good as they had during their Super Bowl runs. It will be up to Russell Wilson and the passing game to do enough even though they will be leaning on some inexperience at the WR position. QB Jimmy Garoppolo has received mixed reviews in the preseason. It would be a shame if he doesn’t pan out this season for the 49ers. I think San Fran has the pieces to be the next dominant defense in this division. But they won’t do much winning if the offense doesn’t produce. Garoppolo will be under a lot of pressure in 2019. Not to mention that LA, Arizona, and now Seattle all have elite pass rushers.

AFC East

Head coach Brian Flores won’t admit it but it’s true: the Miami Dolphins are tanking. The trading away of expensive veterans would have made sense months ago but to do so just days before the season sends a very clear message. I feel bad for QB Josh Rosen. Though he is not starting, he now walks into another tough situation in Miami. It will be interesting to see if the remade Jets are improved this year. If not, it looks like New England will walk right into another division title.

AFC North

The time to talk in Cleveland is over. All the hype means nothing now. They are 0-0. It’s hard to disappoint when you only won 7 games last season but it sounds like anything but a playoff berth for the Browns will be deemed as so. As I said before, Cleveland must crawl before they can walk. For me, crawling will be showing that they can 8 games. I think Pittsburgh is going to be super motivated at least for the beginning of the season. I think the lost of AB and the lack of talent will catch to them eventually this season. It could be around Week 7 or if they meet New England in the post season. Per usual.

AFC South

Houston is getting dragged by fans and critics for the Clowney trade, but now they are suddenly the favorites in this division. Without Clowney, they still have JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus to provide a pass rush. And the trade for Laremy Tunsil will upgrade the offensive line that looked awful in the preseason. I wouldn’t count Indianapolis out in this division as well. I think the team will rally around QB Jacoby Brissett and play some good ball. What also caught my attention in the preseason in this division: Jaguars rookie LB Josh Allen. He has looked beastly at times and Jacksonville’s defense could make a return to dominance with him in the fold. The Luck retirement has made the race in the AFC South very interesting and this is before a single game has been played.

AFC West

I really liked the Chargers going into this season but the Derwin James injury is an absolute killer. I think LA will still be able to compete in this division but they lost one of the top talents with that injury. Kansas City has been a question mark with me this offseason because of the Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt situations. But Hill has been made available and the Chiefs’ backfield looks really solid now with the signing of Shady McCoy. The Chiefs offense will be scary once again in 2019.

Super Bowl LIV Prediction

Well, if we learned anything last year, its that New England reign at the top isn’t over yet no matter how badly we all want it to be. The Pats will once again walk thru the AFC East and skate past all comers in January. New Orleans looks like the class of the NFC going into 2019. But as good as they look, we all know the result if they meet Brady and the Pats in Miami early February. Prediction: Patriots over Saints

NFL 2019: NFC Preview

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If Carson Wentz is healthy, the Eagles could be serious contenders in the NFC this season.

 

By: Elias McMillan

 

NFC EAST

It seems like things will never change in the NFL’s “glamour” division. The NFC East hasn’t seen a repeat champion in 15 seasons and I think that tradition will remain the same in 2019. The Dallas Cowboys have come the closest to bucking that trend as they have won the division three times in the last six seasons. But if you’ve been paying attention to that franchise, you should know that they usually disappoint after a successful season. Usually. If you look on paper, the Philadelphia Eagles probably has the most talent in the division from top to bottom. A lot is going to depend on the play of the QB. Nick Foles almost lifted Philadelphia again in the 2018 postseason, winning on the road in Chicago and almost upsetting New Orleans. With Foles now in Jacksonville, Philly will be depending on Carson Wentz to return to his 2017 form where he was a MVP candidate. He’ll have plenty of help this season as the Eagles are deep at the skill positions. At WR, DeSean Jackson returns to Philly joining Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. The Eagles should have an improved backfield this season as well. They acquired RB Jordan Howard from Chicago and drafted speedster Miles Sanders from Penn State. On defense, DT Fletcher Cox leads a loaded group on the defensive line. Veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins also returns though Philly’s secondary seems to always be a weakness year in and year out. The defending champion Cowboys also return with a talented roster in 2019. A lot of the talk during the offseason with Dallas has been about the contract situations of QB Dak Prescott, WR Amari Cooper, and star RB Ezekiel Elliott. I’m sure all three will get their deals, respectfully, especially Elliott who is easily the most important player on the roster. Despite all the talk about the offensive side of the ball, the real reason why Dallas made a run to the postseason last year was their defense. I think Dallas will be strong defensively again in 2019. LB’s Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch are the cornerstones for this defense right now and for the future. The Cowboys should be able to get after QB’s this season with DE’s Demarcus Lawrence and newcomer Robert Quinn. Dallas needs to find an answer in the middle of their run defense as they absolutely killed them in their playoff loss against the Rams. In the secondary, they have promising young talent. Safety Xavier Woods could have a breakout season. CB Byron Jones made the Pro Bowl last season but he gives up big plays in crucial situations. I don’t see Dallas extending his contract unless his interception numbers improve. He has 2 in four seasons as a pro. If Washington didn’t get derailed by injuries on both sides of the ball last year, they probably would have won the division. They enter the 2019 campaign with holes in their roster due to injuries and losses in free agency. The QB position is still reeling after injuries last season to Alex Smith and Colt McCoy. They may have to lean on Case Keenum to start this season but if he’s shaky, the cries for rookie Dwayne Haskins will get louder. What else might not help is the absence of OT Trent Williams. Without him, it may not even matter who Washington starts at QB. I really liked Washington’s defense at the beginning of last season. I think losing LB Preston Smith will hurt them this year though they did draft a possible replacement in Montez Sweat. Washington has young talent on their defensive line but that unit has to stay healthy this year. The secondary already has CB Josh Norman but they should receive a boost with the addition of safety Landon Collins. No one is expecting much out of the New York Football Giants this year as they lost Collins and Odell Beckham Jr. in the offseason. Surprisingly, QB Eli Manning returns in what should be his swan song. The Giants used their top pick in the draft on QB Daniel Jones from DOOK and I expect that they do plan to play him. The leash on Manning this year should be short. If trading away OBJ wasn’t bad enough, the WR core turned into a complete dumpster fire right as training camp began. Injuries and suspensions will leave the QB’s with not a lot of reliable options in the passing game. RB Saquon Barkley will be tasked with literally carrying this offense. The Giants defense is in full rebuild mode. They could surprise some teams but they have a lot of young and unproven talent. Rookies CB Deandre Baker and DT Dexter Lawrence will have to grow up quickly in their first seasons. Projected Finish: 1) Eagles, 2) Cowboys, 3) Washington, 4) Giants

NFC NORTH

The Chicago Bears had zero buzz entering the 2018 season until they made an acquisition that completely turned their franchise around. Trading for edge rusher Khalil Mack made Chicago into a contender in the NFC and he’s a difference maker that could keep Chicago atop this division for a couple years. Chicago’s defense really didn’t have an identity since Brian Urlacher retired. Now, they feature one of the top front sevens in the league that specializes in getting to the QB. On offense, the Bears will be looking for QB Mitch Trubisky to continue to improve as a down the field passer. The backfield will look different this year, as Jordan Howard was send away to Philly. RB Tarik Cohen could have a breakout season and rookie RB David Montgomery has impressed so far in the preseason. Minnesota will be looking to rebound after a disappointing 2018. QB Kirk Cousins will be forever criticized in the media because of his contract but I believe he’s a much better player than people let on. The emergence of WR Adam Thielen has been a huge help for Cousins and the passing offense. Thielen and Stephon Diggs form one of the top 1-2 punches at receiver in the league. Minnesota is still waiting for RB Dalvin Cook to breakout as he has a ton of ability. The Vikings defense took a step back last season. They’ll be looking to bounce back in 2019 with many returning starters including LB Anthony Barr who almost left in free agency. I think Green Bay is going to go through some growing pains this season as they are rebuilding. Replacing familiar names with young talent could actually workout for them in the long run especially on the defensive side. LB Clay Matthews is gone but free agent signing, LB Preston Smith, is a younger, talented replacement. On offense, everything will be tied to all-world QB Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is still the top passer in the league but the Packers need to do a better job at protecting him, as he isn’t getting younger. WR Davante Adams has solidified himself as one of the best WR in the league and as Rodgers’ top target. Every year it seems like Green Bay will be waiting for somebody to breakout at the RB position. Maybe it will be RB Aaron Jones who scored 9 times last season. In Detroit, it’s looking more and more like the Matt Patricia experiment will be ending soon. This could be a make or break season for him as Detroit has a roster than shouldn’t be in the NFC North basement. I feel bad for QB Matt Stafford who is on his way to being the latest star player to have his career wasted at Ford Field. If Detroit doesn’t have a great season, I wonder if he would try to force his way outta there though it would be hard because of his massive contract. Stafford will have decent talent around him this year. WR Kenny Golladay had a breakout 2018 season and RB’s Kerryon Johnson and C.J. Anderson should be a formable duo in the backfield. I think Detroit’s defense could be good enough to keep the Lions in games this season. They had a top 10 secondary last year and upfront, they added DE Trey Flowers from New England and DT Mike Daniels from Green Bay. I’m not sure what Daniels has left in the tank but I love the revenge factor of him signing with Detroit after being cut by the Packers. Projected Finish: 1) Bears, 2) Vikings, 3) Packers, 4) Lions

NFC SOUTH

In recent years, I have picked the Saints to come out of the NFC because on paper, they appear to have the best or one of the best rosters in the league. The same could be said again going into 2019. The way the Saints’ season ended last year should serve as enough motivation to see the team atop this division again. On offense, they return elite talent at the QB, RB, and WR positions. RB Alvin Kamara will have a new partner in the backfield this year in Latavius Murray. Drew Brees will also have a new weapon in the passing game, TE Jared Cook. New Orleans’ defense was pretty decent last year and I think the addition of DT Malcolm Brown from New England will make them stronger. I think the Carolina Panthers had a great offseason but their success will be tied to the health of QB Cam Newton. If Newton is back to 100%, Carolina could be a sleeper in the NFC. I still think Newton doesn’t have enough help on the offensive side of the ball. RB Christian McCaffrey proved himself to be a legit threat behind the tackles as a runner and as a receiver. WR D.J. Moore needs to have a similar breakout season in 2019. I really like how Carolina improved their defense in the offseason. They have a nice mix of young talent (rookie DE Brian Burns) and veteran leadership (DT Gerald McCoy). The LB group will miss Thomas Davis but they still have Luke Kuechly, Shaq Thompson, and newly acquired veteran Bruce Irvin. The Atlanta Falcons did reach the Super Bowl a few seasons ago but they seem to reach expectations. As long as they have QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones, they are going to put up big numbers. But Ryan isn’t getting enough help from his offensive line. Atlanta addressed that in this past draft but those young blockers are going to have to grow up fast. RB Devonta Freeman returns to the backfield for Atlanta but without Tevin Coleman who left in free agency. Atlanta defense has been seen as a weak point on this team but they do have great individual talents in LB Deion Jones and edge rusher Vic Beasley. Tampa Bay has a long way to go in order to be competitive in this division again. But I really like the hiring of new head coach Bruce Arians. Him and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will be tasked with saving the career of QB Jameis Winston who is running out of favor in the organization. Winston still has the tools to be a successful QB in this league but he hasn’t been able to put it all together. Hopefully, the coaching change will help.  The reliable WR Mike Evans returns to provide big plays in the passing game. Tampa also resigned OT Donovan Smith to help keep Winston upright. Tampa’s defense is going through a transition, marked by the sudden release of long time Buccaneer, Gerald McCoy. They added veteran Ndamukong Suh to the defensive line but the real newcomer to look for will be rookie LB Devin White. I would be surprised if this Tampa team won a lot in 2019 but this season will be really all about fixing Jameis Winston. Because if they are picking high in next year’s draft, they probably be looking for a new QB. Projected Finish: 1) Saints, 2) Panthers, 3) Falcons, 4) Buccaneers

NFC WEST

The LA Rams made a surprise run to the Super Bowl last season and they could be in line for a return visit. QB Jared Goff will look to keep improving and the return of WR Cooper Kupp from injury should help. Kupp will return to an already talented group at WR that includes Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. RB Todd Gurley is the real engine that keeps this Rams offense running. His health has been concerning recently but if healthy, he’s the best back in football. The Rams have the best defensive lineman in football in DT Aaron Donald. On the edge, they traded for DE Dante Fowler late last season and that move paid off greatly for LA. He returns to a Rams defensive line that should be the tops in the NFC. The Rams also added a pair of veterans on defense looking to prove that they still got it: LB Clay Matthews and safety Eric Weddle. Last season, we learned that no matter how many faces change on both sides of the ball in Seattle, they’ll always have a chance with QB Russell Wilson behind center. Wilson will be without reliable target Doug Baldwin this year but he will be expecting big things from rookie WR DK Metcalf. Outside of Metcalf, WR Tyler Lockett proved to be a playmaker in the offense last season. On defense, Seattle traded away their best pass rusher in the offseason. They’re going to need someone on the defensive line to step up. The strength of Seattle’s defense is still intact as long as they have LB Bobby Wagner in the middle. San Francisco has accumulated so much young talent in recent years, I feel like they could be a surprise team this season. A lot is going to depend on the play of QB Jimmy Garoppolo who has not looked great so far in preseason. San Fran is also really missing a big play WR. In the backfield, they are loaded with returning starter Matt Breida and free agent signee Tevin Coleman. I think this 49ers team has promise because of their defense. They acquired DE Dee Ford from Kansas City and picked up the top pass rusher in the draft, Nick Bosa. If the 49ers do one thing well this year on defense, it will be getting after the QB. San Fran also signed LB Kwon Alexander who was a playmaker in Tampa Bay. I’m not sure what CB Richard Sherman has left in the tank but it would be nice if this defense saw contributions from him in the secondary this season. Arizona is starting back at square one this season after firing their head coach after one year. They brought in Kliff Kingsbury to coach the team despite having zero NFL experience and they drafted a talented young QB first overall who will be tasked with fixing an offense that was pretty bad last season. This experiment in Arizona is going to be a great success or a great disaster. QB Kyler Murray will have enough veteran help around him in WR Larry Fitzgerald and RB David Johnson. Great pass rushers, Chandler Jones and newcomer Terrell Suggs will headline Arizona’s defense. I like the addition of LB Jordan Hicks who made a lot of big plays in Philadelphia. CB Patrick Peterson returns to the secondary, which was one of the best in football a season ago. Arizona will be hurt without Peterson as he will be suspended for the first 6 games of the season. Projected Finish: 1) Rams, 2) Seahawks, 3) 49ers, 4) Cardinals