Here are my NFL Week 6 Picks
(7-7 last week, 40-37 for the season)
Bye teams: Bills, Bengals, Cowboys, Seahawks
Phi @ Car – Finally, a Thursday Night matchup of equally excellent teams that could actually make for a great game to watch. The Thursday Night idea has basically been a disaster; the scheduling is weird, the games are never entertaining, and the time frame throws off the players, leading to their under-performing. Maybe this changes this week, because these teams are strong, these conference contests are important, and these quarterbacks are hot. Let’s just hope everyone doesn’t come out flat, but I’m confident that they won’t. The Eagles are scorching right now, they look unstoppable behind young Carson Wentz, but it’s never easy to head out on the road into a hostile environment. The Panthers are just as hot, Cam seems to have shaken off the rust, and their defense is playing stout football. I think we could see the most evenly matched game of the year, so I have to give the edge to the home team, if just slightly.
Chi @ Bal – I just can’t seem to pick games right this year, but one thing at least seems certain; the Bears are going to lose. In a year in which even bad teams like the Jets can win on any given Sunday, Chicago keeps losing, and that helps keep me sane. They have won one game this year, but that won’t happen very often, and they didn’t even win last week at home vs a team playing their backup QB & RB. They had to resort to trick plays, and they were surprisingly successful, but the Bears still didn’t win, and they won’t this week either. The Ravens have been a bit up & down lately, but they are 3-2, are tied atop the AFC North, so all is not lost. With Pittsburgh struggling with consistency as well, Baltimore can move into the lead, and there’s really no reason that they shouldn’t. They’re defense is playing well, the offense just needs to step up a bit, something we might see right away, as the Ravens get the easy win.
Cle @ Hou – The Browns are so bad that they lost to the Jets at home and benched their rookie QB in utter despair. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; they just need to quit playing football. Or change towns or names or something, Jesus, anything to stop being exactly what you’ve been for the past 20 years; terrible. In their modern history, or since 1999, they’ve had a season with a winning record only twice and have made the playoffs only once. Actually, if I’m reading this right, 1950 was the last time the Browns won two playoff-style games in a row. They’re ineptitude is just sad, and I’m tired of them existing. The Texans, on the other hand, have something to play for, and their rookie QB is playing great, he’s not sitting the bench because he sucks. Houston is only one game out of first place, and even losing JJ Watt won’t derail their forward momentum, so I’m picking them to win at home in what should be a blowout.
GB @ Min – I’m mad because this lost me my fantasy game, but the dumbest fan could have told Jason Garrett that he needed to run out every second of the clock before attempting to score last week during the final minute, because any time you left for Aaron Rodgers was an open invitation for the Cowboys to lose. How they didn’t know this, how they threw an incomplete pass, how they left time on the clock for the Packers to score; someone needs fired. I won’t have won my fantasy game if Rodgers hadn’t has that final drive; the guy is amazing, you knew he was going to throw a TD. He’ll assuredly throw more this week; the Vikings defense is good, but they aren’t that good. They also don’t have their starting QB or RB, and I think they’ll be in panic mode pretty early in this one, so it’s hard to see them getting the momentum switched to their side. The Pack should travel well and get the win in Minnesota.
Det @ NO – Matt Stafford tried to come back against the Panthers last week, but it was too little too late, and the Lions got their second loss. He’s banged up as well, and the magic might have worn off a bit; even the defense isn’t playing quite as well as they were at the beginning of the season. I don’t know, I like the Lions, but they’re showing me that they might not be the shockingly elite team that they looked like earlier on, and it might be time to jump off the bandwagon. I definitely will if they lose in New Orleans, something that I’m pretty sure is about to happen. Drew Brees dominates coming off bye weeks, and I think he’ll revel in the fact that the Saints are fully rested and are back at home. They are going to put up some points in this one, but I also think NO is going to play some actual defense. They allow 20 points a game, which is few enough for Brees to win it with his arm on the other end.
Mia @ Atl – Matt Cassel vs Jay Cutler last week and the Titans lost that battle of the …well …Titans …and Tennessee can’t wait for Mariota to get back on the field. Cutler and the Dolphins aren’t doing too poorly, they’re 2-2, but still they don’t score very much, their defense stepping up to keep their team in games that they maybe should lose. Miami will be exposed eventually, they aren’t great in any way, and this could be the week that the flood gates open and Cutler throws 9 INTs in desperation. The Falcons got their first loss and then had a bye week, so they’ve had time to sit on their anger and to let it eat away at their souls. I can’t imagine anything else other than a complete dominating performance out of Atlanta in Week 6, as they let all that frustration loose on the Dolphins. The Falcons are back at home, they have something to prove, and they will win this game going away.
NE @ NYJ – WTF is up with the Patriots defense? They allow the most points in the league (except for the Colts) and they are basically embarrassing themselves. This isn’t what we are used to, I’m not sure what has changed, but something has got to be fixed. Tom Brady can’t win these games all on his own anymore, he’s getting old and he’s getting hit. He’s hurt coming into this week, and he could be one sack away from calling it a career, who knows. Protect Brady, play solid defense, and this team could still make it to the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, as it is, the Pats are tied with the Bills and the Jets atop the AFC East, which just shows you that the world has lost its mind. The Jets for Pete’s sake, the Jets are winning the division, and they allow far fewer points than the Patriots. They also score far fewer, which will ultimately be their downfall, both during this season and during this game.
SF @ Was – We know how bad the Browns are, we delight in discussing the plight of the Giants, but we forget that the Niners are also 0-5, that they are also one of the worst teams in the league. But I guess we understand that this is truly a rebuilding year, that it’ll take some time to turn things around, which is funny, because weren’t they in the Super Bowl a few years ago? And isn’t the QB they had then still available? Hmm, you think they might pick him up and try to win with him before they draft another guy next year, but no, that’s crazy, I heard he knelt down or something equally sinister, better not invite him into a locker room or something political might happen. Speaking of politics, I can’t take the Redskins seriously until they change their ridiculously offensive nickname. But I do think they’ll win this game at home vs one of the worst teams in the league, so let’s just leave it at that.
TB @ Ari – The Bucs haven’t exactly started this season the way that many of us thought that they would. They’re 2-2, they have only won at home, they haven’t been as lights out on offense as predicted, and they’re falling behind the Panthers and the Falcons for the division. They need to fix some problems right away before they fall deeper into this hole, and a win here would go a long way toward climbing out. This is a winnable game, but it won’t be easy, TB will have to sure that they are capable of finding their problems and fixing them; we’re about to see what kind of team the Bucs really are. We’ve seen what the Cardinals have become without David Johnson, and I’m not sure what else there is to learn. Now, they did just pick up Adrian Peterson and release Chris Johnson, so maybe they’ll play at home with some renewed vigor, I think they have a solid chance. It’s just that TB has a higher ceiling, so I’ll pick them here.
LAR @ Jax – The Rams are an interesting team, one that I did not see coming. They score the most points in the league (other than the Chiefs) and are tied for the NFC West lead with the Seahawks. That’s good company both ways, and I did not think they would be this tough a team when I made predictions before the season started. They did lose last week, they aren’t dominant at home, and they do allow too many points to be considered elite. But LA is undefeated on the road, they score points in bunches, and I wouldn’t want to be the team to face them this season. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, the Rams are coming to town, and I would be concerned. Jacksonville is a similar team; scores, plays well on the road, is doing surprisingly well. But I imagine that their wheels will fall off sooner rather than later. They’re a little inconsistent, and I don’t trust Bortles at all. The D is great, but it will only take them so far.
Pit @ KC – Big Ben Roethlisberger sounded pretty defeated after last week’s loss and after throwing 5 INTs, so there’s reason to wonder if his heart is in the game or not, if he can successfully steer this team toward the playoffs. He’s been hinting at retirement, and you have to assume it’s crossing his mind right now, even though the Steelers have a winning record and are tied at the top of their division. I don’t know, it’s weird, and no one knows but Ben. Pitt can still win games down the road, they have some immense talent on both sides of the ball, I just wouldn’t pick anyone to go into Kansas City right now and leave with a W. The Chiefs are the league’s best team, the league’s only undefeated team, and they’re playing well enough right now to still any questions or doubts. They score like crazy, if the defense steps up they’ll be unstoppable, I just hope they stumble a bit before my Broncos have to play them.
LAC @ Oak – Here are two of the other teams of the AFC West, both with their sights set on the division, but only one with any real chance. And it’s not LA, that’s for sure. They won their first game of the season last week, but this team is no good, one win shouldn’t fool us into thinking that anything has changed. Rivers is still an idiot, there is still no fan base to support them, and I’m very confident that they will lose this game in Oakland, maybe by a lot. Derek Carr is back for the Raiders after sitting one week with an injury, and I imagine he’ll be slinging the ball and scoring multiple touchdowns. Oakland scores more, allows less, is playing at home; this is pretty much a lock. Division opponents always play each other fiercely though, so there’s always a chance that the Chargers pull off something tricky, I just wouldn’t bet on it. No, the Raiders will dominate and keep working toward the top of the division.
NYG @ Den – Hit with impossible injuries last week, the Giants can now be completely counted out. I was all about them coming into the season, I thought they had the best WR trio in the league, I thought they would win the NFC East. Well, they were bad before they lost all their wideouts, and they’ll be much worst now. Odell and BMarsh and one other guy all left last week’s game with season-ending injuries in a game that completely devastated New York, leaving them with literally no one to throw to. They were awful and just got worse; I almost feel bad for what the Denver D is about to do to them. I don’t want my guys feeling overconfident, but they should dominate the GMen from the first snap to the final whistle. The Broncos are better on every side and should be able to score with ease. They should also be able to crush poor Eli on Sunday Night football, in their all blues, for the whole world to see.
Ind @ Ten – Andrew Luck is inching closer to returning, but meanwhile the Colts are struggling, though they have pieced together enough to go 2-3. They aren’t awful exactly, they just aren’t a great team without their stud QB, and they need him back in a big way. TY Hilton has been impressive, Brissett has been serviceable, but the Colts are just OK, and probably won’t win many until Luck returns. The Titans actually have the same record, but should be a far better team than they’ve shown so far. Now, last week Mariota was hurt and the Titans lost under Matt Cassel. That would have gone the other way had Mariota played, so thankfully he’ll be back this week vs Indy on Monday Night Football. Tennessee’s defense needs to step up in a big way; they’ve been extremely disappointing so far this year. But I think Marcus will play well, I think so will the defense, and I’d say this game won’t really be that close.
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QBs – Joe Flacco vs the Bears. DeSean Watson vs the Browns. Drew Brees vs the Lions. Matt Ryan vs the Dolphins. Kirk Cousins vs the 49ers. David Carr vs the Chargers. Trevor Siemian vs the Giants. Marcus Mariota vs the Colts.
RBs – Mark Ingram vs the Lions. DeVontae Freeman vs the Dolphins. Mike Gillislee vs the Jets. Todd Gurley vs the Jaguars. DeMarco Murray vs the Colts.
WRs – Kelvin Benjamin vs the Eagles. Jordy Nelson vs the Vikings. Willie Snead vs the Lions. Julio Jones vs the Dolphins. Mike Evans vs the Cardinals. Amari Cooper vs the Chargers. Emmanuel Sanders vs the Giants. TY Hilton vs the Titans.
TEs – Kyle Rudolph vs the Packers. Rob Gronkowski vs the Jets. OJ Howard vs the Cardinals. Delanie Walker vs the Colts.
Ks – Justin Tucker vs the Bears. Mason Crosby vs the Vikings. Matt Prater vs the Saints. Matt Bryant vs the Dolphins. Stephen Gostkowski vs the Jets. Brandon McManus vs the Giants. Ryan Succop vs the Colts.
DEFs – Baltimore vs the Bears. New Orleans vs the Lions. Atlanta vs the Dolphins. Washington vs the 49ers. Denver vs the Giants. Tenessee vs the Colts.
Here are my NFL Week 5 Picks
(7-9 last week, 33-30 for the season)
Bye teams: Falcons, Broncos, Saints, Redskins
NE @ TB – Other than the Colts, the Patriots have allowed the most points in the league. That’s an incredibly strange statistic; that never happens with a Belichick defesne. At least the Pats are able to put up points as well, scoring the most in the league other than the Rams, but it’s still a glaring problem that they can’t hold teams down and that Brady has to be perfect at all times since he can’t rely on his defense. Most of us think that New England can bounce back, that they’ll still win the division, but the fact they they’re currently tied with the Jets at 2-2 is odd beyond measure. The Pats are actually better on the road than they are at home this season, so perhaps they can get back on track in Tampa on Thursday, but the Bucs will have something to say about that. TB is 2-1, undefeated at home, Jameis is slinging it, and I really like this team, it’s just hard to pick against Brady, especially when he’s coming off a loss and feeling angry.
NYJ @ Cle – Why, gods, why, what did we do to deserve this? First the Jags vs the Jets and the Bengals vs the Browns, now the Jets vs the Browns, and another game that really isn’t worth watching. Now, in New York’s defense, they are 2-2, they are performing much better than anyone thought they could, but if we’re realistic we’ll understand that they really aren’t a very good team. I actually think they’ll go into Cleveland and lose, but I thought that about the Bengals, so what do I know. The Brownies got demolished at home last week and are winless on the season. They’ll win a game at some point, they aren’t horrible, they just aren’t good. Kizer has potential, the Browns can also run the ball, and the odds are in their favor since the Jets have outreached themselves and the Browns have nothing at all to lose. The people of Cleveland deserve a team that has some hope, some vision of the future, that gives them some reason to watch.
Car @ Det – The Panthers pull off an improbable win in New England and now it looks like Cam has shaken off enough rust to be formidable once again. Carolina is 2-0 on the road, they’re just getting warmed up, and so watch out for this team going forward. They’ll look to go into Detroit and keep the momentum going, but oddly enough, Detroit’s defense is much better than New England’s, so this won’t be an easy game for Cam & Co. Actually, the Lions have allowed the same amount of points as the Panthers this season, but they’ve scored 21 more. And they’re playing at home, where they are only 1-1 but they probably should have won that game vs Atlanta and should probably be undefeated. The only red flag is that Stafford threw 4 TDs, then 2, then 1, and last week zero, so the Lions will need him to get back on track if they’re to have any hope of beating Carolina, something of which I think they are more than capable.
SF @ Ind – Sadly, the Niners are one of the NFL’s four remaining winless teams, and I’m not sure when that changes. They gave it a shot last week in Arizona, but couldn’t do more than kick a bunch of field goals; they only have 5 total TDs on the season, the second worst in the league. San Fran simply can’t put up points, and they don’t have the dominant defense to make that passable. We know they’re rebuilding, it’ll take some time, but it sure doesn’t look pretty in the meanwhile. The Colts are waiting for Andrew Luck to return, but while he’s sitting Brissett has come in and played adequately. They picked up a win, and were competitive with Seattle until Brissett started turning the ball over, so it’s been a roller coaster. I can’t pick them to win many until Luck returns, but at home vs the 49ers is a good spot to be in if you think you can get on track. We’ll see, but I’m going with Indy.
Ten @ Mia – With Mariota hurt, who knows what’s going to happen with the Titans, but they already aren’t doing as well this season as many of us expected they would. Mariota might not be out long, which is great, but they’re still 2-2, aren’t playing consistently, and just got annihilated by the Texans last week. Is this a running team, a passing team, a solid defense; we thought we knew but apparently we didn’t, as Tennessee has been all over the place so far this year. Luckily, the Dolphins aren’t any better, actually they’re a good bit worse, and they have their own problems to deal with as a frustrated but talented team comes rolling into Miami. So far, the Dolphins have scored two total touchdowns in three games, and they were just steamrolled by the Saints in London. So both teams need a win here to boost their confidence, but I have to give the edge to the Titans, even with Mariota’s health and playing on the road.
Buf @ Cin – A quarter of the way through the season and the Bills are the best scoring defense in the league, are 3-1, and lead the AFC East, a division that has been the Patriot’s sole possession for as long as I can remember. What is this, the 90s? Who do these Bills think they are? They don’t let you score, they shut down your weapons, they play fast, they took down the Broncos and the Falcons; it’s hard to tell this early on, but Buffalo might be the real deal. They head to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals, who just got their first win of the season in Cleveland last week. Really, Cinci almost beat GB in GB, which would have been something, so maybe this team is a little better than their record. Good Andy has showed up in spurts, but you have to imagine that Bad Andy will make a return, and isn’t it likely that he would shown up vs the best defense in the league? This game will go a long way toward answering some questions.
LAC @ NYG – Woe to the Chargers, woe to their fans. At their last home game, there were more people rooting for Philly than for Los Angeles, and stupid Stink Schlereth kept calling them San Diego; they aren’t even worth remembering correctly. LA doesn’t want them, SD let them go, Rivers is about on his way out, their head coach won’t last but a season or two, and I can’t think of a single reason to root for this team. I’m a Broncos fan, I don’t like them anyway, but I especially don’t like them this year; it feels like they ought not to be here. The Giants need to wipe the table with them so we can all feel better, but, sadly, NYG probably isn’t good enough to muster that up. They did lose twice to last second field goals in the last two weeks, so perhaps they’re improving, but the standings don’t lie, and New York is 0-4. I think they’ll change that and make LAC 0-5 this week; I have just enough faith left in Eli, though it’s fading.
Jax @ Pit – If the Jags can lose on the road to the Jets, they can lose on the road to the Steelers, and I think they definitely will. Jacksonville has been clamoring to be taken seriously, claiming that they have the best defense in the league, but great defense travels well, and their trip to the Big Apple ended in disaster. Their trip to England went so much better, it’s hard to understand how this team can be so up & down. But they are, they’re hard to trust, and I can’t pick them to win this game, not against one of the better teams in the AFC. The Steelers beat the Ravens on the road to take the division lead, and and it doesn’t really matter how they’re winning, it’s enough that they are. That’s the kind of team Pittsburgh is, a team that just wins no matter the way. I like a team like that in the playoffs, because the postseason never goes as scripted, you need to adapt, and that’s what this Pitt team is good at.
Ari @ Phi – The Cardinals are quickly proving to be a mediocre team. They barely beat the Colts and the Niners, pushovers that elite teams ought to cream. Arizona, at least since David Johnson got hurt, is not elite, they’re scraping by hoping that he’ll come back before the season is over. The good news is that the Cards are 2-2, and only one game out of the division lead. There’s still plenty of time, I’m just not sure they have the talent to do the most with it. Palmer is in the autumn of his career, I think you can sense it, so they had better win; it might be now or never. But they have to play the Eagles, one of the hotter teams in the league. No Darren Sproles, no problem, as Smallwood and Blount both stepped up to run ragged over the Chargers. Wentz looks strong, the defense is OK, this team is exciting to watch right now, and things are going right. I think it will continue to do so at home this week.
Sea @ LAR – This has the potential to be a shockingly awesome game, as the Seahawks travel to meet the division-leading Rams. Seattle has looked very strange this season, so inconsistent that it’s painful to watch. Their offensive line gives Wilson no time, the running backs no room, and so the Seahawks aren’t scoring like this usually do. The defense actually scored two TDs last week, so you can’t dismiss that part of this team’s game, but will it be enough week in and week out, and will Seattle solve its problems before it’s too late? The Rams hope to remain in the driver’s seat for as long as possible before the Seahawks regain their footing. LA scores the most points in the league, Gurley is a madman, the defense just needs to improve if this team is going to be legit. At home, I think they can control Seattle, which doesn’t play well away from the 12th Man. It might be weird to have a new top dog, but it might be happening.
Bal @ Oak – After starting off so well, albeit against the Bengals and the Browns, the Ravens have dropped their last two games. The competition got stiffer (Jacksonville and Pittsburgh), and apparently they weren’t up to the challenge. They stopped scoring, which is a major problem, and their defense can’t be expected to be on the field that long. I’m worried that they were pretenders instead of contenders, but I guess we’ll soon see. It might be apparent this week against the Raiders, but then again it might not be, since their starting QB will be on the bench. Carr has an injured back, will be out a few weeks, courtesy of the Denver D, and I don’t know if this team can function as well without their star player. Well, that’s silly, of course they can’t, but their defense has been OK, and can hold its own. This game might be close, but I think Baltimore has the edge because they have Flacco.
GB @ Dal – How this isn’t a primetime game is beyond me; the Monday Night matchup is Vikings vs Bears. This is the game of the week, will be extremely entertaining, I just hope it’s on TV. The Packers are in mid-season form now, and Aaron Rodgers just keeps passing Jordy Nelson touchdowns, which is a beautiful thing to watch. He’s on point, doesn’t seem like he’s aging, and can take this team to the Super Bowl on his back. Now, this game won’t be easy, I think it could go either way, but I can’t pick against Green Bay right now, now the way they’re looking. The Cowboys are easy to pick against because they’re a little erratic. They’re very middle of the road, just got wholloped, and I’m about to say I Told You So if they lose this game. A sophomore slump was inevitable, and I’ll eat my words if they take it to the Packers, but I really don’t think they will, though I’m hoping for an instant classic.
KC @ Tex – The Chiefs are now the only unbeaten team in the league, and they have deserved every win. There’s no fluke here, KC is legit, and they are a threat to win the Super Bowl. I’m not jumping on their bandwagon, I still think the Patriots have the best chance, and I think my Broncos won’t stop fighting for the AFC West. I just think you have to give credit to the team with the best record, especially when they are playing like they deserve it. At home, on the road, it doesn’t matter, they score, they stop you; this team is all-around good, and at least in the regular season, should be continually feared. The Texans aren’t doing too bad themselves, coming off a huge win at home vs the Titans. They’ll look to defend their home turf on Sunday Night Football, and Watson is playing well enough that they might be able to score some points, but this Chiefs D is nasty, I wouldn’t want to face them right now.
Min @ Chi – Wow, this Monday Night matchup went from bad to worse. The Vikings lose Dalvin Cook for the season, when the rookie was looking so very good. They also don’t know about Sam Bradford, or when he’ll be back, so that position is up in the air too. Their defense is solid every week, that’s for sure, and I think it can win this game all on its own. That much pressure is tough though, the defense needs a break sometime, and if the offense can’t stay on the field at all, it’s going to be a problem eventually. Luckily, the Bears offense is even worse. Chicago will be starting rookie Mitch Trubisky, after benching Mike Glennon. Not a shocker, but the kid probably isn’t ready, and probably shouldn’t be asked to take on one of the best defense in the league. Now, it’s a Monday game, so that’s an extra day to prepare, and the Bears played last Thursday, so that’s even more time, I just don’t think it will be enough.
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QBs – Jameis Winston vs the Patriots. Jacoby Brissett vs the 49ers. Eli Manning vs the Chargers. Joe Flacco vs the Raiders. Aaron Rodgers vs the Cowboys.
RBs – Frank Gore vs the 49ers. LeSean McCoy vs the Bengals. Wendell Smallwood vs the Cardinals. Ezekiel Elliott vs the Packers. Latavius Murray vs the Bears.
WRs – Mike Evans vs the Patriots. TY Hilton vs the 49ers. Jordy Nelson vs the Cowboys.
TEs – Rob Gronkowski vs the Buccaneers. Eric Ebron vs the Panthers. Delanie Walker vs the Dolphins. Tyler Kroft vs the Bills. Jesse James vs the Jaguars. Jason Witten vs the Packers. Kyle Rudolph vs the Bears.
Ks – Matt Prater vs the Panthers. Adam Viniatiari vs the 49ers. Justin Tucker vs the Raiders. Mason Crosby vs the Cowboys.
DEFs – Pittsburgh vs the Jaguars. Philadelphia vs the Cardinals. Baltimore vs the Raiders. Minnesota vs the Bears.
Here are my NFL Week 4 Picks
(7-9 last week, 26-21 for the season)
Bye teams: none
Chi @ GB – The Bears are coming off their first win of the season, at home last week vs Pittsburgh. Nobody saw that game coming, but Chicago showed up, so give them some credit for fighting when they know that they season won’t end well. I don’t think we need to predict the Steelers doom, or a Bears championship, chalk that game up as home field advantage and nothing to lose. I highly doubt Week 4 will go as well. The Packers narrowly escaped with a win at home vs Cincinnati, a feeling that must have been frightening when the game went to overtime, like, “how can we possibly let the Bengals beat us?!” Well, Green Bay got the W, which is all that really matters, but they’ll look to improve upon a performance that wasn’t perfect. I think Rodgers will come out firing in this one, throw 5 TDs, and we’ll start feeling much better about the balance of the world.
NO @ Mia – Another London game, and the first one was so unpredictable (setting the tone for an extremely wacky week) that I have no idea how to call this matchup. Also, look what these teams did in Week 3. New Orleans goes on the road and beats Carolina, something no one was predicting. Brees woke up, he found Thomas, things are good in the Big Easy. On the flip side, Miami goes to New York, and gets pummeled by the Jets, the worst team in the league. Last week was definitely odd, there’s no arguing that, but I think this week things will settle down and return to normal, just like Week 2 did after Week 1. The Saints have a great offense still, but they need to figure out what is going on with their run game. Ingram, Kamara, Peterson; I get the platoon idea, but it isn’t working. They don’t run much anyway, when they do they need to let someone get in rhythm. I have faith that the Saints will make it work.
Ten @ Hou – Here’s a good game, the team we’ve been touting as playoff-ready vs the club that just almost beat Brady & Co. in New England. Also, this is a key divisional matchup, with Tennessee going to 3-1 if they win, Houston 1-3, which they just cannot let happen. The Titans are starting to roll on offense, and they are coming off a win vs Seattle, which is always a badge of honor. This team is for real, they can score and they can stop you, and I think their best games are still ahead of them. For the Texans, they show up in spurts, but never consistently enough to make you nod and say “this team can win”. They have had the Patriots number in recent years, so that explains that, but I can’t imagine they win too many other games against other teams. I’m going with my bandwagon team of the year and picking the Titans to win here; I think they are better on all sides of the ball, playing away being the only thing that scares me.
Jax @ NYJ – The Jags went to their second home in London last week and dominated the Ravens, a team people were talking about as one of the best in the league. Now, Baltimore had only played Cleveland and Cincinnati, so perhaps that was premature, but their defense looked solid, and Jacksonville walked all over them. There’s no reason they can’t do the same this week vs a Jets team that is coming off their first win, but shouldn’t be picking up too many more as the year goes on. New York might have showed up vs the Dolphins, but they have too many problems to me to pick to win too many weeks. I think they may have just gotten lucky, and the Jags are a much hotter team than the Dolphins. Actually, some people think that Jacksonville has an elite defense, but we’ll see what they can do against a team that they really ought to beat. I’m going with the teal green over the grass green, how’s that for a Color Rush.
Car @ NE – The Panthers were undefeated going into Week 3, but that was because of their defense; their offense had not yet found a rhythm. Well, then the Saints came marching in, and their defense failed, their offense also following suit. Cam doesn’t look right, McCaffrey isn’t doing anything, and these Panthers are beatable. Now, a good defense will take you far, and we can expect Newton to improve as he continues to shake off the rust, but it needs to happen sooner rather than later, and I don’t think we’ll see it this week. The Pats are awake, that’s for sure, and they don’t want to lose another game, not after they lost Week 1 at home after everyone was saying they’d go 16-0. Well, they’ve won two in a row now, their offense is lights out, and I don’t see Carolina stopping them, unless they can absolutely destroy Tom Brady. NE has too many weapons to stop, and they’ll win this game.
Det @ Min – Matt Stafford has fallen back to Earth after lighting up the scoreboard in Week 1, and since he’s my fantasy QB, I’ve not been happy. This is a team that can play well on both sides of the ball, they just need to show that they can win the big games when it matters. I thought they had won last week vs Atlanta, but the TD was called back, which is just about the sort of luck the Lions always have. Let’s see if they can find better in this matchup, because this is one of those important, divisional games that you need to win if you want people to take you seriously. The Vikings were surprising winners vs Tampa last week, and I keep predicting them to fail, but they keep proving me wrong. I just don’t trust their QB situation, although Cook has really taken over and has shown what he can do. If the defense (especially the secondary) brings their A-game, Minnesota will win this contest.
Buf @ Atl – You know which team allows the fewest points per game this season? The Buffalo Bills. That’s right, the Buffalo Bills, who are also currently tied atop the AFC East with the New England Patriots. They beat my Broncos last week, and that was pretty big statement game, letting the league know that no one comes into their house and walks away with a W. Road games have been a different story this young season for the Bills, but they’ll look to remedy that this week, if they can. I wouldn’t put money on it though, because the Atlanta Falcons will have something to say about that. The Falcons are one of the two undefeated teams left standing after three weeks, and they aren’t about to drop a home game to the Bills just because they have a good defense. Atlanta has one of the best offenses in the league, they’re playing in dome sweet dome, and they’ll move to 4-0 in what could be a fun game to watch.
Pit @ Bal – Both of these teams lost badly last week, the Steelers on the road vs a poor team, the Ravens in London in a complete blowout. Both are 2-1, both are undefeated at home, and both want the AFC North title as their own. We’ve seen this matchup plenty before, but these teams are so evenly matched, this time it will be more competitive than ever. Pittsburgh is going to rebound from their loss, you can guarantee that, it’s just a matter of if they’ll be ale to overcome Baltimore rebounding in Baltimore. The Ravens will be feeling embarrassed after their loss in England, and they’ll want to show the world & their fans that they are indeed a team to be taken seriously. They aren’t scoring enough, that’s their problem, and the defense can’t always bail them out. They’ll have to find a way to get the run game going, and a way to stop the Killer Bs of Pittsburgh, but I think they can definitely do it.
Cin @ Cle – Ugh, gross. Here are the other teams of the AFC North, both 0-3, both pretty pathetic. The Bengals are coming off finally scoring touchdowns and almost beating the Packers in Green Bay. That’s something to hang your hat on, but it isn’t a win, and so I have to imagine that the Bengals still feel pretty hopeless. Good Andy showed up last week, but that only means that Bad Andy is due an appearance in Week 4, so look out for some INTs and some decisions that make you question your fandom. The Browns have rallied behind QB Kizer, but that hasn’t translated into a win quite yet. Don’t worry, a few will come, though not many, and maybe just maybe they’ll get their first W this weekend. The Brownies have some talented pieces, but so do the Bungles, it’s just a question of who learns how to use them correctly first. I guess I’ll go with the home team here, in the Battle for Ohio.
LAR @ Dal – Who’s scored the most points this season? It’s not the Patriots or the Chiefs, it’s the Los Angeles Rams. Goff & Gurley are on their way to proving that they’re the real deal, and the Rams are winning the NFC West, over the Seattle Seahawks. Pretty big stuff for a team that wasn’t supposed to be any good, but it is early, and things do have a way of changing. I don’t think that LA can keep up their scoring all year, I think it’ll taper off at some point, and this week might be when it starts. After losing to the Broncos, the Cowboys rebounded with a big road win, and now seem back on track. They’re in a 3-way tie for the NFC East lead, and can’t afford to drop an important game like this, so look for them to come out firing. Also, their defense is actually stout, so if anyone is going to stop the Rams, it’s going to be this team, at home. Zeke woke up last week; that’s not what the LA defense wants to hear.
Phi @ LAC – Jake Elliott is the rookie of the year, at least for now, thanks to that 61-yard game-winner last week that helped his team beat the rival Giants. The Eagles look good, Wentz is playing well, and Philly is 2-0 within the division, so everything is pointing up for the Cheesesteak Champions. But isn’t that usually when things take a turn for the worse? Just when you think you’ve got it made as a team, that no one can beat you, it all goes south, and I just have a sneaky suspicion that might be the case this week. The Chargers are winless, and I just can’t see them staying that way for long. I’m not saying that they’re any good, but they’re better than the Browns/Bengals/Jets/Bears/Niners; they’re going to get wins at some point. It could happen now, at home, vs a good but not incredible Philly team. Hey, I despise Phillip Rivers, I hope he loses every game and then retires, but I just have a feeling LAC will get the win.
NYG @ TB – Wow, the Giants can’t buy a win this season, and things are starting to look grim. I’m been supporting them all year, saying that they’re going to rebound, counting on them to wake the hell up. But I don’t know, I’m starting to think that it’s not going to happen. Odell did catch some balls last week, Philly did have to kick an improbably FG, but the GMen are still 0-3, the numbers don’t lie. They’ll get some wins, I’m not leaving their bandwagon completely, but I don’t think a W comes in Week 4. The Bucs, who are everyone’s darling team in 2017, lost big time last week in Minnesota, and will look to play mad this week to make up for it. Once this offense gets rolling, there won’t be any way of stopping it, so best get out the way when the Bucs shake off the offseason rust. I think they’ll take care of business at home this week, the Giant will fall to 0-4, and we’ll start hearing calls for Eli’s retirement.
SF @ Ari – The 49ers were another team I expected more from, but it’s obvious that they’re a ways away from becoming the team that they would like to be. Hoyer is OK, but he’s not taking a team anywhere, and the rest of the team is a few draft picks away from being good enough to elevate their QB, a la the Chiefs. The Niners are winless and on the road; not a good combination and reason enough not to pick them to win this game. The Cardinals aren’t much better on paper; they’re 1-2, score the same as the Niners, allow as much as the Niners, and didn’t win their only home game of the year. It’s a tenuous season for Arizona, with their big loss of David Johnson, and Carson Palmer’s advancing age. They’ll get Johnson back later in the year, but what shape will this team be in at that point? They need to pick up as many games as they can now before he returns, starting here with what should be an easy one.
Oak @ Den – It’s Raider Hater week around my house, I’m just glad that they’re coming to us, not the other way around. Oakland is coming to Denver after a primetime loss against the Redskins in which they just didn’t look like themselves. They didn’t run the ball well, they looked over-matched, and it wasn’t the Raiders team we were expecting to see; usually they play well on those east coast road games, unlike other west coast teams. Whatever the reason, they’ll want to bounce back quickly, the Broncos just have to hope they can get on top early before Oakland gets rolling. Denver wanted to be taken seriously, but then they lose to the Bills, which isn’t an embarrassment but still, you need to win that road game if you want to be considered an elite team. Denver needs to bounce back, Siemian needs to protect the ball, and the defense needs to dominate. This should be a very good game, a close one that comes down to the wire.
Ind @ Sea – This Sunday Night matchup looked better when they made the schedule than it does right now. Indy has been struggling since Luck has been out, though Brissett did look much better last week, and Hilton exploded for a ton of yards. Word is Andrew is on his way back in a couple weeks, but we’ll see what kind of rust he has, and how long it’ll take him to get going after so long sitting out. Meanwhile, the Colts aren’t scaring anyone, especially the Seahawks, even though they haven’t started off very well either. The offense just can’t get going, and that’s a big problem. They can’t run because they can’t block, they can’t throw because they can’t protect, and so no one moves the ball anywhere. The defense can only hold out so long until they get tired, and so right now the Seahawks are a beatable team. What they need is an easy game to get some things figured out; Merry Christmas.
Was @ KC – Another primetime game for the Redskins, who are feeling good about their defeat of the Raiders. Cousins is doing well, they have a team of running backs who can do some damage, and they’re tied atop the division. I just don’t trust this Washington team very far, and I think they lose this game pretty easily. The Chiefs are just too good right now, they’re undefeated, and I don’t think that changes at home on Monday Night. Anything can happen under the lights, but this KC squad is currently doing everything right, and they’d have to completely drop the proverbial ball to get me to predict a home loss. Andy Reid knows how to win in the regular season, he just needs to show us that he can coach a playoff team as well, one that can do damage in January. If the Chiefs can keep a solid record, if they can get some home games during the postseason; watch out.
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QBs – Aaron Rodgers vs the Bears. Jay Cutler vs the Saints. Blake Bortles vs the Jets. Phillip Rivers vs the Rams. Jameis Winston vs the Giants. Carson Palmer vs the 49ers. Russell Wilson vs the Colts.
RBs – Mark Ingram vs the Dolphins. Leonard Fournette vs the Jets. LeSean McCoy vs the Falcons. Chris Johnson vs the 49ers. CJ Anderson vs the Raiders. Carson vs the Colts.
WRs – Jordy Nelson vs the Bears. DeVante Parker vs the Saints. Allen Hurns vs the Jets. Julio Jones vs the Bills. Mike Evans vs the Giants. Demaryius Thomas vs the Raiders. Doug Baldwin vs the Colts.
TEs – Coby Fleener vs the Dolphins. Rob Gronkowski vs the Panthers. Hunter Henry vs the Eagles. Jimmy Graham vs the Colts. Travis Kelce vs the Redskins.
Ks – Mason Crosby vs the Bears. Jason Myers vs the Jets. Matt Prater vs the Vikings. Matt Bryant vs the Bills. Justin Tucker vs the Steelers. Phil Dawson vs the 49ers. Brandon McManus vs the Raiders. Blair Walsh vs the Colts.
DEFs – New England vs the Panthers. Tampa Bay vs the Giants. Arizona vs the 49ers. Seattle vs the Colts.
Here are my NFL Week 3 Picks
(12-4 last week, 19-12 for the season)
Bye teams: none
LAR @ SF – It’s early, but so far the 2017 Rams have been fairly impressive. Not Broncos impressive exactly (had to sneak that in there), but impressive all the same. They took care of business at home vs the inept Colts, then lost at home vs the Redskins, have looked solid all around, putting up points in a way they couldn’t last season. Goff has improved, Gurley looks good, the defense has potential, and this team isn’t a pushover in any way. Now, they’re just 1-1, it’s not like they’re on fire, but expectations were low for this team, and they could be on their way to rising above them. I had hopes for San Francisco as well, although I knew perhaps it was too early to hope for much. They’re in the middle of turning the franchise around, they’ve got a lot of work to do, and I think they hired the right guys to do it, it’ll just take some time. But you can’t give them too much slack, the offense should at least be able to score some points, and so far they’ve got 12 after two games. That’s pitiful, there’s no other way to say it, and I’m going to have to see much more from San Fran before I pick them to win a game again.
Bal @ Jax – I happen to think that the Ravens are for real, despite the fact that their competition level so far this season has been absolutely horrid. They got the Bengals and then the Browns; not exactly scary. But the point is that they handled their work, they did they job, they completely dominated lesser teams, exactly the way they should. This at least shows that Baltimore is a team that is taking this season seriously, and although we haven’t seen much yet, I think we can count on them to be in the think of things come playoff time. So far, in two games, their defense has allowed 10 points total. They run the ball, they kick FGs when they need to, they shut down the other team’s offense; sounds like a winning strategy to me. This game, I should mention, is being played in London, where Jacksonville is used to competing, so you can look at it as an away game for both teams, or you can say that the Jaguars have the edge, but either way, I’m not sure it matters. Jax has been OK so far this year, they haven’t embarrassed themselves, but I don’t think they’re up to Baltimore’s level.
Cle @ Ind – Oof, this is going to be some bad football. The Browns are starting a rookie quarterback, are winless, and it’s starting to seem like they haven’t been good since 1962. I don’t know what more can be said about how terribly pathetic they are, like a lost puppy trying to cross the same street every day of its life. Cleveland just can’t turn it around, and it’s almost time for someone to forcibly do it for them. Lend me the organization for a year, I’ll change the uniforms, actually draft some good players, and you can thank me when I hand it back with box seats at the stadium. This season anyway, the Colts aren’t any better, as each year they put all their eggs in their quarterback’s basket with none left for the rest of the team. Luck goes down and it’s like no one else in the locker room or front offices has ever heard about football before. Now, they did make a good move in going with Brissett over Tolzien, that was a no-brainer, so maybe they have a chance to move the ball behind the new guy. But Luck can’t get back soon enough, and until he does this squad is as sad as the Brownies, which is saying something.
NYG @ Phi – Geez, I hate to go on like this, but here’s another terrible team in the Giants, the only difference being that we did not see this coming. Something is definitely wrong in the Big Apple, as the GMen have completely turned around for the worse, looking nothing like what I and many others predicted. They should have one of the best defenses in the league, they should have one of the best receiving corps in the league, they should have one of the best QBs in the league: where the heck did they go?! Odell has been hurt, Marshall can’t catch, Eli is running scared, the ground game isn’t working like it was supposed to, the defense can only do so much with their offense never on the field; it’s a complete disaster. NY has only scored 13 total points in two weeks, and I’m getting tired of thinking that they can turn it all around. I’ll hold out hope, but I won’t pick them to win here, as the Eagles go to Philly for their home opener and should walk away with a win. They played the Chiefs hard, and there’s no shame in losing in KC, so count on them for a good performance here, where they’ll move to 2-1 and keep the NFC East lead.
Mia @ NYJ – Cutler returns with a flourish, and the Dolphins win their first game of the season. On the road, new QB, a bye Week 1 for the hurricane, an away game in San Diego; that’s a pretty impressive win, and Cutler deserves a lot of credit. Now, how far this team will actually go is anyone’s guess, but perhaps they didn’t take that much of a step back from last year when they were forced to make the switch at quarterback, and perhaps they’re in the playoff conversation in a few months when the time is at hand. Let’s see how they do in their second game, another road contest, vs a team we can expect them to beat. The Jets, like the Colts, completely collapse when you remove a talented QB from the equation. McCown isn’t the answer, obviously, and this team will continue to lose all season long. What they need to do is too complicated to accomplish in one year, even two, and so it’ll take some time before this franchise is back on track and winning games. They do get to play at home for the first time this season, they do have an extra game under their belts, but I still think they lose to the JayJay combination of Miami.
Den @ Buf – I hope the Broncos play all season with a sense of disrespect, because that sure can be helpful, and they sure are entitled to feeling that way. Everyone and their brother thought the Broncos would lose to the Cowboys, despite playing in the rarefied air of the Mile High City. Not many people saw what I saw in that game vs the Chargers; a dominant performance that was overshadowed by a blown call & a fluky play that led to an INT and then to a closer game that it should have been. Denver creamed San Diego, the score just didn’t indicate that, and then they creamed Dallas even more, the score helping to tell the story this time. That they aren’t seen as an elite team right now is insulting, and should push them to be even better/angrier/more determined. Now, I say all that knowing that if they lose to Buffalo I and they will both look pretty foolish, but I have to say it because it’s true, I can’t worry about what might happen. I’m confident that the Broncos can take care of business on the road vs a far inferior team, I just hope my boys are thinking the same thing.
NO @ Car – It’s ridiculous, but the Saints always start out 0-2 or 0-3, that’s just how they do things. As Brees ages, you feel more & more concerned that he won’t be able to turn things around before it gets out of hand, but I’m not giving up hope in New Orleans yet, their offense is too good to be held down for long. Eventually, Thomas & Ingram will start scoring TDs, the team just needs to get in a groove first, snap out of this funk that they’ve started with. I don’t know what it will take to make that happen, but maybe a third loss to a division opponent and the realization that the season is slipping away far too fast will do it. The Panthers are in their own doldrums, but again, you have to assume that they’ll pick up their feet sooner rather than later. As bad as they’re playing, especially the offense, Carolina is currently undefeated, which is nothing to sneeze at. It’s their defense that’s holding their heads above water right now, holding opponents to an average of 3 points a game. Wow, and the offense will match that intensity at some point, as soon as Cam knocks off the rust and realizes that this team is pretty great.
Pit @ Chi – The Steelers are putting in the work right now, plain and simple. Like their namesake, they are down in the suck gritting it out, not looking like the flashiest team, but fighting every game. First Cleveland then Minnesota; these aren’t pushover defenses, and it’s not easy to put up points in any game in this league. The Steelers just seem determined to beat you, no matter how they have to do it, and that’s gotta be frightening to other squads, that kind of resolve to win. I’ve always liked Big Ben, I think he’s great, and I think we can count on him to lead Pittsburgh deep into the playoffs at least one more year. The Bears aren’t going anywhere any time soon, so count them out now so that you don’t have to worry about them in December. Glennon or Trubisky; I don’t really think it matters, this team took a nose-dive down the standings a long time ago and they aren’t anywhere near climbing back up. Really, since Urlacher, Chicago has been sad, and how it takes so long to turn that around is beyond me. They’ll lose this game, they’ll probably lose a dozen more, and they won’t be relative for some time to come.
Atl @ Det – Battle of two NFC unbeatens, and it should be one hell of a game to watch. The Falcons took care of the Packers at home last week, in a statement win. They are dangerous still, and we all know that they should have won the Super Bowl last year. Really, all they had to do was run the ball instead of calling the play that got Matt Ryan sacked, and they would have won the game. It’s that simple, and how an NFL coach and an NFL player could make that mistake is beyond me. I still think the dreaded Hangover might hurt them eventually, but so far they are proving me wrong. The Lions are demanding attention as well, beating the Cardinals and the Giants, teams that were supposed to be among the best in the NFC. That they don’t look wonderful doesn’t reflect badly on Detroit; they took care of business the way they should. Stafford is playing well, the only other QB to throw 6 TDs in the first two weeks of the season is Siemian of the Broncos, so things are off to a good start. If the defense can hold their own, this is a team that can win a lot of games, including this one at home vs a tough opponent.
TB @ Min – Tampa starts off the season with an easy win, heralding good things to come for this young team. The offense could be great, the defense could shut you down, and the Bucs could be playoff-caliber. They won at home vs the Bears, so it’s not a complete test, this week will go a lot farther in showing just what they can do. I trust them to win games though, with Winston throwing to Evans, with a strong homefield advantage, we just need to see if they can win the hard ones as well as the easy ones, and here’s Week 3 to answer the question. The Vikings were beat up last week vs the Steelers in part because Sam Bradford had a surprising knee injury. I mean, it’s not that surprising, we just didn’t know about it this time, but as I’ve always said, Bradford will collapse at some point, either physically or in his play, it’s just a matter of time. Keenum looked terrible, of course, and whether or not Bradford comes back this week, I think the team needs Bridgewater to return if they’re to have a legitimate chance at the division. I don’t like this team, despite their defense, until they get rid of Bradford; his isn’t a winner.
Hou @ NE – This game looks good on paper, but it might be a complete blowout. Houston won last week in Cincinnati, making it look pretty easy, but that’s Andy Dalton, he’s not very scary. He’s probably about as good as Savage or as Watson, so no matter who the Texans threw out there, they had to know that they had a pretty good chance of winning the game, despite their own offensive inadequacies. The Texans only score 10 points per game, so any offense that can beat that should be able to beat them, even though their defense is solid. It’s just not solid enough to make up for such a bad offense, and I’m not sure how long it will take Watson to really come into his own. Too long I guess, since the Patriots are now on the schedule. New England bounced back in a big way last week, which was perfectly expected, we all knew they would do exactly that. They took their frustration out on the Saints, and they proved that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this team. Another win would solidify that idea, and I think the Pats will get it with relative ease, assuming that Brady stays off the turf.
Sea @ Ten – Here’s a sneaky good game, two of the better defenses in football squaring off and counting on their offenses to show up as well. Seattle has been pathetic on offense, scoring one TD through two games. They can’t run, they can’t block, and all they can do is hope that Wilson can escape the pocket, that the defense can hold that side of the ball down while the offense gets a couple of field goals. I don’t think that formula will last long, so they had better find a way to score, and quick. Neither of these teams wants to drop to 1-2, so look for a desperate fight, but I think Tennessee comes out on top. They found their scoring game last week, after an embarrassing home loss Week 1 to the Raiders. I think they’ll defend their turf this time out, and I think maybe they’ll be able to score some points. Maybe not many, it’s the Seahawks after all, but this run game is solid, and it could be the difference in this matchup. Seattle is completely confused as to what it should do with its running backs, but the Titans have no such problem. They’ll pound the ball, will play well before their fans, and will walk away with a victory.
Cin @ GB – Oh gosh, this might be a slaughter. The Bungles are earning that nickname this season, starting 0-2, failing to score a touchdown, firing their OC, and only scoring 9 total points on the season. The defense is OK, but not when kept on the field as long as they have been, and not when the offense completely drops the proverbial ball. Dalton looks worse than ever, the new speedsters aren’t speeding, no one seems to know what they’re doing, and I’d be delighted if they would finally fire Marvin Lewis, something that’s needed to happen for over 5 years. The Packers should completely annihilate the Bengals, and I’m not sure I can watch, as the guy I’m playing in fantasy has Aaron Rodgers and my security blanket, Jordy Nelson, is hurt. ARod might be insane this week, especially after being frustrated by the Falcons on Sunday Night in Week 2. That was embarrassing, and it’s not a product that GB shows to its home crowd. In Lambeau, the Pack are hard to beat, and I can’t possibly see them dropping this game; not to this team, and not after a loss. This one might end up 6-36.
KC @ LAC – The AFC West is a meat grinder, every team undefeated except for the Chargers, who are winless. The Chiefs, the Raiders, the Broncos; I wouldn’t want to play any of these teams right now, not the way they’re dominating, and poor LA has to play them each TWICE. The Chiefs are on a roll, and they look even tougher than last year when they should have gone deeper into the playoffs. Hunt is the real deal, he’s running wild, and Andy Reid looks like a genius. But the deal with him is that he doesn’t know how to coach a Super Bowl caliber team, they’re always good but not great. Is this the year that it finally comes together? I don’t know, I picked the Pats to win the SB and I’m not changing that any time soon, but KC has potential. The Chargers don’t, they find new ways to shoot themselves in the foot every single week, and I wouldn’t count on them to find a way to win more than 4 or 5 games all year. That said, you hate to go to a division opponent’s backyard, that always seems to backfire, so the Chiefs better be cautious, I just think they’ll still find a way to win.
Oak @ Was – Sunday Night football, with another AFC West juggernaut going on the road. The Broncos to Buffalo, the Chiefs to LA, the Raiders to Washington; will they all escape undefeated? That would be something, and they all SHOULD because they’re the better team, but it’s hard to deny that homefield advantage has its perks. Oakland seems immune to that though, they can go anywhere and do anything, regardless of who they play. It’s something in their genetics, they just scrap through the problem and laugh at you while they’re doing it. The Raiders are a wild card, always have been, and I like that they’re finally strong enough to be a real threat. Washington will give them a run for their money though, and they’ll look to defend their house. The Redskins won last week, they’re an OK team, they won’t be making a big impact on the NFC this season, but they’re good enough to be concerned with. You can assume that the Raiders know that the Redskins aren’t pushovers, will prepare, and will come out playing their best ball. We could see a close game, one that comes down to the wire and is really fun to watch.
Dal @ Ari – The Cowboys were destroyed by my Broncos last week, and that bitter taste could not have been fun. They were exposed, and sometimes when a blueprint gets out there, it’s hard to overcome other teams’ knowledge of how to beat you, to find other ways to win. Dallas will slump this year, that was always my prediction, and now that will be even harder to stop from happening. All you have to do it stop Zeke, make Dak throw, frustrate this squad by out-balling them on every snap. Sounds hard, is hard, but Denver did it, and I have a feeling that Arizona can do it too. They didn’t look half bad vs Detroit, but lost. They struggled vs Indy, but won. So it’s hard to say what kind of team these Cardinals are, whether they can return to their strength of these past few seasons. Palmer is getting old, Johnson being out hurts, but this defense is pretty solid, and I wouldn’t rule them out of posing a big threat to Dak & Co. If they can stuff up the line, they can get to the QB, they can win this game, and then the Cowboys go to 1-2 and we all start asking tough questions. We’ll see, should be a nice Monday Night in the desert.
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for the best fantasy football rankings each week.
QBs – Jared Goff vs the 49ers. Jay Cutler vs the Jets. Trevor Siemian vs the Bills. Ben Roethlisberger vs the Bears. Matthew Stafford vs the Falcons. Aaron Rodgers vs the Bengals. Kirk Cousins vs the Raiders. Carson Palmer vs the Cowboys.
RBs – Todd Gurley vs the 49ers. Jay Ajayi vs the Jets. Mark Ingram vs the Panthers. LeVeon Bell vs the Bears. DeVontae Freeman vs the Lions. Mike Gillislee vs the Texans. DeMarco Murray vs the Seahawks. Kareem Hunt vs the Chargers. Marshawn Lynch vs the Redskins.
WRs – Alshon Jeffrey vs the Giants. Travis Benjamin vs the Saints. Antonio Brown vs the Bears. Marvin Jones vs the Falcons. Mike Evans vs the Vikings. Devonte Adams vs the Bengals. Amari Cooper vs the Redskins. J.J. Nelson vs the Cowboys.
TEs – Julius Thomas vs the Jets. Coby Fleener vs the Panthers. O.J. Howard vs the Vikings. Rob Gronkowski vs the Texans. Delanie Walker vs the Seahawks. Martellus Bennett vs the Bengals. Travis Kelce vs the Chargers.
Ks – Justin Tucker vs the Jaguars. Brandon McManus vs the Bills. Will Lutz vs the Panthers. Matt Bryant vs the Lions. Stephen Gostkowski vs the Texans. Mason Crosby vs the Bengals. Dan Bailey vs the Cardinals.
DEFs – LAR vs the 49ers. Philadelphia vs the Giants. Pittsburgh vs the Bears. New England vs the Texans. Green Bay vs the Bengals.
Here are my NFL Week 2 Picks
(7-8 last week, 7-8 for the season)
Bye teams: none
Hou @ Cin – The Texans have a history of beating the Bengals in the playoffs, but predicting how they might do in Cincinnati, Week 2, when both teams are coming off a bad home loss is not quite as easy. For Houston, their season could not have started off worse. They draft Watson, proclaim all along that Savage will be the starter anyway, and then as soon as he struggles THE VERY FIRST HALF OF THE VERY FIRST GAME he’s benched and in comes the rookie. How you can be that stupid and run a professional football team is beyond me. Pick Savage over Watson, I don’t care, but stick by your choice for a little while at least, you colossal morons. Jesus. And things aren’t much better over in the Queen’s City. Bad Andy showed up for the opener, he threw 4 INTs, 0 TDs, and the Bengals scored nary a point. They looked pathetic, and the worse thing is, they never do anything about it. They have the opposite problem, they never change anything, resulting in a .500 season every goddam year. How I wish I could take over a franchise; people say “I couldn’t do any worse”, and in the case of these teams, that’s absolutely right.
Cle @ Bal – At least the Browns simply started their rookie QB, even though they know they aren’t going to the postseason any time soon. At least he looked OK, the team tried its best, they didn’t give up against a very good Steelers team. At least Cleveland is trying, which earns them some respect, even thought they are still the joke of the league. Living in Ohio, I hear a lot about the Browns and the Bengals (and the Buckeyes, who also lost last weekend, and the Reds, who are terrible, thank god the Indians give some Ohioans hope), and I root for them so that my friends will be happy. But Cinci is stuck, Cleveland can’t get out of its own way, and they should probably just start a new team in Columbus and put everyone out their misery. The Ravens were the ones who put the hurt on the Bungles last week, and should do the same to the Brownies in Week 2. If they can get Allen and West running, they should be able to control the game from the first snap. Baltimore isn’t mighty exactly, but I wouldn’t want to let them get off to a hot start; they have the experience to get right to the playoffs.
Chi @ TB – The fact that Chicago held their own last week in a home loss vs Atlanta is a reason to give them praise, if not exactly stand up and cheer. After all, they lost, but they did give the Falcons a run for their money, and the Falcons are one of the better offenses in the league. The Bears need to score points, since their defense isn’t great, and a rash of injuries isn’t going to help them toward that goal. They have good running backs, that much can be said for them, but that’s not quite enough, not when other teams are moving toward a balance of strength on both sides of the ball. Enter, Tampa Bay, a young team that’s certainly moving in the right direction and that should be a contender this year. Last week’s matchup vs the Dolphins was postponed due to the hurricane, so this team is more than ready to go, and should come out on fire, ready to play. Famous Jameis might be a bit of a dull crayon, but he can still sling it, and he has even more weapons around him this season than he did last. I fully expect them to light up the score board to greet their fans in this emotional home opener.
Min @ Pit – This should be a bruiser of a game, a bludgeoning contest where the winner limps off the field and might need two weeks to recover. The Vikings surprised me with how well they handled Brees and the Saints, taking them down with relative east. We knew their defense would be excellent, but their offense showed up as well, which was nice for fans to see. Now, I predict that Bradford falls down to Earth in a big way sooner rather than later; he’s just not as good as he is capable of showing in flashes, if that makes any sense. He’ll eventually show us why he isn’t a star, and that may happen as soon as this week. The Steelers didn’t look perfect in their opening road game, they allowed the Browns to hang around much too much, but they were still the best team, and should still be considered favorites to win their division and to fight for the AFC title. I fully expect Bell to break out here at home; he had a quiet game in Cleveland, but there’s no way that poor performance is repeated. On the flip side, Brown might be much quieter, but either way, Pittsburgh should come out on top in what should be a great game.
NE @ NO – Wow, here’s a marquee matchup we don’t see very often. Brady vs Brees, Belechick vs Payton, offense vs offense, hold on to your butts. The Pats will be looking to avenge their terrible start to the season, where Brady didn’t throw a touchdown and the defense allowed Hunt to run wild. Can you imagine what New England is going to do coming off extra time to prepare, feeding off their anger, and with McDaniels to draw up a million ways to score? I’d be absolutely shocked if they didn’t storm out of the gates in this game, take an early lead, and run up the score to prove a point. If they don’t win easily, or at all, I think we can start talking about the light at the end of Brady’s tunnel. Now, the Saints will have something to say about it, and they have their own tough loss to avenge, but New Orleans always starts off 0-2 or 0-3, it’s weird. They start slow, pick it up later, and Brees throws for 4000 yards and 30 TDs, it’s just the way it works. Again, if New Orleans doesn’t turn it around, we can start mentioning Brees’ age and the fact that nobody plays forever, but until then, let’s just enjoy the show.
Phi @ KC – Both of these teams handled their Week 1 opponents easily, and on the road too, which has to feel excellent and could propel both of them toward division titles. Well, in other divisions; too bad the AFC West and the NFC East are so incredibly competitive, but this is at least a nice way to start. Someone will go 2-0 here, and will really be off & running. The Eagles behind Carson Wentz took care of the Redskins on the road, and made it look pretty easy in the process. Wentz could be the real deal, but I think the postseason might still be a season or two away. For the Chiefs, the time is now, as Alex Smith isn’t getting any younger. They have Mahomes waiting in the wings, but Smith helped put a hurting to the Patriots last week, something you don’t see happen very often. Hunt ran all over, Hill was a lighting bolt, and Travis Kelce wasn’t even involved; I wouldn’t want to play this team right now. Add in the fact that Andy Reid is facing his former team AND that Kansas City gets extra time to prepare; no knock on Philly, but this game is very easy to pick.
Ten @ Jax – I’m big on the Titans this year, which isn’t an unpopular opinion, and one early-season loss isn’t going to get me to jump off the bandwagon. I just think this team has a ton of talent and has a chance to be, not just good, but very good. Mariota, Murray, Henry, Decker, Walker, Matthews, Davis; I know they were stymied at home by a defense that isn’t great, which isn’t a wonderful sign, but I think they can still come together for a strong season. In fact, I think they’ll prove that in Week 2 with a big road win over the team that is shockingly winning the AFC South right now, and that’s the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags man-handled the Texans last week, something nobody thought they could do, not against that defense. We didn’t think Houston would light up the scoreboard, but Jacksonville did what they wanted when they wanted to do it, and that was impressive. They did lose a key WR for the season, and I don’t think they’re a week-in-week-out team, not at all, so I can’t predict them to win much more this year. I gotta go with Tennessee, I think they right the ship, which could be fun to watch.
Ari @ Ind – I watched the Cardinals/Lions game last week, and Arizona had the upper hand for most of it. After David Johnson was injured and Matthew Stafford got the wind up his tail, things went south for the Red Birds, but they showed enough in 3/4 of a game to make me think that they aren’t quite done yet. Now, the loss of their superstar running back is going to hurt, that’s for sure, but they have plenty of talent all over the field, they just need to practice using it. And hey, what better way than to get a cupcake game so you can play around with your offensive pieces until you get things right and before you have to face a real team. Seriously, it is pathetic how completely the Colts crumble when you take away their quarterback. Manning goes down, worst team in the league. Luck gets hurt, season over. It just shows that the owner, GM, and coach have no idea what’s going on, that they’ve been surviving on their stud under center with no clue what to do if he can’t win games all on his own. This team might be worse than the Browns and the Jets without Luck; we’ll see definitively this week.
Buf @ Car – Last week I chose Buffalo as my Survival Pick, and they did not disappoint. After all, they were playing at home vs the Jets, I would have been shocked had they dropped that game. They actually find themselves all alone in first place, oddly enough, and will look to stay there if they can keep playing as well as they did in Week 1. You have to imagine that the Patriots will rebound sooner rather than later, that the Bills will fade into the backdrop, so they need to win as many early games as they can, if they’re going to have any chance at a Wild Card slot. Here to stop them in Week 2 is Carolina, a team I picked against last week, but one that proved me wrong. I thought San Fran might come out hot, that Cam might struggle early, that the Panthers might lose a stunner on the road. Well, that didn’t happen, but I still my doubts about Cam, I just need to believe in the team around him a little more, because they do deserve it. Playing in front of their home crowd this week, I think the Panthers take care of business, especially against a Bills team that no one’s really scared of.
NYJ @ Oak – The season just started and I’m not sure what there is left to say about the Jets. It’s sad that we can predict just how bad they will be by looking at their roster, that there isn’t any mystery at all in their season. They are so bad that we know they will lose many more games than they win; in a league of relative parity, that shouldn’t be possible to say. Yet here we are, with the Jets this bad this early, and I’d eat my hat were they to win 6 or more games this year. They just lack the talent level of other squads, even though they have the same money and they same opportunities as every one else. It simply must be a bad time to be a NYJ fan. The Raiders, on the other hand, their stock is pointing straight up, and we can predict that they’ll be in the hunt for the AFC West, if not the AFC itself. Carr and his receiving corp, the addition of Marshawn Lynch; this team’s offense is scary, and if their defense can even attempt to match it, this will be a hard team to beat. Last week they took care of the Titans on the road, this week they’ll take care of the Jets at home.
Mia @ LAC – After having their game postponed due to the hurricane, the Dolphins are ready to open the season. Jay Cutler is under center, and it’s anyone’s best guess how he’ll do, which Cutler we’ll get, how this team will respond to a different quarterback than Tannehill, a guy who has been steadily improving and moving his team in the right direction. It’s too bad he keeps getting injured, because he had become a solid leader, he just can’t stay healthy. So in steps Cutler to run Gase’s offense; get ready for a wild ride. The guy has a cannon arm, there’s no denying that, but I question his desire to play. He also gets sacked all the time and throws too many INTs, problems that will sink a team right to the bottom of their division. The Chargers may find themselves in the same spot, respectively, and after last Monday Night’s game, it feels like they’ve gone through a hell of a season already. This is what they do, lose close, heartbreaking games, and this season will be no different. Cutler & Rivers used to hate each other when they were rivals; I hope we get to see them scream across the field one more time.
SF @ Sea – I really thought that the Niners might step up in a big way last week and announce that they weren’t the pushovers that the rest of the league thinks they are. Instead, they got completely pushed over by the Panthers, and didn’t scare anyone into thinking that times have changed. I believe that Shanahan & Lynch can join together to create something solid, but perhaps it will take a couple of years to piece together. And it’s a long season, they could still turn it around, but an opening loss at home doesn’t help, and neither does having to travel to Seattle to face a pissed off Seahawks team. They lost last week in Green Bay, and will be looking to turn things around as quickly as possible. The Seahawks get RB Thomas Rawls back this week, which is a big boost, since Eddy Lacy looked tired and slow, although the offensive line didn’t look much better. This is a team whose defense is so good, the offense doesn’t need to be anything special, simply serviceable will do. I feel comfortable predicting that they will take care of business this week at home in front of the 12th Man facing a team that isn’t up to their level.
Was @ LAR – The Redskins have a lot to prove, and they’re running out of time to do it. Each year, they franchise Cousins, holding on to him a little longer, delayed an ultimate decision. Each year, they are mediocre, scrap their way through the NFC East, and never reach any real level of success. It’s time to actually do something, risk something, anything at all to make your team relevant again. I’ll tell you what I would do if I were them; restart. Change the name to avoid the controversy (and because it’s the right thing to do), become the D.C. Americans (or something nauseatingly patriotic), get new uniforms, draft a new QB, and start fresh. You’d have fans all over the country buying jerseys, you’d be the story of multiple years, and god, maybe something interesting would happen. The Rams have done that to a certain extent, moving cities, changing helmets, drafting a QB & an RB, trying to get over the hump by going around it. I respect that, at least they’re trying, and so far so good, as they drubbed the Colts at home last week. I think they can do it again right here and will get off to a great start.
Dal @ Den – I predicted that the Cowboys would take a step back, that their young players would have sophomore slumps, that the Giants would win that division. Well, I’m wrong so far, which isn’t shocking, as the ‘Boys beat up on the GMen with ease last Sunday Night. Now, I’m not quite ready to abandon my predictions just yet, let’s see how they do this week in Denver vs my Broncos and the Orange Crush. Denver had that game in the bag last week in the 4th quarter, they dominated for the majority of the game. I blame the collapse on that INT that was not Siemian’s fault; his receiver was literally tackled before the ball got there, leading to a pop up off some knees and Charger’s ball. That was a) illegal and 2) fluky, and then they panicked, got conservative, escaped with the win just barely. If that play hadn’t happened, we’d be talking about the Broncos as putting on an impressive show on Monday Night football. As it is, no one thinks that Denver is any good, and that might be just what they need to hear to light the fire and to take down the Cowboys. At Mile High, off a win, feeling good, fixing mistakes; #BroncosCountry.
GB @ Atl – Sunday Night Football, and probably the Game of the Week. These are two elite teams, great offenses, and perhaps whichever defense shows up wins the game. And I have to say, after last week, the Packers look to have the better D. They shut down the Seahawks until their offense could get rolling, and if they can do that every week, they’ll be hard to beat. The big name QBs didn’t do much last week: Brady, Rodgers, Brees, Ryan, but look for that to change in Week 2. I think Rodgers will look great, he’ll show off some of his weapons, and Green Bay won’t have much trouble with Atlanta, though I don’t think it’ll turn into a blowout. The Falcons are too good for that, I just think they’ll be a little outmatched in this one, and that their season isn’t going to turn our exactly as they hope. They had a little trouble with the Bears last week, which was pretty eye-opening, and a loss here could signal to us that Atlanta won’t be headed back to the Super Bowl. Still, I look forward to a good game, a ton of talent on all sides, I just think that GB comes out on top and goes on to great things this year.
Det @ NYG – With Stafford as my fantasy quarterback, I had my eyes on the Lions game last week, and man did he look good. They did their work in the second half, but I don’t care when they do it, as long a Detroit puts up points this year, which I think they will definitely do. Stafford has the weapons around him to succeed, so if the defense can step up a little, this could be a solid Wild Card club that makes noise in the playoffs. They should be able to move the ball against the Giants, and I’m hoping Stafford will have another great game. Now, New York is supposed to have a killer D and an elite offense, but they didn’t show it last week. Without Odell, they were stuck dinking & dunking; Eli had a very high completion percentage but they only score 3 points total. They’ll have to do much, much better if they want to compete, and I do think they’re capable of turning it around. Eli has his ups & down, so does the defense, this team isn’t dominant, but I have to imagine that they’ll improve quickly. So look for an entertaining Monday Night matchup, but look for the Lions to have the last word.
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QBs – Jameis Winston vs the Bears. Tom Brady vs the Saints. Marcus Mariota vs the Jaguars. Carson Palmer vs the Colts. David Carr vs the Jets. Russell Wilson vs the 49ers. Aaron Rodgers vs the Falcons.
RBs – Lamar Miller vs the Bengals. Le’Veon Bell vs the Vikings. Mike Gillislee vs the Saints. Mark Ingram vs the Patriots. Kerwynn Williams vs the Colts. Marshawn Lynch vs the Jets. Melvin Gordon vs the Dolphins. Thomas Rawls vs the 49ers. C.J. Anderson vs the Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott vs the Broncos. Ty Montgomery vs the Falcons. Paul Perkins vs the Lions.
WRs – DeAndre Hopkins vs the Bengals. Mike Evans vs the Bears. Brandin Cooks vs the Saints. John Brown vs the Colts. Kelvin Benjamin vs the Bills. Amari Cooper vs the Jets. Doug Baldwin vs the 49ers. Jordy Nelson vs the Falcons. Randall Cobb vs the Falcons. Golden Tate vs the Giants. Brandon Marshall vs the Lions.
TEs – O.J. Howard vs the Bears. Jesse James vs the Vikings. Rob Gronkowski vs the Saints. Coby Fleener vs the Patriots. Travis Kelce vs the Eagles. Julius Thomas vs the Chargers. Jimmy Graham vs the 49ers. Jason Witten vs the Broncos.
Ks – Justin Tucker vs the Browns. Stephen Gostkowski vs the Saints. Phil Dawson vs the Colts. Blair Walsh vs the 49ers. Brandon McManus vs the Cowboys. Mason Crosby vs the Falcons.
DEFs – Baltimore vs the Browns. Arizona vs the Colts. Oakland vs the Jets. Seattle vs the 49ers.
Here are my NFL Week 1 Picks
(169-86-1 in 2013, 170-85-1 in 2014, 163-93 in 2015, 156-98-2 in 2016)
Bye teams: Dolphins, Buccaneers
KC @ NE – And here we go, another NFL season is under way, with the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots kicking things off, as much as it annoys us all to have that happen yet again. Setting aside how improbable it was that the Pats somehow came back against the Falcons in the big game, it’s astounding that the same team can be the top team to beat year in and year out. We’re supposed to have parity, the salary cap provides for that, yet think about the past 15 years for the Patriots and for the Browns. Brady & Bellichick are just too good, and if it’s possible, I think NE will be even better this season than they were last season. They should win this home opener with ease, though I’m sure the Chiefs would like to object to that if they could. KC had a good year in 2016, looked solid, but failed to put up points in a weird playoff game against the Steelers. They’ll bounce back, they’ll be a strong team all season, but they aren’t on the Patriots’ level, and I don’t think this game will be that close. NE has the better defense and offense, will look to jump out front early, and I doubt will ever look back.
NYJ @ Buf – Passing up (or down) the Browns as the worst team in the league is quiet the feat, but the Jets were apparently up for the challenge. It wasn’t long ago that Fitzmagic was throwing dimes to Decker in the back of the end zone and New York was a formidable team, but those days now seem long behind them. Fitz, Decker, & Marshall are gone, Forte has been replaced, but the talent level has not been revamped. The Jets have been drafting well, but they don’t have an answer at quarterback and they simply don’t seem to know which end is which. They ought to have the first pick next year, and that path should start this week. The Bills are by no means a juggernaut, and they won’t even get close to the Patriots for the division, but they could conceivably be #2 with Cutler running things in Miami. Tyrod is talented enough, Shady has enough in the tank, but don’t imagine all this adds up to the playoffs. It should add up to a Week 1 win at home though, where I think this team comes out on fire and ready to knock off a beatable division foe.
Phi @ Was – I was prepared to say that his could be one of the closer contests of the week, since the first two we’ve talked about shouldn’t be quite as even, but then I looked ahead and I realized that we’re going to see some pretty competitive football in Week 1. This game should be among then, but it won’t be alone, which is music to my ears as a fan of the NFL in general and not just of one team (not saying I don’t bleed Bronco blue, of course). And this is an important game, a tough divisional matchup between two teams that are going to need every win they can get if they’re to have a chance at the postseason. The Eagles need to take a step in the right direction behind Carson Wentz, and getting Alshon Jeffrey for him to throw the ball to was the perfect way to do that. Philly should be solid but not excellent, and the same can probably be predicted for Washington’s year. They and Kirk Cousins just don’t impress me, haven’t shown us that they can be more than mediocre, and until they do I can’t get excited about this team’s prospects. I do think they can win here at home though, in what should be a good game.
Oak @ Ten – Another even matchup between two teams that are on the cusp of great things. Carr and the Raiders have an awesome offensive line, an excellent passing game, added Marshawn Lynch, and should be pretty unstoppable on that side of the ball. If their defense can be half as steady and if Carr can stay healthy, Oakland could go deep in the playoffs. But almost exactly that same thing can be said about the Titans. Mariota is improving, they add Decker, Walker is a stud tight end, and they have a two-headed running attack that should drive opponents’ defenses crazy. I think Tennessee wins the AFC South, especially with Luck banged up and the Colts not sure when he’ll be back, and Oakland has a great chance of the winning the AFC West, although it’s a much tougher division. Who wins this game will depend on which defense actually steps up, creates a key turnover, hands the ball to their offense, thus winning the game. I give the edge to the Titans, being at home and having the better defense. This is going to be an ultra-entertaining game to watch.
Jax @ Hou – Speaking of solid games between solid teams, this isn’t one of those. The Jags are in a rebuilding phase, I guess you could say, and perhaps the same is true for the Texans. Jacksonville can’t seem to get out of their own way, stumbling through draft choices and starting players like perhaps someone doesn’t know what they are doing. This defense should be better, this offense should be talented, and yet it seems like everything this team touches turns to crap. Will the same happen to Fournette? It’s hard to say. He’s so talented, he could step right up and help the team, but it’s hard for me to imagine something going right for them. The Texans are the far superior club, though they have their own problems, mainly quarterback. They spend a ton of money on Brock, let him go, draft Watson, but decide not to play him right away. I think we’ll see him eventually, but not yet, and meanwhile the defense better keep them competitive in games. But I think they can, Houston’s D is that good, and they might just be able to keep this team relevant until a savior comes.
Ari @ Det – I’m looking forward to a shootout from this game, and I don’t think I’ll be disappointed. Well, perhaps not exactly a shootout, since Palmer’s arm isn’t what it used to be. More like, on Arizona’s end, a game stuffed full of David Johnson in every way imaginable, the superstar back touching the ball more than all the refs combined. Johnson will carry this team the entire season, they will be as good as he allows them to be, and the offense will run completely through him. I’m not completely casting out Palmer or the defense, but I think we know where their focus lies. If teams can somehow take Johnson out of the equation for a couple quarters, they stand a chance of beating the Cards, especially if they have weapons of their own. For the Lions, that weapon is Matthew Stafford. The guy just got paid, he set a record, and now fans will look for him to show that he’s worth the money. I think he is, I think this offense can do great things, and I think they can get off on the right foot with a home win against a beatable Arizona team. But, again, we should see a close contest, just another stellar matchup in Week 1.
Atl @ Chi – Uh oh, a game that shouldn’t even be close, which is a rarity this week. The Falcons will most certainly have the Super Bowl hangover this year; I don’t think it’s a myth, I think it’s a cold hard fact. The teams that lose the big game have down years the following season, that’s just how it goes, and I think Atlanta, which isn’t a juggernaut team like New England or Green Bay, will be even more susceptible to a slip of the grip. There’s no questioning their offense, it’s one of the best in the league, with Matty Ice, Julio, Freeman, and Coleman. But I just have a bad feeling that they’re in for a let down of sorts this year, and I don’t think they make it back to the Championship. I do, however, think they are more than capable of handling the bumbling Bears, even away from dome sweet home. Glennon takes the reins of a Chicago team that has more problems than it has answers. I don’t expect those problems to be solved, I don’t expect Chicago to compete, and I think we’ll see an all-new staff next season. Hotlanta should come into town and take care of business to open their 2017 run.
Bal @ Cin – A great rivalry and what should be another great game. These two teams are evenly matched, always fight each other for a playoff spot, and should both be laying it all on the field Week 1, because they know how tough it’ll be to beat Pittsburgh for the division. If they have their sights set on a Wild Card spot, even that will be hard to come by, with Tennessee, Kansas City, Oakland, Denver, Indy, & Houston fighting for the same thing. So, which team has the advantage, and who will come out on top? Baltimore has plateaued over the past few seasons, not improving, slowly declining perhaps, they’ve just lost whatever juice they had a few years back when they were a team to beat. Cinci has stayed consistent, they’re always in the middle, and their ownership doesn’t seem to care that a Super Bowl is never really a real option. I do think that the Bengals have a nice defense, that they got much faster on offense in the offseason, and that they have weapons to play with in this opening game. I don’t know, they could even get on top early and never look back, but we’ll see. And we’ll probably have a close game on our hands.
Pit @ Cle – The other two teams in the AFC North face off as well, but this matchup might not be as balanced. The Steelers and their killer Bs (Ben, Bell, Brown) give opponents fits with their ability to score at will. It’s not like Pittsburgh is an air-it-out team, they still play hard-nosed football and can pound the ball. It’s just that they seem to be able to turn it on when it matters most and win games by outscoring whatever the other team can manage. And Big Ben, he’s still a beast, although he’s getting a little older and has mentioned that his retirement might be looming. He’s not Manning or Brady, who rarely gets hit and relies on accurate decision-making, he’s a gunslinger who can escape any pocket by out-muscleing defense ends. Anyway, I like the Steelers in this game and this season. The Browns on the other hand, suck. They are a cursed franchise it seems, can’t do anything right, and shouldn’t win much this year. I know they’re at home, they have some rookies who they are excited about, but I don’t think it will matter much; they’ll be back at the top of the Draft next season, ready to mess up again.
Ind @ LAR – The biggest story line surrounding this game is that Andrew Luck will not play in it. He’s hurt, might not be back with the team for a few weeks, and that puts their whole season in jeopardy. When will he return, how long will it take him to shake off the rust, what spot will they be in at that point? I actually drafted Luck on my fantasy team, but only because I think he has upside when he does finally come back to play. Maybe the Colts win some games late in the season, maybe they stumble into the playoffs, but I kind of doubt it, and I don’t think they win many games period with Tolzein under center. The Rams aren’t much better off, they are completely unproven, and all they can do is hope that Goff & Gurley bounce back from a disappointing 2016. There’s potential there, these kids are talented, but that’s not even the question really; every player who gets drafted is super-talented. It’s about making the transition to becoming a professional player, to rising above the other stars to shine even brighter. I’m not sure LA is a team of players who can do that, but I think they can at least win this game.
Sea @ GB – I’m not sure how this isn’t a primetime game, with these two teams facing off, defense vs offense, both with their sights set on becoming the Champion of the league. Seattle has a defense that just keeps getting better, and now they’ve added DT Richardson from the Jets, so I don’t know who is going to be able to score on them. Well, maybe the Packers, but we’ll get to that. The Seahawks should have an excellent season, they should cruise to a division win, I’m just not sure they can survive this opening game in Lambeau. Really, the Packers and the Patriots might be the only teams that can actually beat Seattle, and they’d probably have to be at home to do it. The Pack can score so easily, and Rodgers will probably pass for 40+ TDs this year, since they’ve surrounded him with a ton of talent that should be too much for opposing defenses to handle. Nelson, Adams, Cobb, Bennett, Montgomery; it’s just a matter of choosing who to throw to. This game is one of those classic matchups, strength vs strength, so it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top, but I’m putting my money on the home offense.
Car @ SF – Here we go, my first upset pick of the week. I hate to pick on the Panthers, I have friends who are Carolina fans, I just think they might have some bad luck early on. First, Cam is supposed to be fine, but he has been injured, and there’s always a bit of rust to kick off. Next, McCaffrey is a stud, but rookies fumble, and I can picture a key drop of the ball that leads to a 49ers score. And lastly, I just don’t trust Ron Riviera to utilize this offense in the way it should be utilized. I think Carolina comes out a bit flat; if they were playing at home or if their opponent was a pushover, I’d go with them anyway. But I think San Fran might just be better than we expect this season. I like what John Lynch has done, I like Kyle Shanahan as the head coach, I think Hoyer can be a solid, stop-gap QB, and I can’t imagine that this team will tank this year. Not like they’re a shoe-in for the playoffs, I just wouldn’t dismiss them, especially in an emotional home opener like this. I think any mediocre team coming in to the bay would have their hands full this weekend, so I’ll go with the Niners, why not.
NYG @ Dal – Here we go, Sunday Night Football. Games between these two teams are always entertaining, usually high-scoring, and mostly come down to the wire. In Dallas, the big news is that Zeke will play, after failing to have his 6-game suspension overturned but being rewarded the opening game because the appeal wasn’t mediated quickly enough. So, he plays one game, he takes the NFL to court, who knows where we go from here, but we’ll take it one matchup at a time. Without him, the Cowboys will be alright, but they are definitely going to miss their star runner. I predict that Dak will take a small step back this year, and that Witten will finally show his age. I don’t think Dallas will suck, I just think they could regress a tad, and that they, Philly, & Washington will battle it out to see who can go a couple games over .500. Meanwhile, I think the Giants are in the best spot to win the division. Eli has the best trio of WRs in the league (Odell, Marshall, Shepard) and he’s supremely comfortable in his offense. And, he’s finally got a running back in Perkins who can balance him out. I believe in the GMen this year.
NO @ Min – It’s the Adrian Peterson Bowl, which really isn’t something we asked for. This game is being hyped as APs return to Minnesota, and I bet he wants a little pay back. That might mostly be media hype, but I do believe that sometimes players want to win more than other times, and I do think Peterson will play well vs his former team. I have Mark Ingram on my fantasy team, and where than leaves him I don’t know, but we all know this is Drew Brees’ team first & foremost, so look for the offense to run through Drew. Minnesota does have the defense to stop a team like New Orleans, and they are playing at home, which makes this game a tough one to pick. For me, it comes down to Sam Bradford, who was never going to be the savior that some people imagined he could be. He’s no good, this offense won’t be until he leaves, and that leaves only their defense to win games. Against a high-powered offensive attack like the Saints, I think the Vikings fail to hold them back enough and/or fail to put up enough points to compete. Monday Night in Minnesota; sounds like fun to me.
LAC @ Den – Last but not least, the late Monday game, Chargers vs Broncos. It still feels weird referring to them as the Los Angeles Chargers, and I wonder how that change will affect their season, if a new location and new fan base will make things feel different enough to have an impact. Also, I’m curious as to what kind of team LAC will be this year, how well Rivers will perform as he begins to age. I don’t think the Broncos will have any trouble stopping the run or holding the wideouts in check, but I am worried about the Chargers pair of tight ends and how much they might destroy Denver over the middle. That’s always been a weak spot; you’d think they’d fix that. If LAC does score some points on this great defense, can the Broncos answer back, that’s the big question. Siemian gets the nod, Anderson is healthy, this offense shouldn’t be terrible, all they really have to do is let McManus score FGs, get one TD themselves, and maybe have the defense get one as well. If they can hold on to the ball, this Broncos team can go much farther than people expect, and I predict a big opening night win for my boys.
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QBs – Kirk Cousins vs the Eagles. Marcus Mariota vs the Raiders. Matthew Stafford vs the Cardinals. Matt Ryan vs the Bears. Jared Goff vs the Colts. Eli Manning vs the Cowboys.
RBs – Mike Gillislee vs the Chiefs. LeSean McCoy vs the Jets. Lamar Miller vs the Jaguars. David Johnson vs the Lions. Devontae Freeman vs the Bears. Todd Gurley vs the Colts. Zeke Elliott vs the Giants. Dalvin Cook vs the Saints. CJ Anderson vs the Chargers.
WRs – Alshon Jeffrey vs the Redskins. Eric Decker vs the Raiders. Marvin Jones vs the Cardinals. Julio Jones vs the Bears. Antonio Brown vs the Browns. Brandon Marshall vs the Cowboys.
TEs – Rob Gronkowski vs the Chiefs. Delanie Walker vs the Raiders. Tyler Eiffert vs the Ravens. Martellus Bennett vs the Seahawks. Greg Olsen vs the 49ers. Coby Fleener vs the Vikings. Hunter Henry vs the Broncos.
Ks – Ryan Succop vs the Raiders. Phil Dawson vs the Lions. Matt Bryant vs the Bears. Justin Tucker vs the Bengals. Mason Crosby vs the Seahawks. Brandon McManus vs the Chargers.
DEFs – Houston vs the Jaguars. Los Angeles Rams vs the Colts.
Drafting A Fantasy Football Team This Year
In some office spaces talk of the upcoming fantasy football draft takes up more conversation than anything related to work. People get very excited this time of year about putting together their team and competing with their friends, co-workers, family, or even strangers from around the world. In order to be as successful as possible, it is a good idea to take a look at some of the particular elements of this year’s draft.
A Look At Some Of The Most Valuable Players
The first round of a fantasy football draft can often turn out to be the most important round of all. Those who get the opportunity to snap up some of the best players in the league have a good chance to come out ahead. This is why we want to look at players that are projected to be among the most valuable in all of the drafts for this year.
· Jay Ajayi
· Aaron Rodgers
· Rob Gronkowski
Each of these players has potential to make a big impact on the final scores week to week for those who are in fantasy football leagues. They all have different attributes that could make them a valuable addition to any team.
A running back from the Miami Dolphins might not normally make a lot of headlines coming into the season, but Jay Ajayi is no normal Dolphins running back. He has the ability to turn out very strong numbers on the ground. Some are concerned because the Dolphins are moving to Quarterback Jay Cutler who is likely to throw the ball more, but others suggest that this only plays to Jay Ajayi’s qualities.
It is practically impossible to not know at least a little about this guy, even if you are not a sports fan. He is all over the television promoting this product or that. He generates huge numbers on the field on a regular basis, and he is an all-around fan favorite.
When it comes to Tight Ends, not a lot of teams use theirs very effectively. That is not the case with the Patriots though. Tom Brady is always a threat through the air, and Rob Gronkowski is always there to catch a least a few passes in a game. Those passes are often touchdown catches as well.
Playing on Draft
Draft is a website that players like to do their fantasy football playing on. This is because it enables them to play in small leagues with a small amount of money on the line. It is easy enough to get involved with these leagues and start winning a little money here and there.
Use this app to compete against friends, family, or anyone that you want to prove your superior fantasy football skills to. It is more exciting to have a little money on the line as well as the bragging rights.
It is possible to do daily drafts on this website, so you do not have to wait around for an entire season to go by before you get rewarded for your ability to pick a very strong team. You can get in on the action and start reaping the benefits almost immediately.
With the preseason beginning and many fantasy drafts planned for the next few weekends, it’s time to prep for your 2017 Fantasy Football team. Here is my advice/predictions as it relates to tight ends, kickers, and defenses:
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for the best fantasy football rankings each week.
TEs – I’m going all in on Gronk, but if you miss him, that second tier I mentioned is absolutely fine. Actually, the third tier isn’t that much worse than the second, so brag one of these guys if you miss out early: Walker, Rudolph, Bennett, Henry, Fleener.
Ks – Justin Tucker is my guy, I’ve had him 4 or 5 years in a row, and he absolutely never lets me down. Take him before someone else does; you won’t regret it. But if you miss out on him and those tops scoring guys we talked about earlier, get a decent second level guy: Bailey, Dawson, Janikowski.
DEFs – Denver is my team and my pick for the best defense, but honestly there are 7 teams that are so similar it makes no difference. If you wait too long, go with the next batch of defenses that probably won’t be too much of a drop off anyway: Philadelphia, Tennessee, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore.
With the preseason beginning and many fantasy drafts planned for the next few weekends, it’s time to prep for your 2017 Fantasy Football team. Here is my advice/predictions as it relates to running backs and wide receivers:
Fantasy Players To Watch – presented by The Fantasy Footballers
for the best fantasy football rankings each week.
RBs – Keep an eye out for the guys who don’t just run, but catch as well. This dual threat gives you double the chance of getting points from your starting lineup, so make sure to draft fast, young backs who can handle the ball on multiple downs. Also, get guys on high scoring teams. That seems like a no brainer, but is it? Gillislee for the Pats, Ingram for the Saints, Coleman for the Falcons; even if these guys have competition for the ball, their teams score enough that they’ll also see their fair share.
WRs – Try to make tiers when ranking your players, but especially WRs. There might be a group of ten guys who are all relatively the same, who will probably get you the same amount of points total on the season. That group exists at the top, but it also exists in the middle as well, so understand when you need to grab a guy and when you can wait, grab a guy ten spots down the list, but basically get the exact same value. The WR group this year is especially comparable, with large blocks of similarly-ranked players, so use that to your advantage.