2016 Week 4 NFL Predictions

This NFL season has so many injuries to big name players, that picking these games is a massive challenge.  It hasn’t exactly been the start to the season that I’ve hoped for, when it comes to picks, but nevertheless, here we go again!

Thursday, September 29th:

Miami Dolphins(1-2) at Cincinnati Bengals(1-2)

Sunday, October 2nd:

Indianapolis Colts(1-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars(0-3)

Tennessee Titans(1-2) at Houston Texans(2-1)

Cleveland Browns(0-3) at Washington Redskins(1-2)

Seattle Seahawks(2-1) at New York Jets(1-2)

Buffalo Bills(1-2) at New England Patriots(3-0)

Carolina Panthers(1-2) at Atlanta Falcons(2-1)

Oakland Raiders(2-1) at Baltimore Ravens(3-0)

Detroit Lions(1-2) at Chicago Bears(0-3)

Denver Broncos(3-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers(1-2)

Los Angeles Rams(2-1) at Arizona Cardinals(1-2)

New Orleans Saints(0-3) at San Diego Chargers(1-2)

Dallas Cowboys(2-1) at San Francisco 49ers(1-2)

Kansas City Chiefs(2-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers(2-1)

Monday, October 3rd:

New York Giants(2-1) at Minnesota Vikings(3-0)

To Recap, my winners:

  • Cincinnati
  • Indianapolis
  • Houston
  • Washington
  • Seattle
  • New England
  • Carolina
  • Oakland
  • Detroit
  • Denver
  • Arizona
  • New Orleans
  • Dallas
  • Pittsburgh
  • Minnesota

My Record: 29-19


Luck Saves Colts……Again

Colts Defeat Chargers 26-22

The Indianapolis Colts beat the San Diego Chargers last night, essentially saving their season.  If the Colts had fallen to 0-3 on the season, it would have virtually eliminated any chance at the playoffs for the team.  Only 2 teams have started 0-3 and made the playoffs in the NFL’s new Playoff system.  It was a game that saw a lot of back and forth, and it was the first time that the Colts have defeated the Chargers at home, since 2004.

The Colts defense played well, considering.  The Chargers benefitted from an interception, and a returned fumble for a touchdown.  Andrew Luck was guilty of both turnovers, however, the interception happened on a bad route ran by an inexperienced WR, and the fumble came on a play where Luck was mauled by 5 Chargers defenders.  The biggest takeaway from the first half of the game, was that the Colts weren’t trailing by multiple TDs.  Before Sunday, the Chargers were outscoring their opponents in the first half, 42-3.

The most annoying part, for Colts fans, was Chuck Pagano’s play calling.  Pagano continues to call games, almost cowardly.  There is being a conservative play-caller, and then there is being scared to take chances.  With 55 seconds left in the first half, one of the best QBs in the NFL, and one of the most reliable kickers in the history of the NFL, Pagano decided to run the ball twice.  RUN. THE. BALL. TWICE.  Then, in the second half, after 3 straight penalties, the Colts found themselves at 2nd and 40.  How did Pagano respond?  Calling a run play right up the middle, twice again.

Chuck Pagano’s game-planning, and “conservative” play calling, have gotten to a ridiculous boiling point.  Most coaches become revitalized after receiving a contract extension, especially when most of the fan base was ready for you to leave.  Pagano doesn’t seem to be revitalized.  He revamped almost all of his staff, the offensive line is much better than many of us could have imagined, the defense is slightly better than average, and he has a mostly healthy Andrew Luck, and yet somehow, he is worse than ever.

To be fair, I’ve never been a fan of Chuck Pagano.  I personally feel that he has gotten a pass for a couple years now, due to his first season where he successfully battled leukemia.  The whole city got behind him, and a lot of the fans felt a personal connection to him because of it.  Sports aren’t personal, it’s business, and on a business level, he is a bad head coach.  He is a coordinator.  No shame in it.  He came to Indianapolis as a “defensive-minded” coach, and yet the Colts defense is not better.  His game-planning is so bad, that the Colts have become known for playing from behind.  He’s just not good.

I really hate blaming coaching for things, because they ultimately aren’t the ones that are playing the game, but Pagano’s flaws have come to the forefront.  You can’t continue to fall behind in every game of the season, and expect Andrew Luck to be a superhero, and save the game.

The Colts pulled it off on Sunday, against a team that has always seemed to have their number.  Chuck owes a big thank you to Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton.  They saved the game, and the season, at least for 1 week.

Brady: Great QB or Great System?

Before the 2016 season started, Patriot fans were just hoping to make it through the first 4 weeks of the season with a .500 record.  Their Super Bowl MVP QB, Tom Brady, had been suspended for his involvement for Deflategate, and Jimmy Garoppolo was going to be leading this team.  Kicking off the season against the Arizona Cardinals, a team that was in the NFC Championship game a year ago, the Patriots weren’t too optimistic.  They also had to take on the Houston Texans, a team with a new QB, great defense, and high hopes.  Their other two games during the 4 game stretch were the ones that the Patriot fans were really counting on.  With matchups at home against the Dolphins and the Bills, 2-2 seemed like the most likely start that this team could hope for.

No one told that to Bill Belichick.

After a brutal beatdown of the Houston Texans last night, the Patriots are now 3-0 on the year.  They started a rookie QB, after Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a shoulder injury against the Dolphins, and somehow, they looked better.  The defense played their best game all season, and while they didn’t ask Jacoby Brissett to pass very much (only went 11-19 for 103 yards passing), he didn’t turn the ball over, and he even scored a TD on the ground.  The Patriots looked like they were in mid-season form, despite Brissett’s first career start AND a short week.  How?  Belichick.

As Head Coach of the Patriots, Belichick has a record of 190-69(.734%).  While he has benefitted from having Tom Brady since 2000, his win percentage is virtually the exact same WITHOUT Brady.  Which brings me to the question, is Tom Brady as great as we all think he is, or has he benefitted from Bill Belichick’s system?

There is no doubt, Brady is a 2x MVP, 4x Super Bowl Champ, and has been to the Pro Bowl 11x’s.  Despite that, his stats have never really jumped off the page.  He’s only thrown for 5000 yards once, more than 40 TDs once, and has had double digit INTs in 9 of his 14 full seasons played.

Personal stats don’t say everything though.  Football is a team sport, and the Patriots always seem to have a great defense.  Tom Brady has always played on a complete team.  Even if he had a bad game, the defense could make up for it.

I’m not saying that Brady isn’t great.  I personally list him in the top 5 of QBs ever.  That being said, I think he is a perfect system QB.  As much as Belichick owes his career to Brady, I think Brady owes more to Belichick.

I don’t think there is a right answer to this question, and that’s why I love to discuss it.  Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments below, or comment on Facebook.

2016 Week 3 NFL Predictions

Following a week where A LOT of injuries have inflicted almost every team, the ability to make picks becomes even more difficult.  I didn’t do too badly last week.  Hopefully none of you are using my picks to try and gamble, or else, I’m sorry.

Here we go!

Thursday, September 22nd:

Houston Texans(2-0) at New England Patriots(2-0)

Sunday, September 25th:

Arizona Cardinals(1-1) at Buffalo Bills(0-2)

Oakland Raiders(1-1) at Tennessee Titans(1-1)

Washington Redskins(0-2) at New York Giants(2-0)

Cleveland Browns(0-2) at Miami Dolphins(0-2)

Baltimore Ravens(2-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars(0-2)

Detroit Lions(1-1) at Green Bay Packers(1-1)

Denver Broncos(2-0) at Cincinnati Bengals(1-1)

Minnesota Vikings(2-0) at Carolina Panthers(1-1)

Los Angeles Rams(1-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers(1-1)

San Francisco 49ers(1-1) at Seattle Seahawks(1-1)

New York Jets(1-1) at Kansas City Chiefs(1-1)

San Diego Chargers(1-1) at Indianapolis Colts(0-2)

Pittsburgh Steelers(2-0) at Philadelphia Eagles(2-0)

Chicago Bears(0-2) at Dallas Cowboys(1-1)

Monday, September 26th:

Atlanta Falcons(1-1) at New Orleans Saints(0-2)

To recap, My winners:

  • Houston
  • Arizona
  • Oakland
  • New York Giants
  • Miami
  • Jacksonville
  • Green Bay
  • Denver
  • Carolina
  • Los Angeles
  • Seattle
  • Kansas City
  • Indianapolis
  • Pittsburgh
  • Dallas
  • New Orleans

My Record: 20-12

2016 Week 2 NFL Predictions

Well here we go.  Week 2.  I will say, I didn’t do near as well as I hoped in Week 1, but Week 1 of any NFL season is always a guessing game.

There were a couple surprises, several last second wins, and the occasional blowout.  It was a fantastic Week 1 to the NFL season, and I can’t wait to get Week 2 going.

Thursday, September 15th:

New York Jets(0-1) at Buffalo Bills(0-1)

Sunday, September 18th:

San Francisco 49ers(1-0) at Carolina Panthers(0-1)

Dallas Cowboys(0-1) at Washington Redskins(0-1)

Cincinnati Bengals(1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers(1-0)

New Orleans Saints(0-1) at New York Giants(1-0)

Miami Dolphins(0-1) at New England Patriots(1-0)

Kansas City Chiefs(1-0) at Houston Texans(1-0)

Tennessee Titans(0-1) at Detroit Lions(1-0)

Baltimore Ravens(1-0) at Cleveland Browns(0-1)

Seattle Seahawks(1-0) at Los Angeles Rams(0-1)

Tampa Bay Bucaneers(1-0) at Arizona Cardinals(0-1)

Jacksonville Jaguars(0-1) at San Diego Chargers(0-1)

Atlanta Falcons(0-1) at Oakland Raiders(1-0)

Indianapolis Colts(0-1) at Denver Broncos(1-0)

Green Bay Packers(1-0) at Minnesota Vikings(1-0)

Monday, Septermber 19th:

Philadelphia Eagles(1-0) at Chicago Bears(0-1)

To Recap, My Winners:

  • New York Jets
  • Carolina
  • Dallas
  • Pittsburgh
  • New York Giants
  • New England
  • Houston
  • Detroit
  • Baltimore
  • Seattle
  • Arizona
  • Jacksonville
  • Oakland
  • Denver
  • Green Bay
  • Philadelphia

My Record: 9-7

NFL Kickoff Thursday

Well, I was wrong.

I thought Denver would get blasted at home, not due to their defense, but lack of offense.  No one could have predicted how well Trevor Siemian would play in that game.  Did he make mistakes?  Absolutely.  However, it was his first game ever.  He was expected to make mistakes.

The whole first half, Denver couldn’t stop shooting themselves in the foot.  3 times inside the Carolina 30-yard line, 3 turnovers.  Denver’s defense should be thanked for keeping them in the game, because the offense was trying to lose in the 1st half.

Then came the second half, where it appeared that the Denver D came out with a different speed.  Carolina had been run down, and for the bulk of the second half, Denver looked to be comparable to their Super Bowl winning team from February.  Then, came the final 2 minutes of the game, where Denver’s defense decided that it didn’t want to win the game.  In the final two minutes, Denver could have sealed the win at least twice, and committed stupid penalties to give life to Carolina.  They got lucky though, when Graham Gano pulled the game winning FG to the left.  Denver wins 21-20.

Now, let’s talk about the amazing lack of late hit calls, and the total disregard for concussion protocol shown by the Carolina Panthers.

While I haven’t been the biggest fan of the over-protection of quarterbacks recently, rules are rules.  The hardest part about enforcing late hits on QBs, is that they are completely subjective.  The first few hits on Cam Newton, I didn’t think were penalties, but as the game went on, and as Cam kept getting up slower and slower, the need for the officials to step in hit a head.  Sadly, the one time that they finally called a late hit on Newton, he also got called for Intentional Grounding, nullifying the penalty.

The other aspect of late hits, and more specifically helmet-to-helmet hits, is the concussion protocol.  Never once, even after Newton was clearly dazed, did Carolina’s team doctors check him.  Apparently, winning the game was more important to Carolina, than the well being of their star.  I believe that the NFL needs to do something to Carolina to make sure that they understand the protocol.

Last night, NBC made it a point to highlight #54 Brandon Marshall of the Broncos, for kneeling during the National Anthem.  I’m not going to delve into this topic, only to say that while it’s anyone’s right to do whatever they want, it’s also my right to believe that you are a disrespectful prick.

The final thing that I’ll say is about the rumor that the entire Seattle Seahawks team is planning to kneel or sit during the National Anthem on Sunday.  While I generally want to avoid this topic altogether, I can’t on this one.  Sunday is the first Sunday of the NFL regular season, but more importantly, it is the anniversary of 9/11.  If you want to protest by sitting or kneeling for the National Anthem, by all means, but not on 9/11.  The single biggest day in my lifetime, where all of America stood together in mourning, and the day that I decided that I wanted to serve my country.  I’m begging the Seahawks Organization.  Don’t do this on 9/11.  Do it next Sunday.

Also, I’ve seen recently on social media, people posting memes about how it’s hypocritical to expect athletes to stand for the anthem, while I sit on my couch.  Let’s just squash this right now.

36 U.S. Code § 301 states that during a rendition of the national anthem:

  1. when the flag is displayed
    • individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;
    • members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are PRESENT in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and
    • all other persons PRESENT should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over their heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart

Respect the flag.  That’s all I ask.

2016 Week 1 NFL Predictions

Each week, I will predict the winners of each game.  Keeping a running tally of how many I get correct.

Thursday, September 8th:

-Carolina Panthers(0-0) at Denver Broncos(0-0)

Analysis:  The Denver defense is one of the best in the NFL, but without knowing what they have at QB, I have to go with the Panthers.

Winner: Carolina

Sunday, September 11th:

-Tampa Bay Buccaneers(0-0) at Atlanta Falcons(0-0)

Analysis:  Tampa Bay, being led by 2nd year QB Jameis Winston, will be a team to watch this season.  That being said, I don’t think the Tampa offense has the fire power yet, to be able to outshoot Atlanta.

Winner: Atlanta

-Minnesota Vikings(0-0) at Tennessee Titans(0-0)

Analysis:  Before Teddy Bridgewater went down for the season, Minnesota was still the favorite to defend their NFC North crown.  With the Vikings listing Shaun Hill as their starter, Tennessee, and their new rushing attack, have a legitimate shot in this game.  That being said, I can’t go against AP.

Winner: Minnesota

-Cleveland Browns(0-0) at Philadelphia Eagles(0-0)

Analysis:  The Eagles traded away their starting QB to Minnesota for a 1st and 4th round pick.  Cleveland always look like they are prepared to climb out of the cellar, but always seem to fall back in.  Cleveland has a lot of high hopes, now that they have RGIII behind center.  However, the question is, how long can he remain healthy?

Winner: Philadelphia

-Cincinnati Bengals(0-0) at New York Jets(0-0)

Analysis:  The Bengals, behind the arm of Andy Dalton, should threaten for the AFC North title this season.  After just missing the postseason last season, the Jets are going to be trying to get a big win at home.

Winner: Cincinnati

-Oakland Raiders(0-0) at New Orleans Saints(0-0)

Analysis:  This game should be a great one.  The Raiders, led by Derek Carr, have been a lot of experts pick to not only make the Playoffs, but threaten for the AFC West.  The Saints, led by Drew Brees, should continue to be a high scoring team.  Playing in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, the Saints need to get wins like this.

Winner: New Orleans

-San Diego Chargers(0-0) at Kansas City Chiefs(0-0)

Analysis:  The Chargers are hoping to bounce back from a 4-12 season, but this isn’t the game that will get it started.  Chiefs win going away.

Winner: Kansas City

-Buffalo Bills(0-0) at Baltimore Ravens(0-0)

Analysis:  This should be a good game, potentially a defensive struggle.  Both teams are known for their defenses.  However, the Bills have some very solid offensive weapons, that can make the ultimate difference.

Winner: Buffalo

-Chicago Bears(0-0) at Houston Texans(0-0)

Analysis:  The Bears may be the happiest team to see the problems for Minnesota.  Houston brought in Brock Osweiler in the offseason, and are hoping to be able to defend their AFC South title.

Winner: Houston

-Green Bay Packers(0-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars(0-0)

Analysis:  The Jaguars are a legitimate threat for an AFC Wild Card spot this season.  Blake Bortles will have that offense humming, and the Jaguars defense is improved.  With Bridgewater’s injury in Minnesota, the Packers are now the favorite to win the NFC North.  Aaron Rodgers is expected to have an MVP-caliber year, Eddie Lacy has lost weight, and Jordy Nelson is returning from his ACL injury last season.

Winner: Green Bay

-Miami Dolphins(0-0) at Seattle Seahawks(0-0)

Analysis:  Miami is the weakest team in the AFC East, and sadly for Dolphins fans, I don’t see them making too much noise this season.  Seattle is looking to get back atop their perch in the NFC.  After their 2013 and 2014 campaigns, 2015 has to be seen as a letdown.  It will be interesting to see how Seattle reacts to playing without Marshawn Lynch being their work horse.

Winner: Seattle

-New York Giants(0-0) at Dallas Cowboys(0-0)

Analysis:  The Giants are starting the year with a new Head Coach.  The Cowboys are starting with a rookie at QB in Dak Prescott.  This game could be the game of the week, not for the great football, but for the unknowns.

Winner: Dallas

-Detroit Lions(0-0) at Indianapolis Colts(0-0)

Analysis:  With Minnesota having their QB go down, Detroit has a real chance at threatening for #2 in the NFC North.  With a very good defense, and Matthew Stafford at QB, Detroit has a lot of potential.  The Colts are still trying to recover from a year ago, where they saw Andrew Luck go down, and the Colts missed the Playoffs for the first time since Luck was drafted.  In time, the Colts will show who they truly are.

Winner: Indianapolis

-New England Patriots(0-0) at Arizona Cardinals(0-0)

Analysis:  With Tom Brady serving his 4-game suspension for Deflategate, the Patriots will have to try to handle the first 4 games as best as possible.  It’s still a Bill Belichick team though, so you know that they will be fine.  The Cardinals are one of the favorites to make the Super Bowl this season.  Carson Palmer is getting older, but he showed last season that he can still throw the ball well.  David Johnson is also expected to have a big year running the ball for Arizona.

Winner: Arizona

Monday, September 12th:

-Pittsburgh Steelers(0-0) at Washington Redskins(0-0)

Analysis:  The Steelers will be without Le’Veon Bell for the first 3 games of this season, serving a suspension for failing to show for a drug test.  That being said, Ben Roethlisberger is still leading this team, and the Steelers have the best WR in the NFL.  The Redskins will fight for the NFC East title this season, and will be looking to take advantage of home field in this game.

Winner: Pittsburgh

-Los Angeles Rams(0-0) at San Francisco 49ers(0-0)

Analysis:  The Rams are back in Los Angeles, and will immediately be looking to give the fan base a reason for optimism.  The 49ers should have an O.K. season.  Currently, the 49ers are going with Blaine Gabbert at QB, over Colin Kaepernick.  I don’t see that decision lasting too long.

Winner: San Francisco

To recap, my winners are:

  • Carolina
  • Atlanta
  • Minnesota
  • Philadelphia
  • Cincinnati
  • New Orleans
  • Kansas City
  • Buffalo
  • Houston
  • Green Bay
  • Seattle
  • Dallas
  • Indianapolis
  • Arizona
  • Pittsburgh
  • San Francisco