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2017 Season: Week 10 Preview

Back at it again for the tenth installment of the 2017 NFL campaign.  There are a lot of intriguing matchups this week that will prove to be paramount in helping develop the playoff picture this year with a lot of teams at the brink.  Who will come out on top?  Here are my picks.

Last Week: 9-4

Season: 83-49

Locks: 3-6

Upsets: 2-7

Thursday, November 9th, 8:26 e.t.

Seattle Seahawks (5-3) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-4)

The Seahawks were stunned at home by a desperate Redskins team last week and look to bounce back on a short week against an Arizona team that has been trading losses and wins this year.  Seattle should throttle the Cards here, even on the road.  Their defense should smother the Drew Stanton attack as long as they can weather the Adrian Peterson storm.

Seattle 36, Arizona 16 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Sunday, November 12th, 1:00 e.t.

Green Bay Packers (4-4) @ Chicago Bears (3-5)

The Packers were bullied by the Lions last week and I don’t like their odds going on the road against a very solid defense in Chicago.  As long as the Bears can convert on third downs here they should not have any problem disposing of the Brett Hundley led Packers.

Chicago 23, Green Bay 16

New York Jets (4-5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)

It is hard to watch Tampa Bay these days since they are a mess on both sides of the ball.  Meanwhile the Jets have a little something going now with their defense and running game.  The Bucs sans Jameis Winston and Mike Evans are in trouble at home against Gang Green.

New York 24, Tampa Bay 12

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-6)

The Colts have been competitive lately which is the best that the team can hope for, but unfortunately they draw the Steelers who are coming off of a BYE and have been on a roll lately.  Mike Tomlin’s team should have no trouble taking care of business on the road here.

Pittsburgh 32, Indianapolis 7

Cleveland Browns (0-8) @ Detroit Lions (4-4)

This game presents a good opportunity for the Lions to get back over .500.  Their offense has been sound in every area outside of short-yardage situations.  That is a problem for them in the future, but not so much at home against one of the two winless teams in the league.

Detroit 30, Cleveland 13

Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3)

I feel like the Jaguars are due to disappoint their fan-base at some point here but this might not prove to be the week.  I love their defense and I do not like Philip Rivers’ chances at standing in the pocket against the leading sack unit in the NFL.  I’ll take the Jags in a thriller.

Jacksonville 24, Los Angeles 21

New Orleans Saints (6-2) @ Buffalo Bills (5-3)

This is probably my favorite game of the week.  The Bills are one of just two teams left that are unbeaten at home this year and the Saints come into town riding a six game winning streak.  One of these trends will come to an end and I say it is Buffalo’s home record.  The Saints are clicking in all phases of the game and I like that to continue.

New Orleans 27, Buffalo 22

Minnesota Vikings (6-2) @ Washington Redskins (4-4)

The Redskins have been one of those teams that is hard to figure each week but their offense has been solid behind Kirk Cousins.  On the road, I think the Vikes are prime to drop one.  I love that defense, but the ‘Skins are a frisky team and can stand toe-to-toe with almost anybody when they are on their game.

Washington 28, Minnesota 23 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) @ Tennessee Titans (5-3)

The Titans took care of business last week against the Ravens and should do so again this week against a Cincy team that has really faltered on the defensive side of the ball lately.  There are certainly air yards to be had against them and at this point in the season, that is the strength of this Titan team.

Tennessee 35, Cincinnati 20

Sunday, November 12th, 4:05 e.t.

Houston Texans (3-5) @ Los Angeles Rams (6-2)

If this game had been played two weeks ago it would have been a potential game of the week with two of the most exciting offenses in the league.  As it stands we get Tom Savage’s Texans instead and that lacks serious firepower.  The Rams should grab their seventh win of the year rather easily with their offense being on fire as it is now.

Los Angeles 34. Houston 17

Sunday, November 12th, 4:25 e.t.

Dallas Cowboys (5-3) @ Atlanta Falcons (4-4)

Here is another game that is tough to pick.  Will Ezekiel Elliot be eligible to play here?  That will make the difference yet again.  The Falcons need a win in the worst way and they are playing at home here, so I think they will find a way to get it done.  They will need an effort from the team like they got in Week 2 against Green Bay, however.

Atlanta 31, Dallas 30

New York Giants (1-7) @ San Francisco 49ers (0-9)

Will this be the week that Jimmy Garoppolo starts for the Niners?  I’m not so sure, they may want to wait until after the BYE to make that call.  That said, the Giants will be motivated to play well after getting caught with their pants down at home versus the Rams.  They’ve already made a trek across country and won once this year, I say they do it again in Week 10.

New York 20, San Francisco 16

Sunday, November 12th, 8:30 e.t.

New England Patriots (6-2) @ Denver Broncos (3-5)

The Broncos had a house dropped on them last week in Philly and will look to rebound this week.  Unfortunately they draw the number one offense in football and plan on sending Brock Oswieler out there to answer.  That spells trouble.  I think Denver’s defense will keep the team in it, but I have no confidence whatsoever in their offense to get the job done.

New England 23, Denver 17

Monday, November 13th, 8:30 e.t.

Miami Dolphins (4-4) @ Carolina Panthers (6-3)

The Panthers rushing game re-emerged last week against the Falcons and now they will face the Dolphins who have not been all that terrible on defense.  Their offense finally looked competent last week, but against one of the finer “D’s” in the league, I do not think they will fare so well.  Especially not on the road.

Carolina 20, Miami 17

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

2017 Season: Week 8 Preview

We are just about halfway through the NFL season already and it has been a strange one.  The Jaguars and Rams are relevant, the Eagles have the best record in football, the Browns are winless… okay that one is not so weird, but how about the AFC East finally being a pretty competitive division?  Or the AFC North being a bad one?  It has all been hard to figure but we will continue to pick ’em.  Here are my picks/thoughts for the thirteen Week 8 games.

Last Week: 11-4

Season: 63-43

Locks: 2-4

Upsets: 2-4

Thursday, October 26th, 8:25 e.t.

Miami Dolphins (4-2) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-4)

The last handful of Thursday night affairs have been pretty solid games, especially last week in Oakland.  This one, on paper, doesn’t scream quality matchup but who knows?  I do like the Ravens at home though, and here is why.  Baltimore’s defense is due for a breakout game and the Dolphins come into town with Matt Moore at the helm.  Is he that much of a downgrade from Jay Cutler, maybe not, but I do think he will struggle with a short week hitting the road against a team desperate to stay relevant.

Baltimore 23, Miami 10

Sunday, October 29th, 9:30 am e.t.

Minnesota Vikings (5-2) @ Cleveland Browns (0-7) (in London)

What a clash at the Twick!  Okay, that was a lie.  London seems destined for another poor game with one of the best teams in the league taking on the worst.  This is actually not the biggest mismatch with records of the week, but it is the biggest in terms of talent.  The Browns hung tough with the Titans at home but that was more of an aberration in my opinion.  They don’t have the skill players on offense to make much headway against this swarming defense from the Vikings.

Minnesota 31, Cleveland 7

Sunday, October 29th, 1:00 e.t.

Carolina Panthers (4-3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)

The Panthers are certainly a week-to-week proposition because one week they look like world-beaters and then the next they can fall flat on their face.  I could see them blowing this game out or getting blown out.  Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s offense has been inconsistent on the year.  They’ve yet to put a complete game together and their defense has been very bad to this point.  Against a Panther team with a good defense and an, at times, scary offense, I do not like their odds of pulling this game out.

Carolina 30, Tampa Bay 24

Indianapolis Colts (2-5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)

A couple of two win teams hook horns in Cincy here when the Colts face the Bengals.  After getting shut out by the Jaguars, Indy’s season can officially be considered done while the Bengals are desperate to stay alive.  I like them to do just that at home with an offense that until last week under Bill Lazor has looked pretty good.  The Colt “D” is not very good.

Cincinnati 33, Indianapolis 13 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

San Francisco 49ers (0-7) @ Philadelphia Eagles (6-1)

This game pits the team with the best record in the league, at home mind you, against the team that is tied for the worst record.  The Eagles lost two key players in their Monday night win over the Redskins in Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks, but that is not going to matter this week.  Carson Wentz cemented his case for being in the MVP discussion on Monday and he is capable of carrying the team.  He won’t have to this Sunday as the Eagles should win easily with their running game and defense.

Philadelphia 27, San Francisco 14

Oakland Raiders (3-4) @ Buffalo Bills (4-2)

This game is one of the better ones on the docket for Week 8 and it is probably the hardest one for me to pick.  I think I am going to go with the Raiders to win because they seem to have found their mojo on offense and could be at the beginning of an upswing.  Marshawn Lynch will miss his chance to play in Buffalo for the first time since being traded due to a suspension so that could hurt, but I think that Tampa Bay exposed the Buffalo “D” a bit last week and I like the well rested Raiders to pick up on that.

Oakland 26, Buffalo 19

Los Angeles Chargers (3-4) @ New England Patriots (5-2)

The Patriots played their best game of the season last Sunday night at home against a reeling Falcon team and seem to be peaking as we forge towards November, like they usually do.  The Chargers defense did just shut out the Broncos and has been a very underrated unit to this point in the year and I like them to keep this game close through three quarters.  However, you can only slow Tom Brady for so long and I can see them running away with this one in the fourth quarter at home.

New England 33, Los Angeles 17

Atlanta Falcons (3-3) @ New York Jets (3-4)

The Atlanta offense has been struggling lately and has people calling for O.C. Steve Sarkesian’s job.  They are 0-3 against the AFC East and desperately need a win to keep pace with the suddenly hot Saints in their own division.  I think they get something going on offense against the Jets and take this one on the road.  New York hung tough but eventually blew the game against Miami and can do the same thing here.  The thing is, if this does turn into a shootout I don’t think that Josh McCown can keep pace with Matt Ryan.

Atlanta 27, New York 20

Chicago Bears (3-4) @ New Orleans Saints (4-2)

The Saints have won four straight games and will now host the Chicago Bears who just won a game with only five first downs!  They are going to have to do a heck of a lot better than that this week if they want to hang in there against the Saints who can actually lean on their defense and running game a bit.  For the first time since 2013 New Orleans has a winning record and it is no fluke as I believe they are favorites to win the south at this point in the season.  They should improve to 5-2 with a win over the Bears who do not typically travel well this year.

New Orleans 29, Chicago 15

Sunday, October 29th, 4:05 e.t.

Houston Texans (3-3) @ Seattle Seahawks (4-2)

The Texans are coming off of their BYE Week and immediately get thrown back into the fire on the road in Seattle.  DeShaun Watson has been fantastic for Houston this year but I don’t like his chances going against Seattle’s defense on the road here.  The Hawk’s offense looked great against the Giants last week, even though they struggled to finish some drives.  I think they put it together this week and blow out the Texans.

Seattle 39, Houston 14

Dallas Cowboys (3-3) @ Washington Redskins (3-3)

I like this game.  The loser is going to have a tough time getting back into the NFC East race, especially if it’s Washington having already lost twice to the Eagles.  The Cowboys looked phenomenal on the road in San Fran and it was mostly because of the efforts of Ezekiel Elliot.  He makes this team better and Dallas can keep pace with Philly if he stays on the field.  I was going to take the Redskins here because they will be desperate, but I really don’t like the way their defense stacks up to the Cowboys.  Dallas should take this one on the road.

Dallas 28, Washington 22

Sunday, October 29th, 8:30 e.t.

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) @ Detroit Lions (3-3)

Will this be the week that Al and Cris finally get a good game?  I think it is.  I really like Pittsburgh and where they are going this year, but I am going to take the Lions at home.  Detroit is coming off of a BYE and almost made a 35 point comeback the week prior.  Of course, they played poorly enough to go down by 35 in the first place but if the game is on the line I think we can all trust that Matthew Stafford will make some plays.  Look for this one to go down to the wire on Sunday night.

Detroit 30, Pittsburgh 28 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

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

Denver Broncos (3-3) @ Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)

Both of these teams come into this game having lost two straight contests but I feel much better about KC than I do Denver.  The Bronco offense has vanished over the past couple of weeks while the Chiefs attack looked great against the Raiders.  It was their defense that let the game get away.  Playing at home on a Monday night for the second time this year, I think that they can use that crowd to their advantage and really get after Trevor Siemian.  Look for the Chiefs to get back to their winning ways.

Kansas City 34, Denver 17

2017 Season: Week 7 Preview

The drama that is the NFL keeps on coming and we’ve got 15 games this week to preview.  Let us just hope that there will be no more crushing season-ending injuries to speak of following the action from this stanza in the season.  Let’s get it.

Last Week: 8-6

Season: 52-39

Locks: 1-5

Upsets: 2-4

Thursday, October 19th, 8:25 e.t.

Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) @ Oakland Raiders (2-4)

The Chiefs took their first loss of the season, and perhaps it can serve as a bit of a wakeup call for them as their offense was pretty much handled at home versus Pittsburgh.  Meanwhile the Raiders find themselves in last place in the division and losers of four straight.  I think that streak will run to five in a row here as Kansas City should have a prime opportunity to get their offense back on track against an inconsistent pass “D”.

Kansas City 30, Oakland 20

Sunday, October 22nd, 1:00 e.t.

New Orleans Saints (3-2) @ Green Bay Packers (4-2)

This game would have been a barn-burner if Aaron Rodgers did not exit the game last week against Minnesota with a broken collarbone.  As it stands we get Drew Brees versus Brett Huntley.  I am not among the majority that thinks that the Packers’ season is sunk without Rodgers and in fact I think they can surprise the Saints this week by stealing a win at home.  I’m going to put my faith in their defense to make a stop with the game on the line.

Green Bay 21, New Orleans 17 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

Arizona Cardinals (3-3) @ Los Angeles Rams (4-2) (In London)

This looks to be a pretty good matchup for the fans over in London.  Adrian Peterson definitely gave the Arizona offense a spark last week and made the passing game better since Tampa’s “D” actually had to respect a rushing attack.  While that game was going on, the Rams were riding the strength of their defense and two return touchdowns in a road win over the Jags.  This Rams team is a lot of fun to watch and they can win a game in a lot of different ways.  I like them to do the job across the pond against a defense that has not been themselves this season.

Los Angeles 25, Arizona 20

Baltimore Ravens (3-3) @ Minnesota Vikings (4-2)

Remember the last time these two teams got together?  It produced one of the wildest finishes to a game that you will ever see with over an inch of snow on the ground.  Weather will not play a factor in this game, but the crowd noise will.  Now in the driver’s seat atop the NFC North, I like the Vikings to come out and dominate the offensively challenged Ravens with their top 10 defense.

Minnesota 21, Baltimore 6

Indianapolis Colts (2-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)

This game was targeted as the return date for Andrew Luck but as of this writing his status in uncertain.  That said, I will be taking Jacksonville regardless of who starts because I really think that their defense can stifle the Colts’ running game and make the offense one dimensional.  With the number one pass rush in the league versus one of the worst O-lines, I don’t like Indy’s odds of keeping whoever lines up under center clean.

Jacksonville 19, Indianapolis 12

Carolina Panthers (4-2) @ Chicago Bears (2-4)

The Panthers, off a nine day hiatus, look to rebound from a tough loss at home to Philly and they draw a Bears team that shocked the Ravens in overtime last week.  This is a pretty fun matchup of quarterbacks here with Cam Newton and Mitchell Trubisky.  The Panthers have to get their running game going if they are going to be a serious threat this year, but I don’t necessarily think they need to do it this week.  I see Cam bouncing back and throwing for a pile of yards as the Panthers roll over the Bears.

Carolina 30, Chicago 17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) @ Buffalo Bills (3-2)

Lost behind the loss of Aaron Rodgers was the shoulder injury of Jameis Winston.  It seems that he will be okay to go on the road against the Bills who always play teams tough at home.  The BYE week came at a good time for Buffalo as well because they got a chance to get healthy on offense.  This is a tough one to pick and I do think that it will end up being one of the best games of Week 7, but this time I am going to go with Tampa Bay.  Outside of LeSean McCoy there aren’t too many plays on the Buffalo offense for their opponents to sweat over.  The Bucs’ “D” will have to play better this week than they did last week, however.

Tampa Bay 31, Buffalo 29

New York Jets (3-3) @ Miami Dolphins (3-2)

In what I think is the most shocking result of the year, the Dolphins went into Atlanta and came back from 17 down to take a win away from the Falcons a week ago.  Now, after a much maligned start to the year, Miami is 3-2 and poised to go 4-2 against a Jet team that did give the Patriots a nice punch before falling.  I do think that the Dolphins are still trying to figure out who they are on offense, but their defense is a good unit and I think that’s going to be the difference in a close game.

Miami 22, New York 20

Tennessee Titans (3-3) @ Cleveland Browns (0-6)

In a wide open AFC South, the Titans need to take control of things if they hope to live up to the preseason hype.  They’re in a good spot to do this against a Browns team that is reeling and doesn’t look like they can beat anybody at the moment.  Yup, the Brownies are on 0-16 watch again and that talk will continue after the Titans come into town and run the ball right down their throat en route to a dominant win.

Tennessee 41, Cleveland 16

Sunday, October 22nd, 4:05 e.t.

Dallas Cowboys (2-3) @ San Francisco 49ers (0-6)

Will Ezekiel Elliot be playing this week?  It looks like it as he has been granted permission to play in this game.  With that, I don’t seen any reason to believe that the Cowboys won’t bring their record back to .500.  I don’t see the Niners being as efficient on offense this week because they will not have the element of surprise this time around with new QB C.J. Beathard who did have a slightly above average game against Washington.  Unlike the Browns, however, the 49ers do have some good things to build off of in a winless season.  At least they are keeping their games interesting.

Dallas 26, San Francisco 17 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Sunday, October 22nd, 4:25 e.t.

Denver Broncos (3-2) @ Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)

Just when we were all starting to raise our eyebrows with the Broncos, they come home off of a BYE and get embarrassed by the New York Giants.  Now they hit the road and take on a Charger team that is beginning to get it’s bearings.  L.A.’s offense is still having difficulty finishing drives and that will have to change this week if they want to win.  Phil Rivers tends to play well against Denver, however, and I see that continuing here as the Chargers claw their way back in the AFC playoff picture.

Los Angeles 21, Denver 20

Seattle Seahawks (3-2) @ New York Giants (1-5)

The Giants finally got into the win column against the Broncos in a game that was largely dominated by their defense.  Go figure it came on the road in a tough place to play sans all of their best offensive players.  Good luck figuring this league out.  Anyways, do I see New York pulling off a second straight upset?  No, I do not.  I’m predicting the Seahawks to go on a bit of a run here with an NFC that is very much anybody’s for the taking.

Seattle 36, New York 19

Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)

I love the move of this game to Sunday afternoon because this should be an intense game pitting the surging Bengals and the Steelers who are fresh off of their somewhat surprising road win over KC.  The Steelers defense is becoming the strength of the team and it should show up strong here as Cincy and Pittsburgh typically produce low-scoring affairs.  Running game and defense will get the job done in the Steel City and I am going with the home team on that note.

Pittsburgh 23, Cincinnati 17

Sunday, October 22nd, 8:30 e.t.

Atlanta Falcons (3-2) @ New England Patriots (4-2)

The Falcons just lost a close game to Miami a week ago at home while the Patriots closed out a tough road win over the Jets.  Now hosting the Falcons who are in a bit of a tailspin offensively, the Patriots look to regain their position of supremacy atop the AFC with a win.  However, their defense is still getting shredded by every opponent this year and that provides a good opportunity for the Falcons to have a get-well game on the road.  That said I’ve learned my lesson picking against the Pats in prime time in the past so I’m not doing it here.

New England 34, Atlanta 28

Monday, October 23rd, 8:30 e.t.

Washington Redskins (3-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (5-1)

The Eagles look like the best team in the NFC right now and have won games with their offense and their defense.  The Redskins always play Philly tough, but I don’t think that will give them a win on Monday night.  The ‘Skins are a little too banged up for me to like their chances going on the road and getting a “W”.  Not to mention, but I’ll mention, the Iggles tend to do pretty well on Monday Night Football, especially against Washington.

Philadelphia 32, Washington 24

2017 Season: Week 6 Preview

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

Last Week: 8-6

Season: 44-33

Locks: 1-4

Upsets: 1-4

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

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

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

Philadelphia 26, Carolina 20

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

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

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

Atlanta 37, Miami 14

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

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

Houston 30, Cleveland 10

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

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

New Orleans 27, Detroit 24

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore 29, Chicago 13

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

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

New England 30, New York 15

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

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

Washington 27, San Francisco 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arizona 26, Tampa Bay 25

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

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

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

Oakland 21, San Diego 20

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

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

Kansas City 38, Pittsburgh 24

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

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

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

Denver 35, New York 7

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

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

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

Tennessee 28, Indianapolis 17

2017 Season: Week 5 Preview

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

Last Week: 6-10

Season: 36-27

Locks: 1-3

Upsets: 1-3

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

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

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

New England 35, Tampa Bay 29

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

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

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

Tennessee 27, Miami 14

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

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

New York 22, Cleveland 17

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

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

Indianapolis 40, San Francisco 16

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

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

Pittsburgh 29, Jacksonville 13

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

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

Philadelphia 27, Arizona 14

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

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

New York 19, San Diego 16

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

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

Cincinnati 22, Buffalo 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oakland 17, Baltimore 13

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

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

Seattle 30, Los Angeles 27

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

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

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

Green Bay 35, Dallas 28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minnesota 23, Chicago 6

2017 Season: Week 4 Preview

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

Last Week: 10-6

Season: 30-17

Locks: 1-2

Upsets: 1-2

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

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

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

Green Bay 31, Chicago 14

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

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

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

Miami 28, New Orleans 22

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

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

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

Minnesota 26, Detroit 19

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

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

New England 38, Carolina 21

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

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

Jacksonville 23, New York 12

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

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

Atlanta 32, Buffalo 22

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

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

Houston 21, Tennessee 20

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

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

Pittsburgh 20, Baltimore 9

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

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

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

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

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

Cincinnati 21, Cleveland 14

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

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

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

Los Angeles 23, Philadelphia 21

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

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

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

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

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

San Francisco 16, Arizona 10

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

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

Oakland 26, Denver 17

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

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

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

Seattle 34, Indianapolis 10

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

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

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

Kansas City 30, Washington 21