NFL 2017-2018 Preseason Schedule

 

By: Will Stevenson

Can you feel it? Just imagine the droughts and sounds of the NFL season. Two-a-days, minicamps, veteran camps, seven on seven drills, torn acl’s, Non-contact injuries, position battles, and most importantly: Expert analysis of guys in shorts.

There are countless things that could irritate a football fan, but actual football isn’t one of them. So between now and the first preseason game, we have months to comb through every team, transaction and predict who will do what when the season rolls around. It will be exciting to see how the top drafted rookie quarterbacks find their footing on teams that made the playoffs last season: Chiefs and Texans. We all know how the preseason goes: Stars play in one or two games for a few series, then the backups. I also have an interest in fringe plays attempting to made rosters within the new safety guidelines for special teams.

So let us take a look at the preseason schedule. The competition will be early as starters make their way off the field after a few possessions, but don’t let that deter you from consuming the whole game. Position battles, overall team health, sheer talent, and a basic understanding of the team’s philosophy will be on display. So it’s not the Pro Bowl, but it’s damn near close for those first few series.

Not need to worry. Football is own it’s way, and it starts with the Hall of Fame Game on August 3rd with the Cowboys and the Cardinals.

 

 

NFL/Hall of Fame Game – AUGUST 3
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET NAT. TV
Thurs Aug. 3 Dallas Cowboys vs Arizona Cardinals 8:00 PM (ET) 8:00 PM NBC
WEEK 1 – AUGUST 9-13
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET
Wed Aug. 9 Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 New Orleans Saints at Cleveland Browns 8:00 PM (ET) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 10 Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Friday Aug. 11 Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Friday Aug. 11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Friday Aug. 11 San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs 8:00 PM (CT) 9:00 PM
Sat Aug. 12 Tennessee Titans at New York Jets 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 12 Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams 6:00 PM (PT) 9:00 PM
Sat Aug. 12 Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals 7:00 PM (MST) 10:00 PM
Sunday Aug. 13 Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts 1:30 PM (ET) 1:30 PM
Sunday Aug. 13 Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers 5:00 PM (PT) 8:00 PM
WEEK 2 – AUGUST 17-21
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET NAT. TV
Thurs Aug. 17 Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 17 Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars 8:00 PM (ET) 8:00 PM ESPN
Friday Aug. 18 Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans 2:00 PM (CT) 3:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys 6:00 PM (CT) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 New York Jets at Detroit Lions 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 19 New England Patriots at Houston Texans 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM
Sat Aug. 19 Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals 7:00 PM (MST) 10:00 PM
Sunday Aug. 20 Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers 4:00 PM (ET) 4:00 PM
Sunday Aug. 20 New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Chargers 5:00 PM (PT) 8:00 PM
Monday Aug. 21 New York Giants at Cleveland Browns 8:00 PM (ET) 8:00 PM ESPN
WEEK 3 – AUGUST 24-27
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET NAT. TV
Thurs Aug. 24 Miami Dolphins at Philadelphia Eagles 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 24 Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Friday Aug. 25 New England Patriots at Detroit Lions 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Friday Aug. 25 Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks 5:00 PM (PT) 8:00 PM CBS
Sat Aug. 26 Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 New York Jets at New York Giants 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams 5:00 PM (PT) 8:00 PM CBS
Sat Aug. 26 Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Sat Aug. 26 Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos 7:00 PM (MT) 9:00 PM
Sunday Aug. 27 Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans 12:00 PM (CT) 1:00 PM FOX
Sunday Aug. 27 Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins 4:30 PM (ET) 4:30 PM FOX
Sunday Aug. 27 San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM NBC
WEEK 4 – AUGUST 31
DAY DATE VISITOR HOME LOCAL ET
Thurs Aug. 31 Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers 6:00 PM (CT) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets 7:00 PM (ET) 7:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 New York Giants at New England Patriots 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7:30 PM (ET) 7:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints 7:00 PM (CT) 8:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs 7:30 PM (CT) 8:30 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos 7:00 PM (MT) 9:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM
Thurs Aug. 31 Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco 49ers 7:00 PM (PT) 10:00 PM

AFC WEST Draft Grades: My Scale Different

By Will Stevenson

I could filibuster about how I don’t pay much attention to the draft, but this isn’t about me. It’s about the pure fact that hope is in the NFL air. For the AFC West, last year was a witness to a surging Raiders squad, the familiar playoff squander by the Chiefs, the “you should’ve gotten a QB bro” Broncos, and the “down by 4 with 2 minutes to go and must go the length of the field with no timeouts” Chargers. With such a tight division, the draft is a way to sure up spots on the 53-man roster. The Chargers and Chiefs have aging quarterbacks, while the Raiders and Broncos have young possible stars. Hope, that’s all we want as fans, so let’s look back at the draft and see how these teams faired.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs pulled a Bears 2.0 by actually trading up to pick a quarterback Pat Mahomes, with their first round selection. I don’t know who will be first out the door: Andy Reid or Alex Smith. Smith’s days aren’t number like you would expect. Smith has been a steady quarterback with one of the best regular season win records over the past three seasons, but it is the playoffs where he stalls. Nobody sees the Chiefs nor Smith as elite, so drafting a QB isn’t a reach. He can wait in the wings (barring a Smith injury) while the Chiefs rack up 10 wins and learn from Smith and more than likely a new offense. The fear is the “Jesus Backup” will put pressure on Reid and the Chiefs from a fanbase and possible players that want to see change. With Jamaal Charles gone, the Chiefs added running backs in the draft which will bolster their running game as usual. The Chiefs, like the Broncos don’t have an issue with finding a running game through free agency, but the Chiefs are hoping for a diamond in the rough. With Derrick Johnson’s injury history and age, I felt they needed to look for some linebacker help, but I can’t hold it against them that much.

Chiefs Draft Grade: They did aight

Oakland Raiders:

I feel like Al Davis would be smiling up on the Raiders draft. They went for speed, talent, and even made 6 of their 9 selections on defense. Latavious Murray bolted in the offseason, leaving the running back position in flux so to speak. They selected Elijah Hood, running back from UNC, in the seventh round, so hopefully he’ll make the squad. The Raiders were a poor excuse for a defense last season, so going out to select defense was high on their draft board. The Raiders were able to tap in to every position that needed a youth boost through the draft, and that’s all a fan can ask for.

Raiders Draft Grade: Raiders gonna raid

Denver Broncos:

The draft has been kind to the Broncos over the years. John Elway has been able to find the playmakers on offense, defense and on the offensive line. Like most fans, we all want that quarterback, but Elway wanted to sure up the tackle position and tight end. Although Siemian and Lynch are young, the need to upgrade at quarterback aren’t as rushed when you have a championship defense. The Broncos have a recently injured tight end and a tackle, what’s to worry about? The Broncos were also able to get Carlos Henderson and Isaiah McKenzie, who may be able to cause trouble as slot receivers. With the selection of Demarcus Walker, expect him to play dividends later in the season as teams worry about keeping Von Miller out of the backfield.

Broncos Draft Grade: It doesn’t matter if one neither of these quarterbacks get them to the playoffs.

Los Angeles Chargers: (Sounds weird)

Health. All they needed to do was draft a healthy player and I would give them an A. If any of their draftees play more than 8 games, I’ll raise it to an A+. The Chargers had to address their needs from the previous season’s injury list. The drafted Mike Williams (how many of those are there in the NFL) and linemen Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney. Clipboard Jesus won’t steal the show as the Chargers still invest in Phillip Rivers with young talented offensive lineman. They were also able to select Rayshawn Jenkins and Desmond King for their defensive backfield. With the departure of Eric Weddle last season, they need someone to step up as the passing game increases in the AFC West.

Chargers Draft Grade: Half of their picks will have to start due to injury

Fear And Loathing To Las Vegas: 31-1, the Raiders are leaving Oakland

By Will Stevenson

Welcome to the NFL where business is booming. As a North Carolinian, I have watched professional teams come and go, and I’ve often wondered why this state hasn’t been a part of the events that go on in our professional leagues. We haven’t had a baseball team, so watching the Braves on TBS or the White Sox and Cubs on WGN were the regional options.  Our basketball team was here, then went to New Orleans with our good players and ultimately drafting Chris Paul, then leaving us with an expansion team called the Bobcats. Oddly enough the HB-2 sent the 2017 NBA All-Star Game to New Orleans, so yet again New Orleans was there to take our karma (Somehow I feel David Stern is behind this, but I digress). Our football team came in 1996, I was there when they played their home games at Clemson Stadium. The Carolina Hurricanes are our hockey, which they were relocated from Hartford.

With North Carolina being more famous for their collegiate sports, our history as a professional sports state pails in comparison to places such as Cleveland, Green Bay, New York, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. Although I don’t have a long-standing connection with the Carolina Panthers or the newest version of the Charlotte Hornets, I still have an understanding of how it feels to know the team you invest your time and money into is leaving to another city. With today’s 31-1 vote to move the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, those feelings of betrayal and emptiness were connected once again. We’ve all seen this coming for the past couple years and we should have know it was going to happen when the Rams moved to LA, and then subsequently the Chargers. The Raiders stayed in Oakland, but most knew it wouldn’t be for long, as Las Vegas was ramping up their proposal. With that 31-1 vote, Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins voiced his concern with the Palm Beach Post, “My position today was that we as owners and as a League owe it to the fans to do everything we can to stay in the communities that have supported us.” Is that a general concern of the fans, or is Stephen Ross looking at his mid-dumpster fire of a money-making franchise and seeing what is to come on the horizon?

All Las Vegas needed was a team, any professional team to get the NFL on board. Baseball wasn’t budging, the MLS isn’t in the Big Four as far as major sports are concerned here in the states, and the NBA wasn’t ready to test those waters after the debacle of a weekend with their All-Star game (Shoutout PacMan Jones). That leaves one left: Hockey. That’s right, the NHL, a league that has undergone major construction with their relocation over the years through their rebranding after work stoppages and the loss of network sponsorships, has paved the way for professional sports in Las Vegas.

The NFL has continuously noted the conflicting interest of gambling and a possible move to Las Vegas, but it’s 2017, and with the world being so technologically advanced, there’s no need to refuse uncharted territory that can be seen as financial gain. A fan base is key to the business of relocation, but the Raiders won’t see Las Vegas for another 2-3 years with the opening marked for 2020. For the NFL, that’s plenty of time to decide on PSLs (Personal Seat Licenses), sponsorships, parking, traffic, and promotional tactics: And Hotels. Let us not forget this is a business, and when a new sports franchise is coming to town, there are business partnerships that must be forged: Restaurants, Hotel Chains, Flights, Ticket Packages, “Ambassadors”, Spokesmen, Commercials, etc.

Enough of the business aspect, let’s get back to the fans in Oakland. The Oakland fan base has once again suffered. Their team is leaving, and their team is actually good with a promising offense running the show. You know what that means: The Raiders have two years to go for it all. I know stacking rosters to win isn’t the most efficient way of building a championship contender, but the Raiders have only one chance to do it. With the Patriots maybe-slowing-down but not probably, the Raiders need to win the Superbowl with the team they currently have. They need to win before the fans have to choose between going to Las Vegas or possibly rooting for either of the teams in LA. Help us all if any Raider fans have to cheer for the Rams.

This is a day when all Raider Nation collectively post on social media to grieve. Every meme, picture, comment section, Twitter think-piece and Facebook Group is already feasting at the Vegas trough. Just as Kendrick Lamar said to rappers about his upcoming album, Oakland has two years to get their sh*t together. In two years you will only have the Warriors to cheer for, and I’m sure that traveling package for Las Vegas won’t be cheap. Your significant other will only allow so many “football trips” to see the Raiders play in Vegas, and I’m sure some of you are already planning to fail two years in advance.

Happy Monday Oakland, Happy Monday.

PS: Who will be the next “Purple” in Las Vegas? Ask for a friend.

Each AFC West Team’s Biggest Draft Need

By Leo Silbert

It is getting to the point of the year that fans are trying to figure out who their team needs to draft or what position needs the most help.  Some teams like the Patriots don’t have a glaring need so they are able to pick for desire and are allowed greater risks.  Other teams like the Browns have needs all over the map so they are best suited to just take the best available player.  I’m going to sort this out by division and within the divisions I’ll sort them by 2016 records.

Next up, the AFC West:

  1. marcus-petersKansas City Chiefs- If the Chiefs had a different quarterback, an outside wide receiver would probably be the team’s biggest need, but Alex Smith doesn’t really like using his outside receivers so taking one early would be a waste.  They spent big money before the 2015 season on Jeremy Maclin and since then he has had a good season in 2015, and was only targeted 76 times in 2016.  And that was still the most of any of the outside receivers on the team so it wasn’t like someone was stealing targets from him.  Alex Smith would rather throw to his tight end, slot receiver, and running backs so they can get yards after the catch.  With that in mind, the Chiefs’ biggest need is right where Andy Reid likes drafting, left defensive end.  The Chiefs are a 3-4 team and they have 2 great pieces along their line with Chris Jones and Dontari Poe, but their left defensive end, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, brings the whole unit down when they are in their base defense.  Adding a dominating 3-4 defensive end would also allow them to take Poe off the field on passing downs to just make their defense near impossible to deal with.
  2. derek-carrOakland Raiders- The Raiders are another “what if”story this year.  Derek Carr suffered a broken fibula in the 2nd to last game of the season.  Before that, the Raiders were a trendy Superbowl pick, but they ended up losing their final game and losing their backup quarterback in that game as well.  They lost their playoff game to the Texans and now need to retool for another run next season, maybe this time while calling Las Vegas their home.  Now, to improve their chances at being contenders next season, they need to improve their defense.  They were towards the bottom of the league in yards per rush and yards per pass given up so defense is definitely the area of the team in need of the most improvement.  So my thought is the best way to help fix both is for them to take an interior defensive lineman who excels in both.  A guy who can collapse the pocket can make Kalil Mack and Bruce Irvin’s jobs even easier and a guy who can do both that and stuff the run will help to fix every issue the team has on the defensive side.
  3. von-millerDenver Broncos- Was the combination of old noodle arm Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler really this important for the Broncos to barely score enough points for their defense to win games?  Probably not.  The Broncos’ offensive problems were more due to losing CJ Anderson early in the season due to a torn meniscus.  That left Devontae Booker as the lead back and while he didn’t show a major drop off in running, he isn’t nearly the receiving option out of the backfield that Anderson is which took away much of the short passing game.  With all that said I would say that quarterback is their biggest need, if they didn’t trade up to select Paxton Lynch in the first round of last year’s draft.  I also believe that if Elway thinks the qb position will be a problem next year that he will bring in a veteran qb in free agency.  So to either help out one of their young qbs or a new veteran coming in, they desperately need an upgrade at right tackle.  Donald Stephenson was the 81st ranked offensive tackle out of 81 qualifying offensive tackles according to Pro Football Focus in the entire league.  Whenever you have the worst player at a position playing over 700 snaps, you need to upgrade that position.
  4. philip-rivers                      Los Angeles Chargers- The Chargers have moved to Los Angeles while they are the worst team in their division when another team in their division has more fans in Los Angeles than they do, so it wasn’t the best move on a business aspect, but now they need to hit a home run in the draft to energize a new potential fanbase.  And with that their biggest need is the most boring position to a casual fan, offensive line.  It is easier to name the good offensive lineman the Chargers have (Matt Slauson) than the bad ones they have (the rest of their offensive line).  When you only have one offensive lineman who can play at a league average level for a qualified starter, then you should have been building the offensive line for at least a year already, which the Chargers haven’t been doing.  Their most recent first round pick along the offensive line was DJ Fluker and he has been nothing short of a bust.  The biggest thing working against the Chargers and their biggest weakness is that this isn’t a good year to need to rebuild an offensive line so they’ll have to wait until the 2nd round to be able to get good value and good talent.  This is a weakness that will not be fixed in one off season and it is about the worst draft in recent memory to have to start building it.  Good thing they’ll have a new group of fans to disappoint this upcoming season.

Previous articles in this series: AFC East, AFC North, AFC South

Divisional Round Predictions

By Billy Clemmons 

I made this my first game because on paper it’s a total mismatch. I really give Houston little or no chance to beat the mighty Patriots playing at home, even though though the  Texans come in with the leagues best defense. The quarterback position for the Texans has been a big disappointment this year and I expect no more from the Texans than to just show up and go home. I could be wrong my prediction is Patriots 34 Texans 17

Now this is a game to get excited about. The Chiefs have been playing great football for most of the year and they are at home. Alex Smith has had a good season but the Chiefs are lead by defense. The Pittsburgh Steelers were the team we all thought would challenge the Patriots for this years “team to beat” but after Big Ben went down with an injury people began having doubts. Fortunately for Steelers fans they picked it back up and are a very dangerous team capable of beating anyone. With the three B’s I’m taking the Steelers I could be wrong but my prediction is Steelers 27 Chiefs 20

So we know Matt Ryan hasn’t really done well in playoffs past but I think this year they break the trend. The defense isn’t that great but they have a few up and coming stars I believe that could be the difference this year.

Seattle has been losing players over the years. The defense is still well respected and plays well but at times just isn’t what it used to be. The Seahawks have struggled offensively this year with the offensive line and the run game. Russell and the defense will still make this a competitive game but in the end the Falcons have to much fire power. I could be wrong but my prediction: Atlanta 31 Seattle 24

The Cowboys, as we all know, have been led this season by two rookies to the best record in the NFL with a bend but don’t break defense that has surprised even the fans this year. To me this is the hardest game to predict since they have already beaten the Packers this year. With a Packers team and a red hot Aaron Rodgers I expect this to be another high scoring game. I think these teams match up well and the outcome could very well come down to the last play of the game. I could be wrong my prediction: Cowboys 34 Packers 31

 

Wild Wilcard Weekend: Home teams stand strong

By Lawrence Edwards

What a weekend huh? If you had a horse in this race you either woke this morning smiling from ear to ear or you woke up with a real life crying Jordan face… especially Giants fans, womp womp… Anyway in what was a disaster for the visiting teams this week were dominant performances by all 4 home teams on wild card weekend.

Brock Osweiller won the battle of the backup QB (sorry Brock) and he didn’t look too bad doing it. He went 14 of 14 for 168 yards with 1 TD and did just enough to keep the lead while Houston’s #1 ranked defense made life miserable for Conor Cook, which started by Jadaveon Clowney – who’s started to show why he was a #1 overall pick since he’s been healthy – tipped a pass to himself to set up Houston in the redzone which Lamar Miller made Oakland pay for on the very next play, setting the tone for what would be a dominant performance from Houston’s defense. Osweiller showed accuracy in this game, something that he hasn’t been able to do all season. Houston survived another day and left Oakland fans wondering what could’ve been if only… Welp, next up for Houston, Tom Brady…It was fun while it lasted Texans fans

Not going to lie, coming into this game I thought Detroit had a shot at the upset here based off how well Stafford and the offense has played and how up and down the Seahawks season has been, but this was Seattle at home and upsetting them there is no easy task. Detroit moved the ball early and had plenty opportunity to change the dynamic of the game only if those early FG trips were TD’s instead. Letting Seattle hang around proved costly as Rawls had his best game of the season and Russ and Baldwin in sync led to a 26-6 rout.

What I thought would be a close game based off what happened in the regular season between these two turned out to be a show off game for Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell, who finished with two TD’s apiece on their way to a rout of the Miami Dolphins. Jay Ajayi was completely shut down and Pittsburgh’s defense made life miserable for Matt Moore, when the Dolphins showed signs of life and getting back into the game Brandon Albert whiffed on a block that got Matt Moore absolutely destroyed to force a fumble and suck any life left in the Dolphins right out of them. Pitt vs KC will be a great match up next week, Marcus Peters vs Antonio Brown will be a great battle to watch.

Wildcard weekend ended with the Packers beating the Giants 38-13. The game started out just how the Giants would have hoped, the defense was hitting and sacking Rodgers and shutting down their passing and running game and Eli was playing well and making good throws, there’s only one problem, the WR’s left their hands in Miami. Odell Beckham dropped a sure TD on the Giants second drive of the game that could’ve set a different tone to the game, on the very next play Sterling Shepard dropped another would be TD in the same part of the endzone leading the Giants to only 3 points. The Giants would hold GB to zero for the first quarter and half and hold a 6 point lead. But it’s only a matter of time before Rodgers breaks his chains if the opposing offense can’t reward the defense with points. For the great 1st half the Giants defense played they finally broke late in the 3rd. Even after a Green Bay failed 4th down conversion gave the Giants momentum on a quick TD from Eli to Tavarres King, Rodgers was already hot and took the Pack on a scoring drive to make up for McCarthy’s decision earlier in the quarter to go for it to put the game out of reach for good.

The home teams outscored the visitors 121-45 making it a bad weekend to not have won your division this season, maybe next year fellas! If your team survived this week or had a bye, then you get to rub it in the faces of your rivals for at least another week.

 

Well Hello Playoffs!: Wild Card Weekend

BY LAWRENCE EDWARDS

Week 17 ended in great fashion with an exciting finish with the Green Bay Packers taking on the Detroit Lions in the Motor City. The end of that game would determine who gets a home game against the Giants and who has to travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks and their 12th man. The Packers defeated the Lions last night 31-24 off of 4 Aaron Rodgers passing TD’s. That set the stage for a Giants @ Green Bay and Detroit @ Seattle NFC wild card weekend. This years playoffs should be very exciting as we have a few new faces to the party. The Raiders, Dolphins, Giants, Cowboys and Texans all missed the playoffs last season with everyone except the Cowboys and Detroit missing multiple years straight.

raiders-texans-mexico-juego-boletos-nfl

We kick things off this Saturday with Oakland traveling to Houston to take on the Texans and. The Oakland Raiders have had an outstanding regular season full of joy they haven’t experienced in over a decade, but it came at detrimental price. An MVP candidate before the injury, Derek Carr was playing some great football for the silver and black before breaking his fibula last week against the Colts. The Raiders have an OK backup QB in Matt McGloin but I’m sure losing Carr hit all the way to the soul. However, there is a silver lining for the Raiders this week, at least they don’t have to face a QB who could make it hard for the backup QB to keep up with scoring. Oakland’s defense will try to take advantage of the below average QB play from the Texans. Tom Savage is better than Brock and clearly more accurate but he isn’t a QB that would strike fear in you. Even with McGloin under center the Raiders have the better more proven QB heading into this game and if Tom Savage can’t get the job done I’m sure they have nothing to fear if Brock enters the game. Oakland will need to take advantage of a beatable opponent to at least advance to the divisional round. It won’t be easy however, they take on a Houston defense that ranks 2nd against the pass and 1st overall in total defense.

Seattle Seahawks vs Detriot Lions: How to Stream MNF

The Lions took the L to the Packers last night so they get to go face Seattle in Seattle, yikes! But not so fast, like we have seen all season the Seahawks aren’t exactly that team that strikes fear into their opponents like they used to do. First season without future hall of famer Marshawn Lynch in the backfield saw Russ struggle to run the ball like he usually does and somewhat saw the offense sputter at times and the defense has shown they can be beaten and give up points. This should be a great game here, The Lions offense can score with the best of them and they have plenty weapons to hurt Seattle, one of them being a former Seahawk, Golden Tate. I expect Seattle to do what they do best at home in the playoffs but I would not count out Detroit who could still be in the game in the 4th quarter. I do believe this game can go either way, a blowout win by Seattle, or a nail biter, whoever has the last possession type of game (which I am leaning closer to thinking will happen) Because the way Seattle has been playing up and down all season I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw an upset on Saturday night, a huge upset.

Report: Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi Needed X-Rays Following Loss To Patriots ...

The Dolphins have shown everyone around the league why it is an outstanding idea to have a backup QB who can play just like or better than your starter. Tannehill was lost for the season with a knee injury after what has been a successful year for Miami. Matt Moore has been around the league for a long time and he has been with the Dolphins for the past 4 seasons. He was signed by Dallas in 2007 as an undrafted FA before spending 4 seasons with Carolina. Out of anyone currently in the playoffs – except for Dallas of course – The Dolphins may have the best backup QB situation in the playoffs. Your starter goes out and your backup comes in the Jets game to relieve you and throws 4 TDs. Then he goes to Buffalo and throws for 2 more in that W and threw another 2 TD’s with an overall solid performance yesterday against a very good New England defense. It’s a good sigh when your backup can play the final 3 games against division opponents and go 2-1 in that stretch. That being said, this game against Pittsburgh will be a great one and closer than anyone thinks. Remember the last time these two teams played? Jay Ajayi does, he killed Pittsburgh’s defense with 204 rushing yards. If the Dolphins want to pull off this upset against the Steelers, they will need Jay Ajayi to get going early and open things up for Matt Moore and the passing game and they will have a shot, however they also have to try and slow down Bell and AB because I’m sure the Steelers didn’t forget week 5 either and they will be looking for redemption.

Preview: Packers vs. Giants – PACKERS NOTES

Wild Card weekend will conclude with the Giants taking on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau. Everyone is saying “You don’t want to see Aaron Rodgers and the Pack in the playoffs” or “You don’t want to see the Giants defense in the playoffs” Well this week Aaron Rodgers gets to see the Giants defense and the Giants defense gets to see Aaron Rodgers, who prevails? This should be a great game, the Giants and Eli Manning are certainly no strangers to going into the “Frozen Tundra” in the post season and coming out victorious, they did it twice, once against Brett Favre and once against Bad Man Aaron and both lead to Superbowl wins, however for how great the defense has been the offense has been, well, meh… The Giants are the fist team since the 94 Chicago Bears to get at least 10 wins and in the post without one single 30 point game. If the Giants want to win then the defense will have to set the tone early and the Eli and the O will have to reward them by putting up points whenever they have the chance. Unlike other QB’s, if you don’t score enough and let Aaron Rodgers hang around long enough, he will do what he does best and find a way to rip the carpet right out from under your feet, this will make for a good game, playoff games between these two lately have been fun to watch.