Tag Archives: Kirk Cousins

NFL 2020: Week 10 Predictions

It would seem that RB Dalvin Cook has single-handedly saved Minnesota’s football season.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 11-3

Season: 85-47-1

Week 10

Titans over Colts – This should be a great matchup in the AFC South. I like the way Tennessee played last week. Their defense really put out a great effort in terms of forcing turnovers and QB Ryan Tannehill threw it well when needed. Indy is tough but they are not getting enough from their offense right now.

Texans over Browns – Houston has had a tough start of it but they’ll have a chance at finishing out strong. I don’t trust Cleveland, even at home.

Lions over Washington – Detroit lost last week but I think I can trust them to bounce back against a NFC East team.

Packers over Jaguars – I think it is fair to say that Green Bay has recovered from that loss to Tampa Bay a few weeks back. Jacksonville is scrappy and their defense kept them in it surprisingly last week against Houston. I think Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense will completely outclass Jacksonville, especially at home.

Eagles over Giants – Somebody is going to win the NFC Least or NFC East. Philadelphia can take a huge step in becoming the division’s repeat champion for the first time the early 2000’s. Or New York can score the upset at home and keep everyone else alive. C’mon Philadelphia. Do everyone a favor and runaway with this crap of a division.

Panthers over Buccaneers – I guess the return of Christian McCaffrey was a short-lived one. But Carolina has relished as the underachiever in the NFC South this year. After suffering tough losses to Atlanta and Kansas City last week, the Panthers will be rewarded this week against an overrated and old Tampa Bay team. 

Raiders over Broncos – There’s a cliché line somewhere about the team from Las Vegas getting lucky last week against the Chargers. The Broncos haven’t gotten the stops on defense recently and their offense hasn’t been able to pick up the slack. 

Dolphins over Chargers – Miami is continuing to play well with that defense and last week, young QB Tua Tagovailoa delivered for the offense. The LA Chargers keep inventing new and painful ways to lose football games.

Bills over Cardinals – Buffalo had a statement win at home last week against Seattle. They can’t allow a letdown happen against another talented NFC West team.

Rams over Seahawks – Seattle is in a tough spot right now because of their secondary. They are allowing tons of yards in the passing game and the Rams will be looking to take advantage coming off their bye week. I expect many points being scored in this one.

Saints over 49ers – New Orleans really flexed on their division rival last week. They can’t let their guard down against a surprisingly competitive San Francisco team.

Steelers over Bengals – I don’t think this Pittsburgh team will go undefeated. But I don’t think this Cincinnati team will be the ones to beat them. For the Bengals, it is just a bad matchup. I don’t think their offensive line will be able to protect Joe Burrow and I don’t think their secondary can match up with the weapons the Steelers have. The Bengals do have offensive weapons as well so that could make things interesting.

Ravens over Patriots – This game will feature two mobile quarterbacks who are struggling for various reasons. It just seems like the offensive coordinators for Lamar Jackson and Cam Newton are not placing their star QB’s in the right position to succeed. For Jackson, it just seems that the offense is lacking the explosiveness that it is capable of. For Newton, it looks like he is moving in slow motion at times while operating the offense but really, his lack of a supporting cast has really let him down. I think Baltimore will receive a boost this week with the return of RB Mark Ingram. But expect the two defenses to shine in this one. First one to 21 wins. 

Vikings over Bears – Minnesota has been able to turn their season around thanks to RB Dalvin Cook. Chicago needs a player like that on offense. For the Bears, its going to have to be up to the defense to keep them in this one. 

NFL 2020: NFC Preview

TeflonTommy

After ruling one conference, Teflon Tommy arrives in Tampa looking to leave his mark on the NFC.

By: Elias McMillan

NFC

NFC East

It’s August and I’m feeling good about the upcoming season for the Dallas Cowboys. I know that when you just read that, your mind was screaming “Noooo. It’s a trap!” But really, I have no problem saying this about Dallas and setting myself up for a major disappointment. Why? Because why not. It is not out of the realm of possibilities to think this. The Cowboys return the number one offense in the NFL. They can certainly run it with Ezekiel Elliott. And Dak Prescott ran an improved passing attack, which added the best WR in CFB. Will the defense hold them back again? We’ll things could be different this time around. Major changes to the defensive line and a Bryon Jones-less, turnover-hungry approach in the secondary would make things even easier for Dak and the offense. But this hype has fallen short time and time again. What if the defense doesn’t improve? What if the offensive line starts to decline? Injuries? Etc. I’m just saying that it looks like new head coach Mike McCarthy has done his due diligence (including drafting extremely well this past April) so I’m expecting this team to win many regular season games. I’m not sure what that means for the playoffs. I feel confident saying that Philadelphia will be next to Dallas in terms of competition in the NFC East. Where Philly lacks in talent they make up for it with grit and toughness, which got them to the playoffs last year.  QB Carson Wentz returns still looking to regain that 2017 form while playing well enough to keep rookie QB Jalen Hurts on the bench. RB Miles Sanders could have a big year as the Eagles “A1” option in the backfield. The Eagles have many questions at wide out but they hope rookie Jalen Reagor can provide some answers. On defense, Philly features a beastly front led by Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and newcomer Javon Hargrave. CB Darius Slay comes over from Detroit to a secondary that lost Malcolm Jenkins in the offseason. The Washington Football Team may not have a mascot (yet), but they quietly have a nice collection of young talent. Their QB situation is intriguing. QB Dwayne Haskins is looking to fully grasp the starting spot but veteran Alex Smith is also in the mix after rehabbing a gruesome leg injury. Also lost in all the QB talk, how different the offensive line will look without Trent Williams. In the backfield, they had to release one of their younger guys but the remarkable Adrian Peterson, at age 35, may be a player for Washington to rely on. WR “Scary” Terry McLaurin looks to continue his success from his rookie year. Washington has a talented defensive line and even more so now with the addition of DE Chase Young who is said to be the best overall player in the draft. I don’t see the New York Giants winning many games this year. QB Daniel Jones won a game last year at Tampa and the media immediately crowned him. I mean, he did show promise last season but let’s relax. I don’t think he has proven anything yet. The only thing proven about this offense is RB Saquon Barkley. On defense, there’s nothing to be exciting about. It’s just a mixture of mid-level veterans and unproven young guys. It’s going to be a rough year for football in New York.

Playoff Teams in CAPS Projected Finish: 1) DALLAS, 2) Philadelphia, 3) Washington, 4) New York Giants

NFC North

In 2020, Minnesota won’t look too different than a season ago. Which means, on paper, they’ll still have the best roster in the NFC North. QB Kirk Cousins is coming off a good year and the Vikings offense will also welcome back stars like RB Dalvin Cook, WR Adam Thielen, and TE Kyle Rudolph. They traded away WR Stephon Diggs but they drafted a possible replacement in Justin Jefferson. The Vikings will look different upfront defensively this year without Everson Griffen but they’ll feature DE Danielle Hunter who is one the best at his position. Once again, Anthony Barr will lead a talented group at LB. Many changes at the CB position but the Vikings do offer one of the top safety tandems in the league with Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris. It’s almost forgettable that the Packers made the NFC Championship last season. But they were in the position to help their cause in the off season through the draft but they chose not to. I’m guessing that the front office is thinking that the team will be good as long as they have QB Aaron Rodgers though they drafted his possible replacement in the first round. WR DeVante Adams is really good but that stands out even more because Green Bay doesn’t have a reliable second option. I think RB Aaron Jones has proven himself and I’m intrigued to see rookie A.J. Dillon. Green Bay’s defense isn’t all that great but they have two great players in LB Preston and Za’Darius Smith. Chicago is a team with many talented players but I don’t feel so confident about their chances this year. QB Mitch Trubisky has struggled and now he is pretty much playing to keep his starting job as the front office brought in Nick Foles in the offseason. I thought RB Tarik Cohen would break out last year but that didn’t happen. David Montgomery grabbed the reigns of the running duties in the backfield but he may have some injury issues. I do really like Chicago’s WR core. It’s a nice mix of young players and veterans like Allen Robinson. The Bears will have a great pass rush as long as they have LB Khalil Mack and even more so this year with Robert Quinn joining on. The Bears have another playmaker on defense. Safety Eddie Jackson has emerged and earned himself a big contract extension. The Lions will have a decent roster this year but I don’t think they’ll be good enough to contend for the playoffs. QB Matt Stafford returns from injury looking to re-establish himself as one of the better passers in the NFL. They’ll have a nice mix at RB with Kerryon Johnson and rookie D’Andre Smith. Stafford will also have the weapons at WR with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. On defense, Detroit’s front in a work in progress, which is why they brought in Danny Shelton from New England. They are surprisingly talented at the LB position. Jarrad Davis, Christian Jones, and Jamie Collins are all good players. The secondary will be without Darius Slay, putting the spotlight solely on first round pick Jeff Okudah from Ohio State.

Playoff Teams in CAPS Projected Finish: 1) MINNESOTA, 2) GREEN BAY, 3) Chicago, 4) Detroit

NFC South

This division could be defined by the play at the quarterback position. The Saints have had the best overall roster in recent history but they haven’t been able to turn that into post-season gold. New Orleans will return their usual suspects on offense with Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, and Alvin Karmara. The Saints are equipped with reinforcements at the offensive skills positions even at QB with Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill.  New Orleans returns most of their starters on defense and they brought back Malcolm Jenkins as a veteran presence in the secondary. The most hyped team in this division is one that signed Tom Brady in the off-season. Tampa Bay had a productive offense a season ago but expectations will be even higher with Brady, who also brought along TE Rob Gronkowski. It was already enough that this offense features Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at WR. There will also be much intrigue in the backfield with the returning Ronald Jones and newcomer veteran LeSean McCoy. My question with this team is if the defense can be good enough to keep the opposing team off the scoreboard. Upfront, Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea can eat up enough blockers to free up playmaking LB’s Devin White and Shaquil Barrett. But that secondary struggled last season. Rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. could be a player that would help that situation. Atlanta will be under the radar once again this season. The stability that QB Matt Ryan has brought to this franchise doesn’t get talked about enough. Atlanta’s offense is really about how dominant WR Julio Jones can be on any given Sunday afternoon. RB Todd Gurley comes home looking to prove that he can stay healthy. On defense, DT Grady Jarrett is the main disrupter on the line of scrimmage and LB Dion Jones is also a big playmaker. Carolina will be rebuilding after firing their head coach, bringing in an inexperienced hire, and going through a messy divorce with the franchise’s most visible player. Now at QB, Teddy Bridgewater is finally betting on himself after a history of being injured in Minnesota and learning from Drew Brees in New Orleans. He’ll be greatly assisted in the backfield by RB Christian McCaffery who is one of the most electrifying players in the league. Bridgewater’s options at WR don’t sound exciting but they do have D.J. Moore and veteran Robby Anderson. The Panthers are going to be really young defensively this year. I like who they added in the draft on their defensive line. LB Shaq Thompson takes over as the leader of this defense after years of playing along side of Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis.

Playoff Teams in CAPS Projected Finish: 1) NEW ORLEANS, 2) TAMPA BAY, 3) Atlanta, 4) Carolina

NFC West

So, there’s always a surprise team that breaks out and goes from last place to first. I think that team will come from this division. Seattle and San Francisco have been battling for supremacy in the NFC West more recently but in 2020 I think it will be the Arizona Cardinals who will make a huge leap. QB Kyler Murray flashed potential last year and earned Rookie of the Year honors. I think this season he’ll continue to show improvement and in result, Arizona will be in contention. What is really going to help Murray this year is newcomer WR DeAndre Hopkins. After being casted off by Houston, Hopkins will be looking to show what everyone else knows, that he is one of the best WR in football. In a division with so many great defenses, I think the Cardinals will be able to say that they are among them. The group they have at LB is among the best in the league. They have a premiere pass rusher in Chandler Jones and multiple veterans at the LB position who are going to help mold their top pick in the draft, Isaiah Simmons. If Simmons can accumulate quickly to the pro game, this defense is going to be scary as he is a player who can make an impact as a rusher or in coverage. The Cardinals have had issues with pass coverage but they return veteran CB Patrick Peterson and free safety Budda Baker. The 49ers will be looking to repeat as conference champs this season. Embattled QB Jimmy Garoppolo is back as he is still trying to solidify himself as one of the league’s top passers. San Fran returns tons of depth in the backfield but not at WR where they are already suffering from many injuries. Rookie WR Brandon Aiyuk maybe thrown into the spotlight early in his career. Garoppolo will be able to count on TE George Kittle who is at the top in his position in the NFL. The Niners had a great defense a season ago but there will be changes this year. DeForest Bunkner was traded away from a talented group at defensive line that includes Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead. Rookie DT Javon Kinlaw will most likely fit right in with this group, as he was a highly disruptive force at South Carolina. The 49ers also have a productive group at LB as Fred Warner has been able to develop nicely. I like play in this secondary doesn’t matter much when you have such a dominant front four but loudmouth CB Richard Sherman will lead that group if he can continue to stay healthy. Seattle will stay in the mix in this division as long as they have QB Russell Wilson. Seattle will however be a run heavy offense this year, which means plenty of RB Chris Carson. The Seahawks don’t really have a “No.1” at WR but they’ll return Tyler Lockett who gained over 1,000 yards in 2019. We shouldn’t sleep on DK Metcalf who definitely has potential. I’m sure what TE Greg Olsen has to offer because he just can’t stay off the injured list. On defense, Seattle made a big splash trading for safety Jamal Adams. He joins a secondary that surprisingly struggled last year. Seattle will be tough in the middle of that defense with LB Bobby Wagner roaming around. In Los Angeles, the Rams will open up a new stadium hoping to mark the beginning of a new era for the franchise. I think the Rams have some talented players but as a whole, their roster doesn’t match up in this division. QB Jared Goff is criticized because of his contract but he’s an okay player. Todd Gurley is no longer in the backfield but the combo of Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson wasn’t too bad in his absence. I think rookie RB Cam Akers is going to be the breakout star for this offense. At WR, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are a decent duo. Really, this team only has two great players and they’re both of defense. DT Aaron Donald is beastly and CB Jalen Ramsey talks a lot but usually can back it up. I think the Rams will finish last in this division but probably with a 8-8 record. They wont be a terrible football team. I just think the other three teams in the division have a lot more talent.

Playoff Teams in CAPS Projected Finish: 1) ARIZONA, 2) SAN FRANCISCO, 3) Seattle, 4) L.A. Rams

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 Wild-Card Weekend Predictions

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Minnesota heads to the NOLA this weekend to face the NFC South champs.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 10-6

2019 Regular Season Record: 157-98-1

NFL Playoffs: Wild-Card Weekend

Buffalo @ Houston – The Texans in the opening game of the NFL playoffs is starting to become a tradition for some reason. Why can’t the NFL give QB Deshaun Watson some limelight in primetime? He is definitely deserving of it. Watson and the Texans will face a stiff test Saturday in the form of Buffalo’s defense. The Bills rank third defensively in the league and are especially good at defending the pass. A matchup to watch in this game will be between WR DeAndre Hopkins and Buffalo’s all-pro corner, Tre’davious White. On offense, Buffalo lacks the explosiveness that Houston has but the Texans aren’t a strong defensive team this year. Houston might get a boost from the return of their leader DE J.J. Watt. The battle within the trenches will loom large in this game. Buffalo usually runs the ball well, which could set up QB Josh Allen to attack down the field. This will be determined by which Houston team shows up. Buffalo will have a shot if they are able to limit Watson and the passing game. If not, I don’t see Buffalo being able to out produce the Texans offense. Prediction: Texans over Bills

Tennessee @ New England – The Titans have been a fun story to watch this year. It looks like they’ve finally found their answer at QB in Ryan Tannehill. RB Derrick Henry won the rushing title. And WR A.J. Brown has made some big plays in just his rookie season. Enter the AFC East champs, New England, who like the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, just refuse to die. The Patriots blew a huge opportunity last week losing to Miami and missing out on a first round bye. Now, because of that lost, many are doubting the team’s edge as they’ll face a young and up-and-coming Tennessee squad. I feel like we could say this every year recently but this is the time where New England reminds everyone of who they are. Yes, Tom Brady’s best days are behind him but it is around this time of year where we usually see the best out of him. Tennessee’s defense isn’t all that great and I think the Patriots offense will find plenty of opportunities. Tannehill was one of the highest rated passers in the league this season but he’ll face one of the league’s top pass defenses on Saturday. New England is also tough against the run. It is going to be strength vs. strength seeing Henry going against this defense. Tennessee will have a chance in New England if they bother Brady and force him to play outside of himself. I have more faith into Belichick and the Pats defense giving Tannehill his toughest game of the season. Prediction: Patriots over Titans

Minnesota @ New Orleans – The Saints have had some of the worst luck in the postseason in recent memory. With the clock ticking down on QB Drew Brees’ career, the pressure to leave this post season as champions couldn’t be higher for New Orleans. The Saints are clearly equipped for a Super Bowl run but they’ll have to take care of Minnesota on Sunday first. Minnesota is probably the most unimpressive team in the post season this year. QB Kirk Cousins has played well at times but he usually falters when the lights are the brightest. RB Dalvin Cook has been a bright spot for the Vikings and he should be fresh as he was being held out during the last few weeks of the season due to injury. With time, Cousins should be able to attack the Saints secondary with Stephon Diggs and Adam Thielen. The challenge for Minnesota will be at the line of scrimmage where the Saints offer one of the league’s top run defenses. On the flip side, Minnesota’s defense was once considered one of the best in football but has struggled this season. They will have their hands full with Brees and the NFL’s top receiver, WR Michael Thomas. I think we can guarantee that the Saints will be able to score into the thirties on Sunday. The question will be if Minnesota can get key stops or if Kirk Cousins can go toe-to-toe with Brees without turning over the ball. Prediction: Saints over Vikings

Seattle @ Philadelphia – I guess it is impressive that Philadelphia made the playoffs this year despite all of their injury problems. But Philadelphia also has a problem with overall talent. QB Carson Wentz has been reduced to a guy who can only check down to running backs, throw to tight ends, and receive answered prayers when outside the pocket. It doesn’t help that his receiving core has been reduced to nothing as well as the season went along. Philadelphia has been able to lean on their defense recently. With multiple backups in the secondary, Philly’s front seven has picked up the slack. Seattle isn’t the healthiest team going into the playoffs also. They had to call back RB Marshawn Lynch from retirement as starter Chris Carson went down. The Seahawks offensive and defensive lines are also a bit banged up going into Sunday. Despite that, I expect overall talent to dictate this game. QB Russell Wilson should be able to command his offense against a shorthanded Eagles secondary. What makes me nervous for Seattle in this game is that their defense has been mainly unimpressive this season, ranking near the bottom against the run and the pass. The Eagles, despite lack of talent, have been unpredictable at times this year. Playing at home will definitely help their cause on Sunday. I think Seattle will win but this just feels like a game that Philadelphia will be in until the very end. Prediction: Seahawks over Eagles

NFL 2019: Week 16 Predictions (Condensed Version)

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The woeful NFC East will be decided this Sunday in Philadelphia.

 

By: Elias McMllan

Last Week: 10-6

Season: 135-88-1

Week 16 Picks

Texans over Buccaneers – Jameis Winston is putting up great numbers sans all the turnovers. But without Mike Evans and Chris Goodwin, he will struggle.

Patriots over Bills – I really like Buffalo in this matchup but I don’t trust their offense against the Patriots defense. Also, Tom Brady’s record against the Bills is really good.

49ers over Rams – San Fran still has plenty to play for while the Rams are all but out of it in the NFC.

Falcons over Jaguars – Atlanta is playing hard to save the job of their head coach. And it is working.

Ravens over Browns – Hard to believe that Cleveland beat this Baltimore team earlier in the season. Lamar Jackson will see to it that result will be forgotten after this Sunday afternoon.

Saints over Titans – New Orleans will have to beat a tough Tennessee team if they hope to earn a bye in the NFC Playoffs. For the Titans, these last two games are basically the playoffs for them.

Colts over Panthers – Rookie QB Will Grier will get his first taste of NFL action as a starter this weekend against a Colts defense that is usually tough.

Dolphins over Bengals – Tank Bowl 2019. Cincinnati is committed to landing Joe Burrow next April.

Steelers over Jets – I love the Le’Veon Bell revenge game angle but the Jets are so bad. Pittsburgh must rebound before facing Baltimore in Week 17 if they hope to make the post season.

Giants over Washington – Daniel Jones returns to the lineup to hopefully spark this Giants offense.

Broncos over Lions – I’m struggling to find something interesting about this game. Oh yeah, Denver will be wearing their “color rush” unis.

Chargers over Raiders – Oakland will be without a few pieces of their offensive line. That tells me that they are packing it in for 2019.

Cowboys over Eagles – This is a game that a fully expect Dallas to win which does make me nervous. Dallas looks every bit like the 7-7, average, under achieving team but Philadelphia has looked worst. If Dallas blows this opportunity, the head coaching decision at the end of the season will be easier for Jerry Jones to make.

Seahawks over Cardinals – Seattle appears to have a clear path to winning the NFC West with their last two games at home.

Chiefs over Bears – Either Chicago fell back down to earth last week or maybe they are just a better team at home. Either way, they will have their hands full with the Kansas City offense.

Packers over Vikings – I can’t believe that Green Bay is on the verge of earning a first-round playoff bye. I just don’t think they’re that good. I think Minnesota could beat them on Monday but not without Dalvin Cook.

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 11 Predictions (Condensed Version)

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Do the Browns have any chance at home tonight against the Steelers? Maybe.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 4-9

Season: 82-65-1

Week 11 Picks

Browns over Steelers – Cleveland isn’t a very good football team. But strange things happen in these Thursday night games. Maybe Cleveland’s defense will put out a strong effort at home and Baker Mayfield will avoid making those game changing mistakes against a pretty good Pittsburgh defense. I’m going out on a very, very weak limb here.

Cowboys over Lions – Dallas can’t overlook Detroit because Matt Stafford is out. This is still the team that made Sam Darnold look serviceable. The Cowboys need to completely block out last week’s late game debacle from memory and play to their potential from start to finish.

Jaguars over Colts – Indy started struggling as soon as the injury bug began to creep up. Jacksonville will be looking for a strong performance from the returning Nick Foles.

Bills over Dolphins – Buffalo must stop the bleeding on the road against one of the worst teams in the league that happen to be on a 2 game win streak.

Vikings over Broncos – Minnesota really didn’t do anything special last week in Dallas. They were fortunate because they deserved to lose. Anyways, that was a confidence builder for them going forward. They should be able to take care on Denver at home.

Saints over Buccaneers – New Orleans must be careful here. They struggled to protect Drew Brees last week. Tampa Bay can rush the passer and they can score points. This one could be real competitive until the end.

Jets over Washington – The Jets have at least proven that they can beat the really bad teams. In the NFC East.

Panthers over Falcons – I don’t trust what Atlanta was able to pull off last week but they will win more if that defense shows up more often. This week, they’ll have to find an answer for MVP candidate Christian McCaffrey.

Ravens over Texans – Easily the game of the week here. Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson will put on a show. Houston’s defense might be shaky with absence of J.J. Watt.

49ers over Cardinals – San Fran is a bit banged up on both sides of the ball. Arizona might be able to take advantage.

Raiders over Bengals – Oakland got the win last week at home against the Chargers. Next week, they got the Jets. The Raiders can’t let this opportunity for a winning streak slip thru their hands.

Patriots over Eagles – Philadelphia has played well against New England in recent history for some reason. I think the Pats will be more than ready for them coming off their bye week.

Rams over Bears – Jared Goff is starting to look really shaky and it is costing LA games. The Rams face another good defense this week. They can’t let Mitch Trubisky outplay their QB.

Chiefs over Chargers – Kansas City got their QB back but the defensive issues continued last week. The Chargers played KC well last season and I’m expecting this divisional matchup to be competitive again.

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 9 Predictions

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Sitting with a 4-4 record, the Jaguars are still in the hunt for a AFC South title.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 11-4

Season: 69-51-1

Top Five Games of the Week

Houston @ Jacksonville – Sitting at 4-4, the Jaguars are still firmly in the race for the AFC South crown even after trading away Jalen Ramsey. On Sunday, they’ll host Houston in a pivotal divisional matchup. Currently, Jacksonville has a lot going for them. RB Leonard Fournette is healthy and is among the league leading rushers. QB Gardner Minshew is making spectacular plays week after week. And Jacksonville still has one of the best defensive lines in the game. Houston will be shorthanded for the rest of the season on defense with J.J. Watt being out. Deshaun Watson played great last week but I wonder if he’ll be affected by his eye injury. Houston may have to lean on their rushing attack on offense if Watson isn’t right. But for what whatever reason, WR DeAndre Hopkins always seems to have a big game against Jacksonville. Houston will have to find a way to get him involved early and often to secure a big victory on the road. Prediction: Texans over Jaguars

Minnesota @ Kansas City – Even with the lost at home to Green Bay, I think the Chiefs can leave that game with some confidence. The offense did not really miss too many beats without Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City’s weakness on defense, the secondary, was exposed but that shouldn’t have been a surprise. Especially with facing Aaron Rodgers. The Chiefs will be home again this week against a Minnesota team that is starting to gain some traction. Kirk Cousins is starting to play more “loose” and the offense is benefitting. RB Dalvin Cook is also having a strong season on the ground. The Chiefs’ defense will have to key on him and force Cousins to beat them through the air. I think the wideouts in this game will have plenty of opportunities to show out. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are one of the top receiving duos in the league right now. But Kansas City will be able to match them with the weapons Matt Moore has in his huddle; Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce, etc. Prediction: Chiefs over Vikings

Indianapolis @ Pittsburgh – The Colts showed a lot of meddle last week in their win at home over Denver. The big completion on the final drive from Jacoby Brissett to T.Y. Hilton, really showed this team’s will to win. On Sunday, they’ll travel to Pittsburgh to face a desperate Steelers team. Pittsburgh overcame a slow start against Miami last week at home and they need to keep it going in order to keep their slim post-season hopes alive. Pittsburgh’s defense has shined in the past couple of weeks. Their ability to pressure the QB and create turnovers will help them against any opponent. Unfortunately, the offense can’t get over the rash of injuries that continue to hit them at the QB position and now at the RB position. I think the Pittsburgh defense can keep them in this one but the Colts are the better, more complete team right now. Prediction: Colts over Steelers

Tennessee @ Carolina – Tennessee is technically in the AFC South basement but at 4-4 they still have an outside shot at the division. Carolina is firmly in second in the NFC South but are coming off a humbling loss at San Fran.  The Panthers are going to stick with Kyle Allen at QB but as long as RB Christian McCaffery is playing like a MVP, they’ll be okay offensively. I think Tennessee’s RB Derrick Henry could be in line for a big performance Sunday as he will be facing a struggling Panthers’ run defense. This game could come down to which QB can make the most plays while avoiding turnovers. QB Ryan Tannehill might face an uphill battle as the Panthers do offer one of the league’s best secondaries. Prediction: Panthers over Titans

New England @ Baltimore – In recent history, the Ravens and Patriots have played in some hard-hitting matchups and is an underrated rivalry in the AFC. This year’s game on Sunday will feature one the leagues top rushing offenses versus one of the leagues top rushing defenses. The Patriots don’t really have a “star” player on defense but they don’t need one either. They just seem to get the job done. Rather it is turnovers or big stops on short yardage situations. They just get the job done. It’s a staple in Bill Belichick’s coaching philosophy. “Do your job.” The Ravens are going to have to carefully pick their spots against the Patriots’ defense. Lamar Jackson has plenty of ability but he must avoid the big mistakes on Sunday. Mark Ingram and all of Baltimore’s ball carriers must protect the football against this opportunistic defense. The matchup between the Ravens defense and the Patriots offense features two average units. But it has been the Patriots defense that has made the job for Tom Brady easier this year. Baltimore will hang tough in this one but I see New England figuring it out, as they always seem to do. Prediction: Patriots over Ravens

The Rest of Week 9

49ers over Cardinals – Even on a short week, I see San Fran continuing their dominance.

Bills over Washington – Hopefully for Buffalo, last week was just a hiccup.

Jets over Dolphins – I like this Jets teams’ attitude. Yeah, they stink but they’re as bad as Miami.

Eagles over Bears – I can’t give Chicago a chance given their situation at QB. Khalil Mack will have to take over each game on defense at this point.

Raiders over Lions – Oakland doesn’t have many “home” games so I expect them to put out a great effort this week in front of the black and silver.

Seahawks over Buccaneers – As steady as Russell Wilson has been this season, that’s how unsteady Jameis Winston has been.

Browns over Broncos – Cleveland’s defense must show up against a QB who is seeing his first pro action in his career on Sunday for Denver.

Packers over Chargers – Green Bay seems to win the games that the Chargers always find a way to lose.

Cowboys over Giants – Here’s another situation for Dallas to hit their “high-percentage” shots. The Giants will come out attacking on offense. The Cowboys defense must continue to pressure the QB and cause turnovers. Their offense should be able to control the game, as New York’s defense isn’t very good.

NFL 2019: Week 7 Predictions

Deshaun Watson and the Texans are making their mark in the AFC.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 7-7

Season: 51-40-1

Top Five Games of the Week

Minnesota @ Detroit – I think the Lions have proven that they are an improved football team this season. After getting hosed by the officials last week, I think the league is starting to take notice. I like Detroit’s defense. That unit is good enough to keep them in ballgames if the offense is stale. Matt Stafford will face a challenge this week at home against a top five Vikings defense. Minnesota had their win of the season last week, completely dominating Philadelphia. The Eagles pass defense may have allowed Kirk Cousins to look better than he really is but Cousins does have the ability to perform at a high level like he did. His problem is with consistency. I think the Lions defense will limit Cousins this week and they’ll play in an angry mood in response to last week. Prediction: Lions over Vikings

Oakland @ Green Bay – The Packers are a team with great individual talent. But they are not a great team. Green Bay’s run game on offense has improved this season. They still have a healthy Aaron Rodgers. And the Smith brothers (not related) on defense are playmakers. Despite that, I’m not too impressed with them this season. I feel like they are one injury away from falling from the top of the conference. The Raiders come to Lambeau Field on Sunday fresh from the bye week. Oakland at 3-2 has been much better than what most have expected especially after cutting Antonio Brown. I don’t think they are better than Green Bay but it wouldn’t surprise me if this game came down to the wire. For whatever reason (officials), the Packers seem to always come out on top in those scenarios. Prediction: Packers over Raiders

Houston @ Indianapolis – I think Houston solidified themselves last week as a legit threat in the AFC and as the front-runners in their division. They can really put a hold on the top of the AFC South Sunday at Indy. QB Deshaun Watson has really been impressive as of late but it also helps that the Texans have a top 5 rushing attack on offense. The Colts, who are coming off a bye, are a tough football team but they lack offensive firepower. RB Marlon Mack could see some success against a middle of the road Houston defense. WR T.Y. Hilton seems to always have big games against Houston but his health has been an issue recently. I like the Texans to keep things rolling on the road this week. Prediction: Texans over Colts

Baltimore @ Seattle – The Ravens are not looking like the dominant team that they were earlier this season. Despite having the top rushing attack in football, QB Lamar Jackson’s passing has cooled down and their defense has been exposed. Last week in Cleveland, I feel like the Seahawks should have lost. But they are the type of team that will stay alive until the very end if you allow them to. The Seahawks maybe going through some injury problems but as long as QB Russell Wilson is behind center, they’ll be in the ballgame into the 4th quarter. This matchup features two of the most athletic QB’s in the league. I think Seattle’s defense is more capable to bother Jackson inside or outside the pocket. I like the home team in this one. Prediction: Seahawks over Ravens

Philadelphia @ Dallas – This game will go a long way in deciding the NFC East. Both the Eagles and the Cowboys are coming off losses and enter Sunday’s show down with little to no momentum. The Cowboys have lost three straight including an embarrassing showing last week at the winless Jets. The Eagles allowed big play after big play in Minnesota last week as their defense continues to not look very good. The question on Sunday will be if the Cowboys can expose that defense. QB Dak Prescott must get off to a hot start. The Cowboys’ offense has been struggling lately, especially in the first half of games. Dallas will continue to have issues this week as both starting offensive tackles are banged up and WR Amari Cooper is also questionable. Philadelphia will have its chances on offense as well. If QB Carson Wentz has time, he’ll carve the Cowboys’ secondary. The Cowboys need to see a greater effort up front defensively. They are currently having issues with stopping the run and the pass rush has been less inspiring with the exception being Robert Quinn. I don’t think this game will decide the division but I see Dallas having more issues currently than Philadelphia. I see this being a high scoring affair with the Eagles’ defense being able to produce more big plays instead of giving them up like they did last week. Prediction: Eagles over Cowboys

The Rest of Week 7

Broncos over Chiefs – Weird things seem to happen on these Thursday night games. Kansas City is a bit banged up and Denver’s defense is playing well right now.

Rams over Falcons – LA won the Ramsey sweepstakes. I’m not sure if that will affect the game on Sunday but the Falcons are pretty bad right now.

Bills over Dolphins – Dare I say that the Bills could be in the thick of it in the AFC? Or is it too early to tell?

Jaguars over Bengals – This might be Cincinnati’s best chance at a win for a while.

Giants over Cardinals – The Giants are getting healthy and that may pay off soon with some wins.

49ers over Washington – San Fran is real. Washington is getting ready for the draft.

Chargers over Titans – Phillip Rivers and the Chargers gotta show that they are better than what we saw from them last week at “home”.

Saints over Bears – Mitch Trubisky maybe back for Chicago this week. That may be good or bad news depending on whom you ask.

Patriots over Jets – Do the Jets have newfound confidence after the return of Sam Darnold? Maybe. But let’s see Darnold against a top NFL defense on Monday night.