2019 NFL Season: Week 4 picks

NFL Week 4 Picks.png
Source: https://www.norebbo.com/?s=nfl

Current Standings

Adam: 32-15-1

Aman: 29-18-1

Dan: 35-12-1

Joel: 30-17-1

Rahim: 31-16-1

 

Eagles @ Packers (Thursday night)

The Eagles have too many injuries right now. We’ve seen how big of an impact those injuries have made over the last two weeks. Those injuries will likely continue to play a big role against the Packers. Even at full strength it would be tough to beat this Packers defense, which is currently one of the best in the league. Aaron Rodgers and a tough defense might be too much for the Eagles with all those injuries.

Predictions

Adam: Packers

Aman: Packers

Dan: Packers

Joel: Packers

Rahim: Packers

 

Redskins @ Giants

This game will solely be focused on rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. He led a comeback last week against the Buccaneers, totaling four touchdowns. He looked good last week, but can he do it again? The Daniel Jones hype train is moving full speed, and we’ll see if he can keep it going against the 0-3 Redskins.

Predictions

Adam: Giants

Aman: Giants

Dan: Giants

Joel: Redskins

Rahim: Giants

 

Chiefs @ Lions

The Lions have had a nice start to their season, but now it’s time to really put them to the test. Patrick Mahomes looks like he’s even better than he was a season ago, which is scary for not only the Lions, but the entire league. We’ll see how the Lions play against one of the best offensive teams in the league.

Predictions

Adam: Chiefs

Aman: Chiefs

Dan: Chiefs

Joel: Chiefs

Rahim: Chiefs

 

Titans @ Falcons

I feel like neither of these teams are playing to their potential right. For one team, that will continue in this game, but the other will get a confidence boost after this win. Which team can put it all together offensively to get their team a win?

Predictions

Adam: Falcons

Aman: Falcons

Dan: Falcons

Joel: Falcons

Rahim: Falcons

 

Browns @ Ravens

Despite being one of the most hyped up teams in the offseason, the Browns still have a lot of holes to fill on their team. They hung in there against the Rams last week, but they still couldn’t overcome their problems. Lamar Jackson is not a quarterback to have problems against, and neither is this Ravens defense.

Predictions

Adam: Ravens

Aman: Ravens

Dan: Ravens

Joel: Ravens

Rahim: Ravens

 

Raiders @ Colts

Despite not having Andrew Luck, the Colts are playing pretty well right now. They’re still a competitive team, which shows how well they’ve been built. The Raiders are still the Raiders, meaning they’re still bad. I expect a still competitive Colts team to get the win over a still bad Raiders team.

Predictions

Adam: Colts

Aman: Colts

Dan: Colts

Joel: Colts

Rahim: Colts

 

Patriots @ Bills

Even though the Bills are one of the few 3-0 teams in the league, I can’t help but feel that they’re the worst of the group. Wins over the Jets, Giants and Bengals aren’t really that impressive. The Patriots are obviously their biggest test yet, and I can’t help but feel the Bills will fail this test. In this league, you just never know.

Predictions

Adam: Patriots

Aman: Patriots

Dan: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Rahim: Bills

 

Panthers @ Texans

Kyle Allen looked awesome last week against the Cardinals. He looked much better than Cam Newton has this season. Now that he’s had a breakout performance, can he sustain it? The Texans are not an easy team to play against, especially for a young and inexperienced quarterback like Allen.

Predictions

Adam: Texans

Aman: Texans

Dan: Texans

Joel: Texans

Rahim: Panthers

 

Chargers @ Dolphins

The Dolphins…………. Yeah, I’ll go with the Chargers.

Predictions

Adam: Chargers

Aman: Chargers

Dan: Chargers

Joel: Chargers

Rahim: Chargers

 

Buccaneers @ Rams

The Rams continue to be one of the best teams in the league. The Buccaneers on the other hand, continue to be the Buccaneers. The offensive fire power of the Rams will simply be too much for Jameis Winston to keep up with.

Predictions

Adam: Rams

Aman: Rams

Dan: Rams

Joel: Rams

Rahim: Rams

 

Seahawks @ Cardinals

This game is interesting because it’s Kyler Murray against Russell Wilson. Murray has been compared to Wilson several times. Now we’ll get a chance to see just how similar they really are. Obviously, Wilson is the better quarterback right now, but it’s not just the quarterback position where the Seahawks have the advantage. They’re a better built overall, while the Cardinals are still building. They have been able to give us some interesting games so far though, so hopefully this one’s interesting too.

Predictions

Adam: Seahawks

Aman: Seahawks

Dan: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

 

Vikings @ Bears

The Bears finally looked like the Bears we saw last season with a win over the Redskins on Monday night football. However, they were playing against the now 0-3 Redskins. You have to give them credit for doing what they did against an NFL team, but the Vikings will be much tougher. The key for the Bears will be to stop the run. If they can do that, they’ll force Cousins to beat them. The Vikings don’t want that, so they have to get Dalvin Cook going early.

Predictions

Adam: Bears

Aman: Bears

Dan: Bears

Joel: Bears

Rahim: Bears

 

Jaguars @ Broncos

Gardner Minshew has looked really good in his short time as the Jaguars’ starting quarterback. He’s making a lot of nice plays without doing too much. I believe the Jaguars’ defense will continue making big plays and getting stops, which will continue to put Minshew and the offense in good spots. The Broncos are seeking their first win of the season. Can they pressure Minshew enough to make him turn the ball over? If they can do that and give their offense good position, the Broncos might take this one.

Predictions

Adam: Broncos

Aman: Broncos

Dan: Jaguars

Joel: Jaguars

Rahim: Broncos

 

Cowboys @ Saints (Sunday night)

The Dallas Cowboys have looked explosive on offense this season, with Dak Prescott being a top MVP candidate right now. This week they play the Drew Brees-less Saints, but don’t count them out. Teddy Bridgewater and the Saints proved they’re not out of it yet after beating the Seahawks last week. This one is at home for the Saints, and this team will be seeking revenge for the loss the Cowboys handed them last season. This will be a hard fought game.

Predictions

Adam: Saints

Aman: Saints

Dan: Saints

Joel: Cowboys

Rahim: Cowboys

 

Bengals @ Steelers (Monday night)

Despite getting another loss and moving to 0-3, the Steelers looked much more competitive against the 49ers last week. Mason Rudolph made some nice throws, but now it’s time to build on them. Can he keep this offense moving? A game featuring two 0-3 teams isn’t usually exciting, but this a divisional game, so it should hold at least some interest.

Predictions

Adam: Bengals

Aman: Steelers

Dan: Bengals

Joel: Steelers

Rahim: Steelers

2019 NFL MVP Race: Jackson and Prescott in a tight race through two weeks

Week 2 of the NFL season hasn’t disappointed, with several exciting performances from some of the league’s best players. Through two weeks, which players have inserted themselves into the NFL MVP conversation?

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Baltimore Ravens Lamar Jackson – Cincinnati Bengals Michael Johnson” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

In just two weeks of the NFL season, the NFL MVP race is already a tight one. Although we’ve seen several players have great performances, two players have stuck out in particular. Those two players are quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott.

Through two games, Jackson and Prescott have arguably been the best quarterbacks in the league. We all know MVP is a quarterback award 90% of the time, therefore making Jackson and Prescott the leaders at this point of the season. Let’s take a look at what they’ve been able to do in their first two games.

 

Lamar Jackson

Completion percentage: 71.9%

Passing yards: 596

Touchdown passes: Seven

Interceptions: Zero

Passer rating: 145.2

Rushing yards: 126

Rushing touchdowns: Zero

 

Dak Prescott

Completion percentage: 82.3%

Passing yards: 674

Touchdown passes: Seven

Interceptions: One

Passer rating: 142.9

Rushing yards: 81

Rushing touchdowns: Zero

Now let’s break it down a little bit. Both Prescott and Jackson are two of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the league, yet neither of them have been in the conversation as one of the best quarterbacks in the league during their time in the NFL. Well, here they are in that conversation after dominating performances in the passing game.

Prescott has completed 82.3% of his passes for 674 yards and seven touchdowns, while Jackson has completed 71.9% of his passes for 596 yards and seven touchdowns. Prescott has been the more accurate passer of the two so far, but he has thrown an interception. However, that interception wasn’t his fault. That pass bounced off his receivers hands and into the hands of a Redskins defender. Regardless of who was at fault, an interception is an interception. Still, Prescott has been more accurate, while at the same time throwing for more yards than Jackson.

What Jackson hasn’t done through the air, he’s done on the ground, gaining 126 rushing yards in two games. His 126 is 45 more yards than Prescott’s 81 rushing yards. In total, Prescott has 755 total yards to Jackson’s 722 total yards. Just 33 yards separates these two guys.

Next we’ll look at passer rating, which in all honesty, doesn’t make sense to me, and I’ll tell you why. Both Prescott and Jackson had perfect passer ratings of 158.3 in their opening games. In their second games, Prescott had a passer rating of 123.5 and Jackson had a rating of 104.8. The reason why this doesn’t make sense, is because although Prescott had a better passer rating in his second game than Jackson, Jackson has the better passer rating overall. Not really sure about this one. Regardless, not much separates these two again, with Jackson at a 145.2 rating and Prescott at a 142.9.

 

In total, here’s what separates the two quarterbacks after two weeks.

Completion percentage: 10.4%, advantage Prescott

Passing yards: 78 yards, advantage Prescott

Touchdown passes: Even (Seven)

Interceptions: One for Prescott, advantage Jackson

Passer rating: 2.3, advantage Jackson

Rushing yards: 45, advantage Jackson

Rushing touchdowns: Even (Zero)

Total yards: 33, advantage Prescott

Wins: Even (Two)

As you can see, the race between Prescott and Jackson right now is a tight one. Prescott had the advantage in three categories, Jackson has the advantage in three, and they’re even in the other three. Yes, it’s only been two weeks of the NFL season, but it’s hard to argue against Jackson and Prescott as the two best quarterbacks in league to this point.

2019 NFL Season: Week 2 picks

Week 2
Source: https://www.norebbo.com/?s=nfl

Current Standings

Adam: 10-5-1

Aman: 12-3-1

Dan: 12-3-1

Joel: 11-4-1

Rahim: 10-5-1

The first week of the NFL gave us a small view of what we might see the rest of the season. We saw explosive offense, explosive defense and unforgettable plays. We expect much more of the same this week. Our weekly game predictions went well for all of us last week, as all five of us came out of Week 1 with double digits games predicted correctly. Aman and Dan hold a slight lead after the first week after predicting 12 games correctly. The rest of us already have some ground to make up, but we still have plenty of time, although we can’t afford to lose anymore ground. Let’s see who we’re picking for each Week 2 game!

 

Buccaneers @ Panthers (Thursday night)

Despite scoring 17 points, the Buccaneers looked terrible offensively. Technically, the Bucs scored just 10 points, as the other seven points came from a pick-six by the defense. Jameis Winston looked pretty much the same as he always has. He threw a touchdown pass, but he also threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns by the 49ers. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to him throwing more interceptions against the Panthers.

Despite losing to the Rams, the Panthers actually looked pretty good offensively. Their offensive success came mostly because of Christian McCaffrey, who ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns and added another 81 yards as a receiver. If the Bucs want to win this game, they have to stop McCaffrey. They held the 49ers to 98 rushing yards, but McCaffrey is far better than anyone they have in the backfield.

Predictions

Adam: Panthers

Aman: Panthers

Dan: Panthers

Joel: Panthers

Rahim: Panthers

 

Cardinals @ Ravens

Lamar Jackson was “Not bad for a running back” on Sunday, completing 85% of his passes for 324 yards and five touchdowns against the Miami Dolphins. The scary part is, he didn’t do much with his legs. It’ll definitely be interesting to see if he can keep up that kind of play. If he can, and then adds in the running, the NFL better watch out. This week will be a little bit of a tougher test against the Cardinals, but we should expect Jackson to keep balling out.

Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray and his offense took a while to get going, but they came back to force a tie against the Lions, looking really good in the second half. We’re interested to see how Murray reacts to playing against the Ravens’ defense, as they’re on of the best in the NFL. They dominated the Dolphins. Can they do the same to Murray?

Predictions

Adam: Ravens

Aman: Ravens

Dan: Ravens

Joel: Ravens

Rahim: Ravens

 

Chargers @ Lions

I think it’s safe to say the Chargers didn’t miss Melvin Gordon at all. Austin Ekeler stepped up big time for the Chargers, as he ran for 58 yards and a touchdown and added 96 yards and two touchdowns as a receiver. I knew I drafted him on my fantasy team for a reason! Stopping Ekeler should be a focus for the Lions, but they’ll also have to figure out how to stop Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry and more! As we saw against the Cardinals, they struggled down the stretch to cover all the weapons Murray had available to him. Rivers has several targets at his disposal, which doesn’t spell good news for the Lions.

There should be some concern for the Chargers defense against the Lions too. They game up 24 points to the Colts, and allowed a 120.7 passer rating to Jacoby Brissett. Matthew Stafford looked great against the Cardinals, throwing for 385 yards and three touchdowns. With multiple running backs and receiving threats on the Lions’ offense, the Chargers also have their work cut out for them. The difference in this one will likely come down to the running game. Which quarterback will get more from his running backs?

Predictions

Adam: Chargers

Aman: Chargers

Dan: Chargers

Joel: Chargers

Rahim: Chargers

 

Colts @ Titans

The Tennessee Titans looked great last week, putting up 43 points against the Cleveland Browns. Marcus Mariota threw three touchdowns, Derrick Henry was good on the ground and as a receiver, and rookie receiver A.J. Brown had himself a nice game. This offense looked better than it has in a long time. Oh, and the defense didn’t look too bad either. They allowed just 13 points to a Browns team who had been hyped up all offseason. They picked off Baker Mayfield three times!

This week they’ll face off against Jacoby Brissett and the Colts. Brissett had a nice game despite losing last week. Can he have another good performance. He didn’t turn the ball over against the Chargers, and as made obvious by the Titans forcing turnovers against the Browns, that will be key heading into this game.

Predictions

Adam: Titans

Aman: Titans

Dan: Colts

Joel: Titans

Rahim: Colts

 

49ers @ Bengals

Both teams looked a lot better to start the season than they did a year ago, although they faced different outcomes. The 49ers got a win against the Buccaneers, while the Bengals lost by one to the Seahawks. Despite the loss for the Bengals, things did look a little different. Andy Dalton threw for 418 yards and two touchdowns, while receiver John Ross emerged as a real threat with seven catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns. They lacked a running game, but the offense overall looked much improved.

The 49ers looked really good on defense, recording three interceptions, two of which went for touchdowns. The 49ers were flying around on defense at every position, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Bengals handle that. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo looked average last week, but he’ll need to be better as the season goes on for this team to succeed. Will he improve this week against the 49ers, or will he have another mediocre performance?

Predictions

Adam: Bengals

Aman: Bengals

Dan: 49ers

Joel: 49ers

Rahim: 49ers

 

Jaguars @ Texans

The Jaguars have already lost Nick Foles due to injury, and now the fate of their team lies on the shoulders of rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew. Minshew actually looked pretty good in his time against the Chiefs, missing on just three of his 25 passes and throwing for 275 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. While Minshew did look good in relief of Foles, I have to wonder if it was him or the Chiefs’ defense that made him look good. We’ll see how he does against the Texans.

The Texans will be looking to rebound after a tough loss to the Saints on Monday night. They were so close, but just couldn’t get the job done defensively against Drew Brees. Part of the problem for the Texans was their offensive line. Even after making moves to address this weakness, they gave up six sacks. The Jaguars got minimal pressure on Mahomes, getting just four quarterback hits and zero sacks. If the Texans can prevent the Jags from pressuring Watson, the Texans should win, but we know we can’t count on it.

Predictions

Adam: Texans

Aman: Texans

Dan: Texans

Joel: Texans

Rahim: Texans

 

Vikings @ Packers

Regardless of if you love or hate the Packers and Vikings, you have to love watching this matchup between the two division rivals. These games always seem to be great, and we’re likely to get another great one between two teams who have been revamped.

The Vikings looked good on offense last week against the Falcons, especially in the running game. Dalvin Cook ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns on two carries. Alexander Mattison also added 49 rushing yards on nine carries. Kirk Cousins only had to throw the ball 10 times, which is probably what the Vikings want. For the Packers offensively, they didn’t look great. They scored just 10 points, but it was against one of the best defensive units in the NFL.

The defensive units for the Vikings and Packers looked good last week, so this game could come down to which defense plays better. The Packers’ revamped defense held the Bears to three points, while the Vikings held the Falcons to just 12. Can Dalvin Cook carry the load against this new Packers defense? Can Aaron Rodgers lead his offense against another tough defense?

Predictions

Adam: Packers

Aman: Vikings

Dan: Vikings

Joel: Vikings

Rahim: Packers

 

Cowboys @ Redskins

Dak Prescott finished last week’s game against the Giants with a perfect passer rating after throwing for 405 yards and four touchdowns. He had five receivers with at least three receptions, found four different receivers for touchdowns and had two receivers over 100 yards. The passing game looked great for Dallas. The offensive line didn’t allow a single sack, giving Prescott the time he needed, and Prescott delivered. Ezekiel Elliott ran for just 53 yards, but he only had 13 carries, and he did score a touchdown. He’ll get more carries in this game, and will only get stronger as the season goes on, as he always does. Can Prescott keep his offense looking explosive against the Redskins?

Washington’s quarterback Case Keenum looked pretty good himself, throwing for 380 yards and three touchdowns. The Redskins got off to a hot start, but they couldn’t hold on to their lead, as they let the Eagles come back. Where the Redskins need to be better is in the running game. They failed to control the clock against the Eagles, which obviously cost them the game. If they can’t do so against the Cowboys, Prescott might just make them pay.

Predictions

Adam: Cowboys

Aman: Redskins

Dan: Cowboys

Joel: Cowboys

Rahim: Cowboys

 

Seahawks @ Steelers

Can the Steelers rebound from the beating the Patriots put on them? Are they really that bad, or are the Patriots really that good? I’ll go with the Patriots being that good, so don’t count the Steelers out just yet. The Patriots forced Roethlisberger to make short throws that didn’t move the offense. This could be the case against the Seahawks too.

Seattle got five sacks against the Bengals last week. If they can put that sort of pressure on Roethlisberger, he won’t have time to throw and will have to make those short throws once again. Will Roethlisberger be able to find open receivers, or will the Seahawks get the best of them defensively?

Predictions

Adam: Seahawks

Aman: Seahawks

Dan: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Rahim: Steelers

 

Bills @ Giants

The Giants got burned by the receivers of the Dallas Cowboys last week, and I can’t help but seeing the same thing happen to them against the Bills. Bills quarterback Josh Allen isn’t the most accurate thrower, but he can throw the ball down field. Receiver John Brown had seven catches for 123 yards and a touchdown against the Jets last week. If the Giants want to win this game, they must prevent that from happening.

However, as you know, the Giants have a running back in Saquon Barkley who must accounted for at all times. The Bills did a nice job against Le’Veon Bell, holding him to just 60 yards rushing. How will they fare against Barkley?

Predictions

Adam: Bills

Aman: Giants

Dan: Bills

Joel: Bills

Rahim: Bills

 

Patriots @ Dolphins

The Patriots put a 33-3 beatdown on the Steelers last week, proving their still the best team in football. The Dolphins got beat down 59-10 by the Ravens, proving they’re probably the worst team in football. Dolphins players are already demanding trades, so that’s about all you need to know heading into this game.

Predictions

Adam: Patriots

Aman: Patriots

Dan: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Rahim: Patriots

 

Chiefs @ Raiders

The Raiders had a nice season debut against the Broncos, but can they keep up with the explosive offense of the Chiefs? They may be able to if the Chiefs continue to play poor defense. They made Gardner Minshew look awesome last week. How will Derek Carr fare?

This one will come down to the defense. The Chiefs aren’t great defensively, so the Raiders could put up a lot of points. The Raiders looked a lot better defensively than they did a year ago, but how will they look when they face Patrick Mahomes and all his weapons?

Predictions

Adam: Chiefs

Aman: Chiefs

Dan: Chiefs

Joel: Chiefs

Rahim: Chiefs

 

Saints @ Rams

A rematch of the NFC Championship game. The Rams won last time and went to the Super Bowl, but we all know who really should have won that game. The Saints will be seeking revenge in this game, and after a big time win against the Texans, it’s likely they’ll come out firing on all cylinders.

The Rams will need to get their explosive offense back if they want to keep up with Brees and company in this one. They scored 30 points last week, but Goff threw for just 186 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The running game looked fine, but Goff needs to be better in order to beat the Saints.

Predictions

Adam: Rams

Aman: Rams

Dan: Rams

Joel: Saints

Rahim: Rams

 

Bears @ Broncos

Which offense will find their groove? The Bears scored just three points last week, while the Broncos scored just 16. We have to expect that both teams will put up more of a fight on offense this time around. However, the defense will likely be the real story here. The Bears still have a tough defense, and the Broncos struggled against the Raiders’ new look defensive unit. The Broncos seemed to struggle a bit defensively last week, but we’ll see which defense can make the bigger impact this time around.

Predictions

Adam: Bears

Aman: Bears

Dan: Bears

Joel: Bears

Rahim: Bears

 

Eagles @ Falcons (Sunday night)

The defense of the Vikings made life very difficult for the Falcons. Can the Eagles duplicate that? They allowed 27 points to the Redskins, but they held them off when it really mattered. The key seems to be shutting down the Falcons’ running game. They were held to just 73 yards rushing against the Vikings, and we saw the problems it created for them in the passing game.

The defense of the Falcons looked poor, especially against the run. They allowed 172 yards rushing against the Vikings, and the Eagles ran for 123 yards last week. If they can’t stop the Eagles on the ground, they may not stop them at all.

Predictions

Adam: Falcons

Aman: Eagles

Dan: Eagles

Joel: Eagles

Rahim: Eagles

 

Browns @ Jets (Monday night)

The Browns couldn’t have had a worse start to the season than what they had against the Titans. Baker Mayfield threw three interceptions and the Browns scored just 13 points. If they’re going to rebound, this game against the Jets may be a good opportunity. The Jets scored just 16 points against the Bills last week, and gave up a lead to end up losing 17-16. There didn’t seem to be anything explosive about this Jets offense. If the Browns can hold them to a low point total, the Browns will have a good opportunity to get back on track offensively.

Predictions

Adam: Browns

Aman: Browns

Dan: Browns

Joel: Browns

Rahim: Browns

Jason Witten is back, but Cowboys aren’t out of the TE woods yet

JASON WITTEN IS BACK!!! Get excited Cowboys fans! 

Jason Witten is back
0 Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten – Washington Redskins Kareem Moore” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

After retiring and spending time in the broadcast booth a season ago, TE Jason Witten will be returning to the Dallas Cowboys! This is great news for the Cowboys, as TE was a position that plagued them for much of last season. We all know how important TEs are for any team, but it seems like they have more of a significance when it comes to Cowboys QBs. Tony Romo loved having Jason Witten around during his time with the Cowboys, and that love of the Cowboys’ great TE translated right over to Dak Prescott.

Last season, the Cowboys’ TEs combined for a total of 68 catches for 710 yards and four TDs. That was between a committee of four TEs, Blake Jarwin, Geoff Swaim, Dalton Schultz and Rico Gathers. It was truly a TE by committee situation for Dallas, which didn’t work out too well. Dak Prescott didn’t have his go-to-guy early in the season, because that guy used to be Witten. He later found a go-to-guy in Amari Cooper, but even then, there seemed to be something missing.

In his last season with the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Witten produced 63 receptions for 560 yards and five TDs. He may not have been a big play threat, but Witten still knew how to get open at exactly the right moments. He always seemed to be there when Dak Prescott needed him. With Jason Witten returning, one of Prescott’s security blankets will be back on the field. This will no doubt help Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense, but it doesn’t mean it’s fixed.

 

Dallas isn’t out of the TE woods yet

The Dallas Cowboys have been talked about as one of the teams in play for a TE this offseason, for good reason. Jason Witten has returned and will help, but Dallas shouldn’t take themselves out of the market for a TE. With that being said, I think Dallas can look specifically in the draft for TE, rather than having to do so during free agency. Not having a first-round pick isn’t ideal, but most TEs don’t go in the first-round anyway, especially when there will be a run on QBs and defensive lineman in this draft.

Holding the 58th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, there will be plenty of TEs available to the Cowboys when they go on the clock. If they decided to wait until their third-round pick, 90th overall, Dallas would still have several TE options available. If I’m the Cowboys, my draft plan still revolves heavily around drafting a TE in either the second or third rounds. Let’s take a look at some TEs who could be available for them at either of those spots.

  • Irv Smith Jr. – Alabama
  • Kaden Smith – Stanford
  • Jace Sternberger – Texas A&M
  • Caleb Wilson – UCLA
  • Josh Oliver – San Jose St.
  • Zach Gentry – Michigan
  • Tommy Sweeney – Boston College
  • Foster Moreau – LSU

Those are just a few names the Cowboys could have available to them when they go on the clock. Regardless of who they take, they have to take someone in either the second or third round. Yes, Jason Witten will be a nice addition to the offense this season. He alone can produce what the other four TEs produced a season ago. The problem is, his deal is only a one year deal. If Dallas doesn’t draft a TE this year, what happens if Witten decides to retire again after the 2019 season? Then they’re left with a TE by committee approach again, which didn’t work out too well the first time.

Jason Witten is only a temporary solution. Very temporary. Dallas needs to find their TE of the future in the 2019 NFL Draft. It can’t hurt to have two good TEs. Witten can carry the load, but the other, whoever that may be, can step in and give Dak Prescott another receiving option to work with. Plus, Witten can help this young TE learn a lot about what it takes to be successful.

JASON WITTEN IS BACK, and that’s awesome, but the Cowboys shouldn’t get comfortable with where they sit at TE.

Who’s feeling the pressure of Wild Card weekend?

Today kicks off the Wild Card weekend. Eight teams looking to keep their hopes alive and better their chances of winning a Super Bowl. This weekend has delivered us some incredible memories over the years. How can we forget the Music City Miracle, where the Titans stunned the Buffalo Bills on a kickoff return to end the game? Or the greatest comeback in NFL history, when the Bills came back to beat the Houston Oilers after being down 35-3 at halftime?

Deshaun Watson” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Some of the greatest moments the NFL has provided us have happened in the first round of the playoffs.

This one feels strangely different though. For the first time in recent memory, the playoffs are completely wide open. No team, maybe besides the Saints, has a distinct advantage over the others. While previous years we have seen teams go on epic runs before the playoffs start to propel themselves deep into the playoffs, this year many teams limped in.

All this uncertainty on who is going to win and who is not has created a certain buzz around this year’s playoffs, and it’s exhilarating!

The Super Bowl is ripe for the taking. This weekend, one team could build the foundation for a run at that title. Looking at the eight teams playing this weekend, Seahawks vs. Cowboys, Bears vs. Eagles, Texans vs. Colts and Chargers vs. Ravens, all of them have a common thing, a great quarterback who has either proven themselves or is on the cusp of proving himself.

You have two quarterbacks who have already won a title, three young guns who are looking to cement their name atop the elites in the league and two veterans where one is just happy to be back in the moment and the other possibly looking at his final run. Finally, there is the lone rookie, who if you had to name the one you thought was going to be starting in the playoffs, this one would have been at the bottom of many lists.

With that, there has to be a couple feeling the pressure of the moment. Some know just how hard it is to get back to this spot, where others are dreaming of many more years just like this one. So my question then is, who is feeling it the most?

Who is feeling that pressure of win now? The pressure of a whole team and city on their shoulders. That need to exercise some demons or to make your name known around the league.

Who is not feeling the pressure:

First off, it is definitely not Nick Foles from the Eagles or Seattle’s quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson is a proven quarterback in the league already. If it wasn’t for the dismal team around him, he would probably be a perennial MVP candidate. Nick Foles on the other hand, is doing something that is just not seen. Not only did he fill Carson Wentz’ shoes perfectly last year, but he has also done it again this year and brought Philadelphia back to life and into the playoffs. Just three weeks ago, the Eagles were all but out of the playoffs. With a little help from the Vikings and some more magic by Foles, they find them back in it and as dangerous as ever. Win, lose or draw, this weekend both of those guys will still go home with the respect they deserve.

Secondly, Lamar Jackson is having the time of his life right now and is probably immune to any kind of pressure that is involved with the game. He has fun performing at this level. You can tell through his play that no matter what the situation is, he is going to play loose and have a good time doing it. He is a rookie who in my opinion, is the reason why the Ravens have exceeded my expectations by making it this far.

Pressure is rising:

Unlike the above mentioned, Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson and Andrew Luck are probably feeling a little uncomfortable right about now. For Trubisky, he knows he is not the main guy. Unlike Drew Brees or Patrick Mahomes, the Bears’ success is not necessarily based on his performance. It would certainly help the situation, but the Bears will win with defense and managing the ball. Something he does well and that comes naturally to the second year quarterback. It is natural to feel some kind of pressure when it comes to your first playoff appearance, but I do not think it’s overwhelming for the young man just yet. He will be back.

Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson are both coming off devastating injuries and both are probably just happy to be in this situation. For Luck, this is not his first rodeo when it comes to playing in the playoffs. He has brought a team all the way to the AFC Championship before. Unlike Trubisky, Luck is the offense. The Colts win or lose based off how Andrew Luck plays. For a quarterback who is coming off of shoulder surgery that made him miss an entire season, to finally be back in the playoffs, he has to be feeling some kind of pressure to get past the first round. To show this regular season was not a fluke and that he can still play. Watson is pretty much in the same situation as Luck, only this will be his first time playing in the playoffs. It is a home game, which always helps calm the nerves just a bit, but you know he has to be wanting to win a game in front of the fans in Houston.

Just might crack under the pressure: 

This leaves us with just two quarterbacks left. Dak Prescott and Phillip Rivers.

Prescott plays for the Dallas Cowboys. Being the quarterback for “America’s Team” always delivers some kind of pressure to win. Winning a playoff game is a whole different type of pressure though. It is a well-known fact the Cowboys are absolutely dismal in the playoffs in recent years. After this season full of hype and lofty predictions of them being a Super Bowl contender by some experts, the pressure is on for him to lead them past the first round and probably further. You also have to think Prescott is considered the weak spot on this team right now. A loss this weekend will only make that chatter worse. It could also cost Jason Garrett his job, and do not forget Jerry Jones is his boss. There is no one more unpredictable than Jones. He could just go out and find a quarterback this off-season who will get the job done.

Though Prescott is feeling the pressure in “Big D”, there is no one right now who is dealing with what Phillip Rivers has to be dealing with. Not only is he making a great run in a new city, Los Angeles, but he is also still the figurehead of this offense and team. Putting up great numbers all season, Rivers has pushed back father time, at least for this season. He made a run with one of the most talented Chargers teams he has been a part of. We have seen this story before though. Talent busting out the seams, but never really able to put it together when it comes playoff time. Rivers knows his time is limited in this sport. This may be his last shot to quiet the nay-sayers who say he doesn’t deserve the golden jacket of the Hall of Fame by hoisting the Lombardi trophy and go out on top.

Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott becoming an elite QB?

77.8% completions for 455 yards, three TDs and two INTs. That was Dak Prescott’s stat line in a Cowboys win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The 29-23 win marks fifth straight win for the Dallas Cowboys. They now have a two game lead in the NFC East. This game also marked the third straight game and fourth out of the last five games in which Dak Prescott completed more than 70% of his passes. Is Dak Prescott becoming an elite QB?

Dak Prescott becoming an elite QB?
Dak Prescott” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Dak Prescott becoming an elite QB?

If you’re not a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, the first thing you’ll probably look at from Dak’s stat line against the Eagles, is his two INTs. You’ll try to argue that he can’t be elite if he’s giving the ball away multiple times in a game. Decent argument. I’ll counter that with examples from the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Andrew Luck.

Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes is the leader in the MVP race this season. All we hear about every week is how good Mahomes is and the amazing stat lines he puts up. Within those stat lines, is something we all ignore for him, but we make it a big deal when it comes to QBs like Prescott.

On the season, Mahomes has thrown a total of 11 INTs. He’s had three games this season in which he’s thrown multiple INTs. Dak Prescott also has three games this season with multiple INTs, but he has a total of seven on the season. That’s four less than Patrick Mahomes.

While Mahomes has thrown a league leading 43 TD passes, he’s also thrown some INTs during the most important times in games. One example of this was in their 54-51 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Mahomes threw three INTs in that game, two when the game was on the line. He had not one, but two chances to tie or give the Chiefs a win, but he blew both of them by giving the ball away.

My question is, if Patrick Mahomes is considered elite after throwing those INTs, why is Dak Prescott becoming an elite QB so hard to admit?

Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck’s 13 INTs on the season are currently tied for the second most in the NFL. Like Mahomes and Prescott, Luck has multiple games with multiple INTS. Four to be exact. Again, Prescott has three.

During a recent five game win streak for the Colts, Andrew Luck completed 75.5% of his passes for 1,320 yards, 16 TDs and three INTs. Over the course of those five games, Andrew Luck was all the rage because he was playing at an elite level.

Well, over the course of the Cowboys’ five game win streak, Dak Prescott has completed 75.1% of his passes for 1,471 yards, seven TDs and two INTs. Remember those 455 yards Prescott threw for against the Eagles? That is the most yards ever by a Cowboys QB in a win. Cowboys QBs have thrown for more yards, but never in a win.

Prescott has had better numbers in passing yards and INTs for the Cowboys on their five game win streak than Luck did on his five game win streak. Prescott’s completion percentage is only 0.4% lower than Luck’s was. Prescott’s passing TDs might be much lower, but he’s also added three rushing TDs during their win streak.

So if Luck is considered an elite QB with those numbers, why is Dak Prescott becoming an elite QB so hard to admit?

It’s all Amari Cooper, right?

Amari Cooper has been a stud for the Cowboys since joining the team. In his six games with Dallas, Cooper has caught 40 balls for 642 yards and six TDs. It would be easy to pin Prescott’s success solely on Amari Cooper and get away with it, but I won’t let you.

While Cooper has helped Dak Prescott, he’s not the only reason why Prescott has been playing well. Prescott has been given more opportunities to make plays for his team. He’s been making the most of those opportunities.

You might be wondering how he can be elite if he struggled so much at the beginning of the season. Well, it’s easy to struggle when you don’t have weapons. You might be thinking, “exactly, he struggled without weapons, so he’s not elite.” Well, that’s wrong.

What do you think of Aaron Rodgers? Most people would take Aaron Rodgers over any QB in the league, but this season he’s struggled. Rodgers has the second lowest completion percentage of his career (as a starter) this season (62.0%). He also has the worst TD pass percentage of his career (as a starter) this year.

Why has Aaron Rodgers struggled? He doesn’t have weapons. Between not having enough weapons and injuries to the weapons he does have, Rodgers hasn’t had the weapons he’s used to having. It’s amazing how a QB can look completely different without his weapons.

If Aaron Rodgers can still be considered elite with his numbers this season, why is Dak Prescott becoming an elite QB so hard to admit?

Dak Prescott becoming an elite QB
Dak Prescott” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Becoming

The key word in this article is ‘becoming.’ There’s a huge difference between the word becoming and the word ‘is.’ I say that because I don’t think Dak Prescott is an elite QB right now. However, I do think he’s heading in the right direction.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. There has been a few times over the past few weeks where Dak has missed a wide open receiver on a deep ball. Several of those misses could have been touchdowns to build a Cowboys lead. Instead, they turned into no points and more possessions for the other team.

To be an elite QB, Prescott must hit those deep balls every time. While Prescott has missed some deep throws, he’s also placed some perfect dimes in key moments.

Against the Eagles, Prescott shook off his earlier misses to find Amari Cooper for some long completions, a couple of which were TDs. Prescott didn’t think about what he did before, but rather what he needed to do when the game was on the line. He threw a pass to give the Cowboys a lead. Then he threw another pass to give the Cowboys another lead.

His ability to bounce back after missing earlier throws is why Prescott is ‘becoming’ an elite QB. We have to remember this is only Dak’s third NFL season.

Dak Prescott becoming an elite QB

Prescott is on a similar path to Russell Wilson, who many consider elite.

Wilson started out with a great running game. That meant he didn’t have to make that many plays. Over time, Wilson was given more and more responsibility as a passer, which has worked out pretty well for the Seahawks thus far.

As time goes on, Prescott will be given more and more responsibility to make plays for his team. He’s already been given more responsibility this season.

Dak Prescott becoming an elite QB is happening in front of our eyes. Give him the credit he deserves.

NFL fantasy waiver wire: Week 15 (championship)

Have you made it to the championship of your fantasy football league? Or maybe it’s still the semifinals and you need to figure out what players are available to help you win it all.

That’s what I’m here for! All season long, I have been here to help you figure out which players are must adds to help you with the tough matchups.

I’m talking to those of you who have star players either banged up or shut down in their last game. But don’t worry, we will all see those players bounce back.

It’s still not a bad idea to add more depth, because this week is the biggest one yet! Since it’s the last week, I will be giving eight players instead of five. I hope it helps as we try to win our league’s! So let’s look at who we have available to us this week!

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Ryan Tannehill” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Quarterbacks
  1. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys, 46.2 percent availability
  2. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns, 51.2 percent availability
  3. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans, 82.1 percent availability
  4. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens, 50.4 percent availability
  5. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills, 83.1 percent availability
  6. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins, 94.6 percent availability
  7. Case Keenum, Denver Broncos, 87.5 percent availability
  8. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders, 89.4 percent availability

Prescott, Mariota, Mayfield and Jackson have proven themselves to be likable adds to your team. All of their teams are still in the playoff hunt, which means they won’t be resting any of their players until they know for sure they’re in. The only one of them that’s close to that is Prescott, but he will be available for us regardless of a playoff berth.

Allen and the Bills won’t be in the playoffs, but he’s at least showing us all what to look forward too next season when he’s healthy and playing great.

Tannehill has returned from injury and has his Dolphins right back in playoff contention with a miracle win over the New England Patriots.

Case Keenum and the Broncos hurt their playoff chances with a loss to 49ers, but they still have a chance. You may not like Keenum because of the way the Broncos’ offense is run, but he should get more passing opportunities.

Derek Carr, who am I kidding right? The Raiders offense has actually started to look a little better over the past few weeks. They even beat the division leading (for now) Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

Running Backs
  1. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans, 43.8 percent availability
  2. Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts, 72.2 percent availability
  3. Doug Martin, Oakland Raiders, 41.5 percent availability
  4. Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons, 77.2 percent availability
  5. LeGarrette Blount, Detriot Lions, 56.2 percent availability
  6. Elijah McGuire, New York Jets, 88.7 percent availability
  7. Frank Gore, Miami Dolphins, 67.9 percent availability
  8. Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore Ravens, 97.4 percent availability

Do you believe in Henry yet? Or you think that was just the luckiest game of his life? In case you missed, you can read all about it here.

You also still have Hines, Smith, Gore and Martin available. They are all important pieces to their teams’ success on offense. I wouldn’t expect all of them to break out at once, but if you missed on adding Austin Ekeler, Josh Adams and Jaylen Samuel, then these four guys can be a help to your team.

Blount, McGuire and Dixon all have had moments where they led their team in rushing. Their production depends on the status of the guys in front of them, like Kerryon Johnson, Isaiah Crowell and Gus Edwards.

 

Wide Receivers
  1. Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars, 72.1 percent availability
  2. Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins, 74.3 percent availability
  3. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers, 52.5 percent availability
  4. Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers, 67.5 percent availability
  5. Josh Reynolds, Los Angeles Rams, 58.9 percent availability
  6. Jamieson Crowder, Washington Redskins, 88.7 percent availability
  7. Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers, 80.4 percent availability
  8. Tim Patrick/DaSean Hamilton, Denver Broncos, 99.4/94.5 percent availability

Westbrook has been the Jaguars’ best receiver all season long. We fell out of love with him because of the struggles of the Jaguars’ QBs and offense. I know because I dropped him Thursday morning before the game and it hurt.

Cobb, Crowder and Stills have all returned from injury and looked great in their last games. Each of them scored a touchdown. We will continue to see that happen, regardless of whether these teams are in the playoff hunt.

Samuel, Reynolds and Pettis are WR threes on their teams’ depth chart, but they have the ability to out perform the top two guys, which we have been seeing them do as of late.

Patrick and Hamilton are now second/third on the Broncos’ depth chart with the Sanders injury.  They both had good games against the 49ers in their loss, but with teams starting to figure out how to slow down RB Phillip Lindsay, the Broncos will be forced to pass more. These two will be the beneficiaries of it, with all the attention going to Courtland Sutton.

 

Tight Ends
  1. Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers, 41.8 percent availability
  2. Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 35.9 percent availability
  3. Evan Engram, New York Giants, 34.6 percent availability
  4. C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals, 69.2 percent availability
  5. Jordan Thomas, Houston Texans, 98.8 percent availability
  6. Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers, 74.5 percent availability
  7. Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins, 95.1 percent availability
  8. Anthony Firkser, Tennessee Titans, 99.6 percent availability

McDonald, Brate, Engram and Uzomah are TE ones on their team and have proven they belong. With everything else circling around them, they don’t also get the looks we wish they would to help our teams. That’s why it’s been tough all season to keep them on our roster.

For both Jordan and Ian Thomas, it’s about taking advantage of the receptions they do get and making them into big plays.

For Davis and Firkser, it’s about the RBs and QBs first. Also the health of Jordan Reed and Jonnu Smith play a role too. Not sure if either one of them will have big plays, but they will be in the game for the small yard downs, with that potential break out play. It’s good for PPR when they can get you five to six receptions and 40 yards.

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Well that’s a wrap on the fantasy football waivers of this year. Good luck to those who are still in the playoffs and fighting for the championship. Thank you all for allowing me to help you through this long NFL season. If you ever need any advice, you are more than welcome to DM me on social media.

Twitter: @rahim8690

Instagram: Rahimm8690

Facebook: Rahimali Habib Merchant

Cowboys are right where Eagles want them

A lot of people associated with the Dallas Cowboys were bouncing off the walls in excitement when they witnessed their beloved team beat the NFC’s best, New Orleans Saints. They all watched their better than advertised defense shut down the NFL’s best offense, holding them to their lowest offensive output all season.

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Dallas Cowboys” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

I am not going to lie, the Cowboys were impressive. I watched Leighton Vander Esch become a household name overnight, and Jaylen Smith showed the world he is back to form, maybe even better than he was before his horrific knee injury while at Notre Dame. For all the slack I have given Jerry Jones for his decision making while drafting, he has for now built a formidable defense that cannot be ignored. It made me regret my prediction last week that the Cowboys will once again collapse and ruin their chances of obtaining a playoff spot.

That regret was short-lived, and though the Cowboys looked good, I still have no faith in them winning the NFC East. In actuality, I have more faith in the fact that Dallas will find a way to play them themselves out of a playoff spot.

I am doubling down on my prediction. Below are my thoughts and reasonings to why I still stand behind my convictions and why I think in the end, the Cowboys will miss the playoffs.

We saw a mediocre team Thursday night that played like they were in a Super Bowl.

In my experience, I always side on the air of caution when I witness David going up against Goliath and David plays like he is in the Super Bowl, especially when David is playing at home. I value the eye test a lot, but football is a game of emotion, and that emotion can play a lot into a team’s success. Dallas was the underdog, was given no chance by many to win, and they used that to catapult their team to play the best of their ability. Every person that played a part in that game knew they had a great platform to prove to the nation they are for real.

But what happens when they play a game where that emotion, that factor that motivates a team to do their best is not there?

Teams across the league have had major, disappointing hangovers the week after an important, emotional win. The Jaguars and Titans went into their games against the Patriots with massive chips on their shoulders and wanted something to prove. Both teams went on to have a massive hangover and lost their next game following the win over the Patriots.

Jacksonville went 2-8 in their next 10 games following their convincing victory over New England. Pittsburgh came back in dramatic fashion in an emotion-filled rematch from last year’s playoffs against the Jags. They dropped the next two. Cleveland beat up their former head coach in their matchup against Cincinnati and followed it up with a horrific display against the Texans.

Dallas has to follow up their big win against the Eagles at home. A huge game in the grand scheme of things against the defending champions. I will be interested to see if the Cowboys come out hungover in a game where a victory all but clinches the NFC East. I tend to tread on the side of history here, where the Cowboys are never good in these types of games under Jason Garrett and honestly think the Eagles come out victorious in a big way.

The Cowboy’s head coach is Jason Garrett.

 

Speaking of Jason Garrett

Jason Garrett has done nothing to prove to me he can win in the big games consistently. He is clearly riding the coat-tails of the talent that takes the field every Sunday, and I seriously believe he has little to nothing to do with this massive turn around in Big D.

That feeling I think was proven on the field last Thursday night. In a big drive, the Cowboys were about to march into the end zone for a possible game-clinching touchdown late in the fourth quarter, or at the very least, put up three points to make the Saints score a touchdown for the win. On the six-yard line, Garrett and his staff call for a pass on third and five with the second best running back in the backfield and relied on their offensive line to hold up a pass rush that already sacked Prescott six times up to that point.

That was shocking to me. The Saints only had one timeout at that point and a run that didn’t even get the first down, put pressure on the Saints to make a decision on time management. Yes, Garrett got bailed out by his defense, but he ultimately gave Drew Brees a shot at a comeback, which is not a sound strategy when you look at it. I do not believe in Garrett’s ability to coach when it matters, he has never shown it on a consistent basis in years past and will once again show it when it matters the most.

This point was backed up by many people I know who are Dallas fans, but hate Jason Garrett. Even in this stretch of success they still want him out of Dallas. It makes me wonder if the only way to save his job in the eyes of the fans is a Super Bowl victory.

Dak Prescott and his:

Let’s hope Prescott bought Jourdan Lewis dinner this entire week, because he saved Prescott big time. Soon after Dak coughed up the ball and gave the Saints another chance at the win, Lewis picks off Brees and sealed the victory.

Overall, Prescott made some really impressive plays that kept their lead intact, but when it mattered the most, he could not protect the ball and gave it back to the hands of the most dangerous player in the NFL. This isn’t a fluke either. So far, Prescott has let the ball go a total of eleven times this season. This is unacceptable.

Behind Garrett, Prescott is the biggest liability to the chances of the Cowboys winning the NFC East. Prescott has slowly regressed since bursting onto the scene two years ago and really has been treading water this season with the help of a dynamic running game. Prescott’s numbers show he is a game manager at best (20th in attempts, 19th in yards and 23rd in TD’s), but with his history of putting the ball on the ground (24 times in his career), it gives his opponent an open door to turn the course of the game, which is the total opposite of an effective game manager.

Now I totally understand the likelihood of what I am saying to come true is slim to none. That one win against the Saints puts the Cowboys in the driver’s seat and they really control all the momentum. But my father taught me about history, and how it always repeats itself even in the most untimely of moments. So yes, the Cowboys are in the driver’s seat, but if history has taught me anything, for me to be right, that is exactly where I want them to be.