Tag Archives: Tennessee Titans

Revisiting my 2015 NFL MOCK Draft

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Marcus Mariota could have been a Jet if the draft would have gone the way I thought.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Five years ago, I posted a review of the very first NFL Mock Draft I did back in 2011. I thought it would be interesting to see which selections ended up working out and which ones I was dead wrong on. As the 2020 draft approaches, I decided to do pretty much the same thing again but with my 2015 Mock Draft. How much different would the NFL landscape look if that draft would of went the way I saw it? Lets see.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

      My Pick: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

            Actual Pick: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

Well, I got the first pick correct. Winston, coming off a National Championship at Florida State, was linked to the Bucs immediately as the draft process started. The Florida native, despite being linked to many allegations and controversies, was the top pick for Tampa in this draft and he went on to lead the Buccaneers’ offense for the last five years. He maybe a bit of a problem child and a turnover machine but he leaves Tampa this offseason holding many franchise passing records. I would say that this selection paid off for Tampa even with the lack of team success in the post season.

  1. Tennessee Titans

            My Pick: Leonard Williams, DT, USC

            Actual Pick: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

I guess I was thinking that Tennessee wouldn’t reach for a QB and just take the best player available. Leonard was hyped coming out of SC as one of the top players in the PAC-12. I thought he would have been the safer pick for the Titans who instead went QB. Mariota had some great moments early in his career but consistency became an issue, leaving him to be dumped by the Titans this offseason. Williams has made one Pro Bowl in his career but though he wasn’t taken here, he was a top ten pick.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars

  My Pick: Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida

            Actual Pick: Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida

Two for three to start. Not bad. This edge rusher had to rebound from an ACL injury to start his career but eventually turned into a player that helped “Sacksonville” to return to North Florida. After some disagreements with the brass, he was shipped out but then helped his new team reach the Super Bowl in 2018.

  1. Oakland Raiders

   My Pick: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

            Actual Pick: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

I guess the beginning of this draft was easy to predict? Cooper was the top receiver in college football, playing for one of the top programs in the land. The selection paid dividends immediately for Oakland but Cooper’s stats began to fade in his third season. After being traded to Dallas, Cooper was able to regain his form and he signed a 100 million dollar contract to stay with the team a week ago.

  1. Washington

            My Pick: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

            Actual Pick: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa

I thought Washington would go for the pass rusher out of Clemson. Instead, they went with a safe pick in Scherff who has started in every game he played in Washington and has earned Pro Bowl honors in 3 seasons. Beasley ended up having success in Atlanta for 6 seasons, leading the league in sacks in 2016.

6. New York Jets

     My Pick: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

            Actual Pick: Leonard Williams, DT, USC

I basically swapped decisions from Tennessee and New York. But imagine what the Jets could have done with a young Mariota. It would have at least gave them some stability at that position. Williams, though talented, couldn’t stick with the Jets so they traded him across town to the Giants.

7. Chicago Bears

My Pick: Kevin White, WR, WVU

            Actual Pick: Kevin White, WR, WVU

This one was also easy to predict but has a tragic outcome. Kevin White had all the tools as a receiver coming out of West Virginia but just couldn’t stay healthy. He is now out of the league.

8. Atlanta Falcons

            My Pick: Alvin Dupree, OLB, Kentucky

            Actual Pick: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

I, at least, had the right idea for Atlanta. I knew they needed a pass rusher and I bet they were thrilled to take Beasley at 8. Dupree is talented but this would have been a reach.

9. New York Giants

  My Pick: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa

            Actual Pick: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami(Fl)

Right position, wrong player. Though, I’m sure NY would have taken Scherff if he was available at 9. Instead, they took Flowers who quickly flamed out but is trying to reclaim his career at guard with the Dolphins.

10. St. Louis Rams

        My Pick: La’el Collins, OT, LSU

            Actual Pick: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

I obviously wrote this Mock before it was revealed that Collins was a suspect in a MURDER investigation which caused him to fall out of the draft completely. Todd Gurley ended up being successful as one of the league’s leading rushers in terms of yards and scores. Slowed by injuries recently, he finds himself back home in Georgia in 2020 with the Falcons. Collins, after being cleared of all allegations, was signed by Dallas and is currently one of the best right tackles in the league.

11. Minnesota Vikings

            My Pick: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

            Actual Pick: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

In his five seasons as a Viking, Waynes put in solid work with a highly acclaimed Minnesota secondary. But I guess he never developed into a star and Minnesota decided to let him hit free agency. I thought they would have gone with Parker who is still with the team that originally drafted him.

12. Cleveland Browns

My Pick: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington

            Actual Pick:  Danny Shelton, DT, Washington

I thought I would have more misses. Shelton was held coming off a successful career as a Huskie. Then in Cleveland, he never really lived up to the hype and was shipped off to New England after 3 years. He actually posted the best numbers in his career last season and was able to sign a deal last week with Detroit.

13. New Orleans Saints

My Pick: Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska

            Actual Pick: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

Randy Gregory’s highlight reel from college displayed his elite speed, which made him a top prospect in this draft. But questions began to arise about his substance abuse issues and caused him to slip out of the first round completely. The Saints went with Peat who is currently an all-pro, protecting one of the league’s top passers.

14. Miami Dolphins

My Pick: Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida

            Actual Pick: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

Miami took their chance to draft the first receiver in the draft as Parker dropped to them at 14. Sparring used for whatever reason, Parker had a career season in 2019. Perriman was taken later in this first round.

15. San Diego Chargers

            My Pick: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

            Actual Pick: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

The Chargers traded up with San Francisco to bring Gordon to their backfield. Ironically, I had Gordon going to San Diego in my Mock but in the second round. Gordon’s career may have started slow but he had some productive years for the Chargers. After a strange 2019 that included a contract hold out, he’ll tote the rock for Denver this fall.

16. Houston Texans

    My Pick: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma

            Actual Pick: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest

Green-Beckham was yet another prospect from this draft that saw his stock drop because of issues off the field. Don’t know if he was even considered for Houston at 16 but the Texans went with Johnson who had a limited impact during his time with the team. Green-Beckham was unable to stick in the league while Johnson is currently signed with Cleveland.

17. San Francisco 49ers

My Pick: Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri

            Actual Pick: Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon

I made this pick for the Chargers but they decided to move up for Gordon. With the Niners in this spot, they went with a defensive lineman that would help them solidify that unit up front for years. Ray was one of the top pass rushers coming out of the SEC but couldn’t stick with the team that drafted him. He’s currently a free agent.

18. Kansas City Chiefs

My Pick: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State

            Actual Pick: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington

I was way off on this one as Strong wasn’t selected until the 3rd round. Peters turned out to be a good player for the Chiefs but was also volatile and disruptive. The talented corner was traded out of KC to LA and traded AGAIN to Baltimore where they locked him up on a multi-year deal. In five seasons, Peters has totaled 27 interceptions. Strong totaled 31 receptions in three seasons for Houston and later Jacksonville.

19. Cleveland Browns

    My Pick: Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State

            Actual Pick: Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State

Crazy how Cleveland had two first rounders eight spots apart and I was able to predict both of them. Drafted as a Center, Erving was an unique prospect that played multiple position on the offensive line but couldn’t stick in Cleveland. He was traded to Kansas City in 2017 but won a Super Bowl title with them as their starting left guard.

20. Philadelphia Eagles

My Pick: Landon Collins, S, Alabama

            Actual Pick: Nelson Agholor, WR, USC

I was wrong on the pick but I’ll like to think Philly wishes they would have selected differently. Collins went in the second round to the rival Giants where he became a All-Pro safety. Agholor couldn’t keep his footing in the city of brotherly love where he developed his rep as a guy with bad hands. Had a 8-touchdown season two years ago. Now, he’ll catch or drop passes in Las Vegas with the Raiders.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

My Pick: Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA

            Actual Pick: Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M

Cincy could have gone away with the Vontez Burfict problem if they would have listened to me! I can’t believe that Kendricks lasted in this draft to the 2nd round. He turned out to be a great player for Minnesota. Ogbuehi has suffered in his career due to injuries. But he is still employed, playing in Jacksonville last season and signing a deal with Seattle in 2020.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers

       My Pick: Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut

            Actual Pick: Alvin Dupree, OLB, Kentucky

Byron Jones

I had Dupree drafted in the top ten so this was a steal for Pittsburgh. Dupree has had a shaky start to his career but Pittsburgh was patient with him and it paid off as he totaled 11plus sacks last year. I always mock a corner to the Steelers every year. Jones is currently the highest paid corner in league history so, I would imagine he would have worked out for Pittsburgh as well.

23. Denver Broncos

My Pick: Malcolm Brown, DT, Texas

            Actual Pick: Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri

This pick originally belonged to Detroit who I thought was looking to replace Ndamukong Suh. Instead, they traded down with Denver and they decided to pair the young SEC pass rusher with Von Miller and an aging DeMarcus Ware. I remember watching this at home and I couldn’t believe that Brown was dropping like this. I was excited because Dallas was picking at 27. Anyways, Brown ended being a beast for the team that drafted him.

24. Arizona Cardinals

My Pick: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

            Actual Pick: D.J. Humphries, OT Florida

Well, Gurley surprisingly went in the top ten so I didn’t know what the Cardinals were going to do. Humphries has fought off injuries in the desert and has turned out to be a good pick for Arizona, starting in every game he has played in. He resigned with the team for 45 million dollars last month.

  1. Carolina Panthers

My Pick: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

            Actual Pick: Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington

Peat turned out to be a good pick for the Saints earlier in this draft but Carolina also selected a quality player. Thompson hasn’t made a Pro Bowl yet but he made a grand addition to what Carolina already had at LB with Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis. With Kuechly and Thomas now gone, Thompson had a career year in 2019 and he has solidified his place as the leader of the Panthers defense.

  1. Baltimore Ravens

My Pick:  Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest

            Actual Pick: Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida

Johnson was taken earlier by Houston but has yet to really make an impact in the league. Instead, the Ravens went to receiver and selected Perriman out of UCF. In Baltimore, Perriman couldn’t overcome the injuries and ended up being passed along from there to Washington and to Cleveland. Last season in Tampa, he did catch 6 touchdowns, appearing in 14 games. He’ll be with the Jets in 2020.

27. Dallas Cowboys

   My Pick: Owamagbe Odighizuma, DE, UCLA

            Actual Pick: Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut

I might go long on his one. First off, if I had known that Malcolm Brown from OU was still going to be available, he would have been the pick. Second off, I was waaaay off on this pick for Dallas. I guess I was watching film on Eric Kendricks and saw this other guy on UCLA’s defense making plays. Odighizuma fit the mold for a traditional defensive end in a 4-3 defense. But he would have been a reach and Dallas should have just taken the best player available. I guess, I learned a valuable lesson in 2015 about drafting the BPA over drafting for need. Odighizuma, selected in the THIRD round, is now out of football. Byron Jones was drafted to play free safety, a ball hawking safety. Instead, he was terrible in zone but did well in man-to-man against tight ends. Also, if you play safety, you have to tackle. Jones, an Olympic quality athlete, was not the type of player to lower the boom. After THREE years of experimenting with him at safety, someone finally had the bright idea to move him into corner where he excelled in man-to-man situations, earning him Pro Bowl honors. In five seasons, he has totaled TWO interceptions and Miami decided to give him a boat load of money this offseason. The end.

  1. Detroit Lions

    My Pick: D.J. Humphries, OT Florida

            Actual Pick: Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke

I drafted Humphries for Denver who ended up trading up. Detroit was still thinking offensive line help. Tomlinson couldn’t stick in Detroit for whatever reason but the 49ers traded for him in 2017 and he started for the team in the Super Bowl last month.

  1. Indianapolis Colts

         My Pick: Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon

            Actual Pick: Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami(Fl)

Armstead didn’t make it down to 29 but the Colts ended up with his college teammate, DeForest Buckner, five years later. Phillip Dorsett was an exciting pick at the time for the Colts. With Andrew Luck at QB, Dorsett was met to be a great compliment to T.Y. Hilton at WR. Instead, he was traded for Jacoby Dorsett in 2017 but was apart of a Super Bowl winning team with the Patriots in 2018. He is currently a free agent.

  1. Green Bay Packers

My Pick: Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State

            Actual Pick: Damarious Randall, S, Arizona State

The Packers could have went with McKinney who ended up being an All-Pro for Houston. Instead, they went safety with Randall and had mixed results. Randall was actually productive with Green Bay but they ended up trading him before the 2018 season. Randall was sent to Cleveland and is now a free agent.

31. New Orleans Saints

My Pick: Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota

            Actual Pick: Stephone Anthony, LB, Clemson

Anthony was a great athlete out of Clemson but he couldn’t stay healthy and he was traded off to Miami years later. He is currently out of the league. I thought the Saints would go tight end at the end of the first round. Maxx Williams was highly touted coming out of Minnesota but did very little, being drafted in the 2nd round by Baltimore.

32. New England Patriots

My Pick: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington

            Actual Pick: Malcolm Brown, DT, Texas

Malcom-Brown-Rob-Carr-2It would have been so “Patriots” if they had drafted the troubled Peters coming out of Washington. Controversial young player gets straighten out and learns the championship way from Bill Belichick. It would have been so “them”. Instead, they made the obvious decision and took Brown who should have gone in the top 20. Brown went on to be an anchor on the Patriots defensive line, having apart of two Super Bowl winning defenses. And then, despite having success with him, the Patriots throw him away to New Orleans in a trade and he is still a beast. I still can’t believe Dallas took Byron Jones over him in this draft.

NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship Sunday Predictions

49ERS VS. VIKINGS NFC DIV PLAYOFF GAME

The table is set for the 49ers defense to lead San Francisco to the Super Bowl.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Divisional Round: 2-2

Playoffs: 4-4

Conference Championship Sunday

AFC Championship Game

Tennessee @ Kansas City – The Titans are taking all challengers this post season. RB Derrick Henry is leading the way on the ground, punishing defenses. And QB Ryan Tannehill is making big plays when called upon. On defense, Tennessee’s secondary has also been impressive. That unit will be tested often on Sunday with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Kansas City was down early, big last week at home but that explosive offense was able to pull them out of the fire real quick. Houston didn’t do any favors for themselves either, as they made some mistakes down the stretch. I don’t think the Chiefs will be able to afford another slow start this Sunday. Tennessee has done a great job with ball control and staying away from game altering mistakes. I think Tennessee’s run game will do its job and keep KC’s offense on the bench, which could take the home crowd out of the game. If the Chiefs are able to bottle up Henry, Tennessee’s defense will be in serious trouble. They’ve done a good job so far in the playoffs but Kansas City is able to challenge them vertically unlike any other they have faced. I think the extra attention on the Titans backfield could open things for Tannehill and his young receivers. The Titans brand of football isn’t as fun and exciting as what Kansas City or what Baltimore was offering but it is working. It would just stink if it just came to a complete halt on Sunday. I’m rooting for the upset. Not sure it will happen but its what I’m wishing for. Another conference championship heartbreak for Andy Reid. Prediction: Titans over Chiefs

NFC Championship Game

Green Bay @ San Francisco – This 49ers team has been built for moments like this. San Fran is physical, they can run the ball and they have one of the league’s top defenses. That formula usually works in January. Green Bay will be the road underdogs in this NFC Championship game and it is easy to see why. I don’t think Green Bay’s offense is dynamic enough to get through the 49ers defense for 4 quarters. QB Aaron Rodgers played great against Seattle last week, finding WR Davante Adams for multiple big gains. I think that 49ers defensive front four will be able to limit the Rodgers-Adams connection. San Fran also defended the run pretty well last week, too. We might see quite a few screen plays from the Packers offense on Sunday to counter the 49ers’ aggressiveness. For the 49ers on offense, they just have to continue to keep things simple and stick to what works. QB Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t have a great game statistically but he stayed away from mistakes for the most parts. The big thing for him is that when he does screw up, he knows he has a great running game that he can lean on. I think the result of this game will be the least shocking one of the weekend. Prediction:  49ers over Packers

NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round Predictions

Wild Card Round - Buffalo Bills v Houston Texans

The Texans won in Kansas City earlier this season. Can they do it again in the playoffs?

 

By: Elias McMillan

Wild-Card: 2-2

Playoffs: 2-2

Divisional Round

Minnesota @ San Francisco – I was really impressed with the Vikings’ defensive line in their upset victory over New Orleans last weekend. In fact, this divisional round game between the Vikings and 49ers will be heavily influenced by the play at the line of scrimmage. San Francisco has bolstered a pretty dominant unit up front all season and they’ll have a chance to really exert their power in this game. QB Kirk Cousins avoided mistakes last weeks and made some pretty big throws. He will be under pressure again this week but I think past experiences will help him. I think Minnesota’s experiences in the post season will help them on Saturday. Many players on San Francisco will be making their playoff debuts. Everyone usually puts a spotlight on Cousins but I think Jimmy Garoppolo is the QB under the most pressure this weekend. Minnesota’s defense has been inconsistent but if they play like they did in New Orleans, the Vikings will be in this one. RB Dalvin Cook could see plenty of opportunities in this game, which will help Cousins against a top ranked pass defense. The 49ers have taken on all challengers this season but recently, they’ve been able to escape in some close games by the skin of their teeth. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said something this week about the last time they defeated New Orleans in the playoffs and came back the next week and laid a total egg in Philadelphia. That message will be hammered into his team this week and I think it will pay off as they will score the upset and advance to the NFC Championship Game. Prediction: Vikings over 49ers

Tennessee @ Baltimore – Tennessee didn’t have to do much to end the Patriots reign last week. But getting the job done in Foxboro shouldn’t be scoffed at. The Titans have a good thing going right now with the way they can control the clock with RB Derrick Henry which in return sets up the league’s highest rated passer, Ryan Tannehill. That formula will have to work overtime this week, as the Titans will face the league’s top offense in the Baltimore Ravens. League MVP Lamar Jackson should be fresh coming off the bye and his offense will be able to attack the Titans defense in a way that New England couldn’t do last week.  This game will be all about which offense can control the clock as both teams feature highly successful running games. I think the difference will be which offense can produce more big plays down the field. The Titans cannot sleep on what Lamar Jackson’s arm can do. Also, you have to consider that Jackson has a talent group of skill players on offense to go to. I have a feeling that Tennessee might be able to keep this one close to start but eventually Jackson and Ravens will overwhelm them. Prediction: Ravens over Titans

Houston @ Kansas City – The Texans pulled off a great comeback in the Wild Card round against Buffalo. I don’t think they can afford another slow start this weekend, as they’ll visit the Chiefs in Kansas City. Houston showed against Buffalo that when pressed, their biggest stars can make game altering plays. On offense, QB Deshaun Watson proved his worth during crunch time and on defense, it was J.J. Watt who provided the spark. The Chiefs are a team that can apply pressure for all 4 quarters, offensively and defensively. QB Patrick Mahomes and his fast break offense should be able to stretch the field against the Texans defense. Kansas City isn’t a great defensive team but they do have an active front four along with a tough secondary. The Chiefs have had problems with injuries this season and it is something that they will have to continue to avoid during this post season run. If the offensive weapons are rested and healthy, Houston is going to have a tough time keeping them off the scoreboard. Houston defeated KC earlier this season and I’m sure the home team hasn’t forgotten about that. Unlike that game in Week 6, the Chiefs will need to get off on a fast start and keep the Texans offense on the bench. Prediction: Chiefs over Texans

Seattle @ Green Bay – This game will be pretty to look at. A cold and snowy Lambeau Field will set the scene for two teams that are usually mainstays in the NFC playoffs. Seattle was able to get by a wounded Eagles team last week and they didn’t earn any style points with that victory. With better QB play, Philadelphia might have been able to pull that one out. Seattle is currently having issues with scoring touchdowns, which may have to do with their injury situation. It’s cool that RB Marshawn Lynch is back but even he admits that he is not in game shape. QB Russell Wilson will have to do the heavy lifting for this Seahawks offense but how is that different from any other season? Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is used to putting the team on his back as well but this season, his supporting cast isn’t that bad. In this cold weather game, I’m expecting big things out of RB’s Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. I think the Packers running game will have a huge affect on the outcome in this one and it will allow Aaron Rodgers to control the clock and take some big shots down the field. Seattle’s defense is talented but they really got off easy last week. If their front four can’t get in the face of Rodgers, it could be a long, cold night for that unit. I’ve been mostly unimpressed with the Packers this season but I think they matchup well against Seattle. Russell Wilson has never won in Green Bay and on Sunday, the Packers will set the scene for a NFC North Championship game for the conference title and a Super Bowl berth. Prediction: Packers over Seahawks

 

 

NFL Wild-Card Weekend Predictions

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Minnesota heads to the NOLA this weekend to face the NFC South champs.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 10-6

2019 Regular Season Record: 157-98-1

NFL Playoffs: Wild-Card Weekend

Buffalo @ Houston – The Texans in the opening game of the NFL playoffs is starting to become a tradition for some reason. Why can’t the NFL give QB Deshaun Watson some limelight in primetime? He is definitely deserving of it. Watson and the Texans will face a stiff test Saturday in the form of Buffalo’s defense. The Bills rank third defensively in the league and are especially good at defending the pass. A matchup to watch in this game will be between WR DeAndre Hopkins and Buffalo’s all-pro corner, Tre’davious White. On offense, Buffalo lacks the explosiveness that Houston has but the Texans aren’t a strong defensive team this year. Houston might get a boost from the return of their leader DE J.J. Watt. The battle within the trenches will loom large in this game. Buffalo usually runs the ball well, which could set up QB Josh Allen to attack down the field. This will be determined by which Houston team shows up. Buffalo will have a shot if they are able to limit Watson and the passing game. If not, I don’t see Buffalo being able to out produce the Texans offense. Prediction: Texans over Bills

Tennessee @ New England – The Titans have been a fun story to watch this year. It looks like they’ve finally found their answer at QB in Ryan Tannehill. RB Derrick Henry won the rushing title. And WR A.J. Brown has made some big plays in just his rookie season. Enter the AFC East champs, New England, who like the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, just refuse to die. The Patriots blew a huge opportunity last week losing to Miami and missing out on a first round bye. Now, because of that lost, many are doubting the team’s edge as they’ll face a young and up-and-coming Tennessee squad. I feel like we could say this every year recently but this is the time where New England reminds everyone of who they are. Yes, Tom Brady’s best days are behind him but it is around this time of year where we usually see the best out of him. Tennessee’s defense isn’t all that great and I think the Patriots offense will find plenty of opportunities. Tannehill was one of the highest rated passers in the league this season but he’ll face one of the league’s top pass defenses on Saturday. New England is also tough against the run. It is going to be strength vs. strength seeing Henry going against this defense. Tennessee will have a chance in New England if they bother Brady and force him to play outside of himself. I have more faith into Belichick and the Pats defense giving Tannehill his toughest game of the season. Prediction: Patriots over Titans

Minnesota @ New Orleans – The Saints have had some of the worst luck in the postseason in recent memory. With the clock ticking down on QB Drew Brees’ career, the pressure to leave this post season as champions couldn’t be higher for New Orleans. The Saints are clearly equipped for a Super Bowl run but they’ll have to take care of Minnesota on Sunday first. Minnesota is probably the most unimpressive team in the post season this year. QB Kirk Cousins has played well at times but he usually falters when the lights are the brightest. RB Dalvin Cook has been a bright spot for the Vikings and he should be fresh as he was being held out during the last few weeks of the season due to injury. With time, Cousins should be able to attack the Saints secondary with Stephon Diggs and Adam Thielen. The challenge for Minnesota will be at the line of scrimmage where the Saints offer one of the league’s top run defenses. On the flip side, Minnesota’s defense was once considered one of the best in football but has struggled this season. They will have their hands full with Brees and the NFL’s top receiver, WR Michael Thomas. I think we can guarantee that the Saints will be able to score into the thirties on Sunday. The question will be if Minnesota can get key stops or if Kirk Cousins can go toe-to-toe with Brees without turning over the ball. Prediction: Saints over Vikings

Seattle @ Philadelphia – I guess it is impressive that Philadelphia made the playoffs this year despite all of their injury problems. But Philadelphia also has a problem with overall talent. QB Carson Wentz has been reduced to a guy who can only check down to running backs, throw to tight ends, and receive answered prayers when outside the pocket. It doesn’t help that his receiving core has been reduced to nothing as well as the season went along. Philadelphia has been able to lean on their defense recently. With multiple backups in the secondary, Philly’s front seven has picked up the slack. Seattle isn’t the healthiest team going into the playoffs also. They had to call back RB Marshawn Lynch from retirement as starter Chris Carson went down. The Seahawks offensive and defensive lines are also a bit banged up going into Sunday. Despite that, I expect overall talent to dictate this game. QB Russell Wilson should be able to command his offense against a shorthanded Eagles secondary. What makes me nervous for Seattle in this game is that their defense has been mainly unimpressive this season, ranking near the bottom against the run and the pass. The Eagles, despite lack of talent, have been unpredictable at times this year. Playing at home will definitely help their cause on Sunday. I think Seattle will win but this just feels like a game that Philadelphia will be in until the very end. Prediction: Seahawks over Eagles

NFL 2019: Week 17 Predictions (Condensed Version)

Steelers Bengals Football

Can the “Duck Man” lead Pittsburgh past Baltimore this weekend and into the playoffs? Somehow, I doubt it.

 

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 12-4

Season: 147-92-1

Week 17 Picks

Jets over Bills – Buffalo has already clinched their playoff spot and will be better off resting starters. The Jets could have a 7-win season after starting off 1-7. Not bad.

Browns over Bengals – Cincy is committed to the tank. The Browns could finish with seven wins. I said this about Cleveland back in August, “You have to crawl before you can walk.”

Packers over Lions – I see Detroit playing them tough but Green Bay could be in line for a first round bye in the post season.

Chiefs over Chargers – Kansas City has slim chances to improve their playoff position. But they have also had some bad luck this year when it comes to injuries. They could also rest their regulars.

Bears over Vikings – Minnesota is locked in at the 6 spot in the NFC and they’ve already announced that they will rest key starters.

Patriots over Dolphins – New England, with a win here, would clinch the number two seed in the AFC.

Falcons over Buccaneers – After a bad start, Atlanta has rebounded and saved the jobs of their head coach and general manager. That’s something to be proud of.

Saints over Panthers – New Orleans will need to win this one to avoid playing during Wild-Card Weekend. And what is this I’m hearing about Antonio Brown? Sean Payton, don’t do this. It could be fun. But, just say no.

Giants over Eagles – Philadelphia stinks. I’ll applaud their defense for last week, at least. But still. Not a very good team. Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley will look dynamic.

Washington over Cowboys – The Dallas Cowboys are a complete waste of time. It would be so “on brand” for the Eagles to lose but then Dallas fails to take advantage. I’m looking forward to the “Dallas fires Head Coach Jason Garrett” update scrolling across my screen. Having to watch this team for another week is punishment enough.

Raiders over Broncos – Oakland, despite the injuries, got the win last week and has a chance to sneak into the post season this weekend. Jon Gruden is quietly doing an okay job in Oakland.

Rams over Cardinals – Two teams with nothing to play for. For those watching this one, count how many times the announcers mention the ages of the head coaches.

Colts over Jaguars – Jacksonville is going to have an interesting offseason coming up in 2020.

Ravens over Steelers – Baltimore has the #1 seed locked up in the AFC and will rest their starters. But even with a playoff spot on the line, I don’t see Pittsburgh being successful with their current situation at the QB position.

Titans over Texans – Houston is going about business as usual this week but I’m not falling for it. If Coach Bill O’Brien has a brain, he will undoubtedly rest his starters this week ahead of Wild-Card weekend. Tennessee will be ready to take advantage.

49ers over Seahawks – San Fran has grown since losing to Seattle just weeks ago. Plus, the Seahawks are a bit dinged up. It is a big spot to win on the road in Seattle but I think the 49ers can do it and clinch home field advantage for themselves in the NFC.

NFL 2019: Week 16 Predictions (Condensed Version)

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The woeful NFC East will be decided this Sunday in Philadelphia.

 

By: Elias McMllan

Last Week: 10-6

Season: 135-88-1

Week 16 Picks

Texans over Buccaneers – Jameis Winston is putting up great numbers sans all the turnovers. But without Mike Evans and Chris Goodwin, he will struggle.

Patriots over Bills – I really like Buffalo in this matchup but I don’t trust their offense against the Patriots defense. Also, Tom Brady’s record against the Bills is really good.

49ers over Rams – San Fran still has plenty to play for while the Rams are all but out of it in the NFC.

Falcons over Jaguars – Atlanta is playing hard to save the job of their head coach. And it is working.

Ravens over Browns – Hard to believe that Cleveland beat this Baltimore team earlier in the season. Lamar Jackson will see to it that result will be forgotten after this Sunday afternoon.

Saints over Titans – New Orleans will have to beat a tough Tennessee team if they hope to earn a bye in the NFC Playoffs. For the Titans, these last two games are basically the playoffs for them.

Colts over Panthers – Rookie QB Will Grier will get his first taste of NFL action as a starter this weekend against a Colts defense that is usually tough.

Dolphins over Bengals – Tank Bowl 2019. Cincinnati is committed to landing Joe Burrow next April.

Steelers over Jets – I love the Le’Veon Bell revenge game angle but the Jets are so bad. Pittsburgh must rebound before facing Baltimore in Week 17 if they hope to make the post season.

Giants over Washington – Daniel Jones returns to the lineup to hopefully spark this Giants offense.

Broncos over Lions – I’m struggling to find something interesting about this game. Oh yeah, Denver will be wearing their “color rush” unis.

Chargers over Raiders – Oakland will be without a few pieces of their offensive line. That tells me that they are packing it in for 2019.

Cowboys over Eagles – This is a game that a fully expect Dallas to win which does make me nervous. Dallas looks every bit like the 7-7, average, under achieving team but Philadelphia has looked worst. If Dallas blows this opportunity, the head coaching decision at the end of the season will be easier for Jerry Jones to make.

Seahawks over Cardinals – Seattle appears to have a clear path to winning the NFC West with their last two games at home.

Chiefs over Bears – Either Chicago fell back down to earth last week or maybe they are just a better team at home. Either way, they will have their hands full with the Kansas City offense.

Packers over Vikings – I can’t believe that Green Bay is on the verge of earning a first-round playoff bye. I just don’t think they’re that good. I think Minnesota could beat them on Monday but not without Dalvin Cook.

NFL 2019: Week 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.