Tag Archives: T.J. Watt

Loud Mouth Snooks: Nov. 2 (Part 1)

https://lmspod.podbean.com/e/loud-mouth-snooks-nov-2/

Elias and an old friend from college (Robert Buckles) discuss this week’s Steelers/Cowboys matchup, how the season is looking for both teams this year, and memories of past games between the two historical franchises. 

(PART 1)

Host: Elias McMillan

Guest: Robert Buckles

Recorded: October 30, 2020

Posted: November 2, 2020

NFL 2020: Week 8 Predictions

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

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 9-5

Season: 66-38-1

Week 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NFL 2020: Week 7 Predictions

It will a meeting of unbeaten teams on Sunday when the Steelers visit the Tennessee Titans.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 8-6

Season: 57-33-1

Week 7

Eagles over Giants – A stinky, yet, important matchup on Thursday night football. The Eagles have more talented players who are healthy but if they let down tonight, the scene at the Linc should be more entertaining than the presidential debate.

Lions over Falcons – I like Detroit’s offensive weapons to overwhelm Atlanta’s defense. The Falcons are having a terrible season, they already fired the head coach, but they still have most of their star players healthy. Strange. 

Browns over Bengals – Cleveland got exposed by Pittsburgh last week for the 10000th time. How they move forward from that will be interesting? The thing I keep hearing from the Browns this week is how happy they are about being 4-2. Maybe they should just worry more about this Bengals team that would love to knock them down a few pegs. QB Baker Mayfield better have a better performance this week as he could be on a short leash. 

Titans over Steelers – This isn’t the AFC Championship game but Pittsburgh and Tennessee are unbeaten in what should be the game of the weekend. I think both offenses will see their opportunities in this game. Tennessee has been inconsistent on defense recently. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, has been outstanding defensively but they really haven’t been pressed and things might get tougher for them losing LB Devin Bush to injury. I’m giving the edge to Tennessee because they will have the best player on the field, RB Derrick Henry, who can take over the game in the 4th quarter.

Saints over Panthers – Big NFC South matchup here with the old guard against the overachievers in Carolina. The Panthers were off to a surprising start but they were cooled off last week. I think the Saints will be focused coming off the bye.

Bills over Jets – I think Buffalo’s defense will be challenged to see if they can keep this Jets team off the scoreboard for a second straight week.

Washington over Cowboys – Washington was “oh-so” close last week against NY. They will find more opportunities offensively against a Cowboys defense that is historically bad. This will also be a career day for rookie DE Chase Young as he will lining up against a offensive line that is down to its second and THIRD string players. Plus, count on at least a couple of boneheaded fumbles or drops by the Cowboys offense. Count on it. 

Packers over Texans – Aaron Rodgers must have a bad taste in his mouth after the Packers offense only scored 10 points last week. They will take it out on Houston who are struggling on defense right now.

Raiders over Buccaneers – Game time was moved up because of COVID. Not sure if that is going to affect Las Vegas’ preparation but I like them in this matchup. Jon Gruden and the Raiders brain trust raved about Tom Brady in the offseason so I think they will have a good game plan to use against him. I think Tampa will be inconsistent for most of the season because they are old. Too many veterans they have to rely on. I don’t trust them.

Chiefs over Broncos – Denver got it done last week with defense but I think it is fair to say that Kansas City has more offensive threats than New England.

Patriots over 49ers – Thinking of New England, they need to start figuring it out on offense. The excuse being thrown around last week was lack of practice due to COVID restrictions. But really, Cam Newton doesn’t have enough weapons. If they are not careful, they could let this 49ers team stick around who last week overcame their injuries to beat LA. 

Chargers over Jaguars – I got nothing here. Maybe count on a bunch of points being scored. Shrugged shoulders emoji.

Seahawks over Cardinals – This is being flexed into Sunday night because of COVID. Arizona must be thrilled to play in primetime for the second straight week. They will be less thrilled to find out that their opponent will not be the Dallas Cowboys. Seattle coming off the bye should be a lock but you never know with these divisional matchups. One thing I’ll say about Arizona, I loved them going into this season, especially QB Kyler Murray. But Murray had his opportunities last week as a passer and frankly, I was disappointed. His accuracy was all over the place. He only completed nine passes. He must be better, IMO. 

Bears over Rams – I don’t think Chicago is as good as their 5-1 record suggests but as long as they beat the teams that they are suppose to, they’ll be alright. The Rams are so average and I feel vindicated by their loss last week in San Fran. 

NFL 2020: Week 6 Predictions

Is it time to start paying more attention to Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers?

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 8-6

Season: 49-27-1

Week 6

Titans over Texans – Get this: the Titans are now turning repeated positives of the virus into “motivation”. Isn’t that rich? Well, it seemed to work last week against Buffalo.

Colts over Bengals – Phillip Rivers needs to figure out a way to produce more with this Colts offense or Cincinnati will have a chance to upset them.

Vikings over Falcons – Minnesota might be the best out of all the teams with bad records, if that even makes any sense. What I mean to say is that they are grinding hard to dig out from the 0-3 start.

Patriots over Broncos – If this game is played, it will be interesting to see how Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore perform after testing positive. Is Drew Lock returning this week for Denver? He’ll face a huge task in the New England defense.

Washington over Giants – Not sure about the QB situation but I would like to see that young and talented Washington front seven get after Daniel Jones.

Ravens over Eagles – If you’re waiting for Lamar Jackson to have a monster type day on the stat sheet, well, this week might be it. The Eagles made Chase Claypool look like Terrell Owens last week by simply not covering him.

Steelers over Browns – I used to always root for Cleveland in this matchup because of the rival underdog angle and because they don the same colors of my alma mater. But this Cleveland team has 4 wins in October for the first time in forever and they are walking around like they are something. I’m not saying that I am rooting for Pittsburgh on Sunday but I just think Pittsburgh is going to punch this team right in the mouth like they always do. Usually, that seems boring but the Browns just are so cocky for no reason. I would actually like for this game to be competitive and it actually might be. I hope Myles Garrett has some type of impact in the game. There won’t be many fans at Heinz Field but they will have blood in their eyes, staring right at him. I hope he trolls back at them. This game will be worth watching just for the altercations. 

Panthers over Bears – Many people (including myself) thought that Carolina would be rebuilding this year especially after the Christian McCaffrey injury. But Teddy Bridgewater has this Panthers offense going in the right direction. I think Chicago’s defense will serve as a good challenge.

Lions over Jaguars – I saw Jacksonville once this season and their defense was awful. I’m starting Matt Stafford in one of my fantasy teams this week so I hope they continue to be terrible.

Dolphins over Jets – The Jets had a core with Jamal Adams, CJ Mosley, and Le’Veon Bell. And now, there are talks about Sam Darnold being traded? They are going to tie Adam Gase to an actual Jet when his tenure as head coach is over. Also, how about old man Fitzpatrick keeping the young stud Tua on the bench?

Packers over Buccaneers – Tampa is going to want this one at home but they seem too old and too injured. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers looks like he has found the fountain of youth. Sidenote: Tampa is going with the all-white unis again this week at home. Freaking wear the pewter pants! You brought them back for a reason!

Rams over 49ers – The Rams are such an average team but after sweeping the NFC East, they might have another layup in the wounded 49ers.

Chiefs over Bills – I think Kansas City is vulnerable because of their defense. Many people are fawning over Josh Allen this season. Let’s see if he can bounce back after his performance last week that included some turnovers.

Cardinals over Cowboys – So, this is what Dallas should do without Dak Prescott: ride Ezekiel Elliott. You have a 2ndstring offensive line and now a 2nd string QB. I know that having all these weapons in the passing game is nice and cool and it creates highlights. But if the Cowboys are interested into winning ball games, they have to control the line of scrimmage and the clock with the run game. They are not going to do it with Andy Dalton passing the ball 40+ times. I’m not saying that he can’t throw it but Elliott and Tony Pollard need to get the bulk of the touches. Plus, Dallas has a historically bad defense facing one of the better dual threat QB’s in the league. If Dallas can run the ball, they will limit Kyler Murray’s chances to light up the secondary with DeAndre Hopkins. I’m saying this knowing that the Cowboys will do the opposite, get down early, then try to pull off a crazy comeback at the end. I’m so sick of this team.    

NFL 2020: AFC Preview

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

By: Elias McMillan

AFC

AFC East

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

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

AFC North

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

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

AFC South

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

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

AFC West

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

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

NFL 2019: Week 15 Predictions

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Who wants to win the AFC South? Ryan Tannehill and the Titans face Houston twice in the final three weeks of the season.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 11-5

Season: 125-82-1

Top Five Games of the Week

Chicago @ Green Bay – Don’t fall into the hype that was the Bears offense last week. They were playing against a defense with no teeth. I mean, lets give Mitch Trubisky some credit but c’mon. They made him look like Steve Young out there. Anyways, I’m going to have to assume that the Packers defense will be a stiffer test for Chicago on the road. Green Bay showed last week against Washington that they can win even when they don’t play their best football. Chicago is still holding on to slim playoff hopes while Green Bay is comfortably in the first place in the NFC North. I think the Bears will calmly fall back down to earth this week. Prediction: Packers over Bears

Houston @ Tennessee – The Texans were shocked at home last week by Denver. They mounted a small comeback attempt but Denver lit up the scoreboard early and Houston was unable to recover. They cannot afford a slow start like that this week against a divisional opponent. Tennessee has been the story of the second half of the season that no one is talking about. QB Ryan Tannehill has brought this passing offense back to life and RB Derrick Henry is continuing to provide stability in the run game. Houston’s defense has struggled mightily recently and they cannot under estimate what the Titans will bring to the table on Sunday. As well as Tennessee has been playing, I still don’t trust them to be consistent. After a big win on the road, I could see them having a let down at home. QB Deshaun Watson will be looking to bounce back after disappointing last week. I’m taking the Texans on the road. Prediction: Texans over Titans

LA Rams @ Dallas – The Cowboys sprang into a playoff team last season because of their defense. This season, it will be that same unit that could keep them out. Dallas couldn’t stop a soul last week, as they were embarrassed in Chicago. The defense that currently leads the league in missed tackles has to find an answer soon or else they’ll be on the outside looking into the playoff picture. The Rams have had their struggles this year but last week at home, they shocked a pretty good Seahawks team. What was surprising was how well their defense played against Russell Wilson and how QB Jared Goff seemed to have total command over his offense. The Rams finding their grove last week couldn’t have come at a worst time for the Cowboys. LA kicked Dallas out the post season last season because they couldn’t stop their running attack. I think we’ll see more of the same this week. What could be different is that Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is not the same QB he was a season ago. I think he’ll continue to will this offense down the field along with a steady serving of Ezekiel Elliott. But it won’t mean a thing if the defense can get LA’s offense off the field. Prediction: Rams over Cowboys

Buffalo @ Pittsburgh – Again, you have to hand it to coach Mike Tomlin for having his team in the playoff conversation after all the losses they’ve faced on offense. Pittsburgh’s formula for success this season involves a tough defense and an offense that can just do enough to not lose the game. I don’t see this working out for Pittsburgh in the long run but it might work for them in terms of making the post season. Pittsburgh is also good enough to make bad teams make stupid mistakes. For example, the Steelers put the heat on Arizona last week but the Cardinals could have been in that game if it wasn’t for their stupid mistakes. Bad teams usually play worst especially against good defenses. Buffalo isn’t a bad team. They are very good defensively and they have one of the league’s top running games. But I’m worried about how they’ll perform under the bright lights of prime time. I feel that Buffalo is the better team but I wonder if they’ll start to make stupid mistakes on the road against a good defense. To me, it just feels like a game that Buffalo would lose. Prediction: Steelers over Bills

Indianapolis @ New Orleans – The Colts really need this one this week to stay in the AFC playoff picture. But their defense isn’t stopping anyone recently and on offense, they seem to be slowed by injuries. The Saints are not in great shape going into this Sunday night game, either. They are dealing with multiple injuries up front defensively which could open the door for the Colts’ running game. This could be a high scoring affair and if it is, my money is on Drew Brees and Michael Thomas who is on pace for a career year. Prediction: Saints over Colts

The Rest of Week 15

Ravens over Jets – I’m worried about the health of Lamar Jackson on a short week going up against a Greg Williams defense. Hopefully, Baltimore can get a sizable lead in the 2nd half and let RG3 finish the game.

Patriots over Bengals – “Dem Pat-tree-us are nothin but CHEATERS. Chuck Noll’s STILLERS got ‘em rings LEGIT….”

Buccaneers over Lions – Jameis Winston is on pace to lead the league in passing and interceptions. I wonder how free agency is going to treat him next year.

Chiefs over Broncos – Denver appears to have hope in the form of rookie QB Drew Lock. If they can beat KC on the road, that would be eye opening.

Dolphins over Giants – I think we can count on this Miami team competing for all 4 quarters. Can’t say the same for this Giants team.

Eagles over Washington – Philadelphia got to be careful here. Washington offers a more capable offense than what they saw from the Giants last week.

Seahawks over Panthers – Is Seattle starting to revert into that team that randomly struggles on the road?

Raiders over Jaguars – Must win for Oakland. Not only for their playoff chances but it is their final home game at the Coliseum. I said it once and I’ll say it again, it is a damn shame that the Raiders are leaving California. The NFL = Brand Killers. All for the mighty dollar. SMH

Browns over Cardinals – These teams lead the league in tripping over themselves. At least Arizona is young. Cleveland, what’s your excuse??

Vikings over Chargers – I think we are witnessing the ending of the Phillip Rivers era for the Chargers.

49ers over Falcons – This might be a surprising good game. Both teams offer great play at the line of scrimmage. San Fran is on a roll right now though.

NFL 2019: Week 13 Predictions (Condensed Version)

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The Buffalo Bills will be looking to stay in the AFC playoff conversation by making a statement in Dallas on Thanksgiving.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 9-5

Season: 103-72-1

Week 13 Picks

Bears over Lions – Detroit losing on Thanksgiving is a tradition. Chicago’s defense should be able to take care of Jeff Driskel.

Bills over Cowboys – Dallas didn’t get hammered physically last week in New England. It was mentally which could be even worst. If they don’t recover and focus up on a short week, this Bills team could shock them. Buffalo needs this to stay the AFC wildcard race.

Saints over Falcons – Atlanta embarrassed New Orleans in their first meeting. The Saints haven’t forgot and they’ll be looking for revenge in the Super Dome.

Jets over Bengals – Cincy blew their chance at getting a victory last week. Now, they come crawling back to Andy Dalton. Not a good look.

Titans over Colts – Indy is banged up. Tennessee is beginning to look like a team that could sneak their way into the playoff conversation.

Eagles over Dolphins – Philly is such a mess currently. It wouldn’t surprise me if Miami gave them trouble on the road.

Packers over Giants – Green Bay got taken back to the woodshed last week. Hopefully, this road trip to the Big Apple will be more successful for them.

Steelers over Browns – Cleveland is the much more talented team even without Myles Garrett. But the wounded Steelers will have blood in their eyes still from what happened at the end of the last meeting just two weeks ago. When was the last time Cleveland swept the season series with Pittsburgh?

Panthers over Washington – Kyle Allen has to make the offseason decision at QB hard for Carolina. A loss here would really hurt his cause.

Buccaneers over Jaguars – Not saying that the two are linked but it seems that Jacksonville lost its juice when Nick Foles returned. Hmmm.

Ravens over 49ers – Here’s a possible Super Bowl preview. Shame that most of the country won’t be able to see it. It will be strength vs. strength when you talk about the Ravens offense and the 49ers defense. Maybe the long road trip for the Niners will play a factor. I have too much trust in Lamar Jackson to pick against him right now.

Rams over Cardinals – LA needs a pick me up victory in the worst way.

Chargers over Broncos – I’m excited to see the return of Chargers safety Derwin James. If not injured, I think LA’s season might be going differently.

Chiefs over Raiders – I’m not sure why everyone was shocked about Oakland’s loss to the Jets last week. The Raiders have a history struggling with long road trips. However, they’ll take their lumps again this Sunday against the Chiefs.

Patriots over Texans – Stephon Gilmore vs. DeAndre Hopkins will be must see TV. Let’s see if the New England offense can respond against an offense that maybe able to score more than 9 points.

Seahawks over Vikings – In what should be a close matchup, I’ll go with Russell Wilson as Kirk Cousins usually falters under the primetime lights.

NFL 2019: Week 11 Predictions (Condensed Version)

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Do the Browns have any chance at home tonight against the Steelers? Maybe.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 4-9

Season: 82-65-1

Week 11 Picks

Browns over Steelers – Cleveland isn’t a very good football team. But strange things happen in these Thursday night games. Maybe Cleveland’s defense will put out a strong effort at home and Baker Mayfield will avoid making those game changing mistakes against a pretty good Pittsburgh defense. I’m going out on a very, very weak limb here.

Cowboys over Lions – Dallas can’t overlook Detroit because Matt Stafford is out. This is still the team that made Sam Darnold look serviceable. The Cowboys need to completely block out last week’s late game debacle from memory and play to their potential from start to finish.

Jaguars over Colts – Indy started struggling as soon as the injury bug began to creep up. Jacksonville will be looking for a strong performance from the returning Nick Foles.

Bills over Dolphins – Buffalo must stop the bleeding on the road against one of the worst teams in the league that happen to be on a 2 game win streak.

Vikings over Broncos – Minnesota really didn’t do anything special last week in Dallas. They were fortunate because they deserved to lose. Anyways, that was a confidence builder for them going forward. They should be able to take care on Denver at home.

Saints over Buccaneers – New Orleans must be careful here. They struggled to protect Drew Brees last week. Tampa Bay can rush the passer and they can score points. This one could be real competitive until the end.

Jets over Washington – The Jets have at least proven that they can beat the really bad teams. In the NFC East.

Panthers over Falcons – I don’t trust what Atlanta was able to pull off last week but they will win more if that defense shows up more often. This week, they’ll have to find an answer for MVP candidate Christian McCaffrey.

Ravens over Texans – Easily the game of the week here. Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson will put on a show. Houston’s defense might be shaky with absence of J.J. Watt.

49ers over Cardinals – San Fran is a bit banged up on both sides of the ball. Arizona might be able to take advantage.

Raiders over Bengals – Oakland got the win last week at home against the Chargers. Next week, they got the Jets. The Raiders can’t let this opportunity for a winning streak slip thru their hands.

Patriots over Eagles – Philadelphia has played well against New England in recent history for some reason. I think the Pats will be more than ready for them coming off their bye week.

Rams over Bears – Jared Goff is starting to look really shaky and it is costing LA games. The Rams face another good defense this week. They can’t let Mitch Trubisky outplay their QB.

Chiefs over Chargers – Kansas City got their QB back but the defensive issues continued last week. The Chargers played KC well last season and I’m expecting this divisional matchup to be competitive again.

NFL 2019: Week 10 Predictions

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Seattle Seahawks

Can Russell Wilson and the Seahawks give the 49ers their first loss of 2019?

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 9-5

Season: 78-56-1

Top Five Games of the Week

Los Angeles Chargers @ Oakland – I’m kind of surprised to see the Raiders with a 4-4 record. Right now they have the inside track on finishing second in the AFC West and maybe competing for a Wild-Card playoff spot. Tonight’s game against the Chargers will be key for them going forward. A win tonight and then upcoming games against the Bengals and Jets could mean that Oakland could be sitting pretty with a 7-4 record. But first things first, they have to defeat a Chargers team who is coming off their best win of the season over Green Bay. The Chargers have been the picture of inconsistency in the AFC over the last few years. Tonight, I think they’ll have to lean on a strong defensive performance. Edge rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will have to impact what David Carr and the Raiders offense can produce. I’m looking for Oakland to challenge LA’s run defense tonight with rookie Josh Jacobs who is having a good first season. My heart goes out to those fans in Oakland who will not be able to see their team at home for not much longer. I think the Raiders will send those fans home happy tonight. Prediction: Raiders over Chargers

Carolina @ Green Bay – I’m not sure what happened to the Packers last week in LA. Maybe they were enjoying the SoCal nightlife before Sunday’s game. Aaron Rodgers assured everyone after the loss last week that there’s no need to worry and they’ll get back on track. Easier said than done, as Green Bay will welcome a pretty good Carolina team this Sunday. Carolina’s defense should serve as a good test for Rodgers. The Panthers hoist a top pass defense in the league. Green Bay may find success in the run game with Jamal Williams and Aaron Jones as Carolina’s run defense ranks near the bottom. On offense, the Panthers will continue to feed their MVP candidate RB Christian McCaffrey and will hope to keep the Packers pass rush away from QB Kyle Allen. Carolina is going to need points to win this one on the road. I don’t think Allen will be able to out-produce Rodgers offensively. Prediction: Packers over Panthers

Los Angeles Rams @ Pittsburgh – Even though the Colts weren’t healthy last Sunday and their QB was knocked out of the game, that was still an impressive victory for the almost equally wounded Steelers. Currently, the Steelers are playing at a high level defensively especially when you look at edge rushers, T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree. That defense will have its hands full this Sunday with the LA Rams coming into town. The Rams are among the top teams in the NFC and should be well-rested coming off the bye. QB Jared Goff is a guy that can be rattled when pressured but he has the pleasure of being surrounded with a great supporting cast when you talk about RB Todd Gurley, and wide outs Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Pittsburgh’s offensive line also faces a tall task with LA’s defensive front led by Aaron Donald who will have his own cheering section in the stadium. If the Steelers could gut out another victory this week, that would be an eye-opener. But I just don’t see it. Prediction: Rams over Steelers

Minnesota @ Dallas – The Cowboys victory over the Giants last Monday night did not inspire any confidence from me, at least. Dallas overcame a sloppy start a finished the contest in style but they still have a ways to go if they want to be a contender in the NFC. I see Minnesota as a team that was in a similar rut earlier this season. But recently, QB Kirk Cousins has turned it on and the Vikings offense is flourishing. On Sunday night, I’m expecting to see a really good contest featuring two similar but talented teams. Minnesota and Dallas have great rushing offense led by Dalvin Cook and Ezekiel Elliott. The Dallas run defense was up to the task last week slowing down Saquon Barkley and they’ll have to repeat that performance in this game. Minnesota could be shorthanded offensively if WR Adam Thielen is unable to play. The Vikings offensive line could have their hands full as the Cowboys offer a pretty good pass rush with Demarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn and recently acquired Michael Bennett. Minnesota’s defense isn’t bad either as they rank in the top ten against the run and the pass. This should be a close game and the winner will be the team that wins the turnover battle. Dak Prescott and Cousins must protect the football as the QB with the last possession could decide this one. I’m not confident but I’m going with the home team. Prediction: Cowboys over Vikings

Seattle @ San Francisco – It goes without saying that this is the biggest game of Week 10. San Francisco is still sporting an undefeated record but they’ll welcome a great challenge on Monday night with the Seattle Seahawks coming to town. I feel that San Fran’s success is sustainable because of two reasons: the running game and the pass rush. On offense, the 49ers have been getting it done on the ground with Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. They could play a huge factor in this game as Seattle struggles against the run. The Seahawks will have to answer that with the way they can get after the QB. Thinking of getting after the QB, the Niners are pretty good at that too. Russell Wilson is normally calm and collected but Dee Ford and Nick Bosa will be looking to make sure that he is not comfortable on Monday night. It would take a great effort from Wilson for Seattle to give the 49ers their first loss. I expect to see the home team to stay the course and score a big divisional victory. Prediction: 49ers over Seahawks

The Rest of Week 10

Lions over Bears – It would be nice to see Mitch Trubisky turn it around but I just don’t see it.

Ravens over Bengals – Baltimore can’t afford a let down after their huge victory at home last week.

Bills over Browns – Cleveland is an absolute joke. That coaching staff should be ashamed. The players should be ashamed. The fans are ashamed. The organization should also be ashamed.

Chiefs over Titans – Kansas City is just counting the days until Patrick Mahomes returns.

Saints over Falcons – Not sure why Atlanta hasn’t fired Dan O’Quinn yet.

Giants over Jets – Both of these franchises have seen better days but right now, the Giants at least appear to have more hope.

Buccaneers over Cardinals – Tampa has lost a couple of close ones recently. Something will go right for them eventually.

Colts over Dolphins – Indy is very healthy right now but the Dolphins are still the Dolphins.

NFL 2019: Week 9 Predictions

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Sitting with a 4-4 record, the Jaguars are still in the hunt for a AFC South title.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 11-4

Season: 69-51-1

Top Five Games of the Week

Houston @ Jacksonville – Sitting at 4-4, the Jaguars are still firmly in the race for the AFC South crown even after trading away Jalen Ramsey. On Sunday, they’ll host Houston in a pivotal divisional matchup. Currently, Jacksonville has a lot going for them. RB Leonard Fournette is healthy and is among the league leading rushers. QB Gardner Minshew is making spectacular plays week after week. And Jacksonville still has one of the best defensive lines in the game. Houston will be shorthanded for the rest of the season on defense with J.J. Watt being out. Deshaun Watson played great last week but I wonder if he’ll be affected by his eye injury. Houston may have to lean on their rushing attack on offense if Watson isn’t right. But for what whatever reason, WR DeAndre Hopkins always seems to have a big game against Jacksonville. Houston will have to find a way to get him involved early and often to secure a big victory on the road. Prediction: Texans over Jaguars

Minnesota @ Kansas City – Even with the lost at home to Green Bay, I think the Chiefs can leave that game with some confidence. The offense did not really miss too many beats without Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City’s weakness on defense, the secondary, was exposed but that shouldn’t have been a surprise. Especially with facing Aaron Rodgers. The Chiefs will be home again this week against a Minnesota team that is starting to gain some traction. Kirk Cousins is starting to play more “loose” and the offense is benefitting. RB Dalvin Cook is also having a strong season on the ground. The Chiefs’ defense will have to key on him and force Cousins to beat them through the air. I think the wideouts in this game will have plenty of opportunities to show out. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are one of the top receiving duos in the league right now. But Kansas City will be able to match them with the weapons Matt Moore has in his huddle; Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce, etc. Prediction: Chiefs over Vikings

Indianapolis @ Pittsburgh – The Colts showed a lot of meddle last week in their win at home over Denver. The big completion on the final drive from Jacoby Brissett to T.Y. Hilton, really showed this team’s will to win. On Sunday, they’ll travel to Pittsburgh to face a desperate Steelers team. Pittsburgh overcame a slow start against Miami last week at home and they need to keep it going in order to keep their slim post-season hopes alive. Pittsburgh’s defense has shined in the past couple of weeks. Their ability to pressure the QB and create turnovers will help them against any opponent. Unfortunately, the offense can’t get over the rash of injuries that continue to hit them at the QB position and now at the RB position. I think the Pittsburgh defense can keep them in this one but the Colts are the better, more complete team right now. Prediction: Colts over Steelers

Tennessee @ Carolina – Tennessee is technically in the AFC South basement but at 4-4 they still have an outside shot at the division. Carolina is firmly in second in the NFC South but are coming off a humbling loss at San Fran.  The Panthers are going to stick with Kyle Allen at QB but as long as RB Christian McCaffery is playing like a MVP, they’ll be okay offensively. I think Tennessee’s RB Derrick Henry could be in line for a big performance Sunday as he will be facing a struggling Panthers’ run defense. This game could come down to which QB can make the most plays while avoiding turnovers. QB Ryan Tannehill might face an uphill battle as the Panthers do offer one of the league’s best secondaries. Prediction: Panthers over Titans

New England @ Baltimore – In recent history, the Ravens and Patriots have played in some hard-hitting matchups and is an underrated rivalry in the AFC. This year’s game on Sunday will feature one the leagues top rushing offenses versus one of the leagues top rushing defenses. The Patriots don’t really have a “star” player on defense but they don’t need one either. They just seem to get the job done. Rather it is turnovers or big stops on short yardage situations. They just get the job done. It’s a staple in Bill Belichick’s coaching philosophy. “Do your job.” The Ravens are going to have to carefully pick their spots against the Patriots’ defense. Lamar Jackson has plenty of ability but he must avoid the big mistakes on Sunday. Mark Ingram and all of Baltimore’s ball carriers must protect the football against this opportunistic defense. The matchup between the Ravens defense and the Patriots offense features two average units. But it has been the Patriots defense that has made the job for Tom Brady easier this year. Baltimore will hang tough in this one but I see New England figuring it out, as they always seem to do. Prediction: Patriots over Ravens

The Rest of Week 9

49ers over Cardinals – Even on a short week, I see San Fran continuing their dominance.

Bills over Washington – Hopefully for Buffalo, last week was just a hiccup.

Jets over Dolphins – I like this Jets teams’ attitude. Yeah, they stink but they’re as bad as Miami.

Eagles over Bears – I can’t give Chicago a chance given their situation at QB. Khalil Mack will have to take over each game on defense at this point.

Raiders over Lions – Oakland doesn’t have many “home” games so I expect them to put out a great effort this week in front of the black and silver.

Seahawks over Buccaneers – As steady as Russell Wilson has been this season, that’s how unsteady Jameis Winston has been.

Browns over Broncos – Cleveland’s defense must show up against a QB who is seeing his first pro action in his career on Sunday for Denver.

Packers over Chargers – Green Bay seems to win the games that the Chargers always find a way to lose.

Cowboys over Giants – Here’s another situation for Dallas to hit their “high-percentage” shots. The Giants will come out attacking on offense. The Cowboys defense must continue to pressure the QB and cause turnovers. Their offense should be able to control the game, as New York’s defense isn’t very good.