Category Archives: NFL

NFL Playoff Picture Heading toward the Final Quarter of Year

AFC: 

The AFC Playoff Picture is unquestionably interesting and intriguing because of the different races that are occurring. The first of the three races is between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers for the number one overall seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. If the Steelers are able to win on Monday Night against the 5-6 Bengals, they will move to 10-2 and put themselves into a tie with the Patriots for the number one overall seed. The Steelers would be given the number one seed in this situation because they have a better winning percentage in common games. This is due to the fact that the Steelers were able to beat the two teams that the New England Patriots suffered defeats to early in the season, Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers. Although both teams will definitely end up with playoff positions and first round byes, this race is incredibly important because of the home field advantage at stake. Over the past several years, the Steelers have had solid teams with impressive offensive talent, but they have not been able to overcome Tom Brady in Foxborough. Although it is possible that Roethlisberger and the Steelers can win in New England, in reality there only chance at reaching the Super Bowl and defeating the reining world champions is if they play them at Heinz Field. Fortunate for fans, the owner of the best record in the AFC will be decided in two weeks, when the red hot Patriots, winners of eight straight games, head into Pittsburgh to face the high flying Steelers. This is set to be an intriguing matchup, but I believe the Steelers will win due to their home field crowd.

The second race in the AFC playoff picture is the AFC West Division. After the first half of the season, it looked like the Chiefs were not only going to win the division, but also were the favorites to win the Super Bowl. However, since the midway point, the Chiefs have looked like one of the worst teams in football and are now tied with the Raiders and Chargers for the AFC West Crown. Although none of these three teams are particularly impressive or dominant, the Chargers are the most likely to win the division and claim the fourth playoff spot and a home game in the Wild Card round. Not only do they have an elite quarterback, who has led his team to the playoffs multiple times, they have the easiest of the three schedules and are the hottest of the teams. It is likely that 9-7 or maybe 8-8 will win the divisional crown, but the Chargers should win at least 2-3 of the remaining four games to clinch a playoff spot.

The final race in the AFC is for the final Wild Card position. At both 8-4, the Jaguars and Titans will make the playoffs as either the AFC South Champion or other Wild Card position. However, the 6th position is still up for grabs. The Ravens are currently the owner of the spot and it is likely that they remain in the playoffs. Although the Ravens should make the playoffs, it is more due to the strength of their remaining schedule or I should say lack of strength than their actual talent. Outside of a tough game at Pittsburgh, the team is playing at the Browns and then at home against the Colts and Bengals to finish the season. Although the team is volatile and goes through stretches in which they have trouble scoring or playing well in tight games, they will finish the season at 10-6 and play serious January football.

NFC:

While the AFC has a clear difference in power between the top teams and teams that are struggling to make the playoffs, the NFC is stacked with quality teams. This race became even more interesting after the Philadelphia Eagles were defeated by the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle on Sunday Night Football. The loss moved the Eagles in a tie for the first overall seed with the Minnesota Vikings. However, due to tie breakers they are the second seed. Over the past several weeks, the best team in the NFC and maybe the league is the Minnesota Vikings. The combination of great defense and impressive quarterback play from surprise starter Case Keenum enabled the team to defeat the Rams in Minnesota and Falcons on the road. The Vikes still have tough games verses the Packers and Panthers, but they are definitely going to make the playoffs and should keep at least a first round bye. The Eagles are in a similar situation because they will win the NFC East and should be able to claim a first round bye, especially if they can beat the Rams next week.

The next four playoff seeds will be fought between five different teams, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, and Atlanta Falcons. The final four weeks should be incredibly exciting and high quality football because they will be competing against each other to claim their division title and playoff or Wild Card position. Ultimately, it is most likely that the Seahawks will win the NFC West over the Rams and the Saints over the Falcons and Panthers. The Seahawks have the fortunate opportunity to play the Rams at home, which should be the difference because they rarely lose at home. The Saints should claim the NFC South because they are the most complete team. Brees is the best quarterback of the bunch, even though Matt Ryan and Cam Newton are no slouches, and the defense, which has been notoriously terrible for years, is now above average. In addition, the Saints’ schedule is conducive for the championship because they do not have any difficult matchups besides for the Falcons. The last four weeks of the season should be interesting and exciting football as the playoffs come fast.

 

2017-2018 NFC Division Preview

NFC East

Winner: Dallas Cowboys

The NFC East should be the most exciting division in the NFL. Not only do they have some of the most heated rivalries in the entire sport, they possess four solid teams that could all make the playoffs and win the division. However, the Cowboys are still the favorites even with the loss of Ezekiel Elliott for the first six games. There is no doubt that Zeke is one of the best running backs in the NFL because of his combination of power and speed, but the Cowboys have one of the best offensive lines, which significantly contributed to his success. In addition, Darren McFadden represents a solid backup who should be able to handle the role for the first third of the season. Without Zeke, the Dallas defense, which was underrated last season, and Dak Prescott need to elevate their games and prove that their success from last season can be repeated. If the Boys do not claim the division for the second straight year, the next favorites are the Giants. The Giants have a plethora of talent on both sides and on paper may be the best team in the division. However, their shaky offensive line and injury history are factors that could keep them from matching their talent.

NFC North

Winner: Green Bay Packers

Seemingly every year the Packers are predicted to win the division, but always find a way to either make things interesting or lose the NFC North title. With only Mitchell Trubisky, Matthew Stafford, and Sam Bradford as the other quarterbacks in the division, Aaron Rodgers has a huge leg up on the competition and should win the division every year. The amount of weapons on the Green Bay offense is never questioned, but the offensive line must be able to keep Rodgers up in the pocket for him to exploit his matchups. In addition, their acquisitions on defense, especially in the secondary, should improve a unit that consistently ranks toward the bottom half of the NFL. If the Packers are unable to claim their second straight division crown, it will be due to injuries on the offensive line and defense, improved play from Minnesota’s quarterback whether it be Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater, or significant enhancement of the Lions’ defense to complement Matthew Stafford and his offensive barrage.

NFC South

Winner: New Orleans Saints

Outside of the NFC East, the NFC South has the potential to be one of the most interesting division because of the quarterback depth.  The Saints have been mired in mediocrity for years and Drew Brees is nearing the end of his legendary career.  The Saints’ offense is blessed with multiple options such as former All-Pro Adrian Peterson, Willie Snead, Mark Ingram, and Michael Thomas, while the defense has slowly been improving over the past few years. The Saints are never going to have one of the best defenses in the league, but their great offense and home-field advantage should let them complete for the NFC South. Last season, the Falcons were the undisputed best team in the division and nearly won the Super Bowl, but they are destined for a setback this season. The Panthers recently made the Super Bowl, but they do not have a reliable offensive line to keep Newton upright in the pocket. The Buccaneers are also a team on the rise, but Winston has not shown an ability to lead a team to the playoffs.

NFC West

Winner: Seattle Seahawks

Last year, the NFC West was one of the weakest divisions as the Cardinals did not live up to expectations and the 49ers and Rams were awful. The Seahawks beefed up their team this offseason with the addition of Sheldon Richardson, one of the premier pass rushers in the league. On offense, the team has the potential to be elite if Eddy Lacy and Jimmy Graham can return to form, Russell Wilson continues his progression as an elite quarterback, and the offensive line stays healthy. On defense, they are still one of the best with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson, and Cam Chancellor. In addition, the Seahawks still have the best home field advantage in football at CenturyLink Field. The Rams have the chance to step forward, if Goff can make significant improvements in his second year. The Cardinals were a dark horse candidate to win the Super Bowl last season before everything fell apart, but they still have the talent with Carson Palmer, David Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald to compete for a playoff position.

Fantasy Football Strategies for 2017

Fantasy football has been around for decades and instead of slowing down the whole industry is only heating up. You can turn on your satellite radio, television, or computer and instantly be greeted by fantasy football news and advice. With the 2017 fantasy football season around the corner we are going to be joining the noise in order to bring you some of the best advice you could hope to get. The 2017 fantasy football season is about to begin, drafts are coming, and leagues are ready to be won. Are you ready to hoist the trophy? Listed below you’ll find our tried and trued advice to enjoying a successful 2017 fantasy season.

Diversify Your Leagues
Before you go to the draft you need to take a moment to look at HOW you are drafting. The most common form of fantasy football over the past decade has been the season long format that platforms like ESPN and the NFL have made so popular. In these formats you pick a team and ride with them for a full 14 weeks, or 16 if your league goes the whole year. These leagues are a ton of fun because you get to grow with your team and develop them over the course of the whole year. However, daily fantasy sports are also giving players a unique opportunity. DRAFT is an extremely popular daily fantasy site that gives gamers the chance to use the fantasy draft format in order to play in weekly leagues against players around the world with huge monetary prizes in the middle. Try each league and see which one treats you well!

Research, Research, Research
We don’t expect you to turn into Adam Schefter overnight but if you are going to succeed in fantasy football this season, particularly during the draft, you are going to have to do some major research. Fortunately for us the internet exists and the fantasy football industry is booming. You can find custom tailored Twitter feeds of the latest breaking news related to the NFL. Use this to your advantage. Don’t be the guy selecting Cameron Meredith in the 5th round because you didn’t see him tear his ACL five minutes ago during meaningless pre-season action. Along with social media news you can also find mock drafting rooms, drafting cheat sheets, and average draft position information.

Evaluate Your League
If you are playing fantasy football for the first time then you likely don’t know all of the little twists involved in a fantasy football league’s scoring system. Each system is going to be a little bit different and those differences can add up. If you are in a fantasy league that offers 6 points for passing touchdowns then suddenly quarterbacks are a whole lot more valuable. If you are in a fantasy league that offers PPR settings, which means points per reception, then slot receivers are worth a whole lot more. Analyze your league’s scoring system and then tailor your draft to those rules. You’ll be shocked by the kind of value you can get from your draft by approaching it this way.

Understand Key Positions
Travis Kelce is an elite tight end. He is probably the #2 tight end off the board. Still, don’t pick him until super late in the draft. The top tight end in fantasy football will fail to outscore the #10 wide receiver. The #10 wide receiver will struggle to outscore the #15 running back. Do you see where we are going with this? Focus on elite positions first.