Tag Archives: Nick Foles

NFL 2018: Week 1 Predictions

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Nick Foles had a nice moment last January but he is still Nick Foles.

 

By Elias McMillan

Past Regular Season Records:

2009 Regular Season Record: 169-87

2010 Regular Season Record: 157-99

2011 Regular Season Record: 162-94

2012 Regular Season Record: 163-92-1

2013 Regular Season Record: 158-97-1

2014 Regular Season Record: 158-97-1

2015 Regular Season Record: 163-93

2016 Regular Season Record: 163-91-2

2017 Regular Season Record: 151-103

 

Big Five Games of Week 1

Atlanta @ Philadelphia – The home team usually does well in these season opening Thursday night games. But I don’t feel too good about Philadelphia tonight. I think they are primed some Super Bowl hangover type performances this season and we will see one tonight. What’s going to hurt the Eagles tonight will be their lack of offense. QB Nick Foles has struggled recently. Atlanta has one of the better rosters in the league and I think they’ll be looking to put on an impressive performance tonight. Philly’s defense may be able to keep them in this game but I don’t think they’ll get enough from the other side of the ball tonight. Prediction: Falcons

Houston @ New England – If memory serves me right, I think the Patriots lost in their home opener last season. Either way, I’m going out on a limb and saying that I really like Houston’s chances in this game. With a healthy J.J. Watt and other key pieces on defense, I think the Texans will be able to limited Tom Brady on Sunday. QB Deshaun Watson led a dynamic Texans offense before he got injured last season. I think they’ll be able to attack an underrated but not strong Patriots defense. The Brady-Rob Gronkowski connection will be a force for the Houston secondary to deal with but I think this game will end with a failed Tom Brady comeback attempt. Prediction: Texans

Jacksonville @ New York Giants – The Jalen Ramsey and Odell Beckham Jr. matchup makes this game must see TV. The offense on display here probably will not be pretty. This could be an old school drag ‘em out type of game with the lack of scoring. The Giants retooled their offense in the offseason and there is a lot of hype behind the debut of Saquon Barkley but I still believe that the Jacksonville defense is really good. They’ll force Eli Manning into some mistakes and Blake Bortles and his lack of weapons in the passing game will not have to do much heavy lifting. Prediction: Jaguars

Dallas @ Carolina – I’m having nightmares about what Cam Newton did to Dallas on Thanksgiving a few years ago. Both teams are different now, obviously. The buzz around Dallas for the start of this season is that the defense is supposed to be vastly improved; Especially at the defensive line. That unit may have a chance to shine Sunday as Carolina’s offensive line is banged up. If they can get after Cam Newton, they could have the potential to create some big plays. The Dallas offense vs. the Carolina defense is the matchup that may determine this game. Carolina still touts a good defense and the Cowboys offensive line is also not at 100%. Dak Prescott and even Ezekiel Elliott might face a uphill battle in this contest offensively. I think Carolina is vulnerable but I trust Newton’s big play ability. He usually balls out in season opener. Prediction: Panthers

Chicago @ Green Bay – This game might be one that everyone will be talking about on Monday. I think the addition of Khalil Mack drastically changes Chi-Town’s outlook for this season. The Bears really focused this offseason on adding pieces on offense but then they ended up adding a big fish in the world of pass rushers. I think we are all aware of what Aaron Rodgers is capable of but the Bears could be able to up the pressure on him that night. I wouldn’t count on Mitch Trubisky dueling with Rodgers but Green Bay’s defense has been on the downside recently. I don’t think Chicago will win but they’ll have the potential to make this one interesting. Prediction: Packers

The Rest of Week 1

Steelers over Browns – This might sound strange but Pittsburgh is vulnerable going into this one. Cleveland has the momentum just from being under the radar. They must execute or just be the Browns again.

Bengals over Colts – Andrew Luck is back but he doesn’t have enough weapons. Marvin Lewis is also back and his team has a knack for giving away victories. Something will have to give.

Titans over Dolphins – I think Tennessee will have a big day on the ground in this one.

Vikings over 49ers – Jimmy G will find it tough against Minnesota’s defense on the road.

Saints over Buccaneers – This matchup is ironic because it was Tampa that should have traded for Teddy Bridgewater. I like the New Orleans defense to really flex their muscles at home.

Ravens over Bills – Buffalo is going to stink so bad this year. And it might be all directly linked to the QB position. Baltimore’s third string signal caller is better than the guy Buffalo will start Sunday.

Chargers over Chiefs – The Chargers had to hear all offseason about how their slow start in September kept them from the postseason. They’ll have that in mind Sunday against a divisional opponent.

Broncos over Seahawks – Russell Wilson will try to win this one by himself. Life without the Legion of Boom will be tough this season for Seattle.

Cardinals over Washington – The lack of a run game in Washington means Chandler Jones and company will have opportunities to get after Alex Smith.

Lions over Jets – I’m excited about Sam Darnold but the Jets are a few weapons short to go toe to toe with Matt Stafford and the Lions passing attack.

Rams over Raiders – The offseason champs should smash this Oakland team that has just been hit by a bus this past week with the trading of their best player.

Fantasy Football Picks

QB: Drew Brees (New Orleans) – Brees at home against Tampa’s secondary. He is a must start.

RB: Todd Gurley (LA Rams) – Gurley should run wild against a Raiders defense without a soul.

WR: Antonio Browns (Pittsburgh) – AB big play ability will make everyone forget about the drama with Le’Veon Bell.

TE: Greg Olsen (Carolina) – Cam Newton will be facing a lot of pressure. Olsen, his security blanket, will get plenty of looks.

DEF: Baltimore – Against Nathan Peterman, the interception could rack up for the Ravens.

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NFL Playoffs: Super Bowl LII Prediction!

2015 BET Awards - Show

“Ms. Jackson…….if you’re nasty…….”

By: Elias McMillan

 

Conference Championship Sunday: 1-1

Playoffs: 4-6

Super Bowl 52 from U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots

Janet Jackson was the youngest star out of the famed and talented Jackson family. After her first two solo albums which were produced under the watchful eye of her father and manager, Joe Jackson, Janet was looking forward to setting out on her own.

On her third solo album, Janet teamed with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to create “Control”. The crossover pop album found big success with singles “Nasty” and “What Have You Done for Me Lately”. The album went on to be highly acclaimed and nominated for multiple honors but Janet was merely scratching the surface.

In 1989, Janet released her fourth album “Rhythm Nation 1814”. The album included one of the most iconic music videos for the title track “Rhythm Nation” and radio hits “Miss You Much” and “Escapade”. The 1990 Rhythm Nation World Tour, which sold out in record times, established Janet’s status as the “Queen of Pop” for the new decade.

Janet returned to the studio four years later with her self-titled album “Janet”. Lead single “That’s the Way Love Goes” went on the win a Grammy. The album also included massive hits “Anytime, Anyplace” and “Again”, which was written for the film that Janet starred in “Poetic Justice” and was also nominated for an Oscar.

Janet’s next album “The Velvet Room” signaled a change of direction for her career. The album addressed social issues while veering away from the pop genre and included more hip-hop and funk influences. Despite some criticism, the album went triple platinum with hits “Got ‘til It’s Gone” featuring Q-Tip, “I Get Lonely”, and “Together Again”.

As the new millennium approached, Janet prepared for another run to the top of the charts in music while fitting in movie appearances. After collaborating with reggae star Shaggy and rapper Busta Rhymes for a couple hits, Janet was set to appear in the Nutty Professor sequel. The film became her second to open at the box office at number one along with 93’s Poetic Justice. The main single from the film, “Doesn’t Really Matter”, became her 9th number 1 hit on the billboard charts.

Before the release of her next album, “All for You” in 2001, Janet was set to be honored by MTV as a “Icon”. “All for You” went on be a massive success as the exposure from MTV opened the door for her to dominate radio stations and collaborate with younger artists. “Someone to Call My Lover” and “Son of a Gun” featuring Missy Elliott received heavy radio play. So did collaborations with Beenie Man and producer super group, “The Neptunes”, for “Feel It Boy”.

Janet was in the middle of another impressive run when MTV choose her to perform at the halftime of Super Bowl XXXVIII with Nelly, P. Diddy, Kid Rock, and Justin Timberlake. What followed ended up becoming infamous. The “wardrobe malfunction” pretty much invented Youtube. Debate rages on to this day about who was at fault in the incident. Was it a planned publicity stunt? Did Janet know what was going to happen? Did Timberlake botch the “pull away”? No matter what you believe, the affects from the aftermath of the incident clearly hampered a career.

Janet was blacklisted from the Grammys that year. Her songs and videos were pulled off stations across the nation. Janet issued an apology and so did Timberlake. It was Timberlake who pulled off the clothing in the incident, but he received no such backlash.

Janet released three more albums since then, but none reached the heights of her previous releases. No one can remain the “Queen of Pop” forever, I guess. But Janet’s stardom had more legs underneath it before the Super Bowl controversy and we never got to see its fruition. With over 100 million records sold, a crazy amount of hits, and some stints on the silver screen, Janet’s impact on pop culture is undeniable. Her success greatly outweighs any past controversy, as she is one of the greatest pop artists of all time.

She just wrapped up her eighth national tour.

Prediction: Patriots 33 – Eagles 27

NFL Playoffs: 2018 Conference Championship Sunday Predictions!

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In the AFC, the Jacksonville Jaguars are looking to “steal the show”.

By Elias McMillan

 

Divisional Round: 2-2

Playoffs: 3-5

Conference Championship Sunday

AFC Championship Game

Jacksonville @ New England – The Jacksonville Jaguars are looking like the 2000 Baltimore Ravens right now. The Jaguars went into Pittsburgh last Sunday and punked a Steeler team that may have been over looking them. Jacksonville took it too Pittsburgh and didn’t let up. I was impressed with how QB Blake Bortles ran the offense against a shorthanded Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers scored 42 points and their QB threw for a bunch of yards but don’t buy into those numbers. Jacksonville got off to a 21-0 start and Pittsburgh was just playing catch up for the entire game. I don’t think the stat sheet tells the story of how good the Jaguars defense is. The Jaguars have one more hurdle in their Cinderella Super Bowl run: the New England Patriots. New England survived a sort of slow start against Tennessee last Saturday and was able to put their opponent away in the 2nd half. The Patriots will be hosting yet another AFC Championship game but this one could be a much greater challenge in comparison to past recent years. The Patriots are great again this season for all the same reasons. They have QB Tom Brady. He leads an offense that can score a lot of points when called upon. No one can cover TE Rob Gronkowski. The defense isn’t great but they over achieve at times. And they are lead by a master football mind in Bill Belichick. Despite all of this, like in season’s past, I still feel that the Patriots are very beatable. In terms of this Sunday, Jacksonville matches up well against them. To stop the Patriots offense, you better have a defense that can rattle the QB. Jacksonville has strong play up front. They have excellent LBs. And their secondary is usually good despite giving up all those yards last week. Brady may also be dealing with a bum hand so, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is tough sledding for the New England offense. Bortles played a game last week where he wasn’t going to be the reason why Jacksonville would lose. I’m not sure if the Jaguars offense will be able to be so successful this week. I think they were aided by the absence of LB Ryan Shazier. I said earlier that New England’s defense is suspect but they did defend the run quite well last week and Tennessee was barely able to get into the end zone for the second time until after the game was out of reach. Despite how well the Jacksonville defense may play, they will still need the offense to score points and I don’t think I trust them to perform well enough again in two straight weeks on the road. The brain trust in New England is still strong and I believe the offense will find a way to consistently get down the field. I think Gronkowski and the different RB’s from out the backfield may create some bad matchup for Brady to exploit. New England is the safe pick. No picked Jacksonville last week and I think they have a real chance to shock everyone again. But I’m not brave enough to pick it. Business as usual in the AFC. Prediction: Patriots 30 – Jaguars 22

NFC Championship Game

Minnesota @ Philadelphia – The Eagles did a great job at home last week grinding out a victory against Atlanta. I shouldn’t have been as shocked that the Falcons under performed, again, but I feel they still could have won that game at the end. It came down to Julio Jones miss timing on a jump ball in the end zone. Julio Jones. Not some rookie. Regardless, we have to give Philadelphia’s defense credit for limiting Atlanta’s scoring chances. They will now host the NFC Championship game on Sunday against a Minnesota team that is coming off a miracle victory. As awesome was Minnesota’s triumph was last Sunday, the Vikings have to erase it from their memory and focus up on the task at hand. Both of these teams are very similar. They both offer good defenses, solid running games, and receivers that are capable to creating big plays down the field. Its hard for me to read how good Case Keenum is but he has done a great job at running this offense this season. He could be the difference in this game because honestly, I’m not expecting much form Nick Foles. Foles didn’t make any mistakes last week but he will face a much tougher defense in this game. Minnesota and Philadelphia both have solid defenses but I think I’ll give a slight edge to the Vikings. They are much younger at key positions and I believe that they have a stronger secondary than Philly’s. I think Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen will have their chances to make plays if Keenum is able to stand in the pocket. Playing at home will definitely serve as an advantage for the birds but I think Minnesota has the better team on paper. Honestly, this game is a toss up. I’m not sure how strongly I feel about it but I like Minnesota to end their misery in conference championship games and therefor becoming the first team to advance to the Super Bowl in their host city. Prediction: Vikings 26 – Eagles 20

NFL Playoffs: 2018 Divisional Round Predictions!

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Philadelphia will have to ride their top ranked defense if they hope to advance pass Atlanta.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Wild-Card Round: 1-3

Playoffs: 1-3

Divisional Round

Atlanta @ Philadelphia – I guess I should be embarrassed for taking the Rams last week. The Falcons showed their experience and pretty much shut down L.A. on the road. Now, come a big test in the number one seeded Eagles. It is a big test for Atlanta because they are the favorites and now everyone is expecting to see the Atlanta team from last post season. I think Atlanta is different from a season ago but chances are they will probably get to their second straight NFC Championship game on Saturday. Atlanta brings to the table an offense with a ton of potential in the passing or running game. Philadelphia has been able to lean on its defense this season so that will be a key matchup in this game. I feel confident that the Eagles defense will do everything in their power to try to win this game for the home team. The Falcons have a pair of good RB’s but Philly is strong against the run. The Eagles are vulnerable in the secondary and it should be interesting to see if Matt Ryan can figure out a way to make Julio Jones a big factor in the game. I think this game will turn on the Eagles lack of offense. I have no reason to have confidence in QB Nick Foles. Especially when Atlanta’s defense is playing well. The Eagles were one of the top running teams on offense in the league this season but Atlanta did a really good job limiting Todd Gurley a week ago. I don’t think they will let Jay Ajayi or LeGarrette Blount get off too many big gains. I think Atlanta will be able to ride their defense and just get enough out of their offense to advance to next week while ending Philadelphia’s season. Prediction: Falcons 21 – Eagles 16

Tennessee @ New England – The Titans were a nice surprise last weekend as they came back from a 21-3 hole to win in Kansas City. They will have to get it done on the road again this week against top seeded New England. I think Tennessee stands a better chance in this game than most people are giving them. Really, I do. New England is New England. But they can be knocked off their game. They are beatable. I don’t have much faith in the Titans defense though. Shutting out Alex Smith for one half is one thing compared to going up against Tom Brady. New England has so many weapons and so many ways to attack. Tennessee will have problems with the Patriots balanced attack. Tennessee is really physical up front on defense so I want to see if they can defend the run well again this week while putting heat on Brady. I big part of last week was that Travis Kelce was knocked out of the game. The Titans will have to account for another dominant, pass catching TE in Rob Gronkowski. I think New England will have an advantage their. The main reason why New England is beatable is because of their defense. Marcus Mariota had a strong second half last week in Kansas City but he has been wildly inconsistent this season. Mariota has Derrick Henry to lean on and Tennessee has a pretty good record with him as the main option in the run game. Outside of Henry and TE Delaine Walker, Tennessee really doesn’t have a lot of reliable players at the skill positions for Mariota to go to. Tennessee may have a “fighter’s chance” but New England should be able handle business at home. I can see Brady having his way with the Titans secondary and Mariota will over extend himself trying to keep up. Prediction: Patriots 38 – Titans 23

Jacksonville @ Pittsburgh – Jacksonville’s win over Buffalo last week sure wasn’t pretty but it was definitely better than losing. The Jaguars will take their strong defense to Pittsburgh on Sunday to face a Steelers team they defeated earlier this season. Week 5 was a long, long time ago but I think Jacksonville can take a lot from what happened in that game and maybe find themselves with a chance to score a big upset on Sunday. There is a lot of talk about the Jaguars having to deal with playing in the cold weather on the road. But playoff football usually comes down to two things: defense and the run game. And Jacksonville has both. The Jaguars have studs on the defensive line that can stuff the run and pressure the QB. They have a talented group of linebackers. And their secondary is close to what Seattle had a few years ago, led by standout Jalen Ramsey. All that being said, Pittsburgh has a really good offense. We all know what Ben Roethlisberger is capable of in January. I do have questions about how WR Antonio Brown will look, as he will be returning after dealing with a lower leg injury. Even if Brown is rusty, Pittsburgh’s WR core is solid. RB Le’Veon Bell is one of the best at his position in the game but Jacksonville did such a great job against him earlier this season. I think this will be a game where the Steelers offense cannot abandon the run. Bell can lead this offense when called upon. I know that the Steelers are not a run first offense anymore but Bell need at least more than 25 touches. For the Jaguars, their offense is a point of weakness but they can at least run the ball. RB Leonard Fournette is ready for another heavy workload. He had a strong performance in Pittsburgh in Week 5 and this time around, he’ll be facing the same defense without its starting middle LB. I believe Pittsburgh could be vulnerable defending the run in this game but unfortunately Jacksonville can’t run it every play. Eventually QB Blake Bortles will have to try to look like a NFL QB in this game. I don’t think Bortles is the worst starter in the league but the Pittsburgh secondary will have to be really off their game for him to be able to do anything substantial. Much like in 2007, I think the Jaguars have the tools to upset the Steelers on Sunday but I’m not brave enough to pick it. It will be tough sledding for the Pittsburgh offense but they’ll find a way to outscore a Jaguars team that may have problems on their own scoring points on the road. Prediction: Steelers 23 – Jaguars 13

New Orleans @ Minnesota – New Orleans clearly outclassed Carolina at home last week. They didn’t add any “cool” points with the way they finished but they at least got the job done. I believe they will face a tall task this week in Minnesota. The Vikings are very tough at home and the Saints should remember that. Minnesota opened this season beating the Saints at home. New Orleans will be looking to reverse that result on Sunday. I like Minnesota in this game because of their defense. I think Drew Brees will not have the passing windows that he had last week against Carolina. Minnesota does a great job at limiting the run with their front seven. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram found it hard to find space last week and I think that will continue in Minnesota. The Saints also bring into this game a good defense. New Orleans has a legit secondary this year and they are coming off a game where the pass rush made a big impact. But I think the Vikings offense will be able to excel by just playing at their own pace while not trying to do too much. QB Case Keenum will use the running game to keep Brees on the bench but he will also take his shots down field as he has a top-notch group of receivers. I think Brees has an edge over Keenum but Minnesota’s defense has an edge over on New Orleans’. Prediction: Vikings 29 – Saints 21

NFL 2015: Week 3 Predictions!

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Atlanta’s tour through the NFC East hits Jerry’s World on Sunday.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 6-10

Season: 17-15

Big Five Games of the Week

Atlanta @ Dallas – The Falcons have done well two games into the season by winning two closely contested games vs NFC East opponents. Atlanta’s offense looks dynamic, which was expected going into this season but I think people are surprised by how improved the defense looks just two games under new head coach Dan Quinn. The Cowboys are 2-0 going into their home meeting with Atlanta but they appeared to be seriously wounded going into Week 3. Just about everyone is expecting the Cowboys to experience a serious drop off of play with Dez Bryant and now Tony Romo. I think Dallas will surprise people with how competitive they will be without Romo for two months. But with Brandon Weeden calling the shots on offense, things will definitely be shaky to say the least. Maybe Dallas will be able to lean upon that offensive line and the running game. Dallas hasn’t changed their philosophy on offense and they are getting their RB’s carries but they really haven’t been able to take over a ball game like last year when they had DeMarco Murray. Atlanta’s young defensive line has been impressive so far this season but they’ll face a great test in that Dallas offensive line. If Dallas can control the line of scrimmage on offense, maybe Weeden will be able to use the run game to set up some big plays down the field. Atlanta won’t have similar problems on offense when it comes to setting up the pass. Their go to play is WR Julio Jones and I would expect QB Matt Ryan to look his way a lot on Sunday. The Cowboys defense has played well this season so far but this Sunday they’ll have to place extra attention to a superstar player, which they didn’t have to last week. I think Dallas will keep it closer than expected at home but Atlanta will have the best player on the field on Sunday. Prediction: Falcons 27 – Cowboys 21

Pittsburgh @ St. Louis – I was confused to see why the Rams looked so bad last week at Washington. I thought maybe they were so “up” to play Seattle at home on Week 1 and they probably dialed down some of the intensity in Week 2 at Washington. But really, they couldn’t stop the run and the offense couldn’t produce enough big plays when called upon. That “not stopping the run” problem will rear its ugly head against this week at home against the Steelers. The Steelers have been running the ball just fine without Le’Veon Bell and now Bell returns this Sunday after his two game suspension. The Rams have such a great pass rushing defensive line but if they can’t stop the run like last week, Bell might beat them by himself on Sunday. With the run game going, that will take pressure away from Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game but that definitely wont limited Ben’s attempts down the field. I expect that Steelers offense to be in attack mode on Sunday and we’ll see plenty of amazing plays from WR Antonio Brown. For the Rams to make this a close game they’ll need to get after the QB and create turnovers. The Steelers defense has been discussed as a possible weakness going into the season but they played a good game last week and I don’t expect them to give up many big plays to QB Nick Foles. Maybe St. Louis will surprise me and play inspired at home but I think Pittsburgh will roll on the road in a big way on Sunday. Prediction: Steelers 44 – Rams 28

Cincinnati @ Baltimore – The Ravens are 0-2 entering this huge home opener against a division rival. Cincinnati is playing well going into this game. Even with RB Jeremy Hill having an off day last week at home, the Bengals were able to lean on their running game with backup RB Giovanni Bernard. Baltimore struggled mightily against the pass last week and that should be music to the ears of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. Cincinnati played well enough to win last week defensively as well. DT Geno Atkins is looking like he’s ready to return to his 2013 form. Baltimore definitely has its back against the wall on Sunday and that’s why I expect them to play their best game of the season this week. Baltimore can’t start 0-3 with Pittsburgh coming to town on a short week. Baltimore will find a way to keep Cincinnati off the scoreboard enough where QB Joe Flacco wont have to win this game with his arm. This will be a close defensive matchup. Prediction: Ravens 17 – Bengals 16

Denver @ Detroit – The Broncos have been impressive this season because their defense have found ways to win games in the first two weeks. Everyone knows by now that QB Peyton Manning isnt the same guy he was 5 years ago. But if the Denver defense continues what they are doing, the Broncos will keep winning ball games. Detroit’s defense wont be able to produce stops consistently on Sunday night. Prediction: Broncos 28 – Lions 24

Kansas City @ Green Bay – This rematch from the first Super Bowl features a matchup against a great offense and a great defense. The Chiefs will attempt to knock Aaron Rodgers off his game with their great pass rush. It will be interesting to see if RB Eddie Lacy will play and help the Packers running game to keep Kansas City’s defense guessing. Green Bay has its shortcomings on defense and Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles will be looking to bounce back from his huge mistake last week. As long as Charles is only big play threat on this Chiefs offense, they will not be able to score enough points to keep up with Rodgers and the Packers. Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce are decent targets in the passing game for the Chiefs but Alex Smith is inconsistent and Green Bay’s pass defense is under rated. I like Green Bay at home. Prediction: Packers 29 – Chiefs 20

The Rest of Week 3

Giants over Washington – After two straight close losses, New York needs to respond in a big way tonight. But if they can’t stop Washington’s new found running attack, they could be up for another letdown.

Raiders over Browns – Here’s how I think its going to go down: Josh McCown will struggle, Oakland will score points off turnovers, Manziel will enter the game but he’ll try to do too much by playing catch up, he’ll then turnover the ball, the Browns are gonna Browns.

Colts over Titans – Indy better have themselves figured out by Sunday. Their defense will keep bad teams like Tennessee in the game.

Chargers over Vikings – Minnesota isn’t consistent enough offensively. San Diego can play big in road games occasionally.

Patriots over Jaguars – Tom Brady is in his zone. But lets be real, we want to see more freestyles from this Jacksonville team.

Jets over Eagles – Philadelphia has its back against the wall so maybe they’ll respond positively on the road. Too bad for them that the Jets match up pretty well against them. New York is strong up front defensively. They’ll stuff the run and do enough on offense to put the Eagles away.

Panthers over Saints – Carolina might experiment with their towel boy at receiver on Sunday. But seriously, things in New Orleans might get worst before they get better with Drew Brees’ shoulder injury.

Texans over Buccaneers – I liked what I saw from Jameis Winston last week but I don’t trust this Tampa Bay defense enough. J.J. Watt will enjoy balling out against a rookie QB at home.

Cardinals over 49ers – It’s early in the season but it looks like Arizona could be on route to another 10+ win season.

Bills over Dolphins – I was so right about Miami in the preseason. They have “underachiever” written all over them. Even the defense that is supposed to be a strong point has been a disappointment. Buffalo will be ready to bounce back this week after taking its lumps against New England.

Seahawks over Bears – Kam Chancellor is back. Jay Cutler is out. Seattle will roll at home.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Carson Palmer (Cardinals) – Palmer’s record in games he has started is impressive. He’ll have all his weapons working well against the San Fran pass defense.

RB: Le’Veon Bell (Steelers) – DeAngelo Williams has played great in Bell’s absence. Now that Bell is back, he’ll pick up where he left off against a Rams defense that can do everything well expect stop the run.

WR: DeAndre Hopkins (Texans) – I don’t like Tampa Bay’s secondary and Houston will have to lean on Hopkins and the passing game with Adrian Foster still out.

TE: Jordan Reed (Washington) – The Giants don’t have a great secondary. I expect Kirk Cousins to attack that weakness with the TE tonight.

DEF: Oakland – The Raiders gave up a lot of yards last week but with the questions at QB in Cleveland, they’ll look to take advantage and create some turnovers on the road.

NFL 2015: NFC West Preview

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Jeff Fisher maybe on the hot seat entering this 2015 season.

By: Elias McMillan

Seattle Seahawks – After suffering a tough loss in last year’s Super Bowl, Seattle will have a lot of the same successful elements from a season ago. But they have also added a few pieces that may make them look even better on paper this year. The most dramatic change takes place at the TE position, as the Seahawks were able to swing a trade for Pro Bowler, Jimmy Graham. Graham is a dynamic pass catcher and he’ll provide QB Russell Wilson with a top talent receiver that he has never had in Seattle. Unfortunately, in order to land Graham, Seattle had to part with their starting center. Seattle didn’t have a great offensive line a year ago and they might be worst in that unit this season. Wilson’s mobility can make up for the lack of talent on the offensive line but all that running around might take a toll later in the season. Seattle got a huge lift in free agency, as they were able to resign RB Marshawn Lynch. Lynch has shown no signs of slowing down and this season he’ll be paired with another great back who was casted off from Buffalo, Fred Jackson. Seattle’s receivers are still the most average group of receivers in the league but lookout for rookie Tyler Lockett who could rise fast as a slot receiver and a return man. Seattle will continue to be great on defense this season. They get a great pass rush from their defensive line led by Cliff Avril, Mchael Bennett and Bruce Irvin. Rookie DE Frank Clark will continue the tradition of great pass rushers on this defense and will be great this season in a reserve role on third downs. The middle of the defense will continue to be anchored by LB Bobby Wagner who is one of the most underrated defenders in the league. It might be hard for Seattle at the beginning of the season without safety Kam Chancellor who is holding out but once he returns, Seattle’s secondary maybe even better than it was last season. They loss CB Byron Maxwell in free agency but he was mainly great when QB’s wanted to avoid CB Richard Sherman. CB Cary Williams has had some rough seasons but physically, he is an upgrade from Maxwell and he could excel with the amount of attention he’ll get playing opposite of Sherman. Sherman still has the rep of being the premiere shutdown corner in the league but safety Earl Thomas is the real leader of this secondary. Thomas has some injury concerns but as long as he can stay on the field, Seattle’s secondary will be able to perform up to standard. Seattle has a set formula for success and I think it will work for them again this season. If they can hit their stride late in the season again, they’ll have a decent chance at returning to the Super Bowl for the third straight season. Prediction: 12-4 (NFC West Champs)

Arizona Cardinals – Arizona surprised everyone last season and almost won this division. The driving force on this team is their head coach, Bruce Arians, and their hard-nosed philosophy on defense. Arizona will hopefully carry over last season’s success into this season in order to compete with Seattle for the division. What would really help would be if QB Carson Palmer can stay healthy this season. Arizona’s QB situation was a mess when Palmer went down last year so his health will be vital to the team’s success on offense. Arizona need better play out of their offensive line this season. They spent a top draft pick this year on OT D.J. Humphries and former first round pick, OG Jonathan Cooper, is going to need to stay healthy if he wants to stay in Arizona for the long term. Starting RB Andre Ellington also has injury issues but Arizona has a better insurance plan this season with bringing in veteran Chris Johnson to help spell him. Arizona returns a great WR core led by all pro Larry Fitzgerald. WR Michael Floyd is a solid second receiving option and WR John Brown is a star slot receiver in this league after an impressive rookie season. Arizona has a good defense but for them to win the division, they’re going to need to have Palmer and Ellington for 16 games. Thinking of the defense, the Cardinals may have lost some pieces from a season ago but they’ll be tough again this season. DE Calais Campbell is the leader of the defensive line and he can affect the game as a pass rusher or a run defender. Arizona will be counting on a couple of rookies this season for them to continue to be successful at stopping the run. That might be a costly experiment. They do have serviceable players at middle linebacker in Sean Weatherspoon and Kevin Minter. In the offseason, they allowed CB Antonio Cromartie walk away via free agency and that might be a plus for the secondary. CB Patrick Peterson is one of the best corners in the game and now Arizona will have a more physical presensce opposite of him in Jerraud Powers. Arizona also have a decent pair of young safeties in Tyrann Mathieu and Deone Bucannon. The defense should be tough once again and that will keep Arizona in a lot of ball games this season. The key will be if the leaders on offense can be healthy for 16 games in order to get the team to return to the post season. Prediction: 9-7

St. Louis Rams – This will be a key year for head coach Jeff Fisher. The Rams have the talent to at least qualify for the post season this year but the defense must live up to expectations and the offense has to find its consistency. The Rams franchise is surrounded by a lot of uncertainty so another disappointing season might mean the end of Jeff Fisher and maybe the end of the franchise in St. Louis. On offense, the Rams finally decided to end Sam Bradford’s time with the franchise. Bradford’s story with injuries became unchanging so Fisher pulled the trigger to send him to Philadelphia for Nick Foles. Foles had a couple of great months at QB in Philly but he hasn’t proven to be a sure thing in this league and even if he is able to reach his ceiling this season in St. Louis, I don’t think he is as talented as Bradford. But the Rams are just counting on him to stay healthy and keep the passing game afloat. The Rams have a great young receiving core led by Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. WR Kenny Britt is the veteran leader of the receiver group and he’ll provide Foles with the big target that he prefers. The Rams need consistency in the running game this season. Last year, RB Tre Mason showed some promise but many people in the franchise are hoping that this year’s first round pick, Todd Gurley, can become a superstar in their backfield. The Rams would be better served if both backs can stay healthy and they can use them as a tandem. On defense, St. Louis is ridiculously stacked on the defensive line. DE’s Robert Quinn and Chris Long are top-notch pass rushers and run defenders. Inside, DT’s Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers are among the best penetrators in the game. They also added DT Nick Fairley in the offseason to help stuff the run. The Rams should be very tough to run against and opposing QB’s will dread passing on third downs. St. Louis also has a pair of athletic linebackers. LB Alec Ogletree is an active playmaker and LB James Laurinaitis fits the mold perfectly as the middle LB on this defense. St. Louis doesn’t have a great secondary but with that front seven, it truly shouldn’t matter. The Rams struggle with finding consistency from their starting safeties. CB Janoris Jenkins is a risk taker but has great ball skills and has a knack for returning interceptions for touchdowns. The QB position maybe a question mark but on paper, this Rams team should be the second best team in this division on paper. If this team under performs again, there might be a lot of changes on this roster and coaching staff going into 2016. Prediction: 8-8

San Francisco 49ers – No one had a harder offseason than the 49ers. Not only did they lose their head coach for a college job, they lost almost every valuable veteran on defense and even a couple on offense. This year’s 49ers team will be young on defense but they’ll also be noticeability less talented at a lot of areas. On offense, I think they’ll be hurt by the departure of starting guard Mike Iupati. This 49ers team has been known for their power running game but their offensive line took a noticeable hit in the offseason. RB Frank Gore is gone too but at least it appears that they have a replacement lined up. I think RB Carlos Hyde will be set up to have a breakout season this year as the offense will lean heavily on this young back. Having Reggie Bush as a backup won’t be bad either as he will be trying to prove that he has plenty left in the tank. You also cant forget about QB Colin Kaepernick who will continue to provide the big play ability on offense this season. Two seasoned veterans will lead the WR core: the reliable Anquan Boldin and a newcomer from Baltimore, Torrey Smith. Slot receiver Bruce Ellington will probably get more touches this year too as he will be a valuable piece for this offense and on special teams as a returner. The defense this year will be a shell of its former self especially on the defensive line and at the LB position. After losing a couple of valuable veterans on the defensive line, rookie DE Arik Armstead will probably have to play early on in his first season. The LB core has been completely ripped to shreds due to retirements and suspensions. Some good news though: LB NaVorro Bowman is back and healthy and he should be a front-runner for comeback player of the year. The 49er secondary will continue to play their physical brand of football but the bad play from the front seven will probably affect them negatively. I do like their group of safeties. Antoine Bethea is a physical tackler and Eric Reid has a nose for the football. The 49ers are clearly rebuilding but they have some young pieces that they will be able to keep going forward from this season. It should be interesting to see how the offense will try to make up for the shortcomings on defense. But this team clearly wont contend this season. Prediction: 4-12

NFL 2014: Week 9 Predictions!

Chicago Bears v New England Patriots

Going into the 16th addition of Brady vs. Manning, the Patriots are playing as well as anyone.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 7-8

Season: 75-45-1

New Orleans @ Carolina – The Saints have a look of a team that might be ready to bounce back after a rough start to the season. It helps that the NFC South leading Carolina Panthers haven’t been too impressive this year as well. These two teams will meet in an important divisional clash tonight. The Saints have been bothered by injuries this season but I was impressed how they were able to play at home against Green Bay last week. QB Drew Brees has been surprisingly shaky this season but he is starting to strive by finding his rookie WR, Brandin Cooks. New Orleans have also had their struggles defensively this season but they were able to pressure the QB last week. Carolina still has the tough defense from a season ago but they are not getting the same production from the offensive side of the ball that they were getting last year. QB Cam Newton and the Carolina offense will gladly welcome back RB DeAngelo Williams from injury tonight, as they are desperate for some help in the backfield. I would fully expect rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin to get plenty of looks tonight against the Saints secondary. The Saints haven’t won a road game this season but I think they are confident after beating Green Bay last week. I think Carolina will be a tough out at home but I’m going with New Orleans to score the upset and to make the race for the NFC South crown more interesting. Prediction: Saints 31 – Panthers 23

Arizona @ Dallas – The Cowboys are in desperate need of a bye week for two reasons: physical health and mental health. I wasn’t expecting Dallas to win out but the loss last week was mainly due to costly turnovers and really bad play calling. Dallas will now have to regroup at home as they will welcome to hottest team in the NFC right now, the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona has been somewhat of a mystery this season because they are able to have success without having the bright media lights shined on them. That might change if they are able to beat Dallas on the road this week. Arizona has a tough defense that hasn’t given up 100 yards rushing to a single player in a long time. The blueprint for success for the Dallas offense is still intact but something will have to give on Sunday. RB DeMarco Murray has rushed for 100 yards in every game this season so far which is a NFL record. Dallas must make smarter decisions when it comes to Murray and the running game on Sunday if they hope to win, Especially with Tony Romo’s status up in the air due to injury. Rather if Romo plays or not, this Cardinals defense will use Washington blueprint from last week and blitz the heck out of the offensive line. The Cowboys offensive line is great but they are young and they will make mistakes as we saw last week. The Dallas defense had its worst showing of the season last week but really they were exposed for what they really are. The Cowboys front four is really bad and they cant amount any type of a pass rush no matter what they do. Rookie DE DeMarcus Lawrence might make his debut on Sunday but there will be a lot of pressure on him to perform well in a hurry. With no pass rush, Arizona QB Carson Palmer will have time to find his talented receivers, Fitzgerald, Floyd, & rookie John Brown. One thing I notice about this Dallas team this season is that they aren’t laying down for anyone and you can see the effort put in from week to week. But I think they are a bit banged up and tired physically and mentality to beat Arizona on Sunday. I’m taking the Cardinals. Prediction: Cardinals 35 – Cowboys 31

Philadelphia @ Houston – The Texans are slowly starting to gain some momentum as the Eagles come to town this week. But you can almost tie Houston’s recent success to two players: RB Adrian Foster and DE J.J. Watt. Foster has been on a tear as of late and that bodes well this week against a weak run defense that the Eagles have. J.J. Watt should have plenty of opportunity to make an impact on this game against an Eagles offensive line that has been shuffled a bit this year. Despite those two points and playing at home, I think Houston will have its hands full with the Eagles this week. Once again, protection will be key for QB Nick Foles as I would expect him to be able to exploit the Texans secondary. WR Jeremy Maclin is really starting to show his “all-Pro” potential now that he is showing that he can stay healthy. RB LeSean McCoy is still running well this season but he needs to do better with finish off runs and getting into the endzone. The Eagles have questions in the secondary but I’m honestly not expecting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to really air it out against them. I’m taking the road team and all of their weapons. Prediction: Eagles 29 – Texans 20

Denver @ New England – Tom Brady and the Patriots have been on fire recently. They have the look of another typical title contending Patriots team. Brady is getting the best out of his receivers now especially from TE’s Rob Gronkowski and Tim Wright. New England’s defense is also playing well right now. CB Brandon Browner is playing great paired with CB Darrell Revis. They are some injury concerns on defense now that DE Chandler Jones is expected to miss some time. Getting pressure will be key for New England this week facing Peyton Manning and the Broncos passing attack. This game, as it is always, will be about the passing games led by Brady and Manning. Right now, Manning has the most weapons but most importantly, Manning plays on the team with the better defense right now. Denver’s defense is really starting to hit their stride. They can rush the passer as well as anyone and the secondary can usually matchup well with just about any receiving core. Manning usually has issues with playing on the road in these matchups with Brady and lets also consider the roll that New England seems to be on recently. But I’m gonna take the Broncos to get it done this week. The Denver defense will be able to frustrate Brady enough to keep them from keeping up with Manning. I think the New England secondary will provide Denver with some great competition but Manning will have an advantage with his many weapons and the different ways to use them. Should be a fun game to watch. Prediction: Broncos 30 – Patriots 28

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh – The Steelers, and their fans, are glowing after an unexpected win at home to Indianapolis. QB Ben Roethlisberger had the greatest game statistically of any Pittsburgh QB in history. That is something not to be taken lightly but you also have to consider two things: the Colts were missing multiple starters in the secondary and they were not able to amount ANY pressure on the QB. Now, the Steelers offensive line had their best game ever arguably in recent history. You also have to give them credit but lets be real here: if that unit can play as well as they did on Sunday, then something must have been really wrong with the Colts front four. I mean, when was the last time you seen Roethlisberger NOT take multiple hits in a ball game? That literally never happens. But, that’s beside the point because I believe that the Steelers offense is on track for some more success this season. Unfortunately for them, they wont be facing the Indianapolis defense again on Sunday night. Baltimore has its issues but their defense is certainly better than Indy’s. Its going to hurt them that they will be without maybe both of their top corners in this game. That’s great news for WR Antonio Brown who is playing as good as anyone right now. Now, following that big game, I’m betting that Roethlisberger is going to want to go into gunslinger mode once again on Sunday. Someone on the coaching staff better tell him to chill. Are you counting on the offensive line to have another great game even against Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata? Also, lets consider that Roethlisberger often makes more mistakes when he tries to do too much. I think he can have success through the air on Sunday night but I still think that they can completely shelve the running game especially with Le’Veon Bell on their team. Baltimore’s offense wasn’t pretty last week. Joe Flacco looked clueless against the blitz and he just need to start performing better overall to win on Sunday. This Steelers defense is beatable but Flacco must be smart with his throws. I think the Ravens offensive line can win the battles upfront against the Steelers defensive line, which might allow RB Justin Forsett to have some success. I think Heinz Field will offer a true home field advantage on Sunday, as the crowd will be on fire still from last week. Pittsburgh is entering the game playing the better football than Baltimore so I’ll take them this week. These games are almost always a battle until the end and I wouldn’t expect so many offensive fireworks. Prediction: Steelers 27 – Ravens 21

The Rest of Week 9

Bengals over Jaguars – Cincinnati hasn’t been lighting up the world as of late. They should be able to jump all over Jacksonville early in this game.

Browns over Buccaneers – I cant believe that the Pittsburgh FOX affiliate is showing this game on Sunday at 1pm instead of the Arizona-Dallas game. That’s a disgrace. I know it makes sense location wise but still. Who outside of Ohio or Tampa Bay will want to watch this game?

Chiefs over Jets – Kansas City is a sleeper in the AFC. Note that I didn’t say the AFC West. I meant, the AFC as a conference.

Chargers over Dolphins – Miami is playing well but San Diego usually plays tough on the road.

Redskins over Vikings – No “Super Bowl” hangover for Washington this week. They’ll have RG3 back and the defense will blitz the hell out of Teddy Bridgewater.

49ers over Rams – What happened to the St. Louis defense?

Seahawks over Raiders – Seattle should feel right at home….now that they are back home?? That makes no sense. Sorry. In one of my fantasy leagues, I have to start David Carr at QB. Ugh.

Giants over Colts – Here’s an UPSET! You don’t believe that the Indianapolis defense is that bad?? Just watch what Eli Manning does with time in the pocket and no pressure.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Nick Foles (Eagles) – This might be a tough sell because he’s lining up opposite of J.J. Watt but Houston doesn’t have a strong secondary.

RB: Frank Gore (49ers) – The St. Louis defense is pretty much the opposite of what they were last season. Gore and the running game is key for the 49ers offense.

WR: Kelvin Benjamin (Panthers) – Benjamin has been Cam Newton’s primary receiver this season. He’ll look for him often tonight against a weak Saints secondary.

TE: Jason Witten (Cowboys) – Here’s a biased pick but hear me out. If Romo plays hurt, he wont be extending himself far for deep passing plays. And if Dallas starts Brandon Weeden, he’s probably going to target the more reliable guys on the field. Witten might receive a lot of targets on Sunday.

DEF: Seattle – The Seahawks defense has been disappointing this season but they are playing at home this week against a rookie QB. That might be a safe bet.