Tag Archives: Lamar Jackson

NFL 2020: Week 12 Predictions

In a matchup that most Americans will see, Tom Brady and the Bucs welcome in AFC power Kansas City looking for answers.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 6-8

Season: 93-61-1

Week 12

Texans over Lions – Detroit will be missing many of their key players right on time for their national display to America of how bad they are.

Cowboys over Washington – Okay. I can explain. This Cowboys team is not the same team from the earlier debacles against Cleveland and Arizona. Dallas needed to do two things: stop the bleeding somewhat on defense and find a way to operate the offense without their all-Pro Tackles. With the win last week in Minnesota, the Cowboys at least appear capable to compete in the woefully bad NFC East. The next step is a Washington team that embarrassed them earlier this year. I expect this to be a competitive game where the losers still might find themselves in position to make the post season. The Cowboys have turned in some stinkers on Thanksgiving recently. But they appear to have the momentum entering this one though Washington is also coming off a victory over Cincinnati.

Steelers over Ravens – I have no sympathy for the undefeated kings of the 2020 regular season. But really, it’s crazy that this Steelers team won’t have a bye week unless they can clinch the top seed in the AFC. No one knows why Tennessee and now, Baltimore are having such problems with the virus. I’m starting to realize that no one knows anything about the virus. But, oh, lets acknowledge how unfair this must be for the Stillers. Its like the league is attacking them with teams that don’t know the protocols. Now, the Steelers won’t be able to go on a quick getaway with their families in the middle of a pandemic. Boo-freakin-Hoo. Man, I wish this Baltimore Ravens team could just punch the smugness right off the Steelers this Sunday afternoon. The Ravens are in a crisis right now with their offense and they desperately need to figure it out. I don’t understand why they can’t pass the ball. Maybe it’s because their receiving core consist of Marquis Brown and a bunch of no names. They gotta try something with Dez Bryant. Jumpballs. Slant-N-Gos. Anything. It just seems that Pittsburgh is going to be able to roll easily on Sunday but strange things can happen in these rivalry games. It would take a great effort from the Ravens defense. The Steelers have their weaknesses but one of the great things that they are currently doing is that they are not letting their opponents expose them.

Raiders over Falcons – Las Vegas lost last week but in return, the national media gave them a ton of roses this week. Usually, I would hate that but I do feel like Derek Carr has been slept on. You know what doesn’t help? Actively looking for his replacement in the offseason. Anyways, Atlanta lost to Taysom Hill so either New Orleans has a pretty good defense or the Falcons just suck.

Bills over Chargers – Buffalo gotta be careful here. The Chargers can score a lot of points but their defense will keep you in it. The media is gonna go crazy watching this back and forth between Josh Allen and rookie Justin Herbert.

Giants over Bengals – Well, everyone else, except Philly, were able to gain ground in the NFC East. I guess, it is New York’s turn. The Bengals lost Joe Burrow for the season last week so its time for them to pack it up. If they are able to rally and beat this Giants team, I would be shocked. But not too shocked.

Colts over Titans – I know that Phillip Rivers will doom this Colts team later on but look at them now. They are playing some really good football on both sides of the ball. Tennessee needs this one to stay alive for the division.

Panthers over Vikings – I can’t get a read on Carolina. But lets get on the PJ Walker train. This is a matchup of two teams that are going nowhere.

Cardinals over Patriots – I’ve watched enough of New England this year to say that the problem is not Cam Newton. Though, Newton has fallen short in some big spots, it is the once great Patriots defense that is dooming New England this year. If Arizona avoids mistakes, they will win in a rout.

Dolphins over Jets – The Jets are terrible but they have been putting up admirable efforts recently. Miami cannot sleep them if they plan to stay in the playoff race.

Jaguars over Browns – Jacksonville is starting Mike Glennon at QB. Wow. But Cleveland will be without its two best defensive players. I smell an upset.

Broncos over Saints – Denver is another team that I can’t get a good read on. I do know when that defense comes to play, they are hard to beat. This could be a defensive battle. The Saints have enough offensive weapons to stand apart but weird things can happen in that Mile High air. Here’s another upset in favor of the Broncos.

Rams over 49ers – LA is starting to build a decent resume and honestly, I’m a little surprised. Their defense is playing well right now.

Chiefs over Buccaneers – Kansas City should be able to completely outclass this Tampa team. The Bucs will have a chance if they can get stops on defense in the second half. The Chiefs showed last week that they know how to close.

Packers over Bears – We don’t even know who Chicago is starting at QB this week. Great rivalry but this weekend’s edition could be one of the worst in the series. Packers. Big.

Seahawks over Eagles – I can’t explain how bad this Eagles team is. And people think they are at least good enough to win the woeful NFC Least. They might be the worst team in that division. 

NFL 2020: Week 11 Predictions

Josh Jacobs and the Las Vegas Raiders will be looking to sweep the defending Super Bowl champs in the division on Sunday night.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 8-6

Season: 93-53-1

Week 11

Cardinals over Seahawks – Offenses, recently, have felt really comfortable going against Seattle’s defense. Coming off a Hail Mary triumph last week, Arizona could be able to ride that momentum into Thursday night on the road. I’m looking to see if QB Kyler Murray can be more accurate in the passing game and create more big plays down the field than his counterpart tonight, Russell Wilson.

Browns over Eagles – I didn’t trust Cleveland last week but I ended up learning about how bad of a team Houston is. I won’t make that same mistake this week, as I know how bad the Eagles are. I didn’t expect them to lose to the Giants last week. They are fumbling away their chance at a playoff berth.

Falcons over Saints – I am rooting for Jameis Winston to flourish in place of the injured Drew Brees. I specifically want Winston to play so well that Sean Payton keeps Taysom Hill on the bench. He is more of a gimmick than a football player. Yea, I said it. Anyway, I’m taking the Falcons. I think I can count on some slip ups from the Saints offense without Brees and Falcons QB Matt Ryan will be able to take advantage. 

Bengals over Washington – Washington has a nice collection of talent on their defensive line. It would be nice if that unit could take over this ball game and force rookie QB Joe Burrow into some game altering mistakes. I just don’t see it though. QB Alex Smith is a great story but he also turns it over too much. Seems like Dwayne Haskins had the same problems. Hmm.

Lions over Panthers – Carolina will be already without RB Christian McCaffrey and reportedly, QB Teddy Bridgewater. Rookie RB D’Andre Swift has caught on for Detroit but he may also miss Sunday due to a concussion. If anything, I wanna see if Adrian Peterson can get a bunch of carries and led Detroit to a victory on the road. Risky but I’m feeling it.

Steelers over Jaguars – I bet that Jacksonville’s defense will find a way to make this a game. Pittsburgh wasn’t challenged last week but they are due (maybe) for another struggle against an inferior opponent. Pittsburgh needs to pummel this team, really. Then, they’ll get the national respect that they crave. 

Titans over Ravens – Baltimore’s offensive coaches need to watch film on the offense from last season. This year, they collectively look lost out there. Tennessee will come to play and prove that last year was not a fluke. The Titans have had some bad losses this year but at least they know who they are. Baltimore clearly does not.

Patriots over Texans – New England can find themselves back in the playoff conversation if they can beat the teams that they are suppose to beat. Houston is terrible and Belichick usually owns against his disciples. 

Dolphins over Broncos – It looks like Miami’s plan at QB has worked. Meanwhile, Denver will probably be looking again for another play caller in the offseason.

Chargers over Jets – LA better be careful here. Joe Flacco can still fling it and they seem to have trouble closing out games against opponents that they should beat.

Packers over Colts – This would be a strong victory for Green Bay if they can get it. Indy can play defense and they have playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Green Bay’s defense must find a way to disrupt Phillip Rivers. But that goes the same even more so for the Colts who are facing a high-powered offense led by Aaron Rodgers.

Vikings over Cowboys – Minnesota will not have to win ugly in this one like they did last week vs. Chicago. If anything, their offense could have a big day on the ground or air. For Dallas, this game will tell a lot about how they are going forward for the rest of the season coming off the bye. If they play tough defensively like they did against Pittsburgh, they could be in good shape. But they will probably disappoint like they have for the majority of this season. And what I’ve seen this season, even when Dallas appears to be “in it”, it is somehow taken away by some bad decision by the coaching staff or by a bad call from the officials. Just seems that it is just not their year.

Chiefs over Raiders – This game got some juice along with it. Apparently, when Vegas won the first meeting, they decided to stunt in Kansas City and circle the stadium or something like that. Whatever they pulled, the Chiefs haven’t forgotten about it and they are planning to make that evident on Sunday night. Things will get chippy but more importantly, Kansas City can’t let the Raiders sweep them in the division. It would be hard to bet against Patrick Mahomes in a must win situation. 

Rams over Buccaneers – I have said before that this Rams team is “incredibly average”. But they are beating the teams that they should beat right now so they deserve better credit. I think they should be able to get after Tom Brady and limit what Tampa can do in the passing game. Tampa isn’t that great defensively. The Rams have a balanced offense and they don’t have to lean heavily on Jared Goff. 

 

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: Week 9 Predictions

After finally getting pass the Patriots last week, Buffalo will welcome NFC power, Seattle.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 8-6

Season: 74-44-1

Week 9

Packers over 49ers – It’s the Covid Game of the Week. The NFL should have that trademarked. But seriously, why are they playing this game? San Francisco is already behind the ball due to injuries and Aaron Rodgers will enjoy playing near his hometown.

Broncos over Falcons – It all finally came together last week for Atlanta. But Denver also gutted out one last week against the Chargers. I think I’m going to side with Denver here because of their defense but I don’t know if I can trust their offense. On paper, I would say that Atlanta is the more talented team but we’ve seen how their season is going.

Seahawks over Bills – Seattle used to be known as a team that underperformed on the road. This will be a strong test of that theory. The Bills are good this year and they are coming off their biggest win of the season.

Titans over Bears – After being upset by the Bengals, Tennessee will be looking to bounce back. They should be able to get that done if the defense can take advantage of Bears QB Nick Foles’ play. 

Ravens over Colts – Baltimore has to figure how to get the most out of QB Lamar Jackson through the running and passing game. If they are struggling to get the ball to Hollywood Brown, then maybe they should active Dez Bryant so they would have a receiving threat opposite of him. 

Chiefs over Panthers – Carolina’s good run ended last week but they could be getting their star RB Christian McCaffery back this week. That would be excellent timing as Kansas City will present their toughest test of the season. This one could be interesting if Carolina can find the holes on the Chiefs defense. I don’t know if Patrick Mahomes will find any problems with creating big plays against this defense.

Lions over Vikings – Dalvin Cook put Minnesota on his back last week and the Vikings can try to repeat this strategy against a Lions team that will be without Matthew Stafford due to Covid. 

Giants over Washington – If the Giants can stop the run, Washington’s offense will not be able to function. It’s hard to think this but the Giants have more veteran talent so, I like them in this matchup.

Texans over Jaguars – Jacksonville is going with an unknown at QB this week. Houston can finally get over this week, I think.

Raiders over Chargers – The Raiders might be a bit “road weary” but they were able to win ugly last week in Cleveland. They will be a good challenge for the Chargers who lost in usual, heartbreaking fashion. 

Steelers over Cowboys – The undefeated Steelers play this week against a Cowboys team that looks and plays like a Junior Varsity team. I feel that Pittsburgh is in the position to lose the most from this matchup because they wont be challenged. I wonder if Tomlin will go into his bench in the 2nd half. The Dallas coaching staff will have an opportunity to show how inept they are as they will try to get the most out of a FOURTH string QB instead of using their 50 million dollar running back.

Dolphins over Cardinals – Miami’s defense is playing really well right now. Arizona is talented but sloppy. 

Buccaneers over Saints – The Saints have been a disappointment to me. I feel like they should be doing better and QB Drew Brees is starting to really show his age out there. New Orleans did a number on Brady the last time they met. I don’t think Brady forgot that and this time he’ll have Antonio Brown with him. Should be interesting.

Patriots over Jets – I think the Jets have the cure to the ineffectiveness of the Patriots offense. I think a lost here for Bill Belichick would be a tremendous shock.  

NFL 2020: Week 8 Predictions

The “Lamest Show on Earth” will be featured this week in primetime on Sunday Night.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 9-5

Season: 66-38-1

Week 8

Panthers over Falcons – Tonight, we’ll have an underrated NFC South rivalry to kick off Week 8. Carolina has been overachievers this season who must feel encouraged that RB Christian McCaffery is close to returning. Atlanta, on the other hand, has plenty of talent but they’ve greatly underachieved and its already gotten their coach fired. The Falcons are competing hard every week though. I bet this game will be competitive. 

Bills over Patriots – It’s going to be “all out there” for Buffalo on Sunday. New England is coming off its worst performance of the season, the offense has fallen flat due to lack of weapons and poor play from Cam Newton and now they’ll travel to Buffalo who are looking to establish its self on top of the AFC East. I can’t think of a better scenario for Josh Allen and the Bills. Sunday will be a great opportunity for Buffalo stake their claim for the division title.

Titans over Bengals – Tennessee must beat the teams that they are supposed to beat if they look to stay in the race for the top seed in the AFC.

Raiders over Browns – It seems like Cleveland is just trying to stay afloat and have enough wins to qualify for the post season as a 3rd place AFC North team. I feel like the Raiders can beat a team like Cleveland. The Raiders won’t seem as desperate.

Lions over Colts – It is dangerous to have faith in Detroit but the Colts lack offensive explosiveness. The Lions have an offense that can score in bunches. 

Packers over Vikings – Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are going to be able to beat the bad teams even in their own division. Minnesota is going to have to lean on Dalvin Cook who is returning from injury. 

Chiefs over Jets – Crazy mismatch here. The Le’Veon Bell revenge factor will be interesting though.

Rams over Dolphins – I wish Tua Tagovailoa the best. But this incredibly average Rams team is playing well right now because of the individual efforts of their two best defensive players, DT Aaron Donald and CB Jalen Ramsey. Good luck, rook.

Ravens over Steelers – I’m not sure about this one because Pittsburgh is playing really well right now (they’re undefeated, obviously). Baltimore will play them tough as usual and they may be aided by coming off the bye week fresh. Or maybe the long layoff will hurt them and the rhythm that the Steelers are on currently on will continue. I don’t know. This will be one to watch on Sunday, for sure. But Lamar Jackson got the best of this defense last year. I think he could do it again.

Broncos over Chargers – Rookie QB Justin Herbert is putting up impressive numbers but on Sunday, he’ll face a good defense in Denver. I question if the Broncos offense is capable to put up points if Herbert gets into a groove. 

Saints over Bears – Chicago has regressed as the Nick Foles experiment is looking like a failure. It seems like the Bears have a two headed monster at QB and either are any good. I wonder if the reported in fighting in the New Orleans locker room is real and will it affect the product on the field. Could the Sean Payton/Michael Thomas riff lead to an eventual split?

Seahawks over 49ers – San Francisco has picked them selves off the mat and are playing good football right now. This rivalry with Seattle has produced some great moments and I think they will continue that on Sunday. All of Seattle’s games have been crazy entertaining this season for some reason.

Eagles over Cowboys – It will be the “lamest show on earth” this Sunday night with this NFC East matchup. The Eagles have been bad this season but they haven’t been “Dallas Cowboys bad”. The Cowboys have cut some bad players this week leading up to this game, which tells me that Jerry Jones thinks that this season can be saved. I am less optimistic about that. I think more bad football is on the way and Philadelphia will be the benefactor of it this week. Fantasy Owners, start Carson Wentz this week. This Dallas defense will make him look like a football God on Sunday Night. 

Buccaneers over Giants – Tom Brady usually has a bad time against the Giants. I have a hard time believing that this Giants team will be able to get the best of Tom this time. 

NFL 2020: Week 3 Predictions

Deshaun Watson and the Texans will be in Pittsburgh this Sunday looking for their first win of 2020

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 11-5

Season: 23-9

Week 3

Jaguars over Dolphins – Jacksonville is not tanking. Instead, they have young dynamic playmakers led by QB Gardner Mischew. Miami spent a lot of money this offseason but has yet to see a return.

Falcons over Bears – After the embarrassment of last week, Atlanta better be able to focus up for all 4 quarters this week. At least for head coach Dan O’Quinn’s case.

Bills over Rams – The Rams are incredibly average. I think if the Bills really want to send a message to the AFC, they’ll take care of business at home. 

Browns over Washington – This will be a good test for a young Washington team. Cleveland has superior talent but it wouldn’t surprise me if they let Washington stick around.

Titans over Vikings – The optics on Minnesota through two weeks are not good. You could say the opposite for Tennessee. 

Patriots over Raiders – Did you see how Bill Belichick looked on the Zoom call this week? He’s clearly unhappy about the lost to Seattle last Sunday. He’ll have Cam and the Pats ready for Gruden and his overachieving Raiders.

49ers over Giants – New York is going to find out that life without Saquon Barkley isn’t sweet. Their only chance is if the 49ers fall victim to some more injuries thanks to that MetLife turf.

Eagles over Bengals – Philadelphia needs a win real bad. It would be something if Joe Burrow and the Bengals were able to continue their woes.

Texans over Steelers – After starting the season against the two top teams in the AFC, Houston will be out with shovels trying to dig out of their 0-2 hole. Deshaun Watson might find it tough against the Steelers defense though.

Colts over Jets – Indy beat up all on Minnesota last week and they shouldn’t have a problem with a Jets team that is marred by terrible play and injures.

Chargers over Panthers – Carolina isn’t going to have much of a chance as long as Christian McCaffery is out.

Buccaneers over Broncos – Last Sunday, I learned that a person named “Jeff Driskle” is in the league and plays QB. 

Cardinals over Lions – Every Arizona victory validates my preseason prediction that they will win many games this year. And if you look at their upcoming schedule, they might be one of the last unbeaten teams in the league this season.

Seahawks over Cowboys – Deep sigh. The Cowboys are such an exhausting team to watch. One thing for Dallas to count on this year is that Dak Prescott and that offense will make it so that they will usually have a chance in each game. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks have been really impressive so far this season. This one might come down to whoever has the ball last.

Packers over Saints – Not having Michael Thomas made Drew Brees look kinda old, last Monday night. Green Bay is off to a great start, offensively, at least.

Ravens over Chiefs – What a matchup for Monday Night Football. The two best teams in the AFC. The two best QB’s in football. Weapons all over the field. Sign me up. This is appointment television. Thank God, we have football in 2020. 

NFL 2020: Week 1 Predictions

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will open up the 2020 season.

Past Regular Season Records:

2016 Regular Season Record: 163-91-2

2017 Regular Season Record: 151-103

2018 Regular Season Record: 150-104-2

2019 Regular Season Record: 157-98-1

Week 1

Chiefs over Texans – The home team rarely loses in these opening night celebrations for the reigning Super Bowl Champions. Deshaun Watson will struggle to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and his many weapons without DeAndre Hopkins.

Seahawks over Falcons – I think Seattle has the better team but this could be questionable on the road. Limited fans might help. Both teams have underwhelming defenses. It will be interesting to see who will step up at the end.

Bills over Jets – Buffalo should be ready to play unless they spent the offseason reading about how great they’re going to be. Not expecting anything from the Jets but weird things can happen in these divisional matchups.

Packers over Vikings – Minnesota will miss Danielle Hunter on the edge defensively which is why I’m giving this first one to the Packers. The Smith Bros. will provide the pressure for the Pack. 

Patriots over Dolphins – Remember last season in Week 1 when the Dolphins let a QB just run rapid on them? I think they will use that as motivation in this divisional week 1 battle. But can Cam Newton be that effective like Lamar was in that game? He is looking to prove it and Bill Belichick will be ready to guide him.

Eagles over Washington – The Washington Football Team are facing plenty of scrutiny these days. Mainly off the field but that much dysfunction could spill over. It would be a nice story, I guess, if the team were able to band together and beat their rival on Sunday. I don’t see it.  

Raiders over Panthers – The Raiders are looking to find their identity in a new city. The Panthers are looking to find their identity after cutting ties with their most visible player in franchise history. I’m not sure what we will see from Teddy Bridgewater but Derek Carr, quietly, ran a successful offense last year. 

Colts over Jaguars – Jacksonville enters the 2020 season as a sinking ship, which is fitting for this year. If Indy can find its footing offensively, they would tire out the opponent’s defense.

Ravens over Browns – Cleveland got one from Baltimore last season somehow. I think the latter didn’t forget about it. 

Chargers over Bengals – What a bummer for LA losing Derwin James, yet again, to an injury. Can rookie Joe Burrow in his first ever start take advantage? 

Saints over Buccaneers – Game of the week. I don’t think the Tampa secondary will be able to cage the Saints on offense but Tampa has a pass rush and all this offseason hype. It will be interesting to see if Brady can pull out a classic moment against Brees in the dome. 

Cardinals over 49ers – This will be another good game. Arizona is my worst-to-first team this year. I’m excited to see what WR DeAndre Hopkins will be able to do with QB Kyler Murray. San Fran’s defense is super tough though.

Cowboys over Rams – Dallas returns this season with a prolific offense, which added the best WR from college football. But it’s the same team that struggled with playing a complete game. Lets see what happens with some new coaching and new names on the defensive side. The Rams will be tough. This will be a good test.

Steelers over Giants – Something about Mike Tomlin led teams on the road against an inferior opponent. I’m not expecting much from the Giants in this opening Monday night matchup. I am expecting 38-year-old Ben Roethlisberger to turn the Black n Gold into world-beaters just by his mere presence. I mean, that what I’ve been hearing from Yinzers recently. 

Titans over Broncos – I’m so mad to hear that Denver lost Von Miller for the season. But this might actually be a good game for the 2nd MNF lineup. Tennessee had an incredible run in the playoffs last year and I think Denver will surprise teams with their youth at WR. Still bummed about the loss of Miller. Someone will have to step up. 

NFL 2020: Ten thoughts before the season

 

Dak Prescott could be on the cusp of a MVP season

By: Elias McMillan

10. The COVID-19 pandemic will affect the season. 

            Look. These teams have been testing for it up and down and 24/7. But they are going to get a positive back, eventually. Someone will make a mistake and the fact that it hasn’t happened yet is nothing short of amazing. But I think that there will be positive tests and it will happen to some big names. And the media will loose their minds about it and call for the season to end. You know it. I know it. Just be prepared for it. The NFL KNOWS this. But that’s why they are prepared. There are protocols in place. Hopefully, they will be able to catch a positive and isolate it in a timely matter to prevent spread. I know that there are no guarantees with this thing. I thought we would be done with it by the summer! What happened with that?!?! But anyways, I think that once the opening week goes off smoothly, this league will never look back. Americans NEED their football and the dealers/owners aren’t taking a “L”. And that’s what I am counting on. Because I don’t need football but I would like to have it so very much. 

9. The messages for Social Justice are NOT going away.

            I think I can say this as a black man and as someone who has been around black people during this summer, “No one is asking for this.” It is not like the racist people in this world will see the “End Racism” stenciled in the back of the end zone and will react like, “End Racism? I didn’t know I had that option.” This pandemic time has been real tough for anybody who wants to see the police not kill unarmed black people because the police are…..killing unarmed black people. That’s what this is all about. Not kneeling. Not the flag. Not the anthem. Its always been about the police killing unarmed black people and having no justice done. That’s it. So, for those who are MAD online about the messages and the protests that are upcoming, sorry, I cant help you. And this will only be for this season. Those who run this league are just now being forced to take their first baby steps away from racism (looking at you, Mr. Snyder), which are going to lead to some cringe fest displays. I’m horrified and I also can’t wait. Are they really going to play “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before the anthem each week? I heard a rumor that the officials are going to wear “Kente cloth” in October. Just kidding. But see what happens?! Y’all just couldn’t let Colin Kaepernick protest peacefully and finish his playing career. So, now, here we are. 

8. Both New York teams will total 5 wins or less.

            It’s going to be a rough season for the teams that call Metropolis home. The Giants might have a brighter outlook look thanks to Saquon Barkley. QB Daniel Jones will have to prove himself early because so far, he has done nothing. He won a road game in Tampa last year and the media was so fast to crown him. The Jets are ready to crown QB Sam Darnold but that’s going to be hard to do with no weapons around. Excuse me, he does have one weapon in RB Le’Veon Bell but it should be tough sledding for him to even get on the field. Can you believe that head coach Adam Gase has given 87-year-old Frank Gore more reps with the first team offense in training camp? It would be amazing if the Jets could win more than 4 games.

7. The Buffalo Bills will win the AFC East and break the Patriots curse.

            The team from upstate NY will do quite fine this year. The Bills play tough defensively and I like the upgrades they’ve added on offense with WR Stefon Diggs and rookie RB Zach Moss. The race in the AFC East will be a dogfight though. Its going to be interesting to see Cam Newton attempt to lift New England’s lack luster offense and if Miami can get all their young talent in accord and shock some people. But Buffalo’s recent post-season experiences will serve them well, I think. 

6. The hype with Tampa Bay is real.

            Earlier in the off season, I was dead set on thinking that this 2020 Buccaneers team is just a supped up version of the 2019 Cleveland Browns. I mean, they’re certainly the offseason champs, but I don’t see it being a letdown or fluke. There is a reason why all of this talent is gathering there: Tom Brady is ready to win and he’s ready to win now. The Bucs were already a team with a lot of weapons offensively. But you add Tom Brady, who only has to worry about health and not throwing picks, Rob Gronkowski, LeSean McCoy, and now Leonard Fournette? And people don’t give this defense enough credit. They’ll have a dangerous front 7 this year that will hopefully make up for the secondary. New Orleans has a talented roster also but Tampa will be racing them to the top all the way to Week 17.

5. The “Big Ben Revenge” Tour isn’t happening.

            I think the Pittsburgh defense doesn’t get enough credit for what they accomplished in 2019. 8-8? With that offense and those QBs? Definitely impressive. But what if they had a good QB? What would happen? Would 8-8 turn into 14-2? These are the thoughts and questions swirling around the heads of yinzers during the pandemic. Did you see the hype workout videos? Did you see him talk about winning championships? Did you see him apologize to his wife? Listen, its all great and everything. But I’m just not buying any of it. Can Steeler fans just hope that Roethlisberger can stay healthy long enough to get them back to the playoffs? They say that he just needs to stay conscious and standing to be better than backup Mason Rudolph. But if that’s true, what is Rudolph still doing on the roster? You mean to tell me that this well ran organization failed to upgrade the position that doomed them a year ago? But the yinzers are soooo comfortable leaving their championship aspirations up to one man who is 38 and coming off of a serious injury. The NFL is a season-to-season league and father time is undefeated. 

4. The MVP race is going to be TIGHT.

            So, we’re going to have the usual suspects for this award because like the Heisman, it’s just going to go to the best QB. Lamar Jackson. Patrick Mahomes. Russell Wilson. But this year, another will breakout and it will come from the NFC. I’m not sure why but I think the Arizona Cardinals are going to win a lot of games this year or at least be favored in many games. Either way, I can see QB Kyler Murray really start to settle in as a play maker with his arm and legs and playing with WR DeAndre Hopkins will help those stat sheet numbers. Another QB from that conference who I also think will win a lot of games in 2020 is Dak Prescott. Prescott showed great improvement last year as a deep ball passer, while suffering under the coaching of Jason Garrett and being let down by a few huge drops in season altering games. With new coaching and new playmakers, Prescott is going to thrive and I think the entire league will take notice. In fact, I think it will be him. He is my pick. Dak Prescott is going to have a MVP season. Write it down.

3. Baltimore will win the AFC.

Here’s how I see the AFC playing out:

  1. Baltimore – North (Bye)
  2. Kansas City – West
  3. Houston – South
  4. Buffalo – East
  5. Tennessee – Wild
  6. Denver – Wild
  7. Pittsburgh or Cleveland or New England

Man, the playoffs are going to be fun this year. Maybe there won’t be that many surprises but I’m feeling okay about putting Denver in especially with the Chargers losing Derwin James. I’m sure Pittsburgh will make it with a healthy Big Ben but if not, why not Cleveland?! New England wouldn’t surprise me either but I’m worried that Cam won’t be enough to save that offense.

Wild-card Weekend: Chiefs over Steelers, Broncos over Texans, Titans over Bills

Divisional: Ravens over Broncos, Chiefs over Titans

Conference: Ravens over Chiefs

2. For the first time in 25 years, the Dallas Cowboys will win the NFC.

            Here’s how I see the NFC playing out:

  1. Arizona – West (Bye)
  2. Dallas – East
  3. New Orleans – South
  4. Minnesota – North
  5. Tampa Bay – Wild
  6. Green Bay – Wild
  7. San Francisco or Philadelphia

So, let me explain my NFC West pick. I think Arizona, San Fran, and Seattle will win 10 plus games. The division champ will only be separated by one game. I like San Fran’s defense the best but I have questions about their offense. I think Arizona’s defense is going to be good enough to have them in the conversation for the Super Bowl and Kyler Murray will have a breakout campaign. The Cowboys return the number one offense in the league. But imagine if they had a defense that occasionally stopped someone and created short fields for that offense. Imagine if Dak Prescott had new and younger targets (CeeDee Lamb, Blake Jarwin) and not old retreads (Jason Witten, Randall Cobb). New head coach Mike McCarthy came to win and to win now.

Wild-card Weekend: Cowboys over 49ers, Saints over Packers, Buccaneers over Vikings

Divisional: Saints over Cardinals, Cowboys over Buccaneers

Conference: Cowboys over Saints

1. My Super Bowl LV Prediction: The Ravens will win the Super Bowl

            Baltimore and Dallas would be a matchup of two teams that love to run the ball. Man, there would be so much spice if Earl Thomas ends up in Dallas. I would imagine that this would be the game where the Dallas run defense doesn’t show up and Lamar Jackson has his Super Bowl moment. If this were to happen, as a fan, I would just be thrilled to be apart of it.             Prediction: Ravens 38, Cowboys 34

 

NFL 2020: AFC Preview

Patriots FootballSoon we will meet Lord Belichick’s new apprentice….

By: Elias McMillan

AFC

AFC East

The New England Patriots have ruled the AFC East for the better part of the last twenty years. Will we see a changing of the guard this season? There was certainly momentum towards that last season with Buffalo’s emergence. But now with Tom Brady out of the picture, this is the time for the Bills to reach the top of the division for the first time since 1995. Coming off last season’s playoff appearance, Buffalo upgraded their roster in the offseason adding WR Stephon Diggs. The defense played at a high level a season ago and they added CB Josh Norman who is looking to resurrect his career. Thinking of defense, the Patriots had the top defensive unit in the league. But entering 2020, that defense will look a lot different than a season ago. New England will have new starters at multiple positions due to the losses in free agency and the opt-outs due to Covid-19. On offense, they’ll have plenty of excitement with free agent acquisition QB Cam Newton, who has a huge chip on his shoulder after a nasty divorce with Carolina. Many have questions about how effective Cam can be coming off a number of injuries but I question how he can be effective with New England limited offensive weapons. WR’s Julian Edleman and Mohamed Sanu return but they have a gaping hole at TE. Maybe Miami can break through and steal this division. They may be young but they have the talent and the coaching. I’m interested into how the QB situation gets sorted out in Miami. I feel that the job will eventually go to rookie Tua Tagovailoa, who was a dynamic passer at Alabama. The Dolphins were the big spenders in the offseason, adding CB Byron Jones, LB Kyle Van Noy, and DE Shaq Lawson. Not sure if those signings will pay off but maybe an improved defense and good QB play can push them into the playoff picture. I’m pretty sure the Jets won’t be in playoff scenario this season. They had two major talents on defense but they traded away one of them and then the other is a Covid opt-out. RB Le’Veon Bell will once again have his work cut out for him, as it will seem as if he is the only offensive weapon that this team has. Bell is probably one of the top RBs in the league but in this offense, it’s going to be tough for him to flourish. I bet he is traded during the season, leaving QB Sam Darnold to pick up the pieces. At least, head coach Adam Gase will get fired at season’s end.

Playoff Teams in CAPS – Projected Finish: 1) BUFFALO, 2) New England, 3) Miami, 4) New York Jets

AFC North

This division is set to have a really competitive season. Baltimore took a big step forward in 2019 and they are looking to stay on top in the AFC North and have another shot in the playoffs. QB Lamar Jackson exploded onto the scene last year and his play could have the Ravens running this division for the coming future. Speaking of running, the Ravens return a top rushing offense that favors their QB and features veteran Mark Ingram and incoming rookie JK Dobbins. WR Marquis “Hollywood” Brown showed promise in his rookie season but I would like to see another solid receiving option to emerge. Baltimore’s defense got exposed in the post season. Hopefully, additions like DE’s Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe, and 1st round pick Patrick Queen will help. Pittsburgh has ruled this division in recent history but I think last season was a signaling of change. The Steelers return a top defensive unit but their offense held them back last year as they were down to their 2nd and 3rd string options at QB. I don’t feel great about the success of a ball club being tied to one player. Especially when that player is a 38-going-on-45 year old QB coming off elbow surgery. Yeah, the IG posts and the championship proclamations are nice but the fact still remains: Father Time is undefeated. The Steelers didn’t improve the backup situation behind star QB Ben Roethlisberger and its primed to bite them once again. I know everyone is expecting this great revival from him but we’ll see. I guess. If Ben is healthy, he’ll have a pretty good group at WR to go to, not to mention that they added Eric Ebron at TE. Pittsburgh lost Javon Hargrave upfront defensively but they are still primed to have a strong defense led by DE Cameron Hayward, LB T.J. Watt, and S Minkah Fitzpatrick. Cleveland enters 2020 a lot quieter than they did a year ago. Still, many people are expecting them to disappoint despite having another talented roster. A lot of their success this season will hinge on their QB play. This is a make or break season for QB Baker Mayfield who led the league in commercials last season. Mayfield better figure himself out and realize the talent Cleveland has at the skill positions. They should be able to run the ball with Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb. And he will have plenty of targets to go to with Odell Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, and free agent signee Austin Hooper. The Browns really aren’t great defensively but they do have a great player. DE Myles Garrett is an absolute monster on the edge as a pass rusher and last season, he snatched a helmet off another player and proceeded to beat him over the head with it. It was awesome. The Browns need more players like that. I mean, not doing that hasn’t worked for so long. Anyways, in the secondary, I think CB Denzel Ward could develop into a nice player. On to Cincinnati, where they have their QB of the future but not much more excitement after that. I’m really interested in seeing how well 1st overall pick QB Joe Burrow plays with no pre-season. The Bengals appear to be set at WR with Tyler Boyd and rookie Tee Higgins. I’m, however, worried about A.J. Green returning from injury. DT Geno Atkins will continue to lead this defense. In the secondary, they’ll feature two castoffs from Minnesota. Cincinnati is in a spot now where they are collecting young talent but they probably wont contend this year. They’re a couple of off season’s away from that.

Playoff Teams in CAPS – Projected Finish: 1) BALTIMORE, 2) PITTSBURGH, 3) Cleveland, 4) Cincinnati

AFC South

Houston won this division a season ago but it was Tennessee who surprisingly made noise in the post season. Houston really did themselves no favors by trading away their best player (WR DeAndre Hopkins). Now, their star QB Deshaun Watson is waiting on his payday without his main target in the pass game. Houston will have a decent set of WRs this year but none of them are even close to Hopkins. It’s going to be interesting to see how Watson can adjust. RB David Johnson comes over in the Hopkins trade looking to regain the form he had a few years ago. Houston’s defense was inconsistent at times last year. What would help would be if DE J.J. Watt can stay healthy. Tennessee didn’t really have an exciting offseason. QB Ryan Tannehill won the starting job last season, led them to a couple of post season wins, and got a huge contract extension. But anyone who watched that team last season knows that RB Derrick Henry is that guy who makes this offense go. The Titans awarded him with a extension as well as he is coming off a season where he led the league in rushing. The Titans had a stingy defense last year but in the offseason, they traded away DE Jurrell Casey and they didn’t bring back productive safety, Logan Ryan. The Colts have a solid team entering 2020. QB Phillip Rivers arrives to the team looking to prove that he can still contribute after a lengthy career with the Chargers. This is a team that has a lot of things that I like. First, they have an impressed stable of RB’s with Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, and rookie Jonathan Taylor. Another rookie, WR Michael Pittman Jr. could prove to be a great complement to veteran T.Y. Hilton. They do have a gaping hole at TE with Eric Ebron leaving to Pittsburgh in free agency. They made a big off-season trade for DT DeForest Buckner. That adds some much needed beef to a defense, which also includes all-Pro players, LB Darius Leonard and CB Kenny Moore. The Colts could quietly become a team to beat this year. Jacksonville is in the middle of a rebuild after a few years removed from being oh-so close to advancing to the Super Bowl. QB Gardner Minshew will try to turn a surprising 2019 into some stability for the Jaguars at the position. RB Leonard Fournette can be a great player but his relationship with the team is icy and he’s about to be traded away. I really like Jacksonville’s defense. DE Josh Allen is a monster who is on the verge of having a productive year. Draft pick K’Lavon Chaisson will also help with the pass rush as the team figures out a way to dump Yannick Ngakoue in a trade to a contender. In the secondary, Jalen Ramsey is gone but they also drafted C.J. Henderson in the first round.

Playoff Teams in CAPS – Projected Finish: 1) HOUSTON, 2) TENNESSEE, 3) Indianapolis, 4) Jacksonville

AFC West

The defending Super Bowl champions will have a target firmly on their back in 2020. The Chiefs will start their bid to repeat with basically the same outlook as a season ago: score a lot of points. QB Patrick Mahomes is setup to win more accolades as he commands an offense with almost too many weapons. They are loaded at WR, they have a star at TE, and in the backfield, everyone is excited to see what rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire will bring to the table. DE Frank Clark will once again anchor Kansas City’s front defensive seven. In the secondary, safety Tyrann Mathieu will continue to be a vocal leader while providing big play ability. In this division, I see Denver as a team that will surprise people. A lot is going to depend on QB Drew Lock and if he has developed into a NFL passer. Denver will once again have the horses in the backfield with Phillip Lindsay and veteran Melvin Gordon. I’m also real excited to see what rookie WR’s Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler bring to this offense. On defense, I think the addition of DE Jurrell Casey is going to help that defensive line. LB Von Miller is also looking to reestablish himself as one of the most feared pass rushers in the game. The Chargers have already won 2020 with those new uniforms. But in terms of actually victories, they might be tough to come by. The LA Chargers will enter this season with some momentum from the new stadium but I think they will be held back by their offense. With Phillip Rivers now in Indy, the Chargers decided to stick with backup Tyrod Taylor to start the season. We’ve seen what Taylor had to offer in Cleveland and I’m not sure if he’ll be able to thrive with first round pick Justin Herbert waiting in the wings. The writing is on the wall that he will soon be replaced but we will have to wait and see if it’s the right move. I think WR Kennan Allen will be ready to produce no matter who is throwing to him. I really like the Chargers’ defense, which is led by two of the better pass rushers in the game: DE’s Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. This defense could really be special if safety Derwin James is able to stay healthy. I guess the Raiders will be interesting to watch this season. With the backdrop of being in a new city and stadium, they have an intriguing roster. QB Derek Carr quietly had one of his best season despite having his top target bail on him in the pre-season last year. I feel like that doesn’t get talked about enough. But then, why did the Raiders bring in Marcus Mariota to back him up? Definitely not a sign of confidence from the front office. The Raiders were able to land one of the top WR’s in the draft with Henry Ruggs. TE Darren Waller is receiving some hype going into this season. I’m sure he’ll able to keep 80-year-old TE Jason Witten on the bench. Though they traded away Khalil Mack two years ago, they look pretty decent up front defensively. DE Maxx Crosby was a nice surprise and he is just one of a decent group at that position. In the secondary, I’m excited to see rookie CB Damon Arnette who is already making highlight reel plays in training camp. This Raider team could be a sleeper but I just feel they always find a way to muck it up.

Playoff Teams in CAPS – Projected Finish: 1) KANSAS CITY, 2) DENVER, 3) L.A. Chargers, 4) Las Vegas

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