Tag Archives: Dallas Cowboys

Thanksgiving Edition of Previews and Predictions for Week 13

By: Jon

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions:

The Packers need to slow the Lions in order to win the game
The Packers need to slow the Lions in order to win the game

The Packers and the Lions will be fighting for their playoff lives, when the two teams meet on Turkey Day in Detroit. Lately, the Packers have been dominating the Lions, 15 of the last 16 games and five straight, but the Packers do not have Aaron Rodgers for this contest. Instead of Rodgers, the Pack will be starting Matt Flynn at quarterback. Although Flynn has been horrible with other teams, he has experienced success with the Packers. The Packers have been reeling lately, after they lost Aaron Rodgers with a broken collar bone. Before their game against the Vikings, the Packers have lost three straight games, which has put them in their current position. The Packers were on set to lose another last week, until Flynn replaced Scott Tolzien and led the Packers to a tie. After the Packers replaced Tolzien, Flynn threw for over two hundred yards and one touchdown. After Flynn returned off the bench, the Packers offense totally revitalized and Eddie Lacy returned to his former self. Lacy rushed for over 100 yards for the first time in the last three games because the Vikings could not load the box with Flynn at quarterback. With the offensive support, the Packers’ defense had new life and played great during the second half of the game and overtime. While the Packers look like are improving, the Lions have looked horrible over the last two games. After reaching 6-3, the Lions have been horrible over the last two weeks, losing to the Bucs and the Steelers. The main problems with the Lions have been their defense and knack for committing turnovers. Over the past two games, the Lions have not been able to establish a pass rush, which has allowed them to allow 30 points per game. Along with the porous defense, the Lions have committed 8 turnovers over the past two games and Stafford has thrown 5 interceptions. Although the Lions have been piling up yards, they have found ways to lose games. This rivalry has improved over the past few seasons because the two teams have added talent. This game should be close, but the Lions will probably win the game at the end of the day. The Pack have played well against the Lions, which should give them confidence during the game. The game will be high scoring, if Flynn plays well, because neither have a great defense.

Prediction: Lions win 34-31

Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys:

Dallas are trying to take the next leap and make the playoffs
Dallas are trying to take the next leap and make the playoffs

Like every Thanksgivings Day, the Cowboys will be playing at home. The Raiders have been playing horribly as of late and have lost three of their last four games. The Raiders’ offense has been atrocious over the last few games. Since Terrelle Pryor was injured a few games ago, Matt McGloin has been radically inconsistent. Matt McGloin has averaged 171 passing yards and has completed only 55% of his passes over the past few games. Although McGloin has not thrown interceptions like Pryor, he does not have the explosiveness or dual threat ability like Pryor. Although McGloin has not lost games for the Raiders, he does not improve the team. Along with McGloin unable to lead a passing game, the running game has not been effective as well, since the loss of Darren McFadden. The lone bright spot of the Raiders offense has been Rashad Jennings. Over the past four games, Jennings had rushed for 100 yards twice and 410 total yards over the four games. While the offense has been bad, the Raiders defense has been horrendous as well. Since the Oakland defense has been horrible, it is unlikely that they will be able to stop Tony Romo and the Dallas offense. After a huge win against the Giants, the Cowboys have a great chance of making the playoffs. However, Dallas has been open to losing trap games and this game is a trap game. If the Boys are going to win this game, they must not over look the matchup and play as well as they did against the Giants. Tony Romo must not throw interceptions and continue finding his big play receivers and tight end. Along with the Cowboys success on offense, the Cowboys have been great at forcing turnovers on defense. Although the Cowboys can give up lots of yards, they should be able to build off of their strong performance from last game and shut down the Raiders’ offense. The Cowboys will probably be able to force a few turnovers against the Raiders and blow out the Raiders at home. On offense, the Cowboys should be able to score at will because they are fully healthy and the team is finally meshing. The Cowboys should be able to win by double digits in this game on Turkey Day.

Prediction: Cowboys win 31-20

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens:

Brown has stepped up and will be a big factor in this game
Brown has stepped up and will be a big factor in this game

The Ravens and Steelers will meet again on Thanksgiving and the winner should be in position to make the playoffs as the last wild card position. Although the Steelers started the season 0-4, they have played great since their bye and have won 5 of their last seven games. During their streak, they have won their past three games and are playing like a playoff quality team. The Steelers have won their previous meeting against the Ravens and hope that they can go 2-0 against their rivals. The Steelers have played well because their defense has been playing great and Ben Roethlisberger is playing like the two time Super Bowl Champion. Besides for the Lions 24 point outburst in the second quarter, the Steelers have allowed only 24 points over the past three games, while scoring 87 points. Over the past three games, Ben has thrown for over 800 yards and 7 touchdowns, while only throwing one interceptions. Although the running game has been stuttering over the past few weeks, Antonio Brown has stepped up and has looked like a number one receiver. During the past three weeks , Brown has recorded 350 yards and 4 touchdowns. Along with Brown, Jerricho Cotchery has been great in the red zone and has made great clutch catches on third down. The Steelers hope that Ben Roethlisberger will continue his success against the tough Ravens defense. The Ravens have flipped flopped over the last few games, but played very well last week against the Jets, especially the defense. Although the Ravens offense have not posted great numbers, they have switched their offensive philosophy, which will help their team in the future. The Ravens have started to run the ball more often over the past few games. Although they did not have success running on the Jets, like many teams, the threat of running the ball with Ray Rice enabled the wide receivers to speed past the cornerbacks and catch the ball for big yardage. Last season the Ravens took advantage of Flacco’s huge arm and Rice’s legs. Along with the Ravens offense, the defense has improved over the last few games.  Although the Ravens are improving, the Steelers have been playing great football. The defense has improved greatly and will be able to stop the Ravens, like the Jets. On offense, the Steelers will score on the Ravens defense. However, the game should be close and a classic.

Prediction: Steelers win 21-19

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns:

MJD must lead the Jags to a win
MJD must lead the Jags to a win

After starting the season 0-8, the Jaguars have won two of their last three games and are playing inspired and quality football the past few weeks. The improvement for the Jaguars has been due to their ability to force turnovers on defense, while limiting the turnovers on offense. Over the past few weeks on offense, the Jaguars have kept their offense simple for Chad Henne at quarterback. The Jaguars offense has been predicated upon Maurice Jones Drew so Chad Henne is not asked to do too much and lead the offense by himself. Over the past three games, MJD has scored a touchdown in each of the past games. Along with the emergence of MJD, Denard Robinson has been given more touches because of his dynamic ability and his ability to change the game offensively. While the offense is improving, the defense has taken great strides. The defense has been able to stop the run, which has made the opponents one dimensional on offense. Since the Jaguars have been playing poor quarterbacks and will be playing another this weekend, their plan to stop the run and force quarterbacks to beat them should lead them to success. While the Jags have been playing better, the Browns have been playing badly since the loss of Brian Hoyer. The Cleveland offense has been horrible and has averaged only 15 points per game over the last two games. Besides Josh Gordon on offense, the Browns have no play makers that can stress the defense and threaten defenses. Brandon Weeden cannot throw four good passes in a row, which makes it difficult for the Browns to sustain a drive. Along with Weeden, the running game for the Browns have been atrocious, which has destructed their team. Although the Browns have one of the worst offenses in the league, their defense is one of the top defenses in the league. Although they have had trouble in recent games, they are ranked top 6 in the league in passing and rushing defense. Although the Browns do not have a great pass rusher, their great secondary has given the rushers more time to reach the quarterback. The Browns have been successful in the secondary because they have Joe Haden. Haden has the ability to be like Darrelle Revis and stop the opposing offense’s best receiving threat. Although Haden can shut down a receiver, the Jags do not have a top wide receiver that they must throw to. The Jags should be the favorite in the game because they have been playing well and are a better road team than home team. MJD will lead the Jags on offense and their defense should be able to stop the Browns and win the game.

Prediction: Jaguars win 24-17

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts:

Luck is trying to rush the Colts into the playoffs
Luck is trying to rush the Colts into the playoffs

The Colts and Titans are both fighting for their playoff lives this weekend. Although the Colts have a great chance to make the playoffs, they have not been playing well, especially at the start of games. The Colts should have lost their last four games, but Andrew Luck has been great at returning his team out of a big hole. Last week, the Colts played their worst game of the season at the Cardianls, 40-11 loss. The problem with the Colts has been their defense. Although they played great defense and had a great pass rush at the beginning of the season, they have allowed, on average, 33 points per game during the last four games. The defense has added pressure to Andrew Luck, which has forced him to throw more interceptions. Along with a poor defense, the Colts’ lack of running game has forced Luck to throw a lot of passes. Also, teams have been able to drop multiple men back in coverage and wait for Luck to throw the ball to his wide receivers. To make matters worse, the Colts lost their top receiver and leader Reggie Wayne for the season with an ACL. Without Wayne, the Colts do not have a number one wide receiver and TY Hilton is not a legitimate number one recover in this league. While the Colts have been playing inconsistently, the Titans have been poorly, as well. Since Muhammed Wilkerson wretched Jake Locker in week 4, the Titans have not been the same football team. While the defense has been consistent, the offense cannot score points with regularity. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not a good enough quarterback to lead a team to the playoffs. Although Fitzpatrick can play well against poor defenses, Fitzpatrick cannot lead an offense against a quality defense, without throwing numerous interceptions.  In the game against the Colts two weeks ago, the Colts won the game 30-27. In the game, Fitzpatrick did not throw a touchdown. Chris Johnson had the best game of the season. The Colts will be looking to stop Johnson, since Ryan Fitzpatrick cannot lead the Titans past the Colts. The Colts had success last time on the ground, which would make the Colts indefeasible. The Colts are playing at home, this game, which should give them added determination to win the game. The game should be close, but the Colts will likely be close. Andrew Luck’s ability to find receivers in close games will be the reason why the Cots win this week.

Prediction: Colts win 31-24

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings:

Matt Forte has achieved big games against the Vikes
Matt Forte has achieved big games against the Vikes

The Bears are tied for first in the NFC North and hope that they can reach the playoffs for the first time in three years. Although Jay Cutler has missed the past few games with any injury, Josh McCown has been great for the Bears over the past few games. The Bears have been 2-2 since the lost of Cutler, but they are still tied with the Lions in the NFC North. The Bears have been great on offense because McCown has been solid and they have great talent on offense. McCown life has been better because he has Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte, and Martellus Bennett. In the past four games he started, Josh has thrown for over 200 yards in each of the games and has only thrown one interception while completing 7 touchdown passes. Along with the wide receivers, Matt Forte is a great running back for McCown because he can run effectively and catch passes out of the backfield, when others are covered. Forte has compiled 1250 total yards from scrimmage this season. While the Bears offense is dynamic, the defense has been struggling of late because they cannot stop the run. Since they have lost many people to injuries, the defensive line and linebacking core is depleted and they do not have the depth maintain decency. Over the past four games, the Bears have allowed at least 145 yards on the ground. This week, the Bears will be in trouble because they are playing the best running back in the league, Adrian Peterson. This season has been an absolute disaster for the Vikings because they have had unstable quarterback performance. The Vikings have found that Christian Ponder is not the quarterback for the future. Along with a horrible quarterback, the Vikings do not have any quality wide receivers to help Ponder grow and improve as a quarterback. The lack of performance in the passing game has made Adrian Peterson’s life incredibly difficult. Although Peterson is a great back and will rush for about 1500 yards this season, the offensive line does not provide holes for Peterson. Along with the lack of holes, Peterson has been hampered by nagging injuries the whole season. In this game, the Bears will need to stop the run, in order to win the game. However, the Bears will make sure that Peterson does not have a huge game and blow the game open. On defense, the Vikings do not have any options for the Bears and they talented play makers. In their previous game in week 2, the Bears exploded for 31 points and the Vikings were unable to stop the Bears passing attack. The game should be close, but the Bears should be able to win.

Prediction: Bears win 24-20

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles:

In the battle of the Birds, the Cards need to win to stay in the playoff picture
In the battle of the Birds, the Cards need to win to stay in the playoff picture

Although this game seemed like a bad game int he beginning of the season, the Eagles and Cardinals are two teams over .500 and have chances of making the playoffs. Since Foles over took Michael Vick in the Giants game, he has been great in every game, except against the Cowboys. On the season, Foles has thrown 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions while leading the Eagles back into the NFC East division standings. Although Foles has been good, the offense as a whole has been clicking on all cylinders, since the defeat at the Cowboys. In the past three games, the Eagles are 3-0 and have scored 33 points per game. Much of Foles’ success this season can be attributed to the wide receivers of the Philadelphia Eagles. DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper have played great football and have given Foles open targets deep down the field. Along with the passing game, Shady McCoy has led the number one rushing attack in the NFL. McCoy is great because he can run with power, make people miss, and catch the ball out of the backfield. Along with the offense, the Eagles defense has improved, but they will be tested this weekend against the Cardinals. While the Eagles have been a surprise, the Cardinals are the best kept secret in the league. Although the Cardinals were thought to have another down season, they are currently tied with the 49ers for the 6th place in the NFC. The Cardinals have won four straight games, including a blow out win against the Colts last week. In the past few games, Carson Palmer has played quality football. Over the last two games, Palmer has looked like the quarterback that led the Bengals to the playoffs nearly a decade ago, while throwing for a total of 733 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. The development of Malcolm Floyd as a number two wide receiver has given Palmer another option, besides Larry Fitzgerald. In the past few games, the Cardinals’ running game and the combination of Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington have started to strike fear into opponents and have forced defenses to honor the running game. Besides the Cardinals offense, the Cardinals defense has given up 15.5 points per game in their last four games, while they have been scoring 30 points per game. In this game, the Cardinals and Eagles should post a lot of points. However, the Cardinals will likely win the game because they are playing better defense. Although the Eagles should play better at home, they play better on the road so the home field is not really an advantage.

Prediction: Cardinals win 38-31

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers:

The offense lines will be important so they can run effectively
The offense lines will be important so they can run effectively

The Bucs are heading into Carolina on a three game winning streak. The Bucs are playing their best football of the season and have surprised many during their wins against the Dolphins, Falcons, and Lions. The Bucs have been playing better because Mike Glennon has steadily improved throughout the season. Glennon has found a magic connection with Vincent Jackson, which has enabled them to move down the field and score points with regularity. Along with the improved passing game, the running game has been consistent, although they lost Doug Martin for the season. Although Bobby Rainey did not have a quality game, he drew attention from the Lions’ defense, which enabled Glennon to find his big play receiver. Besides the improved offense, the defense has been great over the past few games. The opponents have allowed 23 points per game during the past three games. The good defense can be attributed to the success of the secondary, which has plenty of star power. The Tampa secondary held Stafford to less than 300 yards, while throwing four interceptions. The Tampa defense, especially Darrelle Revis, when he was playing in the first half, was able to hold Calvin Johnson to only 119 and no touchdowns, which is fantastic, considering current games. While the Bucs are playing well, the Panthers may be the hottest team in the league. The Panthers’ success is due to their great defense. The Panthers” have won seven straight games because the defense has no given up more than 20 points in any game, during the streak. The Panthers have allowed less than 13 points per game this season. Along with the great defense, Cam Newton has provided clutch play, which has vaulted them above other quality teams during their streak. Although Cam is not a game manager, he does not take many chances because he knows that opponents cannot go the whole field against his defense. Newton is the best dual threat quarterback in the league so teams must be ready for his speed and size. Newton’s ability to run sets up open passes to Steve Smith and Greg Olsen. In this game, the score will be low scoring because they both possess ferocious defenses. However, Carolina should be the favorite because they are a better team with more fire power and have been more clutch than the Bucs.

Prediction: Carolina wins 27-20

Other game Predictions:

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets:

Prediction: Dolphins win 17-13

New England Patriots at Houston Texans:

Prediction: Patriots win 31-17

Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills:

Prediction: Bills win 30-20

St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers:

Prediction: 49ers win 27-13

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs:

Prediction: Broncos win 27-23

Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers:

Prediction: Chargers win 34-30

New York Giants at Washington Redskins:

Prediction: Giants win 20-13

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks:

Prediction: Seahawks win 30-24

Pics and Stats from ESPN.com

Game Analysis for Week 7 in the NFL

By: Jon

As week seven begins, many teams are determining if they are playoff contenders or should consider looking toward next season. This week has a few good games that should excite fans around the country. With a number of storylines such as Manning’s return to Indy, the return of Gronk, and the Pittsburgh-Ravens matchup, the games should be intense and close.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons:

Courtesy of ESPN
Courtesy of ESPN

Before the season commenced, many NFC South fans were looking forward to this matchup. In the preseason both teams had high expectations. However, neither team has met expectations and they have a combined one win between the two teams. The Falcons have been devastated by injuries the last few weeks, but this game could be the worst. After playing 133 straight games, Roddy White will finally miss his first NFL game in his career. Along with White, the Falcons will be without former All-Pros Julio Jones and Steven Jackson. Although the passing game has been efficient, the Falcons inability to run the ball with consistently has greatly constricted their offense and caused problems for Ryan and the wideouts. While the Falcons continue to lose their offensive weapons, the Bucs show that they have none to speak of. Tampa Bay’s offense has been dreadful this season because of their poor quarterback play. Even though Glennon has been nominally better than Freeman, he is still an awful NFL quarterback. The Buccaneers rank last in passing yards per game, which can be directly attributed to their horrible quarterback performances. Besides the quarterback position, the Bucs have a good offense on paper with Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, and Mike Williams. However, the trio has greatly underperformed because of injuries and a poor quarterback. This season, the Bucs rank second to last in yards and points per game while their running game, a supposed strength, is ranked 20th in the league. Although the Bucs defense has been steady this season, I do not expect them to score enough points against Matt Ryan on the road to beat the Atlanta Falcons in a must win game for Atlanta.

Prediction: Atlanta wins 27-14

Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions:

Courtesy of Bleacherropert
Courtesy of Bleacher Report

While the Bucs and Falcons have underachieved this season, the same cannot be said about the Bengals and Lions. Through the first six weeks of the season, both teams have looked like playoff teams, but for different reasons. While the Lions possess a dynamic and fast offensive attack, the Bengals have a solid defense that can stop any offense in their tracks.  Both teams are currently first or tied for first in the division and could use a quality win to maintain their leads. The Lions offense has been dynamic this season because of their skill positions like Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, and Mathew Stafford. Currently, the Lions are top ten in yards, passing yards, and points per game. While the Lions have been great on offense, the Bengals have been equally impressive on defense. The Bengals are top ten in yards, passing, rushing and scoring defense per games because of their great defensive line. Cincinnati’s defense is led by Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, and Michael Johnson. Although Stafford has not been great against top teams in his career, the Lions should use their speed and skill to overwhelm the Bengals and win the game. A win against the Bengals would propel the Lions to a 5-2 record, which would be significant for a team with little experience. The Lions will probably need 10 or 11 wins to make the playoffs. On the other hand, the Bengals are not desperate for a win. Even if the Bengals lose, they will maintain a lead in the AFC North.

Prediction: Lions win 30-27

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins:

Courtesy of Miami Herald
Courtesy of Miami Herald

After a 3-0 start to the season, the Dolphins have lost their last two games. The Dolphins desperately need to win this game if they want to compete for the AFC East crown or a playoff spot in the AFC. Although the Dolphins spent a lot of money on Mike Wallace this offseason, he has been extremely ineffective and unworthy of the exorbitant contract. Although Mike Wallace has not been successful, the Dolphins passing offense has been much better than their running game. If the Dolphins are going to succeed this season, they must improve their rushing attack. Luckily for the Dolphins, the Bills are one of the worst rushing defenses in the league. Lamar Miller should be able to grow his confidence and gain a rhythm. The Bills will be led by Thad Lewis against the Dolphins. The two second year player out of Duke was solid during his first start of the season. However, Lewis does not have a lot of talent. Also, the Bills running game has not experienced the same success as last season. CJ Spiller has been hurt all season and has not exploded like last season. The game should be a low scoring game as both have decent defenses, but inconsistent offenses. The Dolphins should have a better chance because of extra time they were given during their bye week, last week. Since Manuel injured himself two weeks ago and cannot start, the Dolphins should win the game. A Dolphin win would put them only one game behind the Patriots, if the Pats win against the Jets this week.

Prediction: Dolphins win 17-14

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles:

Courtesy of NFL Rush
Courtesy of NFL Rush

In a fight for the NFC East crown, the Boys will be heading to the city of brotherly love for first place. Although the Eagles have been incredibly inconsistent, they have a 3-3 record and a share of first place. After a stellar performance against the Bucs last week, the expectations for Foles are extremely high. However, we have seen this before from Foles. Last season, Nick experienced similar success against the Bucs, but failed during his other starts. The Eagles have a lot of talent on offense, but their defense has not been good. Currently, the Eagles rank 28th in the league in points allowed at almost 30 points per game. If the Eagles can continue scoring points at a rapid pace, they may be able to reach the playoffs and win the division. However, the Cowboys have been solid all season. Even though the Cowboys have three losses, they have come by a combined 13 points. Two of the Cowboy’s losses have been against the two undefeated teams in the league, Chiefs and Broncos. If the Boys can maintain their hold of first place by week 11, the Cowboys should be in great shape in the NFC East. Currently the Cowboys are dealing with several injuries to big name players such as Demarcus Ware and DeMarco Murray. The Cowboys should win this game. Romo has been playing with consistency this season and should outplay Nick Foles. Since it is not December or January, Romo should play his best and lead the Cowboys to a win and first place in the NFC East.

Prediction: Dallas wins 27-20

Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins:

Courtesy of USA Today
Courtesy of USA Today

After a magical year where RGIII led the Redskins to the playoffs, the Redskins have only one win after the first six weeks. After the knee injury and surgery, RGIII has not been the same dynamic player. Robert does not have the same ability to scramble out of the pocket and run for first downs or find an open receiver down the field. Although the Redskins are recording a lot of yardage, they have not scored a lot of points because they are committing turnovers. Although they are improving from the line of scrimmage, they were horrible last week in special teams and lost the turnover battle. The lone Redskin win has been against the lowly Oakland Raiders, who have only one win this season. Although the Redskins have been unsuccessful this season, they are the favorite at home against Chicago. Although Chicago is 4-2, they have not faced the fiercest competition. However, the Bears are a talented team with a lot of potential and talent at the skill positions. With the recent emergence of Alshon Jeffery, the Bears now have four quality players that can make a big play on offense, Bennett, Jeffery, Marshall, and Forte. If Cutler can manage his mistakes over the final two-thirds of the season, the Bears will be a playoff team and should compete with the Packers for the NFC North Division. Although the Bears do allow a lot of yardage, they are the best team in football at forcing turnovers. The Bear’s cornerbacks are one of the best in the league at jumping routes and turning poor passes into interceptions. The Bears should win this game and feel happy going into their bye week before a Monday Night tussle against the hated Packers.

Prediction: Chicago wins 30-21

St. Louis Rams at Carolina Panthers:

Courtesy of Ibtimes
Courtesy of Ibtimes

Although the Panthers have started 2-3, they have steadily improved since their bye week in week 4. Over the past few games, Newton has been more effective at scoring points. In two of the last three games, the Panthers have scored more than 35 points. However, the part of the team that has improved the most is the defense. This season, the Panthers rank top seven in both rushing and passing yards. The key to the Panthers offense is their ability to run the ball. The Panthers currently rank 7th in the NFL in running yards per game. The Panthers ability to ground and bound has enabled them to control the pace of the game and the time of possession. The Rams have won two straight and own a 3-3 record in the difficult NFC West. Although they will not reach the playoffs, the Rams could build off of this season for the next one. After two down years, Sam Bradford has improved and looked the former number one pick in the draft. The Rams have scored at least 34 points in their last two games. The Rams are coming off of their best win of the season, which should inspire them to play well this week. If the Rams can become one game over .500, it may energize their fan base and give them the necessary energy to make the playoffs. However, the Panthers should win this game because they have the home crowd on their side and the momentum from their starting quarterback.

Prediction: Panthers win 31-28

San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Courtesy of ESPN
Courtesy of ESPN

It looks like another lost season for Jacksonville. Since the departure of David Garrard, the Jags have been looking for any sort of stability at the quarterback position. However, this draft they may be able to pick Teddy Bridgewater. The Jaguars will probably be selecting in the top two because it is unlikely that they will win more than 3 games this season. Although this looked like a possible win at the beginning of the season, San Diego has exceed expectations and seems like a playoff contender. The Jags will be starting Chad Henne at quarterback for the injured Blaine Gabbert. Although Jacksonville has been the worst offensive team in the league, they may be able to turn around their misfortunes. During last weeks valiant effort against the Broncos, Justin Blackmon broke out and looked like the dominant wide receiver that the Jags were hoping to draft when they picked him inside the top ten a few years ago. Also MJD had his best game of the season last week, which should propel him in the next few weeks if they give him the ball. Although the Jags seem to be improving, they will not win against the Chargers and Phillip Rivers. Rivers has regained his success this season for the Chargers. After a few roller coaster seasons, Rivers looks like the top tier quarterback that led the Chargers to numerous playoff victories. The key to Rivers’ success has been his ability to limit interceptions. This season he has thrown only 5 interceptions while compiling 14 touchdowns. With a lack of running talent, Rivers must continue to throw for big yards and limit the turnovers, in order for the Chargers to compete in the AFC West. The Chargers are hot after a great win against the Colts on monday night, so they should win comfortably.

Prediction: Chargers win 27-13

New England Patriots at New York Jets:

Courtesy of NY Daily News
Courtesy of NY Daily News

In the most compelling matchup of the 1PM games, the New England Patriots will be headed into the Meadowlands to play the New York Football Jets. After a tightly contested first matchup, the Jets and Patriots game should be another close game. Similar to their week 2 matchup, the Patriots will be greatly affected by the injury bug. Along with Amendola, who was injured for the last game, the Patriots will be without Mayo, Wilfork, and Talib. An argument can be made that these are the three most important players on the defense. Wilfork is a run stopper, which will be vital as the Jets want to establish a quality running game. Mayo is a good linebacker who calls all of the Patriots’ defensive plays, which means that their defense may be unorganized during the first half of the game. Talib has been one of the best corners in the league. Last week, he dominated Graham and intercepted Smith twice in their week two meeting. However, the Patriots will return All-World tight end Rob Gronkowski back to the lineup. Gronk is a physical beast and has a mismatch against every defensive player. Although Gronk will not be 100%, he should help in the red zone, as the Patriots are currently 30th in red zone efficiency. During the first six weeks of the season, the Patriots wide receivers have been extremely inconsistent and unreliable. Although Dobson and Thompkins had solid games against the Saints, they were horrible against the Jets in week 2, as they dropped numerous passes. If the Patriots lose the game, they can fall into a first place tie with the Dolphins, who are playing the Buffalo Bills. The Jets have been preparing for this game, since they lost at New England in week 2. Rex desperately wants this win, as it could be the last time he coaches against Belicheck with the Jets. The Jets defense should improve as Dee Millner will be returning from a hamstring injury this week. The Jets will need all their pass rushers and cornerbacks in order to stop Brady for the second time this season. Since their last matchup, the Jets front seven has significantly improved with the emergence of Mohammed Wilkerson and Damion Harrison and the addition of Quinton Coples. Although Smith looked horrible in the fourth quarter against the Patriots, he has grown as a quarterback and is making better decisions with the football. If Smith only threw one or two of his three interceptions, the Jets would have won the game. This whole season has been a roller coaster ride for the Jets. Since they had a poor performance last week, they should rebound and come away with the upset win at home in front of 50,000+ raucous fans.

Prediction: Jets win 27-24

Other Predictions:

San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee Titans:

Prediction: 49ers win 34-17

The 49ers are hot and the Titans have not played well since losing Locker. Although he will come back, the 49ers represent too big a hurdle for the Titans to overcome.

Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers:

Prediction: Packers win 31-13

The Packers have looked like one of the best teams in football since their embarrassing loss to the Bengals a few weeks ago. Their offense is becoming multidimensional, which should strike fear into defensive coordinators. The Browns were playing well a few weeks ago, but the loss of Brian Hoyer and the addition of Brandon Weeden seems to significantly set back their offense.

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs:

Prediction: Chiefs win 24-7

The Chiefs are tied with the Broncos for the best record in the league and their play backs up their record. At home, the Chiefs are one of the best teams in football. The Texans are starting Case Keenum at quarterback for the first time in his life. The Chiefs should cause at least three turnovers against the young quarterback in a raucous environment.

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers:

Prediction: Ravens win 17-14

Although the teams are no longer the beasts in the AFC North, they still maintain one of the best rivalries in football. The may not possess the vicious defenses any longer, but the games are still must see television. The Steelers have been horrible this season, but they won their first game last week. The Ravens are also playing better and should earn the win in Pittsburgh.

Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts:

Prediction: Colts win 31-30

In the best and most contentious game of the week, Peyton Manning will return to play his old team. Both teams look like playoff contenders. However, Peyton and the Broncos’ play has deteriorated over the last few games. Although the Broncos will have Von Miller back for the game, the Colts offense should be able to control the clock, move the ball with ease, and ultimately win the a close game in the final few seconds to ruin Manning’s return.

Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants:

Prediction: Giants win 20-17

In one of the worst and ugliest games of the weekend, the Giants should earn their first win of the season. The two teams have combined for one win this season, but neither team has won in America.  The Giants have been playing better in the last few weeks and are playing at home. The Vikes will be starting Josh Freeman so expect a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson against the poor Giants defense. However, Eli and the offense should be able to pull out the win and give the Giants’ fan so relief and happiness for the first time this season.

Stats from espn.com

Fantasy Football outlook for week 3 in the NFL

By: Jon

Quarterbacks:

After a solid week from the quarterback position that saw 8 QBs eclipse 20 points, 2 QBs passing the 30 point mark, the quarterbacks, this week, should provide more points for their owners. Some of the top quarterbacks have weak opponents, which should allow them to accumulate a lot of touchdowns and points.

Best:

Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning should be the top scoring quarterback this week in fantasy football. Manning has been the best quarterback this season and faces a dreadful Oakland Raider defense at home. The Raiders secondary will be forced to guard the most talented trio of receivers in the league plus a solid tight end in Denver. The defenders will not be used to the altitude, which should give the receivers an advantage, especially late in the game. Manning is projected to score 23 points by ESPN, but I believe that he will score more than 25 points, as long as he plays the entire game. The last two weeks Manning has picked apart the past two champions, making them look horrible. Manning should be able to pass for over 350 yards and 3 touchdowns. Peyton scored 20 points last week while only scoring two touchdowns. This week, Moreno will not have another great game so Manning will be forced to carry the load and pass for a few touchdowns. If somehow you have another top quarterback, I would sit him because Manning will be the top scoring quarterback this week.

Top quarterback unlikely to meet expectations:

Tom Brady should experience another nightmare of a week. Brady and the Pats stay at home this week and play the Tampa Bay Bucs. Brady has been uncharacteristically bad this season, 23rd among quarterbacks in fantasy points. Brady does not have any weapons on the outside, which significantly detracts from his fantasy value. While the receivers continue dropping passes, Brady should be on the bench. The Patriots look like they will be without Gronk for the third straight week, which destroys Brady’s fantasy value. Although Brady is expected to account for 17 points, I believe that he will be closer to 10 points than 20 points this week. The Bucs have a solid defense, ranked 9th against quarterbacks and allowed Brees to only score 12 points last week. I would suggest picking up a quarterback, like the one I will mention later, to start for Brady, until Gronk returns from his injury. Although it is strange sitting one of the greatest QBs of all time, I am afraid that it is a must this week against the stout Bucs secondary.

Quarterback that will surprise owners:

For the second straight week, I will pick Sam Bradford to be my overachiever. The Rams finally gave the former first overall pick some weapons and it looks like he is improving rapidly. Bradford has passed for at least 299 yards and two touchdowns the last two weeks. Bradford has been one of the best fantasy quarterbacks this season, fifth most points among quarterbacks. Bradford is available in about 8% of league, but he should be apart of every fantasy roster this week. Although Bradford does not have the pedigree like Tom Brady, I would start him over Brady because he has more options and a more favorable match up this week. Bradford will face another favorable matchup this week when he heads into Dallas to play the Dallas Cowboys. The Boys are ranked 28th against quarterbacks this season. As a fantasy owner myself, I know that you must ride the hot hand and Bradford has been one of the best quarterbacks during the opening quarter of the season.

Sleepers this week: Schaub, Stafford, Romo, and Flacco

Running Backs:

After a shocking week that saw three of the top four running back performances coming from sleepers, fantasy owners should be searching to find the next great performance. The running back position has fluctuated this season because of injury and poor performance.

Top Running Back:

Marshawn Lynch
Marshawn Lynch

Marshawn Lynch should attempt to reproduced the greatness that he accomplished last week. After a 30 point, 3 touchdown performance, Lynch will have the opportunity to replicate his performance. Lynch and the Seahawks remain at home to play the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars are one of the worst teams and defenses in football, which plays into the benefit of fantasy owners. The Seahawks should be up early and attempt to run the ball in order to slow down the game. Lynch is expected to score only 16 points according to ESPN, but I believe that he will score closer to 20 or 25 points. Lynch should be able to reach the end zone at least twice while rumbling for around 100 yards. Lynch should be the top scoring running back again this week as long as he is not injured or taken out of the game prematurely.

Top running back unlikely to meet expectations:

CJ Spiller is rated as third best running back for week 3. However, I vehemently disagree with ESPN’s assertion. Although Spiller is a great back in the NFL, he is not a great fantasy back. Since he splits carries with Fred Jackson, his production takes a major hit. Spiller averaged 16 carries per game for the first two weeks while other top runners usually average between 20-25 carries per game. Although that may not seem like a big difference between 22 and 16, the running back with 6 more touches usually gains 25 more yards and has a higher chance of reaching the end zone. During the first two games, Spiller only has 14 points and has not reached the end zone. Spiller will also run into trouble because he is facing the New York Jets. The Jets have one of the best defenses in the league and their run defense has been great so far. Besides for shutting down other top picks, Doug Martin and Stevan Ridley, in the first two games, the defense is ranked fifth among fantasy defenses against the run. I would not suggest starting Spiller unless one does not have another decent running back because I cannot see him gaining more than 12 points.

Running back who will surprise owners:

DeAngelo Williams looks like he may have a big game at home against the Giants this week. Although he has not been great this season, 15 points, he has the potential to score a lot of points. Williams is a solid fantasy back because he is the Panther’s only legitimate threat at the running back position. Williams has averaged 20 carries and 85 yards during the first two games of the season. Williams is due for a touchdown because of the number of touches he receives during the game. The Giants have been poor this season against the run. Last week, Moreno looked like one of the best backs in football and scored two touchdowns. Although I expect the Giants to play hard and get the win, Williams should be able to put up about 15 points this game, which is solid for a flex option.

Sleepers this week: Powell, Murray, McGahee, and McFadden

Wide Receivers:

The wide receiver posted solid performances last week, 6 20 point performers. Wide receivers have become increasingly more valuable as teams decide to throw the ball over 40 times per game.

Top wide receiver:

Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson

The top wide receiver this week will be Calvin Johnson. Megatron is one of the most dynamic and dangerous players in the league because of his size, skill, and physicality. After a poor week one where he caught only 4 passes for 37 yards, Johnson exploded in week two by posting 117 yards and most importantly 2 touchdowns. Johnson is a machine that should be started every week. This week Johnson and the Lions are facing the Washington Redskins on the road. This season, Washington has been horrible on defense, especially against the pass. Last week, it looked like Aaron Rodgers was going to throw for 600 yards and 6 touchdowns. However, he settled for 480 and 4 touchdowns. Last week, James Jones, a big and physical receiver, dominated the Redskins because of his size and ability to find holes in the zone. Stafford should be able to post similar numbers because he has Johnson exploiting the defense. Johnson should have a huge game, 150 yards and a pair of scores.

Overrated Wide Receiver:

Julian Edelman is projected to score the fourth most fantasy points for wide receivers according to ESPN. However, I disagree with that statement because he is facing the Bucs. Julian Edelman is the top receiver on the Pats so he will be blanketed by Darrelle Revis. Revis is the best corner in the game and should shut Edelman down on the outside. Even when Revis lays off Edelman, he will be smothered by safeties Mark Barron and Deshon Goldson. Edelman may be Brady’s favorite target, but he is not a big play receiver and does not score a lot of touchdowns. Last week, Edelman had a good game, 13 catches, but he only accumulated 78 yards. In order for Edelman to be a top wide receiver, he must score at least two touchdowns. However, I do not see that occurring. Edelman will probably score in the 5-10 point range so owners should keep him on the bench, unless their wide receivers are depleted, like the Pats.

Wide Receiver who will have a surprisingly good game:

The rookie out of Clemson, DeAndre Hopkins, should have his second straight good day at wide receiver. Hopkins is a physically imposing player that can dominate corners and score a lot of touchdowns. Last week, Hopkins broke out for 117 yards and the game winning touchdown. With Andre Johnson’s status in flux, Hopkins could become the number one receiver for the Texans against the Ravens. Even if Johnson does play, Hopkins should have a good game because Johnson will demand double coverage. Although he is old, Johnson is still a great wide receiver and teams must put a safety to limit his success. Against 1-1 match ups, Hopkins has the physical ability to catch the ball when the defender is in his face. The Ravens have been a bad defense this year. Currently, they rank 27th against the pass. Hopkins is the complementary wide receiver that the Texans have wanted for a long time.

Sleepers at Wide Receiver: Austin, Brown, Hill, and Steve Johnson

Tight end:

The tight end position had a poor week as only one player recorded more than 20 points. However, with the possible addition of Gronk, the tight end position will grow deeper.

Best:

Jimmy Graham
Jimmy Graham

Jimmy Graham should have a solid game for the Saints this week against the poor Arizona defense at home. Graham is tied for the most points among tight ends, after his great performance against the Bucs. Graham is currently the best tight end in the game because of his size, speed, and skill. Graham is slated to be the number one tight end this week and I agree with ESPN’s prediction. In week one, the Cardinals were devastated when they had to play a tight end like Jared Cook. However, this week they will be in a lot of trouble because Graham should be able to put on a show at home. Last week, Graham scored 23 points while totalling 179 yards and 1 touchdown. Although he will not put up better or similar numbers, I think that Graham will finish with more than 100 yards and one or two touchdowns.

Overrated tight end:

Jason Witten looks like he may have another tough week against the St. Louis Rams. The Rams have been a solid defense, especially against tight ends. The Ram’s safeties and linebackers have done a great job at containing the tight end position. After a great game, I expect Tony Romo to throw at Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, instead of Witten. Last week, the Chiefs were able to limit Witten to 3 catches and 12 yards. The Rams will use a similar tactic in order to limit the Cowboys offense and stop them from gaining first downs. Last week, the Rams were able Tony Gonzalez to 37 yards and almost won the game. The Rams seem dedicated to stopping the tight end, which will spell trouble for Witten and his owners this weekend.

Underrated tight end:

Many owners should consider starting Greg Olsen this week against the New York Giants at home. Olsen has been solid this season, 19 points, including 14 from last week. Olsen and Cam Newton seem to have a relationship that should make owners happy. Last week, Olsen caught seven passes for 84 yards and a touchdown against the Bills. The Giants have been one of the worst teams at defending the run for a long time because of their poor safety and linebacker performances. Over the past two weeks, the Giants have allowed 29 points and 3 touchdowns to tight ends, which ranks 26th in the NFL. Cam should be able to find his safety blanket for 75 yards and a touchdown this week. Unless you have a top five tight end, every owner should consider starting Olsen this week at tight end.

Sleepers at Tight End: Bennett, Winslow, Fleener, and Pettigrew

Stats and pics from ESPN.com