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

2019 NFL Predictons: Playoffs/Awards

Now that we’ve predicted the outcomes of every division, we’ll now take a look at who Aman and I have making the playoffs and how far they’ll go.

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Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 25, 2011″ by Mike Morbeck is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

We’ll provide a round by round breakdown of all the teams who will make the playoffs, working our way to the Super Bowl. You can take a look at all eight of the divisions as we listed the standings. Each division covers the biggest acquisitions and departures for all teams, as well as who we have winning each division. Follow the links to find out more!

NFC West:                                         AFC West:

1. Los Angeles Rams (12-4)           1. Los Angeles Chargers (12-4)

2. Seattle Seahawks (9-7)              2. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)

3. San Francisco 49ers (8-8)         3. Denver Broncos (9-7)

4. Arizona Cardinals (6-10)          4. Oakland Raiders (6-10)

NFC North:                                       AFC North:

1. Chicago Bears (10-6)                  1. Cleveland Browns (10-6)

2. Minnesota Vikings (8-8)            2. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)

3. Green Bay Packers (7-9)            3. Baltimore Ravens (8-8)

4. Detroit Lions (6-10)                    4. Cincinnati Bengals (6-10)

NFC South:                                       AFC South:

1. New Orleans Saints (13-1-2)     1. Houston Texans (11-5)

2. Carolina Panthers (9-7)             2. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7)

3. Atlanta Falcons (8-8)                  3. Tennessee Titans (9-7)

4. Tampa Buccaneers (4-12)         4. Indianapolis Colts (6-10)

NFC East:                                          AFC East:

1. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)        1. New England Patriots (12-4)

2. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)                 2. Buffalo Bills (9-7)

3. Washington Redskins (6-10)    3. New York Jets (7-9)

4. New York Giants (4-12)             4. Miami Dolphins (4-12)

Now that you’ve had a chance to look at all the divisions, it’s time to take a look at which six teams from the NFC and which six from the AFC will make the playoffs.

 

Playoff Picks

Rahim’s Picks:

NFC West: Rams (2)                       AFC West: Chargers (1)

NFC North: Bears (3)                     AFC North: Browns (4)

NFC South: Saints (1)                    AFC South: Texans (3)

NFC East: Eagles (4)                      AFC East: Patriots (2)

Wild Card 1: Seahawks               Wild Card 1: Chiefs

Wild Card 2: Cowboys                 Wild Card 2: Steelers

 

Aman’s Picks:

NFC West: Rams (2)                      AFC West: Chiefs (2)

NFC North: Bears (3)                    AFC North: Ravens (3)

NFC South: Saints (1)                   AFC South: Texans (4)

NFC East: Eagles (4)                     AFC East: Patriots (1)

Wild Card 1: Vikings                   Wild Card 1: Browns

Wild Card 2: Seahawks              Wild Card 2: Jaguars

Breakdown:

Aman and I agree that the Rams, Saints, Bears, Chiefs, Patriots, Texans and Browns (you read that right) will make the playoffs. The Eagles and Seahawks are also two teams we agreed upon to make playoffs, but what about the Chargers and Cowboys?

As of yesterday, the Cowboys and running back Ezekiel Elliott agreed to a new deal. That will boost the Cowboys, helping them become a playoff team again. I believe that despite Elliott, the Cowboys would’ve made the playoffs anyway. However, Aman doesn’t believe so, as he has the Vikings sneaking into the last playoff spot in the NFC. That means teams like the Falcons, Packers and Panthers will miss the playoffs again.

I’m a big believer in the Chargers, as I have them being the top team in the AFC without Gordon all season long. I think this will be a good year for the Chargers, as long as they can manage to stay healthy. Aman doesn’t think the Chargers can repeat from last year, but does have better hopes for the Ravens and QB Lamar Jackson to win their division again.

I say the Browns will edge out the Steelers for a division title, but the Steelers get the last playoff spot in the AFC. Aman is believing in QB Nick Foles to lead the Jaguars to a playoff spot.

Who will get the final two spots? Do the Broncos, Colts, Raiders, Titans, Jets or Bills have a chance? Let us know what you think in the comment section below while we jump into the Wild Card matchups!

 

Wild Card Matchups

Rahim’s Picks:

  • 5. Seahawks over 4. Eagles
  • 5. Chiefs over 4. Browns
  • 3. Bears over 6. Cowboys
  • 3. Texans over 6. Steelers

Aman’s Picks:

  • 4. Eagles over 5. Vikings
  • 5. Browns over 4. Texans
  • 3. Bears over 6. Seahawks
  • 3. Ravens over 6. Jaguars

 

Divisional Round

Rahim’s Picks:

  • 1. Saints over 5. Seahawks
  • 5. Chiefs over 1. Chargers
  • 1. Rams over 3. Bears
  • 2. Patriots over 3. Texans

Aman’s Picks:

  • 1. Saints over 4. Eagles
  • 1. Patriots over 5. Browns
  • 2. Rams over 3. Bears
  • 2. Chiefs over 3. Ravens

Divisional Round Recap:

There will be no Wild Card surprise in this year’s playoffs either. We each had at least one of the No. 5’s to advance, but they will lose to the No.1 teams. Well, at least the Seahawks and Browns will lose. I have the Chiefs as a No. 5 beating the top ranked Chargers to advice to their second straight Conference Championship. In fact, we have all four of the same teams from last year’s Conference Championships in there again, as they continue to dominate the NFL. For the sake of good ratings, we might actually want to see the Browns or the Bears make it this far, but are they both ready for that big moment?

 

Conference Championship

Rahim’s Picks:

  • 2. Rams over 1. Saints
  • 5. Chiefs over 2. Patriots

Aman’s Picks:

  • 1. Saints over 2. Rams
  • 1. Patriots over 2. Chiefs

Conference Recap:

I guess it’s time for me to explain why I have the Chiefs as a No. 5 seed in the AFC playoff standings, but still the AFC representative in the Super Bowl. I think the Chiefs’ offense won’t be as explosive as we saw it last year. Everyone was wowed by what QB Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs did despite all the Kareem Hunt controversy. Mahomes surprised us all, as he threw for 50 touchdowns in a season and earned MVP honors last year, but I don’t think he’ll be able to have the same numbers this season, and the team will lose at least five games.

The thing that sucks is that they will finish with a better record than the Browns and the Texans, but still be a Wild Card team. I think they will thrive off the energy of the fans that cheer for them away from Arrowhead and make it to the Super Bowl.

I also think the Rams will win their second Conference Championship game against the Saints, and this time it won’t be controversial. Aman thinks differently, and that’s what makes this interesting. He has the Patriots going to their fourth straight Super Bowl. I think the Chiefs will beat the Patriots and start a new era. I like who Aman picked for the Super Bowl matchup, because honestly, I wanted to see the Saints and Patriots matchup last year, so let’s see who we both have winning the Super Bowl.

 

Super Bowl LIV

Rahim’s Pick: Los Angeles Rams over Kansas City Chiefs

Aman’s Pick: New Orleans Saints over New England Patriots

Super Bowl Recap:

As you can see, Aman and I both picked the NFC champs to win the Super Bowl, and this is a start of a new era that could see the Patriots championship runs come to an end.

Now let’s see who earns the greatest honor of the season, with awards like Most Valuable Player and Offensive player of the year. Aman and I will share our picks for those awards as we wrap up our predictions and head into the 2019 NFL season.

 

Award Predictions

Most Valuable Player:

Rahim’s Pick: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Aman’s Pick: RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

 

Offensive Player of the Year:

Rahim’s Pick: RB Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Aman’s Pick: QB Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears

 

Defensive Player of the Year:

Rahim’s Pick: DE Bradley Chubb, Denver Broncos

Aman’s Pick: OLB Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears

 

Offensive Rookie of the Year:

Rahim’s Pick: QB Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

Aman’s Pick: WR Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens

 

Defensive Rookie of the Year:

Rahim’s Pick: DE Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers

Aman’s Pick: CB Justin Layne, Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Comeback Player of the Year:

Rahim’s Pick: QB Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

Aman’s Pick: RB Devonte Freeman, Atlanta Falcons

 

Coach of the Year:

Rahim’s Pick: Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

Aman’s Pick: Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints

After agreeing on most of the playoff teams, Aman and I find disagreements on the awards. I like Brees as MVP, simply because he has never won it before. Aman is all in on Kamara this year. He even drafted him on his fantasy team.

I think Barkley will come into the season looking to get the rushing title, but he’ll also be one of the leading receivers on his team. Can Trubisky become Offensive Player of The Year?

How about Defensive Player of The Year? I think Denver’s new defensive scheme will help Chubb lead the league in sacks and QB hits, which will earn him the award. You can’t forget about Mack or Aaron Donald either, though. It’s going to be an interesting season.

When I say interesting, I mean interesting, because this could be a year where we see the No. 1 and No. 2 picks from this year’s draft win the Rookie of the Year award, but Aman doesn’t think so.

How about Comeback Player of The Year? Both Garoppolo and Freeman will be in the running for this award, and it’s honestly going to be good to see these guys back on field.

Can Kitchens lead the Browns to the players and earn himself Coach of the Year honors? A lot of us think the Browns are a favorite to win. If they make playoffs, Kitchens should win this award.

Now that you’ve read our thoughts, let us know yours in the comments below!

2019 NFL Season: Week 1 picks

The 2019 NFL season kicks off tomorrow night! That means it’s time for us to bring back our friendly competition to see who can predict the most games correctly throughout the season. Last season our winner was Cullen Jekel, but he has since moved on and is no longer with us. Now we start our competition over to see who can claim the new title! Let the picks begin!

nfl-week-1
2009 NFL Black Logo” by Michael Tipton is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Packers @ Bears (Thursday night)

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Bears and Packers face off in their first game of the season. It was just last season we saw the division rivals in a Week 1 matchup. The Bears held a 20-0 lead on the Packers with just over four minutes to go in the third quarter. What came next was Aaron Rodgers at his finest. Rodgers led the Packers back to a 24-23 victory. 

Anything can happen when Aaron Rodgers is on the field. However, the Packers have a very different team than they had a season ago. Between coaching and player changes, this is a very different Packers team. Although the Bears made a few changes as well, they feature the NFL’s best defense from a season ago. Can the Packers come together with all their new pieces, or will the Bears’ defense get the best of them?

Predictions

Adam: Bears

Aman: Bears

Dan: Bears

Joel: Bears

Rahim: Bears

 

Chiefs @ Jaguars

After missing the playoffs last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars aim to make it back this year. A win against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs would certainly place them in the playoff conversation early on. This offense should get back to its 2018 form because of a healthy Leonard Fournette. He’ll carry the load for this offense once again, but there are still question marks surrounding the passing game. Nick Foles is an upgrade at quarterback, but their doesn’t seem to be a number one receiver for this offense. If the offense can’t move the ball, they’ll have to rely on their defense, who didn’t get as much credit as they deserved last season. 

Although the Jaguars have one of the best defensive units in the league, they’ll face a tough test against the electrifying offense of the Chiefs. With Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, they’re already hard enough to stop. Now they’ve added Shady McCoy to the mix, as if they weren’t hard enough to stop already. 

Predictions

Adam: Chiefs

Aman: Chiefs

Dan: Chiefs

Joel: Chiefs

Rahim: Chiefs

 

Falcons @ Vikings

The Vikings didn’t get what they were hoping for from quarterback Kirk Cousins last season. Now it’s time for Cousins to step up and prove he was worth the investment. Their offensive line should be better, and running back Dalvin Cook is back and healthy. This adds dynamics they didn’t have a season ago. 

For the Falcons, they’ll be looking to regain their form defensively after suffering many significant injuries on that side of the ball last season. In 2017, they were a top eight defense, but they fell all the way to 25th last season. With a healthy team, can they regain their form defensively. We’re not worried about the offense. 

Predictions

Adam: Falcons

Aman: Vikings

Dan: Vikings

Joel: Vikings

Rahim: Falcons

 

Titans @ Browns

This is probably one of, if not the most anticipated Browns opener in the history of their franchise. Baker Mayfield looks to have a strong second season. They added Odell Beckham Jr. to their group of receivers. Their backfield is absolutely loaded. This defense is led by one of the best pass rushers in the league in Myles Garrett. Is this finally the year the Browns make it back to the playoffs. That’s been the talk all offseason. Now let’s see if they can back it up against the third best defense in the NFL last season. 

We know what the Titans can do on defense, but questions remain about their offense. Can Derrick Henry pick up where he left off? He started off slow last season, but was one of the best runners in the league the second half of the season. They’ll need him to start off fast for this offense to get going. Then there’s Marcus Mariota. Can he finally take the next step? If he can, can he stay healthy long enough to take that step? We’ll see how they look against a Brown defense that should be much improved from a season ago.

Predictions

Adam: Browns

Aman: Browns

Dan: Browns

Joel: Browns

Rahim: Browns

 

Bills @ Jets

With McCoy no longer part of their offense, the Bills will lean more heavily on second year quarterback Josh Allen. Last season, Allen completed just 52.8% of his passes, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns in 12 games. If the Bills really are going to rely on Allen to carry this offense, they’re going to need much more from him than what they got a season ago.

The Jets also have a second year quarterback in Sam Darnold, who will also be relied upon to carry this team. Darnold was better than Allen last season, but not by much. He completed 57.7% of his passes. He did throw more touchdowns than interceptions, but not by much, throwing 17 touchdowns to his 15 picks. Look for the winner of this game to be the team who has the best second year quarterback. Will Allen or Darnold step up?

Predictions

Adam: Bills

Aman: Bills

Dan: Jets

Joel: Jets

Rahim: Bills

 

Ravens @ Dolphins

After trading away some of their best players recently, the Dolphins look to be in perfect tanking form. Maybe they know something we don’t. They do have Ryan FitzMagic as their quarterback, but if this Ravens defense is anything like it was a season ago, there’s a greater chance we’re going to see FitzTragic instead. 

Lamar Jackson looked much improved in the preseason, but now it’s time to really put him to the test. After the Dolphins were second in the league in interceptions last season (21), we know their defense is no slouch. Will we see Jackson simply using his legs to make plays, or will he show us he’s made strides as a passer? This game will be a good first test for Jackson and his receivers.

Predictions

Adam: Ravens

Aman: Ravens

Dan: Ravens

Joel: Ravens

Rahim: Ravens 

 

Redskins @ Eagles

Case Keenum won the starting quarterback job over rookie Dwayne Haskins. How long can he keep it? He has a tough first test against the Philadelphia Eagles, who are looking to regain their title as the NFC East division champs. While how long Keenum can keep his starting job is the question for the Redskins, how long Carson Wentz can stay healthy for the Eagles is a question. We know Carson Wentz can play at a high level when he’s on the field, and we expect him to do so to start the season, but can he be there the entire year? We’ll keep an eye on him as the season goes on.

Although most people are picking the Eagles in this game, we can’t count out the Redskins. This team was leading the division before Alex Smith got hurt last season. With a solid quarterback once again, can the defense carry the load for this team? They look to be one of the best defensive units in the NFL this season.

Predictions

Adam: Eagles

Aman: Eagles

Dan: Eagles

Joel: Eagles

Rahim: Eagles

 

Rams @ Panthers

After their offense was held in check by the Patriots in the Super Bowl, the Rams want to come out and prove they can bounce back. With a healthy Todd Gurley back and a recently paid Jared Goff, expect nothing less than what we saw from the Rams during the regular season last year. This was the second best scoring team in the league last season, and we expect them to be right there once again.

The Rams’ 20th ranked defense from a season ago remains the biggest question, but they have a great chance to get off on the right foot against Cam Newton and the Panthers. The Panthers can be good on offense, but it only seems to happen when Cam Newton is healthy. He’s coming back from an ankle injury during preseason. Will he be 100% come game time? We shall see.

Predictions

Adam: Panthers

Aman: Rams

Dan: Rams

Joel: Rams

Rahim: Rams

 

Colts @ Chargers

Both teams are missing key players heading into this game. Andrew Luck recently retired, leaving the Colts a hole at the quarterback spot. However, the Colts are smart to have Jacoby Brissett as their backup. He’s an experienced guy who may be able to keep this offense afloat. 

On the other hand, the Chargers are missing one of the better running backs in the league in Melvin Gordon. No progress has been made on a new deal, and Gordon will miss games until he gets what he wants. 

Predictions

Adam: Chargers

Aman: Chargers

Dan: Chargers

Joel: Chargers

Rahim: Chargers

 

Bengals @ Seahawks

Bengals star wide receiver A.J. Green isn’t playing in the season opener. It’s unfortunate, because injuries seem to be a very common problem for the Bengals recently. Green is their best player, and without him, can Andy Dalton get this offense going? It’ll be tough to do against a Seattle defense who ranked 11th in the league last season. This defense also added two dynamic pass rushers this offseason in Ezekiel Ansah and Jadeveon Clowney. Can the Bengals hold up along the offensive line long enough to give Dalton time to throw? Oh, and then there’s Russell Wilson, who’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He got paid this offseason, and he’ll continue showing us why this year. 

Predictions

Adam: Seahawks

Aman: Seahawks

Dan: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

 

Giants @ Cowboys

Feed Zeke! The Dallas Cowboys open their season at home against their division rivals. To make it even better, Ezekiel Elliott will be on the field after signing a six-year, $90 million contract to make him the NFL’s highest paid running back. This will also give us our first real look at a Dak Prescott who’s on a mission to prove he’s among the NFL’s best quarterbacks. Don’t forget about this defense. Last season they were the NFL’s sixth best defense, but they want more this year.

For the Giants, the play of Eli Manning will be closely monitored. He’s got rookie quarterback Daniel Jones breathing down his neck for the starting job, so he needs to perform well. Can he do it after the Giants got rid of their best receiver in Odell Beckham Jr.? Manning has Saquon Barkley in the backfield, but his worst performance came against the Cowboys last season. Can Dallas shut him down once again?

Predictions

Adam: Cowboys

Aman: Cowboys

Dan: Cowboys

Joel: Cowboys

Rahim: Cowboys

 

49ers @ Buccaneers

Is this the year the 49ers make their way back to relevance? Jimmy Garoppolo is back and ready to play at a high level. Can this team finally put things together under Kyle Shanahan? We’ll see how it all comes together. 

The 49ers take on a team also wanting to put things together. With Bruce Arians now in Tampa Bay, will this be the year Jameis Winston finally takes the next step and lives up to his draft status? How far this team goes will all be dependent on how Winston progresses under Arians.

Predictions

Adam: 49ers

Aman: Buccaneers

Dan: 49ers

Joel: 49ers

Rahim: Buccaneers

 

Lions @ Cardinals

The debut of the number one overall pick, Kyler Murray, is upon us! We finally get to see how Murray will adjust to the NFL game. He looked good at times during the preseason, but he also had some struggles. Can he put it all together against the Lions, or will it take him more time to get things going?

It’ll also be a challenge for Murray going against veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford. Although the Lions weren’t a great team last season, this will be their second year under Head Coach Matt Patricia. Will another offseason in his system change how this team performs?

Predictions

Adam: Cardinals

Aman: Lions

Dan: Cardinals

Joel: Lions

Rahim: Cardinals

 

Steelers @ Patriots (Sunday night)

The reigning Super Bowl champs take on a Steelers team who has been trying to get past them for several seasons now. However, this Steelers team looks a little different, as now they no longer have Antonio Brown. We finally get to see how things will look with JuJu Smith-Schuster as Big Ben’s number one target, but they’ll need more than him to step up for this passing game to be effective. Who will step up for this offense?

There’s not much to worry about for the Patriots. They no longer have Rob Gronkowski, but we all know the Patriots are the best at using the strengths of the players they do have.

Predictions

Adam: Patriots

Aman: Patriots

Dan: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Rahim: Patriots

 

Texans @ Saints (Monday night)

After starting off the season 0-3 last year, the Houston Texans ended up winning their division and finishing 11-5. This year they’ll look to have a much better start, but it’ll be tough against the New Orleans Saints, especially with the Saints at home. However, the Texans feel like they’ve made some moves that can take them to the next level. Their biggest problem last season was their offensive line, as Deshaun Watson was sacked more than any other quarterback in the league. They’ve recently addressed that problem by trading for Laremy Tunsil. They hope he solidifies their offensive line. If they can fix that problem, they’re in good shape.

For the Saints, this season feels like a revenge tour of sorts. Not against the Texans, but against everyone standing in their way of a Super Bowl title. We all know they should have gone to the Super Bowl last season, but a blown no call stood in their way. This year they don’t care who it is, they plan on lighting them up. It will be a tough start against a Texans defense who ranked fourth in the NFL last season.

Predictions

Adam: Saints

Aman: Saints

Dan: Saints

Joel: Saints

Rahim: Saints

 

Broncos @ Raiders (Monday night)

We’ll finally get to see Antonio Brown take the field with the Oakland Raiders. What will he do to create attention for himself this time? We all know Brown has caused many distractions this offseason. How will that impact the Raiders on the field? I can’t help but think it’s going to cause problems. We’ll see how Brown reacts the first time Derek Carr doesn’t throw him the ball.

The Broncos don’t have an Antonio Brown level distraction, but they do have a new quarterback in Joe Flacco. Can Flacco take this offense to a new level this season? The defense of the Broncos was good last year, but their offense couldn’t do enough to help them out. With a defense that should be one of the best once again, can the offense give them enough help?

Predictions

Adam: Broncos

Aman: Raiders

Dan: Raiders

Joel: Broncos

Rahim: Broncos

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)

NFL Draft review: Green Bay Packers

The 2019 NFL Draft has come and gone. As a die hard fan of the draft, I’m now left with a void until next draft season when I can feel this excitement all over again. Time to start prepping for the 2020 Draft, I guess.

Packers
NFL Draft, Chicago 2016” by swimfinfan from Chicago is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

All kidding aside, let’s talk about the Green Bay Packers. The Packers came in to the draft with 10 picks and left with eight, trading up nine spots in the first round while losing both fourth rounders. On paper – like every team in the NFL likes to believe after making their selections – the Packers added talent. They filled some needs and added some depth. It’s the recipe of a good draft. It now becomes a matter of did they hit on their draft picks, or are these just promising names on paper?

Let’s take a look at the Packers’ draft picks. I’ll give what I like about each pick, what I don’t like about each, and a grade for each pick. Enjoy.

 

ROUND 1, PICK 12

  • Rashan Gary – LB/DL – Michigan – 6-4/277 LB

What I like: Gary is an athletic freak based upon his combine numbers, and the Packers need athleticism on defense. The Packers get a near 280-pound human who can run as fast as many NFL receivers. A Packers scout made an interesting point that in studying film, Gary was double and triple teamed a lot during his time at Michigan, so having better players around him should help alleviate those double teams. The Packers get another pass rusher, and Gary could fill the Julius Peppers role the Packers had a few years back. Gary likely made players around him at Michigan better just by his presence on the field.

What I don’t like: Gary’s lack of production in college. Was it a result of the aforementioned double and triple teams? Maybe. Or maybe he’s just overrated. Also, speculation of a labrum tear in his shoulder. Gary claims he’s fine, but so did Shaq Lawson from the Buffalo Bills before he was selected in the first round of the 2016 draft. Same injury as Gary, and Lawson required surgery just a month after being drafted. Something to monitor. And taking him 12th? I really hope the Packers knew what they were doing here, especially since Clemson DL Christian Wilkins – who I was way higher on than Gary – was taken on the very next pick.

Summary: Where will Gary play? Will he be a stand-up rush linebacker? Or will he play with his hand in the dirt? I am hoping Gary isn’t a “project” for the coaching staff. I’m also hoping the lack of production is a result of seeing a lot of attention from opposing offenses focused on stopping him. All I know is, all this hoping I’m doing is starting to scare me. Prove me wrong, Rashan.

GRADE: D+

 

ROUND 1, PICK 21 (TRADE UP FROM 30)

  • Darnell Savage, Jr. – S – Maryland – 5-11/198 LB

What I like: I’ve been high on Savage during the entire pre-draft process. I mocked him to Green Bay in the 4th round of my first mock, and at pick 30 in my final mock. Savage was flying up boards in the weeks leading up to the draft, separating himself in a weak safety class. Savage is extremely fast and athletic, had seven INTs over the past two seasons, and can play all over the field. HC Matt LaFleur described him as “an eliminator.” He has production and played in a conference known for playing defense.

What I don’t like: There isn’t really a whole lot I don’t like about Savage as a player or the pick itself, but if there was anything, it would be losing both fourth round picks to move up to get him. There’s a chance he would have been there at 30, but sources said the Ravens at pick 22 and the Colts at pick 26 were high on Savage. I can’t really be mad at the selection, since it filled a need and Savage was the highest rated at his position.

Summary: Savage should step in and start immediately. Paired alongside free agent signee Adrian Amos in the secondary, I believe the Packers have solidified their safety position for the next four years.

GRADE: A-

 

ROUND 2, PICK 44

  • Elgton Jenkins – C – Mississippi State – 6-4/310 LB

What I like: Jenkins fills a need for a high-quality offensive lineman in the Packers’ rotation. Jenkins will compete for a starting spot at one of the guard positions and will likely be a starter in week one. Jenkins only allowed 19 QB pressures over the last three seasons and is a paver in the run game. Can play all three interior line positions. A safe and solid pick.

What I don’t like: As a selfish fan, I was hoping for something a little more…sexy. There were some big name skill players still on the board here, and I thought Green Bay would go that route. Not disappointed by the pick, but the selfish part of me wanted something more exciting.

Summary: Elgton (pronounced “Elton”) will be a mainstay on the Green Bay line for the next eight seasons. He played in the highly competitive SEC and didn’t allow many of the high-powered pass rushers in the conference to get to his QB. With Aaron Rodgers under center, Jenkins is exactly the kind of guy you need up front protecting the face of the franchise.

GRADE: B+

 

ROUND 3, PICK 75

  • Jace Sternberger – TE – Texas A&M – 6-4/251 LB

What I like: Sternberger was an All-American at the tight end position last season, putting up a 48-832-10 (17.3 avg) stat line; the production is there. Picking Sternberger in the third gives the Packers a player who doesn’t have the pressure of having to be “the guy” immediately at tight end, where Sternberger can learn behind veterans Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis. He’s a good route runner and should be a very good match-up tight end in LaFleur’s offense. The pick was a perfect union of value and need, as Sternberger was expected to go somewhere in this area of the draft.

What I don’t like: Sternberger needs work on his run blocking, but like I mentioned above, he doesn’t have to step in immediately and can ease into the position. He’s a bit slow, but makes up for it in precise route running. Again, the selfish fan in me would have liked one of the more complete Iowa tight ends, but you can’t get everything you want. I was really hoping Memphis running back Darrell Henderson fell here, but he was swooped up five picks earlier after the Rams traded up to snag him.

Summary: A very solid pick in terms of value and need, Sternberger could have a lengthy career in Green Bay. Green Bay had visited with Sternberger twice pre-draft, so they were obviously pretty high on the kid. If he works on his run blocking, he already has above-average receiving skills and could morph into a top-tier tight end in the NFL.

GRADE: B+

 

ROUND 5, PICK 150

  • Kingsley Keke – DT – Texas A&M – 6-3/288 LB

What I like: Keke provides another big body on the defensive line. Keke led the Aggies with seven sacks in 2018. Projected to go in the third or fourth rounds, getting him midway through the fifth was a great value. Keke – like the two earlier defensive picks – provides the Pack with a highly athletic defensive player. Keke ran a sub-5.00 40 (4.95), which for 288 pounds is pretty dang good. Keke should see snaps early on.

What I don’t like: Keke played defensive tackle at A&M, but looks to transition to end in the NFL. Learning new gap techniques and line positions could slow his growth. Another potential Packer “project.”

Summary: Drafting Keke and Gary likely signals this will be Mike Daniels’ last season in Green Bay, and likely that Muhammed Wilkerson will not be re-signed. Keke, Gary, Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Tyler Lancaster, and Montravious Adams will all be under age 26 after next season, giving the Packers plenty of hope in the defensive trenches for the future.

GRADE: B-

 

ROUND 6, PICK 185

  • Ka’Dar Hollman – CB – Toledo – 6-0/190 LB

What I like: Following a trend for the draft, Hollman is crazy athletic for the CB position. Hollman tore up his pro day, running a 4.39 40 with a 38″ vertical and 6.81 three-cone. The forty time would have been fourth fastest, three-cone would have tied for fifth, and vertical would have been in the top-12. Projected as a fifth rounder, the value is there. I love that Hollman had 27 passes defended in three years as a starter and allowed just a 40% completion rate in 2018. Hollman received no scholarship offers out of high school and worked his way into a sixth round pick. I love a guy who plays with a chip on his shoulder and worked to get where he’s at.

What I don’t like: Two career interceptions. With all the passes defended, it’s surprising he didn’t have more. Also, Hollman will be a 25-year-old rookie. Not that that’s a terrible thing, but most rookies are finishing their first rookie contract at age 25. Also after using first and second round picks on three CBs over the previous two drafts, a bit surprising the Packers added another corner to the already crowded CB room.

Summary: Hollman has a knack for knocking down passes and finding the ball. If he can put together a nice camp over the summer and maybe pick off Aaron Rodgers a few times, his play could spell the end for Tramon Williams. His selection leads me to believe the Packers are looking for a back-up plan to the Kevin King experiment, which could be entering its final season.

GRADE: B 

 

ROUND 6, PICK 194

  • Dexter Williams – RB – Notre Dame – 5-11/212 LB

What I like: Williams has very few “miles” in terms of usage in college, with just 257 carries while at Notre Dame. He averaged 6.4 YPC over four years (6.3 as a senior) and had 22 career rushing touchdowns (12 as a senior). Has good size for the position and provides Green Bay with an above average replacement behind starters Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Plays faster than his 4.57 40 time. Was expected to go higher than sixth round, so getting him here is an extremely good value.

What I don’t like: Has an arrest (2016) and four-game suspension (2018) in his background, a possibly reason for falling to sixth round. Also, his small sample size. He was just a one-year starter, so can he handle a possible larger role in the NFL?

Summary: This may be my favorite pick. The Packers didn’t have a dire need at RB, but getting Williams is a superb value and insurance policy if Jones or Jamaal Williams get hurt. The Packers felt strongly enough to see past his earlier character issues and draft him. If you haven’t heard the story of Williams’ relationship with his ailing mother, take a minute to look that up – it’s one of the better feel-good stories from the draft. Williams should be an impact player for Green Bay when called upon.

Grade: A

 

ROUND 7, PICK 226

  • Ty Summers – LB – TCU – 6-1/241 LB

What I like: The Packers get a solid player to play on special teams and possibly compete for playing time at a thin position. Yet again, Summers is another athletic player drafted for the defense. The production is there too, as Summers had eight sacks over his final two collegiate seasons from the inside linebacker spot with 317 tackles over four years. With Blake Martinez the only sure-fire player in the middle, Summers is a solid need/depth pick. A good value in the seventh, too, as he was projected in the fifth.

What I don’t like: The Packers waiting until the seventh round to address the middle linebacker position. This isn’t a knock on Summers, because we don’t know what he’ll bring, but the Packers haven’t addressed a high pick on the middle in quite some time. I’ve read he’s not great in coverage, so being a liability in that department could limit him to a two-down role to start his career.

Summary: Summers should be an instant special-teamer due to his athleticism. Time will tell, but due to the lack of bodies at the inside position, Summers could get playing time by default. I just hope that doesn’t come back to haunt the Packers should Martinez get hurt and Summers is relegated to a larger role.

Grade: B-

 

Overall summary: 

Defense- One thing was obvious for the Packers in the 2019 draft: get faster and more athletic on the defensive side of the ball. They did just that while also filling valuable needs at safety and the front seven. With Mike Pettine entering his second year running the defense, the pressure to succeed is on as he’s loaded with plenty of young players at his disposal, from this year and previous drafts. The foundation is in place, now let’s see if the results translate.

Offense- The Packers filled two needs with Sternberger and Jenkins and got a luxury pick with Williams. All three were safe and solid, and each provided good value where they were selected. Gutenkunst felt comfortable with the receiver position by not selecting one this year after taking three in last year’s draft. In what is a loaded 2020 receiver class, maybe Gutey is waiting until next year to take one. It’s now on LaFleur to use what the offense already has and get the them back to elite status.

Overall draft grade: B+ After two drafts in the books, Gutekunst has done a very good job making the picks. I like this year’s version better than last, and time will tell which one produces; as Packer fans, hopefully they both do. All-in-all, a very solid 2019 class.

 

 

What you may have missed this weekend: NFL Draft

This was a big weekend for the National Football League, and I want to make sure nobody missed the significant moments of it. That’s why this week we will have two different “What you may have missed” articles. This one is only going to reflect on the NFL draft. There were a lot of moves that shocked us all. Let’s take a look.

“Eli Manning” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

 

How about those trades that impacted the draft?

We already know about the Odell Beckham Jr., Amari Cooper and Antonio Brown trades, but other trades impacted draft picks throughout the weekend.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers received 66th, 141st pick for Antonio Brown. Those picks were WR Deionte Johnson and TE Zach Gentry.
  • Oakland Raiders’ 27th pick (Safety Jonathan Abram) was received from the Amari Cooper trade to the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Oakland Raiders’ 24th pick (RB Josh Jacobs) and 196th pick (trade to New York Jets) were part of the Khalil Mack trade to the Chicago Bears.
  • New York Giants’ 17th pick (DL Dexter Lawrence) and 95th pick (LB Oshane Ximines) were part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade to the Cleveland Browns.
  • Denver Broncos trade for QB Joe Flacco with the Baltimore Ravens for 113th pick (RB Justice Hill).
  • Seattle Seahawks trade EDGE Frank Clark and 84th pick (DT Khalen Saunders) to Kansas City Chiefs for 29th (DE L.J. Collier), 92nd (trade to New York Jets) and 2020 second rounder. Chiefs extended Clark’s contract to 5 years, 105.5 million dollars.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers traded up to 10th (LB Devin Bush) with the Denver Broncos and gave up the 20th (TE Noah Fant), 52nd (trade to Bengals) and 2020 3rd round pick.
  • Denver Broncos traded with Cincinnati Bengals to move up. Broncos received the 42nd pick (QB Drew Lock). Bengals receive No. 52 (TE Drew Sample), No. 125 (DT Renell Wren) and No. 182 (RB Trayveon Williams).
  • The Bengals moved up later to draft QB Ryan Finley with the 104th pick. They traded with the San Francisco 49ers, who received the 110th (P Mitch Wishnowsky) and 183rd (T Justin Skule).
  • After drafting EDGE Rashaan Gary with the 12th pick, the Packers moved up from 30 to 21 and selected DB Darnell Savage. The Seattle Seahawks received multiple picks which they used to trade later on in the draft. Those picks were No. 30 (trade to Giants), No. 114 (trade to Minnesota), No. 118 (trade to New England).
  • That Packers trade sparked several trades late in the first round as the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens swapped picks. The Eagles drafted OT Andre Dillard 22nd overall. The Ravens drafted WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown with the 25th pick. They also received the 127th (CB Iman Marshall) and 197th picks (QB Trace McSorley).
  • The Washington Redskins traded back into the first round after drafting QB Dwayne Haskins 15th overall.  The Redskins received the 26th pick (Edge Montez Sweat) from the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts receive 46th pick (traded to the Browns), and a  2020 second-round pick.
  • The New York Giants also traded back into the first round and selected CB Deandre Baker with the 30th pick. The Seahawks received even more picks, No. 37 (trade to Panthers), No. 132 (S Ugochukwu Amadi), and No. 142 (LB Ben Burr-Kirven).
  • The Atlanta Falcons weren’t done either. After a surprising pick with the 14th overall (OG Chris Lindstrom), they wanted to trade up and draft another surprising OL with the 31st pick (OT Kaleb McGary), they also received the 203rd pick and selected WR Marcus Green. The Los Angeles Rams got a few picks back in return. The 45th (trade to Patriots) and the 79th (DB David Long)
  • After the Jacksonville Jaguars landed EDGE Josh Allen with the 7th overall pick, they were looking to get the guy they wanted all along, and they traded up earlier in the 2nd round. With the 35th pick, the Jaguars got OT Jawaan Taylor (1st round projected). They also added the 140th (Ryquell Armstead) and 235th (DT Dontavius Russell). The Raiders received the 38th, and 109th picks which were later traded.
  • With all the news about QB Cam Newton’s health being in question, the Carolina Panthers look to help protect him.  They did so by trading up in the 2nd round to take OT Greg Little at 37. The Seahawks received the 47th pick (DB Marquise Blair) and 77th (trade to Patriots). The Panthers also drafted QB Will Grier in the 3rd round in late of Newton’s health and maybe ended of a career with Panthers.
  • As part of a big run of drafting offensive linemen, the Buffalo Bills had their eyes on trading up to draft OT Cody Ford with the 38th pick. The Raiders would receive the 40th pick (DB Trayvon Mullen) and 158th (trade to Dallas).
  • The Cleveland Browns had a quiet draft this year after the trade to get WR Odell Beckham Jr. and adding RB Kareem Hunt to the team, but they wanted to get “greedy” and traded up to get CB Greedy Williams with the 46th pick. The Colts received the 49th (LB Ben Banogu) and 144th pick (S Marvell Tell III).
  • The Kansas City Chiefs and LA Rams made a desperation trade as the Chiefs moved up to take WR Mecole Hardman with the 56th after finding out about WR Tyreke Hill’s video that leaked. The Chiefs may be in trouble if Hill is found guilty, but Hardman is a poor man’s Hill, and the two could play off one another if Hill can play. The Rams received the 61st (DB Taylor Rapp) and 167th pick (traded to Philadelphia).
  • The Rams would later trade up to take RB Darrell Henderson with the 70th pick. That is a move that could prove to be valuable with the status of RB Todd Gurley up in the air right now. In return, the Buccaneers received the 94th (DB Jamel Dean) and the 99th picks (S Mike Edwards).
  • After both QB Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones were taken in the top six, Miami passed on QB Dwayne Haskins and drafted DL Christian Wilkins with the 13th overall pick. They also traded for former 1st rounder QB Josh Rosen later in the evening on Thursday to secure their QB spot. The Miami Dolphins received Rosen from the Arizona Cardinals for the 62nd pick (WR Andy Isabella) and 2020 fifth-round pick.

 

Players who fell in the draft?

  • The Washington Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins at 15th and Montez Sweat at 26th. Haskins was a projected top 10 pick with several teams having interest in trading up for him. Sweat’s late injury put a bit of worry on the faces of some teams. But the Redskins saw the opportunity and grab it.
  • One of the top five offensive linemen fell to the second round and drafted by the team that mocked him going. That was Jawaan Taylor and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • One of the top five WRs wasn’t even the top 10th picked in the draft. The Seattle Seahawks traded up into the second round to draft him. That player was D.K. Metcalf, and the Seahawks drafted him in light of whether this may be WR Doug Baldwin’s farewell after battling injuries over the last couple of seasons.
  • OL Cody Ford also dropped out of the first round after being a possibility for the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons who surprised us with other picks.
  • DB Taylor Rapp was likely a late first to an early second rounder, but he fell to the Los Angeles Rams in the late second.
  • WRs Hakeem Butler and A.J. Brown were expected off the board earlier than where they ended up. Both of these could likely be stars in the NFL and their teams right away. The Arizona Cardinals drafted Butler and Brown was drafted by the Tennessee Titans.
  • Let’s also not forget to mention this year’s Mr. Irrelevant, TE Caleb Wilson from UCLA. Wilson was selected as the last pick of the 2019 draft by the Arizona Cardinals.

 

Players who rose in the draft?

  • As certain players fell, others raised, and QB Daniel Jones was the biggest one of them. With the 6th pick in the draft, the New York Giants selected Jones as the potential heir to Eli Manning. Now I saw them drafting Jones at some point in the draft because he has ties to the Manning family, but I didn’t think it would be 6th.
  • The Oakland Raiders selected DL Clelin Ferrell instead of drafting EDGE guys like Josh Allen, Rashaan Gary or even Ed Olivier. Ferrell was also surprised about the pick at 4th overall. The Raiders continued to select players from both Alabama and Clemson for most of the night.
  • The Atlanta Falcons surprised us all by going with OG Chris Lindstrom at 14, but trading back into the first round to take OT Kaleb McGary was a big shock. Although, after listening to an interview by Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, it was the guys they wanted and felt that if they waited too long for McGary in the second or third, he wouldn’t have been able. So let’s see how this one plays out.
  • The Green Bay Packers wanted to be “Savage” on defense and traded up to get DB Darnell Savage in the 1st round. For the sake of the Cheese heads, I hope this pick works out.
  • Also, DL Jeff Simmons, he was drafted by the host city, Tennessee Titans in the first round and he wasn’t on the board as a first rounder. The Titans did make up for it with other picks like A.J. Brown later in the draft, but let’s see how this one works.

 

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What do you think about the NFL draft? How did your team’s draft go? Do you approve? Let us know in the comments!

Seven-round Green Bay Packer mock draft: 2.0

The NFL Draft is less than three weeks away, and I’m continuing my series of seven-round mock drafts focused on the Green Bay Packers.

Green Bay Packers” by Mike Morbeck is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

As I mentioned in my first mock draft, I will be using Matt Miller’s “big board” from Bleacher Report as the overall ranking of the available players. I used the same criteria for the second draft as I did in the first one, so without further adieu, let’s take a look at 2.0.

 

ROUND 1, PICK 12

  • T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
  • Previous pick: Unchanged

With potential pick DT Ed Oliver off the board, Hockenson falls to me at 12 again, and I can’t help but take him here, as he’s the highest-rated remaining player. Great in-line blocker and great receiver, Hockenson is the best all-around tight end in the draft and is a perfect fit in head coach Matt LaFleur’s new offense. I believe if Oliver is available here, GM Brian Gutekunst will have a tough decision.

 

ROUND 1, PICK 30

  • A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
  • Previous pick: Unchanged

Brown at 30 is a steal, as he rising up draft boards. He fits beautifully as Green Bay’s new slot option, as he is a monstrous version of departed receiver Randall Cobb. Brown had a private visit with the Packers at his pro day.

 

ROUND 2, PICK 44

  • Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, FS, Florida
  • Previous pick: Johnathan Abram, S, Miss St

Gardner-Johnson is a better fit for the Packers than Abram, as Gardner-Johnson is a more natural free safety. Gardner-Johnson would start from day 1 alongside newly signed Adrian Amos. Gardner-Johnson is an athletic freak and is a free safety with cornerback traits who had 71 tackles, three sacks, four INTs and two defensive touchdowns for the Gators in 2018.

 

ROUND 3, PICK 75

  • Max Scharping, OT, Northern Illinois
  • Previous pick: Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis

The Packers pick up Green Bay-native Scharping in the third to be the successor to right tackle Bryan Bulaga. Scharping is a behemoth of a man at 6’6″/327 lbs, with college starting experience at both tackle spots. Scharping would instantly bolster the depth of the offensive line and give the Packers an insurance plan for if/when Bulaga gets hurt. Started all 52 possible career collegiate games.

 

ROUND 4, PICK 114

  • Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis
  • Previous pick: Darnell Savage, Jr, S, Maryland

With two fourth round picks within four spots of each other, the Packers have the luxury of selecting an offensive skill player. I had Henderson slotted to the Packers in the third round in my previous mock, but he falls to the fourth here. The explosive Henderson would provide a new dimension to the backfield, while providing insurance to the potential injury-prone Aaron Jones.

 

ROUND 4, PICK 118

  • Cameron Smith, ILB, USC
  • Previous pick: Michael Dieter, OL, Wisconsin

Smith has drawn comparisons to current Packer linebacker Blake Martinez. Smith was a four-year starter at USC and averaged 89 tackles per season. Smith is said to have superb instincts, and could form a very good inside duo with Martinez. With the Packers very thin at inside linebacker, Smith would be a valuable addition in the fourth round with starting potential.

 

ROUND 5, PICK 150

  • Josh Oliver, TE, San Jose State
  • Previous pick: Dru Samia, OL, Oklahoma

Tight ends Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis aren’t getting any younger, and Lewis provides very little athletically. After taking Hockenson in the first, Oliver would give the Packers another athletic, receiving tight end. Oliver isn’t as polished of a blocker, but could be a weapon over the middle in the passing game. Oliver’s 4.63-forty time was tied for third-best with Alabama’s Irv Smith from the tight end group at the Combine. Again, LaFleur’s offense relies on numerous two-tight end sets, so you can’t have too many bodies on the roster.

 

ROUND 6, PICK 185

  • Ross Pierschbacher, OL, Alabama
  • Previous pick: Renell Wren, DL, Arizona State

The Packers get a back-up interior offensive lineman after nabbing an offensive tackle earlier in the draft. Perischbacher was a four-year starter for the Crimson Tide, a team that went 53-5 over his four years. Pierschbacher played all three interior positions for Alabama, finishing his career at center as a senior. Playing in an NFL training ground under Nick Saban, Pierschbacher could step in and contribute if needed in his rookie season and would give the Pack fantastic depth on the line.

 

ROUND 6, PICK 194

  • Daylon Mack, DL, Texas A&M
  • Previous pick: Unchanged

I nab Mack in the sixth again. Mack has B.J. Raji-type size and could be a great rotational piece for the Packers, providing them with great depth on the defensive line.

 

ROUND 7, PICK 226

  • Maxx Crosby, EDGE, Eastern Michigan
  • Previous pick: Trey Pipkins, OL, Sioux Falls

The Packers get a developmental edge rusher with some athleticism with their final pick. After investing $118 million in two edge rushers in the offseason, the Packers have the luxury of waiting until the seventh round to address the position. Crosby was named a first-team all-MAC selection in 2018 after posting 70 tackles, 19 for loss, 7.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles in 12 starts. With some coaching and adjusting to speed of NFL game, Crosby could be a good find in the seventh.

 

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There you have it folks, my Packers mock draft: 2.0.

I went four-out-of-five picks on the offensive side of the ball to start, but I think providing Aaron Rodgers with more weapons is what this team needs. The defense was addressed in free agency for a reason (even though there is always room for depth). I think by getting two potential starters in Gardner-Johnson and Smith would go a long way in helping the defense improve even more in 2019.

Mock draft version 3.0 coming soon!

 

 

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.