Tag Archives: Phillip Rivers

NFL 2017: Week 15 Predictions!

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After a rough night in Miami, Tom Brady and the Patriots look to bounce back in Pittsburgh with a lot on the line.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 5-11

Season: 120-88

Big Five Games of the Week

Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City – This game will probably determine the AFC West Champion. Its crazy to think that the Chiefs are underdogs at home in this matchup considering how they started the season. The Chiefs were able to get back on track last week with a win at home over Oakland. They’ll face a much more determined team at home on Sunday. The Chargers have a past known for getting hot in December and that is the case for 2017. Phillip Rivers is leading this offense and the young guys on defense are getting it done as well. Kansas City still has a lot of offer, especially at home, but they are not as strong as the Chargers are right now. KC is still banged up defensively and I think they’ll be counting on big performance in this one from Alex Smith. Can he deliver at home? I doubt. I see Rivers and the Chargers taking a huge step towards the playoffs with a big road victory. Prediction: Chargers 24 – Chiefs 20

Green Bay @ Carolina – Carolina really impressive me last week by playing big at home against a quality opponent. I feel like I’m waiting for the Panthers to under perform like they were earlier this season but they are really hitting their stride right now on both sides of the ball. They’ll be at home again this week against another NFC North team hoping for the post season. The Packers took overtime to beat Cleveland last week. But everything could be different now with the news that Aaron Rodgers is ready to return. Green Bay went through a similar scenario a few years back when Rodgers returned from injury to lead them to the playoffs. I know that Rodgers is really good but I doubt that we will see a sequel to that. Green Bay stinks but Rodgers can provide some very strong cologne for that. But Carolina has a capable defense and they are playing well at home. Green Bay may be able to do more things offensively with Rodgers back but I don’t feel great about their defense’s chances against Cam Newton. Newton is starting to string together some solid performances. I think he can do so again this week. Prediction: Panthers 36 – Packers 31

Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle – The inconsistency of Seattle on road struck again last week. The Seahawks do not look like a team ready to make a playoff push. They are too banged up on defense and they lack composure. The Rams took their lumps last week against the Eagles but they still hung tough in that game. I think the Rams defense will have the chance to look strong this week against Seattle’s offensive line. The Seahawk defense will be looking to bounce back against Jared Goff after allowing Blake Bortles to look like a NFL Quarterback. I just feel like Seattle is in a bad spot right now and it couldn’t of have come a worst time for them. With the playoffs on the line, I feel like you could usually count on Seattle bouncing back strong at home. But right now, they look like they have no direction. I might be going out on a limb here but I’m taking the Rams to end Seattle’s playoff hopes. Prediction: Rams 23 – Seahawks 21

New England @ Pittsburgh – Well, Pittsburgh has definitely had this date circled on the schedule. This season’s Patriots and Steelers tilt will most likely determine who will have home field advantage in the AFC. It is the biggest regular season game for both teams. New England suffered a letdown last Monday night in Miami; a place where they have had problems before. New England’s issues shouldn’t come as a shock. When things are good with the Patriots, they are great. When things are bad, it is obvious why. Beating New England is tough but is doable. Pressure Tom Brady. Take advantage of their over achieving defense. And done. It doesn’t happen much but its possible. After what the Dolphins did to them, the Patriots should be extra motivated to bounce back against a familiar opponent with a lot on the line. The Steelers are on a winning streak but they could easier be on a losing streak. Pittsburgh has been able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in the last four weeks. As a team, they really are not playing their best football but they have enough individual talent that provides big plays that allows them to squeak out victories. I think in this matchup we’ll see a lot of scoring. New England’s defense is vulnerable right now but at the same time, Pittsburgh’s defense gave up almost 40 points last week to Joe Flacco. Brady will attack the Pittsburgh defense after a weak showing last week. New England’s track record coming off a loss is pretty good. Ben Roethlisberger is throwing the ball too much right now but he’ll need to have that same approach this week. New England, or the league, doesn’t have a guy that can keep up with Antonio Brown so Ben will need to feed him as much as possible. I think both running games will find success in this one as well. New England’s run defense is shaky and Pittsburgh is greatly missing Ryan Shazier. Pittsburgh has been able to come out of tough spots smelling like roses recently. That home crowd will be rocking and looking for blood. I think the lead up to this game just screams a typical dominant performance from Brady and company. Especially with Rob Gronkowski returning from a suspension. But I think the Steelers will flip the script. I’ll take the home team now because chances are these two will meet again in January. And there is no way I’ll take Pittsburgh then. Even if they are at home. Prediction: Steelers 40 – Patriots 37

Dallas @ Oakland – Loser of this one can just forget about the post season. The Raiders have been among one of the most disappointing teams this season. The passing game has been inconsistent and they haven’t been able to control the clock with the run game. Oakland also has a defense that likes to give up big plays. The Cowboys were finally able to create some big plays last week in New York. Dallas just needs to find a way to start faster. If given chances, David Carr and the Raiders offense can create some scoring. Dallas just has to limit those chances by controlling the clock and cashing in on long drives. The idea of Dallas winning out always seems far-fetched to me but they are one game away from having Ezekiel Elliott back. The Cowboys need to dispatch this bad team then start thinking about the possibilities with Zeke back in the fold. Prediction: Cowboys 34 – Raiders 27

The Rest of Week 15

Broncos over Colts – The ratings will be awful, that’s for sure. Thursday night football should end.

Lions over Bears – Detroit needs this one but Chicago is playing well right now. This game might be interesting.

Bills over Dolphins – Will Miami’s inconsistency continue on the road? Buffalo is very much in the playoff discussion. They are usually tough at home and Tyrod Taylor will be back from injury.

Ravens over Browns – Cleveland blew their chance last week. They might go winless now. How sad.

Vikings over Bengals – Marvin Lewis has to go.

Saints over Jets – New York was a scrappy team this season but their offense will be putrid now with Josh McCown out. I can’t believe I just typed that.

Eagles over Giants – The Carson Wentz injury won’t matter this week.

Cardinals over Washington – Arizona hasn’t been a good road team this season but Washington quit after the last loss to Dallas.

Jaguars over Texans – A win here would clinch a playoff berth for Jacksonville. What a time.

Titans over 49ers – Marcus Mariota is under a lot of heat right now. He has to respond strongly this week, as Tennessee needs to keep pace with Jacksonville in the AFC South.

Falcons over Buccaneers – Atlanta cannot afford a letdown on the road. Divisional games on the road could be tricky though.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers) – Pittsburgh is using the pass a lot right now.

RB: Jay Ajayi (Eagles) – With Wentz, Philly might be riding the J Train now and into the post season.

WR: Julio Jones (Falcons) – Atlanta will need big plays from their WR against a poor Tampa secondary.

TE: Delanie Walker (Titans) – Walker has been one of Mariota’s most reliable receivers this season.

DEF: Denver – After ending their 8 game losing streak, the Broncos will be looking for more success on defense at Indianapolis.

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NFL 2017: AFC Preview (Condensed)

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Tom Brady and the Patriots reloaded in the offseason. Does the rest of the AFC stand a chance?

By: Elias McMillan

 

AFC East

New England Patriots – The Patriots won another title last season with a roster that wasn’t supremely talented. During this offseason, New England added significant upgrades on offense at RB and WR and on defense at DE and CB. Also, TE Rob Gronkowski returns after missing much of last year due to injury. It looks like the Brady-Belicheck combo will be the cream of the crop once again in the AFC. Although, it seems when the Patriots reload like this, they find a way to disappoint in the post season. We’ll see if this season will be different. Prediction: 15-1 (AFC East Champs)

Miami Dolphins – Miami made the playoffs somehow last season. But they don’t have much momentum going into 2017. It doesn’t help that they lost Ryan Tannehill to injury in training camp and had to replace him with a Jay Cutler they had to drag out from the announcer’s booth (Why didn’t they sign Kaepernick?). Positives: they found an answer a RB last season (Jay Ajayi) and they are pretty solid at the receiver positions. On defense, they have a tough front four and I like the offseason addition of Lawrence Timmons. Negatives: Miami secondary may be the down fall for this defense, yet again. And you’ll never know which Jay Cutler that you’re going to get. Prediction: 8-8

Buffalo Bills – Buffalo did Rex Ryan wrong and now they seem to be tanking. They traded their best WR and CB for draft picks. The Bills made a smart trade on draft day in April. Buffalo is stockpiling draft picks. It’s good idea but its not going to help them win 2017. I feel bad for LeSean McCoy who is wasting his talents up there. I’m interested in seeing how QB Tyrod Taylor will fair with limited weapons in the passing game. Buffalo has young talent on defense. I really liked Shaq Lawson from the 2016 draft. If he’s healthy, he’ll be impact player. Regardless, I don’t see many wins in Buffalo this year. Prediction: 5-11

New York Jets – The Jets are tanking. I hope it doesn’t cost head coach Todd Bowles who won 10 games in New York just two seasons ago. The Jets literally got rid of every veteran on the team except RB Matt Forte. The QB position is a disaster. What is josh McCown doing to keep finding work in this league? WR core? Garbage. They do have some promising talent on defense. It’s going to be an ugly year for the Jets. Prediction: 2-14

 

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers return with supreme talent on the offense between the QB (Roethlisberger), RB (Bell), and the WR (Brown). That, along with that over achieving offensive line, Pittsburgh should be able to rule the North again. What will stop them in the playoffs? If it isn’t the inability to stay healthy, it will be the lack of big plays from their defense. Losing and not replacing Lawrence Timmons at middle linebacker will prove to be a mistake. Pittsburgh is solid on the defensive line but they lack players in the secondary that can make big plays. But what they are really missing is an impact pass rusher. Can rookie T.J. Watt be that guy? Despite the questions, Pittsburgh should be New England’s main rival for the AFC crown. Prediction: 11-5 (AFC North Champs)

Baltimore Ravens – Baltimore quietly made some improvements this offseason especially on defense. I like the addition of S Tony Jefferson. They have solid veteran leadership in the secondary between him and Eric Weddle. Terrell Suggs returns for what maybe his final season. Look out for rookie Tyus Bowser to become a difference maker off the edge on this defense. Baltimore’s defense will keep the Ravens in a lot of games but they have serious questions on offense. It feels like everyone has been waiting for 2012 Joe Flacco to return and it just hasn’t happened yet. It would help if he could get some consistency from his supporting cast. Maybe WR Jeremy Maclin can help. The success of this season for the Ravens will be up to if the offense can finally figure itself out. Prediction: 8-8

Cincinnati Bengals – Cincinnati again brings a talented roster to the table but their undisciplined nature seems to be their undoing. I like Marvin Lewis but how does he still have a job as he continues to vouch for Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict? On offense, the Bengals need Andy Dalton to stay healthy because he has a great collection of skill players around him, highlighted by WR A.J. Green. The Bengals have a talented defense led by DT Geno Atkins. But I think their immaturity will hold them back. They might push Baltimore for second place in the division. Prediction: 8-8

Cleveland Browns – Same as it ever was for the Browns. QB questions. Young talent on both sides of the ball. Seasoned veterans. Cleveland just can’t seem to put it all together. But this season could set the table for some success down the road. The Browns will see what they have in rookie QB DeShone Kizer right out of the gate. First round pick Myles Garrett will receive tons of playing time as well and he has impressed in the pre-season. I will be interested in seeing how Cleveland does with this current crop of young talent. I’m a believer in Hue Jackson. Prediction: 6-10

 

AFC South

Tennessee Titans – I’m buying into the Titans this season. They impressed a season ago and they may have made the post season if QB Marcus Mariota doesn’t get hurt late in the season. Tennessee has a good mix a RB with DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, a great offensive line, and they added weapons in the passing game. Once the defense figures itself out, they could become a contender in the AFC. But for now, I think they’ll be good enough to win the AFC South. Prediction: 10-6 (AFC South Champs)

Houston Texans – Houston has made the playoffs in two straight seasons. I would say this is mainly because of their defense. In 2015, in was all about J.J. Watt. In 2016, while Watt was injured, it was all about Jadeveon Clowney. Who knows what this defense will be capable of with both Watt and Clowney in the line-up. Houston has a legit starter at RB (Lamar Miller) and a legit number one receiver (DeAndre Hopkins). What they don’t have is a legit starting QB. Could it be the returning backup Tom Savage or the rookie who just won a national championship, Deshaun Watson? Either way, I’m expecting more big things from the defense in Houston. Prediction: 9-7 (Wild-card)

Indianapolis Colts – I feel like the majority is expecting nothing from this Colts team, which makes them kind of underrated. But they still have plenty of issues. Issues number one: the health of Andrew Luck. I expect Luck to start out on the PUP list (6 Games) so they are going to have to roll with Scott Tolzien. Good thing for Tolzien, the best player on the team is a WR (T.Y. Hilton). The defense is full of cast offs from another teams. I think a lot of teams will sleep on Indy and for good reason. But I don’t think they’ll completely stink. Prediction: 7-9

Jacksonville Jaguars – Jacksonville should have been the team that brought in Colin Kaepernick. The jig up for Blake Bortles. The Jaguars actually have promising talent on both sides of the ball. It is clear that the QB position is holding them back. It’s too bad, I guess. I really like what they have on defense. But it wont be enough to make up for the shortcomings offensively. Jacksonville will likely be drafting a new QB early in the draft next April. Prediction: 4-12

 

AFC West

Oakland Raiders – The Raiders had a great 2016 season that was derailed by Derek Carr’s injury before the playoffs. Now, Carr returns to a team that is ready to take the next step and win the AFC West. Oakland is set up pretty well offensively. I think Marshawn Lynch’s return to the NFL wont have as much as an impact as some people may want to but at the least, he’ll serve well as a weapon in the red zone. Outside of their front four, I’m still worried about the defense especially in the secondary. Prediction: 12-4 (AFC West Champs)

Denver Broncos – Denver suffered through a Super Bowl hangover last year but I think they can rebound in 2017. I still like what their defense brings to the table. Von Miller is one of the best players in the league. I’m not sure how far this offense will be able to take them under the command of QB Trevor Siemian. But the Broncos have plenty of weapons at the skills positions on offense. They still have a stacked WR group led by Demaryius Thomas. Also, remember this name from out of the backfield: sixth round pick RB DeAngelo Henderson. Prediction: 9-7 (Wild-card)

Kansas City Chiefs – Andy Reid has won 10+ games in Kansas City 3 out of the 4 seasons as head coach. And in the one season he didn’t, the team still finished over .500. I think that impressive streak will come to an end this season. The Chiefs are in the process of pushing out many veterans on the roster and that turnover will affect their chances to compete in the AFC West. Alex Smith will be feeling the heat all season from the first round QB they selected in April, Patrick Mahomes. The offense will feature TE Travis Kelce and WR Tyreke Hill but Jamaal Charles and Jeremy Maclin are both gone. They do have a great defense to lean on but that group is starting to age. This will be a down year for the Chiefs. Prediction: 7-9

Los Angeles Chargers – I absolutely hate the Chargers move to LA. It stinks to the high heavens. It stinks for the NFL. As for the team, they could be a sleeper in the AFC West if they can stay healthy. I feel like you could say that every year about this team though. Phillip Rivers returns for yet another season where he will see his WR core suffer through many injuries. At least he still has an aging TE Antonio Gates to go to. It would be nice if RB Melvin Gordon can continue the success he had a season ago. I think the story from this team this year will be the emergence of DE Joey Bosa as he will become a defensive star in this league. Between Melvin Ingram and Bosa, the Chargers could have the best pass-rushing duo in the division. It would be cool to see this team grab some success while they still have Phillip Rivers but I don’t see it happening. Prediction: 6-10

 

AFC Playoff Picture Prediction

  1. New England Patriots – 15-1 (AFC East)
  2. Oakland Raiders – 12-4 (AFC West)
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers – 11-5 (AFC North)
  4. Tennessee Titans – 10-6 (AFC South)
  5. Houston Texans – 9-7 (Wild-card)
  6. Denver Broncos – 9-7 (Wild-card)

NFL 2016: Week 8 Predictions!

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Can the Eagles defense slow down the league’s best running game in Dallas?

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 7-7-1

Season: 62-44-1

Big Five Games of the Week

New England @ Buffalo – The Bills were riding high after winning four straight coming off the firing of their offensive coordinator. But last week, Buffalo fell for the trap on the road in the Miami Dolphins. Buffalo couldn’t stop the Dolphins rushing attack and their own best offensive weapon, LeSean McCoy, was injured and not effective. Buffalo will return home this week but they will have the New England Patriots waiting for them. New England didn’t look too impressive last week in Pittsburgh but they were still able to win convincingly against a shorthanded team. The Patriots enter a similar situation this week on the road again. Buffalo will be without their best player so the Pats will need to take full advantage of that. Buffalo was able to beat the Patriots before Tom Brady returned but despite that, Bill Belichick and company will have revenge on their minds this Sunday. For Buffalo to have a chance, they will need to run the ball as well as they did in their first meeting this season in New England. I think that will prove to be impossible without Shady McCoy. Brady and Rob Gronkowski usual have big performances in Buffalo and I think that is what we will see this team. Prediction: Patriots 32 – Bills 20

Detroit @ Houston – The Texans are the leaders in the AFC South right now but they have to be feeling pretty low after what happened to them last Monday night. The Texans might be able to back into a division crown again but they will not be taken seriously around the league. Brock Osweiler has been proven to be a bust of a free agent signing already. He can’t get star receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, involved. And the defense is playing well but not well enough to win ball games for the underachieving offense. The Detroit Lions haven’t been the most impressive team so far this season but I like the way the fight until the final whistle. Last week, they were in another situation where they could have let that game get away. But they fought hard and were led by their leader, QB Matt Stafford, and he got them the victory. Both moods from these football teams will ride with them into this week’s matchup. Houston is trying to find a way to pick them selves off the mat while Detroit is looking to continue to fight the good fight for all 4 quarters. I think Osweiler’s woes continue and the Lions will score the road victory. Prediction: Lions 28 – Texans 21

San Diego @ Denver – Denver hasn’t looked too impressive recently. If Houston’s QB was worth anything, the Broncos could be going into Week 8 on a three game losing streak. Instead, the Broncos will be looking for revenge against a Chargers team that beat them a few weeks back on the road in a Thursday night matchup. For Denver, it is going to continue to be about their defense. Trevor Siemian and the Broncos will not be dynamic enough to win ball games for this Denver team. They will have to do just enough to put the game in the hands of their talented defense. And that task will be tougher going forward now that staring RB, CJ Anderson, is out for the rest of the season. San Diego has its flaws and they have lost a couple of close ones this season but they are trending upwards right now. Phillip Rivers and the passing game is performing well and Melvin Gordon has the run game going in San Diego finally. The Chargers have a weakness in the secondary on defense but their front seven is really starting to become a difference maker this season. I don’t know how long it has been since the Chargers have swept the Broncos in the season series but I see that happening this Sunday in a close one. Prediction: Chargers 31 – Broncos 30

Green Bay @ Atlanta – I think all of the worries about the Packers are valid. I’ve watched them recently in past weeks and I can’t understand why they are not playing at a level that we were use to seeing. Aaron Rodgers would have more than enough time in the pocket to be his old dominant self but he just kind of stands there now, waiting for something to happened instead of making it happen. Green Bay’s offense will be hurt going forward as well now that Eddie Lacy has been shut down for the rest of the season because of injury. Atlanta had a hiccup last week but I think they’ll be ready to rebound quickly this week at home against the Packers. I think Atlanta’s pass rush will be able to get after Rodgers. Green Bay also will not have an answer for the Matt Ryan-Julio Jones connection. RB Tevin Coleman will be missing time because of injury but Devonta Freeman is more than capable to carry the load on the ground for this Falcons offense. Atlanta will have to win the battle on the line of scrimmage if they hope to really put Green Bay away on Sunday. If they can keep Ryan protected and created rushing lanes for Freeman, the Falcons will have a chance to look really impressive this week. Prediction: Falcons 30 – Packers 20

Philadelphia @ Dallas – You gotta hand it to the Eagles for what they did to an undefeated Vikings team last week. But really, Minnesota was due for a loss. It was amazing by itself that Vikings were starting the season so hot after losing starter after starter due to injury. Philadelphia had a plan to expose their weaknesses last week and it work perfectly, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles defense will have to come up strong again this week as they travel to Dallas to take on a rested, division leading Cowboys team. This game, like most, will be all about the players up front on the line of scrimmage. The Cowboys offensive line has taken on all challengers so far this season. Green Bay had the top run defense in the league when they faced them and they were still able to take care of business. I think Philadelphia’s front seven will prove to be a great challenge for the Cowboys upfront. We all know what kind of player Fletcher Cox is but really, the Eagles front seven usually does a great job upfront at disrupting the run while pressuring the QB. Rookie QB Dak Prescott has been a tough cookie to crack so far for opposing NFL defenses. While Prescott isn’t exactly putting up big numbers, his ability to not get rattled has been his greatest attribute so far in his career. The Eagles sole goal this weekend on defense will be to rattle Prescott. But a lot can go right for Dallas if the offensive line can continue to be dominant. Ezekiel Elliott can continue his unreal streak of 100-yard games on the ground in a row. Plus, we might see Prescott excel as a down the field passer with the return of Dez Bryant who has historically toasted the Eagles on many occasions. The other matchup in this game between the Eagles offense and the Cowboys defense is pretty lackluster and I don’t see it being a factor. Can Carson Wentz play well enough to outscore the Cowboys offense? Can the Cowboys defense take advantage of an offense that struggles with protection and with running the ball? Both questions are a coin flip. But the Cowboys have been very consistent so far this season and they are even healthier coming off the bye week. Prediction: Cowboys 29 – Eagles 23

The Rest of Week 8

Titans over Jaguars – Jacksonville maybe in trouble of losing their head coach.

Bengals over Washington – I bet Cincinnati is hoping to see what they saw in Jeremy Hill every week. I wonder how Cincinnati football fans feel about losing a home game to London this year.

Jets over Browns – A lot of talk about the QB position in NY but the RB, Matt Forte, will be the difference in this game.

Chiefs over Colts – I feel that this game is a toss up but Alex Smith had some impressive days as a passer playing indoors in Indianapolis.

Seahawks over Saints – I know that Seattle played poorly last week but New Orleans’ defense is still trash. Can Drew Brees keep them in this game for all 4 quarters?

Raiders over Buccaneers – Oakland might be in first place in the AFC West heading towards the midpoint of the season.

Panthers over Cardinals – Carolina is having a rough season but their offense actually got it together before the bye. I think Carolina has some momentum going into this one.

Vikings over Bears – I don’t think Chicago has the resources to expose Minnesota’s weaknesses. That defense will get Jay Cutler to play like Jay Cutler.

Week 8 Fantasy Football Picks

QB: Russell Wilson (Seahawks) – Wilson will be facing a defense that allows the third most yards through the air in the league on Sunday.

RB: DeMarco Murray (Titans) – People need to take notice to what Murray is doing in Tennessee. Murray is among the league leaders on the ground after a loss season in Philly.

WR: Mike Evans (Buccaneers) – The passing game will be Tampa’s only chance on Sunday so, I would expect Jameis Winston to be looking for his best threat multiple times this weekend.

TE: Jimmy Graham (Seahawks) – I sure, that Graham will be very motivated to show out against the team that traded him.

DEF: New England – The Patriots defense will have its chances to play well against a shorthanded, one-dimensional Bills offense.

NFL 2016: AFC West Preview

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Khalil Mack and the Raiders defense will make a playoff push in 2016.

By: Elias McMillan

 

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs quietly had an outstanding season in 2015 headlined by that massive win streak that they rode into the playoffs. I think that this Chiefs team going into 2016, will have a pretty good shot at overtaking this division from Denver since the Broncos may have not improved in the offseason. The Chiefs have a great veteran core, a great running game, and a great defense. Head coach Andy Reid will have this team ready for bigger things in 2016. I think the questions about QB Alex Smith going into last season are about done. I’m not saying that Smith is a top QB in the league but he is much better than what people believe. When pressed, he can make the big plays at times and I think last season he won the respect of a lot of people in that locker room. A big help to Alex Smith is that the Chiefs are one the best teams at running the football. Everyone knows that Jamaal Charles is the star but they have great depth behind him with Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware, and the speedy kick returner Knile Davis. I don’t know if the depth behind Charles is in result of just having good talent or if the Chiefs offensive line does an outstanding job but either way, it works for this team. The Chiefs receiving core is kind of boring outside of Jeremy Maclin. Maclin showed a lot of heart last season by playing through injuries and he is one of the toughest guys in the league. The Chiefs need someone else opposite of Maclin to step up this season. That could be Albert Wilson or second year receiver Chris Conley. Smith also has a pretty good connection with TE Travis Kelce in the passing game. Kansas City’s defense is strong up front and they had a top 10 run defense in 2015. Nose tackle Dontari Poe is the leader of the group and I think top draft pick, Chris Jones from Mississippi State, will be a great addition eventually. The Chiefs return the same great group at linebacker this season. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston maybe starting to get up there in age but they are still a top pass rushing duo in the league. LB’s Derrick Johnson and Josh Mauga are both good tacklers and pass defenders. Kansas City’s secondary received a big boost last season from reigning defensive rookie of the year, CB Marcus Peters. Peters is an interception machine and he looks to continue right where he left off in 2015. The veteran leader in the secondary, safety Eric Berry, is back and is fresh off a season where he won Comeback Player of the Year. The Chiefs have a great collection of talent in 2016 and they are battle tested. They should be able to win the AFC West and maybe make some noise in the post season. Prediction: 11-5 (AFC West Champs)

Oakland Raiders – Coming off a 7-9 season, the Raiders actually have some momentum going into 2016. They have assembled a young talented roster but they still have some holes that need to be filled. I think this Raiders team is going to be good this year mainly because of their defense. I’m not entirely sure if the Raiders have made the transition from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense but the moves they have made in the offseason do reflect that. Either way, they have drafted very smart and they have brought it some key veteran players. On the defensive line, they have a couple of guys that fit the 3-4 scheme as big bodied, run stuffers. DT’s Dan Williams and Justin Ellis offer a lot of size inside and rookie Jihad Ward will offer athleticism inside as a defensive end. There is also some hope that second year DE Mario Edwards Jr. will improve this season. The Raiders have the players at defensive line but the real standouts will be the pass rushers. Khalil Mack had a standout 2015 and he has the ability to be the next Von Miller. In a 4-3 defense, Mack was moved around a lot and did well. But he really excelled at creating pressure in the backfield. In a 3-4 defense, Mack would have more opportunities at getting to the QB and I believe that this is the plan for 2016. I think the offseason signing of OLB Bruce Irvin supports that scheme change. Irvin played in a 4-3 defense in Seattle but he is probably more suited as an outside rusher in a 3-4 defense. With Mack on the opposite side, Irvin is going to have the chance to be an impact player in this defense. The Raiders have had a big hole in their secondary for years now. This offseason they brought in a couple veterans and some young guys that might be able to turn this unit around. CB Sean Smith was a good player in Kansas City and former first round pick D.J. Hayden is coming off his best season as a pro. Charles Woodson retired but Oakland will attempt to replace him with seasoned vet, Reggie Nelson. Nelson isn’t the player that Woodson was obviously, but he is a ball hawk with a knack for creating big time turnovers. Nelson will be paired with this year’s first round pick, safety Karl Joseph. I thought Joseph was a reach in the first round for Oakland but the guy is a heat seeking missile when it comes to ball carriers. The combo of Nelson and Joseph will be perfect for this defense as both bring that playmaking potential on each down. On offense, the Raiders have the QB and WR positions figured out at least. QB David Carr hasn’t put up monster numbers yet but he is the young leader of this offense. Carr has a great set of reliable receivers in veteran Michael Crabtree and second year standout Amari Cooper. The combination of AC/DC has already become a popular one for Raiders fans. What worries me about the Raiders offense is that I don’t think they are strong up front and I think that is holding back Carr and especially the running game. RB Latavius Murray had a decent 2015 season but I think he could be better if the Raiders had a better offensive line. The Raiders don’t have great depth behind Murray at RB. Rookie DeAndre Washington led the Big 12 in rushing last year and he might be called upon early in his career. The Raiders are also really lacking at the TE position. Mychal Rivera isn’t dynamic to give Carr a reliable target in the passing game. I expect this Raiders defense to be a monster and I think Oakland could possibly ride it into the team’s first post-season berth since 2002. But they need to fill some holes on the offensive side of the ball if they want to return to being the dominant team in this division. Prediction: 9-7 (Wildcard)

Denver Broncos – It’s hard for champions to repeat especially in the NFL. Denver is going to have a tough time bucking that logic in 2016. Denver still has a lot of the talent pieces from last year’s championship run but they also lost a few and the division they play in has improved. Denver was able to ride their defense to a championship a season ago and it looks like the defense will have to be the vocal point once again in 2016. Peyton Manning wasn’t his old self last season but his presence and his knowledge of the offense was able to get the most out of what he was able to do. I don’t think Denver has a QB on the roster right now that can be as valuable as Manning was to the offense last season. Manning looked bad at times in his final season but I think he’ll look better than what Denver has to offer at QB in 2016. Mark Sanchez is a veteran whose best days are behind him. Trevor Siemian hasn’t taken a snap in the regular season. And first round pick, Paxton Lynch, may not be ready to start on day one. Denver also lost multiple starters on the offensive line so, they may be in trouble when it comes to pass protection and run blocking. The QB will have to lean heavy on RB’s C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are talented receivers but their impact on the game will be lower this season because of the situation at QB. On defense, they may have lost Malik Jackson in free agency but I think they’ll still be pretty solid up front with Derek Wolfe and Sylvester Williams. Of course, the star of the defense is Von Miller who is the best pass rusher in football right now. Miller paired with DeMarcus Ware proved to be a deadly combo during the last post season and they will hope to pick up where they left off in 2016. Ware does have an injury history but Shane Ray is waiting in the wings as his heir apparent. Denver’s secondary could be a mixed bag this year too. Last season, CB’s Chris Harris and Bradley Roby proved their worth but that group will miss Aqib Talib who is facing a possible suspension and is battling his own injury problems. As the case for most good movies, the sequel wont be as good as the original. I don’t think Denver is going to fall off the face of the earth but they wont be contenders with that messy QB situation. They should have pulled the trigger on that purposed Colin Kaepernick trade. Prediction: 8-8

San Diego Chargers – The Chargers could potentially climb out of the AFC West basement in 2016 but I don’t see it happening. There are too many question marks on both sides of the ball and I think that the mismanagement from the front office is starting to affect the team. On paper, I think San Diego should be strong offensively. The only thing really missing on offense is a consistent run game. At QB, Phillip Rivers returns for another season as one of the most overlooked players in the league. Rivers can throw it with the best of them and this year he’ll have a pretty talented core of WR’s. I like the pairing of WR’s Kellen Allen and free agent acquisition Travis Benjamin as one serves as a tough possession and the other is a speedy game breaker. I also like the idea of veteran WR James Jones serving as a third option for Rivers. This is a role that Jones excelled at in Green Bay. Of course, Rivers will have Antonio Gates to throw to again at the TE position. But also look out for rookie Hunter Henry who will have a role at the second TE. The Chargers have drafted well up front and have brought in free agents in the past to help bolster that offensive line. Despite that, the running game has been such a major disappointment. San Diego has a decent collection of RB’s but second year player, Melvin Gordon, has to prove this season that he can be the guy in the backfield for this team. Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver are good complementary players at RB but Gordon has to prove that he was worth that first round pick from a season ago. On defense, the Chargers have a lot of talent but they have been inconsistent at all three phases. They don’t stop the run, they don’t get to the QB often enough, and the secondary will definetly be hurting without safety Eric Weddle. This years first round pick, Joey Bosa, was suppose to be a big help upfront at stopping run and creating pressure in the backfield. But the front office has screwed up the process of getting him signed much like other first rounders under this regime. Who knows if the Bosa holdout will last the entire season but I think the affects of it will cause division in the locker room. The Chargers struggle at stopping the run but they do have a pair of decent pass rushers in Melvin Ingram and Jeremiah Attaochu. Inside at linebacker, Manti Te’o and Denzel Perryman need to become the stars that they were in college to help improve the run defense. In the secondary, I actually like the two starters, Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett. I don’t know if Dwight Lowery can replace Weddle at safety for this team but he might provide some needed veteran leadership. I expect this Chargers team to compete hard for those fans in San Diego this season. But I think they will lack the consistency on both sides of the ball to compete for a playoff berth. I’m looking forward to these two victories for the Chargers in 2016: 1) Joey Bosa ending his holdout & 2) San Diego getting a stadium deal done. Prediction: 6-10

NFL 2015: Week 15 Predictions!

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Indy’s Chuck Pagano could really be on the hot seat if his Colts drop a 2nd straight divisional game.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Last Week: 8-8

Season: 130-78

Big Five Games of the Week

Houston @ Indianapolis – The Colts built up their roster in the offseason in order to make a strong run to the Super Bowl. Instead, they have been a massive disappointment and deserving so or not, head coach Chuck Pagano is on the hot seat. That seat might get even hotter this week if they drop another divisional game against Houston. The Colts have a decent record inside their division especially at home. But Indy is hurting on the offensive side of the ball and they are struggling to put up points. Matt Hasselbeck is injured but he still might play. It isn’t a good sign to send out your 40-year-old starting QB with a playoff spot on the line especially when that QB isn’t at 100%. If Indy cant get their passing game going, Houston has the beef up front to stuff the run and really limited them offensively. Houston is having its own problems with keeping their QB’s healthy. Brian Hoyer will miss another game due to concussions and T.J. Yates will get the start. If memory serves me correctly, this isn’t the first time that the Texans called on Yates while in contention for a playoff spot. Yates has already shown that he can get the ball to star receiver DeAndre Hopkins and he’ll have the confidence that most backups don’t have. If Houston’s defense can continue to play hard, they’ll be able to keep the Colts from off the scoreboard and score a huge road victory in the AFC South. Prediction: Texans 21 – Colts 13

Carolina @ New York Giants – The Panthers are still undefeated and they are showing no signs of slowing down. The Giants and limping along in the woeful NFC East but they could present Carolina with some problems. The Giants also gave an undefeated New England squad a tough game at home this season. New York has been so inconsistent this season and they can’t hold on to leads. The Giants cant stop the run, they struggle with covering deep passes, and they are one dimensional on offense. Carolina’s defense should be able to have a strong showing against Eli Manning. The matchup between CB Josh Norman and all-world WR Odell Beckham Jr. will be one to watch. But I do see the Giants slowing down Cam Newton and his offensive attack or Eli Manning being able to put up enough yards against this Carolina defense. Prediction: Panthers 32 – Giants 16

Green Bay @ Oakland – Much is being made out of the play calling duties in Green Bay. But in reality it isn’t rocket science. Aaron Rodgers and the passing offense isn’t the same from years past. Is it because Rodgers is injured? Is it because the offense is missing big play receiver Jordy Nelson? Who knows? They figured it out last week by just feeding RB Eddie Lacy a bunch of times. But can the Packers rushing attack really be the long-term solution going forward this season? I don’t think so. But the Packers do play another team this week that struggles with stopping the run, the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders won a ugly road game last week but they should still be feeling pretty awesome going into this home game. Oakland’s defense played inspired and I think that will carry over into this week. Khalil Mack had a ridiculous game rushing the passer last week with 5 sacks. I think Mack will be able to find similar success against Green Bay’s offensive line. QB Derek Carr was able to do enough to win that game even without finding top rookie target Amari Cooper. I think a lot of the “experts” are starting to feel Green Bay alittle too hard after last week’s home victory but I still think that team has plenty of issues. I taking the upset as Oakland will take care of business as home underdogs. Prediction: Raiders 26 – Packers 23

Denver @ Pittsburgh – Denver is going through an identity crisis at QB. Earlier in the season, Peyton Manning struggled and many wanted him benched. Manning then, had a great game against Green Bay in primetime and everyone loved him again. Then, he got injured and everyone was ready to crown Brock Osweiler and send Manning into retirement after Denver knocked off undefeated New England. Now, coming off of a bad performance at home and Manning working himself back into health, Osweiler must get ready to face Pittsburgh on Sunday. My point is that if you look at the numbers, Osweiler really hasn’t been that much better than Manning since his injury and Denver will probably be better served once Manning is healthy. Good news for Denver is that their defense is still pretty good. Denver hasn’t allowed more than 30 points in a game this season. That stat will be relevant on Sunday as Pittsburgh has strived this season when scoring a lot of points. Pittsburgh’s passing game is as explosive as they come. But I think Denver is well equipped to slow them down. Denver is tough to run on and they have multiple pass rushers to get after Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh has many weapons at receiver but Denver has an athletic group of defensive backs and linebackers that can make things tougher for that group. I don’t think Denver will be able to fix their offensive troubles this week though. Denver’s offensive line has struggled in pass protection this entire season especially last week. I think that the old man, James Harrison, will have a big game this week and he’ll be able to cause some turnovers. Pittsburgh is tough against the run but I feel like it’s been awhile since they’ve truly been tested through out a ball game. I think Denver should make a great effort at pounding the rock this week as that could really help protect their young QB. I don’t think Pittsburgh’s offense will have a monster game but I think the defense will be able to win it this week for Pittsburgh. Prediction: Steelers 20 – Broncos 17

Arizona @ Philadelphia – I keep picking against the Eagles and they keep winning. I didn’t think they would be New England or Buffalo but here they are and they look like they could win the NFC East. Arizona is the better football team at all phases of the game. But Arizona has had some lapses this season. They can’t afford to have that this week as they are fighting for a first round bye in the playoffs. Arizona should be able to overpower Philly through the air on offense. Arizona should have the advantage on defense as well. Philly’s running game has been inconsistent all season and Arizona’s front seven on defense is tough. Philly’s dink and dunk passing game probably shouldn’t be that effective against a Cardinals secondary that excels in zone coverage and creating turnovers. I don’t know why the Eagles keep winning but I’ll be shocked if they are able to score a third straight upset victory. Prediction: Cardinals 31 – Eagles 23

The Rest of Week 15

Rams over Buccaneers – This will be the best looking game out of all the “Color Rush” games this season. Jameis Winston is having a fine rookie season but Tampa’s defense is starting to fade away. Will the Rams play hard in front of those St. Louis fans one last time? It could be a farewell party for that fan base.

Jets over Cowboys – Matt Cassel is Matt Cassel. Chris Ivory will be busy as Dallas struggled mightily against the run last week.

Vikings over Bears – Minnesota seems to be a lock for the playoffs no matter what happens the rest of the way. But they got to beat Chicago this week if they want a chance at the division.

Patriots over Titans – Tom Brady has historically torched Tennessee in his career.

Washington over Bills – It’s sad to say but maybe Tyrod Taylor is holding this Buffalo team back.

Jaguars over Falcons – Atlanta has completely fell apart. Jacksonville has confidence and a “legit” shot at the division? Maybe? We’ll see.

Chiefs over Ravens – Once again, Kansas City’s remaining schedule: ridiculously easy. Looks like another playoff berth for Andy Reid.

Seahawks over Browns – Manziel was great last week. Expect him to be less than great this week in Seattle.

Chargers over Dolphins – My heart goes out for those San Diego fans. This game will be notable just for the emotional scene after the game.

Bengals over 49ers – Life changed fast for Cincinnati last week. They just have to limp along to finish out the regular season. San Fran’s defense is tough but Cleveland outmatched them last week. Cincinnati must take care of business on the road.

Lions over Saints – It looks like New Orleans isn’t done competing and Detroit is. But if Matt Stafford can’t take advantage of this Saints secondary, he probably should be benched.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Russell Wilson (Seahawks) – Wilson is on a crazy roll right now. Cleveland doesn’t have the defense to slow him down.

RB: Adrian Peterson (Vikings) – Peterson has had some big games against Chicago in his career.

WR: DeAndre Hopkins (Texans) – Hopkins showed that he has chemistry with T.J. Yates earlier this season. He’ll get more looks this week with the division potentially on the line.

TE: Greg Olsen (Panthers) – The Giants give up the most yards through the air in football. If Newton is passing a lot, more than likely that will mean a big day for his TE.

DEF: Kansas City – Baltimore’s offense can’t move the ball. This is a trend that should continue this week against the tough Chiefs defense.

NFL 2015: Week 5 Predictions!

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Denver’s defense has been the key to their success so far in 2015.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 9-6

Season: 39-24

Big Five Games of the Week

Seattle @ Cincinnati – The Bengals are playing well on both sides of the ball right now. Andy Dalton is leading this Bengals offense in the right direction through the air and the running game is closing out ballgames. Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard are both playing well right now. The Bengals offense will face a tough test at home on Sunday in the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle is slumping right now but their defense is playing well right now with S Kam Chancellor back in the lineup. Cincinnati has a lot of offensive weapons but Seattle is equipped to stop the run and defend the pass well. It should be an interesting chess match between those two units. Seattle’s offense is sloppy right now without RB Marshawn Lynch. Lynch’s status for Sunday is unclear and they’ll probably also be without veteran backup Fred Jackson. Besides of the health problems, Seattle has bigger issues with their offensive line right now. With the running game struggling, QB Russell Wilson is going to have to do more than usual while running for his live. Wilson can make some amazing plays outside the pocket but when pressured enough, he will make some mistakes. Cincinnati has been tough defensively so far this season and I think they’ll do well at limiting Seattle’s production on Sunday. Cincy will do enough to put this team away at home. Prediction: Bengals 25 – Seahawks 17

Chicago @ Kansas City – I’ll give the Bears credit for coming back and beating Oakland last week. But I still don’t have much confidence in them going forward. Kansas City needs a win in a bad way and they are at home this weekend. The Chiefs matchup well against Chicago on both sides of the ball. The Bears still have issues with stopping the run and the Chiefs offense goes through RB Jamaal Charles. QB Jay Cutler struggles under pressure and the Chiefs have two the best pass rushers in the game in Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Kansas City gives up a lot of yards through the air but Cutler is lacking the weapons to really expose the Chiefs secondary. Kansas City should be able to take care of business on Sunday as long as Alex Smith doesn’t give the game away. Prediction: Chiefs 27 – Bears 14

Cleveland @ Baltimore – I saw nothing great about this Ravens team last Thursday night. Joe Flacco is playing poor football right now and he wont get better with all the injuries at the WR position. Baltimore’s saving grace on offense right now is Justin Forsett and the running game. On defense, Baltimore can’t stop the pass or pressure the QB. Cleveland has lost two straight since committing to QB Josh McCown but the losses really haven’t been the offense’s fault. Cleveland needs a better effort from the defensive side of the ball and I think they’ll get it on Sunday on the road. With the state of the Ravens passing game, Cleveland will make a greater effort at stopping the run this week. Cleveland’s passing game has been surprisingly efficient recently and WR Travis Benjamin has proven to be a reliable target. I’m going out on a limb here but I like the Browns to score an upset victory inside of the division on the road. Prediction: Browns 21 – Ravens 20

Denver @ Oakland – This game would be a lot more interesting if Oakland was 3-1. But still, the 2-2 Raiders are looking a lot better than recent past Raider teams. This will be a huge test at home this week against Denver. Denver isnt lighting up the score board this season but they are boasting the league’s best defense right now. The offense isnt playing too bad either and they are doing enough to allow the defense to close out victories. Oakland will have a chance in this game by keeping Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense off the scoreboard. Oakland is getting great play in the secondary from veteran Charles Woodson and they have an impressive pass-rushing duo in Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith. I think Oakland’s defense will be able to keep this game close. I’m not sure how the Raiders offense will be able to score enough points though. Denver has been fairly decent at stopping the run and preventing big passing plays. Derek Carr and rookie Amari Cooper have been impressive so far this season but they’re going to have to play their best games on Sunday to get the victory. I’m taking the road team in this game but don’t be surprised if Oakland has a chance to steal a victory at the end. It’s a shame that most of the country will miss this game. Should be a good one. Prediction: Broncos 23 – Raiders 17

Pittsburgh @ San Diego – The Steelers have the weapons on offense to keep winning games while Ben Roethlisberger is out from his injury. Mike Vick is an obvious drop off at the QB position but he can still do some things to help this Steelers teams and he showed that last week. Vick and the offense kind of over complicated things at times last week and that really cost them the game. That and they had a kicker who couldn’t make a field goal. I think Pittsburgh will work this week to make sure that they wont have to kick field goals at all on Monday night in San Diego. Martavis Bryant returns from his suspension this week and he’ll give Vick another deep target to go to along with Antonio Brown and Heath Miller. I think the Steelers should really focus less on the passing game as long as Ben is out. Especially when you have a guy like Le’Veon Bell in your backfield. Bell needs to get Adrian Peterson like carries in this offense, especially in short yardages situations. Bell has the potential to have some monster games on the stat sheet. He just needs to demand the ball. San Diego doesn’t have a great run defense so I can see Bell getting a heavy workload on Monday night. San Diego does a great job attacking defenses through the air with QB Phillip Rivers and Rivers will be receiving one of his favorite targets back this week in TE Antonio Gates. I think this should be a high scoring game between the Chargers and the Steelers and that might favor the home team. But even without Ben, the Steelers have the greater offensive weapons and they’ll be ready to take a positive step this week after a disappointing ending last week. Prediction: Steelers 35 – Chargers 28

The Rest of the Week 5

Colts over Texans – Andrew Luck isn’t healthy. Matt Hasselbeck has been in a hospital all week. But those two options at QB are still better than what Houston has.

Falcons over Washington – Atlanta is not going to be derailed at home.

Packers over Rams – After a great victory in the division last week, the Rams will under perform on the road this week.

Bills over Titans – Buffalo’s performance last week was embarrassing. Tennessee’s defense will be a sight for Tyrod Taylor’s sore eyes.

Eagles over Saints – I’m not sure how long Drew Brees can go without throwing deep passes. Philly has a great front seven and they’ll have a favorable matchup against this short passing attack. Sam Bradford discovered his arm last week and he’ll be in attack mode against the New Orleans defense.

Buccaneers over Jaguars – Jacksonville’s defense is horrid but Jameis Winston really needs to make an effort at cutting down on the turnovers.

Cardinals over Lions – Detroit is desperate and winless but I can’t see this Arizona squad losing two straight.

Patriots over Cowboys – Most of the nation will see this game and it’s really a shame. Without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, this game will be one sided offensively. Dallas will be receiving defensive help this week but I’m not betting on Tom Brady coming off a bye.

Giants over 49ers – After this game, the New York Giants future NFC East Champion hype train will be in full swing.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Eli Manning (Giants) – San Francisco doesn’t have the defense to slow down the Giants passing attack.

RB: Jamaal Charles (Chiefs) – Charles usually has his best games at home and that might especially be the case against Chicago’s run defense.

WR: Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals) – Fitzgerald is having a surprising start to his season.

TE: Martellus Bennett (Bears) – Bennett is basically is the only healthy, reliable target left for Cutler and the Bears passing offense.

DEF: New York Giants – San Francisco has been seriously limited on offense this season. The Giants have the best run defense in football right now.

NFL 2015: Week 2 Predictions!

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Rex Ryan has been looking forward to this Sunday’s matchup with New England for awhile.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 11-5

Season: 11-5

Big Five Games of the Week

Denver @ Kansas City – Denver won ugly in Week 1 but it seems like not everyone was impressed with that. The headlines have been all about how shaky Peyton Manning and the offense looked and not about how Wade Phillips’ new defense helped Denver win that game. You must give Baltimore’s defense credit as well. Denver was facing a tough defense and they’ll do so again this week in Kansas City. The Chiefs were really impressive last week and the score of the game against Houston really didn’t tell the tale of the contest. Kansas City dominated and the passing offense looked improved. I’m not sure how the Chiefs offense will look this week especially through the air. Denver seems to have a better pass defense this season so I would expect Jamaal Charles to get a lot of touches tonight. The story of tonight’s game will be that Kansas City pass rush giving Manning fits. The crowd at Arrowhead will be on fire and that will help the Chiefs gain a big victory in the division. Prediction: Chiefs 28 – Broncos 20

New England @ Buffalo – Buffalo really surprised me last week with how impressive they looked against the Colts (my Super Bowl pick). I wasn’t surprised about how the defense played but the offense led by Tyrod Taylor definitely took my attention. Rex Ryan has circled this date on Sunday for a while now and it looks at least on paper that his Bills will be able to matchup well against the Patriots. New England got the victory over a short handed Pittsburgh team last week but they really didn’t blow me any with their performance. Against the Pittsburgh defense, Tom Brady really should have done more on the stat sheet. Brady will find life tough on Sunday against that Buffalo front four. New England’s running game was a nice surprise in Week 1 but they’ll face a different type of monster this week in Buffalo. The Buffalo run defense did pretty well last week even without its star, DT Marcell Dareus. The Bills secondary also did a great job last week slowly Indy’s elite passing attack. I like the matchup for Buffalo between their secondary and New England’s receivers. I wonder if Julian (Jerry Rice) Edelman will be barking after every catch this week. I know Rob Gronkowski is a beast and he’ll get his touches but him and Brady wont be able to carry this offense alone against this defense. Thinking of defense, New England’s defense is poor. Tyrod Taylor took advantage of a weak Colts defense last week and I think he’ll be able to do the same this week. I’m taking the home team. Prediction: Bills 29 – Patriots 17

San Diego @ Cincinnati – There was some preseason hype surrounding Oakland before Week 1 but that was all but ended by the Bengals last week. I gotta give the Bengals credit because it felt like last week could have been one of those classic times where they disappoint. I don’t think Cincinnati played an outstanding game or anything but it means a lot if you can take care of the teams that you are suppose to especially on the road. The Bengals now return home to face San Diego who has had some recent success in Ohio. The Chargers were indeed shaky last week but they were able to leave with a victory. San Diego has to be encouraged by the performance of WR Keenan Allen who is trying to rebound after a slow 2nd season. I think the Chargers offense will have a harder time this week. Cincinnati played well defensively last week and they can really lean on that defense especially if the offense struggles. San Diego gave up a lot of yards last week so I think the Bengals should be able to form a game plan to take advantage. San Diego especially struggles against the run so I would expect Andy Dalton to hand off to Jeremy Hill a lot on Sunday. If Cincinnati can play up to there potential, they should be able to take care of the Chargers at home this Sunday. Prediction: Bengals 30 – Chargers 24

Dallas @ Philadelphia – The Eagles really disappointed last week. I mean, it hard to follow up winning the “preseason Super Bowl” with playing in a meaningless Week 1 road matchup. But seriously, I think Philly will be okay going forward. That is if their QB Sam Bradford can stay healthy. The Eagles are pretty much the same team from last season. The thing that’s supposed to be different is their power running game with DeMarco Murray that did not show up last week. You gotta give Atlanta’s run defense credit, I guess. This week’s game against Dallas is huge. Even more so since it’s the home opener for Philly, they are winless, and their new star free agent acquisition faces his former team. The pressure will be on Philly big time on Sunday this week. But I honestly like their chances. Dallas clearly didn’t play good enough to win last week but they somehow did. Thanks to the stupidity of the Giants clock management. Dallas showed a lot of positive things last week but they also showed that a lot of the problems from last season are still there. For instance, the run defense. Chip Kelly will definitely be able to find plays for Murray this week against that Dallas front four. Dallas doesn’t have a run stuffer up front and they’ll be down a pass rusher due to injury. That should be great news for Bradford and the passing offense. For Dallas, they’ll face a tough challenge once again in Philly’s front seven. The Eagles are pretty good at stuffing the run and rushing the QB. Tony Romo was able to find the answer to Philly’s defense in their last meeting in WR Dez Bryant. Now that Bryant is out with a broken foot, Romo may struggle to find a reliable game-breaking target in the passing game. Which is a shame because the Eagles secondary is garbage. Is WR Terrance Williams ready to break out this week? We will certainly find out. I would expect Jason Witten and the RB’s by committee to receive plenty of targets in the passing game much like last week. But without Dez, the passing game wont be able to be dominant enough to take this victory away from Philly. The celebration at the end of this game will be over the top, as the media will once again proclaim the Eagles to be “Week 2 champions”. Yeah. Prediction: Eagles 37 – Cowboys 28

Seattle @ Green Bay – Seattle’s offense isnt good enough to win ball games even with new TE Jimmy Graham. That’s okay because Seattle can lean on that great defense. Oh wait, that defense isnt so great this season because starting safety Kam Chancellor is still holding out. That’s the story of this game in a nutshell, I think. Green Bay should be able to take full advantage of Seattle’s secondary issues. Aaron Rodgers will have a big game especially if the Packers offense cant get the running game going against Seattle’s front seven. Green Bay struggled defensively at stopping the run and that might serve as an advantage for Seattle. Maybe this can be a game where Marshawn Lynch can do the heavy lifting for Russell Wilson. Even if the Lynch has a good game, the offense will be “too vanilla” for Seattle to outscore the Packers at home. I’m taking Green Bay. Prediction: Packers 34 – Seahawks 25

The Rest of Week 2

Cardinals over Bears – Carson Palmer played well last week. So did Arizona’s defense. Arizona will be so slept on again this season. They should be taken very seriously.

Titans over Browns – Marcus Mariota maybe ready for the big time after all. The media wants to talk about Johnny Manziel’s turnovers last week but they don’t want to talk about how disappointing the Cleveland defense was. Hmmm.

Lions over Vikings – Maybe Detroit’s defense wont be as bad after losing all those stars on the defensive line. One thing for sure: Minnesota’s offensive line problems may haunt them the entire season.

Saints over Buccaneers – Jameis Winston will be okay. But Rob Ryan will throw some weird stuff at him this week. Also, Tampa’s defense smells bad.

Falcons over Giants – Atlanta’s defense already looks better with Dan Quinn at the helm. New York did absolutely nothing to be in that game with Dallas last week and they deserved to lose because they are idiots.

Steelers over 49ers – Did you guys stay up on Monday night? Did you see how physical San Francisco played? Pittsburgh better not sleep on this opponent.

Rams over Washington – Aaron Donald is so freaking good.

Panthers over Texans – I liked what I saw out of Carolina’s defense last week. This is why I still picked them to win the South again. Houston’s QB issues may hold them back for a second straight week.

Ravens over Raiders – Baltimore has to feel encouraged by how well the defense played last week. Oakland is a mess already. But we thought that things would be different with Del Rio. Shame. (Survival Football Pick of the Week)

Dolphins over Jaguars – Miami was suppose to dominate Washington last week. They didn’t and I’m starting to think that my preseason prediction about them will be true: they’ll under perform under Joe Philbin all season.

Colts over Jets – Indy looks the same from last season. They still didn’t get that defense fixed. They better not let Ryan Fitzpatrick embarrass them on Monday night.

Fantasy Football Picks of the Week

QB: Matt Ryan (Falcons) – Ryan’s connection with Julio Jones looked great in Week 1. New York’s secondary gave up a lot of yards last week. I like Atlanta’s passing game this week.

RB: Justin Forsett (Ravens) – Forsett gain a lot of tough yards last week. He’ll gain a lot of easy ones this week against Oakland.

WR: Odell Beckham Jr (Giants) – After a lackluster Week 1, the Giants will need a big game from their big play receiver. They’ll need a lot of points to beat Atlanta.

TE: Tyler Eifert (Bengals) – Eifert had a coming out party last week and that will continue this season as Dalton will continue to trust him.

DEF: Detroit – Minnesota offensive issues might continue this week. Detroit’s defense is very opportunistic and can create turnovers.