Tag Archives: Minnesota Vikings

Uniform Grades for all 32 NFL Teams

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By: Elias McMillan

So, I did this once before about 7 years ago. Since then, there’s obviously been many changes across the NFL uniform scape. Going into this 2020 season, we’ll see seven different teams with new duds. I thought this would be a good time to refresh my original rankings. This time, I separated my grades, not by conference, but by categories (Classics, Modern, and The Worst). I used a A+ to F grade scale for each uniform combination being used by the teams currently. At the end of each assessment, I ask myself if the team should totally REBRAND, GO BACK to a prior uniform, or STAND PAT with what they currently have. Through this experience, I’ve learned that I’m a tough grader. When I did break it down, 4 different divisions ranked higher than the others averaging out to B+ grades. The lowest division was the NFC West. Alright, let’s begin with the teams that scored the highest: The Classics.

The Classics

Las Vegas Raiders – A+

Grades: Black/Silver: A+, White/Silver: A+, Throwback: B+

Summary: The best uniform in the NFL. Timeless. Iconic. Throughout different cities, the Raiders brand remains as strong as ever with the shield logo and the silver and black uniforms. The silver numbers on the throwback don’t look as good as the road ones but its still a decent uniform.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: They can’t make changes now even though they’re in a new city. I shutter to think.

Chicago Bears – A+

Grades: Blue/White: A+, Orange/White: B-, White/Blue: A+, Throwback: A

Summary: The Bears have the iconic uniforms in the NFL if you ask me. Pretty much unchanged for most of this franchise’s history, the Bears blue, orange, and white scheme has stood the test of time. The Orange jerseys are not the best but they serve as a nice switch up.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: The Bears might play around with different throwbacks each year but their basic home and away duds will remain.

San Francisco 49ers – A+

Grades: Red/Gold: A+, White/Gold: A, White Throwback: A-

Summary: Here’s another iconic uniform in NFL history. The 49ers have had plenty of great moments in franchise history in the home reds or the white away jerseys. The gold helmet and pants are synonymous with their history. They’ve had some bad alternates in the past but their current throwbacks have received a warm reception. I never really liked the blocked numbers for them but the all-white is clean.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: They’ve flirted with some disasters so; they’ll be better off sticking with their current uniforms.

Dallas Cowboys – A

Grades: White/Silver: A, Blue/White: B, Blue/Silver: B+, Color Rush: A

Summary: The Cowboys, currently, have inconsistencies with their blues and silvers but they still have one of the most iconic uniforms in sports. You can’t beat the silver helmet and white jersey combo. It just feels like Sunday afternoon. The Blue jersey doesn’t get enough love either. Their color rush, a play on the throwbacks that they wore in ‘94, are solid and clean.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: The brand is too iconic to change. Once the one shell helmet rule changes, we’ll see the throwbacks with the white helmets again.

Pittsburgh Steelers – A

Grades: Black/Yellow: B+, White/Yellow: B+, Color Rush: A, Throwback: A+

Summary: The black and gold of the Steelers has been a staple when you talk about iconic uniforms in sports. They’ve pretty much stuck with the basic black helmets and yellow pants with black striping for decades. The italic numbers were groundbreaking in the ‘90s but they probably should go away. The Steelers have had some terrible alternates in recent history but they should definitely stick with their current ones.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: They brought back the block numbers as a throwback and they are awesome. They should just bring that back to both home and away uniforms. I don’t care how close it is to Iowa’s uniforms.

New Orleans Saints – A

Grades: Black/Gold: A-, Black: A, White/Gold: B+, White: B, Color Rush: A

Summary: The Saints have some of the sharpest uniforms in the league. They are basically the Raiders of the NFC sans the successful history. The gold numbers on the all-white color rush uniforms really pop and are among the most popular sets in the league. The all-blacks at home are good. They’ve recently started wearing white pants on the road, which actually look good as well.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: The Saints have no reason to change anything. Don’t bring back the gold jerseys.

Green Bay Packers – B+

Grades: Green/Yellow: A+, White: B+, White/Yellow: A, Throwback: C

Summary: Green Bay’s uniforms have been virtually untouched for decades and that’s how it needs to stay. Either home or away, they have one of the NFL’s most iconic looks. I like the addition of the white pants just so the announcers can call them the “White Cheese” uniforms. The throwback uniforms they currently have are awful. I’m sure they can find some type of better alternate from their past to use.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: I don’t need to explain why. Simple and iconic, there would be great outrage if Nike ever switched them up.

Indianapolis Colts – B+

            Grades: Blue/White: B+, White: B+

Summary: The Colts uniforms have been virtually untouched for the entire history of the franchise, spanning between decades and different cities. In 2020, they will be introducing some winkles that aren’t really dramatic but are different. There will be a new number font and a few new logo marks but their home and away uniforms will pretty much remain the same.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: The uniform is boring but classic. No need to change these, ever.

Kansas City Chiefs – B

            Grades: Red/White: B+, Red: B-, White/Red: B+

  Summary: Kansas City’s uniforms have stood the test of time and are a modern day classic. The “fire truck” red stands out in all of their combinations.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: No reason to modernize these.

Miami Dolphins – B

Grades: Aqua/White: B+, Aqua: C, White: B, White/Aqua: B-, Throwback: A, White Throwback: A

Summary: After a rebrand and a slight number font change, I think Nike finally got the Miami Dolphins right. Their “regular” home and away sets are okay but only overshadowed because of how good their throwbacks look. Bringing those back were a gift and a curse. At least they’ve moved from their “orange” phase.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: Miami opened Pandora’s box when they brought back their throwback uniforms. Time to scrap the rebrand and embrace this “return to the past” fad.

Buffalo Bills – B

Grades: Blue/White: B, Blue: C, White: B+, White/Blue: B-, Throwback: A-, Color Rush: C

Summary: Buffalo’s uniforms should be acknowledged as a classic. The decision to go back to white helmets turned out to be a good one. I think their best look is their all white throwbacks with the vintage mark on the helmet. The red color rush needs to go but Shady McCoy did a great job making that uniform look cool in the snow a few years back.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: Reebok had Buffalo in some strange looking threads years ago. They won’t go back to that.

New York Giants – B

Grades: Blue/White: B, White/Grey: C, White Throwback: A

Summary: I hate the Giants as a team (I’m a Cowboys fan) but I must admit, I really like their home uniform. Something about that solid blue jersey. The away duds almost look like they’re from a different team. It’s just that the red has become too dominant. The away set should be closer to what their current throwback is.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: In fact, to piggyback off of my last point, the Giants should just go back to the uniforms from that era.

The Modern Designs

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The Chargers absolutely nailed it.

Los Angeles Chargers – A+

Grades: Blue/White: A+, Blue/Yellow: A+, White: A+, White/Yellow: B +, Throwback: B, Navy: A+

Summary: Where do I begin?! I love everything about this rebrand. As they said in the promo video, they took an already classic uniform and improved it. Love the addition of the numbers on the helmet. The lightning bolt down the pants are great. The all-Navy alternates maybe my personal favorite in the set, especially with the navy bolt logo on the helmet. Just about every detail on these new sets are a homerun.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: Don’t change a thing. I’m already thinking of playing with the Chargers in the next addition of Madden just so I can use the uniforms.

Cleveland Browns – A+

Grades: Brown/White: A, Brown: A+, White/Brown: A, White: A

Summary: Maybe its because the Browns were in uniform hell for a while. But besides that, Nike really nailed it with this reboot for Cleveland. Going back to a more traditional uniform has gain a positive reaction and I think it will influence more teams to do the same (looking at you, Seattle, Arizona, LA Rams). I’m biased because my high school colors were orange and brown but the Browns have always had a classic look. It’s just that the product on the field was so bad that fans couldn’t even notice. They kept the color rush from last year also which is a good thing.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: No need to change anything now. No orange jerseys. Orange pants? Maybe. Make the playoffs, first. Then, we’ll talk about orange pants.

Minnesota Vikings – B+

Grades: Purple/White: A, Purple: B, White/Purple: A, Color Rush:  B+

Summary: I like Minnesota’s current set. I like their unique number font and I like how they fixed the color on the matte helmet to match the purple on the jersey. The color rush with the yellow numbers isn’t bad either.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: The Vikings are another team that needs to stick with this traditional look.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – B+

Grades: Red/Pewter: A, White: B, White/Pewter: A, Pewter: C

Summary: Tampa Bay is yet another team that will be entering the 2020 season with new uniforms. The greatest part of this upgrade for Tampa is that Nike got rid of those awful “alarm clock” looking numbers. With the new set, block numbering returns and none of the weird piping. It’s a simple uniform but bold because of the red and pewter. Tampa already had an awesome helmet. Now, it’ll be paired with the pewter or white pants. I think Nike get a lot of warranted criticism but they at least got this one right. I don’t even think the all-Pewter uniforms are bad.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: They just left uniform hell. They’ll be keeping these new ones for a while, I imagine. I know many are wishing for the original Bucco Bruce to return with the orange creamsicle uniforms. Maybe when the NFL changes its “one-shell” rule with the helmets.

Baltimore Ravens – B+

Grades: Purple/White: B-, Black/White: B, Black: A, Purple: B-, White: B, White/Black: A-, White/Purple: C, Color Rush: B

Summary: The Ravens have had their look for a while now and it’s starting to get boring. I think the black jerseys and pants combos are their best look, easily. The purple pants are interesting but looks out of place with the white jersey and black helmet. They have one of the better color rush uniforms but that doesn’t say much.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: The Ravens look might of gotten stale with me but I cringe to think what Nike would do to them. I think Baltimore should keep what they have currently.

Carolina Panthers – B

Grades: Black/Grey: B, Blue/White: B-, White: B, White/Black: C, Black: A, Blue/Black: B-

Summary: Carolina has had one of the best color schemes in the league since they entered it. Their uniforms have been mostly unchanged but the few changes that have been made were good ones. The addition of the black pants was popular as their all-black uniform is one of the best in the league. I like their light blue alternate jersey but it doesn’t look quite right with the white or black pants. I wonder why they don’t just pair them with the home grey pants.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: Like I said, outside from minor changes, Carolina has had the same look for years. Nike has no need to muck it up.

Philadelphia Eagles – B

Grades: Forest/White: B, White: B+, White/Green: B+, Black: B

Summary: The Eagles have had their sharp look for a while now and it’s starting to get dull. It’s either that or too many people are clamoring for the Kelly Green uniforms to come back. But if we all just stop being nostalgic, you’ll notice that the current set is decent. The helmet goes great with the green jersey or with the all-white uniform. The black underlining might be the first thing to go if they ever do make a change.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: Though the current set isn’t that bad, they should totally go back to the Kelly Green, ditch the black, and bring back the grey pants. Basically what Atlanta should have done. Philadelphia can beat them to the punch.

Jacksonville Jaguars – B

Grades: Black/White: B+, Black/Teal: B, Teal/White: C, Teal/Black: B, White/Black: A, White/Teal: C-, Black: A, White: A

Summary: It’s been a wild ride but I think this franchise is content with their latest set from Nike. The actual jerseys and pants set are kind of boring but they pop enough to make a pretty unique and great uniform. But I can only say that for half of the set. Jacksonville’s uniforms have been iconic because of the success they’ve had in them. When I think about the all-Black or the black helmet/pants combo, I think of big post-season wins. The black helmet is great when paired with the all-white uniform or jersey. Not so much with the teal jersey but it looked much better in the past. The teal pants look like they don’t belong in this set.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: The teal jersey with the black helmet really looked nice with the original number font. Jacksonville should at the least bring this jersey back as a throwback.

Houston Texans – B-

Grades: Navy/White: B-, Red/White: C, White: B-, White/Navy: B, Navy: B, Navy Rush: B+

Summary: Houston has had the same uniforms for 20 years. The Navy helmet and jersey combo is starting to get bland but it is still one of the nicest looks in the league. The red jersey looks out of place in the set since they’ve stopped pairing it with the red pants. The red numbers, however, on the navy color rush really pops in a good way. Houston’s white sets of uniforms are also good, I think.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: There’s an outcry from Houston football fans to bring back the “Love Ya Blue”uniforms. But I think the Texans would be better off sticking with their current set.

Washington – B-

Grades: Red/White: B, White/Red: B+, Throwback: C

Summary: Nickname and logo aside, Washington actually has a pretty decent and iconic set. As one of the league’s oldest franchises, they bring a unique combo with the burgundy red and yellow. I think their road uniform is currently their best. They used to have yellow pants, which were good with the home jersey; not so much with the road. The throwback they currently wear isn’t bad but it doesn’t match the helmet color.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: The right answer is a total rebrand but that’s a conversation for another day. As long as they have that team name, I’ll expect them to just stay with their current uniforms.

Detroit Lions – B-

Grades: Blue/Grey: B, White/Grey: B, White/Blue: B-, Throwback: B+, Silver: C

Summary: Detroit rebranded a few years ago and it was a positive move. Sticking with their original blue/silver/white set and moving from the unneeded black outlines. Detroit also kept their throwbacks which one of the nicest looking ones in the league. I’m not too crazy about the all-silver uniform. They added blue pants with this current set and it isn’t too bad.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: Nike rebranded them recently so there isn’t a need to make any dramatic changes.

New York Jets – B

Grades: Green/White: B, Green: B-, White: B-, White/Green: B+, Black: B+

Summary: The Jets recent rebrand was met with a mixed reaction but I don’t really think of it as being a complete failure. I think they did miss a chance to do something real special and different. Instead, we got a boring template for a uniform and a barely changed logo. I do like the new helmet. Usually I’ll hate on the BFBS trend but these black uniforms aren’t bad.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? STAND PAT: These current uniforms are an escape from the past so I don’t see them going back anytime soon.

New England Patriots – B-

Grades: Navy: B-, White/Navy: B-

Summary: New England is yet another team that is getting new uniforms for 2020. But these are a surprisingly underwhelming. I guess they are based off the navy color rushes from recent seasons. New England’s previous uniforms weren’t that great to begin with but these new ones are just too plain looking. Not terrible but boring.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: Not sure what route New England should go but many liked the Patriot Pat on the helmet and the red jerseys.

Seattle Seahawks – C

Grades: Navy: B+, Green/Navy: D, White/Navy: A-, Grey: C, Green: D

Summary: The grades for Seattle are kind of skewed because they decide to still wear those lime green abominations. The Navy uniforms aren’t bad and their best on the road have been with the navy pants. That green is terrible though. And I’m on the fence for the grey uniforms as well. The designs of these uniforms aren’t terrible but some of the color combos are.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: I remember when Seattle rebranded in the early 2000s, they had a vote for the color of the helmet. I guess navy won, but now’s the time to go back in history (like every other franchise, apparently) and bring back the silver and royal blue look from the 80s.

The Worst

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Aaron Donald is too good of a player to be seen in these this season.

Los Angeles Rams – D

Grades: Blue/Yellow: A, Blue: C-, Bone: F

Summary: I keep trying to spin this into a positive for the Rams. But then, I look back at the reveal and I’m blown away. How could Nike let this happen? They had a chance to just keep things simple and return to the glorious uniforms of the early 90’s. Instead, we got gradient numbers, nametags, and something called “Bone”. Here’s the one positive: prior to this, the Rams were an absolute mess. Mismatched logos. Mismatched helmets and uniforms. It was bad.  With this new set, at least they have what looks like the classic blue/yellow home uniform. But the all-Blue looks like ridiculous pajamas. I hope they plan to wear the yellow pants on the road. Whoever thought this “Bone” idea for the road uniform was a good one should be punished by wearing it. One last positive thing: the new helmet is great. It’s a modern twist on the classic and the horns are meant to resemble the ones on the new logo.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: I didn’t hate the new Rams logo set as bad as everyone else did. They just need to go back to the drawing board with the uniforms. No need to complicate things.

Denver Broncos – C

Grades: Orange/White: C-, Blue/White: B-, White: B, Orange: C

Summary: The Broncos broke ground with their rebrand in the late 90’s but now; their current set is bland. They had the right idea going with the orange jersey as their home uniform years ago but it just looks mismatch now with the blue helmet and white pants. The all-Orange Crush color rush is probably a glimpse of what they will wear in the future but they are clearly in line for maybe not a total rebrand but at least new uniforms.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: With the Orange color rush, you get the throwback “D” logo on the helmet but it still doesn’t look quite right with the current navy blue. When they do the rebranding of the uniforms, they’ll need to not only bring back the orange home jerseys with the block numbers but they’ll need to also bring back the rocky mountain sky blue.

Atlanta Falcons – B-

Grades: Black/White: B, Black: B+, Red Gradient: D, White: C, White/Black: B, White/Red: B-, Throwback: A-

Summary: The Falcons rebrand for 2020 was disappointing to me. The two obvious things that bothered me were the red gradient jersey and the “ATL” word mark on every jersey. I feel like pro uniforms usually don’t have city names on the front, seems like a college move. Atlanta’s throwback uniform seems to be unchanged from recent years but they missed a great opportunity to bring back the grey pants. The new helmets even include a grey facemask so, it would make even more sense. Atlanta’s new matte helmets are the best part of the uniforms, btw.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? GO BACK: In about five years, Atlanta will do what Cleveland has done and get rid of the city mark and the gradient uniform and go with a more classic look. And they better bring back the grey pants.

Cincinnati Bengals – B-

Grades: Black/White: C, Black: B, White: B, White/Black: B-, Orange/White: C, Color Rush: B

Summary: I feel like I’m being kind here with the B- grade. The all-black and all-white uniforms aren’t too bad for me but it goes downhill from there. Reebok really screwed up this redesign from the early 2000’s. The patchwork jersey and weird piping is where this design is doomed. The color rush “white tiger” isn’t a bad idea but the helmet is still orange so why even try.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? REBRAND: It is an open secret that Cincinnati will be getting the full Nike treatment sooner than later. I bet they incorporate elements from the white tiger uniform. I hope this doesn’t mean a gradient helmet. Nike, please, learn from your mistakes in Jacksonville and now Atlanta. The NFL is changing the one shell helmet rule soon anyways. Stick with the tiger stripes and just simplify the uniforms.

Tennessee Titans – B-

Grades: Navy: B+, Blue: B, Blue/Navy: B, White: B, White/Blue: C, White/Navy: B, Navy/Blue: C

Summary: Tennessee rebranded a few years ago with mixed results. I don’t hate the helmet change but the uniforms have been really underwhelming. The Titans have many different combinations but I had a tough time deciding which one I liked best. Tennessee “best blue” in this set is the navy but I feel that it should be the light blue because division rival, Houston, is navy. The light blue jersey in this set is okay but the light blue pants just don’t look right.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? REBRAND: Tennessee’s uniforms are way too busy. They need to rebrand to something a lot simpler. I’m not sure what that would look like. They should make light blue their primary color and maybe red numbers. That could work on a simpler uniform.

Arizona Cardinals – C

Grades: Red/White: B-, Red: B, White: C, White/Red: C-, Black: B, Black/White: C-

Summary: The Cardinals have pretty much stayed the course since rebranding in 2005. It seemed radical at the time but I think it was only because their uniforms were so boring before. All of the losing didn’t help either. But its kind of ironic now that the more basic designs are starting to comeback. Arizona’s set fails to hit because of its weird piping that was trendy with the NFL at the time.

Rebrand, Go Back, or Stand Pat? REBRAND: I don’t think they need to completely turn back to the 90’s but I hope their next rebrand is simpler and uses yellow as a secondary color over black which makes them look like an Atlanta Falcons knock off. Also from the 90’s, they used to incorporate the Arizona state flag. They should try that again. I’ve seen mock-ups that aren’t too bad.

 

 

 

 

 

2020 NFL Mock Draft (Three Rounds!)

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This year’s draft will hinge on which team will take a chance on QB Tua Tagovailoa.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, this year’s NFL Draft will be different to say the least. And because of social distancing, teams will have a harder time making evaluations on players as many pro days and one-on-one interviews had to be canceled. With those factors considered, one scout was recently quoted saying “Mock Drafts everywhere will probably be all over the place, not even being close to resembling what the teams are really thinking”. That being said, I’m feeling REAL good about my mock this year. And because of all the time I’ve had to work on it, for the first time, I mocked the first 3 rounds! It’s not exciting. It’s not worthy of an exclamation point. I’ll never do that again. Anyways. Cincinnati, you’re up…..

ROUND 1

1. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU: This will be one of those drafts where the first overall pick was determined back when the college football season ended. QB Joe Burrow took the NCAA by storm in 2019 winning the Heisman and leading his LSU Tigers to a national championship. Though loaded with talent, Burrow was the triggerman for the Tiger offense, accounting for 60 touchdowns. Now, Burrow will have the chance to turn around a franchise needing a change at QB from Andy Dalton.

2. Washington – Chase Young, DE, Ohio State: Washington has an interesting decision to make at pick number two. They could either trade the pick to a QB needy franchise or they could just take the best player in the draft. I think they will choose the latter. Washington wouldn’t exactly be drafting for need here but the addition of Young would make that defensive front seven one of the best units in the league. Young is your prototype blue-chipper at defensive end. With elite size and speed, he dominated during most of his college career and he should be on pace to be an outstanding pro.

*****TRADE***** Lions trade 3rd overall pick to Dolphins for 5th overall pick, 18th overall pick, 4th round pick (141), and a 2021 1st round pick.

3. Miami Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama: Miami has three picks in the first round and I don’t believe they attend to keep them. I think the Dolphins will pull the trigger, throw caution to the wind, and make the big trade in this draft for the player they’ve wanted since 2018. Miami has the assets to pull off such a deal. The only question will be with finding the right trade partner. Washington is a candidate but they would be missing out on the best player in the draft. Detroit on the other hand really has nothing to lose. Three first round draft picks is a steep price for a player with durability issues. But Miami can afford it. If healthy, Tua is talented enough as a passer where he probably would have gone first overall. If he’s healthy, great. If not, you can sit him a year. This is all weighing him showing that big time talent once he’s healthy.

4. New York Giants – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia: The Giants have a chance to grab a talented football player at the 4th overall spot. They could do that with Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons. But I think they’ll go to the other side of the ball and think about protecting their future franchise QB, Daniel Jones. Thomas, out of Georgia, has been rising up draft boards and he’ll help improve an offensive line that struggled in 2019.

5. Detroit Lions – Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State: Detroit trades back and still gets the corner they need. The Lions traded away Darius Slay in the offseason but signed veteran Desmond Trufant in a responding move. They still need to get younger at that CB position as their pass defense was the worst in football last year. Okudah is regarded as the best corner in this year’s draft so; this selection for Detroit would make sense to me.

6. Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon: When you look at the Chargers roster, you’ll see that quarterback is a glaring need. I don’t know why the Chargers haven’t reached out to one of the free agents (Newton, Winston) but I don’t believe is it because they have big time faith into Tyrod Taylor. This tells me that they are thinking “QB. No matter what” in the first round. If they wont trade up for Tua, my guess is they’ll be okay with picking this kid out of Oregon. Justin Herbert could have left college a year ago and been a top pick but he decided to stay at Oregon where he really didn’t improve his draft status but he also didn’t hurt it. I see Herbert as an average player that shouldn’t go in the top-10 but sometimes these QBs find a way to get drafted earlier than they should. I think Herbert throws a good ball and is more athletic than you might think. That may be good enough for the Chargers to take a chance with him at pick number 6 overall.

7. Carolina Panthers – Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn: Carolina is going to have to be good defensively if they hope to compete in the NFC South in the near future. Right now, their defensive line looks depleted and they need space eaters up front so that LB group can make plays. I think Derrick Brown fits the build for what the Panthers need up front at 315 pounds. I watched his highlight reel and this guy is throwing offensive lineman into QB’s and literally suplexing ball carriers. He’s a disrupter.

8. Arizona Cardinals – Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama: The SEC continues to dominate this mock draft. I criticized Arizona for not taking Nick Bosa last year over their future franchise QB Kyler Murray. Now that they have Murray, I think Arizona better start investing in that offensive line. Depending on aging veterans who get injured isn’t going to cut it. Many consider Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr. to be the best offensive tackle in the draft.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars – Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson: Jacksonville is in the middle of a messy rebuild so it may not be the best locker room environment for any rookie. But with DE Yannick Ngakoue looking for the next train leaving Duval, the Jags could select the most versatile defender in the draft. Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons can make an impact for any defense as a pass rusher or in coverage as a linebacker or safety. I think the Jaguars are in the market for a young beast at linebacker since the sudden retirement of Telvin Smith. They’ll be thrilled for the opportunity to take Simmons at 9.

10. Cleveland Browns – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville: Up front, the Browns were average at best offensively. They should honestly call Washington about trading for Trent Williams. If they want all those skill players to help boost the offense, Baker Mayfield is going to need protection. Mekhi Becton is a monster at 6’7 but is also an accomplished player at tackle earning All-ACC honors in 2019. He’ll help Cleveland get younger at that position while developing into the team’s future starting left tackle.

11. New York Jets – Tristan Wirfs, OT/OG, Iowa: This a deep wide receiver class so the Jets will wait to address that position. Instead, I think the Jets need to make sure they getting the most of Le’Veon Bell. They had the 2nd worst run offense in the league last season and if you watched this offense in 2019, you’ll see that it wasn’t the player’s fault. The Jets need to invest up front and Tristan Wirfs is a mauler. Able to play tackle or guard, they will find a place for him early in his career on this offensive line.

12. Las Vegas Raiders – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama: The Raiders have an “Antonio Brown” sized hole in their receiver room and they have the choice of any player at that position in this draft. This WR class is deep but everyone knows that there are three standouts at the top. Any of them could end up getting selected first but I think it is going to be Jeudy. The All-American is coming off a productive college career and his top end speed should allow him to be a constant deep threat for Derek Carr.

13. San Francisco 49ers – Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina: After trading away DeForest Buckner, the 49ers would be real lucky if this disrupter falls to them at 12. Kinlaw has been long rumored to be a top-10 selection in the draft even before his final season as a Gamecock started. If you ever watched a South Carolina game, you would notice Kinlaw as the huge person in the middle of the field pushing the opposition backwards. Kinlaw offers great size and athleticism. He’ll be a factor as a pro against the run or as an interior rusher.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida: I’m thinking if Tampa Bay is really investing into Tom Brady for the next few years, they might be looking for pass protection at this pick. But I feel if the top 4 offensive linemen are gone, they won’t reach for one. Instead, how about improving that secondary that was 30th in the league last season. Florida’s CJ Henderson is a long and lanky dude with elite speed. They could use him in Tampa.

Lamb202015. Denver Broncos – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma: Denver gets a big target here for QB Drew Lock. Lamb may be the best receiver from this talented class. He is your future #1 WR who was the top target of 2 of the last 3 Heisman trophy winners, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Lamb is a possession receiver who can catch balls over the middle and can go up and get it in the redzone.

16. Atlanta Falcons – K’Lavon Chaisson, DE/OLB, LSU: Atlanta ranked near the bottom of the league in sacks last season and they parted ways with edge rusher Vic Beasley. Chaisson is a promising prospect at just 20 years old but was a defensive MVP on a talented LSU Tiger defense. Scouts say that Chaisson has a “high ceiling” meaning that he could develop into a premiere pass rusher in the NFL.

17. Dallas Cowboys – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama: Dallas might be thinking defense with the departures of Robert Quinn and Byron Jones. But I think they’ll be okay with one of the top 3 WR falling to them. The Cowboys had a great passing attack in 2019 but this would put them over the top. Ruggs offers game changing speed, which will make him a threat every time he touches the ball.

18. Detroit Lions – Grant Delpit, S, LSU: After taking the top corner in the draft earlier, Detroit gets the chance here to remake their secondary with the extra pick from Miami. At the top of the safety class this year are two guys from the SEC. I think LSU’s Grant Delpit separates from the group as more of a ballhawk type of player. Though it may not matter in the fall, Delpit’s time in the 40 also may put him over.

19. Las Vegas Raiders – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma: After helping their offense with the 12th pick, the Raiders go to the defensive side with this selection. Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray plays with great intensity and just flies to the football. He’s the type of the player that Coach Gruden gravitates to and says “Hey man. You know what? (Nods) You’re a good football player, man.”

20. Jacksonville Jaguars – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama: Once upon time, Jacksonville had a slew of young defensive studs. And it was good. Good enough to almost make a Super Bowl. Two years later and that foundation has since then fallen apart. Now, Jacksonville must reload on defense, which is why I think they’ll spend their second 1stround pick on Alabama safety Xavier McKinney. Now, Delpit from LSU might be a hair faster but McKinney offers similar speed and is more of a thumper defending the run.

21. Philadelphia Eagles – Austin Jackson, OT, USC: Eagles fans will be screaming for a wide out here at 21 but their roster has major holes at other positions. Take for example: offensive tackle, where mainstay Jason Peters was not retained. If the Eagles are going to stick with injury prone QB Carson Wentz, they are going to need a new left tackle. USC’s Austin Jackson might be a reach but I think Philly needs him especially with Washington landing Chase Young.

22. Minnesota Vikings – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU: Minnesota got this pick by trading away a wide out so, they’ll aim to replace him here. Justin Jefferson has been described as “QB friendly”. Despite being barely above 6 feet, Jefferson built a solid college career by always getting open and being able to play well on the outside or in the slot. He’ll fit in well opposite Adam Thielen in the Vikings passing attack.

23. New England Patriots – Zach Baun, LB, Wisconsin: The Patriots could go many ways with this selection but I think they’ll give attention to a defense that was their strength last year but will be missing many pieces due to free agency. New England may be looking at the linebacker position as Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins left for new teams. Wisconsin’s Zach Baun doesn’t look like a typical NFL linebacker but his talent makes him stand out. Considered a sleeper but rising across many draft boards, Baun is a sure tackler and is a demon coming off the edge. Again size might be an issue but he is described as a grinder. The type of player that would catch the attention of Coach Bill Belichick. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pats think about their QB situation here too.

24. New Orleans Saints – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: I really don’t know what the Saints will do with this first round pick. If you look at their roster, you don’t really see many glaring holes. Except at backup QB; a position on a football team not usually addressed in the first round. But consider this: Teddy Bridgewater is now in Carolina, Taysom Hill is on a restricted one-year deal, and the face of the franchise is about really to hang ‘em up. Jordan Love is a small school product but he sits tall in the pocket and throws a really good ball. What a great situation it would be for him to learn under Brees and Sean Payton and eventually lead this Saints team into the new decade.

25. Minnesota Vikings – Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State: With their second 1st round pick, Minnesota may be looking to replace veteran DE Everson Griffen who left via free agency. Yetur Gross-Matos, probably the best name in the draft, was a productive all-conference player at Happy Valley and would be a fit as an edge rusher in a 4-3 defense.

26. Miami Dolphins – Josh Jones, OT, Houston: After trading three 1st rounders to get Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins could look to add some protection for their investment. Miami allowed the second most sacks in the league and had a league worst ranked run game. Tua Tagovailoa or not, they need to address their offensive line. Josh Jones would be the next best tackle off the board. Miami can still add other pieces later.

uamooww5y7bnqoquics227. Seattle Seahawks – AJ Epenesa, DE, Iowa: Seattle’s defense was kinda bad last year if you look at the numbers. The once-renounced secondary was ranked near the bottom in the league and they were second to last in the league in sacks. Jadeveon Clowney will not be back and I don’t think Bruce Irvin is a suitable replacement. I think Pete Carroll will consider the pass rusher out of Iowa, Epenesa. He’s not exactly a speed rusher off the edge but at 6’5 he offers tremendous size and great technique. Able to play on the edge or inside, I get major “J.J. Watt vibes” watching his highlight tape. His size and length make him a chore for any offensive lineman and I think he could develop into a great defender.

28. Baltimore Ravens – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU: With the moves the Ravens have already made in this offseason, you would think that upgrading the defense is a priority. I feel that they still haven’t recovered from the loss of C.J. Mosley. LSU’s Patrick Queen was the “QB” of a very talented defense in college. He offers great range and speed from sideline to sideline and decent coverage skills. He could eventually be a leader for this defense in the future.

29. Tennessee Titans – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU: Confession: I don’t like many of the corners in this draft. Many great athletes but not enough physicality. There are a few exceptions though. Jeff Gladney is less than 6 feet but has been one of the top corners in the Big 12 and he isn’t shy when it comes to tackling. He could help Tennessee’s aging secondary.

30. Green Bay Packers – Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado: Green Bay’s passing attack kinda had a dull season ranking 17th in the league. Shenault Jr. from Colorado could be able to help them to return to elite status. Shenault Jr. is a load for a wideout at 225 pounds but offers elite speed, running a 4.5 forty yard dash at the combine. He can be a possession receiver in the slot and a receiving threat from the backfield as a RB. Shenault Jr. may remind Packers fans of Randall Cobb.

31. San Francisco 49ers – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson: Higgins from Clemson is one of the tallest receivers in this draft class. But other than height, he offers big play capability every time he touches the ball. Higgins displays excellent hands, ball skills, and underrated speed. He’ll fit right in with a San Francisco offense looking for more young playmakers.

32. Kansas City Chiefs – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU: And the first round ends with another member of the National Champions. The Super Bowl Champion, Chiefs, did not retain a couple of their corners and they are looking a little thin at that position. I like Fulton who showed his toughness in press situations last season starting in all 15 games for the Tigers during their championship run. Leading the secondary in pass breakups, he’ll be a welcomed member of the Chiefs secondary along side fellow Tiger, Tyrann Mathieu.

ROUND 2

33. Cincinnati Bengals – Akeen Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State: To start the second round, I have the Bengals turning attention to their defense. They’ve addressed their secondary in free agency so here they’ll go linebacker with this small school product. Davis-Gaither is one of those undersized linebackers that defensive coaches value because of their ability to slip past blocks and make tackles.

34. Indianapolis Colts – Terrell Lewis, DE/LB, Alabama: The Colts traded their first round pick for some interior help on the defensive line. With their first 2nd round pick, they’ll aim to add some speed to their outside rush. Alabama’s Terrell Lewis may have had some injury problems in college but when healthy, he can be a force off the edge. Lewis is an incredible athlete for a guy north of 250 lbs. and that combination of size and speed could serve this Colts defense well.

35. Detroit Lions – Julian Okwara, DE, Notre Dame: Detroit already addressed their defense in the first round but the brother angle here is too good to pass up. The Lions already have Romeo Okwara so how about drafting his little brother Julian from Notre Dame. Julian is a versatile pass rusher that can also make plays as a linebacker.

36. New York Giants – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama: Trevon Diggs will probably go higher in the draft but I just didn’t like him as much as a prospect. Diggs offers great length and speed but lacks physicality. He does have great skills when the ball is in his hands. The Giants would fill a need here as their pass defense ranked near the bottom last season.

37. Los Angeles Chargers – Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State: Looking at the Chargers roster just frustrates me. Not only is it screaming “JUST SIGN CAM NEWTON”, the Chargers only have two, yes, TWO running backs under contract. But this scenario, I would imagine they will look for help at tackle to protect their future franchise QB they got in the 1st round.

38. Carolina Panthers – A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson: Carolina is looking thin in the secondary. Terrell took a beating in the National Championship game in college and they keep reminding us about it. Despite that, he’s a pretty good prospect and he’ll be looking to bounce back with a chip on his shoulder as a rookie.

Swift202039. Miami Dolphins – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia: Finally, the first running back comes off the board. Miami continues to add to its young offense with the back from Georgia. Swift isn’t the speedster that his name suggests but he’s kind of a “do-it-all” type of back. I mean, he does have speed but he can also run between the tackles and be a consistent target as a receiver.

40. Houston Texans – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin: Might start to see a string of RBs being selected? Probably not. But I could see Houston taking a flyer on one of the most productive backs from CFB. Taylor’s workload in college might have been heavy but I don’t understand why that would hurt his stock. Taylor is your prototypical 3 down back that would fit in any scenario in the backfield.

41. Cleveland Browns – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State: On first thought, I didn’t think the Browns were thin at WR but they are. If that’s the case, they’ll love this speedy dude out of the Pac-12. There are similar guys at WR in this draft but what pops on Aiyuk’s tape is his smoothness. The way he gets in and out of his cuts. He has crazy vision and speed, which makes him dangerous with every possession. He does carry a bit of an injury concern but he could be a real difference maker for this Browns offense. And you can’t forget his return abilities on special teams. This would be a real good get for Cleveland.

42. Jacksonville Jaguars – Cam Akers, RB, Florida State: Leonard Fournette will be the next “veteran” to part from what was once a great roster in Jacksonville. But while he is still under contract, Jacksonville can attempt to get the most out of their running game by drafting his maybe replacement in the 2nd round. Cam Akers is a better player than what he showed in college, as he just happened to play on some bad offenses. At barely 6 feet, he displays toughness and getaway speed with each carry.

43. Chicago Bears – Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma: Chicago has two selections in the 2nd round. With this pick, I see them adding some youth to their defensive front. Gallimore was a big time disrupter as a Sooner, earning the incredibly awesome nickname, “The Canadian Bulldozer”.

44. Indianapolis Colts – Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor: With their second pick in this round, the Colts decide to add a new dimension to their passing attack. Mims is an intriguing prospect with the ability to go up and get the ball in red zone situations. His stock has been rising recently and he might go sooner than 44.

45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia: The Buccaneers can add some protection for their newly signed QB with this selection. Wilson is not just the “other tackle from Georgia” in this draft. Wilson showed promise against some of the best pass rushers in the SEC and at just 20 years old, he has time to develop.

46. Denver Broncos – Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn: Good luck pronouncing that last name. Noah was one of the corners in this draft who I thought had good tape. A physical competitor, this receiver turned cornerback will be a good addition for Denver.

47. Atlanta Falcons – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia: Atlanta might be thinking about a corner with this pick, as Desmond Trufant is now a Lion. Hall may be a forgotten prospect because of health reasons but if healthy, many say he would be a first rounder.

48. New York Jets – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU: The Jets are in desperate need for a playmaker at wide receiver. Reagor is not only tough for his size but his speed is undeniable. The Jets would be lucky if he were to drop to them in the second round.

49. Pittsburgh Steelers – Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn: I see the Steelers getting younger up front with this selection. I was just blown away after watching this guys highlights and thought he is a fit for Pittsburgh. At 305 lbs., this guy is active up front and is the ideal size for a defensive end in a 3-4 defense. He played on the outside in college and I wondered how was that possible. Then, I watched the highlight reel and the guy is crazy athletic for his size and was a major disrupter coming from every point at the line of scrimmage. I had to go back and change the pick after watching his highlights. It just looked like such a Steeler pick here with Davidson.

usa_today_11157508.153598795250. Chicago Bears – Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota: Eddie Jackson has emerged as a great player and leader for the Chicago secondary at free safety. With Ha-Ha Clinton Dix gone, the Bears can draft their next strong safety of the future by selecting this Golden Gopher. Winfield Jr., son of a former NFL player, has shown great promise while at Minnesota. Despite his 5’9 frame, Winfield is a striker as a tackler and an absolute ball hawk in zone coverage. He’ll be a great fit in this defense. He might develop into a “Bob Sanders” type player.

51. Dallas Cowboys – Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State: The Cowboys loves their BSU Broncos. I guarantee they’ll add another one in this draft. It will be this guy or the receiver, Hightower. But anyways, Dallas will be on the hunt for another edge rusher with the departure of Robert Quinn. After not addressing this in the first round, they’ll find the MWC defensive player of the year in this round. Weaver had a productive final season at Boise State and he just fits what the Cowboys usually draft. Unheralded and maybe underrated, Weaver could be a nice surprise for any team.

52. Los Angeles Rams – Josh Uche, DE/LB, Michigan: The Rams probably need pass rush help with Dante Fowler signing with Atlanta. Uche would be a fit for them with their second round pick. Though undersized, Uche showed great pass rushing ability and versatility while at Michigan.

53. Philadelphia Eagles – KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State: The Eagles finally get some receiver help in the second round. Hamler is one of the smallest players in the draft but also might be the fastest. Hamler is able to use his speed to get open; jumping in and out of cut like a jackrabbit. His ability to stretch defenses will be valuable, as it will free up space for his teammates. This would be a good get for Philadelphia.

54. Buffalo Bills – Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU: I went back and forth with this one because the Bills just found their future RB last season in Devin Singletary. But Head Coach Sean McDermott likes to use multiple backs in his offense and they all usually have a certain role. Edwards-Helaire seems like that type of guy who you may not see coming but ends up making the big play in the game. One of the shortest backs in the draft, CEH offers tough running and was an underrated target in the passing game. He’s the type of player you might find on a Bill Bellichick roster. But I have Buffalo taking him here.

55. Baltimore Ravens – Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU: I don’t think the Ravens should just settle and count on the veterans they added on their defensive line. They need youth. They need depth. Blacklock could certainly provide that. He’s actually a popular name right now, rising up on team’s draft boards.

56. Miami Dolphins – Cesar Ruiz, OG/C, Michigan: Miami continues to invest into their offense. They drafted the tackle earlier but here they can take one of the top interior blockers in college football. Ruiz can play guard or center and should be a lock in the second or third rounds.

57. Los Angeles Rams – J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State: One of the high profiled prospects in this draft, I think the former Buckeye would fit well in this LA backfield. Dobbins certainly wouldn’t be replacing Todd Gurley but he could be apart of a prospering run game with Malcolm Brown. A shifty workhorse, Dobbins, would bring a change of pace to the Rams offense.

58. Minnesota Vikings – Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah: Minnesota is in the market for a corner after the departure of Xavier Rhodes. Jaylon Johnson is one of the more physical defensive backs in this draft and he plays a style of football that Coach Mike Zimmer will like.

59. Seattle Seahawks – Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State: Damon Arnette’s tape was impressive to me. You figure the guy would have a lot of opportunities playing corner opposite of Jeff Okudah in college. And he took advantage of that opportunity, displaying physicality and ball skills. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team selected him with a need at corner. Seattle pass defense wasn’t great last season.

60. Baltimore Ravens – Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC: How about the Ravens getting a target on the outside for Lamar Jackson. Pittman Jr. has the look of a future #1 receiver and he plays like one. He’s a combination of size and speed but he also displays great hands rather in a crowd or when he has to go up and get it. He would be a great complement to Marquise Brown.

https---images.saymedia-content.com-.image-MTY3NTg2MzY2OTYyNTQxOTU5-usatsi_1350635661. Tennessee Titans – Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame: Cole Kmet is the top tight end in the draft. Not really a strong class for tight ends this year but I see some guys that could make a difference for some offenses. QB Ryan Tannehill would benefit from having a consistent target at that position, something Tennessee hasn’t had since Delainie Walker.

62. Green Bay Packers – Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State: This may be a reach but the Packers need to toughen up the middle of that defense. Harrison is a true throwback at linebacker. Attacks gaps and ball carriers with reckless abandon. He may lack in athleticism but he is a sure tackler from sideline to sideline.

63. Kansas City Chiefs – Wille Gay Jr., LB, Mississippi State: Another reach at LB but Willie Gay Jr. has impressed scouts during this draft process. His ability to defend and tackle on the edge going sideline to sideline will get him drafted earlier than expected.

64. Seattle Seahawks – Ashtyn Davis, S, California: Really tempted to go QB here. But hey, did I mention that Seattle’s Legion of Boom is no more? Their secondary needs a rebuild. After taking a corner earlier, they can take an impact safety here to end the second round.

ROUND 3

  1. Cincinnati Bengals – Justin Madebuike, DT, Texas A&M
  2. Washington – Byran Edwards, WR, South Carolina
  3. Detroit Lions – Lloyd Cushenberry III, G, LSU
  4. New York Jets – Jordan Elliot, DT, Missouri
  5. Carolina Panthers – Zach Moss, RB, Utah
  6. Miami Dolphins – Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
  7. Los Angeles Chargers – Netane Muti, G, Fresno State
  8. Arizona Cardinals – Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
  9. Jacksonville Jaguars – Troy Pride Jr., CB, Notre Dame
  10. Cleveland Browns – Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
  11. Indianapolis Colts – Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
  12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Terrell Burgess, S, Utah
  13. Denver Broncos – Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
  14. Atlanta Falcons – Tyler Biadasz, G, Wisconsin
  15. New York Jets – Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
  16. Las Vegas Raiders – Jonah Jackson, G, Ohio State
  17. Las Vegas Raiders – Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
  18. Dallas Cowboys – Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
  19. Denver Broncos – Davon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State
  20. Los Angeles Rams – Jonathan Greenard, DE, Florida
  21. Detroit Lions – Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
  22. Buffalo Bills – Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
  23. New England Patriots – Jalen Hurts, QB, AlabamaHurts2020
  24. New Orleans Saints – Nick Harris, G, Washington
  25. Minnesota Vikings – Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
  26. Houston Texans – Darrell Taylor, DE, Tennessee
  27. Las Vegas Raiders – Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
  28. Baltimore Ravens – Robert Hunt, G, Louisiana
  29. Tennessee Titans – Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
  30. Green Bay Packers – Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
  31. Denver Broncos – Matt Peart, OT, Connecticut
  32. Kansas City Chiefs – Anthony McFarland Jr., RB, Maryland
  33. Cleveland Browns – Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
  34. New England Patriots – Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
  35. New York Giants – Brandlee Anae, DE, Utah
  36. New England Patriots – Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic
  37. Seattle Seahawks – Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
  38. Pittsburgh Steelers – Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
  39. Philadelphia Eagles – Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State
  40. Los Angeles Rams – Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
  41. Minnesota Vikings – James Proche, WR, SMU
  42. Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson, CB, Nebraska

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

hi-res-4261485cc9d50cdd0266a73620f39b7f_crop_north

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.