Thursday, October 15, 2015

2015-16 NFL Week 6 Picks

Atlanta @ New Orleans

The Saints are struggling to put point ms on the board eventhough they recently beat the Cowboys. Colston is out and that's gonnaake things tough. Brees gonna need game of his life tonight. 

The Falcons are undefeated and they are looking good. The defense should feast on this Saints team and the offense should put together some pretty good drives to get this win. 

Winner - Falcons

Thursday, October 01, 2015

2015-16 NFL Week 4 Picks

Running behind this week but trying to get these picks in.  Let's go.

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh

The Steelers bring out their rusty dusty backup in Michael Vick after Big Ben's injury.  This will be a test against a wounded Ravens team so we'll have to see how well Vick plays.  I'm rooting for you Vick.

The Ravens need a win, nothing more nothing less.  Last week they were thisclose to pulling off a win against Cincinnati but,...well A.J. Green happened.  The Steelers defense is hobbled but making strides so here's hoping that the Ravens can put up some points and watch their defense get after Vick.

Winner - Ravens

New York Jets @ Miami (London)

Seems like each week we are waiting on the real Dolphins team to show up. I'm talking about the one that many thought would win the AFC East. We're all eyes Dolphina, all eyes. 

The Jets have proven that they can probably stop anyone but their problem is going down the field with their QB. Is it time for Geno?!?

Winner - Jets

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis

Welp, no Andrew Luck and that isn't a good. This Colts team was already struggling and without their best player this is going to be ugly. 

Jacksonville, this is your chance to get a win. Like, really, you're playing a team without their best player and you had some good moments lately. 

Winner - Jaguars

New York Giants @ Buffalo

Tyrod Taylor and this Bills defense have been the keys. Looking for the ball to keep bouncing and this team to continue to play well. 

The Giants will still be without Victor Cruz so it looks like another big day for OBJ and probably another loss for the Giants. 

Winner - Bills

Carolina @ Tampa Bay

I never thought the Bucs would be this bad. Yes, they have a rookie QB, but the defense was supposed to step up and help. Divisional game on deck, let's see who steps up. 

Let's see if the Cam Newton show can keep rolling. 

Winner - Panthers

Philadelphia @ Washington

Not sure what to say about this one. The Redskins, on paper, should be able to ground the smallish Eagles into submission but we know that's not how it always works. Washington will mess this up. 

The Eaglea need to get their offense going so they can impose their will  it hasn't looked good as of late and I think they struggle a little more but they get it going. 

Winner - Eagles

Oakland @ Chicago

The only way the Bears have a chance is if Cutler plays. If he doesn't it's gonna take a miracle. 

The Raiders can't give up points to this wounded team. They can score but this defense can give up some yards and points to be as attacking as they are. 

Winner - Raiders

Houston @ Atlanta

The Falcons are riding high with their offense and rejuvenated defense. This team is due for a letdown and this game could provide the trap. 

The Texans need a QB to go with this defense. Until then, we can all just say what if?

Winner - Falcons

Kansas City @ Cincinnati

The Bengals are rolling along and this might be their first big test.  Can Andy Dalton continue his good play? Can someone slow down AJ Green?

The Chiefs come into this game with many still questioning Alex Smith and whether he's the right QB to lead this offense. I'm not a fan of Smith but I actually think he's pretty decent. They just need to play within their system and stay until he lead. 

Winner - Chiefs

Cleveland @ San Diego

I hope Philip Rivera has his arm rested because I expect him to be slinging the ball around the field today. Defense just needs to make some stops. 

The Browns need to figure out who they want at QB and just ride them out. I don't think either of their top 2 give them a good chance to winany games, but his is a sad situation. 

Winner - Chargers

Green Bay @ San Francisco

The 49ers looked like shit last week and most of that was Kaep. I said they had changed that offense to look more like a college offense but it was too simple last week.

The Packers continue to roll as long as Rodgers is lining up at QB. They find a way to win and that defense hides its weaknesses just enough to make some plays. 

Winner - Packers

St. Louis @ Arizona

The Cardinals may be the best team in the NFL and they keep chuggin along. Seems like the health of Carson Palmer will be the reason this team plays well or not. It's good to see Palmer finally playing healthy. 

The Rams need their offense to wake up. This defense should give the Cardinals some problems, but will it be enough?

Winner - Cardinals

Minnesota @ Denver

Another. Janice for people to question Manning's arm strength and another chance for this Broncos defense to turn it up. 

When will we see the improved Teddy Brisgewater that we were promised?  He's going to need to show up to keep the pressure off of AP. 

Winner - Broncos

Dallas @ New Orleans

An injured Drew Brees going up against a limping Cowboys team. I'm hoping for some vintage Brees. 

The Cowboys would be smart to run the ball on every occasion and keep Weeden from throwing too much. They should salt this one away, if they play smart. 

Winner - Cowboys

Detroit @ Seattle

The Seahawks are finding their groove. Nothing like beating the sorry Bears to make the week look better. Still need to get their new TE involved in the passing game more, but I think that will happen. 

The Lions have Stafford. As I've said before he is just someone I don't trust. He can't make mistakes against this defense or it'll be over quick. 

Winner - Seahawks

Thursday, September 24, 2015

2015-16 NFL Week 3 Picks

Washington @ New York Giants

The Giants come in 0-2 after giving up two W's in the 4th quarter of their last two games.  Eli has something to prove, even though he hasn't thrown a pick yet this year.  Giants fans, keep praying about this.  Not sure that the Giants are going to have enough talent to beat a surprising (redacted) team with OBJ and Ben Vereen being the top targets for Eli.  Giants are going to need their TE's (Donnell and Fells) to show up in this game.

The (redacted) are 1-1 after beating the Rams last week.  That was a game that many didn't think the (redacted) could pull off but they ran the ball and dominated both lines of scrimmage and upset the Rams.  They will need to continue that domination on and it should be easy against the Giants because their defensive line is an issue.  The only thing that can mes this 'W' up for the (redacted) is if they all of a sudden start turning the ball over.  This offense seems to work for Kirk Cousins.  

Winner – (Redacted) Washington

Atlanta @ Dallas

The Cowboys made a trade to bring in backup extraordinaire Sam Cassel, wait, not Sam, but Matt. No Dez. No Romo.  I would think that the Cowboys aren't too worried.  At least they started the season 2-0 and if they lose this game they aren't in such a bad spot.  The Cowboys defense is going to have to step up and stop Atlanta's offense and hope that whomever starts at WB Weeden/Cassel can get this offense moving.

The Falcons bring in a high powered offense and this year they actually have a pretty good defense. Expect a big game from Matty Ice and Julio Jones, but I'm looking to see how dominant this Falcons defense can be against an injured Cowboys offense.  Should be fun to watch.

Winner - Falcons

Indianapolis @ Tennessee

The Titans had a rough week 2 after an exciting performance in week 1.  This is a full rebuild for the Titans and Mariota doesn't have a lot of talent to help.  Luckily they are facing a struggling Colts team at home.  They have a chance to be a spoiler at home this weekend.  

The Colts come into this game and it's a must win in my eyes.  Andrew Luck has been turning the ball over like he's taken a page from Eli Manning.  That Colts offensive line is atrocious and we may have to pray for Luck in this game.  The Falcons will probably bring the blitz on a regular.  Luck is going to have to take what the defense gives him (short passes and he's gotta hope that he'll get a few opportunities down the field with T.Y. Hilton).     

Winner - Colts

Oakland @ Cleveland

So we're gonna bench Johnny Football?  After he won you the first game of the season?  And we're starting McNown?  Good luck Browns.  Good luck.   

The Raiders look to continue the good play that they showed last week against the Ravens.  Carr was able to pass to both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree for over 100 yards each and the Raiders ran the ball well with Murray, the only Murray who's actually having a good season so far running the ball.    

Winner - Raiders

Cincinnati @ Baltimore

My Ravens gotta find a way to slow down people.  Last week was the first week without T. Sizzle and it really showed as the Raiders pretty much did what they wanted against the Ravens.  This week they get Andy Dalton and an opportunity to show that they can get to the QB and stop someone.  On offense, the Ravens didn't look as bad as they moved the ball, had a pretty good game from Steve Smith, and they put up 33 points.  Normally when a Ravens team puts up that many points, it's a cakewalk for them.  Here's to the Ravens developing a new attitude on defense and pulling out this 'W' in their first home game of the year.  Ravens can't afford to go 0-3 to start the season.

The Bengals are looking pretty good.  They come into to this game leading the AFC North by a game and if AJ Green wasn't listed as questionable they'd be 100% ready to go.  The Bengals are healthy and they should make it tough on the Ravens.

Winner - Bengals

Jacksonville @ New England

The Patriots are rolling as usual after their win against the Bills.  Nothing has changed for the Patriots, they just bring in new players (and old) and they get them on the field and run their scheme to perfection.  More Tom Brady, more Gronk, blah, blah, blah.  Same results, W's followed by more W's, an occasional 'L' and that's it.  

Good luck Jaguars.  Good luck.  

Winner - Patriots

New Orleans @ Carolina

I don't know how Cam keeps doing it but he is the reason this team keeps putting up numbers.  The only thing concerning about this team, outside of their WR limitations, is the fact that Luke Kuechly is still not cleared to play.  They are going to need him, so hopefully he is getting better from his concussion he sustained in week 1.  

There is lots of concern about Drew Brees shoulder/rotator cuff and that's the worst thing that an older QB whose arm strength has been questioned in the past needs to have around him.  The Saints haven't looked good this year and it doesn't look good this week either.  

Winner - Panthers

Philadelphia @ New York Jets

The surprising 2-0 Jets get a chance to add insult to injury to the Eagles.  The Jets have been decent on offense and they have two big receivers to go along with a sound running game.  Did I mention the defense is suffocating.  The AFC Defensive player of the week is Teddy Pendegrass (Darelle Revis) and he and the rest of this Jets team should feast on a limping Eagles squad.  Revis is day to day with a groin, but even on a short week, I expect him to play in this game.  

The Eagles have sucked the last two weeks and I mean sucked to the highest of sucktivity (yes I know that's note a word).  Can they turn it around?  Is Chip Kelly a farce?  Is this Eagles team doomed because of some of the personnel decisions that have been made?  All these answers will be revealed this week when they play the Jets (not really, but at least one of these questions will answered).  

Winner - Jets

Tampa Bay @ Houston

The Texans are again hamstrung by their QB play, but they hope that they can find a groove on offense.  That defense will put pressure on the rookie QB in Tampa Bay, but they are going to have to cover the two big receivers for Tampa and hope for the best.  

This is Jamies' rookie year, but the hope was that he'd have a supporting cast around him to help.  He has the weapons, but the offensive line has to give Jameis some room to throw the ball and this Bucs' team will be dangerous.  

Winner - Bucs

San Diego @ Minnesota

Now that was the Vikings team that I was expecting to see in week 1 of the season.  Again, this team has a chance when they run the ball and plays defense.  Teddy Bridgewater hasn't looked good yet but if the pre-season hype does come true, this Vikings team may actually fight for their division.  

The Chargers are participating in another shootout and they just gotta hope the offense can hold together a little while longer.  They will be starting their 3rd string TE due to suspension and injury. Prayers up for the scoreboard in this game.  

Winner - Vikings

Pittsburgh @ St. Louis

The Rams gotta be pissed that they slept on the Washington (redacted) last week and I expect them to bring the pain to the Steelers.  They might want to make sure they cover #84, he's good.

The Steelers are probably still throwing hte ball and scoring points based on last week's game.  Big Ben went off and Antonio Brown was damn near unstoppable last week.  This Steelers defense has got to find a way to make some stops, but they have some time and Le'Veon Bell will be coming back soon.

Winner - Rams

San Francisco @ Arizona

This is the Cardinals team that we have hoped to see the last few years.  They are healthy (relatively) and this offense is dynamic.  We might be looking at the NFC West champion? 

As good as the 49ers looked in week 1 they looked as bad last week.  We'll see if they can turn it around and make this a game.  

Winner - Cardinals

Buffalo @ Miami

The Dolphins need to find their rhythm if this in fact the year they win the AFC East   Lamar Miller, their normal workhorse on offense, is nursing an injury. That Dolphins defense has got to find s way to stop someone. 

The Bills will try to capitalize on their good play the last two weeks. Tyron Taylor has led this team on offense and McCoy has helped with his return.  The Bills defense should play well. 

Winner - Bills

Chicago @ Seattle

I expect the Seahawks to dominate this game on both sides of the ball. Good luck Bears. 

Winner - Seahawks

Denver @ Detroit

Detroit has got to protect their QB and running the ball. Looking for s big game from the rookie Abdullah on the ground and will expect lots of screen plays. 

Denver brings a great D to Detroit and they may feast on that Lions o-line. Manning will get to play indoors so we probably won't hear a lot about his arm strength in this game. 

Winner - Broncos

Kansas City @ Green Bay

The Packers have Aaron Rodgers and your team doesn't. They just keep finding ways to move on with injuries and they keep winning. They won't have Lacy in this game so I want to see how they fare against this Chiefs defense. 

The Chiefs are clicking on all cylinders already. Charles will provide the Packers defense problems with his versatility and speed and hopefully the Chiefd finally get a WR touchdown. 

Winner - Chiefs

Thursday, September 17, 2015

2015-16 NFL Week 2 Picks

Denver @ Kansas City
The Broncos come into KC with the media (and everyone else) wondering if Manning is done and a great defense.  The Broncos escaped with a win last week against Baltimore, more because of their defense than anything they were able to do on the offensive side of the ball.  Rumors swirled around Manning's arm strength and whether the noodle is already gone week 2 into the season.  I won't say that this is the biggest game of the season but this is the first match-up of the two teams many expected to be fighting for the AFC West title and possibly one of the teams headed to the Superbowl.

Denver brings their defense to town and the Chiefs are trying to up the ante with there's.  The Chiefs have to love the fact that they are going against an immobile QB and if they can keep the Broncos in 3rd and long situations, they'll know exactly what spot Manning will be in.  On offense, I imagine that we'll see more of Jamaal Charles split out to put him in one on one situations with the Broncos LBs.  Can Alex Smith repeat his performance from week 1?  If he does, the Chiefs might be big winners at home.  

Winner – Chiefs

Houston @ Carolina

The Panthers found a way to win last week and look to do the same this week.  I'll say it again, I don't know who Cam Newton is going to throw the ball to.  Last week it was Jerricho Cotchery, but someone else has got to step up.  With Houston and this defense coming to Charlotte, they are going to have to run the ball to have a chance.  On defense, the Panthers star, Luke Kuechly  hasn't been cleared to play and the Panthers may want to be cautious with rushing him back.

The Texans are already changing their QBs.  Ryan Mallet gets the start and it seems like Hoyer may be the backup for the rest of the year (life comes at you fast).  This Texans defense played well last week and hope to continue that with the homecoming of Jadeveon Clowney being a big story this week. I'm sure his people from SC will make the trek to Charlotte.  Should be a good game.

Winner - Texans

San Francisco @ Pittsburgh

The Steelers have had some time to heal from their butt whuppin given to them by the Patriots.  They better hope that better equipment was really the reason behind their play on that Thursday night opener.  Looks like the offense is just counting the games to Leveon Bell returns, but the Steelers defense has got to at least line up correctly this game and show us something.  

The 49ers come off a strong showing against the Vikings.  Again, this offense looks rudimentary but as long as Kaep is comfortable, they have a chance.  This 49ers defense should have Steelers fans crying for the days that their defense was this dominant.  

Winner - 49ers

Tampa Bay @ New Orleans

Talking about being comfortable, that's something that Drew Brees wasn't last week and looks to be that way all year long.  This Saints team feels like a rebuilding year, but they are still pushing forward and trying to fix/rebuild this car (team) while they're on the road driving it.  The Saints have to run the ball a little more and let Brees pick his spots.  Brees can't have 48 attempts again this week.  

Jameis shat the bed in his first start so the hope is that he can shake it off and play better.  Word is Mike Evans is 100% and returning from injury so he should have both of his tall dominant receivers to go along with tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.  I am also looking for a pulse from this Bucs defense, since Lovie did not die on the cross for you guys to play this horribly.  

Winner - Bucs

Detroit @ Minnesota

The Vikings have got to get back into Viking football.  That consists of feeding AP the ball and I expect that he'll get at least 30 touches this game.  AP looked out of sync last game, almost like he missed playing football for a year.  Once that ground game gets going, you take some of the pressure off of young Teddy Bridgewater and I think this Viking team starts winning.

The Lions might have it this year and by 'it' I'm talking about a chance to play for the division title. They've normally had the talent but there was always something missing, but I like this all around team and it'll be exciting to see them get going.  Megatron was off his game last week also so I expect a big game between him and Stafford.

Winner - Lions

Arizona @ Chicago

The Bears come off a game where they actually played well, they just happened to run into the best QB in the game.  This is game number 2 at home and I could see the Bears getting a win with the same strategy as last week, run the ball and limit Cutler's mistakes in the passing game.  If they can do that, they'll keep this one close. 

The Cardinals can be electric on offense and Carson Palmer looks very good.  The Bears don't really have anyone that can cover the Cardinals wideouts so I expect big games from Fitzgerald, Floyd and the Brown brothers (I know they aren't brothers).  We'll see if Chris Johnson gets the start for the injured Andre Ellington and whether Johnson has anymore in the tank.  

Winner - Cardinals

New England @ Buffalo

Tyrod Taylor gets his first dance with the Patriots.  Belichek has always been good with scheming against new starters in the league so I'm sure he'll have something for Taylor.  Taylor just has to hand the ball off and pick his spots on offense and hope that the Bills defense is ready for the challenge.  

The Patriots are always ready and remember they have to very good TEs (one excellent and one good).  The Patriots will try to contain Taylor in the pocket and not allow him to make plays with his feet.  This is definitely must see TV.  

Winner - Bills

San Diego @ Cincinnati

The Bengals looked good last week and they are hoping to keep this one a contest.  They need to pound the ball and then let AJ Green expose this Chargers defense.  They can't let this game become a shootout, but they are going to have to put up points against the Chargers.  Rivers in a baseball hat is the best place for him if the Bengals want to win. 

The Chargers hope they have rested enough to put up numbers again this week.  They can't start slowly like they did last week but they gotta find a way to get stops on defense.  I've said that they are going to have to win shootouts all year long and the Bengals have enough firepower on offense to keep up with them, although the Chargers definitely have the better QB. 

Winner - Bengals

Tennessee @ Cleveland

This will be a long season for the Browns.  Manziel will probably start again and he's been limited at practice with an injured elbow.  Hopefully he's ready to go, but again, he doesn't have a lot of help on this Browns team.  Browns gonna have to run the ball a lot and keep Manziel from further hurting that arm.  

The Titans had a great first week with their rookie QB.  The only question is where do they go from here?  Prior to the season many felt the Titans didn't have anything in the cupboard and after one game some think otherwise.  I am actually still in the camp of them NOT having much to go along with Mariota.  I expect this to be a rough day at the office for him.  

Winner - Browns

Atlanta @ New York Giants

Hopefully Eli won't tell any of his players not to score again.  Giants are so much better when they run the ball and limit Eli (Mr. Turnover) from giving the ball away.  

The Falcons hope to keep up the swarming play that their defense exhibited against the Eagles.  If they can do that, this team will have taken several steps ahead of where they have been in the past few years.  Can we also get Matt Ryan to not turn the ball over a few times?  He's got the people to exploit the Giants secondary, but we'll see if he's Matty Ice or Matty Ice Water. 

Winner - Falcons

St. Louis @ Washington

They are the (redacted)!!!  They played terribly last week and the younger Gruden is going to have us believe that they are on the rise.  I think until they release RGIII this team won't do well.  It's gotta be karma.

The Rams come off a good game and a good win against the Seahawks.  The offense seemed to click last week and there are rumblings that they might have a certain rookie running back available this weekend, Todd Gurley.  Rams defense played well last week and I expect them to dominate this week too.

Winner - Rams

Miami @ Jacksonville

The Jaguars?  All I have to say is if Blake Bortles doesn't show up and be the QB that I thin he can be, we're gonna have to go down to Jacksonville and have a stern talking to with that young man.  He has a n opportunity to be good but he can't turn the ball over (out there impersonating Andrew Luck or Eli Manning).  

The Dolphins pissed into the wind last week and almost got it all over themselves.  They barely snuck out a win against the Dolphins and this week they have to play another team that many expect them to beat.  Can the Dolphins live up to the hype that many have for them this year or are we all doomed to what this underachieving team do just that again this year?  

Winner - Dolphins

Baltimore @ Oakland

Talk about playing terrible last week?  The Raiders lost their QB early because he didn't slide and from there it just went downhill.  Carr is one of these young QBs that has the skillset, but he's gotta be able to perform.  He has help and a pretty decent defense.  Carr you can't do it all and you shouldn't try to.  Spread it around and prosper. 

The Ravens start this game as Game 1 ATS (After Terrell Suggs).  Jason Babin was signed to replace Suggs and the Ravens will try to keep it rolling.  The hope is that they can get something going on offense too.  Steve Smith had a terrible game last week and I don't remember him ever having bad games back to back.  Will love to see how this defense responds to this challenge.  

Winner - Ravens

Dallas @ Philadelphia

Maybe in week 2 the Eagles offense will be in tune this week.  I know one thing, they better find a way to keep people off of Bradford or he won't make it an entire season.  He got a precautionary x-rays on his ankle after week 1 and that doesn't bode well for the oft-injured QB.  DeMarco Murray has got to have more than 9 yards this game, especially since he's going against his old team that let him go.  

The Cowboys are working without their star wideout in Dez Bryant for who knows how many weeks (4-8).  We expect this offensive line to dominate the Eagles and let one of the Murray replacements run on the Eagles defense.  If that doesn't happen Tony Romo will have a lot of attempts and maybe a mistake or two, so I think they'll be running the ball.  

Winner - Cowboys

Seattle @ Green Bay

Game of the week to me.  The Packers come off a pretty solid game against the Bears.  They lose Bulaga on the offensive line so that puts Aaron Rodgers' life at risk since the only fault that one could find with the Packers is their o-line.  Rodgers will have to worry about the Seahawks coming from just about everywhere this game.  Look for Lacy to have a big game.

The Seahawks are rebounding from their loss last week to the Rams on some questionable calls from their O coordinator and head coach.  Can they get it all working?  The defense missed Cam Chancellor but with no solution seemingly coming on that front, the Seahawks have got to get back to the type of football that allows them to win, run the ball with Lynch and then let their newly paid QB find his new target in Graham.

Winner - Seahawks

New York Jets @ Indianapolis

The Colts try to bounce back after a dismal showing last week.  TY Hilton is questionable so some other receiving targets are going to have to step up (Dwayne Allen and Andre Johnson, ahem!!).  The Colts offensive line was just that last week, offensive and they have to find a solution to keeping their QB up right for the majority of the game.  

The Jets, well, didn't look too bad last week.  Ryan Fitzpatrick played decently and the ground game led the way.  With the Colts defense being as soft as tissue paper, we actually might have a 250 yard rushing game for the Jets as a team.  

Winner - Jets

Monday, September 14, 2015

2015-16 NFL Week 1 Results

Pittsburgh @ New England 
Welp, I guess Tom Brady (25 of 32, 281 yds, 4 TDs) wanted to prove to all of us that it’s not the amount of air in the balls, but what you do with the balls that count.  The Patriots blasted the Steelers and what makes it worse if that they seem to do it with ease.  Both of their tight ends (Gronk 5 rec, 94 yds, 3 TDs; Scott Chandler 1 rec, 1 yd, 1 TD) were responsible for the 4 TDs that they scored in this game.  The defense played well until late when Big Ben’s (26 of 38, 351 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int) pass to Antonio Brown (9 rec, 133 yds, 1 TD) made the score look respectable.  We’re done with all of the whispers of the Patriots cheating and now we can move one with all of this,………or so we thought.  The Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin went on record to say that they always have issues with their communications when they go to Foxboro and the fact that the entire first half all they could hear on their headsets was the Patriots radio coverage of the game.  It wasn’t until the Steelers reported it and the Patriots were told that they would have to stop using their headsets, was the problem all of a sudden fixed.  Are you surprised about more whispers of Patriot infidelity?  If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, ladies and gentlemen, it’s probably a duck.  We’ll see how long this remains an issue and we’ll also see how much better each of these teams can get. 

Inquisitive Mind 1-0 for the week

Green Bay @ Chicago

The Bears start the season 0-1 but, they actually looked like a football team.  They actually played well,…including Cutler (18 of 36, 225 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int).  Hear me out, the Bears ran the ball well with Forte (24 carries, 141 yds, 1 TD), had great play calling, and Cutler minimized his chances on making the ‘bad’ play.  The only issue on the play calling is getting down in the red zone and not calling Forte’s number, not even once.  That drive ended with a high pass over the head of Royal (Jay had a guy in his face and didn’t have a chance to really do anything but sling the ball).  They had 4 out of 5 drives early that ended in points.  The biggest issue is that they were playing the Packers.  Aaron Rodgers (18 of 23, 189 yds, 3 TDs) is the baddest man on the planet and he proved that in this game.  James Jones (4 rec, 51 yds, 2 TDs) showed up like he never left the team and the defense finally made a play on the interception by Clay Matthews. 
All in all, this is a huge step forward for the Bears even though the season will start 0-1.  I blame the Bears for talking about switching Kyle Long to tackle and waiting until the first game of the season to actually move him to right tackle was stupid, as they should have gotten him some reps in the preseason.  The Bears had a new attitude and the arrow, at least for now is pointing up.  One bad thing for the Packers is that they weren’t able to stop the run and next up is the Seattle Seahawks and their running game.   

Inquisitive Mind 2-0 for the week

Kansas City @ Houston
Is it too late to make those ‘Free JJ Watt’ t-shirts?  This Texans team really looked like they are a QB away from being very dangerous and as we know, getting that QB is tough.  Hoyer (18 of 24, 236 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int) was terrible and Ryan Mallett (8 of 13, 98 yds, 1 TD) wasn’t much better to go along with a weak ground game (21 car, 98 yds).  Yes, the Texans were down big early, but that defense finally showed up and slowed down the Chiefs or they might have scored 60 yesterday.  When will this team be able to match the defense with performance? 
The Chiefs looked great.  They got out to a big early lead with Travis Kelce (6 rec, 106 yds, 2 TDs) leading the way.  Jamaal Charles had over 100 yards combined and this defense looked suffocating at times.  Let’s see what Andy Reid has in store for us in week 2 as we know the Broncos will make a much more difficult foe. 

Inquisitive Mind 3-0 for the week

Cleveland @ New York Jets
We actually did see Johnny Football (13 of 24, 182 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int, 2 fumbles lost) and we also saw that there isn’t much out there for the Browns on offense.  McCown thought he was John Elway in the Superbowl and got knocked out of the game and Manziel came in and threw a TD and we all thought from there, that this could go well.  3 turnovers later and lots of disappointment and now we’re looking at Week 2.  The Jets did what we expected, run the ball (C. Ivory – 20 car, 91 yds, 2 TDs; team had 36 car, 154 yds,  2 TDs) and play defense.  Ryan Fitzpatrick (15 of 24, 179 yds, 2 TDs, 1 Int) wasn’t that bad out there, but he’s gotta get better for this team to keep it up.  Good win for the Jets. 

Inquisitive Mind 4-0 for the week

Indianapolis @ Buffalo
I don’t think anyone thought it would look this bad.  I am going to say that I think the luster is finally wearing off of Andrew Luck (26 of 49, 243 yds, 2 TDs, 2 Ints).  He came into the league as possibly the next savior for the Colts, but outside of Eli, he’s been a turnover machine and he looked that way in this game.  Adding insult to injury was TY Hilton (7 recs, 88 yds) and Frank Gore (8 car, 31 yds)both going down to injuries and this Colts team looked terrible.  The defense should be having open tryouts this week as pretty much none of them showed up for the game.  Props to Tyrod Taylor (14 of 19, 195 yds, 1 TD, 9 car, 41 yds) (former Raven) in his debut as he looked wonderful.  We know it’s just one game, but the kid looked poised out there and ready for the big stage.  The Bills defense looked good ladies and gentlemen, we may have to lookout for them this season. 

Inquisitive Mind 5-0 for the week

Miami @ Washington
So, the (redacted) had RGIII on the practice squad this week as the starting safety?!?!  Just let that dude go.  There is no need to keep him around when you risk him getting injured doing something silly and could cost your team $16M by guaranteeing his salary next year.  Walk away from this.  Gruden’s post game presser where he waxed poetic about the ‘success’ that his starter, Kirk Cousins (21 of 31, 196 yds, 1 TD, 2 Ints), had during this game was laughable.  Of course Gruden has to oversell this entire thing but in the end, this is just a bad sitcom.  With all of that said, I’m more disappointed in the Dolphins that it took all they had to escape with this win in a very close game.  I expected them to easily win this game and be ready for week 2, but it seems that they have more questions than anything else. 

Inquisitive Mind 6-0 for the week

Carolina @ Jacksonville
Blake Bortles (22 of 40, 183 yds, 1 TD, 2 Ints, 4 car, 26 yds), you looked like isht (I try not to curse on this here blog but Bortles and someone else pushed me this week).  I am expecting much better from you if this team expects to even be respectable this year.  The Panthers and Cam Newton (18 of 31, 175 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int, 14 car, 35 yds) showed us what they are going to have to do all season to win and that’s scrape by with bare parts and play defense.  The Panthers barely got 100 yards rushing as a team (35 car, 105 yds), and their WR production was horrible this entire game.  Tedd Ginn Jr. dropped a sure TD when he was wide open.  They are going to need people to make plays and this didn’t give anyone a warm and fuzzy feeling that they will in the future.  Add to all of this Kuechly’s concussion and this was a bad Sunday for the Panthers even though they got a ‘W’. 

Inquisitive Mind 7-0 for the week

Seattle @ St. Louis
Dear Pete Carroll, I’m getting tired of your isht (Pete is the other person that wanted me to cuss this week).  This ‘genius’ you’re supposed to have or be, just seems to get in the way of good football sometimes.  First the Superbowl and not running Lynch, but then the pooch/onside kick in overtime and the subsequent play call on 4th and 1.  Dude, let your team, filled with talent, do what they do best and let’s stop the silliness.  The Seahawks struggled with this Rams team, but in the end, the better team won yesterday.  The Rams outplayed (and some would say out coached) the Seahawks.  Hopefully the Seahawks can bounce back next week or there may be some worry in Seattle. 

Inquisitive Mind 7-1 for the week

New Orleans @ Arizona
‘With a healthy Palmer, this Cardinals team is dangerous.’ – I mentioned this in my preview for the game and Carson (19 of 32, 307 yds, 3 TDs) must have read it because he played lights out.  I don’t think that Carson has looked this good in years.   The only bad thing from this game was the Cardinals losing Andre Ellington to a possible knee injury (PCL?) when their running game seems to struggle on a regular.  Larry Fitzgerald (6 recs, 87 yds) looked to be a part of the offense again and we’ll hope that it will continue for the remainder of the year.  The Saints looked horrible in this game.  They looked like Austin Powers without his mojo and I’m not so sure that the rest of their season won’t look the same.  Brees (30 of 48, 354 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int) may end up to be that guy that puts up a lot of numbers because they are behind so much all year. 

Inquisitive Mind 8-1 for the week

Detroit @ San Diego
The Chargers won this shootout with Philip Rivers (35 of 42, 404 yds, 2 TDs, 2 Ints) tying Dan Fouts on the Chargers TD list.  Two rookie RBs Melvin Gordon (14 car, 51 yds, 3 rec, 16 yds) and Ameer Abdullah (7 car, 50 yds, 1 TD, 4 rec, 44 yds) actually looked pretty good in this game for their respective teams.  Matthew Stafford (19 of 30, 246 yds, 2 TDs, 2 Ints) didn’t play his best game and was limited in hooking up with Megatron (2 rec, 39 yds).  Not sure if defense was actually a part of this game or not.  Keenan Allen(15 rec, 166 yds) had a monster game as Rivers spread the ball around to 7 different receivers. 

Inquisitive Mind 9-1 for the week

Tennessee @ Tampa Bay
Marcus Mariota, I apologize from everyone who ever thought that you wouldn’t be able to play in the NFL.  Great Game 1, and slow down out there.  Mariota (13 of 16, 209 yds, 4 TDs, no 4th quarter play) easily won the battle between the #1 and #2 picks in the 2015 NFL Draft.  Jameis (16 of 33, 210 yds, 2 TDs, 2 Ints) looked like he wasn’t ready for primetime, while Mariota seemed like he was playing in a 7-on-7 drill.  Nothing seemed to go right for the Bucs and they were embarrassed and already have their head coach Lovey Smith on the hot seat.  Bucs gotta hope this was just one bad game and that they can turn it around.  The only highlight for the Bucs was Austin Seferian-Jenkins (5 rec, 110 yds, 2 TDs, on 7 targets) who had a MONSTER game for the Bucs, but too little too late. 

Inquisitive Mind 9-2 for the week

Cincinnati @ Oakland
Dear Derek Carr, the next time you’re running out of the pocket, please understand that those are grown men on defense who don’t get a chance to normally hit you because of the rules.  Those same men welcome the opportunity to engage you in a physical confrontation and due to your size and ability to defend yourself, I’d suggest sliding as a course of action in the future.  ALSO, NEVER hit someone with your throwing hand.  Carr (7 of 12, 61 yds) left the game early and the Raiders turned into the Raiders of old, no not the good version, the sad version.  The Bengals and Andy Dalton (25 of 34, 269 yds, 2 TDs) looked good this first game of the season and they hope they can continue down this road.  Consistency has been their achilles heel in the past. 

Inquisitive Mind 10-2 for the week

Baltimore @ Denver
Let’s have a moment of silence for Terrell Suggs.  Suggs tore his Achilles tendon and is out for the year.  Tough loss in a loss for the Ravens.  Meanwhile this was a defensive stalemate for the majority of the game.  The Broncos looked like they had more options on offense, but Peyton Manning (24 of 40, 175 yds, 1 Int) didn’t look good in this game.  If there were whispers of a lack of arm strength last year, this game did nothing to silence those whispers.  It was almost like watching the fall of a great right before he heads into retirement.  Maybe Brady was right in those text messages about Manning.  The Ravens looked like they had no other targets for Flacco (18 of 32, 117 yds, 2 Ints) to throw to other than Steve Smith (2 rec, 13 yds) and even he had a rough day at the office.  This injury for the Ravens could spell doom for this team for the season but they are a resilient bunch and we’ll look forward to seeing what rabbit they are able to pull out of the hat this time. 

Inquisitive Mind 10-3 for the week

New York Giants @ Dallas
I would probably add this to the group of people who wanted me to cuss this weekend, but the Cowboys should not have won this game and it’s just not that important to me to be upset about this loss for the Giants since they gift wrapped and gave this one away.  You play to win the game.  I would have run the ball in and taken the 10 point lead and given the Cowboys that 1:45 left in the game with no timeouts and the ball.  But noooo, the Giants wanted to run clock and then inexplicably Eli (20 of 36, 193 yds) decided to kill the clock by throwing the incomplete pass late.  The Cowboys had already lost their big money receiver (Dez Bryant 5 rec, 48 yds) and only had one viable receiver left to catch the ball, the only one that Romo (36 of 45, 356 yds, 3 TDs, 2 Ints) loves, Witten (8 rec, 60 yds, 2 TDs), who wasn’t covered on back to back plays.  Touchdown Cowboys and game over.  All one can do is shake their heads on this game and the mistakes the Giants made. 

Inquisitive Mind 11-3 for the week

Philadelphia @ Atlanta
Whatever Dan Quin put in the water for the Falcons defense, they need another shot for the 2nd half next week.  This was the fastest, tackling, flying to the ball defense that we've seen in Atlanta for years.  I mean really, as bad as Atlanta was last year, they were that good in the 1st half and they were able to hold on for the win against this Eagles team. Matt Ryan (23 of 34, 298 yds, 2 TDs, 2 Ints) didn't make me feel real good with those 2 picks so he has some opportunities for improvement.  Julio Jones (9 rec, 141 yds, 2 TDs) seemed to burn anyone guarding him and again the defense hit Sam Bradford (36 of 52, 336 yds, 1 TD, 2 Ints) on every opportunity they had.  

The Eagles seemed to be on the verge of blowing the game open at any point, but they just couldn't get over the hump against this Falcons D.  Jordan Matthews (10 rec, 102 yds) was on fire for the Eagles but in the end the Eagles ground game was stopped and that seemed to be the difference for the game.  

Inquisitive Mind 11-4 for the week

Minnesota @ San Francisco
Where did this 49ers team come from?!?  We all saw all of the talent they lost over the summer and we all assumed (I guess in this case that old adage came true) that they would be horrible.  Seems as though the defense under Eric Mangini is going to be ok.  The offense looked rudimentary, but Kaepernick (17 of 26, 165 yds) looked comfortable in that offense.  I even caught myself about 6 times saying, 'RGIII would look nice in this offense', but I had to leave that alone.  Don't let me forget to mention Carlos Hyde ( 26 car, 168 yds, 2 TDs) and his breakout performance.  I needed this type of play from him last year when I had him on my fantasy squad.     

For all of the hoopla we heard about Teddy Bridgewater (23 of 32, 231 yds, 1 INT) and the return of AP (10 car, 31 yds),....this game was horrible.  I mean the Vikings looked so out of sync, they just have to be better next week.  

Inquisitive Mind 11-5 for the week

Sunday, September 13, 2015

2015-16 NFL Week 1 Picks Continued

Green Bay @ Chicago
The Chicago Bears begin the season with a new coach, a new GM, and hopefully a new outlook on what professional football should look like in Chicago.  The offense looks somewhat similar to last years with the caveat that there are a lot of injuries with their starting wideouts (Kevin White, Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal, and Marques Wilson ).  The biggest question is how much will Cutler be handing off this year instead of throwing the ball to Forte (102 receptions last year) and can he finally find a way to limit turnovers. 

The Bears defense is in a full rebuilding mode as they try to go from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4.  They weren’t able to bring in a lot of new talent so it was mostly moving existing pieces around and we’ll see how that works.  I’m looking for Pernell Mc Phee to become the leader of this defense and hopefully provide this defense with some semblance of toughness.  It’s going to be interesting to see Jared Allen standing up and playing LB this year also.  The surprise player on this defense may be Shea McClellin who probably should have been cut from this team years ago, but someone that played in a 3-4 previously, he should be a better fit in this defense.  It’s going to be a long year for the Bears,……a very long year. 

The Green Bay Packers start the season with the pain of losing Jordy Nelson firmly in the front of their minds.  With him gone, Davante Adams, along with the recently re-signed James Jones, will be expected to fill in admirably for Nelson.  Randall Cobb is nursing a shoulder injury, but he plans to be on the field on Sunday for the game.  Much of this may not matter when you have the baddest man on the planet at QB, Aaron Rodgers, so no one seems to be panicking in Green Bay.  Add to that the fact that the Packers still have a healthy Eddie Lacy and the only thing that worries me is whether the Packers’ right tackle can keep Rodgers alive all season.

Packers’ defense returns most of their folks from last year and this defense just has to figure out a way to stop the run and allow their offense to get back on the field.

Winner – Packers

Kansas City @ Houston
Houston comes fresh off their appearance on Hard Knocks as they prepare for their season opener against the Chiefs.  As most years start the question for the Texans is who is their QB and will he be able to manage the game on offense to allow that defense to do the heavy lifting.  Arian Foster is out for a few weeks so they will turn to Alfred Blue/Jonathan Grimes/Kenny Hilliard for their running game and it looks like Brian Hoyer will start at QB.  I am very interested to see how Hoyer responds with this type of talent around him. 

The Texans defense got a boost from acquiring Vince Wilfork to pair with the great JJ watt.  Wilfork should provide the push upfront that he was able to do for the Patriots for all these years.  The question mark on the defense is whether the often hurt Jadeveon Clowney will ever be consistently on the football field playing professional football.  Coaches think he’s ready and the hope is that he plays the entire season to actually see what havoc he can cause alongside Watt and company. 

The Chiefs enter this game still trying to get a WR to score a touchdown.  With the addition of Jeremy Maclin, anyone with a bet on how soon the Chiefs get a WR to score a TD, should expect this drought to end in Week 1.  The same crew is in the backfield, and as usual, expect Jamaal Charles to get a lot of touches no matter where he lines up. 

The Chiefs defense is bolstered by the return of Eric Berry who had been out last year battling cancer.  The ferociousness is still there and Berry looks like he’s going to be an impact player for this defense (great to have you back Mr. Berry, good luck).  The Chiefs feel that with Hali, Houston, and Johnson back, this Chiefs defense may be one of the best in the AFC. 

Winner - Chiefs

Cleveland @ New York Jets
The New York Football Jets come off a strange off-season where their starting QB got his jaw broken over $600 and the hilarity ensued from there.  The Jets are now starting Ryan Fitzpatrick until a better option comes up, or Geno’s jaw heals.  Fitzpatrick does have two pretty good wideouts in Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall to go along with the Jets more dominant running game which was a little improved with Zac Stacy being added to the roster.  It’s going to be a lot of ground and pound and hope that the WRs can make a few plays, but not much is expected of the Jets this year as they seemed to be limited by their QB situation. 

On the other hand, the Jets’ defense is primed to probably win a lot of 10-9 games this season.  The re-addition of Darrelle Revis and this secondary, you’d be wary to expect to throw on them too much during a game.  This defense could have a great year and this team will probably go close to 8-8. 

Cleveland trots out Johnny Football, finally maybe.  He looked pretty good during the preseason but the hope is that this is the beginning of the Manziel Era in Cleveland.  Here’s to hoping that it’s better than any of the other iterations of Cleveland Browns’ QB eras.  As far as talent on the Browns side,…there isn’t much.  Isaiah Crowell is a little more than serviceable and they picked up Dwayne Bowe (from KC) and I’m not so sure if his best days are behind him or not.  Browns need to make a splash in free agency or through the draft next year to get some talent for Manziel. 

The Browns defense will be decent.  They have some quality guys in Haden and Whitner in the secondary and a decent front 7.  Their only hope is that this offense finds a way to put some points on the board so that they can stay in some of the games this year. 

Winner - Jets

Indianapolis @ Buffalo
Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills have a fresh new coach, some new talent on the offensive side of the ball (McCoy, Clay, Taylor), and an always impressive defense.  Tyrod Taylor gets the nod at starting QB over Cassel and Manuel and I think that was the correct decision.  Taylor is athletic enough and provides this team with best chance of winning, and hey he’s a former Raven so I gotta give him some love.  On paper, this team has some players on offense IF McCoy and Harvin can stay healthy.  This may be the best group that the Bills have trotted out on the field in a long time. 

The Bills defense is nasty.  The newly paid Marcell Dareus paired with Mario Wiliams should cause opposing QBs little rest during the game.  This defensive secondary looks pretty good with Gilmore, Darby, Graham and Williams.  With Rex making the defensive calls, I expect this defense to be one of the top ones in the league. 

The Colts have Andrew Luck, and hopefully some other type of luck.  They finally brought in a running back that should be able to produce all season long in Frank Gore (Ray Rice is also available Colts) and the addition of Andre Johnson to TY Hilton should make for an interesting combo for Luck to throw to.  The big thing this year is Luck has got to pare down on some of his YOLO throws before people start comparing him to Jay Cutler.  With a veteran added to the running game, look for the Colts to hand the ball off a little more and pound defenses to protect their own. 

The Colts defense is still smallish, but they find a way to get off the field,..most of the time.  If they can find a way to get a few more turnovers and keep teams from running on them,…the Colts may easily make the Superbowl this year as some have already put their money on. 

Winner – Bills

Miami @ Washington
The Washington (redacted) have been nothing short of a comedy routine unfurling right before our eyes.  RGIII and his performance (and injuries) are so sad when you go back to 2012 and realize that he was good for this team.  I guess the Kirk Cousins Era will officially start, but I imagine that this will be short lived.  In my mind Cousins has 2 games before he’s hurt or pulled, and if he’s pulled I’m not so sure that they will even go with RGIII.  They just need to release him and let him start over somewhere.  It’s going to be a long year in Chicago and Washington if you’re rooting for your local professional football team. 

The Dolphins are being picked to win the AFC East.  I am trying to let that digest, but it just seems wrong to put that expectation on this team.  Yes, they have a work horse in Lamar Miller and some viable receivers to throw the ball to, but they lost Charles Clay and Mike Wallace in the off-season.  I don’t yet believe in Ryan Tannehill, but I guess this is the year he turns the corner and becomes ‘that guy’ for the Dolphins. 

The Dolphins defense will surely help this team with their addition of the Ndamukong Suh to pair with Cameron Wake on that left side of their defensive line.  With Grimes and an improved Taylor in the secondary, this Dolphins team may surprise.  We’ll see if they are real after Week 13 as they really have a pretty soft schedule to start the season.  This game against Washington should be a cakewalk. 

Winner - Dolphins

Carolina @ Jacksonville
Jacksonville is an interesting young team to me.  I like Blake Bortles and what he showed late in the year last year.  He’s got some decent WR targets and Denard Robinson seemed to transition from college QB to an every-down back, but I’m expecting TJ Yeldon to prosper as a rookie running back and make Robinson more of a 3rd down back or an option in the Jags passing game.  It’s going to be important for Bortles to take the next step to improve his play and if he does, the Jags should be respectable. 

I actually feel sorry for the Panthers.  They lost their #1 receiver Kelvin Benjamin to a knee injury and I honestly have no idea who Cam Newton will be throwing the ball to.  Yes, he still has Greg Olsen, but I’m not sure he can replicate his play from last year.  Some expect Devin Funchess to make the rookie leap that Benjamin did last year, but if he doesn’t it looks like Ted Gin Jr is going to have to step it up the entire year.  I see a down year for Cam Newton and a very limited offense.

On defense the Panthers are led by arguably the best LB in the game in Luke Kuechly (just got paid too).  This defense is solid all around and if they can find their rhythm early, they may make some noise in the NFC South. 

Winner - Panthers

Seattle @ St. Louis
The first great game of the season.  The Rams get a visit from the Seahawks and the Nick Foles Era begins in St. Louis.  The Rams are solid and I think that Foles will play well for this team.  He definitely has some weapons in Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, and Brian Quick.  Add to the mix the rookie Todd Gurley and the Rams should be able to put some points on the board.  That Rams defense might just be special.  It’ll be interesting to see how they match up against this Seattle offense and what they bring to the table. 

The Seahawks retooled over the summer and have Jimmy Graham as their main receiving target.  I bet you money they wish they would have run that ball last year in the Superbowl.  Anyway, I expect a good season for Russell Wilson and the regular crew, but look out for that late add of Fred Jackson as a backup to Lynch as he should be able to spell Lynch and still give them something close to Beastmode. 

The Seahawks defense is missing Cam Chancellor.  That’s a big hole to try and cover up, but I expect that defense to show up and play well.  I hope Chancellor gets his money, but I would love for him to play this year for the Seahawks. 

Winner – Seahawks

New Orleans @ Arizona
The Cardinals welcome the Saints to the desert.  Carson Palmer comes back and the hope is that he can stay healthy.  With a healthy Palmer, this Cardinals team is dangerous.  It seems like forever since Larry Fitzgerald has been good, but I’m expecting a big year for him this year.  Chris Johnson also is a few years removed from being good and maybe, ust maybe he isn’t finished yet. 

The Cardinals defense has changed with the release of Darnell Docket and the losses over the summer to free agency, but this is like Pittsburgh West and they’ll reload pretty quickly.  Frostee Rucker and Calais Campbell will be stout on that defensive line which will allow those LBs to roam and make plays.  The one things the Cardinals need is good health for this team and we may hear from them in the playoffs. 

The Saints lost Jimmy Graham and that may hurt them long term.  What is Drew Brees’ comfort worth?  We don’t know what this team is going to be able to do on offense, but having Brees and some of the regulars (Colston and Cooks) should make this team a little better than most think they’ll be. 

The Saints defense will have their hands full this year as they hope to be able to stop someone,…anyone this entire year.  The additions of Cameron Jordan and Brandon Browner should help. 

Winner – Cardinals

Detroit @ San Diego
The San Diego Superchargers are looking good this year.  This team returns the usual suspects on offense with a newly paid Philip Rivers, but the expectation is that this offense will get a boost when Melvin Gordon has an opportunity to get on the field.  This may be the swan song for Antonio Gates, but coming off of his suspension, we’ll see how much more he has to give this team. 

The Chargers defense hasn’t changed much and this team has repeatedly had issues stopping the run.  Can they get better or will they rely on the Chargers offense to win shootouts?  We shall see. 
The Lions are always going to be dangerous as long as they have the Stafford/Megatron duo, but the hope is that other people can continue to step up.  Looking to see if Ameer Abdullah makes a big contribution this year. 

The Lions lost Suh over the summer but they feel like they’ll be ok with Haloti Ngata (I’m crying Raven tears writing this).  The rest of this defense is going to have to step up to get some stops and not allow their season to be one shoot out after the next. 

Winner - Chargers

Tennessee @ Tampa Bay
The battle of the 2015 top two picks.  Famous Jameis gets his first NFL start.  I hope that he has a good career and hopefully it starts this week.  Supposedly Doug Martin is back in rare form and he has got two of the biggest WRs in the game to throw to in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.  This should be a good recipe for Winston to be successful. 

Did I mention the Bucs have a pretty decent defense that should make some plays this year?  Looking for good things from this team.

Marcus Mariota has been good in the preseason, but the more and more that I look at this team, they really haven’t given the kid too much help.  Maybe, just maybe he’ll be the rookie of the year, but I hope that he doesn’t have to carry this team on his shoulders all year long. 

Winner - Bucs

Cincinnati @ Oakland
The Raiders seem to be turning the corner on respectability (from a football standpoint).  Derek Carr looks to build upon his few successes last year and he has some talent to work with.  Amari Cooper already looks like he’ll carry the mantle for rookie WRs, similar to those studs from last year.  Can Latavius Murray be ‘the man’ for the Raiders as he showed some flashes last year.  If this offense finds a way to click, we might have some wins in Raider-land this year. 

The Raiders defense is expected to be physical and they have a stud in Khalil Mack.  With the recent signing of Aldon Smith, depending on his availability this year, this defense has some pieces that ought to make watching the Raiders fun this year.  Get your popcorn ready. 

The Bengals have lots of talent and they bring back many of the usual suspects, but this team is all about whether their QB/Andy Dalton can make strides to be a good/great QB on a consistent basis.  That’s really the one thing that will make or break their season. 

The Bengals defense will be consistent and can make some plays, but if Dalton sucks when it counts, none of their play will matter. 

Winner - Bengals

Baltimore @ Denver
This is the second really good game this week.  Denver brings Manning and crew with a slightly new offense.  I expect a lot more running for this team this year to give Peyton’s arm a break.  Julius Thomas is no longer in Denver, but Manning will find other people to catch the ball. 

This could be the best Denver defense since the Orange Crush days.  We’ll all get to see just how they attack teams and I expect Flacco to take some heat in this game. 

The Ravens offense will have Flacco and Steve Smith Sr. but they will need someone to step up and help this team.  The Ravens are more ball control and defense driven and none of that has changed.  I always enjoy watching the Ravens defense. 

Winner - Broncos

New York Giants @ Dallas
The Cowboys pick up where they left off last year,…and yes Dez caught the ball BUT it didn’t count.  The Cowboys were successful by giving the ball to Murray last year and limiting Romo’s opportunities to mess it all up.  Expect more of that this year and an improved defense, especially when Greg Hardy returns from his 4 game suspension.

The New York Football Giants have to hope that Eli shows that he’s truly ELITE and won’t lead the league in interceptions again this year.  If Cruz can return and OBJ can continue his meteoric rise from last year, that should help Eli.  That Giants defense is in trouble, so they have got to win some shootouts. 

Winner - Cowboys

Philadelphia @ Atlanta
The Falcons still have a great offense, but their big issue is can they stop someone?  They’ll definitely have a test with the Eagles coming to town. 

The Eagles get to trot Sam Bradford out on the field and you may want to take a picture as this may be the only time you see Sam Bradford healthy all year long.  When he’s healthy he can be good, but I don’t think that Bradford has played a fully season since high school.  Good luck man. 

Winner - Eagles

Minnesota @ San Francisco
The 49ers have been decimated this offseason due to retirements and losses during the free agency period.  They weren’t able to make any big time adds on offense and it looks like this is the make or break year for Colin Kaepernick.  God help him,…cause the cupboard is bare. 

The Vikings get AP back and oddly enough his absence was probably a good thing for Teddy Bridgewater last year.  Teddy had to really learn the system and get comfortable with being ‘the man’ in a sense last year because of AP’s legal issues.  I expect the addition of a dominant running game will allow this Vikings team to battle the Packers for NFC North. 

Winner - Vikings