Week 14 Analysis and Predictions

Ok so of course the week i start doing blogs for my predictions and analyses is when I have my worst week of the season. Many teams made me look like a pick em fool last week. Its ok though because I’ve never had back to back bad weeks and I don’t intend to start now. This week is when the playoff puzzle pieces are falling into place and the picture of the postseason is becoming clearer. The Ravens have proven for yet another week why they are a force to be reckoned with and the Bengals finally chalked up a W. The Seahawks have usurped the 49ers as the strongest team in the NFC but the Saints are doing their best to make the Seahawks share the seat. Many stories are playing out right now and this is one of the most exciting times of the year. It’ll be an exciting week of action and I’m excited to watch it all unfold. With that being said, let’s get down to it.

COWBOYS (6-6) @ BEARS (6-6)

The Thursday night matchup is an interesting one for sure. The Cowboys have been a standout offense this season but have lacked the ability to win close games against solid and mediocre teams alike. When the moment has called for heroism or a game breaking play, they’ve fallen short. The offense has been phenomenal, as they’re ranked 1st overall. Prescott is playing well and they’re rushing attack is top 10. They just havent been able to convert that key first down in crunch time or make the key defensive stop when they need it most. The Bears have been a rather different story. The Bears defense has been rather impressive. They rank 7th overall and are 4th in points allowed per game. The offense however has been far short of good. They rank 29th overall and have sorely missed guys like Howard and Trubisky has taken a step back in his growth. He was a solid game manager capable of putting up enough points and killing time at the end of games. This season he’s been struggling to make key throws and find a rhythm. You can’t be a skilled game manager if you can’t move down the field and put your team on top. The Cowboys are solid on both sides of the ball and I look for them to be playing with desperation as they try to stay on top of the NFC East. Give them the win here in their much needed redemption game.

PREDICTION: COWBOYS 20 BEARS 16

PANTHERS (5-7) @ FALCONS (3-9)

This game is a consolation game for two teams just looking to wrap up the season. The Panthers have seen the enigma that is Christian McCaffrey do enough to help overshadow their lackluster passing attack. McCaffrey has put up a remarkable season and has placed himself right in the middle of the MVP race. However, a lack of talented receivers and a mediocre offensive line haven’t helped much and the defense has been disappointing enough to help drag the team down to a sub-.500 record. The Falcons havent looked much better either, currently having them ranked 28th in the league. They’ve lacked any hope in their ground game ranking only 30th in that category. They’ve been just as mediocre on the other side of the ball ranking 23rd in overall defense and 27th in points allowed. They also ranked as the second worst team in getting to the QB. If they cant generate pressure on Allen, they wont be able to make the Panthers one dimensional and McCaffreys fingerprints will be all over this game. The Panthers are league best in sacks and that pressure will bother Ryan all day, and without a running game to speak of, I think they’ll lose this one badly.

PREDICTION: PANTHERS 27 FALCONS 10

BENGALS (1-11) @ BROWNS (5-7)

This game is much like the Panthers-Falcons game. Two teams who have underwhelmed this season to say the least. The Bengals have the worst record in the league and have been hurting without AJ Green and a formidable QB under center. Dalton is a solid game manager and can make some throws, but he’s clearly not the Franchise QB the Bengals need. At this point, theyre likely looking to secure the 1st overall draft pick and start their rebuild. The offensive line needs bulked up for Mixon and they need to look for pass rushers and a Franchise QB. They rank 29th in rushing, 31st in scoring, and 30th in sacks. This team needs help across the board. The Browns have all the pieces to be a formidable team, they either are lacking the coaching or just have yet to put together the chemistry and haven’t learned to play together yet. The Browns have been overshadowed by slightly below average play and lots of negative drama. They’re hungry to prove they can play well and are looking to bounce back from a frustrating loss to a depleted Steelers team. I think they will do just that as Baker is decent QB with time and the Bengals are severely lacking in the pass rush.

PREDICTION: BROWNS 23 BENGALS 13

REDSKINS (3-9) @ PACKERS (9-3)

I’m sensing a recurring theme this week as I’ve only covered 1 game of the last 3 that I think will be close. This one will be one more that I think might be a comfortable win. The Packers are a solid team with a decently well-rounded offense but a lack-luster defense. Luckily for the Packers theyre facing the worst offense in the league. Haskins has had a rough debut season, but we can likely chalk it up to a rookie that just wasnt ready to start. He struggles to push the ball down the field and they are the worst in percentage of drives that end in touchdowns and can’t put up points to save their life. To a Packers defense that only ranks 28th, that’s music to their ears. They can do enough to keep the Skins out of the end zone and we all know Rodgers and company can put up points. I see this one being a blowout for the Pack.

PREDICTION: PACKERS 37 REDSKINS 13

RAVENS (10-2) @ BILLS (9-3)

This is the strongest test the Bills have faced all season. The Ravens have won 8 in a row and are looking to keep the streak going. They have put up a historic season on the ground, led by their one of a kind playmaker Lamar Jackson. They’ve torn through some of the best defenses in the league, but Jackson did show signs of his football humanity against the 49ers daunting defense last week. The Bills also have a formidable defense. The Bills defense ranks 3rd overall and does well with getting pressure on the QB. They have a talented roster all around and have the potential to pose a very tough challenge for the Ravens. For Lamar and the Ravens, the key has been unpredictability and solid rushing. When the passing game gets rolling and they begin to open up the field, that’s when the running game is at its best, and that best has been historically great this season. Lamar is on pace to shatter Vick’s single season QB rushing record and the team is on pace to break the team single season rushing record. With Lamar sitting pretty at the front of the MVP race, they need to use his arm to help open up the run on this tough defense and keep the clock rolling and stay on the field. The Bills need to take away the passing game and force all the pressure on the run. This game will be a close game for the Ravens again amd will show that they’re beatable yet again, but they wont fall this week. I see them pushing their winning streak to 9 wins in a close game.

PREDICTION: RAVENS 27 BILLS 23

BRONCOS (4-8) @ TEXANS (8-4)

This game is gonna put a bit of a shock in the Texans. The Broncos aren’t a huge threat, but with a QB with very little game film to study, it’ll be difficult to game plan against. The Broncos have Lock starting in just his 2nd career start and 2nd career game played. He managed the game well last week against a less than formidable Chargers team. He looked sort of comfortable, and found ways to move the ball downfield and put points on the board. He converted well on 3rd downs and kept making plays. They looked like a decent table that is actually capable of winning some games. This week they have a much more daunting opponent, facing a strong Texans team that just beat the very strong Patriots. Watson has been very good this season and they have found much success on the offensive side of the ball. Their big weakness is their pass defense. They allow the 5th most passing yards and are also only ranked 27th in sacks per game. With a lack of a pass rush to frustrate the young Denver QB and a poor season against the pass, can the Texans avoid the trap game against the putrid Broncos team? I say yes, but it’ll be close. If youre betting on this, dont take the Texans with the 9.5 point spread.

PREDICTION: TEXANS 23 BRONCOS 20

LIONS (3-8-1) @ VIKINGS (8-4)

This game is your typical division rivalry that will be close only because thats how divisional games tend to go. David Blough made headlines for the Lions last week as he stood out with a big game against the Bears. He made big plays and kept the ball moving downfield. Despite their putrid record they have the 7th best offense in the league. Their big struggle is on the defense. They struggle all across the board. They’re 29th in total defense, 25th in scoring defense, and 31st in red zone defense. This Vikings offense can catch fire in an instant and could easily abuse this revolving door defense. The Vikings have a top 10 offense and can put up points in a hurry. Diggs is one of the most elusive players with the ball in his hands and has game breaking speed. Of course, they also have Dalvin Cook who has the 5th most rushing yards and is tied for 1st in rushing TDs. The defense is decent and will surely be looking to put pressure on Blough in this one. They are 11th in points allowed and 14th in sacks. I look for them to put plenty of pressure on Blough and to let Cook produce on the offensive side to establish a rhythm. The Lions need to keep Cook from making plays and try to keep the Vikings off the field if they can. I dont think this game will be super close but Blough will make a solid effort in keeping up with the Vikings.

PREDICTION: VIKINGS 34 LIONS 24

49ERS (10-2) @ SAINTS (10-2)

This is definitely the game of the week. The Saints are the top seed in the NFC and the 49ers just were the top seed last week prior to a close loss to the Ravens. The 49ers have been one of the biggest surprises this season and a team very worthy of their top 5 power rankings spot. The 49ers have the 6th ranked offense and the top defense in the league. They’re 2nd in both points allowed and sacks. They have a lethal front 7 and were the first team to make Baltimore look human and beatable. They bring constant pressure and are capable of making even the top passing offenses look average. Bosa, Buckner, and Armstead have anchored a defensive line that gets constant pressure and are a huge nuisance. The QB theyre facing however is one of the best passers of all time. Brees is part of the GOAT conversation and is very calm, collective, and can make all the throws. They’re a top 10 passing attack and are top 10 on defense as well. The X Factor in this one will likely be Taysom Hill. When Hill gets involved in multiple aspects of the game, its keeps defense on their heels and opens up the game for Brees and company. Lets not forget either that Michael Thomas is in the middle of a potential record breaking season. This will surely be a good game and it’ll be close, but I see Brees and the Saints coming through in a close one.

PREDICTION: SAINTS 30 49ERS 28

DOLPHINS (3-9) @ JETS (4-8)

This is a battle of the most inconsistent teams in the league. The Dolphins were once the embarrassment of the league, but have followed an 0-7 start with a 3-2 stretch. They have beaten the Jets once already and are coming off of a shootout game against the Eagles. Fitzpatrick has played rather well the last 3 weeks or so and they’re starting to not be so embarrassing. They’re starting to balance out their putrid defense, but still find it very tough to keep up with the troublesome 30th ranked defense. They have practically no run game and can’t keep offenses out of the end zone. Lucky for them their opponent is 1 of 2 teams that is worse on offense. The Jets have been close to just as bad this season, having lost to both laughing stocks this season in the Bengals and Dolphins. We’ve seen Darnold come out and look like a reliable QB, and we’ve seen him come out and look terrible and unable to sense pressure. We never know what to expect when the Jets take the field. The difference maker in this one will be LeVeon Bell against the Dolphins 31st ranked run defense and the Jets 6th ranked defense. I look for the Jets to do just enough to outlast the Dolphins.

PREDICTION: JETS 38 DOLPHINS 30

COLTS (6-6) @ BUCCANEERS (5-7)

This is another game that is hard to predict and pin down. The Colts once had the makings of a good team, capable of making the playoffs. They’re not out of the playoff race, but just have looked like a shell of their former selves lately. They’ve lost 4 of their last 5 and just have seemed to struggle without Hilton. They are more or less middle of the pack in most stats aside from rushing and converting 3rd and 4th downs. The Buccaneers do very well against the run and in stopping offenses on 3rd down. The one game breaking piece that Tampa Bay struggles with that is a strength of Indy is those pesky 4th down attempts. They give up the 6th most 4th down conversions per game. I think this game could easily come down to that part of the game and it can be a huge difference makes. The Colts will keep Winston from scorching them, and will force a key turnover or 2, as well as converting 1 or 2 key 4th downs. Give this one to the Colts close.

PREDICTION: COLTS 27 BUCS 24 OT

CHARGERS (4-8) @ JAGUARS (4-8)

We have finally gotten the Minshew Mania return that we’ve all been hoping for. The Mustached Enigma has returned and we’re all so thankful and here for it. He returns after being benched following Foles’ recovery from an injury. Foles has played the last 3 games and all 3 games have been heavy losses. Foles just hasn’t had the same magic in Jacksonville as he did in Philly. The Jaguars are about middle of the pack in almost all stats except scoring. They’re 29th in scoring in the red zone and 22nd in keeping their opponents out of the red zone. They can only hope the return of Minshew can spark some life into this offense and change their scoring problems for the better. The Chargers have been possibly one of the most disappointing teams this season. Many teams thought them capable of making a playoff push and even contending with the Chiefs this year. That has been far from the case though as they’re a measly 4-8. They have ranked 12th in total offense and 4th in total defense. So whats the issue with this Chargers team? Their biggest flaw is their turnovers, they rank 28th in turnover margin. They can’t seem to not throw picks and can’t really force them themselves. This game will come down to Minshew and Fournette. Can they capitalize on LA’s inability to force turnovers or generate pressure? Or will LA find a rhythm and get Gordon and Ekeler rolling? I say the Jags find a way to use Minshew’s return as a spark and ride the momentum to a win.

PREDICTION: JAGS 17 CHARGERS 13

STEELERS (7-5) @ CARDINALS (3-8-1)

This game is more predictable than expected. I think people see this as a close game. Murray is a solid dual threat, Fitzgerald is ole reliable, and they can make plays, but this season they’re 23rd on offense and have the worst defense in the league. They fail to generate alot of pressure amd don’t really force turnovers. Connor has a small chance to return for the Steelers this week and that can help bring more stability to Duck Hodges. The Steelers have been solid, winning 6 of their last 7. They’re fighting for a playoff spot and are looking to keep the ball rolling against the Cards this week. The Cards have one monumental weakness that gets the spotlight in this one. The Cards have lost big in games against teams that have top notch pass rushing groups and are very solid at forcing turnovers. It just so happens that Pittsburgh is 3rd in sacks and 2nd in Ints. Look for Pittsburgh to make Murray extremely uncomfortable and create some turnovers. They win by a very comfortable margin in this one.

PREDICTION: STEELERS 31 CARDS 9

CHIEFS (8-4) @ PATRIOTS (10-2)

We have another big, primetime matchup here. This game features a matchup that was some extremely exciting, must-see football. The Pats this year have had a historically great defense. They lead the league in interceptions, are 4th in sacks, and have only allowed 12 points per game. The other side of the ball has been a flip of what we’ve seen from the defense. Brady has looked far less than the GOAT we’ve seen in years passed. He’s made mistakes and missed throws. They struggle in the running game and rank just 27th in red zone scoring in their last 3 games. This offense finally has weaknesses that arent quite capable of being overcome easily. The Chiefs rank 3rd in passing and have only thrown 2 interceptions this season. The Chiefs havent been quite as electric as they were last season but Mahommes and this offense have still thrived since his return from injury. Hes still a special QB and they can win games against some of the strongest teams in the league. I look for Mahommes to limit their offense to either 1 or 0 turnovers and continue to put nicks in the Pats armor.

PREDICTION: CHIEFS 23 PATS 17

TITANS (7-5) @ RAIDERS (6-6)

This is the meeting of 2 teams that have made strong play off pushes lately. The Raiders had a solid stretch before getting blown away in the last 2 games. They’ve been average across the board this season and have seen quite a performance from possible offensive Rookie of the Year favorite Josh Jacobs. Hes ranked 4th in rushing yards and has been a big difference maker on that side of the ball. The Raiders also rank 6th in red zone TDs at home. They have the 11th ranked run defense and that will be a huge factor if they hope to win as they’re facing the 3rd ranked running back in Derrick Henry. Henry has been reliable this season and has been on fire lately. They have lost their last 3 matchups against the Raiders and look to change their luck in this one as they’re fighting with Pittsburgh for that 6th spot in the wildcard. The key matchup in this one is Jacobs vs Henry. Both run defense rank 10th and 11th and it will come down to which RB will be able to have the biggest effect on the game and help open up their average passing attack. I look for Henry to prove why is the bigger game breaker as he runs over the Raiders defense in this game.

PREDICTION: TITANS 20 RAIDERS 6

SEAHAWKS (10-2) @ RAMS (7-5)

We have a solid divisional game that could promise some solid football. The Rams this season have been missing something on offense that just has been causing them to fall short. They’ve struggled against divisional opponents but, put up a very close game against the Seahawks in week 5. The Rams have done well at scoring in the red zone and the Seahawks have been average in preventing red zone TDs. They have been mediocre at home though this season and the Seahawks are 7-0 away. The Seahawks have been very good on offense this year. Russ has put up an MVP caliber season, Carson has been very solid, and the receiving group has been more than reliable. They force turnovers and even have the 3rd best turnover margin on the road. This game will come down to if they can force turnovers and frustrate Goff. I think they can win this game by more than one score.

PREDICTION: SEAHAWKS 31 RAMS 20

GIANTS (2-10) @ EAGLES (5-7)

I know last week I said the Giants would upset the Packers last week, and ended up getting absolutely crushed. Last season we saw Barkley run all over the Eagles, but now this team is led by Daniel Jones and Barkely has not looked anywhere near the electric player we saw last year. Daniel Jones has shown some good flashes in a season of suckery from the Giants this year. They havent won since week 4 and we’re likely to not see Jones play this week and Eli will get the start. Eli hasnt played since week 2 so we’ll see what happens. Just keep in mind Barkley since to play better and have much more of an impact with Eli in the game. That could be trouble for the Eagles. The Eagles will be looking to stay alive in the fight for the NFC East. Theyre only one game behind the Cowboys for the division and have to avoid a loss at such a critical point in the season. Wentz has looked rough this year and has raised questions about the chemistry and relationship with his receivers. The big bright spot for Philly is their stout defense. Capable of stifling offenses of all kinds, this defense could cause the Giants alot of problems if they can apply pressure on Eli. The Giants have lost 8 straight games and I dont think a divisional game against a desperate Eagles team in Philly is not the time to start.

PREDICTION: EAGLES 26 GIANTS 16

Ok so here’s to hoping I can recover from last week’s bad pick em week. I had my worst one, of course with my first blog post of the season. The playoff picture is becoming clearer and things are shaking out to be an exciting season conclusion. Lets see what this week brings and as always, I hope you enjoy this article. Please read, comment, and share with friends and family that love football. Thanks for reading and good luck to your favorite team this week.

Week 13 Analysis and Predictions

We witnessed some big moments in week 12. We saw the ugly defensive matchup between the Eagles and Seahawks, the recurring dominance of the 49ers and Ravens, and Derrick Henry continue to remind us all to quit sleeping on him. I brought my pick em record up to 117-58 on the season. This week in the Thanksgiving games and the chance to get a post game turkey leg. Lots of team hungry for a playoff spot, some trying to fight for first round bye and even home field advantage, and some trying for the first overall draft pick. That being said, let’s jump right in to this week’s matchups.

BEARS (5-6) @ LIONS (3-7-1)

This is a matchup of teams that can pretty much start looking forward to next year. The Lions have had injury troubles and could never seem to find an answer. They looked good a while back, but now just look like a hollow shell that just kind of gave up. They have lost 7 of their last 8 and are ranked 29th in total defense. They’re ranked 27th in sacks, which is a key component in stopping Trubisky. If Trubisky has time he’s a decent QB and can manage the game well. The Lions are also down Stafford again so the usually solid offense cant be counted on much either. With Chicago having the 4th ranked defense, but the 29th ranked offense, this will be a defensive game seeing the Bears come out on top of our first Thanksgiving day matchup

PREDICTION: BEARS 16 LIONS 10

BILLS (8-3) @ COWBOYS (6-5)

This game will be a better game to watch than the defensive bore we just covered before this. The Bills have a top 5 rushing attack and the 3rd ranked defense as they have proven one of the biggest surprises this season. Allen and company have done pretty well thus far in the season. I can’t not mention though that 7 of their 8 opponents beaten have 4 wins or less. They have a true test this week against the Cowboys and their number 1 offense before taking on red hot Baltimore in Buffalo. This is their chance to prove themselves against a solid playoff team. The Cowboys will be looking to shrug off a tough loss to the Pats and even some coach firing rumors. The Cowboys have the top offense in the league and even the 6th ranked defense in the league. Will they be able to get back on track and show why they’re the favorite to win the NFC East? Or will they crumble under the distractions and drama? I say they overcome the drama and easily handle the Bills on Thanksgiving day.

PREDICTION: COWBOYS 27 BILLS 13

SAINTS (9-2) @ FALCONS (3-8)

This is the matchup to watch on Thanksgiving. The Saints have the 3rd best odds of winning the Super Bowl and Michael Thomas is now pushing into the MVP race. The Saints have a team that ranks top 15 in both offense and defense this season. They have Drew Brees back and he’s looked pretty solid this season. They’ve beaten some solid teams, including the Cowboys, Texans, and Seahawks. However, their most recent loss, with Brees under center, was a blowout at the hands of the Falcons. This Falcons team is so terribly inconsistent. They’re decent on offense but very poor rushing the ball and on defense. They just can’t seem to bring Ryan the backfield or defense he deserves. The talents of Ryan, Jones, and Ridley are being wasted on a team that can’t seem to break .500. This game will be competitive but I see the Saints keeping pace with SF in the NFC race for a first round bye.

PREDICTION: SAINTS 34 FALCONS 24

49ERS (10-1) @ RAVENS (9-2)

This is undoubtedly the game that everyone has their eye on. The 49ers have been beating up on the NFC and proving that they’re for real. They’ve boasted the top ranked defense and a top 10 offense. They have few flaws in their team and even have tallied the most sacks in the league up to this point. The one area where they seem to struggle a bit, however, is their rush defense. They rank 19th in that area and are only facing an offense thats on pace to shatter the record for most team rushing yards in a season. The Ravens have come in every single week and proven doubters wrong. The comments that Lamar is simply a running back have turned into MVP chants as he finds himself as the current favorite for the award. Theyre averaging 40 points over their last 5 games. Those games were only against the defending NFC champs, the defending Super Bowl champs, the Wilson lead Seahawks, and the Texans. They have put up the top scoring offense thus far and have been a top 3 defense since its addition of Marcus Peters in week 7 and some additional key pieces since then also. This is going to be an exciting game and will be fun to watch. I still see this as a 2 score game in favor of the Ravens.

PREDICTION: RAVENS 34 49ERS 23

REDSKINS (2-9) @ PANTHERS (5-6)

This game is going to be just what you would expect. The Redskins have become the butt of all the jokes this season. Haskins can’t even beg his O-line to help him as they find themselves ranked dead last on offense. This team hasnt put up more than 20 points since week 2. Theyre only hope this season has been that they can use defense to let Haskins at least manage the game and squeak out a win. I just can’t their defense, that ranks 22nd against the rush, slow down McCaffrey. The Panthers have a RB involved in MVP talks and is a powerhouse running and catching. The Panthers are an average team ranking 19th on both sides of the ball, but they have moments where they shine and those moments usually involve McCaffrey or DJ Moore. Still, that should be more than enough to secure a comfortable win.

PREDICTION: PANTHERS 30 REDSKINS 13

JETS (4-7) @ BENGALS (0-11)

This game is very unpredictable. Normally when we see the Bengals playing anyone, its safe to chalk up a win for their opponent. However, the Jets have had some bad games against some mediocre teams this season. They havent been as promising as some thought they could be and Darnold has been all over the place. However, they do rank at the top in run defense and have averaged 34 points in their last 3 games. They come in against a team that has yet to get a win, has the worst rush defense by far, have just been all-around awful this season. If they can’t bring back Green, this team can only be staring down another harsh loss against a team they just cant matchup up against.

PREDICTION: JETS 26 BENGALS 10

TITANS (6-5) @ COLTS (6-5)

This should be another good game to watch. We see two division rivals fighting to keep play off hopes alive. They’ll both be battling to save their season and fighting to prevent being labeled a disappointment again. The Colts had looked pretty promising, boasting the 3rd best run game thus far and were sitting ahead of the Texans for the first half of the season in the AFC South. Having lost 3 of their last 4, theyre hoping to climb back into the saddle and regain some of that momentum against a surging Titans team. The Titans have won 4 of their last 5 and Henry has put up 410 rushing yards and 5 TDs in the last 3 games. Indy boasts a top 10 rushing defense and Brissett will find his rhythm again this week. I going Colts in this one but it’ll be close.

PREDICTION: COLTS 23 TITANS 20

EAGLES (5-6) @ DOLPHINS (2-9)

This game is another game that should be no surprise to anyone. The Eagles offense has looked anything but solid and consistent this year. They’ve had massive amounts of dropped passes and Wentz has seen his fair share of pressure this season. They just cant seem to get things rolling in the passing game. The defensive side of the ball for them has been a different story. Last week’s game against Seattle couldve been a huge blowout had it not been for Philly’s stingy defense. They can surely stifle Fitzpatrick if they can stifle MVP candidate Russell Wilson. Miami was a laughing stock to start the season, but following a pair of wins and Cincy taking on that role lately, theyve been mediocre more or less. They have struggled to find any form of consistency on either side of the ball, and playing a stout Eagles defense and an offense expecting to get some key pieces back, is not the week to expect them to either.

PREDICTION: EAGLES 30 DOLPHINS 10

PACKERS (8-3) @ GIANTS (2-9)

This game is going to be a bit of a surprise. The Giants can put up some decent numbers despite only being ranked 25th in overall offense. The records are miled apart but rankings-wise they’re roughly the same. Rodgers might have an affinity for not turning the ball over, but he hasnt been the same game breaker he has been in past seasons. The Packers have been more mediocre this season than in years past and I think that may begin to catch up with them. The Giants have the surprisingly reliant Daniel Jones and the surprisingly lack-luster Saquan Barkley. Barkley hasn’t been the same this season and that has a lot to do with injuries. I think this is the game we see him have a solid outing and the Giants will surprise the Packers with an upset at home.

PREDICTION: GIANTS 31 PACKERS 26

BROWNS (5-6) @ STEELERS (6-5)

This game is the second game of a series that saw one of the most horrible incidents in NFL history. The drama was swirling following Garrett bringing Rudolphs helmet down on his head and Garrett accusing Rudolph of calling him a racial slur. This game is swirling with drama and will be a tense game full of animosity and desperation. Both teams really need a win and both teams are missing some star power. The Steelers have a strong defense that ranks in the top 10, but their offense is 28th overall. Cleveland is about middle of the pack on both sides of the ball and looks to build off a win against Miami. Look for Landry, Chubb, and Mayfield to expose the Steelers and punish their lack luster offense.

PREDICTION: BROWNS 23 STEELERS 17

BUCS (4-7) @ JAGS (4-7)

This game will feature some fairly solid offenses going at it. The Jaguars had taken the league by storm at the beginning of the season with Minshew-Mania. The man behind the mustache was making magic happen and getting wins under his belt. Since the return of Foles, the offense has been relatively lack-luster and underwhelming. DJ Chark and Leonard Fournette are having very solid seasons and could possibly be enough to stay ahead of this high speed Bucs offense. The Bucs are the same team this year that they are most years. They’re high powered offense that throws a plethora of interceptions and fumbles regularly, counter balances their streaky and mediocre pass defense. Godwin and Evans are both putting together Pro Bowl caliber seasons and will look to find holes in this Jaguars secondary. I see the Jags putting together enough stops and putting enough points up to squeak by.

PREDICTION: JAGS 34 BUCS 30

RAMS (6-5) @ CARDS (3-7-1)

This is a recovery game for the Rams. The Rams are coming off an ugly game against the Ravens and are going to be desperately fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. They are the defending NFC champs, but they just havent been able to piece the ground game together this year. They rank just 24th on the list and the absence of Anderson to help Gurley shoulder the load seems to be taking a toll. Luckily for them they’re playing a Cardinals team that is 31st in total defense and is dead last in passing offense. Look for Goff to find his rhythm and keep pace enough to beat Murray and the Cards by a comfortable margin.

PREDICTION: RAMS 20 CARDS 10

RAIDERS (6-5) @ CHIEFS (7-4)

This is a big game as well as the two teams are battling for the AFC West crown. The Chiefs have been the favorite all season having the reigning MVP and gunslinging phenom Mahommes and a plethora of offensive weapons around him. They’re the 3rd ranked offense and they do the most damage through the air. When Mahommes and company get on a roll theyre impossible to stop and nearly impossible to keep pace with. Then theres the surprise Raiders. They started slow, but came to life recently as they’ve won 3 of their last 4. They’re not as prolific as Mahommes and the Chiefs offense, but when Gruden and his staff get creative and get Carr and Jacobs moving, they’re nothing to scoff at. They’re very capable of getting ahead in a hurry and staying there. I actually look for them to surprise the Chiefs in this one and create a bit of AFC West drama.

PREDICTION: RAIDERS 27 CHIEFS 23

CHARGERS (4-7) @ BRONCOS (3-8)

Another AFC West matchup on the card this week and it’s not necessarily a big one. Don’t think that means it’ll be boring, it just doesn’t carry much weight as both teams aren’t entrenched in the playoff hunt. The Chargers have just not found any footing this season with their rushing attack. They rank 26th in rush offense and theyre also prone to turnovers as have the 6th most giveaways in the league. They have a multitude of offensive talent, they just cant seem to get everything to mesh. The Broncos dont have the same fortunes. They fare well against the pass on defense, ranking 5th, but they dont pass well on offense ranking just 29th. They took a chance on Flacco and it hasnt paid off at all. They’ve had to turn to Brandon Allen in Flaccos absence, and it hasn’t been much better for them. It’ll be close as the Broncos defensive strength against the pass counteracts LA’s offensive passing strength. I just give the Chargers the slight edge in a tough fought game for both teams.

PREDICTION: CHARGERS 17 BRONCOS 12

PATRIOTS (10-1) @ TEXANS (7-4)

This is another matchup I’m looking forward to. The Patriots are the front runners in the AFC. They have had a historic defense this season and have been doing things on that side of the ball that no other team has done. They’re 2nd in overall defense and have only allowed 10.6 points per game. The defense has overshadowed the average offense. The ageless wonder that is Tom Brady just doesnt look like the same dangerous GOAT we’re used to. This offense looks vulnerable and more or less non-threatening. The Texans have looked like they can hang with the best, aside from the Ravens that is. They are the flip flop of the Patriots. They have a mediocre defense and a strong offense. Watson is an MVP candidate and he has solid talent around him, including the most sure handed receiver in the game. This game will come down to whether or not Watson can find the same weaknesses and holes in the Pats defense that Jackson and the Ravens did. I honestly think they can just not as powerfully. I think they squeak by with an upset in this one.

PREDICTION: TEXANS 24 PATS 23

VIKINGS (8-3) @ SEAHAWKS (9-2)

The Monday night matchup is another great matchup. We have two teams fighting to win their divisions and will both be looking to this game as the key to accomplishing that goal. The Vikings have been riding their awoken passing attack and the reinvigorated Dalvin Cook. The passing attack has done well following the first half struggles and Cook ranks 3rd in rushing yards and is 2nd in TDs. The Seahawks are riding a 4 game winning streak. Russ is having an MVP caliber season, only trailing Lamar Jackson in the MVP odds. The team has found gems in Lockett and Metcalf, and Carson has become a stud as well. This team is very solid and is a tough matchup for anybody. This game comes down to defense. The Seahawks defense isnt as strong as Minnesota’s, especially against the pass. Unlucky for them this Vikings offense has a multitude of receiving weapons. This is a shootout going to the away team.

PREDICTION: VIKINGS 38 SEAHAWKS 34

That wraps up our pick em this week. The first long blog in a long time and it felt good. Lets hope we can kick things off with some success. I hope you enjoyed the post and most importantly I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and watch plenty of football while stuffing yourselves to the fullest with great food. Please share with all the fellow sports fans in your lives and please leave some comments. Thank you!

Ravens vs Rams: analysis, key matchups, and prediction

So this is my first story in a while. Its been far too long and it’s great to be back. Couldn’t be a better time than the heart of the 2019 NFL playoff race. We’re breaking down the Monday night matchup between the Rams who are desperately trying to piece together their offense to cling to a playoff bid and the Ravens who are red hot and sporting the most creative offense in the league. Lets get down to it.

KEY MATCHUPS

Marcus Peters vs His Old Team

Marcus Peters has torn offenses apart since the Rams shipped him off the Baltimore just prior to week 7. He’s been a key piece of the Ravens defense that helped them really come together as one of the league’s top defenses over the last few weeks. Peters will look forward to this matchup just as Earl Thomas did with Seattle. Peters was a gem for this Ravens defense and they’ll surely be looking to him as he looks for revenge against his former team.

Ravens Defensive Front vs Todd Gurley

This is a key matchup for the Rams to win this game. Goff feeds off the running game and essentially needs the running game to have a successful passing attack. Gurley needs to have a solid game for the Rams to win this game. The Ravens have made key front seven additions and it’s worked wonders in meshing the defense together. Gurley has to find holes in the defense and power the ball down the field. The Ravens thrive at controlling the tempo and clock, if Gurley can control the clock and the tempo, the Rams have a shot.

Aaron Donald vs Lamar Jackson

So this is the big matchup of the game. Donald will surely be a problem no matter what line he faces. Donald is a physical freak and will find a way to break through. Jackson is a master of reading defenses and making plays accordingly. He’s revolutionized the RPO in the NFL and does it better than anyone. Donald will need to find a way to keep Jackson from having time to read and Jackson will have to read quick enough to keep Donald from blowing up the strength of the Ravens offense.

ANALYSIS

This matchup could pose problems for both sides. The Rams have Gurley, a once great pass attack, and Aaron Donald. They have solid pieces and the solid coaching to be a solid team. They just havent been able to pull everything together. The Rams are 13th in overall offense and 11th on defense. They have what it takes to be good team, they just cant seem to figure out the puzzle. Could this be the game where they pull it together and make a statement or is the Ravens dynamic offensive attack too much to overcome. The Ravens have been the story of the season. Mark Ingram, Mark Andrews, and Hollywood Brown have been key for this offense this season. They are averaging 39 points a game over the last 4 games and those 3 of those teams happened to be all be entrenched in the playoff race. They’re making mince meat of bad teams and some of the top teams. Can they keep this streak going or will the Rams lull them into a trap game?

PREDICTION:

The Ravens offense will find a way to keep Donald and the defense from making a big impact and will look like the same offense we’ve seen in weeks prior. The Rams offense will lean too heavily on Gurley and inevitably come up flat against a Ravens defense that seems to be coming together strongly.

RAVENS 34 RAMS 13

Super Bowl Breakdown

Here is is, the best time of year for NFL football fans around the world. The Super Bowl is every die hard football fan’s second Christmas. It’s a special time of year when the league’s best men standing face off for one of the most coveted trophies in all of sports. I’m extremely excited to break this down so I’ll jump right into it.

 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS LOS ANGELES RAMS

Tom Brady vs Jared Goff, Bill Belicheck vs Sean McVay, Michel vs Gurley. This game is shaping up to be very exciting. Can Brady and company make the Patriots 6 rings strong and write another page in the history books in the Patriots favor? Or will Goff and Gurley usher in a new dynasty? Goff has faced so many questions about just how good he is. He was once thought to be a total bust, now he’s on the verge of being considered a top QB in this league. Gurley is looking to prove he’s the best in the league, while Michel is looking to prove he’s not just another cog in the Patriots crowded backfield. The Rams have an awfully impressive offense capable of running away with any game. Goff has a multitude of weapons in Gurley, Anderson, Cooks, Woods, Higbee, and much more. This offense is just flat out dangerous, having the 2nd best offense this season and one with balance at that. The rushing offense finished 3rd and the passing game finished 5th. This offense is scary and thrive off the play action attack. The Patriots have Brady and that seems to be more than enough for them. Brady has been picking defenses apart with quick routes over the middle, then taking shots when the defenses leave things open deep. This team has a variety of weapons, boasting the leagues 5th best offense. They also have a very balanced team, with the 8th ranked passing attack and the 5th ranked running attack in the league. They thrive on tempo control and quick crossing routes. The Rams defense isn’t the best in terms of yards allowed but they certainly make up for that with turnovers and physicality. They also happen to have one of the best defensive minded coaches in the league on their staff in Wade Phillips. He’s known for creating physical defenses that force turnovers. They rank 3rd in the league in turnovers and will lean on that tomorrow for sure. The Patriots have a similar defensive blueprint, as they struggle on defense but are better against the run than the pass and create a lot of turnovers. In terms of what the teams each need to do to succeed, the Pats need to force Goff to play well by shutting down Gurley and Anderson. The run game helps give Goff confidence, time, and unpredictability. The rush is their spark and ignites the offense to the point that they become almost unstoppable if they have ground success. The Rams key to this game is the defense. Not only do they need to pressure Brady, most importantly they need the corners to be physical. Brady relies heavily on his mental clock. He has the timing of his receivers’ routes on a mental stopwatch, if that timing is thrown off, he tends to struggle and will hold the ball a little longer, leaving him open to the pass rush. If the Rams can jam the Pats receivers and be physical, the Rams can very well win this game.

PREDICTION: When it comes to the keys of the game, i see the Rams defensive physicality disrupting Brady’s timing being more likely than the Pats run defense shutting down Gurley and Anderson. The Rams offense is just to dangerous and diverse for the Pats to slow down enough to make a difference. The Rams corners already play physical, in your face defense so that will come naturally. So long as the Rams cover Gronk with the right personnel (Mark Barron/Dante Fowler Jr w/ safety help), the Rams should take this in a close one. RAMS 27 PATS 23.

MVP: Michael Brockers – With the Pats receivers getting jammed at the line, Brady’s mental clock will be rendered useless. The Pats o-line will do focus on stopping Donald and Suh from causing too much trouble, and let Brockers slip in one too many times. Brockers will make a few clutch plays and the one that seals the win in Brandon Graham like fashion.

Thank you for reading my posts and supporting my page, please like, comment, and share to get this story around. If you have a Super Bowl prediction, feel free to comment and let me know. Be on the lookout for NFL offseason news, college prospect news, NBA stories, and college basketball stories to come.

NFL Conference Championship Picks

This weekend is bitter sweet, because all football fans are excited that the Super Bowl is just a couple weeks away, but that means the NFL season is coming to an end. If your team is still playing, great job, best of luck to your team, and quit rubbing it in. So far up to this point in the season, my pick’em record is 151-111. Not bad, but still short of what most ESPN analysts have for records. Let’s get right to it though and break down the two games this weekend. Please share, like, comment and spread this post around so i can get my name out there. Thank you in advance for reading and sharing.

 

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS VS NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

This game is a classic match-up of old school GOAT vs new school up and coming stud. Mahommes vs Brady, Gronk vs Kelce, Reid vs Belicheck. The battle is a great one in the history books and on paper, let’s hope it plays out that way tomorrow. I love what Mahommes brings to the table, and I believe he’s at the top of the next generation on great QBs. He’s playing Brady for the second time this season, but on a much bigger stage. The first game went to TB12 43-40 in a shootout contest. Mahommes has shown all season long that he is the real deal and that life without Kareem Hunt is nothing to be sacred of. This offense is extremely lethal and Mahommes just has a knack for making plays when they’re needed. He’s unorthodox and that actually plays into their favor as it’s almost impossible to know what he’s going to do. Brady has been to this game 13 times in his career and has brought this team to the AFC championship the last 8 years in a row. Are we still seeing the same Brady that is capable of anything in the playoffs, or is his downslide starting now? I can’t wait to watch this game and see these two juggernauts in action. I give the young QB the edge this time around. CHIEFS 27 PATS 23

 

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS VS LA RAMS

This is the game I’m more excited for this week. I think this game is going to be very good, it’s going to have offensive and defensive balance, and it’s a young stud of a coach facing off with one of the league’s better coaches. Another young QB vs a future HOF, the best RB vs a top 5 RB, and one decent defense vs another. This game is full of big names and big aspirations. The Saints are looking to get Brees his ring to walk into the sunset, and the Rams are trying to prove that they’re real and that Goff is better than people pegged him to be after his tough first season. This Saints team is dangerous and they’re looking to correct the glaring mistake they made last year in the championship game. They have all the right pieces and all the drive to get it done. The Rams are trying to prove they can hang in the playoffs a push Goff a little closer to that coveted elite QB status. I think this game is going to be a show on both sides of the ball is going to be the kind of show people really hope playoff football can be. I like the Rams in this one by a field goal. RAMS 23 SAINTS 20

 

Alright the season is almost coming to a close and things are getting good. Hope you all like this post and please feel free to leave some comments and critiques. Thanks again for reading and sharing and be on the lookout for more posts on all things football and hopefully some basketball soon.

Divisional Round Predictions and Breakdowns

Ok, so I haven’t posted anything in a couple weeks. I have been making my picks on yahoo, let’s just say the wildcard round was my worst pick week ever. I went 0-4 in my wildcard selections and my team went home early. Let’s hope i can turn things around as i return from a short hiatus away.

(2) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS (5) LA CHARGERS

This is looking to be a pretty good game. The Super Bowl legend and potential GOAT takes on the bolo tie aficionado looking for his ring to cement his legacy. The bulldozing bruiser of a running back taking on the dynamic committee backfield. The Patriots have been a playoff staple for the AFC for well over a decade. They have been to the Super Bowl 8 times since 2000 and are looking to make it 9 this season. This is a team that’s always a safe pick to make it to at least the AFC Championship game. They seem unstoppable every season they have Brady at the helm. However, I believe this season we’re seeing the most vulnerable Patriots team we’ve seen in a long time. They also seem to have a much stronger field of competition this year. The Chargers, Chiefs, and Colts all look like they could beat the Patriots this season. This test against the Chargers will help us see just how vulnerable they are. The Chargers haven’t made it passed the divisional round of the playoffs since 2007 and haven’t made it to the Super Bowl since 1994. They made it to the conference championship in 04 with Rivers, LT, Chambers, and Vincent Jackson in his prime. This team is just as good, if not better in my eyes. They have the talent to match those offensive weapons and maybe a bit more. They also possess a very solid defense. I’m giving the edge to the Chargers in a thriller. CHARGERS 23 PATRIOTS 20

(1) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS VS (6) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

This one won’t be the blowout the Chiefs have become accustomed to this season. The Colts are lethal and Andrew Luck looks like the promising QB scouts believed him to be coming into the NFL several years ago. The Colts offense has been sharp and they look to keep that up against a less than stellar defense. The Chiefs have a tough time with defensive penalties, specifically in the secondary, and this Colts team has a red zone stud in Eric Ebron and a speedy threat in TY Hilton. The Colts will draw penalties and look to capitalize on that shabby defense. The Colts have the stingiest scoring defense since week 7 and hope to use that to their advantage. However, this is one of the top offenses in the league and Mahommes and something totally different than anything else the league has seen. This offense is absolutely deadly. They have an MVP caliber QB, a dynamic backfield, and a deadly receiving core. This offense is a solid bet to put up numbers on anybody. The biggest concern for the Chiefs is their playoff resume. You can’t talk about the Chiefs in the playoffs without mentioning their playoff track record. They have been awful in the playoffs in the Andy Reid era. They gave up a 28 point lead to Luck and the Colts several years ago, and they gave up an 18 point lead last season to the Titans. This defense has had its troubles, but they’ve been very solid at home and Mahommes has proven to be the man this season. They’ll have enough to beat the Colts at home. CHIEFS 31 COLTS 23

 

(2) LA RAMS VS (4) DALLAS COWBOYS

This game isn’t going to be as close as a lot of people think. The Rams at home have been absolutely amazing on offense and i don’t see that stopping now. Todd Gurley is back and looking very solid and fresh in practice, according to his teammates. This offense is full of weapons, including the best running back in the game and a very scary, dynamic receiving group. This defense helps create opportunities for the offense and the offense usually capitalizes on those. I know the Cowboys had the leading rusher this season and the Rams defense allowed 5.1 yards per carry, but I see them making stops when they need them and the offense is going to control the tempo and will manage the game to their favor. Zeke, Cooper, and Dak can be tough when they get in rhythm, but good luck getting into much of a rhythm against this defense. Dak will have his hands full with Donald, Suh and company in his face, and that secondary is very capable of forcing turnovers. This Cowboys defense is not bad at all, but it’s very tough to stop an offense that is this good at home. RAMS 30 COWBOYS 17

 

(1) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS VS (6) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

This game is a toss up, as I couldn’t decide if we were going to see a lopsided win from the favorite or a down-to-the-wire thriller forced by the underdog. Either way I have the Saints in this one, but the margin of victory was tough to choose. I think the x-factor here is which Saints team shows up. This team at home has been absolutely phenomenal and have had a bit of rest to help rejuvenate that battered line and Kamara. Brees has been 5-0 at home in the playoffs since he came to New Orleans and they are the second most offensively efficient team at home this season. The Eagles have been a whole new team now with Foles at the helm and the defense has only allowed 15 total points over their last 2 games. This team is proving they can be the team we saw last year, if it weren’t for their extensive list of injuries this season. They aren’t going to suffer the same fate this weekend as they did against the Saints in week 11 when they lost 48-7 and allowed over 500 yards, but I just can’t see them beating this dangerous Saints offense in their home stadium. SAINTS 30 EAGLES 21

Well those are my picks, please feel free to comment on my blog post or on the Facebook link to give me your opinion and tell me what you think. Please share this post with all your friends and family and like this post. Keep following the page and look for the remaining playoff posts and potentially a mock draft coming soon. Thank you for reading and following.

NFL Week 14 Predictions

Ok, so I’m still in pretty decent shape with my pickem record this season. I’ve been average these last few weeks. I’m going to try and finish this season out strong. We have a full slate of games as the playoff picture continues to unfold. This is the trickiest time to pick games because some lesser teams tend to show up to play spoiler and the lower playoff teams can knock off the top dogs because they’re desperate. This is a time when upset picks are a good choice, you just have to pick the right ones.

Pickem record: 104-86

TENNESSEE TITANS (6-6) VS JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-8)

I think we’ll see an upset here. This one will be very close, as are most games between these AFC South rivals. The Jaguars are coming in off a win against the Colts, and the defense is looking very solid. The Jags held the Colts to 0 points and completely stuffed the run. Not very often you see a team led by a top 10 season QB and a pro bowl WR, and they get held under 275 yards and 0 points. This defense is very special and they won’t have too daunting of a task ahead of them as they’re facing the 28th ranked offense in terms of total yards and points. The Jags will simply need to get Fournette going and help Kessler manage this game. However, on the other side of the field is possibly one of the best game-managing QBs in the league and a tough RB tandem. The Titans have an extremely balanced team and will look to right they ship as they fight to stay in the fight for the playoffs. JAGS 13  TITANS 10

CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-7-1) VS CAROLINA PANTHERS (6-6)

Man it’s only the second game of the pickem and the second straight upset pick. This one is a bit easier to pick though. The Panthers are on a heavy downward spiral, as they’ve lost 4 in a row now. This team looks awful and the defense just can’t keep the opposing offense out of the endzone. The offense racks up lots of yards but then fails to score. This team needs to figure out and fix their issues in the redzone on both sides of the ball if they’re going to make the playoffs. The Browns are also coming off a rough game against the red hot Texans. In that game Baker Mayfield threw 3 INTs and the team had 31 total rushing yards. They need to get things going to finish strong and prove they’re not the same bad Brownies we’re accustomed to. They need to keep Mayfield in rhthym and prevent McCaffrey from getting going. Mayfield had a rough game last week, but I feel like he will right the ship this week and reassure everyone why he is the savoir. BROWNS 23 PANTHERS 17

BUFFALO BILLS (4-8) VS NEW YORK JETS (3-9)

Well, I guess the streak of upsets had to end at some point. This week, Josh Allen makes enough of a difference to give the W to a team just looking to prove it’s not a joke. Allen has silenced some doubters as he might not be prolific and gun-slinging, but he runs wild and does enough to help his offense win games. They actually have the 12th ranked rush offense and are playing the 30th ranked offense in the Jets. Look for the Bills to utilize McCoy and Allen in the rush as much as possible. The Jets are in trouble and this season has been full of dysfunction for them. They have been talking about firing Bowles, which isn’t sitting well with some players, and they just sat a healthy Darnold because “the timing was just too short notice after a 3 week layoff”. There’s a lot going on in this Jets locker room and it will continue to be a distraction to the team. BILLS 20 JETS 10

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (10-2) VS BALTIMORE RAVENS (7-5)

This game is actually going to be much closer than people think. The Chiefs right now look incredibly dangerous and like no AFC team can stop them at this point. The offense is on fire and Mahommes has been absolutely masterful this season. He’s on pace to break a number of records and is at the helm of the best scoring offense in league. They will be missing Hunt as he was released from the team in the midst of his recent character issues. This team has the 2nd worst defense in the league and just so happen to be playing the best defense in the league. Lamar Jackson has come in and taken over this Ravens offense and has made them very dangerous. He needs to pass the ball a little bit more this week and take advantage of the leagues worst pass defense. For a team that has put up over 200 yards rushing in 3 straight weeks, can they do enough on both sides of the ball to beat the Chiefs. The answer is no, but it will be close and Mahommes will look the most vulnerable we’ve ever seen him. CHIEFS 24 RAVENS 20

GREEN BAY PACKERS (4-7-1) VS ATLANTA FALCONS (4-8)

I am going to give this one to the Packers as they have a new temporary head coach and we might see a rejuvenated team following the firing of Mike McCarthy. Aaron Rodgers isn’t having a bad season statistically. The one area where he’s been rough is his completion percentage. He has 1 interception this season and this coaching change could help boost his effectiveness. I look for this offense to play with a motivated sense of renewal. They should be able to hang with Atlanta if they give Rodgers time and slow down the Falcons passing attack. The Falcons are coming off a tough loss against the Ravens. The Ravens suffocated the Falcons offense the whole game and Jackson and company capitalized on the opportunities the defense gave them. I look for the Packers to slow them down just enough and get Rodgers in rhythm. PACKERS 17 FALCONS 13

HOUSTON TEXANS (9-3) VS INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (6-6)

This pick was sort of an easy pick. This will surely be a close, competitive game but i look for Watt and the defense to overwhelm Luck while Watson and Nuk keep their rhythm going. This Texans team is absolutely on fire right now and are looking deadly as the playoffs draw closer. Lamar Miller is averaging 117 yards in his last 3 games and Watson has been very efficient, especially in games where Miller runs for over 100 yards. When Miller and Watson both get comfortable, it’s as if there’s no stopping this offense and i certainly wouldn’t want to play them right now. Too bad for the Colts, because they have no choice. Luck and company have been pretty solid up until last week. They got held to 0 points and Mack was held to just 27 rushing yards. They’re going to be reeling from their recent shut out against the Jags and looking to stay in the playoff race, but this is not the team to recover against. TEXANS 27  COLTS 21

MIAMI DOLPHINS (6-6) VS NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-3)

This game doesn’t need much explaining but I’m going to do my best anyway. The Patriots are going to walk out of Miami with a win and sustain their hold on the 2 seed in the AFC. Brady will look to this as an easy game, but can’t get too complacent because Tannehill is no slouch. While Tannehill is a very capable QB, this is the playoff Patriots that we’re beginning to see and no team wants to face them when they’re playing like this. I look for Brady to try and get comfortbale and get enough time to pick the Dolphins 29th ranked defense apart. The Dolphins are going to try their best to pressure Brady and throw off his timing and also get the running game going. I look to see Brady have better chances of success here as they get a comfortable win. PATS 31  DOLPHINS 20

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (5-7) VS NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-2)

This game will also be closer than many people are expecting. The Bucs have a pretty decent passing attack that’s actually ranked #1 in the league. That might partially be because they have to come from behind in alot of games, but with Winston and Fitzpatrick, that’s a very surprising stat. They have a good amount of receiving weapons in Evans, Godwin, Jackson, and Brate, but they lack a running game. Peyton Barber is a solid back that will develop into a very good talent one day, but this offensive line isn’t good enough right now to help him it. Especially not against the best rushing defense in the league and the hot arm of Drew Brees. They just got surprised by the streaking Cowboys last week and I don’t see that happening again. SAINTS 34 BUCS 27

WASHINGTON REDSKINS (6-6) VS NEW YORK GIANTS (4-8)

This game has heavy implications on how the playoffs could shake out. We have the Giants, who are virtually out of the playoff race, and the Redskins, who are just outside the 6 seed. This is must win territory for the Redskins and they face a tall task. Normally for a healthy Skins team id probably pick them easily. However, they’re missing a handful of offensive linemen and they’ve got Mark Sanchez under center. The Giants offense is finding its new Barkley/Beckham fueled offense and putting the pieces together. I think they’ll handle the Redskins in this one. GIANTS 26 SKINS 17

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (2-10) VS DENVER BRONCOS (6-6)

Believe it or not, the lowly 49ers have an opportunity to help damper the Broncos playoff hopes. The Broncos are clawing to stay in the hunt for the last wildcard spot but they must win and hope Baltimore doesn’t upset the Chiefs. If all things infold in their favor, they could wind up being tied for the spot. They need to find a weapon in the pass game with Sanders out and they must get to Mullens. The 49ers season is pretty much over and right now they’re just trying to spoil other teams’ playoff chances and find their niche. I could see Mullens keeping this close but I don’t see them winning….if the Broncos has Sanders that is. Without Sanders, I believe the 49ers pull it off. 49ERS 23 BRONCOS 16

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (9-3) VS CINCINNATI BENGALS (5-7)

This game is almost irrelevant for the Chargers as they are the 5th wildcard spot and not much of a threat to be bumped from the playoffs. The key word was almost though as they are only one game behind Kansas City for the division. If Baltimore pulls out the huge upset, they could have a big shot at the AFC West crown. This is their best shot with a dynamite season from Rivers, Gordon, and Allen and Gordon is healthy as has Bosa been for a week or two. The Bengals are missing AJ Green and Andy Dalton. I don’t see them putting up the firepower to stay close at all, let alone threaten to pull off the upset. CHARGERS 37 BENGALS 13

DALLAS COWBOYS (7-5) VS PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (6-6)

This game has enormous importance for the NFC East. The Eagles and Cowboys are fighting for the divisional lead and the loser takes a step down out of the wildcard potentially. An Eagles loss would practically put them in a position where making the playoffs would be a miracle. The Eagles have been playing decent lately and are doing enough to win games behind the arm of Wentz and their intimidating front 7. The Cowboys have been hot lately as they have gotten Elliott in a nice groove as he leads the league in rushing. They’re also getting Prescott managing the games expertly while the defense gets key stops. I look for the Boys’ recent win against the Saints to help motivate them to win in a very close game here. COWBOYS 24 EAGLES 23

ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-9) VS DETROIT LIONS (4-8)

This game is a tough pick because both teams are bad and inconsistent. Which team can win? That’s a good question because these teams have beaten tougher teams like the Panthers and Rosen went 11-26 passing last week and still beat Aaron Rodgers. These teams will surely be up for top 5 picks in the draft. A game like this though is more or less to show who’s not as bad as the other. The Lions have a decent team, they just don’t manage the games very well and make mistakes when the plays matter most. The Cardinals are still trying to develop a rookie QB and are struggling to do so to this point. I think the Lions are slightly better right now, let’s give them the win here. LIONS 20 CARDS 16

OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-10) VS PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-4-1)

This is a nice little trap game that’s actually hard to choose. The Steelers have lost 2 in a row, one being against the Broncos in Denver where the Steelers have a history of struggling. This game has a similar historical feel to it because the Steelers haven’t won in Oakland since 1995. They don’t play well in Oakland and history tells us when the Steelers don’t exactly overcome those history trends, why question it now? The Raiders are coming off a game in which they played closely with Mahommes and the Chiefs and that team is a bit better than Pittsburgh. The Steelers are missing Conner and that could really hurt their chances here. The Steelers don’t just lose 3 in a row though and let the division crown slip through their fingers. Steelers edge them out in a very close game. STEELERS 23 RAIDERS 21

CHICAGO BEARS (8-4) VS LOS ANGELES RAMS (10-1)

This is the game I have to watch. If there’s any game, aside from my favorite team, worth watching, it’s most definitely this one. The Bears get Trubisky back and the defense is still a dangerous, pass-rushing nightmare. Can the Bears slow down this crazy Rams offense? Can the Rams play well against the QB crushing front 7 of the Bears? This could be a glimpse of the NFC championship game here and when it all comes down to playoffs or even a matchup like this. The hungrier team and defense usually win out. Defense wins championships and I think Mack, Hicks, and Floyd can beat this offensive line just enough to throw Goff off a little. Watch the matchup of Andrew Whitworth vs Khalil Mack. That will be a huge matchup that determines the outcome. BEARS 30 RAMS 27

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (7-5) VS MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-5-1)

This game is actually of huge importance as well. The losing team in this game could very well be pushed from their wildcard spot. With the playoffs on the line for both teams, I look for both to come out with a purpose and will fight tooth and nail until the last whistle. One team has a solid passing attack and the other boasts the best rushing attack in the league. The Vikings however have the tougher, more stout defense. The question here though will be is the defense good enough to beat the excellent football minds of Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson? This time around I say no, I’m giving the edge to the home team in this one. The Seahawks win and the Vikings loss give the birds a nice cushion for the playoffs and opens the door for other teams like the Eagles, Redskins, or Panthers. SEAHAWKS 24 VIKINGS 16