2014 ALDS Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers are a club built around their starting pitching and middle of order hitting. During the first three games of the series, the Tigers will probably send three former Cy Young Award winners in David Price, Max Scherzer, and Justin Verlander. Along with their big three, the Tigers have Rick Porcello, who was very good and consistent throughout the regular season. Price and Scherzer represent the best duo of starters in the playoffs as both starters have ERAs under 3.30, over 225 strikeouts, and 220 innings. Even though Justin Verlander is not the same pitcher that won the MVP, he has pitched 15.1 innings while only allowing 2 runs in his last two starts. Although the Tigers do not have a great bullpen, Verlander, Scherzer, and Price are three of the most reliable starting pitchers in the league and have the strength to go the distance.

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On offense, the Tigers can be extremely streaky as they heavily rely on their 3-4 hitters Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. Fortunately, the duo are two of the best hitters in the game. This season, Victor Martinez is a legitimate MVP candidate as he is hitting .335 with 35 home runs, 103 RBI, and an OBP of .409. Victor Martinez would have won the MVP if he played an actually position on the field. Luckily, this will not be an issue in the ALDS as he will be able to DH every game. Along with Martinez, Miguel Cabrera has put forth another great season in the middle of the order. Although Cabrera has been dealing with injuries throughout the season, he still hit .313 with 25 home runs, 109 RBI, and 101 runs. Cabrera has been a great postseason player in the past and there is no need to doubt his future success this postseason. Besides Cabrera and Victor Martinez, the Tigers have many other complementary players that can lead them to a championship, such as JD Martinez, Ian Kinsler, and Torii Hunter. If the extra players continue to hit against top pitching, the Tigers will have a legitimate chance at winning the AL Pennant ad World Series.

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The achilles heel of the Tigers this season and last postseason was the bullpen. The Tigers tried to improve their bullpen by signing Joe Nathan and trading for Joakim Soria at the deadline, but they did not succeed. It is unlikely to change this offseason because Joe Nathan has never been a great postseason closer. Outside of Nathan, Al Alburquerque, Joba Chamberlain, and Phil Coke are not world beaters. In the postseason, a good bullpen is vital and will probably cause for the eventual demise of the Detroit Tigers.

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Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles are a team built for the regular season, but they want to silence their doubters this postseason. Many believe that the Orioles will not win the World Series because they do not have a legitimate ace or top starters in their rotation. This season, the Orioles starting five, Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Kevin Gausman, and Bud Norris, represented the most consistent rotation in the league. This year, all five starters had an ERA under 3.65 and 20 starts. The closest thing that the Orioles have to an ace is Chris Tillman, who posted a 3.34 ERA with 207 innings, 150 strikeouts, and 13 wins. Tillman and rookie Kevin Gausman will need to lead the pitching staff because they have the best arms in the bullpen. If the Orioles are unable to make it out of the first round, it will because their starting pitching was unable to match the great starters from the Tigers. Due to the great bullpen, Buck Showalter will ask his starters to only pitch 6-7 innings before turning the game over to their bullpen.

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Similar to the Orioles pitching staff, the Orioles’ lineup is incredibly deep, but possesses a lot more talent and explosiveness. Although Cruz hit 40 home runs and knocked in 108 RBI, the best hitter in the lineup is Adam Jones. Jones has posted another great season, .281 with 29 home runs, 88 runs, and 96 RBI, and should receive a few MVP votes. As I mentioned before, Cruz was able to undergo a renaissance after the 50 game suspension for PED. Cruz showed that his prior success was not due to the drugs as he batted .271 while leading the league in home runs. Besides for the big hitters at 3-4, the Orioles have Nick Markakais, JJ Hardy, and breakout star Steve Pearce. The periphery players will likely decide the winner of this series. The Orioles have been a home run team throughout the regular season and will need to continue hitting the long balls in order to win. Although the Tigers pitchers are great and through extraordinarily hard, they have tendencies to allow too many home runs.

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While the starting pitching and the lineup have been good, the most dominant part of the team has easily been their bullpen. Although Andrew Miller, Zach Britton, and Darren O’Day are not household names, they have been three of the best relievers in baseball. They have been great because they each have ERA under 1.75, WHIP under 0.90, and have pitched in at least 68 games. Although the Orioles do not have great starting pitching, Showalter will likely take out their starters after 6 or 7 innings and give the ball to their bullpen. If Showalter can take a lead into the 7 inning, they will likely win every game this postseason. The Orioles do not have an advantage in starting pitching or maybe hitting, their bullpen may be the key to winning this series.

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Prediction – Tigers win in 5 games

Although the Orioles have great home run hitters and a fabulous bullpen, I cannot predict against the Tigers because their pitching is too good. In the first three games of the series, the Tigers will be starting the last three Cy Young winners, Scherzer, Price, and Verlander. The Tigers will likely win two of those games due to their great pitching. Although their do not have great arms in the bullpen, each pitcher can go the distance. Even if the Tigers face a 1-2 deficient heading into game 4, they can turn to their workhorses Scherzer in game 4 on three days rest and Price in game 5 with 4 days rest. The series will be extremely close, but the Tigers have been in the postseason each of the past five years and I expect their experience to lead them over the O’s.

Week 4 Previews and Predictions

Last Week Predictions: 9-5

Season Totals: 9-5

 

Green Bay Packers (1-2) at Chicago Bears (2-1):

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For the second game this season, the Packers’ offense has underachieved, which has led them to an under 500 record. The main problem on offense is the Packers’ inability to run the ball and the lack of depth on the outside. Last season, Lacy was one of the best young backs in the league, but this season he has not reached 45 yards in a game. Besides for Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers does not have faith in any other tight end or receiver. While the Packers’ offense has sputtered to start the season, the Bears possess one of the most feared offenses in the league. Although Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall have dealt with injuries, the combination of the duo and Martellus Bennett make it too difficult for opposing teams to defend. Similar to Lacy, Forte has not had a great season. Although the Packers have struggled lately, Aaron Rodgers is feeling pressure from the fans and he has played well against the Bears in the past.

Packers win 27-24

Buffalo Bills (2-1) at Houston Texans (2-1):

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After starting the season 2-0, both teams played horribly in week three and lost their first game of the season. Although the Bills started well on offense during the first two weeks, they could not reproduce the same explosiveness at home against the Chargers. The Bills two most dynamic players, Sammy Watkins and CJ Spiller, were held to a total of 44 yards. The Bills’ defense has been impressive during the first three weeks of the season and should continue this weekend. During the Texans’ contest against the Giants, fans were able to notice the importance of Arian Foster to the Texans’ offense. The Texans have been an interesting team because they have been accumulated less yards than their opponents, but have won 2 of their last 3 games. Without Foster’s home run ability, the Giants were able to double team star wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson. If Foster can play effectively through his tight hamstring, the offense should be able to score enough points at home to win the game.

Texans win 20-17

Tennessee Titans (1-2) at Indianapolis Colts (1-2):

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After an impressive week one, the Titans have been dominated the last two weeks and many are questioning Jake Locker as the starter. Locker has averaged only 210 yards and more interceptions than touchdowns this season. Although the Locker has underperformed, he has no talent on offense. Along with the poor offense, the defense has allowed 29.5 points per game over the last two games. Unfortunately, they will run into another high scoring offense this weekend in Indy. After losing two heartbreakers, the Colts took out their anger on the Jags and won 44-17. Although this game should be closer, Luck will throw for 350 yards and 2 touchdowns for the third straight week. Along with Luck, the duo of Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw has taken some of the pressure off of Luck on offense.

Colts win 34-10

Carolina Panthers (2-1) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1):

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After two weeks of great play, the Panthers were trounced by Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and the Steelers on Sunday Night Football. Neither the offense nor the defense were very formidable. Unfortunately, the Panthers will take a hit on offense without the services of Jonathan Stewart or Mike Tolbert. If the Panthers are unable to run the football, they will be unable to score because they do not have great weapons on the outside. Along with their underachieving offense, the defense has not been as ferocious and aggressive this year. The Ravens will be hoping to take advantage of the Panthers at home. Although they have been without running back Ray Rice, Joe Flacco has been very efficient over the past two games and led the Ravens to 2 wins. Along with their improved offense, the Ravens’ defense has averaged only 13.5 points over their past two games against division rivals. Flacco will look to abuse the Panthers’ porous secondary with Owen Daniels, Torrey Smith, and Steve Smith.

Ravens win 24-17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1):

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The Bucs have been by far the worst team in the NFL, which has surprised many experts and fans. The Bucs have faced numerous injuries to key positions, including quarterback, Josh McCown, and defensive tackle, Gerald McCoy. The Bucs were absolutely destroyed last Thursday night and Lovie Smith will ensure that his team brings enthusiasm on the road this weekend. The Bucs will hope that Mike Glennon and Vincent Jackson can rekindle the connection they made last season. The duo of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown has led the Steelers’ offense. After losing a few pounds this offseason, Bell has a new found quickness and explosiveness, which allows him to reach the second level and past linebackers. Also, Brown and Roethlisberger have developed one of the best relationships in the league. While the Steel City’s offense has been solid, the defense has many questions after the loss of three starters during the game last week. Eventually, the lack of depth on the Steelers’ defense will cause them to become exposed, but not against this horrible offensive attack.

Steelers win 27-13

Miami Dolphins (1-2) at Oakland Raiders (0-3):

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Similar to the Bucs, the Raiders have been bad, but mildly competitive. Besides for the contest against the Texans, the Raiders’ defense has been very reliable and nearly led them to two wins over the Jets and Patriots. However, the offense is undergoing a rebuild with Derek Carr at the head of the offense. Although Carr has not been horrible, 3 interceptions, he is not going to lead the Raiders to many wins this season. Unfortunately, Derek Carr’s weapons James Jones and Darren McFadden are not very formidable players to opposing defenses. Although the Miami Dolphins are in year three of their latest rebuilding project, they still have major questions at the quarterback position. This week, Coach Philibin was not committed to Ryan Tannehill as their quarterback. After a great week 1, the Dolphins’ offense has averaged only 12.5 points per game against the Bills and Chiefs. Along with a poor passing attack, the running game is non-existent like last season. Coach Philibin may have been noncommittal to Tannehill because he wants to inspire the young quarterback. Unfortunately, Tannehill took the message the wrong way, which has led to a distraction. The Raiders will not have many other winnable games after this matchup against the Dolphins.

Raiders win 17-13

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) at San Diego Chargers (2-1):

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The Jaguars have looked very bad over the first three weeks, but this week should shed a beam of light on season as Blake Bortles will be starting his first game at quarterback. During the preseason and the end of last week’s game against the Colts, Bortles has shown the ability to be a very good quarterback. Although Bortles does not have many weapons, he is a big and athletic player that can run and pass. Although the defense was supposed to be improved with the addition of Gus Bradley, they have been dreadful. The Chargers and Philip Rivers will look to take advantage this weekend. Over the past two weeks, the Chargers have looked like the best team in football with wins over the Seahawks and on the road against the previously undefeated Bills. This season, Rivers has carried over his great play from the previous year and maintained his status as one of the best quarterbacks in the league and a possible MVP candidate. Although the Jags will be pumped with Bortles’ start, the Chargers will dominate the game.

Chargers win 31-17

Atlanta Falcons (2-1) at Minnesota Vikings (1-2):

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Similar to the Jags, the Vikings will be starting their first round pick Teddy Bridgewater for the first time in his young career. Similar to Bortles, Bridgewater played well during the preseason and as a sub last week. Although Bridgewater does not have the same raw talent as Bortles, he is a refined quarterback and has solid weapons like Corderrelle Patterson. Although the Vikes have no running game to rely on after the loss of Adrian Peterson, Bridgewater should bring happiness to a team that has been full of controversy. However, like the Jaguars, they will be playing a hot and veteran quarterback in Matt Ryan. Although Ryan and the Falcons were horrible last season, the return of Julio Jones and Harry Douglass has given the offense more explosiveness. Although the Falcons are not the same team on the road, the Vikes will not have the necessary players to stop the dynamic and talented Falcons.

Falcons win 31-10

Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) at San Francisco 49ers (1-2):

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The Eagles and the 49ers have been polar opposites during the first three games of the year. While the 49ers have been solid during the first three quarters, they have yet to score in the fourth, which has led to their two losses. However, the Eagles are one of the best second half teams in the league. The Eagles possess one of the best offenses in the league because they can run the ball, throw the ball, and have great endurance. Although McCoy has not experienced the same success as last season, he strikes fear into opposing defenses, which assists Nick Foles in the passing game. Although Foles has thrown as many interceptions as all of last year, he has thrown for 300 yards in every game and has accumulated 6 touchdowns. While the Eagles’ offense has flourished, the 49ers’ offense has been extremely streaky. Colin Kaepernick has not lived up to his new deal and the running game has been non-existent. Along with the poor offense, their once devastating defense has been lessened to an average unit with many of their stars crippled by injuries. The Eagles may be traveling across the country and the 49ers will be desperate for a win, but they have too much momentum and skill. Ultimately, the game will be close, but their world class conditioning will be too much for the 49ers.

Eagles win 27-23

New Orleans Saints (1-2) at Dallas Cowboys (2-1):

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After spending the first two weeks on the road, the Saints finally arrived home and showed why they have one of the best home field advantages against the Vikings. Although Brees did not have a great game, he threw for two touchdowns passes and did not throw an interception. During their first game without Mark Ingram, the Saints did not possess the same explosiveness on the ground. Robinson and Thomas were held to only 3.8 yards per carry and their longest scamper of the day was only 13 yards. Against stingy defenses, this unilateral attack may lead to their demise, but not against the Dallas Cowboys. Before the season, the Cowboys were predicted to own the worst defense in the league and they have not disappointed thus far. Although the Cowboys have allowed lots of yardage and points, they possess one of the most dynamic and highest scoring offenses in the league. Unlike previous seasons, the Cowboys possess a great running back, which they have relied on during the first few games of the year. It is destined to be a high scoring contest, but the Saints will ultimately come out on top.

Saints win 34-31

New England Patriots (2-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-2):

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The Patriots may have a record above 500, but they do not look like the team that many predicted to advance to the AFC Championship Game and maybe the Super Bowl. The Patriots have not met expectations because Tom Brady has not been even an average quarterback. Although he has yet to throw an interception, he has averaged only 200 yards per game and a touchdown. Outside of the Vikings’ game, when the defense led the Patriots to 30 points, the Patriots have averaged only 18 points against the Raiders and Dolphins. On the positive side, the Patriots defense has been exceptional and allowed only 8 points per game. Similar to the Patriots, the Chiefs have not met expectations and have not shown the same physicality as last season. The absence of Jamaal Charles has been a major problem for the Chiefs, but Kniles Davis has been impressive in relief. Last week, Alex Smith looked very good on offense and passed for three touchdowns. Ultimately, the Patriots with their strong defense and secondary will win a close low scoring game at Arrowhead Stadium.

Patriots win 23-17

 

Pics and Stats from ESPN.com

NFL Week 3 Previews and Predictions

San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (2-0):

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During the first two weeks of the young season, the Bills and Chargers are the two biggest surprises in the NFL. The Bills are the most surprising team to start 2-0 as they defeated two quality teams, @Bears and Dolphins. While the Chargers lost week 1, they came back with vengeance and defeated the defending Super Bowl Champions, Seattle Seahawks, 30-21. After a shaky week 1, Philip Rivers had one of his best games of his career as he threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns against the Legion of Boom. Due to the Bills’ average secondary, Rivers should have another solid game, especially with the reemergence of former All-Pro Antonio Gates. The Bills are building around a new, young, and explosive nucleus of EJ Manuel, CJ Spiller, and Sammy Watkins. The trio’s performance significantly improved last week, but the experience and skill of Rivers and company will likely be too much for the Bills at home.

Chargers win 27-20

Dallas Cowboys (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-1):

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After losing both their first games in embarrassing fashion, the Boys and Rams were able to obtain their first win of the season in impressive fashion. The Cowboys’ offense looked as explosive as advertised with DeMarco Murray rushing for 167 yards and a touchdown. The Rams’ tenacious defense was able to contain the Bucs and their solid offense to only 17 points. This week, the story-lines will revolve around the Cowboys’ high flying offense and the Rams’ deep and talented front four, but it will likely be their weaknesses that determine the outcome of the game. The lack of talent and experience on the Rams’ offense will ultimately cost them the game in a low scoring, close affair.

Cowboys win 20-17

Washington Redskins (1-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-0):

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The Eagles have been one of the strangest teams in the NFL yet they have the best record in the league. During the first half of their first two games, they have been outscored by 31 points, but outscore their opponents by 48 points in the second half. This unique circumstance can be attributed to their cutting edge fitness and technology, which has them significantly fitter than their opponents. The talent on offense and the underrated players on the Eagles’ defense make it an extremely challenging matchup for the Redskins this weekend. After a disastrous week 1 and start to week 2 with RG3, Kirk Cousins took the reins of the offense and led them to a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Although Cousins has provided the Redskins with new energy, enthusiasm, and stability at quarterback, their defense cannot match the Eagles’ speed and playmakers out of the backfield, McCoy and Sproles, at Lincoln Financial Field.

Eagles win 31-17

Houston Texans (2-0) at New York Giants (0-2):

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While Houston has surprised fans around the league with their efficient passing game and impressive running attack, the Giants have struck little fear into their opponents. During the first two games, Eli has resembled his ineffective 2013 season as he has thrown 4 interceptions and only 3 touchdowns. Along with Eli’s inefficient play, the offensive line has been disastrous, which has led to countless pressure on Eli and the running game as been virtually non-existent.  Although Ryan Fitzpatrick has been known for his inaccuracy, he has yet to throw an interception compared to three touchdowns. The Texans’ offense has been successful because Bill O’Brien has decided to put the ball in the hands of their best playmakers, Foster (55 carries), Johnson (12 catches), and Hopkins (7 catches). Along with their impressive offense, the defense should contain the Giants’ offense to under 17 points with studs like JJ Watt, Brian Cushings, and Jonathan Joseph. Although O’Brien has stated that he wants to limit Foster’s carries, they will continue to run the ball in order to set up the play action pass and have one-on-one match-ups on the outside.

Texans win 24-13

Minnesota Vikings (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-2):

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The Saints have lost their first two games in heartbreaking fashion, but will finally return to one of the best home field advantages in sports to play the disjointed Vikes. This season, Drew Brees has started very well and should continue his hot play on the turf in the Superdome. The Saints hope that their fifth ranked defense last season will return to past form against the Adrian Peterson-less Vikings. For the second straight week, the Vikings will be without their best player due to the ongoing controversy about him and his son. Last week, the Vikes were a disaster on offense as Matt Cassal was forced into making numerous throws into tight windows and threw 4 interceptions. Like the game against the Patriots, this one should be over at the half, if the Vikings are lucky.

Saints win 34-10

Tennessee Titans (1-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-0):

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The Bengals entered the season as one of the favorites to win the AFC and have not disappointed so far. Over the past two weeks, the Bengals have shown that they can win in a multitude of ways: passing, rushing, and defense. Although AJ Green may be hampered this week with a toe injury, the Bengals have more than enough weapons, Gio Bernard, Mohammed Sanu, Jeremy Hill, to score enough points and win the game. Similar to the Dallas Cowboys last week, Andy Dalton should have an efficient day and the Bengals should march up and down the field against the Titans. After an impressive win at Arrowhead Stadium against the Chiefs, the Titans were handled by the Cowboys’ atrocious defense at home. Jake Locker and company will need to take their game to another level this weekend if they are even going to reach 20 points against one of the most talented defenses in the league.

Bengals win 26-17

Baltimore Ravens (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1):

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Amid the Ray Rice controversy and saga, the Ravens were easily defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers at home last Thursday night.  The Ravens were able to have success because they established a ground game with Bernard Pierce, Joe Flacco was able to hit on 21 of his 29 passes for two touchdowns, and the defense played a great game against a talented Steelers’ offense with Bell and Brown. Although the Ravens surprised many experts, nobody saw the Browns giving the Saints their second loss of the season last week. Due to the late game heroics of Brian Hoyer and the emergence of a running game, the Browns scored a game winning field goal on the final play of the game. The victory over the Saints quieted the Johnny Manziel chatter for at least another week, even though he came into the game to throw an incompletion. Dealing with another week of the Ray Rice saga, may eventually wear on the Ravens as they play their first game away from M&T Bank Stadium.

Browns win 24-21

Green Bay Packers (1-1) at Detroit Lions (1-1):

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After losing to the Seahawks on opening night and falling down 21-3 against the Jets in the first half, the Packers nearly fell to 0-2. However, Aaron Rodgers was able to make a connection with Jordy Nelson and the Packers finished the game on a 28-3 run to collect their first win of the season. Although the Pack were able to win, they have yet to establish a running game with second year back Eddy Lacy, although they have played two of the best rush defenses in the league. This week, Green Bay is set to play another ferocious front four at Detroit’s Ford Field. After the first week of the season, the Lions looked like one of the best teams in the NFL as they overpowered the Giants on defense and the connection between Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson seemingly could not be stopped. However, they were unable to find the same success in Cincy. Playing again at home against a soft Packers’ secondary should allow Stafford to throw for big numbers against their NFC North division rival. However, the Pack seem like a hotter team after a great second half and should continue their hot play this week.

Packers win 37-33

Indianapolis Colts (0-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2):

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In a competition between 0-2 teams, the Colts need to add a 1 in the win column, if they are going to win the AFC South division. The Colts played one of the hardest schedules through the first two weeks of the season, @Broncos and Eagles. Although Luck has become one of the seven best quarterbacks in the league, they have not reached great heights on offense because the running game is simply non-existent. During the first half of last week’s game, the Colts were able to run effectively and are hoping to create a stable rushing attack this week against the Jags. Although the Jaguars started the season with a 17-0 lead at the start of the second half against the Eagles, they have been outscored by by 65 points in the last game and a half. While the Colts’ running game is poor, the entire Jaguars’ offense is horrible because Henne is an incompetent quarterback, Toby Gerhart has not met expectations, and the offensive line allowed 10 sacks last week. The Colts’ offense should be able to overpower the lackluster Jaguars and claim their first win of the season.

Colts win 28-13

Oakland Raiders (0-2) at New England Patriots (1-1):

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The Pats started the season with a disappointing loss against the Dolphins, but rebounded last week to romp the Minnesota Vikings. Although the Patriots scored 34 points, the offense was not very intimidating. The Pats’ defense recorded four turnovers and blocked a field goal and returned it for a touchdown. The Pats have enforced a conservative offensive attack as Tom Brady has thrown for only 400 yards and 2 touchdowns on 55% passing. While the Brady-led offense has underachieved, Oakland’s offense is absolutely horrible. For example, the current leading rusher is quarterback Derek Carr with 57 yards on 5 carries. As a passer, Carr has not been impressive, but has not thrown away games for the Raiders. However, the experienced Patriots secondary will record at least two picks against the young signal caller. The Patriots have been a great home team since Belichek and Brady joined forces and will continue their dominance.

Patriots win 27-13

San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (2-0):

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The Cardinals are 2-0 this season, but are at risk of falling out of playoff contention, if Carson Palmer does not return from injury. The Cards will able to defeat the Giants on the road last week behind their physical defense and rushing attack. However, the Cardinals will have an extraordinarily difficult time scoring with Drew Stanton at quarterback in the future when they play some of the toughest defenses in the NFC. Unfortunately, the Cards have two of the best defenses in the league in their division and one of those teams are the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers seemed to lock in another win last weekend against the Bears before they blew at 20-7 lead in the fourth quarter. The 49ers are attempting to dread water on defense until they can return some of their injured and suspended players on defense. On offense, the 49ers paid Colin Kaepernick big money, but they should remain a ground and pound team with Frank Gore, a great offensive line, and Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin on the outside. The 49ers will answer the challenge from Jim Harbaugh and defeat the Cardinals in a physical slugfest on the road this Sunday.

49ers win 17-14

Denver Broncos (2-0) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1):

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In the marquee matchup of the weekend and probably the season, Peyton Manning and the Broncos will attempt to achieve revenge against the Super Bowl champion at CenturyLink Field. The Broncos have won their first two games, but have not shown the same dominance on offense, especially in the second half. Although the Peyton Manning has thrown for 6 touchdowns and zero interceptions, he has not posted the same yardage and Montee Ball has not been able to replicate the performance of the departed Knowshon Moreno. Although the Broncos’ defense has not been dominant, it has been clutch as they have stopped two game winning drives the past two weeks against Andrew Luck and Alex Smith. The defense will need to continue their clutch play, if they are going to slow down the Seahawks at home. The Seahawks’ home field advantage is the best in sports, which makes the Broncos’ task even more difficult. Although the Seahawks lost last week and many are questioning the legitimacy of the Legion of Boom, they have always been known to answer their critics during the most important games. On offense, the Seahawks will attempt to put the ball in the hands of their best playmakers, Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin.

Seahawks win 27-17

Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) at Miami Dolphins (1-1):

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After starting the year 9-0 last season, the Chiefs have underachieved and their team does not look as explosive or intimidating. On offense, the Chiefs took a major hit when Jamaal Charles went down due to an ankle sprain. Although Kniles Davis filled in admirably last week, Charles is one of the best running backs in the game because he can catch the ball out of the backfield, runs with power, and has elusiveness to make opposing defenders miss their tackles. Without Charles, Alex Smith may need to expand his repertoire and throw deeper throws to Dwayne Bowe and the other playmakers on the outside. Along with their lackluster offense, the defense has not forced as many turnovers or set fear into opposing offenses as last season. Although the Dolphins played a fantastic game against the New England Patriots in week one, they were horrible against the Buffalo Bills last week. The Dolphins were unable to reproduce their offensive success and the defense could not stop one of the youngest and least effective offenses. In one of the least entertaining match ups this weekend, the Chiefs will win their first game of the season and reproduce the same success as last year.

Chiefs win 24-17

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Carolina Panthers (2-0):

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After playing a great first half against the Browns, the Steelers’ last game and a half has been horrible. The trio of Le’Veon Bell, Ben Roethlisberger, and Antonio Brown make the Steelers incredibly dynamic and explosive on offense. On defense, the Steelers have not been the same physical unit as the dominant defenses in the past decade. While the Steelers’ defense has steadily declined, the Panthers’ defense continues to improve. Behind Luke Keuchley and Charles Johnson, the Panthers were able to hold the great Lions’ offense to only 7 points and Calvin Johnson to 83 yards and no touchdowns. The Panthers should be able to slow down the Steelers offensive attack and move to 3-0 on the young season.

Panthers win 24-16

 

Pics and Stats from ESPN.com