Tag Archives: predictions

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 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!

2016 Season: Week 1 Preview

It is finally here!  Week 1 of the 2016 NFL Season.  We have been patiently awaiting its arrival like we were another Frank Ocean album.  Only difference here is that there is no chance the beginning of the season could be a hoax at first.  We’ve got an immediate Super Bowl rematch which is always fun, a potential Super Bowl preview in the desert, two rookie quarterbacks starting in the NFC East, a throwback game (which will be described below) and a boatload of other exciting games to be played.  Who will win them all?  Check out these picks below!

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

Carolina Panthers @ Denver Broncos

Obviously this is a rematch of Super Bowl 50.  That was a game dominated by Denver’s defense.  A quick highlight of that contest can be seen below.

How will this match up go?  Chances are Cam Newton and company will extract some revenge.  Trevor Seimien gets the nod and will have to stare down the barrel of the gun towards a defense that may be a shadow of what it was last year, but is still good enough to get the job done.  Sans Josh Norman, the Panthers should have their way as long as they can slow Denver’s running game.  Just stick Kawaan Short in a rocking chair and have him guard the middle; Caronlina will be fine.

Carolina 29, Denver 14

Sunday September 11th, 1:00 e.t.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta will be parting ways with the Georgia dome this year.  Sure, the four dollar beers will be greatly missed, but on the bright side the new stadium is looking like it has the chance to be pretty awesome, kind of like the team that will nest there.  The Falcons might not be kicking through glass like Stone Cold Steve Austin these days, but they have some talent to build around, especially on offense in Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman.  Of course, Tampa knows about young budding talent.  Look no further than their quarterback Jameis Winston who is, by the way, undefeated against the dirty birds.  2016 brings a lot of great promise towards Tampa Bay, but unfortunately this game will not.  As tempting as it is to swing with the Bucs here, rolling with the Falcons at home seems to be a safer bet.  Unfortunately picking Week 1 games is sort of like sitting at a high stakes poker table with scared money; you’re really afraid to take risks.  Atlanta should put these guys away with a solid offensive performance from Matty Ice as they try to rise up (get it?) to supremacy again.

Atlanta 28, Tampa Bay 20

Chicago Bears @ Houston Texans

Brock Osweiler gets a crack at Chicago to open the season; a team that he defeated in his first ever start in Week 11 last year.  Denver’s defense had a strong showing in that game while the offense wasn’t too special outside of one nice drive and a big play to Demaryius Thomas.  But that was last year.  This year, the Texans have a potential to be a very good offensive team as long as they stay out of their own way.  Jay Cutler can tell you all about that.  Here’s a guy with some serious arm talent who is very prone to making mistakes.  That’s not a favorable combination when facing a ball-hawking Houston secondary.  Also, Chicago really struggled to score points in the preseason.  This trend could continue as they try to find an identity on offense.

Houston 21, Chicago 13

Cleveland Browns @ Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz is making his first career start, and it could not have come against a better team in Cleveland.  That said, it won’t be him who wins this game for Philly, it’ll be the Eagles defense which has the potential to be a top five unit under Jim Schwartz.  Robert Griffin III knows all about playing the birds and has had some mixed success in the past.  However, on Sunday he could be staring at the skies of Philadelphia quite a bit as it is likely he will be on his back for a majority of the game.  Wentz shall see plenty of pressure in his own right as he struggles when the heat is applied.  The Browns will surely take advantage of this.  It should be a defensive game, and the Eagles definitely have the better defense in this one.

Philadelphia 20, Cleveland 10

Minnesota Vikings @ Tennessee Titans

Forrest Gump would be proud of this contest since we should see each team keep running the ball repeatedly throughout.  You’re grandaddy might begin reminiscing on the good ole days where offenses would just pound away at other hoping to knock each other’s teeth out.  Vikings/Titans should be the modern day football equivalent of a Foreman/Ali fight since they will both pound away at each other with their bulky and physically gifted running backs.  The Vikes will weep at the loss of their young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but have former Eagle Sam Bradford to fall back on.  That said, Bradford has had a small amount of time to acclimate himself with the Minnesota wide receivers and unless he can learn the playbook through osmosis, he will have a very limited amount of plays at his disposal.  Meanwhile, the Titans have the rocks in DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry to smash through the Viking defense.  Picking the Music City men may be unpopular, but it’s happening.  We don’t write these things to make friends.

Tennessee 27, Minnesota 17

Buffalo Bills @ Baltimore Ravens

Otherwise known as the Tyrod Taylor bowl, the Virginia Tech player will return to face his former team, this time with the keys to the car in hand.  Will Buffalo be able to run over the Ravens in Baltimore?  Most people would nod their heads yes to this, but that would just make too much sense.  Watch, this is going to be the game where Joe Flacco comes out and throws the ball 45 times for 330 yards and a couple of scores.  Steve Smith is healthy and ready to break some ankles, perhaps not only figuratively.  Ben Watson is gonezo, but Maxx Williams will step up and contribute to the offense.  The Bills may struggle on the road in a place where a lot of teams have over a majority of the past decade.

Baltimore 26, Buffalo 22

Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets

The Bengals limp into this game hampered with injuries yet are still favored to win this game, if Vegas is to be trusted.  After having the season of his life, the Jets were smart to finally get Ryan Fitzpatrick back on the team.  He went a long time without signing, but luckily for Gang Green he did, otherwise they would be in some serious trouble at running back.  The Bengals don’t have all of the big name talent as they have had in years past, but still have plenty of offensive firepower to be a good team.  Kicking the door down against the Jets is what will probably take place on Sunday.  This is a pick based purely on the thought that Cincy has a better team than New York does at this point in time.  If not, it’d be easy to say that the Jets’ defense swarms and gives headaches to Andy Dalton all afternoon.  But, let’s not get too crazy now.

Cincinnati 24, New York 17

San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs

The San Diego Philip Rivers will head to Arrowhead to clash with the Chiefs on Sunday and may not enjoy their stay all too much.  Kansas City had their way with the bolts last year and held them to just six points in two games.  Philip Rivers will be asked to carry the team this season since it does not have a ton of big name talent to lean on.  Although, they do quietly have a bunch of scrappy gamers that may not be good enough to win a ton of games but do have the ability to make some teams mad this year.  Anyways, the Chiefs defense looks even better than it did a year ago, and they weren’t too shabby in 2015.  Alex Smith takes care of the rock as if it were a newborn baby, so relying on him to turn it over isn’t something you’d want to bring to the bank.  Kansas City will be jumping at the return of Jamaal Charles, who should be eased back into action in this game.  There’s no need for him to run his legs off, but fifteen carries doesn’t seem too ridiculous.  The Chiefs will handle the Chargers as they compete for the top spot in the AFC West.

Kansas City 31, San Diego 14

Green Bay Packers @ Jacksonville Jaguars

It’s funny how many things change over a year.  At the beginning of last season, we were questioning whether or not the Jaguars had enough players to even be a competitive team, now we are touting them as one of the more talented and electric offenses in the league.  Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are a dynamic duo at wide receiver and they got big Blake Bortles tossing them the ball.  The ole gunslinger himself likes to copy off of Brett Farve’s tests when it comes to heaving the ball.  Farve once chilled with Green Bay’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers many moons ago.  Now Rodgers has taken over in Green Bay and has become what all other teams in the league wants their quarterbacks to be: the very best.  He gets Jordy Nelson back this year, and that’s kind of like cork in the bat to an offense that already had the potential to be very good.  The offensive line could be a bit problematic, but it shouldn’t prove too much of a burden this week.  The Packers should roll out of Jacksonville with a win in what may be the weekend’s highest scoring game.  They are going to eat the Jags alive in the middle of the field with slants, drags, and tight end posts.

Green Bay 41, Jacksonville 27

Oakland Raiders @ New Orleans Saints

You thought you knew all about these Raiders last year?  They’re kind of like that ex you had that you never appreciated at the time, but now wish you had back because they look so much better these days.  You gave up on them, don’t lie.  But they are itching to get into the playoffs this year behind Derek Carr and company.  Their first challenge will be against the Saints, who, would be like a current significant other with whom you are getting fed up with and want to break things off with.  This game would serve as a last ditch effort on their part to win you back because Drew Brees is going to go off.  Five touchdowns for the man will get us all thinking about the times back in 2009-2013 where New Orleans was a world beater.  It doesn’t help either that the Raiders are on the road in an eastern time zone, even though it is the first game of the season, their internal clocks could be all out of whack.

New Orleans 38, Oakland 29

Sunday, September 11th, 4:05 e.t.

Miami Dolphins @ Seattle Seahawks

The Dolphins throw Arian Foster into the flames immediately as he will quickly be tested against the Legion of Boom.  A lot of people are trying to find ways to write this defense off but they are still one of the best in the league.  They are also playing at home where opposing team’s dreams and ear drums go to die.  Don’t expect a Miami win this time like we all got back in 2011.  The Dolphins are in some trouble flying practically all the way across the world for this game.  They would have to control the clock for close to two thirds of the contest and that could be difficult if drives are not being put together consistently.

Seattle 33, Miami 10

Sunday September 11th, 4:25 e.t.

Detroit Lions @ Indianapolis Colts

Matthew Stafford versus Andrew Luck II.  The first bout was a memorable one for Mr. Luck as he threw a game winning touchdown pass as time expired to Donnie Avery for the win.  This game probably won’t be that dramatic, but it could have its fair share of twists and turns.  The question is, how good will the Lions be this season?  They have always been thought of as an offensive team, but this year they may not have that luxury.  Let’s face it, their running game is this: mary

It remains to be seen what Marvin Jones can bring to this Detroit offense opposite of Golden Tate, but expect there to be growing pains.  Andrew Luck is going to have a huge bounceback year and it starts at home against the Lions.

Indianapolis 30, Detroit 15

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott is the second of only two rookie quarterbacks to start this season but unlike Carson Wentz, he also has a rookie running back in the backfield.  Granted, Ezekiel Elliot is already being hyped as the rookie of the year without having played a single down yet, but a lot of it has to do with the strength of Dallas’s offensive line.  They’re good, really good.  Because of that, it is tough to pick against the Cowboys here.  But it’s going to happen anyways.  The Giants secondary is much improved over a season ago, and they had their way last year with Dallas.  A first year QB without any experience is bound to make a mistake or two in this contest.  Sure, he lit it up in the preseason but as we all know the regular season is an entirely different animal.  Not to mention, the Giants have an offense fully capable of putting up points in a hurry.  In a shootout, Eli Manning is to be trusted more than a rook.

New York 35, Dallas 31

Sunday, September 11th, 8:30 e.t.

New England Patriots @ Arizona Cardinals

If Tom Brady were allowed to play in this game, it could be praised as one of the most intriguing matchups of the entire season.  As it is, we get to see Jimmy Garoppolo make his first start in the NFL against a really good defense and an offense to match it.  Most people will write this game off as a win for Arizona since the Pats don’t have #12 under center, but we know better than this.  New England should have another decent defense this season and their tight ends could be the best individual group in the sport.  The Cards may have trouble guarding both Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett as they create an abundance of matchup problems.  With the strength of their defense and a little timely offense, watch the Patriots pull a bit of an upset on the road on Sunday night.

*UPDATE 9/10*  Having no Tom Brady is one thing, but now that New England is without Gronk as well, it will be tough sledding of the Pats on the road against one of the best teams in football.  The original prediction called for an upset, but playing it safe now is definitely the move.  The Patriots won’t have the horses to run with the Cardinals in Glendale.

Arizona 31, New England 23

Monday, September 12th, 7:10 e.t.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Washington Redskins

The Redskins were 6-2 at home last season, and a lot of it had to do with how well their quarterback Kirk Cousins played.  Will they be able to pick up a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Landover?  Unlikely.  However, watching Josh Norman run with Antonio Brown could be one of the most eye-popping battles of the week.  Of course, Norman will probably be playing one side of the field like he’s used to whereas Brown will be moving all about in formations, so we might only get to see those two square off on about half of the snaps.  With an offense capable of lunging into the stratosphere, it is going to be tough to go against the black and yellow in week one.  Many people thing Washington was a one year wonder.  That may not be the case entirely, but don’t be surprised if they fall back just a little bit this season.

Pittsburgh 39, Washington 23

Monday, September 12th, 10:20 e.t.

Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco 49ers

I almost wrote the St. Louis Rams just now.   But anyways, the Niners are going to throw Blaine Gabbert out there under center to help them with their quarterback situation.  That’s kind of like pouring whiskey onto an open cut in hopes of healing the wound, isn’t it?  Carlos Hyde should definitely benefit from running in Chip Kelly’s scheme as he more closely resembles LeSean McCoy than DeMarco Murray ever did.  If he weren’t running into the teeth of the Ram’s defense and right at one of the best defensive lines in football, it would be tempting to pick the Niners despite their woeful signal-caller paradigm.  Defensively, the 49ers may struggle if the offense goes three and out a lot.  They figure to if their talent level is any indication.  The Rams should find success pounding Todd Gurley in the middle of the field and Case Keenum is slightly better than Blaine Gabbert.  Where else can you see a matchup of a Case versus a Blaine?  Only on Monday Night Football!

St. Louis 22, San Francisco 9

Week 1 Bonus Predictions

Sure Bet of the Week: Seattle over Miami

Upset of the Week: New England over Arizona Tennessee over Minnesota

Offensive Player of the Week: Drew Brees, QB Saints

Defensive Player of the Week: Janoris Jenkins, CB Giants

Rookie of the Week: Kyle Fuller, WR Texans

Best Quarterback: Brees

Best Running Back: Todd Gurley

 

2016 NFL Season Preview

After a long seven month lull, we are finally ready to get back to football!  There have been a lot of storylines piling up through the offseason, from Tom Brady being suspended for the first four games to Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand during the national anthem.  Questions will surface regarding the upcoming season.  Can the Broncos repeat as champions?  Were the Panthers a one hit wonder?  Is Ben McAdoo the answer in New York?  What kind of an impact will the Ryan brothers have in Buffalo?  Is RGIII the answer in Cleveland?  Can Dak Prescott prove to be a competent fill-in for Tony Romo?  Will the Rams bring the full glory of football back to Los Angeles?  These are all questions rattled off the dome here as the season’s seal is about to be broken.  As always, here are some predictions before it actually commences.

*The seeding is more important than the records may be*

AFC East

1st: New England Patriots 13-3 (1)

The Patriots are the clear-cut favorites to win this division, despite Tom Brady’s four game suspension to start the season.  New England should go at least 2-2 in his absence, but don’t be surprised if they emerge from it even better than that.  Afterwards, the league will have to combat with an angry and motivated Tom Brady and his new weapon Martellus Bennett at tight end could prove to be a very underrated piece in this offense.

2nd: Buffalo Bills 10-6 (5)

Buffalo is an interesting team.  They may stumble out of the gates, but eventually their defense should shore up and become the main pillars of this team under newly hired Rob Ryan.  After locking quarterback Tyrod Taylor up for a long term deal, the offense should have some continuity from 2015 and thus should be able to grow in its second season under offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

3rd: New York Jets 9-7 (8)

Ryan Fitzpatrick had a career year last year, but he may find it difficult to duplicate.  The team loses Chris Ivory to Jacksonville, but gains Matt Forte.  That said, this aging back is certainly a step down from Ivory in the power run game and that was a big part of Gang Green’s offense last year.  The Jets won’t be horrible, but because of the slight rise of Buffalo, their playoff chances may suffer.

4th: Miami Dolphins 6-10 (12)

The Dolphins lack a strong head coach, and the team is still insisting on labeling Ryan Tannehill as their franchise quarterback.  He has shown flashes, but is far too inconsistent to deserve that full-fledged title.  The team gains Arian Foster in the running game who is a stud… when healthy.  The defense shouldn’t be all that bad this season, but it could be tough sledding for them with a difficult schedule and playing in a division with three projected winning teams.

 

AFC North

1st: Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5 (2)

The Steelers are early Super Bowl favorites with their offense, even though Martavis Bryan is suspended for the year and Le’Veon Bell is slated to miss the first three games.  The defense is young and fast and should get even better in defensive coordinator Kieth Butler’s second season.  If Ben Roethlisberger can stay healthy, Pittsburgh IS the most prolific offense in football and should be a lot of fun to watch.

2nd: Cincinnati Bengals 9-7 (6)

Marvin Lewis loses his offensive coordinator Hue Jackson to rival Cleveland, and a couple of solid wide receivers in Mohomad Sanu and Marvin Jones to Atlanta and Detroit.  It is fair to say this team could take a step backwards.  However, they still have a solid offensive line and an experienced defense.  Andy Dalton can likely rely heavily on a run game this season that could prove to be one of the best in the league behind Geo Bernard and Jeremy Hill.

3rd: Baltimore Ravens 8-8 (9)

After an injury plagued 2015 season, the Ravens hope to bounce back behind Joe Flacco and Terrell Suggs.  It’s hard to imagine this team getting leaps and bounds better in 2016, and playing in a division with two front-runners like Pittsburgh and Cincy it is hard to see this team finishing any higher than third.  This is a team that will cause a lot of headaches for others, however.

4th: Cleveland Browns 3-13 (16)

The Browns continue to be the bottomfeeders of the division.  Sadly, that should not change this season as this roster lacks a lot of talent.  They have Robert Griffin III under center and the return of Josh Gordon should make the offense a bit more exciting, however their offensive line is shaky at best and the run defense, which was awful a year ago, did not appear to get any better in the offseason.

 

AFC South

1st: Indianapolis Colts 11-5 (4)

The Colts suffered mightily down the stretch last year after losing Andrew Luck to injury.  Matt Hasselbeck was a reasonable fill-in, that is until he got hurt.  There isn’t a lot that seems to point to a great season from Indy except for Mr. Luck himself.  He should have a huge comeback year, and as long as the defense can hold its water the team should scrape its way into the playoffs behind a potential league MVP.

2nd: Houston Texans 8-8 (10)

Houston has found a possible upgrade at quarterback in Brock Osweiler, and Lamar Miller coupled with Alfred Blue is one of the better one-two punches in the league.  The defense should be good, but not spectacular as it is doubtful they will force as many turnovers this year as last.  Is Brock Osweiler the guy for Houston?  The 8-8 final record may suggest that he’s not, but the team will at the very least experience some growing pains in 2016.

3rd: Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9 (11)

Many people have the Jaguars making a playoff run this season behind a solid offense and respectable defense.  This is a squad that should certainly make some noise, but Blake Bortles has to prove himself before this team can be sold.  The offensive line could be helped out with Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon, but with the AFC looking as competitive as it has at any point in recent memory, it could prove to be a struggle for the Jags to break .500.

4th: Tennessee Titans 5-11 (14)

Mike Mularky wants to employ a ground and pound attack with DeMarco Murray and rookie Derrick Henry.  The Titans will be involved in a lot of slug-fests and should have one of the better ground games in the entire league, but when all is said and done the defense will have to be holding many of its opponents to under 20 points for this to work, and with all of the offensive powerhouses Tennessee will be facing this season, it will be a tall task.

 

AFC West

1st: Kansas City Chiefs 10-6 (3)

The Chiefs are the favorites to win the division behind the West’s best head coach in Andy Reid and the most balanced roster.  Jamaal Charles will be back and the team has a couple of other rocks in the backfield.  They may also have one of the most opportunistic defenses in the league this season and could wreak a gameplan with their front seven.  Take care of the ball on offense and take the ball on defense; this team is one of the best at both.

2nd: Oakland Raiders 8-8 (7)

Oakland is one of the most talented teams in football behind third year quarterback Derek Carr, who is drawing comparisons to Aaron Rodgers.  He has Amari Cooper to throw the ball to as well as the same unit he worked with last year.  Defensively, Khalil Mack is a beast and the “D” is certainly on the upswing.  As is the case with a lot of teams, the Raiders may miss the playoffs only because of the steady competition in the AFC.

3rd: Denver Broncos 6-10 (13)

Denver could struggle a bit after winning the Super Bowl a year ago.  They have an unproven commodity at quarterback in Trevor Semien.  The defense will likely take a small step back from a season ago, if for no other reason than the fact that it will be hard to repeat what they did in 2015.  The Broncos cannot rely solely on the defense to win them games as they did last year, and they may have to if their offense doesn’t do much.

4th: San Diego Chargers 5-11 (15)

The Chargers have Philip Rivers, who is always solid, but the supporting cast isn’t a lot for him.  Keenan Allen returning should help, but the offensive line is nothing special and the running game continues to be a weak point for the franchise.  With a middling defense to go with this, San Diego doesn’t boast much potential heading into the season.  The only thing that could disprove this is if Rivers can develop jaw-dropping chemistry with newcomer Travis Benjamin.

NFC East

1st: New York Giants 9-7 (4)

This division shouldn’t be awful this season, but rather bunched up.  All teams appear to be pretty evenly matched, but the one thing the Giants have that the others don’t is a potential top-five offense.  If Eli Manning continues to get rid of the ball quickly to his talented group of wide-outs and the running game prospers, Big Blue’s offense could light up a lot of scoreboards.  The defense should also be improved over a season ago.

2nd: Philadelphia Eagles 9-7 (6)

For the first time in a while, the Eagles will be a defensive team.  The team allowed just 38 points in the entire preseason.  Make with it what you will as it is the preaseason, but Jim Schwartz should prosper in Philly with the talented “D”.  Much like the Chiefs, if the offense can take care of the ball and the defense can take the ball away, the birds can find themselves in the playoffs as the team itself could gel as a unit.

3rd: Dallas Cowboys 8-8 (7)

The Cowboys were favorites to win the division until Tony Romo exited the third preseason game with a back injury.  Dak Prescott has been impressive over the summer, but he has yet to play a single snap in a real NFL game, so he is still unproven.  The same thing goes for Ezekiel Elliot who has a very good shot a winning the rookie of the year award.  That said, it is hard to completely get behind Dallas as they are a bit of an enigma with the amount of question marks on offense, due to the rookie starters.

4th: Washington Redskins 6-10 (11)

The Redskins will be about as good as everybody else in the NFC East, but the reason they finish fourth on this list is simply because they may find themselves losing a lot of their divisional games.  Kirk Cousins is a solid starter and he has Jordan Reed to throw the ball to who is quickly becoming one of the best tight ends in the game and the defense picked up Josh Norman at CB.  However, the running game and pass rush are weaknesses and Washington may struggle in some games because of them.

 

NFC South

1st: Carolina Panthers 11-5 (3)

The Panthers may be a better team this year than they were last year, but the record will not necessarily reflect it.  Carolina can expect their opponent’s best shots on a weekly basis and they could fall victim to a couple of upsets.  The defense will likely fall back just a bit after losing Josh Norman and Kurt Coleman as the secondary is not as good without them.  But, the return of Kelvin Benjamin is going to make this offense harder to defend and more fun to watch.  And let’s not forget they still have league MVP Cam Newton.

2nd: Atlanta Falcons 7-9 (8)

The Falcons have the potential to be a playoff team if they stay healthy and play up to their full potential.  They turned the ball over too much in the red zone last year, and this sloppy play down the stretch helped erase a quick 5-0 start.  Devonta Freeman will return as the go-to guy and Julio Jones is one of the best receivers in the game.  The Atlanta defense looks to be improved, but still lacks a top tier pass rusher.

3rd: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-10 (14)

Jameis Winston played a lot better than many people gave him credit for last season.  Doug Martin’s reemergence helped that quite a bit as he was the second leading rusher in the league.  Mike Evans will continue to be the go-to receiver and the Bucs will probably pull a couple of stunners off this season.  Even still, this team does not have the horses to run with Carolina or any of the other top teams in the conference.

4th: New Orleans Saints 6-10 (15)The Saints could make a run at a wild card spot, if it weren’t for their defense (or lack thereof).  The “D” hasn’t made a lot of leaps to get better over the offseason, and that was its biggest weakspot last year by far.  Drew Brees isn’t getting any younger and he is getting close to a potential falloff.  It may not happen this year, but it is reasonable to expect a falloff if his offensive counterparts don’t perform.

 

NFC North

1st: Green Bay Packers 13-3 (1)

The Packers may have the best team in football this year with Jordy Nelson healthy again.  #12 under center is the best quarterback in the league.  This is a team last year that gave Arizona, a 13-3 team, all they could handle in Glendale minus their top two receivers.  Those guys will be back, with an improved defense and what looks to be a strong running game starting with Eddie Lacy this season.  Good luck stopping the Pack.

2nd: Detroit Lions 7-9 (10)

This spot was originally reserved for the Vikings, but the Lions can overtake them.  Oddly enough, Detroit still has a chance to be one of the better offenses in the league if they can take care of the ball.  The defense isn’t awful and when coupled with their easy schedule, it is not unrealistic to expect the Lions to be a decent team this year.  What they lost in Calvin Johnson, the team hopes to somewhat gain in Marvin Jones.  Matthew Stafford has one last chance to prove he is a franchise quarterback this year, and he will certainly make his case.

3rd: Minnesota Vikings 6-10 (12)

The Vikings loss of Teddy Bridgewater obviously hurts a lot, but did he really bring the team from a middle talent to a top tier squad?  We are going to find out.  The offensive responsibility will obviously fall on Adrian Peterson’s shoulders as it normally does.  Shaun Hill and Brad Sorensen will have a tough time bringing this team to the playoffs though as they just don’t have the talent required to do so.

4th: Chicago Bears 6-10 (13)

Chicago throws Jay Cutler out under center again.  Many people really dislike this man, but he is still a good talent.  He gets to test his arm this year with Kevin White, who could be a beast.  We never got to know him last year as he was lost for the season due to injury.  The defense is improved, but the lack of a potentially good running game could prove to be an impassible roadblock of da Bears.

 

NFC West

1st: Seattle Seahawks 12-4 (2)

Obviously Marshawn Lynch is gone in Seattle due to retirement, but the Hawks still have good running backs in Thomas Rawls, Cristine Michael, and Company.  Russell Wilson will compete for league MVP and we could see these guys become more of a passing team this season.  The offensive line is not great, but they don’t have to be with Wilson’s legs being what they are.  The defense should be solid as usual and the team has a chance to be one of the tops in the league because of it.

2nd: Arizona Cardinals 9-7 (5)

The Cardinals will be an offensive juggernaut this year, but it is realistic to expect a slight fall-off from a year ago.  They will be in the playoffs as there is too much talent on this team for them not to be, but it may be unrealistic for Carson Palmer to continue his torrid pace since he is getting a bit long in the tooth.  Seattle may be better this year than they were last, which also will contribute to Arizona’s second place finish in the division.

3rd: Los Angeles Rams 7-9 (9)

Los Angeles finally has a football team, but unfortunately the Rams do not have a competent quarterback or a good wide receiver corps.  The secondary could be a problem as well since they have lost Rodney McLeod and Janoris Jenkins.  Todd Gurley, reigning rookie of the year, is the centerpiece to this offense and will provide plenty of sparks this year, but the rest of the offense lacks the firepower to make this a great team.

4th: San Francisco 49ers 5-11 (16)

Chip Kelly returns to the west coast to take control of the 49ers.  However, the team is in serious need of a quarterback and is very deprived of talent.  The defense could get harassed a bit if only because the offense is not good enough to stay on the field long enough.  Carlos Hyde is a diamond in the rough for the San Fran attack, but like the Rams the team doesn’t have a good quarterback and that makes all the difference in this league.

 

2016 Playoffs

Wild Card

Indianapolis over Buffalo

Kansas City over Cincinnati

Arizona over Philadelphia

Carolina over New York Giants

 

Divisional

Pittsburgh over Indianapolis

New England over Kansas City

Seattle over Arizona

Green Bay over Carolina

 

Championship

New England over Pittsburgh

Green Bay over Carolina

 

Super Bowl 51

New England 29, Green Bay 24

The Patriots have such a solid roster and will be playing with a chip on their shoulder all year.  Surviving the first four games without Brady should not be a problem for the Pats, and the team will have a lot of momentum rolling into the playoffs.  They will be a tough out and will narrowly be able to defeat the Packers on the grand stage.

 

2016 Season Awards

MVP- Aaron Rodgers

It came down to him, Tom Brady, and Russell Wilson.  Brady will lose some of the voters due to his situation at the beginning of the year.  It is going to be easier to pick Rodgers over Wilson as he, according to these predictions, will be taking his team to the Super Bowl.  He should put up some very impressive numbers with a fully healthy and improved wide receiver corps.

Offensive Player of the Year- Rob Gronkowski

He will just barely edge out Antonio Brown for this spot as big Gronk could see himself hauling in more than 15 touchdown passes this season.  He is uncoverable in the red zone and an outstanding runner after the catch.  There will be no Madden curse for this big tight end.

Defensive Player of the Year- Khalil Mack

Not only is this monstrous product of Buffalo a fantastic pass rusher, but he is also an outstanding linebacker who can tackle with the best of them.  He could find himself making a run at Michael Strahan’s sack record as well in 2016 and may single-handedly help the Raiders make the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.

Comeback Player of the Year- Andrew Luck

This one was a no-brainer.  After being injured for a lot of the 2016 season, Luck will be back and better than before.  He can easily pass for around 5,000 yards, and that alone qualifies him for league MVP.  That said, if he is competing for that title coming back from a bad and injury riddled season, it goes without saying that he should win this honor as well.

Coach of the Year- Mike McCarthy

It is easy to pick the coach of what should be the league’s best overall team for this award.  The Packers are actually favored to win all 16 of their regular season games and that should produce a very high record.  This alone can get McCarthy into the conversation for COTY.  On top of that, he should get the most out of his players and really form one of the best overall teams that we have seen over the past couple of seasons.

Offensive Rookie of the Year- Ezekiel Elliott

It’s easy to pick big Zeke as the OROTY because the Dallas Cowboys will likely rely on him heavily this season, especially early on.  That, coupled with the fact that they have on of the best offensive lines in the game should catapult the young former Buckeye into stardom in his initial year.

Defensive Rookie of the Year- Vernon Hargraves

The young cornerback for Tampa Bay was more than just impressive in the preseason and could be one of the league’s next shutdown cornerbacks.  He can boost his stock for this award with a few picks and a lot of PBUs.  Both are likely and this young product of Florida could be the man in Tampa Bay.

 

 

Super Bowl XLVII Prediction: Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers

So it is finally here; the biggest sporting event know to mankind: The Super Bowl.  Many people thought that this should have been the match-up of last years big game and were disappointed when both teams lost to the Giants and Patriots respectively.  Now, all of those downers can get excited because one year later we finally get the Sup-Har-Bowl.  Now the big question remains: who is going to win it all?  Let’s take a close look:

All signs point towards the Ravens winning this game.  It would be a fairy-tale ending to the remarkable career of one Ray Lewis.  Also, Baltimore sort of fits the mold of the Super Bowl Champions from the two years prior (in the sense that they are the team that comes from out of nowhere and gets red-hot at the right time).  Additionally the Ravens had the good fortune of playing in the Eagles’ home opener this season; for the past three years, the team that takes part in that game has won the Super Bowl (for those of you who are into freak coincidences like that).  Anyways, it just seems “right” for Baltimore to win this game.  But does all of this really make practical sense?  After all, the 49ers seem like the odds on favorite to win this game because they are the more balanced of the two.  If we are going off of year-long standards, the Niners had the better offense and defense.  Of course one can never discount the value of playing really well when it counts, and both of these teams have done so during the playoffs.  In the big scheme of things, it is pretty safe to say that both San Fran and Baltimore have been even during the month of January; and that makes for one hell of a game.  With that being said, expect the 49ers to walk away with their sixth Super Bowl victory in six tries.

To elaborate on this, you should consider the X-factor for this game: Colin Kaepernick.  When the Ravens have played “mobile” quarterbacks this season (RGIII and Mike Vick), they have finished with a record of 0-2.  In both of those games, the Ravens did a nice job in containing those QBs and not allowing them to run wild.  Unfortunately that left lanes open for wide-receivers and tight ends over the middle of the field and both guys took full advantage of it.  If you would take a look at what happened during the Eagles and Ravens game from Week 2, you would notice that Vick only ran for 34 yards on 10 attempts.  However, since the defensive coordinator (Dean Pees) was clogging up the B-gaps and 9-holes, this left the middle of the field open for Brent Celek, who racked up eight grabs for 157 yards.  It is possible that Pees will have his guys containing the outside again as well as throwing a spy on Kaepernick in this game.  If that is the case, Vernon Davis could find some favorable looks.  It will be interesting to see what the Ravens choose to do with Terrell Suggs.  In their last game against the Patriots, T-Sizzle was playing a lot of coverage down the field instead of rushing the passer.  Baltimore should probably try and roll with a lot of man-to-man coverage in order to prevent receivers from running open in the middle like they were in the NFC Championship game against Atlanta.  Colin is deadly with his bullet-passes and if the Ravens fail to get pressure on him, then they could be in for some trouble.  If all of what was stated above was too confusing, let’s just say that the 49ers present too many options on offense for an aging Baltimore defense to contend with.  Don’t forget that San Fran has a great ground game as well and can chew up yards as well as time of possession with Frank Gore and company.  It is almost like a lose-lose situation for the Ravens.

Despite what was said above, this should be a great game.  For Baltimore to really succeed in this one, they will have to get pressure in Kaepernick’s face with a bull-rush out the middle.  They will need to make sure that they have a lot of bodies around the line of scrimmage as well as not allowing lanes to open up for him to escape and run.  Anyways, the 49ers should get the job done and little Jimmy will walk out with the Lombardi Trophy in front of his older brother.  (Talk about an awkward night at the dinner table)…

San Francisco 25, Baltimore 21