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2017 Season: Week 17 Preview

We have finally reached the last week of the regular season, and mercifully so for some teams.  Either way, this season has gone by in a blink and there is a full slate of 16 games to be played.  Eleven of these games will have playoff implications and there are still a couple of things we have to sort out before getting to the playoffs.  Who will emerge from the final stanza victorious?  Here are my picks.

Last Week: 12-4

Season: 155-85

Locks: 7-9

Upsets: 4-12

Sunday, December 31st, 1:00 e.t.

Green Bay Packers (7-8) @ Detroit Lions (8-7)

This is one of the five games that does not have any playoff implications.  The Lions were stunned by the Bengals last week and now their season is over.  They draw Brett Hundley’s Packers on at home and Green Bay has been a surprisingly better road team than home by quite a large margin.  I think that will show up here as the Pack fights to even its record at 8-8.

Green Bay 20, Detroit 17 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

Chicago Bears (5-10) @ Minnesota Vikings (12-3)

The Vikings will lock up a first round BYE with a win over Chicago at home, which will happen.  The Minnesota defense has been dominant while the Bears on offense have nothing much in the way of a passing game.  That does not bode well for them on the road.

Minnesota 31, Chicago 7

Washington Redskins (7-8) @ New York Giants (2-13)

The Giants were shut out on the road in Arizona and will be thrilled once this game comes to an end as their nightmare season will finally be terminated.  Both teams are ravaged by injuries but I like the Redskins to go to 8-8 because they still have spurts where they look like a competent team and the Giants have a lot of controversy surrounding its team and players.

Washington 32, New York 12

New York Jets (5-10) @ New England Patriots (12-3)

The Patriots lock up the #1 seed with a win here and that will be the case over a Jet team that did overachieve this season.  They have done a good job playing competitive football this year but on the road against a Pats team that has a lot to play for, I don’t like those odds.

New England 29, New York 12

Cleveland Browns (0-15) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)

Will the Browns get a win this year?  I’ve been saying no for the past month and nothing about this game will change my mind because the Steelers need a win to maintain that #2 seed in the playoffs.  They will also want to win given the chance that they could slide up to the #1 seed with a New England loss.  Either way, there is no chance for a letdown at home here.  Sorry Browns, you’re joining the 2008 Lions in infamy.

Pittsburgh 30, Cleveland 9

Dallas Cowboys (8-7) @ Philadelphia Eagles (13-2)

The Eagles were lucky to defeat the Raiders last week and it took a great second half effort from their defense to do so.  Their offense looked lost and this game will serve as a chance for them to right the ship.  Even still it is likely that the backups will be playing a lot of this game and the Cowboys should be running their normal offense, fully healthy.  In the end that should line up for a meaningless Dallas win.

Dallas 21, Philadelphia 15

Houston Texans (4-11) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-12)

The loser of this game will finish in last place in the AFC South and the Texans look like a fish out of water.  Meanwhile, the Colts have been playing some competitive football against playoff hopeful teams lately.  That can show up at home against Houston in a game that means nothing for the playoff picture.

Indianapolis 21, Houston 17

Sunday, December 31st, 4:25 e.t.

Buffalo Bills (8-7) @ Miami Dolphins (6-9)

The Bills, in order to make it into the playoffs, have to hope for a win here and a loss from the Chargers or the Ravens and Titans.  That should motivate them but something tells me the Dolphins are going to come out motivated to play spoiler here.  I think the Buffalo offense struggles to get going and costs the Bills their first playoff shot since 1999.

Miami 23, Buffalo 13

New Orleans Saints (11-4) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11)

The Saints will take a win here (or a Panther loss) and that will give them the NFC South.  There should not be much trouble in putting the Buccaneers away with a secondary that struggles and a “D” that has been having trouble tackling lately.  That should mean for a big game out of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.  Give me N’awlins.

New Orleans 34, Tampa Bay 20

Jacksonville Jaguars (10-5) @ Tennessee Titans (8-7)

The Titans will need a win here to edge their way into the postseason, but we are in the midst of a Titanic (pun somewhat intended) collapse at the end of the year here.  The Jacksonville defense was embarrassed by the Niners on the road last week so I think they will come out motivated to show up their division rivals here.  Marcus Mariota has been a turnover machine this year and that is not good news against the defense that leads the league in takeaways.

Jacksonville 24, Tennessee 14 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Kansas City Chiefs (9-6) @ Denver Broncos (5-10)

The Chiefs have nothing to play for here because they are locked in as a #4 seed, so it stands to reason that they will rest their starters as per Andy Reid tradition.  That could mean a random win for the Broncos at home only their offense is really bad so that could thwart this pick.  Even still, I’ll take Denver because I do still like their defense, especially versus a lot of non-starters.

Denver 19, Kansas City 13

Oakland Raiders (6-9) @ Los Angeles Chargers (8-7)

The Chargers have a decent chance of getting into the playoffs.  All they are going to need to do is win this game and hope for a Tennessee loss to get in.  Both of these things I am predicting to happen.  The Raiders have a bad defense, even though Nick Foles and the Eagles struggled mightily against them last week.  L.A.’s offense is capable of putting together big days and I think they have the chance to do so here as they sneak into the playoffs.

Los Angeles 38, Oakland 21

San Francisco 49ers (5-10) @ Los Angeles Rams (11-4)

The 49ers still have not lost since naming Jimmy Garoppolo the starter and I think that trend will continue.  Sean McVay has come out already saying that there is not much of a difference in being the #3 seed or #4 seed so there is a good chance that some starters will be rested throughout.  Meanwhile, San Fran will try their best to win this game as they try to create some hope and excitement for the 2018 season.  I like the Niners on the road here.

San Francisco 30, Los Angeles 24

Arizona Cardinals (7-8) @ Seattle Seahawks (9-6)

The Seahawks are in need of a win here and an Atlanta loss to Carolina (which is possible) in order to sneak into the playoffs.  If they do get in they could be that sneaky team that puts a run together.  The Cardinals stand in their way and I think that they will put up a fight but in the end their offense won’t have enough to get the job done on the road against a Seattle “D” that was balling out last week against Dallas.

Seattle 22, Arizona 16

Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) @ Baltimore Ravens (9-6)

The formula for the Ravens is simple: win and you’re in.  That should not be a problem at home against a hapless Bengal team.  Yes, they did upset the Lions a week ago, but the Detroit defense is nowhere near the level that Baltimore’s is.  Cincy will want to get a win in Marvin Lewis’s last game with the team but it just will not happen.  Baltimore’s offense has been picking it up lately and it makes you think that maybe they could make some noise in January.

Baltimore 27, Cincinnati 10

Carolina Panthers (11-4) @ Atlanta Falcons (9-6)

This is the best game on the Week 17 slate.  Here is the scenario: the Panthers win the NFC South with a win and a Saint loss.  The Falcons will make it in the playoffs as the #6 seed with a win (or a Seattle loss).  Desperation will likely rear its head from Atlanta at home here and I think they will pull off a very close win against a Carolina team that has had an inconsistent offense this season.

Atlanta 27, Carolina 23

Projected Playoff Picture (based off of the above picks)

AFC:

#1 Seed- New England Patriots (13-3)

#2 Seed- Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)

#3 Seed- Jacksonville Jaguars (11-5)

#4 Seed- Kansas City Chiefs (9-7)

#5 Seed- Baltimore Ravens (10-6)

#6 Seed- Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)

Wild Card Matchups:

Los Angeles Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs

NFC:

#1 Seed: Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

#2 Seed: Minnesota Vikings (13-3)

#3 Seed: New Orleans Saints (12-4)

#4 Seed: Los Angeles Rams (11-5)

#5 Seed: Carolina Panthers (11-5)

#6 Seed: Atlanta Falcons (10-6)

Wild Card Matchups:

Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints

Carolina Panthers @ Los Angeles Rams

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2017 Season: Week 16 Preview

It is Christmas weekend, and it is also the penultimate week of regular season NFL action and there is still a lot to be decided down the stretch.  There are a couple of nice NFC matchups this week as well as some more playoff-clinching opportunities.  Who will be eating “W’s” this time around?  Here are my Week 16 picks!

Last Week: 12-4

Season: 143-81

Locks: 6-9

Upsets: 4-11

Saturday, December 23rd, 4:30 e.t.

Indianapolis Colts (3-11) @ Baltimore Ravens (8-6)

The Ravens are looking like a team that is loading up to make a run at the AFC title and their offense is peaking at the right time.  The Colts should serve as nothing more than a speed bump for them here as they are going to be playing at home and have a decided advantage on defense.  Look for the Baltimore pass rush to give Jacoby Brissett nightmares as they romp over this hapless Indy team.

Baltimore 31, Indianapolis 7

Saturday, December 23rd, 8:30 e.t.

Minnesota Vikings (11-3) @ Green Bay Packers (7-7)

This game lost all intrigue the minute that the Packers lost to the Panthers last week.  Now Green Bay has put Aaron Rodgers back on injured reserve since there is no need to potentially complicate his injury as the Packers has been eliminated from playoff contention.  Minnesota is still fighting for a first round BYE, so there is no need for them to take their foot off the gas here.  They should smack the Pack on the road here.

Minnesota 37, Green Bay 16

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

Atlanta Falcons (9-5) @ New Orleans Saints (10-4)

This contest seems to be the best game on the Week 16 docket and it is a rematch of just two weeks ago when the Falcons stunned New Orleans at home with a thrilling win.  Atlanta does not have to win both games in order to qualify for the playoffs and that is lucky for them because I do not think they will win here.  I don’t trust that defense to make plays on the road against a Saint team that will be much healthier this go-round.

New Orleans 29, Atlanta 21

Los Angeles Chargers (7-7) @ New York Jets (5-9)

Bryce Petty and the Jets kept things close on the road in New Orleans surprisingly enough but in the end their offense could not keep up and they lost 31-19.  This time Petty will have to deliver some good balls under pressure, which I don’t think he will, and that does not bode well for New York.  The Chargers still have a good shot at the playoffs if they win out and that will start here on the road against the Jets.

Los Angeles 42, New York 20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10) @ Carolina Panthers (10-4)

The Buccaneers probably turned in their best effort of the season with their narrow home loss to Atlanta on Monday night but now they will hit the road against a Panther team that is clicking right now.  Cam Newton is on fire and I like this team to roll at home.  Easy final score prediction: Tampa has lost two straight games by the count of 24-21 while Carolina has won two straight of 31-24.  Thus the 31-21 final.

Carolina 31, Tampa Bay 21

Detroit Lions (8-6) @ Cincinatti Bengals (5-9)

No team has looked worse than the Bengals have over the past two weeks and now they have come to terms with the fact that these final two games of the season will be the last for Marvin Lewis.  The Lions will really need to find a running game if they want to go anywhere any time soon but the secondary of Cincy has been atrocious of late and that is not going to bode well at all here.

Detroit 33, Cincinnati 13

Miami Dolphins (6-8) @ Kansas City Chiefs (8-6)

Call me crazy but I really never fell of the Kansas City bandwagon and I think this is a fun team to watch at this point in time.  The same cannot be said for the Dolphins whose defining moment was a couple of weeks ago when they beat the Patriots.  KC’s offense is clicking right now and if it can get back to where it was at the beginning of this year then they are a scary bunch to handle.  That will start right here.

Kansas City 39, Miami 14

Cleveland Browns (0-14) @ Chicago Bears (4-10)

Can the Browns win a game this season?  This is likely their last shot at it as they will draw the Steelers next week on the road.  I really wanted to pick them to win their first game for the second straight year on Christmas Eve, but I can’t.  Chicago’s defense is too good right now and this game will possibly see some snowfall.  The advantage there will go to the team with the better running game and that is definitely the Bears.

Chicago 17, Cleveland 13

Denver Broncos (5-9) @ Washington Redskins (6-8)

The Redskins held on for a tight home win over the Arizona Cardinals last week while the Broncos defense played well for their second straight contest en route to a 25-13 beatdown of the Colts.  On the road against a really beat up team I think the Broncos can pull off another win leaning heavily on their defense and that unit alone.  Although i don’t feel super confident with this pick, I do think Denver’s pass rush will be an issue.

Denver 20, Washington 16 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

Los Angeles Rams (10-4) @ Tennessee Titans (8-6)

On paper this should be a good game with two teams with solid records, however I really think that the Titans are a paper tiger and back-to-back road losses to inferior NFC West opponents proves this point.  Their offense has been bad and they still cannot get the running game going.  In comes the Rams who are on fire after destroying Seattle on the road.  There is nothing that has me thinking they won’t blow out the Titans on the road here.

Los Angeles 41, Tennessee 17 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Buffalo Bills (8-6) @ New England Patriots (11-3)

Say what you want about the catch rule and how it is broken, but the Patriots did rally from 11 down to beat the Steelers on the road last week which is quite the impressive accomplishment.  In doing so they locked up the AFC East for the 9th straight season and have their sights set on yet another #1 seed.  There should be no let down at home against a Bills team that does not have the talent on offense to keep up.

New England 30, Buffalo 16

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

Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4) @ San Francisco 49ers (4-10)

This is actually one of the more intriguing games of the week and one of my favorites.  Let’s forget that the Niners are 4-10 and focus on the fact that they are 3-0 with Jimmy Garoppolo under center.  This game against the Jaguars is a real test and the team will play a road game for the first time in a while, but good defense tends to travel.  This one could be tight throughout but Blake Bortles has elevated his game lately and that could be a big reason why the Jags win this game on the road.

Jacksonvile 27, San Francisco 24

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

Seattle Seahawks (8-6) @ Dallas Cowboys (8-6)

The late afternoon slobberknocker between the Seahawks and Cowboys should be a good one and it is essentially a playoff game with the loser all but cooked.  Dallas gets Ezekiel Elliot back and that is really going to help them out against a Seattle team that is really crippled on defense.  Coupled with the fact that this will be a road game I really like the Cowboys to get the job done and continue hope for their 2017 season.

Dallas 31, Seattle 23

New York Giants (2-11) @ Arizona Cardinals (6-8)

The Giants nearly pulled off a massive upset of the Eagles at home last week but in the end they came up a bit short.  Their offense looked good as Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram had huge games but I do think that effort was a flash in the pan.  They now have to travel across country to face the Cardinals who have an opportunistic defense that can get after the QB.  The Giants won’t fare as well this time around as the revert back to their old selves.

Arizona 21, New York 3

Monday, December 25th, 4:30 e.t.

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) @ Houston Texans (4-10)

A little Christmas football is going to take place in Houston and for the second straight season the Steelers will be competing on the 25th of December.  They are coming off of a very frustrating loss last week against New England and should not have much trouble knocking off the Texans here even without Antonio Brown but Pittsburgh does tend to play down in these types of games.  That might happen, but they should still win.

Pittsburgh 24, Houston 14

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

Oakland Raiders (6-8) @ Philadelphia Eagles (12-2)

Week 16 concludes at Lincoln Financial Field as the Eagles host the Raiders.  Philly has a first round BYE wrapped up and they can clinch the #1 seed in the playoffs with a win here over Oakland, which they will.  Nick Foles played well filling in for Carson Wentz last week but the defense did not.  Returning home will really help that out here.  Also, the Raiders will likely not be too inspired to play here seeing as how their season was essentially ended when Derek Carr fumbled the ball through the end zone at the end of last week’s game against the Cowboys.

Philadelphia 34, Oakland 16

2017 Season: Week 14 Preview

We have hit the fourth quarter of the 2017 regular season and nobody has yet to fully clinch a playoff spot (although for teams like the Patriots and Eagles, it is all but a formality).  That field should change this week, as should the landscape of the league since there are some huge matchups coming as potential playoff previews.  Who will come out on top?  Here are my selections.

Last Week: 8-8

Season: 121-71

Locks: 6-7

Upsets: 3-10

Thursday, December 7th, 8:26 e.t.

New Orleans Saints (9-3) @ Atlanta Falcons (7-5)

This is a big-time game for the Falcons and they are playing it at home on a short week, but unfortunately I do not see them winning and that is because of their defense.  They let Case Keenum complete 25-30 passes last week and can be run on.  That plays right into the Saints’ strengths and that should add up to a sixth loss.

New Orleans 34, Atlanta 27

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

Chicago Bears (3-9) @ Cincinnati Bengals (5-7)

The Bengals’ playoff hopes are alive but they are in it still by a thread.  They do draw a poor Bears team and should roll this week since the Chicago offense has been very bad as of late (putting up just 10 points over the past two weeks).  As long as Dalton and company take care of the ball, they should be fine.

Cincinnati 27, Chicago 13

Indianapolis Colts (3-9) @ Buffalo Bills (6-6)

The Colts have been embarrassed twice this season by the Jaguars and will now have to hit the road to Buffalo to take on a middling Bills’ team.  The big question going in will be the health of Tyrod Taylor.  Buffalo is going to be a desperate team here and regardless of who starts at QB, I think they will win but it will be a squeaker.

Buffalo 17, Indianapolis 14

Dallas Cowboys (6-6) @ New York Giants (2-10)

Back under center goes Eli Manning as the Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese show has concluded mercifully in New York.  The Giants, at home would be a sexy pick since the team would be playing for pride but I still think they’re in full on tank mode and the Cowboys offensive line is back to its top form.  Dallas should win here.

Dallas 28, New York 14

Green Bay Packers (6-6) @ Cleveland Browns (0-12)

The Packers took down the Buccaneers at home in overtime a week ago and are playing much better team football since getting blasted by the Ravens a couple of games ago.  They should handle a Cleveland team that is on the brink of going 0-16 this season.

Green Bay 26, Cleveland 13

Detroit Lions (6-6) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-8)

The Lions lost by 24 points last week and you can largely blame it on their defense as they let Joe Flacco and the Ravens look like a competent offense.  On the year, no “D” has been doing that more on a week to week basis than the Buccaneers.  Matthew Stafford will likely gut out his hand injury to lead his team to a win.  Also, the Lions may have something here with Tion Green.  Feed the kid the rock.

Detroit 27, Tampa Bay 20

Minnesota Vikings (10-2) @ Carolina Panthers (8-4)

No team in the NFL is hotter than the Vikings, and I have been burned the past three weeks for picking against them, so I am all done doing that.  They have proven themselves against some of the finer teams in the league and it starts with their defense.  Case Keenum is balling out as well and I think Cam Newton is in for a rough day against the Minnesota front.  Turnovers will sink the Panthers on Sunday while the Vikes play careful with the ball.

Minnesota 19, Carolina 10

San Francisco 49ers (2-10) @ Houston Texans (4-8)

The Jimmy Garappolo show got underway last week and it gave the Niners’ fans hope as he lead the team to a come from behind win in Chicago.  I think he makes it two in a row here because the 49ers have no reason to tank.  They have likely found their franchise quarterback so they can look elsewhere in the draft when a lot of the top picks will be used on signal-callers.

San Francisco 21, Houston 18

Oakland Raiders (6-6) @ Kansas City Chiefs (6-6)

This is as close to a playoff game between two below-average teams as you are going to get in the NFL.  The Chiefs are still continuing a nose-dive while the Raiders have fought their way back to .500 by playing poor teams.  This is hard to pick but I am going to go with the Chiefs because A) They are the home team and B) I think their offense can get back to making some big plays against a bad secondary.

Kansas City 30, Oakland 24

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

Washington Redskins (5-7) @ Los Angeles Chargers (6-6)

This is an interesting game because you have two frisky teams that can play very entertaining contests.  I did want to pick the ‘Skins to win this one but in the end I cannot see their banged up offensive line standing up to Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and company on the road.

Los Angeles 29, Washington 24

Tennessee Titans (8-4) @ Arizona Cardinals (5-7)

The Titans have been getting by with beating bad teams this season.  I think they were exposed by a Pittsburgh team a few weeks ago and the Cardinals are by no means on that level, but I do think they are better than a lot of the teams the Titans have been beating.  At home, I like Arizona to pull off a close win.  (These teams always play close games).

Arizona 24, Tennessee 22 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

New York Jets (5-7) @ Denver Broncos (3-9)

I think that the Jets are one of the more fun teams to watch this year and that is about the only reason anybody would want to tune into this game as the Broncos have been pitiful as of late, especially on offense.  A team that gives up 30+ points to the Dolphins gets no respect in this column.  I’m going with the Jets.

New York 23, Denver 10

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

Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) @ Los Angeles Rams (9-3)

The game of the week goes down in L.A. and Philadelphia looks to rebound from just their second loss of the season.  This is a hard game to figure and both teams are tied in scoring the most points in the league yet I think this will be a low scoring affair.  Call me crazy but I think the Eagles defense is the better unit and that will be the difference in an otherwise evenly matched game.

Philadelphia 19, Los Angeles 16

Seattle Seahawks (8-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4)

Here is another good afternoon game as the Seahawks who are fresh off of their finest effort of the season take on the Jaguars who just demolished a bad Colt team.  Seattle’s defense played very well and Russell Wilson proved why he should be in the MVP discussion with a win over the Eagles.  Going on the road in December is no problem for this team and this is not a time you want to play Seattle.  They will win handily.

Seattle 24, Jacksonville 6 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

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

Baltimore Ravens (7-5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (10-2)

This is a game that has a little bit of juice to it now since the Ravens have been playing good football (especially on defense) and the Steelers who have been playing some pretty entertaining and close games this season.  That said, Baltimore will be without Jimmy Smith and I just don’t know how they are going to be able to cover Antonio Brown in this game.  Pittsburgh wins the game and the division on this night.

Pittsburgh 27, Baltimore 23

Monday, December 11th, 8:30 e.t.

New England Patriots (10-2) @ Miami Dolphins (5-7)

The Patriots are absolutely rolling right now while the Dolphins have been a joke offensively.  Their defense can frustrate Tom Brady slightly as he will be without Rob Gronkowski for this game but Brady seems to find a way every time despite injuries or takeaways.  Nothing changes as New England should throttle a poor Miami squad.

New England 30, Miami 10

2017 Season: Week 12 Preview

Thanksgiving is here and there are a lot of pundits out there that would argue that this is the point in the year where the NFL campaign actually begins.  We are all done with BYE weeks and are ready to hit the final stretch of the regular season.  Which teams will pick up crucial wins this week?  Here are my picks!

Last Week: 7-7

Season: 100-60

Locks: 5-6

Upsets: 2-9

Thursday, November 23rd, 12:30 e.t.

Minnesota Vikings (8-2) @ Detroit Lions (6-4)

One of the best games on the Week 12 slate takes place in the early Thanksgiving window as the Lions try to complete the season sweep of Minnesota.  I really think they have a shot here but their rush defense has been atrocious over the last two weeks and that will play right into the Vikings hands.  That said, I like Matthew Stafford to bring his team back with the game on the line and pull off the upset at home.

Detroit 23, Minnesota 21

Thursday, November 23rd, 4:30 e.t.

Los Angeles Chargers (4-6) @ Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

Here is a hard game to pick.  These two teams have been going in opposite directions lately, but Dallas is home for this match-up and that could help.  However, if Tyron Smith isn’t in for this tilt then the Cowboys are really in trouble because the Chargers come at you with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa.  Good luck to Dak who has gotten no help since Ezekiel Elliot was suspended.

Los Angeles 26, Dallas 19

Thursday, November 23rd, 8:30 e.t.

New York Giants (2-8) @ Washington Redskins (4-6)

The Redskins are the hard luck team of the league this season.  They have played some very good teams tight and Kirk Cousins has been on fire.  Sure, the Giants were able to upset the Chiefs last week but I don’t think they stand a chance here on the road.  The defense is still prone to miscommunications and I see Washington torching them.

Washington 35, New York 14

Sunday, November 26th, 1:00 e.t.

Cleveland Browns (0-10) @ Cincinnati Bengals (4-6)

The battle of Ohio sees its first installment of the season here.  The Browns have been playing competitive football lately against good teams but have fallen just short.  On the road in the division I can see them upsetting the Bengals but I don’t have the cajones to actually pick them.  The Cincy offense is due for a breakout game and this might be it for them.

Cincinnati 30, Cleveland 10

Buffalo Bills (5-5) @ Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)

If this game had taken place three or four weeks ago it would have been the premier matchup of the week, but as it is it is another lame-duck contest with both teams flailing at the moment.  The Bills will go with Tyrod Taylor again after the disastrous start from Nate Peterman, but I don’t see him getting his team the “W”.  The Chiefs are limping into this game and will be looking to get off the mat.  This is still a good team and it will show on Sunday.

Kansas City 29, Buffalo 17

Carolina Panthers (7-3) @ New York Jets (4-6)

It is weird how nobody talks about the Carolina Panthers as one of the better teams in the league.  Their defense has been great and the offense is getting there as well.  The Jets have fallen off a bit after their surprising start and I don’t like their chances going against the Carolina “D” this week.  I don’t expect a blowout here, but with the Panthers getting their ground game going, I can’t see them dropping this one.

Carolina 25, New York 19

Chicago Bears (3-7) @ Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)

The Eagles were sleepwalking through the first half on offense in Dallas a week ago but really got it going after the break.  Their defense was strong throughout.  Meanwhile the Bears were busy blowing a chance to bring the Lions to overtime in Chicago.  Both “D’s” are solid but the Bears offense is not in the same class as is the Eagles.  That is going to make the difference in Philly.

Philadelphia 30, Chicago 16

Tennessee Titans (6-4) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-7)

So you wanna be a playoff team Tennessee?  Go win this game.  On the road against a division rival, this is a game that the Titans have to have if they want to remain relevant in the AFC.  Marcus Mariota had a tough outing against the Steelers’ defense a week back but this is the Colts’ defense this time around.  He should have a nice bounce-back game against that much weaker unit.

Tennessee 31, Indianapolis 20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6) @ Atlanta Falcons (6-4)

The Falcons put together one of their best efforts of the season in Seattle and look like they are about to go on a bit of a run.  The Buccaneers have won back-to-back games, but not against good opponents.  On the road in Atlanta, I do not like their odds at stopping the Falcon attack given that their defense is still a mess.

Atlanta 37, Tampa Bay 17

Miami Dolphins (4-6) @ New England Patriots (8-2)

The Patriots are headed for a 14-2 or 13-3 season in all likelihood and the Dolphins will prove to be nothing more than a speed bump for them.  The Miami offense his non-existent at times while New England’s is probably the best in the league.  That mismatch is something that I cannot get over.

New England 41, Miami 13

Sunday, November 26th, 4:05 e.t.

Seattle Seahawks (6-4) @ San Francisco 49ers (1-9)

This might be the week we get to see Jimmy Garappolo under center for the first time as a Niner off of their BYE.  On a short week the Seahawks will have to go on the road to deal with San Fran.  That said, I like them to pick up the “W” because their offense has been pretty good lately and I do not like the 49ers to slow Russell Wilson down.

Seattle 33, San Francisco 21

Sunday, November 26th, 4:25 e.t.

New Orleans Saints (8-2) @ Los Angeles Rams (7-3)

The game of the week takes place in L.A. and the Saints will ride their eight game winning streak into town to take on a Ram team fresh off of an embarrassing loss in Minnesota.  I like the Saints on the road because of their running game.  I can see them controlling the clock with it and keeping the explosive Rams offense on the sidelines, shortening the game.

New Orleans 30, Los Angeles 28

Denver Broncos (3-7) @ Oakland Raiders (4-6)

The Broncos season has taken a total nose-dive after they lost to the Giants and the defense has been gassed.  The Raiders have not been much better but they still have all of their players and are capable of making a run at that #6 seed.  If they are to do that, it will have to start here and I think it will.  This is a good chance for the Oakland offense to get right.

Oakland 27, Denver 13 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-6)

We can call this the Blaine Gabbert Bowl since Blaine Gabbert will be taking on his former team.  The Jaguars have been hot and ride into town on a four game winning streak.  The Cardinals have not been good this year but I really like their chances at an upset here.  They are going to do it with their defense because I don’t necessarily like their offense to stand up to be league’s best “D”.

Arizona 14, Jacksonville 13 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

Sunday, November 26th, 8:30 e.t.

Green Bay Packers (5-5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2)

The Steelers offense finally looked like the one we all thought they were last week versus Tennessee and now they will draw the Brett Hundley led Packers in prime time.  With the Pittsburgh defense balling the way it is now I can see them really spanking Green Bay here.

Pittsburgh 34, Green Bay 13

Monday, November 27th, 8:30 e.t.

Houston Texans (4-6) @ Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

The Ravens recorded their third shutout of the season on the road in Green Bay last week and will get to face Tom Savage’s Texans on Monday night.  Sure, Tom Savage played the game of his life against Arizona last week, but overall he is not a good quarterback and the Ravens have demolished most teams they’ve played without a good one.  That should happen again here.

Baltimore 24, Houston 10

2017 Season: Week 9 Preview

We have run through half of the games this year and there is still no clear Super Bowl favorite.  And who does not love a little parody?  For the first time in a while it is not set in stone who will be in the AFC and NFC championship games and that is kind of cool.  Let us predict the slate of games on the Week 9 docket; there are some good ones.

Last Week: 11-2

Season: 74-45

Locks: 3-4

Upsets: 2-5

Thursday, November 2nd, 8:25 e.t.

Buffalo Bills (5-2) @ New York Jets (3-5)

The Bills defense is looking good this year and after adding Kelvin Benjamin they finally have a legitimate threat downfield which should bode well for them.  However, I’m feeling a frisky effort from the Jets on Thursday night and I think they can upset Buffalo playing at home.

New York 19, Buffalo 17

Sunday, November 5th, 1:00 e.t.

Los Angeles Rams (5-2) @ New York Giants (1-6)

Not gonna dwell on this one much.  The Rams offense is good and their defense travels well.  The Giants simply have no answers on the attack to keep pace with Sean McVay’s squad.

Los Angeles 31, New York 14

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5) @ New Orleans Saints (5-2)

How about the Saints ripping off five straight wins.  They’ve play complimentary football and are for real.  That said, the Bucs are desperate and this is a divisional game.  I see Tampa putting in their best effort of the season and shocking N’awleans with a huge win.

Tampa Bay 31, New Orleans 28 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

Atlanta Falcons (4-3) @ Carolina Panthers (5-3)

This is a big game for each team, the winner will be in a good spot to make a run to the playoffs whereas the loser will be having to play catch-up in a major way.  I dont like how the Falcon defense has been playing and the Panthers have a “D” that is hot.  I’ll take them at home.

Carolina 23, Atlanta 16

Baltimore Ravens (4-3) @ Tennessee Titans (4-3)

The Baltimore run defense did bounce back last week, but on the whole they have been bad this year and that does not bode well for them on the road against the Titans who will be trying to pound the rock.  I will go with the home team in this situation.

Tennessee 26, Baltimore 16

Indianapolis Colts (2-5) @ Houston Texans (3-4)

The Texans lost last week but they looked fantastic in doing so.  DeShaun Watson continues to impress and is having no trouble carving up defenses.  Indy doesn’t exactly have a good “D” either so that trend should continue this week also.

Houston 35, Indianapolis 15

Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3)

The Jags return home where they hope to take advantage of an inconsistent Cincy team with their solid defense.  In a battle of the big cats, I am going to take the Jags to come out on top because I think they can force a big turnover or two to swing things in their favor.

Jacksonville 26, Cincinnati 22

Denver Broncos (3-4) @ Philadelphia Eagles (7-1)

I was gonna go with the Broncos here in an upset, but I really do not trust their offense.  They have been sloppy and at times unwatchable whereas the Philly offense has been the total opposite.  I believe that will make the difference in this contest.

Philadelphia 23, Denver 13

Sunday, November 5th, 4:05 e.t.

Arizona Cardinals (3-4) @ San Francisco 49ers (0-8)

The Niners did a thing when they traded for Jimmy Garoppolo and that was an excellent move.  Unfortunately he will not have enough time to get Kyle Shanahan’s offense down pat going into this game and the Cardinals are due to win a game with their defense.  Methinks that happens on Sunday.

Arizona 20, San Francisco 11

Washington Redskins (3-4) @ Seattle Seahawks (5-2)

The Hawks are getting their offense rolling and that is a scary thought for the rest of the NFC.  Their defense was embarrassed last week but that was an aberration.  Washington is reeling and do not have a ton of weapons to threaten the Legion of Boom on the road.

Seattle 30, Washington 16 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Sunday, November 5th, 4:25 e.t.

Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) @ Dallas Cowboys (4-3)

Will Ezekiel Elliot play in this game?  Whether or not he does will influence this pick.  As of Wednesday it seems like he will not, and I am going to bet on that.  Of course I do reserve the right to change my mind if I feel like it.  The Chiefs do have the better team, in my opinion.

Kansas City 33, Dallas 27

Sunday, November 5th, 8:30 e.t.

Oakland Raiders (3-5) @ Miami Dolphins (4-3)

The Miami offense was atrocious once again this past Thursday against the Ravens and they will need to take advantage of a poor Oakland “D” if they hope to remain contenders in the AFC Wild Card picture.  I don’t think they will and the Raiders keep their season alive… again.

Oakland 27, Miami 13

Monday, November 6th, 8:30 e.t.

Detroit Lions (3-4) @ Green Bay Packers (4-3)

Week 9 ends in Green Bay and the Lions need this one.  They played Pittsburgh tough last week but just could not finish drives when they got into the red zone.  I think they will do a much better job at that this week and come away from Lambeau with a big win evening their record once again.

Detroit 28, Green Bay 20

2016 Season: Week 5 Preview

This 2016 season has already been through tons of ups and downs and keeps getting harder and harder to predict as the weeks go by.  The league is filled with parody, and that is why these games are so much fun to watch.  Below are the top ten surprising results of the season, followed by my picks for the week.

10. Week 1- 49ers 28, Rams 0: This game is very shocking, considering where these two teams are now.  The Rams were able to beat the other two divisional opponents, but somehow got stomped by the very inconsistent Niners to start the year.

9. Week 1- Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24: Here’s another game that leaves us all scratching out heads because of where these teams are now.  The Bucs could not look much worse, but they were somehow able to scrape together a Week 1 win and look impressive while doing it.  If these two teams were to face off now, I think the Falcons would be the clear winner.

8. Week 3- Vikings 22, Panthers 10: Of course we all know for sure that the Minnesota defense is as legitimate as it comes, but going into this game I honestly thought that Carolina’s offense was going to be too much for the Vikings to handle.  They did almost nothing on offense but were able to control this game and dominate due to defense.  This was surprising to me.

7. Week 1- Patriots 23, Cardinals 21: Going into this game without Tom Brady or Rob Gronkowski, there were a ton of people thought the Arizona offense was going to run the Patriots out of the gym.  Instead, New England’s defense controlled the game and a late missed field goal gave an improbable win to the Pats sans their best players against a good team on the road in a tough place to win.

6.  Week 3- Chiefs 24, Jets 3: Anytime a quarterback throws six interceptions in one game has to be considered a shock to me.

5. Week 4- Bills 16, Patriots 0: Here is an outcome that isn’t super shocking, but a final score that is.  The Patriots had never been shut out in the Bill Belichick era or at Gillette Stadium and it was their first time being shut out at home in almost a quarter of a century.  That should go down as a shock no matter who was starting at quarterback.

4. Week 4- Rams 17, Cardinals 13: The Cardinals came into this game at 1-2 and the Rams were a (what we thought) a weak 2-1.  At home, Arizona was expected to dominate.  Instead, Los Angeles did what they always do: confuse us all with the result of this game.  A major upset in the desert is always good for a list like this.

3. Week 4- Falcons 48, Panthers 33: First of all, not a ton of people picked the Panthers to win this game anyways, let alone let Matt Ryan throw for 503 yards and let Julio Jones receive 300 of them.  Mind-boggling stats to go with an unforeseen upset makes this game an easy selection.

2. Week 3- Bills 33, Cardinals 18: Here is another Arizona game for this list.  Who would have guessed that the Cardinals would have been so thoroughly dominated in all three phases of the game the way they were, especially after coming off of a 40-7 win while the Bills looked to be in a state of turmoil heading in.

1. Week 3- Eagles 34, Steelers 3: I was going to put the Bills/Cardinals game here, but I think the score, more than anything, is what gave this one the top spot.  The Eagles completely crushed Pittsburgh holding them to just three points.  The utter domination alone is what was surprising in this game, not necessarily the win.

What surprises will Week 5 have for us?  It will be exciting to find out!

Last Week: 5-10

Season: 28-35

Thursday, October 6th, 8:25 e.t.

Arizona Cardinals (1-3) @ San Francisco 49ers (1-3)

The wounded Cardinals look to get off the mat on the road versus a Niners team that plays much better at home than on the road.  Seeing Arizona struggle a bit to open the season is not a complete surprise to me, but sitting at 1-3 it goes without saying that a loss here would really put them in some trouble for the rest of the year.  San Fran is going to be hurting without star linebacker Navorro Bowman to patrol the middle of the field.  Ezekiel Elliot sliced through the 49er “D” last week in his absence.  This is important because this will be the game of David Johnson.  David Johnson

Carson Palmer will be inactive due to a concussion, but this injury should have no bearing on the outcome of this game.  Bruce Arians is going to feed his back more than the Lamar Miller is getting at his Thanksgiving feast down in Houston.  Of course this team is better off with Carson Palmer than they are with Drew Stanton, and even though Stanton has had a rough go of things lately, some practice with the 1’s will help here.  The Niners’ best shot at winning this game is to give the ball to Carlos Hyde a bunch and wear down the Arizona defense.  Too bad that isn’t Chip Kelly’s M.O.  The Cards should take care of business on the road here with their backs against the wall, but if they thought it was going to be a cakewalk they’ve got another thing coming.

Arizona 24, San Francisco 19

Sunday, October 9th, 1:00 e.t.

New York Jets (1-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)

The following gif perfectly sums up what has happened to the Steelers over the past couple of weeks:

Eagles vs. Steelers vs. Chiefs

The 43-14 drubbing of the Chiefs has to have Pittsburgh fans back on the bandwagon in 2016 season.  Le’Veon Bell looked great in his return, Ben Roethlisberger was back in the pocket slinging it, and the defense swarmed the field looking just as fast as it always has.  The fact that they played at home certainly helped their case but even still this is one of the best teams in the league.  The Jets on the other hand have not had a pleasant past couple of weeks, and it all starts at the quarterback position.  Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown nine interceptions over the past two weeks against only one touchdown pass.  There have been some rumblings among the Jets fanbase that call for Geno Smith to get some playing time, but Fitzpatrick will be the man under center this week.  It would be pretty hard for him to play much worse this week than he has over the past two but even if he has the game of his life I’m not sure he will be able to trade punches with the Steelers offense if they are getting healthy right now.  Also, the defense has not looked very good at times this season which starts in their secondary.  Darrelle Revis is allowing 84% of passes thrown his way to be completed and Buster Skrine, opposite him, has had trouble over his career against bigger receivers.  If the Jets think sticking Revis on Antonio Brown and leaving Skrine to defend Sammy Coates, or Markus Wheaton, or Eli Rodgers is a good idea then they have a horrible news flash coming their way.  Philly had success when they pressured Ben Roethlisberger.  The Jets have the talent to do this, but have not been harassing opposing QBs that much lately.  I want to pick Gang Green for an upset but they just don’t have the players to hang with the Steelers if they are on in the Steel City.

Pittsburgh 32, New York 20

Chicago Bears (1-3) @ Indianapolis Colts (1-3)

Fun fact: there are 13 teams that are 1-3 in the NFL.  This is the second of four games pitting such teams here in Week 5.  The Colts are a team that has been on the short end of the losing stick a trio of times, but are a team that could be 3-1 with a play here and there going their way.  Andrew Luck seems to be back to him old self, but he hasn’t received much help along the way.  Indy has still struggled to find a running game and haven’t seen one since Vic Ballard rumbled for 105 against Houston on December 16th, 2012.  Yikes.  Chicago seems like a team that the Colts could find some headway against, however they did play well defensively last week against Detroit.  Although that could have been an anomaly, there is some evidence that may suggest that it wasn’t.  For starters, the Bears’ offense was finally watchable against the Lions.  They ran the ball well with Jordan Howard, a rookie, and Brian Hoyer threw for over 300 yards and a couple of scores.  This kept the Chicago defense fresh and ready to handle the Lions’ attack.  With all this being said, I think that last week’s game in Chi-town said more about Detroit than it did Da Bears.  What this means is that perhaps they are not all that good after all, but that is something that a lot of people know already.  Hitting the road to take on a Colts team that is hungry for a win could be a recipe for disaster.  Besides Matthew Stafford’s struggles, opposing quarterbacks have had their way with the Bears secondary.  Andrew Luck is the best gunslinger that the team will have faced so far this year. Andrew Luck

As long as the Indianapolis offensive line doesn’t let Luck get buried they should have no trouble swatting the Bears on Sunday.

Indianapolis 33, Chicago 20

Tennessee Titans (1-3) @ Miami Dolphins (1-3)

In a game that is going to be considered by many as the worst matchup of the week, the Titans take their one win team down to Miami to take on the equally poor Dolphins squad.  The ‘Phins received a beatdown in Cincinnati last Thursday night and their offense looked three degrees north of atrocious outside of a long touchdown on their first possession.  Ryan Tannehill held the ball far too long and was swamped by the Bengals’ pass rush.  Jurrell Casey had himself a nice game in Houston a week ago and has to be licking his lips seeing the shaky offensive line starting opposite him.  If Miami fails to get a running game going then they could be in some trouble leaning of the O-line to protect Tannehill.  Of course we should see a lot of quick passes from #17, perhaps more empty backfield 4-receiver sets with a tight end split wide.  This was the personnel on the field when Miami scored their lone touchdown in Cincinnati and it is the formation that the former Aggie feels most comfortable in.  They should also mix in the no-huddle a bit more.  CheetosFor the Titans, their offense looked decent against Houston a week ago after the first quarter, and had it not been for a special teams gaff against Will Fuller V in the third quarter Tennessee may have stolen one.  Will Mike Mularkey’s smashmouth offense work in Miami this week.  Let’s see this team take a lead once again that isn’t against an elite defense (like Minnesota’s in Week 1) and see what happens.  The Titans are a more physical team and are finally the team with the most talent on the field.  As long as the secondary can contain Jarvis Landry, Tennessee should leave town with a win.  Perrish Cox did a marvelous job covering DeAndre Hopkins a week ago, holding him to one catch in the game.

Tennessee 19, Miami 15

Washington Redskins (2-2) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-1)

In a game that looks like it will be heavily impacted by the brunt of Hurricane Matthew, we get the battle of Maryland.

Hurricane

The Redskins come into town fresh off of an eleven point win over Cleveland while the Ravens are licking their wounds following a late loss to the Raiders at home.  This Baltimore team is not one that often loses home games with Joe Flacco and Kirk Cousins really struggles versus teams with winning records.  It is looking like a Ravens win is in the forecast for Sunday, but with the way the NFL has gone this season we know that nothing comes that easy.  For the Redskins to leave town with a win, the following needs to happen:

  • Matt Jones needs to run the ball well against the leagues #5 run defense (and #1 overall team “D”).
  • The Washington defense needs to tighten up against the run.  This game looks like it will be won in the trenches with the impending weather.  Winning at the line of scrimmage is pertinent.
  • Kirk Cousins needs to take what the defense gives him and not force the ball down the field to DeSean Jackson.  This is a contest that sets up well for 12 underneath balls to Pierre Garcon and a couple of middle routes to Jordan Reed.

Oh and by the way, who else is excited to see the trash-talking Steve Smith take on his former teammate in Carolina when he faces Josh Norman?  Fun stuff.  Anyways, the Ravens seem like they were a bit of a flawed 3-0 team before losing to the Raiders last week.  While I don’t think they will fall hard in 2016, I do see them dropping their second straight game at home.  Chalk this one up to one of the many weird results of the year.  I just think that Washington can really make some noise with short passes more than the Ravens can.

Washington 22, Baltimore 19

New England Patriots (3-1) @ Cleveland Browns (0-4)

So perhaps you have heard, but the Patriots will be getting Rob Nincovich back for this game.  They have waited four long weeks to see this man hit the field again and he draws a nice matchup against the Cleveland offense on Sunday.  Okay, we all know that the real story here is the return of Tom Brady.  He missed the first four games of the season due to suspension and the Pats emerged from the wreck at 3-1 which was about as good as they could have hoped for.  Sure they lost ugly to Buffalo last week, but the overall mood in New England is pretty good as it looks like the team is prime to go on a bit of a run.  You would probably think about taking a 300 yard, three touchdown game out of #12 to the bank this week, but I think that the Patriots will run the ball more than most anticipate this week.  It would be just like Bill Belichick to do exactly what nobody is thinking, and this is a Cleveland team that can certainly be run on.  Tight ends have also killed the Browns and even if Rob Gronkowski isn’t playing as great as he is capable due to his hamstring injury, New England still suits up Martellus Bennett.  Good luck to Cleveland.  If the Brownies are to have any success in this game, they have to shorten it by pounding Isaiah Crowell over and over again at a Patriot defense that has not been too bad against the run this year.  Cody Kessler has to be accurate and quick with his decision making here as well.  Cleveland absolutely cannot turn the ball over like they did a week ago versus Washington either.  This is a Patriots team that will likely walk into the Dawg Pound and leave with a crushing win, however.  There is just a huge gap between these two and there is no way I can pick against Belichick and the Pats.Tom Brady

New England 27, Cleveland 6

Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) @ Detroit Lions (1-3)

The Eagles just took an early BYE and are flying high after destroying the Steelers at home in Week 3.  However, this off-week could have come at a bad time for the team because they were rolling.  Philly has completely rolled over all three teams it has played so far this year and had a ton of momentum.  We will have to see if that BYE kills it.  Anyways, Jim Schwartz will be returning to Detroit for the first time since 2014 when he was hoisted on the shoulders of his Buffalo Bills after the team pulled an upset over the Lions. Jim Schwartz Philly’s defense looks like it is for real and their opponent looked pretty bad a week ago versus the Bears on the road.  By the way, I think it is time to send out an APB on Golden Tate.  He made just one catch for one yard all of last week against the Bears.  Yes, he did make good on a two-point conversion but he also cost the Lions points when Matthew Stafford threw an interception at the end of the first half because Tate ran the wrong route.  This does not seem like a game for him to reemerge either as the Eagles play the pass pretty well, being the only team in the league yet to surrender a touchdown through the air.  If there is one thing that Philly has struggled to do, it is defend the deep ball/jump ball.  Their corners are a bit shorter and have not had tons of success in that department so far.  If Marvin Jones gets loose then those Iggles may have issues.  It will be tough for the Lions to win, but I think they will put up a bit more of a fight than any of the other three Philadelphia opponents have.  In the end, I just don’t think their defense will be able to slow Doug Pederson’s offense enough to win the game.  Wendell Smallwood looks like an emerging rookie and could be leaned on a bit more in this game against a Detroit run “D” that has been pretty poor this year (ranked 23rd in the league).  There, I did an Eagles article without mentioning their rookie quarterback.

Philadelphia 16, Detroit 14

Houston Texans (3-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (4-0)

The Vikings look like one of the best teams in the NFL this year and seem to be a very tough out at their sparkling new stadium.  They do have a short week to cope with after dismantling the Giants on Monday night, but they should be fine given the way their defense has played.  Houston is 3-1 but has not been utterly dominant in any of their three home wins.  DeAndre Hopkins has been a bit of a no-show over the last two weeks totaling just five catches for 60 yards combined.  He draws a really tough assignment against Xavier Rhodes who has shut down Kelvin Benjamin and Odell Beckham Jr. in back to back weeks.  Don’t expect him to go off in this game either.  Xavier RhodesBrock Osweiler has thrown at least one interception in every game this season and will really need to avoid turning the ball over in this one.  The Vikings lead the NFL with a +10 turnover differential.  This is, in large part, due to how Sam Bradford is playing on offense.  He has yet to turn the ball over and is making quick and accurate throws to his receivers.  Norv Turner isn’t asking Sammy Sleeves to take too many shots down the field, and that plays right into his wheelhouse.  As long as the Vikings don’t begin to play loose with the football they should not see anything less than a dominant home victory.  I think they are, by far, the better team.  As a side note, it will be cool to see how US Bank Stadium looks during a day game.

Minnesota 29, Houston 10

Sunday, October 9th, 4:05 e.t.

Atlanta Falcons (3-1) @ Denver Broncos (4-0)

Falcons vs. Broncos

Who woulda thunk it?  The Atlanta Falcons are involved in the game of the week here in October.  Not only that, but Matt Ryan is playing his best football in a while and making noise for league MVP.  Obviously it is too early to start anointing anybody such prestigious awards, but if he can continue to put up big numbers against a defense like Denver’s on the road then it can go a long way towards that goal.  That raises the big question: Atlanta’s #1 ranked offense or the Broncos’ elite defense?  As is normally the case in the NFL, a good defense beats a good offense.  Not to mention, Gary Kubiak has his team playing some damn good offense in their own right.  Trevor Seimien did leave last week with an injured shoulder, but Paxton Lynch stepped right in and performed.  The 20 point romping of the Buccaneers on the road was complete with a totally dominant effort from the leagues 4th ranked defensive unit.  The team has the second ranked passing “D”, so it will fall on Matty Ice’s shoulders to carry his team to a win.  Unfortunately for the Falcons, their pass defense has been pretty bad this year and that is something that will not bode well for them in this game.  The Broncos are one of three undefeated teams remaining in the league and it will remain that way after this season.  Julio Jones did go off for 300 yards receiving a week ago, but there is no way that happens again.  Chris Harris should shadow him for a majority of the game.  On the opposite side, how will the Atlanta secondary fare against Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.  Desmond Trufant has played pretty well so far this season, but he will have his hands full in this game with two of the league’s better looking pass-catchers.  In the end, it is going to be tough for the Falcons to win this game with their offense, which is how it looks like they are going to win most of their games this season.  Give me the Broncos at home.

Denver 26, Atlanta 16

Sunday, October 9th, 4:25 e.t.

San Diego Chargers (1-3) @ Oakland Raiders (3-1)

The Chargers let one slip away from them last Sunday against the previously unbeaten Saints.  They were run on and could not stop New Orleans when they were in the red zone.  The Raiders have had a ton of success in red zone offense since Derek Carr has been their quarterback.  This will probably be the key to this game.  I can absolutely see the Chargers pulling an upset here, and looking back I realized that I picked against the Raiders three out of four times.  Carr has thrown nine touchdowns to just one pick on the year and is taking good care of the ball.  The Chargers pass defense has not been bad by any means but they really don’t have any answer for the combination of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper.  Oakland swept the season series last year as well, so there’s that.  Philip Rivers is still performing despite all of his favorite toys being taken from him, but will his offensive line be able to protect him versus the Raiders pass rush?  Philip Rivers

Khalil Mack recorded his first sack a week ago, but he is creating numerous pressures and can really have a deep impact on this game.  Also worth mentioning is the fact that Oakland’s defense has really rebounded since the first two weeks, although they did almost give the game away to Baltimore last week if it weren’t for a late rally.  This looks like another tight game in the making as well since the Chargers and Raiders have played quite a number of those already this season.  I will take the home team though because I like them to protect Carr better in the game and because I think their O-line is going to open up more holes in the running game.  Melvin Gordon for San Diego has come back down to earth these past two weeks ever since his quick start to the season and really contributed heavily to their loss against New Orleans with a late fumble.  Not to mention, the Raiders have not had many problems closing out games this season.  The Chargers are a different story entirely.

Oakland 35, San Diego 31

Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) @ Dallas Cowboys (3-1)

AT&T Stadium

The Cowboys play host to the now .500 Bengals who have won two games against 1-3 teams this season.  Their losses came to quality opponents in the Steelers and Broncos.  Is Dallas a quality opponent though?  If they continue to play mistake-free football and slam Ezekiel Elliot at opposing defenses with success they are.  That’s on the offensive side of the ball.  Defensively the Cowboys are not putrid.  They are an average unit that skates by due to the fact that their offense is so fundamentally sound.  The secondary should be tested in this game, however.  A.J. Green torched Miami a week ago and didn’t feel sorry in the slightest.  It would appear as though Andy Dalton feels secure with only his big wide receiver to this point.  It is fairly obvious that he has confidence in his arm and he is moving around in the pocket better than in years past, but still Green is the only receiver he can fully trust to this point.  Dallas’ answer to A.J. is Dez Bryant but he will not be participating in this game due to his injury.  This means that the ‘Boys will be coming at the stripes with the likes of Cole Beasely, Terrence Williams, and Jason Witten.  Dak Prescott has thrown 131 passes and has yet to be picked off.  He did come close last week, but still sports the ole goose-egg in that category.  Zeke Elliot has grown stronger with each game but so far this season the Bengals have not been the easiest team to run on.  Their defense is in the top half of the league, something that the Cowboys have not had to cope with so far this year.  Chances are they will be in for an awakening and although this game could certainly go either way, I see the road team coming out with a win.  We know what A.J. Green and the rest of Cincy’s offense can do against good defenses, let alone a middling one such as the Cowboys’.  Dallas is unproven in this respect so far, so we are going with the safe, logical choice here.

Cincinnati 30, Dallas 27

Buffalo Bills (2-2) @ Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

LA Rams

If you would have told me that this was going to be a match up of two teams with .500 records or better about two weeks ago, I would have thought that there was something wrong with you.  As it is, the Rams, winners of three straight, host a Bills team that seems to be revived on defense after winning its last two games.  The Buffalo running game has seen an increase in yardage ever since Anthony Lynn has taken over as offensive coordinator.  He has had Tyrod Taylor moving around a bit more in this offense.  Also, he isn’t taking the same amount of shots down the field as he did when Greg Roman was dialing up plays.  The wildcat has been an oft used weapon in this offense and the team is able to piece drives together which really helps the defense out.  Now that this very thin unit is getting time to rest, their players are in good shape to stop the other team’s offense.  Zach and Preston Brown along with Lorenzo Alexander have quietly been one of the best line-backing corps in football.  They should present problems for the Rams in Los Angeles.  As for the surprising winners of three straight games, quarterback Case Keenum has looked competent lately and has had the strength of a fighting defense to back him.  The running game has still yet to take off because teams are still stacking the box to stop Todd Gurley.  It is working.  At the end of the day, I really don’t want to pick Los Angeles because I don’t think they are a 4-1 team.  A win over a bad Buccaneer team as well as close wins over divisional opponents aren’t enough to make me think that these guys can win games like this.  Buffalo is not an NFC West rival.  The Rams get up for those teams, I think they will fall flat at home here.

Buffalo 23, Los Angeles 12

Sunday, October 9th, 8:30 e.t.

New York Giants (2-2) @ Green Bay Packers (2-1)

Coming off of a BYE, the Packers play host to the Giants on Sunday Night Football.  Green Bay looked like it was returning to form in the first half of Week 3’s game against the Lions, but the team took their foot off the gas in the second half and let Detroit make it look closer.  This has to be a bit of a concern for Mike McCarthy seeing as how the Packers’ offense has been the subject of great scrutiny lately.  They scored just three points in the second half and were far too conservative.  The Giants come to town after having been beaten up physically by a very good Minnesota club.  Things will not get better if Eli Manning cannot shake the images of ghosts from his head.  He looked spooked against the Vikes, and although Green Bay’s defense is nowhere near the caliber, they are a fast squad who can cover a lot of ground.  Odell Beckham Jr

Odell Beckham Jr. was thoroughly contained by Xavier Rhodes.  Asking Demaryius Randall to do the same thing would be absurd, but I can see the Pack having some success slowing the Giants down if they play physical.  It wouldn’t be recommended to blitz Eli Manning either.  He’s going to get rid of the ball quickly whether there is pressure or not.  Since Dom Caper’s unit is nowhere near as good as Minnesota’s, they are going to have to rely on pressure from their front four.  If they can get it, the Packers should have absolutely no trouble winning this game.  The real key lies in if Aaron Rodgers can pick apart this $200 million defense.  Teams have not had a ton of success running it on Big Blue, so it will fall squarely on the shoulders of #12 if the Pack is to pick up the win.  At home on a Sunday night, I’ve gotta say I like their chances.  The Giants have struggled mightily to create turnovers and Aaron Rodgers and company tend to be quite stingy with the ball at home.  I’ll take them for the win.

Green Bay 38, New York 21

Monday, October 10th, 8:30 e.t.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) @ Carolina Panthers (1-3)

The Buccaneers have, to be frank, looked awful since their Week 1 win over Atlanta.  I do not envy the position they are in this week either since they will be taking on a very pissed off Carolina team that was absolutely embarrassed by the likes of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones on the road last week.  Mike Evans is one of the biggest and best young receivers out there, but Jameis Winston has to make sure he gives his receiver the ball and not the opposing DB.  Ever since losing Doug Martin in Week 2, this offense has been very inconsistent to put it lightly.  Turnovers and sloppy play have plagued the Bucs and they have not looked good at all.  I’m still not sure that the Panthers are a bad team.  I think they ran into a couple of buzz-saws early in the year and will pick it back up later on.  As of right now, there is no reason these guys should lose this game on Monday night.  Cam Newton did leave last Sunday with a concussion, but he looks like he will be alright for this game.  Even if he isn’t I doubt Derek Anderson will be such a flop that the team ends up falling off.  Look for the Panthers to get back to pounding the rock and hitting quick slants behind the rush.  That’s what Carolina needs to get back to doing; playing better small ball is important to them.  Lately they have been chasing the big play and it has hurt them quite a bit.  The defense should play inspired football after being gashed in Atlanta in Week 4.  I fully expect the Panthers to rebound in a big way and get back in the W column at home.

Panther

Carolina 42, Tampa Bay 14

Week 5 Bonus Predictions

Sure Bet of the Week (3-0): Carolina over Tampa Bay

Upset of the Week: Washington over Baltimore

Offensive Player of the Week: Derek Carr, QB, Raiders

Defensive Player of the Week: Jurrell Casey, DL, Titans

Rookie of the Week: James Bradbury, DB, Panthers

Best Quarterback: Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals

Best Running Back: David Johnson, RB, Cardinals

 

2016 Season: Week 2 Preview

Week 1 was filled with edge-of-your-seat action and now that all of our nails are chewed to stubs after the collection of thrillers, we ready ourselves for Week 2.  There’s hardly any time to prepare, and nobody is complaining.  NFL action is coming in hot so here are my predictions for the upcoming games.

Last Week: 9-7

Season: 9-7

Thursday, September 15th, 8:25 e.t.

New York Jets (0-1) @ Buffalo Bills (0-1)

These two teams lost to AFC North teams last week and look to rebound on the initial Thursday Night Football game of the year.  Buffalo opens up at home where they are sure to have a raucous crowd in their corner, donning their favorite red garb due to the NFL’s color rush gimmick.  By the way, can we just take a minute to thank the Jets for changing their jerseys from last year.  We had to watch these all red Bills play those all green Jets.  Color-blinded people weren’t happy.  New York will go with all white attire this time around.  But you came for a prediction, not commentary on uniforms.  The Bills did a good job getting to Joe Flacco last week and were only beat deep one time by Mike Wallace.  However, their offense was pitiful, and they are going up against a unit that has a lot to prove after being absolutely torched by A.J. Green and friends a week ago.  The Jets have the better team on paper and I’m looking to rebound from an awful first week of picks myself.  Time to go with the better team here.

New York 27, Buffalo 20

Sunday, September 18th, 1:00 e.t.

Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) @ Houston Texans (1-0)

The Chiefs reached through their butt to scratch their elbow in their win on Sunday over the Chargers.  It was a long and winding roller-coaster, but they got it done.  Meanwhile the Texans handled their business over Chicago at home en route to a nine point victory.  Brock Osweiler forced a ball to DeAndre Hopkins in last week’s game and Tracy Porter gladly accepted the charitable donation.  Look for Kansas City’s secondary to sit all over opportunities such as this on the road this Sunday.  Brock O’s Texans (which, admittedly, has nowhere near the ring as Brock O’s Broncos, but we digress) have a running game and should try to use it to exploit a rush defense that looked fairly average against Melvin Getoutofhisway Gordon.  The guy plowed through them for two touchdowns after not scoring any in his rookie year.  Yikes, remember when Kansas City was impossible to run the ball against in the red zone?  Look for them to play a much more sound defensive game on the road though as I trust Alex Smith to play much more safely with the ball than I do Brock-O.

Kansas City 22, Houston 19

Tennessee Titans (0-1) @ Detroit Lions (1-0)

After a wild win in a shootout over the Colts, Detroit heads home to host the Titans who were absolutely smothered in the second half of last week’s game against Minnesota.  Expect the Lions to play well again here since they actually have a shot to run with Green Bay in the North this season.  A let-down at home here would seem very Lion-like… too Lion-like.  We don’t need to see Matthew Stafford doing exotic things with the football.  If he and his team can just play safely and stuff the run, which they are fully capable of doing, there shouldn’t be any trouble with them being able to run away with a win.

Detroit 26. Tennessee 14

San Francisco 49ers (1-0) @ Carolina Panthers (0-1)

The 49ers picked up a win in an instant classic over Los Angeles last week, 28-0.  Actually, the only thing memorable about that contest is Kevin Harlan’s epic call of a fan running on the field.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do.  A fun time for all.

Anywho, we know that the Niners are having to fly across the country after a short week to play a team that has been waiting since last Thursday night to redeem a very tough loss.  Cam Newton better bring an entire case of floss for this one because it is likely that he will have a lot to be smiling about after the game.  Carolina should plow right through a team that, despite winning big at home, doesn’t look to be anything special this season.

Carolina 37, San Francisco 17

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

I guess for the Browns it was the same old same old, losing yet another season opener.  Of course, they got picked apart by a rookie in his first ever start.  Joe Flacco is a proven vet who almost never loses when he sees these guys lining up opposite of him.  Baltimore has the makings of a decent team this year if they can develop a running game.  Cleveland is a good team to run the ball on.  Although Philly didn’t have tons of success, this was the leagues 30th ranked run defense a year ago and did not seem to make many huge improvements in that area over the offseason.  Justin Forsett and Terrence West need to hit that hole with conviction and the Ravens should be able to pound the RGIII-less Browns into a pulp.

Baltimore 30, Cleveland 13

Miami Dolphins (0-1) @ New England Patriots (1-0)

The Pats went on the road without Rob Gronkowski or Tom Brady and won in Arizona.  Winning at home against Miami should be a cakewalk, right?  Wrong.  In fact, the ‘Phins are going to pull off the upset here.  These guys went into Seattle last week and almost pulled out a win.  A strong defensive showing there gives me hope for this squad in 2016.  It is doubtful that this unit will be able to live up to the standards it set for itself last week letting up only 12 points, but it seems reasonable for them to be able to hold New England to 23 or so.  I’ve got Miami scoring 27, so their offense is going to find a way to get back on track.  Arian Foster should be the bell-cow.  New England will be doing everything in their power to shut down Jarvis Landry.  Open the door for eight-million dump passes to Foster.  I’m thinking Miami should do a lot better than 211 total yards of offense here.  And for Jimmy Garappolo and the Patriots, it would almost be too perfect for him to turn in yet another solid performance.  Looking for a slight letdown at home.

Miami 27, New England 23

New Orleans Saints (0-1) @ New York Giants (1-0)

I’m so tempted to pick the Saints here, but there is no way I can do so in good conscience knowing that their defense is still atrocious.  Last year, these two teams engaged in a 52-49 shootout where the bulk of a the game looked like a seven-on-seven drill.  There won’t be that many points scored this time around, but we can always count on the Saints to provide the weekly shootout.  Delvin Breaux, the only defender that may scare you on New Orleans, is gone due to a broken tibia.  Who is going to cover Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, and Sterling Shepard?  My phone just buzzed, I’m thinking it’s a the Saints calling me for a tryout.  I’m gonna have to pass.  I don’t wanna cover these three just as much as anyone else.  Drew Brees’ arm will fall off before he can produce enough points for the Saints to keep up with the Giants.  I’m taking the G-Men.

New York 38, New Orleans 27

Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)

The best rivalry in football today is back at Heinz Field and the Bengals, fresh off of their one point win over the Jets look to win in Pittsburgh for the second straight season.  The good news for the Steelers is that Le’Veon Bell won’t be playing in this game, so that means Cincy can’t hurt him.  But you know who is playing in this one?  Antonio Brown.  It isn’t often (as in hardly ever) where AJ Green is not the best wide receiver on the field, but it is happening on Sunday as Brown is this league’s very best.  Call me crazy but I think this game will, much like it did last year, come down to defense.  Although Cincinnati has the better “D” and I can see this game going either way, I don’t like their odds on the road to thwart a Ben Roethlisberger lead drive in the waning seconds.  As long as Sammy Coates doesn’t drop 63 thousand passes on that final drive, the Steelers should slide in to victory.

Pittsburgh 19, Cincinnati 17

Dallas Cowboys (0-1) @ Washington Redskins (0-1)

Brashaud Breeland probably finds himself in a burn unit after his performance last week against Antonio Brown.  Of course, the Redskins have Josh Norman as well who is a fantastic cover corner, but he only takes responsibility for one half of the field.  It is easy to scheme around this and take someone like Dez Bryant and line him up on Breeland’s side.  That said, this Washington defense was up against the league’s best offense in Pittsburgh and  Dallas is a tick down from that.  Kirk Cousins typically plays well at home and has a stellar record against losing teams.  0-1 is a losing record.  Look for Washington to rebound and take the win.  Dak Prescott was solid early on, but all of his throws came underneath on short routes.  Anything down the field was a struggle, and the Redskins should exploit this by throwing bodies closer to the line of scrimmage playing hook zones.

Washington 24, Dallas 17

Sunday, September 18th, 4:05 e.t.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) @ Arizona Cardinals (0-1)

Ahh, Tampa Bay versus Arizona.  One of my favorite games of all-time took place between these two teams on Halloween 2010. The Cards donned their black unis and got stampeded by  LeGarrette Blount and the Bucs.  The 38-35 final was an indication of the excitement that took place.  Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, they won’t have Blount force trauma in their backfield to do crazy things like this on this go-round:

They do have Doug Martin though, who is a solid back in his own right.  This to go along with a young Jameis Winston who is quickly turning into one of the leagues better young quarterbacks makes this offense a formidable one.  With that being said, the Cardinals are too good of a team to fall twice in a row at home to start the year.  Look for them to come out and put together a nice offensive performance and get into the win column.

Arizona 33, Tampa Bay 20

Seattle Seahawks (1-0) @ Los Angeles Rams (0-1)

If the Rams were on a mission to make St. Louis not miss them, it is safe to say they accomplished that by laying an egg in San Fran last week.  Meanwhile, you’ve got the Seahawks who are coming off of a narrow win at home over the Dolphins.  Russell Wilson’s status for this game is still up in the air as of me writing this Wednesday night, but whether or not he plays shouldn’t have any bearing on the outcome.  The Seahawks will still win.  No, I don’t think the Rams are as bad as they seemed last week, but their quarterback situation is certainly not one envied by any team in the league.  The Seattle defense made Miami look pretty feeble at times and this offense that they will be squaring off with last week looked as ugly your dorky cousin who’s mom makes you hang out with them.  I’m taking the ‘Hawks “D” thinking that they can get it done in the home opener for the Rams.

Seattle 20, St. Louis 12

Sunday, September 18th, 4:25 e.t.

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) @ San Diego Chargers (0-1)

This is probably the hardest game for me to pick this weekend.  It is tough to chose which offense is going to have the edge.  The Jaguars’ defense is the sexier of the two, but San Diego’s “D” typically ranks in the top half of the league each year.  However, after seeing the major collapse of the Chargers’ defense last week, they give me little to no reason to have any confidence in them.  They allowed Alex Freaking Smith to throw for 363 yards last week.  That’s almost as bad as letting Trent Richardson rumble for 100+, amirite?  Blake Bortles should push the envelope, and he has Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns to go to down the field.  Philip Rivers, on the other hand, has lost Keenan Allen for the year yet again.  I’ve seen this movie before.  The Chargers fans aren’t so excited for its sequel.  Look for Jacksonville to take the W here, although it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see Rivers put the team on his back for a nice win.

Jacksonville 32, San Diego 25

Atlanta Falcons (0-1) @ Oakland Raiders (1-0)

Jack Del Rio showed balls bigger than his head last week going for two and the win instead of tying the game at 34 against the Saints.  It paid off in a big way, but let’s not forget that this Oakland team let up over 500 yards to New Orleans and over 400 pass yards to Drew Brees.  Julio Jones could prove to be uncoverable in this game if last week’s stats are to be used as a guideline.  I do believe that the Raiders’ defense is a bit better than that however it is hard to see them going 2-0 to start the year.  Why?  Because they are the Raiders.  I like this team a lot and I think they are a capable playoff team, but something tells me that Devonta Freeman is going to go off in this game making life tough on the silver and black.  This could be the weekend’s best game.

Atlanta 24, Oakland 23

Indianapolis Colts (0-1) @ Denver Broncos (1-0)

Andrew Luck looked terrific in his return to action last week against Detroit, but unfortunately the defense couldn’t slow down Matthew Stafford and the Lions.  This week, the Colts hit the road and take on the defending Super Bowl Champions who enjoy taking down the league’s darling Carolina Panthers at home last Thursday.  Trevor Seimien didn’t look awful, but he didn’t show me anything that would lead me to believe that he could keep up with Luck should this game turn into a tack meet.  Now before you Broncos fans start giving me a hard time, just remember that Luck is 2-1 in games against these guys.   And all three of those times he played them, Denver did not have a loss.  For the third time four years, the Colts hand the Broncos their first L of the season.

Indianapolis 24, Denver 17

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

Green Bay Packers (1-0) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-0)

Why do I get the feeling that this game is going to be like watching a highly anticipated movie and feeling disappointed that it didn’t live up to its expectations?  Probably because the Vikings are sending Shaun Hill out at quarterback.  Or is it going to be Sam Bradford?  In all honesty, it doesn’t matter if it is Fran Tarkenton himself because the Packers are on a mission.  They are going to try their hardest to do what the Titans did last week; bottle up Adrian Peterson.  A.P. rushed 19 times for 31 yards.  It isn’t often that his average run is measured an blades of grass per run rather than yards per carry, Tennessee managed to hold him down.  I don’t think the Packers will have the same success as All Day normally runs well against these guys, but I just can’t see the Minnesota offense keeping up with the Pack’s.  Even though Aaron Rodgers passed for only 199 yards last week against the Jaguars, Green Bay’s offense looked as crisp as it did last September.  If they can repeat this pattern, it could be a long day for the Vikes in their first game in a beautiful new stadium.

Green Bay 38, Minnesota 21

Monday, September 19th, 8:30 e.t.

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) @ Chicago Bears (0-1)

Carson Wentz looked great against the Browns last week, but let’s be real for just a second here; it was the Browns.  Chicago has the benefit of an entire week’s worth of tape on the rook.  They also have big receivers that could potentially out-leap the Philly corners if Jay Cutler throws it up to them like Robert Griffin III did last week.  There was a lot on tape that the Eagles needed to correct in coverage, and I see them doing it this time around.  Don’t expect Wentz to carve the defense up like he did a week ago.  Instead, look for Philadelphia’s defense to carry the team like we all thought it would at the season’s onset.  I was originally going to take the Bears for this one, but it is still hard to believe that their defense has actually turned the corner after Marc Trestman dragged that unit down to the depths of Hell a couple of years ago.  Jay Cutler may turn the ball over late against a defense that lives off of forcing turnovers.  This could be the difference in what looks to be a tight game.

Philadelphia 20, Chicago 17

Week 2 Bonus Predictions

Sure Bet of the Week: Carolina over San Francisco

Upset of the Week: Miami over New England

Offensive Player of the Week: David Johnson, RB Cardinals

Defensive Player of the Week: Rodney McLeod, DB Eagles

Rookie of the Week: Sterling Sheperd, WR Giants

Best Quarterback: Eli Manning, QB Giants

Best Running Back: David Johnson