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.

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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 5

Carolina Panthers @ Detroit Lions – 12 CT

Despite the big win over New England last week, the story surrounding the Panthers right now is focused on Cam Newton’s comments toward a female reporter. Last week’s victory was impressive, but I’m still having a hard time believing in this Panthers team. Newton had a rough start to the season, but maybe the Patriots game will be a turning point for him. For the Lions, they traveled to Minnesota and squeaked by with a mostly unimpressive victory. The Lions defense looked good, but Stafford and the offense looked out of sorts. The Lions are favored to win by 2.5. Expect the Lions offense to get back on track and beat the Panthers by 3+ points.

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Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles – 12 CT

The Eagles enter the week with a 3-1 record, and a lot of NFL analysts are loving the. I’m a Carson Wentz fan, but are we sure the Eagles are actually good? The Eagles win over the Redskins in week 1 was impressive, but since then they’ve lost to the Chiefs (excusable), and then beat both the 0-4 Giants and Chargers by a combined 5 points. That doesn’t impress me much. Hopefully the Eagles prove me wrong, I want to see Wentz make the playoffs in his sophomore season. The visiting Cardinals are a very strange team. Sometimes Carson Palmer looks like he isn’t capable of throwing a football more than five yards, and other times he slings it like Brett Favre. The Eagles are favored by 6.5. While I think the Eagles could and should win this game, I think they will play down to the Cardinals level and narrowly get the victory by less than 6.5.

Seattle Seahawks @ Los Angeles Rams – 3:05 CT

Two of the most mysterious teams in the league, hopefully we will be able to learn something from this game. The Rams shockingly have one of the best offenses in the league after four weeks, can they keep it up against a good Seahawks defense? Can the Seahawks offensive line give Russell Wilson time to get the ball downfield? These two teams are battling to win the NFC West, so this is a big game. In Vegas, the game is a pick ’em, which seems about right. I really don’t have a good feel on how this game is going to go, but I’ll say the Seahawks win in a very close game.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans – 7:30 CT

The Chiefs are the NFL’s last undefeated team, but they certainly didn’t look unbeatable last week on Monday Night Football. I think this speaks to the fact that parity in the NFL might be at an all time high this year, it seems like almost any team can win any given week. That said, the Chiefs are definitely a good football team, Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt are carrying the offense, and the defense is good as well. On the other hand, the Texans seemed to have figured it out. After a close loss to New England in week 3, the Texans destroyed the Titans 57-14. The Houston defense looks back, and on offense, DeShaun Watson looks like a franchise QB. The Chiefs are favored by just 1 point in this one. Expect a close game, but expect the Chief to cover.

Four Games to Watch In Week 4

Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings – 12 CT

The Lions suffered their first loss of the season last week against the Falcons after a controversial 10 second runoff after a booth review. The Lions came up just inches shy of being 3-0. This week, they’re taking on a Vikings team that looked shockingly awesome with Case Keenum at quarterback last week. With Sam Bradford ruled out for Sunday, Keenum will be getting the start again. Keenum and the Vikings benefited from playing an injured Buccaneers defense last week, but Detroit should be a bigger test. If the offensive line can give Keenum time to throw, I like their chances at home. The Vikings are favored by 2. I’m picking the Vikings to win. Don’t forget, Keenum beat the Lions in Detroit last year, throwing for 321 yards and three TDs.

Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans – 12 CT

Deshaun Watson looked promising for the Texans last week, going into New England and almost pulling out a victory. The Texans may only be 1-2, but I still believe the Texans have the potential to win the AFC South. Most expect the Titans and Texans to finish at the top of the South, so this is a big game. On the other hand, the Titans look like one of the best teams in the league. Last week, the Titans beat the Seattle Seahawks, leaving many to question if the Seahawks are going to have a disappointing season. The Seahawks may end up having a disappointing year, but the Titans look like the real deal. DeMarco Murray is one of the best running backs in the league, and if gets going early the Texans will be in trouble. The Titans are favored by 2, but I’ll take the Texans at home.

Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos – 3:25 CT

Both the Raiders and the Broncos laid duds last week. The Raiders looked awful on Sunday night against the Redskins, Derek Carr was under constant pressure and was sacked four times. The Broncos went to Buffalo and lost to a Bills team that might be better than we thought. Trevor Siemian had his worst game of the season, throwing two interceptions. Despite the awful performances last week, expect both the Raiders and Broncos to rebound. These are two teams that have definite playoff potential, I expect at least one of them to make it in. The Broncos are favored by 3 points. Denver is a tough place to play and their defense is good at forcing pressure on quarterbacks, so I can’t pick against them here.

Washington Redskins @ Kansas City Chiefs – Monday, 7:30 CT

The Chiefs looks like the best team in football, and the Redskins just put a thumping on the Raiders. We got a good one for Monday night. Just an aside, I think its a shame Mike Tirico left ESPN, he was great on Monday Night Football. Sean McDonough is fine, but no where near as good as Tirico was. Oh well. Back to the actual game. Kirk Cousins and his receivers haven’t really been on the same page this season, but to get the win in KC they’re going to have to get going. It isn’t like the Redskins have a bad group of receivers, Jamison Crowder is good, and Terrelle Pryor was a monster for the Browns last year. The Washington defense is going to have to slow down Kareem Hunt, who is leading the league in rushing yards (by over 100 yards). The Chiefs are favored by 7, and while I think that is a bit high, I’ll still take them.

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.

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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.