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

2017 Rules Approvals That Will Have Impact On Game

By: Lawrence Edwards

Every year the big decision makers in the NFL sit down to discuss rule changes proposed by the competition committee and some NFL teams. Here are just a few of those proposals that was approved in today’s meeting.

Proposed by Philadelphia; Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.

This rule is most likely imposed as the NFL continues to look for ways to improve the safety of the game. Attempting to leap the blocker on field goal attempts has been seen around the league in almost every game on every field goal attempt. The defender attempts to time the snap of the center and leap over the offensive line before they have time to get set. This will cause the offensive lineman to attempt to stop the leaper by making contacting with him in the air, causing the player to lose control of the way he lands, so I can see why this is now prohibited. But, it takes away the from the defensive side, which in my opinion, is already somewhat of an advantage for the offense since the defense already has to be careful not commit a penalty on the kicker.

By Competition committee; Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.

Now this rule I’m iffy on, however, I get it, they want to continue to enforce the notion that dirty plays and unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated in the NFL. But, as we have seen in the league lately, the line for what is unsportsmanlike and and what isn’t has been fine. We have seen players penalized for celebrations after a TD, sometimes us the viewers feel like the flag is highly unnecessary, however the officials deem it unsportsmanlike. An incident like that could be the first strike in an important game from an impact player. You can bet the refs will now be watching that player closely and something as simple some after play junk talk can be seen as taunting and BAM! player is thrown out of the game. If the NFL is going to keep this rule, maybe the officials will be told be be careful of what they flag, or maybe in the future implement a 3 strike rule if the ejections and reasoning for flags start to become excessive and ridiculous. We’ll see how this goes. Me personally, I will be watching this one closely this coming season.

By Competition Committee; Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews.

I really like this one, in an age where everything is mobile and wireless, it helps the officials get a better and closer view of the play. Today’s devices are equipped with HD technology where they can zoom and manipulate the screen to the spot where they’re looking. Technology continues to evolve and helps to improve the game, so as a techie, I personally love this one.

 

 

 

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Each AFC North 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 North:

  1. antonio-brownPittsburgh Steelers- The Steelers have a rapidly improving defense, one of the top offensive lines in the league, and a trio of offensive play-makers who are able to dominate any given game on any given weekend.  They have had success in drafting Artie Burns in the first round as he has improved greatly over the season and has high upside as the future lock down #1 corner for the team.  Their receiving corps were weaker this year than it could have been, but that is partially due to Martavis Bryant being suspended for the season, but he is likely to return for next season as long as he doesn’t mess up again.  Their biggest weakness on defense is at inside linebacker next to Ryan Shazier.  Lawrence Timmons has been a great leader for the Steelers for years, but his play on the field doesn’t reflect his leadership.  He is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason so the team might not bring him back and the linebackers under him don’t have the necessary speed to cover sideline to sideline that is needed in today’s NFL.  If they grab a strong coverage linebacker here, then the Steelers defense can go back to living up to the standards of the Steel Curtain.
  2. cj-moselyBaltimore Ravens- The NFL is losing possibly the greatest receiver to ever have a Napoleon complex this year with Steve Smith retiring.  Throughout his career he has been one of the toughest and quickest to anger players in the league which has also made him one of the most fun players in the NFL over his career.  Now the Ravens still have their qb in Joe Flacco and there is already a known formula for a successful offense built around him.  They need a receiver who can stretch the field and either catch long balls or cause defensive pass interference penalties and they have that in Mike Wallace.  They need a running game that can produce yards on the ground, but also able to produce in the short passing game and the combination of Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon provides that for them.  And finally they need a big guy in the mold of an Anquan Boldin to make the tough move the chains type of catches, which is something the team is severely lacking.  At tight end they have a high round pick in Maxx Williams who just plain hasn’t been able to produce.  At wide receiver they have a Breshad Perriman who has had to deal with injuries, but is best suited for the same role as Mike Wallace who is just plain better in that role.  This draft is deep at tight end so I’d like to see them go in that direction so they can go back to playing Ravens football on both offense and defense.
  3. aj-greenCincinnati Bengals- Oh how the almost mighty have fallen.  Before this season, the Bengals had made it to the playoffs for 5 consecutive seasons only to lose in the first round.  In 2015 they started out even better than normal and looked poised for a first round bye until Andy Dalton went down with a thumb injury.  Then they ended up losing both their #2 and #3 receivers in free agency so they had to replace them with Tyler Boyd and Brandon LaFell who worked fairly well at their spots.  But there is another player they lost during the offseason who they weren’t able to replace, and that was their former right tackle Andre Smith.  Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher combined to play terribly at right tackle all season for the Bengals.  This led the team from having one of the top offensive lines in the league to having one in the middle of the road.  If they can add a top offensive tackle prospect this year who can end up eventually developing into a left tackle since Andrew Whitworth is in the last few years of his career, then the Bengals can once again find themselves in the playoffs, and maybe even making it past the first round.
  4. danny-shelton                        Cleveland Browns- The Browns have 3 studs in place on their roster who can be trusted to be good next season, left tackle Joe Thomas, corner back Joe Haden, and defensive tackle Danny Shelton.  Those are the only 3 guys who are safe in their spots on the entire team as long as none of them are traded away.  This means that their biggest need will be whoever the best player they can get is.  If I were the Browns, I wouldn’t take a quarterback first overall to stick them behind an offensive line with one great piece and 4 average at best pieces with no true receiving threats, little to no running game, and a defense that wouldn’t be able to hold onto a lead.  So I think the biggest need for the Browns is a pass rusher who will be able to make the rest of their defense better.  They are moving to more of a 4-3 scheme with Greg Williams as the defensive coordinator, so with Danny Shelton stuffing the run on defense, an edge rushing defensive end who can also play the run would be able to help boost the play of their defensive backs in the pass game and help their limited linebackers in the run game.  This probably won’t make them a great team quickly, but it will likely give them their best shot at a franchise quarterback in the 2018 draft.

Previous articles in this series: AFC East

Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL week 9

By Lawrence Edwards 

WINNERS: Baltimore Ravens defense and Special Teams

Ravens defense The Ravens defense held the Steelers explosive offense in check and gave a banged up Big Ben a hard time all game. DT Timmy Jernigan ended up with an interception after Roethlisberger’s pass was tipped at the line. The special teams came up big on a blocked punt which turned into 7 points on the scoop and score.

LOSERS: Pittsburgh Steelers offense 

 Everyone thought the Steelers offense would get back on track Sunday with the return of Big Ben, limited or not, but instead they showed up to M&T Bank Stadium still sleeping. LeVeon Bell was held to just 32 yards rushing on 14 carries to go along with 6 receptions for 38 yards. Ben was rattled all night, limited in his ability to extend plays due to his knee which I’m sure is still extremely sore. The lone bright spots on offense were receivers Eli Rogers and  Antonio Brown who finished with 6 catches for 103 yards and 7 catches for 85 yards and a touchdown respectively. The Steelers still had a chance late in the game to come back but Sammie Coates dropped a perfectly thrown ball in the endzone that would’ve made it a one possession game with over 3 minutes left, Ravens offense wasn’t necessarily lighting it up.

WINNERS: Ben McAdoo 

Ben McAdoo Not Worried Protest Could Cause Rift In Giants Locker Room ... Ben McAdoo came out of the bye sitting at 4-3 thanks mostly to timely plays by his defense because up until Sunday his play calling was some of the worst the league has ever seen and the Giants have too many weapons for that. Ben must’ve heard the criticism loud and clear because he called his best game of his short tenure as the Giants head coach. Some of his questionable plays tried to rear it’s ugly head and killed a couple drives but ultimately he bounced right back and called a pretty good game. Giants finally took more shots down the field and had plenty success. The Giants offense must keep this momentum going. They have a defense that can protect leads now.

LOSERS: Doug Pederson and The Philadelphia Eagles

doug-pederson Speaking of a coach in the East with some questionable play calling, Doug Pederson is another rookie head coach in the NFC East who’s decisions have under scrutiny. He solidified his fans concerns by going for it on 4th down 3 times and failing twice. The two fails could’ve led to 6 points from field goals and the pressure most likely would’ve been on the Giants offense to drive down the field and score at the last minute. It could’ve changed the complexity of the game. Now the Eagles are 0-3 in their division and 4-4 on the season with a big hole to try and climb out of. They only love you if it works Doug, I do applaud your bravado however…

WINNERS: Golden Tate

Golden Tate gives the Lions an OT win in Minnesota with this TD | FOX ... Talk about making a statement on an overtime victory. The Detroit Lions went into the home of Vikings and NFL’s top defense and took care of business in a NFC North showdown to put themselves in a nice position to make a run at taking the North. The real hero here in this game is Golden Tate however. On the 1st and only drive in overtime Matthew Stafford lead the Lions down the field and capped it off with a Golden Tate TD catch and run where he broke a tackle, stayed in bounds, broke another tackle then flipped his way to victory in the end zone with a walk off TD to beat the Vikings.

LOSERS: Minnesota Defense

... minnesota vikings defensive tackle linval joseph 98 and defensive This is considered the NFL’s cream of the crop this season but the last two games have not been that great. One week after giving up 252 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 153 rushing yards and 1 TD to Jay Cutler and Jordan Howard, they come in and give up two passing TD’s to Matthew Stafford and a pretty decent night for Theo Riddick, rushing 14 times for 70 yards and averaged 5 yards a carry on the day. The Vikings defense will have to get back to it’s dominant ways if they want to prevent a further slide because their offense is inept.

LOSERS: Denver Broncos

 In the beginning of the season it looked like Denver’s vaunted pass rush, “No Fly Zone” secondary , and the game management of Trevor Seimian was going to get them to the playoffs and possibly back to the big one. Now here we are at the end of week 9 and they already have 2 division losses to the Chargers and Raiders. The Broncos are showing signs of a late Super Bowl hang over that they will need to fix quickly or they can find themselves out of the playoffs this season. San Diego is winning games and holding leads all of a sudden and they are now 1 1/2 games back from Denver for the 3rd spot in the West. The door is shutting quickly on Denver because Kansas City is now sitting at 6-2 and are playing good football even with key pieces missing on offense and the Broncos still have to face them.

BIGGEST WINNER: Oakland Raiders and the entire Raider Nation

 THE RAIDERS ARE 7-2,  I REPEAT, THE RAIDERS ARE 7-2. The definition of “Cry now, Laugh later” the Oakland Raiders are now laughing. For years Oakland fans were probably crying as they watched their team go though head coach after head coach, QB after QB, loss after loss, top pick after top pick, and now finally, after all those top picks, the Raiders have gotten it right. Derek Carr is the magician and was the final piece needed for Oakland to change their fortunes. The Raiders are winning games and looking good doing it, we haven’t seen a potent Raiders offense like this in forever. They impressively handled a division opponent in prime-time. They went out and outplayed, out coached, and out classed a tough defensive team and the defending SB champs to take sole possession of the top spot in the AFC West. Everyone is loving the Patriots in the AFC but I think Oakland will be the team to knock them off in the AFC Championship this season, that’s right I said it, the Raiders could actually be playing in the SB this year…

Debbie Browners

Tay Holloway

Another season and another reason to think high and to think proud. The browns signed the former rookie of the year Robert Griffin and they seemed to have a breath of fresh air. It seems to be that way for years with each new quarterback that they would get to attempt to lead them to some type of good record. It must be something in the water with the Browns because it seems that is the place to be where careers go to die or just plain get paid to be mediocre.

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The preseason looked great for them and it looked like RG3 and Pryor were having some type of magical connection but that all came to a end when the real season started and once again RG3 is injured and out for an extended period of time. That took the breath out of the Browns once again and they went on to get smashed by the Eagles in week 1. I didn’t feel sorry for them because its the way I have grew up and know the Browns to be; Debbie Browners. I really don’t understand why they were so excited for RG3 because this man reads a defense as well is Floyd Mayweather reads books. I am sure people would hope he could return back to his rookie form but things have changed since 2012 and the pistol offense is kinda being phased out because like the wildcat, the defense has figured it out.

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Another bright spot that will still happen because this player is incredibly talented is after week 4 they get wide receiver Josh Gordon back on the field for the first time in almost two years. He was suspended because he cant stay off the marijuana and he had to sit for a year. I guess this time he has learned his lesson or maybe not. We will see because I am sure that the league will give him a random drug test after a game, which they have just started doing. I think its a good idea but then again why after a game, the game is played and if a player were high you are too late. If Gordon can come in and be the productive receiver he was before he was suspended then that is a bright spot for the Browns.

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Already in week 2 of the 2016 season the browns are down two quarterbacks – RG3 and Josh McCown –  and Cody Kessler  will get the start and they have also signed Charlie Whitehurst. This is just all around once again bad news for a team that just cant get right. Their fans are very loyal and hold out hope that one day they will be back on top like they was in 1964, when some of our mothers was born.

 

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Who’s winning: Wk 2

Lawrence Edwards

 

Here we are folks, already 1 week into the NFL season and week 1 was full of excitement. We had a few nail biting games go down to the wire, a couple blowouts, and some outstanding individual performances. Week 2 shouldn’t disappoint with slew of good ones coming up. Let’s get started:

This week kicks off on TNF with an AFC East showdown. The Patriots are looking like they are staying atop the division so a division loss here would seriously hurt one of these teams. To go 0-2 and be down 0-1 in the division early is ugly. I expect the Jets to come into this one ready to get a win. They faced a really good Bengals team last week and only lost on a 47 yard field goal kick with 54 seconds left in the game. Matt Forte had a decent game rushing for 96 yards on 22 carries. The Jets should have a nice rebound game here and Brandon Marshall should find more success against Buffalo. Don’t worry Jets fans, I highly doubt anyone on Buffalo is cooking Revis like AJ Green did.

  27-14 

 

Let’s be honest, regardless how bad the Rams and 49ers were coming into the season, did anyone actually see the 49ers putting 28 points on a stout Rams defense with Blaine Gabbert under center? How many of you predicted Carlos Hyde would end the game as the nights best running back? Yea, me neither, but enjoy it while you can San Fran because Cam Newton and Luke Keuchly are waiting on you this week. The Panthers defense will be too much for Blaine Gabbert to handle and unlike last week, the 49ers could be playing catch up this whole game and Gabbert will not be able to keep up.

 10 – 31 

 

In a game dominated by the defenses the Ravens pulled out a 6 point win against the Bills last week. The Ravens are looking to get back to playoff contention with a healthy Joe Flacco back under center and the return of Dennis Pitta. The Ravens have a chance to keep going in the right direction with what should be an easy match up this week. The Browns just got scorched by rookie QB Carson Wentz for 3 TD’s. This is a divisional game and Flacco usually plays good against Cleveland so he should have a nice game here and the Browns will be 0 -2 to start the Hue Jackson era.

 24 – 13 

 

Tennessee is coming off an embarrassing loss to the Minnesota Vikings. They were literally beat by the Vikings defense. Outside of the 4 field goals, the Vikings offense didn’t produce any points. Minnesota’s two touchdowns came by way of the defense. This week might be just what the doctor ordered for Mariotta. Detroit is coming off a last second win against the Colts where Andrew Luck threw for 385 yards and 4 TD’s. Besides Luck and TY, Tennessee has more talent on the offensive and defensive side of the ball than Indy. Murray had a pretty decent game – however 1 of his two receiving TD’s came in garbage time – and should find more success on the ground against a less stout defense. Delanie Walker will have a bounce back game as well as Mariotta but Detroit will still win in a close one. Matthew Stafford showed last week that losing Megatron might be a blessing in disguise, he has no choice but to look at all options now and he did that extremely well last week.

 21 – 27

 

Houston, we DON’T have a problem! Brock Osweiller decided to leave Denver and it’s elite defense in the off season and take his talents to a state where everything is bigger. His debut went quite well I might add. Osweiller threw for 2 TD’s and Lamar Miller rushed for 106 yards on 28 carries. This week they have a much tougher match up with Alex Smith and Kansas City coming into town. KC is coming off a wild come from behind win last week against San Diego, but Houston might be a different animal. Spencer Ware went nuts last week against San Diego but Houston’s defensive line should keep him to an at least respectable line. If KC had issues keeping Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin at bay then they are in for some major headaches against Deandre Hopkins and rookie Will Fuller, who looks like the real deal. Look for Houston to continue to show the league they should be taken serious this season with a statement win against a top 10 opponent.

 14 – 27 

 

I don’t believe one person outside of Patriots fans picked them to beat the Arizona Cardinals in prime time in their house with no Tom Brady. However, that’s exactly what they did. That my friends is what I call elite coaching. Miami almost did the impossible too, they were 1 dropped TD away from pulling out a win against the Seattle Seahawks. Miami definitely needs this win. A victory here would give them the chance to get ahead in the division while Tom Brady finishes his suspension, a Miami loss here would put the Patriots in great positioning for Brady to come back and take his team on to the playoffs. After last week, it’s hard to pick against Belichik so I believe the Patriots wins this one at home.

 14 – 24 

 

The last time these two teams matched up it turn into an explosive exciting (not for the defensive players) shootout for the ages.Eli and Drew Brees combined for 13 TD’s and 101 combined points. Last year the Saints and the Giants ranked 31st and 32nd, respectively, in total defense. They were exceptionally vulnerable against the pass. Fast forward to 2016 and one team addressed their defensive issues while one team didn’t. The Giants spent almost $200 million dollars on their new defense, specifically their defensive line. The line had a nice debut last week against the best O-line in the NFL and held rookie RB, soon to be star, Ezekiel Elliot to 51 yards on 20 carries. The Saints just gave up 319 passing yards to Derek Carr last week at home. Eli has thrown 10 TD’s in the last two meetings against the Saints. I see the Giants defensive line really showing the money was worth it in this game. The last time the Giants faced the Saints at Metlife was in 2013, they forced 1 fumble and 2 picks of Drew Brees on the way to a 52-27 victory. Giants get revenge for last season here.

 21 – 34 

 

Now this is what I’m calling the game of the week. Last week AJ Green let everyone who forgot about him know that he is still an elite receiver in this league. He absolutely cooked the best corner back in the game for 12 catches for 180 yards and 1 TD. He started with a 54 yard TD catch after beating Revis deep right off the line of scrimmage. On the other hand Antonio Brown, DeAngelo Williams, and Ben Roethlisberger played flag football with the Washington Redskins on Monday night. Nothing the Redskins did could stop the slaughter. This game will make for a shootout against two AFC North QBs with two of the leagues top WR’s, however this isn’t Ryan Fitzpatrick and the trio in Pittsburgh will be too much for Dalton to keep up with.

 31 – 38 

 

The Cowboys couldn’t get anything going in the run game last week against the Giants. The Skins couldn’t stop anything from going in the run game Monday night. So someone has has to have a better showing this week. My dollars is on Dallas. Dallas still has the best offensive line in the league and Elliot and Morris should be salivating at the opportunity they have this week. DeAngelo Williams rushed for 143 yards and 2 TD’s against the Skins so Dallas should see a bounce back in the run game this week. Alfred Morris will be especially pumped up to face the team who, stupidly, let him walk and sign with Dallas. Even with Dallas having a great day rushing the defense is another question. The Cowboys are going to have to score points early using the run game heavy to keep Dak from being forced to get into a shootout with Kirk Cousins, I don’t think Dak is ready for that yet. This is a must win for Dallas to keep form going 0-2 in the division but the defense will be their downfall, especially against Jordan Reed.

 21 – 28 

 

If Arizona would’ve won last week against the Patriots, I would’ve picked Jameis Winston to pull off the upset here but that didn’t happen. Even as impressive Jameis has been, especially last week against a divisional foe, I don’t see the Cardinals starting 0 -2 and losing two weeks in a row at home. Winston will have a good game and I am excited to see Mike Evans go up against Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, however don’t forget that as of last week it looks like ASJ is looking to show you he’s finally healthy and ready to play. In what should be a good defensive game I see Arizona pulling this one out by a touchdown and David Johnson having a good day. Tampa Bay will come ready to play though so it won’t be an easy game.

 17 – 24 

 

LA is coming off an embarrassing shut out loss to San Francisco on the road last week an it doesn’t get any easier at their home opener this week. Another more capable division rival comes into to town. The Rams couldn’t generate any type of offense whatsoever against San Francisco and watched Carlos Hyde run all over them. Russell Wilson is a little banged up but will be playing this week and he can also beat you with his arm. Thomas Rawls has been named the starter and they will rely heavily on him in the run game with Wilson limited and we all know what he can do in the lead role. I don’t know if they will be shut out again but the Rams will have a hard time scoring points against Seattle’s defense and they will definitely have a hard time slowing down their offense. LA might get blown out for a second straight week.

 31 – 10 

 

Andrew Luck came back with a bang last week, getting into a shootout with Matthew Stafford and finished with 385 pass yards and 4 TDs, don’t look for that this week, as he goes up against Denvers stout defense. Now Luck has had great success against Denver, including beating them last year by 3 points but that was in Indy. The Colts defense is absolutely horrid and they are facing Denver in Denver. Look for the Broncos to force Luck into some bad throws causing an interception or two and using CJ Anderson to control the clock to keep Simiean from getting into a shootout with Andrew Luck.

 21 – 24 

 

The Falcons just gave up 4 passing TD’s to Jameis Winston and lost on their home turf. Their defense does not get a break this week as they go up against another young and upcoming passer in Derek Carr. Matt Ryan didn’t too bad last week himself with Julio Jones an Sanu and Drew Brees just picked apart the Raiders defense last week. We might get to see Carr get into another shoot out with a NFC South foe. This game could get high scoring but I think Oakland pulls out the win in the Black hole to send Atlanta on an 0-2 start. This game is hard to call honestly because both offenses are very capable and both defenses are vulnerable, however the slight edge goes to Oakland because of the combination of LB’s they have in Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin, who I’m sure are looking to redeem themselves after getting shredded by Drew Brees last week.

 24 – 34 

 

Another tough break for San Diego as they have once again lost their star pass catcher Keenan Allen for the season, this time due to a torn ACL. The Chargers also blew a 21 point lead in the second half and lost to Kansas City in overtime of that game. The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off an impressive showing against the Packers where we saw Blake Bortles hang in there with Aaron Rodgers. The Chargers are without their best wide receiver and can’t hold leads to save their lives. Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson should have a great game here against San Diego’s defense, I would also keep an eye on T.J. Yeldon in this one too, Spencer Ware just killed San Diego out of the backfield, I’m sure Jacksonville will take some notes.

 27 – 20 

 

Minnesota’s defense won them the game against the Titans last week and it was done in impressive fashion. On offense Adrian Peterson was stuffed on every play and finished the game with 31 yards on 20+ carries, that will not work this week. For as good as Minnesota’s defense was last week, they face a task that is 1000 times more difficult, stopping Aaron Rodgers when all his weapons are healthy. The defense will not win them the game this week, they will need a monster effort from AP and Shaun Hill to help out, but I don’t see the Vikings offense keeping up with Aaron Rodger who will wear that defense down.

 31 – 13 

 

I picked Philly to lose against the Browns last week because for some reason I believed RG3 will have this good comeback year and shut up all his doubters and start by beating a rookie led Eagles team, boy was I wrong. Again this week Philly goes up against a weak opponent, albeit one with a capable offense. I chose Philly to lose this game in my pick em leagues but for some reason I’ll pick them to win here. Wentz should have another good game against another bad defense and although Alshon Jeffery should be pretty productive, I can see Flecther Cox giving Cutler fits all day and forcing some signature Cutler interceptions.

 21 – 14 

 

 

Feel free to leave your thoughts and let me know who you think is winning this week?

 

 

 

 

 

Packers week 1

By Melvin Jackson

 

The season is about to kickoff and the green bay packers play the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. Let’s take a look at both teams. The jaguars are coming off a season where they exceeded the small expectations that they had. Allen Robinson and Hurns turned out to be great choices for second year man Blake Bortles. Their defense was decent but they did not have a chance in the world because they could not finish games and displayed poor execution on both sides of the ball.

This season the Jags have upgraded on defense with Myles jack and Jaylen Ramsey. They also stole Prince Amukamera from the giants to help that defense. Their offense added the running back Chris Ivory to their back field.

The packers did well last season even without their number one recieving threat Jordy Nelson. They did learn that Randle Cobb is not a number one receiver and DeVante Adams needed more time to grow. They still have a healthy Aaron Rodgers so that lets you know that they will always be in the game.

This season the expectation is for the Packers to win the NFC North and to be a Superbowl contender. I do believe they have an excellent chance to win both. My prediction for this game is that both teams will play well but once the game settles down I have the packers winning 41-31