2019 NFL Season: Week 9 picks

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

Current Standings

Adam: 71-49-1

Aman: 79-41-1

Dan: 77-43-1

Joel: 77-43-1

Rahim: 76-44-1

 

49ers @ Cardinals (Thursday night)

The 49ers are one of, if not the best team in the league right now. The Cardinals have been able to stay competitive this season, but they’re simply just no match for the 49ers. This defense will smother Kyler Murray all game long.

Predictions

Adam: 49ers

Aman: 49ers

Dan: 49ers

Joel: 49ers

Rahim: 49ers

 

Texans @ Jaguars

Last time around the Texans came out with a one point victory over the Jaguars. I foresee this game being similar to the last. I don’t see a ton of points, but rather a defensive battle ending with one team barely getting past the other.

Predictions

Adam: Jaguars

Aman: Jaguars

Dan: Jaguars

Joel: Texans

Rahim: Jaguars

 

Bears @ Eagles

This game is going to be interesting. Both teams have been up and down. One week they’re dominating their opponent, but then the next they’re getting walked all over. I can see another close game between these two teams, with it possibly coming down to a field goal. Hopefully for the Bears, that’s not the case!

Predictions

Adam: Eagles

Aman: Bears

Dan: Bears

Joel: Eagles

Rahim: Eagles

 

Vikings @ Chiefs

With the way the Vikings have been playing, I don’t think I can take the Chiefs to win this game. Matt Moore did a nice job hanging in there with Aaron Rodgers, but he couldn’t get it done when it really mattered. I can see the exact same thing happening in this game.

Predictions

Adam: Chiefs

Aman: Chiefs

Dan: Vikings

Joel: Vikings

Rahim: Chiefs

 

Colts @ Steelers

Pittsburgh got the win over Miami last week, but they did not look good for a half. The Colts have been quite the surprise this season, being one of the better teams in the league halfway through. Mason Rudolph didn’t look too good last week, and I can honestly see the Colts’ defense smothering him the entire game.

Predictions

Adam: Colts

Aman: Colts

Dan: Steelers

Joel: Colts

Rahim: Steelers

 

Jets @ Dolphins

This is a game I can actually see the Dolphins winning. The Jets have looked horrible over the last two weeks. The Dolphins have looked horrible all season, so it really could go either way. I’ll take the Dolphins just for the fun of it!

Predictions

Adam: Jets

Aman: Jets

Dan: Jets

Joel: Dolphins

Rahim: Jets

 

Redskins @ Bills

The Redskins have proved they can be competitive for a while, but they can’t put it together for an entire game. The Bills may let the Redskins hang around for a little while, but eventually they’ll walk away with a win when the Redskins can’t hold on anymore.

Predictions

Adam: Bills

Aman: Bills

Dan: Bills

Joel: Bills

Rahim: Bills

 

Titans @ Panthers

The Panthers got wrecked by the 49ers last week, but that’s exactly why they’ll bounce back against the Titans. You can’t really blame Kyle Allen for having his worst game against the 49ers’ defense. The Titans have been better with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, but I still don’t have much confidence in them after being one of the most inconsistent teams in the league.

Predictions

Adam: Titans

Aman: Titans

Dan: Titans

Joel: Panthers

Rahim: Panthers

 

Lions @ Raiders

In my opinion, the Lions are one of the best teams with an average record. If a few calls had gone their way, they’d have a much better record right now. I think the Lions can compete with any team. The Raiders have been better this season, but they’re still a losing team.

Predictions

Adam: Raiders

Aman: Raiders

Dan: Lions

Joel: Lions

Rahim: Raiders

 

Buccaneers @ Seahawks

There’s usually at least one game every week where I don’t have to give any explanation as to why I’m picking a team. This is that game this week. Seahawks win.

Predictions

Adam: Seahawks

Aman: Seahawks

Dan: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

 

Packers @ Chargers

The Chargers barely got by against the Bears last week, but that won’t be the case against the Packers. The Packers are one of the best teams in the league, and I see them walking all over the Chargers in their home stadium.

Predictions

Adam: Packers

Aman: Packers

Dan: Packers

Joel: Packers

Rahim: Packers

 

Browns @ Broncos

Joe Flacco is out for this game due to injury. That might actually help the Broncos…. Everything points to a win for the Browns, so let’s see if they can actually follow through with it.

Predictions

Adam: Browns

Aman: Browns

Dan: Browns

Joel: Browns

Rahim: Browns

 

Patriots @ Ravens (Sunday night)

This game will by far be the biggest test for both sides. Lamar Jackson will be tested by a dominating defense, while the Patriots will be tested by a team who’s actually good. It’ll be interesting to see what game plan Bill Belichick comes up with to stop Lamar Jackson and this offense. Whatever it is, I think it works.

Predictions

Adam: Ravens

Aman: Patriots

Dan: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Rahim: Ravens

 

Cowboys @ Giants (Monday night)

Dallas put a beating on the Eagles before their bye week, which makes me want to pick them, but I wouldn’t be confident in that decision. Dallas has been very inconsistent this season, which is why I said I wouldn’t pick them again for the rest of the season. I’ll stick with that because I can honestly see the Giants winning this game.

Predictions

Adam: Cowboys

Aman: Cowboys

Dan: Cowboys

Joel: Giants

Rahim: Cowboys

2019 NFL Season: Week 8 Picks

Week 8
Source: https://www.norebbo.com/?s=nfl

Current Standings

Adam: 60-45-1

Aman: 65-40-1

Dan: 67-38-1

Joel: 64-41-1

Rahim: 65-40-1

 

Redskins @ Vikings (Thursday night)

The Redskins have been able to put up a fight in a couple games this season, but when it comes down to it, they just can’t sustain that play for an entire game. The Vikings have been rolling and will continue that this week with a win over the Redskins.

Predictions

Adam: Vikings

Aman: Vikings

Dan: Vikings

Joel: Vikings

Rahim: Vikings

 

Seahawks @ Falcons

Reports are that the Falcons are open to making some trades after a terrible start to their season. That has proven to be true so far, as they traded away receiver Mohamed Sanu. The Falcons got weaker, and now they take on a Seattle team looking to rebound after a tough loss. Wilson is still a leader in the MVP race, and will surely do everything he can for his team to earn a victory.

Predictions

Adam: Seahawks

Aman: Seahawks

Dan: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

 

Chargers @ Bears

The Chargers just can’t seem to get it done. It’ll be tough to get it done against one of the best defensive teams in the NFL. After seeing the Chargers get dominated by tough defensive units this season, I have no doubt the Bears can do the same thing.

Predictions

Adam: Bears

Aman: Bears

Dan: Bears

Joel: Bears

Rahim: Bears

 

Giants @ Lions

Despite dropping two straight games, I believe the Lions are still one of the most competitive teams in the league right now. The Giants are still the Giants, even with the return of Saquon Barkley.

Predictions

Adam: Giants

Aman: Lions

Dan: Giants

Joel: Lions

Rahim: Lions

 

Jets @ Jaguars

The Jets got dominated by the Patriots last week, primarily because of the Patriots’ defense. The Jaguars have a very competitive defense, and I think we’ll see Sam Darnold make some more key mistakes.

Predictions

Adam: Jaguars

Aman: Jaguars

Dan: Jaguars

Joel: Jaguars

Rahim: Jaguars

 

Bengals @ Rams

The Bengals are in the race to be the worst team in the league this season. I’ll leave it at that.

Predictions

Adam: Rams

Aman: Rams

Dan: Rams

Joel: Rams

Rahim: Rams

 

Buccaneers @ Titans

I feel like the Titans have the perfect defense to pick off Jameis Winston a few times. If that happens, I see a second straight victory for them.

Predictions

Adam: Buccaneers

Aman: Titans

Dan: Buccaneers

Joel: Titans

Rahim: Buccaneers

 

Eagles @ Bills

The Bills are good this season primarily because of their tough defense. Dallas’ defense gave the Eagles fits last week, and I can honestly see the Bills doing the same thing to them this week. The Eagles have been inconsistent this season though, so maybe we’ll see the competitive Eagles this week instead of the team that got dominated a week ago.

Predictions

Adam: Bills

Aman: Eagles

Dan: Eagles

Joel: Bills

Rahim: Eagles

 

Broncos @ Colts

Jacoby Brissett has quietly been one of the better quarterbacks in the league this season. On the other side, Joe Flacco has been one of the most mediocre quarterbacks. I’ll take the better one.

Predictions

Adam: Colts

Aman: Colts

Dan: Colts

Joel: Colts

Rahim: Colts

 

Cardinals @ Saints

The Saints are at home against a rookie quarterback. Kyler Murray looks promising, but he doesn’t look getting a win at New Orleans promising just yet.

Predictions

Adam: Saints

Aman: Saints

Dan: Saints

Joel: Saints

Rahim: Saints

 

Panthers @ 49ers

The Panthers have been performing well lately, but they haven’t played a defense like the one the 49ers boast. Carolina will do some nice things, but the 49ers should continue their undefeated streak.

Predictions

Adam: 49ers

Aman: 49ers

Dan: Panthers

Joel: 49ers

Rahim: Panthers

 

Raiders @ Texans

The Raiders got their trash kicked on defense last week against the Packers. They now play another team with the ability to score a lot of points. If the Raiders can even just slow down Watson and the Texans, they stand a chance. I don’t see that happening though.

Predictions

Adam: Texans

Aman: Texans

Dan: Raiders

Joel: Texans

Rahim: Raiders

 

Browns @ Patriots

There should be no question about the Patriots winning this game. Mayfield has thrown way too many interceptions this season, and the Patriots have a ton of interceptions. That doesn’t add up for the Browns.

Predictions

Adam: Patriots

Aman: Patriots

Dan: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Rahim: Browns

 

Packers @ Chiefs (Sunday night)

This one is simple. No Patrick Mahomes against Aaron Rodgers spells bad news for the Chiefs.

Predictions

Adam: Packers

Aman: Packers

Dan: Packers

Joel: Packers

Rahim: Packers

 

Dolphins @ Steelers (Monday night)

The Steelers should get Mason Rudolph back for this game, which only makes them stronger offensively. In their last game, being strong on offense didn’t matter, as their defense dominated. I foresee their defense dominating once again, helping them earn another win.

Predictions

Adam: Steelers

Aman: Steelers

Dan: Steelers

Joel: Steelers

Rahim: Steelers

2019 NFL season: Week 7 picks

Untitled-1jj
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 Predictions: AFC South

We continue our NFL kickoff  countdown with the AFC South. Over the past five days, we’ve given you a preview of what to expect from some of the top divisions in football. We’ll continue that here and see who has what it takes to win the AFC South.


It’s going to be an interesting season in the AFC South because of all the moves made via injuries, retirement, etc. I’ll break it all down as it leads to each team. How will they all benefit with the changes? Can the Texans and Colts make playoffs again? Can the Jaguars and Titans get back in? Let’s find out!

1. Houston Texans

 Last season’s record: 11-5

Postseason Result: Lost to Indianapolis Colts (21-7) in the Wild Card round

Offseason Acquisitions:

Signed:

  • RB Duke Johnson (Traded from Cleveland)
  • LT Laremy Tunlis and WR Kenny Stills (Traded from Miami)
  • RB Carlos Hyde (Traded from Kansas City)
  • DE’s Jake Martin and Barkevious Mingo (Traded from Seattle)
  • CB Keion Crossen (Traded from New England)
  • TE Darren Fells (Cleveland)
  • LT Matt Kalil (Carolina)
  • SS Jahleel Addae (L.A. Chargers)
  • P Bryan Anger (Tampa Bay)
  • CB Bradley Roby (Denver)
  • S Tashaun Gipson and CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun (Jacksonville)
  • QB AJ McCarron and RB Taiwan Jones (Buffalo)

Drafted: 

  • OT Tytus Howard (23rd)
  • CB Lonnie Johnson (54th)
  • OT Max Scharping (55th)
  • TE Kahale Warring (86th)
  • RB Cullen Gillaspia (220th)
  • CB Xavier Crawford (195th)
  • DE Charles Omenihu (161th)

Offseason Departures:

  • RB Lamar Miller (Injured ACL)
  • DE  Jadeveon Clowney (Traded to Seattle)
  • C Martinas Rankin (Traded to Kansas City)
  • LT Julie’n Davenport and CB Johnson Bademosi (Traded to Miami)
  • S Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City)
  • CB Kareem Jackson (Denver)
  • CB Kevin Johnson (Buffalo)
  • TE Ryan Griffin (N.Y. Jets)
  • OT Kendall Lamm (Browns)
  • RB D’Onta Foreman (Indianapolis)
  • WR Demaryius Thomas (Free Agent)
  • Retired P Shane Lecher

The Big Question:

Despite all the news of DE Jadeveon Clowney being traded to Seattle, the Texans have other concerns to worry about.

How will the defense perform with the loss of Clowney? How about the offense? Can WRs Will Fuller, Keke Coutee and newly acquired Kenny Stills stay healthy enough for QB Deshaun Watson to have more weapons? Stills could be a secret weapon alongside DeAndre Hopkins.

What about the running game? With the injury to RB Lamar Miller, can Duke Johnson become a star? Will they look to add another RB in the mix via trade or free agency? I think the Texans defense might be good either way. They’ve continuously been a top tier defensive team.

If the receiving core can stay healthy, there’s a lot more opportunities to be successful on the offensive side, and the running game wouldn’t matter as much. Although, I think they’ll find a way to add more RB depth, whether it’s part of a trade or free agency.  Let’s see how well their season goes.

Prediction: 11-5

 

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

Last season’s record: 5-11

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions:

Signed:

  • ILB Myles Jack (Extended)
  • TE James O’Shaughnessy
  • OL Tyler Shatley
  • RB Alfred Blue (Houston)
  • WR Terrelle Pryor (N.Y. Jets)
  • QB Nick Foles (Philadelphia)
  • ILB Jake Ryan (Green Bay) 
  • TE Geoff Swaim (Dallas)
  • WR Chris Conley (Kansas City)
  • OT Cedric Ogbuehi (Cincinnati)

Draft: 

  • DE Josh Allen (7th)
  • RT Jawaan Taylor (35th)
  • TE Josh Oliver (69th)
  • LB Quincy Williams (98th) 
  • QB Gardner Minshew (178th)
  •  DT Dontavius Russell (235th)

Offseason Departures:

  • DT Malik Jackson (Philadelphia)
  • RB T.J. Yeldon (Buffalo)
  • RB Carlos Hyde (Kansas City to Houston)
  • QB Blake Bortles (L. A. Rams)
  • WR Donte Moncrief (Pittsburgh) 
  • OT Ereck Flowers (Washington) 
  • RT Jeremy Parnell (New Orleans) 
  • TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Free Agent)

The Big Question: 

The Jaguars made one big change to their roster this offseason, and it was to the most important position on the team. That position is the QB spot. The Jaguars signed Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles, while getting rid of Blake Bortles.

There are several questions that could be asked here, like the impact RB Leonard Fournette will have this season after spending most of last season banged up with injuries.

There’s also the health of the Jaguars WRs too. Last year was another injury prone season for the Jaguars receiving core. It honestly made Bortles look worse then he was at times. 

I don’t think Bortles is a bad QB, it just wasn’t the right system for him. However, this will be a good season for the Jaguars with Nick Foles. They finish with a 9-7 record behind a tough schedule.

Prediction: 9-7

 

3. Tennessee Titans

Last season’s record: 9-7

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions: 

Signed:

  • QB Ryan Tannehill (Traded from Miami)
  • DE Reggie Gilbert (Green Bay)
  • G Rodger Saffold (Oakland)
  • WR Adam Humphries and OG Kevin Pamphile (Tampa Bay)
  • DE Cameron Wake (Miami)
  • DT Brent Urban (Baltimore)
  •  

Draft:

  • DT Jeff Simmons (19th)
  • WR A.J. Brown (51st)
  • G Nate Davis (82nd)
  • S Amani Hooker (116th)
  • OLB D’Andre Walker (168th)
  • LB David Long (188th)

Offseason Departures: 

  • Retired RB Chris Johnson and OLB Derrick Morgan 
  • WR Taywan Taylor (Traded to Cleveland)
  • G Josh Kline (Minnesota)
  • S Johnathan Cyprien (Philadelphia) 
  • TE Luke Stocker (Atlanta)
  • QB Blaine Gabbert (Tampa Bay)

The Big Question: 

One of the biggest questions surrounding the Titans has to do with their receiving group. Can Corey Davis actually be the top receiver in the Titans offense? How long will it take A.J. Brown to adjust to the NFL game?

I’m not too worried about the Titans defense, because I think they will continue to be a good force. For the Titans to find success and be able to compete this season, they will need to be able to find a way. 

For the sake of the Titans, I hope their receiving core can find a way to come up big this season. It’ll take a lot pressure off of both Henry and TE Delaine Walker as two guys who look to be a huge part of the Titans offense. 

Prediction: 9-7

 

4. Indianapolis Colts:

Last season’s record: 10-6

Postseason Result: Beat Houston Texans (21-7) in Wild Card round, Lost to Kansas City Chiefs (31-13) in the Divisional round

Offseason Acquisitions:

Signed: 

  • G Evan Boehm (Traded from Miami)
  • CB Nate Hairston (Traded from N.Y. Jets)
  • C Jake Eldrenkamp and QB Hoyer (New England)
  • DE Justin Houston (Kansas City)
  • WR Devin Funchess (Carolina)
  • DB Pierre Desir
  • LB Luke Rhodes 
  • DB Clayton Geathers
  • WR Chester Rogers

Draft:

  • CB Rock Ya-Sin (34th) 
  • DE Ben Banogu (49th)
  • WR Parris Campbell (59th) 
  • LB Bobby Okereke (89th)
  • S Khari Willis (109th)
  • LB E.J. Speed (164th)

Offseason Departures:

  • Retired QB Andrew Luck
  • DT Hassan Ridgeway (Traded to Philadelphia)
  • WR Ryan Grant and TE Erik Swoope (Oakland)
  • WR Dontrelle Inman (L.A. Chargers) 

The Big Question:

The Colts were hit by the surprise announcement of QB Andrew Luck’s retirement. Now they’re faced with a lot of important questions.

Was it really a surprise? As banged as Luck was,  he Colts should’ve seen this coming.  Now we worry about how QB Jacoby Brissett will play as the starter again. Can he have the “Luck” for the Colts?

I’m expecting the defense to be fine, but can Brissett and WR T.Y. Hilton build chemistry together? Hilton’s production was at a career-low with Brissett at QB in 2017, and we hope it’s not the same this year. 

The Colts added a lot of offensive pieces over the years, and they should be able to find some success this year with RB’s Marlon Mack and Nyhiem Hines to join Hilton, Devin Funchess and TE’s Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron as they look to make the playoffs again.

Prediction: 6-10

 

Predicted Division Standings:

  1. Houston Texans (11-5)

  2. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7)

  3. Tennessee Titans (9-7)

  4. Indianapolis Colts (6-10)

 

Buy or Sell: DeAndre Hopkins, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luis Severino

It’s another week of “Buy or Sell,” and this week we’ve got topics from each of the three major sports in the USA. Sorry, Hockey isn’t getting much love this summer after the St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup. We’ll bring that back when the season starts.

23353392696_0046eb232b_o.jpg
DeAndre Hopkins” by Victor Araiza is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

For now, we’ll focus on topics from the NFL, NBA and MLB, as Joel and Dan join me in this week’s edition. Each question deals with a player’s success helping his team on their way to a possible championship.

Joel: After receiving a 99 overall rating on Madden 20, WR DeAndre Hopkins won’t lead the NFL in any receiving category next season?

Dan: I’m selling this. This is an easy sell because of just two stats that may not even be considered. One stat is his catching percentage (70.6), which was a career high. With a healthy Deshaun Watson, we could see Hopkins continue to put up great numbers, just like greats before him. Rahim will get into the comparisons below.

Rahim: I don’t believe in the Madden ratings or the Madden Curse, so I’m going to sell this. I’m also selling this because Hopkins is one of the top receivers in the league and there is no way he doesn’t lead the league in at least one receiving category.

Let’s think of it this way, he is the No. 1 target on his team and has the best hands in the league. When was the last time you’ve seen him drop a ball that was catchable? When we look at top receivers, we think of guys like Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Davante Adams and Hopkins.

You could add guys like Amari Cooper and Juju Smith-Schuster as well, but they all have an offense that has more than one weapon available to them. I see Jones having the most catches 20+ yards. Hopkins could be there with him.

Brown will likely get most of the teams targets, like we expect Hopkins to do. There’s no saying what Beckham will do with that talented offense the the Browns have put together.

We expect Adams, Cooper and Juju to get most of the receptions on their teams as well. However, with a great running game and other role players, they will lose some receptions.

Hopkins is the only pass catcher Watson can really trust, unless Keke Coutee and Will Fuller can get things going again. I also think the running will help open up the field more for Hopkins, as the Houston Texans plan to use D’Onta Foreman more this season.

So I sell that Hopkins won’t lead the league in any category this season. I see his stat line to being about 130 catches for 1700 yards and 15 touchdowns, with a catching percentage of 73.

Rahim: It’s championship or bust for Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks next season?

Joel: I’m going to sell it being championship or bust for Giannis and the Bucks.

I feel like when you say it’s championship or bust, the bust part means they’ll blow up the team and start all over if they don’t win. I feel like the core of this Bucks team will stay together for a while. Giannis has just recently said he plans on sticking around instead of changing teams like several other stars.

He’s only going to keep getting better, and I believe he will win a championship in the next few years. Anytime a star player like Giannis doesn’t win a championship, it’s a disappointment, but I feel like saying it’s a bust would be going too far.

Dan: I sell that it’s championship or bust for Giannis and the Bucks. Giannis has stated that he is there for the long haul, and Khris Middleton just signed a very nice contract to return. These are two guys who aren’t old, and they’ll be together for a while.

The Eastern Conference is still the much weaker conference, and the only thing that stopped the Bucks from reaching last year’s finals was Kawhi Leonard. He’s now in the Western Conference.

Giannis can certainly lead this team to a championship. His road isn’t going to be easy with teams like the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers to worry about. Then there’s the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and several more in the Western Conference. Regardless, I believe Giannis has time to win a championship, even if it’s not this year.

Dan: When Luis Severino returns from IL, the Yankees have a better shot at making the World Series if they keep him in the bullpen for 2019?

Joel: I buy the Yankees having a better shot at making the World Series by leaving Severino in the bullpen when he comes back. At 60-33, the Yankees have the best record in the American League right now. If they’ve done this well without Severino, I don’t see why they need to change anything. You don’t fix something if it’s not broken.

Obviously, the Yankees are not broken. If the Yankees can continue their play at this current level, they’ve got a great chance at making it to the World Series. Luis Severino can help make their bullpen even deeper than it is right now, but I don’t think there’s any reason to stick him in the starting rotation.

Rahim: I am buying this too! I think Joel said it best when he said, “You don’t fix something if it’s not broken.” The New York Yankees have battled through a lot of different injury scenarios, which included guys like OF Aaron Judge and several of their starting rotation pitchers, like C.C. Sabathia and Luis Severino.

I honestly counted the Yankees out with the 15+ injured players they had on the injured list, but they managed to pull things together and keep it going with the slim division lead in the American League East. Having Severino coming from the bullpen will also continue to have a guy later in games to set up for Betances and Chapman, so I’m all for it!

********************************************************************
There you have it! Now, what do you think?

  • Will Hopkins lead the NFL in any receiving category next season?
  • Are Giannis and the Bucks in Championship or Bust mode?
  • Does having Luis Severino in the bullpen help the Yankees’ chances at making the World Series?

Let us know your thoughts in the comment!

Winners and losers of the 2019 NFL Draft

The 2019 NFL Draft officially wrapped up yesterday. Now that we know where these new NFL players will be playing, we can take a look at which teams won or lost this draft. After evaluating the picks for every NFL team over the last day, I’ve put together my list of three winners and three losers of the 2019 NFL Draft.

NFL Draft, Chicago 2016” by Mary is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Winners

Arizona Cardinals

Draft Picks

  • Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray(No. 1)
  • Washington CB Byron Murphy (No. 33)
  • Massachusetts WR Andy Isabella (No. 62)
  • Boston College DE Zach Allen (No. 65)
  • Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler (No. 103)
  • Alabama S Deionte Thompson (No. 139)
  • Fresno State WR Keesean Johnson (No. 174)
  • Georgia C Lamont Gaillard (No. 179)
  • Morgan State OT Joshua Miles (No. 248)
  • Temple DT Michael Dogbe (No. 249)
  • UCLA TE Caleb Wilson (No. 254)

After going 3-13 last season, the Cardinals had a lot of work to do in this draft. Well, their worked seemed to pay off. Starting with QB Kyler Murray, the Cardinals were able to walk out of the draft with several probable day one starters. CB Byron Murphy, WR Andy Isabella, DE Zach Allen, WR Hakeem Butler and S Deionte Thompson are all potential starters for the Cardinals this season. When you throw Murray in that mix, the Cardinals got six players with their first six picks who could start right away.

In addition to getting several potential starters, the Cardinals got great value with several of their picks. Byron Murphy was arguably the top CB in this draft, and the Cardinals were able to get him in the second-round. Isabella and Allen went right about where they should have, but getting Hakeem Butler at No. 103 and Deionte Thompson at No. 139 are great value picks.

This draft class might not get the Cardinals to compete in the NFL right away, but they’ve got a ton of potential in this draft class. This draft by the Cardinals could end up being the best in this class when we look back on it in a few years.

 

New England Patriots

Draft Picks

  • Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry (No. 32)
  • Vanderbilt CB Joejuan Williams (No. 45)
  • Michigan DE Chase Winovich (No. 77)
  • Alabama RB Damien Harris (No. 87)
  • West Virginia OT Yodny Cajuste (No. 101)
  • Arkansas OG Hjalte Froholdt (No. 118)
  • Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham (No. 133)
  • Maryland DE Byron Cowart (No. 159)
  • Stanford P Jake Bailey (No. 163)
  • Mississippi CB Ken Webster(No. 252)

When I look at the first five picks for the Patriots, I see five guys who can make an impact for this team right away. N’Keal Harry is their new big red zone target, Joejuan Williams is a big corner who will get a ton of time opposite Stephon Gilmore, Chase Winovich will play significant time on the defensive line, Damien Harris will add to a strong backfield, and Yodny Cajuste will get a good amount of time in the Patriots’ offensive line rotation.

Skipping down to QB Jarrett Stidham, would anyone be surprised if he ends up being the guy to take over for Tom Brady when he finally decides to retire? He has the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest QBs in the history of the NFL. Stidham didn’t really fit well in Auburn’s system, but Belichick is one of the best at getting his system to adapt to his players.

I’m not sure how the Patriots did it, but they ended up with a bunch of guys who just seem to be players the Patriots can get the most out of. These guys may not be stars in the NFL, but they’re for sure guys the Patriots will turn into productive NFL players.

 

Chicago Bears

Draft Picks

  • Iowa State RB David Montgomery (No. 73)
  • Georgia WR Riley Ridley (No. 126)
  • Kansas State CB Duke Shelley (No. 205)
  • Florida Atlantic RB Kerrith White (No. 222)
  • Valdosta State CB Stephen Denmark (No. 238)

For not having a pick until the third-round, the Chicago Bears did really well in this draft. I love the selection of RB David Montgomery. Getting him at No. 73 is great value. I believe he’s one of the best RBs in this class. Don’t be surprised if Montgomery ends up being the next rookie RB to lead the NFL in rushing.

At pick No. 126, Riley Ridley is another great value. I thought he would go in the second-round. He didn’t put up a ton of production in college, but his potential is far greater than where he was selected. He should only add to a group of WRs who were pretty strong last season, helping Mitch Trubisky even more.

Their last three selections were great depth pieces. I think we also have to look at which UDFAs the Bears signed after the draft. Some notable players the Bears signed are WR Emmanuel Hall and TE Dax Raymond, who are both players I expected to be drafted.

Finally, I factored in the Bears’ trade for Khalil Mack last season. They may not have had a first-round pick in this draft, but Mack is far better than anyone the Bears would have selected. Mack will be far more productive than any player selected in this draft in 2019.

 

Losers

Houston Texans

Draft Picks

  • Alabama State OT Tytus Howard (No. 23)
  • Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson (No. 54)
  • Northern Illinois OT Max Scharping (No. 55)
  • San Diego State TE Kahale Warring (No. 86)
  • Texas DE Charles Omenihu (No. 161)
  • Central Michigan CB Xavier Crawford(No. 195)
  • Texas A&M RB Cullen Gillaspia (No. 220)

I liked the position the Texans drafted with the No. 23 pick, but I hate the player. Tytus Howard is not a player who should have been selected in the first-round. I would have been okay with them selecting him in the second-round, but not the first. There were far better lineman available at the time. I’m not sure he’s the answer to protecting Deshaun Watson.

When I look at the selections of Lonnie Johnson, Max Scharping and Kahale Warring, I don’t see any of them being instant impact players for this team. I thought the Texans made a lot of reach picks in this draft. They may end up proving me wrong, but I didn’t like the value of these guys where the Texans drafted them.

 

New York Giants

Draft Picks

  • Duke QB Daniel Jones (No. 6)
  • Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence (No. 17)
  • Georgia CB Deandre Baker (No. 30)
  • Old Dominion DE Oshane Ximines (No. 95)
  • Notre Dame CB Julian Love (No. 108)
  • Wisconsin LB Ryan Connelly (No. 143)
  • Auburn WR Darius Slayton (No. 171)
  • Washburn CB Corey Ballentine (No. 180)
  • Kentucky OT George Asafo-Adjei (No. 232)
  • Syracuse DT Chris Slayton (No. 245) 

Let’s start with Daniel Jones at No. 6. The Giants drafted Jones because he has similar traits to Eli Manning. I hate to break it to the Giants, but Eli Manning’s style of play doesn’t win games in the NFL anymore. This is a new age in the NFL. I’m not sure a QB who can’t even complete 60% of his passes is the answer. Huge reach with the sixth pick.

I like Dexter Lawrence and Deandre Baker as players, but I really hated how the Giants didn’t address their WR need with one of those picks. Instead, they waited until pick No. 171 to grab Darius Slayton. Slayton is not going to replace Odell Beckham Jr.

If I had to say one nice thing about the Giants’ draft, it’d be that they have a nice new pair of CBs in Baker and Julian Love. I think Love could have gone a lot higher than No. 108, so that was a great value. Overall though, I don’t believe the Giants made the right moves in this draft.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Draft Picks

  • LSU LB Devin White (No. 5)
  • Central Michigan DB Sean Bunting (No. 39)
  • Auburn CB Jamel Dean (No. 94)
  • Kentucky S Mike Edwards (No. 99)
  • Iowa OLB Anthony Nelson (No. 107)
  • Utah K Matt Gay (No. 145)
  • Bowling Green WR Scott Miller (No. 208)
  • Missouri DT Terry Beckner Jr. (No. 215)

I loved the pick of LB Devin White at No. 5. I think he’s going to be a great NFL LB. However, pass rusher Josh Allen was still on the board. If Allen ends up being a big time sack artist, Bucs fans may end up hating the pick of White. Still a good pick, though.

After the pick of White, I didn’t like what the Bucs did. Sean Bunting was taken too early, as well as Jamel Dean. Skip down to K Matt Gay, and you’ve got another guy who was taken too early. He is a K after all. The Buccaneers had the opportunity to draft players who were higher ranked, as well as who fit their team needs.

Not addressing their biggest team needs is another major reason why the Bucs were losers in this draft. They didn’t grab an offensive lineman or RB, which were two positions they really needed to address for this upcoming season. Not sure what happened after the selection of Devin White.

Breaking down the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell.

Le’Veon Bell will finally become a free agent! After watching their star RB sit out last season because of his contract, the Pittsburgh Steelers are moving on. Reports are that Bell will become a free agent after the Steelers say they won’t use any tags on him. Le’Veon Bell will soon be able to choose where he’d like to next play football.

Best landing spot for Le'Veon Bell
-Pittsburgh Steelers Le’Veon Bell” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

As an RB who’s obviously demanding a lot of money, Bell’s options are somewhat limited on where he can go. Because of his high salary demand, many have cited the following list in reference to Bell’s name. Why? This list holds the names of the top 10 teams with the most cap space this offseason. Chances are, Le’Veon Bell’s next destination is somewhere on this list.

Just because these 10 teams have the most cap space, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell. Not only is Bell wanting a high salary, he’s likely looking for a place where he can dominate carries, and more importantly, win football games. That limits the options on the above list. We’re going to break down this top 10 list, ultimately coming up with the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell.

 

Round 1: Winning (Potential)

Of the list of top 10 teams with the most cap space, how many teams can really offer Le’Veon Bell a winning situation? The Colts, Texans, Seahawks and Cowboys were all in the playoffs this past season, so they automatically make it on to the next round.

Just because a team wasn’t in the playoffs last season, it doesn’t mean they can’t offer a winning situation. The Cleveland Browns were much improved this past season, and will likely continue their upward trend after a string a great moves last offseason. They’re an intriguing option, so we’ll move them on to round 2. The Jets only won four games a season ago, but Sam Darnold showed why he’s the next franchise QB for the Jets. They should be much improved next season, and Bell could help them get there, so we’ll include them too.

If I’m including the Jets, I have to include the 49ers. They were also 4-12 last season, but that was without their starting QB for most of the year. With Garoppolo back and some good moves this offseason, they should be much more competitive next season.

That leaves us with the Bills, Raiders and Bengals. Does anyone want to play for the Bills? No. Raiders? Definitely no. Bengals? I don’t think so. These three get eliminated, while seven teams move on in their quest to be the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell.

 

Round 2: Bulk of the carries 

We’ve got the Colts, Texans, Seahawks, Cowboys, Browns, Jets and 49ers left. Let’s get rid of some easy eliminations in this round. Which teams already have a featured RB?

  • Cowboys: Dallas has Ezekiel Elliott. I think Le’Veon Bell could fit in with this offense if used correctly, but he’s not going to want to share time with Zeke.
  • Browns: They’ve got a young RB in Nick Chubb. They also just signed RB Kareem Hunt. Not enough room for Bell in this backfield.
  • Texans: Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue make a pretty good combination. I don’t see room for Bell here.
  • Seahawks: Seattle has a 1,000 yard rusher in Chris Carson. They also have Mike Davis and Rashad Penny, who both ran for over 400 yards last season. Russell Wilson with Le’Veon Bell would be dangerous, but I don’t see it happening.

One could argue the Colts could be eliminated, but I’m not sure Marlon Mack is a true starting RB. I think he’s more of a really good backup. Four more teams have been eliminated, leaving us with the Colts, Jets and 49ers as the potential teams to be named the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell.

 

Round 3: Best QB

The third and final round is too easy. The Colts have Andrew Luck, the Jets have Sam Darnold and the 49ers have Jimmy Garoppolo. Going back to round 1, I gave the Jets and 49ers a pass because of their potential to win, but that heavily depends on how well Darnold processes and how well Garoppolo comes back from his injury.

If Le’Veon Bell wants to play with the best QB available, picking the Colts is the easy choice. An Andrew Luck and Le’Veon Bell combination would be lethal. Throw in T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron. Don’t forget about Marlon Mack being the backup RB. That’s quite the combination.

The Indianapolis Colts are the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell. They can give him everything he wants. They’ve got the most money to spend, a place where he can dominate carries, one of the best QBs in the league, and a place where he can win football games and have a real chance at competing for a Super Bowl title.

It’s not my decision to make, but if I’m Le’Veon Bell, the Indianapolis Colts are the team I’m pushing to play for.

The Canton Worthy: Defensive Backs

After looking at head coaches on Wednesday and then linemen on both sides of the ball yesterday, I wrap up the week (but not the series) looking at a group of defensive backs up for the NFL’s Hall of Fame. Three of these men played the bulk of their careers as free safeties, while the other two were corners. Interestingly, the last three all played together in 2009 for the Denver Broncos*, and four out of five of these players played in Denver at some point in their careers, while three out of five played for the Jets–but never together.

*That Broncos squad, Josh McDaniels’ first, went 8-8 while the defense ranked third against the pass.

For my comparisons throughout this series, I’ve been looking at the Hall of Fame list posted on pro-football-reference.com. According to the last, there is no distinction between safeties or cornerbacks. Instead, PFR refers to all of those players as “defensive backs.” So, instead of breaking these five players down by position like I did yesterday with guards and tackles, I’ll be comparing them to fellow defensive backs.

However, I will be comparing them to defensive backs of a certain era–from 1989 until 2013, the former because that’s the earliest any of these five began his career, and 2013 because that’s the last year that any of these guys played.

Veterans Day with the Baltimore Ravens” by Maryland National Guard is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Steve Atwater, Free Safety: Denver Broncos, 1989-1998 & New York Jets, 1999

Atwater, known for his bone-crushing hits over the middle, went 20th overall to the Broncos in the 1989 draft out of Arkansas. Over the next decade, he started at least 14 games every season. He picked off 24 passes, forced five fumbles, recovered eight fumbles and collected 1,125 total tackles. He made All-Pro in 1991 and 1992 while reaching eight Pro Bowls in a span of nine years. He was one of the team’s defensive leaders when Denver won back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1997 and 1998 seasons.

 

John Lynch, Strong Safety/Free Safety: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1993-2003 & Denver Broncos, 2004-2007

Over the years in Tampa Bay, John Lynch led a revolution that helped transform the Bucs from the Yuks into a Super Bowl winner. The Stanford product went in the third round of the 1993 draft to Tampa, where he’d patrol the center of the field for the following 11 seasons. In that time, he went to five Pro Bowls, made All-Pro twice, and won Super Bowl XXXVII. Lynch later left for Denver, where he made another four Pro Bowls before retiring. In the end, that’s nine Pro Bowls, two All-Pro selections, seven trips to the playoffs and one championship.

 

Ty Law, Cornerback: New England Patriots, 1995-2004; New  York Jets, 2005, 2008; Kansas City Chiefs, 2006-2007; Denver Broncos, 2009

Ty Law was another first round pick, going No. 23 to the Patriots out of Michigan in 1995. He was part of the team that lost Super Bowl XXXI to the Packers, but then he collected three Super Bowl rings at the start of the Brady-Belichick Dynasty. By the time he retired as a member of the Broncos, he’d made five Pro Bowls (four with the Patriots, one with the Jets) and had been named All-Pro twice. He finished his career with 53 interceptions, seven of which he returned for touchdowns, which is the 11th most all-time.

 

Champ Bailey, Cornerback: Washington Redskins, 1999-2003 & Denver Broncos, 2004-2013

Before getting dealt to the Broncos for running back Clinton Portis prior to the start of the 2004 season, Champ Bailey had already intercepted 18 passes and collected 312 total tackles while getting voted into four Pro Bowls as a five-year member of the Redskins. Over the next 10 seasons in Denver, he’d be named All-Pro three times while making another eight Pro Bowls. He led the league in interceptions with 10 in 2006 and finished his career with 52.

 

Ed Reed, Free Safety: Baltimore Ravens, 2002-2012; New York Jets, 2013; Houston Texans, 2013

The 24th overall pick out of Miami (Fla.) in the 2002 draft, Reed played 11 years for the Ravens before splitting his final season between the Jets and Texans. In his first decade-plus in Baltimore, Reed was named the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year, won one Super Bowl, made nine Pro Bowls and was elected All-Pro five times. Throughout his 12-year career, Reed intercepted 64 passes, which is seventh all-time. His 1,590 interception return yards is the most all-time.

 

The Breakdown

Which of the five of Atwater, Lynch, Law, Bailey and Reed gets into the Hall of Fame? Remember two things: 1) Only a maximum of five finalists can be inducted in a given year, and 2) I’ve already selected center Kevin Mawae and guard Alan Faneca. I have at most three remaining spots between these five and three offensive playmakers I’ve yet to discuss.

Based on those factors, I believe only one defensive back has a shot at making it into Canton this season. Right off the bat I’m going to eliminate three of them: Steve Atwater, John Lynch and Ty Law. Each of those three defensive backs previously had shots to make it, yet failed. This year, they face even tougher competition with first-time nominees Champ Bailey and Ed Reed.

And it’s at those two that I’m going to take a closer look.

There are 26 defensive backs in the Hall of Fame. Of those 26, five retired after 1999: the ageless Darrell Green, Rod Woodson, Deion “Primetime” Sanders, Aeneas Williams and Brian Dawkins.

As far as longevity, both Bailey and Reed stack up with those five. Bailey made more Pro Bowls than any of those players, while Reed made more than all but Woodson. Only Woodson and Sanders made more All-Pros than Reed, while Bailey only edges out Green in that category. Regarding interceptions, only Woodson’s 71 overshadow Reed’s 64. Meanwhile, Bailey’s 52 interceptions only beats Dawkins’ 37.

Here’s what I’m getting at: Bailey and Reed both compare very well to the five defensive back members of the Hall of Fame from around their era. Much like with the discussion I had yesterday about guards Alan Faneca and Steve Hutchinson, though, the two will be compared against each other as their careers overlapped from 2002-2013.

Starting with longevity, Bailey gets the edge as he started longer at his position. Bailey also has a 12-9 edge regarding Pro Bowls. But, in less time as a starter, Reed has more All-Pro selections, 5-3. Reed won a Defensive Player of the Year award while Bailey never did. Reed also collected 12 more interceptions than did Bailey (again, in fewer years), and Reed was part of a Super Bowl-winning squad whereas Bailey never reached that height.

For the time being, Ed Reed gets my vote for Canton. Perhaps, after the next article, I’ll re-visit Bailey.

But for now, I’ve used three of my maximum five slots: Ed Reed joins Kevin Mawae and Alan Faneca.