Five Predictions for Super Bowl 52

Super Bowl 52 is upon us, which means Sunday will be jam packed with celebrities, million dollar commercials, prop bets, and Justin Timberlake performance. Oh yeah, and the Philadelphia Eagles are taking on the defending champs, the New England Patriots. There’s a lot going on as the NFL season concludes, so here are some predictions on what will surely be a busy Super Bowl Sunday.

  1. People will finally get sick of the “Dilly Dilly” slogan: Somehow, Bud Light’s catchphrase became somewhat of a phenomenon in 2017. Heck, Ben Roethlisberger even used the phrase as an audible in a game against the Titans. Bud Light has gotten a lot of run out the phrase, and I predict that they will continue to push it during the Super Bowl with a commercial or two (or three). After seeing these very expensive advertisements during the game, the fall of dilly dilly will begin. Finally. Dilly-Dilly.jpg
  2. Nick Foles does not throw an interception: Two weeks ago, Nick Foles looked like he was Peyton Manning the way he carved apart the Minnesota Vikings’ defense that many considered best in the league. Foles has thrown two interceptions since filling in for Carson Wentz, and those were both in the regular season. Foles has been much better than expected these playoffs, and he’ll need to continue to play well and take care of the ball for the Eagles to have a chance to win. Meanwhile, the Patriots haven’t gotten an interception in the playoffs against mediocre (mediocre might be generous) QBs Marcus Mariota and Blake Bortles. Don’t be surprised when Nick Foles completes his playoff run without an interception. NFoles.jpg
  3. Justin Timberlake disappoints at halftime show: Look, I’m a pretty big fan of Justin Timberlake, but I think this is going to be a tough sell. Timberlake is undoubtedly one of the music world’s biggest stars, but there’s some issues leading up to his performance. First, Timberlake is already facing some backlash over his last Super Bowl appearance, where Janet Jackson suffered a wardrobe malfunction after Timberlake pulled on her outfit. Timberlake has never apologized for the incident, and while Janet Jackson never recovered from the malfunction, Timberlake thrived. On top of that, Timberlake just released his new album titled Man of the Woods. The album has not gotten a lot of love from critics, and his lead single peaked at number nine and is now down to 33 on the Billboard Top 100. I fear that Timberlake will preform too many new songs, which are not the reason that people want to see him preform. Unfortunately, I think many will walk away from the halftime show disappointed.Justin-Timberlake
  4. The Patriots Win Super Bowl 52: Not a shocker by any means. Vegas originally favored the Patriots by 6 points, but that line has shifted to 4.5 as the big game has gotten closer. Philly has the tools to pull the upset here, that defensive line is ferocious and if they can get to Brady, they have a real chance. But when it comes down to it, how can anyone feel good trusting Nick Foles to win the Super Bowl against Tom Brady? There’s a lot more to this game than Brady vs. Foles, but Brady’s (and Bill Belichick and the rest of the Patriots) experience gives them the benefit of the doubt. The Patriots win 28-20. Super-Bowl.jpg
  5. Tom Brady Wins Super Bowl MVP: This will be Brady’s sixth Super Bowl ring and his fifth Super Bowl MVP. Which is absolutely insane. Brady-MVP

 

Four Games to Watch In Week 8

Oakland Raiders @ Buffalo Bills – 12 CT

Just when I thought the Raiders were having a bad year, they give an impressive performance and beat my Super Bowl favorite, the Kansas City Chiefs. Derek Carr looked fully healthy, and Amari Cooper stepped up and made big plays. The win over the Chiefs may have saved the Raiders season, but now they travel to the other side of the country to face off against the 4-2 Buffalo Bills. The Bills four wins have come against the Jets, Broncos, Falcons, and Buccaneers, but those wins seem less impressive with each coming week. The Buffalo defense is going to need to come out strong to hold the Raiders explosive offense to a minimum. This past game against the Buccaneers was the first time the Bills allowed an opponent to score more than 20 points, and if the Bills can keep the Raiders around that number they will be in a good position to win the game. Vegas has the Bills favored by 2.5, and I’d put my money on the Bills. It’s tough for a California team to travel all the way to Buffalo and play at noon. I expect the Bills to win by a touchdown.

Los Angeles Chargers @ New England Patriots – 12 CT

After starting the year 0-4, the Chargers have rebounded and won three straight. The Chargers should have been dead in the water at 0-4 in what many people thought was the toughest division in the NFL, but now they have a serious shot at making a run at the playoffs. Speaking of three straight victories, the Patriots have done the same. After a shaky start to the season, the Patriots are 5-2. Their defense looked atrocious in the beginning of the season, but on this three game win streak they’ve given up an average of less than 13 points per game. The Patriots are favored by 7, and that line seems pretty fair. I’ll take the Patriots to cover, but I would not be surprised to see the Chargers put up a good fight.

Houston Texans @ Seattle Seahawks – 3:05 CT

The Seahawks made news this week by signing Dwight Freeney, formerly one of the best pass rushers in the league. Freeney is unlikely to be a major contributor, but he might be able to give the Seahawks already tough defense a little boost. Last week, the Seahawks handled the Giants, and have a three game winning streak of their own. On the other sideline, Deshaun Watson is the Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite. Watson and the Texans are third in the NFL in points per game, but can they score on a menacing Seattle defense? The Seahawks are favored by 5.5. While I really like what Watson and the Houston offense has been doing, I think playing in Seattle is just too much to overcome. Seahawks cover.

Watson

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins – 3:25 CT

The Eagles have a solid lead in the NFC East, but don’t sleep on the Cowboys and Redskins as playoff contenders. After a confounding number of appeals, it appears once again as if Ezekiel Elliott will play out the season with the Cowboys. The Cowboys crushed the lousy 49ers last week, but they get a good test this week against the Redskins. While the Redskins don’t have a very impressive record (4-3), I believe they are better than their record indicates. The Redskins have only lost to the Eagles (twice) and Chiefs so far this season, two of the very best teams in the league. Dallas is favored in Washington by 2, but I’ll happily take Washington to win outright.

Four Games to Watch In Week 7

New Orleans Saints @ Green Bay Packers – 12 CT

The Aaron Rodgers injury looks like it will change the course of the NFC North, but I’m giving Brett Hundley one chance to surprise me. When Hundley filled in for Rodgers after he got hurt in the first quarter against the Vikings, his performance left a lot to be desired. That said, he was facing one of the best defenses in the league, and he did not have snaps with the first team. This week, Hundley should be prepared to play, and it helps he’s facing a less impressive defense (though the Saints defense scored three times last Sunday). For the Saints, they’ve won three straight in impressive fashion. Drew Brees and the rest of the offense have all the tools necessary to destroy the Packers depleted secondary. The Saints are favored in this one by 4.5. Green Bay is a tough place to play, and the last QB named Brett that the Packers started was a Hall of Famer, but I’ll take the Saints.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams – 12 CT

This is a London game, so not quite the typical home field advantage for the Rams. The Rams are perhaps the most surprising team in the league through six weeks with a 4-2 record. I keep waiting for the Rams to implode and go back to the bad team I was expecting them to be, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen. Rookie Head Coach Sean McVay should be an early front runner for Coach of the Year. On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals were bolstered by the addition of Adrian Peterson, who ran for 134 yards and 2 TDs in his debut. Maybe the addition of Peterson will be the thing that turns the Cardinals offense around. The Rams are favored in this one by 3.5, but I’ll take the Cardinals and the points because the game is in London and weird things happen in London games.

Atlanta Falcons @ New England Patriots – 7:30 CT

A rematch of last year’s Super Bowl brings a lot of intrigue, but maybe not quite as much as when the schedule was first released. The Falcons have dropped two straight (both to AFC East teams). Can the Patriots make it three straight? The Patriots are amazingly 4-2 despite some absolutely horrendous defense. The Patriots certainly don’t look like a very good team right now, but they’ve been finding a way to win games. Vegas has the Patriots favored by 3.5. This should be a shootout, and I’ll take the Falcons because the Patriots defense looks so weak.

Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles – Monday, 7:30 CT

The Eagles have the best record in the league at the moment, and Carson Wentz is ascending to impressive heights. If the season ended today, Wentz might be the MVP. Not only are Wentz and the offense clicking, the Eagles defense looks really strong, particularly their front seven. Fletcher Cox is a force to reckoned with in the middle, and a handful for even the best offensive linemen in the league. The Eagles won the matchup with the Redskins in Washington the first week of the season, and at home they are 6 point favorites. Not so fast. Since that week one game, the Redskins have only lost the the Chiefs (my current pick for Super Bowl favorites), and even that game was competitive. In a wacky NFL season, I am fully expecting the Redskins to go into Philly and somehow pull off a victory. It’s only fitting with this bizarre NFL season.

NFL Season Preview: Awards+Super Bowl Picks

Football is here! The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots kick off the season against the Kansas City Chiefs today. It’s been a long offseason, but the NFL is finally back. You can read the NFC preview here, and the AFC preview here.

Today is all about awards and the Super Bowl. MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookies of the Year, all of that and more.

TOPSHOT-AMFOOT-NFL-SUPERBOWL
TOPSHOT – Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy as Head coach Bill Belichick (R) looks on after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. The Patriots defeated the Falcons 34-28 after overtime. / AFP / Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Offensive Rookie of the Year: There are a few good candidates for the award this year. Running backs Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, and Dalvin Cook should all play huge roles in their respective teams offense this year. DeShone Kizer is starting at QB for the Browns, the only rookie QB starting the season.

Prediction: RB Dalvin Cook – Cook comes into a Vikings offense looking to replace one of the greatest running backs of all time, Adrian Peterson. That’s a tough task, but Cook should be getting a ton of carries this year. Plus, Cook is a good pass catcher, and Sam Bradford loves check down throws.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Myles Garrett was drafted first overall by the Browns and looked amazing in preseason play. However, Garrett is battling a high ankle sprain and is likely to miss the first two games of the season. So maybe there is an opportunity for someone else to snatch up this award. Besides Garret, I like Reuben Foster’s chances. He should get plenty of tackles in San Francisco, and people will take notice.

Prediction: DE Myles Garrett – Lets not overthink this. Garrett might miss the first couple of weeks, but Joey Bosa won this award last year after missing the first four games. When Garrett is on the field he is going to preform.

Comeback Player of the YearThis award is usually reserved for players returning from injury.

Prediction: DE J.J. Watt – I predicted Watt to lose out to Bosa for DPotY, but he gets his due here. Watt is an incredible player, and he has garnered a lot of good will for his amazing effort to raise money for Hurricane Harvey victims. Watt almost seems like a lock for this award.

Offensive Player of the Year: Offensive Player of the Year is a bit of a strange category. The vast majority of MVP’s are offensive players. In fact, in the history of the award only three MVP’s were not offensive players. Even weirder, MVP and Offensive Player of the Year are often different players. It’s a bit of a head scratcher. However, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton won both MVP and Offensive Player of the Year the past two years.

Prediction: QB Tom Brady – I predicted that Brady would lead the the Patriots to a league best 14-2 record this season. The Patriots offense is loaded with weapons: Gronk, Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, and all four of the running backs the team will trot out weekly. Brady is going to put up huge numbers this year.

Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt has won this award three times in the last four seasons, is he about to win his fourth? Watt is the favorite to win the award in Vegas, but he is coming off of a season where he played just three games after suffering a back injury. Can he get back to his old self and win the award?

Prediction: DE Joey Bosa – Bosa didn’t play until Week 5 last year due to a contract dispute, but still managed to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. Bosa was a force for the Chargers last season, and imagine what he can do with NFL experience and a full training camp under his belt. J.J. Watt might be the safe bet here, but Bosa is a beast and should tear it up this year.

Most Valuable Player: As discussed earlier, MVP and Offensive Player of the Year are sometimes the same, and sometimes different players. I picked Brady for Offensive Player of the Year, and I fully expect him to win MVP as well. Other possible candidates include Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, and I like Kirk Cousins as a dark horse.

Prediction: QB Tom Brady – I think Brady has a season that rivals his best ever, and he’s had some pretty incredible seasons. He’s one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and despite being 40 he’s shown little sign of slowing down.

Super Bowl Prediction: I picked the New England Patriots to face off against the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl this season. In the end, I expect the Patriots to repeat as Super Bowl champions, the third title for the team in four seasons and first repeat Super Bowl winner since the Patriots did it in 2004 and 2005.

NFL Season Preview: AFC

In less than a week, the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs will kick off the NFL season. It’s time to go over a quick preview of the upcoming season, starting with the AFC.

AFC-logo

AFC East:

Quite possibly the least competitive division in all of sports. The Patriots have dominated the AFC East, winning 8 straight division titles. Coming off a Super Bowl win, the Patriots are once again Super Bowl favorites. They didn’t lose many key pieces from last year’s squad (though losing Julian Edelman to an ACL injury hurts) and added talented receiver Brandin Cooks. The Miami Dolphins are coming off of a playoff appearance in 2016, but can Jay Cutler get them back there? The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets both appear to be punting on the season in hopes for a good draft pick. The Bills traded talented receiver Sammy Watkins and have been stockpiling draft picks the past few weeks. Meanwhile, the Jets are the Jets and are entering the season with a 38 year old Josh McCown as their QB. Yikes.

Predictions:

  • New England Patriots 14-2
  • Miami Dolphins 6-10
  • Buffalo Bills 3-13
  • New York Jets 1-15

AFC North:

This one should be more interesting than the AFC East. The Pittsburgh Steelers won the division last year with an 11-5 record, and this year they can expect a full season from Le’Veon Bell, and receiver Martavis Bryant is back from suspension. The Steelers should be an elite team this year. Last season, the Cincinnati Bengals finished a disappointing 6-9-1 after winning the division in 2015. Expect the Bengals to bounce back with a vengeance this year and compete for the division title. The Baltimore Ravens will be a tough team to play, but I don’t think they made enough big changes to get them to the playoffs. The Cleveland Browns are the division’s perennial loser, and this year will be no different. However, DeShone Kizer looks like he has potential to be a good QB someday, so there is some hope in Cleveland.

Predictions:

  • Cincinatti Bengals 12-4
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4
  • Baltimore Ravens 8-8
  • Cleveland Browns 2-14

AFC South:

The AFC South was pretty mediocre last season. The Houston Texans won the division at 9-7, but the Tennessee Titans finished with the same record and just missed the playoffs. This year, expect the Texans and Titans to improve. For the Texans, Tom Savage is starting this season, and it would be difficult for him to be worse than Brock Osweiler was last year. The Indianapolis Colts are in a weird position. It is unclear when QB Andrew Luck will be able to play (experts seem to think week 3 or 4). Without Luck, that offense is very uninspiring, and the defense was one of the worst in the league last year. The Jacksonville Jaguars are starting Blake Bortles at QB again after a battle with Chad Henne. Think about it, the Jaguars have so little faith in Bortles that many believed it was possible Henne would win the starting job and Bortles would be cut. That doesn’t inspire much confidence.

Predictions:

  • Houston Texans 11-5
  • Tennessee Titans 10-6
  • Indianapolis Colts 7-9
  • Jacksonville Jaguars 1-15

AFC West:

This will be the most interesting division to watch in the AFC. The reigning division champion Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, and Denver Broncos should all be fighting for the playoffs. And while the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers won’t be terrible, it’s hard to see them on the same level as the other three teams. This was the hardest division to predict. How will David Carr preform after coming back from injury? Will he be able to lead the Raiders back to the playoffs and repeat his performance from last season? The Chiefs just lost starting RB Spencer Ware for the season, can rookie Kareem Hunt pick up the workload? With a season under him, can Trevor Siemian lead a team with one of the best defenses in the league to the playoffs? There are so many questions, this will be a fun divisional race to watch.

Predictions:

  • Denver Broncos 12-4
  • Oakland Raiders 10-6
  • Kansas City Chiefs 8-8
  • Los Angeles Chargers 6-10

 

Predicted Playoff Seeding:

  1. New England Patriots
  2. Cincinnati Bengals
  3. Denver Broncos
  4. Houston Texans
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers
  6. Tennessee Titans

I expect the Patriots to make it to the Super Bowl again, but I think the Bengals, Broncos, and Steelers could give them a run for their money