Four Games to Watch In Week 14

Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers – 12 CT

The Vikings are one win away from sweeping the NFC South, the best division in football. Getting the victory won’t be easy, but based on previous matchups, the Vikings should have the upper hand. The Vikings and Panthers have faced off twice in the past three seasons, and the Vikings won fairly easily both times. Last season, the Vikings sacked Cam Newton eight times and came away with three interceptions. Getting pressure on Newton will be the key to a Vikings victory. The Panthers have a record of 8-4 and still have a shot at the NFC South division crown. The Panthers could be a division winner, or fail to make the playoffs due to how competitive the NFC is this season. This is an important game for both teams. Vegas has the Vikings as 2.5 point favorites, and while I think that’s a lot on the road against a good team, I’ll still take them to cover.

Seattle Seahawks @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 3:25 CT

Lets take a moment to give the Jaguars some props. No one believed in them heading into the season, yet here they are at 8-4, just a half a game back from leading the AFC South. The Jaguars might have the best defense in the entire NFL, and that defense should give trouble to every single team. The question is if they can get enough offense being lead by Blake Bortles. On the other sideline, the Seahawks are coming off of a huge win against the Eagles. The Seahawks still have a shot at the NFC West, and last week they played their best game of the year. Russell Wilson is a legitimate MVP candidate, and looking like one of the five best QBs in the league. The Jaguars are favored by 2.5, and I really think this game is a toss up. Just because I don’t think either team deserves to be favored in this one, I’ll take the Seahawks.

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Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams – 3:25 CT

After suffering their first loss since week 2, the Eagles are facing another test this week as they square off against the Rams. In an unusual move, the Eagles stayed on the West Coast for the week and practiced in Anaheim. Meanwhile, the Rams are preparing for this game like it is an away game. Coach Sean McVay said that the Rams are working on the silent count because they anticipate that the Eagles fans will outnumber Rams fans. This is the most exciting game of the week, but one I’m very unsure about. How will the Eagles respond after their loss to the Seahawks? Will Jared Goff make the necessary plays to beat a good Eagles defense? Will the Rams feel like their playing a road game while at home? The Rams are favored by 2, but my gut tells me the Eagles win this one.

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 7:30 CT

One of the best rivalries in the NFL on Sunday night? Between two potential playoff teams? Sign me up. The Ravens have won three straight and are in position to get a wildcard spot in the playoffs. They just dismantled a solid Lions team 44-20, and the team as a whole seems to be trending in the right direction. For the Steelers, first thing that needs to be mentioned is Ryan Shazier, who suffered a spinal injury on Monday Night Football. There hasn’t been much in the way of updates on Shazier’s condition, but hopefully the injury he suffered is not too devastating. Back to the game, The Steelers are one of the best teams in the league, and they have won seven straight. Those wins haven’t always been pretty (they beat each of the Colts, Packers, and Bengals by just three points), but the Steelers are tied for best record in the league. The Steelers are 4.5 point favorites in Vegas, and I’ll take them to cover.

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Four Games to Watch In Week 6

Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings – 12 CT

Aaron Rodgers lead the Packers on another game winning drive last week, beating the Cowboys in spectacular fashion. The Packers have been banged up to start the year, but they look as good as any team not named the Chiefs. Speaking of banged up, the Vikings have had to deal with injuries to Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook. Cook is out for the year, and Bradford is listed as questionable but it appears unlikely he will play in this game. On top of that, breakout WR Stefon Diggs may also be out with a groin injury, though he says he thinks he will play. The Packers are favored by 3 points in Minnesota, and I’m a little surprised they aren’t heavier favorites than that. That said, the Packers have allowed the second most sacks thus far, and Vikings DE Everson Griffin has six sacks already. If the Vikings can get to Rodgers, this will be a close game. I’ll take the Packers by 3, but expect a close game.

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Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints – 12 CT

The Lions came up short last week against the Panthers, and now they are one game back in the NFC North. The Lions are a good team, but their offense has left something to be desired early this season, which isn’t what you would expect. Surprisingly, Detroit’s defense has been the thing carrying them so far. The Saints are coming off of two straight wins after opening the season with two losses. After trading Adrian Peterson, Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara should get more touches and their running plays won’t be as telegraphed. The Saints are favored by 4.5, which is surprising to me. Maybe Vegas expects the bye week to help the Saints, but I’m taking the Lions to win this game outright.

Los Angeles Rams @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 3:05 CT

Who would have thought that a game between the Rams and Jaguars would be one of the most interesting games to watch in week 6? But here we are, with both franchises at 3-2. The Jaguars pulled off a pretty shocking defeat of the Steelers last week in a game where Blake Bortles only threw one pass in the second half. Let me say that again, the Jaguars won a game where their QB threw one pass in the second half! That’s crazy. The Jaguars defense is elite, and second year cornerback Jalen Ramsey is a force to be reckoned with. Not to mention rookie RB Leonard Fournette who is second in rushing so far this year. This matchup features another great RB: Todd Gurley. Gurley has been great in both running the ball and in the passing game. For the Rams, they’re coming off of a loss to the Seahawks where Cooper Kupp dropped the game winning touchdown pass in the final seconds. Which of these surprising teams will improve to 4-2 on the season? Vegas favors the Jaguars by 2.5, and I’m picking them simply because they are playing at home. Who knows though, if the Rams can score on the Jaguars, Blake Bortles and the Jaguars offense is going to have a difficult time keeping up.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs – 3:25 CT

The Chiefs are the NFL’s last undefeated team, and they look to stay undefeated Sunday against Pittsburgh. The Chiefs have been consistent: good defense, solid play from Alex Smith, explosive plays from Tyreek Hill, and running the ball with league leading rusher Kareem Hunt. Things got dicey in the 4th quarter last week against Houston, but the Chiefs toughed out the win. While the Chiefs are the most consistent team in football right now, the Steelers might be one of the most inconsistent. The Steelers have beaten the Browns, Vikings, and Ravens, but have fallen to the Bears and Jaguars. The loss to the Jaguars came last week at home, which is pretty shocking as the Steelers are notorious for playing very well at home. Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions last week, and it’ll be on him to get the struggling offense turned around. The Chiefs are favored by 4.5, which seems low. I’ll take the Chiefs to cover.

Four Games to Watch In Week 2

The novelty of the NFL season returning hasn’t quite worn off yet. Football is football. In some respects, all games are worth watching. That said, here are the five games you should keep an eye on in week 2 of the NFL season.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Kansas City Chiefs – 12 CT

Both the Chiefs and Eagles impressed in week 1. Alex Smith and the Chiefs tore apart the Patriots defense, with rookie running back Kareem Hunt going for 246 yards plus three touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Eagles defense forced four turnovers against the Washington Redskins, and Carson Wentz showed some incredible poise. The Chiefs are favored in this game by 5.5 points. It should be a good one, both defenses looked good last week, and the Chiefs offense sure was impressive. I’ll take the Chiefs to cover.

Minnesota Vikings @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 12 CT

Sam Bradford took home NFC Offensive Player of the Week after he lit up the Saints on Monday night, but can he match that performance on the road against a better defense? There is no denying the Vikings offense looked good, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen were open all game and killed the Saints. On the defensive side of the ball, the Vikings only allowed a touchdown in garbage time to an offense lead by one of the best QBs in the game. The Steelers struggled against the Browns, but it was the first time the offense with Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Martavis Bryant had all been on the field together in over a year. That offense should be one of the best in the league when it gets going. The Steelers are favored by 5.5 points, but I think that’s a little high. I’m not saying the Vikings will win, but I expect it to be closer than 5.5 points.

Dallas Cowboys @ Denver Broncos – 3:25 CT

The Broncos nearly blew a 24-7 lead, but through the power of icing the kicker, they managed to come away with the victory. Through three quarters, the Broncos looked great. The defense was flying around the field making tackles, and Trevor Siemian actually looked like a good QB. The Cowboys destroyed the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. Adam Schefter is reporting that Ezekiel Elliott will not have to serve his suspension this season, which is great news for the Cowboys. The Giants offense looked awful against the Cowboys, lets see how the Broncos can do. Dallas is favored by 2 points, but I like Denver and the points.

Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons – 7:30 CT

Oh boy, this should be a good one. This is the game I’m looking forward to the most this week. The Packers are coming off of a win against a tough Seahawks team, and the Falcons struggled with the Bears. I don’t think either of those games are indicative of what will happen Monday night though. The Packers and Falcons both had offenses that struggled to get going in week 1, but I’m expecting a shootout in this one. On top of the potential offensive fireworks, this is the opening game in the Falcons’ new home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Unfortunately, since the game is on a Sunday, fans will not be able to experience the Chick-fil-A stand in the stadium. The Falcons are favored by 3, and I think that’s a pretty fair line. However, I’ll take the Packers in this one.

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.

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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