2019 NFL season: Week 7 picks

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

Current Standings

Adam: 51-40-1

Aman: 55-36-1

Dan: 58-33-1

Joel: 54-37-1

Rahim: 55-36-1

 

Chiefs @ Broncos (Thursday night)

Mahomes’ injury has limited his mobility, which has taken away his strength. It’s obvious he’s not the same player when he can’t move around. Can the Broncos take advantage of Mahomes’ lack of mobility? If they can, they have a real shot at winning this game.

Predictions

Adam: Chiefs

Aman: Chiefs

Dan: Chiefs

Joel: Chiefs

Rahim: Chiefs

 

Raiders @ Packers

The Raiders have made a lot of improvement this season, but the Packers look like they can beat just about anyone right now. I can see the Raiders winning this game, but I think they’ll have to play near perfect in order to do so. Aaron Rodgers and their revamped defense will likely be too much.

Predictions

Adam: Packers

Aman: Packers

Dan: Packers

Joel: Packers

Rahim: Packers

 

Rams @ Falcons

The Rams need to rebound after getting smacked around by the 49ers last week. The Falcons just need to get a win after losing four straight games. Despite the Rams struggling, they look like the better team, and they just added CB Jalen Ramsey.

Predictions

Adam: Rams

Aman: Rams

Dan: Rams

Joel: Rams

Rahim: Rams

 

49ers @ Redskins

The 49ers are dominating the NFL right now, and they’ve proved they can beat a good team after beating the Rams. The Redskins have a win, but it was against the Dolphins, who everyone has beaten. They’ll start another losing streak this week.

Predictions

Adam: 49ers

Aman: 49ers

Dan: 49ers

Joel: 49ers

Rahim: 49ers

 

Texans @ Colts

Both of these teams are coming off a win over the Kansas City Chiefs. These two division rivals are looking like some of the better teams in the league right now, but only one can come out on top. Who can continue their hot play?

Predictions

Adam: Texans

Aman: Texans

Dan: Texans

Joel: Texans

Rahim: Texans

 

Vikings @ Lions

The Vikings dominated the Eagles last week and are looking good with their passing attack once again. This game shouldn’t be so easy though, as the Lions are coming off a game where they got screwed by terrible officiating. They’ll be seeking to earn a win and will come out firing. It’s always fun watching an NFC North matchup.

Predictions

Adam: Vikings

Aman: Vikings

Dan: Vikings

Joel: Vikings

Rahim: Vikings

 

Jaguars @ Bengals

The Jaguars proved last week they can at least hang with some of the best teams in the league. They hung in there with the Saints and gave them a tough time. They’ll be too tough for a horrible Bengals team searching for a win.

Predictions

Adam: Jaguars

Aman: Jaguars

Dan: Jaguars

Joel: Jaguars

Rahim: Jaguars

 

Cardinals @ Giants

Two rookie quarterbacks face off against each other in this one! Kyler Murray vs. Daniel Jones will be fun to watch. Both quarterbacks have had their moments, but they’ve also had some rough times. Which quarterback will shine in this game?

Predictions

Adam: Giants

Aman: Cardinals

Dan: Cardinals

Joel: Giants

Rahim: Cardinals

 

Dolphins @ Bills

After coming off another loss to the then also winless Redskins, is anyone picking the Dolphins to win this one?

Predictions

Adam: Bills

Aman: Bills

Dan: Bills

Joel: Bills

Rahim: Bills

 

Chargers @ Titans

Both of these teams are in need of a win. The Chargers just haven’t looked right, and the Titans have looked so poor that they’re switching quarterbacks now. I feel like the Chargers have more offensive weapons than the Titans. However, the Titans have a good defense, and we saw what the Steelers were able to do on defense to the Chargers last week.

Predictions

Adam: Titans

Aman: Titans

Dan: Chargers

Joel: Titans

Rahim: Chargers

 

Ravens @ Seahawks

Russell Wilson seems to be the leader in the MVP race right now. He’s making play after play and keeping his team in the NFC West race. Now he faces a tough matchup against Lamar Jackson and the 4-2 Ravens. This game will be fun to watch, as we get to see two quarterbacks who can make plays with both their arms and feet. We’ll see who comes out on top.

Predictions

Adam: Seahawks

Aman: Seahawks

Dan: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

 

Saints @ Bears

I believe the Saints are the best team in the NFC right now, even without Brees. They’ve built this team to win without Brees, and it’s obvious that plan has worked. This will be a tough matchup for Teddy Bridgewater, as the Bears have one of the best defensive groups. However, so do the Saints. I feel like both defensive units will have a good game, but which one can do a better job of controlling the opposing offense?

Predictions

Adam: Bears

Aman: Bears

Dan: Bears

Joel: Saints

Rahim: Bears

 

Eagles @ Cowboys (Sunday night)

As long as Jason Garrett is the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, I will not pick them to win another game for the rest of the season. I’ll leave it at that.

Predictions

Adam: Eagles

Aman: Eagles

Dan: Eagles

Joel: Eagles

Rahim: Cowboys

 

Patriots @ Jets (Monday night)

The Patriots crushed the Jets 30-14 last time around, but this time the Jets have Sam Darnold. Will that make a difference? Maybe a little bit, but ultimately, it won’t matter. Patriots remain undefeated.

Predictions

Adam: Patriots

Aman: Patriots

Dan: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Rahim: Patriots

2019 NFL Prediction: NFC North

Last season, this conference took the NFL by surprise. One team, in particular, caused a Midwestern storm: the Chicago Bears. QB Mitch Trubisky in his second season caused mayhem along with LB Khalil Mack’s excellence in defense and a Green Bay Packers’ team without QB Aaron Rodgers fell off the tracks and was forgotten about. This season, the Bears are favorites to win the conference yet again, but they still need to play their cards carefully and not let their guard down against the Minnesota Vikings or the Packers. The big question regarding this conference might be as to whether the Vikings or Packers can make playoffs this season as well or not if the Bears most likely will. 

Chicago Bears Lance Briggs” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

Chicago Bears

Last season’s record: 12-4

Postseason result: Cody Parkey’s missed field goal saw the Bears lose to the Philadelphia Eagles by one point in the second round of playoffs.

Off-season acquisitions:

Signed:

  • C Ted Larsen (Miami Dolphins)
  • RB Mike Davis (Seattle Seahawks)
  • WR Marvin Hall (Atlanta Falcons)
  • LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (New York Jets)
  • OT T.J. Clemmings (Oakland Raiders)

Undrafted signed players:

  • DL Daryle Banfield (Brown University)

Traded for:

  • K Eddy Pineiro

Drafted:

  • WR Riley Ridley (University of Georgia)
  • RB Kerrith Whyte Jr. (University of Florida)
  • RB David Montgomery (Iowa State)

Off-season departures:

Released TE Dion Sims, K Parkey (thank God) and Adrian Amos and waived OL Dejon Allen, K Redford Jones, K John Baron, DB Adarius Pickett, DE Lawrence Marshall and K Chris Blewitt.

The big question: 

The Bears’ current situation feels kind of like the Atlanta Braves’. A team with quality and skill in a good position, but with one major issue. In the Braves’ case, it would be their bullpen but for the Bears, the kicker situation seems a bit uneasy. As you can read, four kickers were either released or waived and Pineiro didn’t have a good day out in the Bears’ preseason match against the Tenessee Titans. But if the Bears can get the kicking situation sorted out, Bears are just as capable of repeating last season’s theatrics, if not do better. Davis and Hall are excellent additions for the offense to pair up with Trubisky, but last season, it was the Bears’ defense, led by Mack, which won them matches. Can Mack and his defense repeat last season’s heroics?

Prediction: 10-6

Green Bay Packers

Last season’s record: 6-9-1

Postseason result: Sorry, 2018 just wasn’t the year.

Off-season acquisitions:

Signed:

  • S Adrian Amos (Bears)
  • LB Preston Smith (Washington)
  • LB Za’Darius Smith (Baltimore Ravens)
  • OL Billy Turne (Broncos)

Resigned:

  • TE Marcedes Lewis

Drafted:

  • DE Rashan Gary (University of Michigan)
  • QB Manny Wilkins (Arizona State)

Claimed:

  • WR Jawill Davis (New York Giants)

Off-season departures:

  • Released LB Antonio Morrison, LB Nick Perry, G Nico Siragusa, S Jason Thompson, DL Mike Daniels and RB Darrin Hall, waived CB Javien Hamilton and WR Jordy Nelson retired.

The big question:

So as long as QB Aaron Rodgers doesn’t get injured, everything should be fine, right? Well, not entirely true. This Green Bay Packers team is a completely new Green Bay Packers with Matt LaFluer as head coach. The coaching staff has been completely remodeled from last year’s disappointing season. Due to all the changes, there’s plenty of questions to be asked regarding the starting line-up. It seems that draft picks Gary and Darnell Savage won’t have to wait too long before getting starts, but there’s still some uncertainty as to who will pair with Rodgers as a wide receiver? Green Bay would, of course, want to see big seasons from the likes of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and/or Equanimeous St. Brown, but one thing Green Bay fans should know from the last season is that you can’t expect anything and anything is unexpected. With that being said, can Green Bay’s wide receivers step up and support the offense in scoring?

Prediction: 7-9

Minnesota Vikings

Last season’s record: 8-7-1

Postseason result:  So about that…

Off-season acquisitions:

Signed:

  • RB Ameer Abdullah (Detroit Lions)
  • K Dan Bailey (Dallas Cowboys)
  • CB Bené Benwikere (Oakland Raiders)
  • G Josh Cline (Tennessee Titans)

Drafted:

  • C Garrett Bradbury (North Carolina State)
  • TE Irv Smith Jr. (University of Alabama)
  • RB Alexander Mattison (Boise State)
  • G Dru Samia (Oklahoma)
  • LB Cameron Smith (USC)

Off-season departures:

Waived CB Jalen Myrick, RB Roc Thomas and G Tyler Catalina and DE Brian Robison retired.

The big question:

The Minnesota Vikings were disappointing from the start last season. Disregarding the results, new quarterback Kirk Cousins didn’t prove to be good enough for Minnesota. The Vikings did an excellent job if filling in patches and rebuilding their defense with the likes of Cline in the off-season, but as to how well the offense will perform this season is like flipping a coin. QB Kyle Sloter may try to make a case for himself ahead of Cousins, but the Vikings have also improved their running game with the likes of Abdullah, Benwikere and Mattinson. With all that being said, however, can Cousins return to form a make a feared Vikings’ offense again?

Prediction: 8-8

Detroit Lions

Last season’s record: 6-10

Postseason result: Let me know when this changes.

Off-season acquisitions:

Signed:

  • WR Danny Amendola (Miami Dolphins)
  • OL Oday Aboushi (Arizona Cardinals)
  • S Andrew Adams (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  • CB Justin Coleman (Seattle Seahawks)
  • DE Trey Flowers (New England Patriots)
  • TE Jesse James (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • WR Tommylee Lewis (New Orleans Saints)
  • TE Logan Thomas (Buffalo Bills)
  • CB Rashaan Melvin (Raiders)

Drafted:

  • TE T.J. Hockinson (Iowa)
  • DE Austin Bryant (Clemson)
  • Amani Oruwariye (Penn State)

Off-season departures:

Released S Glover Quin, WR Bruce Ellington, LB Nicholas Grigsby, WR Brandon Reilly, LB Tre’ Williams, WR Brandon Reilly and C Luke Bowanko cut G T.J. Lang and waived LB Juwon Young, TE Michael Roberts, LB Tre Lamar, DB Andrew Adams, DB Andre Chachere, WR Jordan Lasley, DE Eric Lee, WR Tommylee Lewis, DE Mitchell Loewen, OT Ryan Pope, P Ryan Santoso, G Micah St. Andrew and DB Jamar Summers.

The big question:

Coach Matt Patricia is being given a second chance, but that still doesn’t guarantee stability. Even if he doesn’t take the Lions to the playoffs, he still needs to improve on that 6-10 record, which, unfortunately, in the NFC North, will be very difficult to do. Patricia has improved on last season[‘s performances through his signings, but nothing is guaranteed as to whether they will perform or not. The Lions are yet to win in preseason as well. However, the second half of last season, their defense gave away just an average of three touchdowns, so that could be a bright spot to improve upon. The offense’s effectiveness will be the main focus as the Lions now have a good addition of tight ends and running backs. Can the Lions’ offense improve from last season? 

Prediction: 6-10

Predicted division standings:

  1. Chicago Bears (10-6)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (8-8)
  3. Green Bay Packers (7-9)
  4. Detroit Lions (6-10)

Five NFL teams who could unexpectedly target a first round QB

The Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. What do all these teams have in common? They’ve all been heavily linked to a first round QB in the 2019 NFL Draft. 

The teams mentioned above are the teams we all expect to target a QB in the first round of the upcoming draft, along with a few others such as the Saints, Steelers and Chargers.

While these teams have all been heavily linked to first round QBs, there are several others teams who could surprise us all by selecting a QB in the first round when their time comes. Let’s take a look at five of those teams who could surprise us with their first round selections.

First round QB - Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford” by Mike Morbeck is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

 

1. Detroit Lions

Everyone believes the Lions are set at the QB position, but it actually might be time for them to move on. Since entering the league in 2009, Matthew Stafford has led the Lions to the playoffs three times. In every one of those playoff appearances, the Lions have lost. Stafford is 0-3 in the playoffs.

In addition to only leading the Lions to three playoff appearances, Stafford has led the Lions to a season of 10+ wins just twice (2011 and 2014). Stafford has never led the Lions to a division title. Not one time.

If I were the Lions, I’d seriously consider trading Matthew Stafford and his huge contract away to a team who’s looking for a QB. I’m sure several teams would be takers. It’s obvious the Lions aren’t going anywhere with Stafford under center, and it’s time for them to move on. Holding the No. 8 overall pick, the Lions are in a great position to get one of the draft’s top QBs. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if QB is where they ended up going.

 

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

I know, the Jags just got Nick Foles to be their starting QB, but is he really the answer? Foles was great for the Eagles over the last two seasons, but I’m not sure he’s consistent enough to be a franchise guy.

If you look at his career stats, his QB rating has gone up and down throughout his entire career. He started with an 88.5, but then went to a 79.1. After that, he jumped back up to a 119.2, but then dropped back down to 81.4. He actually dropped again the next season, going down to 69.0.

He went back up to 105.9 in a brief stint with the Chiefs in 2016, but then dropped back down to 79.5 with the Eagles the next season. Last season, Foles was back up to 96.0. However, if his career pattern continues, he won’t have a great season this year. He’s scheduled for a down year.

I’m waiting for Nick Foles to prove me wrong, because I just don’t think he’s a franchise QB. I think he’s an upgrade over Blake Bortles, but I also think the Jaguars should be looking to add a fresh, young talent to be their official franchise guy for years to come. They’re in position to do so in the draft, so keep an eye on them even though nobody thinks they’ll go that way after acquiring Foles.

 

First round QB - Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

3. Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz is the starting QB for this team, no question. Even when Nick Foles was around, the starting job always belonged to Wentz. When he’s healthy, Wentz can play at an MVP level. Had he not been hurt during their Super Bowl year, he likely would have been the league MVP, but him being hurt is the problem.

Wentz has missed time with injuries over the last two seasons. The Eagles are lucky they had Nick Foles as their backup to carry them, but that’s no longer the case. What will they do now if Wentz goes down? Get Nate Sudfield to lead them to the playoffs? I don’t think so.

Without Foles sitting behind Wentz, the Eagles will be in trouble if he goes down. Selecting a QB in the first round may be a steep price for the Eagles to pay for a backup, but if any team knows the value of a backup, it’s the Eagles. Drafting a QB in the first round would give them another capable backup in the event Wentz can’t stay healthy again this season or in the future.

 

4. Minnesota Vikings

Yes, Kirk Cousins is owed a lot of money, but that shouldn’t stop the Vikings from trying to get a QB who can lead them where they want to go. It wasn’t just Cousins’ fault the Vikings missed the playoffs last season, but it was obvious he isn’t the guy they thought they were getting.

Considering the money Cousins is owed, it may be a stretch for the Vikings to target a QB in the first round, but it’s something they should at least think about. It’s not like Cousins is a proven winner in the league. He’s made the playoffs just once as a starting QB, and he lost his only playoff game.

With the No. 18 overall pick, the Vikings likely won’t be getting Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins if they went QB. They probably won’t have Drew Lock available either, but if they feel a future franchise QB is available when they’re on the clock, don’t put drafting a QB past them.

 

First round QB - Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers, Da’Ron Payne” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

5. Green Bay Packers

Ever since the Packers let go of Mike McCarthy, all the talk has been about how this team can rebuild around Aaron Rodgers for another Super Bowl run before he retires. While I do think it’s important the Packers do everything they can to get another title with Rodgers, what if they decided to rebuild for a post Aaron Rodgers world?

Aaron Rodgers is 35, so he’s getting up there in age. It’s no secret he’s been hurt multiple times over the last two seasons. He played in every game last season, but that doesn’t mean he was fully healthy. Packers fans all remember how things went when Rodgers went down two seasons ago. By drafting a QB in the first round, the Packers could avoid that if something happened to Rodgers.

Having two first round picks, the Packers could draft a QB to sit behind Rodgers with one of those. With the other, they could still get a top talent to help their team. Nobody’s talking about the Packers drafting a QB early, but I actually think it’s not that unrealistic. Last time they drafted a first rounder with an already established starter, it turned out pretty well for them.

 

NFL head coaches

Reviewing 2018’s first-year NFL Head Coaches

Before Black Monday arrived, four NFL head coaches had already been fired. Two during the season and two yesterday after Week 17’s concluding games. Today, the Broncos, Bengals, Dolphins and Cardinals (more on them in a moment) joined the Browns, Packers, Jets and Buccaneers in looking for a new head coach.

NFL head coaches
Matt Patricia in 2018” by Louis Briscese is licensed under Public Domain

That means that in 2019 there will be eight teams with new NFL head coaches. That’s a quarter of the league!

For this article, though, we’re going to take a look at how 2018’s seven first-year NFL head coaches fared.

First, a table with the results of those coaches compared to their teams’ records in 2018.

Coach Team 2017 Record Playoffs? 2018 Record Playoffs?
Jon Gruden Raiders 6-10 No 4-12 No
Matt Nagy Bears 5-11 No 12-4 Yes
Matt Patricia Lions 9-7 No 6-10 No
Frank Reich Colts 4-12 No 10-6 Yes
Pat Shurmur Giants 3-13 No 5-11 No
Mike Vrabel Titans 9-7 Yes 9-7 No
Steve Wilks Cardinals 8-8 No 3-13 No

The One-and-Done

After the Cardinals fell five games from 8-8 to 3-13, management decided to move on from Wilks, hired away from the Panthers at the end of last year. While the team plummeted, it wasn’t entirely Wilks’ fault. His general manager, Steve Keim, should’ve been the one to take the fall. The roster Keim handed Wilks was bad from the beginning. After a slow start, Wilks made the wise decision to move on from veteran quarterback Sam Bradford in order to develop rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, the no. 10 pick in the draft last year.

It’s doubtful the Cardinals would’ve finished much better with Bradford playing the entire year (something he’s rarely done), but Wilks’ fate was sealed when Arizona secured the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.

Simply put, Wilks was put into a no-win situation and got a raw deal out of it.

 

The Setbacks

Last year, the Lions moved on from Jim Caldwell after a 9-7 finish that found them just outside the playoffs. General manager Bob Quinn, who had previously worked for New England, hired the Patriots’ defensive coordinator to replace Caldwell and to get the Lions over the hump.

Instead, under Patricia, the Lions regressed, finishing 2018 with a 6-10 record. That put them last in the NFC North. Patricia managed to avoid Caldwell’s fate. That was mainly because he’s Quinn’s choice, whereas Quinn inherited Caldwell from the previous regime. Both Patricia and Quinn will now be under enormous pressure to not only produce a winning record in 2019, but to also make the playoffs.

Every year there seems to be a surprise firing. This year’s is up for debate between Marvin Lewis, who had been with the Bengals for 16 years, and Adam Gase, who just finished his third season with the Dolphins with a 23-25 record and one playoff appearance.

But there was no question as to last year’s surprise. The Titans, after defeating the Chiefs before falling to the Patriots in the playoffs, fired Mike Mularkey after just two full seasons as the head coach. They replaced him with Mike Vrabel.

While Vrabel’s first Titans squad finished with the same record as Mularkey’s last, the difference is stark. The former missed the playoffs, while the latter made it.

Now, I doubt Vrabel will be under the amount of pressure in 2019 that’s surely to face Patricia, yet he’ll face some. After all, he replaced the man who led the Titans to the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 season, was handed a talented roster, and then couldn’t match the results.

 

Nudging Upward

After face-planting in 2017, the Giants hired Pat Shurmur away from the Vikings. He’d been the offensive coordinator there the previous two seasons. In 2017, relying mainly on Case Keenum, Shurmur somehow managed the no. 10 ranked offense in Minnesota. That team would make it to the NFC Championship.

When he got to New York, he inherited two-time Super Bowl winning, but aged, Eli Manning. In the draft, the Giants passed up taking a young quarterback to sit and learn behind Manning, instead opting for start running back Saquon Barkley. They also added left tackle Nate Solder in free agency before signing fan-favorite wide receiver Odell Beckham to an extension.

All told, the Giants improved from 3-13 to 5-11.

Still, the trajectory is right. It will be interesting to see what the Giants do in the draft with the No. 6 pick. It’ll be especially interesting with Oregon’s Justin Herbert, rumored to be the top quarterback in the draft, returning to school. Will the Giants still go with a QB in the first round? If so, who? If not, will they grab one later, hoping for better growth than the likes of Kyle Lauletta?

 

The Implosion

Two years ago, the Oakland Raiders made the playoffs after going 12-4. But with quarterback Derek Carr injured, they fell in the Wild Card round. Last year, after regressing to 6-10, owner Mark Davis fired head coach Jack Del Rio in favor of hiring Jon Gruden, who hadn’t coached in a decade.

Gruden started off things by trading the team’s best player, Khalil Mack, to the Bears. Later, during the season, he traded wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Cowboys. After that, with the team faltering, Davis fired general manager Reggie McKenzie.

The Raiders did not look good, and maybe that was the point, as Davis and Gruden (and now new general manager, Mike Mayock) prepare for a future in Sin City. It looks like the Raiders’ power brokers are taking a page out of the Rams’ recent playbook. Burn it to the ground in the old city before rising from the ashes as a contender in the new one.

Easier said than done.

But, hey: Gruden has nine years left on his deal. So he’s got the time.

 

The Playoff NFL Head Coaches

Hat tips to both Frank Reich of the Colts and Matt Nagy of the Bears. These two were the best first year NFL head coaches. Both took over abysmal squads and turned them into playoff teams. Heck, Nagy’s Bears even won the NFC North.

Both of these coaches overcame some adversity to get where they are. Let’s start in Chicago.

The Bears last made the playoffs during the 2010 season under Lovie Smith. That was three NFL head coaches ago. Between 2011-2017, Chicago finished above .500 only once. In the 2017 NFL Draft, general manager Ryan Pace selected the draft’s first quarterback. And it wasn’t Patrick Mahomes II (who went No. 10) or Deshaun Watson (who went No. 12). Instead, with the No. 3 pick, Pace selected North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, a one-year starter for the Tar Heels.

After a 5-11 2017 under John Fox in which the offense was 29th in points and 30th in yards, that pick looked to a bust. But under Nagy, the former Chiefs offensive coordinator, Trubisky turned it around. Of course, he was aided by several key offensive weapons. The Bear’s defense, a top-10 unit last year, also helped. They finished No. 1 in points and No. 3 in yards.

The situation in which Reich found himself was just bizarre. He won a Super Bowl ring as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator last year, and only landed the Colts job because Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels pulled out in the 11th hour. Reich then found himself stuck with several key staff members hired to work with McDaniels.

Yet, somehow Reich made it work. That “somehow” is mainly the Comeback Player of the Year favorite, quarterback Andrew Luck. With Lucks’ return and the shrewd drafting of guard Quentin Nelson, the Colts’ offense improved from No. 30 in points and No. 31 in yards to No. 5 in points and No. 7 in yards.

Not to be overlooked, the revamped defense also improved. They went from No. 30 in both points and yards allowed to No. 10 in points and No. 11 in yards.

While the Colts didn’t win the AFC South, the six-game improvement, topped off with a victory in last night’s win-or-go-home game against division rival Tennessee, gets the Colts back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

Expect Nagy and Reich to receive plenty of deserved consideration as the best NFL head coaches this season. They’ll be in the Coach of the Year running.

They’ve also set the bar for whoever lands one of the eight current openings for NFL head coaches for the 2019 season.

Week 12 NFL picks

Week 12.jpg.png
Source: https://www.norebbo.com/?s=nfl

Last Week’s Prediction Records:

Aman: 8-5

Cullen: 8-5

Mickayeen: 9-4

Rahim: 3-10

Joel: 7-6

Adam: 8-5

Kevin: 7-6

Josh: 7-6

Dan: 4-9

Christan: 8-5

 

Overall Prediction Records:

Aman: 88-56-1

Cullen: 99-45-1

Mickayeen: 87-57-1

Rahim: 82-62-1

Joel: 90-54-1

Adam: 94-50-1

Kevin: 45-23 (Started Week 7)

Josh: 24-16 (Started Week 9)

Dan: 21-19 (Started Week 9)

Christan: 8-5 (Started Week 11)

It honestly wasn’t that great of a week for us last week, so hopefully Week 12 will be better. Our leader remains Cullen after Week 12. Adam is the top challenger to Cullen’s top spot. Will he be able to catch up this week? Don’t forget about the rest of us either. Anything can happen! Let’s see who we’ve all picked for every Week 12 game!

 

 

Bears vs Lions (Thursday)

Predictions

Aman: Bears

Cullen: Lions

Mickayeen: Bears

Rahim: Lions

Joel: Bears

Adam: Bears

Kevin: Bears

Josh: Bears

Dan: Bears

Christan: Bears

The Lions currently have the 20th ranked offense in points per game (22.2). This week they’ll have a tough time against the fourth ranked defense in points allowed per game (19.5). The Bears are coming off a week in which they established themselves as the top team in the NFC North. Look for their defense to take control of Stafford and the Lions.

Although the Bears’ defense is expected to take care of the Lions, they’re coming off an upset victory over the Panthers. It will be much tougher for them to pull off an upset over the Bears, but this is a division game. Don’t count them out.

 

 

Redskins vs Cowboys (Thursday)

Predictions

Aman: Cowboys

Cullen: Cowboys

Mickayeen: Cowboys

Rahim: Cowboys

Joel: Cowboys

Adam: Cowboys

Kevin: Redskins

Josh: Cowboys

Dan: Cowboys

Christan: Cowboys

This game is for the NFC East division lead! Last time these two teams faced each other, Dallas missed a kick to tie the game, giving the Redskins the victory. This time around, Washington will be without QB Alex Smith due to an unfortunate injury. How will the Redskins deal with his loss?

What may be more important, is how the Dallas offense will deal with the defense of the Redskins. Last time the Redskins defense got the best of Dallas, but over the last two weeks, Dallas has looked different offensively. They’ve responded in the biggest moments. This game is bigger than any moment they’ve faced, because if they win, they become division leaders. How will they deal with pressure?

 

 

Falcons vs Saints (Thursday)

Predictions

Aman: Saints

Cullen: Saints

Mickayeen: Saints

Rahim: Falcons

Joel: Saints

Adam: Saints

Kevin: Saints

Josh: Saints

Dan: Saints

Christan: Saints

Anytime you get to watch a game between the Falcons and Saints, you should get excited! Although the Falcons are coming off a game in which they failed to outduel the offense of the Dallas Cowboys, their offensive potential is waiting to come out against the Saints.

In their previous meeting, the Saints won, but the Falcons took them to OT. This may not be another OT game, but expect the Saints to at least be challenged by their division rivals looking to knock them off.

 

 

Giants vs Eagles

Predictions

Aman: Eagles

Cullen: Eagles

Mickayeen: Eagles

Rahim: Eagles

Joel: Eagles

Adam: Eagles

Kevin: Eagles

Josh: Giants

Dan: Eagles

Christan: Eagles

This game is a must win for the Philadelphia Eagles if they want any chance of winning the division. At 4-6, they’re not out of it yet. If Dallas beats the Redskins, they’ll both be 6-5. Dallas plays the Saints the week after, which will likely drop them to 6-6. The Redskins could have a tough time without Alex Smith, which makes the next couple of games very important for the Eagles. If they win the next two games, they’ll be right back in the thick of things in the NFC East.

For the Giants, this game is about playing spoiler to the Eagles and gaining momentum after winning two in a row. The Eagles are better than the two teams they’ve beat in the last two weeks, but their momentum may carry them.

 

 

Jaguars vs Bills

Predictions

Aman: Bills

Cullen: Jaguars

Mickayeen: Jaguars

Rahim: Jaguars

Joel: Jaguars

Adam: Jaguars

Kevin: Jaguars

Josh: Jaguars

Dan: Bills

Christan: Jaguars

In the Bills’ last game, they put a beat down on the Jets, beating them 41-10. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect that from them again this week. The Jaguars’ played much better last week despite giving up the lead at the end. They put pressure on Ben Roethlisberger and forced him to make a lot of bad throws. There’s a good chance they’ll do the same thing against rookie QB Josh Allen, who is making his return from injury.

 

 

Seahawks vs Panthers

Predictions

Aman: Seahawks

Cullen: Seahawks

Mickayeen: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Adam: Panthers

Kevin: Panthers

Josh: Seahawks

Dan: Panthers

Christan: Panthers

This game could be one of those that goes back and forth. Seattle is feeling confident after their win over the Packers last week. Russell Wilson continues to carry them and perform when they need him most.

On the other side, there’s Cam Newton and the Panthers, who have lost two straight games. It could be tough for them against this Seattle defense, but they’ll be hungry for a win. They need this one to stay ahead in the Wild Card race.

 

 

Raiders vs Ravens

Predictions

Aman: Ravens

Cullen: Ravens

Mickayeen: Ravens

Rahim: Ravens

Joel: Ravens

Adam: Ravens

Kevin: Ravens

Josh: Ravens

Dan: Ravens

Christan: Ravens

Lamar Jackson is likely getting the start against the Raiders this week. How will he follow up his 117 rushing yard performance? Last week he was able to lead the Ravens to a win over the Bengals. Can he lead the Ravens to a win over the lowly Raiders, who just failed to out tank the Cardinals?

Baltimore’s defense leads the NFL in points allowed per game, giving up an average of just 18.1 points. If they’re that tough against the Raiders, expect Jackson to have the ball a lot. Could we see another 100-yard rushing performance from him?

 

 

49ers vs Buccaneers

Predictions

Aman: Buccaneers

Cullen: Buccaneers

Mickayeen: Buccaneers

Rahim: Buccaneers

Joel: 49ers

Adam: Buccaneers

Kevin: 49ers

Josh: Buccaneers

Dan: Buccaneers

Christan: Buccaneers

Here’s what scares me about the Buccaneers: They can’t choose who they want at QB. How many times now have they made the switch from Jameis Winston to Ryan Fitzpatrick and back? Too many to count. There’s no stability there. Despite that, the Bucs seem to put up a decent amount of points most games.

Their biggest problem is their defense, who ranks dead last in the league by allowing an average of 32.9 points per game. The 49ers aren’t a great offensive team, but they should be able to score some points on this Tampa Bay defense.

 

 

Browns vs Bengals

Predictions

Aman: Bengals

Cullen: Browns

Mickayeen: Browns

Rahim: Bengals

Joel: Browns

Adam: Bengals

Kevin: Bengals

Josh: Browns

Dan: Bengals

Christan: Bengals

Is Baker Mayfield still feeling dangerous? The Browns were impressive in their last game, but will they carry that over to this game against their division rivals? The Bengals have faltered recently after a strong start. I think they’re still trying to recover from the beating they took from the Saints.

Fellow rookie QB Lamar Jackson just rushed his way to a win over the Bengals. If the Browns are smart, they’d try to do something similar with Mayfield and Chubb. Mayfield is nowhere near the rusher Jackson is, but he’s a capable rusher. They could try to take a page out of Jackson’s book, just with a better passer under center.

 

Patriots vs Jets

Predictions

Aman: Patriots

Cullen: Patriots

Mickayeen: Patriots

Rahim: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Adam: Patriots

Kevin: Patriots

Josh: Patriots

Dan: Patriots

Christan: Patriots

The Jets are at the bottom of the bowl right now after getting beat 41-10 by the Bills in their last game. Do we really expect them to beat the Patriots? No. It’s even less likely after the Patriots lost their last game. They’ll be hungry to get back on the winning side of things.

 

 

Cardinals vs Chargers

Predictions

Aman: Chargers

Cullen: Chargers

Mickayeen: Chargers

Rahim: Chargers

Joel: Chargers

Adam: Chargers

Kevin: Chargers

Josh: Chargers

Dan: Chargers

Christan: Chargers

Both teams are coming of games in which their opponents hit game winning FGs. Which team will rebound? It looks like the Chargers are the clear favorite in this game, which makes sense. Philip Rivers is having a great season, and now he’s matched up against Josh Rosen, a struggling rookie QB.

The Chargers are deeper pretty much all around than the Cardinals. After getting knocked off last week, the Chargers need this win if they want any chance at winning their division. The Cardinals are a tank job, so I don’t see them beating the Chargers in this one.

 

Steelers vs Broncos

Predictions

Aman: Steelers

Cullen: Steelers

Mickayeen: Broncos

Rahim: Broncos

Joel: Steelers

Adam: Broncos

Kevin: Steelers

Josh: Steelers

Dan: Steelers

Christan: Steelers

Jacksonville picked off Big Ben three times last week, which led to a 16-0 lead. Unfortunately, they couldn’t hold on to that lead and lost 20-16. Roethlisberger stepped up when the game mattered most.

Can the Broncos defense try to duplicate what the Jaguars did to Ben Roethlisberger? If they can, can they sustain that level of play throughout the whole game? The Steelers have so many weapons on offense, it will be hard to cover them all game long. Don’t expect the Steelers to have as poor of an offensive showing as they had a week ago.

 

Dolphins vs Colts

Predictions

Aman: Colts

Cullen: Colts

Mickayeen: Colts

Rahim: Colts

Joel: Colts

Adam: Colts

Kevin: Colts

Josh: Colts

Dan: Colts

Christan: Colts

Andrew Luck is on fire right now! Over the last four games, Luck has completed 74.2% of his passes for 977 yards, 13 TDs. He’s only thrown one INT in that same time frame. If the Colts want a shot at making the playoffs, they’ll be relying on Luck to carry them there. Will he continue to stay hot against the Dolphins? I’ll believe it!

 

 

Packers vs Vikings (Sunday Night)

Predictions

Aman: Packers

Cullen: Packers

Mickayeen: Packers

Rahim: Packers

Joel: Vikings

Adam: Vikings

Kevin: Packers

Josh: Packers

Dan: Vikings

Christan: Packers

Last time these two teams faced off was back in Week Two. The result of that game was a tie. I doubt we’ll be seeing that again, although this could be a back and forth game. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers need this win to get back into the playoff hunt, while the Vikings need it to stay close to the Bears in the NFC North.

Both teams are different this time around. Green Bay seems to have found a running with RB Aaron Jones, while the Vikings have been playing much better defensively. This one should be exciting!

 

 

Titans vs Texans (Monday Night)

Predictions

Aman: Texans

Cullen: Titans

Mickayeen: Texans

Rahim: Texans

Joel: Texans

Adam: Titans

Kevin: Texans

Josh: Texans

Dan: Texans

Christan: Texans

Last time these two AFC South division rivals faced off was back in Week Two. The Titans won that game 20-17. That was part of the Texans’ 0-3 start, but since then they’re 7-0. This is a different Texans team in Week 12.

After getting injured in last week’s big loss to the Colts, who knows if Marcus Mariota will be good to go? If he does play, he won’t be at full strength. This Titans team has been inconsistent this season. Which version of the Titans will the Texans get? The Titans who beat the Patriots 34-10 or the Titans who lost to the Colts 38-10?

Week 4 NFL Picks

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

By Joel Deering and the Fourth Quarter Sports Staff

 

Last Week’s Prediction Records:

Aman: 7-9

Cullen: 10-6

Mickayeen: 9-7

Rahim: 9-7

Joel: 6-10

Adam: 7-9

 

Overall Prediction Records:

Aman: 14-17-1

Cullen: 20-11-1

Mickayeen: 16-15-1

Rahim: 15-16-1

Joel: 14-17-1

Adam: 18-13-1

Last week was another great week for NFL football. We saw a lot of surprise upsets, mixed with a lot of what we all expected. It was a better week for some of us in Week 3 than for others. Above are our prediction records for Week 3, along with our overall records. Adam had the lead after Week 2, but now Cullen is the man to beat. We’ll see if anyone can catch up or take him down this week. So let’s see who we all have winning each Week 4 game!

 

 

Vikings vs Rams (Thursday)

Predictions

Aman: Rams

Cullen: Vikings

Mickayeen: Rams

Rahim: Rams

Joel: Vikings

Adam: Vikings

Minnesota got wrecked by the Bills last week, but it didn’t make half of us lose confidence in them against the NFL’s best team right now. Here’s one reason why: The Rams are missing Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. Their two top corners are out. Peters still has a chance to play, but even if he does, he won’t be at full strength. With Peters and Talib out, who’s going to cover Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and company? Todd Gurley and Jared Goff better keep the offense moving if they’re going keep the Minnesota offense off the field. Despite what we saw last week, this Vikings defense is tough. If anyone can get through it though, it’s Todd Gurley. I suspect the Vikings will be focused on Gurley, much like everyone is, so Jared Goff will need to make some key plays to win this game.

 

Texans vs Colts

Predictions

Aman: Texans

Cullen: Texans

Mickayeen: Texans

Rahim: Texans

Joel: Colts

Adam: Texans

Houston continues to fall short of victories and has now started 0-3. This game becomes a must win for them. Most of our staff believes they’ll come through this week against the Colts. I’m the only one who’s choosing the Colts to win. Indy is 1-2 this year, which isn’t great, but they’ve been better than expected in my mind. They came close to beating the Eagles last week. Aside from Week 1, their defense has actually been pretty good. The offense needs to be better though. The key for the Texans to win continues to be protecting QB Deshaun Watson. He hasn’t played great football this year, but his offensive line isn’t helping him. They’ve given up 10 sacks, which is 8th most in the league. The Colts’ defense has 10 sacks, which is tied for 4th. Which line will win this division battle in Week 4?

 

Bills vs Packers

Predictions

Aman: Bills

Cullen: Packers

Mickayeen: Packers

Rahim: Packers

Joel: Packers

Adam: Packers

Does anyone believe the Bills are for real after the beat down they put on the Vikings last week? Aman is the only one of us picking the Bills to beat the Packers. I don’t know about the rest of our writers, but for me at least, I’m taking Aaron Rodgers over Josh Allen any day. Even an injured Aaron Rodgers. Josh Allen will have his good games, but he’ll also have his bad ones. I just can’t see him outperforming the best QB in the league. If the Bills win this week, the NFL might start taking them seriously. Will that motivation be enough to carry them to another big win in Week 4?

 

Buccaneers vs Bears

Predictions

Aman: Bears

Cullen: Bears

Mickayeen: Bears

Rahim: Buccaneers

Joel: Buccaneers

Adam: Buccaneers

How will FitzMagic do against this Chicago defense? Or will we see FitzTragic again? This game will likely come down to whichever defense can disrupt the opposing offense more. If you think about last week’s game against the Steelers, they had 30 points on the Bucs at halftime. Guess how many points they had at the end of the game. Yeah, 30. They didn’t score at all in the second half. The main reason why they scored in the first half is because their defense got 3 INTs and put the offense in a good position. This Tampa Bay defense can be nasty, but so can the Chicago defense. Khalil Mack has been a force this year, being a thorn in everyone’s side. If FitzTragic is going to happen again, Mack will likely be the reason. Which defense wins in Week 4? Will it be the Bears against Fitzpatrick, or the Bucs against a young Mitch Trubisky?

 

Dolphins vs Patriots

Predictions

Aman: Dolphins

Cullen: Patriots

Mickayeen: Patriots

Rahim: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Adam: Patriots

It’s time to find out if the Dolphins are real and if the Patriots are not. Miami has started off very well this year, going 3-0, which pretty much nobody expected. The thing is, those three wins have come against the Titans, Jets and Raiders. Not really the most convincing 3-0 start. New England has started off 1-2, which is not like them at all. Even though they don’t have a winning record right now, the Dolphins getting a win over them would give us all a lot more confidence in their good start. I think most of us would like to see the Dolphins win and move the Patriots to 1-3, but all of us except Aman picked the Patriots to overcome their early season struggles and get a much needed win over their division rival.

 

Cowboys vs Lions

Predictions

Aman: Lions

Cullen: Lions

Mickayeen: Lions

Rahim: Lions

Joel: Lions

Adam: Cowboys

With a win over the Patriots last week, the Lions are being looked at differently now. Matthew Stafford and the offense put up 26 on the Patriots while holding them to 10 points. If they can hold the Patriots to 10 points, they can probably shut out the Dallas Cowboys. I’m a Cowboys fan, so if I’m saying the Cowboys could be shut out, you know it’s bad. I thought there was hope for Dallas after scoring 20 points on the Giants, but much like in Week 1, they decided to make stupid play calls and do nothing on offense until the fourth quarter against Seattle. By that time it was too late. Jason Garrett has said there won’t be any changes offensively, so I’m thinking the Cowboys probably won’t score until it’s too late to come back, if they score at all.

 

Bengals vs Falcons

Predictions

Aman: Falcons

Cullen: Falcons

Mickayeen: Falcons

Rahim: Falcons

Joel: Falcons

Adam: Falcons

Atlanta seems to have figured out their offensive woes. Even though they lost last week to the Saints, they still scored 37 points. Calvin Ridley stepped up big last week, and Julio Jones is always going to be a threat. The Bengals seemed to take a step back last week against the Panthers. Their offense didn’t perform well against a tough Carolina defense. Here’s what’s interesting about this game. The Falcons’ defense is banged up. Can the Bengals take advantage of that and attack their weak spots enough? If they don’t, and the Falcons offense continues to score in bunches, this game could get away from the Bengals quickly.

 

Jets vs Jaguars

Predictions

Aman: Jaguars

Cullen: Jaguars

Mickayeen: Jaguars

Rahim: Jaguars

Joel: Jaguars

Adam: Jaguars

All of us picked the Jaguars to beat the Titans last week, which didn’t go in our favor after a 9-6 victory by the Titans. We’ve all picked the Jaguars again this week. Here’s to hoping it works out better this time. Sam Darnold has shown promise at times, but he’s also shown us he’s still a rookie. One of his biggest problems in college was giving the ball away, which is exactly what he did at the end of last week’s game against the Browns. Jacksonville needs to get after Darnold and force him into bad throws. We’re all pretty confident they can do that.

 

Eagles vs Titans

Predictions

Aman: Eagles

Cullen: Eagles

Mickayeen: Eagles

Rahim: Eagles

Joel: Eagles

Adam: Eagles

None of us have picked the Titans to win so far, but they keep finding ways to squeeze out victories. They pulled off a victory against a tough Jaguars defense last week, but can they do it again against the Eagles? The Eagles’ offense should get better and better the more Carson Wentz plays. He played decent last week, and that should be enough to get them past the Titans this week. We can’t see the Eagles scoring only 6 points, so the Titans offense will have to do more if they’re going to win this one.

 

Browns vs Raiders

Predictions

Aman: Browns

Cullen: Raiders

Mickayeen: Browns

Rahim: Raiders

Joel: Browns

Adam: Browns

If the Browns were excited about getting their first win in 635 days, imagine how excited they’ll be if they get two wins in a row! This is a great opportunity for them to do so. Baker Mayfield entered last week’s game and played great football. He was exactly what the Browns needed. This Browns team has been tough all year, even though they’ve only got one win. They tied the Steelers and almost beat the Saints. The defense is doing their part to keep them in games. If Mayfield can play another great game and the defense continues to play well, the Raiders could be looking at 0-4. For Jon Gruden, this game has to be won. He has a veteran QB and veteran playmakers. They’ve been in games, but they can’t win them. Can they finally play a complete game in Week 4?

 

Seahawks vs Cardinals

Predictions

Aman: Seahawks

Cullen: Seahawks

Mickayeen: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Adam: Seahawks

The Cardinals looked decent for a little while last week, but then Sam Bradford was terrible and was replaced by rookie QB Josh Rosen. Rosen wasn’t great either, as he threw an INT late in the game which sealed their loss. This week Rosen has been named the starting QB. How will he perform against a still surprisingly tough Seattle defense? We’re all taking Russell Wilson to make more plays than Rosen in this one.

 

Saints vs Giants

Predictions

Aman: Saints

Cullen: Saints

Mickayeen: Saints

Rahim: Saints

Joel: Saints

Adam: Saints

If the Saints score 40+ points again, the Giants aren’t winning this game. Even though they have Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley, the Giants offense hasn’t been great this year. They’re nowhere near as good as the Saints. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas are a much better combination right now than what the Giants have. The Saints have given up a lot of points defensively, but they’re still not bad enough to give up that many points to the Giants. Are they? We sure hope not, but if they do, we have confidence in Drew Brees and the offense.

 

49ers vs Chargers

Predictions

Aman: Chargers

Cullen: Chargers

Mickayeen: Chargers

Rahim: Chargers

Joel: Chargers

Adam: Chargers

No more Jimmy G for the 49ers this year. The starting QB spot goes to CJ Beathard now. With Beathard at QB last season, the 49ers weren’t good. They haven’t been great already this year with Jimmy Garoppolo, but now their hopes of a playoff appearance have pretty much vanished. The Chargers have had a tough schedule so far, having to play the Rams and Chiefs in two of their first three games. This game looks to be a game they can easily win, as long as they don’t make dumb mistakes to keep setting them back like they’ve been known to do.

 

Ravens vs Steelers (Sunday Night)

Predictions

Aman: Steelers

Cullen: Steelers

Mickayeen: Steelers

Rahim: Steelers

Joel: Steelers

Adam: Ravens

Ben Roethlisberger has been relied on to carry this team so far this season. Now that can either go really well or very poorly. Ben can throw the ball all over the field. He has a lot of weapons who can make plays for him. The problem is when he tries to do too much. He threw an INT against the Buccaneers trying to do exactly that. He tried to do too much on the play, throwing the ball to a bad spot, which was then picked off. There’s the key for the Ravens in this one. Make Roethlisberger try to do too much. Make him uncomfortable. The Browns did it to him in Week 1, forcing him to throw 3 INTs. The Chiefs didn’t do it in Week 2, which led to 37 points by the Steelers. Good thing Mahomes threw 6 TD passes. The Buccaneers did it, but not soon enough. How much pressure can the Ravens put on Big Ben in Week 4?

 

Chiefs vs Broncos (Monday Night)

Predictions

Aman: Chiefs

Cullen: Chiefs

Mickayeen: Broncos

Rahim: Broncos

Joel: Chiefs

Adam: Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes continues to light up the NFL. He’s thrown 13 TD passes in the first three games, which is most in NFL history. Can he keep up this pace? You’d think it’d have to slow down sometime right? If you read yesterday’s Buy or Sell article by Cullen, RahimAli, and Mickayeen, you’ll notice they talked about this very thing. Both Cullen and RahimAli were selling the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. They also believed a game would come where the Chiefs offense would slow down and they’d have to rely on their defense to win. Will it be this week? Division games are always tough, but it’s even tougher when they’re against Von Miller and the Broncos. Can Denver slow down Mahomes in Week 4?

 

What You May Have Missed This Weekend In Sports

Josh Allen
Josh Allen” by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By Joel Deering and RahimAli Merchant

As we continue to go throughout the 2018 sports seasons, history continues to be made. What history was made this past weekend you ask? No worries, we’ve got covered in our weekly segment of “What You May Have Missed This Weekend in Sports.” Let’s get you all caught up!

 

NFL

Baker Mayfield Leads the Browns to First Victory in 635 Days

This technically didn’t happen over the weekend, but I thought it was important enough to put on this list. After what seemed like endless amounts of losses, the Cleveland Browns finally won a game on Thursday night. Tyrod Taylor got off to a bad start. Then he got injured, which led to rookie QB Baker Mayfield entering the game. Mayfield played like the number one overall pick in the draft and led his team to their first win in 635 days!

Bills Dominate Vikings

One of the biggest shockers of the weekend in my opinion. All of our writers picked the Vikings to win this game, but they were terrible. The Bills dominated the entire game, winning 27-6. Rookie QB Josh Allen showed off his potential by scoring 3 total TDs. He even hurdled a defender!

Drew Brees Breaks Brett Favre’s Record

Drew Brees continues to show us why he’s one of the all time great NFL QBs. In a win over the Falcons, Brees broke Brett Favre’s record for career completions (6,300). It would have been a spoiler for Brees if the Saints lost this one, but they were able to pull off the win in OT.

Lions Finally Get A 100 Yard Rusher

70 games. That’s how long the Detroit Lions went without a 100 yard rusher. In their win over the Patriots last night, RB Kerryon Johnson ran for 101 yards, finally giving the Lions a rushing attack they’ve long missed. The last time they had a runner rush for 100 yards was back in 2013 when Reggie Bush did it on Thanksgiving.

Jimmy G Could Be Done For the Season

If it wasn’t bad enough losing to the Chiefs, the 49ers likely lost Jimmy G for the season after he suffered a knee injury. Right now the talk is that it’s an ACL tear, which is never good. After giving Garoppolo a big contract, that’s a devastating loss for this team. Jimmy G is gone, and their playoff hopes along with him.

 

College Football

Scott Frost’s Historically Bad Start

This season already started off bad for Scott Frost and Nebraska, but it only got worse. Frost and the Cornhuskers lost to Michigan 56-10, giving them an 0-3 start. This is the first time since 1945 a Nebraska head coach has started 0-3.

Old Dominion Upsets Virginia Tech

Old Dominion, primarily a basketball school, upset No. 13 Virginia Tech by beating them 49-35. This was Old Dominion’s first-ever win over a Power 5 team. It was the biggest upset (+29) by an FBS team over an ACC opponent in the last 40 seasons.

More Upsets!

Several more unranked teams pulled off upsets over ranked teams this past weekend. Kentucky beat No. 14 Mississippi State, Texas Tech beat No. 15 Oklahoma State, and Purdue (winless before this game) beat No. 23 Boston College. It was quite the weekend for upsets in college football.

Texas Turning Their Season Around

Texas was another unranked team, now formally unranked, to beat a ranked team. They beat No. 17 TCU 31-16. This was Texas’ second win over a ranked team in a row. After starting their season off with a loss, Texas is now winners of three straight and seem to be on the right track.

 

Golf

He’s Back! And He’s Greattttt!
Sunday marked the 80th Tour victory of Tiger Woods’ career. He had a dominant performance and proved that he’s still got it. It was the FedEx Cup at East Lake in Atlanta, Georgia. Woods could’ve won another $10 million bonus if it wasn’t for a clutch closing birdie by Justin Rose. Woods totaled with 11 over par and it’s a great site to see him back to winning. This was Tiger’s first in five years.

 

NBA

Timberwolves Extend KAT

The Minnesota Timberwolves gave their young star, Karl Anthony-Towns, a fat contract extension. KAT got a five-year, $190 million extension from his team. This contract not only means he’s sticking around for a while, but it means Jimmy Butler won’t be around much longer.

Heat and Cavs Pursuing Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler wants out of Minnesota. He wants to go to the Clippers, Nets or Knicks, but he may not get his wish. Two teams who have shown a lot of interest in acquiring Butler are Miami and Cleveland. Cleveland obviously needs a star after losing LeBron James, and Miami always seems to be looking for someone. Where will Butler land?

2018 NFL Predictions: NFC North

38321572036_a1c389db53_o.jpg
Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

By Adam Hatlan

Welcome to the NFC North.

Home of the NFL’s oldest rivalry. In fact, it’s one of the oldest divisions in all of football. Regardless of records, the divisional games are usually hard fought and can go any way. With four very good/elite quarterbacks in the division, it’s clear the division is becoming a pass first division (along with the rest of the league for that matter).

Without further adieu, here is the 2018 preview for the NFC North.

1. Minnesota Vikings

2017 OFFSEASON & REVIEW

Record: 13-3

Postseason Result: The Vikings were one game away from the Super Bowl. After a miracle play got them to the NFC Championship game, the Vikings were favored over the Eagles, but ended up getting wrecked by the eventual Super Bowl champs.

Offseason Acquisitions: 

  • QB Kirk Cousins(Washington)
  • DT Sheldon Richardson(Seahawks)
  • QB Trevor Siemian(Broncos)

Offseason Departures:

  • QB Case Keenum(Broncos)
  • QB Teddy Bridgewater(Jets)
  • QB Sam Bradford(Cardinals)
  • RB Jerick McKinnon(49ers)
  • WR Jarius Wright(Panthers)
2018 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION

Offense: QB Kirk Cousins is the big story line, signing a three-year, $84 million deal (fully guaranteed) to come to Minnesota and replace folk hero Case Keenum. Cousins has thrown for over 4,000 yards in three straight seasons entering 2018, but he has never thrown for 30 TD’s in a season. Expect that to change. WR Stefon Diggs is now a superhero in Minnesota after last season’s “Minneapolis Miracle” in the playoffs. Diggs has done nothing but produce in Minnesota since arriving, and got rewarded this off season with a five-year extension. Adam Thielen continues to develop into a top WR, breaking out last year for a 91-1276-4 stat line. Thielen and Diggs form the best WR duo in the division. Kyle Rudolph had a very “Kyle Rudolph-like” season last year, posting 57-532-8. Rudolph will remain the stalwart that he always has been. Dalvin Cook returns after tearing his ACL in Week 4 last year. Cook was looking like a stud before the injury, and Latavius Murray filled in admirably, rushing for 842 yards and eight TDs. Cook and Murray form a very explosive backfield. Cook could have a breakout season…The offensive line could be a weak spot. Case Keenum was the third-most pressured QB in the NFL last year, and the Vikings did very little to improve the unit, outside of drafting Brian O’Neill in the second round. Hopefully the unit can hold up long enough and give Cousins the time he needs in the pocket. Pat Shurmur leaves as offensive coordinator to become head coach of the Giants. John DeFilippo is in as coordinator and comes from the Eagles, where he was quarterback coach. He’s a young offensive mind and could boost the 23.9 points per game the Vikings averaged in 2017.

Defense: The front four is quite the fearsome foursome and will wreck havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Led by Everson Griffen (13 sacks), the unit adds FA Sheldon Richardson to an already strong unit. This unit will compete with Green Bay for the best front four in the division. Eric Kendricks is an absolute force in the middle, racking up 113 tackles in 2017. Kendricks and Anthony Barr are one of – if not THE – best tandems in the North, and should be again in 2018. Harrison Smith enters his 8th season at safety, and remains one of the soundest in the game at the position. Smith is a true quarterback of the defense, and paired with Andrew Sendejo at safety, form the best safety duo in the North. Xavier Rhodes is a top-level CB and pairs with Trae Waynes to form a duo that rivals the duo from Detroit. Together, Waynes and Rhodes broke up 21 passes, including four picks. The ageless wonder Terence Newman returns for a 16th season at age 39 after posting a quality season in a complementary role last year. Mackensie Alexander and Mike Hughes – who the Vikings drafted 30th overall this year – provide the Vikings secondary with a very high ceiling in terms of depth. Again, you have to load up at secondary when you have to face Aaron Rodgers twice a year.

Bottom Line: The Vikings will have to adjust to a new offensive coordinator, but with Cousins and Co. and an elite defense, the Vikings have a good chance to repeat as North champions in 2018.

Prediction: 13-3

 

2. Green Bay Packers

2017 OFFSEASON & REVIEW

Record: 7-9

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • DE Muhammed Wilkerson(Jets)
  • TE Jimmy Graham(Seahawks)
  • CB Tramon Williams(Cardinals)
  • TE Marcedes Lewis(Jaguars)
  • QB Deshone Kizer(Browns)

Offseason Departures:

  • WR Jordy Nelson(Raiders)
  • S Morgan Burnett(Steelers)
  • CB Damarious Randall(Browns)
2018 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION

Offense: Aaron Rodgers. Need I say more? When Rodgers went down to injury in week six last year, this team stunk. Without Rodgers, the Packers’ ship sinks. Running back is a strength after the Packers invested heavily in the position in the 2017 draft. Jamaal Williams was the leading rusher as a rookie (556 yards) and forms a very good duo with fellow second-year RB Aaron Jones, who was second on the team in rushing (448 yards). Together they form a very nice thunder and lightening-type combo, Jones far more athletic and explosive, Williams a nice bruiser. Longtime fan favorite Jordy Nelson is gone, which upset many fans. WR Davante Adams is becoming an elite receiver with fantastic open field/run-after-the-catch skills. He got a nice extension in the off season and is now the true number one in Green Bay. Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison are the only other receivers on the roster who had more than five catches last year. Equinameous St. Brown, J’Mon Moore, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are rookies vying for roster spots, while new cult hero and fan favorite Jake Kumerow is definitely a name worth keeping an eye on and should make the 53-man roster. Free agent acquisitions Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis pair with Lance Kendricks to form what is probably the LARGEST tight end group in the NFL. Rodgers will love having the lengthy Graham (10 TD in 2017) as a red zone target…The Packers have the best left tackle in the game in David Bakhtiari, which is a good thing when you are blocking Aaron Rodgers’ blind side. Bryan Bulaga remains an injury risk. The interior is decent, but not super athletic…Joe Philbin returns as offensive coordinator. Some of the highest scoring Aaron Rodgers-led teams came when Philbin was offensive coordinator.

Defense: Mike Pettine is the new defensive coordinator after longtime coach Dom Capers was (finally) relieved of his duties. Pettine likes versatility in his players and loves cornerbacks who are physical, which Green Bay should have many players that fit that mold…Defensive line will be the strongest unit of the defense, and might be one of the best in the NFC. Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark and Muhammed Wilkerson will start, while second-year players Dean Lowry and Montravius Adams rotate in. Wilkerson should have a big year, especially playing under only a one-year, prove-it contract…LB Blake Martinez is a tackling machine and is becoming a household name. He had 144 tackles in 2017, tied for first in the NFL. Jake Ryan (81 tackles) is lost for the season with an ACL injury. The Packers drafted Oren Burks to provide depth only for him to get hurt in a preseason game, which prompted them trading for Colts linebacker Antonio Morrison. Health at the position will be worth keeping an eye on…The secondary has been upgraded and could become a very good group. Tramon Williams is back, both as veteran leadership and the fact that he can still play. Second-year pro Kevin King has a very high ceiling, but battled injuries in 2017. The Packers got two of the top corners in the 2018 draft, nabbing Louisville’s Jaire Alexander and Iowa’s Josh Jackson. Jackson led the NCAA in interceptions in 2017 with 8. Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and Kentrell Brice form a decent safety combo, but again, health will be key.

Bottom Line: Another injury to Rodgers will mean another long season for Packer fans.

Prediction: 12-4

 

3. Detroit Lions

2017 Offseason & Review

Record: 9-7

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions: 

  • OLB Devon Kennard(Giants)
  • TE Luke Willson(Seahawks)
  • TE Levine Toilolo(Falcons)
  • DT Sylvester Williams(Titans)
  • QB Matt Cassel(Titans)
  • RB LeGarrette Blount(Eagles)
  • LB Christian Jones(Bears)
  • LB Eli Harold(49ers)

Offseason Departures: 

  • TE Eric Ebron(Colts)
  • DT Haloti Ngata(Eagles)
  • C Travis Swanson(Jets)
  • LB Tahir Whitehead(Raiders)
  • TE Darren Fells(Browns)
  • CB D.J. Hayden(Jaguars)
2018 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION

Offense: Detroit is the second team in the division with a new head coach. Jim Caldwell was fired, and in comes former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Patricia learned under Bill Belichick and brings a winning mentality to the Lions, seeking their first division title since 1993…Matt Stafford had his seventh consecutive 4,000 yard season in 2017, and barring anything unforeseen, will have his eighth straight in 2018. Stafford just needs to learn how to win the “big games”…Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Jr, and T.J. Jones form a very good quartet of receivers. Jones, Jr, and Tate went over 1,000 yards receiving last year. The Lions could realistically have three receivers accomplish the feat in 2018…The running back room is a crowded one, featuring newcomers LeGarrette Blount (FA) and Kerryon Johnson (rookie), and holdovers Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick. Blount should be a good short yardage/goal line threat, while Johnson, Abdullah, and especially Riddick offer pass catching threats out of the backfield…Former first-round TE Eric Ebron is gone after not living up to the hype in Detroit. Enter veteran TE’s Levine Toilolo and Luke Willson as options to bring some life to the position. The 6’8” Toilolo should provide a great redzone/goal line option…Offensive line has been an issue for years in Detroit, but Matt Stafford may have his best to date in 2018. They have to replace departed C Travis Swanson, where Graham Glasgow will step in. They drafted the highest rated college center from 2017 in Frank Ragnow, who will start his career at guard.

Defense: Ziggy Ansah is back via the franchise tag and could have a monster year in his attempt to prove his worth for a big contract. He’s a good pass rusher, but can he stay healthy? He hasn’t played a full season since 2015…Tahir Whitehead is gone at linebacker. The team brought in Christian Jones from division rival Chicago, where he had 90 tackles last year. He’ll team up with newcomer Devon Kennard (FA) and second-year pro Jarrad Davis, who had a nice first season (96 tackles, 2 sacks)…The secondary used to be mediocre for many years, but now may be the strongest unit of the defense. Darius Slay is an elite corner, leading the league with 26 passes defended in 2017. Glover Quin and Quandre Diggs form one of the top safety duos in the NFC (139 combined tackles, 15 passes defended). Youngsters Miles Killebrew and Teez Tabor provide solid depth to the unit…Haloti Ngata is gone, but didn’t provide anything over the last two years anyway. A’Shawn Robinson is a monster (6’4″, 322 LB) in the middle and had a nice rookie season (53 tackles, 0.5 sack), and will now pair-up with FA acquisition Sylvester Williams, who is a monster in his own right (6’2″, 328 LB). The Lions could be a tough team to run against this year, especially with new defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, who has been a defensive line coach for much of his career.

Bottom Line: If Ansah can stay healthy and not shut down due to any contract disputes, the defense could be elite and be key for a winning season. That’s a very big IF.

Prediction: 8-8

 

4. Chicago Bears

2017 Offseason & Review

Record: 5-11

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions: 

  • WR Allen Robinson(Jaguars)
  • TE Trey Burton(Eagles)
  • K Cody Parkey(Dolphins)
  • QB Chase Daniel(Saints)
  • WR Taylor Gabriel(Falcons)

Offseason Departures:

  • LB Pernell McPhee(Washington)
  • WR Markus Wheaton(Eagles)
  • QB Mike Glennon(Cardinals)
  • OL Josh Sitton(Dolphins)
  • LB Christian Jones(Lions)
2018 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION

Offense: Enter new head coach Matt Nagy from Kansas City and new offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich from the University of Oregon. Nagy has worked under Andy Reid as offensive coordinator since 2016, and started calling plays during a five-game stretch in December of 2017, when the Chiefs averaged over 28 points per game. Helfrich and Nagy will give the Bears two great offensive minds with a lot of young, up-and-coming talent…Mitchell Trubisky enters year two, now under the tutelage of a former quarterback in Nagy. With many added weapons, Trubisky WILL break out in 2018…Jordan Howard is the number one running back and is a workhorse, but Tarik Cohen – “The Human Joystick”- will be the running back to watch. Cohen now has an offensive minded coach to fully utilize his talents…WR Allen Robinson enters the picture after tearing his ACL with Jacksonville last year. Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, rookie Anthony Miller, and holdover/unknown Kevin White give Trubisky MANY options at receiver. Add FA acquisition Trey Burton to the mix? Watch out for that Chicago passing offense this year. It will be explosive…Rookie James Daniels is a potential pro-bowler at guard and should replace the departed Josh Sitton. Veterans Kyle Long and Cody Whitehair solidify the interior on what could be one of the better lines in the division.

Defense: Quite possibly the biggest move during the Bears’ offseason was drafting hybrid linebacker Roquan Smith in the first round. Smith adds an absolute alpha male on the defense and a potential all-pro at linebacker. He could get triple-digit tackles and half a dozen sacks in his first year. Smith will be a catalyst for the defense and a fixture for years to come…CB Kyle Fuller got a big contract during the off season, and rightfully so. Fuller is young, and was near the top of the NFL last season with 22 passes defended. In a division with Aaron Rodgers throwing passes, keeping your top corner is a priority…Akiem Hicks is the best player on a weak and young defensive line and had 8.5 sacks in 2017. For the back end of the defense to have any success, the front four have to provide more pass rush in 2018 than they did last season.

Bottom Line: Things are looking up again in Chicago after a few years of mediocrity. 2018 may not be their year, but Nagy and Co. have a good, young base of skill players to build with and will surprise folks this year.

Prediction: 6-10

 

Predicted Division Standings:

  1. Minnesota Vikings(13-3)
  2. Green Bay Packers (12-4)
  3. Detroit Lions (8-8)
  4. Chicago Bears (6-10)