Best Games in Week 1 and Who Wins!

By Lawrence Edwards

Alright folks it’s that great time of the year again… FOOTBALL IS BACK and we are kicking things off with a great matchup Thursday night when the defending champs take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Foxborough. Today I’m picking what I believe to be the best match ups slated to kick off the season. So let’s start predicting!

Riding high off an improbable yet amazing comeback win in Super Bowl 51 – a game that I’m sure left Falcons players and fans feeling like they were hit with the black plague – the Patriots are looking to catch up to the Steelers as they kick off the 2017 season taking on a formidable foe. The Kansas City Chiefs kicked off their 2016 season with their own come from behind win against the San Diego Chargers and went on the finish the season with a 12-4 record. There are some in Chief land who still don’t believe in Alex Smith, well that’s the problem, your belief should be in Andy Reid’s offense. For all his game managing ways, Alex Smith has a pretty good defense with him and last year’s YAC leader Travis Kelce. Last season Travis Kelce finished with 85 receptions for over 1100 yards and 4 TDS. The most surprising number… He was targeted 117 times. Although he wasn’t much of a target threat, gone is Jeremy Maclin on the outside which opens the door for an even bigger opportunity for Kelce. This game should be great; the Chiefs would love to begin their journey to dethrone New England with a win on the road. Gronk vs. Kelce TD celebration battle should be good to watch too. The Chiefs have playmakers and we know Andy loves to feed them, but even with the ability of Kelce, Hill and rookie up and coming RB Kareem Hunt, I don’t see Bill and Tom losing a home opener fresh off a statement SB win.

Chiefs 24 Pats 34

Russell Wilson is healthy, Jordy Nelson is Healthy and Aaron Rodgers is still great… Sprinkle in a little Eddie Lacey revenge and you have all the ingredients for game to be remembered. Russell Wilson suffered from an injury plagued and banged up season last year, yet he still helped his team continue their dominance over the NFC West and keep their playoff streak alive. Despite still getting in the playoffs, The Seahawks were knocked off in the divisional round by last year’s runner up Atlanta Falcons. The Packers had an up and down season (by their standards up and down is still good with Rodgers) in 2016. They dealt with mediocre production from the running game during the first half of the season and were staring at a 4-6 record with 6 games left to go and Detroit and Minnesota looking to keep them out of the playoffs (which doesn’t happen). Then it happened Rodgers spoke “I feel like we can run the table” once Ty Montgomery took over for Lacey it provided a little spark to go with Rodgers words and they did exactly that. A-Rod ripped off an impressive 15TDs and 0 INTs the last 6 games of the season. Ty Montgomery, a former WR, was converted to RB mid-season and showed great promise. He became a pretty good weapon for A-Rod out of the backfield and not to mention Rodgers had a healthy Jordy Nelson. The Pack would go on to knock off two NFC East contenders in the Giants and Cowboys. They were also knocked by last year’s runner up, however in the NFC Championship game. Bottom line, both of these teams are looking to add some more hardware to their trophy cases and both have dynamic offenses and quarterbacks. Had this game been in Seattle I would have went with Seattle here, but I can’t go against the magic man Rodgers on his home turf!

SEA 28 GB 34

Yea most fans in Giants and Cowboys nation are probably tired of seeing these two teams face off every year in Dallas in week 1… IT’S GETTING REPETITIVE GUYS… But who can blame them this time after the way these two faced off and overall performed last season. Basically I can see why they decided to match them up again in week 1 this season. Tony Romo goes down in comes a rookie QB and a rookie RB to try and lead Dallas back to the post…Not going to happen! pfft WRONG! Not only did Dallas make the playoffs they were the best team in the entire NFL last year during the regular season, that’s right even better than your current champs up north in New England. I mean with that offensive line no one expected a disastrous output like the one they had with Matt Cassell in 2015, I mean come on it was Matt Cassell. However I’m sure not one soul expected the 13-3 finish and no.1 seed in the NFC and best record in the NFL, well maybe Dallas fans did. Keep in mind only two of those losses, both from their current opponent – more on that later- were legit. That 3rd loss came when positioning was already locked up and starters resting, had it not been for those pesky Giants may Dallas fans would be bragging about an undefeated season last year… bullet dodged for non-Dallas fans… Despite all their regular season magic and, what I believe was Dak Prescott’s best performance to date to mount a comeback for Dallas against Green Bay in the playoffs, Dallas went 1 and done. Now for the Giants they finished with an impressive 11-5 record thanks in most part to the defense which went from butt to what! No one saw the Giants D having the type of season they did last year finishing 10th in overall defense. The offense, however, took a few steps back from what we saw during Ben McAdoo’s first two seasons as OC. It was mainly due to the O-line and the Giants predictable play calling. So far during the preseason the O-line has shown some improvement. At this point any improvement is good news to Giants fans. To battle some of the woes the Giants use a quick strike offense which helps eliminate pressure. The Giants have the kind of defense that just any improvement on the line to allow Eli and company to work could get them back to the playoffs a 2nd time under McAdoo. Odell’s status is still up in the air for this game but I expect him to play based off how Ben has been about the situation. This game won’t break any scoring records. Based off the way last season went, I’m giving this one to the Giants. The offense will do just enough to pull out the win in a close one with the defense being the stars of the show again.

NYG 20 DAL 17

Of all the games being played on Sunday, this one is my favorite. We get to watch two quarterbacks who are the future of the NFL face off. Last year both of these teams had their teams in the playoff picture late in the season but only one made it. Both teams also lost their starting QB’s at the end of the season to a broken leg; this hurt the Raiders the most. Raider nation was riding a huge high after making the playoffs for the first time since their 2002 SuperBowl loss to the Tampa Buccaneers. Only problem was, after leading them to the water, Derek Carr was not there to help them drink. The playoff berth was bitter/sweet (much more on the bitter side) with the loss of Carr. Before that some had pegged Oakland as a potential threat to the Patriots last season, with him being back healthy and new addition Marshawn Lynch the Raiders are looking to make that “potential” threat to an actual promise. The Titans had their playoff destiny in their own hands going into a game many expected them win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Murphy’s Law was in play that game, Mariotta when 8-20 for 99 yards and 1TD before breaking his leg after being sacked by Sheldon Day in the 3rd quarter. The Titans lost the 38-17 and lost their starting QB for the season. They needed a massive amount of help to make postseason, which did not happen, even had it did, they would’ve been in same situation as the Raiders. Both of these teams are similar to me. They both have solid up and coming young QB’s, pretty good WR groups, good backfields, although the Titans have a huge leg up on them with the combo of Murray and Henry, outstanding offensive lines and both have playmakers on defense in Jurell Casey and Brian Orakpo for the Titans and Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin for the Raiders. They both are susceptible to the pass though, so this game could turn into a shootout between these two young QB’s. I want to go with the Raiders here but I think Tennessee takes a huge step forward this season and that leg up in the running game will help Tennessee secure the victory here.

OAK 31 TENN 34

 

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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

Each NFC 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 NFC West:

  1. richard-shermanSeattle Seahawks- The Seahawks have been a powerhouse in the league pretty much since Russell Wilson became the quarterback in 2012, but this year they seemed to be missing a key piece and that is before Earl Thomas went down with an injury.  It just seemed like their offense could never get it going and that their defense wasn’t as much of a juggernaut it had been in years past.  The offense had lost Marshawn Lynch to retirement over the offseason and the defense lost Bruce Irvin to free agency and the Raiders so these can explain why they didn’t see the same.  Their defense was still top 5 so their defense’s demise may have been more due to them slightly underperforming from their 4 previous seasons of leading the NFL in points allowed per game.  Their offensive problems can partially be explained by Russell Wilson being hurt for the early part of the year, but even when he was back to full health the offense didn’t seem right.  Their offense was able to have a dominant ground game when Marshawn Lynch was on the team despite the team lacking a real offensive line.  They could try to get another Marshawn Lynch, but Lynch was more of a unicorn running back that only comes along once every few generations and Thomas Rawls isn’t a terrible running back, but he needs some help.  The Seahawks tried to start improving their offensive line last year when they selected Germain Ifedi in the first round, but Ifedi was incredibly raw and he graded out as one of the worst offensive linemen in the league.  The worst part about the Seahawks’ line this year was that Ifedi wasn’t even the worst lineman to play over 600 snaps.  The only consistently above average offensive lineman they had is their center Justin Britt.  The Seahawks need to build their offensive line up if they want to look like they did in 2013, because Marshawn Lynch isn’t going to be walking through that door anytime soon.
  2.  larry-fitzgeraldArizona Cardinals- If you look at the numbers, it is hard to see what happened to the Cardinals that led to their decline from 2015.  They had the 6th best scoring offense, the 2nd best yardage defense, and they were the league leaders in both sacks and forced fumbles.  They have one of the most electrifying talents in the league on offense with David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald led the league in receptions, and their offensive line held up adequately.  So what went wrong?  Mostly it seems like they let up too many big plays that led to scores.  They have one of the best corner backs in the league in Patrick Peterson, but across from him they didn’t really have much.  Teams were able to attack the #2 corner back with little resistance which was the Achilles heel of the defense.  If the Cardinals can get a little bit more luck next season as far as losing close games and if they get a proper #2 cornerback to compliment Peterson, they can be back to knocking on the door of the Superbowl by next season.
  3.  aaron-donaldLos Angeles Rams- In their first season back in Los Angeles since the early 1990s, some people expected the Rams to finally take a step forward into contending for a playoff spot since now they had a first overall pick quarterback on their team to go with a ferocious defensive line and one of the best young running backs in the league in Todd Gurley.  Then they started the season with their first overall pick as the third string qb and lost to the 49ers 27-0, starting of the trend for how bad the season was going to be.  The Rams were a mess all over the place, with no real offensive threat and their defense was not nearly good enough to carry them.  Now this season, they have a new young and innovative head coach in Sean McVay who brought in the legendary defensive coordinator Wade Phillips to turn the defense into one of the top defenses in the league.  So, with Sean McVay’s recent history as an offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins, you can assume that he’d want to model his offense after the one that he had there.  To do that they will need to build up their receiving corps.  They will need to retain the services of Kenny Britt to do this correctly, but when the Rams make their first pick in the 2nd round they should take a wide receiver who can be a deep threat a la Desean Jackson.  If the resign Britt then they’ll have their Garcon in him and their Jamison Crowder in Tavon Austin, but the ability to stretch the field is the real catalyst of the offense.  Then they would just be a Jordan Reed type and a complete offense away from having the same kind of offense that McVay had in Washington that got him the job.
  4.  carlos-hydeSan Francisco 49ers- Oh boy, where to begin here?  The 49ers went into this season with incredibly low expectations with needs all over the roster and a coach and gm that were paired up in a sort of shotgun wedding.  Their roster was depleted of talent from top to bottom, spare a few good pieces such as Carlos Hyde, Deforest Buckner and Navarro Bowman.  And possibly the worst thing that could have happened to the 49ers this season was how they started it off by blowing out the Rams in a week 1 shutout victory which made some people think that they really could be something.  That was the only win they would have until they played the Rams again in week 16.  The 49ers don’t even officially have a coach yet (though many speculate that the job will go to Kyle Shanahan once his current team has played in the Superbowl), so it is hard to even know which need they’ll need to deal with first in order to start succeeding.  I honestly feel like the 49ers are currently the least talented team in the NFL so I feel like if they added a young qb now that they would end up messing up his development so I believe they should go for defense above all else and grab an edge rusher who will be able to sack the opposing qb so the team will have a better shot at staying in games defensively while they build up the rest of their roster with enough talent to eventually compete.  They are in line for a long rebuild though.

And this is the end of my team draft needs series.  You can check out all of the other articles in the series by clicking on the corresponding links below.

AFC East- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/each-afc-east-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC North- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/each-afc-north-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC South- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/each-afc-south-teams-biggest-draft-need/

AFC West- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/each-afc-south-teams-biggest-draft-need-2/

NFC East- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/each-nfc-east-teams-biggest-draft-need/

NFC North- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/each-nfc-norths-biggest-draft-need/

NFC South- https://sportselite1.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/each-nfc-south-teams-biggest-draft-need/

Seahawks vs Falcons: Your Ultimate Playoff Preview Guide

By: Will Stevenson

A PLACE FOR FRAUDS

On one hand we have a team that is offensively inconsistent and on the other hand, we have a team that has been a fraud since I was a middle-schooler. I don’t particularly believe in any of these two teams, but being in the Divisional Playoffs is more than the other 24 teams in the NFL. The Falcons under Dan Quinn have been on fire offensively this season while the Seahawks have been up and down for most of this season.

BATTLE OF THE BIRDS

As for the tale of the tape, the Seahawks and Falcons met earlier in the regular season back in Week 6. The Seahawks won at home, 26-24 as Running Back Christine Michael (not with the team anymore) scored 2 touchdowns. The last time these two teams met in the playoffs, the Falcons won on a game-winning field goal. Looking at the trend, this game will be tight until the fourth quarter, we can only hope.

BIRDS OF PREY

I confess, as a former Atlanta Falcon, I have watched as they have dragged my sports heart through the mud, each and every time they enter the playoffs. For some reason, the Falcons have been fraudulent throughout their playoff career. Anyway, their offense is averaging 33 ppg this year as Matt Ryan seems to have entered the *speaks whisperly* “Elite” category. Matt Ryan is accompanied by Running Backs Devonte Parker and Tevin Coleman, and a Wide Receiving corp Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel and anchored by Julio Jones. As a former assistant with the Seahawks, Head Coach Dan Quinn faces off against his former team in his postseason debut. A bright spot for the Falcons would be Vic Beasley, who led the NFL with 15.5 sacks this season, and has had 6 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in the last 6 home games.

HOW DO THE SEAHAWKS DO IT

The Seahawks are led by Quarterback Russell Wilson who is 8-3 in 11 career postseason starts with a QBR (Quarterback Rating) of 95.9. Wilson has many wins as a starter, but will that matter much as their offense has sputtered in spots throughout the season. Wilson needs help from his running game led by Thomas Rawls who rushed for a franchise postseason-record 161 yards last week against the Lions. The Seahawks don’t have the household names at Wide Receiver, but believe the Falcons secondary will remember Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse. Doug Baldwin is an excellent pass catcher, route runner, third down conversionist and touchdown maker. If Baldwin, Kearse and Jimmy Graham can all be involved and effective at the same time, then the Seahawks offense will be hard to stop.

A LEGION OF HOPEFULLY SOON

Since the injury of Safety Earl Thomas, the Seahawks rank 30th in defense. The Seahawks have the names, but there play on the field has deteriorated over the past weeks, especially with their rushing defense.

FINAL THOUGHTS

We have a team that is rolling offensively, versus a team that is struggling with rushing and passing defense. We have a team that has been a fraud in the playoffs versus a team that seems to rise to the occasion.

As with the Chiefs, will the Falcons finally Rise Up?

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

 

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.

 

 

A defensive division

By Lawrence Edwards 

The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals finished their Sunday night game with a tie due to stout defensive play and both kickers uncharacteristically missing FG’s in overtime, unreal! The NFC West has been known to boast stout well rounded defenses for some time now and this season, minus the Chip Kelly led 49ers, which still remain true. To start the season, the LA Rams pulled off an upset win against Seattle by using a stout defense to keep Russell Wilson from running all over them.

Building The Perfect FanDuel Fantasy Football Lineup For Week 4 Of ...  Arizona ranks 2nd in total defense with Seattle coming in at 6th and the Rams at 11th. 3 of the top 12 defenses lie in one division. When you look at the records in this division, you can surely be misled. The Seahawks are 4-1-1, Cardinals are 3-3-1, and the Rams are 3-4. All 3 of these teams are actually pretty solid teams who beat up on each other defensively every year. The Rams are the worst of the 3 mentioned yet they are still a very solid football team capable of winning at least 9 games.

Rams DT Aaron Donald stakes claim as PFF's best player in 2015 - St ... Aaron Donald is arguably the best interior defensive lineman in the league at this point. So far this season he has 23 combined tackles, only 4 of them are assisted, 3 sacks 1 forced fumble 2 passes defended and 7 stops for a loss. The 3rd year DT is a force in the middle. He hit the ground running his rookie season racking up 9 sacks and following up with 11 his sophomore season. The sack totals are already impressive for a defensive tackle but what makes this even more astounding is the fact Aaron Donald is undersized for his position, or at least he is SUPPOSED to be. His rookie season he also had 11 stops for a loss and 13 his second year, here we are week 8 in the 2016 season and he already has 7 so far. Aaron will be an elite player at his position for years to come.

Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson are two of the best defensive backs in the league. They both entered the league in 2011 and immediately made their presence felt. Sherman has 85 passes defended and 28 interceptions over his career so far and Peterson has 60 passes defended and 19 interceptions over his career. Top 7 Cornerbacks In NFL’s 2014 Position Ranking | These two defenders can play you man-to-man or in zone. They don’t need elite defensive lines to perform at high levels year in and year out, even though having them is a plus, and they both are capable of completely taking away one side of the field from opposing offenses. Richard Sherman’s career especially stands out to me. He finished with 8 interceptions and 24 passes defended his sophomore year and showed the next season that he was no fluke when he finished with another 8 interceptions and 16 passes defended. Not one defensive back in the league has as many interceptions in 5-year span as Sherman. Let me point out a crazy stat for you; Derrell Revis has 28 career interceptions from 2007-2016, Richard Sherman has 28 career interceptions from 2011-2016, if that isn’t impressive I don’t know what is.

There are many other players I can mention here in the article to further show how defensively dominant this division is. There are many other names like Calais Campbell, Tyrann Mathieu, Robert Quinn, Alec Ogletree, Kam Chancellor and others. Bottom line is, when you play any team in this division, your offense had better be on its’ A game because these teams defenses are built to control and change games.

*I purposely left the 49ers out of this article because their defense has been horrid this season*

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