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2017 Season: Week 6 Preview

Another week and another slew of crazy and unpredictable NFL action is on our plate.  All teams have played at least a quarter of their games this year, and we are starting to get a feel for how some are.  However, there are still a few teams that we don’t know about five games in.  These games are getting hard to pick, but here comes another effort from yours truly.  Let’s get it.

Last Week: 8-6

Season: 44-33

Locks: 1-4

Upsets: 1-4

Thursday, October 12th, 8:25 e.t.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) @ Carolina Panthers (4-1)

We kick off Week 6 with the best of the fourteen games.  Both the Eagles and Panthers are built a lot alike.  Two tough quarterbacks capable of making plays with their legs, defenses that can get after the ball, and a running attack that could take over a game.  Also, these teams ate #1 and #2 in the league in converting third downs on the year.  In a tough one to pick I am going to go with the Eagles.  They can control the clock with their running game better than Carolina in my opinion.

Philadelphia 26, Carolina 20

Sunday, October 15th, 1:00 e.t.

Miami Dolphins (2-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (3-1)

Fresh off of their BYE, the Falcons host the offensively challenged Dolphins.  There is not much to debate here, the ‘Phins will not be able to keep up with Atlanta on the road.  I expect Matt Ryan to carve up Miami en route to a healthy win.

Atlanta 37, Miami 14

Cleveland Browns (0-5) @ Houston Texans (2-3)

This could be our first battle of rookie QBs on the season, and these rookies could not be having more polar opposite of seasons.  DeShone Kizer was benched last week versus the Jets for poor play and turning the ball over while Deshaun Watson has accounted for five touchdowns in back-to-back weeks.  Houston did suffer a major blow losing both J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus last week, but it won’t matter this week at home versus Cleveland who still looks like a hot mess on offense.

Houston 30, Cleveland 10

Detroit Lions (3-2) @ New Orleans Saints (2-2)

Here’s a fun stat: the Saints have not turned the ball over yet this year.  No team has ever opened the season with five straight turnover-free games and they look to be the first against a team that, to be honest, I don’t know too much about.  Are the Lions a good team or one that has been fortunate to play teams like the Cardinals, Giants, and the Sam Bradford-less Vikings?  I think Detroit has a solid squad, but I do not see them going in to the Big Easy and winning for the second straight year.  I saw what Cam Newton did to this “D” on the road and I’m convinced that Drew Brees can do the same at home.

New Orleans 27, Detroit 24

Green Bay Packers (4-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (3-2)

How good is Aaron Rodgers?  He lead his team back on the road against Dallas with the go-ahead touchdown pass at the eleven second mark.  The craziest thing is, that was not surprising to anybody.  We all expected it to happen and it did.  Right now the Vikings offense is Jekyll and Hyde and they will have no chance if it is slumping this week, even at home.  Green Bay is the hot team right now and I think they will go on the road and take care of business like the Lions did two weeks ago.

Green Bay 22, Minnesota 16 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Chicago Bears (1-4) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-2)

Mitchell Trubisky looked pretty good on Monday night before throwing a pick in the final minutes, but let’s face it, he was going against a very good defense.  The Chicago offense was very sloppy and wiped out a lot of nice plays with penalties.  That shows that the Bears are not a quality team.  They’ve been no shows in their two road games this season, and I expect that to continue against a Raven team that may have found a bit of their mojo on offense last week against the Raiders.

Baltimore 29, Chicago 13

New England Patriots (3-2) @ New York Jets (3-2)

Who woulda thunk it: both the Pats and Jets have the same record five weeks into the season.  The Patriots looked great on offense for the second and third quarters against Tampa Bay while their defense looked awesome for the first 50 minutes of that game.  Against the Jets, who were barely able to beat the struggling Browns, I think Bill Belichick and company will overwhelm them on both sides of the ball.

New England 30, New York 15

San Francisco 49ers (0-5) @ Washington Redskins (2-2)

If I had to pick the best out of the winless teams, there is no doubt it would be the 49ers.  They actually could have won any of their last four games and are hanging in there.  However, they are finding ways to lose which is what bad teams do.  The Redskins are not a bad team.  They have an even record, but their two losses came against squads with a combined record of 9-1.  Jay Gruden’s team, at home, should get their ground game going against a Niner team that can be had in that department.

Washington 27, San Francisco 10

Sunday, October 15th, 4:05 e.t.

Los Angeles Rams (3-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2)

Who woulda thought that this would be an interesting game?  We got a good offense versus a good defense.  The Rams did just turn the ball over five times against Seattle but they still remained in the game thanks to a solid effort from their “D”.  Meanwhile the Jags were busy going on the road and dominating the Steelers.  It is still hard to tell if the Jaguars are for real because they seem to appear and then disappear the next week.  I was going to pick them at home, but I got a weird feeling that this will be their knuckleball of a game.  Rams win.

Los Angeles 20, Jacksonville 14 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) @ Arizona Cardinals (2-3)

The Cardinals were torched a week ago against a good Eagle team and have managed just 22 points over their last two games.  They are not protecting Carson Palmer well, but luckily for them Tampa Bay has struggled to get to the passer (although they did a fine job at that versus New England a week back).  That said, I don’t know if I like their odds traveling across the country to play a very ticked off Cardinal team that will be looking to take some shots on offense.  I like an Arizona upset here.

Arizona 26, Tampa Bay 25

Sunday, October 15th, 4:25 e.t.

Los Angeles Chargers (1-4) @ Oakland Raiders (2-3)

The Chargers picked up their first win of the year against a very banged up and still winless Giants team while the Raiders struggled on offense for the third straight week.  Oakland’s problem is that they have not been able to run the ball during this stretch.  Luckily, the Chargers have had a lot of problems stopping the run themselves and that does not bode well for them here.  I think the Raiders can eek out a win without Derek Carr at the helm here, but with a loss, they would drop to last place shockingly enough.

Oakland 21, San Diego 20

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)

Ben Roethlisberger’s comments following his five interception performance were concerning stating that maybe he didn’t have it anymore.  To me, that just sounded like a QB frustrated with his performance and I can see him breaking back out at some point.  However, that will not happen this week.  The Chiefs have too many weapons on offense to contend with and they are hitting on all cylinders right now.  At Arrowhead, I love the home team.

Kansas City 38, Pittsburgh 24

Sunday, October 15th, 8:30 e.t.

New York Giants (0-5) @ Denver Broncos (3-1)

Why can’t Sunday Night Football flex out of this game?  The Giants are a mess right now and are essentially missing their entire receiving corps and cannot protect their QB against one of the best defenses in the league on the road.  The Broncos should have no problem steam-rolling Big Blue here.

Denver 35, New York 7

Monday, October 16th, 8:30 e.t.

Indianapolis Colts (2-3) @ Tennessee Titans (2-3)

This game could be very intriguing with Andrew Luck versus Marcus Mariota or it could be another blah Monday night game with Jacoby Brissett versus Matt Cassel.  Let’s hope it is the former.  I think Mariota should be a go for this game and the Titans really need a win to keep pace in the division at home.  The Titans have struggled to beat the Colts as of late, but I think that trend ends on Monday night.  Their defense is good enough and the offense is much better with #8 healthy.  I do reserve the right to change my mind on this contest provided who is starting at QB for each team.

Tennessee 28, Indianapolis 17

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2017 Season: Week 5 Preview

There were good games and upsets all over the place in the NFL last week as the league proves to be just as unpredictable as ever.  That makes my job tough as I try to correctly guess each game every week.  Let’s give it a fifth crack of the year as we hit the quarter mark of the season already.  Oh my!

Last Week: 6-10

Season: 36-27

Locks: 1-3

Upsets: 1-3

Thursday, October 5th, 8:25 e.t.

New England Patriots (2-2) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

I want to go on record by saying I really like the Buccaneers team this year, and this pick does not necessarily show that since I’m going against them for the second straight week at home, but the Tampa defense can be had, and you better believe that Tom Brady will come into town knowing this.  The Pats have had a lot of defensive struggles of their own so this should be a shootout.  Who do I trust more in a shootout?  I’ll take the five time Super Bowl champ for this one.

New England 35, Tampa Bay 29

Sunday, October 8th, 1:00 e.t.

Tennessee Titans (2-2) @ Miami Dolphins (1-2)

The Titans just got crushed by the Texans last week and still can’t seem to get that big division road win.  Luckily they get a chance to bounce back against a Miami team that got shut out for, what should have been, the second week in a row.  That offense is not good right now and I don’t think they can trade points with the Titans, no matter who is in at QB.

Tennessee 27, Miami 14

New York Jets (2-2) @ Cleveland Browns (0-4)

We are a quarter of the way through the season, and who woulda thought that the Jets would be 2-2?  They are beating the teams that they probably should beat and Cleveland is one of them.  Their quarterback play has been dreadful for the last couple of weeks while Josh McCown has done a serviceable job for Gang Green.  It’s the McCown revenge game!  Well, about a third of the Jets’ opponents this year fall into revenge game category with this well traveled vet.  Jets win.

New York 22, Cleveland 17

San Francisco 49ers (0-4) @ Indianapolis Colts (1-3)

For the third straight week, the Niners played a divisional opponent tough but still lost.  A lot of people may be tempted to go with San Fran here, but I don’t like them on the road against the Colts.  Jacoby Brissett is doing a decent job holding down the fort for Indy and there wasn’t much that they could do last week versus the second half avalanche from Seattle.  I like them to bounce back against a bad team.

Indianapolis 40, San Francisco 16

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)

The Jaguars had their we are who you thought we were game last week in New York, and that takes a lot of the edge off of this matchup.  Pittsburgh’s defense is balling right now and I don’t see that changing this week.  We are still waiting for Ben Roethlisberger to toss for 300 yards (he hasn’t done this in 10 straight games by the way).  I don’t think it will happen in this game, but it also won’t have to.  Turnovers sink the Jags on the road.

Pittsburgh 29, Jacksonville 13

Arizona Cardinals (2-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)

The Cards got the job done in OT versus the 49ers last Sunday, but that offense has me concerned heading into this contest with the Eagles.  Philly may be able to get after Carson Palmer with their D-line, sans Fletcher Cox.  Meanwhile the Eagles have found a running game and their O-line is blocking it up very well.  That alone accounts for a huge difference.  In other news, this is the Carson bowl.  Wentz versus Palmer.  What a time to be alive!

Philadelphia 27, Arizona 14

Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) @ New York Giants (0-4)

Someone has to win here.  I was going to pick the Chargers because I like the talent they have on offense, but I don’t like the fact that they have to travel all the way across the country to take on the Giants.  New York has been playing good ball in the second halves of their last two games and I trust them a little more to get it together at home over a team that has just lost three straight games in their own stadium.

New York 19, San Diego 16

Buffalo Bills (3-1) @ Cincinnati Bengals (1-3)

I think one of the biggest surprises this year has to be the Buffalo Bills.  They just went into Atlanta and shut the Falcons down and that one was shocking.  I like the Bills, but this one smells like a trap game to me.  The Bengals are finally hitting their stride on offense and even though Buffalo has yet to let up more than 17 points in a game this year, I think they crack just a bit in Cincy.  Throw this one into the weird games of 2017 category.

Cincinnati 22, Buffalo 20

Carolina Panthers (3-1) @ Detroit Lions (3-1)

This is one of the top games of the week, and it is happening in Detroit.  The Lions have been one of the best teams in football and outside of a drubbing at the hands of the Saints, the Panthers have looked good too.  At this point in the year, it is easy to say Detroit is a safer bet.  Playing at home, I like them to get the job done yet again.  They might have the best team in the NFC at the moment.

Detroit 34, Carolina 27 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Sunday, October 4th, 4:05 e.t.

Baltimore Ravens (2-2) @ Oakland Raiders (2-2)

Boy has the Raiders’ season gone sideways ever since the beat down they received in Landover.  Derek Carr will be out the next couple of games with a broken back and things are not looking so hot for Oakland right now.  They have a Raven team that has been just awful on offense coming to town this week, so that is the good news for them  This is going to be a game for Marshawn Lynch to take over.  He will.  Let’s not forget also that the Raiders did almost beat Denver on the road last week, and the offense was able to move the ball, perhaps even a little better, with E.J. Manuel at the helm.

Oakland 17, Baltimore 13

Seattle Seahawks (2-2) @ Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

Is there a more fun team to watch than the L.A. Rams right now?  I love seeing them relevant again and it’s bringing a lot of fun to the west coast.  This is a fairly important game to determine this division right now because Seattle and Los Angeles are the two teams that will be competing to win it in the end.  So let’s not undersell this one.  I liked how the Seahawks got off the mat in the second half of last week’s game and this one, on paper, is one that the Rams should win but I’m going with the Hawks here.  Wade Philips’ “D” has some issues at the moment and I like Russell Wilson to exploit them.

Seattle 30, Los Angeles 27

Sunday, October 8th, 4:25 e.t.

Green Bay Packers (3-1) @ Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

Green Bay took a big L a couple of weeks back against the Falcons, but besides that they have found a way to win games despite having an injured offensive line and Aaron Rodgers not playing the best football of his career.  Dallas simply got outslugged last week by the Rams and were actually pretty well contained in the second half.  Their secondary has not been great and if it were not for DeMarcus Lawrence being so dominant up front, that defense would be a total liability.  That said, I don’t think their “D” will be able to hold Rodgers and the Pack back in this game and the Cowboys drop to 2-3.

Green Bay 35, Dallas 28

Sunday, October 8th, 8:30 e.t.

Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) @ Houston Texans (2-2)

Wow.  57 points from the Texans last week (a franchise record) and all of the sudden we are singing a different tune about this team.  They have a real shot at beating the Chiefs this week if Deshaun Watson plays lights out like he has been over the last two weeks.  Coming off of a short week and having to hit the road against a team that really could be 3-1 right now is not something that if favorable.  I think Houston steals a W on Sunday night.

Houston 30, Kansas City 27 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

Monday, October 8th, 8:30 e.t.

Minnesota Vikings (2-2) @ Chicago Bears (1-3)

The Bears have had a long time to mull this game over having played last Thursday, so in effect they are coming off of a near BYE.  They will roll out Mitch Trubisky for this game and I don’t like his chances going against a fierce Minnesota defense.  Their “D” was not the problem a week ago, it was the offense that was a bit sluggish.  Things don’t get better for them with the absence of Dalvin Cook now with a completely torn ACL.  That said, I love the matchup that the Minnesota wide outs have against the Chicago secondary.  The Bears have not been bad defensively and are a bit frisky at home, but the Vikings are the better team and they will show it Monday night.

Minnesota 23, Chicago 6

2017 Season: Week 4 Preview

After a wild and thrilling Week 3, we are ready for some more fun as the NFL season forges into October.  Who will be the big winners this week?  Here are my picks.

Last Week: 10-6

Season: 30-17

Locks: 1-2

Upsets: 1-2

Thursday, September 28th, 8:25 e.t.

Chicago Bears (1-2) @ Green Bay Packers (2-1)

Both of these teams are coming off of an overtime victory at home versus an AFC North opponent.  The week is short and that always favors the home team.  While the Packers did not look dominant against the Bengals, I do like them to win this game easily.  I feel that Chicago is going to be one of those teams that does not travel well, but plays solid ball at home.

Green Bay 31, Chicago 14

Sunday, October 1st, 9:30 am e.t.

New Orleans Saints (1-2) vs. Miami Dolphins (1-1) (In London)

The Saints may have temporarily saved their season with a win in Charlotte last week while the Dolphins looked pitiful on the road against the Jets.  This is one of the hardest games to pick this week, but I do like the Dolphins to reel in a big win.  I think Jay Cutler and company can attack New Orleans vertically and create some splash plays in the passing game.  That will help them get out of London with a W.

Miami 28, New Orleans 22

Sunday, October 1st, 1:00 e.t.

Detroit Lions (2-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (2-1)

In one of the best games of the week, the NFC North lead is up for grabs and this should be a great game.  The Lions nearly beat the Falcons at home last week while the Vikes blew out the Bucs in Minnesota.  Given that this game is being played Minnesota that should give Mike Zimmer’s squad the advantage here.  I like their defense to turn up the heat and make life uncomfortable for Matthew Stafford.

Minnesota 26, Detroit 19

Carolina Panthers (2-1) @ New England Patriots (2-1)

Tom Brady pulled off a heart-pounding come from behind win last week versus Houston but the Patriots have been played tough twice at home this year.  However, I think that the Panthers 2-1 record may be a bit of smoke and mirrors to this point and I say the Pats flex their muscles at home for the first time all season.

New England 38, Carolina 21

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) @ New York Jets (1-2)

Okay, this is a weird one.  One of these teams is going to have a surprising record after this week either the Jets at 2-2 or the Jags at 3-1.  The Jets looked impressive at home last week but I think their offense will struggle mightily against a Jacksonville defense that has looked great in all but the second half of their game against the Titans.

Jacksonville 23, New York 12

Buffalo Bills (2-1) @ Atlanta Falcons (3-0)

The Falcons could be 1-2 if a couple of plays didn’t break their way this year, but alas they are undefeated and will be hosting the first ever day game at their sparkling new stadium.  I don’t see Buffalo hanging in with the Falcons in a shootout and thus I am going with the home team in this battle.

Atlanta 32, Buffalo 22

Tennessee Titans (2-1) @ Houston Texans (1-2)

Here’s another sneaky good game.  Deshaun Watson looked good on the road against the Patriots last week while the Titans finally got a statement win over (what should be) a quality team this year.  Of course, most people would take the Titans here, but I think I’m gonna roll with Houston and their defense.  Tennessee is still getting it together on “D” this year and the Texan rookie QB should be able to make some plays Sunday.

Houston 21, Tennessee 20

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

I feel like I’ve been a bit hard on the Ravens this year, but I really am not a big fan of their offense, and that unit looked horrible in London against the Jags last week.  The Steelers run defense was not good against the Bears, but their pass defense was just fine.  That should not prove to be an issue on the road in Baltimore this week.  I see Pittsburgh pounding the rock on the ground and shortening this game en route to a nice division win.

Pittsburgh 20, Baltimore 9

Los Angeles Rams (2-1) @ Dallas Cowboys (2-1)

Both teams got some big plays out of both of their passing and rushing game last week on the road and the Rams will be coming in off a mini-BYE.  However, the Cowboys proved that they can outlast their opponents by pounding the run and being scrappy on defense against the Cardinals on Monday night and I can see them doing the same thing at home against a Ram team that has looked good in their two wins, albeit against poor teams.

Dallas 27, Los Angeles 17 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Cincinnati Bengals (0-3) @ Cleveland Browns (0-3)

Ahh, the good ole battle of Ohio is taking place for the first of two times this weekend.  It is also a battle of two out of five winless teams in the league this year.  The Bengals looked good running the ball with Joe Mixon in Lambeau last week, but Andy Dalton needs to get things right as he is missing some open receivers this year.  I can see them taking a win away from the Browns who are still trying to find that identity on both sides of the ball in Cleveland.

Cincinnati 21, Cleveland 14

Sunday, October 1st, 4:05 e.t.

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) @ Los Angeles Chargers (0-3)

For the second straight week, Philly takes on a winless team desperate for a win.  This time around I do not see them winning.  The Chargers will be desperate and at home on the west coast versus an Eagle team that is not healthy right now.  Philip Rivers needs to have a bounceback game and I think he can do that at home on Sunday.

Los Angeles 23, Philadelphia 21

New York Giants (0-3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)

This is another tough game to choose because I think that the Bucs are slightly better than the Giants at this point in the season, but New York is very hungry for a win.  A healthy Odell Beckham Jr. made the New York offense look worlds better in the fourth quarter last week and the Giants need to mimic what they did against Philly again because if that formula works they can win plenty of games this year.  The Bucs will make it tough, but Jameis Winston will ultimately make one too many mistakes at home.  Side note: Tampa Bay is not a great home team.

New York 24, Tampa Bay 20 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

San Francisco (0-3) @ Arizona Cardinals (1-2)

The Cardinals have looked like a mess on the O-line so far and that does not bode well for them in this game with the pass rush probably being one of the Niners strengths on the season.  If San Fran can stuff the run game and Brian Hoyer can play nearly as well this week as he did last, I like Kyle Shanahan to pick up his first win as a head coach this week on the road.

San Francisco 16, Arizona 10

Sunday, October 1st, 4:25 e.t.

The Raiders were embarrassed in prime time against the Redskins and will be really ticked off this week.  Meanwhile, the Broncos were humbled on the road against Buffalo.  Obviously Denver is a much better team at home and they should play well against the Raiders but I feel obligated to pick Oakland seeing as how they were my Super Bowl pick.  Also, barring a tie of course, one of these previously 2-0 teams will be dropping to 2-2 and I say that will be the Broncos, but slightly begrudgingly.

Oakland 26, Denver 17

Sunday, October 1st, 8:30 e.t.

Indianapolis Colts (1-2) @ Seattle Seahawks (1-2)

This is probably the least appetizing Sunday Night Football game in recent history but it will feature two teams that really need a win to keep pace in their divisions.  Seattle finally got something going on offense last week and it came all via Russell Wilson.  He shouldn’t have any trouble carving up a poor Indy defense at home Sunday night.

Seattle 34, Indianapolis 10

Monday, October 2nd, 8:30 e.t.

Washington Redskins (2-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)

Its Week 4, and no other team has looked better than the Kansas City Chiefs.  The Redskins will have their hands full on the road in front of a raucous crowd at Arrowhead.  The only thing Washington has going for it is that their defense has looked very good this season.  Offensively they are sound, but they won’t have the horses to hang with an AFC superpower on the road.

Kansas City 30, Washington 21

2017 Season: Week 3 Preview

We’ve got two weeks in the books and there are only ten undefeated teams left in the league.  Week 3 boasts just one matchup of 2-0 teams, so in theory we could still have nine after this weekend.  This likely won’t happen, but you never know with today’s NFL.  Defense has been the name of the game for the first two stanzas, so will this be the window when the offenses catch up?  Here are my game picks for the third week of the season.

Last Week: 10-6

Season: 20-11

Locks: 0-2

Upsets: 0-2

Thursday, September 21st, 8:25 e.t.

Los Angeles Rams (1-1) @ San Francisco 49ers (0-2)

After demolishing the Colts at home, the Rams got run over by the Redskins last week and that evened their record out.  Now they hit the road for the first time this year to take on a 49er team that hung tough with Seattle a week ago.  The Niners won two games all of last year and both were against these Rams.  I want to pick them to win again here but I can’t pull the trigger given the fact that I think that L.A.’s D-line will dominate this game.  Could see this one being close, but ultimately I think the Rams will put it away midway through the third quarter.

Los Angeles 21, San Francisco 12

Sunday, September 24th, 9:30 am e.t.

Baltimore Ravens (2-0) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) (in London)

We get our first international game of the season, and it pits two good defenses alongside two not so great offenses.  I don’t expect to see a ton of points here and this contest will come down to which “D” steps up in the end.  I like Baltimore to improve to 3-0 in that situation.  The Ravens have had a terrific start to their season on that side of the ball with ten takeaways (five in back-to-back weeks).  While I don’t think they will steal the football five times yet again, I can see them making some splash plays and making life tough on Blake Bortles sans Allen Robinson.

Baltimore 17, Jacksonville 10

Sunday, September 24th, 1:00 e.t.

Houston Texans (1-1) @ New England Patriots (1-1)

The Pats showed everybody last week that they are not on the downfall after taking one on the chin opening night.  Now they play host to an offense that has looked terrible for the most part this season.  Deshaun Watson has a lot to learn in this league, and on the road in New England is not the place to do it.  Look for the Pats’ “D” to make a statement win at home against the rook.

New England 31, Houston 14

Cleveland Browns (0-2) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-2)

Last week I said that the Colts wouldn’t win a game without Andrew Luck this year.  I was almost wrong a week ago and I’m ready to go back on my word here.  I think the Browns have a much improved team over a year ago, but it could take a little bit of time for their offense to gel.  The Colts aren’t anything special, but they are playing at home and I think they can squeak out a win playing the Brownies this early in the season.

Indianapolis 20, Cleveland 18

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-1)

As of the writing of this column, we don’t know if Sam Bradford will be good to play in this game.  I am operating under the assumption that he will not be which will make things tough on the Vikings.  That said, I love the homefield advantage that the Vikes do have and I think that their offense will look much better this time around with that edge.  So, regardless of who starts at QB, I like Minnesota to take this one.  Jameis Winston makes a couple of mistakes that tilt the game in the home team’s favor.  It also seems like a good opportunity for the Vikings to shut down that Tampa run game and make the Bucs one dimensional.

Minnesota 27, Tampa Bay 14

New York Giants (0-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

You won’t see a more desperate team entering Week 3 than the New York Giants and the story of their season has been their poor play up front on the O-line.  Things do not get better as they hit the road to take on a stout Eagles’ D-line.  The Giants will utilize a lot of quick passes to prevent Philly from getting after Eli Manning, but as long as the Eagles tackle well, they shouldn’t have a problem here.  I like what I’ve seen from Carson Wentz so far too as the birds have looked like the best team in the NFC East thus far.  I don’t think the Giants season is done with a loss here, but they got a big hole to dig themselves out of.

Philadelphia 26, New York 17

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) @ Chicago Bears (0-2)

Okay, which Bears will we see this week?  The one that nearly (and probably should have) beat Atlanta Week 1, or the one that got destroyed by the Bucs last week.  Methinks they will be a little closer to the former as they draw the Steelers in Chicago.  Le’Veon Bell has yet to really get it going on the ground and I look for Pittsburgh to establish the run early.  The Bears have been good versus the run thus far, so it will come down to Ben Roethlisberger’s right arm.  I think he gets the job done, but not without a fight.

Pittsburgh 24, Chicago 20

Atlanta Falcons (2-0) @ Detroit Lions (2-0)

I’m looking at all sixteen games this week, and I think that this is the best out of all of them.  Both teams have looked pretty good to start the year, and one of them is going to 3-0 to start the year.  I think that will be Atlanta.  They’ll be running on turf this week which gives them a huge advantage.  Also, the Falcons’ offensive line is much better than the Giants’ and Cardinals’, so Detroit won’t be able to bully them around quite so much.

Atlanta 37, Detroit 27 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Denver Broncos (2-0) @ Buffalo Bills (1-1)

The Broncos looked good last week against the Cowboys, proving their defense is still great.  The big story has to be Trevor Siemian and his right arm thus far, though, as he has looked like a potential franchise quarterback.  Most people will be picking Denver to go to 3-0, but I think that the Bills can steal one here.  I look at the Broncos and can see that defense falling off a bit as they fly to the east coast and fall into a classic trap game.  If Buffalo can get some rhythm going on offense, I like their chances at an upset at home.

Buffalo 23, Denver 21 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

New Orleans Saints (0-2) @ Carolina Panthers (2-0)

The NFC’s answer to Baltimore’s defense has to be the Carolina Panthers.  They have allowed just six points through two weeks and are getting after the passer much better than they did a year ago.  The Saints, meanwhile, have had some issues on offense to this point in the year with only three touchdowns, two of them coming in garbage time.  Last year the NFC South matchups produced a lot of points, but I don’t think this one will.  I was going to take the Saints to win their first game of the season, but they’re going to have to get the ground game going.  Drew Brees can’t do it all and unfortunately I think he will have to on the road in Charlotte.  Give me Carolina.

Carolina 19, New Orleans 16

Miami Dolphins (1-0) @ New York Jets (0-2)

The Dolphins eeked a win out on the road in Los Angeles a week ago and now they fly back across the country to take on an underwhelming Jet team.  Josh McCown actually looked decent on the road in Oakland but he has no other help on offense at the moment.  The Dolphins did a great job against the run versus the Chargers and they shouldn’t have any trouble shutting that facet of the game down here either.

Miami 30, New York 14

Sunday, September 24th, 4:05 e.t.

Seattle Seahawks (1-1) @ Tennessee Titans (1-1)

Each of these teams picked up their first win of the year last week, but the Titans have looked like a much better team this season.  All I’ve got to say is luckily for Tennessee, they draw this game early in the year because if this was November or later, I’d probably pick Seattle.  Unfortunately for the Hawks, they are still trying to put the pieces together on offense and their rush defense has not been great to this point.  The Titans get the job done at home here with some power football and play action passing.

Tennessee 24, Seattle 18

Sunday, September 24th, 4:25 e.t.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) @ Green Bay Packers (1-1)

The Bengals have been a major disappointment this season so far.  Their offense has been atrocious and they have yet to score a touchdown on the season.  The Packers got torched by Atlanta on the road last week, but a lot of teams will probably meet that same fate this season.  Returning home, Green Bay gets back on the ball with a win.  However, I think the Bengals will shock everybody by playing them tough.  Their defense has not been the problem this year, so if the “O” gets it going a little bit, this could be a better game than most would expect.

Green Bay 29, Cincinnati 23

Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) @ Los Angeles Chargers (0-2)

The Chargers need a win, and badly.  Unfortunately for them they are playing the hottest team in football this week.  The Bolts could be 2-0, but continue to find ways to lose games.  I think they can keep this game very close until then end, but I can see Alex Smith driving his team down the field for a go-ahead score late to down L.A. for a third straight heartbreaking defeat.  That offense is looking good and they continue to roll to their third win.

Kansas City 32, San Diego 28

Sunday, September 24th, 8:30 e.t.

Oakland Raiders (2-0) @ Washington Redskins (1-1)

The Redskins picked up a huge road win last week late versus the LA Rams and it’s a good thing they did because I do not see them winning this game here against the Raiders.  Derek Carr and the Oakland offense has looked good this season and the Washington defense has not been that fantastic so far.  The Raiders will travel well this year and I think their passing attack can shred the Redskin defense in Landover.

Oakland 38, Washington 20

Monday, September 25th, 8:30 e.t.

Dallas Cowboys (1-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (1-1)

I wanted to pick Dallas to win here since the Cardinals have not been that good this season and barely beat the Colts last week.  However, this is their home opener, and I think that will really help them out.  Their defense should be swarming and Denver really put the blueprint down on how to defeat the Cowboys: make Dak Prescott beat you.  He was unable to do so last week and won’t be able to again this week as the Cards will work to shut Ezekiel Elliot down for the second straight week.

Arizona 21, Dallas 19

2017 Season: Week 2 Preview

Week 1 has come and gone, and mercifully so for some (I’m looking at you Giants, Colts, Bengals, and Texans).  We saw a lot of good defense, and also some poor offensive displays which is quite odd in this day and age of football.  I think that this week will provide a lot of excitement and, hopefully, some good football games.  Here are my picks for Week 2’s action.

Last Week: 10-5

Season: 10-5

Locks: 0-1

Upsets: 0-1

Thursday, September 14th, 8:25 e.t.

Houston Texans (0-1) @ Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)

Boy, after last week this game here is not very appetizing as both offenses looked horrific against good defenses.  I really don’t like the Texans’ attack this year and the Bengals do have some potential on that side of the ball.  Playing at home I feel very confident that they will bounce back against a potentially bad team.

Cincinnati 27, Houston 10 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Sunday, September 17th, 1:00 e.t.

Buffalo Bills (1-0) @ Carolina Panthers (1-0)

How about the Bills sitting alone atop the AFC East?  They better enjoy that while it lasts because I have a feeling that will not be the case after this week.  The Carolina defense got the job done on the road last week, so their offense has to catch up.  In their home opener I think that will end up happening.

Carolina 30, Buffalo 23

Arizona Cardinals (0-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-1)

The Colts looked awful against the Rams, so much so that they’ve got me wondering if they’ll even win a game without Andrew Luck.  I don’t think they can and even though Carson Palmer looked like age was catching up to him a week ago, and the Cards are going to be without David Johnson for a while I don’t think anybody is losing to Indy anytime soon.  Give me Arizona on the road.

Arizona 22, Indianapolis 7

Minnesota Vikings (1-0) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)

The Steelers did play down to the Browns last Sunday, but still won in the end.  Meanwhile the Vikings were looking like a dominant team at home versus the Saints and Sam Bradford looked like a possible franchise player.  I like the Vikes this year, but Pittsburgh is home and I think that is going to make a world of difference in this match-up.

Pittsburgh 29, Minnesota 20

Cleveland Browns (0-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (1-0)

The Baltimore defense looked dominant on the road against the Bengals and now they will host the Cleveland Browns and rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer.  Kizer wasn’t bad at all against the Steelers but I think that he’s going to find life on the road tough against Dean Pees’ unit.

Baltimore 16, Cleveland 6

New England Patriots (0-1) @ New Orleans Saints (0-1)

This game could turn out to be the shootout of the week as I’m sure that Tom Brady is going to want to go off on the New Orleans defense that is still not quite there.  Drew Brees is going to guide the Saints to some points here, but in the end I think that the Patriots are going to do everything they can to avoid losing two straight games to start.  Look for that to happen.

New England 38, New Orleans 31

Tennessee Titans (0-1) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)

The Jags set a franchise record with 10 sacks last week against the Texans and their defense looked flat out dominant.  For the Titans, they lost at home against a good team and they should bounce back on the road here.  The keyword there is should but I think the Jaguars shock the football world again and steal a win at home with a late defensive stand against their rivals from the northwest.

Jacksonville 20, Tennessee 16 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

Chicago Bears (0-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0)

The Bucs finally open their season at home against a Bears team that played the Falcons very tough at home.  I like the Chicago running game to do some nice things this season, but I have a feeling they are hitting a buzzsaw here traveling to an emotional Tampa Bay.  Jameis Winston will throw the ball all over the yard en route to a nice win for the Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay 37, Chicago 13

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) @ Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)

No other team looked as good in Week 1 as the Chiefs did on the road in New England.  Now they come home to play an Eagle team that is coming off of an impressive road win in their own right.  This is a potential trap game for Kansas City, but I think that their home crowd is going to be a huge factor.  Philly is also going to have to do better than 58 yards on the ground here.  Oh yeah, can I say this is the Andy Reid/Doug Peterson bowl.  A lot of ties here.

Kansas City 27, Philadelphia 19

Sunday, September 17th, 4:05 e.t.

New York Jets (0-1) @ Oakland Raiders (1-0)

This one is not hard to pick; the Raiders looked good on the road against the Titans while the Jets looked like… well the Jets in Buffalo.  While I don’t think Gang Green’s defense is awful by any means, it certainly isn’t good enough to carry them to a win over Oakland.  Also, if you have Marshawn Lynch on your fantasy team, make sure you start him this week.  He’s gonna go off.

Oakland 33, New York 13

Miami Dolphins (0-0) @ Los Angeles Chargers (0-1)

It is the Chargers’ first home game in Los Angeles since the 1960’s and it is the the Dolphins first game this season period.  Like the Buccaneers I think the late start to the season will benefit Miami.  Jay Ajayi may be able to get some work done on the ground against an LA defense that looked porous versus the run last week in Denver.  Also, who can’t get enough of Jay Cutler versus Philip Rivers?  I love that rivalry!

Miami 34, Los Angeles 27

Sunday, September 17th, 4:25 e.t.

San Francisco 49ers (0-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (0-1)

Seattle’s offensive line looked terrible against the Packers on the road last week and they could get pushed around this season.  I loved how DeForrest Buckner looked last week against Carolina and I think he can do some big things in Seattle, but it won’t be enough.  Not only will the ‘Hawks win this game, but they will also pitch a shutout.  The Niners’ offense is horrible.

Seattle 17, San Francisco 0

Washington Redskins (0-1) @ Los Angeles Rams (1-0)

I know it was against the Colts, but the Rams looked good last week.  They have a good defense and a lot of offensive potential this season and could be a sneaky team.  For the Redskins, they struggled against the blitz last week and I think Wade Phillips is going to come after Kirk Cousins this time around as well helping the Rams get to 2-0.

Los Angeles 26, Washington 15

Dallas Cowboys (1-0) @ Denver Broncos (1-0)

Here’s an interesting game: it is the Dallas offense versus the Denver D.  On the road I wouldn’t go out of my way to pick the Cowboys here, but I think they can tough out a win.  I’m not sold on the Bronco offense and if the ‘Boys put points on the board early I’m not sure they will be able to keep up.  It should be a good one, though, I’m just going with the road team here.

Dallas 20, Denver 17

Sunday, September 17th, 8:30 e.t.

Green Bay Packers (1-0) @ Atlanta Falcons (1-0)

These two teams played a classic in Atlanta last regular season before meeting again.  The second time the Packers got blown out.  I’m liking this game to be more like the first one from a season ago in a brand new stadium.  This should be good.  Lots of offense will be seen and in the end I give the slight edge to the Packers only because I think Aaron Rodgers will get the job done with all of his weapons healthy.

Green Bay 33, Atlanta 31

Monday, September 18th, 8:30 e.t.

Detroit Lions (1-0) @ New York Giants (0-1)

Obviously the absence of Odell Beckham Jr. had a bad effect on the Giants but I think there are a lot more issues than just that.  The offensive line was bad on the road in Dallas and Big Blue had no running game to help their cause.  I think they will come back to life at home against a Lion team that was pretty much dormant on offense for two and a half quarters last Sunday.  Matthew Stafford will make it interesting, as usual.

New York 24, Detroit 20

2017 Season: Week 1 Preview

We are back at it again for the sixth year of predictions on this blog!  I am excited for the start of the 2017 season and there are some pretty good games right out of the gate.  Below I will pick who is going to win them all and mark one lock of the week (not an obvious game, we like to keep things fun here) and one upset of the week.  Let’s get to it!

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Thursday, September 7th, 8:30 e.t.

Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots

The first game of the regular season is a doozy, as it usually is.  The Patriots seem to be primed to win their opening night game at the favorable confines of Gillette Stadium.  Look for Tom Brady to take to the air as the Pats cut through the pretty good Chiefs’ “D”.  New England gets off on the right foot, but not without a bit of a fight from their opponents.

New England 31, Kansas City 23

Sunday, September 10th, 1:00 e.t.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns

Looking back to years past, it isn’t every day that Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown are all healthy together but that is the case here in Week 1 of 2017.  That could mean bad news for a lot of Pittsburgh’s opponents throughout the season, and especially so for the Browns this week.  The Steelers tend to dominate them anyways, so expect nothing different here.

Pittsburgh 37, Cleveland 16

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans

The Jags are going to be starting Blake Bortles while the Texans throw out Tom Savage.  Things could get ugly early on, but I like the Houston defense to swarm at home and take advantage of some offensive mistakes from Jacksonville.

Houston 24, Jacksonville 10 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins

This is a tough game to pick because of the way the Redskins have dominated the Eagles over the past few seasons, but I do like Philly’s chances on the road here.  Washington will not have as potent of an attack this year and the Eagle “D” has looked strong during the preseason.  Look for those two pieces to be key factors in deciding the outcome of this low-scoring affair.

Philadelphia 19, Washington 13

Atlanta Falcons @ Chicago Bears

Chicago opens their season up at home against the defending NFC Champions.  The Bears will have to trade scores with the Falcons if they want any chance of winning, but that is hard to say for them and even harder to do.  I do think they can keep this one surprisingly interesting for a while, however, but they will ultimately be run out of the gym in the Windy City.

Atlanta 32, Chicago 21

New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills

In what looks like it will be a battle of the bottom of the AFC East in Week 1, the Jets and Bills hook horns at New Era Field.  While I do think the Jets are going to be a bad team this year, I am actually going to pick them in an upset since there is usually one weird game during opening week.  My money’s on this one.  Ultimately turnovers will end up doing the Billikens in.

New York 20, Buffalo 16 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions

This game is another tougher one to pick because I can see the Lions having a down season versus last year while I can also see the Cardinals rebounding.  The safe pick would be rolling with Detroit playing at home but I think that Arizona is going to get their offense off the ground quickly and take advantage of the aging Lion secondary.

Arizona 33, Detroit 27

Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals

If you read my write-up of my season predictions then you will already know that I am not high on the Baltimore offense while I think the Bengals will be an exciting team to watch in ‘17.  At home I think Cincy can steal one late with a go-ahead field goal in the final minutes aided by, perhaps, a Raven penalty or two.

Cincinnati 26, Baltimore 24

Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans

For the third straight year we are treated to Raiders @ Titans, and the previous two ended up producing very good games.  This should be no different as I think it will be a bit of a throwback with some smashmouth football leading to some play action passing.  I like the Oakland offense a little more than I do the Titans’ and that is why I will pick them to win in Tennessee for the third time in as many years.

Oakland 29, Tennessee 21

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Miami Dolphins

This game is unfortunately going to be rescheduled for a later date, but I did want to go on record by saying that I was going to pick the Dolphins to win at home, if Hurricane Irma did not become a thing.  Best of luck to the folks down south.

GAME POSTPONED

Sunday, September 10th, 4:05 e.t.

Indianapolis Colts @ Los Angeles Rams

I was thinking about picking the Rams in an upset even before learning that Andrew Luck was going to be out in this game, and now that that is a definite I think that the L.A. defense is going to make life tough on Scott Tolzien and company here.  I am interested to see if Jared Goff can form a connection with Sammy Watkins against a below average secondary as well.

Los Angeles 21, Indianapolis 13

Sunday, September 10th, 4:25 e.t.

Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers

The Panthers have a good opportunity to start their season off on the right foot against a pretty poor San Francisco defense here in Week 1.  They should take advantage of it and run the ball repeatedly at the Niner front and keep Cam Newton from making big mistakes with the ball and they should be just fine.

Carolina 35, San Francisco 21

Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers

This is, in my books, the best game of the week and it is going to feature two NFC powerhouses on the late afternoon stage.  Ahh yes, football is back.  Picking this one could be hard but I like the Packers to get it done at home against the ‘Hawks.  I don’t think Russell Wilson will throw a bunch of picks like he has in the past against the Pack, but I do think he will be under pressure a lot and cause him to make some rushed decisions.

Green Bay 34, Seattle 27

Sunday, September 10th, 8:30 e.t.

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys

It is official, Ezekiel Elliot will serve a six game suspension.  That will not take place until Week 2, however, and I think the Cowboys will be desperate to prove something at home to the Giants after losing twice to them last year.  Their defense scares me a bit, but I say their offense makes up for it this time around with a big game.

Dallas 37, New York 31

Monday, September 11th, 7:10 e.t.

New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings

This contest should be known as the Adrian Peterson Bowl since he will be returning to Minnesota for the first time in Week 1 playing in black and gold.  The Viking defense should prove to be superior at home but this could be one of the better games of the opening week.

Minnesota 23, New Orleans 20

Monday, September 11th, 10:20 e.t.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos

I feel like a lot of people are going to pick the Chargers to win here, which is understandable, but given the fact that Denver has dominated this match-up over the last few years, it is hard to pick against them.  I think their defense will come out flying and get the Broncos a win after their first game in the year.  Trevor Siemian will do just fine as the starting quarterback.

Denver 20, Los Angeles 10

 

2017 NFL Season Preview

The long wait is finally over and the 2017 season is upon us!  That means it is time for some prognostications.  Who is going to win their division?  The Super Bowl?  How about the league MVP?  There is a lot to predict so lets get to it!

AFC East

1st- New England Patriots (#1 Seed):

Is this one even a question.  Even with the absence of Julian Edelman, the Pats should coast to yet another first place finish in the easiest division in football.

2nd- Miami Dolphins:

Ryan Tannehill is out for the year, but the ‘Phins won’t be sunk yet with the surprise signing of Jay Cutler.  The offense should be fine, but the defense could hold this team back a bit.

3rd- Buffalo Bills:

The Bills could be a surprise team this year, but picking them for a third place finish seems like the safe thing to do.  Their defense got worse this offseason and they won’t be able to win a ton of games solely based on their running game.

4th- New York Jets:

Where to begin here?  The offense could prove to be unwatchable at times and the defense will be asked to burden the load for this squad.  Yes they will win a game or two this year, but don’t expect much more than that.

 

AFC North

1st- Pittsburgh Steelers (#3 Seed):

The Steelers have arguably the best offense in football and will attack vertically downfield as well as slug away with Le’Veon Bell and the running game.  The defense is getting better too, they’re fast.

2nd- Cincinnati Bengals (#6 Seed):

I’m expecting a bit of a bounce-back season from the Cardiac Cats.  Rookies Joe Mixon and John Ross could make this offense very explosive alongside a healthy A.J. Green.

3rd- Baltimore Ravens:

I’m not high on this offense.  The Baltimore “D”, as always, should be stout but they are going to need more than that to keep pace with the Bengals and Steelers as well as other AFC foes in potential shootouts.

4th- Cleveland Browns:

This is still a young team trying to learn how to win.  2017 will be a year for them to find their identity and that does not bode well in what looks like it will be a very competitive division.

 

AFC South

1st- Tennessee Titans (#4 Seed):

I love this team; one that goes against the grain of what most teams are in this day and age.  They are going to run the ball down your throat and should be able to take advantage of a weaker division.

2nd- Indianapolis Colts:

I am still a believer in Andrew Luck and this team does tend to play well against its own division.  Look for them to stay in the playoff hunt until the end.

3rd- Houston Texans:

Houston has the potential to be a playoff team with their defense, but I have some serious questions about their offense still.  You could easily shake up the top three spots in the AFC South, however.

4th- Jacksonville Jaguars:

I, like a lot of people, am showing a big lack in faith with Blake Bortles at quarterback.  Leonard Fournette was a good sign by them, but if defenses are going to load the box he could have a Todd Gurley-like season.

 

AFC West

1st- Oakland Raiders (#2 Seed):

I like the look of the Raiders this season.  This should be a very good offense this season and if the defense can get their game together then this is a team that will really give New England a run for its money in the AFC.

2nd- Kansas City Chiefs (#5 Seed):

The Chiefs have some exciting playmakers and their offense could be one of the better ones in the league.  Combine that with an opportunistic defense and you have yet another playoff berth for Andy Reid and company.

3rd- Denver Broncos:

The Los Angeles Chargers seem to be the sexy pick for the third spot, but I still like the Denver defense despite their losses over the offseason.

4th- Los Angeles Chargers:

I can see this team winning 5 games or maybe even 11 games.  Can rookie head coach Anthony Lynn coach this team into winning football?  Look for Melvin Gordon to be the key piece in this offense.

 

NFC East

1st- New York Giants (#4 Seed):

This is a hard pick, but the New York defense should be the strength of the team.  The offense won’t be too bad either and on paper this could be one of the more talented rosters in the league.

2nd- Philadelphia Eagles (#5 Seed):

Carson Wentz has been great this preseason and during training camp.  New signees on offense along with an improved defense could land this team a playoff spot in 2017.

3rd- Dallas Cowboys:

The Cowboys will likely be without Ezekiel Elliot for the first six games of the year, but they have playmakers elsewhere.  The only thing that scares me about this team is their defense.  They could get torched.

4th- Washington Redskins:

The Redskins offense likely won’t be as dynamic as a year ago without Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson.  The Washington defense also isn’t anything to be feared at this point in time.

 

NFC South

1st- Atlanta Falcons (#2 Seed):

The Falcons offense may fall back just slightly from what they were a year ago, but this is an up and coming defense who can certainly turn the tide in some games this season.

2nd- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (#6 Seed):

I, like a lot of others, like the Buccaneers offense to pick it up under third year QB Jameis Winston.  Adding DeSean Jackson to the offense should make them even more exciting to watch.

3rd- Carolina Panthers:

I think the Panthers have a bit of a bounce-back year behind Cam Newton and what should be a pretty darn good running game.  The NFC South is so tough, though, and I can’t see them finishing any better than third in it.

4th- New Orleans Saints:

I really don’t like placing the Saints here because I actually think they are going to be a good team this year with a great offense, but ultimately this defense does not have me sold that they will be able to fend off some elite offenses in the NFC.

 

NFC North

1st- Green Bay Packers (#1 Seed):

For once, the Pack looks to be healthy going into a season, and that is a rarity.  They have an established #1 running back as well as Aaron Rodgers playing in the prime of his career.  This could be a magical year for them.

2nd- Minnesota Vikings:

Here is a pick based on defense alone.  The offensive line was terrible a year ago and should be slightly better this season, but not better enough to get them into the playoffs.

3rd- Detroit Lions:

Matthew Stafford carried his team to a bunch of late game wins last year, but that is not a good formula to hold on a consistent basis.  The NFC is going to be loaded with good teams this year and I don’t think this defense will be able to stop a lot of them.

4th- Chicago Bears:

A rookie quarterback with a green defense in a division with a couple of great quarterbacks and a solid “D” spells trouble for Da Bears.  They could be a four win team in ’17.

 

NFC West

1st- Seattle Seahawks (#3 Seed):

Seattle will continue to have a good “D” and should have a relatively easy path to a division win as long as the Cardinals don’t have a major comeback season.

2nd- Arizona Cardinals:

David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald are still going to be the key cogs in this offensive attack, but Carson Palmer is a bit long in the tooth now.  The red birds could have a good year, but it’s going to be tough catching Seattle.

3rd- Los Angeles Rams:

The Rams have a pretty favorable schedule this season and should be a bit better off with Jared Goff at quarterback in his second season.  If he does step up his game, Todd Gurley could go off in his third year as a pro.

4th- San Francisco 49ers:

This team does not have much talent on it and it is going to get gashed by some of the running attacks that they face this season.  The offense could be bad and that is not a good combination for the Niners.

 

AFC Playoff Predictions

Wild Card

#3 Pittsburgh Steelers def. #6 Cincinnati Bengals

#5 Kansas City Chiefs def. #4 Tennessee Titans

Divisional

#1 New England Patriots def. #5 Kansas City Chiefs

#2 Oakland Raiders def. #3 Pittsburgh Steelers

Championship

#2 Oakland Raiders def. #1 New England Patriots

 

NFC Playoff Predictions

Wild Card

#3 Seattle Seahawks def. #6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

#5 Philadelphia Eagles def. #5 New York Giants

Divisional

#1 Green Bay Packers def. #5 Philadelphia Eagles

#3 Seattle Seahawks def. #2 Atlanta Falcons

Championship

#1 Green Bay Packers def. #3 Seattle Seahawks

 

Super Bowl 52 Prediction

#2 Oakland Raiders def. #1 Green Bay Packers

I like the chances for these Raiders this season.  Their offense is poised to take off and they have enough playmakers on the opposite side to hold their opponent’s attack back.

 

End of Season Awards:

MVP- Derek Carr, QB Oakland Raiders

I was going to go with Aaron Rodgers here, but I think that Carr has a better shot at the title since there tends to be bias towards first time candidates.

Offensive Player of the Year- Melvin Gordon, RB Los Angeles Chargers

How about this one for a dark horse: I love the former Badger’s chances this season under new head coach Anthony Lynn who absolutely loves to run the football.

Defensive Player of the Year- Brandon Graham, DE Philadelphia Eagles

Here is another longshot pick, but I think that he is going to see a lot of success with there being so many other defensive studs on that Philly defensive line.

Offensive Rookie of the Year- Christian McCaffrey, RB Carolina Panthers

The Panthers love to run the ball, and this could be a perfect fit for the former Stanford Cardinal who is used to being a bellcow.  It won’t be long before Carolina realizes this and feeds him.  A lot.

Defensive Rookie of the Year- Solomon Thomas, DE, San Francisco 49ers

This rook’s play will really stand out among the rest of his teammates and he is one of the lone bright spots on the Niner’s defense.

Comeback Player of the Year- Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders

It was a toss-up between Beast Mode and J.J. Watt, but ultimately I decided to go with Lynch because I think he will have a great year running behind an elite offensive line in Oakland.

Coach of the Year- Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

Here is a safe pick because you can make a case that ol’ Belichick can win it every year.  I was going to go with Jack Del Rio, but I think I gave the Raiders enough love in this column.

So there you have it.  The 2017 NFL Season should be a fun one to watch and it is going to be exciting to see what parody will unfold!