Week 8 NFL Previews and Predictions

Last week: 9-5

Overall: 43-22

Detroit Lions (5-2) at Atlanta Falcons (2-5) (in London):

Although the Lions have been without a healthy Calvin Johnson for the past 5 games, they have remained 3 games over 500. Obviously, no one can replace Calvin Johnson, one of the best wide outs in history, but Golden Tate has been tremendous, Joique Bell has been impressive, and the defense has been one of the best in the game. While the Lions are streaking, the Falcons have been awful and are riding a three game losing streak into London. The Falcons cannot play defense nor protect Ryan, which leaves them in a predicament against the Lions’ great front seven.

Lions win 27-14

St. Louis Rams (2-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-3):

The Rams are coming off a victory over the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks, which has analysts believing in starting quarterback, Austin Davis. Davis has talent and good physical attributes, which has allowed him to throw 9 touchdowns compared to only 4 interceptions. Along with the emergence of Austin Davis, the Rams’ pass rush came alive last week, which gives hope that they can reproduce their results from last season. Along with the success of the Rams, the Chiefs have won 3 of their last 4 games. The combination of their aggressive defense and relentless running attack has allowed them to remodel their success from last year.

Chiefs win 24-17

Houston Texans (3-4) at Tennessee Titans (2-5):

The Texans are coming off of consecutive losses, which has their playoff hopes dwindling. The Texans should have won last week, if they did not lose the ball twice during the last 2 minutes before the half on their side of the field. The Texans will continue to rely on their running game with Arian Foster and hope that their defense, behind MVP candidate JJ Watt, will lead them to a victory on the road against a division foe. Along with the Texans, the Titans played a tight game, but narrowly lost to the Redskins and Colt McCoy. This week, Zach Mettenberger will be making his first career start. Although he will have troubles with Watt and potentially Clowney, he has a strong arm and a high football IQ.

Texans win 20-13

Minnesota Vikings (2-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5):

Last week, the Vikings lost a heartbreaker on the road at Ralph Wilson Stadium against the Bills. Outside of the Falcons’ game, Teddy Bridgewater has not looked like a franchise quarterback, but his wide receivers and running backs have not assisted his transition into the NFL. Although the offense has sputtered, the defense has surprised many analysts and has played incredibly well. While the Vikes are coming off of a close contest, the Bucs were embarrassed and lost by 31 for the second time this season. Before the game against the Ravens, the Bucs were playing well few with Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, and starting quarterback Mike Glennon.

Buccaneers win 24-17

Seattle Seahawks (3-3) at Carolina Panthers (3-3):

This is likely a make or break game for the Seahawks as they cannot afford to fall under 500 in a division with the 49ers and Cardinals. The Seahawks have been unable to stop opposing quarterbacks and they frequently are affected by penalties. On offense, the Seahawks cannot consistently run the ball, which puts a lot of pressure on Russell Wilson and the receivers. While the Seahawks’ defense has underperformed, the Carolina defense has been awful. Last week, they were embarrassed by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Cam Newton has taken steps forward as a leader and quarterback, but he does not have many weapons to help him on offense.

Seahawks win 21-17

Baltimore Ravens (5-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-2-1):

Since their opening game against the Bengals, the Ravens have been 5-1 and look like the team that won the championship two years ago. Joe Flacco has been efficient and the offense is dynamic will Justin Forsett, Bernard Pierce, Torrey Smith, and Steve Smith. Also, the defense has been steady and has held teams under 21 points since week 1. During the first three games of the season, the Bengals looked like the best team in the league with their ferocious defense, solid passing game, and constant offensive line. However, since week 3, they have been unable to pass the ball without AJ Green and the defense has lost their swagger.

Ravens win 27-17

Miami Dolphins (3-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6):

Over the past three weeks, the Dolphins have reconstructed their season and are back in the playoff mix. After finishing toward the bottom of the league in rushes per game, the offensive line and Lamar Miller have significantly improved their running attack. Also, the defense continues to rush the passer and apply pressure on opposing quarterback. Like the Dolphins, the Jags were abel to win last week, first win of the season. Blake Bortles seems to be improving every week, although he does not have any solid receivers nor running game. The Jags may have garnered their first win, but it is unlikely that they will see more in the future.

Dolphins win 24-13

Chicago Bears (3-4) at New England Patriots (5-2):

Although the Bears possess the best weapons in the NFL with Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, and Alshon Jeffrey, Jay Cutler has been unable to distribute the ball to his playmakers, which has frustrated many fans and the players. Although Bears will lose games due to their lack of defense, their offense cannot cost them any games if they want to compete with the Packers and Lions for the division crown. After hearing the critiques about Tom Brady, the Pats have simply put together a 3 game winning streak and find themselves atop the AFC East once again. The reemergence of Tom Brady and the defense make the Pats a dangerous team going forward.

Patriots win 31-24

Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) at Arizona Cardinals (5-1):

After demolishing the Giants at home, the Eagles have been given an extra week to prepare for Carson Palmer and the stingy Cardinals defense. During their Sunday Night game, the Eagles were finally able to reestablish the running game, which has evaded them throughout the season. The addition of the running game will only amplify their great offense and assist their defense. The Cardinals continue to be one of the most underrated teams in the league. Although they do not play any one style of football, they find ways to win games, whether it is defense, offense, or special teams. Surprisingly, Palmer has played well at the quarterback position with Andre Ellington handling the ground game.

Cardinals win 31-28

Oakland Raiders (0-6) at Cleveland Browns (3-3):

The Raiders remain the only winless team in the NFL, but they have been playing better over the past few games. The combination of an improved running game has made life easier for Derek Carr, who is showing signs of becoming a future quarterback. While the Raiders’ season is over, the Browns are still alive for a wild card berth. Last week’s gam was a crushing loss on the road at Jacksonville, which has fans calling for Johnny Football. However, the Browns should continue with Hoyer because of the experience he proven ability to win NFL games.

Browns win 21-13

Indianapolis Colts (5-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3):

Since losing their first two games of the season to the Broncos and Eagles, the Colts have reeled off 5 straight wins and are my favorite to come out of the AFC. Along with Andrew Luck, the current MVP of the league, Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson make up a reasonable running game. On defense, the team has been solid so far this season, especially against the pass. Like the Colts’ offense, the Steelers have a balanced offensive attack with Bell and Brown. If the offensive line can give Big Ben enough time in the pocket, the offensive becomes incredibly difficult to stop because of the weapons on the outside. However, the defense is playing through injuries, which has held it back from reaching its potential.

Colts win 27-24

Green Bay Packers (5-2) at New Orleans Saints (2-4):

Since Aaron Rodgers told the Packers’ faithful to relax, the Packers have been the offensive juggernaut that everyone expected, which has resulted in 4 straight wins. Along with Aaron Rodgers cementing himself in the MVP conversation, Jordy Nelson has played like one of the five best wide receivers in the league and Eddie Lacy has reestablished himself as a number one back. While the Packers seem to have turned their season around, the Saints are on the outside looking into the playoff picture. Although they still have a chance at winning the division, Drew Brees needs to start playing like the quarterback that will eventually lead him into Canton. Also, the defense must start playing better and forcing turnovers, like last season’s squad.

Packers win 34-27

Washington Redskins (2-5) at Dallas Cowboys (6-1):

The Redskins’ quarterback position has been a disaster the entire season. First, it was RG3, then it was Kirk Cousins, and now it is Colt McCoy. Although McCoy was one of the best college winners of all time, he is not a NFL starting quarterback. Although he may partially succeed due to his weapons, Jackson, Garcon, and Morris, it looks like the Redskins will need to draft another quarterback next May. While the Skins are having problems, everything seems to be going well in Jerry’s World. The Cowboys are playing like the best team in football and it seems impossible to stop this offense due to the best offensive line in the league, Dez Bryant, Terrence Williams, Jason Written, Tony Romo, and DeMarco Murray. Even the defense, which was expected to cost these Cowboys numerous wins, has been solid.

Cowboys win 31-13

 

Week 7 NFL Previews and Predictions

Last week: 9-4

Overall: 34-17

Atlanta Falcons (2-4) at Baltimore Ravens (4-2):

The Falcons started 2-1, but have lost their last three because they do not possess a running game and cannot defend effectively. Matt Ryan has played well, but without help from the defense and running backs, he is helpless to defense’s relentless blitz or 8 men in the secondary. While the Falcons have been struggling, the Ravens have been very impressive and absolutely smashed the Bucs last week. Flacco has found a nice rhythm with Torrey and Steve Smith and the defense has put forth solid play.

Ravens win 27-14

Tennessee Titans (2-4) at Washington Redskins (1-5):

The Titans were able to win last week, but it was against the Jaguars and they barely held on at home. Without a legitimate threat on offense or a playmaking defensive star, the Titans are set for a long season. The Redskins have lost their last four, but their last two against the Seahawks and Cardinals have been fairly impressive. Cousins has limited his turnovers, but the running game has not been impressive, which holds back the team.

Redskins win 20-17

Seattle Seahawks (3-2) at St. Louis Rams (1-4):

After the Seahawks lost to the Cowboys at home and traded Percy Harvin, many prognosticators are wondering if the team can even make the playoffs. However, the team still has a lot of talent and has been able to silence doubters over the past two years. Along with the Seahawks poor performance, the Rams did not play well on Monday Night against the 49ers. Austin Davis is not the answer on offense and without the ability to accumulate sacks on defense the team will have trouble in the future.

Seahawks win 27-13

Cleveland Browns (3-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6):

The Browns came away with one of the best wins in the league last week as they went into Pittsburgh and defeated the Steelers. Brian Hoyer has been a revelation in the passing game and the defense has led the team to a 3-2 record. While the Browns are able to win and sit their first round pick, the Jags have yet to win although Blake Bortles have started the last three games.  Bortles has improved and nearly led the Jags to their first victory. The Jags are clearly the worst team in the league and this will not be the week where they get their first win.

Browns win 24-13

Cincinnati Bengals (3-1-1) at Indianapolis Colts (4-2):

In one of the best games of the week, the Bengals will try to rebound after tying the Panthers at home last week. It is still doubtful if AJ Green will play this week, which significantly takes away from Andy Dalton and the entire Bengals offense. However, it will likely come down to the defense, which has not been good lately, if they are going to stop the great Andrew Luck. This year, Luck has been the MVP of the regular season and seems to throw for 350 yards each week. Along with Luck, the combination of Bradshaw and Richardson has been serviceable, which has made them one of the best teams in the league.

QB Andrew Luck Courtesy of Bleacher Report
QB Andrew Luck
Courtesy of Bleacher Report

Colts win 37-31

Minnesota Vikings (2-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-3):

The Vikings looked to have their quarterback questions answered with Teddy Bridgewater when he led them to 41 points and a win against the Falcons. However, he has been hurt and his play has been shoddy, which has left people thinking that the season is over once again for this struggling franchise. However, people in Buffalo have confidence, although they lost last week to the Pats. Kyle Orton is a professional quarterback, who will give the Bills solid results, especially if the running game and defense can play well.

Bills win 21-17

Miami Dolphins (2-3) at Chicago Bears (3-3):

The Dolphins are coming off of a nice effort at home against the Packers, but desperately need a win, if they want to make the playoffs. The running game with Lamar Miller has improved the Dolphins potential on offense and their defense continues to be solid with a good pass rush. The pass rush will need to be effective, if they are going to beat Jay Cutler. The combination of Cutler, Forte, Marshall, and Jeffrey showed how dangerous they could be last week against the Falcons. With another week to heal, the quartet should be too much for the Dolphins to handle, especially at Soldiers’ Field.

Bears win 27-24

New Orleans Saints (2-3) at Detroit Lions (4-2):

The Saints have been one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL this season. The offense has not been as dynamic this season with the injury to Jimmy Graham and the ineffectiveness of Marques Colston and even Drew Brees. Along with a poor offense, the defense has not been top 10 like last season and they should continue to have troubles this week on the road. The Lions may be without Calvin Johnson again this week, but they have been winning with consistent play from Stafford and one of the best defenses in the league. The front four of the Lions is finally living up to their potential, which ahs contributed to their 4 wins.

Lions win 34-27

Carolina Panthers (3-2-1) at Green Bay Packers (4-2):

The Panthers have been impressive the last two weeks, but surprisingly due to their quarterback and offense, instead of their defense. Although the defense is allowing nearly 400 yards per game, Cam Newton is showing why is was the number one overall pick and leading his offense with his leg and arm. Similar to Newton, much of the Packers success can be attributed to Aaron Rodgers. Besides Luck and maybe Rivers, Rodgers has been the best quarterback in the league and will continue to allow his fan base to relax, if he can maintain his solid play on offense with Nelson, Lacy, and Cobb. In a high scoring contest, I will take the experience and weapons of the Packers over the Panthers.

QB Aaron Rodgers Courtesy of Fantasy Wired
QB Aaron Rodgers
Courtesy of Fantasy Wired

Packers win 31-27

Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) at San Diego Chargers (5-1):

Since their first loss against the Titans, the Chiefs have been a very good team, winning twice and narrowly losing to the Broncos and 49ers on the road. Alex Smith has been very effective and the defense has been dominating opponents, similar to last season. The Chiefs will need to continue their solid play on the road against a very good San Diego team. The Chargers, behind the play of Philip Rivers and surprise running back Brandon Oliver, have won 5 straight. Although they barely survived against the Raiders, they came away with a victory, which should keep their confidence high this week. Fans should expect a close game that will likely come down to the last seconds, like last seasons final matchup.

Chargers win 23-20

Arizona Cardinals (4-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-6):

Although they do not look like a 4-1 team in terms of talent, the Cardinals have been one of the most underrated and unmentioned teams in the NFL. Without a consistent quarterback, it is unlikely that they will go very far in the playoff. However, with their solid defense and Carson Palmer the team should win close to 10 games and definitely beat the Raiders this weekend. The Raiders confidence should be sky high, after narrowly losing to one of the best teams in football last week. Derek Carr played the best game of his career and should have the confidence maintain his success another week at home, albeit against a top defense.

Cardinals win 20-13

New York Giants (3-3) at Dallas Cowboys (5-1):

Many fans and experts were about to jump on the G-Men’s bandwagon before they were mutilated against the Eagles on national television. Without Jennings, the Giants had no form of a running attack, which allowed the Eagles to consistently blitz and sack Eli Manning. While the Giants fans were in hiding, many Cowboy fans were shouting their praise after the Cowboys pulled off the most impressive win of the season. Behind the best offensive line in football, the Cowboys were able to dominate the time of possession and the Seahawks. The Cowboys will maintain their rushing attack with DeMarco Murray because no defense has been able to stop him and the extra time on the field hides their suspect defense.

RB DeMarco Murray Courtesy of Pro Football Focus
RB DeMarco Murray
Courtesy of Pro Football Focus

Cowboys win 28-20

San Francisco 49ers (4-2) at Denver Broncos (4-1):

After a slow first quarter against the Rams, the 49ers played exceptional football. Throughout the last three quarters, Kaepernick was amazing, the running game and offensive line were impressive, and the defense was aggressive, constantly applying pressure on the quarterback. The 49ers will need another complete game if they are going to beat one of the best teams in the league on the road. Although Manning has been unable to repeat his historic season through 5 games, he has maintained his position as an elite quarterback in the league. Similar to last season, the Broncos have incredible weapons on offense and seem to have even more playmakers on defense.

Broncos win 24-17

Houston Texans (3-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3):

The Texans last played on Thursday Night and nearly completed a great comeback against the Colts. The Texans will rely on their running game with Arian Foster and pass rush with JJ Watt and possibly Jadeavon Clowney in order to make big plays. The trio will need to make a lot of big plays in order to match the skill of Pittsburgh. The Steelers have played very bad football over the past three weeks, including an embarrassing loss to the Browns last week. Since their demolition of the Panthers, the Steelers have not experienced much success and it is unlikely to turn around this week.

Texans win 21-17

 

Week 6 NFL Previews and Predictions

Last Week: 10-2

Overall: 25-13

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) at Tennessee Titans (1-4):

Since the first half in the first game against the Eagles, the Jaguars have been horrible because they cannot run the ball and Bortles is still learning how to play quarterback on the pro level. Along with a poor offense, the defense cannot stop anyone, which should give confidence to a struggling Titans’ offense. The Titans will likely be starting Charlie Whitehurst although he blew a 25 point lead last week. The Titans do not have much talent, but they should have more talent than the lowly Jags and want to win in front of their fans.

Titans win 23-17

Baltimore Ravens (3-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-4):

Since re-starting Mike Glennon, the Bucs have been a significantly better offense and the talent on the outside is being used effectively. The improved passing attack has caused the moral of the defense to rise and more running holes on the offensive line. However, the Ravens have been impressive this season, offensively and defensively. With Torrey Smith and Steve Smith, Flacco has been able to attack defenses and the defense has been a constant force.

Ravens win 27-24

Detroit Lions (3-2) at Minnesota Vikings (2-3):

Besides for a disappointing loss last week, without Calvin Johnson, the Lions have been a very entertaining and explosive team with Bush, Bell, Tate, and their talented front seven. Although Johnson may not play again, they will be more used to playing offense without the best wideout in the league. While the Lions have been a dynamic team, the Vikings do not have many big play players, which makes it difficult for them to score points. The lack of talent on offense and defense and the injury to Teddy Bridgewater will allow the Lions to win their fourth game of the young season.

Lions win 24-14

New England Patriots (3-2) at Buffalo Bills (3-2):

The Patriots are coming off of a very impressive performance against the Bengals as Brady was able to find the fountain of youth and the defense played at a championship level. With a healthy Gronk and the emergence of Tim Wright, Brady has two tight ends that made him a great quarterback the past few seasons. While the Pats were able to solve their quarterback issues, the Bills still have questions although Kyle Orton had a good performance last week. The Bills never seem to be able to beat the Pats in a big game so I expect the Pats to hold on for their fourth win.

Patriots win 27-17

Carolina Panthers (3-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-1):

The Panthers’ defense seemed to be heading into the wrong direction before Cam Newton and the defense was able to carry them to a win this week. The Panthers’ defense and running game is not the same as last season, which has held them back thus far. Without a solid running attack to go along with Cam, the Panthers will not be able to score enough points against the tough Bengals’ defense. The Bengals do not play well in pressure filled situations, but that should not hold them back this week. Dalton, although without AJ Green, should be able to score enough points with Sanu and Bernard.

Bengals win 24-13

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) at Cleveland Browns (2-2):

The Steelers are coming off of two bad games as they lost to the previously winless Bucs and only beat the dreadful Jags by 8. Although the Steelers do not rely on their defense like in the past, the Steelers are successful because they have a great offense lead by Brown, one of the most consistent wideouts in the league, Bell, one of the most underrated running backs, and Big Ben, a two time champion. Although the Browns hoped that Johnny Manziel would be the answer at QB, Brian Hoyer has been very successful, leading a 25 point comeback last week. Hoyer will make the game close, but the Steelers are great against the Browns and they should win the game.

Steelers win 21-20

Green Bay Packers (3-2) at Miami Dolphins (2-2):

The Packers have experienced an up and down season, but they have been playing better of late with the reemergence of Eddie Lacy and the great play of Aaron Rodgers. Before a bye last week, the Dolphins took advantage of a very bad Oakland team and Ryan Tannehill answered a few of the previous questions. The Dolphins are unlikely to be able to stop the high powered offense, which will push their record below 500 once again. Along with their average defense, the offense will not be able to match Rodgers because Tannehill is not a good quarterback and their running game is not existent.

Packers win 31-21

San Diego Chargers (4-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-4):

The Chargers have been the best team in the league over the past four weeks, after destroying the hopeless Jets last week. The Chargers have been great because Philip Rivers has been the MVP thus far and the defense is very impressive. While the Chargers have been great, the Raiders rival the Jags due to their lack of talent. The Raiders will be wrecked this week as Rivers will likely throw for 275 and 3 touchdowns, while the Raiders and Derek Carr show their inability to move the ball on offense.

Chargers win 27-6

Chicago Bears (2-3) at Atlanta Falcons (2-3):

The Bears have lost their last two contests against the Packers and Panthers because their defense has been mediocre and the offense has not been as explosive as advertised. Jay Cutler has thrown for 2 interceptions the past two games and Jeffrey, Bennett, and Marshall has not been able to separate from corners. The Bears are very similar to the Falcons, but the Falcons have Matt Ryan at quarterback. Although Ryan does not play great outside, he is a great quarterback at home. A healthy Julio Jones, Steven Jackson, and Roddy White should be able to lead Falcons to a win this week.

Falcons win 31-28

Dallas Cowboys (4-1) at Seattle Seahawks (3-1):

The Cowboys have been great this season because they are able to control the ball with DeMarco Murray while Romo has thrown more conserved passes to Bryant and Williams. Although they were expected to possess another horrible defense, the Boys have been an average defense, which has led them to 4 straight wins. Outside of the penalties, the Seahawks looked impressive last week and they were playing on the road. The Seahawks are the best team in the league at home. Russell Wilson’s MVP caliber season and the Legion of Boom should lead the Seahawks to a tightly contested matchup against the Boys.

Seahawks win 27-24

Washington Redskins (1-4) at Arizona Cardinals (3-1):

The Redskins have not looked very impressive the last two weeks and Kirk Cousins does not looked like a franchise quarterback. Cousins and the Redskins’ offense is set to play another aggressive and impressive defense, which will make it difficult to score many points. Although the Cardinals defense is impressive, their quarterback is a major question mark after Stanton went down with an injury. If Carson Palmer cannot return, rookie Logan Thomas will need to play, which will affect their offense. However, in a low scoring game, the Cardinals should be pull out a win at home with a quality running attack and very good defense.

Cardinals win 13-10

New York Giants (3-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-1):

The Giants started the season with two horrible games, but have been absolutely great over the past three games. The Giants’ offense has been great with Manning, Randle, Beckham, Cruz, and a quality running game. Along with their good offense, the defense is underrated and has applied a lot of pressure. While the Eagles were great the first three weeks, they have not been as impressive the past two games. LeSean has been very average to below average this season, which has caused Foles to throw more interceptions than last season. The game should be a very impressive and rather high scoring contest, but the Giants should be able to pull out a win on SNF.

Giants win 30-27

San Francisco 49ers (3-2) at St. Louis Rams (1-3):

The 49ers have been very good the last two games because they have relied on their very good defense and running game. The combination of Gore and Hyde has allowed Kaepernick to throw more conservative passes and easier passes to Davis, Boldin, and Crabtree. The speed of the 49ers’ defense and offense will overwhelm the poor Rams’ defense. Although Austin Davis almost led the Rams to a comeback last week, he is not a trustworthy quarterback and he has not succeeded it against a very good defense like the 49ers.

49ers win 24-16