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NFL 2015: Week 13 Predictions!

20151129pdSteelersSports07-2

The Steelers will need a strong performance from their offense this Sunday night.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 13-3

Season: 114-62

Big Five Games of the Week

Green Bay @ Detroit – A couple weeks ago when the Packers crushed Minnesota on the road, it seemed like Green Bay was ready to make another strong run at the NFC North. But the Packers had an absolutely deflating lost at home last week vs. Chicago and now there are more questions than answers in Green Bay. Tonight, the Packers visit a suddenly hot Detroit team that looks like they’ve completely rebounded from a disastrous start to this season. The Lions are playing inspired on defense and on offense, Matt Stafford is rediscovering his franchise receiver, Calvin Johnson. Green Bay didn’t really get dominated offensively vs. Chicago last week but Detroit will issue some challenges that Green Bay didn’t face last week. Aaron Rodgers play has been shaky for most of the season and Detroit’s defense has been coming on strong as of late. The Lions look like they could be the team ready to go on a run in this division and sweep for the Packers for the first time in forever. Prediction: Lions 31 – Packers 21

Houston @ Buffalo – Houston is playing well going into this week’s game in Buffalo, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Last week, Houston completely shut down Drew Brees and the Saints offense while keeping them out of the end zone. Also with QB Brian Hoyer back in the line up, the Texans offense is looking more efficient each series. Buffalo has been inconsistent this season but they usually play stronger at home. Houston will be challenged greatly by Buffalo’s rushing attack. Houston’s secondary has been playing better lately but they will have their hands full with WR Sammy Watkins who is starting to demand the ball from Tyrod Taylor. Buffalo’s defense gave up too many yards last week in Kansas City and I think they’ll be up to the challenge to rebound from that performance this week at home. Buffalo has the front seven to stuff Houston’s run game and that will allow them to focus their attention on WR DeAndre Hopkins who is playing out of his mind right now. I’m going out on a limb on this one but I’m picking the home team. Prediction: Bills 22 – Texans 16

Seattle @ Minnesota – Russell Wilson had far and away his best passing game of the season last week at home vs. a weak Steelers secondary. I think Seattle’s offense is getting too much credit for last week. I mean, I don’t mean to take anything away from Wilson and the Seahawks passing game but Pittsburgh’s secondary was horrible last week. This week in Minnesota, Seattle will face a much tougher secondary and overall defense in the Vikings. Seattle’s defense also gave up a lot of yards through the air last week and their pass rush didn’t have an affect on the game until the second half. I think Minnesota will be able to play ball control football by feeding their beast, Adrian Peterson, and giving QB Teddy Bridgewater time to execute big plays through the air. Prediction: Vikings 27 – Seahawks 20

New York Jets @ New York Giants – This edition of the battle for New York is especially important because both teams are competing for a playoff spot in their respected conferences. The Giants laid an absolute egg last week on the road at Washington. Meanwhile, the Jets were dominant against a weak Miami team. The Giants are trending down going into this week but they matchup well against the Jets. The Giants have issues with running the football and that should continue this week as the Jets have a strong defensive front seven. However for the Jets defense, they might be without CB Darrelle Revis again which would spell bad news for this secondary going up against WR Odell Beckham Jr. Eli Manning struggled for most of last weeks game and the Giants will need him to be sharp this week against a shorthanded Jets secondary. The Giants defense underperformed last week and they’ll be challenged again this week against the Jets. The Jets offense had a strong performance last week as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for multiple touchdowns, Brandon Marshall continued to be a reliable target, and RB Chris Ivory was able to get the tough yards for this offense. I believe that the Jets will be able to get their offense going this week but the Giants are in “must win” mode and are the most desperate team in this contest. I think Eli Manning will be able to rebound and play great for all 4 quarters this week. Prediction: Giants 25 – Jets 24

Indianapolis @ Pittsburgh – Indy’s victory over Tampa Bay last week was closer than what the scoreboard read. I remember last season when the Colts played in Pittsburgh in an absolute shootout. With the current state of the Colts passing game, I don’t see that happening this time around. Or maybe not because the Pittsburgh secondary is coming off its worst performance of the season. Last week, Jameis Winston left a lot of yards on the table against this Colts defense. That wont be the case for Ben Roethlisberger and the many weapons at the receiver position. Roethlisberger is coming off a concussion injury so we do have to wonder if he will be still feeling effects from that injury on Sunday night. If Ben is not 100%, Pittsburgh may have to lean on its running game this week. That might not be a bad thing, as Indy doesn’t really have a tough run defense. The Colts defense has been playing better recently but they still have been an underachieving unit for most of the season. With all the injuries Pittsburgh has had to deal with, I think they are still head and shoulders the better team on the field this week. If Pittsburgh drops this one at home, their playoff chances will be in serious jeopardy. Prediction: Steelers 28 – Colts 20

The Rest of Week 13

Bears over 49ers – This Chicago squad is playing hard for head coach John Fox.

Bengals over Browns – Cleveland is starting Austin Davis at QB this week. What kind of message do you think that sends to the Browns locker room? Does Davis, who has only been in Cleveland for weeks now, truly give Cleveland its best chance to win on Sunday? Does Mike Pettine believe that his locker room will rally around Davis? Cleveland is a mess. This should be an easy week for the Bengals. #FreeJohnnyFootball

Titans over Jaguars – Tennessee lost a close one last week. Their efforts will be awarded this week vs. Jacksonville.

Cardinals over Rams – Arizona must keep their current momentum to fend off Seattle for the division.

Ravens over Dolphins – Miami is playing awful right now. Ryan Tannehill may have hit his ceiling.

Falcons over Buccaneers – Atlanta must win this one to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Chiefs over Raiders – Kansas City is getting the most out of their offense while the defense is playing at a high level.

Broncos over Chargers – The Brock Osweiler hype train in gaining stream but everyone needs to relax. Then again, he’ll probably play good again this week at San Diego.

Patriots over Eagles – No Gronk, no problem? I don’t know about that. I do know that the Eagles secondary can’t stop anyone.

Panthers over Saints – After that horrible offensive performance, New Orleans will face a tough, undefeated Carolina defense. Bad news for the Saints.

Washington over Cowboys – I’m not sure if I’m buying Washington has the best team in the NFC Least. Who knows what Dallas can offer with the type of season they are having. They could easily regroup and win this game on the road or continue to disappoint. Who knows.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Cam Newton (Panthers) – Newton isn’t leading in any passing category but he will look sharp against this New Orleans secondary.

RB: C.J. Anderson (Broncos) – After ending New England’s undefeated season last week, Anderson may have another big day against San Diego’s run defense.

WR: Brandon Marshall (Jets) – Marshall is quietly having a nice season and that should continue against the Giants secondary.

TE: Travis Kelce (Chiefs) – Kelce has been a reliable target for Alex Smith this season.

DEF: Chicago – The Bears defense did a great job last week limiting Aaron Rodgers. Hopefully they can continue that success against San Francisco’s woeful offense.

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NFL 2015: Week 12 Predictions!

Tony Romo

Tony Romo is back. And this time, he’s on a mission to save the world. I think.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 8-6

Season: 101-59

Big Five Games of the Week

Carolina @ Dallas – Carolina is still undefeated going into this Thanksgiving matchup against the Cowboys. Carolina looked really impressive last week crushing Washington in all three phases of the game. Carolina’s defense is the real tone setter for this team as the offense just does enough to put enough points on the board. Not to take any thing away from Cam Newton, as he is a legit MVP candidate. But Carolina ranks near the bottom in passing offense. Carolina runs the ball decently and they should match up nicely against a Cowboys defense that can get consistent play from their front four. Dallas’ defense has issues with creating turnovers in the secondary but I don’t really see Newton really torching this team through the air. Newton throws the ball so hard. I wouldn’t be surprised if that equated into some turnovers for the Dallas defense finally. On offense, the Cowboys got their savior back last week in Tony Romo. Romo was a bit rusty but he got the job done that pass QB’s couldn’t do in the last seven weeks. I think Romo will play better as he gets more comfortable but that might be hard to do this week against the Panthers defense. Romo’s pass protection has been shaky in the last couple weeks as he needs better play from his tackles this week. Dallas has been consistent with the running game recently as RB Darren McFadden is running hard. Now with the passing game back as being a legit threat, the Panthers defense will have its hands full in this game. Carolina has been probably the most impressive team in the league so far this season but I don’t see them winning out. They are definitely beatable in this road matchup. I believe Carolina is the better team but I’m going full homer with this pick. Dallas needs this win if they are able to pull it off the confidence for the rest of the season will be sky high. It should be interesting. I’m taking the Cowboys. Prediction: Cowboys 32 – Panthers 28

Minnesota @ Atlanta – Both of these NFC playoff contenders find themselves in the same place going into this Week 12 matchup. Minnesota was outclassed at home last week against Green Bay but really, that game was closer than what the scoreboard said. Atlanta had the chance to get an impressive win last week at home but a couple late Matt Ryan turnovers won it for the Colts. Now, both teams are looking up at their division leaders but they still have time to maybe catch up. Atlanta’s defense has underwhelmed recently especially at stopping the run. Atlanta has great talents at the skill positions on offense but Ryan’s turnovers are becoming an issue. Plus, starting RB Devonta Freeman may not play because he suffered a concussion last week. It might be hard to believe that the Falcons would lose two straight at home but I’m taking the Vikings to bounce back against them this week. Atlanta has a top ranked run defense but Adrian Peterson should still have a big game. Prediction: Vikings 29 – Falcons 24

Tampa Bay @ Indianapolis – Don’t look now but the Buccaneers are starting to stake their claim for second place in the NFC South. The Bucs are playing better down the stretch especially on the defensive side of the ball. Tampa’s linebackers have especially been impressive recently. QB Jameis Winston is still a work in progress but he is coming off his most impressive game in his rookie year. Winston’s 5-touchdown pass performance last week might go a long way in the maturation of him as a player. Indy had struggles scoring points last week but they eventually got it together and was able to win a close one. Indy’s defense was able to close out a victory by causing some late turnovers. Hopefully, that performance can be infectious as Winston can be prone to turnovers. The Colts did a good job stopping Atlanta’s run game last week and they’ll face another big test this week in Tampa’s Doug Martin. Martin is coming off a monster game and Tampa will be hoping to give him his fair share of touches on Sunday. QB Matt Hasselbeck was shaky last week but I believe that he can play better against the Tampa Bay secondary. I’m taking the Colts. Prediction: Colts 20 – Buccaneers 14

Pittsburgh @ Seattle – Coming off the bye week, the Steelers have a tall task on Sunday against Seattle on the road. Pittsburgh has fought off a lot of injuries this season but they have a lot of talent on that roster and they are still a very dangerous team. Seattle has not been as impressive this season compared to years past. Seattle still has a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball but I don’t feel that teams really fear that unit as they used to. Ben Roethlisberger wont be shy on Sunday, as he will attempt to attack the Legion of Boom from all angles. The matchup between Antonio Brown and Richard Sherman should especially be entertaining. Pittsburgh’s running game didn’t look great in their last game and Seattle still has one of the better run defenses in the league. So, I would expect Roethlisberger to throw the ball a lot of Sunday. For Seattle, they will once again be without Marshawn Lynch. Rookie Thomas Rawls has been playing great in Lynch’s absence and Seattle will continue to give him the bulk of the carries against this Steelers defense. Pittsburgh has been a tough team to run against this season so this matchup will be key. Pittsburgh’s secondary has been a weakness this season but QB Russell Wilson will be in serious trouble if his offensive line continues to play like it has been all season. Pittsburgh’s pass rush has been inconsistent at times this season but I believe that they will be able to get after Wilson on Sunday. I think Seattle will win this game on Sunday because Pittsburgh offense will become one dimensional against the Seattle defense. I think Roethlisberger will turn in over a couple of times as Seattle can still be a tough place to play as an opposing QB. I think Pittsburgh is the more talented team but Seattle needs a big home victory to regain some of the confidence that was lost in their last real big home game vs. Arizona. Prediction: Seahawks 28 – Steelers 17

New England @ Denver – Is Brock Osweiler the future at QB for the Broncos? That remains to be unseen but he looked decent last week on the road. They will need another strong performance from Osweiler this week as the Broncos will be hosting the undefeated Patriots on Sunday night. New England is undefeated and you must respect that but much like the Panthers in the NFC, the Patriots are not an unstoppable juggernaut and they are beatable. In New England’s last two games vs. the Giants and the Bills, both of the opposing defenses were able to pressure New England’s offense and it took some heroics for the Patriots to come out victorious. I believe Denver has a better defense than the Bills and the Giants and it will be the greatest test for Tom Brady yet this season. Denver has the pass rush to get after Brady and the secondary is physical and tough to knock around New England’s receivers. Brady was kind of shorthanded last week without Julian Edelman and he might be really shorthanded this week as Danny Amendola is questionable due to a knee injury. TE Rob Gronkowski was quiet last week but Brady might have to force him the ball this week. Denver did a good job limiting Chicago’s offense last week and that defense will definitely be up to the task this week at home against Tom Brady. On offense, Denver must continue to keep things simple for Osweiler as New England’s defense is pretty good. DE Chandler Jones is having a great season and Osweiler will need to know where he is lining up at all times. I think Gary Kubiak will be able to run his offense the way he wants to this week in terms of running the football. New England has a tough run defense but they didn’t have a strong performance last week at home. It will take a total team effort for the Broncos but I believe that they’ll be able to give the Patriots their first loss of the season this Sunday night. Peyton Manning might never start a game again for Denver. Prediction: Broncos 27 – Patriots 20

The Rest of Week 12

Lions over Eagles – Jim Caldwell is getting his Lions to play hard for him even though his time with the team might be running out. Philadelphia is trending down as the finger pointing has officially begun.

Packers over Bears – A strange but busy night for the NFC North this Thanksgiving. Its Brett Favre night at Lambeau Field. Zero chance for Chicago tomorrow night.

Bengals over Rams – It’s not time to panic in Cincinnati.

Raiders over Titans – Oakland is starting to lose that early season glow that they had. Tennessee is just a bad team this year.

Chiefs over Bills – Philadelphia fans must be so salty over Kansas City’s unexpected success this season. The Chiefs might be able to ride their defense into playoff contention. Tyrod Taylor will be in for a long day.

Jets over Dolphins – I still think the Jets are good enough to not be in the AFC East basement this year. Miami on the other hand……

Giants over Washington – If both NFC East teams lose on Thursday, which could very well happen, suddenly, this becomes a very important game. Its Krik Cousins and Eli Manning in a chuck fest.

Chargers over Jaguars – Phillip Rivers’ pain must end eventually, right?

Texans over Saints – DeAndre Hopkins is great no matter who is throwing him the ball. That kid has proven this season to be a legit great player.

Cardinals over 49ers – I wonder where Colin Kaepernick will be playing next season.

Ravens over Browns – Johnny Manziel played decent going into the bye week. But because the media blew up an Instagram post, he will never get the chance to prove his worth to the Cleveland organization. The Browns are a mess and they should be detracted from the league. Baltimore lost Joe Flacco for the season but who cares. The boos from the Factory of Sadness will be deafening. #FreeJohnnyFootball

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Phillip Rivers (Chargers) – I feel sorry for Phillip Rivers. But at least he’ll be facing a Jacksonville secondary that ranks in the bottom ten of the league.

RB: Chris Ivory (Jets) – Ivory had a tough game last week but Miami’s run defense has been consistently bad all season.

WR: DeAndre Hopkins (Texans) – Hopkins has been unstoppable and he’ll look that way again this Sunday against the Saints secondary.

TE: Delanie Walker (Titans) – Walker has been consistent and Oakland struggles against the pass.

DEF: Kansas City – The Chiefs made it a long day for Phillip Rivers last week. I’m sure they’ll be able to get after a banged up Tyrod Taylor.

NFL 2015: Week 11 Predictions!!!

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Oakland Raiders

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

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 7-7

Season: 93-53

Big Five Games of the Week

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

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

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

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

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

The Rest of Week 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

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

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

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

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

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